Do you have a love-hate relationship with your closet? Are there clothing items in it that you never wear, but don’t quite know why? Most people wear 20% of their clothes 80% of the time. Imagine if all the clothing and accessories in your closet complemented you and provided confidence every time you wore them. It’s much easier to accomplish than you might think.
House of Colour consultant Darcie Zauha first learned about the United Kingdom-based company much like everyone else—she had a color and style analysis. She learned which colors showed her at her best, which clothing styles, cuts, patterns, textures, and trends made her still feel authentic yet professional, and she learned how to shop for clothes that always made her feel amazing—and save money doing it. The experience was so eye-opening, she looked further into the company and decided to open her own franchise in Omaha almost four years ago. This past summer she added Kirsten Hilt to her team so they can accommodate both weekday and weekend appointments.
House of Colour provides three primary services: color, style, and makeup analysis. Closet edits, personal shopping, and Pinterest board consulting are also available. Most people start with color analysis, which is a comprehensive process based on a person’s skin undertones—either warm or cool. Using natural light, Zauha compares colored drapes in warm and cool tones to determine which ones create warmth and color in their skin while accentuating their eyes. The next step is to figure out whether soft and muted colors are better, or clear and saturated colors. When it’s all put together, a person determines their “season” for color.
For example, Zauha is a “summer,” which means she looks better in cool versus warm colors, and more specifically, the softer, muted colors in the summer category. A “winter” also looks better in cool colors, but they should be clear and very saturated. A winter should wear bright, sapphire blue whereas a summer should wear a softer, muted blue. Similarly, “autumn” and “spring” are the warm color categories. Autumn’s colors are soft and muted versus the clear, bright colors of spring. Neutrals are also important. A winter looks best in bright white, whereas an autumn looks better in cream or ivory and a summer should wear soft white.
Color is just as important for men as it is for women, and men make up about 25% of Zauha’s clients. Not all men should wear a black suit. Some may be more approachable in a charcoal suit. Or maybe they just need to know which shade of gray is best and then combine it with one of their power colors from their season. “If a man is going to invest in a suit, they should know which suit will look amazing,” Zauha said.
Knowing your season will influence everything from your accessories (shoes, purse, jewelry) to your hair color and makeup. House of Colour has its own full makeup line, and Zauha includes basic “90-second makeup” recommendations for an easy, finished look in the makeup colors perfect for your skin tone. “We find three perfect lipstick colors that draw attention to your eyes,” she said. There is one color that looks good on absolutely everyone, which is true red. That goes for lipstick and clothing. “Everybody needs a little red dress, not necessarily a black one,” Zauha added. The analysis includes a fabric fan with the colors in your season—perfect to keep in your purse to help make clothing shopping easier and more cost effective. “Knowing your colors helps you look your best and teaches you how to incorporate it into what you already have,” she said.
Style analysis is just as important as knowing your colors. It examines the patterns, scale, and proportions that are right for your current body type, such as what neckline is most flattering, or what rise of pant. “It’s about figuring out what you want to enhance and help identify the looks you already like,” Zauha said. Style is based on six archetypes: dramatic, classic, natural, gamine, ingenue, and romantic. Zauha said that you can see these archetypes in literature, TV shows, and movies, and they tell an audience what to think about a character before they ever open their mouth. The same works for people in real life. But nobody falls into just one archetype. There are 23 different clothing personalities, so a style analysis helps interpret the personality that best fits you and how you want to be perceived.
Zauha’s style personality is a Romantic Natural. “With every outfit I wear, I have a lot of layers, a mix of pattern and texture, and a little structure but not too much. It’s really all about taking what feels good to you already and enhancing it. And don’t be scared of the personality. ‘Dramatic’ doesn’t mean drama. It just means having something on that’s a little bold so that when you walk into a room, you look not just put together, but amazing and exactly right for you.” They say 60% of a first impression is your appearance. “Your first impression gets you in the door, and the rest of you keeps you in the room,” Zauha added.
There is no magic formula to color analysis, and Zauha never knows what season someone will be ahead of time. Although style can be done virtually, color has to be done in person to be accurate. However, it can feel magical to the client when they see the change that happens in their face and eyes when wearing the right colors for them. “You can be yourself in everything you wear,” Zauha said. “You’re able to know immediately what is going to look good on you and communicate what you want without saying a word. It helps you be true to who you are both inside and out. That gives you confidence, and that’s the best accessory of all.”