Dear Bridgette,

So it is only the first few weeks of January and I feel blah, pale and unattractive in everything that I put on.  Am I the only one with this problem?  Can you help me with some quick tips to help keep the winter blues away so I don’t feel so washed out?

 Minnie D., Bronx, New York

Hi Minnie

Thanks for your question!  I am certain that you aren’t the only one with this problem.  In fact I was just on the phone this week with a friend who was struggling with what to do with her hair in order to not look so pale this winter.  Yes, you are right the winter does a wonderful job of sucking the life right out of us, so we must be very mindful of what we wear and how we take care of ourselves.

Normally I don’t comment on hair because it isn’t my area of expertise but the first thing I suggest is going to the salon and making sure your hair color works with your winter skin tone.  It could be, if you have highlights or colored hair, that the color doesn’t work as well with your skin tone now that you are paler.  Also your hair color may have oxidized and is in need of a touch up.  In addition this dry weather can really wreak havoc on the quality of our hair.  Give some thought to getting a pampering hair treatment that can bring the moisture back.  One thing I do is use my hairstylist’s Rahua shampoo, conditioner and finishing products that are all natural, give life back to the hair, are completely organic and won’t dry your hair out.

The other thing I suggest is that you pay very close mind to your hair and skin when choosing fabrics during the winter.  Because we can get very washed out and blah looking over the winter months, there are some key rules to choosing fabrics that I strongly suggest you follow.

Texture- You always want the texture and pattern of your clothing to be equal to the amount of texture and pattern in your hair and skin.  Sometimes people who wear very textured fabrics will find that the nubbiness of the fabric overpowers them.  This is not their imagination.  If you don’t have very textured hair, avoid very nubby fabrics, they will wash you out and make you look tired.  Also note that if you have very textured skin, wearing more textured fabrics can camouflage this.  Additionally, if you have more textured skin or hair, avoiding shiny, satiny finished fabrics is the way to go because smoother fabrications will just emphasize lines and wrinkles you don’t want seen.

Intensity- I know we have spoken about this before but the amount of contrast you choose for your clothing is very important.  First of all let’s establish what intensity exactly is in clothing.  When you combine a very dark color with a very light color you create a lot of contrast in the two colors and becomes what is called a high intensity combination.  So, black and white, for example, would be a very high intensity combination to wear in an outfit.  Conversely, something like light pink and ivory would be a very low intensity color combination.  You can read more about this in a blog I wrote on the topic last summer.   Believe it or not, just as with colors, people are high contrast or low contrast or somewhere in-between. Recognizing the elements of high-contrast as it applies to one’s own appearance is the key.  When identifying your own contrast level you look at the color contrast relationship between your hair, skin and eyes.

So what does this mean for you?  You must first identify your own intensity level between your hair skin and eyes before you can choose what level of intensity in your outfit choices would look best on you.  So for example if you have a lot of contrast in your coloring, the best combination of clothing for you would be a high intensity combination like black and white or a contrast combination of a simlar nature.  If you wear low intensity color combinations, light pink and ivory, you run the risk of looking sick or faded and why you feel so blah.

On the other hand if you are someone whose skin and eyes that are very close in color relationship to each other your intensity is much softer and it would not benefit you to wear a high intensity combination like black and white.  The problem that low intensity people have with this combination is that they will ultimately look washed out and faded because their clothing will speak volumes over their own personal coloring.  When you have the winter blahs this is the last thing you need.

Therefore, one of the ways to avoid the winter blahs is to be mindful that the colors, textures and combinations you put together work back to your own personal facial coloring and characteristics.  It seems hard to believe but your face and hair plays a huge role when it comes to choosing a successful wardrobe, especially during the bleakest time of the year.

Best of luck to you!