My go-to color has always been black, especially in cooler months. Since forever, in fact, my preferred way of dressing in fall and winter has been to pair a black sweater with a pair of blue jeans, or slip into a little black dress that hovers just above my knees.

Is it because I’ve gone Goth? Nope! It’s simply that I’ve always thought the color black looks good on me (and, yes, a little slimming).

In summer, by contrast, I tend to do the reverse: As the mercury climbs, almost everything I wear is white. A little stark, perhaps, but oh so easy.

But thanks to a recent session with image consultant Candy Gould , the head color expert from the British-based House of Colour, I’m leaning much less on those old standbys and much more on bright blues and greens, as well as subdued creams. The results have been dramatic: My face looks brighter. My eyes seem bluer. And friends have told me I look less tired, even — dare I say it? — a tad younger.

So how’d the switch come about?

According to Gould, I’m a “Spring” — and, as you can imagine, Springs do not wear black or white. When I looked skeptical, Gould broke down her process for me:

“It all starts with skin tone,” Gould explained, “not hair or eye color — both of those can easily be fiddled with.” (And how!) “But skin tone remains the same throughout our lives, no matter our age.”

Speaking of age, Gould diplomatically pointed out that wearing the wrong color, especially one as harsh as black (unless you’re a confirmed “Winter”), can drain the face, create shadows under the eyes and have an overall aging effect.

It turns out that color analysis, based on theories put forth by Bauhaus artist Johannes Itten, entails both science and art: Color experts use an adaptation of Itten’s color wheel, which reflects all the colors of nature. Each season gets to wear 25 percent of these colors. (Half the wheel is based in blue, the other half in yellow.)

Getting your “colors done” can therefore be a worthwhile investment, especially if you want to avoid buying something only to let it languish in your closet. Get your colors right upfront, and the chances of that happening go way down. Plus you’ll look fab in the process!

For more dish on how to “embrace your inner colors,” watch this episode of The Best of Everything After 50 series on AARP’s YouTube Channel:

For more tips on living your best life, look inside The Best of Everything After 50: The Experts’ Guide to Style, Sex, Health, Money and More.



I trained as a colour analyst and used it as part of my work as an image consultant for many years. As you say it really makes a difference wearing colours that compliment and enhance your own natural colouring. Although I do still wear black trousers.


A great fit, the perfect color and you are a winner every time. Like Josephine at Chicatanyage, I find color analysis to be an integral part of any image consultation. Something for you to consider, Barbara. You are a Spring; I am an Autumn. Since both colors are on the warm side of the color palette, we are what I call “Sister Seasons,” which means that we can borrow certain colors from our each other’s color palette. Try it and let me know how it works for you.

Cheers, M-T


I love adding pops of color to my outfits!

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