What to Do If You Can’t Find Your Colours


Knowing your own perfect colours will usually make shopping simpler, easier and much quicker.

You’ll be able to quickly narrow down the options available in a shop to ones that will make you look your best. And if there aren’t any good options, you can see that at a glance and move on. No more wasting hours on a futile search. 


Sometimes, though, there’s nothing that will work for you in any of the retail shops.

Colours go in and out of fashion, and if yours aren’t in fashion now, you may have to wait for next season’s stock.

But what if you can’t wait? What if you need a new coat before winter hits, or you need a formal dress for an event, or your weight has changed and you need a whole new wardrobe immediately?

What do you do if you can’t find your colours?

I have a couple of suggestions.


1. Look elsewhere

If the retail shops are not catering to you this season, there are other places that might.


I especially love op shops (thrift stores for my American readers). Op shops are fantastic for a number of reasons:

  • They have a much broader range of colours and styles than you’re likely to find in any retail store, so they’re more likely to have something that works for you. (The downside is that it can take more time to find exactly what you’re after.)

  • Because there are so many more colours, it’s easier to see which colours are harmonious with your fan. The more items you’ve got to compare, the better your brain will be able to work out what’s harmonious and what’s not. Remember, your visual system is comparative — give it lots of comparisons and it will do a better job.

  • Op shops are cheaper, and that’s great if you’ve only just had your colours done and aren’t entirely confident about your harmonising skills just yet. If you decide later that an item you bought wasn’t quite the right colour, no big deal if it cost $10.

  • Op shops are better for the environment.

Another option is online shopping where, again, you’re going to find a broader range of colours across the whole web than in physical stores near you.

The downside of online shopping, though, is big. The chances of a photo of an item perfectly representing the colour of that item is small. And the chances of your screen perfectly representing the photo is small. Multiply those odds and the chances reduce even more.

While the misrepresentation of colours may not be radical (it shouldn’t look red if it’s actually blue), it’s very often enough to put it into a different tone than it appears.

Which is annoying, because buying online can be fun as well as convenient. So I’m not going to tell you not to do it (I do it too).

Just make sure you can return things if they don’t work once you receive them.

2. Compromise intelligently

The point of Personal Colour Analysis is not that you are “not allowed” to wear “incorrect” colours. The point is to be intelligent about the colours you wear.

Colours affect how you appear. You can’t change that, I can’t change that; that’s just how light and eyes and brains work. They affect you even if you don’t know that they do.

At your Personal Colour Analysis we find out which are the colours that make you look like your most beautiful, real self, and which don’t. And then you get to choose which you wear.

You probably want to mostly wear colours that perfectly fit into your tone. But the real world is the real world, and there are likely to be exceptions to that.

You may want to wear something because you absolutely love it and it would break your heart to get rid of it, even though it’s a colour that doesn’t make you look your best. Keep it!

You may have some super comfy clothes that aren’t in your best colours, but they’re just for lounging at home. Why not?

And, pertinently to this post, you may have or need some clothes that aren’t perfect because creating a wardrobe in your tone takes time, and can rarely be done in the first weekend after your Personal Colour Analysis.

Ok, so what do you do if you’re shopping for an item, and there’s nothing quite right?  

Simple. If nothing is perfectly harmonious with your fan, choose whatever is most harmonious with your fan, out of the options available to you.

Let’s imagine a person who is a Light Spring. She is developing a wardrobe in her colours, but it’s taking a while, and since she mostly wore black before her analysis, it’s a fairly big job.

In the meantime, she is in urgent need of a jacket, and she can’t find one that perfectly fits with her fan.

She has found jackets in the range of colours below.

To my eye, none of these jackets is perfectly harmonious with the TCI Light Spring palette in the centre. But there are definitely more and less harmonious options here.

The turquoise on the top row would be my choice. It’s the colour that blends best with the palette, and will therefore blend best with the Light Spring wardrobe she’s creating.

In this case, the turquoise jacket is more likely a Light Summer colour. But that doesn’t mean that any Light Summer colour would be a good choice.

To demonstrate that point, let’s shop for a Soft Summer woman.

Again, she’s looking for a jacket, and again, none are perfect for her tone.

There are some available in True Summer, Light Summer, Soft Autumn and Dark Winter colours. While you might expect one of these to be the best option, which is better depends on the colour itself.

Soft Summer palette and jackets from Light Summer, True Summer, Soft Autumn and Dark Winter

Generally speaking, all these tones except Soft Autumn are higher in chroma than Soft Summer. True Summer is cooler, and Soft Autumn is warmer.

In each case, I find one of the three colours a perfectly reasonable option to go with a Soft Summer wardrobe.

Light Summer: I like the purple; the pink and turquoise strike me as disharmoniously bright.

True Summer: The taupe is good, the pink is not terrible, but too cool to my eye, and the blue is too bright.

Soft Autumn: The blue looks fine, but the light brown and peach are clearly too warm.

Dark Winter: The burgundy can work, but the blue and green look completely wrong.


The point is, you don’t have to be a perfectionist to get a wardrobe that looks good together and looks good on you.

Close enough can be good enough, and will be a big improvement over the random collection of colours that most of us had before discovering our colours.


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What to Do If You Can’t Find Your Colours:  Where to look, and how to compromise