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.



Best Makeup Colours Light Summer


We’ve just come back from a stellar analyst meeting. The part of the program that most everyone requested again next year was asking a woman to role play. We invited Sandra to join us for an afternoon. She had been analyzed as a *Light Spring. She understands the palette but cannot get the look to work.

The Sandras are among my favourite clients. They are done trying things over and over, spending random money in random ways. They reach a place of accepting that they will not figure out their best appearance on their own, and admitting that nothing they tried themselves convinced them. Now, we are ready to get somewhere.

Nobody is a carbon copy of anyone else inside a Season. It may take a few weeks or second visit to put every piece in place.  A returning client who can only say, “I don’t look right. I can’t get it to work.” will not become a constructive conversation. We asked Sandra to bring fashion images of the look she would like to achieve. I expected Versace from our conversation and got Burberry and Hugo Boss. Bring pictures of what you envision.

Together, the analysts did a thorough repeat PCA. We arrived at Light Spring once again, the cool side. It is important for anyone who sits on the warmer or cooler side of Season XY to remember that they are still Season XY. The Sci\ART palettes are the 12 Blueprints drapes come to life. If you are drapes XY in your analysis, then it follows that you are palette XY. Stay within its heat parameters.

How can you tell when you shop? Suppose you are one of the cool-neutral Seasons who does not want to go too warm, how about Soft Summer? Lay the open Soft Summer fan on your garment where you are deciding between Soft Summer or Soft Autumn. Look at the cooler lipstick colours and cooler neutral colours in the palette. If the garment is too warm, those colours will clash.

For a Light Summer who wants to avoid Light Spring colour so as not to turn yellow, she will lay the open Light Summer fan on a garment. If the cooler reds and blue greys make attractive combinations and feel good together, she will probably be fine. If the cool reds look cold or severe, or remind you of bruises, or the blued grays look harsh, dark, and not an ounce of fun,  while the garment seems weak or too yellow, that is exactly how it will feel subconsciously to others seeing you wearing it. That is how a Light Summer fan looks on a Light Spring colour. If you were the drapes, then you are the fan, so when we say you can wear the warmer colours, it is still best to treat that as Light Summer’s warmer colours.


Eyes Ahead

So many concepts in PCA are from the 4 Seasons approach.

The idea that True Winter is dark and very saturated, for instance. It is neither extreme on a 12 Season scale. Back when there were only 4, yes, then it was the most of each. When Kathryn Kalisz brought professional pigment standardization and Munsell classification to Personal Colour Analysis, that concept needed modifying.

When Kathryn brought the Neutral Seasons into a sensible order with defined boundaries, she created 12 stand-alone voices. The language of each Season is quite pure. They can drift together, certainly, with similar heat and the same priority in colour dimensions (I hesitate to say TMIT), but they are not the same. Light Summer has a lot more colour muscle than I used to believe.

To keep in mind as you learn about your colouring:

  1. Don’t spin your wheels in the Season. The analyst can help you see yourself in the colours of any palette. With the analyst group, we created colour combinations to add sophisticated beauty and refinement to Sandra’s Light Spring palette. Every Season and every Archetype can wear every palette. Everyone can find colour combinations that are interesting and look expensive, a term that I use because the opposite is the only other choice. Whatever the Season, certain colours will only ever look tacky, even in cashmere or silk, while others will look rich even if they are yellow and lime green.
  1. Don’t spin your wheels in the stereotype. That stereotype is usually better embodied by one of the Neutrals than the True Season. Even if it were in the True Season, the person who fits it perfectly is the unicorn in the herd. There are too many variables. When you read my book or any other, at least allow a big burp of doubt if you don’t feel you fit in with the Season whatever-I-wrote personality.  The typecast of Bright Winter as rare…good grief…in the past, their rarity depended on their clear eyes…Bright Winter eyes would read as plenty clear if they were transplanted into any other face.
  1. Don’t spin your wheels in the words. Dark Seasons are not necessarily dark to look at. For some reason, this one is particularly hard to dislodge, whether it be Dark, Light, Soft, or Bright. Dark Autumn is not especially dark at all, at least in Caucasians. Once ethnicity gets into it, they can darken fast, as JLo or Halle Berry, and deeper from there. Same on the Spring side, an Asian Bright Spring may have much more apparent black in the eyes and hair than a Caucasian usually would.

While many have the tawny and coppered skin of Autumn, lots of Dark Autumns have pinker skin, regardless of how warm or cool or light or dark the eye colours, or how close they are to the neighbour Seasons. Thank you to *Hannah for showing me Bobbi Brown Beauty Balm SPF 35 in Light as a beautiful foundation option for a group who can be challenged to find this product. Our runner up, near identical colour on her skin at least, was Lauder Double Wear Light SPF 10 in Intensity 1.0.

  1. Be careful of well-meaning friends. They can see that the outcome is not perfect. They know you feel frustrated about something. They want to offer helpful suggestions.  And they lack enough knowledge, application, and flexibility of the colour system to come up with the answer. The usual advice is that the Season is incorrect. That can be the case, but most often not. The adjustment is either in the harmonizing of the palette or the correction of some other thing, maybe hair colour, maybe makeup. Very often, the expectations of the makeup are the roadblock. Women may feel that their best lipstick range is surprisingly narrow. Yup, true for most of us. The Bright Winter who has not fully understood the makeup possibilities will try to back away from the figure skater image in her head and email that she might be a Bright or True Spring after all, as her friend believes. So now you have a dark and imperial 30 year old with a flat, wide, boring face. Friend finds relief with the return of the face she is used to and Client being less agitated. Friend never saw the potential in the face with better choices. Meanwhile, Bright Winter Client is being reduced by what looks on her like a Disney costume instead of defined and elevated by her apparel. Call your analyst back first.
  1. The True Seasons can drift warm or cool also. I recall two PCAs in which I was certain that we were sailing smoothly towards True Summer, only to have the wind turn at the final drapes. Light Summer, True Summer, Light Summer, True, back and forth, compare the Luxury Drapes, tiring for everybody. Excellent though. This woman takes home two palettes and receives an email detailing how she will use them.
  1. Every bad thing is a good thing in disguise. Sandra knows the why of her Light Spring colouring. Soft Autumn gave her skin the heat her native colours want, plus muting, which her skin also loves. Hazy (Summer) agrees with certain parts of her. Juicy (Spring) looks pretty but has a definite upper limit. Light Summer colouring needs some dark if they want eyes, a nose, and a chin. Don’t think in terms of Season labels. They are a starting point to identify the mountains of stuff that you can forget about once and for all. Shopping finally opens up after that. Many of my own clothes could swatch into True Winter if I want something to wear, but I can tell you which 10 Seasons they never swatch into. Sandra said to me after, “I am ready now.” Best thing I can hear.



As Terry says, people can be any Season when they walk in. When they leave, they should look like what they are. Therein lies the entire point of it all, to look like what you are.

Seeing a Season in a presentation that I have never experienced before is a thrill for me. Julie has Italian parents. She looks like a mix between Denise Richards in her facial geometry and Mena Suvari in the complexion and overseas quality. Her skin appears golden and olive at once, like a blonde Mediterranean. Eyes contain a lot of Summer gray, with generous amounts of gold, brown, and green. Hair is medium-dark ash brown. Brows are light-medium brown with a touch of apricot. She is so strongly Summer that she figured that out on her own. The drapes agreed.

The PCA progressed much as a Light Summer does. She is easily centered in the Season, turning yellow instantly, in fact faster than usual, in Light Spring. This On/Off sensitivity to one degree of excessive heat is common of all colouring that can have a yellow overtone. Soft Summer and Dark Winter are much this way.

Listen now: People who appear yellow are usually cooler. Think about this. When we look at someone, all we see are overtones. Unless we have Xray vision to see under the surface skin or access to a calibrated comparison system, nobody can eyeball a colour anywhere, especially in a human being, and know what it is. Nobody, IMO.

Truly warm people do not tend to get those false yellow overtones. Why would they? They are the ones who do not turn yellow in too-warm colour. Only the cool people do that. Warm people can be yellow or tawny as their real colouring, but they do not look overly yellow. They look normal, just as normal as Bright Winter eyes look normal only in a Bright Winter face.

How do you tell these false and true yellow people apart?

Back to Answer A: Acquire Xray vision or know how to use a calibrated comparison under controlled lighting. Why about the lighting? Because light determines what colours come back out. No light in, no colours out. Blue light in, blue colours out. Yellow in, yellow out. Full spectrum in, full spectrum out. So simple, so obvious really.

This existence of an olive type skin in a Summer colour base was new and fantastic to me. Foundation needed to be deeper. As happens to women far too often, she had been to the cosmetics counter, someone saw the yellow, and ‘matched’ her to a too warm, too orange, too dark foundation. Now, not only is the skin too yellow from the hair and clothing, the foundation on top is giving a self-tanner effect to the face but not the neck.  Not only can nobody look at skin and know, I enjoy that the sales folks get miffed when such a thing is suggested.

We liked Marc Jacobs 38 Beige Deep best of our three top choices. We tried about 12 before settling on these. There is no reason to believe that foundation can be matched by Season, because the final colour is influenced by the overtone, the undertone, the idiosyncrasies of the face, the pH of the skin, and the list goes on for an hour. Eyeliner, blush, and lisptick still came from the Light Summer rec’s but towards the darker side.

On Julie, lip colours (not the other makeup) changed drastically from the tube/swatch on white paper to her face, far more than I have seen. Raspberry and plum-pinks that seemed so elegant became lighter, opaque, crayon colours. Our final adult, elegant, balancing and defining lip was a mix of Clinique Very Currant and Paula’s Choice gloss in Festive Rose (this colour comes in a promo pack of 4 glosses every now and again). She will find many others on her list, but knows to never buy one tube without trying it first unless she is ok with burning that money. This might apply to you too. The products below must be tried, not taken at face value from online lists.

The blonde highlight that works well next to white skin will be too pale. On the Know Your Best Hair Colour board at Pinterest, I pinned a Mena Suvari picture of a hair colour that would work with this complexion, unite the eyebrows with the hair and skin, and still qualify as Spring influenced (beige and yellow) rather than Autumn (brown and toffee). I think it’s gorgeous.


Light Summer Makeup

In trying to find new colours or different lines for this series of posts, Light Summer took more work.

Autumn abounds at the cosmetics counter. I can think of makeup lines where 8 of the 12 blush colours are for Autumn! And yet they are good at colouring foundation. How is that customer awareness disparity possible? Because when we are not sure what to buy, we see those flesh tones and think, “How far off could they be?” Well, I will tell you, they are not good. Autumn is the worst Season on many people with Spring influence.

I want excitement in lips and cheeks. I cannot tell you how I look forward to the day when fashion swings around again, once they have sold us all the gray lips and cheeks they possibly can. More choice in reds will allow us to appear as it we have blood. Blood is alive and exciting.

The trick with Light Summer is keeping things fresh and clean in a delicate way. So many that I try to like (Armani Lip Maestro 503) take over with the amount of red pigment. They can be applied lightly, blotted, and gloss added. With today’s stains, they might even last a few hours. Benefit Benetint is a grand choice. For these articles, I am looking for colours that can be applied liberally, even by makeup novices.

Light Summer manages some darkness as do all Summers. Some features might even improve in black DEPENDING on the other colour being compared. Many people of this colouring love black for how their light hair looks against it. The problem is that black gives the face a 5 o’clock shadow, the total look feels cookie-cutter-news-anchorwoman, and her face fades back. She often tries to fix this with makeup effects that look more bizarre than elegant. Cool dark grays in clothing, feather colours, are so much better. Everyone relaxes.

As with Light Spring, I see little use for darker contouring eyeshadows. A little bit darker in the pan or on another face is a whole lot darker on this person. Even medium colours look plenty dark. To contour the eye, packing the medium darkness eyeshadows a little thicker works just fine. Eyeliner also need not be dark. This eye will define with even a faint gray line. That said, women like Julie will wear a darker gray than the middle of the Season.

Smoke and drama are out of place unless the desired effect is to have people staring at, and trying to ignore, makeup. Using their own colours, anyone could do a smoky eye shadow design but the fierce effect reads too tough, which the Light Summer woman seldom is in any persuasive way. What I find more beautiful and far more interesting is to use coloured accents at the outer part of the upper lid. I do not say this lightly. Makeup that reads as obviously blue, green, or purple can sabotage a woman’s ability to get taken seriously. If you want to wear these colours, be sure to know your Season version of them. They stick out on a face a thousand times more than grays.


Colours are dusty. On my screen, they are dustier than they were in Photoshop. Welcome to software. You may need to angle your screen up and down to see brighter versions.

Being a Light Season means lighter makeup than other Seasons. Light is not near-white in this context. Too pale is draining and chalky. Lips that are about the colour of skin are appropriate and attractive on young girls. Too much darkness or opacity of product on teenagers (as so many models are, which is why those  media images are appealing) looks like playing in Mom’s makeup bag, meaning they will be taken less seriously, not something I would promote for a woman of any age. I have never seen a human being who looks better with no lips. Teenagers with pale gloss still have lips. We 50 year olds do not. Aim for the middle of the swatch book to the dark end depending on the woman and the occasion. Mature women have more presence and more power in the face. Their makeup needs the same if it is to do what it could.

How to swatch makeup to Season was described in the Light Spring article.


Some pictures will post on the Makeup for Your Natural Colouring board at Pinterest in the next day or so.



Blush: Inglot 362. Bobbi Brown Pretty Pink.

Eyeliner: Urban Decay Mushroom. UD Ether is a gray that was nice with the palette, with a purple sparkle to used carefully, perhaps for evening. Marc Jacobs Shoshanna is a pretty accent colour that could work for any Summer, blue-greens being so well accepted by these colouring types.

Eyeshadow: Dolce&Gabbana Romance. Urban Decay SWF and Bust. We spent a long time at the Inglot counter at Macy’s, found 465 and 117R as lovely choices, with 420 and 459 as darker choices. Bobbi Brown Slate powder and pot paint, Cool Ivory, Shell, Pink Chiffon.

Lipstick: D&G Princess. Benefit Rouge Shine 23 is a nice day colour, Tarte Elite being up at the intense end of a similar colour (a little weak on a Bright Winter, where Tarte Dreamy has more presence but she could wear either. Comfort level matters.) Marc Jacobs Have We Met is a pretty lipstick; I wanted to add Roll the Dice here but it would be the only thing people see. Inglot 72. Bobbi Brown gloss #11. Thanks to Rachel for showing me Laura Mercier Fresh Raspberry, possibly an ultimate red for Light Summer colouring. Bare Minerals Call the Shots is good, and I wanted to like Risk it All for the freshness but it’s too plastic/candy next to this palette/face. Plastic lips are only slightly better than gray ones, looking fake and dead in that order. Worn on a different colouring, plastic can look normal. If a lipstick is gray enough to look dead on a Light Summer, it has little hope of coming to life.

Bronzer: It can be pretty here. I always add some unless the woman is near True Summer. The colouring does well with a certain darkness to define bones, where a light peach-beige-gold colour is plenty to achieve the effect. The colour is like a new penny but calmed down, say, halfway between new penny and white gold. Cover f/x Gold is good. Others I love are Hourglass Luminous Light and Radiant Light. Dior Sunlight can be good, as could Smashbox Sunkissed Matte, these being dark enough. The idea here is to use it sparingly, to create gentle apricot golden warmth and gentle contours. A light application still allows the muted native skin to blend in, creating a lovely outdoor glow without noticeable heat.




Does a 12 Blueprints PCA Ignore Eye Colour?

Speaking for 12 Blueprints

and colleagues at  Your Natural Design, not for the wider Sci\ART community, because the fact is that I do not know how those colleagues work and would not presume to speak for them.

Before the video, I have to be really clear about something. You already know this if you spend time in the PCA community.

What I, Terry, and our group of analysts do should not be expected by the public to be equal or even close to other Sci\ART analysts. Some off us will share most of our approach, some very little or none. I cannot say which is which. I appreciate the confusion for the consumer. It is nobody’s fault, simply the present differing from the past.

I resist the idea that we have a new method because we do not. At this time, the, let us call it the 12Blueprints method, aligns more closely to Kathryn’s (meaning Kathryn Kalisz, founder of Sci\ART) original intentions than any other I know, have read about, or seen in action. Terry was present for five of Kathryn’s training workshops, was the first certified trainer, and a very close personal friend. We consult Kathryn’s teachings continually so as not to deviate from the original technique.

Why do I keep bringing Kathryn’s work into this? We lost her back in 2010. Because she created a system in which my eye can go from the palette to the person and back again and say, These are the same. These things match.

Then she gave me a way to identify those matches that works. And I can send a woman home with the tools and knowledge to begin building a 1000 colour wardrobe of pieces that also are the same. Like a musical scale, from beginning to end, from the philosophy to a woman shopping, the pitch is the same. You can follow the notes all the way up and all the way back down.

We will continue to innovate the tools, analyst education, and client support. If an adjustment to the method appears necessary, it would surely be considered but time and experience are not supporting that likelihood. So far, the only changes have been in exclusive accuracy of each drape colour, more drape colours, detailing of the script, and structuring of the teaching approach.

Moving forward, and for about several years gone by, any of the content on this site can only speak for our group of analysts. Nobody else is wrong, but they would agree that my words do not speak for them.

Finally, about the 12 Blueprints group. In the second video, I describe the aspects of your appearance (and wallet) that I can help with, clothes, hair colour, cosmetics. Both clients and analysts need to be clear about what information they want or offer. We are not a franchise. Each of us has different interests and strengths.

You want image analysis/style consultation/personal shopping, you call Rachel or Leslie. If you’re tired of Big Box Retail and are looking for boutique clothes and jewelry, connect with Shahna McNally. Perfume? Sharon or Ksenia will help you more than I ever could. A baby wrap wearer wants to speak with Cate in Missouri. Some travel. Several are European, where the cosmetics landscape looks very different. You get the point. Be an informed consumer and a clear service provider.

On to the topic.

Eye and Hair Colour

Of coure we don’t ignore eye colour. It where the health, the magic, the essence, the whole being is condensed. And no matter what you do to the rest of you, your eye colour will always be seen next to your clothes. The result should be agreeable, if not distract people in the best sense for a moment when you meet.

But eyes are like skin. The colour in itself doesn’t matter. All ethnicities appear in all Seasons, some more often than others. If you’re not of this belief, we will not find a lot of common ground. PCA is done by the reaction of simultaneous contrast. That means what happens when colours are put side by side in our visual system. That means, it’s not about the skin or eye colour but rather how they react.

Hair colour? You can take someone back 10 years with hair alone. And of course it matters to final presentation, good heavens. It is simply just not required for an accurate analysis. The skin tells you all you need to know once you know what to look for. Hair and eyes will follow right along if you believe that humans are holistically harmonized, as I do.


A Value Moment

Contact info for Leslie and Rachel can be found in the Analyst Directories on this site and at YND, linked at the top. My thanks to them for the shopping time that found the clothing and jewelry I wear in these videos.

Always happy to hear your thoughts. I accept all critique as constructive even if it wasn’t intended that way : )





Colour Analyst Conference 2014 Pictures

Each one of us came home a better colour analyst, the teachers as much as the students.


L to R: Terry, seated (Michigan), Cori Johnson (Seattle), Courtenay Gibson (Mass.), Shahna McNally (Edmonton), Anette Henriksen (Denmark), Jorunn Hernes (Norway), Gabi Pusztai (London), Ksenia Zvyagina (Moscow).

An atmosphere of everyone teaching everyone all the time is where I function best. As I looked around the room, I marveled at how this had come to happen. Here was a group of women, each one remarkable and gifted, fully committed to learning and uplifting one another. The spirit of sharing was so strong that I confess to moments of wanting to somehow hold the group frozen as it was right then. Of course, in a group so curious and open to new ideas, there will always be space to embrace new members. I believe in progress and that each of us can improve, and together help our industry to be better. That we provide a service that can change people’s lives, for our clients and for ourselves as well, was abundantly clear.


Can you tell that we worked hard for three days? I’d like to tell you that it was all fun and games, but not likely with these two organizing things.




Christine Scaman (Ontario, Canada)



Terry Wildfong (Michigan, USA)

Terry is at www.yournaturaldesign.com

Without the generosity of our hostess, Leslie Chatzinoff, this event might never have happened. Leslie is an image analyst and consultant as well as a colour analyst. She is actually able to assemble and email you an entire wardrobe that links straight to the source sites.


L to R: Anette Henriksen, Leslie Chatzinoff.

Anette’s email is anettehenriksen@outlook.dk

Leslie is at www. colouressencenyc.com


Sorting out the lunch order, hardest part of the day. The look on Leslie’s face says it all.


When I first discovered the color analysis community, I was thrilled to find that the prevailing atmosphere was one of kindness and collaboration. That attitude was abundantly clear at the conference. As analysts, we all have different strengths, different backgrounds, and different methods of getting from Point A to Point B, but we’re all committed to helping one another grow. The positive energy in the room was palpable.

Cate Linden

www.catelinden.com is the link to the site, Cate Linden Chromatics


L to R: Heather Noakes (California), Cate Linden (Kentucky). Both analysts have travel schedules posted in the right column.

It is fabulous to see that we as analysts so see things differently some times, but are able to explain why, and respectfully disagree.

I am also thinking it is useful to explore, like we did in some of the many conversations going on during the meeting, that there are cultural differences, and personal differences, that influences how a person’s colour tone is seen and expressed, and also how a person’s archetype is expressed. We could probably have explored this even further, it is fascinating!

The amount of knowledge, skill, respect, and communication skills gathered at this meeting was enormous. I feel awestruck at the privelege of being part of this group of colleagues.

Jorunn Hernes



Jorunn Hernes (Norway), with Sharon Forsythe (travels throughout Texas, schedule in the right column) to her left, and Heather in the background.


As for my impressions, they are very positive. I consider this a refresher course and a chance to see models of those seasons that I rarely see in real life. *Helen was especially interesting to see draped. It was a great learning experience and an opportunity to verify that we are all on the same page. I’m taking away a sense of companionship and a tightly woven international community of consultants that are truly the best.

Ksenia (Moscow)


L to R: Ksenia, Anette, Heather.

Contact Ksenia by email at k.zvyagina@gmail.com


I thoroughly enjoyed my time in NYC. Meeting other analysts from around the world was truly a privilege. It’s exciting to be creating strong professional bonds in a field where there has been little before. I learned so much from the insights and perspectives of others. Seeing new ways to look at and approach my own routine was enlightening and will also beneficial for clients. I look forward to more collaboration in the coming years.

Heather Noakes

Connect with Heather at www.modaincolor.com


I really wanted confirmation from the analyst meeting that I have been truly interpreting color effects correctly and placing people in their correct seasons since the training. I was extremely relieved and excited to not only find that I placed fabric and people in the same color space as other analysts, but that the other analysts were almost always in agreement with each other, and with you and Terry, when interpreting the different draping comparisons.

During our initial training, I feel like I learned the black and white rules of Sci\ART color analysis and that it was during the analyst meeting that I learned how the system can be more fluid as well. Thankfully, most of my clients have not been so close to their neighboring seasons as our models were at the analyst meeting. It was extremely helpful for me to see a model at our meeting who has red hair. I have to admit that when I saw *Helen, I did think she would be a Spring. She was clearly best in Bright Winter.

It was also invaluable to meet the other analysts in person. What a genuinely inspired, passionate, and very supportive group of ladies.

Cori Johnson




I think it probably goes without saying, but having the ability to meet our colleagues makes a massive difference (at least to me) to our ability to be aligned as a group and function as a team. I feel the only way to get our group to be the ultimate name in color analysis is to support each other and not compete with one another. When you know someone, it’s a lot easier to say “you know what, my colleague is closer to you and she is fabulous” to a potential client.

On an individual note, I think it just helps to really know if the others see what you see. You don’t really know when you go home from training if you are there by yourself draping a bunch of bright winters who are in fact soft summers or something similarly off the mark. Draping someone with the other analysts provides some steady ground to stand on in terms of “where am I vs every other analyst”.

Rachel Nachmias

Rachel can be reached by email at rachel@bestdressed.us


Gabriella Pusztai (London, England) and Rachel (Philadelphia)

Email Gabi at gabi@chromology.co.uk


The silent drapings were fantastic with all the analysts being able to submit their impressions anonymously. When our comments were read aloud, it was encouraging to hear that we had all essentially arrived at the same conclusions. This intensified my commitment to our Sci\ART-based PCA system. Aso: the Luxury Drapes truly are the Eighth Wonder of the World; I’m very thankful to have a set!

Sharon Forsythe



L to R: Sharon, Jorunn, Anette, Cori.


This was everything i dreamed it could be. What a joy, and so much LEARNING for me.

One major take-home message for me (besides that I could not admire my colleagues more!):  Once we are down to the final two seasons, typically neighbouring ones, never take that contest for granted, regardless of where earlier stages of the analysis may have seemed to be pointing. So critical to look carefully at all the measures (ie skin texture; temperature; eye colour; face architecture; energy of drape & face; overall “compellingness”…).

And for those clients at all close to the border, looking at both sets of luxury drapes seems incredibly beneficial:  not only in making a final season call that satisfies both you and the client, but also for finding where there may be  magnificence in the other season…the client is richer for it!

Lisa Kelly

Reach Lisa by email at lisa@DNAmycolours.com


Lisa Kelly (Ottawa) and Anette.


Two new faces whom you will meet here soon.


Courtnenay Gibson (Mass., USA) with Rachel.



Shahna McNally (Edmonton, Alberta)


This picture, because a colour analyst is only ever as good as her drapes.




More because they are all just so lovely.








The women above are the same as every woman reading here in that they are finding themselves in colours and lines. Even for us, seeing it on ourselves is not nearly as easy as on others. As businesswomen in any field, indeed this is true of every person, we know that our clothes speak volumes in telling others who we are.

See the earrings Ksenia is wearing in the picture below? We were at the huge Macy’s on 33rd. As she was bringing them near her head, the magic was happening when they were still a foot away.


To help you know who you will meet when you hire them to analyze your colouring one day, I thought I’d show you in clothing what it feels like to be around them. Some of them may not agree with me :) but we’ll do it anyhow.  Come over to the Pinterest board and I will introduce you. Am I going to get an inbox full of emails? I’m a little nervous…


Please email me (christine@12blueprints.com) to get in touch with anyone whose contact information is not above.


Featured Image Photo Credit: The image is “Central Park in Fall”, taken by brooks215, linked to the source here.




Signature/STYLE Coats Issue and Tips

The latest issues of the Signature/STYLE  newsletter were mailed out today.

For me, this project is so much more than an exercise in the acquisition of more stuff, though I’m all for smart, speedy acquisition. From the 9 items shown in any issue, even if none were available, I could quite easily go to stores and websites to find items for most any woman. My confidence level is growing as Rachel approves more of my choices, and this for a woman who knew nothing about style or how to apply it to herself two years ago. I really do like progress, especially the fast kind. It is truly thrilling, to say nothing of deeply liberating, to finally understand what I look good in, as if I finally own myself.

We very much want you to become self-directed, decisive, winning shoppers. To that end, we will add articles to the Signature/STYLE website that our subscribers can access by a special link. You will have noticed that certain colours and styles are sometimes suggested for one, two, or all three Seasons or IAs. In the present article, the title of one of the Featured boxes will link you to a post on how we prioritize these shopping decisions.

If you have questions, comments are open below the article. We would be happy to go into more depth than the newsletter format allows. We can cover general subjects, provide more information about certain items in your issue, hear ideas for future issues (the next one is looking like the often-requested My Perfect High Heel), or any other thoughts that occur to you for how we might help you become the greatest shoppers on the planet. One idea that strikes me (news to Rachel) is to add a few bonus links. Deciding which items to include and which must be left out is strenuous. We want you to see all of them, they’re just that good : ) Opening links and feeling a jolt of excitement makes any day better.

Items were selected from US and UK suppliers, by request, with many stores participating in global shipping and return.

You may find one or two items sold out, as you might with any magazine. Stores probably carry limited inventory of items that most shoppers would not have the confidence to buy, as they do with cosmetic colour choices. The lovely side is that when the links were verified in the past 24 hours, we noted that many prices are markedly reduced from the first visit. And reduced a lot!


If I could share some of what we have learned:

  1. Check your Junk and Spam folders first. If your issue did not arrive in any mailbox, email me (christine@12blueprints.com) and I can forward the latest issue.
  2. Stores change links for items unpredictably, and strangely often. If the link for the picture is not going to the item, go back to the newsletter in your email and hover the cursor over the picture. The link will show the store of origin. Go to the store site directly in a new tab or window and enter the product details in the search box, as “tahari shawl wrap”. If these details are not in the link and it’s just a bunch of numbers or code, search the item by “women coats” and then filter by colour, designer, or whatever information the picture provides.
  3. If items show unavailable, check the sale area, searching with the ideas above. Stores change the link when they move the item.
  4. If the item is still not to be found, search the product details from the link in Google, as “sjp manhattan coat”. Often, you will find it at other stores.
  5. If the link opens to a different colour, check the galleries for other options. Certain sites do not identify them by swatch, but rather in thumbnails beneath the main image or lower down the page.

If you have any other tips to share, please add them below.

Enjoy reading!

As a P.S., several of you have been asking about the quiz. This paraphrases an answer I gave recently to explain the situation:

The quiz is having technical difficulties. Although quite excellent, full of original content from the POV of how women see themselves and answer these sorts of questions, and an accurate guide to what you can cross off the list, … Rachel and I have decided not to delay the next issue for all the subscribers already paid and waiting for it while items are still in stores. We feel a greater weight of commitment to those already on board. I can’t give you an ETA but know that we are thinking about it and progress is happening. Computers, ay? They don’t often do exactly what we expect them to.


Looking Better than 10 Years Ago

I did a video  recently. In an ad lib way, I said, you can look better in your 50s than you did in your 40s.

I’d add to that, or than you have ever looked.

Which often gets me the eye roll.

Fair. Here we have two women wearing dots. Not fancy, at family events, kids holding cameras.

Late 40s.



Mid 50s.



The span is 5 years.

Define looking better. Does it mean…


Define looking younger.

Young Type 1: Smooth rounded edges in a face that is flatter and wider than adult faces. The dilemma is that baby fat only works on babies. On an adult, the look feels juvenile, pudgy or spongy, and childish. The person may look young in this sense, but does not look socially competent. Social competence is a huge and important point  that greatly influences how much trust and responsibility folks are willing to extend.

Young Type 2: Sharp angles, solid bones, and defined contours. This person is expected to be strong, resilient, and competent. The presence is bigger, richer, and more textured.

Some of both would be great.

I don’t believe in the expression, past her prime, though there is such a thing as looking it. I know 90 year olds who still look plenty prime, who are the most extraordinary person at the party.

In the top photo, the colour of the face makeup does not match the neck and arms. It is too dark and warm, the warmth having the effect of blunting the bones and placing a pea-soup overlay on the skin. The edges look a little dirty, maybe hairy around the mouth and jaw, 5 o’clock shadowy?

Long before you get onto fillers and complicated makeup designs to sculpt your face, change your shirt to a better colour and locate foundation that cleans up your skin. The visual difference in your bones is astounding, even if you’re 25.


One of my beliefs: The more skin you show, the less power you have. Certain kinds of skin delete power much faster. If you show one cm of cleavage, the man in the room is biologically distracted, if not compromised, in his ability to hear you. He has no choice but to sail with the wind of our hormones, as do we all. No good or bad, no wrong or right, but we need to be clear about what we want to achieve. Have you read The Male Brain?


I have learned that power isn’t everyone’s language. Very fair. The best use of power is to make other people happy. There are many ways of achieving that end besides power.

The balance of power.

The power of balance.

Men need to ask more questions.

Women need to ask less.

Define sexy.

Sexy Type 1: The modern media version, a sad surrender, the sort of backdoor disempowerment of women we all know that says, I’ll be whatever you want me to be. Available above all and yet predatory.

Sexy Type 2: The sexuality, of quality, taste, invitation, modernity, excitement, surprise, and unique identity. Self-determined and self-realizing.

Why do I keep using the word modern? Because it implies: state-of-the-art, leading-edge, prevailing, with-it, twenty-first-century. Its importance cannot be overstated in appearance because the alternative is: left-behind.

Modern means willingness to change, the opposite coming across as stuck back there somewhere. The winds of change never cease. An appearance that says, I can keep adjusting my sails, is part of my definition of Looking Better Than 10 Years Ago.

I think about how we could tell in ourselves. We can be hanging on to a style, such as Kate Gosselin hair. We can be hanging on to a belief such as, I like tailored clothes, I need coloured hair, I am warm in colouring, or all the other ideas we’re not willing to let go of easily. Most of the time, if they need us to shield them, they are not true today. The truth would sound as, less structure looks a million times better on you, that hair colour is all anyone can remember, and there is no evidence in your appearance or colour testing to support your warmth. Keep moving. Let stuff go. Don’t get stuck on the riverbank.

Sexuality between adults of equal power is about possibility.

Possibility might be my favourite word.

I know a woman going to be filmed. All anyone wanted to talk about was her makeup and being sure her face would not be washed out. Nobody cared about her message. They wanted her to look like a news anchorwoman, with the kilo of makeup it takes to balance that wall of hair.


Have you read Millroy the Magician by Paul Theroux?

Much brilliance. This for instance,

Health matters more than looks.


As joyful as it is creepy, about media, manipulation, cults, and the simple messages of everyday messiahs.

It has been said in a hundred places and ways that to know where we’re going, we must know where we came from, or else keep reliving the past. To make something better, we have to build on what exists already. Accusations and distortions abound, usually from those who have never tried to make anything. Sometimes, it’s the love folks have of throwing rocks at things that shine. Sometimes, a beautiful idea gets shut down because people feel the need to safeguard or preserve a belief. In protecting the wrong thing, meaning an idea that belongs in a past long gone, the rest of us are prevented from accessing something new and wonderful.

Ethan Hawke:

There’s such a pull toward mediocrity and for doing the same thing over and over again.

And Millroy is right about the food. If The North America Empire is spiraling downwards, it is my belief that the cause is chiefly due to its food choices. We are watching a slow self-poisoning process, of our minds and our bodies, in the midst of the greatest food supply in the history of the planet.

Tell me the book did not change the way you eat.


From those pictures,

the parts of a colour analysis that I love.

Where is there more Christine? In the older face, I would hope. We should and do enrich our souls as we move through life. Why on Earth wouldn’t the outside keep pace instead of retreating back the other way? In so many of their personal stories, women tell me these exact words,

I feel like my outside doesn’t match my inside and I don’t know what to do about it.

As a colour analyst, it’s a pretty special thing to give people back themselves. Here you go, may I return some more of you. You thought you lost it, but look in that mirror, it was here all along.

Which Christine will be seen and heard more clearly? When she speaks, which one is most likely to be listened to? Who will be seen when she walks into a store? A reunion?

Which one feels fully here? Which one is still coming down the hall so we can see and sense only parts of her?

Who do you know before she speaks? If those women were words, is one more  legible? Who can you read?

The weigh essentially the same, the top woman being 3 lbs heavier. Do they look it?

Which one is more bland?

Is one more dangerous?

I talk about how harmony means the woman and her apparel choices being more together than they would be apart.

I speak of colour energies that lock together so effortlessly, as if it were inevitable and could be no other way,

that each energy elevates the other, level after level, more colour, more line, more focus.

Which is the most unique person, the one nearest her only real obligation in this world, which is to find and share her absolute and pure self?

Younger is not better. More is. True is.

Up to you to decide which one looks better. What I can tell you is how each one of those women maintain their relationships. 10 years ago, the outside informed the inside to make weaker choices. In the 2-way traffic of who we are, what happens on one side happens on the other, like mirrors. As energetic beings, we sense this to be true in every person. When we see an outside that feels muffled or lessened, we extend that to our expectations of the inside. And yet, that’s how most people look.

I aim for your appearance to express your fullest potential as a human being for all to see.

I believe that the best beauty looks like it could have happened by itself. No work. No effort. No tension. No process. No distraction.

A Part and Apart

Another application of truth:

Once analysts have been working for a while, a question we hear is, How do I tell a client that she would look so much better if she would change the colour of her hair?

A difficult truth to hear. What would be your reaction if a person you had known for 2 hours said, It is no longer in your best interest to believe that your hair colour is enhancing to you.

Would it make any difference if she were a fair bit younger? Older? When would your defenses go up? I really believe that every demographic needs its own colour analysts. Young, mature, African-American, Hispanic, Asian. To really get it, you have to have lived it, or even better, be it.

I am asked for opinions and advice about a lot of hair colour, to the point of considering offering this service to women who have been accurately colour analyzed. Without that, our hands are tied because we cannot know the parameters of the colouring with which the new hair colour must accord. Maybe even not for payment but rather permission to show Before and Afters. I have seen some most impressive colour corrections lately by putting some images on Pinterest for a woman to take to her salon.

Women desperately need good hair colour advice. This is a service that colour analysts can provide with relative ease and accuracy with the type of data we collect as a routine part of the analysis process. The hair colour industry has no means of gathering this information. Finding women the right hair colour and lipstick feels like the biggest part of a colour analyst’s job sometimes.

I always send this warning:

I figure that if I ask someone a Q, I want to know what they really think without a whole lot of polite beating around the bush that is useless to me. I extend that same honesty when I am asked something as well. I’m not mean, but I’m direct and honest, as you maybe have seen from the Pin boards. If current hair colour is working against a woman, I’ll say so. After all, who else in her life will? Usually nobody.

Being liked, loved, approved of, or agreed with, do not motivate me. They won’t cause me to alter my behaviour or choices. Neither do money, compliments, safety, peace, fame, or recognition beat my drum. Achievement does. So do truth and doing things surpassingly well.

Do you know what beats your drum? The place where you are not neutral. You are reactive, so it becomes both a weakness and a strength. Among my many weaknesses, I’m a bit insensitive to those who need compliments, safety, emotion, and so on. OTOH,  you and me can have a conversation about anything, including your appearance, and you will know what I really think. This is useful to you because it could be what most people are thinking.

Where I live, the natural colours of most people are cool or cool-neutral. From what I hear about which colour analysis palettes need replacing most often, this is probably true of many places. Too much hair is coloured too warm, as is most foundation.

When the hair colour cannot be a part of you, when your natural colours can’t find a home for it, then it only has one other choice: to be apart from you. Hair that is apart is, by definition, a wig.

We could look at the idea that blonde hair is beautiful, a USA ideal where so much of our media comes from, Ms. Aniston, Swift, et. al. We could decide to see it out there on an island, and decide not to give that place energy any longer. Now, whatever someone says about the desirability of blonde hair will just be neutral information. You can consider how pertinent it is to you in an uncluttered way if it has no hold over you.

Forget about your childhood hair colour unless you have your childhood face. Baby hair only makes sense with baby skin.

In great makeup, we’re all wearing flesh tones. Our own! If more makeup advisors really understood what that means, there would be fewer women going around in other women’s flesh tones. Or nobody’s from what I can tell of certain lines of foundations and cosmetics.

I hope you have people in your life who would tell you if something you believe about your appearance is holding you back. And I hope that it is safe for them to do so.

Better Decisions

Have you read Thinking Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman?


Systems 1 and 2 could describe various approaches to PCA. Equally, the distinction could apply to how I teach it: R brain > L brain > Eyes, in that order. The rationality we believe to be true about ourselves is profoundly not. The more ways we play to the strengths of our brains, and trick its weaknesses into uncloaking, the better our final decisions. How humans make decisions preoccupies me because a colour analyst will make 50 to 100 decisions in a 3 hour session.

Don’t kid yourself. PCA is hard to do. Historically, it got put in the lineup with System 1 feel-good-be-pretty topics. As we all know, I don’t see it that way.

I loved the review at Amazon.com (in the book link above), that begins

The mind is a hilariously muddled compromise between incompatible modes of thought in this fascinating treatise by a giant in the field of decision research. Nobel-winning psychologist Kahneman (Attention and Effort) posits a brain governed by two clashing decision-making processes. The largely unconscious System 1, he contends, makes intuitive snap judgments based on emotion, memory, and hard-wired rules of thumb; the painfully conscious System 2 laboriously checks the facts and does the math, but is so “lazy” and distractible that it usually defers to System 1.

This article does a great discussion, includes an overview in an excellent table, and approaches ways of maximizing our ability to make sound decisions.

We could do PCA as System 1 < > System 2.

I sometimes wonder if more women do it partly because they have so many more L < > R brain connections than men.


Have you read The Fifth Agreement: A Practical Guide to Self-Mastery by don Miguel Ruiz and his son, don Jose Ruiz?


Read The Four Agreements first. This tiny and simply written book alerts us to when we are speaking in the voices of The Judge, The Victim, and the Tyrant. I looked for a new voice. I chose The Student.

From The Fifth Agreement, about skeptics, listeners, and messengers,

When you unlearn,…you begin by facing what you believe…You only have one tool to do this, and that tool is doubt.

Can you be untaught? Can we listen to words about ourselves without becoming activated? Is what we believe about what looks good on us so rock solid that it needs defending?

Or is it fluid and can shift and move around with no reactivity on our part?

I have respect for your story because I have respect for you, but I do not believe your story about you. To me, you are a show happening on a screen. The scene, the costumes, the lines can all be changed anytime. Like watching a performance, just as I am to you.

If I screened students for the training course, which I cannot imagine ever doing, I would probably ask one question? How easy is it for you to replace your learning?

I find students and clients who know nothing about the 4 Season systems easier in some ways. Not only do they not have to unlearn the 4 and their associated beliefs, they don’t have to sort through what to unlearn, what to keep, and when to keep it. Years into a 12 Season approach, they still crossover and compare, which is not all bad. There are strong plus and minus factors with the deeply embedded concepts that went with the 4.


Have you read the Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny?


Because village mysteries are fun and Armand Gamache, Chief Homicide Inspector of the Surete du Quebec, can teach us all a thing or two about the grace of personal restraint, among the powers of age, and a mind that is always open, among the powers of youth.




Cosmetic Recs

When Cosmetic Recs Should Work and Don’t

Before we begin, please know that Terry posted an important article here about how to adapt your cosmetic colours with the changing face of maturity.

Her article here, suggested switches for a True Autumn where browns that once looked healthy and natural now feel flat and low energy.

Maturity is an important part of why correctly swatched makeup for a Season will not be right for you, which we’ll talk about in depth in this post.

Photo: doc...
Photo: doc…


Situation 1: Cosmetics that swatch into 1 Season but work well in >1 Season.

That’s how makeup works in the real world. And yet, I’ve said that any colour can be swatched best into 1 Season only, as can any product or person. This, I believe is true. A contradiction is floating around in there. It’s a question of context.

Sometimes, I say things that are just wrong. Once, it seems that I said Bright Winters are very similar to the YangRomantic (YangR) (Theatrical Romantic, TR) image type because both can be slender or narrow. That is plain nuts. Or it’s only true sometimes. I was confusing Spring-influenced facial architecture, which can be similar to YangR, with the real thing. I got told I was wrong, fixed my perceptions, and good. All 10 image archetypes (IA) exist in all 12 Seasons. It has been most interesting to see that the spread really is this wide in the newsletter subscriptions (Newsletter refers to Signature/STYLE in the right column.)

PS, if anyone knows where that piece of silliness about BW/YangR is located, please do tell me so I can delete it. While we’re at it, if you know where I said that Liz Taylor was a True Winter instead of Bright, please share that with me so I can disappear it. Always amazes me how little I knew a month ago. We start somewhere.

Sometimes, I say things that are correct without enough clarification. Thankfully, I get told that too. This is one of those times.

Here is when colours do not cross Seasons: in analysis situations. In that context, the question being answered is, In which of the 12 groups does the wavelength of this colour belong best, as measured by comparison in a variable-neutralized environment?

The context of one woman shopping for herself is quite different. Garments can often be worn very nicely by two or even three Seasons. You may have noticed that from the Pinterest boards or Signature/STYLE newsletter. One woman in a store is not placing an item into one of 12 groups the way a colour analyst does. The consumer’s question is, Will this colour be flattering to me or not? Different question.

Photo: mikehuntly
Photo: mikehuntly


It’s the difference between, Can I?, and, How can I? Our brains tend to be wired to see roadblocks when asked, Can I? I know I’m going off again but I’ve been thinking about this lately. It goes like this.

Ask a lawyer, Can I get a permit to work in the US? He’ll start in with all the reasons why it will be difficult, next to impossible really, not even worth your time to try.

Stop him and say, So sorry, may I change my question? The new question is, How can I get a permit to work in the US? You’ll get a whole new answer. The answer will sound more along the lines of, Well, you can try this or this or this.

The consumer is asking, How can I? She should frame it that way when asking her analyst about a beloved garment. Otherwise, the answer might focus too much on the Why not.

Many colours, in garments, jewelry, and cosmetics can be adapted to work for >1 Season. Terry wrote about why many cosmetic colours work very well in more than one Season, in this post so I will move on to another situation.

Photo: hopallong
Photo: hopallong


Situation 2. Correctly swatched cosmetics that do not work for the correctly analyzed woman.

Possible reasons:

1. They were incorrectly swatched after all. We should always be open to the possibility that we got it wrong the first time, which is why our colour analysts are taught to come at the question of your colouring from many different angles, comparisons, and perceptions. The recent article, Best Makeup Colours Light Spring, explains how I place cosmetics into a Season.

2. The eye and judgment of the person swatching. Revlon Colorstay lipstick in Finale is a fine Bright Winter choice, as is Cruise Collection for Bright Spring, for women looking for a sheer, everyday colour. They are quite good too for a Light Summer woman who wants a more lively colour on the lip. Both Seasons are neutral. The product is inside the value range for both, and not too blue or red for a Summer as many Winter colours can be.

3. The warmth or coolness of the product goes without saying. How about the warmth or coolness of the particular person? For instance, much of the makeup on the Soft Summer lists tends to be warmish. It will work well for many women, since it is common to tend warm in that type of colouring. It is also common to be in the center of the Season, and sometimes to be on the cooler, more saturated side, near True Summer. The warmer makeup will look thick or blunt, without the clean, rosy bloom of the berry colours that so flatter the cooler Soft Summers. However, cosmetics are very particular in how they react with personal pigmentation. Few conclusions can be drawn about how warm or cool you really are from lipstick observations.

Neutral Season women, those whose colouring is a blend of a warm and a cool True Season, generally have a warmth setting that works best. Not always, there is no always. Some can wear the full span very well. Others are extremely close to the dominant parent Season in their best lipstick, despite wearing the full range of the palette in clothing beautifully.

Photo: doc...
Photo: doc…


4. The amount and colour of personal pigmentation. Undoubtedly, this will influence how the cosmetic appears. Of the many Soft Summers I know, I have met less than five on whom the Test Drape yellow was among their three best colours. Quite rare.  On two of these women, eye colours and patterns are near identical. The perfect berry red lipstick on one woman came up a touch candy and artificial on the other. How a product will look on us is unpredictable. Like much about design, thinking our way to the answer will not work. We just have to try it, back up, and look.

5. The amount of contrast in the natural colouring. This is most helpful in deciding where to select colours from the woman’s native lightest to darkest range. A True Summer who looks Winterish, meaning her full gray scale is evident in her natural appearance creating fairly high contrast, looks great in a blouse in a pale pastel that is lighter than the swatch book, though still purely cool and muted. Summers never drape as well in the icy Winter colours, which often makes them look like they would glow in the dark if you turned out the lights. Pale mint green, like spearmint toothpaste, with that slight chalky feeling, can be fantastic.

This  higher-than-usual contrasting True Summer can also wear bigger jumps from skin to lip colour, wearing her darker tones in the daytime very easily. She wears a near-fuchsia blush well, as Avon mark Dollhouse, which will read as too sharp, pink, and candy on a more blended True Summer. Black remains conflicting, but darker-denim-blue eyeliners are fine. The less contrasting True Summer will do far better by staying in the middle ranges.

A less contrasting True Winter, one who doesn’t appear to go from black to white in her appearance although the drapes proved that she does, will choose cosmetics from her middle range too. I don’t get hung up on contrast in clothing because people wind up looking boring, but it comes into play in cosmetic choices.

6. Which colours look best together. A teal-eyed Dark Autumn will wear greige eyeshadows, not spiced browns, to look most settled with her eye colour. This point factors in with much more than eye colour. Consider how influential the colour of the surrounding skin and overtones might be. And then we get into ethnicities and the possible overtones there.

The extension is to foundation colour. Whether it is correct or not, it simply must affect how the rest of the cosmetics look since they sit on top of it and are encircled by it.

Evaluating lipstick without wearing any other makeup is kind of hard. Not impossible, and much easier if hair and clothing are correct, but there are trip wires along this path.

Be really careful drawing conclusions from lipstick draping. I mean, really careful. Lipstick is the least flexible product of all the cosmetics. Seasons are disqualified incorrectly too often just from lipstick draping. The creator of the lip colours used particular colours from a menu of 20 possibles, maybe more. The one in the kit might just not be the one that agrees with you.

Photo: Kaliyoda


7. Cosmetics change colour on the skin, or appear to, most often when they are not in harmony with our natural colours. Those colours that find a match with our own blend in. The rest seems to separate, sit on the surface, and imply that the entire product just changed colour. A woman who finds consistently that makeup turns orange might be consistently buying makeup that is too orange. This is personal opinion, with not a lick of research to back it up.

Colour change could also happen when colour and person are not in harmony based on personal chemistry. Skin pH, medication, and so on, about which I know nothing. I’d love to look at data, since I try not to accept something just because it sounds like it would be right or should be right…like I did in the point above :)

9. Texture or formula may not be a good match for your skin chemistry, though swatching was correct. The formula might be one that seems quite different on skin than paper or in the pan, as many cream to powder products are.

Photo: cempey
Photo: cempey


10. You’re taking lipliner into account, right? A Dark Winter can create a gorgeous dull, everyday red with Givenchy Rose Precieux over MAC Staunchly Stylish liner. She can increase the staying power and tone down the blueness of ELauder Double Wear Ruby by wearing it over MAC Brick liner. And so on. Nevermind this one. I know you’d factor that in.

11. Your hair is the correct colour for your skin or tied back when you decide about a product. It’s a thing for Soft Summer hair to often be too light, too ash, too yellow, the wrong kind of yellow, and other variations on the theme. Whichever is happening, the face is a little gone, as if there’s a layer of white dust over the face.

In every age group, this colouring is not easy with yellow blonde, unless Nature made her that way, which I have never seen. The only blonde she can be is one with dark roots, one at the salon every 3 weeks, one with far less feature definition and a fuzzy bland face that would be really hard to draw, a blonde with a yellowish cast to the skin (and eyes and teeth, because what happens to part of the face happens to the whole face), and a blonde whose hair never looks great with her clothes. There are better choices.

She does have a lightness that others see. In her best hair colour, she might be described as a blonde, but she is better as a taupe to medium ash of some value level near her own with a cool caramel highlight.

Makeup can’t help but be affected by hair, the hat we wear all day every day. The blonde-hair-blue-eyes ideal tends to be more prevalent in the US than with Canadian women, and boy, is it planted in there good. The hair industry fallacy that older women need lighter hair certainly applies in Canada though. An ongoing struggle for many Soft Summer women.

At maturity, she can certainly have light silver hair, quite sophisticated indeed. She will do better with more lipstick vibrancy, not less, so as not to look like a big gray circle. Summer wears silver in hair or anywhere else easily, requiring minimal wardrobe adjustments and the same extra spirit in makeup that heightens the presence of all colouring types after 50.

12. How long between swatching on paper and testing with the palette at home? Many products mute and get browner.

Photo: beer
Photo: beer


13. Which Season is being swatched? Many True and Soft Summers, in fact most in my opinion, can wear colour that is more saturated than many palettes indicate, both in garments and cosmetics.

14. What about how you want to look? Many a Dark Autumn prefers Soft or True Autumn lipsticks because she wants to look not-made-up.

15. How old are you? I’ve been thinking lately that children are hyperpigmented adults. Not necessarily different pigments than they will have as adults, although many do change in adolescence or early adulthood.

Often, children have settled into their Seasons before they are 10 years old. At the time of their draping, they are able to balance every aspect of their colours, full on darkness and saturation, and could easily go even higher. I see Bright Winter children on whom the drapes are gorgeous and could easily carry a lot more.

As we age, I believe at this moment (could change in the next moment) that our pigments remain the same, but reduce quantity or concentration. To take on a different colour, our melanin, carotene, and hemoglobin would have to mutate when we are 40 or something. I have not seen that, read about it, or believe it happens from what I see every day. The Season spread is the same regardless of age group.

Sometimes, overtone appears to change. Some say they look warmer or yellower. Because the skin changed, the person then says their eyes changed colour. Most likely, the eye colour appears different next to a new skin overtone . A close look at the iris pigments does not reveal any more warmth at all, in fact these are usually very cool to cool-neutral eyes.

Photo: kliverap
Photo: kliverap


16. Your own colour tastes. Many Winters, especially True and Bright, do not care for the gray eyeshadow choices. With the red-violet blush and cheeks that suit this colouring best, I prefer gray in eye makeup but there are certainly nice cool browns out there. Everybody’s makeup takes searching. Even in correct Season, women wear (and should wear) quite different makeup. The idea that everything on the list applies to everyone in the Season is untrue.


Comments from Our Analysts

We need to be less rigid. Swatching and stereotypes are a place to start.  Without defining our neighbourhood, we will wander all over the city forever, looking for home. The whole entire shopping mall cannot be home. Each one of us has a room in there somewhere that is uniquely ours, to which all this other information can lead.

Nothing is cut in stone. You work with your colour analyst to determine your personal best within the group that you belong with. Only she knows your skin’s particular reactivity to the warmth, darkness, and saturation ranges within your Season. She knows which hues you wear so easily, they could be a wardrobe neutral, extending to eyeglass frames and large items like coats.

I asked our analysts to join the conversation from their personal growing field of experience. Their contact information can be found in the Analyst Directory on my site or Terry’s, or will be added soon.

Each person is colored differently within the same season. Because of that, not ALL correct lipstick colors, just like drapes, will be great. Neutrals have more trouble than Trues, but they do too. Case in point…Christine and I both have worn Berry Kiss, a cool neutral plum from MaryKay. My lips are very dark purple, C’s are lighter. On C, the lipstick looks a nice bright plum-berry. On me, it looks plum-brown and a bit muddy. I don’t wear it anymore. So, if I were told Berry Kiss was a Dark Winter color and I looked muddy, I would think I wasn’t a DW. That’s the main reason you can’t lipstick drape to find season. People don’t take into consideration the fact that we are all unique, even though we are the same season. Terry Wildfong, Michigan

One of the things I love with makeup is that it informs about how you lean within your season, e.g.: warm vs cool (so vividly clear with my Light Summer mom and sister, where the blush that looked perfect on my sister looked muddy on my mom, i.e. was too warm for her so she may lean cool). Makeup also informs about higher or lower contrast (e.g.: I have had several Soft Summers who look great in the Dark Winter lippie Lancome Aubergine Velvet, but it is too much for me.) – Lisa Kelly, Ottawa, Ontario. (In the Analyst Directory on this site, soon to be formally introduced.)

Something that I’ve noticed with my clients with very fair skin is that they sometimes have less flexibility with how dark they can go with lipstick, and even with how light they can go too. As just one example of this, I think of my Bright Spring clients. Some of them have a skin tone that’s more medium as far as darkness, and I’ve noticed that these clients can pull off some of the lighter lipsticks that match their palette for a mod sort of look. However, my Bright Spring clients with a very fair skin tone can’t pull off that look very well, because the lightness of the lipstick is much too close to the lightness of their skin color. I’ve seen this principle of considering lightness/darkness in skin tone when choosing your best makeup over and over again, and there are many other factors that come into play too when finding your makeup sweet spot. Don’t be discouraged if the lipstick that looks perfect on your seasonal buddy isn’t your best. When this happens, think of it not as there being one less lipstick you can wear, but as being one step closer to understanding the unique space you occupy within your season. Amanda Roberts, California

As a light Bright Spring, I completely agree with Amanda, and about how dark I can go – not very. Also: having very dry lips, I have to start extremely bright & fairly light, because the lippie is going to dry on my lips, making it look darker. And of course, texture comes into it, too, in so many ways: different textures for different seasons, yes, but also more moisturising/glossy ones for dry lips, to prevent the darkening that will otherwise happen. IDK about clients in this respect – don’t see them long enough to see any changes in the lipstick colour, but we do discuss it and I am interested in women’s observations. Also, as an oily-skinned girl myself I’d like to have women remember that even if the foundation/powder are exact matches at first, oily skin turns some brands/textures yellow, orange or brownish in a few hours, so a change of brand may be the solution in some cases, not a different colour. Johanna Jarvinen, Finland

Makeup isn’t as straightforward as clothing because you’re mixing the colors with your own pigmentation. Especially with lipsticks, one’s own lip color really comes into play with how a particular lipstick will appear. There are also different ways that a client might like to wear their makeup. For example, a True Summer who wants a bit more of a dramatic shade may find she can use a mid-range color from Dark Winter. A shade that appears as a natural, everyday look on a Bright Spring can be a nice option for a Light Spring that wants a more vibrant lip. I tell clients that the color fan gives an excellent place to start with choosing makeup, but still requires some experimentation and, sometimes more importantly, shows you what to stay away from. Heather Noakes, California

I’ve learned that trying new makeup is akin to trying a new food: you can’t taste it once and decide you don’t like it. As a very fair Dark Autumn, I panicked when I arrived home from my training and saw all of that dark makeup! I went running toward the lightest, pinkest Dark Autumn colors I could find. Of course, as the months passed I tried the darker colors again, and they grew to be my favorites. But it took time and experimentation. Try warming too-cool colors with a golden gloss, or applying dark colors with a lip brush if you find that they’re applying too opaquely. It’s also very important to stick with your color space. Wearing eye makeup from your season with lips from a neighboring season is likely to look funky and unbalanced. Cate Linden, Kentucky

Always try before you buy. You might have found a lipstick, blush, eyeshadow or liner that looks exactly like some dots on your fan, or you have been told it suits your season perfectly. That does not in any way mean it will look the same on YOU. It all changes when it is on your face. Don’t rush. Try in store- it might look great at first glance but don’t buy it straight away. Walk around with it, look in a few different mirrors in different lights, take a Selfie if you are so inclined (but remember photos don’t always show the real colours), just let the makeup sit on you and get a feel for it. If you don’t buy it the same day it does not matter, order it the following week if you still want it, think about it a bit longer or come back another day. After all this is something you want to wear most days so its better to get it right than waste your money (talking from own experience here). I have been forcing myself to do so lately as although I should know better. I have so many ‘not just right’ pieces of cosmetics in my drawers. Another thing, sometimes it is better to shop without friends. They are subconsciously shopping for themselves, picking what they would like to get, or a look they like. Your friend might not always see you in an objective way. Also never forget that just because a colour is on your fan it does not automatically mean it will look great on your face. It does not in any way mean its the wrong season for you. For example, as a True Winter, there are many beautiful purples I would not be comfortable wearing as a blush, eyeshadow or lipstick, but would look fabulous worn in a scarf or as a pair of earrings. Margareta Palmquist-Whyte, Sweden (Soon to be added to Terry’s Analyst Directory.)

I like to swatch several lipstick colors on the inside of my client’s arm to test how those colors will interact with their particular skin tone, especially Neutral seasons. You can use this as a second step in choosing a lipstick, the first being swatching the colors on white paper to see whether they harmonize with your palette. Once you have three or four contenders, looking at them on your arm is a good way to narrow the field, or learn what you need to look for next: warmer or cooler? A bit darker/lighter? Yes our lips are pigmented differently from the insides of our arms, but they’re still our colors! We can learn how to make allowances for the way our lips are pigmented. Looking at colors on your arm might help you be a little more objective about the colors’ reactions with your skin tone. Swatching on your inside arm is also a good way to get a feel for a lipstick formula. Of course the more sheer, the more your lip pigments will affect the color. I learned to love arm swatching from Karla Sugar! And a word about Sales Associates: I’ve seen so many do arm swatching to demonstrate colors, but they draw the colors on their own arms! This is interesting but not ultimately helpful in determining what color does for YOU. Don’t be intimidated by SAs. Remember it’s their job to be helpful to you. Once you find a nice one, they are worth cultivating. You may even be able to teach them a thing or two about color, which could really benefit their sales abilities. You are becoming your own authority on color now. No need to succumb to fads. What freedom! Sharon Forsythe, Texas





Introducing The Signature/STYLE Newsletter

Fashion Forward

You sit down to go through your email today and find what appears to be a newsletter. You scroll down to find pictures of blouses in the colours and shapes that suit you better than any others could.

In this email, each image would include some commentary to help you understand why the particular colours and shapes are so flattering for you. Next time you shop, your eyes would be able to seek out those designs, or similar ones that follow the same formula.

In the open ocean of retail, you have a plan. You carry the thumbnail images in your head guiding what to choose, how to venture, and where to stop. While browsing, you recognize the items that you would have purchased a week ago, with a smile of relief for knowing your better choices today.

Three months later, another email will arrive to show you how to buy dress styles that are most becoming to your body in colours that look beautiful next to yours. Three months later, it will be winter coats. You would begin to see what the items have in common, noticing the consistencies that run through each of your newsletters. As you begin transforming your wardrobe, you might notice that your overall image becomes much clearer with even small adjustments when colours and lines work together.

Not only that, since the pictures are linked to the retail sites, you would gather a selection of stores and designers that could serve you best. More of your time, attention, and money would flow in directions that help you to truly look and feel better.

We women want to navigate a shopping mall successfully to look creative at the office and still appear professional. We desire to express health and happiness in our appearance and still be taken seriously at a party. We wish for an appearance that speaks of elegance and style whatever our personal definition of those might be, authentic to our unique selves rather than looking like everyone else.

Our clothes and jewelry can be extensions of that self, being true to our extrinsic colours, lines, and shapes, with the elements of intrinsic individuality that add excitement. Together, a woman and her apparel can bring out the absolute best in each other.

 Fashion Backward

All consumers need easy access to education and resources for shopping from a personal menu of Best Choices in the 21st Century shopping arena. Advice that is outdated, geared to flatter 20 year olds, either impossible to find or too common to suit more than a narrow percentage, is not helpful.

If the woman leaves the image consulting service looking costumed for a part in on Broadway, unpredictable and eccentric, old-fashioned in some odd way that was never a style in any era, or too mystified by the system to direct her own shopping decisions, she has not been served as well as possible.

The direction of fashion is presently in reverse.

The process of fashion begins with clothing manufacturers and media that apply colours or styles to every woman indiscriminately to sell as much as possible before the trend dies out. We see the rise and fall of certain colours and styles, which, in reality, are truly flattering to a very narrow group of people, those that sell magazines.

The wasted money is one problem. Our larger concern is the loss of self-esteem that accumulates over many years of feeling that we don’t fit into a mold. Though every body is perfectly proportioned, we can feel doubt about ourselves. In time, a belief settles in that wherever we differ from models and a mannequin is a flaw.

Nothing of the sort is remotely true. We are, each one of us, the mold that fashion should be retrofitted to.



Signature/STYLE is a cooperative project between Rachel Nachmias and I. We will go shopping with your colours and image type in mind, assembling a collage of your most becoming selections from everyday retailers into a newsletter that will arrive every three months. Items from the fashion world will be featured, explained, and linked to direct you to colours and styles that you wear better than any other colouring or body type.

To give you a sense of what to expect, for the past few months, we have pinned examples of the 12 Seasons’ colours in combination with the 10 image archetypes (IA) to the Shopping for Your Season and Style board at Pinterest. The pins were chosen mostly from runways and lookbooks. The Signature/STYLE newsletter will contain real items available for purchase from the stores many of us visit often.

There will be 20 different versions of Signature/STYLE, for the 20 possible Season and Archetype combinations. Each will focus on one of the 4 True Seasons, as Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter, and one of the 5 IAs, as Dramatic (D), Natural (N), Classic (C), Romantic (R), and Gamine (G), including its Yin and Yang variations (see Rachel’s’ recent article here explaining IA.

For every Season and Archetype pair, the Neutral Seasons and Ying/Yang variations of the IA will be presented in the same newsletter. This will allow you to compare your colours and lines with those of immediate neighbours to fine-tune your application of these concepts within your own palette and archetype.

A Light Summer woman whose IA is YangRomantic (YangR) will subscribe to the Summer/Romantic newsletters. In every issue, she will find her best self in clothing, along with comparisons to how her True and Soft Summer sisters would dress, and a YinRomantic’s adaptation of similar garments.

A Dark Autumn YangNatural will subscribe to Autumn/Natural.

A True Winter Dramatic will find her customized, personalized fashion review in the Winter/Dramatic issues.

We agree that appearance improves substantially by simply knowing which of the 4 True Season groups and 5 Archetype options is yours. Even if you know Summer of some kind and Natural, you will learn so much, shop with renewed confidence, dramatically elevate your wardrobe, and skyrocket your appearance.

The Layout


The issue will begin with an image like the one above, to feature a relevant article from our sites, a beautiful cosmetic product, or any other information that would have value to your Season and Style.

Following that will be the Product section, seen below, presenting nine garments with text describing the reasons for their inclusion. This example issue features sleeveless blouses for the True, Light, and Soft Summer woman of either YinGamine or YangGamine (YinG and YangG) archetypes, with explanations as to which woman wears the item best and why.


Each issue will have a theme. The first issue looks at warm weather and lightweight dresses. Another one might be about pant legs. Who wears straight leg? Who wears bootcut? How wide is the bootcut for each body type that wears it? What’s the best colour in jeans or your better-than-black for other occasions?

Next time, it might be bathing suits. Which style flatters your body best and inherently understands where and how to define your waist? A True Winter YinR might express herself slightly differently in colour and style than a Dark Winter YinR. We’ll show you how each woman wears her own design best.

One day, you will find beautiful dress styles that seem to know intuitively how you want your clothing to fit. There really are items in every fashion category that have been adjusted to minimize or eliminate the problems you find over and over with mass-market or trending styles.


The pictures from this example issue show the newsletter divided in sections. Of course, it will be merged into one piece when your email arrives. You can see the issue in its entirety here on the site itself.


Issues will arrive quarterly.   They will be responsive to all common computers, browsers, and mobile devices.

Cost is US$35.99 for 12 months (4 issues).

A one year commitment is required. Whenever you subscribe in a given year, you will receive all the issues from that year. Subscriptions begin 12 months from the sign-up date. The first issue includes Summer 2014 (now), Fall 2014, Winter 2014, and Spring 2015.

Sign up is done in this way. When you visit Signature/STYLE, you will see a Subscribe link at the top left corner of the screen. Once the page opens,  by clicking on the image of the newsletter, a box will open to select your Season and IA groups from two separate drop-down menus. Then click ADD TO CART. A box will open asking for the email address of the recipient. You can subscribe for as many versions as you wish at US$35.99 each.

Once you have completed your selections, click on the cart icon at the upper right. A payment screen will open asking for your payment information and email address. It looks similar to the PayPal screens, but this payment is equally secure and powered by Stripe. You can complete the order and be returned to Signature/STYLE. You will receive an order confirmation email.

The first issue will arrive within 48 hours of sign up, beginning with Sunday, August 17.

If you subscribe between issues, you receive the previous three issues from that year within two days. The remaining issues of the subscription are sent as soon as they are released.

Which Season? Which Archetype?

If Christine were to categorize herself 10 years ago, she would have incorrectly chosen Autumn and Natural. In truth, she is Winter and Classic. We understand how difficult it is to know ourselves. Books and online education only take you so far. Sometimes, you need expert help.

Your best bet is to begin with a correct and thorough personal colour analysis (PCA). You can find a directory of highly trained analysts working with the carefully calibrated 12 Blueprints drapes, here in the Directory on this site and at Your Natural Design here. This service cannot be performed accurately from photographs.

Rachel can do personal Image Analysis (PIA) accurately online. You can find that information here.

If you prefer to identify your IA without the full PIA service, you will find an updated and concise self-assessment quiz hosted on Rachel’s bestdressed.us site, available in September 2014. The quiz works astonishingly well for placing you in the correct category of the 5. Once you have a quiz result, you will be invited to download a free 8 page illustrated guide for your Image Archetype. On those pages, you will find archetype descriptions, apparel designs, garment examples, modern celebrity examples, imagery and inspiration to form an image of the woman you will dress.



You can email us at e.signature.style@gmail.com

The website is http://signature-style.squarespace.com


Determining colour accurately online is impossible for faces and quite challenging for clothing. As everyone knows who has shopped online, the colours in the images may be different than the real garment. Please do remember that if you purchase, items are returnable.

We have been surprised at how quickly stores are out of stock in various items. Should your item be no longer available when you receive your newsletter, take advantage of the learning opportunity. One day, that item will reappear and you won’t miss it.






Best Makeup Colours Bright Spring

The Great Courses description for Skepticism 101: How to Think like a Scientist reads,

…we are all vulnerable to believing things without using logic or having proper evidence – and it doesn’t matter how educated or well read we are. Our brains seem to be hard-wired to have our beliefs come first and explanations for our beliefs second.

Cliches in colour analysis are becoming outdated. High time too since women have known them to be fallible since they first reached a wide audience 25 years ago. Brown eyes have to be Winter, Springs are light, Brights have some kind of alien eyes that you could pick out anywhere, Autumns have red hair, are beliefs that simply do not hold true when measured across groups of people.

Bright Spring colouring has contributed much to this worthwhile end. It is stereotype-proof. It cannot be pinned down to any mold, standard, or convention. This colouring can appear similar to Light Summer or Dark Autumn commonly,  True Winter, Bright Winter, Soft Summer, and True Summer often, and even True and Soft Autumn sometimes.


Soft Summer? Bright Spring is easily confused with Soft Summer? How could that be? Forget about the fact that they are across from each other on a map. Maps are an over-simplified, narrow angle lens on a complex physical entity. A map of a territory is a piece of paper, not mountains and rivers. A colour cycle is an idea, not a human face. Maps are little pictures of a few relationships among many. Not for a moment do they encompass an entire topic.

Clients often ask how colour analysts make the decisions that they do. Well, that would be like asking your doctor the same thing. Without training in the legal profession, or whatever field, nobody can understand the decision-making process. Colour analysis has been made to appear DIY in the past. Although a wild fallacy, it served the purpose of popularizing a product that improves lives.

We can read books and join online groups till the end of time. These will not provide the answers to how colour analysts make decisions. They are entertainments, albeit good ones. We need to be shown person to person. Maybe one day, we can meet for Colour Retreats in your city. We’ll show you exactly how and why it is done as it is without the commitment of becoming an analyst yourself. We can meet for a 6AM walk, eat kale twice a day, have my delightful 15 ingredient smoothie for lunch, have guest speakers to talk about women&money, women&relationships. Oh, the possibilities!

Back to Bright Spring and Soft Summer. Think about what the two Seasons have in common. Quite a lot, actually. Allow me to walk you through a client draping. She might turn out Bright Spring or Soft Summer but we don’t know which one.

In the first comparison, both Seasons find some things to like about black. The analyst cannot know what this is at the beginning. All they see is that both colourings improve somehow. At the end, we will understand that the Soft Summer wanted the darkness. Bright Spring wanted the saturation. For now, that level of explanation is not available to us. All we know is that if the woman had $1000 and could only buy one dress between Winter black and Autumn brown, we would give her the black.

Several steps on, we compare the True Seasons. Either person might look quite good in True Summer if the comparison of the moment is with True Winter. Spring and Summer enjoy the lightness and the delicacy. True Winter can look a little heavy and rugged. The decision the analyst, or anyone, makes about a colour is completely contingent on which comparison her eyes are being given in that moment. Change the comparison, a different decision is made about the very same drape, which is why it is so essential to compare in many combinations. If a few of the Summer drapes happen to be very light, almost icy light, and not too muted, Bright Spring skin will play along. Soft Summer will be happy too since she is a Summer after all.

The Red Drapes are next, one the products of the great genius of Kathryn Kalisz, founder of the Sci\ART system. Neutral it is, for both Seasons. Soft Summer is a cool-neutral, meaning that it is even easier to switch it with Bright Winter than the warm-neutral Bright Spring. Not only is Bright Winter a cooler neutral, the overall darkness level is fairly close to Soft Summer. Bright Winter is a light Winter. Bright Spring is a dark Spring. Soft Summer is a dark Summer. In both value and heat dimensions, they all run together around the edges.

The analyst has to separate these Seasons on the saturation dimension as she plans her drape comparisons. Now what if the Bright Winter person is not the most saturated or darkest ever? One of those people who could live life (and would prefer to live life) in Light Summer? I could name several. What if the client is a Soft Summer whose colouring is fairly close to True Summer, meaning more saturated and cooler than the stereotypic/average Soft? Have seen several of those too.

For all Seasons, the average is rare. The stereotype might be 1 in 10. The vast majority of people are the disclaimer. You probably are.

Now we are moving on to the 12 Seasons drapes. Sometimes, the answer is obvious but life is not that easy and neither is colour analysis. Skin reactions must be seen, not verbally described. Both persons can have a fair bit of yellow in the eyes and many blues and greens. Bright Spring is generally a colour-activated person but Soft Summer is hardly colourless. Every human face is in perfect balance in its colours and its features.

We know that Bright Spring colours are only too bright when worn by another Season, but look quite normal and balanced on a Bright Spring. We know that Soft Summer colours can seem faded when worn by another colouring, but read as very vibrant when worn by a Soft Summer. So do Soft Summer eyes look quite bright in a Soft Summer face.

I sometimes wonder what it would be like to harmonize eye photos with the palettes. Nature colours a face in a harmony of Season colours, meaning that every face is normal, balanced, and vibrant. No living, healthy human wearing their natural colours has dull eyes.




Winter is here. Red is necessary. Barbie pink and nectarine are not red enough.

Sometimes, this woman looks quite True Spring, with a lot of yellow in  the hair and general lightness about her. The only surface clue to a hint of Winter might be a golden brown eye or a spoke of rust in an aqua eye. She will wear the more orange colours beautifully while the bluer pinks may be too cool. The reverse is true also, that the very cool looking (or cool testing, meaning very near Bright Winter) woman will wear the cool pinks and darker red-violets.

The lightest to darkest colour spread, meaning the gray scale or the value scale, spans almost to black and white. That spread should be present in the made up face to express my idea of great makeup: take what you are and make more of it. The size of the area is not important as long as the eye of the viewer can see them at the same time.

Eyeliners are quite dark but not black. Dark gray is good on everyone. Many in this Season have an intensely red-orange colour in hair and eyes, like dark carrot. For them, the Season dark brown is lovely as liner, as it is on Asian dark eyes.

A coloured liner reads well because the person is so colourful to look at. Just be sure to match the colour, as green, turquoise, or purple, very carefully to your Colour Book. These colours can look juvenile if they stand apart from the face because the natural colouring could not find a home for it.

For all 12 Seasons, your white is a beautiful brow bone highlight. Here, it is a clear yellowed white, as buttermilk. We all know my love of peachy pink on Brights. Pale gold could be great, or silvery pink.

How to swatch makeup to Season was described in the Light Spring article.


I will post some thoughts on the Makeup for Your Natural Colouring board at Pinterest.


Blush: Bare Escentuals Sweet Cheeks. Tarte Frisky. MAC Fleur Power, Pinch of Peach. Maybelline Dream Bouncy Hot Tamale. Nothing new and wonderful has crossed my path since these standbys.

Eyeshadow: Gosh Smoky Eyes #1 quad. EArden Graphite. Gosh Sand is a nice browbone highlight, warm pearly white. Gosh quad in Platinum has a good value range and could be used as is or to create many excellent colours.

Eyeliner: Clarins 04 Platinum. ELauder Graphite is darker, for those near Bright Winter. Gosh Hypnotic Grey is good, as is Raw Grey for the cooler, darker colouring.

Lipstick: Paulas Choice Strawberry Soda gloss. Becca Maraschino. Merle Norman Popsicle. Clarins Pink Fuchsia (might also be very good as a red option on True Spring) and Tropical Pink 19 as a warm pink.  Clinique stick Heftiest Hibiscus and Plushest Punch. Lancome RIL 163M appears in Light Summer’s post too, being quite saturated and of neutral heat, for those Bright Springs looking for a more natural lip. I showed a photo on the Pinterest board of how Barbie pink looks a little weak and flat. This colouring needs that pinch of red, which Gosh Lip Lacquer 900 could be used to add to other products.




Best Makeup Colours Light Spring

Every human colouring is magnificent. The gift of my days is the opportunity to truly look at human colouring and understand how to interpret it. It feels like giving the person back to themselves. The more I do this, the more rocked my world becomes.

Something in Light Spring renders me speechless. Like the good witch, they could float up off the ground at any moment in a swirl of sweet, sparkling dust. The colouring is so gentle, almost transparent, and yet they twinkle, move, and are full of life. A magic spell would not surprise, most often one that brings another person something they desire. The Summer wish to do good in the world is mixed with the absence of attachment or over thinking that is Spring. Spring is goodness, happiness, and smiles for their own sake. Wearing their own colours, the sun itself pours out of the iris of the eyes.


Most rewarding to me is having the woman say, I never thought my skin could look this good without foundation. Because this analysis can begin a little tough. For no particular reason beyond consistency, a session with me begins with a comparison between the black and brown (Winter and Autumn) drapes. On a Light Spring, they look worse and worser. Light Summer has some ability to manage black. Light Spring, not so. It looks and feels like punishment. The Autumn choice is no better on them.

We train analysts to identify effects that are both better and worse with every single drape. Recently, an excellent student could find nothing good in black or brown, not one single thing, so she most delicately chose to say nothing at all to the model. With a client, the analyst must find something to say as the client’s expecting eyes are looking back at her in the mirror. For the client, this is a regular day. This is the face she always sees in the mirror.

Spring skin is very definite in its sadness in Autumn colour. This observation over and over has convinced me that Spring/Autumn blends do not exist in human colouring. They might in human shopping, which is another story.

Interesting too that one might think that Light Spring and Soft Autumn people resemble one another since they share similar relationships to the other Seasons (warm-neutral, light side). In actual people and how the skin reacts to colour, it is the Light Summer and Soft Autumn that need care when draping. Light Summer has the darkness and softness of colour that are closer to Soft Autumn, the lightest, sunniest of the Autumn group.

As the draping process moves along, we begin to see their radiance light up the room. The more serious among us are reminded that life can be a piece of cake if only we would let it. I have analyzed this woman with allergies in full bloom, and yet she is a delight and a pleasure to everyone in the room just by being herself.



If we take fair to mean light, Light Spring really is the fairest of them all. Colours of almond milk, linen, light peach, and sand. Eyeshadow grays are less blue than in the Summers. Light browns appear. Another option, not shown, is a bit of green in the yellow or brown, as light khaki or golden greens. Not army green, more floaty than that.

Light Spring might be the rarest of them all too. Unlike Bright Winter, of which there are many, and which appears to be the case the world over. These clients are such a lovely surprise for a colour analyst because so many months go by in between.

Small shifts in darkness level are amplified on this colouring, where they would be near insignificant on another. Darkness is hard to control. Even in a tiny area, as black mascara, the lashes attract lots of attention, as aggressive. Enchanting got left behind long ago. As the lightest colouring, Light Spring women can achieve plenty of cosmetic impact by choosing from the lighter colours in the collection, though they certainly have relatively  darker options as does every Season.

Definition of features happens beautifully using lighter colours than one might think. Concealer is similar, where the ability of light colour to move visually forwards and upwards is used to create definition, contour, and contrast. Here, every colour is relatively light, even eyeliner. Milky golden sunbeams pour outwards from this being, the special magic of Light Spring, an effect that cosmetics ought never suppress.

Colour clarity is quite high in Spring, meaning that pigments are pure. Transparency is a form of clarity and happens to look great in makeup, allowing the reflectivity of light from the skin to come through. Literally as well, the eyes may be pale beach glass, whose way of intensifying in harmonious colour is to become more sparkling. Repeating that in cosmetic effect adds magic to magic, perfectly consistent and aligned. Sheer cosmetics also glisten without frost, in the same way that as the skin. Lastly, sheer cosmetics allow for a lightweight colour deposit. Feelings of weight and opacity turn the lights down on the most lit up face of all.

Sometimes, this person is very Summer looking and does better in the cooler, pinker lipstick and blush. At other times, she can be much yellower and the melon colours look lovely on the face. If the products are sheer, either could work well. Embrace light golden uplighters and lip gloss without going overboard. Light Spring is creamy and a little hazy, not metallic or hard.

She can be quite beige from the milkiness of the skin colours. A monochromatic cream, beige, and light brown makeup palette can be gorgeous, effortless, the ultimate natural face that Light Seasons actually do well at any age (and Winters at no age). There is a sweetness to that look that reminds us of fresh creamy flavours.

How to swatch makeup

Do it this way. Paint a 1 inch square of the cosmetic pretty heavily on a page of white paper, heavily enough that no white paper comes through. Make a big area, at least as big as the swatches in your book. Swipe it on there thick to pull every nuance out of the colour.

I prefer plain white paper to paper towel, but you might try both. The paper towel is harder to work with, tears more easily for one thing  and harder to write on. Colours do look different on it, more dimensional somehow. I have not compared the harmonizing results of cosmetics on paper towel and plain paper.

I seldom swatch gloss because it’s a transparent oily mess by the time I get it home to swatch in good light. Instead, I advice clients to look at several lipsticks on paper from the list I send them, choose a few they would like to try, and find a match in a gloss. Salespersons are usually quite good at this within their own product line.

You’re running a draping simulation, right? The swatch book is the face. There are your eyes, over here are the lips and cheeks, and so on. The cosmetic is the drape. One colour at a time and lots of it. Give me more than one colour to test at the same time and two things happen. My perceptions get muddled as the colours alter one another and the face itself. Second, I miss too much of the information that any single colour is trying to give me.

If there are several cosmetic patches on the page, cover them with white paper. You want to see only the colour swatch book and the product in question. Therefore, keep your swatches far enough apart on the same page to isolate them from neighbours or it will alter your perceptions and decisions.

Lay your swatch book above the cosmetic area. Anchor down the bottom strip with one hand. Looking across at both the colour and the swatches, flip the pages of the book past the makeup. Open the pages enough to see the entire strip.

Immediately, instantly, you should notice that both the cosmetic and the swatches become more colourful, cleaner, fresher, better defined by being next to one another. Both sets of colours should appear more vivid, interesting, energized, and nuanced. If either one drops back, seems duller, weaker, grayer, flatter, or less in any way, do not buy it. If your colour book swatches are circular, the edges of the dots become crisper, sharper, better defined.

The cosmetic and the swatches should be better and more together  they were apart.  That right there is what harmony looks like. Not evenly coloured skin or feature definition, those are just indicators of which there are hundreds more that a colour analyst evaluates during the entire draping. When the wavelengths are so synchronized that they lock together like magnets and sing at the top of their voices, that is harmony, or the best way I can define it today. That is your face surrounded by its own intrinsic colours. I can feel my heart rate speed up just typing it. When you see it, and everyone can see it and feel it once they are shown how, the room goes quiet. Truth, the ultimate silencer.

You get better, faster, and trust your judgment more with swatch book practice. See if any colours are uncomfortable with the cosmetic. If there are combinations that are awkward, something is off. Who cares what it is, leave the product behind. It is not you. The energies should feel even. If you’re ignoring one or the other, or they just don’t look pretty together, that is exactly will happen on the face.

Forget about perfect matches to the swatches, it is not necessary. When the strips with the colours most similar to the cosmetic go by, slow down. The cosmetic should look like a plausible extension of the strip, meaning that if one more dot or square were added, it could believably be the product.

When the colours of other cosmetics go by, slow down. If you’re swatching eyeshadow, slow down over the reds. Your eyeshadow wants to look gorgeous and united with your lips and blush, which are your blood, to be vampirishly explicit.

This process is equally effective with eyeliner, bronzer, any cosmetic you choose. Even mascara.


I will post some thoughts on the Makeup for Your Natural Colouring board at Pinterest.


Try before you buy.

Blush: Body Shop Marshmallow. Avon Mark Lovespell.  Dior Coral Cruise. Lancome French Ballerina. Shiseido RD1 trio could be good, though perhaps better for True Spring. Shiseido PK 304. Clinique Robust Rhubard Chubby Stick.

Eyeliner: PUR Polished Stone. A very warm leaning woman with yellow in the eyes and hair could try EArden Bronze, though it is probably most lovely on True Spring. Urban Decay Desperation could be good (try it, might be too dark on many), certainly your black substitute. Clinique Brown Sugar is neither too green or red, and Intense Truffle, a very interesting colour.

Eyeshadow: Favourite highlight ever, MAC Wisp. Aveda Aurora. Lancome Chic, Honeymoon, and Optic. Elizabeth Arden Bone, Sandstone, and Blonde. Shiseido BE213 trio includes what I mean by floaty khaki, feels light rather than heavy if you put it on a weight scale. Revlon 500 Addictive quad could be good, but could not be tested. Clinique Foxier. Estee Lauder Sepia Sand and Nude Fresco.

Lip: Aveda Peruvian Lily (could be good on Light Summer too but the product has more colour with Light Spring). Dior Lucky (cooler) and Cruise (warmer). Lancome Rekindle. Almay Color+Care gloss in Apricot Pucker and L’Oreal Everbloom may be too warm for some Lights and probably great on all True Springs. Almay Cantaloupe Creme is good, though light and sheer. L’Oreal 285 Pink Fever is a trace too cool for Light Spring and better overall for Light Summer but worth testing if on the cool side. Clinique Sugared Grapefruit. Estee Lauder Pink Voltage (Light Summer should try out Rose Envy).

For your darker colours, the red options, have a look at  Laura Mercier Mango. Tarte Watermelon, Poppy (Coral for True Spring).  KatVonD BonBon.

Bronzer: Mercier Matte Bronzer Light. Benefit Coralista, which could easily be the blush as well. Physicians Formula Glowing Nude Powder in Light looks promising, but I could not open the package to test it.



Science, beauty, truth. Transformational results.