I would have been so happy if our training with Amanda and her lovely fellow student had gone on for weeks. Her aptitude for colour analysis is extremely high. In her person, she combines glamour, energy, optimism, perfectionism, targeted intelligence, and natural friendliness.
So strongly do I believe that waiting on a dream just pushes it further away that I align instantly with people who move to make dreams real despite obstacles. Amanda arrived here with her baby, Milo, and baby genius Mom, Phyllis. Every few hours, Milo and Phyllis would appear at the door so Milo could be fed. The course would not have been the same without them. I could write a page about how beautiful, grounded, supportive, and stabilizing Phyllis’ presence was for all of us in that week. Allow me to introduce these beautiful people whom I hold so dear. Here are Amanda’s beautiful Dark Autumn Mom and baby, Season yet unknown.
Before the course, I say to students that I hope they have been analyzed into several different Seasons. I hope that they have encountered great difficulties in getting the previous PCA to work for them. Only then can they be sensitive to the many kinds of support that will help their clients in those moments. By having traveled this road, Amanda brings the following to her client,
I definitely have a heart for anticipating those who are a bit unexpected in their palettes, and figuring out how to be of service to them. I want to make sure I also address apparent warmth/coolness/hue to their skin’s overtone, as well as anything notable about eye/hair color, and clarity/mutedness within their season… painting a unique masterpiece with each person in that season.
It is exciting when women of Amanda’s generation join the PCA industry. In bringing science-backed, evidence-based colour analysis to their communities, they become role models and advocates for modern methods, equipment, and belief systems that have taken giant strides forward, even in the past year. From the moment we met and still today, one word resonates in my head about Amanda as a person and as a colour analyst: brilliant.
Hi! I wish I could sit down with each one of you and chat over coffee or tea, but as we are such a geographically diverse group, this will have to do, right? Here’s my story of discovering my colors, and finding myself a certified color analyst in the process!
I was first introduced to the concept of four season color analysis through my mom’s Color Me Beautiful book, which I stumbled upon in elementary school. I felt an instant connection to the idea that different people should wear different colors, even as a kid, being a very visually sensitive person. My precocious young self determined that with my pinkish fair skin, light blue eyes, and blond hair, I had to be a Summer. I struggled with insecurities about my physical appearance as I fumbled through adolescence, as so many of us do, and I never felt like I had much “oomph” in the Summer colors that I tried to wear- but figured in my teenaged despondency that I was just a person without much pizzazz anyway.
During my later years of high school and increasingly throughout my time in college, I became more exploratory with what I wore, including with colors, and the color analysis concept gradually faded from my mind. As a college student, I loved going to local thrift stores and discount shops, stretching my meager income to come up with creative outfits for school, social events, and dates. I dyed my hair several times in tones from red to brown, and even to black, and probably had multiple outfits from each of the 12 seasons! I did notice that unfortunate things would happen to my skin when I wore extremely muted colors, so I learned to avoid those.
Fast-forward a few years- I’d gotten married to the love of my life, and had quit my full-time office job to stay home with our firstborn, and for some reason color analysis popped back into my head. Maybe I was needing to feel more centered while dealing with a child in the terrible twos! Google led me to Christine’s website, and I was intrigued to learn that the four season concept had been expanded into a twelve-tone system by some who found it a more accurate way to analyze human coloring. I read everything I could about what had been going on in color analysis during my many years of hiatus! I eventually became convinced that the 12 season approach, particularly the Sci Art method, made a lot of sense, offering a visual precision and objectivity that deeply appealed to me.
Here I am with my hubby and our sons. My husband is a True Winter, and he loves pictures in black and white- makes sense to those of us who are color geeks, right?
At that point, there were two things that I knew I needed to do. First, I needed to have a PCA to experience it for myself and figure out which season I was (I know many of you reading have felt that pull!). Second, I knew that it might be a possible career option for me, as I had long been interested in doing something professionally that required visual precision and artistry. My PCA appointment finally came, and my husband and I traveled a couple of hours together to a Sci Art analyst. I went into it guessing that I could be a Light Summer, but had the eye-opening experience of discovering that I was a Bright Winter. I left the appointment feeling convinced of the result, but also quite shocked! I was thrilled to finally know my colors, and found a lot of new clothing and makeup that felt great to wear, but I did hit a couple of speed-bumps in adjusting to my palette. As I shopped for new outfits, I found it difficult to get the visual balance right, being a somewhat light-haired and light-eyed person with a palette containing a lot of dark colors. I also felt off in many of the prints and garment lines that I would find in Bright Winter colors, which felt discouraging. Born out of this dilemma, I began looking into the concepts of body types and body lines, and began to suspect that therein was my answer. Around the same time, Christine began to post about color and body lines frequently on her blog, to my great delight! I saw Sci Art color analysis working so well for many people, and found the science behind it to be very sound, so I decided that I would look into training with Christine if she ever opened the opportunity, knowing she had the expertise to help me resolve my questions before sending me out to help people with theirs.
Lo and behold, I was six months pregnant with my second child when I heard that Christine was beginning to offer training. I treasure the memory of sitting in one of my favorite coffee shops with my husband, and opening my laptop in front of my already quite pregnant tummy to discover the news. He reached over and told me I had to do it- what a keeper! Along with my husband’s support, I received a lot of encouragement from family and friends as I made plans for my new venture. I think they were all relieved that I was finally doing something with color analysis, after a couple of years of talking their ears off about it! I decided to make the trip from my home in Southern California to Canada when my youngest son would be about six months old, and my mom agreed to come with me so I could bring the baby to training, which is one of the kindest things anyone has ever done for me.
On the plane!
Our unlikely trio made it safely to Canada in August 2013, and thus began one of the most intense but fulfilling weeks of my life. Although we as students had read an extensive training manual before arriving, nothing could compare to actually doing PCA’s with a woman who has dedicated a great deal of her time, energy, and notable intellect to becoming one of the world’s experts in this field. My fellow student and I learned to see for ourselves the subtle skin reactions and definition of facial features on which PCA hinges, while simultaneously developing our right-brained, gut reaction to the whole picture of the client in front of us. Not only were we acquiring the skill to get the season right, we also were experiencing the very human side of PCA, with each client bringing their own unique beauty and story to tell. I went into training suspecting that I might fall in love with this PCA thing, but I underestimated how deeply it would affect me to actually meet people and be a small part of their stories. I cling to the belief that humans have inherent dignity and worth, and here I was, learning a fascinating way to affirm that each person is worth something, just as they are. Sure, we are just talking about colors here, but if I know one thing about humans, it’s that we’re complicated. Sometimes an indirect approach can play a part in getting the message through to us that we really do matter.
Lest I leave you hanging, Christine did help me with my questions. I didn’t tell her the result of my first draping, and during my PCA with her, which also resulted in Bright Winter, I made sure I could embrace the result without a single doubt left in my mind. Christine provided a helpful objective voice not only in helping me see myself as a Bright Winter, but also by affirming my suspicions about my physical delicacy, curviness, and gentle appearance, which just couldn’t gel with a lot of my shopping finds. I started to accept that, for example, dark matte lipsticks and very linear patterns or shapes don’t make visual sense on me even when they match my palette, because of my body lines. Each of us has our own way to use the colors in our palette, and it will be as individual as our fingerprints, voice, and laugh.
Since I’ve been home, I have settled into how I fit in the Bright Winter palette with a great deal of enjoyment, and I am very passionate about helping my clients understand how they fit uniquely into their palettes too. To serve my color clients who desire greater understanding of their body lines and development of their personal style, I am currently building a stylist portfolio and can customize a style appointment upon request (in-person only). Keep your eyes out for my style blog featuring a 12 season approach to fashion- it’s in the works! I have seen almost 30 PCA clients since I was certified, and I am so thrilled to be able to offer color analysis in my community. I believe that this is a service that can benefit everyone, and I hope it becomes something as standard as getting a haircut! Self-knowledge is so powerful in both internal and external matters, and sometimes a gain on one of those sides of the equation affects the other side positively too. Being attuned to which colors enhance your unique personal power and attractiveness is a confidence boost that we all can use. Becoming a more informed and selective shopper with a wardrobe you love sure doesn’t hurt either!
Thank you so much for reading this. Being a part of the color community has been life-changing for me, and each one of you adds something special to the ongoing conversation of understanding our colors and ourselves. Thank you as well to my husband, family, and friends- I wouldn’t be writing any of this without the way you’ve cheered me on.
Here is some practical info for those who are in my area. My studio is located in my home in Southern California, convenient for clients in the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego, as well as surrounding counties. My standard PCA appointment offers:
-a few opening questions from me about you and what brings you in as a client
-an intro to PCA and the color theory behind it
-a color analysis in the Sci Art method as taught by Christine Scaman, using official 12 Blueprints test drapes
-makeup application and tutorial for female clients, discussing colors as well as finish, and how to enhance your own unique features with your palette
-photo opportunity with drapes and color fan
-discussion of shopping with your color fan, including color harmonizing, swatching makeup, and how to determine if a pattern works with your palette
-conversation about any factors about your coloring that may influence your individual use of the palette
-time for questions- this is your opportunity to ask about anything from hair color, to the lipstick and dress you already bought for an upcoming event (I have had clients bring in items that they have burning questions about, which I welcome!)
-follow-up support with outfit ideas in your palette sent via Pinterest, as well as my continuing availability through email
My website is amandarobertscolor.com, and email is amandarobertscolor at gmail.com. My website also connects to my Pinterest and Instagram accounts for my business if you’d like to follow me. I have boards for each of the 12 seasons on Pinterest. I welcome your questions, and look forward to hearing from you if I can be of service in any way!
The lighter and brighter colours for Dark Winter are presented today.
Why call the Season Dark? It’s a source of confusion because it so easily gives rise to misinterpretation, almost forcing the idea of a certain appearance.
I’m certainly guilty of using formulas in writing to try to come up with word pictures. Most industries have those “It looks like…” and “Most…” analogies to help students understand and to share experience.
“Dramatic body types look like a statue.” (my invention)
“Most dogs with slipped discs that can still wag their tail will walk again.”
Yes, of course, some don’t. What’s a teacher to do? People want the learning from real life stories, pictures, and questions, but not theirs, even though theirs are far better than anything I can come up with. We find ourselves speaking in terms of bell curves. There will always be those who fall outside them.
What Really Matters: Do not let stereotypes, formulas, or “You look like a…” anywhere near the analysis process itself.
For the Dark Season colouring, the idea exists that the person has to look dark. Not so. I don’t. I could never get those belief systems to work when I tried to apply them to real people.
That they have to wear all dark colours. No. They could and look better than other types of colouring but who’s going to do that every day and be the best version of themselves? After a week of it, people will start ignoring your clothes for always being the same.
It has to be called something. Dark, Bright, Light, etc, are historical terms in the PCA industry, dating back to I know not when or whom.
Should we change the word? No, I propose that we change the definition instead. Take the word Season. One could say that it’s outdated and not self-explanatory. Maybe, but it is recognizable in the natural world, short, spell-able, search-able, familiar, understandable (which does the public understand more correctly about a colour, ‘value’ or ‘darkness’?) and lots of other good things. We just need to take its meaning as ‘group of natural colouring’. There won’t be one single perfect in every way terminology. Much more needs doing than re-inventing a wheel.
For Dark, Bright, etc., I make an argument in this way: I am of the belief that we cannot know which of the 3 dimensions of colour (light/dark, warm/cool, soft/bright) will matter the most on a person’s colouring merely by looking at them. There is no medium-medium-medium person. There will be 2 dimensions that are medium, or close, and 1 that will be more High/Low. Because we cannot judge the heat level or saturation of other people, we over-emphasize the importance of their darkness. Or else, we merge darkness level with saturation, since, when we imagine a saturated colour, we also tend to darken it. All persons must be draped, but even with excellent drapes, it can be difficult.
All of our faces are in perfect colour equilibrium by Nature. We see this perfectly tuned balance in every person and since nothing looks out of place, we assume that everything is medium. This is why folks are mystified when they’ve been analyzed as a Soft Summer and a Bright Winter. How could that be? Aren’t they opposites? Just because they lie opposite one another on a colour clock graphic doesn’t mean that they’re opposite. Those clocks are like a map. Are Vancouver and Montreal opposite? Yes and no. Depends what the question is asking. Both cities are the same for being Canadian. Soft Summer and Bright Winter faces are the same for being as perfectly balanced as every face is.
Even speaking theoretically, they’re not opposite. In fact, they have some dimensions in opposition and some very similar when the colours are measured. Both are cool neutrals and both are medium-dark. That’s a big amount of similarity. Where they differ is saturation, the hardest one to judge. But you must know how to measure, and how to measure the 3 dimensions independently because that’s how they are set in our colouring. The 3 don’t go up or down together.
On a Dark Season, the High/Low is value of colour. On the Low value side, when a colour is darker, whether its warmth and brightness drift a little up and down doesn’t matter too much. The harmonic correlation remains quite agreeable as long as colour is dark. Value is the thing about them that is not medium. In True Summer drapes, a Dark Winter can be truly weak until the colour becomes darker. Then the skin gets along. It finds a little muting that it likes, a trace of warmth (compared to True Winter) that feels right, and its beloved darkness. We see this again as we progress through the darkness levels of the Red Drapes. They never get too dark.
The opposite is true too. On the High value side, when a colour is light, it’s either right or the person is a washout. It can be hard to read the lightest level of Red Drapes because the skin says, “Meh, meh, and meh.” since none of the colours belongs to Dark Winter in that set of drapes. An analyst who knows how to read the Red Drapes, which are very different in their interpretation than the other drapes, gets along just fine.
Could a person be medium-high-high on the 3 colour scales? I’ve seen fabric would be close. Humans are not coloured with the same pigments as textiles so I don’t know if the same rules apply. Nature is a chemistry set of unlimited possibility and I’m certain that these people exist. I also do not know if human pigment genetics must follow the rules of Munsell (or any) colour space, which are human constructs – but they’re human constructs about colour relationships where certain rules always apply. Blue does get darker as it gets more saturated.
Anyhow, I do know that in science and in PCA, how it looks is not data. If it were, the Earth would still be flat. We must measure something and know how to read our rulers.
I seem to always wear the colours from the light to center sections of my fan. I don’t understand why the darkest of the Dark Autumn colors, especially the purples, seem to drain me.
If the dark colours being chosen are a bit too blue, which happens easily with purple, this will make shadows darker. We all have a native, normal shadow colour. If it’s distorted, as by making it too blue, the effect will not be flattering.
If the dark colours being chosen are less saturated than the lighter colours being worn, the darks might not be preferred, despite being a Dark Season. Depending on the person, Dark Autumn will not have the best quality of complexion in True Autumn saturation. With 2 dimensions (value and saturation) that can be on or off, the mix and match possibilities of what’s really the problem are bigger.
Lightness and clarity can appear to add some lift in many women, which is why so many of them get put into Spring. An untrained eye might see this and forget to take into account all the other factors.
Most of us tend to wear colours from the center of the fan. They’re easiest to be aware of. If your eyes are used to seeing you in these, they may have trouble making an objective assessment of darker colours.
If pre-PCA, you believed yourself to be a lighter Season, it may take time to become accustomed to the power of the darkness (no puns of any sort). Darkness resonates strongly here. It sends a special message on this colouring more than any other. Amazing how long it takes to fully step into and claim our own power. We find all sorts of reasons why it shouldn’t be so.
I would love to see a post on using the cool, heavy, regal colors in a climate that’s melting with heat and humidity.
Dark Winter is like True Winter but a little warmer and duller, but not as much as if it were done in newsprint. To me, it looks more warmer than duller, but I’m no better at judging these little increments than anyone else.
There are a lot of neutrals in these Polyvores, because I like them on this colouring. I find them great in summer and to offset the ‘colour colours’, and far more interesting against summer backgrounds than winter backgrounds. The contrast between summertime and the “heavy and regal” is even more pronounced, which feels a little exciting.
Remember that we haven’t accessorized anything yet. Shoes, bags, jewelry can all add as much or as little colour as you like.
Many skirts and dresses. Colours and prints feel better here than in pants. I’m not a purple pants person, though anybody could be, especially a Gamine. White pants, ditto. Jacqueline Kennedy had white Capris that were good with her black T-shirt, huge glasses, and scarf.
The overall darkness level is up to you. My eyes prefer an overall medium to dark totality over an all light one. The coral dress in 4 below is as light as I’d go for an head to toe level (picture it on a B&W TV). The light pants and colour-blocked gray top in the bottom left of 4 is too light. The model wears it well enough but I doubt that her native darkness level is that of Dark Winter. Nor do I think her inherent heat level is of the same type, level, or both, as Dark Winter.
When we train a colour analyst, the student learns to look at the image in the mirror in terms of 3 distinct dimensions. You could try this too. Don’t compare an person and their clothing and think in terms of Seasons. It’s way too convoluted. Think, “Would I adjust the darkness?”, “Does the warmth level feel like a match?”, and “How do I feel about the clarity?” as 3 separate questions.
The navy and dark brown in the 12-Tone palette are near black, fine colours but not a first choice in high humidity. I’m very partial to the dark tobacco colour as a neutral, even in hot weather, maybe because it’s jungly. Love it with yellow as the dress and the skort/tank set in 4 below.
The blue/yellow/pink dress at the bottom left of 5 feels pretty good. I’m not sure it would be DW but it could be.
The strapless blue dress on the left side may be True Winter. Some Dark Winters are a little cooler. The graying and darkness of the skirt section help, compared to the entire dress being made of the bodice fabric.
At the center top of 5, the sleeveless top with tie might be Soft Summer. It’s dark enough, but dark and dusty, whereas a Winter is dark and saturated. Won’t matter. Dark Winter skin has a lot in common with Soft Summer. The contrast in the skort is Winter or close enough, and the top will balance Winter accessories. Some Dark Winters are a little softer.
Below, a few work outfits. In warm climates, people can’t possibly wear all black to work to work, can they? If I lived in a warm place, I bet I’d wear more shine in fabric.
The flowered skirt is interesting. It shows how similar Dark Winter and True Summer are, but when an item goes to black, the True Summer person will lose energy. I pondered whether it was True Summer, in which case the black would be too strong next to the other colours, but I find it pretty well balanced. The black is in smaller areas – a nice way for the Darks and Brights to get black in their wardrobe without being overtaken by it.
You are about to take a personal journey with Danish author, Anne-Cathrine Riebnitzsky. I know that many readers will find familiarity in her experiences and feelings. I am very grateful to Anne-Cathrine for discussing personal colour analysis from the one side that matters most: the client’s.
I self diagnosed as a Winter in the 90ies after reading the book “Colour Me Beautiful.” I was 15 or 16. There were only four seasons then. My internal feeling was that I was a Winter. I was a bit sorry that the beautiful strong colours of Spring couldn’t be mine as well, but in my heart I never had any real doubts. A Winter I was.
I followed the idea of Winter to the best of my ability but gradually swayed in other colour directions too. The years passed and I thought less about colours.
One day probably about 5 years ago, I tried on a beige item and noticed how my skin was completely even. Most people who knew just a bit about colour would often comment on my “warm green eyes” and I had begun to suspect that perhaps I was an Autumn instead. The beige colour had me puzzled … now I did not know what I know today. I was unable to see the whole picture. And moreover it turned out that I am one difficult woman to analyse.
This beige colour became the beginning of a long journey hunting for my true season. Here I discovered how much had happened to the world of colour analysis since the 90ies. I discovered Christine’s wonderful blog and many other sites. I became quite absorbed with colours as a new hobby.
Lesson no. 1: Even and “perfect” skin is not the same as your face looking like the colour you are wearing. Believe me – you will be misled if you go down this road. Even and perfect skin is something entirely different. It is you glowing in a way you had not foreseen, and unless you are fortunate enough to already know your colours you may actually never have seen this face before no matter how often you stare in the mirror.
The first analysis
I tried to analyse myself. That is really difficult to do. I finally flew to another European city to have an in person analysis. I was desperately hoping to be a Bright Spring. Those were the most beautiful colours to my eye at the time. Second would be Bright Winter. The worst would be Soft Summer because I couldn’t associate with the colours – though I actually owned numerous pieces that were soft.
The analyst was Sci/ART trained – this was the system that to my rather systematic mind made the most sense. There are multitudes of colours and many that suit us, but the whole measuring process is to my mind the key to opening the door of the vast house which is your season and which you will only feel at home in if you have in fact opened a house which is your house.
From the first four drapes it was clear that black and silver were best. There was no doubt I could wear black. This was something I had questioned myself, and I was glad to get this confirmed. We moved through the many drapes. I was difficult. Provoking a bad reaction to my skin is not easy. The warm drapes are the only ones were it is really easy to see. From there it is a slow game. We slowly exhausted the possibilities – almost all of them.
We actually ran out of time. But we agreed on Bright Spring – though one of the drapes was actually too strong and there was a reflection from the skin on my chin. I was happy with the result. And also quite aware that I had actually pushed for something which might not be the accurate truth. Unfortunately I had to fly back the next day and my analyst had an appointment so we were out of time.
Lesson no. 2: Make sure you have plenty of time for an analysis. Perhaps you are really easy. But perhaps you are not. It may take five hours. How long it takes is not important. Getting it right is important.
Lesson no. 3: Do not try to force your analyst or manipulate her. They are human beings too. Be accurate about this. Try to observe what really happens in the mirror – not what you would like to happen. Difficult, but necessary.
Correction by shopping
It so happened that I wore the Bright Spring colours quite well – however eventually my mistake caught up with me, as I bought a turquoise blouse which was an exact match to the fan – but which also shone off from the skin under my chin. Exactly as the one drape had done in the test.
I was back to square one somehow.
I flew to another European city to have my second test. Also by a Sci/ART analyst. I told the analyst in advance of my previous history. She sat me down and looked at the first four drapes. I could still wear black and silver equally well.
Here is the hard part for you: If you were an analyst and a client walked in and said that she had discovered she wasn’t a Bright Spring after all, where would you go? What would you assume?
This analysis moved forward speedily. Very fast – faster than I could understand – I was a Soft Summer. The season whose colours felt most wrong for me. But I had promised myself not to try to sway any analyst ever again. I had promised my self that whatever the outcome I would try it, live with it, and do my best to accept it.
The worst part of this analysis was that I didn’t see nor understand what the decisions were based upon. I couldn’t in any way see how those drapes enhanced me. Only the last two drapes could I see. The pine green was actually intensifying my eyes like it is supposed to. The dark blue did something to my hair.
The whole thing took less than two hours including makeup. Off I was and the analyst went on to the numerous other clients at hand that day. I went outside into a park and sat down and cried. I know it sounds ridiculous and that this would probably not happen to you. You would have walked straight back and told her to redo the whole thing. Well, I didn’t. I flew home and lived in Soft Summer for 18 straight months. I hated the colours. The compliments stopped. I felt kind of depressed. But I am a diligent person. I am a perfectionist and I actually do not care what I have to put myself through once I have decided upon something.
It was incredibly difficult for me to make an outfit work – though it is supposed to be easy in this season where the underlying grey combine all the colours. It was a struggle for me. I had the palette lying open on my desk to try to get to know and like the colours. I could get myself to like the darker colours, but the light ones didn’t mean anything to me.
Lesson no. 4: You should not have to struggle so hard! Some may be surprised by their palette. But really – if you have tried living in a season and it still feels wrong, then there is probably something wrong. Colours are energy. If you live in the wrong house it is going to feel complicated hard and wrong and probably depressing. I am not with the people who say that this is not exact science. Well – in a way it is. Colours can be measured quite accurately. And you should look more than just “kind, relaxed, well” – you should look remarkable.
Elea Blake makeup
I bought some of the make up for soft summer from Elea Blake – here I received the first confirmation, that Soft Summer might not be true after all. The darker choices in eye makeup were fine. But the skin make up was a puzzle. None of them worked. As in NONE. They all looked like something that had been smeared on top of my skin. They would not blend.
Knowing that Dark Winter and Soft Summer can sometimes share some colours I bought some small samples of DW makeup. Those worked a lot better. This new information rumbled in my mind.
Lesson no. 5: If you really are searching for your season and you truly cannot in anyway find the means to go and have a test, then see if you can narrow your options down. Write to Elea Blake and order the small samples of skin make-up. It could give you a good hint. I believe it is more accurate than lip draping. These products are very precisely composed. My personal belief is that at least 3 or 4 of the skin colours should suit you if you are in that particular season. I may be wrong, I am no expert – this is just my own personal experience.
Sitting next to a real Soft Summer
In the summer 2013, I participated in a congress for creative writers. I remember this moment distinctly. I was sitting next to a woman with silver hair and beautiful hazel eyes – quite like my own. She was the most stunning person in the room. We all looked at her from time to time. Never had any silver haired woman in her 50ies looked so beautiful. We were many young people – but none as beautiful as her. I knew she was a Soft Summer. She wore Soft Summer. She had never been analysed but she knew her colouring and she combined them in a way that could not possibly have made me look the least bit interesting. I remember the exquisite earrings in green and purple mother of pearl, her lilac blouse, the soft pink lip. That did it for me. I was no Soft Summer no matter how hard I tried.
On line analysis
During my whole journey I had two online tests where I sent a lot of photos – one said Bright Spring, one said True Summer bordering with Soft Summer. The latter was followed by a makeover done on a photo of my face. I strongly disliked the look of it. I had no idea who the woman on the photo was – I understand that the photo to begin with was me – but I couldn’t recognize the woman as me.
Today I look at the questionnaires that were designed to help those analysts make a decision. Well … let it suffice to say I cannot recommend it.
I gave up on the whole thing. I couldn’t work it out. It was a relief to put on a black T-shirt – both emotionally and physically. I believe most people actually can feel the effects of colours. Even hospitals use colours.
I went with what I felt, bought a Dark Winter fan and noticed a big improvement.
A small miracle
By chance I noticed that one of Christine’s newly trained analysts was a Dane. I had seen her name before and contacted her via Facebook. I warned her that I was difficult to test and that I didn’t know which way to go now. Except I probably was some kind of Winter. At least some kind of cool or cool-neutral season. Or perhaps I was something else. Probably not a warm.
We agreed on a date. Anette was eager yet admitted being a bit nervous since I would be one of her first real clients. She said I wouldn’t have to pay if we couldn’t figure it out – which was nice of her and took some pressure of, though admittedly by now my life had changed so much that the cost was less of a concern.
Anette had blocked the whole day for just my analysis. She said she was looking forward to learn too.
The draping began. I was fortunate enough to not have any trace of colour in my hair (I have always found it difficult to strike anything that would look natural).
The first four drapes showed what I already knew. I could wear black and wear it remarkably well. Warm colours were not so good. I actually felt unwell wearing those colours. We made due note of what bad effects looked like in my face.
I have many different colours in my eyes. I have dark hair. I balance a lot of dark and cool colours. We moved forward slowly. I had explained that it was vital for me to understand and see with my own eyes what was a good drape and what was a bad drape. We got rid of the warm seasons quickly. The obvious ones. Then we moved on. Anette kept saying – well, this is not bad, but I believe you can look a lot better. This hope carried us on and on and on.
The biggest surprise for me was that beyond the true warm seasons, my worst colours were from Light Spring and Light Summer. There were a couple of turquoises there that were so harsh and strong and “unbelonging” on me that it took me by surprise.
So what about Soft Summer then? Well this is actually not my worst season. I completely understand that I could be put in that season though it is very far from what I really am.
Once we finally moved into the 3 Winters we knew we had it. My eyes cleared. I did not know that the white in my eyes actually can become really white. I had not seen this for so long I thought it had disappeared with age. The bit of my hair that was visible shone with a depth that was really becoming. Winter it was. We just didn’t know which one. It was very difficult. I span a lot of colours. I span a lot of coolness.
By comparing all the blues we finally discovered that it was not Dark winter. I became slightly fussy around the chin. So more colour then. More intensity. Though DWs reds were beautiful on me.
In the end we settled with True Winter, but not entirely sure. We decided I would have to come back another day. We were both exhausted. It had taken about 5 hours.
I drove home excited. After all this was actually still a huge success for me. I was now down to two beautiful seasons which I both really liked and which also made me look more stunning than I had seen in years.
Lesson no. 6: There is no such equations as “I look terrible in Soft Summer ergo I must be a Bright Winter.” You worst is not necessarily straight across the wheel of seasons. It could be only a few seasons away.
Second visit – the final result
I lived in and with True Winter. Colours that are hard to find when shopping, so I didn’t find that much new stuff – but clear white was easy to find and really good. Black was good. I dyed some old faded jeans and some old dresses. I knew enough about material from reading Christine’s many articles and from intelligent people who comment those articles, to know that cotton and soft fluffy surfaces weren’t going to hit it right with a Winter – but the black jeans work well. I never really liked cotton much anyway – it is easy to wash, but there my interest stops. Cotton fades really fast compared to plastic, satin, silk and shiny leather.
Black mascara was good. Again I had really good help from the little samples from Elea Blake. Unfortunately I had only ordered True Winter – but still this helped. The samples of skin makeup and lipstick were a great help. I noticed that some of them turned me a little pale and “deadly grey” around my mouth. A sign that these colours might be a bit too cool. Anette wrote to say she had noticed a bit of quietness in the true winter drapes which she wasn’t sure was right. But then we had a few of the Bright Winter luxury drapes that we were not entirely sure about. Were they too much? Too warm? Anette and I wrote many emails back and forth.
Anette and I had not had time to get around to makeup during the draping session. For the next visit I decided to wear mascara and my usual eyeliner which is black. I know it may sound hard but black doesn’t look hard on me. It is the only colour that doesn’t turn the lower rim of my eyes red.
The makeup actually helped in this case. It also helped a lot that we were now down to two seasons – our eyes were fresh and ready. I was a Bright Winter as I had slowly come to suspect.
There may be many more Brights out there who like me actually do not look too bad in colours that are not theirs. They just do not look as smashing as they would in their true colours. I think the reason is that Bright can take so much colour – and therefore you would have to be severely off on more than one dimension to look really bad. But I also think that these are the seasons who more often than not look a lot less beautiful than they could.
Looking back I now understand why evening gowns always have been so easy for me. 1. I would never go to a big party without makeup (and makeup greatly enhance winters). 2. Gowns are often in bright colours and often in shiny material which is a real winner on me.
I am still adjusting. I am still feeling the energy of this season. But I have come home. I got to see with my own eyes what my season really is. I understood what I saw. I love the colours. I also now know that there are colours out there in the world which are brighter than any human colouring – but 99% of the time I have to focus on getting the colours bright and clear enough. I have come home.
I remember how Bright Spring always made me feel a bit exhausted – like the energy was a bit too high for me. I felt a bit serious and stern in True Winter. Bright Winter is wonderful. It is enhancing, asking me to be what I am and to not shrink back in fear. Bright Winter is asking me to be bold, to be me, to be all of me – and in doing so allowing others to be all of who they are.
Sometimes I am wearing an outfit that is not quite enough. Not enough sharpness of colour, not enough contrast. It feels a bit boring, a bit like “come on you can hit the mark, so be your best” – so I make adjustments. It is not at all difficult for me to combine these colours. Not at all. It comes naturally. Black pants and a blouse in a strong colour – easy! Lipstick, black mascara – easy.
I use the advice from the article about the makeup for Winters. I don’t fade or remove anything till eyes, lips, and blush are all there. I do my shopping carefully. I make a list of what I need and I do not compromise – not in colours, not in lines. It is not that hard really. It just takes a bit more patience than what is natural for me – but the effort is well worth it.
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.
First, body lines and how they matter as much as colour (or almost :)) in a final image.
I send out a newsletter to my clients containing items from the retail world that show the colours of that Season, with talk of how it beautifies that particular group of natural colouring. With every new issue, I worry that women will see it as an endorsement of every item for every person. I feel responsible when I see a tall, stiff body dressed in draping clothes that just look floppy and clingy. I’m thinking that I need a new format. Body line is taken into big consideration when I shop for me. So should it be when I shop for you.
Second thing bugging me a bit. I wrote RTYNC 2 years ago (blue book, right column). There, I began understanding the language of the 12 Seasons (Seasons means types of colouring that humans can be organized into), and how all five senses are invoked in our perception of colour. The problem became that folks tried to fit themselves into those categories instead relying more on a complete and thorough draping process. If you’re a dramatic, intense Light Spring, then you are.
I’d hear, “I was draped as a True Winter but I’m not dramatic, so should I wear Summer colours? Maybe I’m not a Winter?” If you’re a Winter dressing as Summer, you look weak. Many Summers can take a fair bit of saturation, beyond the swatch books probably, but they are not Winters and nor are Winters Summers.
Softer True Winter
I guess my question is, how in the world can one come to terms with feeling, being and acting more like an autumn, but being draped as a True Winter?? I don’t feel like the dramatic that I am supposed to be as a winter. I also have salt & pepper hair, so I feel like I am softer somehow and really wish there was a “soft winter” category. I do feel like with my graying hair, I have a softer look to me and am worried that I will look harsh with stronger make up. What can you suggest for someone like me? Is there anyway to wear softer winter colors without looking completely off? I do wish there were more examples of gray haired winters out there.
Elizabeth Taylor (probably a Bright Winter).
Stacy London (probably True Winter).
Or Google “gray hair women” and see the many fantastic Pinterest collections, like this one.
The minute I or anyone else writes something about the Seasons, it becomes a pigeonhole that gets propagated all over the place. If you find your whole person as you know her, or as anyone else knows her, inside a book, you’re among the rare.
The drama with True Winter is a typecast. I have never seen one where it’s absent, but it’s not obvious. Some are fiercely loyal, will take the car to drive their friend to Emerg if her brother takes sick, stay up all night with the family, and create lots of conflict when you suggest that someone needed that car to get to work. They live in a body like Pink’s and wear off-the-shoulder sweaters and leggings and carry gym bags instead of purses, though they have a penchant for chandelier earrings.
Some are intensely dedicated promoters, requesting that you mail them boxes of your business cards because they’re giving them out like candy. They’re 65 and not interested in theater of any sort, prefer practical clothes and a little gloss and blush only, but they know what they like and don’t mind saying what a person might not want to hear. Winter is very brave. This one has the body of TV Mom. The face looks casual and kind, though the eyes look at things with intensity. She wears pearls and traditional femininity; nice classic suits for the office, small dangle earrings. Black, white, and red together are too bold for her taste.
Some can be very harsh except about their own needs, extreme, and a little revenge oriented. They will do a Beyonce lemon juice fast for a week and eat a whole ice cream cake on Saturday. Their drama is to exaggerate their social behaviour with friends as much as the intensity of their alone time, feeling pulled apart without both. Outward drama is expressed as No Limit eyeliner one day, and no makeup the next. Not interested in jewelry, it’s confining and fussy. Tall, lean, not a single cuddly element, they’re in running shorts or skintight jeans and muscle tanks with a black leather jacket. Wouldn’t wear pink of any sort, might consider purple (which is a type of drama in itself).
Drama gets grouped with flamboyance, exaggeration, and excess, creating fashion synonyms and crossovers that weren’t intended and will only apply to a few people. The word drama can take many forms. For many True Winters, their drama is of distance and silence. The meaning is more about the tension of extremes and absolutes. The drama is the simplicity, rather than turmoil, tragedy, tension, and crisis. Those are more hot-blooded. There may be scenes but they’re quick. When it’s over, it’s over.
Until we have some grasp of body line distinct from body colour, it is very easy to flow them into one another. A Natural True Winter and a Romantic True Winter will both feel uncomfortable with the cold, dramatic stereotype of their Season. Once they understand their best shapes in clothing and accessories quite independently of the colours, they easily accept the colours.
Many are not as dramatic looking as the Season has been made out to be. They are not very dark. True Winter is often very medium in appearance, average, regular, everyday faces. Once the drapes go on, their drama is in how absolute the skin’s reactions are to colour. For others, the drama will happen once everyone sees that strong fuchsia-violet lips and cheeks look completely at home and the face is suddenly not plain at all. It’s strong and clean. This is a hard face to describe because it won’t stand out at the mall. Liz Taylor, with the eye colour and delicacy in the face, was more likely a Bright Winter, a colouring that looks more exceptional out and about.
This is where the crossover into Autumn happens, especially in the old days. Dark eyes and hair, and you were a Winter. In both, words like strong, bold, practical, and determined, could apply, so personality quizzes got mixed up. Both can be passive-aggressive. Autumn usually has more compassion and less intensity, but not always. Too much history goes into shaping personality to figure out Season by character.
There is no Soft True Winter in the colour system that I practice. That just basically means True Summer. However, True Winter is not fully saturated. Next to Bright Winter, it looks quite soft, like True Summer in many colours. What this skin cares about more than saturation is coolness.
We need some clarity about the softness you’re looking for. Perhaps the colours are fine and we haven’t quite nailed down the problem yet. Softness can mean many things. In colour, it means dusty. That will set you back. Maybe you need True Winter colour with softer lines, textures, and prints – romance – Angora, cashmere, florals, swirls, and so on. Maybe you need to choose lighter colour and less darkness from the True Winter palette, especially once hair silvers. This is a lovely time to wear the icy lights. True Winter that’s not wearing those is not really being True Winter. They’re being a Dark Something.
Think of the drama more as colour minimalism, which your Autumn-y sensibility will appreciate. You already don’t buy pastels as a was-Autumn. You probably also like style simplicity without much decoration. That said, there are women of every Season who absolutely need high level adornment just to look normal, and so are there women who look better in sleek functionality in every Season.
With silver hair, I would think of wearing more grays than black. Aim for a lighter overall effect. Wear sheer cosmetics and the bold colours away from your face as purses and nail polish. Feel free to drop the saturation a bit but don’t wear pastels, whatever you do. Note that for many women, they wear black as well with silver hair, if not better than when the hair had colour. Iron gray looks gorgeous with black attire.
The floral cardi and pants are allover too dark. Add a light element near the face where it has more impact. Doesn’t have to be equal surface area, we still get it.
Keep distance between colours. Lights next to darks. Avoid too matchy (black shoes with berry dress feels better than all berry).
Don’t make too many noises about looking great in black and white while out in public. Wear them a lot and add only one other colour. If you look at everyone else, you’ll see that this is plenty dramatic.
Wear lots of gray.
What feels unsafe?
Colour in general? Keep it small and away from the body, like a purse. We still see it as part of you.
Icy colour? Buy a pyjama.
Fuchsia? Buy the next closest colour that feels better.
Metallic and shine? Ditto colour in general (above) or bypass them altogether.
Avant-garde style? Wear traditional. If you like pearls, just be very sure they’re not creamy if they go anywhere near your teeth.
A Gentle Dark Autumn
Writing about this Season thus far has seen words like tribal, equestrian, military, strong, menswear, business. True for some body types.
Here are some more:
Delicious fire, Aztec Chocolate Truffle brown, dark cocoa dusting, melt in your mouth center,
Plush velvet curtain red, you crush it in your hands over and over because it pushes back, sumptuous feeling,
Teal satin, liquid metals dripping off curves, sensual looking,
Whites of liqueurs, Bailey’s Irish Cream,
Cognac and Benedictine yellows and browns, opulent, expensive, reserved for the few,
Dark, hot Espresso, the heart beats faster, involuntary,
Nothing you can do, once it takes hold of your senses, Dark Autumn stimulates,
Until you’re damp, you don’t know Dark Autumn, whose power lies in overwhelming arousal.
Are you panting?
In life, always move towards the heat. Maybe it’s a little scary, but this heat tastes yummy and it feels gooooood. Rich fudge syrup, liquid gold and bronze, the glorious heat of Autumn…
With a bite. Winter’s darkness is less comfy. Chartreuse gets noticed. Chili and diamonds are an uncommon match.
There is nothing dilute about our relationship with these colours. They are not a gentle caress. We love them with intention.
We are most afraid of our light.
You don’t have to be perfect.
A little Soft Autumn (ruffle blouse lower R) will do no harm. It’s still warm-neutral of the right kind of heat (Autumn’s). If people could get their heat level right, that alone makes a gigantic difference in appearance.
Below, not giving up your white pearls? Why should you? You have enough Winter to wear them. Just do the same thing as you do to black -warm it up with the other things you add. If the pearls are creamy, antique, or chocolate, even better.
Wear red (we feel red as warm).I know I’m pushing my luck with the mixed prints in the center. I pick clothes that would impress me all to pieces if they walked in the room.
The gray boot too cool and blue? Sure is. Wear it around the city for a few days, it’ll be fine. If you find a colour nearer to elephant or asphalt gray, excellent. The shoes the model is wearing are fine too.
These Polyvores are not body type specific. It’s not my specialty, and as with colour, even if you’re moderately closer to yourself, you are unbelievably better to look at. Compared to military or tribal, these fabrics drape more, lines are rounder, legs taper (softness and bootcut look odd together to me), and styles are more classic. Still Dark Autumn.
The point is that to create a beautiful, connected, rational, intelligent image with apparel, the lines take their shape from whatever yours are. Just like the colours.
Coming soon, by request, a more dramatic, yet still classic Soft Autumn. Autumn without texture? Summer without softness? Sure.
Still happening. Bright Winters are walking in the door with so much to teach us.
Too light for Bright Winter? too warm? too soft? Why isn’t it shocking? I like it. The pigments are clean. It doesn’t feel like a Light. The shocking part is only one interpretation. There are a million others.
Q: If I’m a Bright Winter, why does half the makeup look terrible on me?
Short A: That’s typical of all 8 Neutral Seasons. Nothing different going on.
Long A: Being a Neutral Season, meaning a blend of a warm and cool parent colour groups in your natural colouring, means that your palette contains warm and cool versions in most every colour family. That in turn is because that’s how the colours in your body are set up.
In a Neutral Season person, the native colours might be very fussy about lightness or darkness, or softness or clearness. The skin says, “You mess with one of those, I’m going to mess with you. ” On the warm to cool issue, the colours say, “A little warmer or cooler, no problem. I’m fine with as long as you don’t drive all over the road. A little right or left of center isn’t a problem. I have a different center line I have to stick to for you to be awesomely beautiful and defined in your clothing, hair, and makeup. A touch warmer or cooler? Fine. Do what you gotta do.”
That’s most people. Nothing is true in everybody. Some Neutral Seasons are as fussy about heat as a True Season is, or almost. Especially Bright Winter because the skin is Spring-delicate but the colour intensity is Winter-big. Touchy combination. The magnitude of Winter’s scale (when it cools, it cools fast and hard; when it darkens, you notice), plus the complexity and high responsiveness of this colouring, and the tolerances are more Yes or No – not unlike everything else Winter.
In clothing, I have never seen the Neutral Season woman who can’t wear her warm and cool colours very well, some more rigorously than others, of course, as we talked about in the previous article, Bright Winter Q and A. We all begin in our 12 Tone or Season palette and adapt it to our particular contrast level, body shape, age, taste, and so on.
That’s clothing we’re talking about. Neutral Seasons look boring if they stick to one edge of their palette, be it warm or cool, regardless of how close to their warm or cool neighbour their colouring sits in the 12 Season cycle. They are far more exciting and interesting if they dress all over their palette.
Cosmetics are different. It’s the rare Neutral Season woman who wears her warm and cool colours equally well in makeup. Most of us have a particular heat level within our palette that seems to work best. It’s less tightly defined with clothes. It is more tightly defined with colours we paint right on our face. The heat level for cosmetics isn’t always related to where our colouring is positioned in our Season or Tone, warmer or cooler, probably because cosmetics mix with skin pigments and are influenced by other aspects of skin chemistry. A bright Dark Winter could wear the same lipstick as a dark Bright Winter. Bite Quince is a great example.
Some Neutral Season colouring is unusual in its high sensitivy to heat level in clothing. Really, in any Season, the average appearances and rules about appearances don’t exist in the real world, certainly not among the Brights. There will always be those in any colouring than sit at the extremes of any parameter. Some Bright Winters tolerate dark colours well, but white not so well, where a little too cool is a lot too ghostly.
Is an analyst going to have 5 white drapes? No, of course not. Especially not white. It’s the hardest analysis colour to make decisions from and the most difficult colour to assign to only one Season’s drape set. How extreme can you make white to have it represent only 1 Season as Test Drapes must do? If the Test Drape white is not your perfect white, your analyst tells you what needs adjusting based on your analysis process, and you go to the store and find THAT white.
Makeup texture is crucially important in the Brights, again because of the big scale and volatile settings in all 3 colour dimensions. On all colouring whose appearance is young and angelic, sheer may be better than matte. On a more dramatic presence, an opaque texture is necessary to support a face that expresses power in the more traditional sense, to balance more imposing eyeliner and blush that in turn balance the architecture of the face.
Lips should balance eyes and hair for the whole head to look balanced. If hair colour or textures are strong and striking, as opposed to clear and gossamer, matte lips can make more sense, though it’s still brightness that really matters. On a strong, mature face with Winter level features – significant hair, arresting eyes, and notable clothing – an invisible mouth too close to skin colour, is, well, it’s old. This kind of face wears matte just fine and is too busy to reapply gloss every half hour.
Bright Winter? Clean pigment, not too warm, small yellow accents, ends very near black, red-toned gray in background (but not blue or mauve grays like pigeon or raincloud). That’s a stunning outfit. Only a Bright Winter could wear that pink in eyeshadow, blush, and gloss – but not every Bright Winter.
Q: In the last article about Bright Winter Q and A, do you think some people are in between Light Summer and Bright Winter in their Season position? Do they look pretty good in both palettes in clothing?
Short A: No. I think nobody is located between True Seasons. True Seasons don’t overlap. Colouring can be located between Neutral Seasons. Bright Winter and Light Summer share some colour properties but their clouds don’t overlap in colour space. Some great analysts might see this otherwise though. Don’t get locked down by my bossy delivery. That’s just how I talk.
Can they share clothes? Depends. Age, taste, safety, degree of fussiness about being perfect. Also how colour perceptive the audience will be.
Long A: Christie Brinkley could be between Reese and Julianna. No real reason for me pointing that out, just a similar kind of colouring and face. She might be neither Light Summer nor Bright Winter. Probably isn’t, in fact.
I said before that Winter is an extension of Summer. You know by now that I say things too broadly just to unstick something in your head that shouldn’t be there. For instance, when I said, “Any Season can have Any hair and eye colour.” It’s mostly true. You can have blue, green, or brown eyes in any Seasons. Now, it won’t be the same blue, green, or brown, but we can’t get into the details until the wrong generalization is out of your head space.
So Winter is more Summer in some ways. OTOH, Autumn and Spring are seriously different. Therefore they belong opposite a circle from each other, with Winter and Summer also opposite. Then the Neutrals can assume their correct positions, or oppositions. Then the heat levels can assume their correct positions, or oppositions.
There are colour analysis systems that go around a clock in the Spring, Winter, Summer, Autumn order. I don’t understand that. For me, I can make more sense of Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter. That makes the neighbours and the opposites more logical in my head. While I respect the work and vision of everyone in our industry because every one has added to our knowledge, placing warm next to warm is in contradiction with the physics of illumination. Warm and cool don’t move into each other, they move away from each other, I believe.
But there is NO Winter person who drapes equally in Summer colour, IMO. You’re one OR the other. When I say Winter is more Summer, I have no smudged line in my head. You’re still on one side or the other side.
To me, there is never a real life person who can’t be put solidly in one. Some great analysts disagree. If I’m the analyst today, a person is either Winter or Summer. There’s no blend. My students don’t leave here without proving this to themselves.
In a TEST situation, you’re either or.
My more specific point was that they can use Light Summer to grow into Bright Winter. In the store, you can wear Light Summer if Bright Winter is too much, and still look a million % better than all the other choices you could have made that day. In the totality of a Light Summer outfit, a Bright Winter item could be the only thing people see under PCA lights. Or vice versa. IRL is different. Our eyes adjust and adapt and compensate all the time.
Coming around to bright colour? Great. Keep a delicate feeling about it. Keep your lights close to white if you’re Winter. Could the flower be Bright Spring? Maybe, hard to tell from photos. If there’s real red, it’s feels closer to Winter. Shocking? Maybe in a cement room.
Q: I wore a perfect Bright Winter lip colour, not too warm or cool. It swatches just right. I took good pictures. All my friends said it was wrong for me. Now you tell me I’m a Bright Winter. How can I wear lipstick that everyone thinks is off?
Short A: They were too absolute, and about a different issue.
Long A: First, if the friends are online and have not been in a room with you, they don’t know because they can’t know. Ever met anyone who was exactly what you expected online? Ever seen a cosmetic that was?
Second, what do you look like? Young woman, young features, and opaque looks like Mom’s makeup. Often much of the palette of colours, in clothing too, is too powerful for young men and women to pull off. It will happen in time. The adult will surface. Eventually, the face will shift from Spring sweet to Winter regal, even though you’re still Bright Winter at 17.
It makes sense to give a hard face a hard lipstick. Give a soft or young face SHEER lipstick, NOT SOFT. Don’t reduce saturation or you’ll move the colour to someone else’s makeup bag. Reduce opacity. Two completely different concepts.
The friends knew they crashed but couldn’t tell into what. The issue was opaqueness, which does look like Mom’s Makeup. The viewer sees that and thinks, “Whoa. Back up. I have no idea where this gun will fire. I’m not getting close and not showing much of myself.” The friends felt that and said, “Can’t be your Season if the lipstick test fails.”
They were just wrong about what’s wrong. The GummiBear version of the exact same colour could be superb. High pigment density in a transparent application is how Bright makeup looks right. Makeup makes sense and belongs on a face when it reflects light in the same way that the skin reflects light (see Best Skin Finish articles, Winter, Summer, Spring, Autumn.)
Opacity and transparency are not ways of measuring colour but they most assuredly influence how we see and feel about it. Would you put house paint on a doll’s lips? Same colour in jellybean, does it feel better? On a Bright, too sheer is ChapStick. There has to be pigment density + pigment purity + transparency of application.
We can’t look at a photo and adjust one parameter of those three and know what it would do to the face, just as we can’t look at two colours of different colour dimension, say saturation, and guess the lighter and darker. Our eyes get mixed up when one thing changes, about the other things. It guesses wrong. Which is why a correct PCA has to find a way to tease the 3 colour dimensions apart and evaluate each one separately. That means exact drape colours and a logic process that sails around these storms, not into them.
Sheer also allows more movement on the warm-cool axis. Sheer makeup is good on anyone making adjustments because our own pigmentation shows through and brings it nearer to us. It’s instant, built-in, foolproof cosmetic colour customization.
There is always part of what looks right to people that’s just taste, same as any art form. And memory, intuition, emotion, and subconscious. We have little control over any of it but they influence our decision-making. Analysts fight their personal feelings about colours all the time to keep it purely objective, part of why a PCA system that measures something is so essential.
A nice picture to break up all the print. Ridiculous how much I can talk. Also lots of Bright Winter going on. Clarity, smoothness, high reflectivity, transparency, and some nice neutral colours for pants and a coat in the background.
Q: If I’m a Bright Winter, why do I look like a child when I wear the clothes? The colours shouldn’t wear me, should they?
Short A: You’ll grow into them and get used to them. It’s normal.
Long A: A young Bright Winter might feel the colours wear him until he’s 30, especially if he’s blonde and blue-eyed. If the family and friends have only seen the sunny rascal face, and that’s how he’s always been treated, and therefore how he sees himself when he looks in the mirror, how can anyone know that the power face is already the bigger part of him, and will get bigger with adulthood? When everyone has seen him as Dennis The Menace, how fast can the room adjust when Beckham on the GQ Cover stands up? Everyone has some catching up to do when Dennis walked in and Chris Pine will be leaving (hey, Pine looks like Hough, Witherspoon, and Brinkley too. Like they could be a family.)
How would you feel if she were your sister and your consciousness of her goes from this to this (scroll down to Out of the Desert), in an afternoon? (these are not necessarily Bright Winter; get the feeling and the lines, not the colours)
When those who always saw Lollipop Bouquet had to adjust to Candy Cane?
And what if Candy Cane suddenly became Grecian vase? Winter is a grown-up. Never underestimate the power, maturity, and seriousness inside even the youngest Winter. Many Winters seem floaty in various ways. Don’t be fooled. They’re not.
My eyes saw the person and, because the skin is quiet and the face is united, bounced immediately to the eyes. And couldn’t move away from the eyes without conscious effort. Perfect. The lips balance the hair and eyes so the whole head looks balanced. Barbie or bubblegum would not be better. I can’t even talk about rust. The face would not come across as it does with less lip. The image would be compromised compared to this one. The same could be said of more lip, especially in the angelic quality of the face. Burgundy would not be better, even her own sugarplum could be a lot. For now. If you’re not wondering what the lip colour in the photo is, you and I have a whole different opinion of beauty. And that’s perfectly OK and normal, probably everyone has different opinions about beauty. It’s YSL Glossy Stain #13.
More importantly, until you’re seen in real life in your true and native colours, nobody really knows what you look like.
Lines won’t assume their correct shape till we see them in their real colour and texture. We don’t know the true shape of a line till we see it in its true and real colour. Carol Tuttle of DYT really saw texture differences well, and closed the circle nicely by describing them and then applying them in apparel.
Under the PCA lights in a gray working environment, we cancel all the surrounding world’s noise, and there’s a lot of it. Then we find the right colours and textures. On every face, with every drape change, we answer questions about:
ONLY THEN do we look at the face and say, “So now. What shape is THAT?”
This is part of how body line assessments get confused. If we see a jaw or nose or facial line that’s fuzzy or distorted by incorrect colour, it makes it harder to find the Kibbe or Type or whatever archetype system we ascribe to. Especially in photos where nobody has spent any time with the real you, and where our eyes must make assumptions.
This is why correct colour analysis takes priority in choosing apparel. First, you know your colours for sure, then figure out your lines, and then your own unique expression.
L. is a recent student whose background is in science. Her work demands that she peel thinking patterns and decision-making processes back to the bone. Of the rigor of the PCA process, she said, and I paraphrase,
What sounds good and feels good might be right but it might not. We need to keep all options open and examine them. As humans, we have a vested interest in an outcome whether we admit it or not. Therefore a correct analysis of anything, colouring, a drug, a patient, requires that we solve a problem in many different ways before making a conclusion that will later support a structure. It’s a cumulative gathering and building of information to arrive at the best decision.
What’s the vested interest? Proving to ourselves that we’re right about what we thought we were right about. Ego’s favourite game.
What’s the structure that will need to be supported? You at the mall, at the makeup counter, in the hair colourist’s chair, in control of your appearance.
Just beautiful. Dark green is the neutral. Love colour as neutral on anyone with Spring. Baby peach is gorgeous on Brights. Faint heat in the center. Symmetric, repeating, balanced (Winter) and out-of-this-world.
To the previous article, Susan asked:
Q: Brights who ‘look’ light, bright and clear; do you mean they look so only in their colours?
A: Depends. Sometimes, wearing muted colour can dull them down substantially. What’s a Summer colour compared to a Winter one? Warmer and duller. And that’s exactly what a Summer white drape does to a Winter face, makes it yellower and fogged in, among other things.
On some Brights in muted colour, they seem to look more bright and not attached to their clothes in some way. Like the two elements are finding the place where they most differ and force it even wider.
Back to TMIT, another broad compromise to help us think about something in a new way. Dark people look good in dark colour. It’s pretty easy, even if it’s not perfect. Dark Winter can manage Dark Autumn or dark Soft and True Summer quite ok. Bright people look normal in bright colour, while the rest of us look a little absurd and taken over by our clothes.
That’s what the colours do to us.
All colour, every idea and any conflict, is a 2-way relationship. Walk around the belief and look at it from the back side. What do we do to the colour?
We could rephrase the above to say that Dark people can take a dark colour and make IT look normal and not so dark. My lipstick is very dark among the 40 choices in that brand. It doesn’t look black on me but it would on most people.
A Bright person can take a bright fabric and make it look normal, just blue, just pink, what’s the big deal? On the rest of us, it settles somewhere along the foolish-neon-toxic spectrum, and more so, the longer it sits on us.
We could say that a Bright person takes a clear colour and makes the clearness look less exaggerated. Maybe that’s the ultimate tolerance. The best belonging. “I’ll take what’s out there and extreme about you and bring it in here with me. We can bring out the best in both of us. Neither one bigger or more the way it would be on someone else. Neither of us lost or less. Instead, and only when we’re together, we are able to make each of us found and more.” Synergy. More than the sum of the parts. Synchrony between our native wavelength and that of what we add. Harmony. The magic word. The magic feeling that colour analyzed people feel and others see.
Many Bright Springs have requested a similar Q&A post. For me, these are not the Q that come up for that colouring. Are they for you? If yes, I’m happy to write about it. If these are not your exact concerns, what exactly do you want to know? What problem are you having? What doesn’t make sense? What are you just putting up with or having to work around all the time? Tell me the exact issue. If one person is wondering, be sure that thousands are.
I seem to be in a groove of seeing so many Bright Winters lately that I figure I’m still supposed to write about it.
The reaction a person has to learning that their natural colouring falls into the Bright Winter group is either delight or despair. Seldom is there anything in between. The reason for most Season misgivings comes from misunderstanding the colours or the analysis process.
Some of the information below may be hard to imagine. It’s the only way I know to explain it. (Analyst who were trained by me will receive the discussion below soon in their Review Topics documents – and it will be even more technical.)
Here some come concerns Bright Winters may have:
Q: If I’m a Bright Winter, why do I look too blue in some of the Bright Winter drapes?
Short A: Because you’re warmer than the drape.
Long A: Depending on the person, this type of colouring is extremely finely adjusted and very sensitive to excessive darkness, redness, and or blueness. Some people handle the blue very well, almost as cool as True Winter can handle, but they become gaunt in black. Others can develop red spots in the cheeks, like a feverish face, in too much blue-red influence but they have no problem with darkness.
To match the exact coolness level of every Bright Winter, the analyst would need approximately 4 blue drapes. And then 4 reds, 4 greens. And then repeat that for all the possible tolerances to hue, value, and chroma of every person in all 12 Seasons. Not reasonable.
Also not necessary. The analyst with a comprehensive understanding of the analysis process is prepared to choose the Season because it’s better than the others, not necessarily it’s the best possible choice of this colour on this person. The client shouldn’t expect every Bright Winter drape to be perfection on every Bright Winter face. You find yourself inside your correct colour parameters. Sometimes, an analyst’s decision feels like a compromise and doesn’t make sense, but it’s still the best and correct decision of the comparison.
I am a Dark Winter.
I need makeup to wear black. Makes sense, black is only automatic on True Winter.
I can wear some medium and dark True Summer colour. Makes sense, True Summer is a little warmer and more muted than True Winter. So is Dark Winter.
True Spring colours clear my eyes better than True Autumn, if the two are being compared. Makes sense, Winter is looking for more clarity than Autumn provides.
I love and can wear Dark Autumn dark colours. Makes sense, I’m more warm and muted than many Dark Winters and darker colours are pretty easy on Dark Seasons.
None of that makes me a Spring, Summer, or Autumn.
If all people were exactly the same within one Season, then all the women of that Season could wear exactly the same lipsticks equally. Not the truth at all. My perfect lipstick colour is dull and disappearing on a cooler, clearer Dark Winter. There are ranges inside each Season. If the information clues were picked up along the analysis path, the right decision will be made at the end. The analyst doesn’t need to have my perfect Dark Winter blue drape in her set to know I am a Dark Winter. There might be versions of blue that I would wear a lot better than the blue drape she might have, but she learned my face, did her comparisons, knew what to look for and how to interpret it. A Season decision is a moving target until the very last comparison.
The Test Drapes are special. They’re measuring and comparing. Don’t look for home in them. Don’t expect to be finally and ultimately perfected. You need only be better than in any other. The same exquisite tolerance to colour parameters happens in all Seasons, but because Winter’s scale is so big and this colouring quite delicate, the disparity gets noticed more.
The public might not always understand. Don’t pay too much attention to the chat room group. They can’t know how it works because they’ve never been shown. All they see is the end result. One appendectomy can look like another if all you see are the people 3 weeks later. What happened in between may be wildly different. One person might never have had appendicitis in the first place. One might finally get rid of abdominal pain that’s haunted her for months. Another might be sure the surgeon made a mistake, but the fact is that sutures are more irritating to her tissues than the average while the surgical technique was exemplary. Her chat room group wouldn’t know any of that, but they’d make judgments and give opinions anyhow in an effort to support her.
clear water, close to white, more icy (Winter)
Q: Why is the bottom half of the face so darkened by black if I am Winter?
Short A: This is a WAY lighter Winter. Even True Winter isn’t all that dark. There are many blonde and light-brown haired True Winters with light eyes. Many.
Long A: Nothing applies to everybody. Some Bright Winters, even blonde haired, blue-eyed persons, are fine with darkness. Others who might be darker to look at will have a definite upper limit for darkness. Some can manage strong darkness in blue or green, but begin having detracting optical effects in the appearance at medium gray. Some are fine with shiny black, as long as True Winter blue is extracted, but are not good in matte black. Texture matters to a composition as much as line and colour do; therefore, texture matters in personal colour analysis (PCA).
The only more ghoulish Goth than Bright Winter would be the Light, True, and Bright Spring. All four types of natural colouring, or Season, or Tone, look light, bright, and clean. What about that sounds Goth? They conflict with the dark, depressing, serious Goth look – OTOH, maybe Goth are supposed to look compromised. Glowing and Goth doesn’t match. Bright Seasons are glowy. That’s how their skin reflects light. They look too healthy and vital for Gothness.
From the document that I send my clients:
Bright Winter epitomizes the sugar frosting of snow and sunlight. The innocent fairy tale character could wear shimmery violet-pink eyeshadow, blush, and lipgloss, adding even more crispness and show biz with near black eyeliner and big lashes.
Many Bright Winters are blonde and blue-eyed, with a feeling of girl-next-door, like the stereotypic Light Summer, except for the strong, clear, sparking eyes. Other lighter Bright Winters look Scandinavian/Nordic Ice Princess. Although some Bright Springs have the coolness that feels like royal distance, most are more informal, bubbly, chatty, rounded in their edges, and natural in their energy.
more pigment, more gray, closer to pastel (more Summer) – where does icy end and pastel begin?
Q: So Christine, you’re saying that all Brights can always take any level of saturation?
Short A: There is no Always, Must, Should, or Never in human colouring.
Long A: Textiles can be saturated beyond what you’d find in a human being. There are colours that will overwhelm even a Bright. I am saying that on a comparative scale of humans, Brights are most harmonized and flattered in the purest pigments.
icy grays made of B&W (Winter eyes)
Q: What if you said I’m a Bright Winter, which still I don’t believe BTW, and I look really dark?
Short A: Then you are a Bright Winter who looks dark.
Long A: In the colour analyst training course, my students and I spend our first morning proving to ourselves that our eyes are rather clueless about looking at paint chips and knowing their colour dimensions. I guess we could see which is lighter between 2 colours of equal saturation. Change the saturation setting of one paint chip and we lose it. We guess wrong. If we can’t guess a paint chip, how much harder must it be to gauge a human face just by looking. You need a way to measure, a.k.a. drapes.
You look dark, fine. Your most important colour attribute is still that your pigmentation is very clean and clear. You are more clear than you are dark, but no rule says you can’t be both to some degree. It’s knowing the amount of each one relative to the other that’s tricky.
pastel means more pigment + more gray (Summer eyes) – where’s the dividing line between icy and pastel? is there one?
Q: I read RTYNC and Bright Winter felt too zingy. I’m not electric and flashy.
Short A: You can’t see yourself. Compared to a range of other humans, your colouring feels more electric than a foggy day would. I was trying to make a comparison. Who do you know who looks foggy?
Long A: Ignore RTYNC (the blue book over in the right column). I can’t write the sequel because I created what the colour world needed least, 12 more stereotypes. Back then, I knew half what I know today. Maybe there’s another book taking shape that describes the real world better, the enormous variety, how people of the same Season can look incredibly different.
Why write about Seasons at all? Because it’s fun and interesting for us humans to look at one another and see all the possibilities. The stereotypes are like your horoscope. Kathryn Kalisz (founder of the Sci\ART system of PCA) also wrote about how people in the Seasons can look. I asked her once what Season someone was. She laughed and said in the most cheerful voice, “I have absolutely no idea! Until they’re in my chair.”
That book was only intended to help you see who you’re not, give a sense of how those colour energies made me feel so you could ask yourself the same thing, and give you 12 approximate palettes to make comparisons so you don’t have to own 12 swatch books. It got used too literally. The disclaimer at the front says that you will not be able to find yourself accurately, or at all. Should have been in big red print.
The Light Summer to Bright Winter Spectrum
This picture of Julianne Hough (said “huff”) came my way. It reminded me of a friend.
After thinking about it a bit, I realized that the face is like an exaggerated Reese Witherspoon.
Thing is, Julianne can do this. Is the dress wearing her? Is the makeup stronger than she is? By a lot or a little? If the hair were deeper, would she balance the other colours better? The balance is a little off but it’s hard to know what needs fixing and what doesn’t. Too many unpredictable variables. Just like draping a face. Reese were done like this, would the balance be off by less or by more?
Julianne looks to be in that girl-next-door Bright Winter to Light Summer spectrum. Except the eyes. Those eyes are crystal clear. Who knows what her natural hair colour is? From the gallery of images, I see that too yellow hair makes her face too yellow. Too light hair makes her face look puffed with flour. If you think of Bill Gates as average Light Summer colouring, those eyes would be wild in his face.
Reese seems to me a Light Summer. This makes sense. Winter is like an exaggerated Summer. The Warm Seasons are different. Autumn is not a continuation of Spring. It’s a whole different type of warmth. In a Season circle or progression, I would not Spring and Autumn side by side; I’d put them opposite one another.
the blue – too much pigment for icy; too pure pigment for pastel > probably not strong Winter or Summer ; we see this colour in Bright Spring eyes
Q: If Winter is an exaggerated Summer, why not have a Season in between? Like a continuation between Light Summer and Bright Winter, or True Summer and True Winter?
Short A: You’d get no new colours that weren’t already spoken for in one of the Seasons. I see the brilliance of the Sci\ART method of PCA, a genius that I am more in awe of with each client, as 12 stand alone groups. It makes their unique radiances strong and distinct. Smudging them into one another would dilute that and make analysis decisions much harder. Can a client blur them into each other? Absolutely.
Long A: Because real people don’t drape in between Summer and Winter to my eyes, though other analysts that I respect gigantically might not agree. A Soft Summer still looks better in Summer drapes, just a little weak. A Dark Winter still does better in Winter drapes overall if you know what to look for.
Also, making a cool Season overlap into a cool Season is in contradiction with the physics of light. That’s not how sunlight illuminates objects on our planet as interpreted by our eyes and brains.
Would the Bright Winter person look better True Winter’s drapes than True Summer’s drapes? Not always that easy. The light Bright Winter person’s face loves the lightness of Summer.
We can’t look at faces and know if they’re lighter than saturated, more cool than light, more saturated than warm, etc. Our eyes are not capable. We have to put a quantitative measuring system in between. Those are the drapes. Even then, in the early part of the analysis, all the features don’t behave the same way. That only happens at the end.
You will be wildly surprised at what your eyes will see happen with the drapes. The rug will get yanked out from under the feet of what you think Seasons have to look like. There are a lot of technical reasons for decision-making that Terry Wildfong and I train our students in carefully and thoroughly because we measure many markers at once in each face, with each new colour change.
The analyst evaluates many markers, related to line, colour, and texture, and makes a better-than choice. The markers will not be the same in every face. A Dark Winter man may wear Bright Winter saturation fairly well if his colouring is intense, but his face might look very oily. Another Dark Winter man will lose eye energy in Bright Winter drapes but the complexion reflects light much the same between the two. We take a lot of time to learn every face because each reacts to colour in a unique and individual way.
And it can still be very difficult. At this point in my career, although I retain near dismay for how complex a PCA can be, I’m usually pretty confident in my Season decision. I saw a woman recently. We went between Bright and Dark Winter. Back and forth, back and forth. Test Drapes, Luxury Drapes, makeup, back and forth, back and forth. In the end, I decided on Bright for a selection of reasons. Not just one reason. Many reasons, which I itemized in the documents I sent her. All the analyst can say sometimes is, “This is how I saw you today. And this why.”
Was I correct? I hope so. Was she so difficult because she was extraordinarily beautiful, like trying to make a child look bad? Was it because she was of darker complexion? I’ve invited her back to model for a training course because I need fresh eyes, a different day, and some outside opinions. Some puzzles are more enigmatic.
Sometimes, facial features are very tough to prioritize. We see good and bad things in 2 Seasons in most every comparison until we’re at or near the end. This is normal and expected.
many a Dark Season eye
Q: Which observation is most important?
Short A: Depends. Every face is different.
Long A: There’s no such thing as most important. Your eyes are not more important than your mouth. A jaundiced face isn’t more important than an unfocused face. It’s the totality of a face. The answer would be different for every client. Even a well-trained or very experienced analyst can be perplexed.
If a client is much more comfortable in one Season, the best decision might be to have them wear it for a while. Throw out nothing. Buy a gloss and a few inexpensive T-shirts. Adjust the hair colour. In a few months, have another draping.
In his very famous Stanford Commencement address of 2005, Steve Jobs says that your heart and intuition always know what’s best for you. I believe that to be 150% correct. That is, if you can connect with them before judgment arrives. Once judgment settles in, it’s over. No more right or truth can happen. We’re stalled in a character that has reverted to a less mature form.
I began seeing Jennifer for facials two years ago. Before too long, a pattern emerged. Before starting the car, I’d sit in her driveway for 10 minutes writing down all the things she said about how to think (and not think) towards what I want my life to be like.
I’ll experiment with any advice, from Deepak Chopra to Alan Weiss. A woman I adore suggested a Vision Board, among my present projects. Fascinating to me that I wasn’t sure how to make one effectively, so send along your good resources. Experiments tend to work or not pretty fast.
From Visit 1 with Jen, I supervised my mindset according to her guidance and my life direction began to materialize faster. Presently, I’m reading The Power of Framing by Gail Fairhurst, in which she discusses priming the pump of our subconscious so that we can have rehearsed situations for our best reaction as they happen, not a day later. To describe in left-brain language what Jennifer’s guidance does, it would be that.
She listens to me talk for about 60 seconds, evaporates all the irrelevance, and extracts the highest calling. She can link me to my greatest good and the situation to its best outcome near immediately. If her words don’t make sense at the time, I wait 48 hours. Once it took 2 weeks to get the “So that’s what you meant.” light bulb moment.
Sometimes, we begin with a card reading (not Tarot or Zodiac) to give us something to talk around. The results of the four cards I choose are always freakishly related to one another and to new directions that are opening up or something I’m worried about. They might be a confirmation. They might feel uncomfortable and I start with the excuses, but I’ve learned that sooner I stop talking and start listening, sooner things arrive. She can get me out of my own way faster than anything I’ve ever encountered.
As with colour, we sabotage ourselves in so many ways until someone who sees us clearly says, “This is your colouring. This heat, this darkness range, this softness.” Until the physio says, “Stop hiking your right shoulder and your left hip won’t hurt.” Until an intuitive person says, “Stop right there, that’s a judgment and I hear you apply it every time you bring up that situation”.
Jen taught me how to meditate. The usual ways were boring. I can pay attention to 2.5 breaths max. She said, “Try listening for the most far away noise you can hear.” That was fantastic. You know your eyes and brain relax when you look far away? This is exactly the same. It also creates a big, empty, open space between you and the place you’re listening in.
This is not the usual psychic “you have sorrow in your life” or “money is coming to you” reading. Jen’s readings are clearly “you gotta give something to get something and here’s what you gotta give.” When I leave, I have the jobs for the month. My jobs are the ways that I will hold and transform my thoughts. If I’m willing to do it, change is willing to come.
This isn’t only in person. She’ll do readings just by hearing you talk. She’s at Cloud 313 (www.cloud313.net). Below, she describes the difference between psychic and soul readings:
Regular psychic readings are more likely to tell you what is coming to you in the near future, which will be based on the vibrational energy & thoughts you have been sending out into the universe. Soul sessions/readings are geared more towards me tuning in to your soul, retrieving and interpreting information on the level of soul. When we “hear” the truth from our higher intuition it resonates perfectly with us on every level – we can instantly FEEL a change physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. We can use this information to begin to practice new ways of being, allowing us to be easily joyful, confident and loving in all our moments as we move forth towards our soul’s true purpose. Our soul does not require us to analyze our past, present or future meaning. We do not need to focus on our darkest secrets or fears.
She looks quite amazing, not a face you see often or a presence you feel often. You probably have no idea what personality she has. Well, she’s completely down-to-earth and very direct. She enjoys colour but feels most grounded wearing black (oddly, that’s when I feel most tethered – which is the same as grounded, come to think of it). Her house contains more shades of red than any other colour. No question, she had the priestess presence of Zyla’s Soft Winter. Winter that she is, she is completely and unquestioningly internally guided. She will wear black exclusively. That’s her way to be Bright Winter. It’s a success story.
Jennifer had to be a Bright Winter. This mixture of faith and trust that normally resides naturally in children, people who have complete faith in magic because they see it all around them, takes a form in adult bodies. Material magic is in the Bright Season neck of the woods.
I expected her to feel all sorts of energy things during her PCA. No. She was a model for a colour analyst training course, probably the fastest student-directed PCA ever done. Jen flicked away all the other colours like pesky spirits trapped in a middle world to confuse humans. We all saw that every other choice was so far behind that we could barely recognize its presence. Even True Winter was, “Yeah, whatever, get that one off, put the other colour back.”
Variations on the Bright Winter Theme
I have said: “Add Spring’s wonderful humour to Winter’s formality in jewelry that sparkles, belts that are crayon-coloured and shiny, or imaginative hair accessories.”
Bright Winter colouring often reminds us of storybook characters, Snow White being the most familiar. That Katy Perry face, the child in a grown-up body, will follow that advice.
Nothing is for everyone.
Every woman expresses her colours in her own way.
She’s not always Sweet Queen. Sometimes she’s another type of queen. She might be the person that is bigger than life, big, strong, and flamboyant, a super heroine. She will wear the big, bold, bright colours in large areas easily. Pucci designs in prints. Platinum rings that look like silver lava. Shiny zippers and buckles make sense on her. They express a truth about her. They are a rational continuation of her energy. I think of Sci\ART Lauren Battistini of Color My Closet in Houston.
When the image is more mysterious, as the fortune-teller, she enjoys Winter’s ability to wear dark drama like no other colouring can. Try the dignified version in huge eyes and crystal clear-as-glass details (transparent buttons, lip gloss) to convey consummate clarity. These words, divine everlasting infinite immortal omniscient omnipotent. Wear a Zodiac medallion (eternity) on a violet (higher realms, highest Chakra) cord.
The character might be even darker, sensuous and mysterious. Morticia Addams has been suggested. Yes, like that. She was extreme, but still stunning, like a slinky and more dangerous Jessica Rabbit, pale as the most seductive apparition. Subtle, snaky wit and fierce loyalty describes most Winters I know. Morticia radiated power – perhaps that’s the part we’re not ready for.
It was she who said,
You have enslaved him. You have placed Fester under some strange sexual spell. I respect that.
Our credo: “Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc.” We gladly feast on those who would subdue us. Not just pretty words.
Winter is the gorgeous Goth, oxymoronic somehow. Some do it so well that their beauty is shocking, as deadly as Morticia. Friends and family may be uncomfortable because it’s just so believable, such a good extension of you, that you seem to be in costume when you’re not. They’re not sure what to think.
If you want to tone it down, wear the hair differently from Morticia, maybe in a sexy secret agent loose bun or a sporty teenager messy bun. Move the hair up, or add shorter, face-framing layers, or add bangs. Avoid black. Add sparkle here and there. Wear a very subtle complexion warming product like Givenchy Croisiere 1, Spring’s pale peach gold, adjusted to be invisible on your skin and set your makeup too. Wear peach-red gloss and blush, not blue-red.
Some folks don’t really remind of any character. And some don’t embody a story character but they certainly have some of those properties – a stunning and beautiful profile and impossibly long fingers that move like feathers, highly theatrical and romantic at once.
Jen is another expression of Bright Winter, quite beyond the naivete of Snow White. Design = Colour + Line. Fully half of a PCA session is concerned with the lines. This colouring can be painted into lines that are very adult, with a far-reaching wisdom, fully grown and ripe with experience, if you see where I’m going. Wear red. Wear velvet. Have a hairstyle that’s luscious. Where does supernatural meet sumptuous, as it does in Jennifer? Rhinestone. Black, but not industrial. Black, but not diesel black or office chair black, those are all Dark Winter. How do we make black yummy? Beading. Shine. Swirl effects. Lace. Big hair. A darkly luscious Marilyn Monroe.
You understand that I get carried away with words, right? And the image gets bigger than life because it’s fun to see where things will go. Don’t picture a red velvet leotard and a push up bra. Just saying, there are way more kinds of great women in the world than Sweet&Sunny.
Step into your own power. You saw that happen in our mirror when we analyzed your colouring. In Sweet&Sunny or Soft&Dreamy colours, you were literally not there. We couldn’t see you. You were not in the room. Be who you came here to be.
You can convey these pictures with one tiny item. It takes barely anything for the viewer to make a connection. Mary Kay Crystalline eyeshadow highlight, pure as the driven snow, and a mouth-watering accessory, a shiny pomegranate juice wallet. Voila. Not a high wire act.
2. When you wish you were anything else
The tough love section. And please believe me when I tell you that I do love you. For every one of you who is feeling exposed, who is trying something new, who can’t find that hiding place when it was right there yesterday, I have nothing but love and respect for what you’re trying to do.
When your colouring was analyzed, your conscious and subconscious minds got a wake up call they didn’t see coming. I get it. I was it.
I could have stayed there. Nothing bad would have happened. There is no pretty or ugly. There is no wrong or right. My face is not the same colour as my arms. You can see my Dad but my features are less focused. I know, you can see that for yourself.
Once we see a new way of thinking, we can choose to absorb it or reject it. Our call. Walk away from it if your heart and intuition say N.O.W.A.Y.
I looked at the Winter makeup and saw a clown. I could see nothing else. And being a Winter, I’m always right. Just ask me. Others might be right but I’m more right. I got compliments the first day, but No, Sir, That Is Not Me.
On the other hand, winters are hard on themselves and they are smart. Winters are good at living at the rules they set for others. They can separate emotion from the problem or the job. So do the job. It’s a sweater. Buy it cheap. If you were the analyst back then and I had been your client, what would you have said to me? Try it for a month. I did. Took me 5 days and then it couldn’t come fast enough. 4 years later, it’s still coming and it will for you too.
You do not have to be perfect. I know, words lost on Winters.
While you’re separating things, separate colours from styles. Every body type, fashion preference, weight issue or non-issue, age, and comfort zone exists in every type of colouring.
I was convinced I was a summer, maybe a soft summer. I had been analyzed as a summer in the past, and advised never to wear gold jewelry. I like foggy, misty colors. Pretty much my entire wardrobe is muted blues, violets, & greens, plus black & gray, which I thought complemented my gray (once ash blonde) hair & blue eyes. I’m not arguing with [the] evaluation — I agreed with her that my complexion evened out and livened up with the BW drapes — but I don’t like bright colors! Especially red. Reds and pinks make me queasy. Just looking at my BW color fan makes my head hurt. What to do? How to embrace an identity of Bright Winter and supposedly present my best self, when the only thing from your BW wisdom that resonates with me is a fondness for tailored, glamorous, nearly formal clothing?
Part of this is my fault. In describing these colours as highly pure and energized so you could distinguish them on a scale of every possible colour including the other Winters, people heard NEON and felt like STROBE.
Textile colour exceeds human saturation. You’re picturing an extreme and you’ve painted it head to toe.
In What It Takes To Look Normal, we talked about how strawberry red doesn’t look bling on you, it just looks like medium red. I’m not sure how many more tips I can come up with.
The best advice really is to try it for a little while.
“Well, you have to start. Do it for a month” is that in my case I’d have to throw out and replace just about everything I own — and everyone seems to agree that BW is hard to shop for!
That’s a Winter’s world. Be perfect or do nothing. Why is perfect necessary? Can we put it on hold for a year?
Everyone who learned their colouring replaced everything they own over about 2 years. It’s important to NOT throw anything out. Those items will be how you evaluate progress and make comparisons.
And “everyone” will only be as accurate as “everyone” ever is, which is to say barely. If you listened to “everyone” about other things in your life, you’d know what you did when you were 16 and heard the “everyone” voice for the first time. Live your own experience. Make one move. Wear one sparkling bracelet with one charm on it that has meaning to you and gives you energy. Your little intention that you will open your heart.
There is definitely a bright winter stereotype of vaudeville costumes. I’ve had a role in perpetuating that, probably a big role. The irony is that this is the only coloring that doesn’t look like a silver bullet in these colors.
We’re saying to choose pure pigmentation, nothing more. Dressing as The Flash isn’t the plan.
The colours looked brighter under the PCA lights. Those are seriously honest lights. They need to be. Same with O.R. lighting. The surgeon has to see the earliest signs of changes in colour of tissues. Some professions have brutal lighting but you wouldn’t want it any other way.
Regular lighting is indirect and bounces off all sorts of objects, which is why close enough is often good enough in foundation. Our brain adjusts a lot, like all the white we think we see that a painter would not paint white. We don’t need accuracy to survive so we didn’t evolve to see it on our own. To survive and reproduce, all evolution really cares about, we need to draw accurate information from our surroundings, which we do by being less absolute. We make correct approximations. Not good enough for a colour analyst.
If you love heathery colours, wear them. My teenagers get along splendidly well wearing what they like. If this is a good plan for you, PCA can save you money even here by suggesting you not buy anything too costly. The clearness of Bright Winter colouring will drain other colours, reducing them into a tired old item that’s been washed a lot. There is no way I know to make those colours interesting on you, if they get noticed at all. Put your cash someplace else.
Biggest part of helping someone is teaching them to help themselves.
Biggest part of helping yourself is answering this: What are you willing to do?
Let’s break it into steps. You decide if you’re willing.
1. Do nothing for a month. Not one thing. Let the whole PCA sit on the highest shelf in the pantry. Leave it there. If your Season grows legs and moves in the night or starts making chirping sounds and bugs you enough, doing something will become the path of least resistance. For now, your best decision is to stay where you are.
Action step: Give this (and your analyst) a chance. Change will be unsettling. The iChing said
“Before the beginning of great brilliance, there must be chaos.”
2. Choices. You can choose to look for every reason why it won’t work. Dog trainers experience this day in, day out. My dog is different and not one of your 40 ideas will work. At the end of the day, the trainer’s hands are tied. Keep the dog you have. You made it be the way it is so part of you is already OK with that. Dogs and owners train each other, the dogs doing the massive majority of it.
Action step: Start small. Buy a wallet or nail polish. We still see it as part of you. Wear a sparkly something. I favour these at Macy’s. Simple, symmetrical, repeating, balanced, all good Winter words.
3. Don’t wear the makeup. Or any makeup. Half of women don’t and wouldn’t and don’t care.
Many women wouldn’t have a PCA at all simply because makeup is uncomfortable. Many wouldn’t be trained as analysts only because they’re uncertain about applying makeup on themselves, let alone others. Sell who you are. Women will think, “Someone like me. I’ll be comfortable with her.”
Many who would bring so much to this career hold back. They worry that they don’t wear makeup and won’t fit into an image industry. Think there’s no market sector that doesn’t wear makeup and still wants to look great? Lord.
Action step: Do it as a group. If I’m writing an article, I’ve gathered from the many emails that the audience must be wide. Here’s another market sector to open up. The New Bright Winter Support Group. Many reading this have figured out this colouring. They could offer the most valuable kind of help. What did you do? How did you think about it? How long did it take to get comfortable? What’s still hard and how are you managing it? Of the advice out there, what do you just ignore? Do you have a vision you’re moving towards in your choices?
4. Two sessions. If you live near the analyst and you know makeup is a problem, ask ahead if you can split the visit in two parts. PCA first, makeup in 2 months. Every analyst should be offering some kind of progress visit after a few months. If you’re hitting the brakes as we get to the end of the analysis, the makeup will go in one ear and out the other. You’ll be processing a thousand things and wanting to get out of there. If you want to sit in your car and weep, you should be free to go do that.
But don’t turn yourself into a victim, ay? In your life, you’ve gotten lots of advice you didn’t take. This can be the same. Here’s a Bright Winter thing: emotional vulnerability on a giant scale. Spring’s emotion and sweet optimism mixed with Winter where everything happens on a grand scale, and drama soon becomes melodrama. The emotional vulnerability is laid out over and over only to have it shot down. Hopelessness sets in. Rein all that back in. Get out of your life. Look down at yourself from a balcony.
Action step: Winter excels at big perspectives. Go there. “Instead of finding everything about my appearance that I don’t like, I guess I better find the things about me that I do like and notice those for a while. Have I being systematically brainwashing myself over the years? OK, so I can’t unlearn everything as fast as my PCA experience did, but I can take it slow and re-examine a lot of things.”
Energy flows along behind attention. Get conscious about where you’re putting yours because you are literally telling yourself the story of your life. From the balcony, what is the story of your life? “She is going to…”
5. Let’s try out some voices. See if you can recognize yours. There is no wrong or right.
Christine was right when she said that it’s easy to see the changes. I understand her writing better now but I like my clothes and I’m going to keep them. Interesting experience but I probably won’t do much with it.
I might try those colors but the people in my life won’t like me wearing them. When I told Christine that, she looked at me funny and said, “Who gives a shit?” but that’s just Christine and she’s kind of hard. She must have felt really strongly about this topic because it was the only time she swore. She said, “Stop abdicating your power and decide for yourself how you wear your hair and what clothes you choose. Let someone else control the little things, and while you were distracted, poof!, they’re controlling your big things.” Whatever. Might work for her but I care what my husband thinks and I want to look good for him. Good thing her husband is a True Winter, they probably deserve each other, imagine living in that house.
Okie dokie, something is going to have to change. I could see that in Summer colors, I looked like I was being prepped for surgery. In Autumn colors, my skin and eyes reflected light like a farm pickup truck that hasn’t seen rain in a month. I had pea soup skin. The lighter Springs weren’t so bad, but I looked like a horse that has its winter coat. Puffed. No sleek planes and angles. Wider and duller. Am I really going to spend the next 40 years of my life in clothes that tell other people that I’m not really here because I’m nervous about the color of a sweater? My 90 year-old self would kick my butt around the block.
I know that to get anywhere in life, you have to know where you start. PCA gave me that. I got handed my Owner’s Manual, or a chapter of it. I get to decide where and how to drive the car.
Now I need to picture where I’m going. A start place and a going towards place. Two points define a line. I now understand the space from here to there. It know it will get clearer once I start because that’s how life always works.
Action step: Celebrate that you can wear black quite well. Do you know what others would give? I mightn’t advise that you wear a turtleneck of it. Black is a little rough on Bright Winter, even though you’re a Winter. A colour that’s too cold and dark will need adjusting and it’s hard to make sunlit black.
A colour that’s too cold, even if the saturation and darkness levels are Bright Winter, will cause blue shadows and need adjusting, even though you’re a Winter. Some of my drapes might do that if you’re a little warmer than they are, though both you and they reside under the Bright Winter umbrella. That’s a common happening in Bright Winter colouring, male and female. Every human can’t hope to be equally represented in every way when there are only 12 categories.
Let’s be real. Every Winter will have black pants while they’re trying to figure stuff out (if they didn’t before) and so they should. Their colours go well with black.
6. Start with colours you already like. Periwinkle and turquoise are usually easy.
Move towards purer pigmentation. That’s all it is. Go top to bottom.
7. You like soft colours. You already like gray. Wear more. Rely heavily on neutral colours.
Action step: Little adjustments the next time you buy pants or decide which pants to keep.
The Winter lineup on the bottom.
Winter gray is made of black and white. Might look a touch blue or red.
Pink and purple gray are not so good. A red gray like the cords on the right side is better.
Blue gray is ok too if it’s close to white. Rainclouds and pigeon medium-blue-gray won’t be the best choice you can make.
Winter white pants are good.
Trade soft blue for more blue, 3rd from left.
The top center pants are not bad at all. They’re just very dark. I like dark clean gray better than black but it’s very dependent on the person. Some Bright Winters have beige hair and wear black exceptionally well, no problems of any sort even in a turtleneck.
8. Forget about contrast. Revisit it in a few months.
Action step: I’m going to build me an outfit on the internet.
Learn Polyvore. Learning your Season is much like learning software. You Google and YouTube about it. In the end, you figure it out by messing with it, getting some stuff wrong, remembering what worked, setting up new maps in your head till they are easy and automatic.
On the internet, it’s free. As many times as I need.
My pants are going to be gray. Already own those. I’m going to wear a light peach colored sweater. Peach is hardly ballistic. The wool will soften the look and the colours. I might go for mint too. Today, I give myself permission to buy anything I want. The only deal is, I can’t pick anything I would normally buy.
I’m going to wear a white blouse under it. Easy and pretty. I’m not even going to think about shiny fabric for a year.
Maybe it’s Christmas. I’m going to pin one sweet little Jingle Bell to my cardigan as a brooch. Maybe a sparkly angel. No other jewelry. Actually that doesn’t sound very hard.
Christine asked me to do her one favour. I can hear her voice. “Please, don’t buy a brown or black purse. Please. Anything else. Pick crystal gray. Doesn’t have to be fuchsia sequins. Just not functional.”
I hid the big colour inside a purse. That allover purple purse, we’ll just put it up there in the corner, top shelf of the pantry.
Saw some jewelry I had to have.
If I saw this on another woman, I can admit that I wouldn’t brace myself.
Having just returned from a week in my native city (Montreal), I’m reminded of how much more grunge/tough-chic urban dwellers are compared to me. I live in the exact center of a clump of trees which grow in the exact center of 90 acres of corn.
The anonymity of city living may explain in part why all the grey and black. Perhaps also the multisensory assault and the need for some quiet somehow. Imagine if everyone were very colourful, or if they all had different coloured coats. It would be too much to take in. I don’t feel it in the small town where I live, but I sure love visiting cities. Montreal is a brilliant city with lots of character. Where you buy a screwdriver is beyond me. It’s all restaurants and bars.
I’m a Dark Winter in colouring. If human colouring were divided into 12 groups, or Seasons, mine would come from the Winter palette of jewel tones. To that, you’d add a few drops of crude oil to darken, dull, and warm slightly. The dull black of crude oil is what happens when Autumn’s deep rich gold mixes with sapphire and ruby. Picture the difference between the matte Batman black (Dark Winter) and the bluer and shinier vinyl record (True Winter).
For Dark Winter colouring, industrial/combat looks almost fall together. Though this won’t apply to all body types, the functionality, simplicity, toughness, masculinity all ring pretty true. I’m not a fan of all black but here, you have white, darker than usual blush (eleablake Accomplished, MAC Fever, this is no rosy cheek look), lipstick, and a ring the colour of blood. The lipstick is sheerly dark because this a natural/young/minimal look (Merle Norman Stolen Kisses).
Muscle tends to be easy for the 3 Autumn types of colouring, who do a cargo/military version. And Heaven knows if there are great boots for them to choose from.
It seems hardest to put this together for Spring. The heavy use of neutral colours always feels too drab on Spring, on whom I find colour is a better neutral than the traditional gray range. Even in their own grays, the excitement isn’t quite there. I still can’t visualize a Spring version that makes sense. I struggle with the toughness as well for True and Bright. Still, it just takes some adjusting. More colour, less metal and leather.
What about a Summer? Overall, this colouring is great in neutral colours and monochromatics. Some Light Summers are surprisingly edgy and G.I. Jane. They know it too but in trying to express it in Winter colours, the whole thing can come off too butch. Below, some adaptations.
Should be easy, she has the same relative darkness, dullness, and texture to True Summer as Dark Winter to True Winter.
She’ll do less distance between lightest and darkest, looks way better on Summer colouring.
Ombre and fade effects are nowhere better.
Wear the bracelets on the same hand.
Could do a mascara version of soft black for the boot.
Equestrian boot are too glamourous and Uggs make us walk too shuffly and mushy.
Denim is so ubiquitous that we barely register its colour unless it’s pretty saturated.
You can’t see the model in the Tshirt because she’s unlikely to be a Soft Summer so she’s disappearing.
Don’t buy the makeup on the Polyvore, I haven’t swatched any of it.
Anybody but especially the boy-body nerd > messenger bag.
Cate Blanchett on the other side of the subway platform. With this wicked good haircut. In this clothing, I’d stare shamelessly.
But without the high-class natural makeup. There’s something too wholesome or healthy about it. I kept peach out of the blush and lip.
Eyeliner is important and you need one that allows you to wear a lot without closing down the eye size. Our makeup should be as much as us, not more. And not less, personal taste depending of course.
I’m completely attracted to biker jackets. Engineer boots too.
Bracelets on the same hand. Warm and cool together are good on Neutral Seasons.
The belt is bubbles.
She has double piercings in her ears.
The Spring in her makes her great in tye-dye. I picked watercolours of galaxy earrings today.
The blue beanie, because marled wools look terrific, because blue disappears on Summers, like a non-colour so it doesn’t really add another colour block.
Purse too saturated? Yup. Coat too something else? Probably. As if a woman wearing this is going to pass up a great purse because it colours outside the lines. Where we do and don’t draw our lines makes us more interesting.
Shopping takes hours of planning and thinking. Which I enjoy more than I can say but seldom have the time. I know you don’t believe this, but many people have way more money than time. I meet them all the time. I get links to Theory suits and Burberry trenches to advise about, shopping bags full of Cle De Peau makeup to sort through, and offers of all-expense paid travel if I’ll go analyze colouring and take on the shopping thereafter.
Believe this too. It’s not because I’m good at it. All I have is the ability to choose colours that flatter because I can measure the person’s colouring, i.e.: I know their Season. That alone sets me apart from all the other stylists. I work from airport waiting lounges, Starbucks, shopping malls, wherever and whenever, with nothing but an iPad.
Sound like your path? Consider training as a colour analyst. Fashion advice without the ability to analyze colouring accurately will be like Hollywood, trendy and unpredictable. If you love shopping and can analyze colouring, you are a different commodity, higher in the value chain, even at the celebrity level.
Something I’ve noticed over the past year. She is always a woman between 55 and 65. She is most often one of the 5 Winter blends, simply because the visual effect I’m about to describe is more visible in that natural colouring, but it happens in all 12 groups or Seasons. In 12 Season personal colour analysis (PCA), the 5 Winters include True, Dark, and Bright Winter, Bright Spring and Dark Autumn.
When we meet, the closest description is that the clothes she wears have faded away. By comparison, the woman isn’t faded at all. Her face is lively, her character sparkly. Her hair is silver or in the process of becoming. There’s lots of life in her eyes and her conversation. Why can’t I see her clothes or makeup?
Beyond cute, but are those eyes real? Would Nature on her own have paired these windows with this house? Do coloured contacts look easy and calm or do they (do you) feel manipulated?
This character ‘s windows balance the house.
It’s the clothes. They make no impression, as if there are no clothes. I’m used to meeting women who dress very neutrally on the day they have their colouring analyzed. I’m used to outfits where one or two items might be great, but the rest are too much or not enough in some way, though I don’t know how before we see what happens with the drapes. Without PCA, nobody can get every item to be in perfect harmony with every other.
When we visit at the beginning of the session, it takes too much effort to notice the clothing, which you can’t do and stay current in the conversation. It’s too distracting to keep going back and forth. Speaking with her while looking at her feels like listening to English and answering in German.
You have to tune out thinking about the clothing out to stay sane. Whatever those clothes cost, they might as well not be there. The head feels connected to a sheer, pale beige shirt and acid-washed light blue pants. The image is so unbalanced that one suspects it can only be intentional. Like the day Lady Gaga was interviewed on 60 Minutes in a skin coloured bathing suit/bustier sort of affair. It was a head with no body, on purpose. An interesting visual and psychological manipulation, of which Gaga is quite masterful.
Our woman often says, “I don’t get service in stores.” She doesn’t mean good or bad. She means not any. The store staff isn’t rude. They literally can’t see her. She looks a little see-through. If we touched her, our finger might not hit solid bone. It might just keep going. She looks like her apparition version, ephemeral.
Absolutely beautiful but does it feel real? With two misty green eyes at the top, it’s like beauty from another dimension. Change the eyes to powerful aqua, amber gold, or yellow green. Will you notice the rest of the scene? Will it feel solid?
Who is the woman we look at and who is the one we look through? If she’s a Dark Autumn or a Bright Spring wearing Light Summer colours, we will look through her. She’s coming down the hall but not in the room yet. I can see her there on the other shore but some part of her soul is delayed, not yet embodied. I’m in the field with the flowers and she’s way over on the other side.
How much can you make out over there when you can barely see the flowers on your shore?
She seems suspended, as if we have to wait for her. If we interact with her, she won’t hear, she’s too far away. If we do speak with her, we’ll hear an echo. Distant objects are muted, cool, and less defined. Close objects are more intensely coloured and well-defined.
We evolved to associate cool and muted colour with distance.
Visually, she’s literally ‘not all there’. That expression has a lot of meanings. Subconsciously, we apply them all. If we look not-solid, then we look airy. Airheaded? Vacuous. Vacant. Shallow. Drained. Emptied. This is not going in a good direction.
If there’s another woman in the room who feels fully present, we’ll be more aware of her and we’ll speak to her. She’ll get faster better service in stores. She’ll get promotions, responsibility. We think she’s smarter. People will expect more of her and put more of themselves into their communication with her. They’re not rude. It’s just that they see her better.
The Space Between Us
I saw Eva*, a Soft Autumn woman recently. In the wholeness of her eyes (the trees), her skin (the lighter statues), the small amount of water (Summer) and the solid stone (Autumn), the fluid and blur effects (Soft Seasons), she looked like this fountain. You know that the fountain has to be hard for the whole image to work. You clearly see its 3 dimensions. 3D is tremendously important in translating Autumn.
Could this scene be conveyed in the beach colours (Light Spring-ish) up above in Brunarte’s photo? No. The magic only takes effect when the truth has been found, when the lines and the colours belong. Would shade and fog colours (Soft Summer) work? Or does this feeling require its warmth?
Previous analysts had found Soft Summer and Light Spring. One analyst saw the softness, one saw the lightness and warmth. The missing piece was a solid bone structure. In Light Spring, she was evenly lit and illuminated, but without solid-looking bones. I adored this woman.
Eva didn’t fuss or drag up any negativity. Instead, she chose to pick up the trail of breadcrumbs. In seeing the puzzle pieces separately, and then adding back the final one, she understood so much more about her colouring that if the answer had been right the first time.
She could see the relative importance of the parts. TMIT has been talked about before. I used an over-simplification to illustrate something, and it may have ricochet’d around as shortcuts sometimes do. Every element matters.
A colour analyst is always balancing and comparing.
We want the geometry of the face to be solid, but we stop before it gets severe.
The substance of the bottom half has to match the substance of the top half.
The illumination of the bottom half has to match the illumination of the top half.
The wrong colour: The features are un-united. If the red is too red, white is too white, blotches appears, the face looks scattered apart.
The balance: The features all belong to the same face. For some people, their truth is to have strong reds and blues. That is their right colour.
Eyes are the focal point of the whole person. Eyes are everything. We’re magnetized to them. Nothing, nothing should get in the way.
Our eyes truly are the window, the two-way mirror, the story, and the soul of who we are.The surrounding face should be stable and secure, not floating and vanishing. The eye is framed by the browbone above and the cheekbone below. Both facial structures should be in focus, solid and well-defined on the face. A brow that blends into the skin and a cheekbone that is collapsed weaken the presence and our awareness of the presence. The jaw and chin must balance. Too much weight on one end and the scaffold of the face tips over.
As we have said, our woman’s head isn’t faded at all, even without makeup. The intensity of the eye colour is very high in the face. Something may be highly dramatic. The hair might be big, easily belonging to bone structure that’s stunning, all sharp angles, like she walked off the set of Dynasty. Or, her features might be lush, all swoopy and dreamy, with an gorgeous man-magnet shape. To meet, she’s fun and funny, interesting and interested. She is way more than her clothing choice. Her head is fully there but her body isn’t.
I thank my dear friend Adele* for explaining to me that in her own life, her disappearance has been necessary, voluntary, and temporary, intended to create a space. She is holding and honouring a place that represents a letting go of all that needs releasing, and trusting that what comes next will be right. By making a place inside that’s a little blank, she announces herself open and hospitable to anything. We see her as incomplete on the outside because she is incomplete. For the moment, this is the truth of her.
At this stage of life, many of us women in our 50s sense a disconnect where the exterior is no longer communicating the rich interior. We can’t figure out how to get the two on the same track again in this new phase of life. Adele is hiding while she tries to figure something out. I love that she knew when the time was right to remove the cloak. Sometimes, the shelter is too safe and we stay there. Not Adele. She did the releasing, the waiting, the becoming. When she was ready to know her most basic truth, she had her colouring analyzed. Bright Spring.
The change back is a little tricky. Adele is now used to visual neutrality. In her head, she knows that Bright Spring colours are where she looks most present. She knows they don’t look overly bright on her. They look normal. Next to her, it’s all the other colours that look faded. True Spring’s juicy coral looks tired and old under her face.
Adele should run a women’s support group. She is so clear on this topic. She feels no weakness or compromise. The inside needed to be neutral gray for a while. The time for that has passed. Now, she is holding back from shopping and seeing how many old choices were just old habits. Makeup and hair colour changes are waiting to get clarity about who’s underneath it all. She’s been amazed to see that her silver hair is quite yellow.
Adele and women like her have been among the most fascinating self-healing journeys I’ve seen. They’re so smart that I just have to sit down for a minute. I see a conscious decision to retreat from our bold, bossy world, to float to wherever she is taken with trust, to feel her way through things instead of always thinking, and seeing what her real self could attract from the inside. This is why I love what I do beyond telling, that it brings this enrichment into my life while I still have so much time to become more from it.
From the remarkable quotes on this page, words by Jiddu Krishnamurti, far more profound than a mere statement about the human capacity for recursive thought,
The highest form of human intelligence is to observe yourself without judgment.
Silver Hair and Warm Colouring
I’d be a bigger fan of colouring hair if there were better colour advice out there. If the best hair colour were easy enough to achieve (Dark Seasons, Light Seasons). If silver didn’t look so very good on certain colouring (Brights) or so natural and easy on others (Cools and Softs).
Plus, some of the most chic hairstyles I know are on the Pinterest pages of the silver hair sites. Send an email if Google doesn’t find them for you. There are about 4 or 5. Best hairstyles ever, regardless of hair colour.
Reader Q: I was once analyzed as a True Autumn and lived that way for many years. Now the colours feel too intense for True Autumn. Is Soft Autumn now better?
I don’t follow people over years and life changes, or know PCAs that have, so I’m not certain of what really happens. I do believe we soften a little and cool a little as hair shifts to white, and skin probably shifts accordingly. We must project colour differently as we contain less water. Mostly, the answer is the same one you’ve heard many times: It depends on the person.
I also believe we stay in our Season most of the time. The very odd person who was right between 2 Neutral Seasons but closer to the warm might shift over to be closer to the cooler one, but that’s rare. I see women over 60 still quite equally spread among the 12 groups. Often, I think the change isn’t so much in the best colours as the best neutrals. The darker browns and grays are replaced with the medium to lighter ones to repeat the hair.
This beautiful face would dominate Soft Autumn colour today and probably always.
A True Autumn might shift a little closer to Soft Autumn without going that soft in the colours. She might not. I know some silver haired True Autumns. It’s visually amazing. Powerful, rich, hot, strong. On that woman, Soft colours would look faded. It’s only next to Soft Autumn that those colours attain their highest energy. She still needs the hot orange, the golden greens, whisky and burnt sugar, for her clothing to look energized and for her to look energized in it.
That look of blending into our clothes is too-often misunderstood as harmony. Disapperance is the opposite of what harmony looks like. Harmony looks like the highest energy the two can bring out in each other, so perfect is the synchronicity. It feels like singing at the top of your lungs. It feels like the fullest, most extravagant concert, every instrument at once and still perfect pitch, harmony, and melody. No part of the story is stronger or weaker. The balance is heavenly. Synergy means a combined effect which is greater than the sum of the two separate effects. Your clothing, cosmetics, and hair colour bring out more of you, and you of them, than either would if seen separated.
Defining Your Business
It has been a gift to meet so many women who participate in the various silver-haired forums and online groups. So much power and support, I can tell you that it’s been an eye-opener. Many would like to be involved in the training course to become PCAs (more info here). Some hold back because they feel that they don’t know – or want to know – enough about makeup.
In this business, you are whatever you present yourself to be. Just be clear about it up front. Your clients will find you if you tell them who you are. Tell them what you believe. Giving people logic doesn’t make them call you. Giving them sympathetic emotion, “She really knows how I feel because that’s how she feels.”, sure does. The market for people looking for the metaphor or vehicle that reconnects them with themselves in an honest, loving, meaningful way is bigger than you can imagine. We are all in this boat to some extent.
I welcome the students whose purpose they can clearly state as helping others, celebrating the person that we are, finding peace in the package we were put into. Our outsides are as they are for a reason. Honouring that takes us 55 years. The freedom is like walking onto a sunny beach after being in a dark, smoke-filled room for a week. We can help everyone find it.
Own 12 lipsticks or glosses and blush, some pressed powder foundations. Between Avon’s endless range and continuous sales, Revlon’s no-animal-testing, and beautypedia.com’s advice on where to put your $, you can be set up without a big expense.
Develop what you love. Find ways to support the massive market segment that Adele represents. The knowledge of how to do it is already in you. Figure out how to give her what you need.