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How to wear black in your dominant colour

Black is one of the most popular colours to wear, especially in the UK. It is the favourite colour for investment buys such as a suit, coat or the famous little black dress and can make the wearer feel sophisticated, elegant, sexy or edgy. Unfortunately, contrary to popular belief, it's not the most flattering colour on everybody - not everyone can wear black as a solid colour or near the face. The younger you are, the more you can get away with wearing black since youthful skin will always provide a nice contrast to black. But once you're in your twenties when skin and features are get softer and you're starting out in your first job it will start to matter. This is when you need to know how to make black work for you, whether it's in your colour palette or not.

Here are some colour combinations listed with some possible interpretations:

Light

Dominant colour - lightBlack is not in your palette but it can create a striking contrast if you have ash-blond hair. The secret is to keep black away from your face by choosing open necklines and wearing one of your key colours near your face. Softer fabrics like knits, jerseys, tweeds, corduroys and silks will absorb the light and soften the effect of the black. Your little black dress should be strappy or have a plunging neckline. Wear it with a coloured necklace or drape a scarf in one of your colours across your shoulders. Don't overpower your look by wearing a strong lipstick and heavy eye make up unless you're going to a glamorous event.

Deep

Dominant colour - deepBlack is a major part of your wardrobe and looks good on its own. Whether you wear black for work, at the weekend or to a party, the choice is yours, because it will always work for you. You can choose black in any fabric or texture, from leather to fine chiffon, as long as the garment is in the right style for your body shape, scale and proportion.

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Warm

Dominant colour - warmBlack is not your best colour and therefore not in your colour palette. For best results combine black with one of the warm colours from your colour palette and wear black away from your face. If you wear black on its own, choose a low neckline, or wear a coloured scarf or necklace to help lift the black. Also note that softer or textured black fabrics will be more flattering, as this type of material absorbs light, making the black appear softer. Avoid the temptation to team it up with white.

Cool

Dominant colour - coolBlack is a key colour in your palette. You may wear it with many other colours but watch out - it may also cast a dark shadow under your chin, in which case avoid wearing black directly under your chin. Also, wearing black in a soft weave e.g. tweed, velvet or knit will absorb the light and therefore look less harsh on you. Try to brighten up your black with sparking jewellery or metallic accessories.

Clear

Dominant colour - clearBlack looks striking against the strong, dark tones of your hair and sparkling eyes and is one of the main colours in your palette. Your personal colouring is contrasting so having contrast in your clothing is key. Black is a fantastic colour to bring out the contrast by combining it with bright, light or unrelated colours e.g. red, white. Also, a black and pure white combination is always a stunning combination for day and night, on any occasion.

Soft

Dominant colour - softBlack is not in your palette and should be worn always away from your face. Choose fabrics that are textured or soft, so the black is less harsh. Your little black dress needs to be soft and draping, with a low or plunging neckline to which you can add jewellery or a scarf, to distract from the black near your face. A dress that's low cut, off the shoulder or sleeveless will be a better choice than anything with a high neckline because it puts enough space between your face and the dress.

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