How PCA Has Changed

Those of us who read here have had the experience of saying the word Season pertaining to appearance and hearing, “Season?? That’s over, isn’t it?”

Of course, we know that Season is no more over than looking good or behaving well are over. What might be out of date is the database that person is working from.

Those of us with enough years under our belt have also heard, “Season?? What, like the time of year??” from a young, utterly blank face.

My reply often includes the statement, “It’s not what it used to be.”

Recently, a clever friend asked, “How did it used to be?”

Well, now that you ask…

Used to be, you’d be told a Season, maybe with drapes or maybe not, might take 20 minutes or 2 hours, maybe some makeup applied, and given a swatch book. Away you went to work out how to use it, and best of luck to you.

There is no industry or discipline on Earth that believes or practices what it did 10 years ago, let alone 30. Let alone 2, because it amazes me how much keeps changing. People bring their ideas and innovations every day. That’s a beautiful thing.



I asked my colleague, fellow trainer, and co-drape creator, Terry Wildfong in Michigan for some background.

  1. When did you begin doing colour analysis?

1983 is when I began learning. In 1993, I began doing it for business.

A friend of mine who purchased the Color Me Beautiful book by Carole Jackson introduced me to color analysis and then had our colors done by CMB. I was so intrigued that I purchased the swatches for the other three seasons to compare them. In 1994, I studied through Color Me a Season by Bernice Kentner and began seeing clients.

Back in the four seasons, it was easier and simpler to do a PCA. I had only 8 drapes for each season and only four places they could go. If the client wasn’t a True (as we now call it and were relatively easy to determine), I had to put the client in the best season; namely, a color that didn’t yellow them too much or gray them too much.

I had a Summer who couldn’t wear the pinks, browns, and many other colors of that season, but I placed her in Summer because it was the best fit. I now understand she is a Soft Summer.

  1. Why did you train with Kathryn (Kalisz, Founder of Sci\ART)? That was in 2005, right? What convinced you?

After I found Kathryn’s website in 2004, I called her to discuss her system. We visited briefly, and I ordered her book. By reading Understanding Your Color, my eyes were opened to a whole new world. Not only learning about neutral seasons, but also the “science” of it all. None of the color systems I was familiar with explained how and why an analysis works…through science and human vision.

The science and knowledge of the neutral seasons made so much sense that I purchased all the drapes and equipment to begin again that same year.

I saw the great results and believed so much in the system that during my second visit with Kathryn when she mentioned she was looking for trainers, I was the first to jump in line in 2006. I couldn’t believe there could be another color system that was so right, so complete, so systematic, and so sensible. I still believe that to this day.

  1. How did you find the transition from 4 to 12 Seasons?

Not as easy as I would have thought with nearly 10 years of draping experience. In the prior systems, I had to place clients in one of four seasons. In order to do this, you needed to “clear the complexion.” What that meant at the time was if a client turned sallow yellow or red in one set of drapes, meaning the drapes were too warm, they were either Winter or Summer, depending on which set of those drapes were best. The warm seasons were overpowering for many clients because they were too warm, but warmer clients looked ghostly in the cool drapes, so one of the warm seasons they became.

I thought I could just purchase the drapes and everything would fall into place. Problem was…I really had no idea how to “see” the neutrals. I didn’t know what I was looking for. So I flew to see Kathryn in Connecticut twice in the Spring of 2005 for help.

  1. Are there additions or developments that you hope to see?

I would love to have professional cosmetologists get involved, either as analysts or consultants. Currently, Cosmetology and PCA don’t speak the same language. Getting the right hair color can be crucial to complete a client’s seasonal look.

I would call where we are now as being “Beyond Sci\ART,” meaning that Kathryn gave us the neutrals, the science, and the method that is the most innovative system to date. We would not change the basis of her method. As with all ideas, products, other knowledge, eventually there are areas to make improvements. I think Kathryn may have made some of the changes we did, had she been with us longer.

The system and method is still as Kathryn taught using all the steps and drapes. We’ve made two great changes so far. One was adding more drapes to the 12 Test sets, from three to six, for more in-depth comparisons. Another was moving from 12 to 16 Red Test drapes. By having all eight neutral seasons represented in the Red Test, it gives us more opportunity to fine-tune heat level.

The cost of training and materials has increased. When PCA was less expensive, many people thought it would be fun to be an analyst. Many people have trained over the years, but very few are still in business today. I believe that due to the higher cost of education and the dedication it takes for such rigorous training and client satisfaction, the students we are now training are more serious than ever before, seeing it as a business, not just a hobby. The curriculum we now teach is significantly more substantial and relevant than it’s ever been. I believe this is attracting more serious, competent students.

  1. What has changed for our clients?

In color analysis of the past, and even with Sci\ART, the client’s season was found, they were given a cosmetic makeover, and were handed their color fan. There wasn’t any talk of how to use it. “Here are the colors, go find how you wish to use them,” was pretty much all that was given. That was it. You were on your own.

In every system, there are more colors for each season than are on the color fans, but no one talked about how to find them. Kathryn said to see what harmonizes, but nothing specific of what that meant. Over some years, I developed a way to find those colors. I didn’t really realize it at the time though. “Harmonizing” the color fan is the best way to do this. Our students are taught how to do this so they can, in turn, teach their clients.

Many of our analysts now give clients documents about their season, their draping, and links to various on-line sources, even putting together client-specific Pinterest boards and Polyvore. There are cosmetic lists that can be shared. Some analysts even put together specific lists for their clients. Often, analysts have different levels of aftercare to keep in touch with the client to make sure they are happy and comfortable in their season.

The client receives so much more information and attention than ever, but they still must actively learn how to wear their palette.



Comparing Sci\ART and 12 Blueprints Drapes

I hear noises about the 12 Blueprints drapes being somehow inferior to Sci\ART’s. I can only speak of my own drape sets. For those, it’s the other way round.

And still, the Sci\ART drapes represented the best system for colour analysis that existed. My car is different than 5 years ago. Computers coming off the line are different the one I bought 6 months ago. If the industry is alive, learning, and growing, it is changing.

We are often asked the differences between the two products. If people are forced to guess, they might come up with the wrong answer. Let me explain the differences.

Let me also emphasize that done correctly with Sci/ART or 12 Blueprints drapes, the analysis will result in the same Season in 19 people out of 20. Like when your computer’s operating system upgrades, right? 19 files out of 20 are unchanged. That last one is better too, once you get past the irritation and use it for a while.

I would have no problem going back to my original Sci\ART drapes. I still teach with the original Red Test colours for the first draping model or two. Every analyst must learn her own drapes. Which are cooler in their position? Which are more saturated in that Season? Which are similar to another distant Season? Thinking that every set will hit the dead center of every dimension of every Season is unrealistic. Colour is a fluid entity.

In my original drape sets, purchased in May 2009, 2 or 3 colours were duplicated between Seasons over the approx. 80 testing drapes, and a few more, maybe 6, among the 180 Luxury drapes. Why would drapes have been placed in Seasons that seemed to have different colour dimensions?

When Terry and I began creating drapes, we examined these colours carefully to understand Kathryn’s reason for using the same colour in various places. I absolutely do not believe that it was any sort of accident. Her choice was intentional, coming from knowledge that I did not have. Some colours seemed to harmonize partially with the Season they were in, and partially elsewhere. Terry and I discussed this at length.

Terry had seen this years before with her own drape sets and once asked Kathryn about it. From Terry,

Kathryn saw colors as warm, cool, and neutral. She didn’t discuss warm neutrals and cool neutrals, per se; but the seasonal palettes were created that way. To put a somewhat dark, blue drape in both Dark Winter and Soft Summer, she would explain that they are both neutrals, somewhat muted by Autumn, and in the darker value range of Soft Summer and medium-dark value range of Dark Winter. So it could work for either season. If a cranberry color was found both in Dark Autumn and Dark Winter sets, the explanation was that both seasons are Dark and Neutral. This may have been her way of showing the ranges within the help understand that some people who are Soft Summer can wear their colors darker than other SSu people, etc.

Without Kathryn to ask, and without her magnificent instinct and knowledge, we had to be more by the book when creating our own colour collections. Experience being a great teacher, our drapes do and will continue to improve. The idea of laying the entire book on the fabric was Terry’s invention, one that has been literally revolutionary for the way in which our trainers, analysts, and clients work with their palettes.

In the original sets, as Terry has mentioned, each of the 12 Seasons was represented with three drapes per Season, sometimes the same colour three ways in one Season, and almost never the same colours between Seasons. Today, we have six repeating colour families represented in all 12 Seasons. Until you’ve done the shopping, you have no sense of how difficult it is to find colours in fabric that are 100% exclusive to Season. Don’t misunderstand; we wouldn’t trade the experience. Our skill as colour analysts has increased by creating drapes in ways that we could not have imagined. Every time any of us sees colour in a new way, we learn.

The 12 Blueprints drapes harmonize with Kathryn’s original palettes as well as the True Colour Australia palettes, created by Amelia Butler, the accuracy of which we respect. Maintaining the highest precision as the span of the drapes increases, and staying true to Kathryn’s system because it is so effective, are our primary concern. In this, I am sure that Amelia would agree.

The testing instrument is now calibrated. We can prove what we believe. We can reproduce results. Science is just asking for sound proof for an idea. We have a test for which everyone who runs the test gets the same answer with some practice. This has always been true between the Sci\ART, TCA, and 12 Blueprints methods. Terry and I did not alter the draping system. It worked fine the way it was. We clarified the distinctions between Seasons.



Redefining the business model

We continue to move away from stereotypic appearances when the client walks in the door. Stereotypes, like photographs, have a place, which we now understand and accommodate. Eye and hair colour are emphasized less than years ago. I can analyze you just as well with your eyes closed and hair covered, maybe even better.

Terry pointed out that the power of social media to for the analyst to educate and support clients post-PCA has been transformative. Clients have lists of cosmetics with which to go shopping. The resource store is almost exhaustive. To alleviate that, we now have our own 12 Season-customized line of cosmetics. The entire community can share with one another every day. The feeling has been one of being on a great ride together, pulling one another along, celebrating the joys, being amazed when new truths come to light, recognizing that knowledge gives choice and freedom, and picking our neighbour up if need be.

It brings me such delight to meet women who have become colour analysts themselves, enthusiastic business owners who love talking shop. In every age group from their 20s to their 70s, women have become their own boss while doing what they care about. They don’t punch a clock or go out on snow days. They have access to a system that is proven to work. The science is so good that I can tell you what makeup to buy and your best hair colour from your results. Empowerment at this level thrills me because, though I hope it never comes to this, women might just save the world. We save our families every day and we are saving this life-changing profession.

Those folks who dismiss Seasons as antiquated and cough dramatically when they hear the current price of the service are forgetting something that I learned as a veterinarian. From whichever hospital you picked up your dog, you did not know what the animal had experienced from the beginning to the end of its stay, for a neuter, or even a grooming. Clients could not compare services between hospitals, though they tried hard to do so, because they did not know what took place between “Your pet’s name?” and “Bye, Furbie!”

Comparing the prices of today with yesteryear fails to recognize the vast progress in the inputs and the outputs. Thank you to Rachel, for sharing this post that expresses it so well.





Photo Credit: Sonja Mason.


Introducing 12 Blueprints Cosmetics


The early feedback from my own use with clients and pictures and comments from the analysts using it is better than good.

From Rachel (Best Dressed) in Philadelphia: “These lipsticks are fantastic. Never before has finding flattering makeup for each season been so foolproof.”

From Margareta (email to in Sweden: “We tried Delicacy on my Soft Summer friend. It was PERFECTION.”

From Shahna (U In Colour) in Edmonton: “My Light Summer client said that she has always had troubles finding the right blush when she bought Orchidee.”

The Requirements

Foremost, a remarkable colour selection. My colour classification is 100% based in the original Sci\ART palettes. I am quite particular about that, not out of any historical loyalty but because people look, dress, and shop significantly better given a little time to learn their place in the system. I could not put my name next to loose colour categories.

A definite colour deposit that remains true. I understand preference for sheer product or no makeup. I also have some personal knowledge of resistance to the unfamiliar and the changing face of personal perception. Like any kind of fear, makeup can look like a wall until you take a run at it and find out that it isn’t a wall at all. It was only ever a picture of a wall. When colour is correct, the need to be especially careful with application subsides. That said, these colours know who they are and you may prefer to dilute them with gloss or translucent powder till you are used to working with them.

No animal testing at any stage.

Made in Canada, not just assembled in Canada.

Blushes are pressed powders in individual containers. Palettes exist and will appear later this year as eyeshadow trios.

Paraben and fragrance free.

LISPTICK INGREDIENTS: Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Oleyl Oleate, Mica, Lanolin Oil, Octyldodecanol, Propylene Glycol Ricinoleate, Euphorbia Cerifera( Candelilla) Wax, Isopropyl Lanolate, Oleyl Alcohol, Lanolin, Ozokerite, Isodecyl Neopentanoate, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Cera Alba, Paraffin, Polybutene, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Silica, Lauroyl Lysine, Ethyl Palmitate (and) Tibehenin (and) Sorbitan Isostearate (and) Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Isodecyl Neopentanoate, Prunus Armeniaca ( Apricot) Kernel Oil, Vanillin, Butyl Stearate, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Palmitate. May contain (+/-): CI 77891, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499, CI 15850:1, CI 15850:2, CI 77200, CI 19140, CI 45410:2, CI 15985:1, CI 15850, CI 42090.

BLUSH INGREDIENTS: Talc, Mica, Boron Nitride, Zinc Stearate, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl, Octyldodecyl Stearate, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Sorbic Acid. May contain (+/-): Cl 77002, Cl 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499, CI 19140, CI 15985, CI 42090, CI 77891, CI 77163, CI 75470, CI 15850:2, CI 15850:1, CI 45410:2, CI 77288, CI 77289, CI 77510, CI 77742, CI 77007, CI 77400, CI 77861.

Triple milled. Of the private label cosmetic manufacturers, this is by far the best quality I have seen. It is also more expensive. Powders feel like creams. Shimmer and certain pigments necessarily mean a less tightly pressed product and one with a slightly rougher texture.

12B Cosmetic Line, Stages 1&2

The product line has begun with one, two, or more lipsticks for each Season. The analysts have a access to  lipstick libraries to offer your best lipstick, with a fair bit of texture variation.

For the reader who wanted a warm, deep red lip for Soft Summer to match the graphic in the Best Makeup Colours for Soft Summer post, look at Delicacy and Red Heat.

There are numerous matte colours that go on dry, which I nonetheless prefer for not moving outside the lip line, staying truer to original colour on women with more or darker lip pigmentation, lasting longer, and avoiding too much shine on certain Seasons. They wear very comfortably can easily be topped with gloss or a layer of balm applied first.

A blush is (or will be) offered for each Season, or more than one blush if needed to create beautiful colour for the various presentations of those Seasons. True Summer and True Winter have five colours between them to allow them to be lightened or softened, to add purple to Winter red, or to darken or add violet to Summer pastel pink.

Lots of flex is provided to cover warm and cool iterations of colours in each Season, both matte and sheer. One blush for most Seasons is the norm because I am not very permissive about colour placement and Seasons. Every colour and person can be placed better in one Season palette than any other. Only one of the available blushes represented the women of that palette best, but some mixing of products might attain a yet better colour. In clothing, every person can and should wear the entire Season. Cosmetics are a little different, requiring adjustments for individual pigmentation in ways that a chart in colour space cannot predict.

In Stage 2, no doubt the analysts and clients will begin creating photo uploads on their own sites. I will too, adding them to the list of products below, and eventually splitting them to their own page. Product will continue being added, so some colours may require a bit of waiting. Analysts will explain their pricing and shipping models. They may post available colours so you know who has what inventory. Their business, their decision.

The analysts do have the full size items as in-studio testers. Analysts in Canada, the US, and the EU will each have their own process to handle tester/sample requests for distant clients. Analysts who carry the line are listed below. Eventually, this page will move to another subheading under PCA Client Resources tab called 12 Blueprints Cosmetics.

Lipgloss will join the collection within 4-6 months and eyeshadow trios before the end of the year. Bronzer is a strong possibility but my first aim is to provide clients with a complete and perfect look that they can take home from their colour analysis.


If you are Canadian, I am happy to sell the product to you. The price is the same as from the other Canadian analysts, $23.00 per blush or lipstick, plus HST and shipping. Samples (one or more) can be mailed in small plastic bags at $0.50 each plus the cost of shipping.

Elsewhere, please contact an analyst in or near your home country. The product will sell only through the analysts whom Terry Wildfong or I have trained and who wish to carry the line. Their names are lower down in this post.

Product is boxed in EU-Responsible containers. We have had no problem with entry to North America and EU countries.

The same entry regulations and packaging apply to Australia as the USA. If you would like to contact me directly, I will be happy to supply the cosmetic. The price will be the same as in Canada (CDN$23.00 per item. Samples can be sent for 50 cents per sample plus shipping. If I’ve learned anything from selling my book, it is that shipping by air to AU is the better choice. For the book, Air Mail is the same as the price of the book itself. Let’s hope makeup will be less. We won’t know till we try.)

It is not approved for Russia.

My personal policy is of no returns unless packaging or product is defective. We are not Revlon or Wal-Mart, who serve their purpose admirably for anyone who prefers $6 blush that can be returned when you could not try it first, you took your best guess, and the colour was not right.


Numbers indicate the closest match in the True Colour Australia Classic palette books.

Note that some colours may yet move to other Seasons, once we gather more experience with how they work on various women. As with any makeup, buy nothing until you try it.


Soft Summer

Delicacy (Pearlized Creme) (5.4-5.5) (deep soft rose red, a warm SSu and may be good SA red)

Red Heat (Pearlized Creme) (6.4) (warmest and lightest of the three, a natural lip colour)

Barry (Pearl Creme) (6.4-7.4) (muted cool berry with silver sheen)


Light Summer

Perfection (Pearlized Creme)  (6.2) (mid-light coral pink with silver sheen)

Del Rio Rose (Matte) (7.3-7.4) (barely-coral strong petal pink, at the max saturation for the Season)

Flowergirl (High Gloss) (6.3) (may be a good red for cool LSp also) (beautiful natural lip-pink, an MLBB)


True Summer

Supreme (Creme) (2.9, bit redder and more saturated) (lavender violet)

Centre Stage (Matte) (not in the fan, deep rose petal pink, hoping it will read as watermelon)

Transcending (High gloss) (7.3) (Summer’s sheer coral pink)


Light Spring

Allure (between 7.2 and 2.7) (ethereal light coral pink with soft sheen, may look too white if lip pigmentation is strong)

Daydream (Creme) (7.3 – 7.4) (gentle orange)


True Spring

Hawaiian Red (High Gloss) (6.4) (bright nectarine red-orange, for some True Spring, “the best red she’s ever worn”)

Honey Mandarin (High Gloss) (7.1) (clear melon orange, lovely everyday colour)

Orange Crush (Pearl Creme) (almost 7.2) (might be a light option for TA also) (clear, slightly coppered orange)


Bright Spring

Peony (Extreme Shine) (7.5 but lighter) (bright, warm, lively coral pink)

Superstar (Matte) (2.9) (deceptively warm bright pink)

Hula Hoop (Matte) (6.5) (saturated clear red orange)


Dark Winter

True Story (Matte) (6.2) (full coverage dark warm red, cooler and darker than DA’s Red Hollyhock)

Cherry Brandy (Matte) (coolest darkest on Sci/ART fan, 5.5 but cooler) (cranberry red, may work on all Winters)

Russian (all W) (Creme) (5.1-6.1) (cool coral red, looks more orange indoors, warm pink-red in daylight, nice coral for DW)

True Brit (Creme), between 6.2 and 6.3 (slightly smoked true red, a.k.a. the red that melds with Christine’s face)

Blackberry (Creme) (6.4) (red-violet for DW, moderately dark)


True Winter

Darling Pink (High Gloss) (3.9) (beautiful clear violet-fuchsia pink)

For darker red-violet, try Cherry Brandy from the Dark Winter list.

Have Mercy (Creme) (4.8 – 4.9) (purpley pomegranate)


Bright Winter

Red Amaryllis (Creme) (6.4) (bright pink red)

Violet Cerise (Matte) (6.2-6.3) (for a cautious BW or a LSu) (barely softened pink-red, similar to LSu’s DelRioRose but bluer)

Scintillate (Creme) (6.2) (clear vivid fuchsia pink)

Marilyn (Matte) (BW 5.2) (vivid red coral, can work as a red on Bright Spring)


Dark Autumn

Volcano (Pearlized Creme) (bit lighter than 2.8) (easy and natural lip colour for DA, warm red brown with copper pearl)

Smudge (High Gloss) (for all A, about 3.8 in TA book, could be good dark on SA 3.9-3.10) (sheer and build-able warm brick red)

Red Hollyhock (Creme) (bit cooler than 2.7, bright red-orange on me, could try also on TA) (warm soft red)

The Same Soul (Creme) (7.4) (spicy dark russet)


True Autumn

Flame (Pearl Creme) (3.7-3.8, quite metallic) (pearly red-brown, can appear red/copper/brown with movement and light)

Carnelian (Creme) (7.3 in DA book, could do both) (the darkest one, rich warm russet red)

Grown Up (Creme) (might do both TA (more sat than 2.7) and Tsp (7.4)) (rich coral red-brown, lighter than Flame and Carnelian)

Copper Sunset (Pearl Creme) (TA 2.7, warm flesh-tone nude, possibly for warm SA also) (coppery rich mid-terracotta)


Soft Autumn

Gorgeous (Creme) (2.8) (pearlescent mocha rose)

Fascination (Pearl Creme) (SA 2.7) (gingered apricot with golden sheen)



Soft Summer

ADDING after more samples viewed.


Light Summer

Orchidee (6.3) (pink with coral-peach added, fine gold shimmer)


True Summer

Watered Silk  (TSu 2.7)  (medium pink for TSu; a nice light option for TW who doesn’t want red)

Angel Wings (TSu 7.1) (soft, cool, light pink to lighten any Summer colour, workable alone on TSu and LSu, and to adjust all Winter and Summer colours; visible medium silver shimmer)

ADDING Blue Fuchsia (approx. TSu 2.8-2.9/ TW 4.8) (excellent mixed with Angel Wings to create True Summer fuchsia in a watercolour effect) 


Light Spring

Unsung (7.3-7.4) (pretty apricot pink)


True Spring

Expert (7.4) (ripe cantaloupe)


Bright Spring

This One Day (7.4-7.5) (bright warm coral)


Dark Winter

Bulgarian Rose (6.4) (smoked deep berry)


True Winter

Crystal Apple (4.5, a bit bluer and clearer) (will work alone or mixed with a TSu option)

ADDING Blue Fuchsia (see under True Summer) (with Watered Silk to make TW blue-pink, and to create red-violet with TW’s Crystal Apple)

Fast Track (TW 4.7) (red pink, and makes redder mixtures than Blue Fuchsia which is cooler and a bit darker)


Bright Winter

Enchantment (6.3-6.4) (Bright Winter clear red, lovely alone or swirled with a wash of Pink Boost)


Dark Autumn

Baha (bit cooler than DA 7.3) (warm red rust, enough red to work as a warm DW option on some, maybe)


True Autumn

ADDING, will have to order a few singles, choose the best, and then place a larger order. Will KYP.


Soft Autumn



Various to brighten and add cool or warm.

Pink Boost(TW 3.8) (candy pink to lighten and energize BW, TW, and BSp)

Blood Orange (very vivid red-orange)



Jorunn Hernes, Norway. At Fargeporten.

Johanna Jarvinen, Finland. At Flow With Nature.

Margareta Palmquish-Whyte, Sweden.

Rachel Nachmias, Philadelphia. At Best Dressed.

Katherine Schlagal Bullock, San Antonio. Email to (Katherine’s intro post will appear within two weeks, with a business set to launch in June.)

Leslie Chatzinoff, New York. At Colour Essence NYC.

Lisa Kelly, Ottawa, Ontario. Email to

Shahna McNally, Edmonton, Alberta. At U In Colour.

Heather Noakes, California. At Moda In Color.

Cate Linden, Kentucky. At Cate Linden Chromatics.

Christine Scaman, Chatham, Ontario. Here at 12 Blueprints. Email to



Soft Summer Lipsticks
Soft Summer Lipsticks


Light Summer Lipstick and Blush
Light Summer Lipstick and Blush

True Summer Lipstick and Blush
True Summer Lipstick and Blush

Dark Winter Lip&Blush
Dark Winter Lip&Blush

Bright Winter Lipstick and Blush
Bright Winter Lipstick and Blush (DW Blush visible at L margin)

True Winter Lipstick and Blush
True Winter Lipstick and Blush


Bright Spring Lip&Blush
Bright Spring Lip&Blush


Dark Autumn Lipstick and Blush
Dark Autumn Lipstick and Blush

True Autumn Lipstick
True Autumn Lipstick

This image will be replaced once a better one is made. I leave it here for now to give you a sense of darkness levels. The real colours are far warmer, very much warm rusts and corals.

Soft Autumn Lipsticks
Soft Autumn Lipsticks

True Spring Lipstick and Blush
True Spring Lipstick and Blush

The Featured Image wrapped around the title is a section of wall art available for sale at The Dunes Restaurant and Gift Shop near Brackley Beach, Prince Edward Island.



Colour Analysis for Brand Creation

This branding colour quiz advised me to use pink as the main colour for my business/website/logo.

Which pink?

Every pink? Any pink?

Pink and what else?

The answer is so easy, it’s scary. One of the pinks in you, of course! A human being is already a brand, with an inherent visual design of lines and colours. For Brand U to become Brand Inc. is a simple extension of what we already are.

This matters. People will create and associate images with colours on our websites just as much as our personal apparel. When you are your business, people see and hear your product every time you walk in a room. They buy your story almost instantly when all the inputs are perfectly lined up.

For a corporation, let the meaning of the product guide the branding. For a solo business, it is simply not enough to say “Red means this…” and “Blue means that….”. Which of the million reds do you pick?

When the business is U, what U believe in and talk about, what U look like, what U deliver, the colours that speak for U can’t be any red or orange. They should be Ur red and orange. If there ever were anything that should be so 100% U, it should be Ur brand.


 Christine and Tracy, Vancouver Beach, December 2014

We took a week in Vancouver back in December to help my friend and financial advisor, Tracy Theemes, brand a new company. Tracy is the co-owner of Sophia Financial with Kamal Basra. Many of you know Tracy from an earlier post, Personal Colour Analyst as Successful Career.

Among the great offerings of colour analysis is a menu of 60+ colours that required huge expertise in colour harmony to assemble, dropped right into your hands. Every colour is balanced with every other. The combinations are so innovative and personally guided that nobody can figure out the formula. Nice trick to have up your sleeve. The fact that it all lives in you to begin with is the fairy dust.

From Bev Pomeroy, who coordinated the design of the new site:

I used the color analysis and the descriptive language that came along with it for Tracy’s website and the first iteration from the web designer was remarkably close to what Tracy was looking for.  I am finding it super interesting to see how your color analysis methods translate into a person’s brand design and brand inc.  And I am curious how others may be able to leverage the same method.

Would you be able to explain to me how a client would go through the process of having their color analysis from you or someone within your team?  I think we can use it as a brand creation tool with a lot of success.

I also think you could market your company more as brand/image consultancy versus color analysis / fashion / make up support.  I see how it has enhanced every aspect of Tracy’s business development.  It could do that for so many women business owners.

As you know, people are now trying to find their true self, being more holistic, organic…and what better way to market 12 Blueprints than by marketing it as a holistic, organic approach to becoming your true and natural brand?  It can be integrated into someone’s offline world in the form of clothing, makeup, hair and we have just demo’d with Tracy, 12 Blueprints color analysis can also be integrated into someone’s online world…from logo design, web design and even the energy/essence someone evokes with their online persona through video, FB, social media etc.

Bev Pomeroy

YWCA Vancouver Women of Distinction Award Winner 2011 (Innovation and Technology)

Vancouver’s Top 40 Under Forty Winner 2009

Stevie Award Top Canadian Entrepreneur Finalist 2009


The video below is also here at YouTube.

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman information is here.

Lisa Eldridge’s facial massage video is here on YouTube.

I am weaving back and forth because I am cold. I was telling Tracy how the continuous cold has caused me to give up. Just plain give up, sit inside hoping for heat, wearing my snow pants in the house, and watching  Netflix. To which she replied, “Germination takes many forms.” See, now that’s what I call a friend.

So I change into warmer clothes to consider meaning in appearance. The video is also here at YouTube.

You can find Sacred Contracts by Carolyn Myss here at the iTunes store (and lots of other places).

I neglected to mention a great book on archetypes and branding, The Hero and The Outlaw, by Mark and Pearson, here at

Your website colours come from inside you. How you use them is where the advice comes in. Smashing Magazine is always awesome on site design. This post on colour theory for web designers is a good  and well illustrated tutorial.



28 Clues That Our Look Wanted An Upgrade

Announcements before we begin

1. Please notice the updating column on the left. Colour Analyst training course dates are posted for 2015. These dates are moderately adjustable, within a few days at the most. Adding more courses is possible but not likely, one reason being that there are just over 10 sets of Test Drapes available for 2015, to divide between my students and Terry’s (Terry’s course info is on her website at Your Natural Design).  They will be reserved for students with confirmed course bookings, first deposit, first drapes. I do not guarantee any more Test drapes this year, nor do I discount the possibility.

2. After many requests, Toronto is getting an opportunity for high level colour analysis. Lisa Kelly will bring her Ottawa-based business to To. for a few days, Luxury drapes and all. Dates and contact under Colour Travels.

3. Also under Colour Travels, Heather Noakes has added many dates and destinations for PCA appointments.

4. Re: my trip to Vancouver to train and see PCA appointments. Unfortunately, the location did not work out. However, the interest in teaching, modelling, and private PCA sessions was significantly higher than I anticipated. This says to me that somewhere in the future, I must make this happen. It won’t be in May, but hopefully within the next year. Please do send an email if you’re interested. It will go in my Van. file and I’ll be in touch once something is confirmed.



OK. Business out the way. Let’s start. This post was fun, funny, and easy to put together.

As every woman who has given birth knows, there is something about reliving traumatic moments that helps us to heal. Psychologists, past life regressions, dream therapy, and so importantly, professional parties, all offer us opportunities to revisit the difficult times instead of suppressing them till they morph into some other undesirable thing.

Colour analysts are regular women too. We look back at our pre-colour-analyzed selves with the same incredulity, the same, “What was I thinking??” that our clients do. Maybe the traumatic part is looking back and wondering how in all the world we missed these clues.

We thought we would share with you a compilation of our favourite personal stories and memories. That way, if one day, you can come to one of our parties, and we hope you do, you will already be in on the jokes when we retell our own stories yet again.

To this day, about myself, I try to imagine what image, information, or influence could have brought the upgrade at 25 instead of 45. High on the list of Top 3 Comments Colour Analysts Hear is, “If only I had known sooner.” When I write Confessions of a Colour Analyst, I’ll put that list in the Appendix.

From me, Jorunn in Norway, Margareta in Sweden, Johanna in Finland, Ksenia in Moscow, Sharon in Texas, and Lisa Kelly (email to in Ottawa. (For contact info for Ksenia, email me to For Margareta’s contact, email Terry at

What does it say when 6 women came up with 25+ ideas with less than 10 minutes thinking? That common things are common, for one.



What We Missed

1. You go into the bathroom to apply makeup. When you come out 30 minutes later, you are asked, “Why do you do all that? You don’t look one bit different.”

2. Your photos remind people of movie stars of the 80s and 90s. 
Angie Dickinson, for instance.

3. To our recollection, no words had been said about how healthy we look in the past year. Or ever.

4. Come to think of it, your hairstylist did choose that colour.

5. You and more than one of your friends use the same cosmetic colour. Any cosmetic. Or, you and your under-20 daughter share more than one cosmetic colour or application technique.

6. We were 99% sure our foundation or hair colour was the best choice. Turns out that seed of doubt was a good thing. It gave us room to move.



7. It crossed my mind that I wanted the next 10 years to look different from the last 10. What in the world I could do to make that happen was nowhere to be found. This is similar to, I go into the makeup store with money in my pocket, stare at aisle after aisle of cosmetics, and have no idea what to buy. My conclusion: The old ways don’t work anymore. It’s time for something new. But what????

8. It strikes you that Bill Gates with silver hair looks sexier than he ever has. We knew he had it in him. And if he can do it, oh boy, so can we.

9. Black liquid eyeliner.

10. Your clothes don’t generally make you happy or feel good, they are just items to wear. You figure that for some people, that is the way it is. Some people must be meant to put their energy into other things than clothes. (Happy ending: Then you discover that there are clothes that feel like they were made just to be on you.)

11. Naming any of your lipsticks Pablum would be a fair representation of their colour.



12. Our blush, lipstick, and the reds in our clothes are totally different. They could never have grown on the same tree.

13. You have given up on makeup altogether. Though you say it is because you believe in the natural look, it is really because you are are unable to find anything you like on you.

14. When asked about your look, you say, “I don’t have A look. I just look.” Either we had no Look or it was a magazine-driven Look. (The happy ending is always within reach:  We knew about connecting elements of an outfit together. The next level was learning to connect them to us.)

15. Your husband is better at buying clothes that get positive responses, or any reaction at all, than you are. He actually offers child-minding time for you to go out and buy something. If you had your choice, you would wear a Skidoo suit.



16. You constantly get complimented on just one part of your makeup, the eyes, the lipstick, the brows.

17. You have 5 or more eyeshadows, pencils, or lipsticks that are the exact same color.

‬ This one applied to several of us.

18. I wear the same makeup for every occasion and with every piece of clothing.
 And have done so for as long as I can recall.

19. I had been continuously hunting on eBay for a certain product that had been discontinued years ago just because I could not do without it.‬



20. You have your makeup bag full of nearly-same lipstick colours. Between 5 and 10 of them rattle at the bottom of your purse all the time. Not one of them makes you smile at yourself in the mirror.

21. When you choose foundation or bronzer to give a warm glow or because everyone around you does, conformity having the gravitational pull of a singularity.

22. When after years of trying, I still cannot find a single coral lipstick that suits me. (Happy ending: I can stop looking. Turns out it was plum all along.)

23. When people can’t stop looking at your flamboyant hair colour, next to which your face looks like blancmange, and you never bother wearing makeup because it looks unnatural, and anyway, your hair is the only thing you care about.



24. I saw warm, earthy, rustic colours as ‘natural’ and insisted that they look good on me, on everyone, because of that.

25. I worried that wearing more colour looks too young….so I wore less. Alternatively, you wear less makeup now that you’re older so nobody thinks you’re trying too hard, but when you look at yourself, you feel tired. The question I wanted somebody to answer: How does a woman know her just-right face?

26. You haven’t been shopping in 15 years because you’re waiting till you lose weight. Or, you are buying only the cheapest stuff because who cares what you wear when you’re overweight? Even though you see women your size or bigger looking great, it doesn’t change your attitude. (With a happy ending: Since having discovered my colors, everything has changed. Believe me, I shop. )

27. Besides black, there is no colour I felt calm and comfortable in, let alone good or gorgeous.

28. I was unrecognizable from my photos as a 25 year old.



What We Learned

We never had to be perfect. We still don’t. Sacrificing the better, the good, or the great in the name of the perfect is self-sabotage.

We need to give ourselves time to learn anything  new, even about ourselves. Learning done right is a journey that never ends, whether our PCA was a week, a year, or a decade ago.

There is no rule about PCA that says we have to feel trapped in doing it All Day, Every Day. Failure simply does not exist. Every woman can look gorgeous when she wants to look gorgeous. And she can do it on her terms.



Many thanks to my sister, Sonja, for the photographs. These images were taken at Windhorse Farm, an incredibly beautiful natural setting in Nova Scotia, Canada. A summer camp for kids to explore, learn, and connect with Nature takes place here, at Sunshine House.

Nature Connections Camp_2015



Dark Winter Landscapes

The days might be gettin’ longer but the snow’s a’gettin higher. Updating you on the ongoing saga of the recliners on the lawn:


My world looks like the surface of the next planet out. A good time to write about Winter.


Fair Warning

Not one word on this website, about personality or anything else, applies to every member of any group. Not even half, and character least of all.

As we know, I have tremendous respect for Bernice Kentner, founder of Color Me a Season. Back in the 80s, this is the person who I think had colour analysis well figured out, given the colour technology of the age. In her writing, she has apologized for sounding hard on Autumn personalities. Allow me to channel a hero and apologize for how I portray Winter.

Photo: Krappweis
Photo: Krappweis

Dark Season does not mean dark everything. If it snowed last night, it is probably not Autumn.

A Winter Overview

Let me tell you something about us Winters: We are more fragile than we look. Everyone else is as fragile as they look, or less. That’s the difference, you see.

The strategy that I learned from Summers about managing Winters and coming through intact: Let’em win. They calm right down.

Another thing I learned from Summers. How to smile patiently and politely despite not believing a word you are hearing. A little glaze in the eyes helps put the scene behind a screen, in a box. How worked up can you get over what is on a TV? So when you let the Winter win, plant a Summer smile on your face and invoke what my kids say, at once meaningful and meaningless: “I dunno. It’s like whatever, right?”

Who cares who wins, except the Winter? And they do care. At least the conversation will be over and you get to move on. Winters lack the contentment of Summers, the short attention span of Springs, and the ability to get busy of Autumns, none of whom are hauling Winter’s Worry Buggy behind them. Winter women worry. The men, not so much.

Careful though, when you wear that Summer smile, or get bored with drama and wander away like a Spring, or go back to your To Do list like an Autumn. A Winter is a clever creature. They can feel when you’re playing games or not engaging.

Photo: nazreth
Photo: nazreth

Some beautiful neutral colours in this image.

I have at times wondered if the Neutral Seasons align more closely with their neighbour Neutral but cannot see it that way. The strong Neutral blends of a True Season are closer in almost every way to the parent Season than the other Neutral. Dark Winter is nearer True Winter than it is to Dark Autumn, even the warm or muted ones.

About the Winter colouring in general,

Even the most neighbourly Winter (does that even happen?) can block a part of themselves off and never let you near it. Cozy and casual never seem to apply. Some of this person is remote and not easily reached. They will let you see what they want under their control.

We are all a balance of positive and negative. We need our vulnerabilities as much as our strengths. Our constructive emotions are the flip side of our destructive ones. They are of equal importance. Winter just happens to draw from the far ends of the branches.

Red-violet is the core and undertone colour of this person. Red wavelengths are way at the bottom of the spectral range of human vision. Red feels hot, heavy, dense, and solid, the Root Chakra, our connection with Earth. Violet is way at the high end, our connection to pure energy, the Crown Chakra. Violet is near weightless, the cosmic colour of spirituality that can be our link to the divine.

Winter’s gray scale reaches fully, or microns away, from pitch and pure, black and white at the extremes of human light and dark vision. The archetypical associations with colours – the Mystery, Chaos, and Death of black together with the Purity, Peace, and Rebirth of white.

Now, I ask you. What hope does this soul have of being balanced?

Photo: Rapunzel55
Photo: Rapunzel55

The little bit of heat is very important in any cool-neutral Season. The image loses power if the beak is lemon or ice yellow. Beautiful browns and whites. Still not playing games.

Winter is a Season of extreme opposition. I can appear motionless on the outside, frozen equanimity. The inside is being scrubbed with a bottlebrush. Ask my significant other.

As steady as they might appear, the inside is on the way up or on the way down at warp speed.

I love you, I hate you.

I am so mad that it is perfectly reasonable for me to gut you and leave you bleeding. Five minutes pass. Wanna go shopping?

Rabid anger and the depths of despair. Either your suggestion is perfect or nothing about it is right, not one single thing. I’m gonna make you pay. If I’m going down, I’m taking you with me.

Drama. You are 100% on my side and support every word I say or you are letting me down, you said you were behind me, now what am I supposed to do???????

What, you still like me? The relief! The joy! Wanna go shopping?

Reactive? One comment and we’re off the handle, the emails are flying. Have you seen the T-shirt? Anxiety Girl! Able to jump to the worst conclusion in a single bound. Winter is calmer when they have (imaginary, of course) control over the future.

The deepest thinkers and the biggest babies.

They say Winters have natural glamour. I disagree that they start with more than anybody else. Unless colouring or lines are piercing in darkness or sharpness, Winter gets out of bed with an everyday face, moving to a shocking level of contrast, colour, and intensity once the makeup is on. The biggest transformations. The more they wear (in their own colours of course, is that not why we’re here?), the better they look.

Every single Winter is this way? No!! Some are so soft spoken, you can barely hear them. Some joke and laugh, love everybody and everyone loves them, able to get along with anybody. These are often married to Seasons other than Winter.

Photo: malina
Photo: malina

A touch of rustic matters to Dark Winter, not to the point that water melts. That scarf could be one heck of a lipstick, warm side.

Winter is said to be analytic and dissecting because that’s how it comes out of their mouth. Where it begins is usually more intuitive. They are internally guided. As analytically painful and scrutinizing as they can be, this person runs on instinct, which is why they don’t believe anybody as much as themselves. Their gut tells them not to.

They can be self-important, preferring a moment in the spotlight to discretion or the annoying distraction of what it feels like to be the other guy. Consequences? Who cares? Whether their behaviour causes others to get along with them, to go away, push back in exhaustion, or push back in anger, it doesn’t really matter. Take your pick. Flip a coin.

Summers are concerned with making the world better. They will listen and adapt in as many gray zones as it takes, if it means peace all around. You can say something negative and they say, “Oh, how interesting, let me think about that.”

Critique a Winter. Watch the sound and lights. The world is Right and Wrong. Good and Evil. They attack because they feel they’ve been attacked.

Summer is usually calming to be around. They can be ornery or prickly, especially the Softs, and even that is not common at all. Spring will follow negativity with a joke. Autumn is biking or baking. They never feel fierce. You don’t feel a need to protect yourself.

Among my more exciting emails are the ones that tear me to shreds, sent by a woman insisting that she is a Summer. It would be rare as a hornless unicorn for a Summer to ever send such a letter. I hear about the big stirs in the colour groups. Will you all send me a dollar if I guess the main Season of the mastermind?


Photo: FurLined
Photo: FurLined

When one thing means everything, you have entered the Winter realm. One colour. One shape. One reaction. One emotion. Still a natural picture, this is One Tree, not One Ferris Wheel.

Photo: ingras
Photo: ingras

Warmer and busier. More Autumn. The repetitive element of marching along and visual near/far feels like Autumn energy to me. The solid vertical lines feel like Winter, not by any logical process. The  image is about the many, not The One. 

Structured around a reader’s Q&A to keep me on track:

How does a Dark Winter energy differ from a Dark Autumn?

Dark Autumn is more relaxing to be with. Even the Yangest Gamine will be inviting you into her home, feeding you, baking cookies while she visits. She might have some mighty snappy comments, which she will balance with funny faces and voices.

Autumns are not intentionally cruel. Like Doberman dogs, they are smart, sensible, and calm. Armed, yes, dangerous, yes, and willing to deploy, but only with fair provocation. As the Seasons add red (Winter), the oppositions become more extreme. Red signifies both love and rage, bleeding and healing.

Winter can be intentionally cruel. Not in the name of cruelty, more like “I’ll show them how it feels.” What drives them is fairness. You did this to me, I will do it to you. It’s only fair. The knife goes in and gets an extra twist and you know it and I know it. I have spent 55 years being it.

And yet, they live the Golden Rule. That whole Do Unto Others, it’s kind of meaningless except for the big stuff, you know? Best to unlearn it. If I treated others the way I want to be treated, I would get hate mail. Except for the big stuff, as I said. Took me a long time to stop assuming that others want what I want.

Photo: rolve
Photo: rolve

Rich red and warm black. As good as it gets on this colouring.

Bonus tip for Getting Along With Winter: Flatter them. Winter is a proud entity. Start every conversation in this way. It will be heard as respect. They will be on your side from the start. The outcome will bias in your favour. Others will wonder how you did it.


How does Dark Winter differ from what applies to every Winter?

Every Neutral Season is a mix of seemingly impossible opposites. The Light Seasons combine the energetic forward movement of Spring (yellow) with the introspective, receding contemplation of Summer (blue). Light Summer is in the world to share the indescribable sparkle of life in its most delicate earthly form. Light Spring somehow elevates the sparkle of life to a place of transcendence, and yet the colours move towards us even more as the yellow infusion rises.

Dark Winter is a mixture of earth and history (Autumn) and candy and the future (Winter). Not only is the person complicated, so is dyeing clothes in the colours apparently. Finding truly Dark Winter clothing besides black and burgundy is not so easy. She is dressing as a True Winter much of the time. Cosmetics are pretty easy for her so she can balance things out.

Dark Winter develops Autumn’s productivity gene to Ruthless Productivity. She is getting it done, whatever it takes. Some are more caught up in their looks than others but when there’s a job they want done, it moves up to #1, never mind about the lipstick.


How would you feel in the presence of a Dark Winter? 

Me myself? Kind of like when people from the same town meet in faraway airports. There’s recognition for sure. I get where their head is, what is likely to motivate them, and what I don’t have to pretend to be. The conversation starts up as between people who have met a few times. The groundwork has been laid. I can be who I am without feeling that I need to soften anything or make space for anything. I like working with Dark Winter because our level of focus, intensity, and speed are about the same.

How do others feel in the presence of Dark Winter? I couldn’t say :)

Imposing sometimes. A woman I know, E, is around 65. Swirling, thick, shoulder-length, iron gray hair pinned back, striking facial geometry, cherry chocolate lips, the most refined character. Even silent, she might as well be the only person in the room so magnetic is her personal power. Hand her a scepter, balance a big crown on her head, and the picture is ready to take. In the past, I compared Dark Winter to the Tzarina with E. in my mind’s eye.

Easy and undemanding at times. Another woman I love, L. An optimistic Winter, she doesn’t think of every reason why something won’t work. She loves to laugh, is socially relaxed, and is not married to a Winter.

Kindness personified in some people. M. is a Winter who acts like a Summer. Her soul radiates faith, love, patience, and empathy.


Is there an energetic difference between a Dark Winter who leans toward Dark Autumn and a Dark Winter who leans toward True Winter?

Yes. Getting subtle now. The Autumn one goes better with the flow. As even as Winter looks on the surface, there is a storm beneath. Stuff gets to them. They worry, they store it, they obsess, they can make molehills into mountains. The more Winter, the less “Meh.”

Autumn has a high level of physical energy. She can live in her own world as Winter does, but without all the intensity, though Dark Autumn can be getting up there. As a dear and respected colleague said of Autumn, “They sure do get shit done.”


What kind of careers would put a Dark Winter in their element?

I’m not able to answer this because of much variability not related to colouring. With the capacity to lead and produce coupled to the unparalleled ability to get in their own way that Winter has, she can do absolutely anything or absolutely nothing.


Are there certain facial features unique to, or commonly seen in Dark Winters?

With every colouring, there are two or three that are seen often. The Sandra Bullock/Jackie Onassis/Ellen Page/Selena Gomez/Bianca Jagger pattern of strong jaws and a dark overall look is very common, but there are many others.

There is a certain face of a dialed-up Autumn with a sharper intensity in a background that feels medium. IDK any celebrities. Maybe she looks like me in certain ways.

Sometimes long faces, perky or baby faces…the same variability as in other Seasons.


Is there a song or kind of music that captures the essence of Dark Winter energy?

In the spirit of being to opposite to what we are trying so hard to prove about ourselves, perhaps the song speaks of learning to release, to neither force nor struggle, of an abandon she can only dream of.

Nobody is an island though Dark Winter thinks she might be happier that way. A little Autumn grit in a song about the humanity we all share. Put your money down. You bet she can get shit done. Just not alone.



What kind of dance captures the essence of how a Dark Winter moves through life?

For the life of me, I am not seeing anything. Could it be that they don’t dance? Workaholic that I am, all my dancing happens at my computer. I meditate about releasing and relaxing but am not capable of it.


Does Dark Winter come at the beginning of the winter season or the end?

At the beginning. It is the transition from Autumn. Seasons don’t flow from Winter to Autumn in Nature.

If we detach the symbolic associations, which I can hardly deny are strong for me,  the illumination of objects by light and the portion of colour space occupied by Dark Winter are continuums that flow in both directions.

Colour is simply a relationship. No, colour is a wavelength. Our perception of the wavelength is via relationships. Our perception of anything visual is simply a relationship called contrast. Humans do not see white writing on white backgrounds.


What is Dark Winter’s gift? What is it here to contribute to the world?

Focus. Once she locks on to a target, spacetime folds a little tighter.

A Soft Autumn can have a strength of purpose that beats anybody. What Dark Winter tends to have more is the ability to exclude everything else from her radar. It’s like asking any member of the staff at Sephora to match a lipstick colour for you. Off they go, like heat-seeking missiles, till they have it. Don’t interrupt them while they search. Their aim is not to nurture, it is to achieve.


Is a Dark Winter just darkness personified or is that darkness a safe place to nurture and bring forth the light within others, within the self and from within the earth?

Wow, now that’s my kind of question.

Defining what darkness is in the first place is not so easy. Media, folklore, and even art, have attached all sorts of myths to darkness, as has the history of PCA. Children instinctively seem to make the bad guy dark – or is that learned? Is fear of the dark learned? Seems it would be instinctive at least in part. Take one look at the wolf and the moon image higher up.

All that the Dark Seasons do at the end of the day is make darkness visually normal, appearing as it really is, not blacker or duller. The associations that made darkness into something more fall away. Darkness is just darkness, a normal variant of pigment on this planet, of light and life on Earth.

Small shifts towards darkness are absorbed, not amplified, with no particular upper limit. The reverse is true of the Light Seasons, where small shifts towards darkness are magnified into something that needs managing. With a Soft, small shifts towards higher saturation looks bigger than they would on anybody else, which is why their muted colour can appear so full of life and energy on them. With a True cool colouring, the smallest movement towards more heat and they appear totally altered, distorted, and slightly insane. True cool colouring deals with warmth differently.


What kind of clothing does a Dark Winter tend to favor? I know there could be any variety of archetypes within the season, but for instance, you mentioned that True Autumns prefer simple, practical clothing so they can focus on what needs to be done. Is there a similar generality about Dark Winters?

Simplicity is true of many Winters. They hate to be wrong with a capital H. Since they can be sure of black, it becomes the uniform.

As I learn more about Image Archetype (IA), I see people drawing as much authentic self-expression from that inner knowledge as colour. If she knows her IA, she will dress accordingly. Those who are magnificent in a lot of decoration are still that way.

Certain Season adjustments probably apply to all IAs, for instance the use of more graphic, abstract florals and symmetry than a Spring of the same IA would be most attractive in.

If she is not aware of her innate shapes and lines, Dark Winter is no different from anyone else. Her clothing choices will be influenced by what is in her life.


What kind of jewelry captures the essence of a Dark Winter, regardless of archetype?

Strong, rich colour of a deep reflectivity. When other colour systems called this colouring Deep Winter, it wasn’t an accident. Autumn has a richness of colour that is greatly defined by being profound. When you see an Autumn eye in correct colour, the impression is of a kaleidoscopic tunnel that you could travel down forever.

Winter cools the stones, cools the setting more, and adds shine.

In which jewelry box does it live?

Photo: ams9w3
Photo: ams9w3


Photo: obdg

What kind of flower, bird, animal, tree has Dark Winter energy?

Flower flower flower…it is red. Dark Winter is outstanding in red. Not roses entirely, needs more substance. Some aspects of poinsettia but not quite, maybe if the pot is in a silver and gold wrapper. Quite possibly a lily of some sort, dark red with a golden throat. Single and strong without the lushness of Amaryllis. That sort of hedonism lives on the Spring side. Maybe like this.

The eagle or hawk. Locked on to a target.

The wolf. The panther. Is there such a thing as a friendly Grim? From my veterinary days, people are far more afraid of black dogs than any other, even taking precedence over breed (except perhaps Newfoundland dogs that are judged by all to be much more friendly than they necessarily are). The mythology of black.

A tree. Never thought about a tree. Wait, yes, I have. A Christmas tree. Sticking with that. An evergreen, nighttime, jeweled ornaments, a resinous scent.

Photo: mommytoo
Photo: mommytoo

A log cabin that definitely has electricity, coloured foil, and plastic-wrapped candy.

Photo: lhmeetme
Photo: lhmeetme

While other Dark Winters are going this way, less tree, more candy.

I don’t know if you did a post on the Dark Winter child or not, but if not I’d also like to know how that child differs from children of other seasons.

It varies enormously with the child, the strength of the family imprint, the siblings, and so on. Children are not defined enough, even if they have settled into their colouring early. Mine were their Seasons when they were 5 years old but the characters were still changing a lot till they were about 14.

My guess is that this is about average. Winters change enormously in colouring and character in adolescence, and even sometimes in early adulthood.



Signature/STYLE Issue 3: Practical Shoes and Heels

Rachel and I will release the next issue of the newsletter (what newsletter? see the Signature/STYLE image and link, top of the right column on this page)  on Friday February 6/15.

As before, please watch your Spam folders on Friday of this week. The many links in the issue will send it there unless you have set your Mail system’s permissions and preferences otherwise.

You know from shopping anywhere that items sell out fast. Very often, and more so with shoes, the same item will be carried by many retailers. Type the item name into a search engine to find it at another store.

Two very great things are coming your way in this issue.

Photo: AMA90
Photo: AMA90


Great Thing 1: More Shoes!

A woman who knows her colours and lines is an empowered decision-maker when it comes to shopping. At her level of sophistication and understanding of herself, she has defined, or is in the process of defining, her position inside the widely encompassing patterns of Season and Image Archetype (IA).

When we shop for you, we bring you with us. All of you. The many expressions of each Season and Archetype are in our consciousness. We know who we are dressing, often having a particular woman and her unique brand of beauty in mind.

Because we want to offer you every possible choice and resource for who you are, we sometimes have trouble choosing which items to show to represent the variations within each of the 12 Seasons and 10 Archetypes combinations.

The other reason that we deliberate over which items to include is that depending on the time of year, the Season or IA, or the type of garment, we can feel overwhelmed with beautiful choices. For this issue, we decided to show you many more of the gorgeous shoes we found. As in 5 to 10 more colours and styles for each Archetype within a Season.

They are presented as the Catalogs you saw back in the Yellows for 12 Seasons post. The links are provided in the newsletters. The beauty of this is twofold. First, the images link directly to the retailers to streamline your shopping time. These Catalogs, I tell you, they make our job and yours easy.

Second, all the IAs for each Season are together in one Catalog. The notes identify the Season and IA, giving you access to the subtleties by comparison.

Not only that, you will access a second Catalog showing you the appearance of the most beautiful high heel for your Archetype. All 10 of them, together in one Catalog. The Heels catalog is divided by style, not colour. Rachel’s notes will be there to explain which heel shape belongs to the Yin or the Yang in the 5 main Archetype categories.

Great Thing 2: Shoe Dreams Can Come True

Photo: Petrone100
Photo: Petrone100

Don’t want to say too much. It is a surprise!!!!!!! So cool, I can barely type.

Imagine if you could build your very own gorgeous shoes? In your very own shoe factory, a place loaded with style, colour, and detail options. Rachel built some shoes to show you, that are in the newsletter. I could not believe my eyes when the windows opened.

Now imagine even more. What if the company had upwards of 50 colours and you knew exactly which ones would be beautiful with your Season?

Not done yet. You get to know not only which colours are best for your Season. That would be too limiting for you and for us. You will know which colours fit into all 12 Seasons!!!!

Oh, yes, you will.



PCA and A More Holistic Self

As humans, we are wired to respond to the same sensory advice in the same way. We agree about how yellow, the scent of roses, and the taste of cherries feels. Our responses to the combined input of apparel, alone or in combination with a person, is very similar too. We laugh at Go Fug Yourself because they state the so-obvious-it’s-funny and make analogies we all recognize.

From a Pinterest reader:

You talk about color groups pulling off some styles better than others. When Season and Image Archetypes [for info on IAs, start here] do not go together stereotypically, do you think that some colors and some patterns/fabrics/styles simply don’t ever belong together?  Or has your thinking changed on this since you’ve started thinking more about archetypes, so that you now think of the two issues more separately?

The two issues are separate though it took me awhile to have the trust that it would work in the end until my eyes had experienced it enough. For the IA, I pretend they’re on a B&W TV, which helps when the Season and IA send out different energies.  For instance, I can see the many small triangles in a Gamine face of a True Summer when I am not distracted by colours. When the shapes and Season speak the same language, as in Spring and Gamine, it is almost harder to see where one ends and the other begins. I work from the colours first because they influence the perception of the lines more for me (could be the reverse in other people, not sure), and then I use them to fill in the lines.

At first, I thought there would be conflict in the apparel if Season and IA were untraditional together. There hasn’t been, in the same way that we can expect the PCA of a person of dark complexion and black eyes to be more difficult, but it really isn’t. It’s a Keep Calm and Carry On moment of trusting the process. As long as colour and line are kept to their right formula for the person, the combination always appears to work, at any age.

Given that the stereotypes for Seasons especially are fairly limited, the combinations create a counter-intuitive situation somewhere in most real people. This is especially so because those few Season stereotypes then get spread even further, across 2 extra Neutral Seasons for each True.

The thing to forget about first are the stereotypes. The colours, fabrics, and styles’ ability to work perfectly well together is quite intact. This discovery is a journey that I trust based on massive personal evidence and continue to explore.

The faith we place in stereotypes is amazing. Maybe human thinking patterns tend to like pigeonholes as the easy way out. A similarity might be trying to convince someone from the old days of PCA that brown eyes are not always Winter. YangGamine is an archetype that helps keep me very broad-minded about combinations because some aspect of it needs expansion in my learning every time a new one walks in.

I realize I have not answered the question. About that…

The question is very valid in that some minor adjusting of the tolerances might be in order depending on the combination. A Summer YangGamine is more reasonable in shiny black buttons than a Summer Natural. A Bright Winter Natural will be much more appealing to look at in pebbled leather than a Classic. Actually, we have not left the parameters of these groups.

Though Rachel is the expert in IA, my guess is that we are still within the G and N formulas, where contrast and texture are written into the two codes. A Spring Natural man will wear prints that are more random than a Winter Natural, not because we interpret Natural differently but rather by what their different Seasons bring into the picture.

One difference though is that shopping can be harder when the Season and IA seem to speak a different language. When their energies are similar out of the gate, whether coming from colour or shape, as Summer and Classic, it is easier to find clothing than say, Summer and Gamine or Spring/Dramatic. It seems that whether by human nature, sales patterns, or by embedding of stereotype, manufacturers (if not designers) find it easier to put the most obviously similar forces together.

I also know from experience that shopping gets easier. With the resources available through sites like this one, social platforms like Pinterest, and the worldwide market on the internet, people build their personal shopping destinations.

Part 1

Outside my window:


The back yard, our frozen pond of a swimming pool, the animal tracks. The Featured  image around the post title is the side of the pool with the big barn that stores some of the farm equipment visible over the fence.


I have funny children, who doesn’t? My son and his friend dragged two Lay-Z-Boy (if that’s not how it’s spelled, it should be) armchairs out on the lawn in the summer. There they sat, reclined and talking hockey, like good Canadian men. This is our garden furniture now. Maybe one day, they will be planters. 


In case anyone thinks they recognize themselves in the stories below, it is not so. Each person and story is a fusion of real people and recurring stories. What is absolutely original in every one of my posts are the questions and comments from readers.


This video is also here on YouTube.


Part 2


Back and forth, back and forth, please don’t run over the dog…


One of my daughters derives endless entertainment from taking these skyline pictures of the dog. They have changed little over the years but we still get the photos. 

So there is  what is outside my door, depending on the day. What else can I do? Think some more, this time about where we take our fashion advice.

As an outsider looking in to the image industries, how people are treated seems irrelevant. It becomes about achieving status. No wonder young women are exhausted and cannot figure out why they can’t get ahead.

Because there appears to be only one way to get There, it puts the rest of us in constant fight or flight.

The video below is here at YouTube.



Note: Many past articles that included pictures of real individuals have been taken down. You may find some broken links. The pictures found their way to Pinterest and other places. It is the way of today’s world and explains why such images, despite their enormous value in demonstrating how the Seasons really look,  are posted rarely, if at all.


Colour Analyst Meeting 2015

The date and location have been set for this year’s meeting for the 12 Blueprints and Your Natural Design analyst group.

We will see one another in Grand Rapids, Michigan, from September 24-26, 2015.

The weather should be sunny and warm. Not like what’s outside my windows today…



For those who will fly, use the Gerald R Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids. It is about 20 miles from the hotel and is all expressway. Taxi is roughly $35. Between Terry and I, we may be able to help with driving.


This meeting is happening for you. We are here to help you, speaking for Terry and I and collectively for our group. If you want to learn something, tell us what it is. If you feel some uncertainty but are not sure how to address it, let’s talk about it by email or Skype.

The agenda is still fairly open. We will include several drapings, structured in various ways. Time will also be set aside for in-depth debriefing after each draping,

Other topics include cosmetic colour and application and everything around the Red Drapes. Many analysts have requested a conversation about creating a business structure and developing business opportunities. This will be featured somewhere, possibly as a peer-exchange round table in a relaxed evening session, which I personally look forward to. I love this topic.


Drape Sale

  1. 50% off ($14) drape sale. Since the beginning of drape making almost 2 years ago, changes have come along, including my commitment to more expensive fabrics and more diverse colours (reflected in a higher purchase price than when we began). This has resulted in an accumulation of perfectly good drapes that can be put to great use. If anyone is interested, I can bring them.
  2. Anyone interested in adding to their Luxury sets, or want specific colours in Luxury sets, or who would like to add (not exchange) different colours to their Test Drapes, I am happy to take any requests and have the fabrics available to view. They can be made into drapes once I know how many are wanted. If you could email me privately so I can keep everything organized, would be great.

The Revenue agencies of both the US and Canada require that drapes ship out of Canada (rather than you taking them home with you). I have no choice in this. I will be happy to take your orders and fill them once I’m back in Canada.


What’s Next

We are at an exciting time in our industry. Modern colour analysis is being better defined every day. Improvements in accuracy and service at the single client level are giving us the confidence to find new applications for this most remarkable service. The advent of social media platforms allows us to offer our clients resources more generously than ever before, as we enjoy our shared passion and diversity. So much to talk about.

Looking forward in every possible way, and especially to seeing you in Grand Rapids.



Yellow for 12 Seasons

Colour is what humans use to tell the energy of light. The chemical reaction connects up in our brain and creates certain mood chemicals. We all have a version of this gorgeous happy colour that looks gorgeous and happy next to the colours in our skin. More should wear it more often. Most have a love-hate relationship with it.

*Joan asked:

Yellow is my favorite color, but I’m a True Summer and I’ve never found a shade that didn’t make me look ill.  It would be great if your website could show a photo of a True Summer person wearing the right shade of yellow.

A photo of someone looking great in their yellow is a tall order. It doesn’t happen often on most of our visual resources. I would have to post a picture of a private individual who has been draped, but people prefer to maintain their privacy.

True Summers are hard to find and public ones are all highlighted blonde. Kelli Williams of Lie To Me might be. I pinned her picture on the Season and Style Pinterest board. I also pinned some pictures of British royal women wearing various yellows. Duchess Kate is probably a Soft Summer (Summer colours with a bit of Autumn). The Queen may be a True Summer (certainly has the personality to go with it, the good of the many and so on). Diana was probably a Light Summer (mostly Summer colours in her pigmentation, influenced by some Spring effects).

A couple of things before finding some yellows. Be open-minded and keep looking, as Joan is. People often have categorical feelings about yellow. With that mindset, they might not be open to the perfect one when they have it on. If it really harmonized with your palette, wear it for a few days. Ask objective people. Start with small elements in prints or accessories. For some reason, many people are very sensitive to this colour.

Second, even inside our Season, yellow can be fussy. Some people wear many versions well, definitely including True Summers. Others are more particular where if the yellow is not their own, they take on a sallow look.

Third, get good at harmonizing your clothes to the entire palette, not matching single swatches. The database contains lots of info on how to do that but if you are not sure, write and ask. Your whole face has to wear the yellow, or any colour, so you need to match the whole palette to it. If there are particular colours in your fan that you feel best in, match the yellow to those. Try many in the stores. Only by knowing how OFF looks and feels will you get good at recognizing ON.

Hue and Stripe Catalogs

Do you remember The Dress Spot? You can still find their link in the right column of this website. This was the first online tool that could actually help women find dresses in their palette colours. It really worked.

And then it went to the next level, called Hue and Stripe. Now by membership subscription for image and colour consultants (and still by invitation only during the testing stages), H&S enables us to build virtual closets for individual clients. Using fantastic search filters for many wardrobe items, scanning across 12 retailers and more being added all the time, not only can we educate our clients, we can shop for them. The consultant can emails the client with an item or a whole closet, complete with commentary. Items link directly to the retailers, both US and UK. The only searching the client does is to find her size.

Hue and Stripe offers a second way for us to help you in the virtual blackboards called Catalogs that we will see today. In this post, I want to show you some yellows. The picture below is a screenshot of a section of the catalog at H&S.

This link (also just below this paragraph) takes you to the live Catalog on the H&S site. You can travel from those images directly to the retailer. Should an item be sold out, the image will be gray. Hovering over it will clear the fog. If you are reading this post a year from now, no worry, the image will remain.

I’m doing this for the first time myself. If anyone is having trouble with some part of the technology, please post a comment or email me (

Despite the care that Hue and Stripe take to only show items against white backgrounds in neutral lighting, shopping online imposes certain limitations on everybody including me. You only need one workaround: Do not buy anything that you cannot return.

Yellows Catalog Capture


You will see my thinking out loud comments as I reason the items into a Season. Feel free to offer another opinion. I would love that. With pictures, everybody takes their best guess.

What I hope to show you is an idea of what I would be looking for if I were shopping for these Seasons. As with draping a human being, I think first about which of the 4 True Seasons the item probably fits into. Settling it into one of the Neutrals comes after.

When I shop, I repeat certain phrases in my mind. Shopping goes much faster when you know what to ignore, almost shockingly so once you are determined to ignore black.

Winter yellow is

  • either nearly white, icy frosty
  • or very yellow, lemon
  • may be slightly greenish, feels acidic

 Summer yellow is

  • further from white than Winter icy yellow, but can be quite light if muted because Summer colouring likes lightness
  • dusty, so it feels soft, not sharp
  • can be greenish because it’s cooled with blue, but the softness makes the green less obvious than Winter unless you hold it next to a warmer yellow

Spring yellow is

  • buttery, apricoty, peachy
  • orange-ish but not earthy (which is Autumn orange + muted)
  • lightweight and floaty in feeling, like it might be sheer
  • nice with tropical fruit, sunrise colours

Autumn yellow is

  • strong, rich, heavy, thick
  • can be greener in the Neutral Seasons, more orange in the True Autumn
  • a vase you might use for dried grasses or a basket of squash and pumpkins, would disappear on a table with Indian food, sunset colours

Neutral Beige

Along the way, the question has been asked about a universal colour that looks good on every colouring type. I believe that colour is more theoretical than real. Even the neutral gray that we use as a surround for draping seems to flatter some colourings and not others. As long as it doesn’t distort or change any native colours and is mostly blank in our awareness, it works fine.

Neutral beige would be similar. Neutral beige means it doesn’t pull red, blue, orange. It would neither drain or add colours to any colouring type.

Since I looked at about 3000 tops to find this, the better option is to know your beige. There is no universal colour but the fact that these light beiges are awfully hard to place in one single Season supports the conclusion that they could work nicely in several wardrobes. They might be a bridge more than anything.

The link is here and below:

A screen capture portion of it:

Neutral Beige Capture



  1. A new Facebook group.

For clients of all colour analysts trained by me at 12 Blueprints or Terry at Your Natural Design, the Your Natural Blueprint Color Forum meets on facebook as a Secret Group. Therefore, new members are added by invitation by existing members.

From the intro prepared by Cate Linden (Kentucky),

The purpose of this group is to provide a gathering place for people who have been draped by a 12 Blueprints/Your Natural Design analyst. All 12 seasons will coexist in this group, which is intended as a private resource for our clients.  We learn so much from our clients; we know you will learn from each other.

Please share your thoughts, tips and questions. Our aim is to cultivate an atmosphere of mutual learning and respect, and above all to share the beauty and joy of color with you as you grow into your season.

You now have structured and unfiltered access to other PCA practitioners. The group is secret so you can share your emotions and experiences safely, ask questions, find group solutions, and get answers for your own situation.

I can’t link to a Secret Group since it can’t be searched. Connect with Cate Linden by email for an invitation. Just tell her your Season and which analyst you saw. She is at

Don’t worry about your language skills. Facebook is well translated and there is much to be learned. The beauty of the internet is that it wipes out class systems. Like a beach, it comes very close to an ultimate democracy. Enjoy all the good this space has to offer.

  1. Travel dates.

Analysts are traveling once again…maybe just those that live in the sunny South. Have a look at the schedule. It has been updated.

3. Colour Analyst Training Course dates.

I expect to post weeks in which the course will be held later this month. Following last year’s plan gives us the final weeks of March, April, May, September, and October. If you have particular dates in mind, please contact me so we can plan around your preferences.


(Featured Image: Quebec City for New Year’s.)


Ties for the Soft Summer Man

Working with men is one of the many pleasures that makes this colour analyst’s job even better. They are content to work with what is, both in their appearance and in their palette. The clothing choices are more limited. And I could look at ties all day long.

*Sam asked about his Soft Summer colours:

I am an [urban professional], which means I have to dress within fairly narrow (conservative) confines.  I have to wear a medium/dark suit in blue or grey (easy enough), and a light shirt (usually in blue or pink) with understated if any pattern, and a mid to dark tie.  Any tips on how to pull this look together as a soft summer, so that I don’t over-contrast but the suit, shirt and tie still pop (the pop seems like such an essential part of the look)?

Pop is a loaded word that can go two ways. The first way is desirable, where one colour can energize another without becoming a distraction. The energizing effect is 2-way, where we can see both colours equally and appreciate their contribution. Both are more together than they are apart.

Eyes are a special case because eyes are special. Their colour and sparkle should be the #1 focus for our attention. Every part of makeup and apparel plays a part to build them up. We want to look at the eyes without our gaze being distracted by or dropping to the lipstick or tie.

When a person’s colouring falls between two Seasons, this is one of my tests with the Luxury Drapes. In one Season, if my eye keeps dropping to the drapes and away from the person, it will not be my choice. The other one may feel too safe but that’s probably just because of the comparison. Every decision we make depends entirely on the comparison of the moment. Change the comparison; you usually change your decision about the very same colour. Especially on men, looking too juicy can reduce the power and nobility, though this applies less to Spring colouring (and Gamine archetypes, I would think).

The Fashion World meaning of pop usually refers to one item becoming prominent by muting the rest. Who has not heard the word at the makeup counter? In interior design, my recent student tells me, an accent is made to pop by muting or neutralizing the surrounding colours. This could be great in a room. On a person, it reads an unbalanced, not an association we want others to have about us. It is the makeup wearing the woman. It is the tie that walks in the room before the guy and does not leave when he does.

Keeping the colours we add in harmony with each other and with the person is how we energize the whole equally, creating impact with unity.

Sam knows all this. I asked him what pop means to him.

The question sprung from the combination I wore yesterday: A dark blue suit, a muted blue/white striped shirt and the perfect, soft pine green tie.  I liked the way my face (and especially my eyes) looked, but the clothes themselves didn’t feel quite right.  The green didn’t really define itself against the blue.  As you put it, they didn’t stand apart from one another (and, as a result of that, they didn’t create much visual impact as a group).  It feels like standing apart is what the suit/shirt/tie (and maybe any outfit) is all about.

So I went home and tried to figure out what to do differently, but solving the problem felt like a catch-22.  To get the pieces to stand apart seems to require increasing the contrast between them.  But increasing contrast seems to violate a fairly basic principle of soft-summer dressing (and my experience confirms the risk).  To top it all off, a lot of the palette is off-limits for work clothes (I’m not stuck in white shirts and black shoes, but I am stuck in dark blue or mid-grey suits and light shirts).

I know it’s not actually impossible, because sometimes I get it right (today’s mid-grey suit, soft white with tiny blue checks shirt, and dusty navy tie feels good though a little boringly monochromatic), but I don’t always know why. The question is how to a get the three basic pieces to stand apart from one another within the confines without violating my seasonal integrity or the tenets of moderately conservative men’s business dress.

About the first outfit Sam describes, we would have to see it, of course. What drifted through my head was that the white of the shirt was too white. Almost every pure white is too white under a Soft Summer face.


Soft Summer Ties Navy Blue



Panel A: Standard navy and charcoal. Formal enough, not black, great with the right white shirt. Tie 1 may be a little too shiny and saturated, risks the shirt white looking dusty or dirty. Tie 2 has a nice play of teal and mauve in the textile’s reflectivity, so effective with this person. Tie 3 is a tone on tone, also great with this person, plus looks like Summer in the shade, as does the person. Tie 5 is a conservative, traditional, regular pattern that won’t twinkle because the blue is muted.

In 12 Season colour analysis, Soft Summer describes a group of natural colouring in which the heat setting of every  colour that makes up this person – your teeth, your silver hair, your sunburn, your windburn, your freckles, your veins, the whites of your eyes, the entire person – contains warm and cool, but mostly cool. The colours are between chalk and charcoal in darkness. The colours are heathered and soft.

Under this face, pure white develops into glow and dominance for our attention the longer we look at it. With a blue stripe, the white might cool off even more and read silvery or alien. Silvery is great on a True Summer whose skin reflects light that way already, but the Soft colouring will dull in relation to moonlight. The relationship is the same as if our jewelry is brighter than us, we look duller by comparison. Alien white is how Winter white looks under Summer faces and how the Summer face looks in return. Picture Viggo Mortensen holding a flashlight under his chin.

Another possibility was the colour of the suit. A suit is a big block that the viewer sees in its entirety. If the blue is getting close to Winter saturation, which some Soft Summer blues certainly do, the tie won’t be able to hold up its magic. Especially so with the blue/white stripe in the shirt. One way for the tie to stand out is to keep the suit and shirt more muted.

Soft Summer has a definite saturation range. It is not nearly as wide as the value (light-dark) and hue (warm-cool) ranges. The sat level is lower than Winter, lower than True Summer, lower than the value and hue settings are. But there is still some movement. We have blue fabrics in the Luxury drapes that are very muted with very little blue pigment. We have others that contain more pigment, at the upper saturation limit for the Season. A Winter palette takes over. When people order their set of Personal Luxury Drapes, they often specify for one of each. (Drapes are only available for analysts until March/April.)


Soft Summer Ties Teals



Panel B: Tie 1 is a gorgeous colour on Soft Summer and a brightness many could balance easily. Ties 2 and 5 have texture. Tie 3 is an outstanding eye colour intensifier. Tie 6 combines gorgeous colours, the right red being exciting everywhere on everybody, in a traditional design that still looks work appropriate. A shirt in the colour of the flowers in 3 or lightest stripe in 6 would be good. Also, wear 6 with a white shirt (red, white, and blue is a good mix on Summers). More comments in the text. 


More ideas:

1. Value contrast (light to dark) is built into the palettes. It defines your lightest to darkest. Within that, wear any mixture you like. If a dusty navy suit and a soft pink shirt feel too contrasting, organize and calm the disparate feeling with a tie in the colour of the suit and shirt both. Men generally wear the highest darkness level of the palettes easily. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper might be a Soft Summer. Darkness is fine.

When Sam says that increasing contrast was unsuccessful for him, not to argue, but I need some convincing because I see too many in this Season dressed too medium in every possible way. Take still pictures of yourself in what you believe works and doesn’t. Hold them side-by-side. Give your eyes a comparison. Over and over, the look that a person in any Season is convinced they cannot do today is their new favourite in 3 months. Summers (and Classics?) are seldom in a hurry to change their mind or force the boundaries.

2. Colour contrast (how far apart are the colours on the colour circle) is among Soft Summer’s special unlimited gifts. Because the colours are quiet, the more are worn together, the happier my eyes get. Even large blocks of near-complements are fine, like a blue chino and a creamy-dusty yellow polo or an antique turquoise shirt and maroon sweater.

The more colour activity, the busier the look, the more heat we feel from activity, meaning warm Seasons do this better. The hush in Soft Summer adapts the overall to look strong, interesting, creative, and not hectic. Make clothing items pop, as in a mutually energizing effect, by colour contrast. If the shirt is blue, wear a bit of yellow in a blue tie. It’s eye catching. Your yellow is too quiet to cause any stir and easy to find in ties.

3. Saturation in Soft Summer colours may be stronger than we think. I have yet to meet one who dresses too brightly after they know. The Corporate colour palettes from True Colour Australia are worth owning.


Soft Summer Ties Effects



Panel C: Soft Summer Effects.

Tie 1: In the print, we see the rope, the knots, the grid, the spur. In the understated Summer way, they say, “I work in an office but I’d rather be on a boat or a horse.” If I were the date or the interviewer, I’d think, “He’s reliable but not a total square.” (thrill to me because I am) He knows his physical side, nice for the Yinner Summer man where boldness doesn’t read as real. We are used to women pretending with their appearance. Men look vain because we see through it right away anyhow, on everybody.  A man’s appearance is better very up front, when it says, “Let’s get to it.” Many great neutral colours to pick up in shirts.

Tie 2: The yellow rep tie. That could be great on Soft Summer. Soft Summer or Soft Autumn yellow? Picturing it with soft berry lips or terracotta, I pick the berry. I’m wondering what colour shirt. Soft navy could be very cool on the more Yang types.

Tie 3: The texture looks like rock and bark, both great associations on Soft Summer. Still a mauve gray, not Winter stainless steel or battleship. Good tone on tone early feelings of plaid. Any Autumn influenced colouring considers 3D depth very important to looking defined. The near and far of plaid is good but Autumn is but slight in this colouring. The Summer influences are still stronger. Nice with a pink or mauve shirt.

Tie 4: Smoked purple is so native to the person that it blends right in and almost disappears. Good colour for adding a small element of shine.

Tie 5: More texture with nice colours. Like pebbles, bark, rope, braid, all good in Soft Summer colours. Natural, not pixellated.

Tie 6: Wear that colour. Wear it a lot. We like looking at you in it.

4. Red is instant excitement because it picks up blood colours in the face. Humans are wired to react. The brown-reds of Soft Summer are effective in understated wardrobes. They read as the quiet elegant burgundies of a high end office, almost flesh tones.


Soft Summer Ties Reds



Panel D:  Ties 1 and 5 show cooler and warmer red options. Tie 2 is one of Soft Summer’s beautiful pinks, always elegant. As ever with a man wearing pink, even one single dot, everybody in the room saw it.  Can’t speak for the men but the women like it. Pink denotes power without aggression, which exerts a magnetic effect on women. Tie 3 shows the excitement of red in a colour balanced presentation so the red does not read as bold or in your face, which Summer Man never is. His Winter brother can have more to prove, especially if Yang in essence, and be more satisfied by the taste of revenge (his Winter sister too). He might as well wear blood red. It speaks the truth of him.

5. Know your whites, beiges, taupes, and grays. Soft Summer can wear chalk, vintage white, dust, and shadow. Beiges and taupes are united by a slight pink undertone. Since the shirt must be light, try more neutral tones as the picture below. Women’s blouses were sampled because Polyvore offers more choice. Get to know your yellow. It looks good. The background colours for Tie 1 in panel C is good, could even go a touch greener.

In Panel E below, Top 1 has a pink tinge on my screen that will pull it into Summer looks. Tops 2 and 7 are a bit lighter than the palette, but the muting and neutrality will participate well in the wardrobe, and they will be seen with the tie and jacket, not as a single large block. Top 3 is greenish, thinking about being Soft Autumn, could work well for the warm Soft Summers. Summer wants a pink-mauve look to its neutrals, as we see in Tops 5 and 10.  Tops 1, 4, and 9 are whites. About the colour of Top 6, if I have neglected to mention this, own it and put it near your face every chance you get.


Soft Summer Neutrals



6. Shine in the tie. A pearly or brushed metallic effect, not gleaming satin. Ties 4 and 5 in Panel C, where 4 is an easy, easy colour that almost needs the shine to have impact, so native is it to the person. Tie 5 dilutes the gleam effect with texture. Gray is another good neutral for shine, similar to women’s eyeshadow.

7. Use your cool to warm range and choose items from each side. Soft Summer people often look warmer than they are. Your warms and cools can bounce off each other in most interesting ways, just as they do in you. The purple silver smoke undertone will pull the whole thing together.

8. Pick up the tie in a pocket square.

9. Add texture as shown in panels B and C. Soft Summer colouring has more muscle than the other Summer groups as Autumn earthiness appears. Colours are more solid. Texture is a nice way to communicate this man’s strength and add variety to a monochromatic look.


Sam’s question had a part b):

Many ties I’m drawn to feature small scale patterns, made up of multiple, highly saturated colors that, from afar, combine to read as more muted.  Should I consider these colors as they appear from afar, or should I avoid them because something about the strong colors persists even as they combine to read as more muted.  I’ve tried to figure this out on my own, but I can’t seem to look with objective eyes once I know the tie is made of strong colors–I see it as too strong even though perhaps it’s not.

Go with the overall effect from a social distance, not the individual colours. Perhaps the ties in panels F and G are as big a print element as could fuse in the distance. In prints, colours definitely affect one another by the same simultaneous contrast that they do in faces and everywhere else.


Soft Summer Ties Contrast 1



Panel F: Some of the colours above, the navy background for instance, may be very pigmented. The overall picture is quieter. To me, this is a superb tie. The play of pink, blue, and purple say Summer to me. Your yellow, like your pink, is sophisticated and calm. This might not be it exactly but it’s close enough. It would work with many shirts. Too much is good about this item to avoid it. Seems too blended for a Winter man’s face.


Soft Summer Ties Contrast 2



Panel G: This is a purchase I would think twice about. The colours settle from a distance but not enough. The navy looks near black. The print looks graphic, digitized, like little TV sets. Maybe on a dark Dramatic Soft Summer, but I’d leave this item to the Winters. Of the 2 ties above, which would be most effective on a Winter like Robert Downey Jr?


My thanks to Sam for stepping forward and sending questions we can all learn from.

Rachel (the line and archetype expert, linked here to her new website in case anyone is having trouble finding her) and I have added Well Dressed Men, a Pinterest board for Sam and all the other men (and women) who are evolved and progressive enough to understand their clothing as an investment in themselves. Feel free to ask in the comments if there are examples of something you would like to see.



Science, beauty, truth. Transformational results.