Colour confident

Everybody knows that black is slimming.

My mother told me black was slimming, fashion magazines continue to say the same and friends insist on it too.  And it is, some of the time. But not always.

There’s a cult-like belief that every woman simply must have a little black dress  (LBD) or else all manner of disasters will happen. Society’s very foundations will collapse and the sun will fall from the sky! Well maybe not, but you get my point.

The truth is, not everyone suits black. If you have very pale skin then black on its own with a string of pearls may well make you appear ill – and a little dress isn’t right for everyone’s figure.  It’s not a case of slipping on an LBD and hey ho, look who it is – Audrey Hepburn! The curvier woman often needs length to give a more elegant shape and may prefer coverage in problem areas, such as upper arms. ‘You must have an LBD – or else’ articles are just silly.

It’s so tempting to rely on the safety of black, it’s like a familiar friend who has always been there but the truth is that darker colours don’t always make you look slimmer. Simply because like brighter colours, black and brown have different shades.  And those different shades don’t suit everyone.

Laura Anderson, online merchandiser for French label La Redoute says, ‘The great thing about brown and black is that they are two colours that are versatile for both summer and autumn/winter holidays. A perfect option for brunettes is a rich walnut shade while a deep chocolate brown will lend itself nicely in contrast a lighter hair colour.’

Even though I’m as pale as chips, I do prefer black as it’s so classic. For important meetings and speeches I wear black but to prevent a sickly pallor because of the contrast with my skin, I accessorise with a scarf of another colour. It livens it up, and prevents my curves morphing into a mass of one dimensional black.


(L-R) Director Natasia Hodge, myself (in my Pepperberry black dress and animal print Primark scarf to add colour and layers), producer John Busow from Class Act Theatre UK - at the launch of my play Eleanor, Where Are You? last month in Liverpool (photograph: Helen Kerr)


According to top stylist and colour expert Amanda Bernstein from Personal Dressing, a common error women make is choosing colours that suit friends or celebrities in a magazine, but definitely not them! Like some perfumes smell lovely on someone else but not so much on you, different colours highlight good and bad aspects of different people so we must pick carefully.

”Some women try to alter their colour choices based on the company they keep. They see a friend wearing a more daring colour and think they should do the same,” says Bernstein.

I don’t try and con myself that pastel colours look good on me, they make me appear very washed out, instead I go for brighter patterned colours or dear old black. Fit is very much a thing for me; as I’ve mentioned on this blog before I need a deep v neck and a gathered in waist or else I just appear shapeless. Smocks don’t work for me, but a wrap around top does.

One of the fun things about more retail outlets on the high street accommodating the curvier figure now is, we can go into shops now, try clothes on and experiment. Before, many of us just ordered outfits from catalogues then more often than not cried in disappointment on their arrival because they looked great on the model on the catalogues pages but not us.

As more shops come around to the curvy way of thinking, I look forward to having even more fun with different colours!



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