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making faces :: i am curious, yellow

last year, when i started looking into colour analysis, particularly sci/art seasonal colour analysis, i believed that it would probably tell me that i was best suited to a softer, understated palette. my natural colouring [if i can remember my natural hair properly and if it hasn't changed too much in the ten years or so since i had a good look at it] seemed soft and dusty, my eyes were pale... it just made a kind of sense that something more subdued would be a perfect match. as it turns out, while i haven't made a categorical decision about what makes me look best, it seems like the exact opposite is the truth. my complexion benefits from having saturated, strong colours around it. my lifelong attraction to pucci-style prints and shocking shades of magenta and lime green was i was nonetheless convinced i couldn't pull off may actually have been a subconscious realisation of the truth of my inherent colouring.

i was also shocked to discover that my lifelong assertion that i was cooler toned- based on the paleness of my complexion and eyes- was at best questionable. while it's true that i'm decidedly not entirely warm-toned, i can pull off some warmer colours as well or better than many cool ones. i always knew that blue worked on me, because i wore it reasonably often [when i wasn't remaining true to my goth-girl roots and wearing black] and would get compliments on how i looked, not just on what i was wearing. however, in the last year, i've purposely tried to purchase colours that i think might work, but that fall outside of the sort of things i have chosen over the last twenty or so years. [that's not to say that i've worn the same sort of clothing for that long, my taste has definitely evolved, however, it has generally stayed predominantly dark and muted, with some occasional forays into splashy patterns when i was feeling especially daring. what i was trying to accomplish this year was expanding my colour range from statement pieces to more flexible, everyday ones, which have always been predominantly black for me.]



in my attempts to find a hierarchy of colours that worked, i made two astonishing discoveries. the first is that there's a shade of orange/ rust that seems to work especially well with my eyes. i already wrote about my moment of discovery on that front.

the second, and this was just bizarre for me, is that the colour yellow is supremely flattering on me. and not just a particular shade of yellow. almost all the yellows seem to be my friends. i mean, i suppose i was kind of aware that it could work on me, or else i wouldn't have worn a gold and black dress almost all the way through "conversion", but gold and yellow are not the same. i can get away with gold. [i still maintain that silver looks better against my skin, but what do i know?]



but yellow?

yup, yellow. the first time i wore a yellow shirt, about three people told me with shock in their voices that the colour looked especially good on me.

i say "with shock in their voices" because i think it's a tacit understanding in the culture of colour that white people just can't wear yellow without appearing overwhelmed and/ or jaundiced. and the whiter you are, the worse it looks. so when you see a girl on the "lily"end of the spectrum rocking a sort of goldenrod shade, it seems, well... weird.

after that initial successful experiment, i branched out, first dabbling my toes in the slightly dirtier end of the pool, shades of ochre/ umber that inhabit the realm between yellow and brown. [as a side note, it's interesting how almost all brown clothing leans red, with taupe/ grey undertones a distant second; do you realise how hard it is to find a yellow-brown? very.]

"ochre"
and finally, i took the plunge and committed myself, courtesy of a half-hour of in-store soul searching and a coupon for $10 off at h+m to make the risk less... risky. [i'm using the "+" because blogger angrily refuses to properly publish an ampersand.] i bought something in a true, bright sunshine yellow. and, strangely, the same wave of surprised compliments followed this decision. i even find that it's something that shows in pictures, which is ultimately the point i'm coming to here.

this is a makeup look i did wearing said yellow sweater. the makeup is well and good, but i find there's something going on with my complexion that has nothing to do with product. i do not look that healthy and glow-y wearing most other colours. i find it even distracts from the fact that the concealer i'm wearing is on the dry side and emphasizing the lines around my eyes.




the makeup i'm wearing here is a mix of brands- i have rouge bunny rouge "bashful flamingo" on my lids with mac "firecracker" [l.e., 2011 on the outside], the brown shade from chanel "sable emouvante" to deepen the crease and outer corners and inglot "351" to highlight. there's a thin line of gosh dark brown liner along my upper lash lines and into the inner corners. it's all sort of peachy-coral and leans warm, without going overboard. on the cheeks i have nars "torrid" a warm peach and the lips are mac "made to order" [l.e. 2010], a very soft coral. the point was to have something soft and even a little warm, so that i could really see the effect of a bright colour and remove any idea that a positive result came from balancing the warmth of the yellow with cooler colours on my face.

compare that with how i look here, wearing a cool emerald green sweater and cooler makeup on a day with similar light. one is pretty clearly more flattering to my complexion than the other. and it's not the one i would have thought even six months ago.

this doesn't mean that i'm suddenly going to go out and buy an entirely new yellow wardrobe. but it does teach me something about what i know about the face i see every day, which is, as it turns out, precious little.

so why am i sharing this? in the interests of illustrating that in trying to look good, as opposed to wearing certain things just because you like the style [which is a perfectly valid way to dress and is something i do regularly myself], you should always challenge yourself to wear the sort of things that you don't think you can. because you may not know what's best for you...

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