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Many women fall into the trap of matching their clothing and/or makeup colors to their  "superficial appearance." Redheads, for example, often "match" their beautiful locks to orange-family garments such as brick red, coral and tangerine. And they continue with corresponding makeup colors in tawny shades of rust, coral or peach. Fair-skinned blondes complement their looks with delicate pastels such as baby pink, pale orchid or oxford blue. They opt for so-called "natural" makeup that produces invisible lips and few facial contours. Dark or olive-skinned brunettes may match their mysterious, shadowy good looks with the dusky colors of autumn, like teal or dark army green. Tawny blushers and lipsticks in deep shades of burgundy or purple "go" with the clothing and hair.

For the casual observer with an untrained eye, this is harmony. However, upon close inspection, it may turn out to be "false harmony." False harmony is insidious and slips by undetected, mainly because it is so non-threatening. As a result, in this fast-paced, stressful world, false harmony is ever popular. It goes unchallenged in fashion magazines, books about color analysis, and in the studios of famous makeup artists. It is safe. It is also uninspiring and downright boring. Upon close inspection, false harmony produces a tedious monotony of colors that causes the face to blend into the clothing, so that it becomes difficult to keep the eyes focused upon the face, because they wander aimlessly between clothing and face.

Think of yourself as a potential masterpiece. A masterpiece on canvas permits only one focal point. The same rule applies to individuals. Your face must be that lone focal point. Your clothing, makeup and accessories must not be more noticeable than you. It doesn't take a fashion expert to note that flashy shoes or gaudy clothing and accessories take the attention from the individual. However, even "experts" fail to take note that the opposite extreme can be just as devastating in terms of image. When your face blends into your clothing, you appear passive, insecure, unimportant – even invisible.

The problem.....
The problem today is that the world of fashion is suffering from what I call the "Mona Lisa syndrome."  Everyone wants to look "understated and elegant," like Mona Lisa. However, most people are not aware that artists, like image consultants, cheat! Yes, cheat. They improve upon colors or change them to set a particular mood, and they change composition until the results look natural... and memorable. Let's face it, we wouldn't even know who Mona Lisa was if she had been clad in bright emerald green, as opposed to those mysterious, dusky green tones which envelop her. Those dusky autumn tones inevitably cast a shadow on the face; however, Leonardo da Vinci did a bit of cheating and painted Mona Lisa's face as if she had been wearing more luminous colors. Unfortunately, we don't have da Vinci to help us out when we wear the wrong colors, so we need to take a little care.  

The solution...
You may have some garments in your closet that make you disappear. They could be the very ones that make you feel good when you wear them, because they "go" with your coloring. You may even get compliments when you wear them. Don't we all just love to see redheads in rust and strawberry blondes in tangerine and salmon pink! Don't be fooled anymore by false harmony. To bring yourself back to life and return your face to its place of honor, there are a few things you can do. First, break up the monotony of colors by wearing a scarf in a color that provides contrast with your face. For example, if you are a blonde with a pastel pink dress or suit, try a navy blue or racing green scarf. The scarf could even have a bit of pink to give it a more coordinated look. Or, wear a rather wide necklace close to the neckline that will provide contrast. Lipstick in a shade brighter than you normally wear can help and will assure that your face remains the focal point.  

If your problem is one of too many dark colors, try getting some needed contrast with a scarf in a clear, bright color that makes your skin look luminescent. Yellow, peacock blue and shocking pink or fuchsia are good examples; and you might find a scarf that also has a bit of your garment color in it as well, so it is tied together. A dramatic necklace close to the face in gold, silver or a bright color, is another possibility. Avoid dull, brown-toned lipsticks. Try a clear red if it suits you.  

Redheads with garments in the orange family might use a scarf or necklace in navy or royal blue, jade or emerald green. For a dramatic high-fashion look, find a purple scarf with orange accents. Make sure your lipstick doesn't blend too much with your hair and skin color. Avoid brown-toned shades in particular. For a high-fashion look, try one of the new orchid lipsticks and plum blushers. The subtle blue undertones will look smashing with your hair.

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Sandy Dumont is a personal Image Consultant in Norfolk Virginia with over 30 years experience. Get her free eBook on image at www.TheImageArchitect.com



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