‘Having my colours done’ in May 1992 was an event that was going to change the direction of my life.
I had seen an article about an Image Consultant in our local paper. I had never heard of this before but was intrigued by the service she provided. Her job was to show people the clothes that would suit them and how to put together a co-ordinted wardrobe. I wish I had kept that article to remind myself of exactly what made me ring the next day and book an appointment but I didn’t. I certainly wasn’t expecting that I was approaching a crossroads in my life.
At the time I was in my mid-thirties. I was happily married and had established a successful career. I was a Professional Training Manager working in the NHS. I had developed my career in training and was required to speak at meetings, workshops, seminar and the occasional conference. I had quite a high profile, I was ambitious and I needed ,and always tried, to look the part.
The late 80’s were a time of glamour and relative wealth and as an aspiring thirty-something career girl I needed an extensive range of smart clothes. I had a different suit or at least a jacket and skirt for every day of the week in a variety of power colours. Black was the favourite. Practical, easy to buy, easy to wear, suitable for day or evening it was the colour of choice for my wardrobe. Little did I know then that black did my image and me no favours at all.
It is fair to say that although I was never obsessed by my appearance I did always ‘make the effort’. Suit or jacket was always accessorised with a scarf (or in those days with a ‘pussy cat’ bow! I always wore earrings and always make up. In short I did my best with the knowledge I had at the time. I looked the part –or so I hoped!
So exactly why I booked my ‘Colour’ appointment I’m not sure. Maybe I had got to the stage where I was spending a lot of money on my clothes but had the feeling ‘I could do better’. Maybe the article gave me the solution.
Anyway, within a couple of days there I was sitting in front of the mirror in the Image Consultants studio.
Over the next couple of hours I witnessed a total transformation. As the consultant draped different coloured scarves across my by now bare face, my make up having been removed and my hair rather unfetchingly scraped back from my face I watched as the subtle differences in skin tone were revealed.
I watched as the colours I’d worn for so long-black and grey, cast ugly, dark shadows across my jawline and around my eyes. Paler colours, the colours I avoided as too pasty and too girlie took the shadows away and somehow made my normally grey skin look fresher, brighter and my eyes sparkle.