All posts by Christine Scaman

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Introducing The Signature/STYLE Newsletter

Fashion Forward

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Fashion Backward

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

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

The direction of fashion is presently in reverse.

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

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

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

Signature/STYLE

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

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

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

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

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

A Dark Autumn YangNatural will subscribe to Autumn/Natural.

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

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

The Layout

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

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

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

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

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

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

Subscription

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which Season? Which Archetype?

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

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

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

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

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Contact

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

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

Disclaimers

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

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

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Best Makeup Colours Bright Spring

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

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

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

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

Draping

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cosmetics

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pinterest

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

Products

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

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

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

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

 

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Best Makeup Colours Light Spring

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

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

Draping

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to swatch makeup

Do it this way. Paint a 1 inch square of the cosmetic pretty heavily on a page of white paper. Make a big area, at least as big as the swatches in your book. Swipe it on there thick to pull every nuance out of the colour.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pinterest

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

Products

Try before you buy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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A New Look for 12B

We know the quote that says,

What if you only woke up tomorrow

With the things you thanked God for today?

Rick Beckman is always on my list. Rick has done the technical work on this website for  many years. He is brilliant and wonderful.  I hope that I thank him often enough.

He and I have put together pages that are clear, concise, and readable. Search results are so much cleaner and easier.  You also have the blog index under the About tab to help locate particular articles.

Those photos across the top are an ever-changing update of beautiful and interesting things. That feature alone hypnotizes me a little.

The new appearance may take a day or two to be fully updated on your computers. As with all things that get better, this is a work in progress that will evolve with feedback.

On my list of what I thank God for, you are there also. Without your visits, your comments, your inquisitive minds, and our shared love and passion for understanding human colouring, there would be no 12 Blueprints. Should anything not perform as expected, or if any feature could be added that would enhance or ease your use of this site, please leave a comment or email me at christine@12blueprints.com.  Every word you take the time to type means so much.

 

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Best Makeup Colours Dark Autumn

Over the years, a series of posts appeared showing a graphic of the best makeup colours for certain groups of natural colouring, a term synonymous with Season. In the archives so far, you will find a post about best makeup colours for the 4 True Seasons, Soft Summer, Dark and Bright Winter. You can search them as http://12blueprints.com/best-makeup-colours-soft-summer/

July is a holiday month, a good time to finish the series. Today, Dark Autumn.

Draping

As a session begins, clients are seated and surrounded by the neutral gray of an accurate colour analysis. The moment I switch on the full spectrum lights, I look right at their eyes. If I see diffusions of dark yellow, cognac, rust, or dark mossy green, I wonder about Dark Autumn.

The skin of this woman contains a lot of colour. To make any impression, her cosmetics need muscle both in the strength of the pigments and in the density of their application. The Summer drapes look like they can’t hold up her head. The makeup, the same.

She is almost great in black. There will be a little something that excites. Appearance excitement is important. Brown will be more relaxing and feel more harmonious overall. She certainly has spice and darkness in the brown, both of which thrill on this colouring. Spanish coffee gets into your blood a little faster, right?

Your PCA result will be personalized to your particular colouring and draping reactions. For instance, in her later years, many a Dark Autumn woman moves closer to True Autumn. The most excitement is still in Dark Autumn. The lightest, most muted True Autumn colours and the darkest, coolest Dark Autumn colours are not perfect.

If you saw one of our group of analysts (see the 12B Analyst Directory), we will explain how to use the more challenging colours in compositions instead of putting them in large blocks under the face. You will know your own formula, how you excite. You might shop with both Colour Books. People at the office will be talking and you may wonder why. They will be saying good things. I have never met the Dark Autumn woman who has any idea of how remarkable and superb she looks. They all seem a little oblivious to it. Which is a good thing!

She has often avoided the makeup colours below because her clothing colours were too gentle. She was quite right. With soft colours in clothing, Dark Autumn makeup will seem too bold and strong. The problem is not the makeup. Once everything below the neck comes up to balance her head, the makeup will be stunning. To find that balance needed for take-off, we have to deconstruct the appearance, take you back to the beginning and rebuild you in your own colours.

 

And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.

- T.S. Eliot

 

Colours

The makeup is not necessarily dark, though it is compared to Light Spring. Every Season has light colours, here as parsnip, lemongrass, asphalt, greige, goldenrod, barley gold, and many others. In our five years together, we have understood that Dark Seasons neither look dark nor wear only darkness. Nor do the Light Seasons look light, and so on. That’s one of those ideas that got taken too literally, without the continuous counterbalances of comparison and relative relationships that are the sine qua non of colour.

 

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The Dark Autumn woman contains much glamour. She is mostly OK with being noticed, unlike her True Autumn sister who can only take so much being fussed over. Sofia Coppola is among my iconic Dark Autumns (remembering that I have no idea what her Season is till she is drape). Glamorous and exotic with no interest in taking that anywhere. Not a great blonde. Always dressed in black, white, and gray, which are not awful. Neither are they one little bit exciting, provocative, evocative, nothing. They are just there taking up space and better than the infant clothing that Light Spring would be. Her Autumn self will go this far on her looks and no further. She has things to do after all.

Whisky colours in the eyes. I split the Know Your Best Hair Colour board at Pinterest, adding a Makeup For Your Natural Colouring board. You can find some images of Sophia and other Dark Autumn ideas there.

All Neutral Season colouring has warmer and cooler versions of every colour, still within the saturation and value scale for the Season. The choice of brown flesh tones in blush and lip, red orange, or bronzed berry, is yours. Though I find black in eyeliner too harsh on anyone unless they are Halle Berry dark, have black eyes and brows, or the black is a Soft Black (meaning dark charcoal), this person does have Winter coolness. Just as their navy in clothing or a suit is a fantastic complement to the orange tones in skin, hair, and eyes, so is it a great eyeliner. The graphic does not include one but the list at the bottom does.

The heat feels more intense to me here than in Soft Autumn, perhaps because of the added darkness and presence of red as Winter arrives. We tend to feel red as heat. Wear bronzer as a contour. It looks good and is easy to find. Bone structure is always fantastic here. Why not take it further if your facial anatomy calls for it (Mariah Carey is not improved by carved edges. They are only weird. JLo is more feline, more powerful, more good stuff.) ?

Make the hair colour all it could be. Natural is always just fine. If you colour, be not wimpy. These colours are easy to find. Auburn and rich chestnut work if the base colour is as dark as Julia Roberts. Her natural base is probably dark ash brown. Adding auburn or using chemical colour to add gloss and body elevate her inborn way of looking expensive and delicious.

Many Dark Autumns have a near-black base colour or are lighter medium brown. In both cases, chemical colour will probably not be as enhancing or interesting as what you have on your own. Near black hair with these clothing colours is a furnace of presence and potential. Lighter hair colour is an amazement of improbability and surprise, as is blue teal or other light eye colours. The viewer feels a fascination of, What is happening there?

If we colour our hair, we all need to find the right one. All the clothes and makeup in the world will flop without it. Please ignore the myth that women need to go lighter as they get older. Nothing is true for everyone, but that one might actually apply to no Dark Autumn.

In the next article on Light Spring best  makeup colours, you will find an explanation of how to swatch makeup colours to Season.

Pinterest

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

 

Products 

Try before you buy. 5 women in the same Season will look their best in 5 different lipsticks.

Blush: MAC Ambering Rose. NARS Taos. Lancome Shimmer Tamarind.

Eyeliner: MAC Coffee. Revlon Colorstay Navy. Urban Decay Corrupt (Demolition could be good for darker women and/or those closer to Dark Winter looking for a near black. Bourbon for lighter women, closer to True Autumn). Smashbox Sumatra is an interesting inky brown, and 3DGalaxy could be a good dark gray without being too dark.

Eyeshadow: Bobbi Brown Burnt Sugar, Cocoa, and Mahogany. Stila Twig. NARS Lola Lola. Clinique Portobello (light greige) is OK as a colour but the application properties are weak on this colouring compared to Urban Decay Tease. Aveda Copper Haze (could work well on a True Autumn also). Benefit Bronze Have More Fun.  MUFE #165 is a great basic greige. NARS Cordura  offers two good darks for smoking the eyes, a believable and successful effect on the Dark Seasons (Key Largo may work for those near True Autumn, but is probably best for True Autumn, and even better on True Spring.) Smashbox Screenshot is a nice trio. Lancome Burnt Sand.

Lipstick: Too Faced Sweet Maple. Chanel Rouge Vendome is a brighter orange red. Clarins Red Terra (awesome, dark side), Spicy Cinnamon (warmer, for those near True Autumn), Grenadine (nice mid berry), Cedar Red. Elizabeth Arden Wildberry (bit muted, closer to True Autumn). Laura Mercier Sienna for those nearer Dark Winter, though could be a great red on many Dark Autumn. Lancome Ruby Silk a mid-warm-red, not too dark, while Jezebel is a purple containing subtle metallic bronze effects. Smashbox Cognac could be a very good nude on many, where nude is not the same as Lip Eraser.

Bronzer: Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder Medium 2.

 

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FeaturedAmanda

Introducing Colour Analyst Amanda Roberts (California)

I would have been so happy if our training with Amanda and her lovely fellow student had gone on for  weeks. Her aptitude for colour analysis is extremely high. In her person, she combines glamour, energy, optimism, perfectionism, targeted intelligence, and natural friendliness.

So strongly do I believe that waiting on a dream just pushes it further away that I align instantly with people who move to make dreams real despite obstacles. Amanda arrived here with her baby, Milo, and baby genius Mom, Phyllis. Every few hours, Milo and Phyllis would appear at the door so Milo could be fed. The course would not have been the same without them. I could write a page about how beautiful, grounded, supportive, and stabilizing Phyllis’ presence was for all of us in that week. Allow me to introduce these beautiful people whom I hold so dear. Here are Amanda’s beautiful Dark Autumn Mom and baby, Season yet unknown.

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Before the course, I say to students that I hope they have been analyzed into several different Seasons. I hope that they have encountered great difficulties in getting the previous PCA to work for them. Only then can they be sensitive to the many kinds of support that will help their clients in those moments. By having traveled this road, Amanda brings the following to her client,

I definitely have a heart for anticipating those who are a bit unexpected in their palettes, and figuring out how to be of service to them. I want to make sure I also address apparent warmth/coolness/hue to their skin’s overtone, as well as anything notable about eye/hair color, and clarity/mutedness within their season… painting a unique masterpiece with each person in that season.

It is exciting when women of Amanda’s generation join the PCA industry. In bringing science-backed, evidence-based colour analysis to their communities, they become role models and advocates for modern methods, equipment, and belief systems that have taken giant strides forward, even in the past year.  From the moment we met and still today, one word resonates in my head about Amanda as a person and as a colour analyst: brilliant.

 

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From Amanda,

Hi! I wish I could sit down with each one of you and chat over coffee or tea, but as we are such a geographically diverse group, this will have to do, right? Here’s my story of discovering my colors, and finding myself a certified color analyst in the process!

I was first introduced to the concept of four season color analysis through my mom’s Color Me Beautiful book, which I stumbled upon in elementary school. I felt an instant connection to the idea that different people should wear different colors, even as a kid, being a very visually sensitive person. My precocious young self determined that with my pinkish fair skin, light blue eyes, and blond hair, I had to be a Summer. I struggled with insecurities about my physical appearance as I fumbled through adolescence, as so many of us do, and I never felt like I had much “oomph” in the Summer colors that I tried to wear- but figured in my teenaged despondency that I was just a person without much pizzazz anyway.

During my later years of high school and increasingly throughout my time in college, I became more exploratory with what I wore, including with colors, and the color analysis concept gradually faded from my mind. As a college student, I loved going to local thrift stores and discount shops, stretching my meager income to come up with creative outfits for school, social events, and dates. I dyed my hair several times in tones from red to brown, and even to black, and probably had multiple outfits from each of the 12 seasons! I did notice that unfortunate things would happen to my skin when I wore extremely muted colors, so I learned to avoid those.

Fast-forward a few years- I’d gotten married to the love of my life, and had quit my full-time office job to stay home with our firstborn, and for some reason color analysis popped back into my head. Maybe I was needing to feel more centered while dealing with a child in the terrible twos! Google led me to Christine’s website, and I was intrigued to learn that the four season concept had been expanded into a twelve-tone system by some who found it a more accurate way to analyze human coloring. I read everything I could about what had been going on in color analysis during my many years of hiatus! I eventually became convinced that the 12 season approach, particularly the Sci Art method, made a lot of sense, offering a visual precision and objectivity that deeply appealed to me.

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Here I am with my hubby and our sons. My husband is a True Winter, and he loves pictures in black and white- makes sense to those of us who are color geeks, right?

At that point, there were two things that I knew I needed to do. First, I needed to have a PCA to experience it for myself and figure out which season I was (I know many of you reading have felt that pull!). Second, I knew that it might be a possible career option for me, as I had long been interested in doing something professionally that required visual precision and artistry. My PCA appointment finally came, and my husband and I traveled a couple of hours together to a Sci Art analyst. I went into it guessing that I could be a Light Summer, but had the eye-opening experience of discovering that I was a Bright Winter. I left the appointment feeling convinced of the result, but also quite shocked! I was thrilled to finally know my colors, and found a lot of new clothing and makeup that felt great to wear, but I did hit a couple of speed-bumps in adjusting to my palette. As I shopped for new outfits, I found it difficult to get the visual balance right, being a somewhat light-haired and light-eyed person with a palette containing a lot of dark colors. I also felt off in many of the prints and garment lines that I would find in Bright Winter colors, which felt discouraging. Born out of this dilemma, I began looking into the concepts of body types and body lines, and began to suspect that therein was my answer. Around the same time, Christine began to post about color and body lines frequently on her blog, to my great delight! I saw Sci Art color analysis working so well for many people, and found the science behind it to be very sound, so I decided that I would look into training with Christine if she ever opened the opportunity, knowing she had the expertise to help me resolve my questions before sending me out to help people with theirs.

Lo and behold, I was six months pregnant with my second child when I heard that Christine was beginning to offer training. I treasure the memory of sitting in one of my favorite coffee shops with my husband, and opening my laptop in front of my already quite pregnant tummy to discover the news. He reached over and told me I had to do it- what a keeper! Along with my husband’s support, I received a lot of encouragement from family and friends as I made plans for my new venture. I think they were all relieved that I was finally doing something with color analysis, after a couple of years of talking their ears off about it! I decided to make the trip from my home in Southern California to Canada when my youngest son would be about six months old, and my mom agreed to come with me so I could bring the baby to training, which is one of the kindest things anyone has ever done for me.

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On the plane!

Our unlikely trio made it safely to Canada in August 2013, and thus began one of the most intense but fulfilling weeks of my life. Although we as students had read an extensive training manual before arriving, nothing could compare to actually doing PCA’s with a woman who has dedicated a great deal of her time, energy, and notable intellect to becoming one of the world’s experts in this field. My fellow student and I learned to see for ourselves the subtle skin reactions and definition of facial features on which PCA hinges, while simultaneously developing our right-brained, gut reaction to the whole picture of the client in front of us. Not only were we acquiring the skill to get the season right, we also were experiencing the very human side of PCA, with each client bringing their own unique beauty and story to tell. I went into training suspecting that I might fall in love with this PCA thing, but I underestimated how deeply it would affect me to actually meet people and be a small part of their stories. I cling to the belief that humans have inherent dignity and worth, and here I was, learning a fascinating way to affirm that each person is worth something, just as they are. Sure, we are just talking about colors here, but if I know one thing about humans, it’s that we’re complicated. Sometimes an indirect approach can play a part in getting the message through to us that we really do matter.

Lest I leave you hanging, Christine did help me with my questions. I didn’t tell her the result of my first draping, and during my PCA with her, which also resulted in Bright Winter, I made sure I could embrace the result without a single doubt left in my mind. Christine provided a helpful objective voice not only in helping me see myself as a Bright Winter, but also by affirming my suspicions about my physical delicacy, curviness, and gentle appearance, which just couldn’t gel with a lot of my shopping finds. I started to accept that, for example, dark matte lipsticks and very linear patterns or shapes don’t make visual sense on me even when they match my palette, because of my body lines. Each of us has our own way to use the colors in our palette, and it will be as individual as our fingerprints, voice, and laugh.

Since I’ve been home, I have settled into how I fit in the Bright Winter palette with a great deal of enjoyment, and I am very passionate about helping my clients understand how they fit uniquely into their palettes too. To serve my color clients who desire greater understanding of their body lines and development of their personal style, I am currently building a stylist portfolio and can customize a style appointment upon request (in-person only). Keep your eyes out for my style blog featuring a 12 season approach to fashion- it’s in the works! I have seen almost 30 PCA clients since I was certified, and I am so thrilled to be able to offer color analysis in my community. I believe that this is a service that can benefit everyone, and I hope it becomes something as standard as getting a haircut! Self-knowledge is so powerful in both internal and external matters, and sometimes a gain on one of those sides of the equation affects the other side positively too. Being attuned to which colors enhance your unique personal power and attractiveness is a confidence boost that we all can use. Becoming a more informed and selective shopper with a wardrobe you love sure doesn’t hurt either!

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Thank you so much for reading this. Being a part of the color community has been life-changing for me, and each one of you adds something special to the ongoing conversation of understanding our colors and ourselves. Thank you as well to my husband, family, and friends- I wouldn’t be writing any of this without the way you’ve cheered me on.

Here is some practical info for those who are in my area. My studio is located in my home in Southern California, convenient for clients in the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego, as well as surrounding counties. My standard PCA appointment offers:

-a few opening questions from me about you and what brings you in as a client

-an intro to PCA and the color theory behind it

-a color analysis in the Sci Art method as taught by Christine Scaman, using official 12 Blueprints test drapes

-makeup application and tutorial for female clients, discussing colors as well as finish, and how to enhance your own unique features with your palette

-photo opportunity with drapes and color fan

-discussion of shopping with your color fan, including color harmonizing, swatching makeup, and how to determine if a pattern works with your palette

-conversation about any factors about your coloring that may influence your individual use of the palette

-time for questions- this is your opportunity to ask about anything from hair color, to the lipstick and dress you already bought for an upcoming event (I have had clients bring in items that they have burning questions about, which I welcome!)

-follow-up support with outfit ideas in your palette sent via Pinterest, as well as my continuing availability through email

My website is amandarobertscolor.com, and email is amandarobertscolor at gmail.com. My website also connects to my Pinterest and Instagram accounts for my business if you’d like to follow me. I have boards for each of the 12 seasons on Pinterest. I welcome your questions, and look forward to hearing from you if I can be of service in any way!

 

 

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BestMakeupSA

Best Makeup Colours Soft Autumn

Every person and every Season evokes a particularly beautiful visual sensation when the colours they wear harmonize with their own. For Soft Autumn, the effect is of youth in noticeably smoothed skin, endurance and stability in the way features define , yet delicate in its illumination. Like an opera singer.

It is quite special. In 12 Season colour analysis, we find the light reflected by Soft Autumn skin between the full incandescence of True Autumn and the cool, misty, balletic light of Summer, specifically Soft Summer. Surrounded by harmonious colour, Spring skin light is gossamer, celestial. Autumn is the light of creation, terrestrial and material in its sophistication.

So many variations exist in the natural appearance that she may have suspected she is an Autumn but not been able to pull together the colours in clothing, cosmetics, and hair all at once. Although it is the saturation that is lower in this palette, I remind myself of the coolness necessary for her type of elegance to come through. When she finally sees herself in her Luxury Drapes, she is a little bewitched, the Is that really me? silence in the room.

The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed.

-Albert Einstein

This quote is from his essay The World As I See It. The writing and the person resonate so strongly with me.

Maybe the silence is not only about the mystery. Not to be discounted is the gratitude of, And to think I could have gone on looking like I did for the rest of my days and never known this.

Colour reactions

Her colouring lives on the sunny side of Autumn. She is lighter looking than many Soft Summers who are coloured on the shade side of Summer. Her colours appear more saturated than Soft Summer because they are warmer.

Darkness in cosmetics can be hard to control, not unlike this effect in the Light Seasons. Eyeliners look too dark, the product where most care is needed in colour selection. Using eye powder as liner is a good tip, depending on the woman.

For some, wearing their highest potential seem to be  most authentic by wearing grace. For others, wearing coolness is the extension of the person. If your power is in your grace, wear diffused eyeliner created with eyeshadows for the big, soft absence of aggression . If your highest visual potency is in your coolness, harder, geometric lines could be quite realistic for the narrower, more intense, and perhaps smaller, eye effect. Does this means that a Winter Romantic could work either way, dark geometric line for Winter or diffusion for Romantic?

Bronzer is excellent and easy to find. Avoid colours that are too red. Stay with golden peanut buttery shades. All Autumn defines a strong and lovely bone structure in their colours. Bronzer can be used as contour and brow bone colour. It adds vitality and believable heat without a made up effect. A touch of blush, a little lip and eye definition, and you are out the door glowing.

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Eyeshadow or eyeliner in the same colour as the eye can work nicely or it can backfire. Blue eyeshadow is probably the biggest backfire I can think of, where I see only distraction and competition for the blue of the eye. I sure do like a deep sapphire liner next to a navy blue Winter eye.

As Sarah reminded me on Pinterest,  Autumn can match eye colour and eye makeup well as brown eyes with variations of brown makeup all around the eye. Their eye makeup, hair colour, and often blush and lipstick, are located right in the iris of the eyes as soft brown, spiced peach, warm yellows to fiery gold, and soft adobe orange.

In great makeup, we are all wearing our natural colouring. The viewer connects with that right away. I love soft hazel green eyeshadow or liner on green or brown Soft and True Autumn eyes. Forest green is too sharp and obviously a cosmetic most of the time. This is a grayer, browner green, for instance, Merle Norman Hazel.

How to swatch makeup to Season was described in the Light Spring article. It is important to match your cosmetic to all the colours in the swatch book because your whole face has to wear it. It has to work with your eye colours, your blood (meaning circulation or native blush and lip) colours, and your neutrals, many of which are found in the skin and hair.

We see makeup that might match some isolated colour in a collection but does not work with the rest of the face. If a combination feels uncomfortable between the whole swatch book and a cosmetic, or you would never wear it in clothes, that is how it will feel when you put the colours side by side on your face.

The same applies to hair. I was asked recently if I have ever harmonized a swatch book with the natural hair colour of a woman in any Season. Answer no, but brilliant idea that I fully intend on trying.

Pinterest

You can find pictures of lovely tones in makeup on the Makeup for Your Natural Colouring board at Pinterest. There are clothing and hair ideas on their boards too, all linked in the lower left column of this page.

Products

If you buy from this list without trying and find you don’t like, oh, well. But there is no reason for that here. Terry tells me that Mary Kay is full of Soft Autumn options. They provide lovely testers of most products, beautiful pigments, and a refreshing price point. This article on Terry’s site on Soft Autumn options shows some of the choices.

Blush: Clinique Ginger Pop (the Pop line has some colour intensity compared to the light colour deposit of many other Clinique products, use a light application), cream stick blush in Peachy Blush (Rosy Blush is a little redder but could be good too), and cheek stick in Amped Up Apple. (Note: Berry Pop is  a nice True Winter or cool Bright Winter option.) Gosh Multiblush in Bronze 51 is warm, could work well also on a True Autumn.

Eyeshadow: ELauder Sugar Biscuit. Shiseido BR307 trio. Clinique Seventh Heather and Lots o Latte tubes, and Fuller Fudge and Whopping Willow sticks as a dark gold and khaki gold eye accents. ELauder Desert Heat 5-pan. Gosh Smoky Eyes #2 quad. Gosh Brown single. Gosh quad Driftwood has warmer choices of golden beiges, especially good for not being too dark, a palette that would get used entirely.

Eyeliner: Finding a product that is not too dark takes some looking. Most browns are too dark, though Essence Teddy is great. With the coolness of the colouring, lighter gray-greens, as Gosh Camouflage Green, serve well. Using eyeshadows as liners is excellent on Soft Seasons, from a pan or stick, as Gosh Forever Eyes in Brown, neither too dark or warm.

Lipstick: ELauder Dynamic. Clinique Toasted Rose, Whole Lotta Honey, and Bountiful Blush. Lancome RIL 156B is a golden red that is higher saturation and heat, for those near or in True Autumn. Lancome Stylista is darker and nice. Clarins 703 Ginger has great potential.

 Bronzer: Arbonne. Urban Decay in Gilded and Baked. Clinique Sunkissed light.

 

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Taking Down The Eye Albums

My time is presently occupied going through this website in preparation for the coming upgrade. The Search function will be fast and slick. An index page will sort all the posts by title and topic. I know :) Finally!

Photo: nkzs
Photo: nkzs

 

Cleaning up links and punctuation has given me a reason to watch the last five years drift before my eyes. I often marvel at how little I knew a month ago. Imagine what I think of me way back then, or how afraid I am of what my five-years-from-now self will think of me today. Such is the nature of growth. Rather than dwell on that, I’d rather reflect on how far we’ve come together and continue on our learning path.

The Our Eye Album articles will be taken down this week. As beautiful as they were, there was a confusion factor. Season cannot be derived from an eye image, no matter how much it resembles those shown for that Season. I still get emails from people asking me to read their eye images. I guess we all want to be outside the disclaimers just this once.

Treading into a delicate topic here that will get more air time later, many of the PCA results came from other analysts and other PCA systems. By posting them, it appeared as if I was agreeing, which was not always the case. I became involved in conversations about confirming results that I no longer want to be in.

The PCA industry is divided both inside and outside the Sci\ART group. I didn’t realize how much till a few months ago. You all knew this before I did. Not only are we not the same, we are too different to match. We decide Season for different reasons, often reaching way back to entirely different beliefs about what harmony itself means and looks like.

I am too transparent in my belief of what the public has a right to know and expect when it buys a service to be comfortable with this situation for any length of time. Taking down the eye images is a first step towards identifying a new and distinct community.

Please know that I extend deep and sincere thanks to everyone who shared those pictures so that we could all learn. I value your generosity towards that goal above all.

 

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Joint Training Synopsis

It is our deepest wish and intention to train colour analysts to the highest level of accuracy in human colour analysis. Now that I have been training analysts for a year or so, and Terry for much longer than that, we wanted our courses to streamline as much as possible for consistency of content. It matters to us that your return on this investment be major.

Terry’s and my script as we move through the PCA process is quite different. We wanted to give our students exposure to both, understanding that as instructors, we are more effective by adapting the material to each student’s learning approach. All people, teachers and students, have R or L brain tendencies. For our own development as analysts and to provide students with the best experience, working together has been invaluable.

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In the past month, we held two joint training sessions. Here are some of the concerns and solutions from last week’s debriefing.

 

1. For a couple of models, we did not arrive at the same Season.

This can always happen. The process is far more difficult, detailed, and in-depth than people realize. Students are consistently taken aback by the thoroughness of a good PCA. It is very clear that no living human being has, or can have, an unbiased visual system. The process and drapes must maximize the great value of our intuitions and instincts without introducing error.

For the course in Chatham, 7 of the 8 models had not been previously analyzed. Terry and I agreed on every outcome, including the 8th. Our path to the answer was not identical, which is neither necessary nor significant. With one model, one of us took the path of Spring heat to arrive at Bright Winter, while the other took the path of Autumn darkness in this particular comparison. Bright Winter colouring needs both so either preference would be good. The algorithm, followed correctly, would never eliminate a Season prematurely.

For the course in Michigan, former students had previously draped the models. Season outcomes did not always match. Both disturbed and excited, Terry and I examined the possible reasons. Why excited? Because the Autumn in us likes to know how things work and needs to fix them until they work. If the original drapes had been 100% perfect, the drapes that students buy today would not be as magnificent as they are.

The reason for differing results is unknown, and probably not that exciting after all. As instructors, the angle of vision is altered as we’re not in our usual place behind the client. The drapes are not switching as often while we help the student maneuver them. The distractions of worrying about time, and speaking to the student rather than the client add up. Unlikely that the drape colours were the cause since those now match very closely between analyst sets. Nevertheless, if there is space for improvement and learning, we intend to use it.

Conclusion: More joint training sessions with models that neither of us has draped previously. Note that under PCA Training Course in the sidebar, Terry and I will train together in Canada at the end of September and October.

 

From our student in May,

Reflecting on my recent PCA training conducted by Christine and Terry, how fortunate it was to be part of a thorough training experience tailored to me – my own questions and specific needs.  Their collective expertise was invaluable in helping me better understand color – theory and application – and navigate a draping process that results in an accurate assessment for an individual’s true tone.  This is more complex than it seems and I can’t imagine having the tools or confidence to get started without this individualized training.  Would highly recommend for anyone seeking to become a trusted and thorough PCA professional.

Kaarin H.

 

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2. Three days are not enough.

The students are just beginning to gel with the flow, the movement of the drapes, and the decision process, and then the course is over. Once they get home and work alone, many would tell you that they feel a little uncertain.

We provide continued support for our students in numerous formats, but it’s not the same as being there. The analysts in our group have to be solid. The public needs to know and trust that PCA can be life-changing. We’re determined learn from the past,  not repeat it all over again.

During training, everyone is physically tired. The full spectrum lights fatigue the eyes, as does looking at visual disharmony most of the time. Our brain can’t help but feel uncomfortable, quite draining to sustain for 7 or 8 hours.

Student feedback consistently mentions anxiety about applying makeup to clients. The present schedule allows little or no time for cosmetics if the student is to drape 6 to 8 people.

There is also little time to discuss client education and post-PCA support in terms of how to implement their PCA result. The Season decision is not enough. If the public cannot use our service to improve purchases, the whole thing is just an academic exercise. The training must include conversations that extend the Season to how each client will use it best. That’s a different dialogue for every client, even five people of the same Season.

Conclusion: The training course will be expanded to 4 days. Each day will run from 9AM to 6PM. Day 1 will involve theory before lunch, and then a model in the afternoon. A model in the morning and afternoon will follow, for a total of 7, allowing time for learning how to select and apply cosmetics, and how to build a framework of support for clients in stores, cosmetic counters, and on web retail sites. The models may include men, as our students should learn how draping a man may be different, but we will provide several models with which to learn cosmetic application.

The course price will be US $3200 with either instructor Canada (Christine in Ontario) or the US (Terry in Michigan).

 

From our student in June,

More eyes see more – in terms of learning a trade in 3 days, it’s been invaluable to have had the privilege to learn from 2 of the most established and experienced Sci\Art specialists in the field! People / analysts process and evaluate the same information in different ways, therefore it’s important that we challenge our processes by borrowing and trying out techniques from one another. At times, we might observe different or sometimes opposing things looking at the same picture and there’s a lesson to be learnt from that.

Gabriella P.

 

For the PCA industry and the larger colour community, things really are getting better all the time.

 

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Cedars

Client Q&A Palettes and Line Analysis

1. Are the proportions of each colour in the book a reflection of my colouring. Does that have a direct bearing on how I use these colours in my clothing?

A few factors to think about. First, the designer of the palette makes a decision about how many of which colours to include. We all know by now that you could have 5 swatch books for your Seasons, 70 colours each, none repeated, all accurate. The designer has to decide what they want to express – are Neutral Seasons closer to parent True Seasons or to neighbour Neutrals? Will Dark Winter express its rustic Autumn-ness or its jewel-toned Winter-ness, or both equally? Is this palette intended for women or men, business or party, the fashion scene of the 1980s or the 2015s? How many strips of colours will be given to wardrobe neutrals, reds, white/black alternatives, etc?

The designer makes decisions about which colours will participate in a Season. Red Purple doesn’t factor into Soft Autumn, presumably because that hue doesn’t satisfy the Season’s colour dimensions. I’m not the expert on these decisions. If you look at the Sci\ART books for the same Season over the years, they change considerably. This was probably due to changes in equipment, ink, and perhaps Kathryn’s (Kathryn Kalisz, founder of Sci\ART) evolving beliefs, perceptions, and consumer feedback.

Sometimes, the limits are in the nature of the colour. There are only so many yellows that human eyes can tell apart and not as many yellows available in the high saturation range as there are blues.

From printing RTYNC (the blue book in the margin), the computer’s colour model can impose limits, as well as what a given printer can create.  Giving True Summer a big selection of reds may be tricky, or maybe it’s getting reds clear enough for the Winters.

The available colours have to stay inside all 3 colour dimensions. Bright Spring ranges almost to white and black, and takes its source colours almost from primary colour,  giving a wide range from which to choose.  Summers, with their narrower lightest-darkest range, draw from a smaller range of colours to include in the palettes. Also, on this colouring, small nuance in colours is more apparent than on Winter colouring where colours that are very similar tend to look much the same. The Summer menu has a lot of neutral colours, entirely the wearer’s choice to use them or not.

Every available hue should be present in as wide a range of hue, value, and chroma as the Season will accept. Very hard to do unless the consumer wants to carry a 5lb. book around, which is why it’s so important to choose garments using the entire fan, not single swatches, to maximize your colour options.

Every palette should offer its owner a range of light, medium, and dark colours. They are all divided about 30-30-30.  The darker Season palettes appear darker because they reach a darker endpoint.

The real point of the Q isn’t related to the theory so much as its application. I realize these things, I just get sidetracked :) The palettes do communicate in a collective way, not just swatch by swatch.

Showing too many darker blues and purples in a light or medium darkness Season might have the woman dressing darker than the overall value (darkness) level for that group. Sure, she could select more from the lighter colours, every palette has them, but the thinking is done for her if she fans out the book and ‘gets’ the overall value, hue, and chroma to aim towards.

Photo: lance1

Photo: lance1

Digression: Is that flower Bright Spring or Light Summer? Without laying it on a palette or the drapes, I don’t know the answer. I don’t have a palette at the moment. In my imagination, I’ll substitute something I know. A rainbow, a dish of sorbet, bluebells are Light Summery. In that company, would this flower would take over? In a field of  misty bluebells, this rose is the only thing you’d see. The bluebells might as well be grass, leading me to think the rose is Bright Spring. Could it hold its own next to a Bird of Paradise flower? Probably. Like most design decisions, you have to see it to decide.

Final consideration: Part of what determines how many of which colour appears in a palette is probably related to the Season’s core colour. That’s an complicated concept but it does express real human beings, unlike certain PCA-industry notions that only work on paper. If anyone knows where the idea that Winter is red, Autumn’s core is orange, Spring’s is yellow, and Summer’s is blue, originated, I would love to hear. The choices of fuchsias and purples in the True Winter palette go on and on. Is that a reflection of their core colour of red mixed with the blue that cools that colouring?  The amount of core colour pigment unifying a Season, therefore present in every swatch, helps decide which colours apply. For True Spring, depending on how much of the core yellow pigment the designer adds, there will be a shift in which segment of colour space contributes to the palette.

Finally! Answer to the reader’s Q: Yes and No.  The book gives you overall hue, value, chroma consistency in 60 to 80 unified colours. How you wear them depends on preference, body type, occasion, time of year, personal contrast level, and individual feature colours.

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2. I’m really interested in having a personal image analysis. You’ve said here that I should have my colouring analyzed first. Why? Does it really matter?

A good Q that would be better answered by an image and line expert. I’ve asked Rachel Nachmias of Best Dressed to comment from her experience and perspective. In my opinion, she is THE image expert whose advice will have you wearing modern clothing styles that elevate your power, presence, and sophistication within a matter of seconds. I’ve watched her achieve this over and over, happy to say on myself too.

In general, I would suggest that you have your PCA done first, if at all possible. When clients come in for both, I always do the color analysis first. The reason for this is that, as Christine has said, proper definition of the lines in the face requires it being surrounded by the correct colors. It’s harder for me (and more importantly others who will be looking at you in your new clothes) to see the potential of the face before me until I’ve seen it without too much or too little definition. For more on this topic, you can find an article I wrote with some real life examples here (http://www.bestdressed.us/2014/01/27/how-true-colors-reveal-true-features/). There is also, of course, the same issue I present my PCA clients who opt not to have a PIA – if you’re going to start replacing your wardrobe, why not have all the information for both style and color and save yourself the expense of having to start from scratch ever again?

That said, most of my clients who are having a PIA *want* a PCA, and if they haven’t had one, it’s because of geographic access. Some of you are out there patiently waiting until a Color Analyst sets up shop in your neck of the woods, or at least comes for a visit. Others are willing to make the trek, but need time to save for it because traveling from another country, for example, makes the expense much more significant. My general attitude in this case would be that you may as well go ahead with learning the best styles for you, as it will make a huge difference on it’s own, and I hate to think of you waiting for possibly a few years to start looking and feeling fabulous. Because I am so finely attuned to looking at features, I can typically see through the noise of wrong colors, where others would not be able to. But the decision is really up to you. If you will not be buying any clothing much at all while you wait for your PCA, and don’t have an extensive wardrobe to pick through to work towards your archetype, perhaps it makes no sense.

Here’s my scientific take on it. As with colour perception, the answer must be grounded in how human vision is hard-wired by Nature. What else would make any sense?

When colours are in conflict, shapes and lines cannot find focus. Our brain wants us to notice that there’s a difference. If the colours are quite close, our brain thinks, “That might be a tiger. How am I going to get her to see it so she runs the other way? I know! I’ll blur up the lines. She’s sure to pick up on that!”

Details cannot find definition.  Our brains circuits understand visual information in a stepwise sequence.  As with colour analysis, ignoring the built-in strengths and weaknesses is a little delusional. They are embedded and will not be overriden.

The first levels to process incoming line and shape signals are concerned with general contours. If all the eyes see in the image are outer edges, and blurry ones at that, the visual system finishes processing the image too early. Complexity is lost to us, and what a waste since it’s that very complexity that the higher visual levels of human beings are so beautifully able to interpret correctly. Imagine a half-developed negative from back in the 35mm film days. You see outlines, nothing else. You can’t do much of a line analysis without any lines.

Photo: xaler
Photo: xaler

For an example of contours without definition, look at the image of Victoria Beckham or Hilary Duff  on the Pinterest Know Your Best Hair Colour board. Given only contours, the brain does its best at object recognition. Not being good at understanding outlines in the first place, it can’t fully make sense of the object. The result is that some spaces are not filled in or the brain makes a few incorrect assumptions to get through the day. That’s not only bad for image analysis, it’s bad for survival, evolution’s primary concern.

Rendered in its correct colours, an image develops fully. Edges are focussed and details refine. Only now can the human brain’s higher visual centers make a complete picture available for line and shape analysis.

Have a look at some of the celebrities in the Commentary Booth board on  Pinterest. You can see how distorting the wrong colours are. There’s an image of  Carrie Underwood in an acid yellow-green dress with silver insets. First of all, she’s hard to see. When I actually made myself look at the face, I thought she was Reese Witherspoon.

 

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