Visible darkness, the eyes are near black, but how much darkness exactly? How near black?
Is that muted skin (Summer or Autumn) or sallow (a Winter)?
Is she sweet (Spring) or graceful (Summer)? She’s both if you know her. Who expected her to pull off so much drama?
In Jackie, are we finding Summer’s ‘quiet-till-you-know-her’ or Winter’s contained?
If I am completely uncertain beforehand, she’s usually a True Something or a Bright Spring. I’ve seen Jackie at her work many times. She chooses a lot of cool, muted colours, like a Soft Summer or any young woman in today’s retail offering. Sometimes she wears black, which clears, defines, and comes close to overpowering. No way she was warm enough for a Spring, even a Bright Spring. No doubt that the B&W of True Winter would be too sharp. I had never seen her wearing makeup.
In 12 Season (12 Tone) personal colour analysis, Bright Winter is the Neutral Season, or group of natural colouring, that takes most of its colour properties from Winter, with a small, but so important, contribution from Spring. When the two Tones of highest chroma come together in one person, our senses feel the hit of the purest pigments, offered in a most gentle presentation.
I didn’t imagine she would balance Bright Winter. A colour analyst has the same comparison-based sense of vision as everyone else. We can guess but we know how much money you will part with based on our advice. We don’t guess. We measure. She balanced it and then some. Her eyes were clean and crisp – what happens to part of the face happens to the whole face. It’s just that some features are better markers for it. If your eyes are clear, so is your skin. If their edges are clean, so are the rest of your features’.
Beginning with how a person looks, dark, light, etc. is only a little more secure than naming Season based on character. Especially the True Seasons. It takes a certain amount of guts to pronounce True with drapes, let alone without. Especially the True Spring and True Winter. They never look like the averages. Those we think we know from media are usually very altered.
Was I looking at a curvy faced Summer with sleepy eyes and swoopy lines? Or a Theatrical Romantic (TR) (as per David Kibbe’s fantastic 1987 book, Metamorphosis), with sharp curves in the face and the frame? All of Mr. Kibbe’s 13 body types appear in all 12 groups of natural colouring, but when I see TR, I think of Brights. What they have in common is slenderness. When you really look at them, they’re narrow from left to right, like the frames you imagine models must have to photograph so well, but much more feminine in the curves.
She couldn’t be Soft Summer. The connection that the black in the eyes made with Winter drapes was one thing. Only brown eyes in one of the 5 Winter-influenced Seasons will do that. Plus, just moving ideas around before the analysis, her character wasn’t right. The Softs are Brights are both gracious but contained. Soft Summer is steadier. She is thinking about keeping the ship on course, attending to the work of the day. She gave the analysis some thought and gathered a list of questions. She is going to get it right.
The Bright Seasons just show up for the experience. Winter thinks their way through it, Spring feels it. Brights are sparkly, not the first adjective you might think of for any Season on the Autumn side. Jackie is very sparkly once her right colours are near her, with the points of the sparkles in her nose, her chin. Anyone could have thought that was Summer’s doll-like face, small chin, beautifully shaped nose, but nobody can link character or facial features to colouring until the drapes find the truth of the colours. After that, a lot more starts to make sense.
Colorants remain pure in apparel and cosmetics for Bright Seasons because the native colours are pure. Saturation in dyes can go, and will go, as high as chemistry can take it, higher than Munsell saw back in his day. I have never seen the colour that can overpower this skin in purity. Darkness, yes. Chroma, no. Maybe if you wrap them in a neon tube, but I bet Bright Winter would just look better. Part of what sets them apart is the potential for extravagance that takes everyone by surprise, them most of all. Placing this skin in soft colour, meaning muted, meaning blued or pinked greys, meaning pastels, you wouldn’t do it if you’d watched what happens in real life with your own eyes. You’re looking at a face in a dirty mirror.
Colour saturation is extremely high in the Bright Seasons. Too often, we darken when we saturate colour in our imagination. The 3 Colour Scales (hue, value, chroma) are independent, meaning that when a colour is altered, the other colour dimensions are necessarily affected, just not necessarily in the same way. Bright Winter has higher chroma (more saturation, pure pigments), higher value (lighter), and warmer hue than the other Winters. One could argue that theoretically, the overall value is mid range and the range reaching fully to B&W, so the same as True Winter. It is hard to accurately judge value when colours have different saturations and/or hues. My eyes think they see Bright as lighter than True, just because the yellow in the Bright palette looks lighter.
I look for colours with incredible pigment purity and yet, some transparency. Coloured crystals, coloured glass. Jackie was too comfortable with Clinique Kissyfit lipgloss, magnificent that it was. I want you a little uncomfortable, especially Winters who don’t like to give up control. Many are pretty sure that they know their own best presentation better than anyone else (more Darks and Trues than Brights). They come in telling me they already have their best hair colour and they won’t wear pink or orange. In truth, they see themselves accurately to the exact same degree as anyone else, which is to say, maybe 50-50. Jackie had the perfect mindset. She wouldn’t put her foot on the brakes no matter what. She could see her appearance getting better and better and she just went with it. A little nervous? Maybe. Did it anyway.
I’ll keep adding till we push open those doors. As you know if I’ve put makeup on you, I’m not stingy or careful with the amount. I want you to see right colour fuse with your face and to give you balance. Never get in the way of your own glamour. Of your own anything. We moved on to Tarte Nuria gloss. Jackie could see that it was a lot more than she’s used to, but she couldn’t look away or say that it did not look superb. Each building block of makeup on a Winter looks like too much on its own. You need it all to balance. Eyes with this intensity need a mouth with something going on, or the face is off kilter.
We used a charcoal liner and lots of it and L’Oreal Blackened Smokes eyeshadows. Pulling the dark sparkly black shadow over the grey liner was magic. Black mascara. I’m coming to notice that Bright Winter often has ridiculously gorgeous eyelashes.
Lighting is variable in these photos and many are taken in a mirror. The colours may not be what you expect for Bright Winter. These photos have gone through four digital machines before you see them. Besides, they are surrounded by too many other colours and uncontrolled lighting to know what they really are. To know the truth of a colour, it must be surrounded by neutral gray. The walls of the room are painted neutral gray but they sure don’t look it, do they? Correct colour analysis requires neutral surroundings. For me, that’s the first non-negotiable standard.
I believe that the best beauty is the easiest for others to see. The minute something doesn’t fit, we feel it in our gut. The person has altered themselves, as if they couldn’t trust themselves the way they were. If they couldn’t, should we? People are more relaxed and honest with us if our appearance speaks the truth of us.
The beautiful girl in these pictures is at ease with herself. Jackie is easy easy for us to look at. She’s wearing lots of makeup but the colours feel like an effortless, natural part of her face. Most important, her expression shows us that Jackie feels happy and calm. We, in turn, feel happy and calm. Humans are highly empathic, women especially.
What I want to give you is what Jackie has in these photos, a feeling of being fully satisfied and grateful with what she was given, of knowing that her gifts are perfect, plenty, and enough for anything she chooses to do. I love to analyze young women so they can experience this no-turning back moment. May they carry it for a lifetime and never fill a makeup bag with colours made for anyone but their own true selves.
I am thrilled when I meet women who present themselves as they are. I have a lot of respect for the fact that when we meet, clients are without their makeup. I am given the enormous privilege of a blank slate and the permission to take it where I see the most genuine beauty. Some women don’t wear makeup and never will, and that’s fine as long as the decision is made from consciousness or hope, anything but fear (and if it’s fear, I will help you).
What happens when a woman loves sweats and denim jackets, sees herself as a student, say, or scientist, not a bombshell, dresses in Summer’s colours, and finds out in one short afternoon that she is a Bright Winter?
Annie is a stunning, and I mean stunning, Bright Winter with medium brown hair and aqua turquoise eyes. Big similarities to Sophie Ellis-Bextor, with a little lighter hair colour (see the hair colour photo in next section). Annie works and studies, loves her jeans, runners, and hoodie, and has all her gear in a backpack.
Like Jackie, she found it hard to look away from her face in lovely makeup and her own, perfect colours. Once she got back home, it came to her that she wasn’t at all sure she wants to go around being stunning. Annie is discovering what many of us have, that being noticed for our great beauty surprises us by being awkward. We get over that. Then we have to put our clothes together.
She read all the adjectives about energized, dynamic, and sharp, thought about the Snow Princess analogies and heard this. It’s too loud. Bright Winter is not brash. No Season is. Each one finds a balance. The darker, the quieter. The bolder, the more minimalist. The purer, the more crystalline. The brighter, the sweeter.
This is too hard. Close in many ways, beautiful and powerful face,
Both of those forgot two very important elements that have to show up together: delicate (missing above) and happy (missing below).
In the meantime, Annie just wants to be this. Also beautiful, but Annie looks like this about as much Sophie E-B. There are aspects that are right but it’s probably not the best fit.
Some of these are personal adjustments, as Annie feels her way to being at home in brighter colours. I recall going in to work my first day after my adjustment, thinking everyone would notice and comment. Nobody said a word. We move into our new direction too slowly for others to really pick up on it, but to us on the inside, those first few steps feel almost earth-shattering.
But also, Annie is right in that Bright Winter walks a fine line. To say Snow Princess and leave it at that emphasizes the cold, the regal, all true, may be easier if you have Nordic genes, but forgets Spring’s melt. The Bright Seasons are a world coming alive, fresh and young, the activity of life great and small on the forest floor, in the trees, and in the fields. The lid is still on, this is still Winter, and now getting ready to fire on all cylinders. That building up is the stored energy of Bright Winter, the flash of a yellow silk tank or lining in a dark tuxedo.
The contradiction of Bright Winter is in how it will fire: as babies, with all their innocence disguising a powerful intention to live. When we choose clothes, we want that element of extreme youth, even before birth, earliest dawn. Baby colours on Winter’s dark background. Sounds of bells when the sun comes up. A jeweled silver locket. Dangling crystal earrings. A thin, shiny, sugarplum belt. Yoga pants with a line of sequins down the leg. A pink scarf with gold and silver metallic threads. Sun is still an afterthought in the early hours. Like a child’s tiara, it doesn’t have to be big and heavy. Accessories are a great way to bring your energy closer and keep the detachment you need to not feel threatened while you absorb it.
The image below is closer to Bright Spring. They still have Winter’s darker reserve but it sneaks away from them. Many more giggles. Fireworks are delicate and temporary, true of all Spring, but there’s too much movement for Winter.
This is better. The feeling is not so much delicate as fragile. It is delicate as intricate. The colours are the same. The faces too.
Need not be complicated or expensive. Need not be a big area. We see small areas just as well. A bright pink tank top with a little pink sequin detail, an ice grey hoodie in an athletic knit instead of sweatpants fleece, dark jeans, runners with a turquoise swoosh, little diamond earrings for $7, and a backpack with a red zipper.
I can’t think of a store that does inspired style with a big nod to adorable better than J. Crew. Search the Women’s page. Icy boatneck tees, an awesome handknit mixed media sweater, bright cashmere…but these girls aren’t done up and fancy. They’re not Ice Anything. Somehow they still look a little special. They’re uncommonly accessorized. Kate Spade has sweetness too, but usually too perky for a Winter. Is Crew too safe? Maybe so, but by the time these women reach their 40s, they’ll be ready to pull out more stops.
What we do is just proof in the physical world of what we believe. We cannot change our beliefs instantly, regardless of how strong the argument and the evidence. We live through that shape shifting time when we saw one thing, we consciously know it’s true, but everything else is catching up.
Give yourself the time. Invisibility was a kind of superpower in its own right, just maybe not the one you want for the rest of your life if you really think about it. Once you’ve seen yourself in your best colours, going back to invisibility feels like letting yourself down. You feel your way into your new colours over a few months. You have time to wonder, This is just clothes. Why is this affecting me so much? You’re doing this for you, always the hardest person to convince. Once we believe in us, everyone says, What took you so long?
Tea and Coffee Hair
Bright Season hair is uncommon. It’s glassy. It’s lighter than True Winter in many cases. The mistake is made of assuming it’s light to medium brown because what else are we going to call it? Wearing wrong colour, it can appear to have the dusty quality of Summer ash brown. Once the colours of clothing are adjusted, your hair looks as different, improved, and cleared, as your face.
Bright Season hair is never ash. If I were a hair colourist, I might know how to create it, or maybe it can’t be done. I have never seen it improved by hair colour. The colour is always too dense and heavy. Maybe it’s because the hair colour industry’s way of making choices for women is broken, not the fault of the stylists who are the nicest people. Maybe because Brights should just leave their hair alone. Colour chemistry hasn’t caught up with the specialness of it. I do wonder about Laminates though. They may have a place, as coloured cellophane, consistent with hair that is basically already that.
I’ve likened Bright Season hair colour to tea and Autumn-influenced hair to coffee. Bright Season hair is not only lighter in colour, the colour is lighter in density.
Annie’s hair, Earl Grey Tea with lemon in it.
Dont mess with this hair. This is not medium brown hair. It’s magic.
Often, a Bright Season tip-off is hair that is not as dark as eyes, when eyes go to black. Not always. Asian people often have hair and eyes of equal darkness. We have another Bright Winter article coming with hair that is as dark. We’ll show you root beer and black tea.
Here is one reality.
Many aspects of her face remind me of Jackie’s. The shapes of the eyes and smile particularly.
Who knows what’s real? Are the freckles? The hair colour? But what colouring.
Use of Images
The images contained in this article are of private individuals, not celebrities. I consider the permission for me to use them as a privilege. It is my intention to protect these women’s privacy and generosity. If you use any of the photos without permission, I will seek legal counsel. I do not want to have to reduce the beauty and detail of the photographs with watermarks.
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