Black and White for 12 Seasons
June 26, 2012 by Christine Scaman
A reminder that I will not be shipping the book, Return to Your Natural Colours, in the month of July. If you’re in the US, Kerry at Indigo Tones may have some copies. Otherwise, best to wait till August.
Women often say that they want to wear bright, vibrant colour. On most types of colouring, that kind of colour is the only thing others will see, hear, feel, or remember. The right lipstick for your natural colouring will look plenty bright to the rest of us who look at you. We don’t look at your clothes on a hanger or your makeup on a sheet of paper. Your right colours in hair and clothes look just as vibrant ON YOU as truly vivid colours look on those women where they have a natural presence.
Only the True Winter wears pitch black and stark white and looks complete. Pure black and pure white do appear in all 3 Winter palettes, but my eye prefers the Dark and Bright in B&W if they also wear one of their ‘colour colours’ as an accent somewhere in the ensemble. They could do fine in B&W alone if their natural colouring is very close to that of TW. As a Dark Winter, I don’t wear B&W. I can’t meet the coldness and the sharpness.
Not everyone can be invited to every party and nor would they want to be. Would we rather stand in a room full of strangers or friends? There will be some combination of near white and near black that will look like B&W on you. That’s the whole thing, to get the optical effect of B&W on your natural colouring. Wearing pitch black when it isn’t in the natural colouring looks like wearing sweat pants because it can’t find focus or definition. The viewer has an impression of a bulky blur. Besides, it matches nothing else in the wardrobe.
Stores won’t supply 12 great ‘blacks’. Just practicing the basics for that True Season trio will help more than you can imagine.
Look at the graphics below in natural lighting without sunlight. Play with the tilt of your screen to see the colour’s versions. Don’t go shopping from these colours. Use your Colour Book of personal swatches.
Spring True: Buttery cream and a grey so yellow it looks brown. At this degree of skin warmth, pure white doesn’t look any better than on the Autumns.
Light: Raw cauliflower white. There is a Brazil nut brown that goes darker than the grey above, but I’m trying to keep obvious ROYGBIV out of this.
Bright: As good as it is on Bright Winter, absolute white is far from the best on this colouring, causing the skin tone and eyes to grey and fatigue, especially worn in a large block. White looks good and adds crispness if the area is kept small and mixed in with warmer, brighter colour to keep the eye moving. The better white is very light, a white that is greyed and yellowed at once. The ‘black’ isn’t black but a dark, clean grey, not earthy or blued. Bright Spring can often manage dense black in small areas, not right under the chin.
Summer True: This trip through Photoshop taught me that if I pick the undertone of the skin (see them in RTYNC, the book pictured in the right column, they’re not on this website), adjust the saturation as appropriate for the Season, and select the lightest colour possible, I get the Season’s ‘white’. True Summer’s began as clean cobalt type blue and moderate saturation. Many with darker hair tones could go darker in their ‘black’ above, but not too dark. The colour above hopefully represents everyone, knowing that darker tones are available once colour pigments like blue, green, red, and so on, are added.
Light: Vanilla ice cream. There is a grey that goes darker than what’s shown but it is more blue-looking than this grey.
Soft: Campfire smoke. And smoke blocks light, so the whole palette is a little smoked, muting colours. Smoke also reduces transparency. Earrings (like these) made of glass smoked with your palette colours are simply beautiful. Medium pewter makes a great black.
Autumn True: What applies to pants and boots applies to anything where we default to black. Diorshow Brown mascara is a very close match.
Soft: Light putty. This Season also has medium and dark putty. Compared to Spring, greys are more orange and somehow greener – which makes sense since green is made of blue (Summer) and yellow (added as gold since this is Autumn). Summer’s greys are bluer.
Dark: like the pages of an airport paperback. Books aren’t truly B&W, that’s too hard to read, especially on a screen where it seems to twinkle. But our brains, that are adjusting colours all day long and telling us they’re white, do the same to the pages of a book.
Winter True: Snow so white, it looks a little blue next to any other white. And black.
Bright: Polar bear, maybe with the slightest yellow peach tint… polar bear at sunrise. Adding that my eye loves Bright Winter in crisp white even better than black. For me, these are the ultimate wearers of pure white. And black.
Dark: One drop of tar fell in the white paint pot, but barely a trace. You don’t know it’s not pure white unless you hold it next to pure white and even then you’re not sure. And like all Winter’s icy lights, this is mostly white with barely a trace of pigment, nowhere near as softly grayed as Summer’s white. So, white can be icy or pastel too, an interesting concept to roll around. Enough of my talking, think about the center of an Oreo cookie before you separate the halves and light shines on the white. Look at Merle Norman’s Ice, best eyeshadow highlight for the Season that I know and we can move on.
Like an alphabet that makes sense out of sounds so they can be used and shared, the 12 Season (12 Tone) Sci\ART palettes make sense out of colours. Then, it’s up to you to write the poem, the song, the story. It’s up to you to make your house a home.