28 Clues That Our Look Wanted An Upgrade Thumbnail

28 Clues That Our Look Wanted An Upgrade

28 Clues That Our Look Wanted An Upgrade

access_time 2015/03/14 account_circle chat_bubble_outline 18 Comments
Announcements before we begin

1. Please notice the updating column on the left. Colour Analyst training course dates are posted for 2015. These dates are moderately adjustable, within a few days at the most. Adding more courses is possible but not likely, one reason being that there are just over 10 sets of Test Drapes available for 2015, to divide between my students and Terry’s (Terry’s course info is on her website at Your Natural Design).  They will be reserved for students with confirmed course bookings, first deposit, first drapes. I do not guarantee any more Test drapes this year, nor do I discount the possibility.

2. After many requests, Toronto is getting an opportunity for high level colour analysis. Lisa Kelly will bring her Ottawa-based business to To. for a few days, Luxury drapes and all. Dates and contact under Colour Travels.

3. Also under Colour Travels, Heather Noakes has added many dates and destinations for PCA appointments.

4. Re: my trip to Vancouver to train and see PCA appointments. Unfortunately, the location did not work out. However, the interest in teaching, modelling, and private PCA sessions was significantly higher than I anticipated. This says to me that somewhere in the future, I must make this happen. It won’t be in May, but hopefully within the next year. Please do send an email if you’re interested. It will go in my Van. file and I’ll be in touch once something is confirmed.



OK. Business out the way. Let’s start. This post was fun, funny, and easy to put together.

As every woman who has given birth knows, there is something about reliving traumatic moments that helps us to heal. Psychologists, past life regressions, dream therapy, and so importantly, professional parties, all offer us opportunities to revisit the difficult times instead of suppressing them till they morph into some other undesirable thing.

Colour analysts are regular women too. We look back at our pre-colour-analyzed selves with the same incredulity, the same, “What was I thinking??” that our clients do. Maybe the traumatic part is looking back and wondering how in all the world we missed these clues.

We thought we would share with you a compilation of our favourite personal stories and memories. That way, if one day, you can come to one of our parties, and we hope you do, you will already be in on the jokes when we retell our own stories yet again.

To this day, about myself, I try to imagine what image, information, or influence could have brought the upgrade at 25 instead of 45. High on the list of Top 3 Comments Colour Analysts Hear is, “If only I had known sooner.” When I write Confessions of a Colour Analyst, I’ll put that list in the Appendix.

From me, Jorunn in Norway, Margareta in Sweden, Johanna in Finland, Ksenia in Moscow, Sharon in Texas, and Lisa Kelly (email to lisa@DNAmycolours.com) in Ottawa. (For contact info for Ksenia, email me to christine@12blueprints.com. For Margareta’s contact, email Terry at terry@yournaturaldesign.com.)

What does it say when 6 women came up with 25+ ideas with less than 10 minutes thinking? That common things are common, for one.



What We Missed

1. You go into the bathroom to apply makeup. When you come out 30 minutes later, you are asked, “Why do you do all that? You don’t look one bit different.”

2. Your photos remind people of movie stars of the 80s and 90s. 
Angie Dickinson, for instance.

3. To our recollection, no words had been said about how healthy we look in the past year. Or ever.

4. Come to think of it, your hairstylist did choose that colour.

5. You and more than one of your friends use the same cosmetic colour. Any cosmetic. Or, you and your under-20 daughter share more than one cosmetic colour or application technique.

6. We were 99% sure our foundation or hair colour was the best choice. Turns out that seed of doubt was a good thing. It gave us room to move.



7. It crossed my mind that I wanted the next 10 years to look different from the last 10. What in the world I could do to make that happen was nowhere to be found. This is similar to, I go into the makeup store with money in my pocket, stare at aisle after aisle of cosmetics, and have no idea what to buy. My conclusion: The old ways don’t work anymore. It’s time for something new. But what????

8. It strikes you that Bill Gates with silver hair looks sexier than he ever has. We knew he had it in him. And if he can do it, oh boy, so can we.

9. Black liquid eyeliner.

10. Your clothes don’t generally make you happy or feel good, they are just items to wear. You figure that for some people, that is the way it is. Some people must be meant to put their energy into other things than clothes. (Happy ending: Then you discover that there are clothes that feel like they were made just to be on you.)

11. Naming any of your lipsticks Pablum would be a fair representation of their colour.



12. Our blush, lipstick, and the reds in our clothes are totally different. They could never have grown on the same tree.

13. You have given up on makeup altogether. Though you say it is because you believe in the natural look, it is really because you are are unable to find anything you like on you.

14. When asked about your look, you say, “I don’t have A look. I just look.” Either we had no Look or it was a magazine-driven Look. (The happy ending is always within reach:  We knew about connecting elements of an outfit together. The next level was learning to connect them to us.)

15. Your husband is better at buying clothes that get positive responses, or any reaction at all, than you are. He actually offers child-minding time for you to go out and buy something. If you had your choice, you would wear a Skidoo suit.



16. You constantly get complimented on just one part of your makeup, the eyes, the lipstick, the brows.

17. You have 5 or more eyeshadows, pencils, or lipsticks that are the exact same color.

‬ This one applied to several of us.

18. I wear the same makeup for every occasion and with every piece of clothing.
 And have done so for as long as I can recall.

19. I had been continuously hunting on eBay for a certain product that had been discontinued years ago just because I could not do without it.‬



20. You have your makeup bag full of nearly-same lipstick colours. Between 5 and 10 of them rattle at the bottom of your purse all the time. Not one of them makes you smile at yourself in the mirror.

21. When you choose foundation or bronzer to give a warm glow or because everyone around you does, conformity having the gravitational pull of a singularity.

22. When after years of trying, I still cannot find a single coral lipstick that suits me. (Happy ending: I can stop looking. Turns out it was plum all along.)

23. When people can’t stop looking at your flamboyant hair colour, next to which your face looks like blancmange, and you never bother wearing makeup because it looks unnatural, and anyway, your hair is the only thing you care about.



24. I saw warm, earthy, rustic colours as ‘natural’ and insisted that they look good on me, on everyone, because of that.

25. I worried that wearing more colour looks too young….so I wore less. Alternatively, you wear less makeup now that you’re older so nobody thinks you’re trying too hard, but when you look at yourself, you feel tired. The question I wanted somebody to answer: How does a woman know her just-right face?

26. You haven’t been shopping in 15 years because you’re waiting till you lose weight. Or, you are buying only the cheapest stuff because who cares what you wear when you’re overweight? Even though you see women your size or bigger looking great, it doesn’t change your attitude. (With a happy ending: Since having discovered my colors, everything has changed. Believe me, I shop. )

27. Besides black, there is no colour I felt calm and comfortable in, let alone good or gorgeous.

28. I was unrecognizable from my photos as a 25 year old.



What We Learned

We never had to be perfect. We still don’t. Sacrificing the better, the good, or the great in the name of the perfect is self-sabotage.

We need to give ourselves time to learn anything  new, even about ourselves. Learning done right is a journey that never ends, whether our PCA was a week, a year, or a decade ago.

There is no rule about PCA that says we have to feel trapped in doing it All Day, Every Day. Failure simply does not exist. Every woman can look gorgeous when she wants to look gorgeous. And she can do it on her terms.



Many thanks to my sister, Sonja, for the photographs. These images were taken at Windhorse Farm, an incredibly beautiful natural setting in Nova Scotia, Canada. A summer camp for kids to explore, learn, and connect with Nature takes place here, at Sunshine House.

Nature Connections Camp_2015



18 Thoughts on 28 Clues That Our Look Wanted An Upgrade

  • "; ?> Daga

    Love the thought on perfectionism. I can relate to so many points from the post! Here are the clues I missed:
    29. You spend a lot of time in fitting room to carefully evaluate how a garment fits but you don’t bother to look at your face even once.
    30. You feel you should change your wardrobe each time the trends change.
    31. You feel great but people caring for you say that you look pale or tell you you should start wearing blush when you’re already wearing one.
    32. Your love says that you look weird wearing a lipstick.
    33. You make your decisions about your hair because you think: “I love sunny/ashy/strawberry blond so much at the moment!” or “Highlights just brighten up the face” or “Omg, X looks so great, I want this style and colour!”

  • "; ?> Francine

    I have learned so much from this website, but this post was a bit disappointing. The subject line was so enticing! But it turns out to be mostly about makeup, which I just can’t bring myself to use because I hate the look and feel of it. I wonder what your group would come up with if the discussion focused only on clothes, hair, & accessories.

    • "; ?> Christine Scaman

      In a way, much of the makeup comments could apply equally to clothes.
      …you shop for clothes in the same stores your teenagers do.
      …you own more than three shirts in the same colour.
      …you have a uniform that everyone expects you to show up in. They’ve adapted to it and it throws them right off if you deviate, so you have learned not to deviate.

      As a spin on Daga’s #29,
      …if clothes look nice on the hanger and come in your size, you take them to the dressing room.

      Ones that applied to me,
      …if asked to pull images of how you would love to look, or would look at your very best, you would not know where to begin.
      …if you did tear pictures out of a magazine of how you would love to look, you realize that they look nothing like you.
      …if you then show those pictures to people, they look at you like you’ve lost your mind. You go home, think about it, and realize that what you have lost, or have forgotten if you ever had one, is your navigational system. If those images you pulled are so bad, then somebody please explain why, because what if they’re right and the crowd just couldn’t see it?
      …you figure that buying ten items from a thrift store is better than one single investment, because what on Earth would you invest in? And you’ve carried this belief around for more than 6 months.
      …in accessories, even I could admit that I had no idea where the line was between funky, silly, ridiculous, cute, young, effective, and me. I was probably more wrong here than in any other aspect of appearance. Today’s accessories didn’t cost a cent more and are what I love the most.

  • "; ?> Francine

    Christine, my goodness this is so helpful! Thank you! But it’s also alarming. I’ve had my colors assessed THREE TIMES (2x w Sci/Art) and most of the items in your most recent comment are still very much applicable to me. Especially these two:
    1. …if clothes look nice on the hanger and come in your size, you take them to the dressing room.
    2. …you figure that buying ten items from a thrift store is better than one single investment, because what on Earth would you invest in? And you’ve carried this belief around for more than 6 months.
    My reaction upon reading these is, “How else do people shop?”
    Maybe your team’s clients need a “How to shop” intensive. The Pinterest board about the types, and the newsletter project, help a little, but there’s a very strong Cluelessness/Intimidation Curve to be overcome….

  • "; ?> inge

    There is another one from me:
    … spending hours after hours reading about style and colours on the web, and then wearing the same jeans as always.

  • "; ?> katherine

    this is great! especially the “pablum” one — I used to have a lipstick color, something Fig, that I always called Figment because on me it was so light you could not tell it was even there, it was like a figment of the imagination. and at the time I’d had so many bad experiences with lipsticks looking awful on me that I’d given up and thought that was the best I’d ever do.

  • "; ?> AC

    Francine, in some ways I am with you and in some ways I feel I have moved on. Perhpas you can use a bit of what I have learned? Like you I went through 3 PCAs until I got it right 14 months ago (12 blueprint system and a careful PCA that took the time needed). Luckily I was able to follow up with a bodytype/style analysis with Rachel – style can be done via Skype unlike a colour analysis which has to be done IRL.
    It is possible to take clothes from the hanger in correct colour but wrong shape for your body. And then you cant really figure out why it isn’t working since the colour is right. The further away you are from “classic” the more important it becomes to know what your shape is like and what works – it is just my personal opinion, but being a soft dramatic bright winter (me) most clothes in shops are made for other people. Fine. Now I know. So I am just picky and patient.
    If you dont know Rachels page and blog yet, try it. She has an article called something like “3 things you need to know before you spend another dime” – it is a good step.
    I keep a list of things I do need to shop for. Very often we shop because we are bored or want to cater to emotions or other obscure reasons. I am patient. I knew I wanted a black leather jacket in a fitted style. It took several months before it appeared in a shop.
    It takes patience and practice. Good luck.

  • "; ?> Francine

    @AC, thank you for your helpful comments. I did have a lovely, informative style analysis with Rachel, and I do read her site. However, it can be tough translating all that into shopping… methods? steps? insider skills? Not sure what would be the right phrase here. I don’t enjoy shopping, so I want to be able to go to a store, get “X in Y color with Z features,” and leave. We all know that’s unlikely. Throw in lifelong frugal or spendaholic habits, figure quirks, or difficulty understanding whether something really looks good on us or not, and even armed with a swatch book and some body type info, we can get pretty lost. You mentioned patience a couple of times. Does this mean going back and back to stores until the desired item appears? Asking them to stock the thing? Ordering online several variations that are sort of close to what you want, and testing to see if any of it fits?
    Speaking of which, I’m wondering if I’m unusual in just giving up and swallowing the $$ loss because I don’t have time, or I forget, to return stuff. I am trying to stop buying clothes online because of this.

  • "; ?> inge

    Francine, I think I understand your point. In my case, I know a lot of “theory”, but shopping does not go so well. I feel paralyzed, maybe because I am quite unable to return stuff (shyness, fear of being judged, and so on) while cannot quite afford to waste too much money, and maybe because I very seldom find affordable things I really like. Eventually, out of necessity , I just buy safe clothes that look very much like my older clothes.

  • "; ?> AC

    Francine, uhh, you are right in so many ways. It is difficult.
    And getting from the information of a PCA and a style analysis to actually putting it into practise and doing it with a sort of ease … I cannot claim that I have arrived at that, but I have come a lot further than where I was. Two ideas, that have helped me:
    1. Learning to return stuff (Inge, I know how you feel). I dislike it, because it takes time (parking, getting to the shop, and sometimes you feel like you should explain why ?!? – well you shouldn’t. It is your money and your decision). But it is mainly a psychological thing and it can be dealt with. When I return something I arrive well dressed. Weirdly I find that if I look expensive I get better service and no one asks why – they just hope I come back. I feel I convey the message of ‘I can buy this item, but I have chosen not to.’ The more times I have practised returning something the easier it has become. The sales person will often probe you for a reason. Use really short answers. Be polite, and have an answer ready. “I have tried it on at home, but the item and I just don’t agree.”
    2. Shopping on the internet. I do it a lot because I live in a rural area and shops are far away and often I have very little luck in those shops. I don’t go to shops and ask if they will hang this or that aside or call me XYZ item shows up. Chances are low they will know what I mean. I do shop most of my clothes on line. I use only! only! only! companies that will allow me to return stuff free of charge – so they pay the postal service for the return. I pretty much use the same company all the time. It is too difficult to use the others – and if I have to pay to return items, then the chance is I am keeping a bad item.
    I often order two sizes of say a dress – that way I get the size that fits me best and I know already that I have to return at least one dress. I have learned to ignore a whole lot of different stuff which looks good on other peole but not on me. I order several things – since I am going to bring the box to the post office anyway. I have gotten better at the colours, but I still make mistakes when choosing. Both in terms of colour and style. But it isn’t really a mistake – only if I keep the item. I compare the items. Often I try them on without looking at the price tag. Sometimes I find this helps me see the real value of the thing for me. When I then look at the tag I will often be surprised – either positively or negatively. Very often I will try an item on, that I already own and know for a fact is really good in colour and style. I will use that as a comparison and a standard when trying on the new stuff that just arrived in the box. It helps me to compare and not get too enthusiastic just because it is new. I remeber Rachel told me: a clothing item should really really do something for you. Not just simply cover your nakedness. I look in the mirror and ask myself that question.
    Sometimes I send all of it back. Sometimes I keep some. Rarely if ever have I kept all items. I am just not that good at picking from pictures and descriptions. Probably nobody is. I still find this is the fastest and most convinient way for me.
    3. This one I haven’t done yet, but I plan to do so. A list of my top ten best buys. What are they? What did they cost – or perhaps better their cost per wear? Why are they best? Is there a common denominator? I have gotten some really good things the past year. And I want to have a think about what I did right. I am pretty sure I will learn something from such a session with me and my closet.
    I don’t know if any of the above helps you. I hope so though. Good luck out there.

    • "; ?> Francine

      This is all so helpful! Thank you. “A clothing item should really really do something for you” and “What are your top 10 best buys and why” I am going to give some serious thought & action.

  • "; ?> inge

    AC, thank you so much! Actually, it has been pleasant to make a list of my top ten buys. The result is surprising, I have never considered all those items together – really helpful, it says a lot.

  • "; ?> Susan

    Do you ladies agree with the general opinion (it seems to be so anyway, from media/magazines etc) that one should lighten their hair as they get older? I had black hair as a child, and have colored it since I was 14 (attempting to be a red-head…my dream). I have maintained the black in adulthood, and now, at 44, wonder if I should try going lighter. I keep my hair very short, and I’m a Dark Winter (was analyzed). Everyone seems to think that anything lighter than black will wash me out, and perhaps they are right, but curious as to your ideas/opinions on the subject. Thanks!!

  • "; ?> inge

    Susan, I do not claim to have the an answer, but here is my own experience. I am the same age as you, have light chestnut hair and tried to go a little bit lighter, tough no quite blonde, Even if it was not much lighter than my own colour (I use no ammonia semi-permanent dye, which does not allow big changes) the result was not very nice. I looked like a sort of whitewashed copy of myself. (And I looked even worse when I tried a shade that was darker than my original one-it was quite a dreadful experience. 🙂 )

  • "; ?> Laura

    Recently I was thinking about the whole PCA experience over the last two years and realized that I’m enjoying my clothes and overall look more than I ever have. I’m happy with my colours and am getting better at finding them. Shoes and bags are falling into place, my preferences are becoming clearer. I’m spending more on quality, confident that I’ll be wearing the items for years to come. It all adds up to a good feeling.

    Thank you.


    • "; ?> Christine Scaman

      You are so welcome, Laura. I can see it when we meet, not just in how you look which is now interesting, intelligent, and stamped with your own clear brand of femininity, but also in how much is shared when we visit – in both directions : )

  • "; ?> Susan

    Thank you for your input Inge:) I’m learning (after having burnt my scalp badly and having my hair buzzed down to “start over”), that black is the only hair color that seems to make me look “right”, and feel like myself. Usually people are clamoring to have black hair lightened after a certain age, but everyone in my immediate vicinity tells me to keep the black. I’m beginning to accept that having very high contrast coloring is what makes me, me. It only took me decades to figure out…lol. I am curious though, if blue-black hair is a flattering option for a Deep/Dark Winter? My hair is a neutral black color now, but the few times I had blue in it, I received more compliments on my hair than ever before. I would think that might suit a Cool/Clear Winter better. Any thoughts or insight would be appreciated. Thanks so much!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *