1) The only people you should listen to are your clients
There is so much noise online, and we hear so many opinions from other image consultants and stylists.
Some of the bigger colour houses offer online colour analysis training, and others don’t. There are very differing opinions about the effectiveness of online colour analysis, and some are voiced very loudly! I say, make up your own mind.
Honestly, I don’t care about what the ‘big wigs’ say. I listen to no one else but my clients.
If your clients are happy and feel confident and empowered after an online analysis, then you’ve got your answer.
Online colour analysis works!
I was sceptical about online colour analysis when I first started looking into it as a potential service but I soon saw the opportunity and my clients made me a raving fan because they provided such fantastic feedback. They loved their experience and said it made a massive difference to their lives.
Also, don’t forget that your clients aren’t clueless when it comes to the colours that suit them. They’ve been dressing themselves their whole lives before you see them, so they’ll have a reasonably decent idea of what does and doesn’t work for them already. They’re just a bit confused, perhaps. So, when I said listen to your clients, I mean it! Listen to them closely to understand what they specifically need help with, and you can’t go far wrong with your analysis, whether in-person or online.
2) Colour analysis is not a science; it’s an art
There is no single method to determine your clients’ colours. Various systems help you drill down and determine whether a person is warm or cool, soft or muted, bright or deep, etc. Similarly, no single method will guarantee you get every client’s colours technically ‘right’. We, humans, are complex characters in terms of our personality and physicality. No one fits precisely into a neat category to which you can apply a label.
Who says what’s wrong and right anyway?! It isn’t about getting it technically correct. It’s about helping your client feel better at the end of the day. I’m not saying that you’d give them any old colours, of course not. You would do your absolute best for them. But again, listen to what your clients want.
What are their requirements for their wardrobe?
What are their goals?
How do they want to project themselves?
I’m a summer, but often, the summer palette doesn’t provide the level of contrast that I want for my work outfits. As I run my own business, I want to make more of an impact, so I choose colours from the winter palette.
If you listen to what your clients really want by asking them questions about their lifestyle and work, you will not provide the ‘wrong’ colour analysis.
It is not about being right or getting it perfect but finding the solution that helps your clients create the impression they want to make on the world and giving them more confidence.
3) Natural light is best
Natural light is 100% the best whether doing a colour analysis in-person or online. I don’t propose that you colour code your clients via Zoom video calls for online colour analyses, but from photos they take of themselves in natural light. The quality of the pictures is paramount, and you must not compromise. Professional photos taken under studio lighting or using filters will not work.
Understandably clients might be reluctant to send you untouched photos, so it’s your job to gently explain precisely what you need and how their results will be so much more accurate if they send you natural, unedited photos.
4) Forget about skin tone
Now I know this one will be controversial, especially if you’ve been traditionally trained like I was. You’ll have had it drilled into you that to diagnose a client’s colours correctly, you need to determine whether the skin tone is warm or cool. While with some clients it’s obvious to tell, with others, it can be tricky.
If you’re just starting and are confused about skin tone, forget about it. Take a much broader look at your clients. Consider what their eye colour, hair colour and the blood vessels around the eye tell you, for instance. It isn’t just about skin tone.
Remember also that you must drape your clients, whether in-person or using digital drapes. There is no shortcut to colour coding, so don’t skip the draping process.
5) Break all the rules
As I said before, my summer colours don’t allow me to make the impact I want in my work, so I break the rules a lot of the time and choose colours from the winter palette. Your clients will likely have items in their wardrobe which are ‘wrong’ for them once you’ve coded them. However, that doesn’t mean they should never wear them again! Instead, show them how they can wear them differently by using scarves in complementary colours, layering a better colour over the top, or even just wearing the right makeup. Show them clever tricks to help them adjust the not-so-great colours they want to continue wearing.
The matchy-matchy era of the 80s is over for most people, and they want to look modern, on-trend and wear fashionable colours. Our role as personal stylists and colour consultants is to help our clients achieve what they want. If they want to wear black, show them how to wear black. If they want to wear white, show them how to wear white! Show your clients how to use colour to balance their body shapes and show them how to make a massive impact if that’s what they want.
Essentially, you do whatever you need to do to send your clients away happy. It’s not about being right; it’s about using colour analysis as a tool to help your clients achieve their goals.