So I’m Cool, Clear & Dark…What The Heck Does That Mean?!


Join entrepreneur Ellen Burton as she tackles every aspect of a personal branding makeover with The Image Studios. Today, she talks about meeting with a color analyst in order to refine her wardrobe color choices.

After consulting with the color analyst, I now know that I am a “dark winter.” Some of the colors in this pallet that complement me are white, black, royal blue, blue/red and orange/red. And honestly, knowing that I’m a dark winter means nothing to me. I wasn’t sure what impact wearing these colors would have, but I started wearing these colors from my wardrobe more often.

Now that I’m wearing the correct colors, there is a huge difference in the reactions I get in the form of compliments. I get compliments from strangers, as well as friends and acquaintances, much more than at any point in my life. About two to four compliments a day! Historically, I have not been very concerned about getting attention. I love color and clothing that feel good to wear, but could never coordinate those desires into an attention-grabbing look. The only thing I can attest to this increase in attention is the convergence of a more focused and conscious attention to my hair and clothing choices.

When I started to realize the power of my personal presence, I recognized how “blah” my professional wardrobe was. For a professional look, I bought quality clothes but, more often, clothes that were a great deal. I make sure to stock up on what magazines call “fashion basics”: black dress, black blazer, white shirts, black and blue dress slacks, and shoes to match. Oh, and also a few suites in dark green, black and blue. I guess “basic” says it all. I’ve even called them my utility outfits. Writing this now, my wardrobe feels pretty un-inspired–with the exception of a few beautiful and comfortable pieces. But I still don’t know that they’re “me.”

My questions this week are all about color and wardrobe, so I am directing them to Maegan Zarley, director of wardrobe at The Image Studios. Maegan, what is the connection between my colors and my style baseline; and how can knowing one’s power colors/color pallet make such a difference in people’s response?


Your colors and your style baseline have no direct cause and effect correlation; they are both a product of what make you who you are. However, wearing the colors in your dark winter color pallet allow you to live your style baseline: healthy, spiritual, intelligent, wise and sensitive. Choosing dark winter colors, which are colors that are cool, clear and dark (i.e., many jewel tones) allow your facial features to be brighter and clearer. This can emulate the healthy aspect of your style baseline.

Has anyone ever asked you if you are tired or sick, but you are actually healthy and well-rested? This is likely the result of wearing the wrong colors. Your colors are cool, clear and dark; thus, if you were wearing a muted yellow, for example, your eyes can look tired; any wrinkles can become more obvious; and your skin can look sallow. Wearing the right colors allows people to see your features at their best. My opinion is that this can likely make you feel your best as well. Looking, and feeling, your best is a key aspect of living your personal brand to its fullest potential.



About Kali Patrice

Kali Patrice is the founder of The Image Studios, a Chicago-based firm that specializes in branding and image communication. She blogs through “Successful Expression” to share fresh ways to share insights about image, personal branding and self-expression.