Category Archives: Summer Colours

City Looks for The 3 Summers

Having just returned from a week in my native city (Montreal), I’m reminded of how much more grunge/tough-chic urban dwellers are compared to me. I live in the exact center of a clump of trees which grow in the exact center of 90 acres of corn.

The anonymity of city living may explain in part why all the grey and black. Perhaps also the multisensory assault and the need for some quiet somehow. Imagine if everyone were very colourful, or if they all had different coloured coats. It would be too much to take in. I don’t feel it in the small town where I live, but I sure love visiting cities. Montreal is a brilliant city with lots of character. Where you buy  a screwdriver is beyond me. It’s all restaurants and bars.

I’m a Dark Winter in colouring. If human colouring were divided into 12 groups, or Seasons, mine would come from the Winter palette of jewel tones. To that, you’d add a few drops of crude oil to darken, dull, and warm slightly. The dull black of crude oil is what happens when Autumn’s deep rich gold mixes with sapphire and ruby. Picture the difference between the matte Batman black (Dark Winter) and the bluer and shinier vinyl record (True Winter).

For Dark Winter colouring, industrial/combat looks almost fall together. Though this won’t apply to all body types, the functionality, simplicity, toughness, masculinity all ring pretty true. I’m not a fan of all black but here, you have white, darker than usual blush (eleablake Accomplished, MAC Fever, this is no rosy cheek look), lipstick, and a ring the colour of blood. The lipstick is sheerly dark because this a natural/young/minimal look (Merle Norman Stolen Kisses).


City Look Dark Winter


Muscle tends to be easy for the 3 Autumn types of colouring, who do a cargo/military version. And Heaven knows if there are great boots for them to choose from.

It seems hardest to put this together for Spring. The heavy use of neutral colours always feels too drab on Spring, on whom I find colour is a better neutral than the traditional gray range. Even in their own grays, the excitement isn’t quite there. I still can’t visualize a Spring version that makes sense. I struggle with the toughness as well for True and Bright. Still, it just takes some adjusting. More colour, less metal and leather.

What about a Summer? Overall, this colouring is great in neutral colours and monochromatics. Some Light Summers are surprisingly edgy and G.I. Jane. They know it too but in trying to express it in Winter colours, the whole thing can come off too butch. Below, some adaptations.

Soft Summer

Should be easy, she has the same relative darkness, dullness, and texture to True Summer as Dark Winter to True Winter.

She’ll do less distance between lightest and darkest, looks way better on Summer colouring.

Ombre and fade effects are nowhere better.

Wear the bracelets on the same hand.

Could do a mascara version of soft black for the boot.

Equestrian boot are too glamourous and Uggs make us walk too shuffly and mushy.

Denim is so ubiquitous that we barely register its colour unless it’s pretty saturated.

You can’t see the model in the Tshirt because she’s unlikely to be a Soft Summer so she’s disappearing.

Don’t buy the makeup on the Polyvore, I haven’t swatched any of it.

Anybody but especially the boy-body nerd > messenger bag.


City Look Soft Summer



True Summer

Amazing in her teals.

Those earrings are lakes.

The eyeshadow is matte.

Anybody but especially the field hockey player > backpack or hobo.

True Summer is such a clean-water Season, it’s hard to make it look messy.


City Look for True Summer


Light Summer

Cate Blanchett on the other side of the subway platform. With this wicked good haircut. In this clothing, I’d stare shamelessly.

But without the high-class natural makeup. There’s something too wholesome or healthy about it. I kept peach out of the blush and lip.

Eyeliner is important and you need one that allows you to wear a lot without closing down the eye size. Our makeup should be as much as us, not more. And not less, personal taste depending of course.

I’m completely attracted to biker jackets. Engineer boots too.

Bracelets on the same hand. Warm and cool together are good on Neutral Seasons.

The belt is bubbles.

She has double piercings in her ears.

The Spring in her makes her great in tye-dye. I picked watercolours of galaxy earrings today.

The blue beanie, because marled wools look terrific, because blue disappears on Summers, like a non-colour so it doesn’t really add another colour block.

Purse too saturated? Yup. Coat too something else? Probably. As if a woman wearing this is going to pass up a great purse because it colours outside the lines. Where we do and don’t draw our lines makes us more interesting.


City Look Light Summer


Personal Shopper + Colour Analyst = VALUE

Shopping takes hours of planning and thinking. Which I enjoy more than I can say but seldom have the time. I know you don’t believe this, but many people have way more money than time. I meet them all the time. I get links to Theory suits and Burberry trenches to advise about, shopping bags full of Cle De Peau makeup to sort through, and offers of all-expense paid travel if I’ll go analyze colouring and take on the shopping thereafter.

Believe this too. It’s not because I’m good at it. All I have is the ability to choose colours that flatter because I can  measure the person’s colouring, i.e.: I know their Season. That alone sets me apart from all the other stylists. I work from airport waiting lounges, Starbucks, shopping malls, wherever and whenever, with nothing but an iPad.

Sound like your path? Consider training as a colour analyst. Fashion advice without the ability to analyze colouring accurately will be like Hollywood, trendy and unpredictable. If you love shopping and can analyze colouring, you are a different commodity, higher in the value chain, even at the celebrity level.



True Summer Visuals and Soft Dramatic Styles

The term Soft Dramatic (SD) is one of 13 Image Identities from David Kibbe’s extraordinary book from 1987, Metamorphosis. If you can find yourself, it can be an astounding key to your best clothing line. I am so NOT a Kibbe expert. I’m certain that if he looked at my Polyvores, he’d think, This isn’t what I meant at all. Reader beware.

David Kibbe Metamorphosis



This question from J:

I’d like to add femininity to casual wear but sometimes I don’t know how. How to add glamour into your everyday life/work? I used to want to appear as strong as possible. Now I have softened it down a bit, and, big surprise, no one ate me. ;-)

I think I have the most difficulties separating the True Summer from the Soft Summer in the range of beiges/taupes/browns and the range of corals/reds. Kind of the colors that we see as warm per se. Maybe also some of the greens, that are not actually blue greens, but more along the grassier or khaki side. The more unusual Summer colors, I guess.


By the time we’re working with neighbour Seasons in 12 Season colour analysis, and from the same parent Season, like True Summer and Soft Summer, finding words to help you distinguish them is not possible, at least not for me. They’re just too close if you look at them one swatch at a time. Trying to find your colours that way may be part of why PCA fizzled 40 years ago. Going back and forth and back and forth and back and forth from one colour dot in a swatch book to a piece of fabric will only make you irritable and the store staff even more so.

My best advice is to learn to look at your entire palette when you try to match a garment to it. Have a read of the article Getting More From Your 12 Tone Swatch Book. This is a total woman, head to toe, all the colours together all the time, big picture situation.

If you’re a precision person, as Summers often are, you’ll want to own both True and Soft Summer swatch books. Compare them both to a garment by laying them flat and fanned out on it. You’ll see which is best. Sometimes, it’s very hard, in which case, it just doesn’t matter enough for clothing. For drapes, that would be a fabric I’d never use. How can you test with it if both work? When you look at only one, one anything, your visual system is stuck. It’s like asking someone if this colour looks good on you. They’ll say Yes. What they should say is, Compared to what? Show me two and I’ll LYK which one is best. That’s how our biology is configured to get information from vision.

You might want to own Colour Books from different companies. The more ways you see and read about your colours, the more sense they will make and the more recognizable they’ll become. You’re looking to replicate a feeling, not a particular colour.


Photo: surrahman
Photo: surrahman


Also, to my eye, color not only flows from cool to warm but also from one color to the other. So, sometimes, I just don’t know, if, what I look at is a grey with a lot of purple in it or maybe a very greyed down purple?

We’re not comparing apples to apples in that question. Colour always flows from cool to warm. It’s built into the physics of how light strikes objects. It cannot be altered or argued. In the 12 Season sequence, the heat setting of one palette shifts to a warmer or cooler setting as you move along to the next Season. If the two purples you describe belong to True and Soft Summer, one will be warmer. If you paint them as two dots and let them run together, then the colours will indeed flow into one another, but the two ends and any given colour between them will only belong in one Tone’s palette, the one whose colour dimensions (heat, value, chroma) match those of the colour.


True Summer and True Winter


I get the feeling of coolness and freshness that you described. What I don’t understand here is the softness. Soft as opposed to True Winter, yes. But then, when I’m in a store, all those colors mixed up, that is not the feeling I get.

Regarding the image above, understanding softness in your question to mean low saturation rather than draping fabric, and choosing apparel line and styles randomly just to demonstrate some colours:

Summer colours are on the left. They feel watery, misty, calm. Not heavy. Far from white. A little heathered.

Winter colours, on the right, feel more aggressive and intense. They have more green. More colour. They’re further from gray. It’s hard to tell though, because as colour darkens, or as one colour dimensions changes in any way, we find it tougher to judge the other two colour dimensions. The top one seems too close to white for a Summer and I don’t pick up heathering.

Neither one is at minimum or maximum saturation, because True Summer and True Winter are not. What matters most is that they’re cool. Even that’s hard to tell. Winter green can look warm, I suppose because the blue and yellow that made it came from Winter’s paintbox, where the yellow is intense.

What about the center column? I wouldn’t know if those are Winter or Summer any better than you would just by looking at them. I’d have to lay the palette on the garment and see if the two were equal or if one loses energy. You’ll see this happen. The Summer palette will dull if the fabric is Winter. The swatches will be much too strong and bold if the colour is Summer. You’ll be able to feel which one is at home for most fabrics. If you can’t, it would probably be fine. You might need to own the Winter Book. The more precise you want to be, the more precision tools you will need to acquire. True for carpenters, musicians, and colour matchers. Not a big thing. Probably costs less than two blouses. You won’t learn this by owning one Book. You’ll get it as soon as you own both.

Clothes in photographs are just like people in photographs. A little off. You can take a hundred pictures of the same person, same time, same place. They look different in each one. Can’t tell what’s true. In real time, our brain can adjust for that, like it does all the time with all the white we think we see that would not be pure white, were an artist to paint it. For survival, our brain has adapted to learn when to get visual information that means white, even if the colour isn’t white. We see many photos of women trying on clothes. When have you ever met anyone and had them look just like you expected? Never. If Mr Kibbe writes another book, I hope he puts in lots of group photos.

Photo: lpierard
Photo: lpierard


I do get a feeling of elegance. The same cheap sweater, that looked so funky and trendy in Autumn’s beige, managed to look somehow more expensive in the blue-grey. Seems elegant and calm to me and… nothing! There’s nothing added, no warmth, no pop. It just stays as it is. I used to judge that as boring and without personality. Now I’m open to see if one day it will show me that there actually is something. Maybe I just can’t see it yet. I wonder if what I’m asking for is a comparison of the visuals for the three Summers.

True Summer, like True Winter, isn’t an overly colour busy Season. In the Winter’s case, it’s because every colour is so much that one at a time is plenty. In the Summer case, there’s a tranquility, with none of the agitation that accompanies heat, whether smoke (Autumn) or sun (Spring). The softness of the colours means that they weave together more fluently than Winter. Even a hint of hectic or functional takes the feeling off track. Also no giggles, no sarcasm, no squirting (Spring), and no forcing, no pushing, no controlling (Winter). All is perfect and all will be perfect. Not rugged, earthy, productive, or work-related (Autumn), no showboat, glitter, or anything synthetic (Bright).

A visual for True Summer: the Japanese Zen garden.

Peaceful, green, strong, by no means self-effacing, monochromatic, courteous, the penultimate of diplomacy and respect, meditative, reflective, cool but not dark, searching.

Soft Summer visual is heavier, more solid and substantial, a rock garden, a woodland. Light Summer’s has movement and lightness, a fountain.


Photo: lemunade
Photo: lemunade


Maybe also some jewelry advice. [But I find it very interesting, that [other systems] are all about teardrops and elongated s-curves, all very looong, while you mention the circle as the True Summer shape.

That circle shape came from my imagination. It is not a fact, it’s a blend of what I have read, seen, felt, and thought about. There’s no more truth in it than if you said, I think Summer’s shape is a pentagon. There are no facts here and only a little logic. The left brain isn’t the one doing this. We’re not measuring anything. I could see spirals too for the true cool Seasons, though more in Winter since they begin and end in the deep center, which has True Winter written all over it. The trailing vine is definitely a good Summer shape. For many, their hair follows this line. Every Season could have many shapes. So could every body type. Some see triangles for Winter. I don’t feel it but I can see why they do. Spring is more triangly to me, though more the zigzag than the closed shape.


Photo: br44
Photo: br44


I’d just love to see your perspective on Soft Dramatic True Summer. How does this combination of colors and lines and whatever else there is look to you?

I know this woman from my life. She is indeed a True Summer. She’s 5’7″, sleeps till noon, reads all day, is far more busty than hourglass. In fact, I have no idea what her body looks like below her bust. Couldn’t tell you if she’s curvy or not, no idea what her legs look like. I do know that she’s a knockout.

She cooks like Julia Child, drinks like a sailor, wears a splashy sarong skirts and big chunk diamonds in her ears to have her backyard bulldozed. The sarong and diamond look is the only time I notice what she has on. She also favours mid-thigh tunic tops and straight Capris, which look pretty good as long as the print is a big, boozy Georgia O’Keefe vision.

Her right location is in a chaise longue beside a Vegas pool with a turban on her head, cigarette holder in hand, G&T on the go, watching the 18 year old pool boy at work. This picture absolutely needs up-there jewelry, exactly what Kibbe describes. Smooth, big, and $$$-looking. Andre, the masseur, is arriving later this afternoon.

These are casual clothes. It’s easy to fit this body in gowns and gigantic jewelry. What’s it look like at the parent-teacher interview?


True Summer Soft Dramatic 1


Like colour, the whole point is to bring together the person and the clothing lines that bring out the absolute best in each other. Finding the style in any palette would be tough because it’s just so exaggerated. The women who would look great in it have no idea who they are, not unlike fuchsia blush. For the general population, the image seems meant for the stage, not the office. Get Noticed clothes are scary when the crowd all looks identical.

She has much less texture and more opulence than a Flamboyant Natural. She won’t wear wedges, the FN could. Same big frame, big hands. A movie star who comes into her own on the big screen, loses something on a TV, and looks almost ordinary on a smartphone. A cocktail ring babe. Sunglasses and wide brim hats, earrings, necklace, rings, scarves. Drama, glamour. She can make the dainty, delicate, and simple disappear, not in the good way, like blue on Summer, which is so much part of them that it’s almost invisible, like their ultimate neutral, their perfect equal. Here, little stuff gets chewed up like it isn’t even there, the ultimate unequal.

Like all Summers, contrast outside her colour palette can disappear her. Stay inside your lightest to darkest range if possible, whoever you are.


True Summer Soft Dramatic 2


The only way to get your clothes look like yours is to wear your own line. That’s when you look normal and fabulous, as opposed to normal. Your clothes look like ‘just clothes but wow clothes’, like Bright Winter blue sapphire satin looks like just blue but wow blue only on that one type of natural colouring. These clothes are lusciously large scale. In this picture of Sophia Loren, it doesn’t seem as if she and her clothing bring out the best in each other. Nor this image. She’s not who we know her to be. The colours and lines next to her look as if she feels some way that she doesn’t at all. There’s no point telling the world that.

The True Summer colour analyzed palette is the opposite of exaggerated. I can see that it might be careful looking on this woman. Accessories and big shapes pull the whole thing in the right direction.

True Summer looks better in their greens and teals than their blues. Blue is too equal to their native wavelength, like a blue aura inside a blue force field. Such a good fit that you can’t tease them apart. All their blue-greens are unbelievably enhancing. Like if you can find the right red lollipop red, it’s more incredible on True Spring than their yellow, maybe even more stunning than their nectarines just by the power of red.

For an Soft Dramatic, no casual outfit will ever be casual by other body types’ standards. The clothes look normal in a Vogue shoot, not a Food Court. This is not a Natural body. Turtlenecks, hoodies, shirts, the clothes much of the industry provides are not the ones that best flatter her. How to do casual? Would wear kitten heels when the men arrive to replace the front porch, but not high heels. Will not wear shoulder pads to the Farmer’s Market. Will wear flip-flops when hosting the Fun Day BBQ for the summer cottagers and their kids. Is going to wear jeans, fleece, and flats just because they feel good.


True Soft Dramatic 3





Can My Hair Colour Be Warmer Than My Palette?

Anyone who knows what personal colour analysis is, rather than what it was, lives with a growing sense of how well it works and how much it can improve your choices. The system divides human colouring into several groups, 12 in the one that I use. Since there are far more than 12 kinds of colouring once you get into the subdivisions, not every aspect of each group will apply equally to every person in it.

As you find your private garden and arrange the flowers and furniture to suit you, you ask some excellent questions. L sent me this,


I’ve been very happy with my Soft Summer colors and they’ve made a huge difference overall. The issue is though, that my hair color is just so much warmer than my palette that many of my neutrals don’t look that great. I stopped coloring my hair a couple of years ago and it’s neutral medium brown at the base and the lengths are quite warm, perhaps a light chestnut color would be accurate with even lighter ends. This warm brown just doesn’t look that wonderful with all the grayish-taupes which make up the majority of my neutrals. As an interior designer I wouldn’t put these colors next to each other, so it bothers me to do so when getting dressed.

According to old pics and my mother, this is my natural color. I had forgotten that since I’ve been coloring my hair for over 30 years. I’m just tired of trying to use toners and shampoos trying to cool it down. I’ve been looking at other companies SS and Summer fans and found wonderful browns in the CMAS Summer fan, and Lora Alexander’s ( Soft Summer fan. I was just curious about Sci-Art’s and your opinion about hair not being that great with the palette since you cover it during the consultation.

Overall, I’ve discovered that I lean a bit warm within Soft Summer and I really wish [the present palette] would give a wider range of neutral browns. I own the Soft Autumn fan and I don’t need to go that warm, but just a bit redder, rosier than my [present] fan.


Photo: artunet
Photo: artunet

Neutral to warm? Neutral to cool? Who knows? We’ll have to measure it somehow. That’s what the drapes do. Our eyes alone are not able without imposing some errors, because of how eyes and brains work. And because of the most misleading thing of all…assumptions.

Many of L’s comments could apply to all the Seasons fans. In any Tone, the likelihood of including even half the possible hair colours is less than 50/50 since hair colour is only moderately tied to Season. Why is that? My guess is that it’s because hair colour comes from melanin. Skin colour comes from melanin, hemoglobin, and carotene. Hair colours are an incomplete version of our truth, though what’s there is real and harmonized with us nonetheless. Just not detailed enough to do a PCA with. Hair also doesn’t change enough in response to colour to take accurate measurements. Skin tone does, therefore we use it to guide a colour analysis.

Soft Summer doesn’t tend to vary as widely as some but it certainly ranges in darkness, though it remains on the cool divide of neutrality. In all 12 Tones, eye colours seem to me to be more closely resembling the skin colours contained in the colour analyzed swatch palette, and yet they can appear very warm in persons of this Season. Test them and they still have the best energy in the cool-neutral Soft Summer drapes, not the warm-neutral Soft Autumn drapes.

Why isn’t eye colour tightly linked to Season? Similar reasons to the hair, adding in the Rayleigh scattering that makes the sky blue, and other aspects of the physics and biology of an eyeball, such as how it’s pigmented, where its blood layer is located, how it reflects light because it’s in a water-based jelly, and many other factors.


Photo: Krappweis
Photo: Krappweis

Soft Summer eyes can be darker, lighter, warmer, cooler. As long you give them what they care about most: colours that are soft.

A warm-eyed Soft Summer must mean that though we see lots of warm colours of yellows, golds, and oranges in the eyes, these are present in their cool-neutral versions and are outnumbered by the greens, grays, and blues of Soft Summer. You would think the two Soft Seasons’ yellows and golds to be quite different until you try to harmonize a colour palette and realize how close they actually are.

Soft Summer is also a Season where the Neutral persons are often quite warm, on the 49/51 divide between the Soft Summer and Soft Autumn. An analyst needs to be on her toes and own a seriously good set of drapes. They say that our hair and eye colours are among our neutral colours but I agree it is so if you know the real colours of your eyes. If you match what you think you see, which is never what colour really is, you’ll go too warm for your skin and turn yourself a little dull and jaundiced.


Photo: Krappweis
Photo: Krappweis

Whoa now, that’s a Winter eye! Same colour family, cool-neutral hues, similar value level (lightness/darkness), but what’s different? That third colour dimension. And the type of heat, which appears more Spring-yellow than Autumn-gold. Whole different feeling.

How can True Winter or Light Summer be a redhead? Combine their yellow and their red, I would think. Every Season has both in their own versions. The hair tends not be orange, it’s redder than that. But both have yellows, nearly primary yellow in Winter’s case, which is why their green drape can look so yellow in some situations.

L. is colour savvy enough to sense the best solution, which is to move very slightly to a warmer place without losing the harmony. Soft Summer skin is happy to negotiate on warmth of hue as long as the colour stays soft and dusty, not intensely saturated. In my Sci\ART drapes, there are 3 drape colours, identical fabrics, that are used in 2 places. The Soft Summer and Dark Winter burgundy red test is the same. The Soft Summer face is not as flattered as it could be. The client notices that. Seeing the difference is a better learning opportunity than if I just babble on about colour dimensions, because the client sees that she needs to buy dark&dusty, not dark&densely pigmented, and that darkness is not her shopping challenge issue. Saturation is. It’s a strength of the drapes, not a weakness. Makes me now wonder if I should put a few ‘don’t go here or here’ among the Test and Luxury Drape sets that I assemble. But no, you saw those during your 12 Tone colour analysis session.


Photo: dododront
Photo: dododront

Ah, back to Soft Summer eyes, neutral but cool, and soft soft soft.

Only dyed hair is, or approaches, all one colour. Natural hair has many colours to make an overall tone. You might see one colour but the rest of us don’t. How it reflects light and shows its colours requires its true colours to reveal the correct tones. Soft Summer has a drop of gold in her hair, not yellow. She is not a great blonde. A True cool Season in even slightly warm clothing or makeup has yellowed, dingy colour. If it’s silver hair, it looks like smoker’s yellow-gray instead of their beautiful clean silvered gray. The foundation colour must be accurate, hard to find in today’s overly yellow base makeup selections.

Others don’t see the discrepancy in our hair as we ourselves might. We don’t see hair as an object of one colour like a wall or a pillow. You might not pair those objects but they’re not coloured with hemoglobin, carotene, and melanin. We sense that living things are not coloured in the same way as objects, and that man-made objects are not coloured in the same way as Nature’s inorganic objects. Despite the difference, we are able to find the harmonizing colours and the relationships between them, as us and our clothes.

We can bring colours into our harmony too. Because it’s applied to our face, makeup interacts with the pigments in the skin. A lipstick that swatches on paper as Light Summers might fall flat on some Light Summer and be lovely on some Light Springs. This is called Making The System Work For You. Clothes don’t change so much. No question, in the same way that the drapes have an effect on us and we have an effect right back on them, so do we change our clothing colours somewhat, just not to the extent of makeup because of how it’s used. A Bright Winter can change True Summer’s beautiful, cool yellow into a grayed piece of cloth that’s been washed too many times.


Photo: Krappweis.
Photo: Krappweis

What kind of eye is this? Soft or saturated? Neutral? How Neutral? Spring’s yellow heat or Autumn’s gold? Of the 3 colour dimensions, which one matters above all? I have no idea. This is why I can’t look at photos and know Season. I have no comparisons and no ruler. All I can say is what I always do, whether I’m shown a photo or a real person in front of me: Could be this or could be that. If it’s a real person, I can say, Where’s my drapes, lights, and gray background when I need ‘em?

L. knows that I would never advise any woman to colour her hair ever. Her natural colour will always be her best colour. Sometimes we can decorate up a little and keep the balance, and that’s good too. My advice is to save herself the time and money and wear her natural hair. Once her hairs grays, she’ll only look better. Gray is what the Soft Summer does better than anybody because gray is inherently cool, as they are, and they start off with more of it in the natural colours that define them than the other colouring types.

If L.’s discerning eye prefers to warm a few of her clothing browns, excellent. She has to feel well in what she wears. There will be no repercussions as long as the harmony is maintained (more on that in Getting More From Your 12 Tone Swatch Book). There would be more substantial repercussions if she tried to alter her hair colour.

What about L.’s question about the colours present in the Sci\ART palettes? Without stirring up a nest of hornets that have finally gone to sleep, I’ll take a guess. Only a guess. Please don’t come after me on this, I have no valid opinion to offer so I won’t say much. I do not know what was in the head of the person who designed the palettes. I’ll take a shot: As I understand the history, at the time of her passing, Kathryn Kalisz was adjusting the Season palettes, as she probably did a few times over the years for different reasons. She deeply wanted people to feel comfort in their colours, but some of the feedback sometimes said that the colours were too much, probably more in the saturated Seasons. Part of the reason for the choices may have reflected this, though I doubt it was the bigger part of it in this particular instance.

There was (is) also the question of whether the Neutral Season colours should be closer to the parent Seasons, as Soft Summer to True Summer, or to the other Neutral with which they share the most important colour dimension, as Soft Summer and Soft Autumn. Is one right and one wrong? Does there need to be a hard rule? I would say No and No as long as the dimensions of each Season is respected, though I’d be thrilled to talk about it. Where does one cloud in colour space end and the next begin? Is there an overlap? How big is it, what’s the rule? How big should it be, different question? You have thousands of colours. Maybe one day, someone will make 4 Colour Books of swatches for each Tone, not just 1. Smart woman that L. is, she found other options that contained what she was looking for and she knew how to select those that applied to her.

This completes my long-winded way of saying that L. made great choices and decisions on her own :) Nothing I love better than a woman empowered to work through the many choices about her best self, in any context, and come out right. Discernment is a beautiful thing.



The Soft Dramatic Soft Summer Part 2 (and Hair Colour)

Still lunar and fluid like all Summer, still vaporous, but with a dimensional quality, like a silvery apparition, the hologram we discussed in Part 1. Soft Summer does not have a feeling of steps. What these fairly-light and fairly-dark colours do is flow smoothly.

Paisley asked

Can the Soft Summer archetype as you model it have a warmer embodiment? Mostly we’re compared to water spirits (which imagery I do love). I wonder if we could have a warmer side that’s maybe more of a mountain spirit? I do have warm-leaning eyes and some warmth in my hair, but yes, the SA drapes turn me yellow. Even so, gold, brass, copper, and rose gold are better on me than silver or pewter, which tend to just sit there on me.

She makes an important point that applies to many Soft Summer. That warmer incarnation is certainly in my head, but maybe not always in my words and images. Something that comes up often for me is that I see many who are very borderline Soft Summer/Soft Autumn. They’re like the neutralest of the Neutrals, positioned almost even between those two Neutral Seasons. To see the eyes alone, you’ll pick the warmer Season for sure, except that the skin yellows with drapes. On these women, silver (not overly cold and shiny) and gold (not overly yellow and shiny) are about equal.

Soft Summer warms and solidifies significantly relative to True Summer imagery. In my book (over in the right column), we went from a lake to a forest. Hopefully, the Polyvores below portray that.

About shimmer, Paisley said,

As long as the iridescence doesn’t take the color too high, I think iridescent makeup is gorgeous on us. Also your makeup style depends on your Kibbe. Having been identified as a Romantic, I was relieved to read Kibbe’s recommendation that even daytime makeup should have some sparkle. I think very softly glowing making adds to the misty factor, as do finishing powders that are pearlescent. The point being to keep it soft-focus — it’s can’t go toward metallic in any way. But glowing and pearlescent is gorgeous on us, IMO.

And IMO, you’re exactly right, Paisley. I can not say it as well as a woman who lives it.

Seems to me that part of the shimmer, maybe all of it, is explained by the equiluminant property of this palette. Rendered in B&W, it would appear to be just a few shades of grey and much of the detail would disappear. Bring in colour and the combinations are pure melody. Everyone of the 12 Seasons soars depending on what you can do with it. For Soft Summer, it’s in the allure that happens when these colours are worn together on this type of colouring.

Why? Because vision in our brain operates on two parallel tracks. The colour system recognizes faces, objects, and details. The B&W system sees movement, depth, and position. In equiluminant compositions or outfits, the colorblind B&W track won’t quite be able to tell the location of the elements. But the colour track will see the elements well. This disconnect gives these compositions an unstable, shimmery, unearthly feeling. We talked about it in Part 1. Sorry for repeating, it is so amazing to me.

The SD body has presence. The horizontal shoulder line is substantial and the vertical line equally so. I am not a Kibbexpert, but narrow, petite, or slender wouldn’t be words I’d associate with Soft Dramatic. If someone picked those words for you over Amazonian, I’d have to wonder about another Image Identity. If you look at Images for Raquel Welch, she is luscious-yes, dumpling-no. Compared to other body types, these are a little burly. A lot of size, strength, and length in the upper and lower body.

Kibbe Soft Dramatic (SD)

  • broad shoulders, a strong horizontal line
  • a long bold sweeping vertical line
  • drape, flow, light fabric ; soft plush – so far, great on Soft Summmer
  • shiny fabric – for Soft Summer, this looks like the lustre of pearl and abalone shell ; go past it and your colouring will make the fabric shinier than it is and the fabric will make your face more muted


Soft Dramatic Soft Summer 1



Many Summers ask if they look good in pearls. They absolutely do, taking into account your body’s geometry. Classics wear the classic strand(s) better than one big-huge piece. Dramatic bodies need big and geometric shapes to include the necessary angularity that balances who they already are.

We’ve talked about what looks like black and white on you in Black and White for 12 Seasons. Once you learn to manipulate what you wear to look like B&W or black&red or whatever on you without actually wearing those colours, you have cracked the code. You can achieve any look without ever venturing into unflattering colour by knowing how your own colouring exerts influence over what you wear. How do you do this? Wear your 12 Season Sci\ART palette. Job done.

Mr. K talks about bold and dramatic colour combinations. Great. Use your palette and go wild. Don’t compare your bold and dramatic to how Mr. Spock would get there.

Contrast levels are high here. First, it increases the drama and boldness. Second, I’ve rethought this whole contrast thing – 3! videos coming up about that in another post.


Soft Dramatic Soft Summer 2


  • Head to Toe.
  • T shape with rounded edges, always the vertical and horizontal lines.
  • Luxe and glamour.
  • Colour repetition works well to give flow and continue a vertical line.
  • Not stiff, tight, shapeless, sharp of drape.
  • Lots of length. Strong geometrics with soft edges.
  • If you don’t like the muted purples, don’t wear them as clothes. But they make darn good eyeshadow.
  • Wear your hair colour on your feet.


Soft Dramatic Soft Summer 3


Enlarged the jewelry to be big. With her size and the very generous amount of Yang, jewelry needs to be scaled way up or she’ll dial it down into a dime store trinket.

For the day of the week you go to the office, not the opera, there are shoes here that won’t punish your back and feet. The guys wouldn’t put up with that. Why should we?


Soft Dramatic Soft Summer 4



Soft Summer Hair Colour

This came up on facebook but this is a good place to insert it. Whatever your Kibbe or Season,

When do highlights in the hair look right? When the distance between the lightest and darkest approximates that in the rest of the colouring. That’s how the hair can be a realistic extension of the head.

Summer light colours are pastels, more colourful than Winter icy colours. Also, their darks don’t get extremely dark. So there is not a big distance between the lightest and darkest colours. Soft Summer begins from a darker base colour position than the other Summers. Applying the pastel concept, their highlight will be darker than the other Summers too. Message for colourist: don’t overbleach or add back toners that are too light.

Use a taupe highlight, like medium mushroon, for a tone on tone look. The colour is in your swatches. It is cooler than it is warm. But be careful. Someone sees warmth in the eye and the very neutrality of the skin and overestimates the warmth. Soft Summer is often getting coloured way too light and yellow so the face goes oily and yellow. This is not a butterscotch light, it’s taupe.

Also be careful again. That dusty quality in the hair is essential to bring the roses out of the skin. I mean, essential. Don’t stare at your hair colour and not see the whole like we do. Don’t compare your hair to anyone except other perfect Soft Summer hair, like Princess Kate. Would she look better with saturated hair? No way. Highlights? Absolutely not to me.

Start with a colour a couple of shades lighter than the base, usually a medium ash brown And be careful once again. Chemical colour is often very saturated and looks darker than expected, like saturated cosmetics do. So you might even go a few shades lighter than the base to compensate.

If you can keep 80% of the hair as totally unprocessed, much better to give the skin harmony and perfecting potential that chemistry so skillfully removes with chemical pigments. Make highlights filaments, not chunks.

How about this?  Look at the before. Cooler than warm but not pure ash cool silvery brown. The highlights on the right side of your screen (not the model) are pretty good in the lower half of the hair. On the other side, the eye can get caught up on the too-light strands. Soft Summer’s total expression is Summer colours in shade. Still, those too light strands are at least cool beige, not platinum, not yellow or orange. The base is pretty darn good for a Soft Summer. I like it. (IDK if this model is a Soft Summer, it’s just about the hair).



The Soft Dramatic Soft Summer Part 1


The body types being referred to below come from David Kibbe’s excellent book on the subject, Metamorphosis (1987). For me this is the book that works, IF you can find yourself. It’s harder than you’d think. I am asked to offer it as part of PCA appts, which I’d gladly do if it could be objectified. As long as it’s just my opinion or Mr. Kibbe calls me to train with him, the client won’t get her ROI (return on investment).


Searching for the Soft Dramatic Body

She has a lush, exotic quality to her features. Angelina Jolie? Maybe if her head were on Sharon Stone’s body. This is where it becomes anyone’s opinion, but to me, her body is too small and compact, her expression is very open and giving and the features are too Yin. She’s not physcially big enough to embody Diva. Height does matter somewhat. This is an imposing physical presence that seems bigger than it is at any height. An SD woman commands her space.

If Phyllisha Rashad is Dramatic Classic (DC), SD is more physically Yang than that. Even a DC could drown in all the fabric draping of SD, or look that way even with the draping scaled down to her size, as if she’s wearing curtains.

I wonder if IRL, Angelina’s proportions would have that Hollywood quality of large head/small body that photograpshs well. JAniston has that too. Whitney Houston could be very close to SD and often dressed that way.

SD and Flamboyant Natural (FN) are close in my head. What separates them is the FN’s ability to still wear sweats and eat popcorn. The SD is not nearly as accessible or approachable. She has a more formal energy all the time. She doesn’t own sweats and can barely force herself into yoga wear, but she’s easy to imagine with a tennis racket, on a skateboard, running on the beach at 6am without makeup. Movement is key for the Naturals.

Naomi Campbell? Perhaps, but she seems very slender.

Linda Evangelista? Very possible, and probably even better as a Dramatic.

Someone smart suggested Kate Winslet as a Soft Dramatic (and very possibly Soft Summer). That’s a great choice. Big body. Lush, large features with a lot of overall Yang energy, too much to assign her curviness to the Romantic or Soft Classic group.

Visual Processing and The Soft Summer Palette

Neurochemical information travels millions of pathways from retina to various centers in the brain. That’s just the beginning of how an image forms. Neuropsychology kicks in and modifies the retinal data to adjust for lighting, experience, and assumptions as the brain strives to make sense of what it sees, and of course, of surrounding colours.

We appreciate that seasonal or 12 Season colour analysis is based on simultaneous contrast, the fact that two colours side-by-side change one another in our perception. Soft Summer is a most spectacular Season but we can too easily focus on “those colours are dull” instead of what that very dullness makes them capable of that no other can do.

For all three Summers, the ability of adjacent versions of the same hue but differing values to appear 3D, to advance and recede, is central to (my) understanding (of) those Seasons. On Summer colouring, monochromatic colour schemes lose their flatness and give the illusion of a rounded, touchable image. Why the Summers? Because they’re cool-colour (blue-based) colours, so when their value is made darker by adding dark grey or black, they remain blue and they do so across the light/dark band. They don’t turn green or purple. This works especially well with the True and Soft whose colours are muted, which our brains interpret as far, establishing a depth relationship.


Because of how edges are discerned at the level of the retina, we have more difficulty understanding edges. Monochromatics are even more challenging for discerning edges. They seem to move. They come and go and float around. With even the slight influence of Autumn in this Neutral Season Soft Summer colour collection, this 3D effect from contiguous monochromatics moves to a whole new level.

Over the Autumn palette span, which has influence in five different groups of natural colouring, the theme is dimensionality. It has been called texture, strength, rope, weave, all expressing a similar notion of how this colour language speaks most clearly. Soft Summer steps up from the early 3D effect above that works so well on True Summer, to the phenomenon of the hologram. Still shimmery, more 3D.

Photo: acidxpop


With no good evidence, I’ve always seen the Soft Summer composition as lost edges, a figment of the imagination, impressions of depth that might just be apparitions, uncertainty about what is real, like the ghosts of shapes that move in and out of each other, whispered suggestion, signals you’re not sure you heard or saw, phantoms moving in and out of your perception. The colours made sense tome that way. Finally someone smarter than I am explained it to me: equiluminance.

Luminance means the intensity of emitted light from a surface. That is not exactly the same as light/dark levels or value because the trunk of a birch tree in shade and one of its leaves in sun may emit similar light at that moment, but in some ways, our brain sees luminance as value. Equiluminance means equal value or light/dark level.

The brain uses its luminance pathways (gray scale, black to white, value) to inform us about position (Where). The chromatic pathways (colour) tells us what things are, their forms and shapes (What). Take away colour and we can’t discern what things are quite as well.

Without colour, the painting looks 2D by the loss of detail in depth. The examples above come from this great website where you’ll find many more great examples.

When colour transitions are gradual because they are of similar value, our colour perceptive brain pathways (or chromatic pathways) are activated but our luminance pathways are not. We feel a little unsure of shape, position, and motion. We have trouble placing forms and objects. In Soft Summer, where saturation is low and values are medium, the colour combinations are exquisite to the point of being supernatural because shapes seem less stable.

The Sci\ART palettes make all this that I talk about happen automatically. Those palettes put these visions in my head, not the other way around. You don’t have to do much other than wear your colours.

Apparel in Part 2. Next article, I promise.



Summer’s Children

Pure Season children of all ages are fabulous to analyze because the optical effects of the right and wrong colors are very pronounced. The skin is very absolute in its reactions to colours, so much so that I find it difficult for these Seasons to share the use of colours with neighbour Seasons.

For instance, a Soft Autumn who is very near True Autumn will still wear her perfecting and most harmonious Soft Autumn palette, but she might bring in a bit of metallic antique gold in a small area of eyeshadow just above the iris, which will find and accentuate the same colour in her eye. She could wear saddle coloured belts and boots if her peanut butter and light terracottas couldn’t be found. If the Soft Autumn is closer to her Soft Summer neighbor, on the cooler side, she might bring in flowing and feminine effects like pearls and soft plums in silky scarves, beautiful and a bit surprising among Soft Autumn warmer colours.

Be careful to keep the surface area small if you’re dabbling in a neighbour’s colours. Your most flattering palette won for a reason, actually many reasons. Soft Summer can have an appearance of tanned skin even when it’s not, and even more so when too-warm colours are placed near the skin, bringing in more yellow overtone, faint enough at this level to look like yet more tan. On the way home from the foundation counter, she risks having a too-yellow product in her bag. Dark Winter can have a very similar experience.

I never feel as good about a True Summer wearing any colour from the neighbouring Soft and Light Summers because the neighbours are warmed, and even a trace of warmth in colour will cause them to look yellow. TMIT for True Summer and True Winter declares zero tolerance when it comes to any kind of heat in colour. True Seasons are also fascinating people because their character is often in line with that associated with their Season. As the True Seasons blend with one another in the Neutral Seasons, personality traits become more mixed and less predictable.

I adore children above anything. I am in awe of how much is held in waiting, ready to unfold in those small bodies, like little cocoons. When people bring them to their vet appointment, it’s all I can do to pay attention to the animal. I love the faces below.

Summer Children

Are gentle. They can hold a small bird in their hands.

Photo: Mrinkk

muted colouring, no black, a dreamy peaceful face

Have a lot of tiny toys with which they play intricate games. Are you familiar with Polly Pocket (about which my Dark Winter brother said, Have you ever tried to find that stuff when it rolls under the fridge? It feels like snot.). Their homes have beautiful details in every room, right down to the toilet paper holder. The season of miniaturization. Often look better in small jewelry than large and chunky.

Take pains to get every meticulous detail of a picture right. Even a picture the size of a window. They will draw, tiny line by tiny line, with a patience a Winter might spend her life searching for. Can spend hours finding microscopic snails in tidal pools with great hand-eye control when they spot one.

One activity at a time is plenty. Learn a music piece note by note. Do not need to be in constant motion. As a child, ask him to mince the herbs. As an adult, this is the cook who peels squash, who cooks the chickpeas for the hummus from scratch, who undertakes all 22 of the steps in making Matzoh Ball Soup.

Get frustrated with others. Can get so frustrated with their Winter sibling’s harshness and Spring sibling’s impracticality that they need time in their room alone to calm down. Like about 2-3 hours. Five kids on a trampoline is 3 and 3/4 too many.

Photo: nadsenoj

who’s gentle? who’s rich and warm? who’s building? who’s playing a joke? who’s cool and composed? can you find dark&cool vs dark&warm?

Stubborn as a Dachsund. Very persistent till they get it right. Perseverance ranks at the top of the chart.

Do not force their beliefs on others but do not accept anyone else’s ideas either. Sweet, pleasant, calm stonewalls.

Good impulse control from an early age. The first to learn to shake hands when introduced to someone new. As grownups, still have a self-control that astounds.

Ask question after question after question. If a family rule is, No more questions after supper, there are probably True Summer children in the home.

The most likely to keep your secret. Very discrete as adults.

Photo: pdsimao

soft, subtle (not dramatic and bold), rounded, gentle features and blended eye/skin/hair/brow colours; notice that all the colours are darkened to the same degree, keeping the contrast level between skin/hair/eyes/brows/lips low

Can be fusspots for cleanliness. Will not be thrilled to eat the birthday cake upon which five children blew out the candles, or even one other child. The mother may have brought a separate cake. Having a bottle of hand sanitizer clipped to your backpack should be a school rule.

Summer Grownups

If anyone will stay up till 3 AM cleaning the basement, it will be Light Summer. With Spring’s energy and Summer’s deep dislike for disorganized clutter, the crawlspace doesn’t stand a chance. Summer will not expect the world to share her needs and she won’t be miffed if you go to bed and leave her to it. She can’t sleep while the kitchen’s a mess.

Photo: criswatk

the pure loveliness of Summer, a feeling of softened curves, moderate colour saturation in a sweet-tempered face

Light Summer likes to talk almost as much as a Spring, but she’ll tell the entire story, and (this part’s important) (really important), in order. Thorough is the word here. She will be easily hurt and irritated if her Autumn sister hijacks the topic to tell her side and interrupts the orderly sequence of her thoughts. For Light and True Summer, it has to go 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and  not 1, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5, 7, 6. Autumn and Winter have more 1,2, 9, 10 tendencies. True Summer will explore every conjugation of a verb, could have, might have, and every option and outcome.

Photo: thadz

the little guy on the ground, very typical hair colour too, the whole squishy energy bundle sings of True Summer; there is more fine motor skill in that single little pudgy finger than many grownups can know

Drawn to quality in clothing. Will notice stitching and buttons. Prefer comfort clothes inside their comfort zone. A True Summer friend who has allowed herself to over-indulge in her diet wears her ‘punishment pants’ for a day or two to get herself back in line. All they are is structured, stiff, and straight.

Ask a Summer, How do you feel about..? Ask a Winter, What do you think about…? Ask an Autumn, What’s the most efficient way to get this done? And Spring, What’s the fastest way to get this done so we can have a visit?

Summer does not like to live alone. Their sense of community, civic responsibility, and desire for domestic intimacy is strong. Winter fantasizes about living alone and takes more convincing to leave their computer.

Photo: wmstadler

already looks Soft Summer; beautiful tone-on-tone soft taupes in the hair

If True Summer is indecisive, it’s because they want to do the rightest thing. If True Spring is, it is because she wants every choice. Autumn decides fast to get it done. Winter didn’t see that there were more than two choices to begin with.

True Summers are wonderful teenagers. Their very high sense of personal integrity doesn’t let them fall into, or even be attracted by, that which doesn’t agree with their moral code. They can easily exclude peer pressure when they want to.

Don’t love changes in their routine. As a child, might have been very unhappy when forced to wear new clothes. Might even have been screeching NOOOOOO so loud after being put in a new snowsuit as a 2 year old that they got left in a snowbank by their Dark Winter mother when she went down the driveway to get the mail. Not that that would happen in my house, but you could hear the child loud and clear down a 1000 foot driveway. As a grownup, might be very happy married to a Spring who can get them to do things they wouldn’t normally do, especially on short notice, a sticking point for Summer.

Zinnia Starburst Brooch Set With Blue Crystal Stones by Iris Apfel

In many a Soft Summer, this is what we see when we look in your eyes, or variations on this theme; click on the photo for info (or Google “Iris Apfel at yoox”) and make it your signature piece

As adults, they may still have high expectations of what others should tolerate or how they should behave. A tub of Ben&Jerry’s ice cream really does have 4 to 6 servings and it is not necessary to snarf down more than one’s share. Are willing to devote time and effort to getting others to meet their highest self, knowing that nobody feels good when they behave beneath themselves. Winter might not be quite so into your Karma because to them, it feels like an ambush intended to control that they won’t exert on you and don’t want you to exercise on them. If old people want to go ocean swimming alone, it’s their business.

Bring the natural gift of just knowing what it’s like to be the other guy, and caring enough to adjust their behaviour, what the world needs more of than anything. Every character trait is a double edged sword. Empathy is no different. Winter keeps themselves apart and outside of situations. If no offense was intended by spoken words, they’re not likely to hear it. It’s not that Winter is cold/distant/remote, their feelings are just less accessible. Summer is so deeply disturbed by rudeness and so strongly empathic that they substitute the intention of the spoken words as their own, as they would have felt had they spoken the same words, that is, very offended.



watch the grays and watch them change, many Summer colours here. John has great base hair colour for Summer. Think John’s a Winter? Look at him and Yoko. See the Winter? Fascinating features John has, the Meryl Streep type Summers face of which we see many.


Photo: alesia17

Lovely Beauty

Makeup Colours

Soft Summers, look at Body Shop 14 eye pencil, a mauve with lots of grey that will blend into your eye shadow, not look separate from it. If ever there was a type of natural colouring that could dispense with eyeliner and just use eyeshadow darkness levels to define the eyes, this is it. They create a more diffused effect than any lining product, a swirling watercolour of deep plums, pinks, and greys. Your saturation isn’t nil, it’s just less than the others. Lancome Purple Quartz is an excellent eyeliner, and their lipstick The New Pink may be very near your natural lip colour. Body Shop 49 lipstick is worth your time too at a nicer price.

Light Summer – Body Shop 148 and 55 are your warmer and cooler pinks in lipsticks. And MUFE HD4 blush will disappear into your face and allow the misty rainbow colours already there to take center stage. Lancome Rouge in Love 353M lipstick may be your lip colour or close, while 163M has beautiful presence without taking over your face. Lancome Optic eyeshadow is a lightly pinked light grey.

True Summer can look at Lauder Black Plum eyeliner, a great mid mauved grey till you tilt the page and see a lovely plum.  Lancome Purple Darling is another lovely purple eyeliner that’s not too greyed, a mistake often made with True Summer cosmetic colours. I love Lancome Berry Rose 312 lipstick and Pink In The Limo (probably your lip colour or close).



The True Summer – True Winter Divide

When Tina first learned she was a True Summer, she encountered the same roadblock that can stump most, probably all, newly identified True Summers. How do I know this colour is Summer, not Winter?

Have a look at previous articles Matching The Swatch Book: Blue and Matching The Swatch Book: Coral. Both were written to help with that.

Today will be about the True Seasons, but most of it could apply to any of the related Summer – Winter groups, so Light Summer with Bright Winter and Soft Summer with Dark Winter. If you’re thinking, How are those related?

Light Summer and Bright Winter both start from a pure cool colour palette, Summer and Winter, respectively. Then they move over one position in the same direction, towards Spring. To look at the colours, the same amount of the same kind of heat gets added to each one.

Soft Summer and Dark Winter move from their pure cool True Seasons by adding the same amount of the same kind of heat, that is, Autumn’s.

The blue book in the right sidebar, RTYNC, explains this in more detail. It also includes the map below. Like on a colour wheel, relationships exist beside and across.

For the True Summer and Winter, we’re working with colours where you cannot see one bit of heat. Not vanilla, watery sun, pale dust, white gold, certainly no beige, no tan, no orange, and yellow under certain conditions (coolness). True Summer is skim milk white. Its light colours seem more colorful than Winter because Winter lights have so little pigment, to create the icy look. Summer lights are pastels, by definition meaning they contain more colour pigment and are softened by being grayed. There is no such thing as an icy pastel that I know.

True Summer has a pretty big range of darkness. It would not reach to black or white but can get quite close in ghost and dark grey.

Tina’s Sportswear for True Summer

Tina has a fine understanding of True Summer. My favorite feeling about this Season is its freshness. If I start getting a sensation of weight or thickness, my own interpretation of the Season doesn’t jive. I love the green and pink hoodies bottom right, the blue bag and sleeveless top, the pink shorts, the long dress. All really good.

The turquoise racerback tank might be a little bright (saturated) and a good example of what adding just a little Spring yellow does – so, I’d put that guy in Light Summer. But does it bother my eye in this collection? Not at all.

When you think about adding water to colour, you appreciate that it can become diluted and less saturated without losing its clean feeling? True Summer is like that. There isn’t so much gray that it looks like it got put in the dark wash. It does have some bluish-greying, but not enough to take the colour down very far. So for me, the pink hoodie top L, the Nike logo Tshirt and sweatshirt, the grey-mauve shirt and jeans all feel heavy – could that be fabric, pattern, texture, and shape? Sure, they all influence how we perceive colour. If your opinion is different from mine, that doesn’t mean it’s wrong.


True Summer Sportswear


Tina broke down her early trouble spots into four great questions. She also took the bigger and better learning step of making her own Polyvores that we can talk about. I want her know how much we appreciate her willingness to just listen to any comment, agree or disagree. Easy to say, not easy to do.

1) In a previous color system, I was analyzed a Winter (this happened to me!) How will I know if a color is just too much for me to handle?

Others will see the colour before they see you. And their eye will keep being dragged back to the colour. At first, you or your shopping friends may not be able to know they’re seeing this. In the mirror, consider if your head really matches your body. Is one darker, thicker, heavier, blockier than the other or does there seem to be an easy rapport between them, like they belong together? When we look at outfits we often stare at the fit of the clothes and totally ignore the head attached to the top. Many hairstylists are masterful at this. They stand back and look at the hair creation and have blurred out the face in the center.

You may feel overpowered, as if you look smaller or weaker. You may feel tired. If you’re used to going about in Winter colours, you’ve accommodated this and learned to compensate. It won’t be something you can feel immediately on the road back.

Look for repeats of the colours of the item in your face, eyes, lips, or hair. This is hard to do and can be very ambiguous, but there are women who can sense this. Makes no difference in the world if you can’t.

True Summer’s natural colouring, features, and expression tend to have a gentleness. When they greet someone, they put them at ease. Winter colours won’t give you the feeling of relaxing.

True Summer can look ok in Winter light colours. Why not? They’re light and cool, that’s two things Summer does well with. But the iciness of Winter will positively glare on the Summer, while her face seems grayer (and her teeth too – whatever happens to the skin happens to the teeth and whites of the eyes), like her head is 2 feet back behind her body.

Your face will seem pale or tired, perhaps even bruised under the eyes, what you’d see if you suddenly put on a way too dark wig.

The shadows along the sides of the nose look darker in Winter colour, especially the dark colours. That shadow extends up to the inner corner of the eye. Darkness, as you know, recedes, making the inner corner of the eye seem collapsed backward. I believe that our eyes are the focal point of our entire being. Nothing should ever interfere with the other person’s ability to reach them.

When you shop, bring or wear a colour that you know works, a scarf maybe. If there’s a colour you’re not sure of, float your hand over the good colour about an inch. Relax your eyes and just let them take in the youth of the hand, the texture of the skin, the prominence of veins, the redness or wrinkles over knuckles. Hold the gaze for 10 or 15 seconds. Now switch your hand over the fabric you’re testing. Don’t over-analyze. Just ask yourself, step forward or step back? Which is the younger, fresher, cleaner, plumper, prettier shaped hand?

Black is a comparison thing just like other colours are, but when you’re seeing true black you know it, as “OK, now this is definitely black.” If you’re sure, it’s Winter. If you’re not sure, it could be Summer’s darkest gray. Summer doesn’t go quite that dark really, but if you need to buy pants, a little too dark but not black would get you through the day.

In Nature, even the darkest shadow doesn’t go to black in the daytime. (For those who have RTYNC, Summer is like noontime light, right?) It’s because of the amount of light, for one thing. True Summer landscapes are always backlit a bit from the sky overhead, despite the sun being hidden behind clouds, or from light filtering in from around or behind the image itself.

Also, maybe shadows don’t go to black because so many colours go into making a shadow. If you held a card painted with a pitch black X inside a True Summer grey shadow, you could still make out the X.

By fanning out your True Summer swatches and moving a pure black shape over it, your eye will pick out why black doesn’t fit. Eyes seem very good at picking out even close saturation differences, which is why black mascara never quite belongs on any Summer face. The viewer sees the eyelashes and then the face, perhaps the goal for believers in magazine ads.

Tina’s Evening Wear for True Summer

This is beautiful. There are light, medium, and dark options. In the purse top R, I usually look for a pink, blue, or mauve tone in True Summer grey, but this one would work fine. The delicate crafstmanship and attention to detail is Summer all over. The long purple in the center is good too, not over-saturated when you enlarge it (because it has a trace of heather, Winter would have none). The white dress on the model lower R, I’m not sure. Polyvore often loses colour and detail on light items. As it is, I think of Winter white because the background is True Summer and see how the dress glares? Couldn’t find a better example of what Winter white does on a True Summer face. The green feathery dress in the center gives me Soft Summer feelings of over-grayness, but again, it’s a fabric issue too.

True Summer Evening wear


2) What is the difference between too saturated and not saturated enough?

I’ll let Tina’s Polyvore below show you that. Colour is all about comparison and this is so well done. Winter colours look like straight pigment. You couldn’t talk yourself into dustiness if you tried. Ask yourself, Do I feel like a sheet of this colour could stop me from moving through it or even push me backwards?

“Not saturated enough” is a really good point. Where do you tip into Soft Summer? I can’t explain the saturation cut-off verbally. You need your Colour Book swatches. More useful for me is that colour gets warmer in Soft Summer, not just softer. You can see the slightest overlay of taupe over all the colours, even the blues and greens. True Summer may look coolly grayed but you don’t sense heat. That heat feels heavy, like chocolate milk compared to skim.

Remember that it’s not just a saturation question between True Summer and True Winter. Winter contains a lot more red.

Tina’s True Summer vs. True Winter

True Summer vs. Winter


3) Even when I was diagnosed a Winter before, I loved the colors, but whenever I saw a whole garment those shades, I always shied away from it and picked something “quieter”. Am I right to always trust that instinct?

The vet in me finds the word ‘diagnosed’ very original in this context, like something you wouldn’t want to have. Is this the subconscious at work? :)

About trusting the instinct: Yes! Understanding that True Summer is too often thought of as lavender and Wedgewood blue and not much else. True Summer is never in your face, even its darker versions.

Putting more than two Winter colours together could look like colour shock. Putting True Summer colours together looks lovely, like a place you’d want to stay awhile.

And understanding that too much quieter could take you into Soft Summer’s cooler palette, if you see grayness as quiet. I do, and I also see it as thicker. True Summer is not syrupy. It is fresh and clean as lily-of-the-valley. It’s silky cool, like perfume evaporating on your skin, like walking into air conditioning when it’s hot out, like feeling cool lemonade slip down your throat after an hour of gardening. It’s comfortable coolness.

Winter is much more serious. It’s more likely to interrupt. Summer colours will listen to you and offer caring advice. Winter may have learned the patience for that, key word, learned, but they still sidestep the emotion. A heart-to-heart on the porch swing don’t fit into its colour scene.

If you’re wearing your Summer items to shop and you try on something Winter, the rest of your outfit will seem drab and dishwater, when it looked elegant and perfect before. When two things do not belong together, they drive each other further apart. Which is why I can’t see why we’re told to wear eyeglasses that oppose our face shape to “balance” us. Reese in John Lennon glasses? IDK. What was so bad about our face shape to start with that we need to cancel it out?

4) Some of the makeup selections for True Summer feel and look dull to me. What is the best way to overcome this?

Perception – easily among my top favorite topics! I feel the floodgates letting go.

As with all things colour, everything is comparative. Dull next to what? Next to the parrot colours at the counter? Next to Winter colours? Well, you know, so does a True Summer person look softer (no way I’m saying dull, no human being ever looks dull, every colour story is equally spellbinding – do you find Winter people more interesting beings? NO. Nor are their looks.) On a Winter colouring, that makeup would look uninspired. But on the Summer face, they look as balanced and natural and healthy and vital and vibrant as the Winter woman’s do on her. Trust me. I never lie, whatever the cost.

There are too many negative colour associations in the world. Black is slimmer. Dark is stronger. Bold is more passionate. Vibrant is healthier. We even believe some of this. Well, they’re not. Colour doesn’t judge bold or indecisive. It just is. Clouds are not less beautiful than sunsets. They’re just clouds and sunsets and that’s how we appreciate them. We don’t walk in a forest saying, This tree is more beautiful than that tree. We don’t say, A tree in summer is more beautiful because the swaying of the leaves look so inviting compared to the simple shape of the wintertime tree. They’re all special for the way they grew, the way they are, just because they’re there. People too. Colours too.

Consider it from the opposite side. True Winter makeup will look inflated, even bigger and even darker and even redder, on a Summer face. Parrot feathers on a dove does not look good. It’s not ugly. There is no ugly. What it looks like is forever separate. They can’t mesh. By putting them together, both the dove and the feathers are reduced. They cannot penetrate each other and become one and the same, that sensation women experience so deeply when they see themselves in their most beautiful colours, as if releasing the drape at that moment would lose contact with some long-lost part of themselves they have only just found.

By adding to yourself more of what you already are, it’s like using you to support you even more. That’s where real strength comes from, right? It is not out there somewhere. Only you elevate and strengthen the very uniqueness and specialness of you.

Tina’s Personal Picks for True Summer

I have nothing to say that could add to this. All I mean by a place you’d want to stay awhile.

My personal picks!


Colours, Kibbes, and Types

Many of us have been exposed to various colour and style paradigms by now, so many artists and thinkers. We look for one colour or image system to have all the answers, but not one of them is all right or all wrong. Each one lets us gather a few new clues our identity. Unless the system has 7 billion of them, not every word in any of them will fit any one person. Lines, colours, conscience, thoughts, shapes all feed into our final what? Voltage? Altitude? Energy is a good word but overuse had blunted its meaning. We are energetic beings, each a unique force field emitting one synchronous wavelength, like walking radio towers, receivers and transmitters. And resistors and capacitors, come to think of it. We are beginning to understand what this means and we’re drawn to it like bugs to light.

The best thing about what I do is the privilege of being taught by people the world over who share their questions and answers with me. I am truly and deeply humbled by that honesty and generosity. I love talking to my friend, Darren. So sensible and smart, and he has experienced most systems you can name. He can pull together the details and the big picture into real world advice. He said,

What I see is different artists’ take on the same subject and from different angles. Everyone has their spin. Personally, I don’t have the time or the money to try to include every color in every palette that I have so for the moment I’m sticking with Jennifer Butler’s, if not just for the sake of self discipline and to see how creative and far I can stretch myself within those parameters. In the end my goal is that everything will eventually fall away and I will learn to trust my own eyes and my own inner guidance completely. I mean think about it. We both [all] artists in our own right with our own way of seeing the world.

So I guess what I’m saying is that these people are great at pointing the way but they can’t take the journey for us. We all have to do that ourselves. In the end we have to do what it takes to make ourselves into who we would like to see, lose our own weight, and accept our own limitations, and be OK with it. At some point we have to accept that we know enough to relax and just be. Who wants to spend all their time trying to figure out what to wear so they can go shopping.


I wrote RTYNC, the book pictured on the right side. I get told, I doubt my PCA because my personality is off from what you wrote. Don’t do that!!

I get asked, Wearing my colours as exotic or tribal feels all wrong on me. Does that mean I’m not Dark Autumn? NO!!! Trust the analysis. I painted word pictures that feel right to me but they cannot possibly apply to every Dark Autumn, all 7 billion divided by 12 of them.

I see women asking, How can I have dark hair and be Light Summer? But it’s relative. Your hair isn’t dark compared to 95% of Winters, it’s just darker than many Light Summers. We know our hair colours aren’t necessarily in our swatch book. Doesn’t mean it’s suddenly inconsistent or that your analysis was wrong.

In our truths lie our strengths. What is true about you is what is strong about you. That’s why it feels so important to look for it. In our untruths lie our weaknesses. Which is why looking unnatural, like you could never have happened that way without really interfering with Nature’s plan, communicates to me as scattered energy. Real and right looks grounded and therefore strong. If it ‘s true that allowing ourselves to behave with false words and actions makes us weak, and it is, how does it not follow about our appearance?

So, do dark Summers look good in black? Not to me because black communicates absolutely nothing that is true about them. Not unattractive. You are never ever that. Besides, it will make the rest of your clothes in the colours that actually look beautiful on you suddenly appear old, tired, and sort of defeated, as will the skin tone. And will your dearest friends or salespeople tell you this? No, my sister, they won’t. The purpose of a compliment is to make you feel better, not to share truth. Wait 6 months and show them a photo of you in black and you in bluewater grey, they won’t pick the black.

Unlearning is harder than learning. There was a time when we didn’t hold ourselves up to any standard but our own. And then the fight went out of us, media got too big in our minds, but we can remember the simplicity of those days. We see it in our children. It’s time to go back there.

My Summer friends tell me they want more ooomph, they feel so blended. Tina brought up a great point about yellow in hair. Unless you came by it on your own, not only is it too yellow against your skin, it’s too light. The dewy deep pink blush goes out of your cheeks and you live in a NoRightColourLand between True and Light Summer. Once the hair is back to its natural darkness, the makeup intensity can go up to balance that, right to where it should be. Your colours have all the ooomph they should have on your face. In a hairstyle that looks loose and released, you bring your lovely grace to a room with no soldier overtones to mix us up.

I’m not always a very good friend. Not good at making calls, making time. Not even a very good wife. My husband and I both married the strong, silent type. True Summers number the highest among my best friends and trusted counselors. There is something in that character that I need, that we all need. The higher tuning of their heart brings balance to the higher tuning of my head. They’re like the bed of roses I can fall into, finally exhale, and feel safe. Please don’t disguise yourselves. We’ll still see you but won’t understand why you’re retracting your gift. You are everything that the word Grace means on Earth, one of the most powerful words in any language.

We communicate so much more by our appearance than our words. What others sense is how synchronous our cumulative energy is. Call that energy whatever term pleases you, it represents everything about a lifeforce that is more than just a body. We all agree that we can feel something bigger in ourselves and others than the space we take up. We are the size of the space that we have presence and influence in, the meaning of expanded consciousness. The Sci\ART colour analysis is an accurate measuring tool that taps into one of that realms. Your perfect lipstick is only the beginning. Who could feel the door to their best self open and not be speechlessly drawn forward?



Soft Summer’s Gorgeous Colour and CEs

Many a newly identified Soft Summer figures this is it. Forever.

Soft Summer Too Neutral


It’s fine and everything but so, you know, safe. The overall effect is too generic light grey.Where is the excitement? Where is the fabulosity?

Many (all?) clothes need to hang on the right body to come into their own. Soft Summer colours are pearls when they find the right skin. This post in the hope that one day, women will secretly wish to be a Soft Summer and be thrilled when their colour analysis lets them claim the palette as their own. It comes from imagining how even the most casual outfit has such elegance of suggestion and impression. Much of what was said about Romantics in the previous two posts caused me to realize that I could equally well have been describing the colour effect of the Soft Seasons. Of course, Mr. Kibbe describes this in his book, where Yang colours are vivid, dark, and matte, while Yin colours are soft, bright, and glossy.

Our subconscious is the playground between what we understand and try to control and what we cannot. It speaks in the language of colour and shape, which translate to symbol and feeling. Thought is Yang and intuition is Yin (just IMO, not research). Thought could be subdivided into linear, directed thought (more Yang) and the deliberations of abstract thought that deliver information disconnected from time and space (more Yin).

Soft Summer colours always create very strongly in me a nebulous, shimmery sensation of being in an unreal place, a manifestation of the abstract mind, the ultimate right brain landscape. Ghosts of shapes and whispered sounds seem to move into sight just above a watery surface then fade back under to another form, like apparitions. I have to apply effort to see anything else when these colours together are in front of my eyes. I always sense an incredible balance between intellect and emotion in this person too, as if they live in that mind space where Yin and Yang are very intertwined. Imagine a Soft Summer Romantic! Wow. Now there would be gifts you would want to tap into.

Sometimes, women try out various colours in clothes or lipstick as they try to find their own colouring among them. They have read to use the extremes for this test, those colours no other natural colouring, or Season, would wear as well. For Soft Summer, they find that grayed mauve lipstick and a grayed pink cardigan and take photos or ask friends and family. This would be the same family that lives in a bold and strident world of colour and sound, and who have no idea what they should be looking for.

Unless the former lipstick colour was crimson, it could be that folks can’t make the adjustment that fast. Especially if you still have your old hair colour, which sends every colour perception about your face and cosmetics off to the four winds.

Soft Summer may have it the hardest because they keep hearing the word grey. When you’re not sure of the degrees, there’s a tendency to over-grey. As a short rest from Kibbe Seasons, now that simply Season Polys are a snap (or almost, Bright Spring Neutral Colours still experiencing delays), here are some Soft Summers Polys enjoying my vision of a colour palette whose peaceful beauty and gracious sophistication has no equals.

In 12 Season Personal Colour Analysis, Soft Summer describes the colours that combine to create a natural colouring that could look like Katie Holmes, Kate Middleton, or Angelina Jolie. Her basically Summer colouring mingled with a bit of Autumn’s light, so a Neutral Season. Various darkness levels, yes, but darkness level isn’t the TMIT for this group. It can slide up and down on the light/dark (Value) scale. What matters most about how they’re coloured and how they shop is that colour never gets very pure, bold, or saturated. It’s just a little hushed.

This is getting livelier.

Soft Summer Gorgeous Colour 1


Below, the incredible burgundy raisin of the palette, the elusive yellow, some good light to dark graduations that get a second look when done in snakeskin.

Soft Summer Gorgeous Colour 2


Still more colour, more saturation, more colour variety, keeping the flow by repeating versions of a colour rather than the copy colour. The scarf on the right has some olive beige, so fold it to hide that and wear it as a belt.

Soft Summer Gorgeous Colour 3


If music is the art of thinking with sounds, then our appearance can be the art of thinking with colours, in the shapes attuned to the music of our own geometry. I feel the new challenge coming on of creating all 13 Kibbe styles in one Season’s colours.


Soft Summer Gorgeous Colours 4


The outfit on the right was feeling metallic, in the cool stiff way of aluminum, but I liked it. The scarf is there to introduce the feeling of softness with folds and flowers and add many more colours in small blocks.


From Return To Your Natural Colours, the blue book near the top in the right margin, this section appears in every Season’s chapter. For you to see what lives in my imagination, it needs some illustrating.

Colour Equations

  • One light to medium-dark colour + one medium dark to dark colour
  • One medium-dark colour + one dark colour
  • One light to fairly dark neutral colour + one light to medium-dark colour
  • One light to medium-dark neutral colour + one medium to dark neutral colour + one colour in smaller area
  • One light to fairly dark neutral colour + one light to fairly dark colour + one smaller colour block comprising all three colours
  • Monochromatic, analogous, or gentle complementary colour combinations.
  • Overall medium to medium-dark effect

You see that it never gets very light or very dark. Complementary colours appear as reds with greens or blues with oranges as the 5th from left (where the orange is a very light beige made from a base of orange, dropping its value and saturation enough). The overall feeling is more cool than warm but not fully cool. You can sense there is heat here.

Picture bluebells in a drizzling rain, a lake in the Scottish Highlands, the coastline of British Columbia, a California winery when the fog rolls in. In Photoshop, the saturation doesn’t go over 35% when I make Soft Season colours. To give you perspective, Dark Winter’s are about 75% to 90%, True Winter’s are 83% to 93%, and Bright Winter’s run over 92% and most of the time over 98%.

Remember that under a Soft Summer face, that 35% saturation looks like 99%. When harmonizing colours are brought together, they energize one another. The effect is synergistic. They make each other more than they are apart. Therein is the magic, though it really is not magic, it is physics. Who cares what the Photoshop settings are? Who cares what it looks like on Winter people, they are not the ones who will be wearing this.

For that last outfit on the R, I coloured the top and bottom blocks as analogous (green and blue are beside each other on the colour wheel). I imagined a colour halfway between the two for the handbag, because any colour that you could imagine as being between two of your colour analysis swatches is also most likely in your Season too. The scarf/neck detail is Soft Summer’s orange, bringing in a complementary effect.

As always, you own the Colour Book, you own the system. All the theory has been worked out for you. You mix them anyway you want to, your appearance is still a smooth even ride that others are happy to take.



Dressing the Essence of…Khloe Kardashian


The Flamboyant Natural (FN) Soft Summer

Design = Colour + Line.

We look best when we wear the colours that already exist within us. We look best when we wear the lines that we are too. Round bones and muscular builds look fantastic in certain lines, not the same as those for straight bones or narrow builds. It always comes back to dressing who you are rather than seeing how close you can get to media’s stereotype.

It is good for a woman to have an understanding of the shape of her body and face. You will buy different earrings, I promise you. This is Mr. Kibbe’s book, the most usable book on body lines that I know.

Sticking to your colour and line guides actually opens doors. Like good manners, limiting our options when we shop appears to expand our opportunities, for looking 99 times better just in how a jacket closes, feeling stronger and more complete, and in the control we have over many other aspects of our lives.

Paisley and Taya did Flamboyant Natural Polyvores on facebook recently. I thought I’d try, should be easier than the Dramatic True Summer that still haunts me. Soft Summer colours are so plentiful, surely I could find them in any style? When will I learn to keep quiet?

Soft summer flamboyant natural


I’m a Kibbe beginner so don’t assume that what you see below is correct or Kibbe-approved. I am very willing to be wrong as often as is needed until I am right.

Flamboyant Natural (far more detailed descriptions in the book)

The Person: big-boned, wide, blunt features, not lush in body or facial elements. She is Natural with drama.

Example: I think of Andie MacDowell with her very strongly defined bone structure. Who else? Mrs. Obama, in that a suit can seem too stiff and constraining. Jessica Simpson feels Natural has some drama, but more pronounced are her height (small) and curvaceous body, so more likely a Soft Natural.

Angelina Jolie seems too voluptuously Yin in the face and petite in the body, but does have blunt rounded cheekbones. Probably SN.

Julia Roberts. A dramatic Yang presence in a casual person. How about Khloe Kardashian? Using this photo, let’s pretend she’s a Soft Summer. Scroll down this page and compare her shape and colours to her sisters’. Do you find she looks fabulous in the picture near the bottom in the blue outfit? The bag, earring, and shoes all look so good.

Khloé Kardashian

Khloe Kardashian Pictures

The Effect: wild, free, uninhibited, bold, strong. Makes me think of Dynasty meets Bohemian.

Jewelry: big, bulky, and not just artistic but extremely artistic. Here lives the drama side.

Clothes: oversized rectangle, oblong, or asymmetric. To me, that = straight sides with round edges. Must remember ‘not square’ and ‘no points’ when purse shopping. No hourglass, sharp, very straight, or delicate, all of which don’t sound like a good fit for Khloe. Also lots of separates are good (thank heavens, the shopping for top-to-toe looks for my Dramatic Classic shape is seriously hard). Will keep in mind ‘wide-loose-simple neck-sleeve-waist’ when shopping.

Accessories: this woman has a wild side and so should her stuff. She’d even be a rule-breaker and step outside the prescribed molds, wear colour a bit too saturated, wear many pieces at once putting a whole new spin on ‘unmatched’. Bold, big, simple, unique, with round edges. Makes me think of a Cossack hat, which actually could look really good on Khloe. Seems a natural fit, oddly.

It can be easier to know which colours suit which people by imagining many different colours of lipstick and hair on them. It’s always in making the comparison that we see what seems so obvious afterwards. I saw all the wonderful NYPD officers in Manhattan and thought their uniform could be my perfect Dramatic Classic outfit, epaulets, gun, hat, and all. I think of our DC women, variations on Demi Moore, and we’d all look darn good in that get-up, like Khloe in a coonskin Davey Crockett/Daniel Boone hat.

I imagine extremes for all the Kibbe types and see what feels like the best fit – not that this is how I see the woman but that she could wear these outfits and look surprisingly good and right, while everyone else would look strange.

The Clothes

Soft Summer Flamboyant Natural 1


Soft Summer Flamboyant Natural 2


Soft Summer Flamboyant Natural 3


The problem with these oversize loose tops is that they can look like tents unless the garment is built to define the shouler line. Holding in my mind that strong horizontal element across the shoulders to give the shape and an easy sleeve let me scan clothes really fast. Do you think length of the blouse matters? Long sounds better on the women I think of, unless you’re Farrah Fawcett tiny sporty. Long jackets are better. From the photos of Khloe, various lengths seem to work. The length of her taupish jacket seems less relevant than the strong shoulder and heavier texture.

Oversize-irregular-but-stiff felt like searching for a kimono with shoulder pads and no belt, not so much a flimsy tunic. Smocks must be out, too fussy. Peasant styles are too flowy and would seem to droop in the shoulder. Hoodies with a shoulder shape would be good, with their low heavy draping and plush texture.

Wraps seem a style that flatters many bodies, but this woman could look bandaged if not mummified if they were too skintight. She needs freedom to move.

Went out on a limb with the one shoulder blouse, I think it could be great if it sticks to other guidelines. The bone size on the woman would establish the strong horizontal across the shoulder.


Texture makes a difference. It felt important and necessary. Rough is natural.

Jewelry- anything that most people would feel was wearing them. Look at the ring with the blue outfit. This is the flamboyant part. You can buzz through 100 Polyvore pages or store displays in 5 minutes. Belts too, looking for the opposite of shy. Also, jewelry can add a lot of texture, as the chain mail bracelet. Can do a lot of jewelry at once.

Found no prints that really work.

Dresses big, bold, sweeping? No finds. Dresses in general are hard because they create a continuity that can seem monochromatic in Soft Summer colours. On this person, the piece are better broken up and layered. Even, unbroken lines aren’t really found in Nature. Rough is better than resin. The blue and grey dress (not, it’s grey, not white :)) in the last Polyvore might be D, though it does feel ‘big, bold, sweeping’. The print elements and shoulders are round-edged, which, along with the pastel colours, I hoped would add enough Yin (curve) to work.

The asymmetry appears to matter a lot. Though not essential, the look works better when the left side is not the same as the right. The opposite would be true on a Classic type.

Hard to do wild colour combinations in Soft Summer. Worked at using warm and cool versions of same hue together, going slightly outside the Season’s colours, as a slightly too warm green, and using wide variety of colours in one ensemble instead of being carefully matchy – interesting how a more natural and relaxed vibe comes across from that alone.

Back to Intrepid Natural. A daredevil element should figure into each ensemble for this to feel right on this woman. It can’t be too safe, even if it’s just a big watch, a huge purse, some piece needs over the top in size or artistic prominence, regardless of the palette, because that’s what these people are to look at, as Carrie so smartly pointed out (Farrah’s hair and teeth).

A crease down the front of pants is a good way of establishing vertical line. It helps make a good T effect in the ensemble grey pants/white top, lower R, 3rd collection.

It really takes all the elements for the geometry to come together. Once I started selecting items, I had no idea where this was going. It just felt odd. Add in the jewelry, shoes, pants for tops, and I could see the end result as making sense and could then tell what needed removing. The accessories seem to be running the show but they need the right backdrop. I’m still blown away by how effective this book is but it does take patience and willingness to be wrong, like everything else. All you need to see is one photo of yourself in three different necklaces to light up your sense of why it works and get the value.

The most important aspect of the shoes went through some shopping stages and evolved into simple. Too strappy would look as if it couldn’t hold her up. Too chunky and the picture gets bottom-heavy. Rather than just looking at Khloe, your learn more by comparing the shoes (and everything else) on the sisters. Khloe’s are good! Texture via shoes counts, as rope on a wedge heel or sole detail.

PS – Khloe, your hair is perfect. I admire your ability to dress for your body type. If you go lipstick shopping, look at Givenchy Paradise Pink. Remember to celebrate that you have more inches of completely gorgeous than most anyone else.



The Dramatic True Summer


David Kibbe, Where Are You Now?

Maybe you had your colours analyzed and you know you’re a True Winter. Armed with those most-flattering colours, how come it’s not coming together for you? You read about the drama of Winter and say,

Why do they keep forgetting about me? Dramatic styles feel intimidating and say nothing about me at all. I love softness. Is my self-perception off, like it was with my colours, or is there still something missing? I’m frustrated with feeling frustrated all the time over how I look.

Once you know the colours in your skin, your Season, it takes one trip to the mall to realize that even if you buy items colour-matched with a spectrophotometer, they don’t always look right or good. Who could argue? Your colour analyzed palette comes in many different styles. Which is yours? You can’t be great in both the swirly silky print blouse and the Hugo Boss blazer. The strong vertical stripes that work on me will do nothing for the woman who is defined by abstract, splashy florals, though our Season is the same.

I’m not talking about taste because that can be part of what got us into the trouble of not looking impacting in the first place, buying what we like or what we were told to like. A 15 year old says, I don’t want to be stuck wearing only square clothes if I have a square body. I want to wear the clothes I like. That makes me feel good. And it looks good when you’re 15 and still searching for yourself. The style carousel very much depicts the brain storm going on inside. The whole picture fits because it is a true representation of the wearer.

We outgrow wearing the brain storm because we outgrow being the brain storm. Our self-assurance comes across in part by having settled, like the demons in the Golden Compass (in Philip Pullman’s story, our souls exist outside our bodies in the form of animals; before puberty, the animals shape-shift with our emotions and moods; after puberty they settle to a permanent species). Adults learn who they are and settle, which feels more settling to look at than a woman who is still trying out different identities (does that look like Midlife Crisis?). At this point in our lives, beauty that could happen on its own is important to find. Once processing is involved, it is as stressful to look at as hair that’s been straightened to within an inch of its life, best left to the young.

Mr. Kibbe is right. You do look better with his advice. You can be as literal or encompassing as you choose, just as you can wear some of your best colours or exclusively those. On shopping days, I (a Dramatic Classic) still wear leggings, boots, a long belted T under a shorter off shoulder sweater, not my best look. Big deal. On first impression days, it’s a jacket, the point being your best jacket isn’t mine and are you really sure you can pick out your best line, cut, and detail in any item of clothing? As many of us will figure this out alone and get it right as were able to figure out their colours without expert guidance – that is to say, very few.

I am strongly attracted to classification systems that work. This one does, whether you’re in the business of dressing yourself or others. 13 styles, or image identities, are described in detail, including all aspects of clothing, hair style and colour, and cosmetic colours. These are gathered under 13 consistent shape/line/colour umbrellas, all of which relate back to essence you’re trying to project, the same one you already project through your body’s inherent lines.

Lines communicate and our lines communicate about us. Art students do an exercise where they draw an object using the bare minimum number of lines. They do another where a model changes position every 5 seconds and the students capture her form only with a few lines till she moves again. As with colour, when two visuals don’t belong together, they push each other further in opposing directions. If the face is asymmetric, a symmetric hairstyle will have the face looking downright lopsided. Two lines, three lines, and our brains are making decisions about what’s in front of us.

Though we don’t wear shoulder pads today, I was amazed at how relevant and usable his writing still is. The styles really do create 13 very different pictures. Only you will write the book where you agree with every word, but his is so enduring because so many women still connect so strongly with it. A straight line then is a straight line today. The quantity of information for each identity is huge with little repetition between them. I typed mine on a card, laminated it, and carry it with my Colour Book. I learned long ago that I don’t know how I look to others from the front or back. What has especially fascinated me is watching women get their style right and having all this remarkable, defining geometry appear out of their face, just as colours suddenly appear in your face when you wear your own Season’s palette. Who knew that both were there all along?

Any image identity can go with any Season. While there are recurring pairs, Dramatics among Winters, Softs among Summers, Naturals among Autumns, any of the 12 types of colouring can be found within any of the styles. I know Gamine Dark Autumns. I know Dramatic True Summers. His models are a Dramatic Autumn and a Romantic Winter. Figure out each one separately first.

Celebs are tough to characterize because they’re all so thin that it hides their body type. To give you the drift, Christina Ricci seems a Soft Gamine. Mariah Carey is a Romantic. Melanie Griffith may be a Soft Natural. Ashley Judd is a Theatrical Romantic. If they shared one another’s best styles, every one would have detracted from herself. Even on their Size 4 bodies, when it’s right, it’s oh-so-right. Kathryn noticed how perfectly Dramatic Classic styles suited Rene Russo in the movie The Thomas Crown Affair. I so agree, like they were made for each other.

Shopping is just a quest to find yourself out there. The prize goes to the one who can most accurately and authentically represent the inside on the outside. That look is unbeatable by any bank account or new wave. Kibbe’s book takes a lot of reading and thinking. So much like learning your own colouring, it places us in a temporary chaos that is important and necessary. Our usual shopping structure both supports and constrains us. Like in a Primal Soup, creativity and innovation are taking place under our radar from which we pull new idea relationships. We are inclined to move away from that chaos, but it’s an important place to move towards. A lot is happening there that is good.

Today, I’d like to try my hand at being a woman whose colours and style don’t mesh so easily. We start with a Dramatic True Summer, a Season we’re used to seeing embodied in lines that are curved, flowing, watery. Maybe today’s model is the True Summer who says she wants to wear black and scarlet instead of her better palette. Maybe what she really wants and doesn’t know it, is an outlet that expresses the drama she knows herself to possess. All she can articulate is resistance and she assumes it’s to the colours.

Working with animals teaches you to listen harder. They’re all telling us what they want or need. When you miss enough diagnoses that were right in your original patient history, you learn to put your arrogance on the shelf. If the colour system isn’t working for the woman, it’s not her who’s broke. Rather than say to her, Wear your colours for a week, you’ll get used to them, which isn’t entirely wrong advice, perhaps incomplete is a better word, I need to think about where her reservations are coming from. As we know, there are thousands of psychological levels here, but at the heart of it, what is missing for her? Perhaps, this woman needs to discover her own lines. Then, she can assemble the apparel outlines inside which she’ll paint her colours and feel good at last.

What’s a Dramatic look like? Not the luscious dumpling Romantic that the singer Adele is. Draw a Dramatic with a ruler not a compass, not just the lines of the face but straight across the shoulders and long, narrow, and straight down the body. Kib’s examples would be Joan Crawford or Jamie Lee Curtis. Adjectives like statuesque, sharp, and imposing apply the instant they walk in the room. The very beautiful Darin Wright, creator of the outstanding Season-analyzed cosmetic line eleablake, seems to me a Bright Winter Dramatic. You’d fashion her statue with a chisel and hammer from a piece of marble, not from dough, cloth, or cotton candy.

How would she dress? Far more briefly than in the book,

YES: sharp and geometric; sculpted, sleek&long, crisp; mod to heavyweight fabric; bold, sweeping, clean, angular (plunging V, thin turtleneck, mandarin, halter necks); mid-thigh jackets; coat dress, sharp shoulders, narrow no-waist; colours as ensembles, monochromatics or neutrals or pastels; prints Picasso, bold; jewelry thin, sharp, asymmetric.

NO: round, swirled, draped, broken or horizontal lines; sheer, clingy, rough; frills, ruffles, gathers; shapeless necks; flouncy, nipped waist, fussy buttons, shapeless or boxy; heavy-chunky.

How do you do sharp geometry in a cool and soft colour selection in every single item for everyday life?

Dramatic True Summer

Dramatic True Summer by christinems featuring high heels

It was surprisingly mind-expanding (and tiring) to have to get into another headspace. I pretended Darin was looking over my shoulder – “Girl, I’d no more wear a shell, matching cardi, and pearls, I’d look like my Grampa!!!!!!!!!!! Someone get me a cold compress and a glass of wine, look what she’s doing to me!!!!!!!!!” It is most interesting what our eye doesn’t see when we’d swear we looked at every item on the Polyvore screen. Through Darin’s eyes, I saw items I would have never registered.

I thought about the word modern. No particular sense of humor as in not funky or groovy. Not trendy, which has no strength. Modern became clean&futuristic, very much a Winter association in my head up till now.

I thought about what ‘bold’ means. Not sassy, one of the modern versions of bold, which can look tasteless and juvenile and for this category. Keeping boldness of style a separate entity than boldness of colour mattered since True Summer colours don’t come across boldly and I was trying to keep the number of colours controlled. Sometimes, I used an accessory, an unusual colour, or a contrast level to bring up the boldness of an entire ensemble.

Drama while keeping the bling down meant rediscovering how to convey drama through line instead of Dollar Store sparkle or cleavage. Every single item had to convey continuous vertical line and/or extreme angularity and/or unique geometry. Only a few items had more than one of these at a time, very hard to find in this palette. When I look at the Polyvore, it seems too conservative. If the clothes were in Bright Winter colours, they’d jump off the page more, but on a True Summer, she’d become a ghost.

I got a funny feeling of homesickness out of nowhere. I really had to shut myself off and be Darin. Like playing that Rush Hour Traffic Jam puzzle, I had to be very plastic about moving colour and style around one another. It’s a brilliant exercise. By the end, I couldn’t even stand a round watch face, or even a square one.

And I shall never complain about trying to find Dramatic Classic clothes in Dark Winter colours again. Try to put a Polyvore together, like watches for all 12 Seasons or all 13 Kibbes. You really have to get out of your own head, but when you come back, your own head is lot clearer. By deciding why an item is wrong for a Season or style, you learn more than by deciding why it’s right or going on the “I just like it, that’s all.” instinct.

Next is the Romantic Soft Autumn. Make a Polyvore outfit of any type of Romantic Autumn if you have time and send me the link. I’ll post it along with mine.