Over the years, a series of posts appeared showing a graphic of the best makeup colours for certain groups of natural colouring, a term synonymous with Season. In the archives so far, you will find a post about best makeup colours for the 4 True Seasons, Soft Summer, Dark and Bright Winter. You can search them as http://12blueprints.com/best-makeup-colours-soft-summer/
July is a holiday month, a good time to finish the series. Today, Dark Autumn.
As a session begins, clients are seated and surrounded by the neutral gray of an accurate colour analysis. The moment I switch on the full spectrum lights, I look right at their eyes. If I see diffusions of dark yellow, cognac, rust, or dark mossy green, I wonder about Dark Autumn.
The skin of this woman contains a lot of colour. To make any impression, her cosmetics need muscle both in the strength of the pigments and in the density of their application. The Summer drapes look like they can’t hold up her head. The makeup, the same.
She is almost great in black. There will be a little something that excites. Appearance excitement is important. Brown will be more relaxing and feel more harmonious overall. She certainly has spice and darkness in the brown, both of which thrill on this colouring. Spanish coffee gets into your blood a little faster, right?
Your PCA result will be personalized to your particular colouring and draping reactions. For instance, in her later years, many a Dark Autumn woman moves closer to True Autumn. The most excitement is still in Dark Autumn. The lightest, most muted True Autumn colours and the darkest, coolest Dark Autumn colours are not perfect.
If you saw one of our group of analysts (see the 12B Analyst Directory), we will explain how to use the more challenging colours in compositions instead of putting them in large blocks under the face. You will know your own formula, how you excite. You might shop with both Colour Books. People at the office will be talking and you may wonder why. They will be saying good things. I have never met the Dark Autumn woman who has any idea of how remarkable and superb she looks. They all seem a little oblivious to it. Which is a good thing!
She has often avoided the makeup colours below because her clothing colours were too gentle. She was quite right. With soft colours in clothing, Dark Autumn makeup will seem too bold and strong. The problem is not the makeup. Once everything below the neck comes up to balance her head, the makeup will be stunning. To find that balance needed for take-off, we have to deconstruct the appearance, take you back to the beginning and rebuild you in your own colours.
And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
- T.S. Eliot
The makeup is not necessarily dark, though it is compared to Light Spring. Every Season has light colours, here as parsnip, lemongrass, asphalt, greige, goldenrod, barley gold, and many others. In our five years together, we have understood that Dark Seasons neither look dark nor wear only darkness. Nor do the Light Seasons look light, and so on. That’s one of those ideas that got taken too literally, without the continuous counterbalances of comparison and relative relationships that are the sine qua non of colour.
The Dark Autumn woman contains much glamour. She is mostly OK with being noticed, unlike her True Autumn sister who can only take so much being fussed over. Sofia Coppola is among my iconic Dark Autumns (remembering that I have no idea what her Season is till she is drape). Glamorous and exotic with no interest in taking that anywhere. Not a great blonde. Always dressed in black, white, and gray, which are not awful. Neither are they one little bit exciting, provocative, evocative, nothing. They are just there taking up space and better than the infant clothing that Light Spring would be. Her Autumn self will go this far on her looks and no further. She has things to do after all.
Whisky colours in the eyes. I split the Know Your Best Hair Colour board at Pinterest, adding a Makeup For Your Natural Colouring board. You can find some images of Sophia and other Dark Autumn ideas there.
All Neutral Season colouring has warmer and cooler versions of every colour, still within the saturation and value scale for the Season. The choice of brown flesh tones in blush and lip, red orange, or bronzed berry, is yours. Though I find black in eyeliner too harsh on anyone unless they are Halle Berry dark, have black eyes and brows, or the black is a Soft Black (meaning dark charcoal), this person does have Winter coolness. Just as their navy in clothing or a suit is a fantastic complement to the orange tones in skin, hair, and eyes, so is it a great eyeliner. The graphic does not include one but the list at the bottom does.
The heat feels more intense to me here than in Soft Autumn, perhaps because of the added darkness and presence of red as Winter arrives. We tend to feel red as heat. Wear bronzer as a contour. It looks good and is easy to find. Bone structure is always fantastic here. Why not take it further if your facial anatomy calls for it (Mariah Carey is not improved by carved edges. They are only weird. JLo is more feline, more powerful, more good stuff.) ?
Make the hair colour all it could be. Natural is always just fine. If you colour, be not wimpy. These colours are easy to find. Auburn and rich chestnut work if the base colour is as dark as Julia Roberts. Her natural base is probably dark ash brown. Adding auburn or using chemical colour to add gloss and body elevate her inborn way of looking expensive and delicious.
Many Dark Autumns have a near-black base colour or are lighter medium brown. In both cases, chemical colour will probably not be as enhancing or interesting as what you have on your own. Near black hair with these clothing colours is a furnace of presence and potential. Lighter hair colour is an amazement of improbability and surprise, as is blue teal or other light eye colours. The viewer feels a fascination of, What is happening there?
If we colour our hair, we all need to find the right one. All the clothes and makeup in the world will flop without it. Please ignore the myth that women need to go lighter as they get older. Nothing is true for everyone, but that one might actually apply to no Dark Autumn.
In the next article on Light Spring best makeup colours, you will find an explanation of how to swatch makeup colours to Season.
Try before you buy. 5 women in the same Season will look their best in 5 different lipsticks.
Blush: MAC Ambering Rose. NARS Taos. Lancome Shimmer Tamarind.
Eyeliner: MAC Coffee. Revlon Colorstay Navy. Urban Decay Corrupt (Demolition could be good for darker women and/or those closer to Dark Winter looking for a near black. Bourbon for lighter women, closer to True Autumn). Smashbox Sumatra is an interesting inky brown, and 3DGalaxy could be a good dark gray without being too dark.
Eyeshadow: Bobbi Brown Burnt Sugar, Cocoa, and Mahogany. Stila Twig. NARS Lola Lola. Clinique Portobello (light greige) is OK as a colour but the application properties are weak on this colouring compared to Urban Decay Tease. Aveda Copper Haze (could work well on a True Autumn also). Benefit Bronze Have More Fun. MUFE #165 is a great basic greige. NARS Cordura offers two good darks for smoking the eyes, a believable and successful effect on the Dark Seasons (Key Largo may work for those near True Autumn, but is probably best for True Autumn, and even better on True Spring.) Smashbox Screenshot is a nice trio. Lancome Burnt Sand.
Lipstick: Too Faced Sweet Maple. Chanel Rouge Vendome is a brighter orange red. Clarins Red Terra (awesome, dark side), Spicy Cinnamon (warmer, for those near True Autumn), Grenadine (nice mid berry), Cedar Red. Elizabeth Arden Wildberry (bit muted, closer to True Autumn). Laura Mercier Sienna for those nearer Dark Winter, though could be a great red on many Dark Autumn. Lancome Ruby Silk a mid-warm-red, not too dark, while Jezebel is a purple containing subtle metallic bronze effects. Smashbox Cognac could be a very good nude on many, where nude is not the same as Lip Eraser.
I would have been so happy if our training with Amanda and her lovely fellow student had gone on for weeks. Her aptitude for colour analysis is extremely high. In her person, she combines glamour, energy, optimism, perfectionism, targeted intelligence, and natural friendliness.
So strongly do I believe that waiting on a dream just pushes it further away that I align instantly with people who move to make dreams real despite obstacles. Amanda arrived here with her baby, Milo, and baby genius Mom, Phyllis. Every few hours, Milo and Phyllis would appear at the door so Milo could be fed. The course would not have been the same without them. I could write a page about how beautiful, grounded, supportive, and stabilizing Phyllis’ presence was for all of us in that week. Allow me to introduce these beautiful people whom I hold so dear. Here are Amanda’s beautiful Dark Autumn Mom and baby, Season yet unknown.
Before the course, I say to students that I hope they have been analyzed into several different Seasons. I hope that they have encountered great difficulties in getting the previous PCA to work for them. Only then can they be sensitive to the many kinds of support that will help their clients in those moments. By having traveled this road, Amanda brings the following to her client,
I definitely have a heart for anticipating those who are a bit unexpected in their palettes, and figuring out how to be of service to them. I want to make sure I also address apparent warmth/coolness/hue to their skin’s overtone, as well as anything notable about eye/hair color, and clarity/mutedness within their season… painting a unique masterpiece with each person in that season.
It is exciting when women of Amanda’s generation join the PCA industry. In bringing science-backed, evidence-based colour analysis to their communities, they become role models and advocates for modern methods, equipment, and belief systems that have taken giant strides forward, even in the past year. From the moment we met and still today, one word resonates in my head about Amanda as a person and as a colour analyst: brilliant.
Hi! I wish I could sit down with each one of you and chat over coffee or tea, but as we are such a geographically diverse group, this will have to do, right? Here’s my story of discovering my colors, and finding myself a certified color analyst in the process!
I was first introduced to the concept of four season color analysis through my mom’s Color Me Beautiful book, which I stumbled upon in elementary school. I felt an instant connection to the idea that different people should wear different colors, even as a kid, being a very visually sensitive person. My precocious young self determined that with my pinkish fair skin, light blue eyes, and blond hair, I had to be a Summer. I struggled with insecurities about my physical appearance as I fumbled through adolescence, as so many of us do, and I never felt like I had much “oomph” in the Summer colors that I tried to wear- but figured in my teenaged despondency that I was just a person without much pizzazz anyway.
During my later years of high school and increasingly throughout my time in college, I became more exploratory with what I wore, including with colors, and the color analysis concept gradually faded from my mind. As a college student, I loved going to local thrift stores and discount shops, stretching my meager income to come up with creative outfits for school, social events, and dates. I dyed my hair several times in tones from red to brown, and even to black, and probably had multiple outfits from each of the 12 seasons! I did notice that unfortunate things would happen to my skin when I wore extremely muted colors, so I learned to avoid those.
Fast-forward a few years- I’d gotten married to the love of my life, and had quit my full-time office job to stay home with our firstborn, and for some reason color analysis popped back into my head. Maybe I was needing to feel more centered while dealing with a child in the terrible twos! Google led me to Christine’s website, and I was intrigued to learn that the four season concept had been expanded into a twelve-tone system by some who found it a more accurate way to analyze human coloring. I read everything I could about what had been going on in color analysis during my many years of hiatus! I eventually became convinced that the 12 season approach, particularly the Sci Art method, made a lot of sense, offering a visual precision and objectivity that deeply appealed to me.
Here I am with my hubby and our sons. My husband is a True Winter, and he loves pictures in black and white- makes sense to those of us who are color geeks, right?
At that point, there were two things that I knew I needed to do. First, I needed to have a PCA to experience it for myself and figure out which season I was (I know many of you reading have felt that pull!). Second, I knew that it might be a possible career option for me, as I had long been interested in doing something professionally that required visual precision and artistry. My PCA appointment finally came, and my husband and I traveled a couple of hours together to a Sci Art analyst. I went into it guessing that I could be a Light Summer, but had the eye-opening experience of discovering that I was a Bright Winter. I left the appointment feeling convinced of the result, but also quite shocked! I was thrilled to finally know my colors, and found a lot of new clothing and makeup that felt great to wear, but I did hit a couple of speed-bumps in adjusting to my palette. As I shopped for new outfits, I found it difficult to get the visual balance right, being a somewhat light-haired and light-eyed person with a palette containing a lot of dark colors. I also felt off in many of the prints and garment lines that I would find in Bright Winter colors, which felt discouraging. Born out of this dilemma, I began looking into the concepts of body types and body lines, and began to suspect that therein was my answer. Around the same time, Christine began to post about color and body lines frequently on her blog, to my great delight! I saw Sci Art color analysis working so well for many people, and found the science behind it to be very sound, so I decided that I would look into training with Christine if she ever opened the opportunity, knowing she had the expertise to help me resolve my questions before sending me out to help people with theirs.
Lo and behold, I was six months pregnant with my second child when I heard that Christine was beginning to offer training. I treasure the memory of sitting in one of my favorite coffee shops with my husband, and opening my laptop in front of my already quite pregnant tummy to discover the news. He reached over and told me I had to do it- what a keeper! Along with my husband’s support, I received a lot of encouragement from family and friends as I made plans for my new venture. I think they were all relieved that I was finally doing something with color analysis, after a couple of years of talking their ears off about it! I decided to make the trip from my home in Southern California to Canada when my youngest son would be about six months old, and my mom agreed to come with me so I could bring the baby to training, which is one of the kindest things anyone has ever done for me.
On the plane!
Our unlikely trio made it safely to Canada in August 2013, and thus began one of the most intense but fulfilling weeks of my life. Although we as students had read an extensive training manual before arriving, nothing could compare to actually doing PCA’s with a woman who has dedicated a great deal of her time, energy, and notable intellect to becoming one of the world’s experts in this field. My fellow student and I learned to see for ourselves the subtle skin reactions and definition of facial features on which PCA hinges, while simultaneously developing our right-brained, gut reaction to the whole picture of the client in front of us. Not only were we acquiring the skill to get the season right, we also were experiencing the very human side of PCA, with each client bringing their own unique beauty and story to tell. I went into training suspecting that I might fall in love with this PCA thing, but I underestimated how deeply it would affect me to actually meet people and be a small part of their stories. I cling to the belief that humans have inherent dignity and worth, and here I was, learning a fascinating way to affirm that each person is worth something, just as they are. Sure, we are just talking about colors here, but if I know one thing about humans, it’s that we’re complicated. Sometimes an indirect approach can play a part in getting the message through to us that we really do matter.
Lest I leave you hanging, Christine did help me with my questions. I didn’t tell her the result of my first draping, and during my PCA with her, which also resulted in Bright Winter, I made sure I could embrace the result without a single doubt left in my mind. Christine provided a helpful objective voice not only in helping me see myself as a Bright Winter, but also by affirming my suspicions about my physical delicacy, curviness, and gentle appearance, which just couldn’t gel with a lot of my shopping finds. I started to accept that, for example, dark matte lipsticks and very linear patterns or shapes don’t make visual sense on me even when they match my palette, because of my body lines. Each of us has our own way to use the colors in our palette, and it will be as individual as our fingerprints, voice, and laugh.
Since I’ve been home, I have settled into how I fit in the Bright Winter palette with a great deal of enjoyment, and I am very passionate about helping my clients understand how they fit uniquely into their palettes too. To serve my color clients who desire greater understanding of their body lines and development of their personal style, I am currently building a stylist portfolio and can customize a style appointment upon request (in-person only). Keep your eyes out for my style blog featuring a 12 season approach to fashion- it’s in the works! I have seen almost 30 PCA clients since I was certified, and I am so thrilled to be able to offer color analysis in my community. I believe that this is a service that can benefit everyone, and I hope it becomes something as standard as getting a haircut! Self-knowledge is so powerful in both internal and external matters, and sometimes a gain on one of those sides of the equation affects the other side positively too. Being attuned to which colors enhance your unique personal power and attractiveness is a confidence boost that we all can use. Becoming a more informed and selective shopper with a wardrobe you love sure doesn’t hurt either!
Thank you so much for reading this. Being a part of the color community has been life-changing for me, and each one of you adds something special to the ongoing conversation of understanding our colors and ourselves. Thank you as well to my husband, family, and friends- I wouldn’t be writing any of this without the way you’ve cheered me on.
Here is some practical info for those who are in my area. My studio is located in my home in Southern California, convenient for clients in the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego, as well as surrounding counties. My standard PCA appointment offers:
-a few opening questions from me about you and what brings you in as a client
-an intro to PCA and the color theory behind it
-a color analysis in the Sci Art method as taught by Christine Scaman, using official 12 Blueprints test drapes
-makeup application and tutorial for female clients, discussing colors as well as finish, and how to enhance your own unique features with your palette
-photo opportunity with drapes and color fan
-discussion of shopping with your color fan, including color harmonizing, swatching makeup, and how to determine if a pattern works with your palette
-conversation about any factors about your coloring that may influence your individual use of the palette
-time for questions- this is your opportunity to ask about anything from hair color, to the lipstick and dress you already bought for an upcoming event (I have had clients bring in items that they have burning questions about, which I welcome!)
-follow-up support with outfit ideas in your palette sent via Pinterest, as well as my continuing availability through email
My website is amandarobertscolor.com, and email is amandarobertscolor at gmail.com. My website also connects to my Pinterest and Instagram accounts for my business if you’d like to follow me. I have boards for each of the 12 seasons on Pinterest. I welcome your questions, and look forward to hearing from you if I can be of service in any way!
My time is presently occupied going through this website in preparation for the coming upgrade. The Search function will be fast and slick. An index page will sort all the posts by title and topic. I know :) Finally!
Cleaning up links and punctuation has given me a reason to watch the last five years drift before my eyes. I often marvel at how little I knew a month ago. Imagine what I think of me way back then, or how afraid I am of what my five-years-from-now self will think of me today. Such is the nature of growth. Rather than dwell on that, I’d rather reflect on how far we’ve come together and continue on our learning path.
The Our Eye Album articles will be taken down this week. As beautiful as they were, there was a confusion factor. Season cannot be derived from an eye image, no matter how much it resembles those shown for that Season. I still get emails from people asking me to read their eye images. I guess we all want to be outside the disclaimers just this once.
Treading into a delicate topic here that will get more air time later, many of the PCA results came from other analysts and other PCA systems. By posting them, it appeared as if I was agreeing, which was not always the case. I became involved in conversations about confirming results that I no longer want to be in.
The PCA industry is divided both inside and outside the Sci\ART group. I didn’t realize how much till a few months ago. You all knew this before I did. Not only are we not the same, we are too different to match. We decide Season for different reasons, often reaching way back to entirely different beliefs about what harmony itself means and looks like.
I am too transparent in my belief of what the public has a right to know and expect when it buys a service to be comfortable with this situation for any length of time. Taking down the eye images is a first step towards identifying a new and distinct community.
Please know that I extend deep and sincere thanks to everyone who shared those pictures so that we could all learn. I value your generosity towards that goal above all.
It is our deepest wish and intention to train colour analysts to the highest level of accuracy in human colour analysis. Now that I have been training analysts for a year or so, and Terry for much longer than that, we wanted our courses to streamline as much as possible for consistency of content. It matters to us that your return on this investment be major.
Terry’s and my script as we move through the PCA process is quite different. We wanted to give our students exposure to both, understanding that as instructors, we are more effective by adapting the material to each student’s learning approach. All people, teachers and students, have R or L brain tendencies. For our own development as analysts and to provide students with the best experience, working together has been invaluable.
In the past month, we held two joint training sessions. Here are some of the concerns and solutions from last week’s debriefing.
1. For a couple of models, we did not arrive at the same Season.
This can always happen. The process is far more difficult, detailed, and in-depth than people realize. Students are consistently taken aback by the thoroughness of a good PCA. It is very clear that no living human being has, or can have, an unbiased visual system. The process and drapes must maximize the great value of our intuitions and instincts without introducing error.
For the course in Chatham, 7 of the 8 models had not been previously analyzed. Terry and I agreed on every outcome, including the 8th. Our path to the answer was not identical, which is neither necessary nor significant. With one model, one of us took the path of Spring heat to arrive at Bright Winter, while the other took the path of Autumn darkness in this particular comparison. Bright Winter colouring needs both so either preference would be good. The algorithm, followed correctly, would never eliminate a Season prematurely.
For the course in Michigan, former students had previously draped the models. Season outcomes did not always match. Both disturbed and excited, Terry and I examined the possible reasons. Why excited? Because the Autumn in us likes to know how things work and needs to fix them until they work. If the original drapes had been 100% perfect, the drapes that students buy today would not be as magnificent as they are.
The reason for differing results is unknown, and probably not that exciting after all. As instructors, the angle of vision is altered as we’re not in our usual place behind the client. The drapes are not switching as often while we help the student maneuver them. The distractions of worrying about time, and speaking to the student rather than the client add up. Unlikely that the drape colours were the cause since those now match very closely between analyst sets. Nevertheless, if there is space for improvement and learning, we intend to use it.
Conclusion: More joint training sessions with models that neither of us has draped previously. Note that under PCA Training Course in the sidebar, Terry and I will train together in Canada at the end of September and October.
From our student in May,
Reflecting on my recent PCA training conducted by Christine and Terry, how fortunate it was to be part of a thorough training experience tailored to me – my own questions and specific needs. Their collective expertise was invaluable in helping me better understand color – theory and application – and navigate a draping process that results in an accurate assessment for an individual’s true tone. This is more complex than it seems and I can’t imagine having the tools or confidence to get started without this individualized training. Would highly recommend for anyone seeking to become a trusted and thorough PCA professional.
2. Three days are not enough.
The students are just beginning to gel with the flow, the movement of the drapes, and the decision process, and then the course is over. Once they get home and work alone, many would tell you that they feel a little uncertain.
We provide continued support for our students in numerous formats, but it’s not the same as being there. The analysts in our group have to be solid. The public needs to know and trust that PCA can be life-changing. We’re determined learn from the past, not repeat it all over again.
During training, everyone is physically tired. The full spectrum lights fatigue the eyes, as does looking at visual disharmony most of the time. Our brain can’t help but feel uncomfortable, quite draining to sustain for 7 or 8 hours.
Student feedback consistently mentions anxiety about applying makeup to clients. The present schedule allows little or no time for cosmetics if the student is to drape 6 to 8 people.
There is also little time to discuss client education and post-PCA support in terms of how to implement their PCA result. The Season decision is not enough. If the public cannot use our service to improve purchases, the whole thing is just an academic exercise. The training must include conversations that extend the Season to how each client will use it best. That’s a different dialogue for every client, even five people of the same Season.
Conclusion: The training course will be expanded to 4 days. Each day will run from 9AM to 6PM. Day 1 will involve theory before lunch, and then a model in the afternoon. A model in the morning and afternoon will follow, for a total of 7, allowing time for learning how to select and apply cosmetics, and how to build a framework of support for clients in stores, cosmetic counters, and on web retail sites. The models may include men, as our students should learn how draping a man may be different, but we will provide several models with which to learn cosmetic application.
The course price will be US $3200 with either instructor Canada (Christine in Ontario) or the US (Terry in Michigan).
From our student in June,
More eyes see more – in terms of learning a trade in 3 days, it’s been invaluable to have had the privilege to learn from 2 of the most established and experienced Sci\Art specialists in the field! People / analysts process and evaluate the same information in different ways, therefore it’s important that we challenge our processes by borrowing and trying out techniques from one another. At times, we might observe different or sometimes opposing things looking at the same picture and there’s a lesson to be learnt from that.
For the PCA industry and the larger colour community, things really are getting better all the time.
1. Are the proportions of each colour in the book a reflection of my colouring. Does that have a direct bearing on how I use these colours in my clothing?
A few factors to think about. First, the designer of the palette makes a decision about how many of which colours to include. We all know by now that you could have 5 swatch books for your Seasons, 70 colours each, none repeated, all accurate. The designer has to decide what they want to express – are Neutral Seasons closer to parent True Seasons or to neighbour Neutrals? Will Dark Winter express its rustic Autumn-ness or its jewel-toned Winter-ness, or both equally? Is this palette intended for women or men, business or party, the fashion scene of the 1980s or the 2015s? How many strips of colours will be given to wardrobe neutrals, reds, white/black alternatives, etc?
The designer makes decisions about which colours will participate in a Season. Red Purple doesn’t factor into Soft Autumn, presumably because that hue doesn’t satisfy the Season’s colour dimensions. I’m not the expert on these decisions. If you look at the Sci\ART books for the same Season over the years, they change considerably. This was probably due to changes in equipment, ink, and perhaps Kathryn’s (Kathryn Kalisz, founder of Sci\ART) evolving beliefs, perceptions, and consumer feedback.
Sometimes, the limits are in the nature of the colour. There are only so many yellows that human eyes can tell apart and not as many yellows available in the high saturation range as there are blues.
From printing RTYNC (the blue book in the margin), the computer’s colour model can impose limits, as well as what a given printer can create. Giving True Summer a big selection of reds may be tricky, or maybe it’s getting reds clear enough for the Winters.
The available colours have to stay inside all 3 colour dimensions. Bright Spring ranges almost to white and black, and takes its source colours almost from primary colour, giving a wide range from which to choose. Summers, with their narrower lightest-darkest range, draw from a smaller range of colours to include in the palettes. Also, on this colouring, small nuance in colours is more apparent than on Winter colouring where colours that are very similar tend to look much the same. The Summer menu has a lot of neutral colours, entirely the wearer’s choice to use them or not.
Every available hue should be present in as wide a range of hue, value, and chroma as the Season will accept. Very hard to do unless the consumer wants to carry a 5lb. book around, which is why it’s so important to choose garments using the entire fan, not single swatches, to maximize your colour options.
Every palette should offer its owner a range of light, medium, and dark colours. They are all divided about 30-30-30. The darker Season palettes appear darker because they reach a darker endpoint.
The real point of the Q isn’t related to the theory so much as its application. I realize these things, I just get sidetracked :) The palettes do communicate in a collective way, not just swatch by swatch.
Showing too many darker blues and purples in a light or medium darkness Season might have the woman dressing darker than the overall value (darkness) level for that group. Sure, she could select more from the lighter colours, every palette has them, but the thinking is done for her if she fans out the book and ‘gets’ the overall value, hue, and chroma to aim towards.
Digression: Is that flower Bright Spring or Light Summer? Without laying it on a palette or the drapes, I don’t know the answer. I don’t have a palette at the moment. In my imagination, I’ll substitute something I know. A rainbow, a dish of sorbet, bluebells are Light Summery. In that company, would this flower would take over? In a field of misty bluebells, this rose is the only thing you’d see. The bluebells might as well be grass, leading me to think the rose is Bright Spring. Could it hold its own next to a Bird of Paradise flower? Probably. Like most design decisions, you have to see it to decide.
Final consideration: Part of what determines how many of which colour appears in a palette is probably related to the Season’s core colour. That’s an complicated concept but it does express real human beings, unlike certain PCA-industry notions that only work on paper. If anyone knows where the idea that Winter is red, Autumn’s core is orange, Spring’s is yellow, and Summer’s is blue, originated, I would love to hear. The choices of fuchsias and purples in the True Winter palette go on and on. Is that a reflection of their core colour of red mixed with the blue that cools that colouring? The amount of core colour pigment unifying a Season, therefore present in every swatch, helps decide which colours apply. For True Spring, depending on how much of the core yellow pigment the designer adds, there will be a shift in which segment of colour space contributes to the palette.
Finally! Answer to the reader’s Q: Yes and No. The book gives you overall hue, value, chroma consistency in 60 to 80 unified colours. How you wear them depends on preference, body type, occasion, time of year, personal contrast level, and individual feature colours.
2. I’m really interested in having a personal image analysis. You’ve said here that I should have my colouring analyzed first. Why? Does it really matter?
A good Q that would be better answered by an image and line expert. I’ve asked Rachel Nachmias of Best Dressed to comment from her experience and perspective. In my opinion, she is THE image expert whose advice will have you wearing modern clothing styles that elevate your power, presence, and sophistication within a matter of seconds. I’ve watched her achieve this over and over, happy to say on myself too.
In general, I would suggest that you have your PCA done first, if at all possible. When clients come in for both, I always do the color analysis first. The reason for this is that, as Christine has said, proper definition of the lines in the face requires it being surrounded by the correct colors. It’s harder for me (and more importantly others who will be looking at you in your new clothes) to see the potential of the face before me until I’ve seen it without too much or too little definition. For more on this topic, you can find an article I wrote with some real life examples here (http://www.bestdressed.us/2014/01/27/how-true-colors-reveal-true-features/). There is also, of course, the same issue I present my PCA clients who opt not to have a PIA – if you’re going to start replacing your wardrobe, why not have all the information for both style and color and save yourself the expense of having to start from scratch ever again?
That said, most of my clients who are having a PIA *want* a PCA, and if they haven’t had one, it’s because of geographic access. Some of you are out there patiently waiting until a Color Analyst sets up shop in your neck of the woods, or at least comes for a visit. Others are willing to make the trek, but need time to save for it because traveling from another country, for example, makes the expense much more significant. My general attitude in this case would be that you may as well go ahead with learning the best styles for you, as it will make a huge difference on it’s own, and I hate to think of you waiting for possibly a few years to start looking and feeling fabulous. Because I am so finely attuned to looking at features, I can typically see through the noise of wrong colors, where others would not be able to. But the decision is really up to you. If you will not be buying any clothing much at all while you wait for your PCA, and don’t have an extensive wardrobe to pick through to work towards your archetype, perhaps it makes no sense.
Here’s my scientific take on it. As with colour perception, the answer must be grounded in how human vision is hard-wired by Nature. What else would make any sense?
When colours are in conflict, shapes and lines cannot find focus. Our brain wants us to notice that there’s a difference. If the colours are quite close, our brain thinks, “That might be a tiger. How am I going to get her to see it so she runs the other way? I know! I’ll blur up the lines. She’s sure to pick up on that!”
Details cannot find definition. Our brains circuits understand visual information in a stepwise sequence. As with colour analysis, ignoring the built-in strengths and weaknesses is a little delusional. They are embedded and will not be overriden.
The first levels to process incoming line and shape signals are concerned with general contours. If all the eyes see in the image are outer edges, and blurry ones at that, the visual system finishes processing the image too early. Complexity is lost to us, and what a waste since it’s that very complexity that the higher visual levels of human beings are so beautifully able to interpret correctly. Imagine a half-developed negative from back in the 35mm film days. You see outlines, nothing else. You can’t do much of a line analysis without any lines.
For an example of contours without definition, look at the image of Victoria Beckham or Hilary Duff on the Pinterest Know Your Best Hair Colour board. Given only contours, the brain does its best at object recognition. Not being good at understanding outlines in the first place, it can’t fully make sense of the object. The result is that some spaces are not filled in or the brain makes a few incorrect assumptions to get through the day. That’s not only bad for image analysis, it’s bad for survival, evolution’s primary concern.
Rendered in its correct colours, an image develops fully. Edges are focussed and details refine. Only now can the human brain’s higher visual centers make a complete picture available for line and shape analysis.
Have a look at some of the celebrities in the Commentary Booth board on Pinterest. You can see how distorting the wrong colours are. There’s an image of Carrie Underwood in an acid yellow-green dress with silver insets. First of all, she’s hard to see. When I actually made myself look at the face, I thought she was Reese Witherspoon.
Nope. Doesn’t exist. Nature never colours any human being, or anything else, disharmoniously. So far as I know, the genetics that code for the melanin in your hair or skin do not mutate when hair silvers. And I’m pretty sure that’s correct because Season does not change with age.
Now you might not be used to silver hair yet. Your skin might look a little different with maturity plus this new hair colour. The way silver looks with your wardrobe might be different or you might still be figuring out how to coordinate outfits with silver on your head. Maybe your foundation might have been too warm all those years and now it’s more obvious. Lots of possibilities that we can work with, but your hair is as perfect as your eyes, your teeth, your freckles, your lips, and your veins.
On the Know Your Best Hair Colour board on Pinterest, I posted an image today of a woman with cool silver hair. She is of dark complexion. I don’t know the warmth level of her skin without testing but she appears more cool than dark, as does her hair. I think she looks magnificent (perhaps the black shirt is a bit bland but far from the worst thing she could wear). Women of ethnicity look fabulous in their silver hair.
On any woman, a warm skin/cool hair contrast can really elevate one another. Light complexion women tend to have a big gray circle effect, which may be part of the discomfort. Too many colour their hair, when all that’s needed is a little more makeup and brighter makeup to define their features. Though the transition to silver might be harder for warm than cool women, the gray circle effect is less noticeable in women of warm colouring who have a built-in contrast between face and hair (since gray is perceived as cool).
It is never too late to add makeup. One of the best reasons for a PCA that I’ve heard lately is, “I’ve spent 60 years looking after everyone else. As a young woman, I didn’t wear makeup. I have time now and I want to know.”
2. All the makeup artists tell me I have warm undertones. How can they tell?
It’s really time for a new paradigm in human colour analysis. There’s just too much objective proof in place to spend any more time with brown-eyes-have-to-be-Winters and what not. That’s over. Red hair isn’t Autumn. Most of the time, it’s anything but, usually Winter and Spring. In part because the Winter groups derive their pigmentation from the primary colours, the variability of presentation is endless. Nonetheless, those were the best ideas of their time and I have a deep respect for them as that.
I hold a doctorate in veterinary medicine. After 20-some years of private practice, the similarities between that profession and this one have been an eye-opener I didn’t expect. There are no limits on the variety. The last 10 cases of congestive heart failure I treated barely resemble this one. The last 10 Soft Summers have a passing similarity to this one.
It’s high time for colour analysis be viewed as the profession that it is. Even insinutating that it’s DIY misleads the public unfairly. I appreciate that they popularize the subject but wrong expectations >> confusion and dissatisfaction.
Doctors do rounds because it is not humanly possible to always be right, know it all and have seen everything. Colour analysts review cases too. After several hundred, I still discuss them, some keep me up at night, some I’d love a chance to redo because I just wasn’t 100% sure.
Neighbour Seasons, hardly a big deal. Retail compromise, comfort level, and swatching variation will get you settled in right. Notice how many Pins on the Shopping for Your Season and Style board at Pinterest span two Seasons. Getting your lines right helps colour work even better. Get your style right and the same.
What is it about this industry? Where else is movement forward so resisted in favour of 20 year old beliefs that don’t hold up to real world usage? It’s beauty, right? PCA got clumped in with a field based on trend and hope. Where we gladly hand over money for products we don’t expect to deliver on their promises. Beauty and Fashion know for a fact that we will do exactly that. Skinny jeans don’t flatter most bodies. Black liquid eyeliner is not the best choice most of us can make. Coppery highlights on most heads are the only thing the rest of us can see, unless the woman knew that subconsciously and added a marigold top, in which case that is now the only thing we can see. I really have a certain respect for this achievement of consumer manipulation.
Compliments are useless. They’re filtered through the other person’s perceptions. We all see more pregnant women when we’re pregnant. The compliment is about them, their tastes, and their internal struggles, not you and yours.
Look, the cosmetic and hair folks are advisors who counsel women every day. So they maintain that they can look at us and pronounce the heat level of our undertone? For the sake of all the women out there whose money they’re taking, these industries need an upgrade. Let’s talk about a new reality, which might be replaced in its own right one fine day if evidence comes along, because there is no cemented reality. There’s only the best we know today. Today, the A to the Q is this, whether we’re talking makeup or hair colour.
“They can’t tell unless they compare you to something calibrated.”
That is the plain and simple fact.
If they just looked, forget it. Forget it. Walk away. Some people are quite accurate by eye, but some aren’t. How is the consumer supposed to tell them apart? All they can see is what’s on the surface. Not good enough because not accurate. And if you have a deeper complexion, good luck not being told you’re warmer than you are. Good luck too if you’re among the many easily yellowed Soft Summers and Dark Winters. Women badly need better advice than this, especially from the hair colour industry. They don’t know because they can’t know so don’t expect them to know. Find out for yourself. Compare your colouring to something calibrated. You’re one appointment away from having so many answers.
Heat of colour can’t be judged well by eye because it’s totally relative. Saturation is hopeless to judge in a human. That leaves darkness level, so it’s over-emphasized. As humans, we are set up to see healthy skin as colourless. All we really see that contains colour are hair and eyes, so they get over-emphasized despite the fact that they only contain a small portion of your pigments. There’s no hemoglobin in hair, a wildly important pigment since it determines so much of the undertone.
If they applied 5 foundations and chose one, there’s a much higher chance of getting things right. Since they haven’t a clue about your heat by looking at you, I hope they used a selection of colours all the way from pure cool to pure warm, not available from most foundation companies.
Why make pure cool and pure warm foundation? Would women buy them? I bet not. Pure cool Summer foundation is pinkish gray, Winter is greenish gray, COMPARED to the warmer colours.
I’m pretty sure people don’t say, “Did you notice, she looks kind of green, ay?” when I walk out of rooms. IDK, maybe they do. My foundation is green-gray-beige because I am greenish. In the regular world, I look like everyone else, of course. Same as most Bright Season people don’t have clear eyes that you could see across the room. That’s not how it works at all. They look like everyone else, colours in equilibrium so nothing stands out.
The world is swimming in yellow foundation and dusty apricot, mocha rose, cinnamon rose, and so on makeup colours. No commitment makeup feels safe. No commitment anything feels safe. It is not the best place to put your money today.
3. Jennifer asked a great Q was asked at the end of the How To Match Foundation article about warm and cool foundation. It was, “Can one be a true warm season, and have neutral foundation look better on them than yellowed foundation? In other words, should foundation match both your overtone and undertone?”
Generally speaking, yes, foundation should match the true colours of the surface skin (no imposed overtones) and the heat level of the undertone. Heat level of undertone cannot be know without comparison testing because by definition, it is located under the surface skin. It’s not available for us to see on the surface. Draping looks through that to match the undertone layer. That’s why the Season result is the same even with suntans, rosacea, etc, all of which are happening up in the surface layers.
Some thoughts. First, every woman is an individual within a Season. Even True Seasons can run closer to one of their neighbour Neutrals. Even when very centered in her Season, every woman is an individual. About half the time, same Seasons can wear the same foundation. The rest, you’re starting from scratch. We see very fair and golden beige Autumns, alabaster and olive Winters, fair and very pastel-pink-soft Summers, and golden ivory-beige and translucently fair Springs. I still check 3 to 7 colours when I match skin, still may have to mix colours to get it perfect. So yes, warm women can look better in neutral foundations.
Second, foundation is not coloured or labeled in a very organized way, certainly not between companies. One’s warm is another’s neutral.
Third, the difference in type of heat between the 2 warm Seasons is very important. Spring and Autumn are often very intolerant of each other’s kind of heat, where these are often the other group’s worst drapes. This is why I don’t believe there are Sp/A blend Seasons, because I never see real human beings respond to colour in this way. Would the lollipops make sense in a Santa Fe landscape? Would anyone wear those colours together to create an elegant and functional wardrobe?
Spring foundations are quite yellow, Autumn foundations are a heavier beige-brown. Even darker colours, say for an East Indian woman, are yellower for Spring-influenced skin if she is a Bright Winter. Very hard to find Autumn foundations actually, especially True and Dark.
The retail world contains a lot more foundation warmed for Spring skin than Autumn. I don’t know if the industry understands the difference, though I believe that making foundation as a whole too yellow is a relic of the 80s where prominent makeup artists suggested that all the pinker colours of the 60s and 70s did not match skin. The pendulum swung too far to yellow, and people loved it because it looked like a healthy tan and covered red. Though still here today, the tan and red coverage still comes at a price: flat wide moon faces, flat wide noses, dull eyes, and no lips. Everything has a price.
Fourth, heat in colour is relative, I think. What exactly is maximally cool or warm? Does human skin ever reach those maximal values, even though they can be applied to cosmetics and textiles, where different pigments are found than in human skin? Today, IDK the answers to those Q.
If you’re asking me a Q, so are many others. You send me more intelligent and insightful comments and questions than I could ever come up with. What I want more than anything is for the colour analysis industry to make the shopping of every person reading here better. Much better, right now, today.
Answering your Q one email at a time limits how many could benefit. If I’m sent a Q or a comment, it might appear here, always anonymously, and adjusted to reflect the various angles by which people asked the same thing. If that is uncomfortable for you, might be best to ask another source.
1. The Luxury Drapes…I wanted to cry when I saw them. The colours are so gorgeous that I want to take them all home. But they’re expensive. Could you make Personal Luxury drapes smaller?
I hear you and I get it. I get that these are the first piece of consumer freedom you’ve felt in a long time, like waving flags. They are the sails of your very own boat, that you can take wherever you want. I want that freedom for you.
You wouldn’t save enough money to outweigh the negatives. The cost of the fabric would save some money certainly but think about how much 17″ (half the length of a drape) would cost. Not a lot. Maybe averages at $4-6, so over 15 pieces, that’s $60-90.
The expense is not in the fabric. It’s in the time and skill of having two analysts hand pick every colour, one by one. Literally, it takes days.
Then, there’s the production process. Cutting, edge-sealing, grommetting, and stamping is the same for a full or half length piece of fabric. This includes the time, the expertise, and the materials needed.
Shipping cost would reduce by about $20 savings by weight, depending on destination. Everything else about shipping, meaning supplies and time, is the same. Revenue Canada requires that all drapes ship out of Canada.
Also, the sets are customizable. Everyone so far has requested specific colours or colour schemes. Excellent, but I don’t want to be left with half a drape in case it’s not requested again and I can’t include it in an analyst’s set.
You’ve saved maybe $60 or 80. Part of my job is to answer the Q everyone should be asking. What is the loss? If there’s a gain, there’s a loss somewhere.
The more colour you have, the more you can see. I prefer, indeed insist, on large, single colour pieces of fabric to create every optical effect possible. You need drapes that will do that for you to gain the most information.
Half-size drapes would be half the size of a garment. Garments are not napkin sized. To make an outfit, you need to have some large and small blocks in sizes larger than doll cutouts.
I wouldn’t consider Personal drapes smaller than half size. The intention of making these available is in part so you know what an entire garment looks like in a store. Whether a 1 inch square swatch or a 2 inch square bit of fabric, the entire effect isn’t available. It’s hard for anyone to know what the clothing looks like. When Terry and I started the drape enterprise, we were uncertain about what we were looking for in many of the colours, just going by the swatches. When we found it, it was often an accident that got a reaction of “Really? Look at this one, Terry. I’m pretty sure this is what Dark Winter coral actually looks like.”
This is one of the many reasons why I so do not advocate matching clothing to each little square or dot on a fan. There’s not enough colour surface area to compare with a full size garment. Besides, even at 3×3 inches, the production of small squares of fabric becomes ridiculously complex if they are to be beautifully crafted, durable, permanent, sealed, grommetted, and packaged.
When fabric pieces are smaller, you can’t see appreciate their interactions with one another as well. Synchronous wavelength, belonging, stillness, and harmony don’t come through as well. The more colour, the more energy to be felt.
Finally, I don’t believe any more people will buy the drapes if they’re $60 less on a $500 investment.
2. During my PCA, in the Key drapes, the initial gold/silver/brown/black series, I wore black fairly well. But the analyst told me I’m a Soft Summer. Doesn’t wearing black well mean I’m a Winter?
Absolutely not. It means that your skin wants something Winter offers that the comparison drape at the time did not.
Might be darkness (but we can get that in Autumn too). Might be saturation (but Spring has that too). Might be coolness (look to Summer if necessary).
You get the pattern. Any colour dimension can be found in any 2 True Seasons. Any 2 True Seasons share 1 colour dimension and differ in the other 2. It’s like those “If Jane has 2 jellybeans and gives Tom 1…” puzzles.
So a Soft Summer might wear black as well or better than silver (her skin tone wants the darkness of black), black better than Autumn (skin wants some coolness that black gives her), and black better than Spring gold (skin wants darker and cooler). But she ain’t no Winter. And I don’t vote with the Key drapes because I fear that once a winner is picked, our brain says, “There. Done. Got what I came for. Move switch to OFF.” and too many other clues are left behind.
Second thing: The Key drapes are way way way too early to know about Seasons. The analyst doesn’t even know the face yet. It takes a solid 15-30 minutes to see what a given face will do in colours. The Key drapes are about “What’s going to change, where exactly, and how much?”
A Light Summer can wear black at times DEPENDING on what the contest is. Her skin likes the saturation and the coolness. If the comparison is with Autumn, her skin might find several things in black to like. Now if the comparison is between black and silver, there may still be good stuff happening in black but less so.
Our eyes deceive us. Everywhere, all day long. We truly know not what we see. Neuroscientists write books about our visual inaccuracies. What we think about colour is 100% dependent on what the comparison is at the moment. You make a decision about one drape’s effects. Compare it to something else, whole different decision. That’s why it’s so important to check every decision by coming at it from several angles. Never assume you read it right the first time.
I could look at you and paint what I see. Right there, in that chair, with those clothes and that hair, and that light coming in. Or even surrounded by neutral gray. Those could be your body colours, the ones you repeat when you shop.
What if I dislike yellow to the point of feeling nauseated or weirdly intimidated? The analyst is human too. Bound the influence what I paint. Gotta get myself out the way and find some way to measure objectively. Very hard for humans to do.
What if I got the first colour wrong, then rejected colour 2 because it didn’t look pretty with colour 1, while colour 2 was the correct one? Colours 3, 4, and 5 must now be influenced. Errors carry forward, so there has to be a built-in way to recheck every previous decision. This is not just my opinion. It’s how humans think.
With any 2 drapes, our human eyes often grab the first one and say “OK, got it. This is normal and right and real.” and proceed to judge everything back to that. If the drapes had landed in the reverse order, we would have judged oppositely. Never ever assume you read it right from just one comparison. Keep moving around the problem and look at every angle, almost like fooling your eyes into making the right call. Keep confusing them so they keep adapting, like any muscle or neuropathway, to develop resilience, plasticity, and the highest outcome.
Nothing wrong with paintings. They can bring us to tears, a reunion with some part of ourselves or our past. They’re also frozen in time. The subject’s and the painter’s. You know colour analysis is a spiritual journey for me, because that’s what it has been to me. I want colours that give me somewhere to grow into, saving parts of myself I don’t know about today.
It’s all inside us, past, present, future. I want a bridge to the stuff that I can’t access yet, stuff that will be there waiting for me when I’m ready, that I trust to be real and true. Being frozen in my today feels too confining and kind of terrifying. I’m not certain who it was said “Know that one thing by which everything else can be known.” For me and many others, it’s colour that acts as that metaphor. Doesn’t have to be for you, I just hope you find what it is. Seeing it in one place can help us recognize it in another. For those of us who view the world symbolically, everything is a metaphor. Favourite piece of poetry:
To see a World in a Grain of Sand,
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,
And Eternity in an hour.
- William Blake
How seriously hard is connecting to the truth of you, with no warping by media or any other person? We devote our lives to it. We lose it and find it. Something twists and it’s gone again. Once you find it, let it out. Sing your own song. Nothing feels better. It is the voice the Universe hears most clearly as you work together to move your life forward.
Makes me think of this. This is why I and those I have taught became colour analysts. It is how God made us to spread love in the world.
You are about to meet a woman of profound personal elegance. Soon after meeting, you find a strong and immediate respect for the dignity of all people, and steadfast loyalty and fairness to every person she encounters. One feels very cared for. And cared about. She combines the qualities of sage, mother, long-time friend, and directed professional so naturally, never losing sight that her mission is to empower you in every way possible.
You have to see Jorunn’s studio. We’ve shown you some pictures below. Located on an ocean island off the coast of Norway (where it seldom snows!! the weather is like Seattle’s), the location could double as a retreat.
When we are together, the gratitude and slight disbelief we feel that life has enabled us to show people their natural colouring is understood. Every single human face is a new miracle of beauty and spirit. She recently told me about a PCA for a young man and his girlfriend,
I am just awestruck at the fabulous tool the drapes are. Even though the young man is not a reluctant True Winter, this is was like Oh look at that colour, that is awesome, oh look at that colour, I get to wear that? And then his girlfriend, a delicate princess of a young woman. I suspected one of the light seasons, as she is fair to the point of almost translucent. And let me tell you it was a revelation! For the first time I saw a person just magically lit up in the gold key drape. And I mean Magically Lit Up. And what makes me so happy is that she has not worn a lot of these delicate lovely colours, she has been wearing darker, and cooler colours all along. And now she SAW how radiant the LSp colours made her, she SAW how she should never again own a black garment. So we got out the makeup and I even coerced her to put on some lipstick, and we put her in the LSp luxury drapes. Cue soft violins, enter Fairy Princess. I could see him falling in love with her all over again.
This. Is. Fantastic.
Oh Christine I am so fortunate to be working with this.
For Jorunn and I, giving back generously of ourselves and our work is how we thank the Universe for choosing us to be personal colour analysts. Let me step back and give Jorunn the stage.
I live in Fitjar, a small town on the western coast of Norway, with my husband and two cats. We have four children between us, but they are all grown and flown the nest. Fitjar is about two hours from Bergen, three from Stavanger. It is a small, rural community with an archipelago of little islands as the closest surroundings, our house is close to the sea, and in my spare time I try to find time for some reading, fishing, or kayaking with my husband, in quiet mornings. It is an odd situation, to live here and still be closely connected to the world via the Internet and a network of 12 Blueprints colleagues.
My road to becoming a PCA consultant has been a long and winding one. I was among those fascinated by Colour me Beautiful (borrowed the book at the library), but feeling frustrated that my self diagnosed Winter category was not quite fitting, but not feeling like I fit in anywhere else either, I let it be. Being an Early Childhood Special Education teacher and mother took all my time, and I did what almost every other mother of small children did, I dressed in whatever was clean and fell out of my wardrobe when I opened it. The children grew up and left the nest, and I did some growing on my own, and started a business as a soapmaker in addition to my teaching position. The soap business grew a little as well, and is now a world wide webshop (www.fitjarsoap.no if you are interested), and I quit my teaching position to concentrate fully on the soapmaking business. My interest in colour and design has not weakened over the years, and working with designs for my soap business rekindled my love for design, scent, colour, everything, at the same time as finding that working with people as customers is not that much different from working with people in a teaching situation. It is all about communication. It is all about really truly seeing people. It is all about connecting and listening, and the humbling moments when you realize that you have made a difference in peoples lives.
So when I revisited the colour analysis world this time around, I had more life experience. It was partly about finding my own colours, but also with the idea that colour is important as part of identity. To my delight, I discovered that meanwhile, colour analysis had developed into several amazing systems, incorporating the fact that most people do not fit into the true cool or true warm categories, but there are far more with a neutral undertone to their skin. Cue renewed interest, enter sci/art and 12 tone personal colour analysis.
Initially, I set out to find my own true colours, but a dream of also being to help others find their perfect colours started forming in my mind. I found Christine Scaman of 12 Blueprints on the internet, bought her book, and after a long period of deliberating and some wonderful, interesting playing around on various Facebook groups and in contact with some very talented 12 tone sci/art Personal Colour Analysts, I took the plunge and trained with Christine in March 2014.
I would like to say a few words about my training with Christine: Christine is one of the most professional and thorough persons I have ever met. She came across as direct and extremely focused already in our (extensive) email communication leading up to the training, and in real life she is exactly the same way. No waffling about, and in depth to the point of being piercing. She is ruthlessly honest, scrupulously aware of details, with powers of observation that go beyond awesome. And with all this, one would expect a woman without a sense of humour. Not so. All this is served with a healthy dose of dry sense of humour. The training is systematic, and the selection of models to practice on she has offered as broad experience as possible given that we have limited time, offering examples of challenging and surprising results. Christine is relentless in the pursuit of objective observation and systematic and thorough approach to the PCA session and she expects no less of her student. This is no summer camp. There were moments when the sizzling of my brain was almost drowning out the sound of the air conditioning fan. She did not pressure me to participate beyond what I felt ready for, but supported me when I wanted to learn by practice rather than observation. The training was intense, and there is a lot of information and many impressions to process. However, the systematic and thorough presentation carried me through and I am confident that I am armed with the tools (both the test drapes and luxury drapes are extensive and magnificent) and the knowledge necessary to do personal colour analysis.
As part of the training I got to be analysed as well. This process is explained in detail in an article on my website, so suffice it to say that I arrived thinking I was one season, and I went home with a complete new colour identity. I learned a lot from this experience.
I have learned how it feels to be shown that you are a different season that you thought you were. It feels very humbling. And rocking the boat is not comfortable.
I have learned to never, ever (EVER) think you know what season you are before you are draped. I have learned that the colour analyst should ruthlessly look away from the client’s preconceived notions. I so desperately wanted to cling to my perceived season, but Christine showed me drape after drape why one was better than the other.
I have learned that sitting under the lights in a neutralized colour studio and looking at yourself compared to the drapes, guided by a trained PCA consultant is totally, utterly, completely different from just trying on different clothes and makeup in various situations. This is why I have painted my colour studio grey, and I have a neutral grey backdrop, and have the best lamps I could find. This is also why I have invested in the 12 Blueprints drapes, test drapes and also the luxury drapes, the most fabulous tools a Personal Colour Analyst can have.
I have also learned that settling into your new colours takes time. This is why, I will offer extensive “after care”, to make sure that my clients get all the help they need to fully use all the information provided by the PCA, and to learn how to use the colour fan when shopping for clothes and makeup.
My business is called Fargeporten. This Norwegian name means “The Colour Gate”. My thought behind choosing this name is that the PCA is like opening the gate to new possibilities to express your authentic self, new insights as to who you really are, and revealing your true beauty.
Even though my business first and foremost caters to a Norwegian clientele, I do welcome international customers, in the event that anyone would take the long trip to my colour studio. If you want to treat yourself to a PCA as part of your trip to the exotic western coast of Norway, contact me and I will help you plan it.
Having a PCA can be one of the most profound experiences one can have in developing an authentic self, and discover the absolute stunning and unique beauty that is in each and every human being, body and soul. It is a humbling and thrilling experience to be able to be the one to guide a person through this process.
My studio Fargeporten is located in my home. It used to be our office, but we never used it because it had so few windows (quite an advantage as a sheltered environment for a PCA) so it has now been converted to my colour studio. It also has a separate entrance, which is an advantage. I am quite happy with how it turned out, and there is just enough room for a sofa, a wicker chair for a companion who wants to watch as the draping unfolds, the lights, the mirror, an ever growing selection of makeup, and of course the drapes!
My website is www.fargeporten.no, most of it is in Norwegian. I have gathered some English information on one page, with the link just under the blue headings of that main site link, or also linked here.
I am going to write more articles in English as time goes by, and as my experience increases. You can also reach me by email: firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions. I have also recently opened a Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/fargeportenPCA it is still very new but hopefully soon full of news and posts, in Norwegian and English.
When an email arrives from any woman who has decided to redirect the flow of her life, ignoring all the doubts from inside and outside, moving into an unknown with nothing but love for the subject, I know I will meet a friend for all my life. Sometimes, maybe always, finding yourself in a place where life has given you no other choice is the best starting point there is. Whether as a colour analysis client or training to become an analyst, it’s at this moment that we are most free of our past.
When you visit Johanna, you will find a woman of grace, humility, cleverness balanced with great sensitivity, and deep sincerity in her desire to help you find the answers that she has found, hopefully on a shorter, less winding path. Meeting Johanna without meeting her dog, Estella, is a tad incomplete. I love these training photos. We know who’s zooming who, I believe.
I’m delighted to tell you that by the end of this year, if not much sooner, there will be a trained colour analyst with excellent drapes practicing in Denmark (you met Anette Henrisken already), Finland (with Johanna today), Norway (whom you’ll meet very soon), and Sweden.
I’ve always loved colour. Well, who doesn’t, most people react to colour instinctively and largely unconsciously, and the effects of colour can be staggering – colour can not only evoke various emotions (happiness, disgust, anger, calmness, you name it) but also cause actual physical reactions. They can make you feel hot, cold, sleepy, hungry, thirsty, or may even help to alleviate pain in some cases. Powerful stuff! Our experience of colour is a very personal thing. This is my story.
I was a toddler in the early 1970s, when the fashion was all about autumnal colours – browns, mustard yellows, orange-reds. They didn’t happen to be MY colours (they say children are highly intuitive about colour, unfortunately we lose a lot of that as we grow up and try to adapt to others’ expectations) and so I can still remember how I hated putting those clothes on. And then there was nursery school, where girls were given red everything and boys’ stuff was always blue. Add to that my mother’s favourite colour, navy blue, which she dressed me in as often as she could (actually, I didn’t mind this so much, at least it got me out of the mustard tones), and I was starting to feel like a crazy cocktail, losing some of my natural feel for colour. Teenage years (the Eighties) with assorted peer pressure, fashion influence and the early stages of PCA didn’t help – honestly, colour wise I didn’t know who I was any longer. It’s been a long way back, but finally, I’m happy to say that I’m on the right track and feeling good!
The history of PCA in Finland goes something like this: The publication of Carol Jackson’s book (in Finnish translation) in the late 80s created a lot of buzz, making PCA interesting simply because it was new. After that, there seems to have been a lull, as many people got tired of the “fad” and also because the system just didn’t seem to work perfectly for so many people. For some reason, PCA didn’t seem to have come to Finland to stay – people looked upon it as something external to them, something to take or leave as they pleased, rather than a real and permanent description of their own natural colouring. My hope is that Finns will learn to think of PCA in a different light, with the entertainment value somewhat lessened and the actual value of the applicable results emphasised. In other words, I hope they can learn to take PCA seriously. Of course, to be taken seriously, a PCA needs to be thorough and reliable. Perhaps this was partly the reason why it never fully “took” before.
In my case, there was no lack of interest in the subject, but despite having been colour analysed several times in the past and having read tons of books about colour, having thought about colour all the time, having even considered training as a colour analyst twenty years ago (but I was young and it felt wiser to focus on my “real” education instead), I only found my correct Season in Canada, at age 43, while being trained to do PCA. And I went in so sure my Season would just be confirmed during my draping session! The thing is, I felt blah in the colours I thought were mine, but I just thought I was being too critical or hard to please or….too something. I thought it was the best I could look, that my appearance was just naturally boring. I’m afraid there may be other women out there thinking the same about themselves, essentially blaming themselves if they don’t look radiant. Ladies, it’s not your fault! Get better advice! So, I turned out to be a Season I’d never even considered. Now things are finally making sense, now I can look back to favourite shirts that did something for me and connect the dots, while at the time I thought it was just a fluke. Now I can’t believe this wasn’t obvious to me – but it’s not that easy to analyse your own colouring.
I used to work as a teacher, and there are things I’m taking from that, as well as things I’d like to avoid, now that I’m “doing colour”. I’ll start with the things to avoid: I don’t want to be the analyst who dictates to the client too much. I don’t feel it’s my job to force someone to wear a certain colour (tone) or to deny them a colour (tone) they like. I’ll tell you what I think and offer you any information I can, but you decide for yourself. I also hope to favour creative thinking over too many rigid fashion practices. Now, what I would like to keep and amplify is the great feeling you get when you see the results of your efforts (at the end of an analysis & when you see the client later on, wearing what makes them look fantastic), in other words, the bit where you get to help people, to inspire them, to give them faith that they CAN get this, and then to see them succeed when they apply themselves. This may sound a bit grand for a colour analyst, but it’s that important to me.
Believe it or not, in the past I’ve had to go so far as to throw out some books on colour and style (and how I miss them!) because I kept spending too much time rereading them and making up theoretical colour schemes etc., and the only way I felt I was going to be able to stay away from them and do whatever I was meant to be doing was to throw them away. But my love for colour wouldn’t go away, and one day as I was googling about colour, I hit upon this treasure trove of information, the 12 Blueprints website. It was something I’d never seen before – pages and pages of free information about colour, and not the usual superficial stuff that’s good for entertainment only, but well thought-out and detailed posts, where colour had been analysed, almost dissected, with a very critical eye. I thought I was going to die…but fortunately didn’t, because some time after this Christine announced that she would soon start teaching PCA. One day it just hit me – OK so I live in Finland and Canada’s a long way away, but why couldn’t I do it! Of course, friends and family thought I’d lost my mind, but it would have taken an army to stop me at this point – and now I’m glad I waited so long to be trained, because I wouldn’t have found this dedication to colour or to students anywhere else!
I’ve been doing PCA a couple of months now under my company name Flow with Nature. My studio is located in Espoo, about 20 km from the centre of Helsinki. The building belongs to Omnia, a provider of education, which also specialises in nurturing creative start-up businesses. My neighbouring business is a co-op specialising in women’s clothing. They would be happy to design and sew an outfit for you in one of your best colours! You can reach me by public transportation (train to Espoo + a 1 km bus ride, or I can pick you up from the station) or by car (free parking out front). I’m available for appointments throughout the week. If you have any special requests, just let me know and we’ll see what we can come up with.
To perform your PCA, I use the famous 12 Blueprints Test Drape Set. At this time, I haven’t got the Luxury Drapes but we can still get a clear idea of your individual best colours (within your season) from the test drapes, and we will spend more time comparing different seasons’ colours (e.g. what’s YOUR white out of all the whites out there) and harmonising any makeup or garments that you choose to bring along.
A simplified makeup application is included in your PCA session, just to show you the illumination your face can receive from your best blush and lipstick shades. My eye makeup availability varies from season to season at this time. I encourage you to take your makeup bag with you to the appointment, so that we can check which products you should continue to use with full confidence, and which ones you might want to replace.
A True Colour International 12 Tone Classic colour book is included in the PCA. You will also receive several written documents from me the night after your analysis, including a recap of where your season stands in terms of the three dimensions of colour, how to recognise your colours and how to handle shopping for your season, how to best apply and combine your colours in clothing, advice on makeup colours, and a list of resources I find useful.
Looking ahead, I’m hoping to expand my services to cover guided shopping and wardrobe advice. Your perfect tones don’t exist in a vacuum but must be applied to clothing and accessories (for many women, also makeup and hair colour) before they can do their job of making you look good, and this can be a challenge at first. My trial runs show that these services are valuable to the client, so I’m planning to include them soon. I’m also dreaming of the day when I can offer style advice, as style and colour are the major elements in any look.
My website is in its early stages, which means that so far I haven’t been able to include minute details, or information in English. You (the Finnish reader) can find an overview of PCA, a brief introduction of me and my company and some suggestions about what PCA can do for you. In the interest of space and overall readability, I haven’t put a detailed account of what happens at an appointment on show (much too long), but am more than happy to email it to anyone interested in my service, no strings attached! You’ll find a contact page for this purpose on the website. International clients (communication preferably in English) are also warmly welcome, and I will translate material as required!
How do members of a Season borrow colours into their wardrobe successfully? All sorts of diagrams exist to assist people of certain colouring, or Season, in finding clothing colours that are not within their palette.
Examples you might see include,
- True Summer and True Winter – because they’re both very cool
- Dark Winter and Soft Summer, which have a similar relationship as Bright Winter and Light Summer – because all four begin with a cool palette and each pair adds the same amount of the same kind of warmth, Autumn gold and Spring yellow respectively
- Dark Autumn/Bright Spring and Light Spring/Soft Autumn – because if you map the Seasons in a progression around a circle, the same relationship exists between these pairs as the ones above. Both begin with a warm palette and add the same amount of the same type of coolness, Winter’s or Summer’s, respectively
These generalities are best applied only to certain colours. On the whole, I’m not sure how well they serve outside the theory. I don’t believe in second-best and runner-up Seasons. They don’t exist. Any Season could absorb various colours from various other Seasons quite nicely.
In the examples above, only the heat level is being factored in, placing too much emphasis on it. The other two dimensions matter will matter a lot when the medium-browns are put under the faces. Certain pinks might slide by though.
At least for Dark Winter/Soft Summer, the heat is the same type, Autumn’s. The third example is ignoring the very different kind of heat in Autumn and Spring colours. In many cases, the worst colours for one can be found in the other warm palette. A blue-eyed Dark Autumn can have some similarities with Bright Spring’s appearance, as can the green-gold eyed Bright Spring with Dark Autumn – if they read about them, but not if they wear them. Many of the colours can be weirdly unpleasant on the opposite person.
Even at a tiny level of Autumn, Spring warmth can look like an odd, greasy, abalone shell event on Soft Summer skin. Except the eyes. Eyes are always true. Soft Summer eyes just sit there in this iridescent face looking estranged. It’s as psychologically awkward as when I wear cat eye, glittery sunglasses, to which people react in most uncomfortable (and entertaining, if you like watching that sort of thing to illustrate a point, which I do) ways.
Why might broad guidelines only work for some colours but not all the colours? They make an assumption that every person inside a Season will react to every colour in the same way. Not true at all.
Three True Springs would have three different paths through the draping sequence. Not every drape in Test or Luxury is perfect on every person in that group. It is simply the best decision in a constellation of 10 – 15 observations. Within the same Season, people will still react differently to the reds, greens, blues, and so on. This is why I am such as strong proponent of single colour drapes. Every colour tells you something. Even putting one more into the mix confuses the decision making on a given person, let alone the fact that the colours will influence one another. With students, it is reinforced that if a Season’s drapes are to be tested for some reason, then every single colour in that set will be tested. Just because a blue doesn’t work in no way indicates what how their skin would have participated with the other colours in that Season’s set.
To this day, about 300, maybe more, PCAs later, I still take time to write what I learned from each one. I had to see about 12, sometimes 25+ (Bright Winter for instance), of each Season to have trouble coming up with something new. For the Trues, I have seen about 6 of each, so each one is still quite new, not counting True Summer at 19. I will never stop learning from True Seasons.
Why shouldn’t every drape be our best drape? Because there is so much fluidity needed to perfectly repeat the millions of ways in which Nature painted all the people of any given Season. Because every instrument does not play an equal role in a symphony. A thousand reasons that this website has thought about, and many more that it hasn’t.
The natural order of colour
The world is full of concepts that have one meaning in theory and another in practice. As much as humans love to pigeonhole and predict, we live in a massively variable Universe. It might look random and messy. Humans devote large amounts of time to resisting this in favour of rules. We like the security of the restrictions and the ropes.
We understand that the Universe is neither messy or random. It’s infinitely organized, with complexity and levels far beyond anything our rules can capture. What we should be resisting are all the rules. They’re too simplified.
Amelia Butler at True Colour Australia posted the series, Tonal Contentment vs Tonal Restlessness, in several parts, here to her blog at Colour and The Human Being. So comprehensively, Amelia takes us back to what the Sci\ART palettes were intended to be and reflects on their application today. Amelia makes many valid and useful points, covering a wide range of colour applications.
There can be much critiquing of PCA philosophy and method. What works for some won’t for others, the difference relating equally to the conscious and unconscious colour persuasions of the person as to their colouring. Some answers should be sought elsewhere.
The Sci\ART 12-Tone system really is the gold standard of human colour analysis, as Amelia says. Once an analyst has worked with the system, there is not much traffic back the other way. Until an analyst, or anyone, has seen 10 or 20 PCAs, they barely scratch the surface of understanding it. I barely scratch that surface, in the same way that I barely understand how Nature is coloured, and am in awe of both. The more you know, the more you realize how little you know, right?
Perhaps, our Tone is more of an expression of our position and energy equivalence in the natural world. We are inextricably spun with wool from the same spinning wheel as all of Nature. Social conditioning pulls us in the opposite direction. That’s fine. We live, work, dress, and learn our life lessons in societies. We are barely aware of imposing our social and psychological conditioning on our every decision.
The Natural world is not Fashion. They have so little meaning and purpose in common. Why did I use up energy trying to overlap them? It was exhausting, like forcing astronomy to be astrology. The harder I tried, the more I realized how different they are. There was no point. Now I’m coming out the other side.
I relax and let each fulfill its purpose. Nature isn’t right or wrong. It just is. We don’t talk about how tree leaves should be a different shade of green to fit the picture better. It is what it is. It follows a natural order. So do the Sci\ART palettes. If you’d like a fashion green sweater in your composition, wear it.
Today, the confidence of experience releases me from defending Kathryn’s colour system any more than I would any image Nature put together, though I used to when I was younger (as I will tell anyone who will listen, it’s because I rationalize and justify everything, including emotion and instinct, being an Enneagram Type 1).
Enneagrams and watching Sherlock on BBC are my life right now. It might bore you if you knew me. I would try not to talk about it all the time, but then we’d talk about my other favourite topic, The Universe and Our Highest Potential, which brings us right back to E Type 1. How hard is it to hit the Escape key on ourselves? Quite. Ask anyone who’s had a PCA. The best way to approach having your colouring analyzed is as a stranger to yourself. The face in the mirror is a woman you don’t know. She’s just a person picked from a crowd. You have no idea about what she likes, what she’s been told, how she’s been hurt, or what makes her feel happiness. Nearly impossible to do.
Sometimes you have to go backwards to move forward. Like being inside an ascending tunnel, you think you’re repeating and repeating instead of climbing because the walls always look the same. But we do mature, part of which is repeating the same lessons at higher levels. These days, Kathryn’s colour system feels to me like a true witness to how colour is in our world. To my eyes, that is more than enough, and more than enough privilege to bring other people closer to their place in the scheme of it all to last me the rest of my days.
We can look better, shop better, be more true to ourselves, and still find a thousand personal self-expressions without creating any disruptions in the Universe. But then, we Enneagram Type 1′s who read on this page (under Adaptive Behavioral Schema) learn that…
They have a highly developed and practiced intuition for when someone or something is doing what it is supposed to do. A being is good when it is fully itself and when it is fully doing what it is meant to do.
If you can’t begin with an agreement that Nature provides us with the most perfect colour harmonies inside and around ourselves, and that our dress looks best as a faithful extension of that, well now, it might be best to get other opinions for your clothing colour system. Actually, it’s a good idea to get many opinions on anything.
The colours of objects are tightly related to the unifying properties of the light shining on them. You can only get back the wavelengths that you put in. If you put in more reds and yellows and less blues, that’s what’s going to come back. If you put in no light, you get back no colours, like the picture above.
First was the Light, which changed in a regular and predictable way. Then came the objects that developed as they did because they needed something from all the particular Lights. The Lights determined not just how they look but what they are, which energy level they hold. If the Lights had been different, the objects and life forms would have been otherwise. And then evolved the human sense of sight, also customized so perfectly to all the Lights. There might have been other possible anatomies to allow sight, but this is the one that is. And so it was from the beginning, you know?
Finally, came colour analysis. I love it most when it remembers where it began, as the beautiful partnership with Nature’s designs that became possible. Some of the landscapes Rachel is pinning on her 12 Season boards are blowing away anything I could have imagined. That Dark Winter locomotive image, what a vision Rachel has. The Sci\ART system captivated me 5 years ago and it does so today, tenfold. PCA systems should not be adapted to fashion, just as women’s bodies should not be. That’s a mess on too many levels and can’t hold up to real world use. Start with the way light is, the way sight is, and the way real bodies are made. Build the fashion thing on top of that.
Although it translates completely to fashion, you can step outside it at any time. This is not a limitation of the palette. The palette is an intrinsic center from which you can radiate in beautiful and important expansions of yourself. We gotta start somewhere to sort out some kind of relationship between us and the colour free-for-all at the mall. The Sci\ART system is the one that is most rational to me.
Nature is at once the most soothing and the most re-energizing environment there is. It is a relief from the disharmonies to all five senses to which we are subjected for most of the day. The relief in natural compositions somehow leads to those that also the most exciting.
Could they be even more exciting? Sure. Nature constantly steps outside the colour charts. And yet, every colour is able to dissolve into the image. Artists do it all the time. An addition of outsider of colour can be more happy and auspicious, more evocative, both stimulating and very belonging.
Which brings us back to our topic. How do we add colour flexibility that feels passionate and exciting, but still relevant to the wearer?
The colours we are made of are so beautifully unique to us. How can we bring that individuality into our self-expression?
I think that when color analysts talk about sharing colors, they have to specify whether they are discussing a technical situation, such as a draping, where no amount of colour compromise can be tolerated, or whether they are discussing a shopping or retail situation, where some compromise will have to be acceptable and could even be good.
I also believe that which colours are best borrowed are decided one woman at a time, with her analyst, after a thorough draping. I hope that everyone knows of Terry’s articles outlining the steps in a proper PCA, the latest installment addresses clearing the skin, linked here.
Let me think of some situations:
1. From above, and very common, Dark Winter and Soft Summer. When they shop, Dark Winter could manage some darker Soft Summer clothes. Overall, they would do better shopping in True Summer and staying with medium to dark colours. Pastel lights are not welcomed by Dark Season skin.
A Soft Summer keeps her darkness dusty or her clothes weigh her down. Of all the Summers, Soft will wear Dark Winter colours best, but because the colours are all more intensely pigmented than she is, this person will give some of their power away to their clothing.
2. If an important dimension of colour (hue/value/chroma) is satisfied, certain colors are quite tolerable by more than one group. There are yellows, oranges, and reds that could be worn very well by True Autumn and True Spring. Orange is especially easy, including many browns, brown being dark orange. These colours are inherently warm. From above, True Summer and True Winter could share some pinks and purples, which might appear dark and strong on True Summer and medium on True Winter.
3. The person’s inherent colouring should be considered. A blue-eyed person will be able to wear blue from a few more neighbouring Seasons than a brown-eyed person might. Just coming close to repeating our own colouring is visually effective for connecting us to our clothing.
Even inside a Season, a Bright Spring with cider, amber, and clear orange in the hair and eyes could wear their intense dark yellow much better than a Bright Spring who has silver hair and blue eyes. For the aqua eyed Bright Spring, those yellows might never be more than an occasional stripe in a tie or the thread to sew on some buttons.
Sometimes, Dark Winter has the very same yellows in the eyes as a Dark Autumn, or close enough to be extremely interesting. No Dark Winter will really wear a big block of Anjou pear or chartreuse excitingly, but a small piece of it somewhere near the face can be most intriguing.
4. Exactly which colour is it were discussing? Blue might be easier to share among True and Light Summer than yellow, which less of a meet-you-halfway colour for very cool colourings. The 3 Springs could move yellow around quite easily. It almost dissolves into them, so naturally does it occur. It soaks into the picture and the colours around it adjust it the rest of the way.
You’d think red could move across the Bright and Dark Winter, where it is very successful, red being a core colour for Winter. It can work but not easily. Your best guess at the Season a red belongs in is probably decent. Red has strong identity in our eyes and is reactive against skin. Beige, coral, and turquoise are harder to guess and are less dictatorial next to skin.
Light Spring and Soft Autumn could move some yellows back and forth. The rest of the colours, not so much, not even the neutrals. Lay the opened Soft Autumn fan book on a Light Spring fabric. The neutrals, loosely translated as many of the complexion colours, might turn peculiarly greenish. That’s exactly what that fabric will do to the Light Spring face. Yes, both are warm-neutrals, but they do not appreciate one another’s type of heat or darkness level.
5. It depends where the coloring falls on the Season continuum. Our colouring doesn’t sit on a dot in a clock diagram. It spans a stretch halfway between the neighbours on each side. At least, that’s how it looks on a flat map. Really, it swirls around inside a spherical structure. In a Season, parts of it switch on and interconnect just like in a lit-up brain scan.
We are so used to flat images that we forget how very dimensional our world is. Energy isn’t a wave. Look at the wave end on. It’s a spiral. Hence, that purple snail shell logo at the top. Maybe one day, they’ll find that it’s actually a spiral inside a spiral, a double helix, a Universe at the center of every cell. Very appealing to think about. Don’t worry if you have no idea what I’m talking about. Trust me, you are not alone. I’m really quite medium and normal in person :) Really.
A warm Soft Summer and many a cool Soft Summer could happily wear the cooler greens and blues of Soft Autumn. Their reds and yellows? Not so much. Neutral Seasons can wear some of the neighbour colours of close heat, but not all of them will do them favours.
6. If Dark Autumn and Bright Spring were to share, how would they do it? If we agree that the size of the color block is large and right under the face, it’s a bit challenging to figure out. They sure wouldn’t crossover in the light or medium darkness colors. There may be some dark forest greens that could work okay but not much more than that that I could see.
7.Where will the colour be worn? Gray and navy are very adaptable colours to begin with, and more so if you situate them in the lower half. If it’s footwear or sunglasses, the viewer implicitly factors in functionality and expects that they may be darker than a scarf would be.
8. Have confidence in your individuality. Enjoy it. It’s the best part of this whole thing.
9. Where do you want your focal point to be today? Let the statement necklace or the violet purse own the day.
10. Get your lines right. This is quite major. Has anyone seen the pictures of Princess Kate that I pinned recently on the Shopping for Your Season and Style board? In the eyelet dress, colour correct, the image is clumsy. In the yellow dress, probably a Dark Winter yellow, she looks fantastic. The more bits and pieces of the whole are excellent, the more they draw in the rest.
You may remember the question from the reader who felt uncertain with learning that her colouring falls into the True Winter group, and how to reconcile it with the drama that is usually depicted for that group. As if ‘decadent glamour’ is the only kind of glamour or has only one interpretation. Pfff. Limited, limited.
Her question was a great one. Find it in the article, True Winter Sans Drama and A Gentle Dark Autumn. She recently visited Rachel to be draped, confirming True Winter, and for a PIA (Personal Image Analysis). As a Yang Natural, her version of glamour (and we all have one) is not Dynasty, which is the usual TW stereotype.
By expressing True Winter in certain textures and prints, the right cut of pants, belonging shapes and styles in jewelry, the True Winter palette has become a happy home. Snow leopard effects!? On a True Winter Natural woman? That’s so good, it shook up my world when I read it.
In her words,
So, I now finally feel like I know what to wear and what to look for and what to just ignore…it was difficult for me to figure out having a natural style along with TW, but now, I’m finally able to put it all together!
Like hair colour, sharing is a colour by colour, person by person, adaptation that a colour analyst can make for each client. All she needs to do is watch how their skin reacts to a variety of measured colours.
I send clients a nutshell digest of their draping experience, how their skin reacted to certain colours, addressing how they fall outside the majority of the written information for the Season, and any particular questions they had. The experience is just too big, too technical, too mentally stimulating, and too emotional to absorb it all and have it available 6 months later. It would be like hoping to recall every word the dentist said about all 32 of your teeth from your check-up last summer. For instance, I sent this little summary recently:
It is very common in all colouring at any age to find that the particular colour in the drapes for their Season is not necessarily their best version of that colour. This is especially so for Bright Winter. As testified by your eye colours, you are lighter and warmer than the average appearance and colour reactions in this group. Many persons of this colouring cannot wear the extremes of the palette till they have fully darkened with maturity, around the age of 30.
When Bright Winter colours were excellent, they were breathtakingly so, an effect no other Season could match in any colour. The usual caution exists for this Winter Season to avoid the blackest black, which will be especially relevant for you. Choose darkest charcoal instead, preferably with a slight sheen if the occasion permits. Dark navy did not have the darkening effect of black – it is common for people with Spring influence to be much more tolerant of ‘colour colours’ than of black (which gets too dark), white (which may be glowy unless right), and gray (which may lack the excitement of colour that you wear so natively).
You were easily able to wear the coolest positions in your Season and the warmest, as long as the colour were light to medium on a darkness scale. For these choices, always choose a Bright Winter colour. If the realities of shopping require some compromise, the darker Bright Spring colours might be the place to borrow.