Thank you all for being so tolerant of my forum bombing today. I'm getting this done now so we can all focus on NAS!!
So -- to begin: Imogen Lamport has a really interesting series on her blog about value and colour contrast. This "real life examples" post lays it all out in very explicit terms.
There's much to learn here and I encourage you to read if you are interested. There are several more posts in the series and whether you agree with her analysis or not, it's incredibly educational to read it.
Anyway, I linked specifically to a woman whose colouring is rather similar to my new reality-- grey hair, blue eyes, neutral skin.
Pre-transition, with dark blonde hair and fair skin and dark blue eyes, I was medium to light value contrast -- and medium colour contrast -- because my hair was less a neutral than a colour (yellowish).
Now I take myself to be medium value contrast, and low colour contrast. Theoretically I should look best in medium contrast outfits that combine my best (medium to light) neutrals with one colour - probably a medium value colour.
In reality, I think I now look good in higher contrast outfits. By which I mean outfits that are high contrast in themselves, and outfits that are high contrast to my mostly lighter colouring (e.g. "ink out" or navy). I think I also look pretty good in all light outfits esp. if they incorporate shine, and I look good in a light neutral or dark neutral paired with a medium toned neutral or colour. .
Outfits that were all medium toned and higher colour contrast used to look really great on me. Now, not so much. Medium to light toned blues used to be among my best colours -- now they are "okay" but not spectacular. A richer, brighter or deeper colour seems to look better most of the time.
Also, the kinds of patterns that work has changed.
I think the scale and shapes of my best patterns probably remains similar.
But remember I said I prefer patterns with white or grey in them now? That's because they pick up the tones in my hair. If the pattern is navy and white or grey and white with one colour (esp. blue), it's picking up on all my own dominant tones, so it is going to feel harmonious on me.
Meanwhile, patterns that are all colour (some that I used to love) suddenly feel like "too much" going on as well as too attention grabbing with my variegated hair colour that is pretty much neutral.
I'm not sure this is making any sense, but here are two tops that I put in the holding zone after I went grey.
I've brought them out again, and feel more accepting of them now that I have had some time to get used to the new colour. But I think I will probably pass them on after this year. Sad, because they were fabulous silk summer tops!
Thank you so much for indulging me in this long series. I hope at least something here will prove useful to some of the rest of you. And anyone who has specific questions, feel free to ask.