In the last video, part the previous post about PCA and Teens, we talked about a life lived with freedom from identity crisis. The freedom of knowing who we are early in life means an exemption from the knots that hold us so fastened to appearance beliefs that are unflattering, distort our self-story, and cause others to greatly underestimate our potential. Why carry this around for 20 unnecessary years? Who would saddle their child with this load voluntarily? The world will do so unless we step in.
Our kids are gorgeous in pyjamas and we love them too much to care how they look. The world at large does not share those sentiments and feels no pressure to try. To any young adult reading, get this figured out when you still have a million choices ahead, many competitions and serious money at stake. Stack the odds in your own favour. Never fight to lose.
I can’t get those years back, let alone all that money. Get your kids’ colours analyzed between 18 and 25. Give them a different life than what’s in the cards for them today. How many women in a room could say about their appearance, “I went away from myself and proceeded to get totally lost.” That would be me and most of the women I know. Staying lost is a choice. Used to be that our entire future was laid in by our gender. No more. Choice is a beautiful thing. Choice is the most important by-product of education.
Why Foundation Is Usually Too Warm
In this video, girl walks up to a makeup counter. Not only a girl who looks warm, but any girl.
Many people are artificially yellowed by hair and clothing choices. Some, especially people of ethnicity, have a lot of natural yellow in the overtone but in reality, are quite cool. We can’t look at the yellow and know its heat setting (there are cool yellows, right?) unless we test it. Soft Summer colouring is notorious for seeming warmer than it is because it’s smoky or looks tan all the time, misinterpreted as warm.
Most foundation is too warm, and warmed in the way a Spring face would be. Much of it is too candy and peach, maybe because it looks pretty under department store lights, real skin colours being kind of drab. The cool colours are often too candy and pink, again not matching most human skin tones.
What’s a girl to do? Take back the reins. Get colour analyzed, learn your own colouring, and stop being talked into wasting your money.
In Scenario 3, she has a good chance of leaving with the right foundation colour.
I bought two blouses from the last Signature/STYLE newsletter (you can see the picture and links over in the right column). Rachel at Best Dressed, who selects the styles, said, “Do a video so I can see them. ”
What could I talk about over two videos? Children in the first one. Parenthood is my highest calling. Ultimately, this is where I take measure of myself, the only place where I need to know that I was great. My children are where I lose perspective because we parent from the heart, not the head. Perspective is a game of the mind.
Keeping up with mailing books, drapes, and Blueprints cosmetics has taken over my schedule entirely. I introduce Ally today as my new shipping assistant. If I’m travelling, which is half the time, you may sometimes communicate with Ally directly regarding ordering and shipping details. (Invoices and receipts will still be with me.)
Read any book about colour and you’ll hear tell the same tale, a page devoted to the story of a child who wore colours other than their own, either by Mom’s preference or by necessity. Those were my kids too. Ally is my middle child so she often wore what we were given.
The training is a huge experience for a colour analyst. I don’t recall many details. What happened with the very first drapes, I can relive as if it were happening right now. To this day, I wave that black drape back and forth, her 12-year old face smiling back, in absolute shock at what I was seeing, with Terry standing at my side quietly, knowing exactly what was happening. Those were the moments when I realized that I had to start over to become the things I care about – the best colour analyst and far more, the best parent that I could be.
What I saw in the mirror stopped me in my tracks. Even as my fourth draping, it was obvious how much the red hair/brown eyes/Autumn stereotype would hold her back. Obvious that I, her mother who wants everything for her, was making choices that were limiting her reception in this world, her preparation for the rest of her life.
Self-expression is vital to kids. It is their single job in life. And here was me, not only suppressing but also sabotaging my daughter’s individuality and truth. Fixing that mattered more to me, then and today, than fixing myself. When a person knows how it feels for their light to shine bright in one part of their life, it’s much easier to reach that level in other parts.
Ally was and still is a True Winter in her colouring, a YinNatural in her image archetype. Knowing these have changed the course of her life already. She makes educated choices that give her beauty, and also confidence.
This branding colour quiz advised me to use pink as the main colour for my business/website/logo.
Every pink? Any pink?
Pink and what else?
The answer is so easy, it’s scary. One of the pinks in you, of course! A human being is already a brand, with an inherent visual design of lines and colours. For Brand U to become Brand Inc. is a simple extension of what we already are.
This matters. People will create and associate images with colours on our websites just as much as our personal apparel. When you are your business, people see and hear your product every time you walk in a room. They buy your story almost instantly when all the inputs are perfectly lined up.
For a corporation, let the meaning of the product guide the branding. For a solo business, it is simply not enough to say “Red means this…” and “Blue means that….”. Which of the million reds do you pick?
When the business is U, what U believe in and talk about, what U look like, what U deliver, the colours that speak for U can’t be any red or orange. They should be Ur red and orange. If there ever were anything that should be so 100% U, it should be Ur brand.
Christine and Tracy, Vancouver Beach, December 2014
We took a week in Vancouver back in December to help my friend and financial advisor, Tracy Theemes, brand a new company. Tracy is the co-owner of Sophia Financial with Kamal Basra. Many of you know Tracy from an earlier post, Personal Colour Analyst as Successful Career.
Among the great offerings of colour analysis is a menu of 60+ colours that required huge expertise in colour harmony to assemble, dropped right into your hands. Every colour is balanced with every other. The combinations are so innovative and personally guided that nobody can figure out the formula. Nice trick to have up your sleeve. The fact that it all lives in you to begin with is the fairy dust.
From Bev Pomeroy, who coordinated the design of the new site:
I used the color analysis and the descriptive language that came along with it for Tracy’s website and the first iteration from the web designer was remarkably close to what Tracy was looking for. I am finding it super interesting to see how your color analysis methods translate into a person’s brand design and brand inc. And I am curious how others may be able to leverage the same method.
Would you be able to explain to me how a client would go through the process of having their color analysis from you or someone within your team? I think we can use it as a brand creation tool with a lot of success.
I also think you could market your company more as brand/image consultancy versus color analysis / fashion / make up support. I see how it has enhanced every aspect of Tracy’s business development. It could do that for so many women business owners.
As you know, people are now trying to find their true self, being more holistic, organic…and what better way to market 12 Blueprints than by marketing it as a holistic, organic approach to becoming your true and natural brand? It can be integrated into someone’s offline world in the form of clothing, makeup, hair and we have just demo’d with Tracy, 12 Blueprints color analysis can also be integrated into someone’s online world…from logo design, web design and even the energy/essence someone evokes with their online persona through video, FB, social media etc.
I am weaving back and forth because I am cold. I was telling Tracy how the continuous cold has caused me to give up. Just plain give up, sit inside hoping for heat, wearing my snow pants in the house, and watching Netflix. To which she replied, “Germination takes many forms.” See, now that’s what I call a friend.
So I change into warmer clothes to consider meaning in appearance. The video is also here at YouTube.
You can find Sacred Contracts by Carolyn Myss here at the iTunes store (and lots of other places).
I neglected to mention a great book on archetypes and branding, The Hero and The Outlaw, by Mark and Pearson, here at amazon.com.
Your website colours come from inside you. How you use them is where the advice comes in. Smashing Magazine is always awesome on site design. This post on colour theory for web designers is a good and well illustrated tutorial.
1. Please notice the updating column on the left. Colour Analyst training course dates are posted for 2015. These dates are moderately adjustable, within a few days at the most. Adding more courses is possible but not likely, one reason being that there are just over 10 sets of Test Drapes available for 2015, to divide between my students and Terry’s (Terry’s course info is on her website at Your Natural Design). They will be reserved for students with confirmed course bookings, first deposit, first drapes. I do not guarantee any more Test drapes this year, nor do I discount the possibility.
2. After many requests, Toronto is getting an opportunity for high level colour analysis. Lisa Kelly will bring her Ottawa-based business to To. for a few days, Luxury drapes and all. Dates and contact under Colour Travels.
3. Also under Colour Travels, Heather Noakes has added many dates and destinations for PCA appointments.
4. Re: my trip to Vancouver to train and see PCA appointments. Unfortunately, the location did not work out. However, the interest in teaching, modelling, and private PCA sessions was significantly higher than I anticipated. This says to me that somewhere in the future, I must make this happen. It won’t be in May, but hopefully within the next year. Please do send an email if you’re interested. It will go in my Van. file and I’ll be in touch once something is confirmed.
OK. Business out the way. Let’s start. This post was fun, funny, and easy to put together.
As every woman who has given birth knows, there is something about reliving traumatic moments that helps us to heal. Psychologists, past life regressions, dream therapy, and so importantly, professional parties, all offer us opportunities to revisit the difficult times instead of suppressing them till they morph into some other undesirable thing.
Colour analysts are regular women too. We look back at our pre-colour-analyzed selves with the same incredulity, the same, “What was I thinking??” that our clients do. Maybe the traumatic part is looking back and wondering how in all the world we missed these clues.
We thought we would share with you a compilation of our favourite personal stories and memories. That way, if one day, you can come to one of our parties, and we hope you do, you will already be in on the jokes when we retell our own stories yet again.
To this day, about myself, I try to imagine what image, information, or influence could have brought the upgrade at 25 instead of 45. High on the list of Top 3 Comments Colour Analysts Hear is, “If only I had known sooner.” When I write Confessions of a Colour Analyst, I’ll put that list in the Appendix.
From me, Jorunn in Norway, Margareta in Sweden, Johanna in Finland, Ksenia in Moscow, Sharon in Texas, and Lisa Kelly (email to lisa@DNAmycolours.com) in Ottawa. (For contact info for Ksenia, email me to firstname.lastname@example.org. For Margareta’s contact, email Terry at email@example.com.)
What does it say when 6 women came up with 25+ ideas with less than 10 minutes thinking? That common things are common, for one.
What We Missed
1. You go into the bathroom to apply makeup. When you come out 30 minutes later, you are asked, “Why do you do all that? You don’t look one bit different.”
2. Your photos remind people of movie stars of the 80s and 90s. Angie Dickinson, for instance.
3. To our recollection, no words had been said about how healthy we look in the past year. Or ever.
4. Come to think of it, your hairstylist did choose that colour.
5. You and more than one of your friends use the same cosmetic colour. Any cosmetic. Or, you and your under-20 daughter share more than one cosmetic colour or application technique.
6. We were 99% sure our foundation or hair colour was the best choice. Turns out that seed of doubt was a good thing. It gave us room to move.
7. It crossed my mind that I wanted the next 10 years to look different from the last 10. What in the world I could do to make that happen was nowhere to be found. This is similar to, I go into the makeup store with money in my pocket, stare at aisle after aisle of cosmetics, and have no idea what to buy. My conclusion: The old ways don’t work anymore. It’s time for something new. But what????
8. It strikes you that Bill Gates with silver hair looks sexier than he ever has. We knew he had it in him. And if he can do it, oh boy, so can we.
9. Black liquid eyeliner.
10. Your clothes don’t generally make you happy or feel good, they are just items to wear. You figure that for some people, that is the way it is. Some people must be meant to put their energy into other things than clothes. (Happy ending: Then you discover that there are clothes that feel like they were made just to be on you.)
11. Naming any of your lipsticks Pablum would be a fair representation of their colour.
12. Our blush, lipstick, and the reds in our clothes are totally different. They could never have grown on the same tree.
13. You have given up on makeup altogether. Though you say it is because you believe in the natural look, it is really because you are are unable to find anything you like on you.
14. When asked about your look, you say, “I don’t have A look. I just look.” Either we had no Look or it was a magazine-driven Look. (The happy ending is always within reach: We knew about connecting elements of an outfit together. The next level was learning to connect them to us.)
15. Your husband is better at buying clothes that get positive responses, or any reaction at all, than you are. He actually offers child-minding time for you to go out and buy something. If you had your choice, you would wear a Skidoo suit.
16. You constantly get complimented on just one part of your makeup, the eyes, the lipstick, the brows.
17. You have 5 or more eyeshadows, pencils, or lipsticks that are the exact same color. This one applied to several of us.
18. I wear the same makeup for every occasion and with every piece of clothing. And have done so for as long as I can recall.
19. I had been continuously hunting on eBay for a certain product that had been discontinued years ago just because I could not do without it.
20. You have your makeup bag full of nearly-same lipstick colours. Between 5 and 10 of them rattle at the bottom of your purse all the time. Not one of them makes you smile at yourself in the mirror.
21. When you choose foundation or bronzer to give a warm glow or because everyone around you does, conformity having the gravitational pull of a singularity.
22. When after years of trying, I still cannot find a single coral lipstick that suits me. (Happy ending: I can stop looking. Turns out it was plum all along.)
23. When people can’t stop looking at your flamboyant hair colour, next to which your face looks like blancmange, and you never bother wearing makeup because it looks unnatural, and anyway, your hair is the only thing you care about.
24. I saw warm, earthy, rustic colours as ‘natural’ and insisted that they look good on me, on everyone, because of that.
25. I worried that wearing more colour looks too young….so I wore less. Alternatively, you wear less makeup now that you’re older so nobody thinks you’re trying too hard, but when you look at yourself, you feel tired. The question I wanted somebody to answer: How does a woman know her just-right face?
26. You haven’t been shopping in 15 years because you’re waiting till you lose weight. Or, you are buying only the cheapest stuff because who cares what you wear when you’re overweight? Even though you see women your size or bigger looking great, it doesn’t change your attitude. (With a happy ending: Since having discovered my colors, everything has changed. Believe me, I shop. )
27. Besides black, there is no colour I felt calm and comfortable in, let alone good or gorgeous.
28. I was unrecognizable from my photos as a 25 year old.
What We Learned
We never had to be perfect. We still don’t. Sacrificing the better, the good, or the great in the name of the perfect is self-sabotage.
We need to give ourselves time to learn anything new, even about ourselves. Learning done right is a journey that never ends, whether our PCA was a week, a year, or a decade ago.
There is no rule about PCA that says we have to feel trapped in doing it All Day, Every Day. Failure simply does not exist. Every woman can look gorgeous when she wants to look gorgeous. And she can do it on her terms.
Many thanks to my sister, Sonja, for the photographs. These images were taken at Windhorse Farm, an incredibly beautiful natural setting in Nova Scotia, Canada. A summer camp for kids to explore, learn, and connect with Nature takes place here, at Sunshine House.
Today, Jorunn Hernes (whom you met in the article here ) and I are adding to the many resources available for colour-analyzed women and men. Last time, we created catalogs showing colours of blue jeans for the 12 Seasons. Bridal is another subject that belongs in our reference library. For today’s post, Jorunn and I switched our Seasons. She created galleries of the most becoming whites and dresses for Summer and Autumn. I am shopping for Winter and Spring.
Colour analysis extends easily to a male audience inside and outside the wedding context as the best white for work and dress shirts, tie and cummerbund colours, and the most original gift ever for the groomsmen! They can compare their Season colour palettes over cocktails.
Of course not! No man in a group would ever do that. A man who knows something about colour would, however, proudly impress you with his insightful outfit and people observations the next day. Men like colour and they like having an educated understanding of it.
Harmonizing white to a Season takes a little practice, as does analyzing a face in various whites. Doing the same job from online images is more difficult still. Because white is weird. It reflects all or most colours (wavelengths of light) back out. The nuances and balances in those reflections determine Season fellowship.
To make things just a little harder, the relationships between colour and light is intricate. If a light source is too yellow, a colour will look yellower. We all know this from how things look at 9AM compared to 3PM. How about the reverse? If an object could reflect more yellow-group wavelengths than were in the light source to begin with, the object’s colour will not read accurately or consistently. The only wavelengths that can be reflected out of an object (to form a colour perception in a human brain) are among the ones that went in in the first place. True of all colours, more noticeable with white.
You may be surprised with some of the Season placements. We agree with you. On a different day, or time of day, we might have put the dresses elsewhere also. With wedding dresses, the viewer accounts for how unusual it is to wear a column of white. The idea is as much to keep you out of the wrong garden as in the right one.
Regarding dresses from Kleinfeld’s: When you click on a dress to look at it again on their website, the system might take you to a totally different dress. Often, the dresses are part of a gallery and you can find the one you want among the thumbnails beneath.
We try to keep the number of items for each Season about even. I confess to surrendering shamelessly to Light Spring wedding dress overload. For once, this was the easiest Season to find clothing for. Surprisingly, it took more time to populate the True Winter catalog than any other, still easy since we’re dealing in white. By the time I clicked Publish, all I could think was, “Somebody, please stop me from adding one more dress.”
This topic comes up often. I thought it would be fun and instructive to try it out. We will see three videos of me in Light Summer, Soft Summer, and Dark Winter.
All three were filmed on the same computer, same background, identical lighting and location, within 30 minutes of each other. I wear a small amount of the same foundation. For each, I am wearing cosmetics in the middle of the darkness range for the Seasons.
My purpose is not to prove that I am Winter-based in my colouring. That’s asking too much of this medium. Many of our analysts (and clients) have met me in person and even analyzed me. You’ll have to ask them how they see my Season and appearance. They know that complete truth and nothing but the truth is what I send out and what I like to get back.
Here I am in full and strongly applied Light Summer makeup. IDK about you but all I see are eyes and no face. Could I be a Light Summer who needs to wear the darker colours to show up? That can’t be right, can it? How am I supposed to use that palette?
As a Soft Summer. Nevermind what I look like, I am certain that the yellow drape does not look on me as it did on Kaarin in her analyst intro post. It is the identical piece of fabric.
We are starting to finally see this person.
Does she look older? Is that a bad thing? All optical effects are a trade-off. A colour analyst could take any redness out of a face, though she would have to jaundice or drain the face to do so. We can erase a face to look younger, in that bland, flat, undefined definition of young (rather than the strong, healthy definition).
I prefer to say that the best you is the real you. Surely, the best you cannot be the fake you. If some age lines are part of the real you, great. Wearing our correct colours, the viewer’s attention is on the intensity of the eyes and definition of features. Age effects become less noticeable because the overall picture contains so much more information.
Here is a post that many have asked to see. If there were three items that are owned by the greatest number of people, jeans would have to be in there.
What better way to pass the time when my dearest province of P.E.I. looks like this? See the little banana piece of land just SW of centre? It’s disappearing under the snow! Though I hear that Boston might be even more so. From the CBC Prince Edward Island Facebook page,
We think jeans match everything. Colour analyst Jorunn Hernes (of Fargeporten in Norway) and I collaborated for these collections of jeans. I assembled Autumn and Summer, Jorunn took care of Winter and Spring selections, and then we discussed each other’s choices. The learning is incredible when you work with someone. You see the very same world in a whole new way.
We found that jeans absolutely don’t match everything, just as white, black, gray, and navy don’t. Some choices were clearly better than others. Like any garment, any given pair of jeans truly contributed best and were an enhancing choice with one or two palettes only. They looked somewhere along the ho-hum, hilarious, and hideous spectrum with the other ten colour collections.
The catalogs contain items grouped under the main Season, and then subdivided into three as the True and the two Neutrals.
As you peruse the catalogs, the comments will indicate items that sometimes belong in other Seasons. Some of these were inserted intentionally to offer comparison. For others, we were uncertain ourselves. We took a guess at where we thought they would land. Then, we did some measuring (with the palettes) and surrounding colours, and changed our minds. We left them there to share our decision process with you so that we can all learn together. It doesn’t seem to matter how long a person has worked with colour, we cannot recall its properties or predict its behaviour nearly as accurately as we think.
Items sell out near instantly, literally within a few days. The colour lesson will not go away. The pictures and catalogs are permanent on Hue and Stripe. If a banner across the item says Sold Out, just float your cursor over it.
Thank you to the reader who suggested this. We learn more by using an idea or testing a hypothesis than rolling it round in our heads. Everyone who has created colour vision boards has had the same invaluable experience. I learned a ton. For me, it doesn’t get better than that.
Jorunn will publish her article, How We Really Dress, today on her site. There, you will find the links for the Winter and Spring catalogs.
Considering that jeans can cost $200 a pair and that 3 of the 4 catalogs fall short of your best appearance and most interactive closet, please do keep an eye on the Colour Travels section in the left column. New locations are added often. Notice that Jorunn, co-author of this Jeans series, is travelling in March. Also, Oregon, southern Florida, Texas, and Louisiana are enjoying colour analysis opportunities in March.
Image analysis is in Florida and North Carolina in March and April, respectively. Wow, these analysts are becoming a force – one that will pour its heart into finding you beautiful lipstick and one fantastic pair of jeans.
When colour analysts open new website accounts, our industry gets grouped with Fashion&Beauty. Those applications are relevant, equating in my mind to the golden plating on the surface. It is right that it be there, to catch the attention and please the eye. Icing is the first thing we eat, that silent moment of the first taste. The deeper layers, the stories, the journeys, the cakes that are the substance beneath the icing, are as varied as humanity. Colour analysis is about so much more than shopping, very much at the leading edge of my thoughts these days.
In the magic and mystery of Nature, the pairing between the outside and the inside is always deliberate and beyond improvement. And yet, we go off track without knowing how or when, how to get back on our path, or where to find advice in which to place the faith needed to get through vulnerable moments.
Time with a person who understands that change is priceless in influencing the success of our own lives is a gift for me. When that person can apply both structure and empathy to shape our fears in a constructive way, the experience becomes profound and productive, the substance that grounds the gold-plated expressive part. Equally inspiring is meeting a woman who sees innately that colour analysis offers infinite self-expression, the boundaries serving as guideposts to the highest eloquence about who we are. When I don’t have to explain or demonstrate that part, the conversations happen at a different level.
I wish Kaarin lived next door so that I could sit at her kitchen table and take on the change conversations. You will meet a thorough and patient listener. Despite the very short time during which students meet the draping models, I admired how quickly they felt seen and supported, and how Kaarin was able to modify her conversations in accordance with their particular language or learning style. Kaarin’s perspective will surprise, empower, and innovate her clients’ lives, as well as our entire industry. May this be only the beginning of the far-reaching visions.
The website will soon be live, at which time, the links and other information will be added to the Analyst Directory. Until then, you can reach Kaarin by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve always admired great works of art and music, dreaming that I have those talents of expression hidden somewhere deep within, yet to be realized. I’ve always admired people who seem naturally comfortable in their own skin and make others feel good too, wondering how they manage to know themselves and radiate it so well.
I’ve spent my career working in corporate and consulting roles where change has been a big part of the picture. My true belief, after years of experience and observation, is that a desired change can be only realized when made on a personal level and connected with a deeply held belief or truth.
What does this have to do with color and image?
Throughout my life, my color and style choices have been influenced by trends, well-meaning friends and family, off-hand comments, retail associates and assimilation to readily available style advice about what everyone woman should wear (LBD anyone?). Some hits and many missed opportunities. I finally reached a point where I was no longer interested in making investments in clothing and cosmetics that offered more of the same. My PCA journey begins here.
I began researching information on personal coloring, reaching back in my mind to the time when my mother was analyzed as a “Summer”. Because my coloring does not resemble my mother’s and I’ve received a dizzying array of comments about what I look good in over time, I really had no idea where I would place in any color system, or even that a system would be useful and modern in its approach. I also held a belief that people shouldn’t be limited by a set of colors in a book – that the need to be unique and creative outweighed conformity.
I was motivated enough for a change to do an online self-analysis on my coloring, deciding that I was soft and warm. This had to be correct because my eyes, while blue, also contain a fair amount of gold and brown spots. Plus, I love soft warm colors and feel at home in them. I lived into this belief, spending money and time on a palette viewed via my computer screen.
There was enough doubt in my assumption for me to revisit my conclusion, thankfully. I scheduled my own PCA and embarked on a journey of discovery. The process and outcome revealed a side of me that had long been shaded and tweaked, I am cool and soft. The one thing I was not prepared to be was cool – at least in my coloring. My self-image was built around something else entirely. But once I saw the beauty and vitality looking back at me in the mirror, I was convinced. And I have not looked back. Wardrobe and cosmetic updates, check. Simplified shopping and decision-making, check. Using my palette as unlimited creative self-expression, check. Ease in my own skin, check.
As a PCA Consultant, I’m guided in my work by my awe in the power and beauty of nature, our emotional need to connect with and be respected by others, and the vital need for truth and purpose in our lives. I continue to be surprised by the outcomes of the PCA process, even with those whom I’ve known over the course of their lives. To unlock beauty and potential is a timeless and powerful thing.
With Kaarin Huffman Color, I serve as the starting point for women and men who are ready to uncover and shape their authentic image through personal color, a transformative journey.
Kaarin Huffman Color is based in the Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina. Travel dates tba for locations in the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Western regions of the US.
We have one last photo to show you. Kaarin has the distinction of looking more beautiful in the Soft Summer yellow drape than I have seen. As uncommon as it is for a Summer to count yellow among her very best colours, finding the right yellow, your yellow, is possible for all of us.
The days might be gettin’ longer but the snow’s a’gettin higher. Updating you on the ongoing saga of the recliners on the lawn:
My world looks like the surface of the next planet out. A good time to write about Winter.
Not one word on this website, about personality or anything else, applies to every member of any group. Not even half, and character least of all.
As we know, I have tremendous respect for Bernice Kentner, founder of Color Me a Season. Back in the 80s, this is the person who I think had colour analysis well figured out, given the colour technology of the age. In her writing, she has apologized for sounding hard on Autumn personalities. Allow me to channel a hero and apologize for how I portray Winter.
Dark Season does not mean dark everything. If it snowed last night, it is probably not Autumn.
A Winter Overview
Let me tell you something about us Winters: We are more fragile than we look. Everyone else is as fragile as they look, or less. That’s the difference, you see.
The strategy that I learned from Summers about managing Winters and coming through intact: Let’em win. They calm right down.
Another thing I learned from Summers. How to smile patiently and politely despite not believing a word you are hearing. A little glaze in the eyes helps put the scene behind a screen, in a box. How worked up can you get over what is on a TV? So when you let the Winter win, plant a Summer smile on your face and invoke what my kids say, at once meaningful and meaningless: “I dunno. It’s like whatever, right?”
Who cares who wins, except the Winter? And they do care. At least the conversation will be over and you get to move on. Winters lack the contentment of Summers, the short attention span of Springs, and the ability to get busy of Autumns, none of whom are hauling Winter’s Worry Buggy behind them. Winter women worry. The men, not so much.
Careful though, when you wear that Summer smile, or get bored with drama and wander away like a Spring, or go back to your To Do list like an Autumn. A Winter is a clever creature. They can feel when you’re playing games or not engaging.
Some beautiful neutral colours in this image.
I have at times wondered if the Neutral Seasons align more closely with their neighbour Neutral but cannot see it that way. The strong Neutral blends of a True Season are closer in almost every way to the parent Season than the other Neutral. Dark Winter is nearer True Winter than it is to Dark Autumn, even the warm or muted ones.
About the Winter colouring in general,
Even the most neighbourly Winter (does that even happen?) can block a part of themselves off and never let you near it. Cozy and casual never seem to apply. Some of this person is remote and not easily reached. They will let you see what they want under their control.
We are all a balance of positive and negative. We need our vulnerabilities as much as our strengths. Our constructive emotions are the flip side of our destructive ones. They are of equal importance. Winter just happens to draw from the far ends of the branches.
Red-violet is the core and undertone colour of this person. Red wavelengths are way at the bottom of the spectral range of human vision. Red feels hot, heavy, dense, and solid, the Root Chakra, our connection with Earth. Violet is way at the high end, our connection to pure energy, the Crown Chakra. Violet is near weightless, the cosmic colour of spirituality that can be our link to the divine.
Winter’s gray scale reaches fully, or microns away, from pitch and pure, black and white at the extremes of human light and dark vision. The archetypical associations with colours – the Mystery, Chaos, and Death of black together with the Purity, Peace, and Rebirth of white.
Now, I ask you. What hope does this soul have of being balanced?
The little bit of heat is very important in any cool-neutral Season. The image loses power if the beak is lemon or ice yellow. Beautiful browns and whites. Still not playing games.
Winter is a Season of extreme opposition. I can appear motionless on the outside, frozen equanimity. The inside is being scrubbed with a bottlebrush. Ask my significant other.
As steady as they might appear, the inside is on the way up or on the way down at warp speed.
I love you, I hate you.
I am so mad that it is perfectly reasonable for me to gut you and leave you bleeding. Five minutes pass. Wanna go shopping?
Rabid anger and the depths of despair. Either your suggestion is perfect or nothing about it is right, not one single thing. I’m gonna make you pay. If I’m going down, I’m taking you with me.
Drama. You are 100% on my side and support every word I say or you are letting me down, you said you were behind me, now what am I supposed to do???????
What, you still like me? The relief! The joy! Wanna go shopping?
Reactive? One comment and we’re off the handle, the emails are flying. Have you seen the T-shirt? Anxiety Girl! Able to jump to the worst conclusion in a single bound. Winter is calmer when they have (imaginary, of course) control over the future.
The deepest thinkers and the biggest babies.
They say Winters have natural glamour. I disagree that they start with more than anybody else. Unless colouring or lines are piercing in darkness or sharpness, Winter gets out of bed with an everyday face, moving to a shocking level of contrast, colour, and intensity once the makeup is on. The biggest transformations. The more they wear (in their own colours of course, is that not why we’re here?), the better they look.
Every single Winter is this way? No!! Some are so soft spoken, you can barely hear them. Some joke and laugh, love everybody and everyone loves them, able to get along with anybody. These are often married to Seasons other than Winter.
A touch of rustic matters to Dark Winter, not to the point that water melts. That scarf could be one heck of a lipstick, warm side.
Winter is said to be analytic and dissecting because that’s how it comes out of their mouth. Where it begins is usually more intuitive. They are internally guided. As analytically painful and scrutinizing as they can be, this person runs on instinct, which is why they don’t believe anybody as much as themselves. Their gut tells them not to.
They can be self-important, preferring a moment in the spotlight to discretion or the annoying distraction of what it feels like to be the other guy. Consequences? Who cares? Whether their behaviour causes others to get along with them, to go away, push back in exhaustion, or push back in anger, it doesn’t really matter. Take your pick. Flip a coin.
Summers are concerned with making the world better. They will listen and adapt in as many gray zones as it takes, if it means peace all around. You can say something negative and they say, “Oh, how interesting, let me think about that.”
Critique a Winter. Watch the sound and lights. The world is Right and Wrong. Good and Evil. They attack because they feel they’ve been attacked.
Summer is usually calming to be around. They can be ornery or prickly, especially the Softs, and even that is not common at all. Spring will follow negativity with a joke. Autumn is biking or baking. They never feel fierce. You don’t feel a need to protect yourself.
Among my more exciting emails are the ones that tear me to shreds, sent by a woman insisting that she is a Summer. It would be rare as a hornless unicorn for a Summer to ever send such a letter. I hear about the big stirs in the colour groups. Will you all send me a dollar if I guess the main Season of the mastermind?
When one thing means everything, you have entered the Winter realm. One colour. One shape. One reaction. One emotion. Still a natural picture, this is One Tree, not One Ferris Wheel.
Warmer and busier. More Autumn. The repetitive element of marching along and visual near/far feels like Autumn energy to me. The solid vertical lines feel like Winter, not by any logical process. The image is about the many, not The One.
Structured around a reader’s Q&A to keep me on track:
How does a Dark Winter energy differ from a Dark Autumn?
Dark Autumn is more relaxing to be with. Even the Yangest Gamine will be inviting you into her home, feeding you, baking cookies while she visits. She might have some mighty snappy comments, which she will balance with funny faces and voices.
Autumns are not intentionally cruel. Like Doberman dogs, they are smart, sensible, and calm. Armed, yes, dangerous, yes, and willing to deploy, but only with fair provocation. As the Seasons add red (Winter), the oppositions become more extreme. Red signifies both love and rage, bleeding and healing.
Winter can be intentionally cruel. Not in the name of cruelty, more like “I’ll show them how it feels.” What drives them is fairness. You did this to me, I will do it to you. It’s only fair. The knife goes in and gets an extra twist and you know it and I know it. I have spent 55 years being it.
And yet, they live the Golden Rule. That whole Do Unto Others, it’s kind of meaningless except for the big stuff, you know? Best to unlearn it. If I treated others the way I want to be treated, I would get hate mail. Except for the big stuff, as I said. Took me a long time to stop assuming that others want what I want.
Rich red and warm black. As good as it gets on this colouring.
Bonus tip for Getting Along With Winter: Flatter them. Winter is a proud entity. Start every conversation in this way. It will be heard as respect. They will be on your side from the start. The outcome will bias in your favour. Others will wonder how you did it.
How does Dark Winter differ from what applies to every Winter?
Every Neutral Season is a mix of seemingly impossible opposites. The Light Seasons combine the energetic forward movement of Spring (yellow) with the introspective, receding contemplation of Summer (blue). Light Summer is in the world to share the indescribable sparkle of life in its most delicate earthly form. Light Spring somehow elevates the sparkle of life to a place of transcendence, and yet the colours move towards us even more as the yellow infusion rises.
Dark Winter is a mixture of earth and history (Autumn) and candy and the future (Winter). Not only is the person complicated, so is dyeing clothes in the colours apparently. Finding truly Dark Winter clothing besides black and burgundy is not so easy. She is dressing as a True Winter much of the time. Cosmetics are pretty easy for her so she can balance things out.
Dark Winter develops Autumn’s productivity gene to Ruthless Productivity. She is getting it done, whatever it takes. Some are more caught up in their looks than others but when there’s a job they want done, it moves up to #1, never mind about the lipstick.
How would you feel in the presence of a Dark Winter?
Me myself? Kind of like when people from the same town meet in faraway airports. There’s recognition for sure. I get where their head is, what is likely to motivate them, and what I don’t have to pretend to be. The conversation starts up as between people who have met a few times. The groundwork has been laid. I can be who I am without feeling that I need to soften anything or make space for anything. I like working with Dark Winter because our level of focus, intensity, and speed are about the same.
How do others feel in the presence of Dark Winter? I couldn’t say :)
Imposing sometimes. A woman I know, E, is around 65. Swirling, thick, shoulder-length, iron gray hair pinned back, striking facial geometry, cherry chocolate lips, the most refined character. Even silent, she might as well be the only person in the room so magnetic is her personal power. Hand her a scepter, balance a big crown on her head, and the picture is ready to take. In the past, I compared Dark Winter to the Tzarina with E. in my mind’s eye.
Easy and undemanding at times. Another woman I love, L. An optimistic Winter, she doesn’t think of every reason why something won’t work. She loves to laugh, is socially relaxed, and is not married to a Winter.
Kindness personified in some people. M. is a Winter who acts like a Summer. Her soul radiates faith, love, patience, and empathy.
Is there an energetic difference between a Dark Winter who leans toward Dark Autumn and a Dark Winter who leans toward True Winter?
Yes. Getting subtle now. The Autumn one goes better with the flow. As even as Winter looks on the surface, there is a storm beneath. Stuff gets to them. They worry, they store it, they obsess, they can make molehills into mountains. The more Winter, the less “Meh.”
Autumn has a high level of physical energy. She can live in her own world as Winter does, but without all the intensity, though Dark Autumn can be getting up there. As a dear and respected colleague said of Autumn, “They sure do get shit done.”
What kind of careers would put a Dark Winter in their element?
I’m not able to answer this because of much variability not related to colouring. With the capacity to lead and produce coupled to the unparalleled ability to get in their own way that Winter has, she can do absolutely anything or absolutely nothing.
Are there certain facial features unique to, or commonly seen in Dark Winters?
With every colouring, there are two or three that are seen often. The Sandra Bullock/Jackie Onassis/Ellen Page/Selena Gomez/Bianca Jagger pattern of strong jaws and a dark overall look is very common, but there are many others.
There is a certain face of a dialed-up Autumn with a sharper intensity in a background that feels medium. IDK any celebrities. Maybe she looks like me in certain ways.
Sometimes long faces, perky or baby faces…the same variability as in other Seasons.
Is there a song or kind of music that captures the essence of Dark Winter energy?
In the spirit of being to opposite to what we are trying so hard to prove about ourselves, perhaps the song speaks of learning to release, to neither force nor struggle, of an abandon she can only dream of.
Nobody is an island though Dark Winter thinks she might be happier that way. A little Autumn grit in a song about the humanity we all share. Put your money down. You bet she can get shit done. Just not alone.
What kind of dance captures the essence of how a Dark Winter moves through life?
For the life of me, I am not seeing anything. Could it be that they don’t dance? Workaholic that I am, all my dancing happens at my computer. I meditate about releasing and relaxing but am not capable of it.
Does Dark Winter come at the beginning of the winter season or the end?
At the beginning. It is the transition from Autumn. Seasons don’t flow from Winter to Autumn in Nature.
If we detach the symbolic associations, which I can hardly deny are strong for me, the illumination of objects by light and the portion of colour space occupied by Dark Winter are continuums that flow in both directions.
Colour is simply a relationship. No, colour is a wavelength. Our perception of the wavelength is via relationships. Our perception of anything visual is simply a relationship called contrast. Humans do not see white writing on white backgrounds.
What is Dark Winter’s gift? What is it here to contribute to the world?
Focus. Once she locks on to a target, spacetime folds a little tighter.
A Soft Autumn can have a strength of purpose that beats anybody. What Dark Winter tends to have more is the ability to exclude everything else from her radar. It’s like asking any member of the staff at Sephora to match a lipstick colour for you. Off they go, like heat-seeking missiles, till they have it. Don’t interrupt them while they search. Their aim is not to nurture, it is to achieve.
Is a Dark Winter just darkness personified or is that darkness a safe place to nurture and bring forth the light within others, within the self and from within the earth?
Wow, now that’s my kind of question.
Defining what darkness is in the first place is not so easy. Media, folklore, and even art, have attached all sorts of myths to darkness, as has the history of PCA. Children instinctively seem to make the bad guy dark – or is that learned? Is fear of the dark learned? Seems it would be instinctive at least in part. Take one look at the wolf and the moon image higher up.
All that the Dark Seasons do at the end of the day is make darkness visually normal, appearing as it really is, not blacker or duller. The associations that made darkness into something more fall away. Darkness is just darkness, a normal variant of pigment on this planet, of light and life on Earth.
Small shifts towards darkness are absorbed, not amplified, with no particular upper limit. The reverse is true of the Light Seasons, where small shifts towards darkness are magnified into something that needs managing. With a Soft, small shifts towards higher saturation looks bigger than they would on anybody else, which is why their muted colour can appear so full of life and energy on them. With a True cool colouring, the smallest movement towards more heat and they appear totally altered, distorted, and slightly insane. True cool colouring deals with warmth differently.
What kind of clothing does a Dark Winter tend to favor? I know there could be any variety of archetypes within the season, but for instance, you mentioned that True Autumns prefer simple, practical clothing so they can focus on what needs to be done. Is there a similar generality about Dark Winters?
Simplicity is true of many Winters. They hate to be wrong with a capital H. Since they can be sure of black, it becomes the uniform.
As I learn more about Image Archetype (IA), I see people drawing as much authentic self-expression from that inner knowledge as colour. If she knows her IA, she will dress accordingly. Those who are magnificent in a lot of decoration are still that way.
Certain Season adjustments probably apply to all IAs, for instance the use of more graphic, abstract florals and symmetry than a Spring of the same IA would be most attractive in.
If she is not aware of her innate shapes and lines, Dark Winter is no different from anyone else. Her clothing choices will be influenced by what is in her life.
What kind of jewelry captures the essence of a Dark Winter, regardless of archetype?
Strong, rich colour of a deep reflectivity. When other colour systems called this colouring Deep Winter, it wasn’t an accident. Autumn has a richness of colour that is greatly defined by being profound. When you see an Autumn eye in correct colour, the impression is of a kaleidoscopic tunnel that you could travel down forever.
Winter cools the stones, cools the setting more, and adds shine.
In which jewelry box does it live?
What kind of flower, bird, animal, tree has Dark Winter energy?
Flower flower flower…it is red. Dark Winter is outstanding in red. Not roses entirely, needs more substance. Some aspects of poinsettia but not quite, maybe if the pot is in a silver and gold wrapper. Quite possibly a lily of some sort, dark red with a golden throat. Single and strong without the lushness of Amaryllis. That sort of hedonism lives on the Spring side. Maybe like this.
The eagle or hawk. Locked on to a target.
The wolf. The panther. Is there such a thing as a friendly Grim? From my veterinary days, people are far more afraid of black dogs than any other, even taking precedence over breed (except perhaps Newfoundland dogs that are judged by all to be much more friendly than they necessarily are). The mythology of black.
A tree. Never thought about a tree. Wait, yes, I have. A Christmas tree. Sticking with that. An evergreen, nighttime, jeweled ornaments, a resinous scent.
A log cabin that definitely has electricity, coloured foil, and plastic-wrapped candy.
While other Dark Winters are going this way, less tree, more candy.
I don’t know if you did a post on the Dark Winter child or not, but if not I’d also like to know how that child differs from children of other seasons.
It varies enormously with the child, the strength of the family imprint, the siblings, and so on. Children are not defined enough, even if they have settled into their colouring early. Mine were their Seasons when they were 5 years old but the characters were still changing a lot till they were about 14.
My guess is that this is about average. Winters change enormously in colouring and character in adolescence, and even sometimes in early adulthood.
Rachel and I will release the next issue of the newsletter (what newsletter? see the Signature/STYLE image and link, top of the right column on this page) on Friday February 6/15.
As before, please watch your Spam folders on Friday of this week. The many links in the issue will send it there unless you have set your Mail system’s permissions and preferences otherwise.
You know from shopping anywhere that items sell out fast. Very often, and more so with shoes, the same item will be carried by many retailers. Type the item name into a search engine to find it at another store.
Two very great things are coming your way in this issue.
Great Thing 1: More Shoes!
A woman who knows her colours and lines is an empowered decision-maker when it comes to shopping. At her level of sophistication and understanding of herself, she has defined, or is in the process of defining, her position inside the widely encompassing patterns of Season and Image Archetype (IA).
When we shop for you, we bring you with us. All of you. The many expressions of each Season and Archetype are in our consciousness. We know who we are dressing, often having a particular woman and her unique brand of beauty in mind.
Because we want to offer you every possible choice and resource for who you are, we sometimes have trouble choosing which items to show to represent the variations within each of the 12 Seasons and 10 Archetypes combinations.
The other reason that we deliberate over which items to include is that depending on the time of year, the Season or IA, or the type of garment, we can feel overwhelmed with beautiful choices. For this issue, we decided to show you many more of the gorgeous shoes we found. As in 5 to 10 more colours and styles for each Archetype within a Season.
They are presented as the Catalogs you saw back in the Yellows for 12 Seasons post. The links are provided in the newsletters. The beauty of this is twofold. First, the images link directly to the retailers to streamline your shopping time. These Catalogs, I tell you, they make our job and yours easy.
Second, all the IAs for each Season are together in one Catalog. The notes identify the Season and IA, giving you access to the subtleties by comparison.
Not only that, you will access a second Catalog showing you the appearance of the most beautiful high heel for your Archetype. All 10 of them, together in one Catalog. The Heels catalog is divided by style, not colour. Rachel’s notes will be there to explain which heel shape belongs to the Yin or the Yang in the 5 main Archetype categories.
Great Thing 2: Shoe Dreams Can Come True
Don’t want to say too much. It is a surprise!!!!!!! So cool, I can barely type.
Imagine if you could build your very own gorgeous shoes? In your very own shoe factory, a place loaded with style, colour, and detail options. Rachel built some shoes to show you, that are in the newsletter. I could not believe my eyes when the windows opened.
Now imagine even more. What if the company had upwards of 50 colours and you knew exactly which ones would be beautiful with your Season?
Not done yet. You get to know not only which colours are best for your Season. That would be too limiting for you and for us. You will know which colours fit into all 12 Seasons!!!!