As we head well and truly into ‘Big Coat’ season, we’ll all be searching for the perfect coat-colour match. But with so many styles and shades available, how do you know which one to pick?
Below, the fashion experts at House of Fraser have partnered with Personal Style Coach, SJ Adams, to uncover how you can use the colour wheel to find the perfect women’s coats for winter.
How to find out which shades suit your skin tone
As your winter coat is close to your skin, it’s important to first understand your skin tone to help you find a complementary shade.
SJ Adams says: “There’s a clever way to work out if you are cool or warm toned by simply looking at the veins on the inside of your wrist. If they appear bluish-purple, you most likely are cool toned. Generally, this means that cool colours such as greys, blues, greens and purples will work best on you.
“If your veins appear greenish blue, it’s likely you have a warm skin tone so bright, warmer colours such as reds, oranges, pinks, and yellows will suit you best.
“If your veins show a hint of both, this means that you have a neutral undertone which means pretty much any colour goes for you.”
How to use the colour wheel for building outfits
Once you’ve underpinned which skin tone you have, the colour wheel is a useful tool for building outfits as it helps to show what colour combinations work well together.
There are five ‘formulas’ you can try when using the colour wheel for building outfits, SJ explains how to use each one:
- Neutrals plus colour:
“A neutral colour is any ‘non-colour’ (e.g. any colour that doesn’t appear on the traditional colour wheel) and has the advantage of being able to go with anything.
“Using neutrals and adding colour to it is one of the easiest ways to add colour to an outfit. Examples of neutral colours include black, grey, navy, beige, white, taupe, cream, tan, brown, khaki and metallic shades of gold and silver.”
To apply this formula when choosing a coat, opt for a neutral base outfit and add a pop of colour with your winter coat to make a statement. Alternatively, if you want to invest in a more versatile coat, add a burst of colour with accessories such as a scarf or bag, for a more subtle look.
While many people think this means the same colour head to toe, this formula involves using just one colour at a time. SJ says: “Experiment with variations of one colour by using tints, tones and shades of one colour, in light and dark shades. Add extra interest with different fabrics and textures too.”
If experimenting with fabrics and textures, consider adding a shearling coat to your wardrobe as House of Fraser reveal it to the be ‘coat of the season’ with demand for this style +9548% this year.
If you’re looking for a lighter fabric to add depth to an outfit, consider a faux leather trench for an equally on-trend look.
After practical black, House of Fraser reveals blue to be the second most popular coat colour this season with 34, 633 units sold in the last year.
SJ advises how to style the shade: “A great way to experiment wearing colour boldly is to choose two to three colours that fall next to each other on the colour wheel and combine them all in one outfit. Examples include wearing blues with purples, or blues with greens, or yellows with greens or yellows with oranges etc.”
“Triadic colour combinations are chosen by drawing an equilateral triangle on the colour wheel and putting those colours together within one outfit. For example, wearing orange, green and purple together.
If bold and bright isn’t your style, SJ explains you can make it more wearable by opting for more subtle shades that sit next to each other too.
If you’re ever stuck on which shades to pair with each other, the complementary formula is for you. SJ says: “Complementary combinations are colours that lie exactly opposite each other on the colour wheel.”
For example, style a statement red coat with a pair of denim blue jeans to brighten up your wardrobe over the winter months.
How to experiment with new colours
While the colour wheel aims to help you find complementary shades, it is a guideline and not a hard rule. If you want to experiment with colour and try something new, SJ advises: “Wear the colour as far away as possible from your face or bare skin. For example, wear as a pair of trousers, long skirt or as an accessory such as a bag, shoes or belt. Incorporating it with neutrals or as part of a print such as a stripe will help it to blend in and not look jarring against your skin tone.”