I fell in love with the power of colour and style around a decade ago when I met a House of Colour Image Consultant who took me through a transformational journey.
I was a newly-single mum returning to work after the birth of my daughter. Circumstances had forced me to return earlier than initially planned – and in hindsight, I was probably not mentally, emotionally or physically prepared.
Although I worked for one of the most progressive, forward thinking IT organisations at the time, it was still a very male, fairly formal corporate environment in terms of business attire and how we presented at work. Despite the ethos of ‘work hard, play hard’ – and we had some of the biggest names in business, politics, sports and music to celebrate our success with – our work wardrobe was still pretty conservative. Dress down Fridays just about meant that jeans and an open-neck shirt were acceptable.
Then by chance, I came across House of Colour at a local business networking event. I remember watching in delight as two consultants engaged their audience on the benefits of a capsule holiday wardrobe. I was hooked and keen to experience the benefits of finding out my best colours and my clothing personality, so I roped in one of my best friends and we booked in for an intense one-day colour and style session.
It was without doubt the best money I ever spent on myself… Having been draped as a ‘vibrant Autumn’, I remember the shock of being told that black was no longer in my colour palette. I protested as I am sure many others have also done in the past, but the truth was clear to see in the mirror. My staple go-to ‘safe’ black wardrobe actually just made me look more tired, older and flabby round the edges… (As a ‘Natural Romantic’* it won’t surprise those who understand their clothing personality that I rose with delight to the new shopping challenge!)
I learned how to move away from black, navy and grey to wear my ‘wow’ colours, adapt my style and exude in confidence. I remember having to present to approximately 200 colleagues and feeling great doing it in my ‘power purple’. Without any doubt the experience helped me in a better place in terms of my headspace. I was lucky to be able to extend the opportunity to my then team to also have their colours rated as part of their corporate Learning and Development – and before long, others in the business had noticed the change in our presence and demeanour, asking us to share our ‘secret sauce’ which we happily did, encouraging several others to also experience the journey.
Attitudes to clothing style and business dress have changed dramatically since then, especially since the pandemic as many adapt to a new hybrid way of working life. If anything, the ‘new normal’ affords an opportunity to reflect your personality and lifestyle, zooming in virtually from wherever you find comfortable, allowing us to live our best lives with colour and personal style. Honing your personal brand is no longer considered a luxury or treat. It’s time to be visible, memorable and authentic – both on screen and in real life (or ‘IRL’ as the Gen Zs would say).
I’m still a ‘mid to plus size’ (in the ‘prime of my midlife’ – a time where women especially start to feel invisible) but I regularly get compliments and feel so much happier in my skin – ultimately through the support of the House of Colour approach and ‘family’. So much so that I took time to evaluate what was important to me during the pandemic in terms of my next career step and chose to retrain with this great market-leading organisation in order to be able to offer the transformational benefits to others in my local area.
Heidi Berry – Windsor, Eton and Maidenhead
* If you don’t understand this, contact your local House of Colour consultant to learn more.
- The Thrill of the Till
- The Importance of Red Lips
- Hybrid Working Style
- Dopamine Dressing
- Colour v Mood