Study Buddy (Explorer): Colour experts help people find their personal style and stand out online

  • Each week, Study Buddy Explorer presents an interesting story that we have adjusted to be more accessible for all English learners
  • Check your reading comprehension using the questions below or in the linked Kahoot! game
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What colours suit you best?

Content provided by the British Council

Read the following text and answer questions 1-9 below:

[1] In May this year, a video was uploaded to YouTube featuring two 20-something men meeting up with someone to find their “personal colours”. The pair, Ten and Yangyang of boy band WayV, are far from the only ones trying to determine the colours that suit them best.

[2] The two were working with Seryeong Lee, a dedicated colour specialist for the past 12 years at Seoul-based colour styling salon Color Place. “Colour can influence impressions and change lives,” Lee said about colour being an important part of personal branding. “The world of personal colour isn’t just about looking for matching colours.”

[3] “Colour can be a strategic weapon,” said Alyssa Chen, the general manager of Colour Me Beautiful HK, the Hong Kong branch of a popular international styling brand. About 60 per cent of her clients reach out just for colour consulting, rather than for a total wardrobe and style overhaul, because Chen said “a lot of people think they know how to dress already”. Eighty to 85 per cent of her clients are women.

[4] “Women are more adventurous. We don’t mind trying a lot of different colours. Before most of my clients come to me, they have their own instinct on what really suits them, they just need some validation or professional advice to make them happy,” Chen said.

[5] Men, on the other hand, usually connect with her for one of two reasons – someone close to them pushes them into a consultation, or they’re told during corporate training to have a makeover.

[6] Lee and Chen both agreed that colour styling is more important than ever because of the rise of social media. “An awareness of personal image has really awakened in recent years,” said Chen. “You need to work quickly to capture people’s interest.”

[7] Colour stylists usually base their work on the science of colours and their complements, and how their clients relate to certain colours or shades, with a seasonal colour palette guiding many individuals.

[8] As she believes colour is tied to a person’s identity from birth, Lee doesn’t think the “personal colours” that suit an individual change over time. “Once in a lifetime – that’s enough if you get it right,” she said.

[9] According to Lee, though a person’s skin tone may darken when tanned or lighten when not, it does not change their overall look because it is made up of a combination of factors that include their aura, image, air, energy, vitality and eye colour.

[10] “More and more, I think it’s like a journey of self-discovery,” Chen said about helping someone discover their distinct palette and style, since colour is so impactful and can affect moods.

[11] “You may think you know colour very well, but it can surprise you and open up a lot of different possibilities. You can use colours to highlight what you like and to hide what you don’t. It’s not just about appearance, but also what’s inside.”

Source: South China Morning Post; August 26


Play a Kahoot! game about this story as a class or with your friends by clicking on the link here.

Or play on your own below to test your understanding:


1. What were Ten and Yangyang trying to find out, according to paragraph 1?

2. Find a word in paragraph 3 that means to “completely change something”.

3. Who are the majority of Chen’s customers, according to paragraph 3?

4. Why does Chen say that women are more adventurous in paragraph 4?

5. Which of the following best describes why Chen’s male clients go to her for help?

A. They wanted to try different styles.
B. They were asked to do so by others.
C. They are interested in styling.
D. They are interested in the science of colour.

6. Read paragraphs 6 to 8 to decide whether the following statements are True, False or Not Given. (4 marks)


(i) Lee believes that someone’s colour style will change as they get older.

(ii) Chen thinks that social media has resulted in an awareness of personal image.

(iii) Lee and Chen use a combination of colour science and their customers’ preferences to help them find their colour styles.

(iv) Lee likes brighter tones while Chen prefers darker shades.

7. According to paragraph 9, what factor(s) affect a person’s overall look?

A. eye colour
B. aura
C. energy
D. all of the above

8. According to Chen, what can colours change apart from our physical appearance?

9. Who said it? Match the person in the text who is most likely to make the following comments. The first one has been done for you as an example. (3 marks)

(i) Knowing your personal colour is more than finding shades that match one another Seryeong Lee

(ii) The majority of women are confident about their style, but feel they need help with colours

(iii) The colours that suit you will stay the same throughout your life.

(iv) Finding the colours you love is a process of finding out more about yourself.


1. the best colours that suit them
2. overhaul
3. women
4. because they don’t mind trying a lot of different colours
5. B
6. (i) F; (ii) T; (iii) T; (iv) NG
7. D
8. our moods / how we feel (any 1)
9. (ii) Alyssa Chen; (iii) Seryeong Lee; (iv) Alyssa Chen

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