Sunday, August 16, 2009

Old Hair vs New

In June, I went from auburn to pale blond hair. Some of you like the change and some of you don’t, but I gather that most of you were curious as to how the color change might affect my wardrobe. It took some time, but I think I’ve tried every one of my oft worn colors and can compare the contrast between the old hair and the new.

I’ve organized the evidence into four categories. There are shades that looked best with red hair, colors that look better with blond, and those that seem to look equally well with both hair colors. Finally, there are colors that I struggle to wear no matter my hair color.

Best With Red
The only color I don’t seem to be able to wear well as a blonde is mustard yellow. Without the red hair for contrast, it really washes me out. I have to work in a secondary color near my face to save my complexion.

Better With Blond
Cherry red might be my new favorite color because I love love love how it looks against my white blond hair. It clashed in a not-so-good-way with the red hair.

That sickly pink color sometimes known as “dusty rose” seems to work better with blond hair, too.

I wore the coral blouse in the left photo A LOT as a redhead. I thought coral looked great on me then. It’s even better with the new hair.

Good Either Way
The following colors seem to work well with both hair colors. Perhaps you have another opinion? Presented for your consideration are:

Kelly Green. I can’t go wrong with this color. I think it would be good with black or brown hair too.

Blue Green. Another failsafe color for me.

Purples. The red purples are easier for me to wear, no matter the hair color. The bluer purples require strong makeup. The hair color does not seem to matter with either shade.

Reddish Purple

Bluish Purple

I'm afraid it's hard to see the difference between the reddish and bluish purples because of the lighting.

Fuchsia. This used to be one of my favorite colors. I still like it and I like it with both the old and new hair, but I’ve just tended to favor other colors lately. My fuchsia lipstick, though, is a still a favorite.

Orange. Oh, how I “heart” orange. If I couldn’t wear it as a blonde, I’d weep. I’m glad it still works.

By the way, that sweater vest has held up well. The right photo was taken the first time I wore it, in February 2007. The color difference is due to lighting, again.

Lemon Yellow. Unlike mustard, a clear, almost green yellow looks good with the blond hair. It looked good with red, too.

Black. I don’t wear a lot of black, but I love the way it looks against pale skin and blond or red hair.

Navy. Alas, I don’t have any great blond-navy photos. It’s a lot like black, though: a nice contrast with both hair colors.

Still Doesn’t Work
Beige, khaki, oatmeal, whatever you want to call it, is my nemesis. I love that it’s a neutral and makes such a nice background for other colors, but it just doesn’t play nicely with my complexion. I continue to wear it, though. I usually pair it with a swath of strong, flattering color near my face. The below pictures are exceptions.

Gray isn’t as bad as beige, but it also tends to wash me out. It brings out the gray in my eyes and even gray undertones in my skin. Unlike, beige, though, a little makeup (even just a lightly colored lipgloss) saves the day.

I’ve concluded that whether a color is flattering or not depends more on one’s skin tone than hair, or even eye, color. When a shade is a bit iffy, makeup can add just enough of a flattering color to make it work. Hair is like an accessory; it adds an accent color. It doesn’t determine the palette.

If you’ve been keeping track, I’ve listed more colors that I can wear as a blonde than a redhead. Admittedly, I could be a little biased because I'd prefer my current hair color choice to be the most flattering with the most colors.

What do you think? Have I misjudged any colors? Did I miss one?


Anonymous said...

personally, i disagree that gray washes you out. i may lean in the direction that it carries better when youre a blond, but i think you look just lovely in both pictures you showed. :)

SheenV said...

I just love the color of your hair, as well as the different lenghts. I mean, you look great in both colors, and both lengths. Each gives off a different vibe. Not sure I could pick just one!

Morgan said...

I think the grey looks really great with your red hair! You look beautiful with both colors of hair but I love the red. I don't think a lot of girls can pull it off (or maybe they just don't try it) but you do beautifully!

grace said...

I had noticed you wearing more red with your blonde hair, and seeing the side-by-side pictures I can definitely see why. I do think the kelly green looks better with the red, though.

Laura said...

I prefer the kelly green and bluish green with your red hair, but like the orange and lemon yellow better with the blond. I can't decide if I like the blond or red hair better, actually! I like them both for different reasons.

Jaime said...

I love your blond hair best. I love the styling, the cut and color. I think it is very modern and young with out looking like you are trying. It is so fresh and light. I think it goes really well with your completion. I also think your more contemporary outfits work much better with the new blond hair! I am partial to red myself. I have just started going back to a light hazelnut.

I am impressed by your boldness! Thanks for keeping my inspired!

BAM said...

I love the hair color analysis. Both colors look fabulous, but I'll admit that I'm partial to the blond .. I think it's the cut.

I agree with the idea that it's more skin coloring than hair that determines if something looks good.


Rosie Unknown said...

great post, I have been considering dyeing my hair, nothing as drastic, just somewhat dirty blonde/brown to black.

Anonymous said...

Thak you for the extensive post.I also agree that is more skin color that determines what colors look good on you.And I do like the gray better with the blond hair.

bekster said...

Yeah, I think you're pretty much right on about the colors, although I could certainly see exceptions to many of those "rules".

Have you noticed any difference in the shapes of clothes you can wear since your hair is shorter? After my hair went from long to short, it changed everything for me, and I didn't even change the color.

~Tessa~Scoffs said...

Well done analysis with supporting photos. The blonde hair is growing on me - ha!

jennschmerer said...

There are people that don't love your blonde hair? Seriously?!? For me, the more drastic/modern cut and color goes with your clothing much better now. Everything you wear just looks that much cuter now! It may be just the color though- because the red with the current cut might be the same. I agree that your skin tone determines clothing palette more than hair color. Although as a blonde myself, I shy away from all yellow clothing. I've just never been able to pull it off.

Tikki said...

You look fabulous as a blonde, but I heart the red.

Bianca C said...

Very neat! I liked seeing all the colors. I personally am not in love with anything in the yellow, orange, peach, tan khaki etc. I completely lose your face. :-(

I LOVE the blues, purples and greens. But I do not like it when you put something over it from the above group.

Anyways, I think you should wear whatever you love, I just sometimes don't see you in some of the colors - kind of a solid colored blur...

Mary said...

Hair color aside, I love the new cut. It is fresh and has a nice "edge" but I think I like the blond best.

Fashion and more said...

Think you look younger with the short blonde cut.

Zazzu said...

You look great in both hair colors, you lucky girl! I'd prefer the shorter cut in blond or red.

That said, IMO, the only colors that look better with blond hair are the pinks (dusty and bold). All the other colors, especially red and green, look better with red hair than blond.

Again, just MHO, and only a matter of degree. You still look lovely and pulled-together regardless of your hair or clothes.

This is a great post, btw. I love being able to see all these pictures compared.

Londyn said...

Love the post and agree with your assessments! It's so much fun to switch things up every now and then, so this was a great change!

Kim said...

I have to admit when I first saw the new hair I actually gasped out loud. Your red was something I always really admired and being red myself, it really opened up a whole new slew of color ideas I'd never considered before you showed how it could be done.
I think no matter what though, you have great instinct and taste and those combined with a fearless attitude make you a fashion force to be reckoned with no matter what direction you choose to go.

Anonymous said...

i think you look much better and younger with short blond hair :D
also,i find almost all colors look better with blond hair,than with red :D
i love your blog :D

Erin said...

Thank you for reinforcing the make-up issue!!! I recently did a drastic hair color change (not quite as major as yours, but still a lot!). Going from a natural blonde to a darker reddish brown has been great. With with certain colors, however, I must wear more makeup - otherwise, I either look like a corpse or a 12-year-old. Love my new look, but it definitely takes more prep time!

And i love following your blog... great source of ideas!

Kari said...

Wonderful recap! This was a lot of fun to read since I made the reverse (from highlighted blonde to dyed red) several years ago, but I was a lot less style-savvy then, so it took me a while to realize that I *could* really wear certain colors such as mustard yellow well as a redhead. (I still don't like most other yellows with my complexion, though.)

I love your hair with both colors, but adore the sass that the short hair brings to your look.

Sock Monkey said...

I love this post! Very instructive and fun.

I think you totally pull off the platinum blonde, but if I had to compare them, I'd vote for the red. I loved the color and the cut——the side-swept bangs were fantastic.

Agree with most of your judgments here, except that I'd put fuschia into the "blonde only" column, and I think the orange works better with the blonde. And to some extent, the red wins with the cool colors (blue, green, grey) and with black. What about white? Red hair rocks white shirts.

GeminiJulia said...

Hi Kasmira-I just recently went blonde from my natural brown hair & I remembered this post that you did. It's gonna come in handy!!