Posted by: Chelsea Novak | March 23, 2010

My mother was right

Sigh. There will be no stopping her now, but yes, my mother was right. I mean, she’s a very smart lady, she’s often right, but in this case I was SOOOO sure I was right.

When I was a young girl of 11 or so my mother was kind enough to teach me about colour. Not just what happens when you mix red and yellow together, but how colours have temperatures, how they can effect mood and how you can use them to make you look your best. Handy stuff to know for sure.

She was even so kind as to determine what my optimal colours were. There were scarves of various shades used for comparison and she determined that I was an autumn. For those who are new to this colour thing, its divided into four seasons.

I took a look at the colour palette that autumns were meant to wear and was crestfallen. Brown, red, beige, dark blue, mustard yellow… these were not the colours I wanted to wear. I wanted to wear black, or hot pink, or more black. I was not an autumn. I was not going to be wearing those earth tones. No ma’am. I was going wear black or white. I would be a winter and I was going to be complicated.

This desire to wear black started young. I remember many a back-to-school shopping trip that started with me pointing at all the black, pink and teal (it was the 80s) and my mother gently saying no and I went home with red and navy. I wore so much red as a child, I didn’t wear it from the day I gained full providence over my clothing choices until I was about 21-22, whereupon I learned that it actually makes me look awesome. You may think I’m exaggerating, but every thing I owned seemed to be red. My sister can corroborate as she was highly encouraged to wear brown (all she wanted to wear was purple and pink).

I clung to my black like a castaway clings to driftwood. Then a few weeks ago as a part of an exercise in learning how to dress when all you do is dress down, I had my colours done. Again the scarves were out. Comparisons were made and it was clear that I look best in strong autumn shades. My best colour: red (sigh). Banished from my wardrobe: black (kiss those goth days goodbye for good).

The evidence was impossible to deny. Black made my skin look flat, my complexion uneven, my eyes meh, my teeth yellow and hair dull. Put me in navy and pow. Porcelain skin, bright eyes, whiter teeth and hair with gold highlights like crazy.

Being a strong autumn means I can wear very dark, strong shades (but not black!). And there are actually a lot of nice colours to wear. Shopping is even easier because I know what to avoid (all pastels, jewel tones, white and black).

The only downside really was having to call my mother to offer a mea culpa. Of course she was completely gracious about it and I think a little happy that her youngest daughter wasn’t going about life looking like a reanimated corpse.

If you ever have the chance to find out what your best colours are (it translates to makeup too) I highly recommend it. Though be prepared that you may have to acknowledge that your mother was right about buying you all that red as a child.



  1. I don’t know about you, but I hate it when my mother is right and I am somehow, mysteriously proven wrong. I hate being wrong in general, but there is some specific tang to being corrected by your own mother! haha but I guess thats why they say “mother knows best”

  2. Yay for you! I often feel as if I am the only woman in the world who doesn’t favour black clothing. Welcome to the warm side, my fellow pale skinned lovely 🙂

  3. ergo the yellow jacket?

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