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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
1. Are the proportions of each colour in the book a reflection of my colouring. Does that have a direct bearing on how I use these colours in my clothing?
A few factors to think about. First, the designer of the palette makes a decision about how many of which colours to include. We all know by now that you could have 5 swatch books for your Seasons, 70 colours each, none repeated, all accurate. The designer has to decide what they want to express – are Neutral Seasons closer to parent True Seasons or to neighbour Neutrals? Will Dark Winter express its rustic Autumn-ness or its jewel-toned Winter-ness, or both equally? Is this palette intended for women or men, business or party, the fashion scene of the 1980s or the 2015s? How many strips of colours will be given to wardrobe neutrals, reds, white/black alternatives, etc?
The designer makes decisions about which colours will participate in a Season. Red Purple doesn’t factor into Soft Autumn, presumably because that hue doesn’t satisfy the Season’s colour dimensions. I’m not the expert on these decisions. If you look at the Sci\ART books for the same Season over the years, they change considerably. This was probably due to changes in equipment, ink, and perhaps Kathryn’s (Kathryn Kalisz, founder of Sci\ART) evolving beliefs, perceptions, and consumer feedback.
Sometimes, the limits are in the nature of the colour. There are only so many yellows that human eyes can tell apart and not as many yellows available in the high saturation range as there are blues.
From printing RTYNC (the blue book in the margin), the computer’s colour model can impose limits, as well as what a given printer can create. Giving True Summer a big selection of reds may be tricky, or maybe it’s getting reds clear enough for the Winters.
The available colours have to stay inside all 3 colour dimensions. Bright Spring ranges almost to white and black, and takes its source colours almost from primary colour, giving a wide range from which to choose. Summers, with their narrower lightest-darkest range, draw from a smaller range of colours to include in the palettes. Also, on this colouring, small nuance in colours is more apparent than on Winter colouring where colours that are very similar tend to look much the same. The Summer menu has a lot of neutral colours, entirely the wearer’s choice to use them or not.
Every available hue should be present in as wide a range of hue, value, and chroma as the Season will accept. Very hard to do unless the consumer wants to carry a 5lb. book around, which is why it’s so important to choose garments using the entire fan, not single swatches, to maximize your colour options.
Every palette should offer its owner a range of light, medium, and dark colours. They are all divided about 30-30-30. The darker Season palettes appear darker because they reach a darker endpoint.
The real point of the Q isn’t related to the theory so much as its application. I realize these things, I just get sidetracked :) The palettes do communicate in a collective way, not just swatch by swatch.
Showing too many darker blues and purples in a light or medium darkness Season might have the woman dressing darker than the overall value (darkness) level for that group. Sure, she could select more from the lighter colours, every palette has them, but the thinking is done for her if she fans out the book and ‘gets’ the overall value, hue, and chroma to aim towards.
Digression: Is that flower Bright Spring or Light Summer? Without laying it on a palette or the drapes, I don’t know the answer. I don’t have a palette at the moment. In my imagination, I’ll substitute something I know. A rainbow, a dish of sorbet, bluebells are Light Summery. In that company, would this flower would take over? In a field of misty bluebells, this rose is the only thing you’d see. The bluebells might as well be grass, leading me to think the rose is Bright Spring. Could it hold its own next to a Bird of Paradise flower? Probably. Like most design decisions, you have to see it to decide.
Final consideration: Part of what determines how many of which colour appears in a palette is probably related to the Season’s core colour. That’s an complicated concept but it does express real human beings, unlike certain PCA-industry notions that only work on paper. If anyone knows where the idea that Winter is red, Autumn’s core is orange, Spring’s is yellow, and Summer’s is blue, originated, I would love to hear. The choices of fuchsias and purples in the True Winter palette go on and on. Is that a reflection of their core colour of red mixed with the blue that cools that colouring? The amount of core colour pigment unifying a Season, therefore present in every swatch, helps decide which colours apply. For True Spring, depending on how much of the core yellow pigment the designer adds, there will be a shift in which segment of colour space contributes to the palette.
Finally! Answer to the reader’s Q: Yes and No. The book gives you overall hue, value, chroma consistency in 60 to 80 unified colours. How you wear them depends on preference, body type, occasion, time of year, personal contrast level, and individual feature colours.
2. I’m really interested in having a personal image analysis. You’ve said here that I should have my colouring analyzed first. Why? Does it really matter?
A good Q that would be better answered by an image and line expert. I’ve asked Rachel Nachmias of Best Dressed to comment from her experience and perspective. In my opinion, she is THE image expert whose advice will have you wearing modern clothing styles that elevate your power, presence, and sophistication within a matter of seconds. I’ve watched her achieve this over and over, happy to say on myself too.
In general, I would suggest that you have your PCA done first, if at all possible. When clients come in for both, I always do the color analysis first. The reason for this is that, as Christine has said, proper definition of the lines in the face requires it being surrounded by the correct colors. It’s harder for me (and more importantly others who will be looking at you in your new clothes) to see the potential of the face before me until I’ve seen it without too much or too little definition. For more on this topic, you can find an article I wrote with some real life examples here (http://www.bestdressed.us/2014/01/27/how-true-colors-reveal-true-features/). There is also, of course, the same issue I present my PCA clients who opt not to have a PIA – if you’re going to start replacing your wardrobe, why not have all the information for both style and color and save yourself the expense of having to start from scratch ever again?
That said, most of my clients who are having a PIA *want* a PCA, and if they haven’t had one, it’s because of geographic access. Some of you are out there patiently waiting until a Color Analyst sets up shop in your neck of the woods, or at least comes for a visit. Others are willing to make the trek, but need time to save for it because traveling from another country, for example, makes the expense much more significant. My general attitude in this case would be that you may as well go ahead with learning the best styles for you, as it will make a huge difference on it’s own, and I hate to think of you waiting for possibly a few years to start looking and feeling fabulous. Because I am so finely attuned to looking at features, I can typically see through the noise of wrong colors, where others would not be able to. But the decision is really up to you. If you will not be buying any clothing much at all while you wait for your PCA, and don’t have an extensive wardrobe to pick through to work towards your archetype, perhaps it makes no sense.
Here’s my scientific take on it. As with colour perception, the answer must be grounded in how human vision is hard-wired by Nature. What else would make any sense?
When colours are in conflict, shapes and lines cannot find focus. Our brain wants us to notice that there’s a difference. If the colours are quite close, our brain thinks, “That might be a tiger. How am I going to get her to see it so she runs the other way? I know! I’ll blur up the lines. She’s sure to pick up on that!”
Details cannot find definition. Our brains circuits understand visual information in a stepwise sequence. As with colour analysis, ignoring the built-in strengths and weaknesses is a little delusional. They are embedded and will not be overriden.
The first levels to process incoming line and shape signals are concerned with general contours. If all the eyes see in the image are outer edges, and blurry ones at that, the visual system finishes processing the image too early. Complexity is lost to us, and what a waste since it’s that very complexity that the higher visual levels of human beings are so beautifully able to interpret correctly. Imagine a half-developed negative from back in the 35mm film days. You see outlines, nothing else. You can’t do much of a line analysis without any lines.
For an example of contours without definition, look at the image of Victoria Beckham or Hilary Duff on the Pinterest Know Your Best Hair Colour board. Given only contours, the brain does its best at object recognition. Not being good at understanding outlines in the first place, it can’t fully make sense of the object. The result is that some spaces are not filled in or the brain makes a few incorrect assumptions to get through the day. That’s not only bad for image analysis, it’s bad for survival, evolution’s primary concern.
Rendered in its correct colours, an image develops fully. Edges are focussed and details refine. Only now can the human brain’s higher visual centers make a complete picture available for line and shape analysis.
Have a look at some of the celebrities in the Commentary Booth board on Pinterest. You can see how distorting the wrong colours are. There’s an image of Carrie Underwood in an acid yellow-green dress with silver insets. First of all, she’s hard to see. When I actually made myself look at the face, I thought she was Reese Witherspoon.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Stronger? Healthier? Newer? The focused ones or the others?
Numerous requests have arrived to offer the Luxury Drapes as single Season sets for clients who have enjoyed a 12 Season Sci\ART-based Personal Colour Analysis. I am very happy to do this.
Do you know which drapes I mean? Once we knew your Season with the Test Drapes (took about an hour, hour and a half? with me or Terry (my excellent trainer, always my teacher, we work as a team on the drape colour selections)), but before we removed the fabulous gray scarf that you wanted to take home and wear forever but I wouldn’t give you :),
we took a separate set of drapes out of another tub. These Luxury Drapes were heavy and kept slipping off. I began by reminding you “Don’t think of them as 15 turtlenecks.” We turned the pages and talked about how you wear your colours. Once your makeup was on and the scarf off, we looked at these drapes once again. In some cases, if we weren’t sure about your Season, we might have compared them with another set, choosing a blue and a blue, or comparing colours that were extremes for the two Seasons.
There’s great value in having an experienced colour analyst (two of us, in fact!) translate your swatches to their manifestation in fabric. Once you see how 15 of your colours are interpreted in various textiles, it’s far easier to extrapolate the other 40 to 50 colours in your colour palette.
The drapes will be the full 18″ x 34″ size that are in the analyst sets, grommetted, stamped, and tagged, exactly as the analysts are using.
Full sized drapes, rather than napkin-sized pieces or smaller squares, are my preference by far. You just gotta have enough colour. As with cosmetics, if the colour’s right, you can wear almost any amount of it. A small sample doesn’t challenge our colouring enough to show us that it will adopt or reject a colour. It won’t bring out all the possible good or enough surefire evidence that’s it not good. The large size allows you to reach the drape fully round your shoulders to get the most colour effect.
You are buying these fabrics to visualize harmony with your colours and features, and also to imagine a wardrobe and the interactions among its colours. The large size ensures that you have sufficient fabric to be the size of a piece of clothing to make outfits. The blocks will be big enough to demonstrate what equivalent energy means. More colour makes it far easier to decide whether a colour can take part in a relationship, or will be not enough or too much. When Terry and I are challenged with a certain colour’s Season, we lay out the Luxury Drapes with the mystery item in the chain. If it doesn’t belong, you can spot it right away.
You will enjoy watching the two-way energizing effect of true colour harmony. Lay your fanned out swatch book palette on the drape fabrics. Notice that each every colour is very vibrant, in focus, and the fabric underneath is also the most it can be. These two things bring out the best in each other. Understand this better by placing your swatch book on items in your house, furnishings or other clothing. Pay attention to the swatch colours and to the colour underneath. Begin with an item that you know is far from your own colours. Notice that the palette lacks the colour energy and vitality that it has on your drapes, or the opposite, that the palette is dominating the background colours, as if it were separating or sitting far above it. What is happening to the palette is happening to your face. Every item you buy should cause every swatch of the palette to be as strong, and strengthened equally, as it is on your drapes.
Analysts already have white, yellow, green, blue, and red in the Test Drapes. The Luxury Drapes contain colours that we don’t test with (purple, for instance), beautiful versions of colours we do test with (more greens, reds, and so on), and more versions of colours that are spectacular on that particular colouring (turquoise and shine on Springs).
Test colours are somewhat proprietary and won’t be included. However, I do feel that you should have your white in your Personal Luxury Drapes. One colour will be substituted for white in these sets (unless you indicate otherwise). If there’s a certain colour that you’re having trouble with, say Summer yellow, I’m happy to substitute that as well.
At this time, I have a fairly large fabric inventory. Limiting myself to only 15 colours per set for the analysts can be a struggle. I want everyone to have every colour. You are welcome to request as many colours as I have (price below). You are also welcome to request certain types of colours (reds, level of shine, hair or cosmetic colours, neutrals, your black or alternative), if I have that material. Once a set has been purchased, adding to it in the future is too complicated to describe. Best to buy everything you might want the first time.
A personalized letter accompanies the purchase. It outlines the information held by the drapes and how to make use of them to guide your purchases, with situations that might arise for each Season. For example, the Neutral Season drapes will contain the warm and cool versions of most colours.
The precise fan colours are not necessarily represented and they don’t need to be. Maybe it’s better that they’re not, to give you a sense of the Season’s borders in colour space, often wider than what the literal interpretation of the swatch books suggests. Remember that you have a thousand colours that are not in those fans. The drapes can teach you to select any colour that can harmonize with your Season.
Drapes are the swatch books taken to the next level, as their physical representation. The swatches in the books are small, and although incredibly effective, the size places some limitations on your perception of the colour. If you looked at a swatch and I help up the corresponding garment or textile, you might say, “Oh, is that what that looks like?” Or maybe you wouldn’t but I do.
The PCA process moves in a line. It begins with the colour theories and charts that provide the building blocks for the palettes. From the palettes to the Test drapes, you have moved into physical expression, though still in the land of theory. From Test to Luxury drapes, you cross the bridge from theory to real world application, the simulation of a shopping experience. So roll your clothing, accessories, shoes, and jewelry around in your Luxury drapes before deciding which purchases to keep.
I am excited to make this vital aspect of a working colour analyst’s tool kit available for you. The more ways you see your colours, the better you understand, recognize, and use them. There’s nothing I want more.
To support the colour analysts, it is only right that they purchase the drapes at a lower cost than their clients.
Retail price for a set of 15 full sized drapes is CDN $465 ($31 per drape), therefore 15% more than for analysts.
For Canadians who live in HST-applicable provinces, the 13% HST is added for a total of CDN $525.45.
Drapes must ship from Canada. Residents of other countries do not pay the HST. I cannot say what duties or taxes are required in your country. They will be insured for $500.
Only one Season’s set will be sold to an individual.
Other colour analysis systems use different colour collections in their Seasons. I don’t want our palettes to create conflict in their clients’ process or practice. In your inquiry to me about the drapes, please mention which Sci\ART analyst you saw for your PCA. This purchase is not refundable so please be very certain that your Season is correct and you feel good with it.
If you would like to purchase your Personal Luxury Drapes, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I appreciate every comment that has been offered on this site over the years. I also respect that those comments were made with intention to learn, but also with kindness, remembering that there is a human being on the other end.
A Place to Learn Together
By human being, I’m not referring to myself. I welcome all critique. Mostly, I want this to be a safe place to seek and find truth and the highest possible potential for me, you, and colour analysis. This site is also a record of my own growth as a colour analyst. I felt the need to remove all the videos from here and YouTube because I don’t recognize that person as me anymore.
However vulnerable in the moment, old patterns need to be seen for us to separate and leave them behind. We have to recognize mind chatter about colour analysis, as about all our beliefs. Our mind is driven to protect old beliefs that were acquired years ago when that was the best we had.
In what I’m about to say, I am not criticizing anyone. I am offering you a new strength. In trying to follow these new ideas, know that you are very supported by the many who have understood this now.
Kindness in the comments would encourage me to post more photos of how the Seasons of human colouring appear in the real world. Problem is, they end up on 100 Pinterest boards and a million other places over which I have no control. I know that you would love to see them and I would love to post them but I can’t protect the person’s privacy. If you have no concerns about where your photo ends up and have been correctly analyzed, send me your picture and I’ll be glad to post it (email@example.com).
Some have said that Hanka can’t be a True Winter (article A Blonde True Winter), or that I am not a Winter of any sort.
With every respect, how in the world could you know? The computer you’re reading this on denies you every single tool you need to evaluate, or even accurately see, human colouring.
You don’t have a grayed environment. You have a busy background that influences colours. You could be reading on your phone on the subway.
Instead of accurate lights, you have whatever lighting the time of day requires and the room you’re in offers. We have no idea what any person looks like till you see them in full spectrum lighting. Students remark on how surprisingly much faces changes just by switching from overhead room lighting to properly placed full spec lights.
You don’t have access to skin in the photos on this site. They’re wearing makeup. I’m happy to post photos of women with no makeup if you’d like to send me yours, email address above.
You don’t have drapes. Or anything else for the skin to react to. Of the many companies out there offering PCA services, I would have to hope that if we agree on one thing, it’s that the ‘analysis’ part of PCA refers to the evaluation of simultaneous contrast effects. That word, contrast? By definition, it means between two things.
You don’t even have the person! Ever met anyone who looks exactly like their photo? I haven’t.
Easy to forget about the water. Until something ripples it.
Be careful about the medium. It inserts itself so subtly that we don’t even know it. Media isn’t selling truth. It’s selling the medium. It’s selling itself. The newspaper isn’t selling the news, it’s selling newspapers. Five newspapers have 5 different versions of the news. Only 1 thing happened. People are only 1 Season. But the newspaper changed what happened and we forget that it took up the space between us and the real event.
The lights, the gray room, their purpose is to null the medium, to cancel it back to Zero Effect, so it can’t distort our perceptions in the ways it so very much does.
The Real Basis of PCA
There’s one other thing you might not have. A grasp of what real PCA is actually measuring: colours under the skin in the capillary layer where the blood travels. The so-called undertone layer.
That is where the truth of your colours is expressed and consistent, despite surface changes like suntans. At the level of circulation. That’s what the drapes are reacting to. We’re biologically adapted to see through skin and are hugely sensitive to tiny incremental changes.
Humans are gifted with the ability to see through human skin to some degree, as Dr. Mark Changizi has demonstrated and described in his book, The Vision Revolution (discussed in 12Blueprints article Different PCA Systems, Different Results). A photo or a monitor only gives you the surface. That’s the limit of what it’s capable of. Only real human eyes, connected to a human brain, looking at directly at another living human is capable of see-through vision, or Xray vision, as Dr. Changizi calls it.
That’s why gadgets that take photos of the surface are quite limited, unless I have mistakenly reduced their scope and they are in fact contacting the lower levels of skin. Now, if it’s just a surface photo, this would follow a very different practice of colour analysis than mine. Never mind how many times each step of the software altered the colours between the gadget, the computers, and your eyes. About 4 to 8 times. Kind of hopeless.
When I’m sent photos, I place no faith at all what they show me. I don’t say much because the medium has utterly clouded my analyst’s eyes. I wish women would stop sending me photos. Besides, I don’t believe I’m here to do it for you. I am here to ignite it in you, show you how to do it for yourself, and bring it to your communities.
Surface acquaintance may be why little machines that match foundation did not work for me. Foundation must match surface and undertone. Dark Winter surface skin can appear quite yellow. True Summer skin can tan quite golden, but when analyzed correctly with accurate drapes, the person remains a True Summer. We’ve proven this to ourselves in the training courses, depending on the models we had for that session. The foundation that matches them remains very cool unless they are quite tanned.
Amazing what cameras and computers can do.
But, listen, seriously, nothing against your skill. Maybe you’re a genius. IDK what you know and don’t know. You might be fabulous. How would I know how current you are or how many clients you’ve draped with excellent drapes?
I just know the medium is dangerous and pointless. You don’t have access to the lower layers of the skin. So you’re sunk. You have absolutely no accurate data from which to draw conclusions. All I’m saying.
Averages, Meanings, and Old Formulas
So what do you have? All you’re left with are the stereotypes and the patterns to fall back on. That’s all this medium can give you. It took away everything else. You’re forced to use averages. The old, wrong conclusions. You look dark so you must be a Dark Season. These walls need to come down for us all to move forward.
By the way, forget the words, OK? Dark, Light. It’s not about whether you look dark. Has nothing to do with it. There are dark, medium, and light looking people in each of the 12 groups. Sure, Steve Jobs dark is not likely a Light Summer, but Maggie Gyllenhal is entirely plausible.
When someone decides you look dark, they’re looking at your hair and eyes. The old, wrong patterns again. Do you really see Steve’s skin as much darker than Maggie’s? Did you even think about their skin? Dr. Changizi has shown that humans don’t register healthy skin of the same race as having hardly any colour – an evolutionary adaptation that allows us to be wildly sensitive to the slightest changes, and a brilliant one.
It’s not about whether you wear dark. Nothing to do with it. Everybody has light, dark, and medium colours in their native colouring and in their colour analysis swatch palettes. Hanka is a very normal darkness level for a True Winter, seen it numerous times. So is Kim Kardashian. And they go lighter than that. And they can have red hair. And yellow in the eyes. If you haven’t seen that being draped, how could you say if I’m right or not? What if I said that in the photo of Hanka linked above, the yellow hair colour is dulling her skin, lip, and eye pigmentation and from that photo, nobody has any idea what she looks like or what her native colours are?
The meaning of those words refers to how those kinds of colours react to your skin. That’s it. Let your analyst worry about the words. I need you to put your attention in the right place, which is learning to match your swatch book in stores.
Does anyone see their skin as very different? His teeth are cooler. Her eyes are darker. Wait, looking at wrong things, back to skin tone. Well…I just don’t know what to say. How much has to do with different ages? Between men and women?
We all play the guessing game. It’s fun and interesting. A colour analyst can recognize the mind chatter, that it’s just a reaction, and can clear it out when the analysis begins. She has been taught to recognize the far bigger picture.
We’re stuck in ruts so deep we don’t even know it. We need comparisons. Many different ones. Like training any muscle, we must give our lazy perceptions lots of different relationships, shock them, force them to adapt. If they’re right, they better be ready to prove it before I tell anyone they’re a Season.
12 possible outcomes, equal probability of each.
The guessing is done. The lights go on. The draping begins. You get your answer.
1. Obviously Light and Bright Spring share the same parent Season, but I wondered how Summer/ Winter manifest their influence on the palettes and on the people?
The Light Spring palette contains a Summer touch, which alters the True Spring colours by doing what Summer does … it cools, softens, and lightens them.
Under the wave of Winter’s wand, Bright Spring is overall darker and goes to a much darker endpoint (the lightest to darkest range is very wide, getting close but not fully to pure white and black), and is strongly pigmented. Its heat level is the same as Light-Spring, meaning on the warm edge of neutral, where neutral is halfway between warm and cool.
I can see you there reading, thinking, “Yes, yes, I know all that. But how much does Summer cool, soften, and lighten True Spring?”
It’s impossible to describe verbally and is best understood by seeing it. You can see some pretty good approximations by searching ‘Season palettes’ on Pinterest, my new favourite hangout. I bring my iPad to bed. I’m like Harry Potter under the covers with his magic wand long after he should have been asleep. Scanning those pictures to add to the two boards, Shopping for YourSeason&Style and RealWoman Sex appeal, is addictive. Social media, ay? Once you find the right one, it owns you. Rachel, whom you’ll meet formally soon, is to personal line and shape analysis what I have been to personal colour analysis. We contribute to each item pinned from both perspectives. Very cool information, very cool way to shop.
The blue book over on the right, RTYNC, contains 28-colour layouts (also pretty good approximations) of the 12 groups to give you a sense of the jump in the colour dimensions from one group to the next. It also contains a lot more verbal description and analogy if you learn better that way.
How does Summer manifest in a Light Spring person? Even harder to nail down. The person does not usually have sharpness, which might mean in features (Julie Andrews’ nose and teeth) or character. See the woman wearing the pink dress in Polyvore 4? Could look about like that, though happier expression.
But where’s the line? What would you call sharp? Is teasing sharp because Lights have that? They can certainly have pointed chins, eyes, and teeth.
2. How do Summer and Winter’s presence come across in Bright Spring people?
Summer tends to create a person who is more aware and concerned of how others think and feel, but not always. Summer has great decency. In Winter, there may be less concern with saying what others want to hear and more emphasis on fairness, and that is decent too.
We could say that Summer contributes a pleasant, well-mannered character. Sounds watered down. Light Spring is by no means dilute. The person may be very talkative or quite spunky (as opposed to determined, more Autumn), which come in with Spring. That said, a Summer can talk, oh boy, as they work through ideas. They have plenty strong intentions, especially when they feel honour (not quite the same as Winter’s pride) lays in the balance.
As they learn the draping process, students are shown how to deliberately seek out the effects of the 4 True Seasons’ colours in the client’s face. Later, as the drape colours become more specific and the presence of certain Seasons may be much smaller, they remember those effects from the coarser level and can come back now and apply them on a finer scale. In the story that follows, how would Winter and Summer manifest in a person on a much finer scale (since, in 12 Season PCA, Light and Bright Spring contain a small amount of Summer and Winter, respectively – how small? Different in everyone. Some Light Springs have a lot of Summer, some much more Spring.)
Summer and Winter visit their friend, Dara*. Dara is trying a new Style in her clothing choices. Her husband, Ted*, has a successful sign-making business and they just built a new house. Winter sees the house and Dara’s clothes. She thinks, “Yeah, it’s a nice house. I might try those kinds of curtains. I’m not so sure of my Style type. I think I have more Yin and need rounder lines and more decoration. I’m being too minimalistic.” Winter goes home. She thinks and thinks and searches and thinks and studies pictures and makes her mother look at a thousand images on her phone (which the mother thinks all look the same but no way is she about to say so). Next time you see her, she’s added a silver chain. Had to take off the earrings and bracelet though, they were too much. Her clothes are about the same. You ask about her visit to Dara, “Her house is very nice. What else can I say? It’s her house, got nothing to do with me. I was impressed with her new clothing styles. She’s right about herself. I’m evolving my own style.” And you sit there thinking, “Is this a trick question?”
Summer calls you the day after the visit. “Dara’s house is so beautiful. She looked great, she always does. I hope she’ll be very happy there. Didn’t you feel so sad for her? (Winter is thinking, “Is this a trick question?”) Deep down, she despises that house. (Summer’s eyes are all big and round and teary, and she puts lots of feeling behind her words, especially despises.) Dara doesn’t enjoy it, she wishes they were back in the old house. All she can feel is Ted’s business taking him away from her all the time to pay for it. I’m just baking her some banana bread for the kids and taking her out to lunch later today.”
How does Winter manifest in Bright Spring? They hold themselves a little apart. Their feeling about the world and their place in it is more controlled. When Summer and you have a conversation, she’s nodding. She can hear how you feel. Winter is moving very little, conserving emotional output. Summer is using her hands. She is out of herself , thinking about she relates to you. She sent you the testimonials you asked for within a week of getting home :). From Winter, you’ll be waiting. She got home, went back right into own her head, and will think of you in terms of how you relate to her.
3. I heard the palettes are similar – do you see Light Spring as a lighter version of Bright at all?
They’re similar but just lightening Bright Spring won’t get you Light. Maybe fading Bright might do so with some complement and lightening it with some white. Light Spring is creamy, which gives it a frosted glass haze or milky glow that Bright Spring absolutely wouldn’t have. The Bright Spring windshield is crystal clear and the pigment concentration is dialed way up.
It’s like the difference between
Both warm-neutral to warm. The Bright (bottom) has icy colours. Light (top) doesn’t approach white. Note that neither image represents the whole palette nor what is possible with it.
4. Could they theoretically borrow any colours (even though this isn’t the best option)?
I’m glad that you asked this good question. I feel that I often answer Q wearing one of two hats and how are people expected to know which is on when?
You know how you fan out any swatch book and no colour is more or less than any other? Your attention is equally divided when the fan is opened up. They have equal visual energy. If you moved one of those Light Spring flowers into the Bright Spring bouquet, even if the colours were all pinks, it would get a little lost. You’d ignore it more. If that were the blouse, worn with a Bright Spring skirt, you’d be looking at the skirt.
If you lifted the butterfly onto the Light bouquet, it would be hard to see anything else. As when a Light wears a Bright’s lipstick. When palettes have a lot in common, as Light and Bright Spring, some colours will work well enough but others will be too prominent. The pinks might be quite comfortable and belonging but the yellows will jump out at you.
Wearing the first hat: In a theory situation, as the question states, such as during the training course, the answer is no. We learn how to place any colour, clothing, cosmetic, or any person, into one Season. The Q is, “Which 1 of the 12?”
#2 hat is worn when advising a woman shopping. She is using the system in another way. The only question she needs to work out is, “Me or Not Me?”
Each application is equally important. First, we learn the rules of the road and the driving laws. As drivers, we take shortcuts with a subconscious sense of where and when. The woman who understands her colour palette can discern which shortcuts are safe and logical and which will be unsuccessful. She’ll have a few fender benders along the way but at least she’s behind the wheel of her own car, taking herself where she decides to go.
Say you’re the woman shopping. Working through the compromises of the retail world might open up 5 more questions,
How close in colour is good enough? What kind of person am I on this subject?
How fast do I need to buy this item?
Am I spending $50 or $500?
Are the lines of the item so exceptional for me that I’m not passing it up on a little colour issue that will make hardly any difference. You can see examples of this on the Shopping for Your Style and Season board at Pinterest. (the link at the bottom of the R column on this page may take you there, but the website is having a mini nervous breakdown about weekly till it’s upgraded. The link is here too.)
Do I think the colour might be Light Spring and I know I’m a Bright but I think it looks great in this composition?
Is this an item that really could fit well into several Seasons, even according to uptight analysts like Christine? When I look at the Shopping for Your Season and Style board at Pinterest, most items are good in two or more groups. She must be wearing #2 hat. (You’re so right. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter. PCA is a life-transforming tool, like a driver’s license or a computer. I want that for you. Being too rigid means missing too many fantastic clothes.) In both hats, jewelry and makeup are definitely mobile in most cases. Many clothes too, if they’re not right up under the face or are in small real estate. Not every element needs to be perfect for the whole thing to harmonize very nicely. In many paintings, prints, and ensembles, the other colours help create the belonging.
5. Some of the warm pinks/apricots look similar – how do I know if I’m looking at Light or Bright Spring when choosing these colours?
You can think colour correctness to death and still get it wrong. I do. We all have to compare it to something. You can compare it to anything, a cosmetic, another item of clothing, a painting, a cushion.
Women who own their own Luxury Drapes (or a closet that is colour accurate) can place the item among the good colours and see if it holds its own, is more, or not enough. They’re full-sized drapes so it’s easy to see colours balance and energize. The article about those drapes is being moved to its own post, it will reappear soon.
Because these 2 colour groups share so much, to choose between them will require forcing the extreme that the other won’t tolerate. Light Spring’s muting will be Bright Spring biggest complaint, while Light Spring will ricochet back the other way when she sees the darkness of Bright. So compare to black. It’s dark and saturated. The booties on the bottom next to the perfume – the peach must be Winter influenced to be energetically equal to white and black. The yellow jacket, the same. There’s enough peach in the peach and yellow in the yellow to balance a lightness extreme (white) and a darkness and saturation one (black). These may be Bright Winter outfits because the white and black are not in Bright Spring colours, but they’re useful to judge the balance.
Some colours matter more than others. The peach coat (lower image) might be a little weak but it’s workable. Gray is good at becoming what’s around it. Jeans adapt pretty well if their darkness level is the same as the overall for that Season and they’re just blue. Red and green are less cooperative. Sometimes, it depends on the viewer. Some people are very sensitive to yellow. I am to orange. These colours are either right or not right, but there’s not much you can do about that.
How about the coral dress that appears in both layouts? Where is it energetically more even in the composition? Compare it to the bouquets as well. Is it perfect in either? Is it workable in one, both, or none?
Light Spring was looking all dreamy and holiday till I inserted that green purse. Is that item helping the nice feelings or is it taking over? Is everything around it washed out and falling back? That’s what a Light Spring woman looks like wearing Bright colours. She fades and drops – or, looks older and tired, like the Light Spring clothes next to the purse that look something that doesn’t feel good…. washed too many times…dirty…dull? The green looks aggressive plus it’s all you can see.
Neutral colours (beige, taupe) could be matched a little more closely for Spring where they can be a little blah, but they’re still versatile. Where Summer and Autumn wear these colours flexibly, and Summer and Winter can share some grays, Spring colouring wears colour colours more easily than beige and gray (IMO). Also, when we wear our neutrals, they tend to be in large block items. To excite the composition, neutrals with yellow, not muted orange (=earthy). The beige sweater in 4 (and the pants with the orange top in 3), I have no idea where it harmonizes but it works OK. Next to the very shiny necklace, the sweater isn’t looking dingy, clumsy, or chunky the way an green-beige or camel Autumn colour could on this woman. Both versions of the tights are great. Add colour somewhere!
Again, use black to judge belonging colours. Light Spring loses energy even faster than next to the green purse. Bright Spring gets close enough to black and the colours can balance black without losing ground. The woman in the pink dresss in 4 can hold her own with the earrings but you sense some conflict. Before reading this, you thought, “Why’d she put those earrings with that dress?” Because now you get to feel it. There were a million worse choices, but still, this is not settled. I could have wasted paragraphs.
Black is quite useful in the Bright Spring wardrobe:
to crisp edges of colour blocks, as the earrings with the mint blouse in 4,
to outline shapes in a thin black line, as in a print or colourblock, which gives a cartoon appearance that is so right on Gamine body shapes,
to darken the overall effect selectively without dulling, cooling, or darkening the colour blocks themselves,
to add Winter’s formality,
to slim this woman who can balance black, as the mint top and black skirt in 4, the colours are getting along fine, the black is a little strong but it doesn’t appear visually larger
Shopping Search engines are hugely helpful. Polyvore is great. A Light Summer asked recently where to find pants. At sites like Polyvore and Shopstyle, the retail world opens at your feet and it’s uncommon to find items sold out. They are a fantastic way to find your white items online. You want jeans that are a little on the green side? As a Light Spring, the answer is, “Sure do!” Give me 15 minutes. I’ll find you 5 pairs.
6. What do Light Spring colours look like on Bright Spring?
Weak. The way the creamy peach flower from the top photo would look next to the oranges in the bottom photo.
7. What does a Light Spring woman look like in Bright Spring clothes?
Forgettable. What happens to the Light Spring bouquet when the butterfly lands on it. Tired, like she’s having the life sucked out of her. All her sunshine glowing peaches and cream radiance is gone. Between her feet and the top of her head, all you see is clothes.
8. If I find an item that is very saturated and in the medium value range, which Seasons could be likely contenders? I keep getting stuck with colours like hot pink – thinking they look good due to being bright, but on closer inspection often too cool on me and don’t harmonize with the fan…
Very saturated could include the 3 Winter palettes and Bright Spring. True Spring doesn’t have hot pink.
9.a) The person who looks very wintery with dark hair and pale skin. What are the signs that she’s Bright Spring?
There are none other than how her skin reacts to the drapes. The women in the Polyvores could all be Bright Springs. Or some kind of Summer or Winter.
9. b) Should she do anything different with colours or combinations?
She probably sits closer to the cool side of her Bright Spring colouring, near the Bright Winter pigmentation. She many find that the cooler colours in cosmetics work better.
She should still wear the entire Bright Spring palette as clothing and jewelry. Those colours are all in her if the drapes measured her as Bright Spring.
I don’t get caught up on the contrast thing too much, I think it’s built into the palettes. Some women of this colouring may feel quite contrasting and prefer wider distance between lightest and darkest colours in their outfits. This woman may look (and feel) more Winter and use more jewel tones, icy lights, neutral colours, formality in apparel, and boldness in cosmetic application.
Here’s what I think about that coral dress from the top Polyvores. It is not beautiful in the Bright Spring group. The peach coat may not be perfect, nor the yellow shirt on the L side, but they don’t detract. The dress is dull and detracting. In the Light Spring composition, it feels better but it’s a light sink. Light should bounce out of a Light Spring palette like sunbeams, like Creamsicles. It should feel fresh, light, and happy. This dress is not what an apricot tulip would feel like. If you cover it up, the rest of the group gets better, so it’s detracting here too. Still a lovely dress. Might be just the photo, might be an Autumn colour, this is what PCA from photos is like. No idea where this item would fit and would need to try it IRL to be sure.