Colour conversation with Jules Standish, Head of Colour, London College of Style
For our latest Colour Conversation, we talk to Jules Standish – Head of Colour at London College of Style, author of the bestselling How Not to Wear Black and contributor on TV, radio and print on the irrepressible energy of colour.
Tell us about your role at the London College of Style. What does it entail and what topics are covered?
I have many colourful hats, and one of my favourites is working as Head of Colour at the prestigious London College of Style. I joined the school more than five years ago as their Senior Colour Lecturer. The role has developed from not only teaching Fashion and Personal Styling to students on campus, but also being part of the team offering the newly launched e-learning colour course.
If you could only give your students one piece of colour advice, what you it be?
I would encourage them to become colour conscious of all the incredible ways they can harness the power of colour in their world. To embrace their own knowledge and love of colour to share with others, even in some small way to help them shine inside and out, because colour can make such a positive difference to someone’s life.
Have you always had a fascination with colour and wanted to teach it?
I trained more than 15 years ago as a personal stylist and while learning about colour analysis I had my ‘lightbulb’ moment when I was working with one of my first case studies. I literally saw the transformational effect the right colours had on her complexion, evening it out, making it glow and look youthful and healthy, and then seeing her eyes sparkle. It was so powerful. My lovely client smiled every time her ‘wow’ shade was held against her face. From that moment on, I knew I would use colour as the centre of my styling world, and I have. However, I don’t think I ever imagined I would be lucky enough to teach, publish a book (or two!), be on TV, radio or write for the media!
What is your seasonal palette and which colours do you love to wear? How do they make you feel?
I am a Spring in colouring, and a very warm, golden one at that. I sit very much on the hotter end of this bright palette, so favour the reds, oranges and yellows. I also love vibrant Spring greens, particularly lime, and the turquoise bright blues, while the neutral creams, tans and warm browns replace black, which doesn’t agree with me. I have only one bright purple shirt in my wardrobe because it’s on the cooler side of the spectrum and I like to combine it with my warm coral pinks for fun.
Wearing my true colours makes me feel balanced and happy, and my wardrobe is fully kitted out with those that flatter me most and make me feel supported emotionally and psychologically. I mindfully choose my best coloured outfits each day depending on how I am feeling, what I am doing, and who I am seeing, and as they all harmonise with my personal colouring and personality I know that my wardrobe works for me in all aspects of my lifestyle.
Have you found yourself dialling up the colour even further during lockdown?
Actually, I always wear lots of colour but I have been writing more for the media about how colour can boost mood because I think there has been such a strong emotional and physical need for self-help when it comes to wellbeing through these challenging times.
For instance, wearing red to help with energy and getting active, starting a new exercise or hobby; orange the great socialiser, helping people on Zoom and virtual family and friend gatherings to feel stimulated and positive; yellow to bring in the sunshine and some much- needed optimism; green helping to keep the balance; blue to feel calm and in control with all the anxiety around; and purple for meditation, yoga and mediation in families! And, of course, pink, the colour of nurturing and compassion, and one that represents the sharing of love and kindness.
Are there any colours that you actively dislike?
Well, there are colours that actively dislike me! Pastel blue is a beautiful shade I see on the delicate, soft summer colouring and it always makes me want to wear it in pale denim shirts and jackets but, sadly, it really does wash out my complexion and make me look unwell, which is of course what the wrong colours can do. I am not keen on the dark plum and deep magentas, as they are also out of my warm palette and unfortunately make me look really tired and older. While black also isn’t on the ‘warm’ list of colours. I truly believe that if you love something and it makes you happy you shouldn’t be deprived of it, just wear it in a way that isn’t detrimental to your looks or your energy. So, in the cooler months I sometimes wear black trousers, but always make sure my best colours are worn above the waist.
You are the author of the Amazon bestselling books How Not to Wear Black and The Essential Guide to Mindful Dressing. Tell us more! How did they come about?
There are some amazing books written about colour, and I felt really passionately myself about helping men and women understand the powerful impact that colours can have on their looks and personality. I had spent many years watching people react during their colour analysis, in both wonderfully positive ways when the right colours went up against their face, but also often being shocked at how detrimental the wrong colours could be, too.
Black was a major factor for women in their wardrobes, and as a big fashion statement so many wanted to understand how to continue wearing it well if they didn’t belong to the cool Winter palette, who as you know, look dynamite wearing black up against their complexions. So, the idea of How Not to Wear Black was a way of communicating this by sharing the concept.
The Essential Guide to Mindful Dressing came about after I spent time researching and helping people to understand how to wear particular colours to help them psychologically in their everyday lives. Studies show that certain colours can make us feel happy and confident, energetic, stimulated and adventurous, while others have the ability to help calm us down, feel more in control and balanced. I wanted to explore these aspects for everyone throughout their lives – going for a job interview, on a first date, experiencing a loss of self-esteem, feeling despondent, etc, and how by using their best shades of each colour, they could harness the transformational benefits that colour can have, for ultimate well-being in their wardrobes.
What are the common mistakes that people make when it comes to wearing colour?
Following fashion. I think the statistics of women wearing only around 15% of their wardrobes 85% of the time, will resonate with most. Everyone wants to be seen as ‘fashionable’ in their own way, but really the most important thing is to dress for individual body shape and colour, then grab fashion if it suits you.
Being influenced by others. What looks good on Kate Moss won’t necessary work on the rest of us! We can be influenced by catwalks, celebrities, the media, or by those around us. We see a friend who looks fabulous in a colour but it may not be one that works with our palette. Also, our partners can feel very strongly about a colour and if they don’t like it themselves, they can influence whether we wear it, too.
Lacking confidence. I hear it so many times in different ways, from the very young who have yet to find their true inner power, to those who lose their way in middle age, or women during or post menopause, and those of us who like myself are ageing, with fading hair and skin and who often tell me they feel ‘invisible’.
Five instant ways to make yourself look and feel great?
- Invest in a colourful scarf that you love and suits you beautifully. This is one of the most cost-effective and versatile ways to inject colour up against your face. Coloured scarves can be block, patterned or floral and will take you from day to night, work to play.
- Choose a coloured jacket or blazer in your favourite colour, one that you love and makes you radiate with happiness and makes your skin glow. This can become your new best colourful wardrobe friend, mixing and matching with other colours, so you can experiment and express your personality through colour clashing, combining or calming with your best neutrals.
- Try on a new colour! Pick one that calls your name and push yourself out of your comfort zone, but just a little bit to start with. Experiment with a cami top or a T-shirt then see if you get complimented, and if it makes you feel good, go shop, splash out if you want to and invest big in that new shade.
- Warm skins can glitter in gold, and cool ones sparkle in silver, as metallics reflect beautifully up against the complexion and make the face glow. There are some gorgeous gold and silver fashion choices now but you could choose jewellery instead, and add some colourful stones for an instant hit of happiness.
- Colour match your foundation with your own skin tone to a warm yellow or cool pink base. An even complexion is very attractive and will cover up any issues that appear on the skin. Then swipe on a coloured lippy to make you smile big time!
Last great colourful buy?
I love a coloured trouser suit, and before lock down I ordered a coral one from J Crew that arrived about a month in and other than doing a quick post on Instagram to make sure it got an airing, I have yet to venture anywhere to show it off. I choose my shades of pink carefully as they need to be warm and peachy based, and this one just ticked the colourful box.
Difficult question we know, but if you had to pinpoint a favourite colour, what would it be?
Well, I love bright red, golden yellow and also warm green, but if I had to choose one, it would be vibrant orange. It is the colour that I get complimented most in, and it makes me feel happy, confident and it gives me energy. I do sometimes choose to combine orange, though, as wearing lots of it can be super-stimulating, so I may need to keep the balance with a complementary colour such as blue, or with one of my neutrals.
(L-R) Jules wears the Stripey Pima Scoop in Apple, Satin Tie Blouse in Fiesta Orange, Verona V Neck in Acid Lime and the Chloe Jacket in Chocolate over a Pea Green Hetta Pima Long Tee
Do you have any Kettlewell in your wardrobe and, if so, do you have a favourite piece?
Oh yes, I LOVE Kettlewell – it’s such a brilliant way for all colour lovers to access their best shades and create a colour capsule wardrobe. Kettlewell makes choosing colours easy and fun, with so many everyday essentials that can be combined, for leisure or work. With loungewear, tops, knits, dresses, jackets and wraps along with colourful accessories, already put into your seasonal palette. Such a fabulous way to shop colours and all from the comfort of your own home.
I have a stunning bright orange Kettlewell pussy bow blouse, which I have worn a couple of times during lockdown, which I would normally have gone out in, but will get lots of use in the coming months. Probably the top that has made the most appearances has been the gorgeous apple green Hetta Pima long-sleeved tee. I love everything about it: the stunning shade of green which really suits me, the softness of the fabric and the way it fits my body shape – all just perfect! It’s the one thing consistently that my hubby has commented on over the past few months, as every time I wear it, he says, ‘I love you in that!’