Is Gray Unflattering on Everyone?

Someone who called me to inquire about my color consultant training program told me she had recently attended a talk by a color consultant who announced that “no one looks good in gray”.

I was surprised by that statement and want to present my own take on this neutral color that is often use to describe a gloomy day; an unhealthy pallor; or an “area” that is vague and undefined.
If you follow my blog you already know that gray is one of those “non-colors” that can be created by mixing black and white or sometimes by mixing compliments  from the color wheel in equal parts. It’s a color that is certainly not going to cause heads to turn or give off an energy of excitement. 
Gray is a color that non-verbally communicates seriousness and is uber-appropriate for business attire in conservative fields such as law, government, banking, and education. I can’t say enough about the value of using color to send a non-verbal message that everyone who sees you will clearly understand. The female lawyer in a gray (or similar neutral) suit will appear more credible and qualified than the one in a fuschsia suit. The male teacher in a gray blazer will appear to have more authority than the one in jeans and a light blue polo shirt.

But I digress. I wanted to address the comment that no one is flattered by gray. While I agree that gray is not going to be a dynamic color on most people, it can be very flattering on those with gray hair or gray eyes because it repeats those natural body colors. To have this flattering affect the shades of gray must be exactly right.  Gray comes in many shades, and values and like with all colors, the most enhancing grays for each person can be identified for each person by a skilled professional color analyst. AND those “best grays” can increase in number with age. 

Nearly every personal palette will include some shades of gray to be used as a neutral in building an effective wardrobe. If you rarely (if ever) need to look business-like or you live and work in a “natural” environment like the dessert, the country, or the mountains you’ll likely have little need for gray clothing. If you do wear gray, keep in mind that it almost always needs a color accent. If you are one of those lucky people that has silver gray, warm gray, steel gray, or cool gray hair…..I say why not join the women who have decided to flaunt and celebrate their new hair color by  adding wardrobe pieces that are in the same color and lighter and darker variations of that color. The effect is elegant and I dare say……head turning. Don’t forget that color accent.

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