What level of contrast do you have?

Have you ever worn something that looked great on your friend but it just doesn’t quite work on you? I think we all have experienced that. It might be the level of contrast.

Notice how this low contrast blonde is beautifully supported by this low contrast jacket and skirt.

Take a good look in the mirror. If you have light hair and fair skin with light colored eyes, you have low contrast.   However, if your hair is dark and you have dark eyes with light skin, your contrast level is high. Another consideration is your level of intensity.   Even though your coloring might be low intensity, you might be able to increase the color contrast without overpowering your natural presence.

Your contrast level dictates the level of contrast that will be most attractive for you. If you have low contrast, wearing something with high contrast can just be too much. One will see the garment coming before they realize it is you wearing it!

This model has medium contrast hair and the medium shade of pink is a perfect contrast for her.

Notice how attractive this blond model looks in the low contrast dress and jacket. It perfectly supports her soft coloring so that the entire image is seen. The model wearing the pink dress is medium low contrast. Her hair is medium-light but this medium shade of pink beautifully supports her natural presence.

This gray an black combination supports the model in color contrast while softening the contrast in support of her quieter presence.

Now look at the models wearing black. The model with black and gray appears to be more reserved so the black and gray work well with her natural color contrast. Notice the model wearing the black and white combination. Although we cannot see her entire face, her body language indicates that she is confident and has a strong presence. She beautifully carries off this black and white ensemble.   A black and white combination has the strongest color contrast.

Black checks make a strong statement but this gal appears to have attitude to match.

When you have determined your color contrast, here is an easy way to check to see if your color contrast is right for you. Look in the mirror when you put on something that you think might be too bright. Close your eyes for a moment and then reopen them. If the first thing you see is the color, it is too strong a contrast. Your eye should see you and the garment just as with these models.

Happy “blink testing”!


How to Balance proportionally when the body doesn’t cooperate.

I was speaking with a business lady recently and she asked how to give balance to your appearance when one part of your body is differently proportioned than the rest. Her challenge is the most common for women—having a triangle figure with the hip area being wider than the top. All different figure types have to use camouflage to make their bodies appear balanced and in proportion.

Shoulder pads visually widen the shoulders, balancing the upper body with the lower body.

The lady with whom I was speaking was very trim but her upper body was small in proportion while her hips were considerably wider than her shoulders. This is where you become a camouflage artist!

First of all, it helps to choose a darker color for the bottom than the top. This lady had dark hair so black is an excellent color for skirts or slacks.   Dark colors recede and while bright colors advance. To make her upper body appear larger, a bright or light color could be used.

Shoulder pads are back in fashion this fall so adding shoulder pads would be great tool to be fashionable while helping balance the upper and lower portions of the body.

Great business dress to hide wider hips. Skirt could have less flair.

A flaired skirt is a wonderful technique to accentuate the small waist and upper part of the body while masterfully hiding the disharmony of the two portions of the body.   You can add a cropped jacket to this grey dress and transform it from an excellent office to dinner dress to a great professional business-meeting look.

Trousers for the triangle need to fall straight from the widest part of the hip to the floor. Wider trousers should just clear the floor so they appear one continuous line, adding visual height and a clean line. No tapered pants for this body as they accentuates the width of your hips.

Straight trousers with a suit jacket nipped at the waist minimize hips and show off waist. Neck accent draws attention to the face–where you want it!


You can also use color contrast or decorative accents to draw the eye up to your face. After all, you want the attention on you, not on any “flaws” you perceive might be there.

Remember that you are beautifully and wonderfully designed. Be the most beautiful you can, just as you were intended to be!   Beryl Pleasants