When You Just Can’t Help Yourself; or, Can I Wear Colors That Don’t Suit Me?


I have a confession to make.

I LOVE chartreuse.

There’s something about that acidy, lemon-lime color that just draws me in—maybe it’s the way it pops next to navy and muted red, some of my other favorite wardrobe colors.  Or maybe it’s that it’s a little bit badass—not a color for those faint of heart!

Either way, I love it.

And it looks pretty horrible on me.

The lighting here doesn’t really do it justice, but you get the general idea that chartreuse wears me instead of the other way around.  It washes me out and is really too strong for my skin tone and coloring:

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on


Part of me doesn’t really care.

This is a big no-no on style blogs; as with cuts and styles that flatter you, there’s a lot of blog and website space dedicated to finding “your” colors—the ones that complement your complexion and coloring instead of overwhelming you.

In theory, I get this concept—as Tamara at Glowing Color says, you want clothes that draw attention to you, not clothes that hog the limelight: “If the eye is drawn to your face first, you have a winner.”  This is partly why you won’t often see me in jewel tones or black—they overpower me. (And too much black is just…depressing.  Renouncing black is another fashion no-no but I claim it as my TRUTH.  Take that, NYC fashion elite.)


Rules are made to be broken and fashion and style are supposed to make you feel good.  If that means wearing a color you LOVE despite its not being “right” for you, then I say go for it.  If you’re feeling timid about it, wear the hue in question away from your face—on the lower part of a top or on a skirt/pants, or wear it as a top but wear a scarf around your neck in a buffer color.

The bottom line, though, is that life is too short to wear clothing you don’t love.  So wear colors that make you SMILE.

Check out Peter Lappin’s take on this age-old predicament over at Male Pattern Boldness (yes, that is the most fabulous blog name ever; yes, you should RUN not walk over there if you love sewing, either as spectator or participant, particularly menswear).


What are your thoughts on the wear-it-or-leave-it color debate?  Scroll down to share!



7 thoughts on “When You Just Can’t Help Yourself; or, Can I Wear Colors That Don’t Suit Me?

    1. Great question! I like at least *knowing* what suits me and doesn’t so I can make informed decisions to wash out my face with a color I love :)
      There are “tests” all over the internet to figure out the colors that suit you; just google “color season” or “what are my colors?”
      But here are three to get you started/help you build a palette (as an artist you might dig the color theory part):

      Good intro that will steer you away from a lot of nonsense: https://www.reddit.com/r/femalefashionadvice/comments/2hjrhz/an_introduction_to_personal_color_analysis_aka/

      Finding your color type: http://into-mind.com/2013/09/24/colour-analysis-part-i-finding-your-type/
      (this blog also has several other color-palette posts)

      Examples of figuring out women’s color types—including many women of color (which are often missing from typical color analysis blogs): http://glowingcolor.com/

      You can also find these links in the Resources page in upper right of the blog.
      Hope they help!

  1. You look great in the photo. I love chartreuse and hate wearing lots of black. I have similar colouring to you, and my favourite colour is green, so have quite a few green pieces. Some suit me a lot better than others (e.g. I have a bright lime green sweater, not flattering!) but I love them all and wear them often.
    Clothes should be about more than just what ‘suits’ or flatters you. I love colour and texture, so enjoy playing with these. To avoid a completely chaotic wardrobe, I keep the shapes simple and mostly limited to pants, sweaters and blazers (no dresses). (others might do the opposite – i.e. only black and white, but any shape/style they like)
    I definitely think people would wear what they enjoy and agree life’s too short to do otherwise

    1. Thanks Alice–the light actually makes it look better than IRL. :)
      I haven’t gotten into texture very much but when I get to see a wardrobe that does, it’s a delight!
      I like that you mix varied texture with some limitation in shapes/pieces. I bet your style is very recognizable and looks like “you.”
      Thanks for sharing!

  2. You made me smile! I looove chartreuse too; I think because I learned in an art class that it mixes well with so many other colors. Does not flatter me at all but I love to wear it with grey clothing and silver accessories. Enjoy !

    1. Who’d have thought such a strong color would mix so well? I know I was surprised…do you know what it is about its composition that makes it so complementary?
      Thanks for chiming in, Laurie–glad to put a smile on your face!

  3. i love gray very much, too. i hope it stays around for a long time.i love it in fashion esacieplly. i used to be afraid to use it in interiors, but since it has become so big, i’m getting a little more guts to try it!

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