All posts by Christine Scaman

Colour Analyst Training in Vancouver

The two Canadian cities from which I receive the most requests for 12 Season personal colour analysis (PCA) or colour analyst training are undoubtedly Toronto and Vancouver, more than all the others combined.

The beauty of Vancouver for me, besides the city itself, is the presence of many friends. Therefore, travel expenses are minimized. A beautiful studio space is also available for us until mid-June, and quite possibly in the fall.

The cost for the course or the PCA would be about the same as if you came here, with details that we can discuss. For instance, we would probably ship your own drapes to use for the course and reduce the luggage weight (so still shipping and HST that would be paid (and tax deductible), regardless of location).

No dates have been chosen. This is simply an early call to see how much interest there might be.

PCA appointments are entirely possible also.

The information about the courses is at

The information regarding PCA sessions is at

Please email me with any questions. I am at:



Is Christine A Summer?

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 Light Summer, at YouTube here or below:


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.

As Soft Summer at YouTube here or below:


In Dark Winter,

The video is here at YouTube if it doesn’t play for you below:

Does the yellow drape make the face yellow? Looks a bit that way.

Maybe it’s not that person’s perfect yellow.

Maybe yellow needs some management, as it often does on cooler colouring.

Could be that the lighting in the video is hardly ideal for knowing what is really occurring in reaction to the colour.

Or that the version of Dark Winter that I present is too intense and needs some toning down with my inherent warmth, saturation, age, and other parameters, to suit your visual preferences. Easy to do.

None of which disqualifies Dark Winter. Colour analysts in our group (Analyst Directory in the tabs across the top) work with you to adjust the Season to who you are inside it.



Jeans for 12 Seasons

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,

Photo: CBC Prince Edward Island, Canada.
Photo: CBC Prince Edward Island, Canada.

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.

The link to the Summer catalog is here.

The link to the Autumn catalog is here.

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.



Introducing Colour Analyst Kaarin Huffman (North Carolina)

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

From Kaarin,

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.  I wanted to be viewed and respected as the competent woman I’d become.  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.




Dark Winter Landscapes

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


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


Fair Warning

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

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

Photo: Krappweis
Photo: Krappweis

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

A Winter Overview

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: nazreth
Photo: nazreth

Some beautiful neutral colours in this image.

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

About the Winter colouring in general,

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: Rapunzel55
Photo: Rapunzel55

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

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

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

I love you, I hate you.

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

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

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

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

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

The deepest thinkers and the biggest babies.

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

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

Photo: malina
Photo: malina

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Photo: FurLined
Photo: FurLined

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

Photo: ingras
Photo: ingras

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: rolve
Photo: rolve

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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



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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

Wow, now that’s my kind of question.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

In which jewelry box does it live?

Photo: ams9w3
Photo: ams9w3


Photo: obdg

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

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

The eagle or hawk. Locked on to a target.

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

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

Photo: mommytoo
Photo: mommytoo

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

Photo: lhmeetme
Photo: lhmeetme

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

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

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

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



Signature/STYLE Issue 3: Practical Shoes and Heels

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

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

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

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

Photo: AMA90
Photo: AMA90


Great Thing 1: More Shoes!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Great Thing 2: Shoe Dreams Can Come True

Photo: Petrone100
Photo: Petrone100

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

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

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

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

Oh, yes, you will.



PCA and A More Holistic Self

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

From a Pinterest reader:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part 1

Outside my window:


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


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


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


This video is also here on YouTube.


Part 2


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


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

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

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

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

The video below is here at YouTube.



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


Colour Analyst Meeting 2015

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

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

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



The location is the Baymont Inn in Walker.

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

I am negotiating a block of rooms. If you prefer 1 King or 2 Doubles, please tell me asap. Once I have a contract, I will pass the number along so that you can reserve at that rate.

Since we are renting the meeting room in the hotel and catering in lunch, there will be a registration fee this year. I will know the amount when I have a better sense of how many attendees we will have. Email me about this at anytime if you have Q or concerns.


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

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

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


Drape Sale

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

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


What’s Next

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

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



Yellow for 12 Seasons

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

*Joan asked:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hue and Stripe Catalogs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yellows Catalog Capture


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

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

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

Winter yellow is

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

 Summer yellow is

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

Spring yellow is

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

Autumn yellow is

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

Neutral Beige

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

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

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

The link is here and below:

A screen capture portion of it:

Neutral Beige Capture



  1. A new Facebook group.

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

From the intro prepared by Cate Linden (Kentucky),

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Travel dates.

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

3. Colour Analyst Training Course dates.

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


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


Ties for the Soft Summer Man

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

*Sam asked about his Soft Summer colours:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Soft Summer Ties Navy Blue



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

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

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

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

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


Soft Summer Ties Teals



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


More ideas:

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

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

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

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

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


Soft Summer Ties Effects



Panel C: Soft Summer Effects.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Soft Summer Ties Reds



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

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

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


Soft Summer Neutrals



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

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

8. Pick up the tie in a pocket square.

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


Sam’s question had a part b):

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

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


Soft Summer Ties Contrast 1



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


Soft Summer Ties Contrast 2



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


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

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