Put your Specs on the Colour Spectrum!
We are delighted to introduce Jodie Gillary, owner of The Styling Works . As a personal style coach and avid lover of vintage eyewear Jodie is sharing her valuable insights on how to create your unique look!
‘Pink hair don’t care’ has over 1m hashtags and whilst my insta feed is full of people with brightly coloured manes, not many are wearing bright specs. Hair has been one of the main ways we’ve been able to switch up our look in the current ‘neck up’ Zoom culture but optical eyewear still lags behind as a fashion statement or means of personal expression despite the fact that unlike hair, it requires no upkeep other than infrequent prescription changes. As a personal style coach and permanent glasses wearer, I’m passionate about bringing more drama and especially colour to people’s faces!
A colourful pair of specs says so much about who you are and just like a scarf, it is an easy way to add interest and brightness to a more muted outfit. If glossy plastics and acetates are a step too far, there are some great matt options as well as metal frames with coloured rims.
Silver vs. Gold: What’s your skin’s undertone?
To wear colour on your face it’s best to know what will best suit your skins undertone. This is different from your actual skin tone. Skin tones are on a spectrum from light to dark whereas your undertone dictates whether you are warm or cool. Both silver and gold are classic metal frame choices. Which do you prefer and is it the right one? The easiest way to determine which is best is by checking your wrists. If your veins appear green and your skin tans easily you are probably warm toned and will suit gold more. If your veins look more blue, and you burn easily, you are more likely to be cool toned and suit silver. Another way to check your undertone is to hold a piece of white paper against your skin. If you look more vibrant you are probably cool toned. If you look more washed out, you are likely to be more warm toned.
Now you know your undertone, let’s talk colour!
Blue is a popular choice for eyewear as it feels more interesting than black or brown but is still quite a safe choice especially in darker shades. There is a shade of blue for everyone although cool toned people should veer more towards purer blues (think electric, petrol, navy) whilst warmer tones can go for teal or sea blue tones. Blue overall has historically been a male dominated colour for glasses although Prue Leith and I both have the same ‘unisex’ electric blue pair (I think I had them first!) so we’ve clearly broken the mould.
Nothing says confidence like a pair of red specs. Red historically represents danger, love, passion, and power so is sure to give you a swagger. It’s my favourite colour for eyewear (4 pairs and counting…). As with red lipstick, there is a shade for everyone. Bright reds suits those with cooler skin tones and orangey reds are better for warmer tones. Pink is softer than red and can therefore more wearable for those who want a more subtle pop of colour. However, if you have a rosy complexion or reddy/pink undertones then steer clear of red or pink (green or blue will be best to cancel out the red) .
Whilst black is often the default for glasses, white is surprisingly absent from most optical ranges (more popular with sunglasses). Yet the freshness and purity it conveys really pops against most skin tones and can give you a vintage edge without wearing a proper colour. Avoid oversized white frames though or else you might look a bit like you’re wearing goggles. It’s also best to wear white glasses with bright make up or clothing so that the contrast is really evident. Black and white always look great when contrasted with each other, hence why monochrome schemes are so popular.
An increasingly on trend colour, thanks in part to Pantone making a bright yellow shade one of their colours of the year in 2021. Full disclosure: Yellow can be a tough colour to wear on the face for lighter skin tones but can really pop on darker skin and those with warmer complexions. Dark hair also works better as it provides more of a contrast and the addition of a red lip or coloured top helps to make the look feel more balanced. Wearing yellow gives you an instant boost given its associations with warmth, joy and energy, making you appear both accessible and fun loving.
Green is a very versatile colour and always on trend because its association with nature, healing, and the outdoors. Olive and khaki best suit those with warmer undertones (Forest Green is one of the best colours for redheads!) whereas Emerald suits those with cooler undertones. Overall, green glasses work really well with Autumnal and Spring coloured clothing to give a real sense of freshness and natural energy.
In a styling context, there are people who come alive in pattern and those for whom pattern overwhelms their face (you see the print before you see them!). If you find you regularly wear pattern then why not explore multi coloured or patterned glasses whether it be animal print, (tartan – my personal fave), geometric prints, florals, or colour blocking. I love combining patterns so multi coloured glasses don’t automatically surrender you to a life in plain clothes especially as your neck and face mean the prints get a bit of breathing space. To successfully wear prints together, it’s best to ensure they have either a similar or overlapping colour palette. If not then make sure the patterns are of a similar size or are simply two clashing patterns that work (e.g. leopard and tartan). Polka dots and thin stripes can also be clashed with most prints.
Remember, the thicker the frame, the more prominent the pattern will be. If you have a small face, you may want to go for a more subtle pattern on a smaller frame to avoid them overwhelming your features.
Let’s talk vintage then….
The high street has gotten better but it’s still mostly awash with black and tortoiseshell offerings. I therefore often look to vintage eyewear for the more interesting colour combinations and patterns. More sustainable, more individual, and just more interesting. Who doesn’t want to look more interesting?
I'm Jodie Gillary, owner of The Styling Works . As a personal style coach, I help people of all ages to develop their own sense of style confidence through a range of services like image building, colour and body shape analysis, wardrobe edits and personal shopping. The aim is for how you look on the outside to reflect who you are on the inside. Click here to get in touch