Imagine opening your wardrobe every morning and loving what you see, knowing that every item is perfect, worn often and versatile. Jo Haley, The Positive Image Coach is more than just a colour stylist. Jo offers a range of packages to help you make the most of your wardrobe, to encourage you to feel more confident and to love your style.
Way back in March I went along to meet Jo at her studio near High Wycombe and to chat all things stye and colour related. I have had a colour consultation in the past but never felt I really kept to the advice. Something was bothering me, I explained this to Jo and she said there is a huge difference between having your colours 'done' and having them 'analysed'. At the end of our session I understood what she meant.
Jo is friendly, approachable and fun, she is passionate about what she does, she loves to empower women to have confidence in themselves and their image, to love what they see and work with what they have. She has recently relaunched her style consultancy under the new name 'The Positive Image Coach' and she loves working with women who are 40, 50 or 60+ who feel they have lost their way a little in midlife. Maybe they have retired from corporate life and need a whole new style of wardrobe or maybe they just need a confidence boost with their changing figure and lifestyle. Perfect fit for me and my blog then!
What is the difference between an Image Consultant and a Personal Stylist?
Jo and I chatted about the difference between an Image Consultant and a Personal Stylist as this is something I hadn't really understood before. Both of course can be excellent at what they do and sometimes a Personal Stylist is exactly what you need - shopping with someone to choose a special outfit or to update your wardrobe with the latest fashion trends. But an Image Consultant can really analyse you, your personal style, the colours that will suit you, the shapes and fit of clothes and your lifestyle, almost like a counsellor! It's like the background before you actually go shopping, it is a way for you to get to know you.
The power of colour ...
Having your colours 'analysed' really is an eye opening experience. The power of colour is incredible and seeing is believing, Jo explained to me. Colours can work with you or against you, they can make you look older or younger, change your face shape from thinner to wider, can highlight your imperfections or perfections and can make your eyes 'pop' or disappear.
Okay so .... seeing really is believing. Jo asked me to arrive at her studio completely make-up free. Now that is a challenge and one I couldn't quite manage so I opted for a very light covering of foundation which was duly whipped off me! Now this is immediately different from any previous appointment with a colour stylist I'd had which was done with make-up still intact. Jo explained that it isn't possible to see your natural skin tone unless you are make-up free and in completely natural light. Jo sat me in front of a mirror with natural light streaming in from the window and reassured me and encouraged me to relax. Jo is such a friendly and warm lady, she was also make-up free - she knew that would help me feel less self conscious.
Learning what each colour does to your features
I am pretty sure Jo already had a good idea of where to start with my complexion but she was extremely thorough in choosing and laying the colour swatches over my front and chest. For each one she explained what affect the colour was having on my features. She was very patient and pointed out the shadows and positives and negatives of each colour. With some I could see immediately if they were right for me or not, with others it was less clear. Jo was confident and encouraging and reassured me as we went along.
My personal history with colour has been slow and possibly follows a similar path to others. Jo talked through quite a detailed questionnaire before we started and asked me some interesting questions. Did I remember a favourite outfit from when I was a child? What colours spring to mind, what do I love most? She explained that we often have an in-built inherent ability to know what suits us when we are children but peer pressure and others expectations mean we lose that along the way. She also explained that despite our hair colour changing our skin tone pretty much stays the same - so very often what we loved and what suited us when we were children, will still work for us now. I remembered a red velvet dress that I loved - and yes I still love red now.
But generally as a teenager and young adult I gravitated towards the safety of black. My first ballgown was black (with a red sash - I was trying), I loved my LBD from Next when I was 20, I had black jeans, black tops, black underwear, black skirts, black court shoes. I played it very safe. It is only now at 52 that I am finally finding a genuine confidence in what I wear and learning to enjoy colour. If I look back over my Instagram grid from when I first started blogging to what I wear now I can definitely see I have evolved and gained more confidence.
Find the colours you love
As we slowly built up my colour swatches and found out what really suited me it became clear that the 'autumn' I had been told I was in the past wasn't quite right for me. I can understand why I was told I was 'autumn' but the colours never set me alight, I didn't jump up and down with enthusiasm wanting to wear them. They were too muted, too dull, I like brighter jewel colours, I like a bolder contrast. I like to wear black! And I can wear black, if worn in the right way. I had been steered away from black or white in the past and yet when I wear them I feel confident, comfortable, chic and sassy. I lost my way because I thought I wasn't allowed to wear them.
Jo has given me permission again to wear what I love - my happy colours. And for me this is WINTER. They are cool, rich, intense, jewel like colours, deep, vibrant and icy. Deep greens, vibrant reds, bright blues - contrasted against the whites and blacks and grey. These are the colours I am drawn to and I love wearing. I love their simplicity and classic style.
Colour can make you feel confident and empowered
When you get your colours right you feel more empowered, more confident, you have more self-esteem and a feeling of being more care free. Jo explained to me how to wear my colours, how to create contrast - like the green of the holly bush with its bright red berries or the snow capped mountains against the jewel coloured blue sky. How to incorporate colour blocking, how to wear a single colour and how to add splashes of colour - I love to add a pop of red! I so loved these colour analogies - I absolutely adore these colours in nature - snowy mountains and a blue sky - one of my favourite places to be!
Learn how to wear your colours
Finally we discussed hair colour and make-up. Jo encouraged me to add some cooler tones to my hair and to took at older photos of my natural hair colouring to understand what might work best for me now. I will be going back to talk more about make-up soon.
I left our appointment with my mind buzzing, I asked Jo what to do with items in my wardrobe that might now be a mistake purchase and not the right colour for me. She said let them go - if I don't feel amazing then there is no point in keeping items just for the sake of it (there are so many pre-loved boutiques now - find your nearest one, I love Diana's Wardrobe in Maidenhead and Vintage & Vogue in Beaconsfield).
Jo was really encouraging and said I shouldn't try to match to my swatches exactly and that I can wear whatever I want but to learn to accessorise, adapt and complement colours. So for example my investment purchase camel coat - not a 'winter' colour - but wear it with my bright red scarf and it looks amazing!
Jo had asked me to bring two items of clothing from my wardrobe with me. I chose a green blouse from Mint Velvet and a green dress from Whistles. The green dress I love, the blouse I hadn't worn, I had tried to but I didn't feel good it in. Once we had analysed my colours we could see quite clearly why. The green of the blouse was too muted, too much of a muddy green. Whereas the green of the dress was vibrant and clear.
My advice to you - get a colour consultation have your colours properly analysed, it will do wonders for your confidence. Look for an Image Consultant rather than a Personal Stylist - that can come later when you have done the background work. And go with your gut feeling, you should be excited about your colours and feel they are just perfect for you.
Coming soon on my blog I will tell you about my next appointment with Jo - a style consultation which was a first for me and so enlightening and great fun!
Photo credits Kathryn Fell Photography
Services from Jo Haley, The Positive Image Coach
Duration varies • Price varies
A Colour Analysis is a visual and exciting consultation in which I show you how you can look younger, healthier, radiant and your best at all times just by the colours your wear.
Style with Body Map
Duration varies • Price varies
The Body Map shows you how to understand your body shape so that you can dress it to look fabulous. We will be looking at clothing styles, neck lines and accessories to complete your look.
Duration varies • Price varies
Imagine your wardrobe to be an organised haven with clothes that you love and want to wear. A 'weed' will pull out all your old & unloved items, creating space for what you really need.
Disclaimer: Jo Haley kindly gifted me this colour consultation, however, this review is entirely my own words and opinion. This blog does not contain affiliate links.
Other blogs you may have missed and find useful:
What are the most flattering jeans I can buy?
Beautiful autumn styles and colours from Asquith - sustainable activewear
Why matching lingerie is one of my style essentials
Buy Less Choose Well - a more sustainable approach to my wardrobe
Welcome to Fifty & Fab, a lifestyle blog to inspire you. I am a blogger with a passion for writing about style, beauty, health and fitness with a focus on the over 50's. I am based in Marlow but work across London and the South East.
Subscribe below to receive regular updates by email:
Hi, I’m Michelle and my blog Fifty & Fab is all about my journey into and through my fifties. I share style tips, health and fitness inspiration, I talk about my holidays and days out and I tell you about my beauty regime and my lifestyle. I hope you might pick up a tip or two and get some inspiration!
Join my mailing list (above) for regular updates and don’t forget to look at my social media pages too..