Tag Archives: 12 Season Colour Analysis

FeaturedAmanda

Introducing Colour Analyst Amanda Roberts (California)

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

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

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

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

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

 

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From Amanda,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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On the plane!

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

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

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

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

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

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

-an intro to PCA and the color theory behind it

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

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

-photo opportunity with drapes and color fan

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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BestMakeupSA

Best Makeup Colours Soft Autumn

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

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

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

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

-Albert Einstein

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

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

Colour reactions

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

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

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

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

BestMakeupSoftAutumnWeb

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pinterest

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

Products

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Client Q&A Lux and Key Drapes

If you’re asking me a Q, so are many others. You send me more intelligent and insightful comments and questions than I could ever come up with. What I want more than anything is for the colour analysis industry to make the shopping of every person reading here better. Much better, right now, today.

Answering your Q one email at a time limits how many could benefit. If I’m sent a Q or a comment, it might appear here, always anonymously, and adjusted to reflect the various angles by which people asked the same thing. If that is uncomfortable for you, might be best to ask another source.

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1. The Luxury Drapes…I wanted to cry when I saw them. The colours are so gorgeous that I want to take them all home. But they’re expensive. Could you make Personal Luxury drapes smaller?

I hear you and I get it. I get that these are the first piece of consumer freedom you’ve felt in a long time, like waving flags. They are the sails of your very own boat, that you can take wherever you want. I want that freedom for you.

Photo: wwskies
Photo: wwskies

 

You wouldn’t save enough money to outweigh the negatives. The cost of the fabric would save some money certainly but think about how much 17″ (half the length of a drape) would cost. Not a lot. Maybe averages at $4-6, so over 15 pieces, that’s $60-90.

The expense is not in the fabric. It’s in the time and skill of having two analysts hand pick every colour, one by one. Literally, it takes days.

Then, there’s the production process. Cutting, edge-sealing, grommetting, and stamping is the same for a full or half length piece of fabric. This includes the time, the expertise, and the materials needed.

Shipping cost would reduce by about $20 savings by weight, depending on destination. Everything else about shipping, meaning supplies and time, is the same. Revenue Canada requires that all drapes ship out of Canada.

Also, the sets are customizable. Everyone so far has requested specific colours or colour schemes. Excellent, but I don’t want to be left with half a drape in case it’s not requested again and I can’t include it in an analyst’s set.

You’ve saved maybe $60 or 80. Part of my job is to answer the Q everyone should be asking. What is the loss? If there’s a gain, there’s a loss somewhere.

The more colour you have, the more you can see. I prefer, indeed insist, on large, single colour pieces of fabric to create every optical effect possible. You need drapes that will do that for you to gain the most information.

Half-size drapes would be half the size of a garment. Garments are not napkin sized. To make an outfit, you need to have some large and small blocks in sizes larger than doll cutouts.

I wouldn’t consider Personal drapes smaller than half size. The intention of making these available is in part so you know what an entire garment looks like in a store. Whether a 1 inch square swatch or a 2 inch square bit of fabric, the entire effect isn’t available. It’s hard for anyone to know what the clothing looks like. When Terry and I started the drape enterprise, we were uncertain about what we were looking for in many of the colours, just going by the swatches. When we found it, it was often an accident that got a reaction of “Really? Look at this one, Terry. I’m pretty sure this is what Dark Winter coral actually looks like.”

This is one of the many reasons why I so do not advocate matching clothing to each little square or dot on a fan. There’s not enough colour surface area to compare with a full size garment. Besides, even at 3×3 inches, the production of small squares of fabric becomes ridiculously complex if they are to be beautifully crafted, durable, permanent, sealed, grommetted, and packaged.

When fabric pieces are smaller, you can’t see appreciate their interactions with one another as well. Synchronous wavelength, belonging, stillness, and harmony don’t come through as well. The more colour, the more energy to be felt.

Finally, I don’t believe any more people will buy the drapes if they’re $60 less on a $500 investment.

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2. During my PCA, in the Key drapes, the initial gold/silver/brown/black series, I wore black fairly well. But the analyst told me I’m a Soft Summer. Doesn’t wearing black well mean I’m a Winter?

Absolutely not. It means that your skin wants something Winter offers that the comparison drape at the time did not.

Might be darkness (but we can get that in Autumn too). Might be saturation (but Spring has that too). Might be coolness (look to Summer if necessary).

You get the pattern. Any colour dimension can be found in any 2 True Seasons. Any 2 True Seasons share 1 colour dimension and differ in the other 2. It’s like those “If Jane has 2 jellybeans and gives Tom 1…” puzzles.

So a Soft Summer might wear black as well or better than silver (her skin tone wants the darkness of black), black better than Autumn (skin wants some coolness that black gives her), and black better than Spring gold (skin wants darker and cooler). But she ain’t no Winter. And I don’t vote with the Key drapes because I fear that once a winner is picked, our brain says, “There. Done. Got what I came for. Move switch to OFF.” and too many other clues are left behind.

Second thing: The Key drapes are way way way too early to know about Seasons. The analyst doesn’t even know the face yet. It takes a solid 15-30 minutes to see what a given face will do in colours. The Key drapes are about “What’s going to change, where exactly, and how much?”

A Light Summer can wear black at times DEPENDING on what the contest is. Her skin likes the saturation and the coolness. If the comparison is with Autumn, her skin might find several things in black to like. Now if the comparison is between black and silver, there may still be good stuff happening in black but less so.

Our eyes deceive us. Everywhere, all day long. We truly know not what we see. Neuroscientists write books about our visual inaccuracies. What we think about colour is 100% dependent on what the comparison is at the moment. You make a decision about one drape’s effects. Compare it to something else, whole different decision. That’s why it’s so important to check every decision by coming at it from several angles. Never assume you read it right the first time.

I could look at you and paint what I see. Right there, in that chair, with those clothes and that hair, and that light coming in. Or even surrounded by neutral gray. Those could be your body colours, the ones you repeat when you shop.

What if I dislike yellow to the point of feeling nauseated or weirdly intimidated? The analyst is human too. Bound the influence what I paint. Gotta get myself out the way and find some way to measure objectively. Very hard for humans to do.

What if I got the first colour wrong, then rejected colour 2 because it didn’t look pretty with colour 1, while colour 2 was the correct one? Colours 3, 4, and 5 must now be influenced. Errors carry forward, so there has to be a built-in way to recheck every previous decision. This is not just my opinion. It’s how humans think.

With any 2 drapes, our human eyes often grab the first one and say “OK, got it. This is normal and right and real.” and proceed to judge everything back to that. If the drapes had landed in the reverse order, we would have judged oppositely. Never ever assume you read it right from just one comparison. Keep moving around the problem and look at every angle, almost like fooling your eyes into making the right call. Keep confusing them so they keep adapting, like any muscle or neuropathway, to develop resilience, plasticity, and the highest outcome.

Nothing wrong with paintings. They can bring us to tears, a reunion with some part of ourselves or our past. They’re also frozen in time. The subject’s and the painter’s. You know colour analysis is a spiritual journey for me, because that’s what it has been to me. I want colours that give me somewhere to grow into, saving parts of myself I don’t know about today.

It’s all inside us, past, present, future. I want a bridge to the stuff that I can’t access yet, stuff that will be there waiting for me when I’m ready, that I trust to be real and true. Being frozen in my today feels too confining and kind of terrifying. I’m not certain who it was said “Know that one thing by which everything else can be known.” For me and  many others, it’s colour that acts as that metaphor. Doesn’t have to be for you, I just hope you find what it is. Seeing it in one place can help us recognize it in another. For those of us who view the world symbolically, everything is a metaphor. Favourite piece of poetry:

 

To see a World in a Grain of Sand,

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,

And Eternity in an hour.

 

- William Blake

 

How seriously hard is connecting to the truth of you, with no warping by media or any other person? We devote our lives to it. We lose it and find it. Something twists and it’s gone again. Once you find it, let it out. Sing your own song. Nothing feels better. It is the voice the Universe hears most clearly as you work together to move your life forward.

Makes me think of this. This is why I and those I have taught became colour analysts. It is how God made us to spread love in the world.

 

If not you, then who?

If not now, then when?

 

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Introducing Colour Analyst Johanna Jarvinen (Finland)

When an email arrives from any woman who has decided to redirect the flow of her life, ignoring all the doubts from inside and outside, moving into an unknown with nothing but love for the subject, I know I will meet a friend for all my life. Sometimes, maybe always, finding yourself in a place where life has given you no other choice is the best starting point there is. Whether as a colour analysis client or training to become an analyst, it’s at this moment that we are most free of our past. 

When you visit Johanna, you will find a woman of grace, humility, cleverness balanced with great sensitivity, and deep sincerity in her desire to help you find the answers that she has found, hopefully on a shorter, less winding path.  Meeting Johanna without meeting her dog, Estella, is a tad incomplete. I love these training photos. We know who’s zooming who, I believe.

I’m delighted to tell you that by the end of this year, if not much sooner, there will be a trained colour analyst with excellent drapes practicing in Denmark (you met Anette Henrisken already), Finland (with Johanna today), Norway (whom you’ll meet very soon), and Sweden.

From Johanna,

 

I’ve always loved colour. Well, who doesn’t, most people react to colour instinctively and largely unconsciously, and the effects of colour can be staggering – colour can not only evoke various emotions (happiness, disgust, anger, calmness, you name it) but also cause actual physical reactions. They can make you feel hot, cold, sleepy, hungry, thirsty, or may even help to alleviate pain in some cases. Powerful stuff! Our experience of colour is a very personal thing. This is my story.

 

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I was a toddler in the early 1970s, when the fashion was all about autumnal colours – browns, mustard yellows, orange-reds. They didn’t happen to be MY colours (they say children are highly intuitive about colour, unfortunately we lose a lot of that as we grow up and try to adapt to others’ expectations) and so I can still remember how I hated putting those clothes on. And then there was nursery school, where girls were given red everything and boys’ stuff was always blue. Add to that my mother’s favourite colour, navy blue, which she dressed me in as often as she could (actually, I didn’t mind this so much, at least it got me out of the mustard tones), and I was starting to feel like a crazy cocktail, losing some of my natural feel for colour. Teenage years (the Eighties) with assorted peer pressure, fashion influence and the early stages of PCA didn’t help – honestly, colour wise I didn’t know who I was any longer. It’s been a long way back, but finally, I’m happy to say that I’m on the right track and feeling good!

The history of PCA in Finland goes something like this: The publication of Carol Jackson’s book (in Finnish translation) in the late 80s created a lot of buzz, making PCA interesting simply because it was new. After that, there seems to have been a lull, as many people got tired of the “fad” and also because the system just didn’t seem to work perfectly for so many people. For some reason, PCA didn’t seem to have come to Finland to stay – people looked upon it as something external to them, something to take or leave as they pleased, rather than a real and permanent description of their own natural colouring. My hope is that Finns will learn to think of PCA in a different light, with the entertainment value somewhat lessened and the actual value of the applicable results emphasised. In other words, I hope they can learn to take PCA seriously. Of course, to be taken seriously, a PCA needs to be thorough and reliable. Perhaps this was partly the reason why it never fully “took” before.

Johanna2

 

In my case, there was no lack of interest in the subject, but despite having been colour analysed several times in the past and having read tons of books about colour, having thought about colour all the time, having even considered training as a colour analyst twenty years ago (but I was young and it felt wiser to focus on my “real” education instead), I only found my correct Season in Canada, at age 43, while being trained to do PCA. And I went in so sure my Season would just be confirmed during my draping session! The thing is, I felt blah in the colours I thought were mine, but I just thought I was being too critical or hard to please or….too something. I thought it was the best I could look, that my appearance was just naturally boring. I’m afraid there may be other women out there thinking the same about themselves, essentially blaming themselves if they don’t look radiant. Ladies, it’s not your fault! Get better advice! So, I turned out to be a Season I’d never even considered. Now things are finally making sense, now I can look back to favourite shirts that did something for me and connect the dots, while at the time I thought it was just a fluke. Now I can’t believe this wasn’t obvious to me – but it’s not that easy to analyse your own colouring.

I used to work as a teacher, and there are things I’m taking from that, as well as things I’d like to avoid, now that I’m “doing colour”. I’ll start with the things to avoid: I don’t want to be the analyst who dictates to the client too much. I don’t feel it’s my job to force someone to wear a certain colour (tone) or to deny them a colour (tone) they like. I’ll tell you what I think and offer you any information I can, but you decide for yourself. I also hope to favour creative thinking over too many rigid fashion practices. Now, what I would like to keep and amplify is the great feeling you get when you see the results of your efforts (at the end of an analysis & when you see the client later on, wearing what makes them look fantastic), in other words, the bit where you get to help people, to inspire them, to give them faith that they CAN get this, and then to see them succeed when they apply themselves. This may sound a bit grand for a colour analyst, but it’s that important to me.

Johanna3

 

Believe it or not, in the past I’ve had to go so far as to throw out some books on colour and style (and how I miss them!) because I kept spending too much time rereading them and making up theoretical colour schemes etc., and the only way I felt I was going to be able to stay away from them and do whatever I was meant to be doing was to throw them away. But my love for colour wouldn’t go away, and one day as I was googling about colour, I hit upon this treasure trove of information, the 12 Blueprints website. It was something I’d never seen before – pages and pages of free information about colour, and not the usual superficial stuff that’s good for entertainment only, but well thought-out and detailed posts, where colour had been analysed, almost dissected, with a very critical eye. I thought I was going to die…but fortunately didn’t, because some time after this Christine announced that she would soon start teaching PCA. One day it just hit me – OK so I live in Finland and Canada’s a long way away, but why couldn’t I do it! Of course, friends and family thought I’d lost my mind, but it would have taken an army to stop me at this point – and now I’m glad I waited so long to be trained, because I wouldn’t have found this dedication to colour or to students anywhere else!

I’ve been doing PCA a couple of months now under my company name Flow with Nature. My studio is located in Espoo, about 20 km from the centre of Helsinki. The building belongs to Omnia, a provider of education, which also specialises in nurturing creative start-up businesses. My neighbouring business is a co-op specialising in women’s clothing. They would be happy to design and sew an outfit for you in one of your best colours! You can reach me by public transportation (train to Espoo + a 1 km bus ride, or I can pick you up from the station) or by car (free parking out front). I’m available for appointments throughout the week. If you have any special requests, just let me know and we’ll see what we can come up with.

Johanna3

 

To perform your PCA, I use the famous 12 Blueprints Test Drape Set. At this time, I haven’t got the Luxury Drapes but we can still get a clear idea of your individual best colours (within your season) from the test drapes, and we will spend more time comparing different seasons’ colours (e.g. what’s YOUR white out of all the whites out there) and harmonising any makeup or garments that you choose to bring along.

A simplified makeup application is included in your PCA session, just to show you the illumination your face can receive from your best blush and lipstick shades. My eye makeup availability varies from season to season at this time. I encourage you to take your makeup bag with you to the appointment, so that we can check which products you should continue to use with full confidence, and which ones you might want to replace.

A True Colour International 12 Tone Classic colour book is included in the PCA. You will also receive several written documents from me the night after your analysis, including a recap of where your season stands in terms of the three dimensions of colour, how to recognise your colours and how to handle shopping for your season, how to best apply and combine your colours in clothing, advice on makeup colours, and a list of resources I find useful.

Johanna5

 

Looking ahead, I’m hoping to expand my services to cover guided shopping and wardrobe advice. Your perfect tones don’t exist in a vacuum but must be applied to clothing and accessories (for many women, also makeup and hair colour) before they can do their job of making you look good, and this can be a challenge at first. My trial runs show that these services are valuable to the client, so I’m planning to include them soon. I’m also dreaming of the day when I can offer style advice, as style and colour are the major elements in any look.

My website is in its early stages, which means that so far I haven’t been able to include minute details, or information in English. You (the Finnish reader) can find an overview of PCA, a brief introduction of me and my company and some suggestions about what PCA can do for you. In the interest of space and overall readability, I haven’t put a detailed account of what happens at an appointment on show (much too long), but am more than happy to email it to anyone interested in my service, no strings attached! You’ll find a contact page for this purpose on the website. International clients (communication preferably in English) are also warmly welcome, and I will translate material as required!

The site can be found at www.flowwithnature.com and you can email me at johanna@flowwithnature.com. Flow with Nature is also on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Flow-with-Nature/141298139407107, and I welcome ideas about how I might develop the Facebook page to serve anyone interested in PCA. So far, also my Facebook page is in Finnish only, but please feel free to ask questions or start a discussion in English, too!

 

—–

Colour Sharing

How do members of a Season borrow colours into their wardrobe successfully? All sorts of diagrams exist to assist people of certain colouring, or Season, in finding clothing colours that are not within their palette.

Examples you might see include,

- True Summer and True Winter – because they’re both very cool

- Dark Winter and Soft Summer, which have a similar relationship as Bright Winter and Light Summer – because all four begin with a cool palette and each pair adds the same amount of the same kind of warmth, Autumn gold and Spring yellow respectively

- Dark Autumn/Bright Spring and Light Spring/Soft Autumn – because if you map the Seasons in a progression around a circle, the same relationship exists between these pairs as the ones above. Both begin with a warm palette and add the same amount of the same type of coolness, Winter’s or Summer’s, respectively

stairway-on-the-beach-1-786532-m
Photo: elussich

 

These generalities are best applied only to certain colours. On the whole, I’m not sure how well they serve outside the theory. I don’t believe in second-best and runner-up Seasons. They don’t exist. Any Season could absorb various colours from various other Seasons quite nicely.

In the examples above, only the heat level is being factored in, placing too much emphasis on it. The other two dimensions matter will matter a lot when the medium-browns are put under the faces. Certain pinks might slide by though.

At least for Dark Winter/Soft Summer, the heat is the same type, Autumn’s. The third example is ignoring the very different kind of heat in Autumn and Spring colours. In many cases, the worst colours for one can be found in the other warm palette. A blue-eyed Dark Autumn can have some similarities with Bright Spring’s appearance, as can the green-gold eyed Bright Spring with Dark Autumn – if they read about them, but not if they wear them. Many of the colours can be weirdly unpleasant on the opposite person.

Even at a tiny level of Autumn, Spring warmth can look like an odd, greasy, abalone shell event on Soft Summer skin. Except the eyes. Eyes are always true. Soft Summer eyes just sit there in this iridescent face looking estranged. It’s as psychologically awkward as when I wear cat eye, glittery sunglasses, to which people react in most uncomfortable (and entertaining, if you like watching that sort of thing to illustrate a point, which I do) ways.

Photo: highland_s
Photo: highland_s

 

Why might broad guidelines only work for some colours but not all the colours? They make an assumption that every person inside a Season will react to every colour in the same way. Not true at all.

Three True Springs would have three different paths through the draping sequence. Not every drape in Test or Luxury is perfect on every person in that group. It is simply the best decision in a constellation of 10 – 15 observations. Within the same Season, people will still react differently to the reds, greens, blues, and so on. This is why I am such as strong proponent of single colour drapes. Every colour tells you something. Even putting one more into the mix confuses the decision making on a given person, let alone the fact that the colours will influence one another. With students, it is reinforced that if a Season’s drapes are to be tested for some reason, then every single colour in that set will be tested. Just because a blue doesn’t work in no way indicates what how their skin would have participated with the other colours in that Season’s set.

To this day, about 300, maybe more, PCAs later, I still take time to write what I learned from each one. I had to see about 12, sometimes 25+ (Bright Winter for instance), of each Season to have trouble coming up with something new. For the Trues, I have seen about 6 of each, so each one is still quite new, not counting True Summer at 19. I will never stop learning from True Seasons.

Why shouldn’t every drape be our best drape? Because there is so much fluidity needed to perfectly repeat the millions of ways in which Nature painted all the people of any given Season. Because every instrument does not play an equal role in a symphony. A thousand reasons that this website has thought about, and many more that it hasn’t.

The natural order of colour

The world is full of concepts that have one meaning in theory and another in practice. As much as humans love to pigeonhole and predict, we live in a massively variable Universe. It might look random and messy. Humans devote large amounts of time to resisting this in favour of rules. We like the security of the restrictions and the ropes.

We understand that the Universe is neither messy or random. It’s infinitely organized, with complexity and levels far beyond anything our rules can capture. What we should be resisting are all the rules. They’re too simplified.

Photo: Ayla87
Photo: Ayla87

 

Amelia  Butler at True Colour Australia posted the series, Tonal Contentment vs Tonal Restlessness, in several parts, here to her blog at Colour and The Human Being. So comprehensively, Amelia takes us back to what the Sci\ART palettes were intended to be and reflects on their application today. Amelia makes many valid and useful points, covering a wide range of colour applications.

There can be much critiquing of PCA philosophy and method. What works for some won’t for others, the difference relating equally to the conscious and unconscious colour persuasions of the person as to their colouring. Some answers should be sought elsewhere.

The Sci\ART 12-Tone system really is the gold standard of human colour analysis, as Amelia says.  Once an analyst has worked with the system, there is not much traffic back the other way. Until an analyst, or anyone, has seen 10 or 20 PCAs, they barely scratch the surface of understanding it. I barely scratch that surface, in the same way that I barely understand how Nature is coloured, and am in awe of both. The more you know, the more you realize how little you know, right?

Perhaps, our Tone is more of an expression of our position and energy equivalence in the natural world. We are inextricably spun with wool from the same spinning wheel as all of Nature. Social conditioning pulls us in the opposite direction.  That’s fine. We live, work, dress, and learn our life lessons in societies. We are barely aware of imposing our social and psychological conditioning on our every decision.

Photo: bradimarte
Photo: bradimarte

 

The Natural world is not Fashion. They have so little meaning and purpose in common. Why did I use up energy trying to overlap them? It was exhausting, like forcing astronomy to be astrology. The harder I tried, the more I realized how different they are. There was no point. Now I’m coming out the other side.

I relax and let each fulfill its purpose. Nature isn’t right or wrong. It just is. We don’t talk about how tree leaves should be a different shade of green to fit the picture better. It is what it is. It follows a natural order. So do the Sci\ART palettes. If you’d like a fashion green sweater in your composition, wear it.

Today, the confidence of experience releases me from defending Kathryn’s colour system any more than I would any image Nature put together, though I used to when I was younger (as I will tell anyone who will listen, it’s because I rationalize and justify everything, including emotion and instinct, being an  Enneagram Type 1).

Enneagrams and watching Sherlock on BBC are my life right now. It might bore you if you knew me. I would try not to talk about it all the time, but then we’d talk about my other favourite topic, The Universe and Our Highest Potential, which brings us right back to E Type 1. How hard is it to hit the Escape key on ourselves? Quite. Ask anyone who’s had a PCA. The best way to approach having your colouring analyzed is as a stranger to yourself. The face in the mirror is a woman you don’t know. She’s just a person picked from a crowd. You have no idea about what she likes, what she’s been told, how she’s been hurt, or what makes her feel happiness. Nearly impossible to do.

Sometimes you have to go backwards to move forward. Like being inside an ascending tunnel, you think you’re repeating and repeating instead of climbing because the walls always look the same. But we do mature, part of which is repeating the same lessons at higher levels. These days, Kathryn’s colour system feels to me like a true witness to how colour is in our world. To my eyes, that is more than enough, and more than enough privilege to bring other people closer to their place in the scheme of it all to last me the rest of my days.

We can look better, shop better, be more true to ourselves, and still find a thousand personal self-expressions without creating any disruptions in the Universe.  But then, we Enneagram Type 1′s who read on this page (under Adaptive Behavioral Schema) learn that…

They have a highly developed and practiced intuition for when someone or something is doing what it is supposed to do. A being is good when it is fully itself and when it is fully doing what it is meant to do.

If you can’t begin with an agreement that Nature provides us with the most perfect colour harmonies inside and around ourselves, and that our dress looks best as a faithful extension of that, well now, it might be best to get other opinions for your clothing colour system. Actually, it’s a good idea to get many opinions on anything.

Photo: sarahjmoon
Photo: sarahjmoon

 

The colours of objects are tightly related to the unifying properties of the light shining on them. You can only get back the wavelengths that you put in. If you put in more reds and yellows and less blues, that’s what’s going to come back. If you put in no light, you get back no colours, like the picture above.

First was the Light, which changed in a regular and predictable way. Then came the objects that developed as they did because they needed something from all the particular Lights. The Lights determined not just how they look but what they are, which energy level they hold. If the Lights had been different, the objects and life forms would have been otherwise. And then evolved the human sense of sight, also customized so perfectly to all the Lights. There might have been other possible anatomies to allow sight, but this is the one that is. And so it was from the beginning, you know?

Finally, came colour analysis. I love it most when it remembers where it began, as the beautiful partnership with Nature’s designs that became possible. Some of the landscapes Rachel is pinning on her 12 Season boards are blowing away anything I could have imagined.  That Dark Winter locomotive image, what a vision Rachel has. The Sci\ART system captivated me 5 years ago and it does so today, tenfold. PCA systems should not be adapted to fashion, just as women’s bodies should not be. That’s a mess on too many levels and can’t hold up to real world use. Start with the way light is, the way sight is, and the way real bodies are made. Build the fashion thing on top of that.

Although it translates completely to fashion, you can step outside it at any time. This is not a limitation of the palette. The palette is an intrinsic center from which you can radiate in beautiful and important expansions of yourself. We gotta start somewhere to sort out some kind of relationship between us and the colour free-for-all at the mall. The Sci\ART system is the one that is most rational to me.

Photo: lilie
Photo: lilie

 

Nature is at once the most soothing and the most re-energizing environment there is. It is a relief from the disharmonies to all five senses to which we are subjected for most of the day. The relief in natural compositions somehow leads to those that also the most exciting.

Could they be even more exciting? Sure. Nature constantly steps outside the colour charts. And yet, every colour is able to dissolve into the image. Artists do it all the time. An addition of outsider of colour can be more happy and auspicious, more evocative, both stimulating and very belonging.

Which brings us back to our topic. How do we add colour flexibility that feels passionate and exciting, but still relevant to the wearer?

The colours we are made of are so beautifully unique to us.  How can we bring that individuality into our self-expression?

Colour Sharing

I think that when color analysts talk about sharing colors, they have to specify whether they are discussing a technical situation, such as a draping, where no amount of colour compromise can be tolerated, or whether they are discussing a shopping or retail situation, where some compromise will have to be acceptable and could even be good.

I also believe that which colours are best borrowed are decided one woman at a time, with her analyst, after a thorough draping. I hope that everyone knows of Terry’s articles outlining the steps in a proper PCA, the latest installment addresses clearing the skin, linked here.

Let me think of some situations:

1. From above, and very common, Dark Winter and Soft Summer. When they shop, Dark Winter could manage some darker Soft Summer clothes. Overall, they would do better shopping in True Summer and staying with medium to dark colours. Pastel lights are not welcomed by Dark Season skin.

A Soft Summer keeps her darkness dusty or her clothes weigh her down. Of all the Summers, Soft will wear Dark Winter colours best, but because the colours are all more intensely pigmented than she is, this person will give some of their power away to their clothing.

2. If an important dimension of colour (hue/value/chroma) is satisfied, certain colors are quite tolerable by more than one group. There are yellows, oranges, and reds that could be worn very well by True Autumn and True Spring. Orange is especially easy, including many browns, brown being dark orange. These colours are inherently warm. From above, True Summer and True Winter could share some pinks and purples, which might appear dark and strong on True Summer and medium on True Winter.

3. The person’s inherent colouring should be considered. A blue-eyed person will be able to wear blue from a few more neighbouring Seasons than a brown-eyed person might. Just coming close to repeating our own colouring is visually effective for connecting us to our clothing.

Even inside a Season, a Bright Spring with cider, amber, and clear orange in the hair and eyes could wear their intense dark yellow much better than a Bright Spring who has silver hair and blue eyes. For the aqua eyed Bright Spring, those yellows might never be more than an occasional stripe in a tie or the thread to sew on some buttons.

Sometimes, Dark Winter has the very same yellows in the eyes as a Dark Autumn, or close enough to be extremely interesting. No Dark Winter will really wear a big block of Anjou pear or chartreuse excitingly, but a small piece of it somewhere near the face can be most intriguing.

Photo: createsima
Photo: createsima

 

4. Exactly which colour is it were discussing? Blue might be easier to share among True and Light Summer than yellow, which less of a meet-you-halfway colour for very cool colourings. The 3 Springs could move yellow around quite easily. It almost dissolves into them, so naturally does it occur. It soaks into the picture and the colours around it adjust it the rest of the way.

You’d think red could move across the Bright and Dark Winter, where it is very successful, red being a core colour for Winter. It can work but not easily. Your best guess at the Season a red belongs in is probably decent. Red has strong identity in our eyes and is reactive against skin. Beige, coral, and turquoise are harder to guess and are less dictatorial next to skin.

Light Spring and Soft Autumn could move some yellows back and forth. The rest of the colours, not so much, not even the neutrals. Lay the opened Soft Autumn fan book on a Light Spring fabric. The neutrals, loosely translated as many of the complexion colours, might turn peculiarly greenish. That’s exactly what that fabric will do to the Light Spring face. Yes, both are warm-neutrals, but they do not appreciate one another’s type of heat or darkness level.

5. It depends where the coloring falls on the Season continuum. Our colouring doesn’t sit on a dot in a clock diagram. It spans a stretch halfway between the neighbours on each side. At least, that’s how it looks on a flat map. Really, it swirls around inside a spherical structure. In a Season, parts of it switch on and interconnect just like in a lit-up brain scan.

We are so used to flat images that we forget how very dimensional our world is. Energy isn’t a wave. Look at the wave end on. It’s a spiral. Hence, that purple snail shell logo at the top. Maybe one day, they’ll find that it’s actually a spiral inside a spiral, a double helix, a Universe at the center of every cell. Very appealing to think about. Don’t worry if you have no idea what I’m talking about. Trust me, you are not alone. I’m really quite medium and normal in person :) Really.

A warm Soft Summer and  many a cool Soft Summer could happily wear the cooler greens and blues of Soft Autumn. Their reds and yellows? Not so much. Neutral Seasons can wear some of the neighbour colours of close heat, but not all of them will do them favours.

Photo: tonygillo
Photo: tonygillo

 

6. If Dark Autumn and Bright Spring were to share, how would they do it? If we agree that the size of the color block is large and right under the face, it’s a bit challenging to figure out. They sure wouldn’t crossover in the light or medium darkness colors. There may be some dark forest greens that could work okay but not much more than that that I could see.

7. Where will the colour be worn? Gray and navy are very adaptable colours to begin with, and more so if you situate them in the lower half. If it’s footwear or sunglasses, the viewer implicitly factors in functionality and expects that they may be darker than a scarf would be.

8. Have confidence in your individuality. Enjoy it.  It’s the best part of this whole thing.

9. Where do you want your focal point to be today? Let the statement necklace or the violet purse own the day.

10. Get your lines right. This is quite major. Has anyone seen the pictures of Princess Kate that I pinned recently on the Shopping for Your Season and Style board? In the eyelet dress, colour correct, the image is clumsy. In the yellow dress, probably a Dark Winter yellow, she looks fantastic. The more bits and pieces of the whole are excellent, the more they draw in the rest.

You may remember the question from the reader who felt uncertain with learning that her colouring falls into the True Winter group, and how to reconcile it with the drama that is usually depicted for that group. As if ‘decadent glamour’ is the only kind of glamour or has only one interpretation. Pfff. Limited, limited.

Her question was a great one. Find it in the article, True Winter Sans Drama and A Gentle Dark Autumn. She recently visited Rachel to be draped, confirming True Winter, and for a PIA (Personal Image Analysis). As a Yang Natural, her version of glamour (and we all have one) is not Dynasty, which is the usual TW stereotype.

By expressing True Winter in certain textures and prints, the right cut of pants, belonging shapes and styles in jewelry, the True Winter palette has become a happy home. Snow leopard effects!? On a True Winter Natural woman? That’s so good, it shook up my world when I read it.

In her words,

So, I now finally feel like I know what to wear and what to look for and what to just ignore…it was difficult for me to figure out having a natural style along with TW, but now, I’m finally able to put it all together!

 

Photo: blary54
Photo: blary54

 

Like hair colour, sharing is a colour by colour, person by person, adaptation that a colour analyst can make for each client. All she needs to do is watch how their skin reacts to a variety of measured colours.

I send clients a nutshell digest of their draping experience, how their skin reacted to certain colours, addressing how they fall outside the majority of the written information for the Season, and any particular questions they had. The experience is just too big, too technical, too mentally stimulating, and too emotional to absorb it all and have it available 6 months later. It would be like hoping to recall every word the dentist said about all 32 of your teeth from your check-up last summer. For instance, I sent this little summary recently:

It is very common in all colouring at any age to find that the particular colour in the drapes for their Season is not necessarily their best version of that colour. This is especially so for Bright Winter. As testified by your eye colours, you are lighter and warmer than the average appearance and colour reactions in this group. Many persons of this colouring cannot wear the extremes of the palette till they have fully darkened with maturity, around the age of 30.

When Bright Winter colours were excellent, they were breathtakingly so, an effect no other Season could match in any colour. The usual caution exists for this Winter Season to avoid the blackest black, which will be especially relevant for you. Choose darkest charcoal instead, preferably with a slight sheen if the occasion permits. Dark navy did not have the darkening effect of black – it is common for people with Spring influence to be much more tolerant of ‘colour colours’ than of black (which gets too dark), white (which may be glowy unless right), and gray (which may lack the excitement of colour that you wear so natively).

You were easily able to wear the coolest positions in your Season and the warmest, as long as the colour were light to medium on a darkness scale. For these choices, always choose a Bright Winter colour. If the realities of shopping require some compromise, the darker Bright Spring colours might be the place to borrow.

 

—–

Hot Weather Colour for Dark Winter

The lighter and brighter colours for Dark Winter are presented today.

Why call the Season Dark? It’s a source of confusion because it so easily gives rise to misinterpretation, almost forcing the idea of a certain appearance.

I’m certainly guilty of using formulas in writing to try to come up with word pictures. Most industries have those “It looks like…”  and “Most…” analogies to help students understand and to share experience.

“Dramatic body types look like a statue.” (my invention)

“Most dogs with slipped discs that can still wag their tail will walk again.”

Yes, of course, some don’t. What’s a teacher to do? People want the learning from real life stories, pictures, and questions, but not theirs, even though theirs are far better than anything I can come up with. We find ourselves speaking in terms of bell curves. There will always be those who fall outside them.

What Really Matters: Do not let stereotypes, formulas, or “You look like a…” anywhere near the analysis process itself.

For the Dark Season colouring, the idea exists that the person has to look dark. Not so. I don’t. I could never get those belief systems to work when I tried to apply them to real people.

That they have to wear all dark colours. No. They could and look better than other types of colouring but who’s going to do that every day and be the best version of themselves? After a week of it, people will start ignoring your clothes for always being the same.

 

Light colours for DA, DW, and TW

 

So why call them Dark?

It has to be called something. Dark, Bright, Light, etc, are historical terms in the PCA industry, dating back to I know not when or whom.

Should we change the word? No, I propose that we change the definition instead. Take the word Season. One could say that it’s outdated and not self-explanatory. Maybe, but it is recognizable in the natural world, short, spell-able, search-able, familiar, understandable (which does the public understand more correctly about a colour, ‘value’ or ‘darkness’?) and lots of other good things. We just need to take its meaning as ‘group of  natural colouring’. There won’t be one single perfect in every way terminology. Much more needs doing than re-inventing a wheel.

For Dark, Bright, etc., I make an argument in this way: I am of the belief that we cannot know which of the 3 dimensions of colour (light/dark, warm/cool, soft/bright) will matter the most on a person’s colouring merely by looking at them. There is no medium-medium-medium person. There will be 2 dimensions that are medium, or close, and 1 that will be more High/Low. Because we cannot judge the heat level or saturation of other people, we over-emphasize the importance of their darkness. Or else, we merge darkness level with saturation, since, when we imagine a saturated colour, we also tend to darken it. All persons must be draped, but even with excellent drapes, it can be difficult.

All of our faces are in perfect colour equilibrium by Nature. We see this perfectly tuned balance in every person and since nothing looks out of place, we assume that everything is medium. This is why folks are mystified when they’ve been analyzed as a Soft Summer and a Bright Winter. How could that be? Aren’t they opposites? Just because they lie opposite one another on a colour clock graphic doesn’t mean that they’re opposite. Those clocks are like a map.  Are Vancouver and Montreal opposite? Yes and no. Depends what the question is asking. Both cities are the same for being Canadian. Soft Summer and Bright Winter faces are the same for being as perfectly balanced as every face is.

Even speaking theoretically, they’re not opposite. In fact, they have some dimensions in opposition and some very similar when the colours are measured. Both are cool neutrals and both are medium-dark. That’s a big amount of similarity. Where they differ is saturation, the hardest one to judge. But you must know how to measure, and how to measure the 3 dimensions independently because that’s how they are set in our colouring. The 3 don’t go up or down together.

On a Dark Season, the High/Low is value of colour. On the Low value side, when a colour is darker, whether its warmth and brightness drift a little up and down doesn’t matter too much. The harmonic correlation remains quite agreeable as long as colour is dark. Value is the thing about them that is not medium.  In True Summer drapes, a Dark Winter can be truly weak until the colour becomes darker. Then the skin gets along. It finds a little muting that it likes, a trace of warmth (compared to True Winter) that feels right, and its beloved darkness. We see this again as we progress through the darkness levels of the Red Drapes. They never get too dark.

The opposite is true too. On the High value side, when a colour is light, it’s either right or the person is a washout.  It can be hard to read the lightest level of Red Drapes because the skin says, “Meh, meh, and meh.” since none of the colours belongs to Dark Winter in that set of drapes.  An analyst who knows how to read the Red Drapes, which are very different in their interpretation than the other drapes, gets along just fine.

Could a person be medium-high-high on the 3 colour scales? I’ve seen fabric would be close. Humans are not coloured with the same pigments as textiles so I don’t know if the same rules apply. Nature is a chemistry set of unlimited possibility and I’m certain that these people exist. I also do not  know if human pigment genetics must follow the rules of Munsell (or any) colour space, which are human constructs – but they’re human constructs about colour relationships where certain rules always apply. Blue does get darker as it gets more saturated.

Anyhow, I do know that in science and in PCA, how it looks is not data. If it were, the Earth would still be flat. We must measure something and know how to read our rulers.

 

Light colour for DW 1

 

 

A Dark Autumn asked,

I seem to always wear the colours from the light to center sections of  my fan. I don’t understand why the darkest of the Dark Autumn colors, especially the purples, seem to drain me.

 

Some suggestions:

If the dark colours being chosen are a bit too blue, which happens easily with purple, this will make shadows darker. We all have a native, normal shadow colour. If it’s distorted, as by making it too blue, the effect will not be flattering.

If the dark colours being chosen are less saturated than the lighter colours being worn, the darks might not be preferred, despite being a Dark Season. Depending on the person, Dark Autumn will not have the best quality of complexion in True Autumn saturation. With 2 dimensions (value and saturation) that can be on or off, the mix and match possibilities of what’s really the problem are bigger.

Lightness and clarity can appear to add some lift in many women, which is why so many of them get put into Spring. An untrained eye might see this and forget to take into account all the other factors.

Most of us tend to wear colours from the center of the fan. They’re easiest to be aware of. If your eyes are used to seeing you in these, they may have trouble making an objective assessment of darker colours.

If pre-PCA, you believed yourself to be a lighter Season, it may take time to become accustomed to the power of the darkness (no puns of any sort). Darkness resonates strongly here. It sends a special  message on this colouring more than any other. Amazing how long it takes to fully step into and claim our own power. We find all sorts of reasons why it shouldn’t be so.

 

Light Colour for DW 2

 

A Dark Winter asked,

I would love to see a post on using the cool, heavy, regal colors in a climate that’s melting with heat and humidity.

 

Dark Winter is like True Winter but a little warmer and duller, but not as much as if it were done in newsprint. To me, it looks more warmer than duller, but I’m no better at judging these little increments than anyone else.

There are a lot of neutrals in these Polyvores, because I like them on this colouring. I find them great in summer and to offset the ‘colour colours’, and far more interesting against summer backgrounds than winter backgrounds. The contrast between summertime and the “heavy and regal” is even more pronounced, which feels a little exciting.

Remember that we haven’t accessorized anything yet. Shoes, bags, jewelry can all add as much or as little colour as you like.

Many skirts and dresses. Colours and prints feel better here than in pants. I’m not a purple pants person, though anybody could be, especially a Gamine. White pants, ditto. Jacqueline Kennedy had white Capris that were good with her black T-shirt, huge glasses, and scarf.

The overall darkness level is up to you. My eyes prefer an overall medium to dark totality over an all light one. The coral dress in 4 below is as light as I’d go for an head to toe level (picture it on a B&W TV). The light pants and colour-blocked gray top in the bottom left of 4 is too light. The  model wears it well enough but I doubt that her native darkness level is that of Dark Winter. Nor do I think her inherent heat level is of the same type, level, or both, as Dark Winter.

When we train a colour analyst, the student learns to look at the image in the mirror in terms of 3 distinct dimensions. You could try this too. Don’t compare an person and their clothing and think in terms of Seasons. It’s way too convoluted. Think, “Would I adjust the darkness?”, “Does the warmth level feel like a match?”, and “How do I feel about the clarity?” as 3 separate questions.

The navy and dark brown in the 12-Tone palette are near black, fine colours but not a first choice in high humidity. I’m very partial to the dark tobacco colour as a neutral, even in hot weather, maybe because it’s jungly. Love it with yellow as the dress and the skort/tank set in 4 below.

 

Light Colour for DW3

 

How much colour?

Up to you.

The blue/yellow/pink dress at the bottom left of 5 feels pretty good. I’m not sure it would be DW but it could be.

The strapless blue dress on the left side may be True Winter. Some Dark Winters are a little cooler. The graying and darkness of the skirt section help, compared to the entire dress being made of the bodice fabric.

At the center top of 5, the sleeveless top with tie might be Soft Summer. It’s dark enough, but dark and dusty, whereas a Winter is dark and saturated. Won’t matter. Dark Winter skin has a lot in common with Soft Summer. The contrast in the skort is Winter or close enough, and the top will balance Winter accessories. Some Dark Winters are a little softer.

 

Light Colour for DW 4

 

For The Office

Below, a few work outfits. In warm climates, people can’t possibly wear all black to work to work, can they? If I lived in a warm place, I bet I’d wear more shine in fabric.

The flowered skirt is interesting. It shows how similar Dark Winter and True Summer are, but when an item goes to black, the True Summer person will lose energy. I pondered whether it was True Summer, in which case the black would be too strong next to the other colours, but I find it pretty well balanced. The black is in smaller areas – a nice way for the Darks and Brights to get black in their wardrobe without being overtaken by it.

 

Light Colour for DW 5

 

 

—–

Articles 3, 4, and 5 for the PCA Client

Many of you, and I hope everyone who reads here, have been following Terry Wildfong’s series of articles written to educate the PCA client. This series serves as a form of SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) Manual for the way in which Terry and I conduct and teach Personal Colour Analysis.

It’s interesting to me that after my training with Terry in April 2009, we didn’t meet, or even talk for that  matter, until August 2012. In that time, our methods and beliefs did not diverge at all. We may use different words to describe the same optical effects, but our draping protocol and interpretations remained nearly identical.

On Terry’s blog, linked here, you will find these recent topics:

Is The PCA Environment Important? (March 14/14)

How Long Should A PCA Result Take? (March 24/14)

Does The Test Drape Order Matter? (March 30/14)

 

—–

Introducing Colour Analyst Anette Henriksen (Denmark)

Today, it is my honour to introduce to you a very beautiful person. When we met last year, Anette already had a great knowledge of the history of colour analysis and many of the methods that have been used. With meticulous training and drapes of uncompromising accuracy, Anette will bring her intelligence and experience to the European client. You met Anette briefly in the article by Anne-Cathrine Riebnitzsky, Sharing A Colour Journey. To perform your colour analysis, you will find a woman of great compassion, kindness, practicality, and generosity. I love my time with her because she is openly committed to making the choices that bring joy into her life and to sharing that energy with others.

 

Anette1

 

In Anette’s own words,

In September 2013, I finally had the opportunity to travel to Canada to become certified by Christine as a 12 Blueprints Colour Consultant.

I have been interested in colour analysis for a long time. In 2009, I traveled to London U.K. to be certified as a Colour Me Beautiful (CMB) consultant. I thought it was the best colour system in Europe at that time,  the company is well known and has existed for a long time, so a safe choice for me and their drapes are beautiful colours.

After a while I started to feel, that something was not quite right for me. It was too difficult for me to work with the system, because I was missing a plan of action to go from A to B.

After seaching and reading all I could on the internet for answers, I ended up finding the Sci\ART 12 Tone system. I could not let go of that approach, as it seemed to make a lot of sense to me.

Turning to Christine for a second colour education was the best thing I could do. All my questions were answered and the right tools to get the most accurate results were given to me, which was my biggest concern in CMB.

The one thing that surprised me the most in all this and which I was not prepared for, was the fact that I was NOT a Bright Spring, which I had lived as in many years. I turned out to be a Dark Autumn in the 12 Tone System.

I am still struggling a little bit, but it is getting better every day and I am starting to see myself from a whole new perspective. Very odd, how easy it is to see others colouring, but not oneself, even after education ! Also very exciting and I have learned a lot about personal colouring and the beauty in yourself when your true colours are found. Even though I have lived as a Bright Spring, I now see that I actually had a lot of Dark Autumn clothes.

So why, do/did I have a hard time letting Bright Spring clothes go ? I think, it is because I want to stay young and fresh to look at (I am soon 50 years old) and my personality also feels very alive and optimistic. I do want people to “notice” me. I am not the kind of girl hiding behind my clothes, my car has always been bright red, and my home is full of bright colours. I think, that is mainly one of the reasons, why I wanted to be a Bright Spring.

Here are two photos. In the top one, I am wearing a Bright Spring blue jacket. In the second one, I wear a Dark Autumn colour.

 

Anette2

 

Anette3a

 

My own journey is the best example of why I love personal colour analysis. It can have a very strong influence in changing a person’s feeling about themselves for the better. People become more self-confident. I love to know that I can help them buy clothing and make-up more wisely. That is a really great thing.Why would we waste our hard earned money on something that is not our very best ?

My mission and hope for the people I drape are to help them discover the beauty they already contain. Every person can make this gorgeous aspect shine to their own advantage by using their best unique palette of colours.

An accurate colour analysis is as good and useful to a person as the struggle of a misjudged analysis is hard and difficult. I have seen this many times reading the colour groups on facebook. It makes me very sad.

I want to do whatever I can to find your true/correct homebase/season. I will not compromise on the time to get there together with you. If we have to use more than 2-3 hours to narrow down the right conclusion, we do.

Of course I can not promise you to be 100 % correct for the rest of my life doing this. Every human being can make mistakes (and they will), but I can assure you, that the Test and Luxury Drapes (I own both) from 12 Blueprints are calibrated and very accurate. This is very important, together with using Full Spectrum lighting, to get to the correct final result.

One thing I have learned over the years about colour analysis is that this is not always easy. Every human being is unique. But it can be life changing and that is the reason why I found this so compelling, exciting and fascinating. I knew that it had to be a part of my life !

 

Anette4

 

To share some of my background, for the last 14 years, I have had a professional career as a Medical Representative with a large drug and wellness company (Novartis Healthcare), visiting doctors with all kinds of medical products. Although this has been a lot of fun, I feel my time has come for new opportunities. I hope to be able to combine it with my colour business, where my real passions lies!

If you would like me to help you, we will work together as a team. I would be happy to invite you to my home in Bramming (Denmark), where I live with my husband (Steffen) and three children (Martin, Louise and Mette).

I have a nice colour studio in my home (in a separate room), where I will drape you. Over the years I have invested in a lot of colour equipment from all 12 big posters from True Colour Australia to differents kinds of colour wheels and colour palettes.

It may become an option for me to travel in Europa to bring you the method I have learned. It will depend on whether there is interest. I have begun a travel request file. If you would like for my business to visit your city, please send an email at the contact info below. Once there is enough interest, I will begin planning the visit.

If you want to, you can also travel by train or plane to see me and you can stay one night in our house, it is all up to you !

Yours sincerely,

Anette

AnetteLogo

 

Contact info:

Anette Henriksen

Bøgely 29

6740 Bramming

Denmark

Phone: +45 75101347

Cell: + 45 27851125

Email: anettehenriksen@outlook.dk

Website: (coming soon)

 

—–

Spring and Autumn Natural

The great thing about writing is that it forces you to pin down your beliefs and your reasons for them.

Paraphrasing a reader’s question:

I was reading about Bright Springs on your website and I was wondering if you could help me get an outfit visual on what natural means. I understand earthy, but natural is still confusing to me.

You have used natural in this context: True Spring; no bold lines, the blocks are distinct by colour divisions. Not misty, earthy, heavy, bold, geometric. Instead, Spring is energetic, hippie, fun, busy, buoyant, and natural (where natural is not the same as earthy).

 

What did I mean about Autumn and Spring being natural in their energy? What do they have in common in that way?

Every Season has associations in Nature. Summer is how water feels, of high importance to water-based life forms like us. Even in the depth of winter, Nature is extravagant. Snow on a tree branch is so much to see and think about, but the number of colours is small to the point that even black and white are colours in this context. Because of Summer’s cool haze and Winter’s cold stillness, although natural, the feeling is less animated.

What the two warm Seasons have in common is heat. Warmly coloured people wear a lot of colour well, as does the planet in warmer locations. Complementary colours, that have the ability to energize one another when worn side by side, is effective on everyone. The warmer the colouring, the closer the blocks would approach equal size. A holly bush, good Winter visual, is much more green than red. The red becomes highly effective in that context.

Natural implies that it would be seen usually in the natural world. Natural effects feel more organic, like food and flowers. The end of summer harvest and the Island Paradise depict Nature as home, security, familiar, nurturing, nourishment, warmth, shelter, and support, in ways that diamonds and sapphires do not.

The Bright Seasons wouldn’t make up an entire landscape the way that True Autumn (October harvest) and True Spring (tropical beach) would. In helping these persons understand how to dress, there is no easy landscape or imagery to refer to. A Dark Autumn could Google ‘Moroccan design interiors’ to get the colour effect  (thank you to Rachel for the idea). A Light Spring could look up ‘pastel interior design’, ‘fairy landscapes’, or ‘spring flowers’ and recreate the entire scene. Googling ‘bright colour interior design’ is quite good for ideas but you’d use it selectively to make an overall look.

As the Polyvore below shows, the Bright Seasons are basically pure pigment. Search ‘design-seed.com’ on Polyvore. Lovely palettes. Beautiful, imaginative ideas to maximize the flexibility of your colour swatches.

 

Design seed palette images

 

Once Winter appears, colour effects become more synthetic, which feels modern. They feel more forced, cooperating less with what’s around them. The paradox of Winter is to be modern and permanent at once, like a diamond. When Winter overtakes Autumn, in the Dark Winter, the rustic element is pretty well gone. Many of the colours look like candy when worn by an Autumn-coloured person. When Winter is in larger proportion than Spring, in the Bright Winter, well, it gets complicated.

This may explain why this colouring is such confusion to people, and can be a challenging analysis. During our last training course, we met 5 Bright Winters -

  • the Snow White
  • the exotic Indian Princess
  • the I’ve-always-been-told-I’m-a-Summer-but-it-doesn’t-feel-right
  • the blonde-blue-eyed Winter
  • the magic elf

There are a thousand more. Sydney Crosby colouring, for instance, with green-gold eyes. They drape better in Winter but their heat level approaches Bright Spring.

Since I need digressions, I’ll repeat something I said on facebook:

Season isn’t just an issue of how light or dark we look, as you know. There are darker Light Springs and very fair Bright Winters.

How warm or cool, how saturated or heathered, another human might be are very hard or impossible to judge.

So we give their light – dark level too much emphasis when we guess. This is part of why folks have so much trouble wrapping their heads around a light haired BW.

The other reason is that people are still looking for those ‘clear eyes’ that are supposed to jump out at you. BW does have a clear eye, but we can’t pick them out of a crowd because we’re not that good at judging it and they don’t look any more unusual than any other human. If you put their eyes into another Season’s face, you’d pick it up instantly.

There are many, many BW people out there. It’s not rare.

The Bright Spring colouring exists but not quite as often, at least not where I live, though still more common than the True Season colouring. I imagine the colours are occasional even when you’re standing on the Equator. A feather, a beak, in an otherwise colour-quiet body. These colours are extreme, at the limits of what colour could do in a terrestrial life form.

Bright Spring is a little special. The high purity of such plentiful colour tips it nearer man-made or magic. It’s more fantastic, more HDR photography, colour enhancement, the rare, delicate, and exceptional. How do you put such Bright colours in a print? The result is wildly energized, beyond most habitats. Colour-blocking is not natural. In Bright Spring colours, small print elements appear pixilated, also not natural.

Spring and Autumn Natural

Spring is juicy, light, sunny, clear, shiny, wet, and floaty. We should distinguish shiny as in dewy and wet (Spring), shiny as in frosty, hard, and cold (Winter), shiny as pearlescent (Summer), and shiny as in hot and metallic (Autumn). Raindrops, hearts, daisies, stars, starfish, seahorses and all baby and/or magic animals, clover (especially 4-leaf clover), belong to Spring.

Earthy is perfectly at home on Autumn colouring. Earthy to me means muted+orange. Basically, dull+warm. I ask everyone who reads this to remember that no colour is dull under the face with which it harmonizes. Same as there is no such thing as dull/mousy hair unless it’s placed next to unharmonizing colour.

Autumn is earthy, heavier, thicker, rich, drier, 3D, dense colour.  In the orange sweater game below, the natural the other won’t wear is shown. Autumn keeps company with wicker, tortoiseshell, and fossil.

Lava lamps, fireworks, starbursts, and video games, are unpredictable, fun, and random. Like cartoons, Spring’s is a flatter (2D) effect.

A chess board, the regularity of the pattern, the solid figures, the serious and predictable rules, the 3D shapes and movements, feel Autumn.

Horseshoes could go either way, having both good luck charm and equestrian about them.

This is a game I enjoy. Where is the orange sweater better? [Hint: There are as many correct answers as there are tastes and preferences reading this.]

Some fabrics are muting, like wool and tweed, but that doesn’t automatically mean Autumn. Neither Spring nor Autumn are fully saturated. The orange sweater seems Autumn-ish because it’s wool-ish, but it’s also an orange-pineapple ice cream colour. It’s not so bad on the Spring side.

Would changing the wooden buttons to clear, shiny glass matter? Sure. The watch isn’t natural, but it does live in the world of fruit salad. Food is natural. Jello and LifeSavers are less natural, more Bright Spring (as this watch could be, since the numerals are white, not ivory).

Toggles, tassels, and buckles are usually Autumn territory. But really, they belong better as Yang-side symbols of Classic clothing style, prep styles and the fox hunt rather than the Yin-er dinner party. Everyone can adapt anything. Winter makes them platinum. Spring changes them to coloured plastic.

I have said that I do not believe in the existence of a group of natural colouring that blends Spring and Autumn’s colour properties. Nobody drapes equally in True Autumn and True Spring. In fact, the other Season is often the worst choice on these people. They prefer Summer (where Spring is grateful for the lightness) or Winter (where Autumn can make sense of the darkness).

Draping is a time for technical perfection. That is a long way from shopping. If shopping is rigid, you’ll get tired and give up on something too good to pass up. Same as if you stay too hard on your budget, diet, or exercise program, you’ll burst and do something that will have you regretting. Knowing what matters more and making the most of it keeps you making the very best choices in a sustainable purchasing system.

 

Spring and Autumn Effects

 

Equal Energy Colour

Wearing Bright Season colours doesn’t mean that you’re a walking flag, just as the idea that Dark Season colouring wears only dark colours is not true. It means that of the 3 dimensions that every colour answers to (warm-cool, light-dark, muted-clear), the one thing about yours that isn’t medium is its purity of pigment.

Your colouring takes a Bright colour and makes it look normal, and you look normal in it. The other choice being, “It is a bit lifeless and you’re lifeless in it.”  A Dark person takes a dark colour and makes it look very normal with lots of colour and without getting shadowed by it. The other choice being “Is that black? Why, no, when it’s off your body, I can see that it’s quite purple. You’re changing it to look darker than it is. And it’s making you look like you’re standing in the shade. Weird.”

Energetically equal: You could lay the Bright Spring Colour Book on a Bright Spring item of clothing and have them be perfectly in balance, neither one dominating or disappearing. Therefore, they are in harmony.

The blue top could be True Spring, it’s not super intense blue, but the jump from light to dark in that outfit is more than you’d see on a True Spring. The white pants are too cool for True Spring. The overall darkness effect is still medium light, good on both True and Bright Spring, where True is a bit lighter.

 

Balancing Bright Spring

 

The items in the centre column can be inserted into Bright Spring outfits and the whole thing doesn’t fall apart.

Let’s put them into True Spring now.

 

Balancing True Spring

 

I don’t find the items balance so well. The top is too red and too blue. The jewelry is a little too bling. The clutch is hopeless.

Notice in True Spring that there are no bold lines. First, it’s harder to make a bold line when colours are gentle. Second, these colours won’t balance black, the boldest line of them all, in any quantity. The black just takes over. In small areas, Bright Spring can balance black quite easily.

That red leather jacket is interesting. I’m not sure where the real item would work. True Spring does have a red lollipop/fruit punch red. Leather tends to be heavy and thick on Spring, but in certain colours, such as light camel, it can work fine.

Who wears the dress?

Same exercise with dresses.

Animal prints are natural. But we can’t make assumptions about Season. Is the leopard print shiny gold better with the Autumn or Spring selection?  Is there one group where it seems too sparkly, separate, jingly, attention-getting, as Spring colour would on an Autumn person?

 

Spring and Autumn Colours

 

Just because the print is floral and fun doesn’t mean it’s Spring. Humans colours can fill in many different lines, so can prints. When we see that orange flowered dress among items that seem very True Spring – does it belong?

Does it matter as long as it provides heat? It does. The person will look quite different, and distinctly better in one.

We can’t stare or think our way to this answer.  You talk yourself into one and then into the other one. How will we figure it out? By measuring it using comparison, of course!!

Unless you have wavelenth-calibrated eyeballs, and I’ve never met anyone like that, you have to compare it. Lie the swatch book on it and see what happens. Put the dress among your Personal Luxury Drape collection.

Force the extremes. Some  of the Autumn dresses below contain black (Dark Autumn), which Spring colour will bounce right off of.

 

Spring or Autumn Choices

 

Where do the flowered dress and leopard print go? Not any easier, is it? If the leopard print is Bright Spring, it will be fine with a little black. Ditto the orange dress if it’s Autumn.

 

—–

A PCA Perspective on Matching Foundation

I’ve written about “How To Match Foundation” before, here.

I watched this video and and thought about how it might apply to PCA.

By far, this is the best foundation matching video I have seen. From a colour analyst’s perspective, I agree with so much of what Lisa says.

1. The skin on your entire body is united. Your genetics did not put a different melanin, carotene, or hemoglobin in your hands than your back. The overtones in the face or hands or feet may be different from the rest of the body, but the undertone will not be.

2. The skin contains many colors, reds, greens, blues, and yellows.

3. I fully agree with the importance of self-knowledge, but some types of self-knowledge are nearly impossible to access on your own. You can’t know your red blood cell level without measuring it. You can’t know which foundation matches your skin best without measuring it, meaning comparing several different shades together at the same time. Comparison is a form of measurement that delivers greater than and less than data.

As Lisa says, the apparent skin colour is different for different parts of the face and body. And yet, all of our skin is united in its undertone. Terry wrote about this recently in her article, “What Is Under My Overtone?”

You can’t know your undertone without measuring it. These things are part of our internal biology, extremely difficult to evaluate simply by external observation because they don’t sit on the surface.

Many women have concerns about facial skin texture, areas of uneven pigmentation, rosacea, suntans, and so on. They have asked whether any of these compromise the result of the colour analysis, or if we should be working from neck or chest skin that is more even. The answer is no if the analysis process is analyzing to your undertone, not your overtone.

Warning: BIG digression coming up. It fits into todays’ context and many others.

Photo: livinus
Photo: livinus

 

Defining Your PCA Service

In the last article, some folks heard arrogance from me at the idea that what we think we see is not real.

There is no judgment here. I am not pointing out wrong or right. I truly apologize if it sounded that way. If you spoke to me, you’d know that I’m not 100% sure that  my way is right. I’m always pulling back from that line because I have unanswered questions about PCA myself, Sci\ART system included. In life, there is no 100% wrong or 100% right. There is only lifelong growth. If you’re waiting for 100% locked down forever, you’ll wait a long time.

I do not want anyone to be uncomfortable. All I want is for your clients to be happy with you and my clients to be happy with me. The present situation, full of doubt and misunderstanding, is not good for any of us. Wouldn’t our industry be healthier if clients knew what they were getting and could just enjoy the results? The present situation is keeping us all stuck in the  80s. Feelings are being hurt and business  is not progressing. Someone is going to have get brave and talk openly and fairly. If we, analysts and clients both, don’t put our hands out to steady the wheel, all we’ll ever be is skidding around on black ice.

Every industry exists to serve the public. People have a  desire, a need, and a right to know what they’re buying. You don’t have to agree with how I do an analysis. The point is not to get the public quizzing analysts and making everyone bananas including themselves. The point is to have everyone define how they do things and why. The public can then make an informed choice. The analyst gets the right clients for what they offer. Expectations are satisfied or exceeded.

Isn’t this better than the way it is now, where Personal Colour Analysis implies that we’re doing the same thing and nobody’s ever happy and calm? Why wouldn’t an analyst want her clients to know how she can help them? Why would you, as an analyst, want your business lumped with mine in the public mind, when I cannot offer a client what you can? Businesses define themselves all the time without taking offence or hearing criticism. It’s normal, not harsh or unfair.

If I define my business, what I do and why I do it, it is not to say others are wrong. It is to create a space for everyone else to do the same thing. I get that the transition from  One-Exercise-For-All to Yoga/Intervals/Step/Weights/Pilates/Core/Running/Bosu/P90X  was frustrating, but I believe that someone has to lay out a path for each version can grow and improve, released from the constraints of the pack.

We could distinguish PCA services. They are totally different from beginning to end, though various mixtures have evolved to get the consumer really mixed up. There seem to be two broad categories.

Systems A to D have their colour palettes. The colours for each group are chosen for looking good and belonging together according to that person or company’s taste.

If draping is involved, which drape goes into which Season was decided because it looked right.

As well as judging swatches and drapes for Seasons because they look right, so is the client’s colouring observed on its own, by how it looks.  A – D observes the surface person, believing that, “You truly are what you look like you are today.”

This is one definition of PCA and its desired outcome. A – D have a good argument on side. After all, we are judged on how we appear to look. If you believe in this method, the clients who agree want to know so they can find you. They will be unhappy and confused with my approach, which involves measuring palettes, drapes, and clients by multiple comparisons at every step. On your web page, define what you do and why you believe in doing it that way. Since I don’t understand that way, I cannot do justice to your business. I’d be lucky to match a paint chip from a choice of 100 similar colours, never mind isolate it from a face.

Only you can market and promote your business. I am not tearing anyone down, I am simply defining my business. If my approach sounds flawed to you, I would be first to read about why. Teach me something. That’s what I really want. Convince me of how I could improve. I’ll send you a free book to express my gratitude.

Here’s how it all looks to me: Systems J – M say, “I’m not so sure. First of all, my colouring looks different in every outfit, hair colour, and room lighting. Second, I know that humans are not good at knowing what a colour is on its own, let alone when many colours are mixed together, like in a face or in skin. As soon as colours touch, they change. Thirdly, our colours just can’t be expressed in the top layers of skin, or not only there. It makes no sense. I mean, why is my face is different from my hand from my belly? I need to bark up another tree if I’m going to find the right foundation.”

J – M  then say, “Even if all my body parts were all the same colour, who knows the exact colours in skin? Look at ten people with their hair covered and their eyes closed and tell me the exact reds, greens, blues, and yellows in their skin tone.”

J – M stew some more and add, “One other thing. I think it all goes a bit deeper. The impression of our appearance is formed by many brain areas, not just a 2-dimensional top layer snapshot. Something else is going on here. Believe it or not, human surface skin is see-through to human eyes. Seems to me that that’s where the real information is.” While some human beings are better at eyeballing colours than others, and one does get better with practice, the fact is that in general, we are not consistently good at it. You have to compare them to something unless you’re able to literally measure their wavelength.

J – M say the surface is not enough information, it’s different for different body areas, and it is influenced by everything around it.  If you gauge foundation to the colour you think you see on the surface, even if you pick the right section of surface, you could easily get the colour incorrect. There has to be another way.

Services J  - M look through and beneath the surface at the undertone, thus removing the errors the overtone brings in. This group take the “You are not what you look like you are.” approach.

Well, anyone who has spent 10 minutes on an online colour site knows that the Sci\ART-based systems fit in with J – M but they don’t do things at all the same. Some don’t use the gray surrounding. There is lots of variability in how Better and Worse decisions are made. Some don’t use test drapes. Some take 30 minutes to know your Season, some take 1.5 hours. There is conflict about the meaning and appearance of harmony. Numerous Sci\ART- based analysts practice very close to how Systems A – D do things, by what looks right, with their own reasons for doing so. Not wrong, but different for sure. Too different to match.

None of this is a secret. It ain’t a perfect world. The public thinks we’re all doing the same thing because we stemmed from Sci\ART. This is not the case. It explains why I took down the Sci/ART Analyst Directory. I do not presume to speak for Australia, but in North America, the Sci\ART system has been re-interpreted so many times at this point that the name should go out of usage except historically. Let all analysts stand alone according to their practice, which they explain on their websites. Refer back to differences with me if you like, I’d be fine with it. Take down all the Sci\ART Certified banners. The public will stop expecting the same product. For my students, so that the public can expect the same product, the process isn’t up for negotiation. Discussion, sure. Do I think I can control everyone forever? No, just as Kathryn couldn’t. I can only separate myself from them in a public way.

Photo: sumeja
Photo: sumeja

 

Looking Is A Painting. Measuring Is An Analysis.

If we render what we see, that’s a beautiful painting. Change your clothes, hair colour, and the time of day, it’s a different beautiful painting.

I have nothing against beautiful paintings. A group of interesting colours that depict a version of me would be awesome. I would really love to have this. There are people who work in this way, with extraordinary taste and fascinating colour perception. I would love 1000 of these renditions. Each one is a version of how we are seen through the eyes of others. That stuff is absolute magic.

But that wasn’t why I had my colouring analyzed. I wanted to know what to buy every day for the me that’s always the same. Different question, different purpose and approach, different outcome. I wanted a functional wardrobe.

The consumer needs to identify what they want. It is their job to decide and to stick by their decision. Perhaps they could do their job better if they could understand that they are not investing in the same product. Both great products, but not equivalent. I know colour analysts who feel these are or should be comparable products. I disagree and advise the public to stop trying find a relationship between them. There isn’t one that will redeem the time you took to figure it out.

Here’s why I use my product: My issue with looking: I can’t get it to work every single day, with many outfits and  makeup that is always right on my face.

I meet greenish-gray-eyed Summers that were decorated far too warmly. Her hair is too orange, her clothes are too warm, so the skin turned yellower. It could all go together if we just give her yellower foundation and took time to blend, except that her clothes and eyes create combinations that are unappealing. Therein lies Problem #1, even if we can change our skin, we always wear our eye colour. The colours in eyes repeat the colours in skin, though skin has many more. They’re never different. Nature never colours anybody discordantly. Do your swatches look good with your eyes? Even True Winter and True Summer can easily have lots of yellow in the eyes, lots, but it will be that green-yellow match from their measured palette.

In too-warm clothes or foundation, she could think she has a healthy-looking tan. In reality, her eye colours have dulled and the lip outline erased. Feature definition is the biggest part of looking young (good article linked further down). It’s massively important to decisions others make about us. Me, I’d want an analyst who could talk about that, Sci\ART based or not. Problem #2: too warm colour flattens feature definition. This includes too-yellow foundation. Besides,  a healthy glow doesn’t come about from yellow foundation or a yellow overtone from too warm clothing (not discussing self-tanner on faces here). It comes from wearing clothing and blush that elevate the colour of our natural circulation and from correct use of bronzer.

I meet many brown-eyed, freckled Winter blends who have been observed into Autumn colours. Nobody would decorate a room combining Winter and Autumn colours. This is  not an attractive match. Our eye and clothing colours are seen together and there’s not a thing we can do about it (not discussing coloured contacts here), as is the undertone because human eyes can see through human surface skin. A Winter’s skin colours are not gorgeous next to Autumn cosmetics. A Winter using elephant gray and chocolate brown as the neutral backbone of her wardrobe is not making her best choices. The wardrobe won’t work with her makeup or jewelry. Problem #3: from you to your palette, there has to be a functional and appealing wardrobe of clothing and cosmetics if that is what you were investing in.

I believe that we are not what we appear to be in a million different ways. My purpose is to place you more organically and energetically into your colour palette, on the same wavelength as all of your clothes and makeup, in the colours that you really are as determined by calibrated measurement. Why use the word energetic? Because I believe humans feel energy as wavelength very well if they let themselves. Now the discussion is getting too deep. I direct you two articles back to Can True Beauty Be Diminished? if you feel like wading into the Universal Energy swamp. You can always find me there.

Big digression complete. We can all exhale.

Photo: michelini
Photo: michelini

 

4. The area of the face that Lisa matches to foundation makes sense to me. I like to use the lower jaw and drag it down onto the backside of the neck, for the same reasons as she does. I also test five or six different stripes side-by-side. With colour, comparison is the only way to tell what works and what doesn’t. I would insist on that and never buy foundation from a single test. I meet way more cool and cool-neutral people than warm or warm-neutral. The foundation range out there is way the opposite, not counting all the peachy coloured product that looks like real skin colour under department store light and like candy in daylight.

5. Wear a neutral gray and tie your hair to choose the colour. Deciding your Season or your foundation by looking requires the consultant to take what they think they see, and make more. If what they think they see is correct, great. Some cosmetic consultants are pretty darn good judges of true colouring.

If you went shopping as one of the many Dark Winters who look yellow because of their clothing or surroundings, the only thing that happens is that the error gets magnified. The consultant will make more of what you’re not. Could most makeup consultants explain how to correctly distinguish and identify undertone from overtone, or just define the terms?

6. As Lisa says, once you have a colour that unites the face and the neck, meaning the right foundation for your undertone, the entire face, neck, and chest will blend together. It is the very rare person who needs to adjust foundation to match the neck because they are so disparate in the overtones.

Begin by getting the heat level of any product correct. Heat level is determined by undertone. It is amazing what difference that alone will make.

After that, choose the darkness level, which is determined by under- and over-tone.

After that, be sure the heat type is correct for the skin. Most companies over-warm all their foundations, including those marked Cool. To complicate things further, they use Spring’s pigmentation to do so. Not easy to find a great Autumn foundation.

Imagine being a Caucasian Dark Winter – the difficulty of finding cool colour and Autumn type heat and Winter level lightness. Wearing wrong colour clothing to the appointment makes the job near impossible.

Photo: alba-neag
Photo: alba-neag

 

7. Often women come to a PCA appointment with correctors of various sorts. Once she is wearing her correct clothing colours, she has forgotten all about them. There is nothing that correctors would do or could do that foundation alone has not already done unless there is a particular issue like a birthmark, and even those are diminished greatly by wearing correct colours.

Watching Lisa work is hypnotic. The video on Marilyn’s makeup is great. You will also find this beautiful video for mature skin. Great place for new analysts to pick up some good ideas.

8. I talked above about the importance of defined features for looking younger. This article does a beautiful job of discussing it. Kathryn Kalisz wrote about it in her analyst guide. This is not new information for colour analysts that I dreamed up out of the blue. People say I invented things and changed Sci\ART-based colour analysis. No, I did not. If anything, Terry and I altered the original process the least of everyone, and remain unconvinced to do so. I did notice a few things independent of other things and described them with a new set of words. Maybe folks did not recognize them.

In your correct colours, features are most defined in colour and in shape. It really matters.

Defined in colour… Though they have a place, I am not a fan of nude lips on most types of coloring, particularly when hair or eye colors are intense, or the person is over 35 or 40. It doesn’t have nearly as much excitement on Lisa herself. Why pick the more exciting face? Because why pick the more boring face.

Defined in shape…How does feature definition look young? Because the opposite…think of an eroded statue, an eroded landscape. Signifies wear and tear.

Lately, I am wondering if maturing skin is an overtone change too. The surface layers appear grayer, possibly because we contain less water. In the undertone layers, we test mature women in every single Season, and I bet the very same Season as when they were younger. Many Darks, many Brights. For overtone practitioners, that surface grayness plus silvering hair is the reason they get put into Summer Seasons. Except their edges and colours disappear. No judgment here but I don’t see the visual as being so good. Eroded edges are fuzzy. Looks like blur. Side by side, which of these would look younger?

Photo: giulioplay
Photo: giulioplay

 

Stronger? Healthier? Newer? The focused ones or the others?

Photo: rosa02
Photo: rosa02

 

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