It is our deepest wish and intention to train colour analysts to the highest level of accuracy in human colour analysis. Now that I have been training analysts for a year or so, and Terry for much longer than that, we wanted our courses to streamline as much as possible for consistency of content. It matters to us that your return on this investment be major.
Terry’s and my script as we move through the PCA process is quite different. We wanted to give our students exposure to both, understanding that as instructors, we are more effective by adapting the material to each student’s learning approach. All people, teachers and students, have R or L brain tendencies. For our own development as analysts and to provide students with the best experience, working together has been invaluable.
In the past month, we held two joint training sessions. Here are some of the concerns and solutions from last week’s debriefing.
1. For a couple of models, we did not arrive at the same Season.
This can always happen. The process is far more difficult, detailed, and in-depth than people realize. Students are consistently taken aback by the thoroughness of a good PCA. It is very clear that no living human being has, or can have, an unbiased visual system. The process and drapes must maximize the great value of our intuitions and instincts without introducing error.
For the course in Chatham, 7 of the 8 models had not been previously analyzed. Terry and I agreed on every outcome, including the 8th. Our path to the answer was not identical, which is neither necessary nor significant. With one model, one of us took the path of Spring heat to arrive at Bright Winter, while the other took the path of Autumn darkness in this particular comparison. Bright Winter colouring needs both so either preference would be good. The algorithm, followed correctly, would never eliminate a Season prematurely.
For the course in Michigan, former students had previously draped the models. Season outcomes did not always match. Both disturbed and excited, Terry and I examined the possible reasons. Why excited? Because the Autumn in us likes to know how things work and needs to fix them until they work. If the original drapes had been 100% perfect, the drapes that students buy today would not be as magnificent as they are.
The reason for differing results is unknown, and probably not that exciting after all. As instructors, the angle of vision is altered as we’re not in our usual place behind the client. The drapes are not switching as often while we help the student maneuver them. The distractions of worrying about time, and speaking to the student rather than the client add up. Unlikely that the drape colours were the cause since those now match very closely between analyst sets. Nevertheless, if there is space for improvement and learning, we intend to use it.
Conclusion: More joint training sessions with models that neither of us has draped previously. Note that under PCA Training Course in the sidebar, Terry and I will train together in Canada at the end of September and October.
From our student in May,
Reflecting on my recent PCA training conducted by Christine and Terry, how fortunate it was to be part of a thorough training experience tailored to me – my own questions and specific needs. Their collective expertise was invaluable in helping me better understand color – theory and application – and navigate a draping process that results in an accurate assessment for an individual’s true tone. This is more complex than it seems and I can’t imagine having the tools or confidence to get started without this individualized training. Would highly recommend for anyone seeking to become a trusted and thorough PCA professional.
2. Three days are not enough.
The students are just beginning to gel with the flow, the movement of the drapes, and the decision process, and then the course is over. Once they get home and work alone, many would tell you that they feel a little uncertain.
We provide continued support for our students in numerous formats, but it’s not the same as being there. The analysts in our group have to be solid. The public needs to know and trust that PCA can be life-changing. We’re determined learn from the past, not repeat it all over again.
During training, everyone is physically tired. The full spectrum lights fatigue the eyes, as does looking at visual disharmony most of the time. Our brain can’t help but feel uncomfortable, quite draining to sustain for 7 or 8 hours.
Student feedback consistently mentions anxiety about applying makeup to clients. The present schedule allows little or no time for cosmetics if the student is to drape 6 to 8 people.
There is also little time to discuss client education and post-PCA support in terms of how to implement their PCA result. The Season decision is not enough. If the public cannot use our service to improve purchases, the whole thing is just an academic exercise. The training must include conversations that extend the Season to how each client will use it best. That’s a different dialogue for every client, even five people of the same Season.
Conclusion: The training course will be expanded to 4 days. Each day will run from 9AM to 6PM. Day 1 will involve theory before lunch, and then a model in the afternoon. A model in the morning and afternoon will follow, for a total of 7, allowing time for learning how to select and apply cosmetics, and how to build a framework of support for clients in stores, cosmetic counters, and on web retail sites. The models may include men, as our students should learn how draping a man may be different, but we will provide several models with which to learn cosmetic application.
The course price will be US $3200 with either instructor Canada (Christine in Ontario) or the US (Terry in Michigan).
From our student in June,
More eyes see more – in terms of learning a trade in 3 days, it’s been invaluable to have had the privilege to learn from 2 of the most established and experienced Sci\Art specialists in the field! People / analysts process and evaluate the same information in different ways, therefore it’s important that we challenge our processes by borrowing and trying out techniques from one another. At times, we might observe different or sometimes opposing things looking at the same picture and there’s a lesson to be learnt from that.
For the PCA industry and the larger colour community, things really are getting better all the time.
I seem to be in a groove of seeing so many Bright Winters lately that I figure I’m still supposed to write about it.
The reaction a person has to learning that their natural colouring falls into the Bright Winter group is either delight or despair. Seldom is there anything in between. The reason for most Season misgivings comes from misunderstanding the colours or the analysis process.
Some of the information below may be hard to imagine. It’s the only way I know to explain it. (Analyst who were trained by me will receive the discussion below soon in their Review Topics documents – and it will be even more technical.)
Here some come concerns Bright Winters may have:
Q: If I’m a Bright Winter, why do I look too blue in some of the Bright Winter drapes?
Short A: Because you’re warmer than the drape.
Long A: Depending on the person, this type of colouring is extremely finely adjusted and very sensitive to excessive darkness, redness, and or blueness. Some people handle the blue very well, almost as cool as True Winter can handle, but they become gaunt in black. Others can develop red spots in the cheeks, like a feverish face, in too much blue-red influence but they have no problem with darkness.
To match the exact coolness level of every Bright Winter, the analyst would need approximately 4 blue drapes. And then 4 reds, 4 greens. And then repeat that for all the possible tolerances to hue, value, and chroma of every person in all 12 Seasons. Not reasonable.
Also not necessary. The analyst with a comprehensive understanding of the analysis process is prepared to choose the Season because it’s better than the others, not necessarily it’s the best possible choice of this colour on this person. The client shouldn’t expect every Bright Winter drape to be perfection on every Bright Winter face. You find yourself inside your correct colour parameters. Sometimes, an analyst’s decision feels like a compromise and doesn’t make sense, but it’s still the best and correct decision of the comparison.
I am a Dark Winter.
I need makeup to wear black. Makes sense, black is only automatic on True Winter.
I can wear some medium and dark True Summer colour. Makes sense, True Summer is a little warmer and more muted than True Winter. So is Dark Winter.
True Spring colours clear my eyes better than True Autumn, if the two are being compared. Makes sense, Winter is looking for more clarity than Autumn provides.
I love and can wear Dark Autumn dark colours. Makes sense, I’m more warm and muted than many Dark Winters and darker colours are pretty easy on Dark Seasons.
None of that makes me a Spring, Summer, or Autumn.
If all people were exactly the same within one Season, then all the women of that Season could wear exactly the same lipsticks equally. Not the truth at all. My perfect lipstick colour is dull and disappearing on a cooler, clearer Dark Winter. There are ranges inside each Season. If the information clues were picked up along the analysis path, the right decision will be made at the end. The analyst doesn’t need to have my perfect Dark Winter blue drape in her set to know I am a Dark Winter. There might be versions of blue that I would wear a lot better than the blue drape she might have, but she learned my face, did her comparisons, knew what to look for and how to interpret it. A Season decision is a moving target until the very last comparison.
The Test Drapes are special. They’re measuring and comparing. Don’t look for home in them. Don’t expect to be finally and ultimately perfected. You need only be better than in any other. The same exquisite tolerance to colour parameters happens in all Seasons, but because Winter’s scale is so big and this colouring quite delicate, the disparity gets noticed more.
The public might not always understand. Don’t pay too much attention to the chat room group. They can’t know how it works because they’ve never been shown. All they see is the end result. One appendectomy can look like another if all you see are the people 3 weeks later. What happened in between may be wildly different. One person might never have had appendicitis in the first place. One might finally get rid of abdominal pain that’s haunted her for months. Another might be sure the surgeon made a mistake, but the fact is that sutures are more irritating to her tissues than the average while the surgical technique was exemplary. Her chat room group wouldn’t know any of that, but they’d make judgments and give opinions anyhow in an effort to support her.
clear water, close to white, more icy (Winter)
Q: Why is the bottom half of the face so darkened by black if I am Winter?
Short A: This is a WAY lighter Winter. Even True Winter isn’t all that dark. There are many blonde and light-brown haired True Winters with light eyes. Many.
Long A: Nothing applies to everybody. Some Bright Winters, even blonde haired, blue-eyed persons, are fine with darkness. Others who might be darker to look at will have a definite upper limit for darkness. Some can manage strong darkness in blue or green, but begin having detracting optical effects in the appearance at medium gray. Some are fine with shiny black, as long as True Winter blue is extracted, but are not good in matte black. Texture matters to a composition as much as line and colour do; therefore, texture matters in personal colour analysis (PCA).
The only more ghoulish Goth than Bright Winter would be the Light, True, and Bright Spring. All four types of natural colouring, or Season, or Tone, look light, bright, and clean. What about that sounds Goth? They conflict with the dark, depressing, serious Goth look – OTOH, maybe Goth are supposed to look compromised. Glowing and Goth doesn’t match. Bright Seasons are glowy. That’s how their skin reflects light. They look too healthy and vital for Gothness.
From the document that I send my clients:
Bright Winter epitomizes the sugar frosting of snow and sunlight. The innocent fairy tale character could wear shimmery violet-pink eyeshadow, blush, and lipgloss, adding even more crispness and show biz with near black eyeliner and big lashes.
Many Bright Winters are blonde and blue-eyed, with a feeling of girl-next-door, like the stereotypic Light Summer, except for the strong, clear, sparking eyes. Other lighter Bright Winters look Scandinavian/Nordic Ice Princess. Although some Bright Springs have the coolness that feels like royal distance, most are more informal, bubbly, chatty, rounded in their edges, and natural in their energy.
more pigment, more gray, closer to pastel (more Summer) – where does icy end and pastel begin?
Q: So Christine, you’re saying that all Brights can always take any level of saturation?
Short A: There is no Always, Must, Should, or Never in human colouring.
Long A: Textiles can be saturated beyond what you’d find in a human being. There are colours that will overwhelm even a Bright. I am saying that on a comparative scale of humans, Brights are most harmonized and flattered in the purest pigments.
icy grays made of B&W (Winter eyes)
Q: What if you said I’m a Bright Winter, which still I don’t believe BTW, and I look really dark?
Short A: Then you are a Bright Winter who looks dark.
Long A: In the colour analyst training course, my students and I spend our first morning proving to ourselves that our eyes are rather clueless about looking at paint chips and knowing their colour dimensions. I guess we could see which is lighter between 2 colours of equal saturation. Change the saturation setting of one paint chip and we lose it. We guess wrong. If we can’t guess a paint chip, how much harder must it be to gauge a human face just by looking. You need a way to measure, a.k.a. drapes.
You look dark, fine. Your most important colour attribute is still that your pigmentation is very clean and clear. You are more clear than you are dark, but no rule says you can’t be both to some degree. It’s knowing the amount of each one relative to the other that’s tricky.
pastel means more pigment + more gray (Summer eyes) – where’s the dividing line between icy and pastel? is there one?
Q: I read RTYNC and Bright Winter felt too zingy. I’m not electric and flashy.
Short A: You can’t see yourself. Compared to a range of other humans, your colouring feels more electric than a foggy day would. I was trying to make a comparison. Who do you know who looks foggy?
Long A: Ignore RTYNC (the blue book over in the right column). I can’t write the sequel because I created what the colour world needed least, 12 more stereotypes. Back then, I knew half what I know today. Maybe there’s another book taking shape that describes the real world better, the enormous variety, how people of the same Season can look incredibly different.
Why write about Seasons at all? Because it’s fun and interesting for us humans to look at one another and see all the possibilities. The stereotypes are like your horoscope. Kathryn Kalisz (founder of the Sci\ART system of PCA) also wrote about how people in the Seasons can look. I asked her once what Season someone was. She laughed and said in the most cheerful voice, “I have absolutely no idea! Until they’re in my chair.”
That book was only intended to help you see who you’re not, give a sense of how those colour energies made me feel so you could ask yourself the same thing, and give you 12 approximate palettes to make comparisons so you don’t have to own 12 swatch books. It got used too literally. The disclaimer at the front says that you will not be able to find yourself accurately, or at all. Should have been in big red print.
The Light Summer to Bright Winter Spectrum
This picture of Julianne Hough (said “huff”) came my way. It reminded me of a friend.
After thinking about it a bit, I realized that the face is like an exaggerated Reese Witherspoon.
Thing is, Julianne can do this. Is the dress wearing her? Is the makeup stronger than she is? By a lot or a little? If the hair were deeper, would she balance the other colours better? The balance is a little off but it’s hard to know what needs fixing and what doesn’t. Too many unpredictable variables. Just like draping a face. Reese were done like this, would the balance be off by less or by more?
Julianne looks to be in that girl-next-door Bright Winter to Light Summer spectrum. Except the eyes. Those eyes are crystal clear. Who knows what her natural hair colour is? From the gallery of images, I see that too yellow hair makes her face too yellow. Too light hair makes her face look puffed with flour. If you think of Bill Gates as average Light Summer colouring, those eyes would be wild in his face.
Reese seems to me a Light Summer. This makes sense. Winter is like an exaggerated Summer. The Warm Seasons are different. Autumn is not a continuation of Spring. It’s a whole different type of warmth. In a Season circle or progression, I would not Spring and Autumn side by side; I’d put them opposite one another.
the blue – too much pigment for icy; too pure pigment for pastel > probably not strong Winter or Summer ; we see this colour in Bright Spring eyes
Q: If Winter is an exaggerated Summer, why not have a Season in between? Like a continuation between Light Summer and Bright Winter, or True Summer and True Winter?
Short A: You’d get no new colours that weren’t already spoken for in one of the Seasons. I see the brilliance of the Sci\ART method of PCA, a genius that I am more in awe of with each client, as 12 stand alone groups. It makes their unique radiances strong and distinct. Smudging them into one another would dilute that and make analysis decisions much harder. Can a client blur them into each other? Absolutely.
Long A: Because real people don’t drape in between Summer and Winter to my eyes, though other analysts that I respect gigantically might not agree. A Soft Summer still looks better in Summer drapes, just a little weak. A Dark Winter still does better in Winter drapes overall if you know what to look for.
Also, making a cool Season overlap into a cool Season is in contradiction with the physics of light. That’s not how sunlight illuminates objects on our planet as interpreted by our eyes and brains.
Would the Bright Winter person look better True Winter’s drapes than True Summer’s drapes? Not always that easy. The light Bright Winter person’s face loves the lightness of Summer.
We can’t look at faces and know if they’re lighter than saturated, more cool than light, more saturated than warm, etc. Our eyes are not capable. We have to put a quantitative measuring system in between. Those are the drapes. Even then, in the early part of the analysis, all the features don’t behave the same way. That only happens at the end.
You will be wildly surprised at what your eyes will see happen with the drapes. The rug will get yanked out from under the feet of what you think Seasons have to look like. There are a lot of technical reasons for decision-making that Terry Wildfong and I train our students in carefully and thoroughly because we measure many markers at once in each face, with each new colour change.
The analyst evaluates many markers, related to line, colour, and texture, and makes a better-than choice. The markers will not be the same in every face. A Dark Winter man may wear Bright Winter saturation fairly well if his colouring is intense, but his face might look very oily. Another Dark Winter man will lose eye energy in Bright Winter drapes but the complexion reflects light much the same between the two. We take a lot of time to learn every face because each reacts to colour in a unique and individual way.
And it can still be very difficult. At this point in my career, although I retain near dismay for how complex a PCA can be, I’m usually pretty confident in my Season decision. I saw a woman recently. We went between Bright and Dark Winter. Back and forth, back and forth. Test Drapes, Luxury Drapes, makeup, back and forth, back and forth. In the end, I decided on Bright for a selection of reasons. Not just one reason. Many reasons, which I itemized in the documents I sent her. All the analyst can say sometimes is, “This is how I saw you today. And this why.”
Was I correct? I hope so. Was she so difficult because she was extraordinarily beautiful, like trying to make a child look bad? Was it because she was of darker complexion? I’ve invited her back to model for a training course because I need fresh eyes, a different day, and some outside opinions. Some puzzles are more enigmatic.
Sometimes, facial features are very tough to prioritize. We see good and bad things in 2 Seasons in most every comparison until we’re at or near the end. This is normal and expected.
many a Dark Season eye
Q: Which observation is most important?
Short A: Depends. Every face is different.
Long A: There’s no such thing as most important. Your eyes are not more important than your mouth. A jaundiced face isn’t more important than an unfocused face. It’s the totality of a face. The answer would be different for every client. Even a well-trained or very experienced analyst can be perplexed.
If a client is much more comfortable in one Season, the best decision might be to have them wear it for a while. Throw out nothing. Buy a gloss and a few inexpensive T-shirts. Adjust the hair colour. In a few months, have another draping.
All out colour. Such flamboyance of colour that it takes Bright Winters time to get used to wearing it. Not Myles. He got it instantly, like he had always known it.
Men are usually more intensely coloured than women of the same Season. This natural colouring is a great example of that. The concentration of pigment in the hair colour alone is a testament to the high colour saturation of the entire person. It is less obvious in the Bright Winter woman, but Jocelyn (Jocelyn Is A Bright Winter) could still dominate every colour she wore, almost including black.
As a Bright Winter, in 12 Season (Tone) Colour Analysis, he is fundamentally a Winter, but incorporates a small element of Spring. That means that the True Winter palette, with its dark reds, blues, and especially purples, has a pale yellow light shining on it. Colours become lighter and so slightly yellowed. The effect is of brightness and high energy, conveyed by the highest colour saturation in the spectrum. (To understand saturation better, see the article What Are Clear And Soft Colours?)
You met Myles before in Clear and Muted Orange In Eyes, in the first photograph illustrating beer bottle transparency in the browns and oranges coloring the iris. Here is his eye, once more. Notice the very sharp transitions between hair/skin/eye colour, and how generously pigmented the colors are.
Myles had one of the most sophisticated internal colour guidance systems that I have seen, man or woman. He could see the effects with ease, in others and in himself. He could describe what was happening under the colour influence using unconventional analogies that scratched well beyond the surface. He could direct his own analysis after having watched his wife. He originated the expression, the face in hi-def, that I have used to describe the sharp focus of the facial structure in right colour.
On such uncommon colouring, we were bound to see some extraordinary effects. The draping begins with 4 drapes representing extremes of the 4 True Seasons. The Spring drape is a deep shimmering golden caramel. Those eyes of his were enormous and glowed with a shockingly golden yellow light, not something I had ever seen at 10AM, or any other time. It was like meeting an owl in a dark night forest.
His skin was too yellow in the Spring drape. It follows that the whites of his eyes were quite yellow. That was bound to happen in a pure Spring drape on a person of predominantly cool skin, since Myles is a Winter type. We quickly got all that sorted, but for a moment, the blazing luminosity in the eye made you forget everything else.
The PCA proceeded quite quickly because the optical effects were so undeniable. There was no other Season to which he could possibly have belonged.
Among the Bright Winter test drapes is a gleaming dark sapphire fabric. Not only is it electric blue, it is very shiny. Nobody, but nobody, can balance that color unless they are Bright Winter. It dominates even True Winter unquestionably. Myles wore it with ease, and without fidgeting the way men do in shiny fabric. He felt confident, attractive, and relaxed.
The final point is to notice the very fine quality of the skin texture. Many Springs have this very youthful, poreless appearance in the skin. If the skin were fabric, Spring would be handkerchief cotton to satin. Many Springs also have a triangular or pointed feature, like this finely carved nose.
The uplifted outer corners of Audrey Hepburn eyes are another example. On a child, they look like the eyes of an elf or Tinkerbell. You might see the more pointed chin of a heart shaped face, a prominent bow in the upper lip, or the outer corners of the mouth tipped upwards. For these reasons, Springs can look very youthful and alert.
The Bright Winter Man
Men are harder to know from their attire because there is more social pressure on them to conform to guy looks and behaviors. I see it already in my 13 year old son. A woman can communicate the unrestrained allure of a Bright Winter with jewels, shiny accessories, luxurious fabric, and large blocks of very bright colour.
What does a man do? First of all, what is he trying to communicate?
The Bright Winter man combines the Winter power signal with Spring positivity and enthusiasm. His subliminal statement is dynamic force. He is the contrast of sunshine and ice. Is there a more glorious, energizing place to be than a ski hill in March? The bracing wind, the speed of the run, the sun we have waited all winter to feel on our skin, combined. No wonder people are euphoric.
The overall effect of his look should be dark, like all Winters. It should also of the highest contrast, the most important component of Winter dressing. There is maxed separation between the lightness of the skin and the darkness of the hair, so clothing combinations feel right to look at when they repeat that.
Spring makes this personal colour palette the lightest of the 3 Winters, so he wears white extremely well. White combined with a bigger dark block is better. White (or icy light)+bigger very dark block+small bright accent=even better. Dark + bright is equally great. Only Bright Winter men can still be taken seriously in these pairings. Men of other Seasons are somewhere between dominated-by-clothing and rapper-snowboarder-silly.
His biggest problem may be not looking too formal. Even a black-brown or ink-navy suit will look like a tux with a white shirt. Dark charcoal gray will be a fantastic suit color. With an icy violet shirt? Only one guy in the room will be doing that, the only one everyone is looking at. He looks commanding and interesting, but that violet softens him a bit. It even hints at playfulness.
When he wants to look formal, dominant, imposing, and authoritative, he can wear the night sky suit, even better with a little shine in it, the white shirt, and what about ties?
I love ties. I can look at them for hours. A man can say more with a tie than a woman can with anything. This guy can go as wild as his Bright Spring brother can, his Winter reserve just would not let him. He is better on the formal side. When he chooses more traditional (still high contrast) designs with larger dark blocks that repeat the suit colour, the element of bright colour will seem less bold.
Winter does not want to come across as unpredictable or random. Nor do you want a design where all the colours and lines seem to flow together, which happens when the pieces of the puzzle are small. The Winter exterior should look composed and quiet, but dramatic.
Lines should be thicker, rather than fine, which balances the strength of the colors better. The print should be obvious, which tie designers seem to do mostly in stripes. The other choice is 10,000 ladybugs, lots of colour but from a distance, they blur together. The edges of each color block should be crisp, since they are in the natural colouring. This tie could be worn well by the Bright Spring, and even the Bright Spring man. The tie is here, at Nordstrom.
As a Neutral Season, meaning a blend of 2 True Seasons, the palette offers a warmer go-to golden red and a cooler blue-red, a strong fuchsia. Even as a very small constituent in the overall look, the harmony gets noticed. Women can create this effect with lipstick or eyeglass frames. The red in this tie repeats that golden, strawberry red undertone, and looks electric on this coloring. It is here, at J.Crew.
I like this tie too. It is a Winter grey, like clean sharp steel, a blade, a knife edge, a scalpel. There is a slight jewel effect in the lighter stripes, like platinum, or crystallized sugar, that sparkles without being obnoxious. Tie here at Nordstrom.
On no group of man does safe colour fall flatter. Casual clothing in general is very difficult because of the inherent formality and intensity of the appearance. All 3 Winters have some difficulty with jeans, but this group most of all. Nothing works, not the faded colour, the almost-sloppiness, the rugged strong quality. Jeans should be the darkest possible black or blue in a classic cut.
T-shirts should be shockingly saturated with color, hopefully more IRL than in the photo. The diagonal line in this polo (here at Nordstrom) gives a triangular effect that repeats that physical traits we talked about earlier. Zigzag lines add energy and asymmetry, both Spring influences.
For men, Colour Analysis is more about looking good than the spiritual journey that it becomes for women. They understand that the viewer interprets appearance as education, social status, risk-taking, and creativity. For a man, clothing is an investment in themselves and their business. Fair or not, appearance is a factor that helps people decide how much money they are willing to give us.
Men, you attract trust with your clothing, a commodity that men don’t come by easily. Making these choices is not what your wife is for (until after your PCA).
Kip’s family and ours have known one another for many years. As a child, he had flaxen hair and light blue eyes, and he certainly gave a Spring impression, or at least a very yellow impression.
He is in his 30s now. His hair has darkened. He has a tan at the moment. Combining the freckles, the fact that his mother, and probably brother, are True Autumns, that his skin resembles his Soft Autumn sister, and that there are red tones in the hair, I wondered if Kip was going to be that Spring/Autumn person that we discussed in a previous article and its comments (see the previous article No Summer+Winter or Spring+Autumn Blends).
We saw right away that Winter was dominating and severe. The blackened sapphire and emerald took over.
In the True Autumn drapes, Kip might have been up every night for a week looking after his young children. The shadows and unshaved appearance were obvious. The lower half of the face was darker, making the jaw look very severe and the face 10 years older. But, his eye colour intensity was surprisingly good. For those who are new here, you’ll read often that I do not factor the eye colour into determining the Season. It simply does not matter. However, I very much consider which drapes make your eye colour the most intense.
In the True Spring drapes, the skin was too yellow and the eye colour was dull and greyed out. If I could erase the yellow in the skin, there seemed to be an easing of the lines, a more even luminosity, as is usually seen in any Spring blend. The skin looked healthy and very evenly colored, while True Autumn made the skin obviously worse, even in the very slight Autumn Seasons. So, Kip was not going to be the person who can wear True Spring and Autumn colors equally well.
True Summer was interesting. The yellow caused by True Spring cleared from the skin. The skin retained the good effects the Spring drapes created, of young, clear, ideal skin, but could also intensify the eye color to the same degree that the Autumn drapes did. The whole effect was a little flat, though the balance with the person was the best of the 4 True Seasons.
In Light Summer, the bare trace of sunlight gave us the perfectly lit skin, without compromising the eyes. Light Summer is the Neutral Season (so blend of 2), that is mostly Summer with a minor influence from Spring. I guess that the reason the Autumn drapes worked so well to intensify eye colour was their low saturation, which is the colour characteristic that Autumn shares with Summer. When doing the analysis, always focus on the skin. A person is the same Season whether their eyes are open or closed. Human eyes distract us. Skin takes precedence. Once you get that right, the eyes will automatically be their best.
In men, the deciding Season always creates the cleanest, strongest bone structure. They do look younger, the skin clearer, but what I see is just plain masculine and handsome.
Light Summer Colours
Light Summer is Popsicle colours. No, not quite that bright. Rainbow colors. It is not just True Summer overexposed. The light and clarity of Spring make the feeling of the whole palette much more lively. Any single colour may be similar to some of True Summer, but the whole person viewed together, just as the whole Colour Book fanned out, is more energetic than True Summer. That clearance of True Summer gentle cloud brings a springy feeling, in more ways than one.
The Light Summer is colour in sunlight. Compare this to Soft Summer, which is colour in shade. Notice the shirt he has on is colour in shade. The chair is probably the true colour. In sun, it would be Light Summer so a little bleached out, and better on Kip. Still cool and fresh, like True Summer, but just that mention of clear light.
Watch how the colour moves in the image below as it changes from light areas to shaded areas. In our physical world, light is reflected from objects in a continuum of light-true-dark, or warm-true-cool. In 12 Tone, or 12 Season, Colour Analysis, the Tones progress from one to the next through the same sequence.
Kip’s most remarkable colour was his off-white (the color of the Light Summer white drape in the previous article How Light Summer Goes Gray) . Not a browned off-white, like clamshell, which is Soft Summer. This is vanilla ice cream, but not French vanilla, which is too yellow. It took a conscious effort to remove that drape because he just looked so extremely right. Everyone in the room just kept looking. The longer a right color is on you, the more good things come out. The longer a wrong color is on you, the more bad things come out.
The Light Summer palette showcases his gracious intelligence better than any other. Far more a listener than a talker, more peaceful than animated, more caring than needing, the personality of Summer men is admired more for their support of others than their call for self-promotion.
Color that is too cool or cloudy says nothing about his easy smile and sense of humour, the pleasure he takes in physical activity, his respectful appreciation of Nature, or his capacity for adventure. His essence is quiet and easy to be with, but is made for the outdoors. The feeling is relaxed, sea and sand, boats and bicycles, not formal.
Light Summer Clothing
As important as it is to always look at colour in daylight, the Light Seasons have to be especially careful to do so. There is no type of dark color that flatters them. In mall lighting, it is too easy to go too dark.
A soft white shirt and a silver grey jacket would be outstanding. Pure white will take over, reducing the person, and we do not wear clothes to be diminished by them. A man wearing a coat/shirt in too-strong colours makes him look weak, and makes the size of the head look too small for the shoulders.
Spring/Summer men do not sing to me in plaid, which can look workday and practical, but a fun mixture of lively colours can be great. Corduroy, same. Too much texture looks heavy and dulls the fabric, but in light gray, great. Light colors belong with light fabrics. Uncomplicated cottons, denim, natural linen, lightweight wool, and knits look smooth and balanced. Autumn focuses on work and productivity. Spring is lighthearted and lives to enjoy life, to play, to have fun.
A light cotton shirt with a colorful stripe in a single colour, which I think is called a Bengal Stripe (below from Savile Row Co), cool tan chinos, now that looks good. His temperature looks cool but we sense that little effervescence that elevates him to another frequency.
Love it in pink and in turquoise.
Purple and yellow
He definitely has a yellow look, though less than in his teens, and yellow in his skin. Any Spring blend needs to get comfortable wearing purples. Because purple and yellow intensify one another, and the Colour Book shows you the right purple swatches for your particular type of yellowness, it looks remarkable. The shirt below is at Paul Fredrick. The white is that trace-of-vanilla off-white and all the purples are right.
Women love feminine colours on men. It need not be a mauve turtleneck. One stripe in a tie will get the attention of the room. Women keep looking at the one guy who can wear a cherry popsicle stripe in a sky blue tie. Men respect it because so few men know how to do this and accentuate their masculinity, rather than seem to compromise it.
Before you turn 30
This was a very interesting PCA for me. It reinforced what is easily forgotten, to never drape a person with predicted ideas of the outcome. Never start guessing. Go into the analysis with a blank slate, do the driving, and let the drapes give you the answer.
About finding that Spring/Autumn flow, the instrument I use to measure color, the Sci\ART drapes, are not designed to help me find that colouring. I do not believe it exists. You might think that Light Spring is often confused with Soft Autumn, but in fact, it is Light Summer. The Light Summer colouring is muted enough to enjoy much of what Autumn offers.
As a professional community of Personal Colour Analysts, our strength will not be in fragmenting ourselves over linguistic and detail. We are already exclusive enough. Whatever system analyzed you, you’ll still look way better than you did before. A world where everyone had a PCA by the time they are 25 would be beautiful. If a PCA were as automatic a grad gift as a laptop? If PCAs were part of life like gym memberships?
Note: I do not own the images above. If you own these pictures and would like me take them down, I will gladly do so.
I am very excited about this post because eyes are so magically beautiful. If Personal Colour Analysis is a window into our truest self, then eyes are the lenses through which those colors are projected back out into our world as our feelings, memories, and histories.
On our Facebook page, I once called a dark green-brown eye swamp water green.The eye colour is particular to some people in the Bright Spring and Winter Seasons. One day, I will find you that eye colour, but today is not the day. (The article How Springs Intensify Eye Colour gives a link near the end to Heather at coloruza.com; her eye is as close a photo as I have found.)
This particularly confusing concept of eye clarity is where people get hung up. In 12 Season, or 12-Tone Colour Analysis, clear eyes are often found among members of the clear (high saturation) Tones, namely Winter and Spring, and their 2 blends of Bright Winter and Bright Spring.
The fascination with these Tones is because of their rarity, and that very arresting quality of clearness. We recognize that the difference, finding it hard to describe verbally.
Here is a male eye. You will meet him in another article. For now, notice the colour of the eye. Look at the quality of the orange tones.
Now, look at this female eye. She is a Soft Autumn.
And now these 2 items.
Can you see which item matches the orange in which eye?
I once said that Spring eye makeup browns are not orange-y, which is true, because orange-browns tend to look earthy, the bane and blight of a Spring colour existence. Spring is as far from earthy as a fruit salad or a bowl of JellO. However, Springs certainly can wear many oranges in clothes and respect their tropical palette quite gorgeously. So too can there be orange in a Spring eye, but it is not the same orange as in Autumn.
Autumn has a muted rust, the opaque, heavy-feeling, quiet, solid brick. Even in a faraway Autumn blend like Dark Winter, the orange may have this same thicker, denser quality.
The orange in a Bright Spring or Bright Winter (or True Winter or Spring) eye is the beer bottle. Clear Tones (Seasons) have clear colours in their entire body. They are reflective of light, not absorbing, as the Autumn seems to be, and more fragile looking perhaps.
The orange (because brown is just dark orange) of a True Winter eye is usually not as clear as that in a Bright Winter eye. That’s because the Bright Winter palette is even more highly saturated (i.e. clear) than True Winter’s. Is it so in every single case? No, there are always exceptions and degrees.
A reader sent me this most amazing eye photo.
Medium-dark brown hair, reddish in the sun. Lashes are light. The orange is beer-bottle clear, right? Notice too the yellowness of the skin tone (quite possibly just from the lighting) and the generous heaping of sunshine yellow in the rest of the eye color (unlikely to be as influenced by lighting, though transparency might be). Without drapes, this could be a True Autumn for all I know, but I sure get a Spring feeling.
Eye effects are much easier to see in a light colored eye. Green can be more complicated. Brown is downright difficult.
Can you draw conclusions about Season from eyes? No. Many saw the man above as Dark Autumn before the drapes. In shade, the clarity of that orange was all but lost and it seemed more hazy.
I try so hard not to look at eye color during a PCA, because the drapes do not always confirm those leading assumptions that objective color analysts should never make. Any of the 12 Tones can have any hair and any eye color. That is Rule No. 1.
Seasonal Colour Analysis for clothing absolutely applies to men. The Dark Winter way of wearing colour extends to the Dark Autumn, who has enough intensity in his personal colour palette and the Winter trace that allows him to wear clothes in a Winter way.
That way is as follows. It is expensive, smooth, poised, and formal. Patterns, and prints are balanced and repeating, not random. This is an image of wealth and luxury, of tailored clothing and timeless design.
The Dark Winter is reserved to the point of being serious. This group communicates a quiet mood with dark colours. There is nothing playful or youthful here.
What does the Autumn hint bring in? First, it brings in a little brown, which warms and mutes the colours. They seem less distant and cold than the True Winter cold. Autumn also looks right with a bit of texture, as Merino, without getting into rugged cable knits that are too functional and not polished enough.
I also like a ribbed sweater, like this one at Banana Republic. It respects the impression of the Winter style, so repeating and balanced, but introduces a little texture. The rough surface is the bridge to Autumn.
Zip-neck sweaters are great if worn in a formal way. A full-zip feels to me too much like a hoodie, too juvenile or casual, almost sloppy.
Horizontal stripes are too sailboat or rugby shirt. This group expresses serious best.
Argyle comes in every colour. Does it work if the colours are Winter? To my eye, the styles do not mesh. All those zigzags in argyle are too animated, and look hectic on Winter formal energy.
This is a beauty at LLBean, in the colour Mountain Red, shown in the catalog with a white shirt and looks sharp. Notice that the colour (in the catalog, much more accurate than the website) is a very intense, strongly pigmented red. If the colour reads as heathered, it is not the best choice. The intensity of his natural colouring will not be well balanced by the colour he wears. With a charcoal pant, casual or formal, this guy is getting noticed for all the right reasons.
V-neck, crewneck, and turtleneck all feel good on these men (only my opinion). The choice of shirt is important. The aim is simple drama. An iceberg has simple, quiet drama. A circus does not, it has complicated drama. A day on a sailboat has no drama.
The colours should contrast strongly (very light with very dark). Dark charcoal, eggplant, or ruby, with a crisp white shirt. An icy grey shirt and a midnight blue sweater. Have a read through the article Icy Colours and Pastels for a reminder of what to buy (and not buy) as a shirt.