Browse the Internet, social media or a magazine stand and you will quickly stumble across images of beautifully styled interiors or ‘curated’ wardrobes. Some are various shades of white and grey or a melange of chalk, beige and brown. Rest-inducing to look at with just enough depth of colour to avoid a stark clinical look. Other photos suggest a life full of colour, usually in daring or vibrant combinations.
I often wonder what life must be like at either end of such a style spectrum? I am far more contrary in my colour choices. I love the calm warmth of browns and greens, but I am also drawn to deep rich hues reminiscent of the height of summer and fading glory of autumn.
My colour tastes have always been pretty steadfast. I have never felt the need to change the shades in my home or wardrobe based on seasonal fads. Recently, however, I’ve found myself thinking about colour a lot.
Garden planning has played a role. Last year my focus shifted from cultivating a garden that looks like an allotment to something that resembles a cottage garden. My desire for year-round colour and interest (as well as food) prompted me to add perennials. As these plants stay in the soil year after year, it meant committing to certain colours as the backbone of the space. Like the warm rusts of Helenium or the chocolate toned aubergine of Dahlia ‘Karma Choc’.
Embracing my silver locks has also offered an opportunity to revisit my relationship with colour. Due to my natural colourings I mostly wear browns, earthy greens and ochres to pick up on my green eyes, dappled freckles and the copper undertones in my hair. I think I am what is know as an “autumn” in the fashion press. Now the copper in my hair has faded, I’m checking whether these colours still serve me well.
All the advice I’ve read suggests that once a women goes grey she should drop brown and green and embrace navy, grey and taupe. As much as I love taupe (or donkey as Mr M calls it), I loathe navy and grey. I always have done.
Of course the ‘perceived’ wisdom is not much to go on as little has been written about flattering colours for grey-haired women, let alone, for those of us who embrace silver and white locks long before we turn 70. My tresses may have faded but my eyes are still decidedly green and my freckles dappled rose gold. So I’ve been experimenting with colour.
Trying out new shades and tones was a challenge during three years of clothes rationing but with some careful choices I’ve been able to turn single skeins into accessories to test out my colour hunches, like the smoky brandy neck scarf. I’ve concluded that my natural inclination for browns, greens, coppers and ochres still works. I am just better off picking a more muted tone or a semi-solid. Being a knitter definitely gives me an advantage. There are so many wonderful wools available in heathered colours not to mention semi-solid hand dyed yarns that allow the mixture of pigments to respond to their context.
So my contribution to the “literature” on colour for ladies with grey locks is this. If you have always suited greens, browns and golds, it is still possible to wear them. Just opt for shades you would find on a moorland rather than in a primary school paint box!