Curated Closet / My Color Style Palette

I’m back with another scintillating edition of my color palette. There’s been a lot of active talk in the sewing community Instagram on colors and working within a palette. My friend Jasika has really transformed her wardrobe and sewing plans.  I wanted to point out two resources I found helpful as a deep-toned black woman and where I am now in my palette journey.

To recap: I’m doing this because my wardrobe doesn’t feel cohesive and I’ve struggled the last two years with having the right outfit for the right event. Part of that is a change in job and lifestyle, so I don’t know what to buy or make. It’s also a changing body on my part and clothes I had don’t fit me anymore – or in a way I like. My goal is to have a ‘curated closet’, possibly even minimalist. Mostly, I just don’t want to feel like I don’t have the right thing to wear. In this post I kind of rehash and shared the original ideas I had about my streamlined palette. This palette doesn’t preclude me from wearing other colors, but it does give me an initial structure to work within.

I never found the ‘seasons’ book to work for me when I went through it in the 80s and 90s. Black women were automatically autumn or winters and I found I disliked many of the colors shown. On top of that, there weren’t many examples OF black women, so I couldn’t get a sense of how the colors would look on me.

I contemplated getting my colors done locally, but there wasn’t anyone who looked like me doing colors and I feared the same results. With that in mind, I used two resources that worked very well for me. “The Triumph of Individual Style” and the“Your Color Style” systemby Jen Thoden. Both focus on the characteristics of your coloring and features instead of JUST your skin tone and hair color. In both, I learned that I look best in high contrast colors, clear colors (vs JUST jewel tones) and that I lean cool. Both of these were figured out without looking at my veins (which you can’t really see on my wrist). I like “Triumph of Individual Style” for helping me understand proportions, scale and what looks I prefer for me in a very nonjudgemental, fatist or ageist way.

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Jen Thoden has a great series on YouTube and a quiz on her website. After studying some videos with pleeeenty of black women with my deep complexion included as examples, I arrived at being a Bright, Cool, Deep. What does that mean?

This color palette is ideal for people with cool undertones and who can wear clear colors (muted colors drain them). In the seasons, the bright, cool and deep color palette is ideal for bright winter, cool winter and deep winter

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That was totally me. So, I paid for $10 Bright and Cool color palette and saw that except for some too pink colors that I’ve never liked to wear (hot pink, watermelon) everything else was spot on.

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Shiny New Palette

I used that tool to revise my palette and I’m super happy with what I’ve come up with. I will say I avoided adding the white because I didn’t want to seem as though I’m dressed like a flag. But, the colors speak to me and so I guess idgaf :-). I decided to treat myself and did order the color fan with all my colors. I’m going to use this to weed through my stash and help make sure I’m working with cooler colors, to help better coordinate my wardrobe.

So that’s where I am! Definitely one step closer to a cohesive wardrobe where I like everything in it.








  1. Great post. I know this will help with your wardrobe. Many years ago, my sister did colour consulting, and decided that I was a summer. I have used that palette for many years and find it so easy to put things together , keep a fairly minimalist closet and feel great in my clothes. I get more compliments on my appearance, compared to when I chose colours willy nilly, lol. My stash has very few fabrics not in the palette and they are usually used to sew for friends and family.

  2. I am in the same fix as you- none of my clothes look or fit right after settling into my post menopausal figure. My entire style is the same as what I wore in college: blue jeans, button down shirts and/or pullover sweaters. Maybe that’s fine, but maybe not… I am reading the Curated Closet. Any other suggestions? I think I need to “re-do my colors” too, so I am happy to see different color systems to try. Thanks!

    • Hmmm, Curated Closet has been such an exercise for me! I know some feel it’s complicated, but I’ve enjoyed the thought process behind it. What’s been a little more interesting was my Pinterest board and tryin to figure out what I do atually like!

    • Miz Ellen, honey: It sounds as if you have found a style that works well for you already.

      You don’t have to make a huge change to your current personal style of jeans, button-down shirts, and sweaters. Try incorporating some classic slacks into the mix, instead of always jeans. Find blouses that have some interesting styling — or pick some new prints that amuse you, if button-down shirts are the best option for your figure and your taste. Find sweaters that are a new shape for you, or a new color combination.

      You can still wear the clothes you already have, but combine them in different ways with a few new pieces. I like to call it “recombinant wardrobe” when I walk a new blouse down the line of hanging trousers and jackets in my closet. Sometimes a combination I never considered before just jumps out at me — and it is fabulous. Other times, tossing a scarf or shawl over a weird grouping brings it together pleasingly.

      The goal is not to totally re-invent yourself, just to update and refine your style. You don’t want to look like “mutton dressed like lamb.” Neither do you want to look as if you are clinging desperately to your youth.

      Good Lord, this turned into quite a lecture! Sorry about that.

  3. That whole “Color Me Beautiful” fad was definitely tilted toward the pale end of the human skin color spectrum. I never found it helpful.

    When we are young, we rage against limits and boundaries — but as we age, we learn to recognize that some limits and boundaries are there for our protection; and that others are there for our convenience.

    How pleasnt it is to reach into your closet each morning and know that no matter what garments your sleepy self pulls out, they will “go together.”

    • I am totally a rule follower, but hated being told what to wear. Now, like you say, I don’t want to think too hard about it. I’m getting Sisterlocks installed in March for this very reason. I also really like the idea of cultivating a ‘look’ that people recognize as me.

    • I didn’t. I got their now OOP but still available book, and worked from that. I may take one of the classes though, I’m fascinated by their work. I also read it before I found “Your Color Style” and it the tips on how to emphasize/ deemphasize and understand my contrast levels really opened my eyes.

      • Ah ok! When I looked at the classes my stomach cramped a little. Kind of expensive for me, I will see if I can get the book as an inter library loan. Thank you!

  4. After discovering to my surprise that I was a light Summer, I looked at my wardrobe full of jewel tones and it made sense to me why I never felt comfortable in those colours. I loved the colours but not on me. It has taken me 6 years to get over my hatred of lilac but I can now admit that it makes me glow.
    I did have a colour swatch fabric booklet but unfortunately I left it in the fabric shop and it was lost for good.

    • Hahaha! I laughed at the lilac comment! I may try and find some of said watermelon this spring and see how I feel about it. That color and salmon pink have never been for me. I’ve been resisting black so much, but turns out with a deeper neckline and paired with a brighter color I like, I love the combo together.

  5. Isn’t the triumph of individual style a wonder? I went through it when I was fairly young, and it completely transformed what I wore. Not so much in introducing lilac (eeeeuw!) but in helping me resist things that weren’t right for me. Toning down the contrast, thinking values as well as hues, more attention to texture both literally and visually, making friends with the general lines of my curvy in the back, rotund in the front body, so many things that had never crossed my screen but made so much sense. I love painting, seeing dressing as a work of art gave me an entirely different perspective. And certainly the transformation was not instant, and I can still go off on years of exploration of a new theme. But I would say it gave me a much more cohesive, and tolerant, attitude- what do we have to work with here, and what direction do we want to push it in?

    Plus hey, it gave me justification for “rumpled” being a legitimate style guide 😉.

    But it was also the only book of the time that even mentioned that one might not be.. white. Sigh. My rather olive coloring has never fit squarely into fashionable US colors, but the Triumph I think has helped me compromise those trends in a way that worked for me by extending what I could wear while keeping me on an even keel. I had had my colors done way back when, by a talented person clearly, but the book helped me make sense of them to the point where I rarely even refer to them any more, I have integrated the principles well enough not to feel overwhelmed in a fabric store. Now color has turned into a lifelong study, through quilting, dyeing spinning and weaving, and web design 😏, but this was a real start in -looking-.

  6. I saw that red, white and blue and immediately thought WOW, LOOK AT THE UNIVERSE WORKING!!!! How dare you even consider removing white from that palette, hahahaha! What is the opposite of bright in this context? Is it muted? If so, I feel pretty confident that I am also bright (I already know I’m warm and deep, just cause thats what the internet told me, ha!) Thanks so much for sharing your journey! I cannot WAAAAAAAIT for you to do a fabric purge because…I dunno, I feel like there are gonna be some good laughs out of it! I know I had some good laughs out of mine! xoxo

  7. I’ve been classed as several different “seasons’ over the years but never Winter. I think it is a lot of fun. We do change as we age so I plan to get my colours done again once I have transitioned out my dyed hair. O’ll be less warm then and no doubt my best colours will change. When sewing I do tend to stick to my colours and then everything does mix and match. I know if a colour matches my eyes it is a good thing. And that won’t change with the change of hair colour! Off now to check out your links.

    • It’s interesting you point out the eyes. Never would I have thought to wear brown. Turns out it looks great on me! I also noticed my dad’s brown eyes almost have a ring of cool blue gray to them also.

  8. Getting the right colour palette really helps. I’m muted, just in the cool and fairly deep due to having dark hair. 4 seasons didn’t work for me either. I have ended up with a Palette from Imogen Lamport called Sophisticated which is spot on for me.
    I do have some questions though about the colours you have chosen. If you are cool, why Orange, its a warm colour? And if you are Deep Bright why Pastel Blue? Its a pale and not very saturated colour, Olive is mostly a warm colour too, though cool versions exist, olive is also quite muted as is grey.

    I mostly stick to my palette, though I do like red and still wear some black too – they are better with a red lipstick!

    • Some colors are warm on their own or warm in relation to other colors. I also like olive and orange, so I’ll find ways to wear them paired with other colors. Olive is considered a universal color for Bright and Cool. And orange is red and yellow, both brights.

  9. Your and Jasika’s posts have reignited my interest in figuring out my colors! I thought I was a deep winter but now I want to check out the book you recommended. At one point, the first color palette book said I was an autumn, which I am not. Thanks!

  10. There must be something in the air with all the bloggers and Vloggers having their colors done and planning wardrobes. This palette works better than the first one and I think that it will work well on you. I’ve planned my wardrobe for years, my palette is so refined I’m bored with it. I really want to expand my colors a bit and the kinds of toppers I make. Time to rethink a little.

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