Blog, Colour

How to Use Your Colour Swatch

Monday, November 23, 2015 /

This is my first foray into video on this blog. Please be gentle.

I made the video to help you on your colour journey. Are you using your colour swatch to it’s full potential? Do you carry it about or is it sitting in a  drawer hiding behind your smalls? The video is a quick reminder about how to use your colour swatch and make the most from your investment.


How to Use Your Colour Swatch from Fiona Keary on Vimeo.

Find out more about my colour services here or get in touch at or 0422 633 659


Do you have one of these, it’s a colour swatch, or something similar? Is it in your handbag or is it lurking somewhere in the back of the drawer, unloved and unused? Have you spent money on a colour consultation but found that you actually haven’t made the most of your investment because you’re not using it?

Today’s video is a reminder on how to make the most of using your colour swatch. The first thing I want to remind you of, is that, in this particular swatch anyway, you have a cheat sheet up at the front. That’s just a summary of everything that would have been covered in your colour consultation. It covers important things like the contrast level that you use, prints and patterns that are going to work really well for you, texture that you should think about, and also gemstones and metallics that are going to work for you.

On the back of each swatch you’ll also find other information about a particular colour, so the name of the colour for example, the lifestyle effect, whether it is a core piece in your wardrobe, a basic colour in your wardrobe, or an accent colour, which scare children and small animals. You may also have a signature colour ticked. A signature colour is one that you would wear head to toe as an evening dress or perhaps even as a coat. A winter coat would be great. That’s just the high level stuff when it comes to your colour swatch.

Now a lot of people say to me, “But I can’t find those colours.” These are only 60 of your best colours. What that means is there are so many different variations of these colors that you’re not going to match exactly. What you want to do is try and find the colours that look like they sit within this colour palette. The easiest way to do this, and start on your own wardrobe first, is to take your swatch and compare it to things that you already have.

For example, if I compare it here, does it look like the colour belongs? Yes, it does. The top that I’m wearing is cool and the color palette that I’ve got in front of me is cool. However, if I put it against this very warm color, does it look like it belongs? No, it doesn’t. That’s the first thing: if it doesn’t, it’s not in your colour palette.

The second thing that you need to look at is the intensity of the colour.Do you have a muted colour palette, so a colour palette where it’s a little bit dusty or soft, or a clear palette where the colour is bright, rich or intense. That’s much easier to see than temperature sometimes.

Not every colour in your colour swatch is going to be the best colour for you. The reason being is it’s about creating the right level of contrast for you. I actually think this is the most important thing to get right, so I’ll actually do another video on that. Colour contrast is about mirroring what nature has given you. It’s a combination of your hair, skin, and eyes.

For me, my colour contrast is high because there’s quite a difference between my hair and skin. For me, if I was to wear a really light, pale color, what it will do is it’s too low-contrast against my skin and it will wash me out. I need to only use these colours when I layer, or use it in a print or pattern, or something like that. It’s just being mindful that if something isn’t feeling right about a colour from your colour palette, it perhaps is because you’re not getting the right level of contrast.

Have fun with your color swatch and practice coming up with lots of new color combinations that perhaps you haven’t tried before. I always say, if you’re not sure about how to combine color and you’ve got a particular piece you want to match with something else, use your color swatch. It’s a really great and easy way to explore using other colors without having to go and buy something else first. At least then when you hit the shops, you know the tone or the type of color that you’re looking to actually match with that item that you already have. It’s about having fun with it.

If you’d like some more tips and tools on how to use color or perhaps on style or body architecture, visit If you know of someone who would like to be liberated or have a color consultation done, all the details can be found at See you next time.

Find out more about my colour services here or get in touch at or 0422 633 659


11 Responses to “How to Use Your Colour Swatch”

  1. susan boden says:

    No need to be gentle – it is a great video and the point about tonal contrast was really terrific. Well done!

  2. Helen Banks says:

    Fantastic video Fiona, very informative and a little reminder to me about the key aspects of my colour swatch. And yes, it is in my handbag!!

  3. Jo Tregear says:

    Great video Fiona! :)

  4. Ange says:

    Thank you! I loved your video; it was a great refresher for me.

  5. Maryanne Gore says:

    Love it! Well done, Fiona.

  6. Tracy says:

    I SO needed this reminder Fiona! Now to get back into my cupboard with my swatch :)

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