Pantone colour of the year 2021

Recently, Pantone have announced their colour of the year.

It’s quite the highlight for not just the fashion industry, but for interiors and retailers too.

This year, Pantone announced two colours for 2021: Ultimate Gray and Illuminating

A marriage of colour conveying a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting.

Pantone colour of the year 2021

Illuminating is a bright and cheerful yellow sparkling with vivacity, a warming yellow shade imbued with solar power. It will certainly be a hit and work for you ‘warms’ and those of you with a warmer undertone.

Ultimate Gray is emblematic of solid and dependable elements which are everlasting and provide a firm foundation. Much better for your ‘cools’ or those of you who have a cool undertone.

If you’re keen to wear them and it’s not your most flattering, keep it away from your face or wear as part of a pattern or accessory to inject colour.

If all else fails, why not introduce it to your interiors like a kitchen accessory, vase or furniture as you’ll see more of them both during 2021.

The only makeup brushes you need

Bamboozled by the sheer collection of makeup brushes available?

All this strobing, contouring, fat or thin brushes when you just want makeup application to be as easy as possible!

In my Complete colour consultation and makeup lessons, I use just four makeup brushes making application super simple and easy.

Here are my recommendations:

Large Powder Brush

The rounded shape with fluffy bristles can be used for both loose and compact/pressed powders and bronzers. This is the big fattest brush you’ll find.

Blusher Brush

Designed with tapered bristles to enable you to lightly apply blusher for a flushed, rosy tinge. It can also be used to apply highlighter across the top of your cheeks and the tip of your nose and chin.

The All-Over Eyeshadow Brush

This brush has dense bristles to enable it to pick up eyeshadow easily to pat onto the eyelid and blending different colours. Generally it will be a flat brush.

Angled Eye Contour Brush

The shape of this brush makes it easy to apply a darker shade of eyeshadow to the crease of your eyelid providimg definition to your eyes. You can also use this to apply eyeshadow as an alternative to an eye pencil or to your brows instead of a brow pencil.

Looking after your brushes

There are makeup brushes available to suit all budgets. However much you spend, I’d recommend cleaning your makeup brushes regularly to avoid product build up and germs.

Makeup brush cleansers are readily available and you can also use the Micellar water available through our online shop with 15% off until December..

Using a ‘brush egg’ can help to really get into the bristles for a more effective clean. Again, you don’t have to spend a fortune and they’re readily available.

If you’d like to learn a quick and easy routine using minimal products (and brushes) to achieve a natural but stunning look, book a makeup lesson. These are available online too.

12 days of colour and festive ideas

Things are a little different this year and what a year it has been so far!

Christmas is also approaching at lightening speed so we’ve got a few festivities to take part in.

Colour challenge

On Monday 7 December, we began our 12 days of colour challenge over on social media. Everyone is welcome to take part and all you’ve got to do, is look out for our daily colour post and get involved by posting a pic of you wearing that colour with the hashtag: #12daysofcolour.

Each post counts as an entry into a draw at the end of the 12 days (so you’ll need to make sure you’ve done your posts with the hashtag before 19 December). One winner will receive a free ticket to one of our 2021 workshops and another winner will receive a £10 gift voucher. We just wanted to spread a bit of colour and have a bit of fun.

You can take part on Facebook (including our Facebook private vip group), Instagram and LinkedIn and you’ll have a maximum of 12 entries across all platforms for the challenge.

Christmas wish list

With lockdown and shielding, some people have struggled to get to the shops but more and more people are also supporting small businesses like ours. We are very grateful.

We have created a festive wish list which you can download, print, mark off and supply to whoever needs it so you can ask for your favourite items this year.

Open a copy here: Colour Me Festive Shopping List 2020

Festive gift packages

This Christmas, we have a range of gift sets available online and from the studio until 17 December.

Lip sync – lipstick, lip pencil, lip gloss and lip brush – £34.30
Festive eyes – Volumising mascara, eye pencil and eye base – £31.90
Velvet perfection – velvet touch foundation primer and choice of morning light foundation – £32.40
Cool Compact – Complete Magnetic refillable compact with shades designed for the cooler skin tone. Includes 1 x blusher, 1 x highlighter, 1 x lip cream, 4 x eyeshadows (1 is intense) – £60.90
Warm compact – Complete Magnetic refillable compact with shades designed for the warmer skin tone. Includes 1 x blusher, 1 x highlighter, 1 x lip cream, 4 x eyeshadows (1 is intense) – £60.90
Glowing complexion – exfoliating facial scrub and cleansing face mask – £30
PLUS 15% off the vegan, organic and cruelty free skincare range (excluding the gift sets).

Check out the Festive gift offers or view them online here.

Rocking red

Of course, red is a colour being featured within our #12daysofcolour challenge and it’s very festive isn’t it?

Did you know that there are actually 445 named red shades to choose from? So, you know there’s a red out there for you. If you’ve had your colours done and your hair colour hasn’t drastically changed, you’ll be able to use your colour swatches to guide you. If you’re not sure, get in touch to book one of our colour sessions. You can choose our workshop in January, a virtual session or a face to face session.

If you’re looking for a bold lip, look no further than red. My fave red shades to choose from are Red Carpet, Red Velvet, Strawberry and Tomato.

Available from the studio and online and if you’re not sure which shade to choose, drop us a line.

Choosing the right ‘big’ coat

‘Big coat’ time is surely now isn’t it? We’ve got darker nights and we want to wrap up warm! I feel like I’ve been wearing mine for months now!

I’m sure many of you own more than one winter coat; I know I do. Often your winter coat can be quite an investment so how do you know if it is fit for purpose? Should you be on the hunt for a new one when the shops re-open, what should you be looking for?

Before any purchase, I’d always suggest checking your wardrobe to see what you’ve already got to avoid buying another which is exactly the same – especially if you’re not wearing it.

What to look for

Ask yourself these questions:

1. Is it the right colour for you?
2. Does it fit?
3. Do you feel ‘you’ when you wear it?
4. Does it work for your lifestyle and how you spend your time?
5. Is it complimentary for your body shape?

Should you answer no, then I’d be questioning the purchase. If it is one you’ve had for a while, maybe it’s time to get rid – sell it or donate it if it’s still in reasonable condition. Can you make it work by wearing it differently or with a colourful scarf?

There’s a variety of coat styles in different fabrics and to suit all budgets. These are the three categories which I assess when I’m looking for a coat. You may find them too few or too many – it’s all down to your individual style and lifestyle.

Practical and casual

It might sound a little boring, but this type of coat is what I’d call the every day and all weathers. Think ‘duvet coats’ or padded coats which are great for walks, commuting or donning for the school run. Choosing a coat in a colour which suits and compliments you, especially as it’s worn near to your face is always high priority for me. Try either a neutral colour which can be accessorised with a colourful scarf or if you’ve had a colour analysis; choose one of your favourites colours from your palette.


This is the coat for the times when you feel the need to dress a little smarter and you feel the duvet style coat is a little too casual or ‘outdoorsy’. Perhaps it’s shopping or lunch with friends (tiering dependent of course) and you want to be warm but not hot running round or in and out of different venues.

A cocoon style coat could be more versatile and can keep you warm. Or a simple single breasted long line coat which is less bulky and often available in a choice of colours.

Trench coats are a good option here as well and versatile as they can take you through the seasons. They tend to come in lighter weight fabrics meaning you can layer up in winter whilst still remaining stylish.

Out out

Whilst admittedly this feels like a distant memory and may be one on hold for now. This is the much smarter coat you’ll wear for dinner, drinks or a party. Likely to be less practical but makes you feel like you’ve dressed up for the occasion! It could be a faux fur coat or one with a faux fur collar to add extra an wow factor (if that’s your thing). Or perhaps leather or velvet or animal print!

In a recent video, I share two of my coat styles and why they work for me so that it helps you to choose the right winter coat for yourself.Watch it here.

If you need help shopping or finding the right coat for you, get in touch for advice.

How to stop wearing the same things every day

You’ve heard the stat; we only wear 20% of the clothes in our wardrobe 80% of the time.

So, how do you stop reaching for the same thing every day? Here is my nifty little trick for you to try out!

Step one

First up, I’d recommend a quick assessment of any obvious items hanging in your wardrobe which need to go.

Clothes you never wear because:

– they’re scruffy
– falling apart
– unflattering
– totally wrong for you
– don’t feel good in
– wrong colour, style, fit and shape.

If you don’t feel good wearing something, why wear it? And please, don’t ‘save’ these clothes for the chores and jobs such as cleaning, gardening or exercising! It won’t help your mindset, so get rid!

Step two

Next up, turn all the hangers round so they are facing the same direction.

Why? Well, it’s not OCD, but each time you wear an item and hang it back up (whether worn once or after washing); turn the hanger round to face the opposite way.

This way it’s a visual reminder of what items of clothes you are wearing and also, which ones you aren’t.

You’ll begin to see a pattern emerge.

I’ve done this exercise many times myself and recommended it to those who attended my capsule wardrobe workshop at the weekend.

the result

It’s a really simple way to challenge yourself to stop reaching for the same thing every day. It’s more about identifying what you’re not wearing – those hangers facing the opposite way.

Be creative – I’m not talking pink tutu, striped shirt, pair of trousers and a fascinator (unless that’s your style). You’re still you and they are still your clothes. Just try to reach for the items you’re not wearing and see if you can wear it with something else in your wardrobe.

Visibly seeing the hangers a different way makes you consciously more aware of what you pick out without any thought. We can all get lazy, bored and complacent. You might find that you’re not wearing things because you don’t like them or they don’t suit you, by which point at least you know and you can remove them!

Choose something different tomorrow and the day after and you’ll soon begin to start wearing more of your clothes and stop wearing the same things every day. Try it, you might surprise yourself by what you find.

Is loungewear just for lockdown?

Is it just me accumulating A LOT more loungewear??

Are you putting your recent purchases down to isolation necessities or could you try incorporating these new items into post-lockdown wear too?

Personality matters

For me, this feels easy so if you’re similar with a Natural Style Personality, you’ll already have a fair few easy-wear comfortable pieces in the wardrobe.

I’m betting you Romantics might have felt rather alien in elasticated waistbands, hoodies and relaxed t-shirts.

Ask yourself if you can work any loungewear pieces into your existing wardrobe.

City Chics and Dramatics could try wearing a hoodie underneath a smart blazer for effortless chic. A more fitted pair of joggers or leggings, worn with a smart blouse and heels will create a preppy outfit. Or pair with trainers or flats if you’d rather skip the heels.

Speaking of trainers, wear with your dresses too, even if you may have normally have worn heels. I also have some classic personality and felt totally comfortable as you can see:

Dress and trainers

A sweatshirt or T-shirt can work really well over a summer floral maxi dress, giving the illusion of a skirt, and providing an extra layer on cooler days. Put your jeggings or thick tights underneath: think Alexa Chung. This is a look you creatives have being carrying off with ease.

Try a t-shirt with a skirt, tucked in, semi-tucked or un-tucked. The choice really depends on your body shape and the most flattering way to wear it.

Do you have anything in your ‘saving for best’ or holiday wardrobe that you can switch up to style differently?

If you’re joining my capsule wardrobe workshop next month or doing a detox with my five simple steps, then you may have a healthy pile to donate to charity.

Just make sure you’ve thought about restyling them or wearing them in a different way first. That way, you’ll get more outfits and wear from your existing items.

If you need any colour, style or wardrobe advice, book one of my online sessions during lockdown.

Guide to denim jeans

If you’ve found yourself wearing more denim lately, you’re not alone!

You could argue that Jeans are the most basic of clothing items. A wardrobe staple, but they can also be difficult to get the right fit and style too.

Here’s my guide to denim.

Fit and style

Like most items of clothing, finding the right fit and style for you is a must.

We are all different after all, which is why there’s so many different styles out there. But, having choice doesn’t always make it easier to find a pair which works for you. I always say that size doesn’t matter but shape does. It’s really important to remember this, as there is no uniform guide to clothing sizes. It’s not just your waist size but also think about your inside leg length and the rise (from the waistband to the crotch).


The skinny jean is made with stretchy denim so they have a fitted shape which stretches and finishes on the ankle. Also available in super skinny which has much more stretch and a much closer fit. Can be dressed up with heels or down with trainers.


This style can flatter the hips and thighs and they are fitted, with a straight, clean cut through leg and a looser ankle. Sits between a skinny and a straight jeans style.

Jeggings and leggings

Jeggings are leggings made of denim and are an alternative to skinny jeans as they tend to be less rigid than traditional denim jeans but more comfortable to wear. Designed with an elasticated waistband and are stretchy so they are fitted through the leg, with a skinny ankle and sewn-down pockets so they also avoid bulk at the hip. The more curvy you are, the more stretch you’ll need! Jeggings tend to have lots of stretch so give them a try as they’ll skim your curves rather than constrict them.


Designed to elongate the leg, fitted through the hips and thigh with a subtle kick at the knee so they are slightly wider at the ankle. Designed to fit over a pair of boots and so have extra width in the calf and ankle to accommodate the boot. If you’re more petite and want to appear taller, a boot cut or flare that skims the floor will do wonders.


Mention flares and everyone thinks of the 70s! They have a slim fit around the hips and thighs and flow into a wider hem below the knee.

Wide leg and culottes

These fit at the hips but fall down in a straight and loose style and fit. Much wider in the leg from the hips down the leg. Could be cropped in length like culottes or fall to the ankle.


Tend to be higher waisted with a slim fit through the leg. Relaxed, slouch and loose fitting. Like you borrowed them from your mum. Apparently.


A traditional style which has a simple straight cut with no stretch in the fabric. The width is the same for the length of the leg so they’ll fit more at your thighs than they do the ankle and calf.


Named assuming you’d borrowed your jeans from the boys; this fit is loose and slouchy for a more relaxed style. Tend to be low rise so they sit on the hips.


Another straight leg style but with a more relaxed fit. The girlfriend jeans have some stretch in them (unlike the straight styles) so they are fitted on the waist but relaxed fit in the leg.

The rise

This is the measurement from the waistband down to the crotch. Essentially, it’s how it will sit on your waist and hips. Not everyone is equal and balanced in their body proportions. Go for a rise which works for your shape and proportions so think where your waist needs to be visually in order to balance you out, if needed.

High rise or high waisted

Sits higher in your waist area. Typically, worn up to or above the belly button. If you’re long in the waist area, this style will trick you into thinking your waist is higher than it actually is. Might help you hide a tummy too. If your jeans gape at the bag, the fit and rise is too high, so try a lower rise style.

Mid rise or regular

This style sits on the belly button or slightly below.

Low rise

Will sit lower on the waist and hips and below the navel, often sitting on the hips.

Fit tips

If you happen to be conscious of your bottom and don’t like to highlight it, stay away from jeans with detailing such as contrasting yellow thread detailing the pockets. Instead look for a tonal blue or black trim. Detailing on any garment on an area you don’t want to highlight will have the opposite effect.

Pockets. Traditionally, jeans do have pockets but if you have wide hips that you wish to minimise, don’t opt for hip and coin pockets. A plain front will work so much better for you. Also check the placement of the pockets (the nearer together, the slimmer you’ll look).

If you need more help dressing your shape, why not book a style and shape session (also available online), so you can learn the tips and tricks for dressing your shape.

Five areas to declutter

Does the thought of a declutter fill you with dread or enthusiasm? No time to do it? Or is it just too overwhelming?

This year, perhaps with lockdown, it seems to have been an area of focus for many people. In May, I worked with a professional declutterer to bring you our first virtual wardrobe workshop. We recorded a tutorial which you can watch if you missed it which comes with our top ten tips, simply drop me an email if you’re interested.

There’s also been a surge in the number of people who have been downloading our free five step guide too so they can declutter following my simple advice.

I’ve helped numerous people as well: this is what Helen had to say after our declutter session:

Wardrobe testimonial

Not everyone has gained time during lockdown to dedicate to the task. Some people tell me they simply feel like it’s a job too big to tackle and they aren’t quite ready to let go and let me help.

Introducing the new video series – how to declutter in manageable chunks

I decided to record a series of videos covering just five areas to focus on and declutter. You can watch the video series on Facebook here  and on Instagram here.

Splitting things down into manageable chunks makes it easier to tackle and takes less time so it doesn’t feel as overwhelming. Typically, these areas are often left untouched making them ideal to focus on for my declutter series.

Here’s a summary of each video in the series:

Part 1 – Sort your smalls!

Sort your smalls!
Given how frequent we open and close these drawers, you’d think that we’d clear them out more frequently. This drawer is often neglected the most.

Throw away any old, worn or items with holes. Remember, bras in good condition can be donated to charity.

Tighten your bra straps as they ‘give’ with time. A well fitted bra can give you a much better posture and shave inches off of your figure! Try stacking them with the cups one behind the other to save room.

Why not colour code your pants or sort them into everyday and going out piles? Just remember that if it’s organised then it’ll be easy in a morning. There’s lots of organisers and folding techniques online.

Now move on to hosiery and socks. I was surprised by how many tights I had and yet did not wear (it even happens to me!) Throw away any that are snagged or have holes. Sort into colours and again dividers can help to organise depending upon your drawer. Give the drawers a wipe or vac before putting everything back in.

Part 2 – Jewellery declutter

Thanks suzanne jewellery
Rather embarrassingly, I’d let my jewellery boxes become somewhat untidy and taking a bit of time to look through each box can uncover a potential treasure trove!

For now, you may not be going out or dressing up as much, but you’d be surprised at the joy sparked when you uncover an item you’ve not worn in a while and forgotten about. That’s what can happen when everything is tucked away. If you have room to display your necklaces and you like it that way, then do. Or, for a tidier approach, keep them safe and use jewellery boxes. The ‘stackers’ system allows me to store everything away to keep it tidy.

With your sentimental pieces which you can’t bear to rid of them, simply clean them and store them. For everything else, just like your clothes, ask yourself if you’ll wear it again? What with? Try and play dress up if it’s something you love so that you can find a way to wear it.

Part 3 – Handbag Declutter


When was the last time you checked or emptied your handbags before putting them away? Upon undertaking the task myself early into lockdown, I discovered a lipgloss, lipstick and hand sanitiser; so it was a worthwhile task!

No matter the size of your collection, get them out and empty each one in turn. Vacuum the insides if they need it and wipe them down before putting them back where you store them.

Remember that just like clothes; what you can’t see you won’t use, so don’t tuck them and hide them away. Check for any repairs as if you have any high end or designer bags, there are services available to repair them.

Finally, don’t hang onto bags you won’t use or don’t ‘match’ any more. They just clutter up space. Donate or sell them if they’re in good condition.

Part 4 – Make-up and toiletries

If you tend to store things in multiple locations, it’s easy to lose track of what you have and what’s being used. Be realistic about how much you have – there isn’t any point keeping 20 lipsticks if you forget to wear it or that cleanser or moisturiser if it doesn’t agree with your skin. Equally, anything you don’t use or doesn’t flatter you, is worth getting rid of too.

It can be tempting to keep things if you’ve spent a lot of money, which I totally understand. But, just like clothes, if it’s not flattering for you/you don’t like it/it doesn’t like you, then why keep it if you’ll never wear it?

Clean and wipe down any containers or makeup bags, using anti-bacterial spray or wipes if you prefer. Note the little picture of a pot with a number underneath or on the label of your toiletries and cosmetics. This refers to the number of months an item is at it’s best once it has been opened and can vary between manufacturers and products.

Has it got a funny smell? Ages since you first opened and used it? I’m afraid my advice is to bin it – you don’t want an infection and it certainly won’t be at its best anymore. This is where I tend to see the most waste; usually because the shade isn’t right – everything from lipsticks, foundations, mascaras, blusher and face creams.

Contact me for advice on the shades which suit your colouring if you find this is an area that you spend and waste money on.

Regularly wash your brushes and sponges too with a makeup brush cleanser. I use a brush egg to really get into the bristles too which are available on the high street for £1. My Rose Micellar water (see my video last year) also does the job. Sponges (again cheap to buy) can be popped into a mesh net bag and washed in the washing machine but when they begin to break, put them in the bin.

Use trays or organisers rather than have your cosmetics loose in a drawer to keep them tidy and stop them getting damaged. My magnetic compact is perfect for this and allows me to keep my eyeshadows, blushers and highlighters in one handy box and using less space too.

Part 5 – shoes

We do love shoes don’t we. I’d say this is the area that can totally show your personality type as well as being in need of a declutter and sort out.

Some people tend to keep things for certain occasions: that wedding 4 years ago that you’ve never worn them again. Another pair of black boots, more worn than the current pair you’re going to start wearing. Or, the shoes you simply can’t walk in/kill your feet but you love them so much, you can’t possibly let them go!

Be realistic and honest with yourself. If you’ve got 5 pairs of black shoes or boots which are pretty much the same, do you need to keep them all?

Prefer matching your footwear to your handbags or outfits? Maybe you’ve still got the items you matched the shoes with (ie the wedding from 4 years ago). If not, can you wear them with something else? If you can’t or you won’t, then is it worth keeping them? Again, you can donate any or sell any if good condition.


These are areas you just don’t get to aren’t they? When life is a bit hectic or you weren’t as tidy as you’d like to be. It certainly does take less time to declutter this way and is still equally as rewarding!

Guest blog – colours by Ell – let’s talk shoes!

Us women do love shoes don’t we! For me, shoes aren’t very different to clothes – you still want to find something that’s in the right colour, style but perhaps most importantly; fit. Sometimes, this can be the biggest challenge of all!

Earlier this year, I got chatting with the owner of a very niche shoe business here in the U.K. She is a champion of finding the right shoes to tick all the boxes – colour, style, fit and personality and so I asked her if she’d like to guest feature in our blogs and she accepted!

Introducing Helen Allen – Colours by Ell

After taking early retirement from my previous career, I trained to be a Colour and Style Consultant. When I first started as a Personal Stylist, I went to promote my business at a Wedding Fair. Whilst there, I was surprised to hear a number of women my age saying that they dreaded looking for shoes. Up until that point I hadn’t given much thought to the styles of shoes that women wore to weddings.

Then I found myself in exactly the same position – desperate to find these elusive coloured shoes to go with my outfits for both of my daughter’s weddings!


Style personalities

I have lots of Natural in my own Style and really struggled with the style of shoes that were available in the shops. I spent hours searching for shoes, but they were never quite right. Too high, too elaborate, too shiny or peep toes – all lovely, but frankly just not me at all!

Then one evening whilst looking for some navy shoes for a client, I found a picture of a Belgium based Brand of handmade, Italian leather court shoes in a variety of colours. I had to find out more! I rang the owner of the company the next morning and told them that I was a stylist and struggled finding shoes for my clients.

They suggested I go to see them and I didn’t stop to think about it – I booked a flight and went to Antwerp! They were fascinated by what I was proposing and sitting there surrounded by 88 colours of leather; I felt like a child in a sweet shop!

My shop was born!

As it turns out, that conversation was my light bulb moment and a turning point for me. I founded ‘Colours by Ell’ as a mobile shoe shop – a play on my christened name – Ellen.

It’s been a bit of a revelation and the experience and knowledge I have gained over the last seven years means I have become something of an expert! It’s great to be able to work with independent stylists around the country.

Noe shoes
Helen has a range of shoes and brands available through her online shop which you can browse here: 

If you’d like some assistance choosing the right colours and styles for you, either Helen or myself will be delighted to assist you.

If you get in touch with Helen directly, be sure to mention Toni Carver at TLC Style & Colour sent you.

Elasticated waistbands

Have you found yourself dressing more casually these last few months?

It’s been the subject of many conversations recently as many of us have gotten used to a more casual dress code.


Formal or casual?

With the kids back at school and many people returning to the workplace or socialising more; are you glad to ditch the elasticated waistbands? Or, are you dreading stepping into formal trousers, shoes and tight jeans?

It could be that you have found that your style has changed a little. But, this is ok as it’s so easy to incorporate this newer style of dressing into your wardrobe.

For the City Chics amongst you, with a more Parisian vibe; choose to pair your smart blazers with a sport-luxe style of jogger or trousers.

You Classics might prefer a more relaxed fabric such as Ponte, which has a little bit of stretch and becoming widely available.

Dramatics may well ditch the heels and pair their midi dresses with a cool pair of trainers.

Just think how you can incorporate what you’ve been wearing into everyday.

The more you can mix and match items in your wardrobe together, the more you’ll get your wear out of them and create more outfit choices. Winner.


Help is on hand if you need a little TLC, so don’t be afraid to get in touch and book a session with Toni.


In our video section, there are three easy tips to dress up a simple top which you can revisit here.


You’ll also find more styling tips on our Facebook page.