Personal Brand and Style

Trompe L’Oeil, Trick the Eye

by Clarisse Ringwald, Ffsm

Styling is an optical illusion. It’s all about perception. Did you know when you enter a room, people’s eyes will go from the top of your head to the tip of your toe in three seconds? Styling is about looking your best at any given moment. It’s all about keeping the attention on your face and what you are saying or selling.

Color lets you reshape your silhouette using trompe l’oeil. Three aspects of color that demand the viewer look there first: (1) warm color temperature, (2) bright color intensity and (3) high/strong contrast. In simple terms, the eye will go to the warmest, the brightest or the highest contrast of color worn on your body. Therefore, it is important where you place that color.

Looking at the illustration, which color holds your attention most? For me, it’s the mustard yellow, the warmest color. For you, it may be red, the highest contrasted color, or even the blue. No right or wrong answer here, as all would qualify. What if a woman walking in front of me in the mall had on a pair of mustard yellow skinny jeans with a black top? Chances are my eyes would focus on the color of the skinny jeans.

If you have dark hair, wear dark shoes. Dark haired ladies, even if you wear white jeans in the summer, wear dark shoes! If you’re blond, this rule is more forgiving. Fair-haired maidens can wear light shoes or dark shoes and, because of their light hair, people’s eyes will go back up to their face. This also holds true for gray-haired women and men. For redheads, camel-colored shoes are best since they will match the ginger hair color. In styling, a continuous line is always the best.

The classic summer casual outfit is white skinny jeans with a casual top. Here is where the color of the top is very important. If it’s white, you are in the safe zone, as monochromatic colors make you appear taller. If the top is black and the skinny jeans are white, the focus will be on the bottom half of the body, so the hips and thighs will be emphasized.

Color blocking on dresses helps create a waistline and is very attractive to emphasize the waist. Pay attention to where the lightest, brightest or highest contrast of color is on the dress. Typically, the darkest color is on the outside creating the color blocking effect. This will make the body appear smaller at the waist. If the color blocking is white or another bright color, the eye will be drawn to the outside of the dress. If you have a large waist or hipline, you get my drift: You will appear larger.

Tip: If you want to appear 10 pounds lighter and you currently carry a shoulder bag, carry a handbag instead. The shoulder bag, very much like a diaper bag, adds 10 pounds to your hipline!

Clarisse Color Creations, LLC, is an image-consulting business that aligns color, restores image and creates style. Licensed and certified, this Arizona-based business serves both women and men. Contact Clarisse at clarissecolorcreations.com.

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