Back in the 1980s, there was a thing called “Getting your colors done.” I never had an analysis formally completed but I’ve always thought with my dark hair and light pink skin I was a “Winter.” My favorite and most complimented colors were jewel tones, deep shades of blue, purple, and fuchsia and my signature color is black!
My daughter asked for her birthday gift to be a color analysis and wanted me to join her. We coupled this experience with a Mother-daughter getaway and I’m so glad we did. This was something we could do together, all while learning how to look our best in this stage of our lives. For her, working as a professional educator at a college currently from home and raising her two school-age boys and me, as a new retiree.
With my pandemic silver/gray hair and completely new activities, I’ve struggled a bit with decisions on my retirement wardrobe. When I was working, it was easy to know how to dress for staff meetings, speaking engagements, and conferences. A uniform of black pants, a black blazer, jacket, or sweater coupled with a top in my favorite colors, add some black shoes and silver earrings and I was done.
On Instagram, she found Nicole Kaczmarek at the House of Colour in Ballard, a neighborhood in Seattle not far from the University of Washington. (houseofcolour_ballard) A former pharmacist, Nicole has pivoted like many working moms to a career that gives the flexibility to spend more time with her adorable son and husband while providing a service to her customers. Her new career increases her joy, makes her happy, and gives her life! She took a risk starting a new business during the pandemic and hasn’t looked back.
I went first and was draped with countless fabric swatches as Nicole analyzed the colors that made me look my best. Once she established that I was in fact a “Winter” on the color wheel she found my best “wow” colors. We took before and after photos and the difference was striking. One takeaway is that in my zeal to have a new life and a new identity I had departed from what I learned I looked best in. I have concluded that I have started spending time and money on clothes that were in style and on-trend – but just not right for me. While I still have lots of my best colors in my wardrobe I realized that completely missing were the hot pinks, fuchsia, and a bright red. I guess I thought those colors went out of style in the ’80s and forgot about what works best for me.
Next, it was my daughter’s turn. We both had no idea where she would land on the color wheel. The fabric draping process started again and the conclusion was that she was a summer. The entire process for two people takes about two hours each for a total of four hours. The time flies by!
It was amazing as her mom to watch how her face became almost airbrushed and her eyes popped as her best colors were draped. One thing she learned is that highlighting her naturally dark brown hair with golden highlights doesn’t make her look her best. After covering her hair and seeing only her roots, Nicole recognized that she needs cooler Ash tones if she is going to highlight them. But we all concluded she would look her best to let her hair return to its natural color and fill her wardrobe with Summer colors.
In fact, during both of her pregnancies, she let her hair go back to its natural color and the clothing she chose at that time was in the Summer part of the color wheel. Her glow in those photos wasn’t only from the pregnancy, she looked her best because the colors she naturally wore at that time were her “wow” colors. This was a huge takeaway for her.
At the end of our session, we tried on three sets of lipstick that complements our natural look. One for daytime, one for evening, and that one special red for those special moments. In addition, we received a customized set of color swatches to keep on hand for the next time we are shopping or ordering clothing online.
We were both so excited to get home and go through our closets and compare to our swatches. During the entire drive, we were excitedly talking about what we learned and then when we were home we did a FaceTime call and showed each other our wardrobes. It was so easy to discard those items that were just hanging in our closets unworn. We didn’t love them because they weren’t our best colors. I have a big bag now to donate to the Thrift Store at the Senior Center.
Then it was fun to arrange our clothes in the colors of the rainbow and compare them to our before and after photos and clearly see why these items were our favorites. What I learned was many of my most recent post-retirement purchases not only weren’t my “wow” colors but they were entirely wrong for me.
I think this is a great gift idea for your wife, daughter, or friend. It is even a gift to yourself, there are lots of men that do this as well. After this experience I have concluded that as a retiree, life is short, so why wear clothes that make you look ill or washed out? Why not find your best colors and then make a few strategic purchases to round out your wardrobe? Buy the lipstick that makes you feel amazing, after the masks come off you’ll look your best.
My suggestion is to take some time in 2022 as a new or long-time retiree to really figure out your new lifestyle, your activities, and the colors of your wardrobe. I think you will be happy you did!