Colours from Other Seasons
Clothing colours from other Seasons can look terrific and maintain shopping productivity and shopper sanity.
Highlight on the word clothing.
In the first video (here on YouTube), we talk about why cosmetics need a tighter fit with our own Season, and what the idea of Season means.
In the video, when I talk about the 12 villages along the track, picture the lovely graphic (under Season), from the lessons by Jorunn Hernes, the 12 BLUEPRINTS analyst in Norway.
Sharing Hair Colour
As the biggest colour area in the head besides skin, and always in the viewer’s eyesight from any angle, hair colour has a profound influence in appearance.
The colour has a dramatic effect on whether our face is slim or chubby, sculpted or flattened, and defined or blurred. The face can go from a flat plate to a shapely vase instantly.
Stay in Season and use your natural colour, tonality, darkness level, age, and even texture and style to guide you to the best choice.
When hair colour drifts too many degrees of separation from the wearer, we cannot see the woman at her best and neither can she. Nobody cannot picture different wigs on her head and how her face would react. For the sake of what we believe about ourselves, wear the closest to right and real hair colour possible.
It may take a few steps to have the best possible colour but close enough is already so much better. Does anyone watch The Commander on Acorn TV? In Season 3, when they change the lead’s (Amanda Burton) hair from blonde to red, her face goes from flat to adult and well-proportioned. Even her eye colours changes. Was it the warmth? The different kind of warmth? The darkness? Who knows without colour analysis, but it is most interesting to watch the effects, since the setting, lighting, clothing, and cosmetics remain about the same.
Think beyond warm and cool to choose the colour. Warm and cool are only 1 out of the 3 things that colour is. We all have something extreme about our colours, but for most of us, it’s not how warm or cool we are. Read extreme as not-medium rather than off-the-charts.
The colours of hair are incredibly complex. Nature configured them for skin and eyes in ways that are hard for humans and chemistry to replicate, both tending to over-simplify and lose the nuance in favour of a wall of same colour hair. Before you know it, you’ve made a commitment to something that would have struck you as odd ten years ago.
Dye can be a great and beautiful thing, but it ain’t perfect. In choosing the colour, respect the mastermind that chose your own. It knew what it was doing.
Our client’s questions are the greatest vehicle for our learning. Here are a few that have been asked about wearing other Seasons’ colours:
Do colours from different palettes ever even look good together?
Yes, for many reasons. They have a lot in common, as neighbour villages would. The countryside changes gradually.
Everyone has their own spin on what looks good. Cultural influences are strong, as are age influences. To some, mustard and sky blue are beautiful together. To others, everything their friends are wearing is their best choice.
There’s a line in a country song (here on YouTube) that goes, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”
I chose a system of PCA 10 years ago. It was called Sci\ART, developed by Kathryn Kalisz, my respect for whom grows each day that I use her colour system in the real world.
As conceptual thought and colour classification go, the system is mind-blowingly superior.
I love frameworks that deliver in the physical world. I am suspicious of rules unless I trust the rulemaker. With Sci\ART, I’m all in. The system translates 1000% into visual harmonics of person and attire.
What has helped me know how right it is has been to meet many people and see how obviously excellent the colours are for the body, that bring out the best of the person and the fullness of their identity, and would drain the magic on another person. The clothes and colours either talk to each other or they don’t.
I spend an hour with Sydney Cummings every day and every day is better for it. Sydney is real and every workout is a gem. As she says in this video, “It’s like 80% of my brain space is song lyrics.” I’m with you on that, Sydney. Mine is filled with quotes. They get super-glued up there and don’t move on down the line till the next great one appears.
The great Sir David Attenborough said,
It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living.
As humans, we create and we produce. The idea of creating attracts me, but I wonder if having a framework seems limiting. To me, it’s liberating. Between “Paint a picture of yourself.” and “Paint a picture of yourself using these colours.”, creation and productivity both come faster with the second one. That’s what the second video is about (here on YouTube).
Why would other Seasons’ colours look good on me or harmonize with mine?
Because they share enough with your own Season in their colour properties.
Colours have 3 properties: warm-cool (hue), light-dark (value), and soft-bright (chroma or saturation). These are happening at the same time and have to be considered at the same time.
In the rarefied personal colour analysis (PCA) environment in which our colours are determined, the room, the walls, the ceiling, the lighting, are controlled. Answers you can count on start in laboratories, graphs, charts, conceptual thought.
The laboratory also keeps emotion out of the result, which we discussed in a previous post. As a stranger, the colour analyst brings no baggage into the relationship. Your colours are what they are. They start where they start and end where they end.
The real world isn’t the laboratory. The everyday world is relaxed and dynamic. Someone looks at the charts and thinks, “I wonder what I could do with that idea.”
The video below (Simon & Garfunkel, Bridge Over Troubled Water from the Central Park Concert, here on YouTube) shows a beautiful face, as are all faces. Watch in full screen. What do you think about his hair and eyes together? Do they appear to share something? Could you pair them together in a print?
A great colour system recognizes what’s happening in his hair and eyes. It can detail the colours in his skin and would allow him to surround himself in his own colours and take us to another world. So much beauty in a face, the soul behind eyes, human and animal, I feel hypnotized, my thinking brain is frozen, and I want to weep.
Is his shirt improving the colour of his teeth and whites of his eyes? Could you picture a better white?
Is “temperature” balance the overall goal?
No, because colour temperature is only 1 out of the 3 of what’s happening with colour. Darkness and brightness influence energy just as much.
I’d describe the overall goal as energy balance. Your analyst will show you this in real time. Verbally, both colours look better for being together, with neither being more or less, never one at the expense of the other.
An equivalent and beautiful relationship. Calm, smart, and exciting, just like the natural world.
When every element could have grown on the same tree, you’re doing well. If you think of it, how many folks do you know who could achieve this without a PCA?
Let’s watch in full screen as Peter, Paul, and Mary sing Puff. (here on YouTube)
How’s the first singer’s jacket with his hair?
What do you think about the energy balance between his eyes and jacket? Even or uneven?
How about the second singer’s eyes with his jacket?
Can you feel yourself watching two things at once and comparing them?
Do the men have different skin colour? Sure. To find value in their individual colouring, we’re going to have to quantify it. Welcome to Colour Analysis. Without measurements, Welcome to Hogwarts.
Why do I prefer male examples? Because it takes a colour analyst, their studio, and their drapes to untangle the moving parts that women have going on.
Why do I go back in time? To keep modern cultural ideas out of things. Humans are coloured the same as we ever were.
Can you balance out a “too warm” item with a “too cold” item?
How warm and how cool are we talking? A little or a lot?
I enjoy the warm and cool side of a Neutral Season in the same outfit or print. The person often has a combination of warmer-looking and cooler-looking colours side by side in the face or head, built into the palette for you.
If you mean, can one neutralize an over-warm colour with a too-cool one in the same outfit, it depends on how far apart the colours’ Seasons in their colour qualities, as a general answer.
We see cosmetic application where ice blue eyes are paired with warm brown eyeshadow. We are told, “Look how stunning, breathtaking really.” Maybe with a model, a makeup artist, special lights, and Photoshop. On most true-blue-eyed women I know, I don’t see it as their best choice. This is where my “stew on snow” analogy came from. The snow might look whiter, the blue eyes bluer, but the overall effect is unhealthy and the cosmetic seems unappealing with the hair and clothing colours. The Big Picture doesn’t click.
Should you always incorporate an item of your own season into the mix?
Yes, I think so. In the 80-20 world that improves presentation a million times without making everyone crazy, I’d aim for 60-80% in your Season.
Folks underestimate how much appearance improves with small adjustments. It can really be impressive. Every step, however small, counts.
Are there guidelines as to which seasons one can combine and get a good effect? Like, if the purpose is harmony it makes sense to stick to the same season’s colours, but if you go for contrast (across the colour wheel – like blue with orange) – would it be equally important that the accent item is in the same season? Like if someone wore a blue dress in their own season and wore orange accessories from another season as a highlight.
80% of the entire outfit in the same Season from any contribution. The other 20, how near or far, is up to you. I shop with one palette and aim to be very close in every item because it makes my life simpler and everything goes with everything.
These outside choices are few, not many, depending on how you’re measuring success. It’s the odd colour here and there. If you kept 7 in 10 of your ensemble choices in your Season, 2 in 10 in the immediate neighbours, and left one more random foreign colour, you’d be doing just fine. To assemble my closet, I take 70-80% from my palette, the rest from the immediate neighbours of Dark Autumn and True Winter, voila working closet.
Any thoughts on intentional mismatching?
I acknowledge the artistry of unexpected colour and print combinations but couldn’t picture these outfits walking into a meeting or party where I live. If I were Italian or Texan instead of Canadian, it might be a different story. I’m also unconvinced of the longevity of these outfits in wardrobes. Like many edgy or marginal looks, they can distract from the wearer and date themselves. I find they often look like a quilt or something that was made into clothes but began for another purpose.
I’m an application person who finds fulfillment in turning theory into something that improves our real lives. As I look at examples, even harder than putting improv colours together would be wearing them somewhere without appearance taking on a character of its own, separate from ours, like a movie setting or competition of some sort. I couldn’t imagine anyone I know wearing them.
The sensation reminded me of reading a story where you can’t believe the characters in their assigned roles, or even in the plot, as if everyone’s in disguise. Has anyone read The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, here at Amazon? It’s a fascinating format for a mystery in which a character wakes up as a different member of the cast every day.
As mentioned earlier, I like normal and think of Nature as normal. We wear our apparel, not the other way around. Wear what you want, I say, but if the only person who could look reasonable is 5’10” and slightly undernourished, my attention will not be held. I like to see effort rewarded, which dressing in our Season offers, with tremendous variety and self-expressive creativity.
My general understanding is that the closer to the face, the more important it is to get an item right – so makeup, then earrings, necklaces, shirts, trousers, shoes.. in order of importance. And it would be easier to pull off a bracelet in an unflattering shade of metal than earrings. Likewise for a Winter to wear an autumn shade of shoes with an item in Winter neutrals/all black.
Also as I see it, it’s a sort of 2 axis spectrum of colour and style where you try to maximise of both as much as you can, but in reality with limited resources and availability of items you often find yourself making trade-offs – an unflattering style in a great colour is never going to make you look your best, and likewise for a well-fitting item in a terrible colour, so better to bump up both as much as possible without necessarily expecting either to be perfect. So the right colour with a decent cut, or a great cut with an almost right colour can still be pretty good and probably as good as is realistically possible much of the time.
Video 3 is here on YouTube.
The 80-20 of colour sharing
The more you know about anything, the more selective you get.
Applying it is situational.
During the analysis, I’m 100-0.
To wear clothes, 80-20. 80% in our Season colours for 80% of our apparel items is 10,000 steps forward for our closet.
Some prefer the 50-50 rule and that’s OK too, big improvement on the previous 10-90.
Here are a few practices to help your Season borrow colours without compromising harmony in appearance. Once more, they apply to clothing. Most of this can be found throughout the book, Return to Your Natural Colours.
1.Know the properties of your Season (type of natural colouring).
Your colour analyst will provide this information. There will be 3 ranges, including:
Your actual warmth, rather than what you look like you might be, and how to use your palette to select items in accordance.
Your lightest and darkest range; every colour falls inside it, including your white and black.
How soft or bright, such that your clothes, makeup, and hair have the same intensity as you and one another.
Light Summer and Soft Autumn could wear the same light, warm yellow. Both palettes (types of colouring) are neutral in warmth. Both include fairly light colours in their ranges. Both are a little hazy-soft. And both look so straight up gorgeous when they wear yellow that waiting for perfect is holding everyone back.
The rest of the outfit?
A Light Summer dressed as Soft Autumn would look shorter, heavier, and possibly wider or bottom-heavy. Tree stump association. Dressed in her own Light Summer colours, she looks like lift, fresh air, and a welcome relief.
A Soft Autumn dressed head to toe as Light Summer would appear dressed in ribbons, like she’s headed to a child’s birthday, in costume to match the gift bag. In her own colours, she looks like warm sun, abundance, generosity, and ease.
2. Remember the main thing. Colour analyst again will provide this information.
A Light Season wants to stay inside a certain light and dark range. Too light is too pale and chalky. Too dark adds years.
A Soft Season can make a less colour pigment look like more, plenty before it overtakes the person. That doesn’t mean the less colour, the better. There is such a thing as too muted for Softs. In general, the more pigmented the colours, the less pigmented the neutrals. That’s what looks good and feels good, perhaps because our balance-seeking brains feel satisfied.
Summers have less pigmented colours and therefore more pigmented neutrals, meaning you can see the colour in the neutrals. Soft Summer is very close to the balance point.
A Dark Season wears strong as in solid, muscular colour. Colours are not vaporous or feathery. The light colours are still pretty dark.
A Bright Season wears pure pigment above all. As long as that’s in place, lighter, darker, meh, the range is wide. Warmer, cooler, also not too touchy with clothing. Change one dimension at a time. If a Bright Spring goes cooler, try not to go darker as well, that’s two colour dimensions away, and in Winter-influenced Seasons where the colour jumps are bigger.
3. Season is the whole look together.
We test with single colours to find the palette that applies to a very high degree to every person in the group. For the analysis, drapes are stand-alone colours in a carefully curated group.
The Season is about the whole palette operating together. The entire closet, the full ensemble, the woman and her hair and her makeup. With PCA, we’re trying to dress a whole person, not a collage of separate parts. A painting, a landscape, or a human are perceived entirely. We don’t look at a painting and see only the red parts or a landscape and see only the grass, or a person and see only the hair.
What makes sense of any colour is the other colours.
Some True Winters are superlative in black or black and white. Others are sublime in their red. Others never wear their green. Too much diversity exists for the blanket rules, the so-called conventional wisdoms.
4. Work with your natural colouring.
Before colours are properly analyzed, it is rarely in our favour to decide, “I am what I look like I am.”, or “I am what someone else says I look like I am.”
After the analysis, it’s reasonable to say, “I’m a Light Spring who really looks Spring. I may have a few colours that look like Soft Autumn or even Dark Winter, but I know to keep the look Spring.” She might own the True Spring palette, play with her sheer cosmetics, wear her neutral colours, and open the door to brighter corals and turquoises. The Light Seasons have the smallest natural light-to-dark range though, so she’d know to avoid the darkest level of True Spring, both colours and neutrals.
How about further-apart Seasons? A Bright Winter who wears Dark Autumn brown well?
Sure, if the eyes are brown and the Autumn brown is dark enough, there will be a connection.
If the Bright Winter’s hair has red or ginger tones, another connection will happen. The Dark Autumn red will be auburn, or more often naturally brown but auburn can be a great dye, whereas the BW red will be anything from intense dark orange to red-orange with sunrise orange glints, like intense coral hair. Brown is still dark orange and enough is shared.
A Bright Winter will easily manage the darkness, the red content, and the black level of Dark Autumn brown. Wearing the entire palette, they’d appear dressed as Army Surplus, instead of the rich, wealthy look with which Dark Autumn can amaze us.
The Bright Winter could wear copper tinfoil hair, which would be silly and candy on the Autumn.
Eventually, the human comes along that is the example and the exception. Soft Summer can have gingery hair at times, as can Light Summer. We train our analysts to look beyond the surface for true colour accuracy so that we don’t miss these folks. They exist, they are still the same Season, their adaptions are minor or none at all, and offer us another expression of the magic of colour energy and harmony.
5. Work with the Season relationships.
True Winters who look pretty good in Light Summer pale yellow?
Light Summer is a light, bright type of Summer.
Yellow is inherently light. Its lightest version can be close enough to a Winter icy yellow.
Others pick up that something is connecting and offer compliments. The person and the colours share something real. Don’t switch the makeup though. The True Winter will be wearing bubblegum and the Light Summer will look, words fail me, lost behind her makeup, depending on which colours she chose.
The whole Light Summer Season together, under a True Winter face? Puffy, powdery clothing. The sophisticated adult won’t settle in. Light Summer eyeliner will do nothing besides take up space and money.
If the same people who commented had been shown both Seasons’ versions at the same time to compare, along with a few other colours, as the PCA process does, they might still pick True Winter.
How about the same bright coral in Dark Autumn and Bright Spring? Totally yes. If the fabric were a little textured, it would be even better for the Autumn. Bright enough, in a colour that Springs wears so easily, picture the denim jacket, the yellow T-shirt, the very-blue jeans. She’d look made out of sunshine, as Springs do.
6. Know where your Season can cheat.
Bright Spring has enough darkness to slide black, or near-black, into the lower half. Near the face, it adds age to the neck and around the mouth. In the lower half, it shares enough with the colours to be workable, and more if the person has darkness in their appearance (hair, eyes, or skin). A dark-haired or brown-eyed Bright Spring is not uncommon.
Soft Summer has enough darkness to slide dull black into the lower half. A little too cool won’t matter.
7. Sometimes it’s a ballpark, sometimes a bull’s eye.
Colour properties have ranges. Lightest to darkest, warmest to coolest, we know those.
Icy has a range, from near-white to light-with-more-pigment. In both, the colour is pure, light, and cool.
Pastel colours range from medium-light to medium. Many Seasons have colours in this range that look surprisingly similar as single swatches, but you’d see a problem the minute they wore each other’s versions as larger blocks.
8. Relax even more around dark colours.
As it gets darker, colour is harder to see. We see darkness and think it’s more pigmented (brighter) than it is. This alone gives dark colours broader application. Navy blue, dark jungle green, wine or eggplant, and charcoal, are this way.
9. Colours that seem to work well on many people.
Medium-dark, medium-bright turquoise and periwinkle. I can’t come up with any others.
10. Will these be upper half or lower half items?
If near the face, be more attentive.
The lower half still matters unless people see you seated behind a desk all day, but close enough will slide in without upsetting the composition, what everyone else is looking at.
11. Find ideas from prints.
In a print, anything can be combined with anything. Presumably, it looked good to somebody, but one never knows. Look for a print you love, that seems evocative and inspiring to you.
Use your palette as a stand-in for you. Colour-wise, it is you. Laid on the print, I’d love it if:
– I can see you (the palette) without needing effort to separate you from the print; if print > person, it will be at least that confusing worn under the face.
– I’m enjoying the fabric, neither ignoring it nor feeling I have to climb over it or beat it back to have a conversation with you.
– I can pause over each individual colour and feel pretty good about how print and palette work together.
– for colours not in the palette that look good, I learn “Well, would you look at that? I’m going to look for more of that.”
– for colours in the print that are not great with the palette, I decide how much it matters and how far the picture is from comfortable.
12. Acknowledge your taste.
Give yourself permission to have it.
Evict the fear of making a mistake. It is your enemy. The most creative thing a creator can do is give themselves permission to be disapproved of. Make something that meets with nobody’s approval and see how liberating it is, inconsequential in fact. Now you’re free to move .
Fuchsia blouse and orange hair?
Red and orange?
Red and pink,
Pink and orange,
I like them all. If your mother once said, “Pink and orange together are hideous, Somebody Famous said so, one must never wear them.”, this gets embedded in our catalogue of unfinished business, and there’s a weed with one tangled root system. We all have our weeds but my mother never planted that particular one.
Colour analysts must get past their opinions and make objective decisions. You don’t have to. You’re the painting. If you think navy and lime are awful, forget them. I find them divine and hip so they’d appear in my painting; I’d be loose around the navy and careful with the choice of lime.
What you think looks good is up to you. Seasons begin as patterns, measuring systems with boundaries. No boundaries would mean no groups. If the system doesn’t know the line between warm and cool, how can it measure them? Once you have the palette, the world is your paint box. Have fun. Seriously. Have. Fun. As a reader said, are you aiming to harmonize or surprise?
13. Great books.
Colour inspires many artists and visionaries. Shigenobu Kobayashi wrote Color, Image, Scale (1990) and Colorist (1998). If you’d like ideas for provocative combinations, here’s a good place to start. The page at Amazon.com is here.
Windows will open.