Do you know your ‘wow’ colours? Style and colour consultant Emilie West can show you how to look your best, in one session. Being colour confident and knowing your personal style is the key to success, according to the former Investment Banker, writes Laura Burgoine…

The Greenwich local now works as a brand consultant, executive coach, and nutritional therapist, and has just opened her own franchise as a consultant with House of Colour for Greenwich and Canary Wharf.
Emilie first had her colours analysed as a 21-year-old. “It was a previous generation thing. Mums had it done in the ‘80s and people associate it with that but it’s about so much more than the colours you wear,” she told the Weekender.

“Our reptilian brain is trained to read people,” she continued. “We make instant decisions. If you’re wearing the wrong colour, the brain just thinks: something is wrong with this picture.”

Emilie first became interested in the psychology of colour after she lost her first job just two months in. A career advisor told her she looked very young for her age, and being a female in a male dominated industry would present challenges. The career advisor suggested Emilie get her colours done. “I had no idea what I was doing. The stylist put me in vibrant colours and make-up. At the time the colour palette people wore was nude lips and neutral coloured clothes. I got the first job I interviewed for, back in investment banking, and by wearing the recommended colours I quickly gained a better profile than my peers,” she said. “I was getting promoted and I believe it’s because I was dressing in a way that came across confidently. When I looked in the mirror I felt confident.”

It’s important to manage your personal brand in the workplace, Emilie said. “If you wear different colours it makes people look at you again, and re-listen to what you’re saying and connect with you. It’s important to stay visible.”

Once people start dressing in their right colours, they’ll notice instant changes like people stopping on the street and asking them for directions. “We scan people immediately and look for who we think we can trust. This all happens subconsciously. People scan if you look congruent and your style of dress matches your personality,” Emilie said.

We all have animal instincts

The stylist also works with businesses, helping them build their brands. “We all have animal instincts. We make a lot of decisions emotionally and then use logic to back it up,” she said. “If you’re at a job interview, people have a few seconds looking at you before you speak, and they’re making judgments. As animals we’re meant to decide at 50 paces if an animal is going to attack us.”

“However much we shouldn’t judge people by the way they look, we do,” Emilie said. “The way you’re dressed does make an impact.”

The colourists can’t determine someone’s colours “until they’re in the chair.”

“People come in, we explain the science behind it, you sit in front of the mirror, in natural light, and we hold up different swatches of colour and look at what it does to your skin tone. Do they hide wrinkles? How defined does your jaw look? You can add or remove pounds and years,” she said.

There are warm colour tones (more yellow based) or cool (blue tone) based on the colour of your fat cells and how your blood looks through cells.

“Once we’ve determined that, we get down to what season you are. Some people look better in bright vibrant colour, others in more muted tones. Once we’ve found someone’s season, all the colours they can wear and can’t, our ladies put make-up on, which can change your whole face shape. We go back into your season to establish these.”

People are given 36 colours that work for them, as well as their top “wow” colours.

“Some people will have worked out the odd two or three colours that work for them,” Emilie said. “We show them the full variety and range.”

“If you open your wardrobe and all the clothes suit you and make you look terrific, it’s like a sign saying you look fabulous,” Emilie added.

The colourist is expanding from Greenwich to also target the Canary Wharf crowd. “They dress really well there, but Canary Wharf has fallen into a dressing rut. They need some variety,” she said. “If you’re in a place where everyone is in black, you feel a bit depressed.”

The one-to-one sessions are 1.5 hours and the results last for the rest of your life.

“It’s about presenting your best self. Show people who you are,” Emilie said. “My job is helping people reach their goals, and transform themselves to meet their full potential.”

Emilie is now offering consultations from 40 Bank Street, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, E14 5AB, as well as from her Greenwich Studio, 34 Devonshire Drive, SE10 8JZ. For more information contact: emilie.west@houseofcolour.co.uk or visit www.houseofcolour.co.uk