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.
I’ve written about “How To Match Foundation” before, here.
I watched this video and and thought about how it might apply to PCA.
By far, this is the best foundation matching video I have seen. From a colour analyst’s perspective, I agree with so much of what Lisa says.
1. The skin on your entire body is united. Your genetics did not put a different melanin, carotene, or hemoglobin in your hands than your back. The overtones in the face or hands or feet may be different from the rest of the body, but the undertone will not be.
2. The skin contains many colors, reds, greens, blues, and yellows.
3. I fully agree with the importance of self-knowledge, but some types of self-knowledge are nearly impossible to access on your own. You can’t know your red blood cell level without measuring it. You can’t know which foundation matches your skin best without measuring it, meaning comparing several different shades together at the same time. Comparison is a form of measurement that delivers greater than and less than data.
As Lisa says, the apparent skin colour is different for different parts of the face and body. And yet, all of our skin is united in its undertone. Terry wrote about this recently in her article, “What Is Under My Overtone?”
You can’t know your undertone without measuring it. These things are part of our internal biology, extremely difficult to evaluate simply by external observation because they don’t sit on the surface.
Many women have concerns about facial skin texture, areas of uneven pigmentation, rosacea, suntans, and so on. They have asked whether any of these compromise the result of the colour analysis, or if we should be working from neck or chest skin that is more even. The answer is no if the analysis process is analyzing to your undertone, not your overtone.
Warning: BIG digression coming up. It fits into todays’ context and many others.
Defining Your PCA Service
In the last article, some folks heard arrogance from me at the idea that what we think we see is not real.
There is no judgment here. I am not pointing out wrong or right. I truly apologize if it sounded that way. If you spoke to me, you’d know that I’m not 100% sure that my way is right. I’m always pulling back from that line because I have unanswered questions about PCA myself, Sci\ART system included. In life, there is no 100% wrong or 100% right. There is only lifelong growth. If you’re waiting for 100% locked down forever, you’ll wait a long time.
I do not want anyone to be uncomfortable. All I want is for your clients to be happy with you and my clients to be happy with me. The present situation, full of doubt and misunderstanding, is not good for any of us. Wouldn’t our industry be healthier if clients knew what they were getting and could just enjoy the results? The present situation is keeping us all stuck in the 80s. Feelings are being hurt and business is not progressing. Someone is going to have get brave and talk openly and fairly. If we, analysts and clients both, don’t put our hands out to steady the wheel, all we’ll ever be is skidding around on black ice.
Every industry exists to serve the public. People have a desire, a need, and a right to know what they’re buying. You don’t have to agree with how I do an analysis. The point is not to get the public quizzing analysts and making everyone bananas including themselves. The point is to have everyone define how they do things and why. The public can then make an informed choice. The analyst gets the right clients for what they offer. Expectations are satisfied or exceeded.
Isn’t this better than the way it is now, where Personal Colour Analysis implies that we’re doing the same thing and nobody’s ever happy and calm? Why wouldn’t an analyst want her clients to know how she can help them? Why would you, as an analyst, want your business lumped with mine in the public mind, when I cannot offer a client what you can? Businesses define themselves all the time without taking offence or hearing criticism. It’s normal, not harsh or unfair.
If I define my business, what I do and why I do it, it is not to say others are wrong. It is to create a space for everyone else to do the same thing. I get that the transition from One-Exercise-For-All to Yoga/Intervals/Step/Weights/Pilates/Core/Running/Bosu/P90X was frustrating, but I believe that someone has to lay out a path for each version can grow and improve, released from the constraints of the pack.
We could distinguish PCA services. They are totally different from beginning to end, though various mixtures have evolved to get the consumer really mixed up. There seem to be two broad categories.
Systems A to D have their colour palettes. The colours for each group are chosen for looking good and belonging together according to that person or company’s taste.
If draping is involved, which drape goes into which Season was decided because it looked right.
As well as judging swatches and drapes for Seasons because they look right, so is the client’s colouring observed on its own, by how it looks. A – D observes the surface person, believing that, “You truly are what you look like you are today.”
This is one definition of PCA and its desired outcome. A – D have a good argument on side. After all, we are judged on how we appear to look. If you believe in this method, the clients who agree want to know so they can find you. They will be unhappy and confused with my approach, which involves measuring palettes, drapes, and clients by multiple comparisons at every step. On your web page, define what you do and why you believe in doing it that way. Since I don’t understand that way, I cannot do justice to your business. I’d be lucky to match a paint chip from a choice of 100 similar colours, never mind isolate it from a face.
Only you can market and promote your business. I am not tearing anyone down, I am simply defining my business. If my approach sounds flawed to you, I would be first to read about why. Teach me something. That’s what I really want. Convince me of how I could improve. I’ll send you a free book to express my gratitude.
Here’s how it all looks to me: Systems J – M say, “I’m not so sure. First of all, my colouring looks different in every outfit, hair colour, and room lighting. Second, I know that humans are not good at knowing what a colour is on its own, let alone when many colours are mixed together, like in a face or in skin. As soon as colours touch, they change. Thirdly, our colours just can’t be expressed in the top layers of skin, or not only there. It makes no sense. I mean, why is my face is different from my hand from my belly? I need to bark up another tree if I’m going to find the right foundation.”
J – M then say, “Even if all my body parts were all the same colour, who knows the exact colours in skin? Look at ten people with their hair covered and their eyes closed and tell me the exact reds, greens, blues, and yellows in their skin tone.”
J – M stew some more and add, “One other thing. I think it all goes a bit deeper. The impression of our appearance is formed by many brain areas, not just a 2-dimensional top layer snapshot. Something else is going on here. Believe it or not, human surface skin is see-through to human eyes. Seems to me that that’s where the real information is.” While some human beings are better at eyeballing colours than others, and one does get better with practice, the fact is that in general, we are not consistently good at it. You have to compare them to something unless you’re able to literally measure their wavelength.
J – M say the surface is not enough information, it’s different for different body areas, and it is influenced by everything around it. If you gauge foundation to the colour you think you see on the surface, even if you pick the right section of surface, you could easily get the colour incorrect. There has to be another way.
Services J - M look through and beneath the surface at the undertone, thus removing the errors the overtone brings in. This group take the “You are not what you look like you are.” approach.
Well, anyone who has spent 10 minutes on an online colour site knows that the Sci\ART-based systems fit in with J – M but they don’t do things at all the same. Some don’t use the gray surrounding. There is lots of variability in how Better and Worse decisions are made. Some don’t use test drapes. Some take 30 minutes to know your Season, some take 1.5 hours. There is conflict about the meaning and appearance of harmony. Numerous Sci\ART- based analysts practice very close to how Systems A – D do things, by what looks right, with their own reasons for doing so. Not wrong, but different for sure. Too different to match.
None of this is a secret. It ain’t a perfect world. The public thinks we’re all doing the same thing because we stemmed from Sci\ART. This is not the case. It explains why I took down the Sci/ART Analyst Directory. I do not presume to speak for Australia, but in North America, the Sci\ART system has been re-interpreted so many times at this point that the name should go out of usage except historically. Let all analysts stand alone according to their practice, which they explain on their websites. Refer back to differences with me if you like, I’d be fine with it. Take down all the Sci\ART Certified banners. The public will stop expecting the same product. For my students, so that the public can expect the same product, the process isn’t up for negotiation. Discussion, sure. Do I think I can control everyone forever? No, just as Kathryn couldn’t. I can only separate myself from them in a public way.
Looking Is A Painting. Measuring Is An Analysis.
If we render what we see, that’s a beautiful painting. Change your clothes, hair colour, and the time of day, it’s a different beautiful painting.
I have nothing against beautiful paintings. A group of interesting colours that depict a version of me would be awesome. I would really love to have this. There are people who work in this way, with extraordinary taste and fascinating colour perception. I would love 1000 of these renditions. Each one is a version of how we are seen through the eyes of others. That stuff is absolute magic.
But that wasn’t why I had my colouring analyzed. I wanted to know what to buy every day for the me that’s always the same. Different question, different purpose and approach, different outcome. I wanted a functional wardrobe.
The consumer needs to identify what they want. It is their job to decide and to stick by their decision. Perhaps they could do their job better if they could understand that they are not investing in the same product. Both great products, but not equivalent. I know colour analysts who feel these are or should be comparable products. I disagree and advise the public to stop trying find a relationship between them. There isn’t one that will redeem the time you took to figure it out.
Here’s why I use my product: My issue with looking: I can’t get it to work every single day, with many outfits and makeup that is always right on my face.
I meet greenish-gray-eyed Summers that were decorated far too warmly. Her hair is too orange, her clothes are too warm, so the skin turned yellower. It could all go together if we just give her yellower foundation and took time to blend, except that her clothes and eyes create combinations that are unappealing. Therein lies Problem #1, even if we can change our skin, we always wear our eye colour. The colours in eyes repeat the colours in skin, though skin has many more. They’re never different. Nature never colours anybody discordantly. Do your swatches look good with your eyes? Even True Winter and True Summer can easily have lots of yellow in the eyes, lots, but it will be that green-yellow match from their measured palette.
In too-warm clothes or foundation, she could think she has a healthy-looking tan. In reality, her eye colours have dulled and the lip outline erased. Feature definition is the biggest part of looking young (good article linked further down). It’s massively important to decisions others make about us. Me, I’d want an analyst who could talk about that, Sci\ART based or not. Problem #2: too warm colour flattens feature definition. This includes too-yellow foundation. Besides, a healthy glow doesn’t come about from yellow foundation or a yellow overtone from too warm clothing (not discussing self-tanner on faces here). It comes from wearing clothing and blush that elevate the colour of our natural circulation and from correct use of bronzer.
I meet many brown-eyed, freckled Winter blends who have been observed into Autumn colours. Nobody would decorate a room combining Winter and Autumn colours. This is not an attractive match. Our eye and clothing colours are seen together and there’s not a thing we can do about it (not discussing coloured contacts here), as is the undertone because human eyes can see through human surface skin. A Winter’s skin colours are not gorgeous next to Autumn cosmetics. A Winter using elephant gray and chocolate brown as the neutral backbone of her wardrobe is not making her best choices. The wardrobe won’t work with her makeup or jewelry. Problem #3: from you to your palette, there has to be a functional and appealing wardrobe of clothing and cosmetics if that is what you were investing in.
I believe that we are not what we appear to be in a million different ways. My purpose is to place you more organically and energetically into your colour palette, on the same wavelength as all of your clothes and makeup, in the colours that you really are as determined by calibrated measurement. Why use the word energetic? Because I believe humans feel energy as wavelength very well if they let themselves. Now the discussion is getting too deep. I direct you two articles back to Can True Beauty Be Diminished? if you feel like wading into the Universal Energy swamp. You can always find me there.
Big digression complete. We can all exhale.
4. The area of the face that Lisa matches to foundation makes sense to me. I like to use the lower jaw and drag it down onto the backside of the neck, for the same reasons as she does. I also test five or six different stripes side-by-side. With colour, comparison is the only way to tell what works and what doesn’t. I would insist on that and never buy foundation from a single test. I meet way more cool and cool-neutral people than warm or warm-neutral. The foundation range out there is way the opposite, not counting all the peachy coloured product that looks like real skin colour under department store light and like candy in daylight.
5. Wear a neutral gray and tie your hair to choose the colour. Deciding your Season or your foundation by looking requires the consultant to take what they think they see, and make more. If what they think they see is correct, great. Some cosmetic consultants are pretty darn good judges of true colouring.
If you went shopping as one of the many Dark Winters who look yellow because of their clothing or surroundings, the only thing that happens is that the error gets magnified. The consultant will make more of what you’re not. Could most makeup consultants explain how to correctly distinguish and identify undertone from overtone, or just define the terms?
6. As Lisa says, once you have a colour that unites the face and the neck, meaning the right foundation for your undertone, the entire face, neck, and chest will blend together. It is the very rare person who needs to adjust foundation to match the neck because they are so disparate in the overtones.
Begin by getting the heat level of any product correct. Heat level is determined by undertone. It is amazing what difference that alone will make.
After that, choose the darkness level, which is determined by under- and over-tone.
After that, be sure the heat type is correct for the skin. Most companies over-warm all their foundations, including those marked Cool. To complicate things further, they use Spring’s pigmentation to do so. Not easy to find a great Autumn foundation.
Imagine being a Caucasian Dark Winter – the difficulty of finding cool colour and Autumn type heat and Winter level lightness. Wearing wrong colour clothing to the appointment makes the job near impossible.
7. Often women come to a PCA appointment with correctors of various sorts. Once she is wearing her correct clothing colours, she has forgotten all about them. There is nothing that correctors would do or could do that foundation alone has not already done unless there is a particular issue like a birthmark, and even those are diminished greatly by wearing correct colours.
8. I talked above about the importance of defined features for looking younger. This article does a beautiful job of discussing it. Kathryn Kalisz wrote about it in her analyst guide. This is not new information for colour analysts that I dreamed up out of the blue. People say I invented things and changed Sci\ART-based colour analysis. No, I did not. If anything, Terry and I altered the original process the least of everyone, and remain unconvinced to do so. I did notice a few things independent of other things and described them with a new set of words. Maybe folks did not recognize them.
In your correct colours, features are most defined in colour and in shape. It really matters.
Defined in colour… Though they have a place, I am not a fan of nude lips on most types of coloring, particularly when hair or eye colors are intense, or the person is over 35 or 40. It doesn’t have nearly as much excitement on Lisa herself. Why pick the more exciting face? Because why pick the more boring face.
Defined in shape…How does feature definition look young? Because the opposite…think of an eroded statue, an eroded landscape. Signifies wear and tear.
Lately, I am wondering if maturing skin is an overtone change too. The surface layers appear grayer, possibly because we contain less water. In the undertone layers, we test mature women in every single Season, and I bet the very same Season as when they were younger. Many Darks, many Brights. For overtone practitioners, that surface grayness plus silvering hair is the reason they get put into Summer Seasons. Except their edges and colours disappear. No judgment here but I don’t see the visual as being so good. Eroded edges are fuzzy. Looks like blur. Side by side, which of these would look younger?
Stronger? Healthier? Newer? The focused ones or the others?
Terry has posted the second in her series. The link is here for “What Is Under My Overtone?”
Until you get past believing that how things look is real, you will be challenged to understand, perform, or interpret human colour analysis.
I am asked:
1. How important is TMIT (The Most Important Thing, from a previous article) in a person who just looks medium?
No diffferent than in a person who doesn’t look medium. If the drapes measured you that way, then you must be that.
2. Is there anyone where TMIT doesn’t matter?
No. What you think they look like isn’t real.
The blue-eyed blonde Bright Winter is not primarily light, though they look that way. They are primarily bright. It would be hard to know without draping though.
Soft Summer is quite dark at times. Someone might think they see saturation. They don’t, or the person would have draped better as Winters but that wasn’t the case.
3. What if TMIT is vague and you are medium on all 3 parameters?
Never happens. Might look that way on the outside but what you think you see isn’t the true situation. In the total imge, it’s not possible to tease apart the 3 colour dimensions and know the level of each one. Therefore, be careful of PCA systems that just look and don’t test, compare, or measure.
Dark Autumn and Dark Winter don’t always look dark. They can look quite medium on the value scale but that is not how their skin reacted when tested with a variety of value levels.
Within a given Season, there can be fluctuations in TMIT tolerance. Some Soft Autumns can wear a little more saturation than others. Their predominant colour dimension is still softness of colour.
4. Does a client whose TMIT isn’t obvious to look at need to make adjustements in use of the fan?
Everyone needs to adjust use of the fan but not for that reason. The test process will show TMIT. If you didn’t contain it, the drapes wouldn’t have measured it.
But there can be wide darkness level ranges within a Season, especially in hair. The value range (lightest to drakest) of a Season is quite wide and the person could be coloured anywhere within it. There are more ‘usual presentations’ but Terry talked about the danger of stereotyping in article 1. This doesn’t influence use of the palette in clothing, but you might use your second darkest neutral for pants and shoes. You might wear a darker lipstick.
There are Dark Winters who are quite cool but not very highly saturated in their group. They look Soft Summery. It might help them to own that palette for shopping. They could wear some darker Soft Summer colours if they already appear a little less dark or candy-coloured than a Dark Winter whose colouring lives at the border with True Winter.
There are Dark Winters who are plenty saturated but warmish in the group. Me, for instance. Clients must test all cosmetic recommendations. If you bought something from a list without testing, I take no blame.
Today, Terry takes up the topic of what we’re really measuring. It’s not what’s sitting on the top. It’s not what you think you see.
In an effort to streamline our teaching techniques as much as possible, though I am told that they already are very much so, Terry Wildfong will be joining me for the training course here in Chatham, Ontario, at the end of May. Please see The PCA Training Course for further info or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I will join Terry and her student for a course in June in Michigan, dates TBA. Terry’s contact info is on her website linked to her name above.
Two trainers! No extra cost! Wow.
About 3 posts back, I mentioned that Terry at Your Natural Design would be posting an article series with topics for the PCA client. It is understandable that the public is confused by the variety of “colour analysis” services. How can a person be expected to distinguish the various methods?
We want you to get the product that you expected, the one you thought you were paying for. You might assume that colour analysts all do about the same thing, interpret findings in the same way, use the same drapes if they do actually measure colouring or judge it simply by how it appears, and that we all share the same goal. This is extremely far from the true situation.
Your natural colouring is accurately represented by the colours of only one Season. For analysts to arrive at the same answer to a one-answer problem, they are going to have to ask the same question. This is not the what is happening.
Clients need education so they can choose the analyst, analysis service, and outcome that best aligns with their goals. Sometimes, a topic is so broad that we need a little help defining the questions to ask to get to the knowledge that will help us choose the PCA service that is right for us.
Terry’s first post is Stereotyping The Seasons – Helpful or Harmful?
A reader wondered how I felt about this…
In a forum I’m in, PCA came up and someone brought up her view that any system that sets beauty into a good/bad binary is inherently flawed. She said that telling a woman she only looks good in certain colors or that wearing the wrong color will make her less beautiful is limiting, and that nothing can dull the light of a confident woman.
I have a lot of beliefs in common with the woman who said this. No doubt, she can explain her thoughts better than I can. I invite her to do so, in a comment, or by email. I would gladly add her words to the conversation here, anonymously if she prefers.
What I feel that she and I share is a question: We spend all our time resisting this and forcing that. Why can’t everything just be fine the way it is? Why can’t everybody just be perfect? Because, the fact is that they are.
When Rachel and I were finding a name for a project, the idea of Gorgeous & Fearless came up. A friend answered my request for feedback, saying, “First of all, not every woman is gorgeous and second, we all have fear.”
On the first point, I respectfully disagree with all my heart. Every woman is gorgeous. It doesn’t matter what she wears or how old she is. Unless you buy into how media defines beauty. Which I do not. For me, anything created by Nature is beautiful and perfect.
We all recognize that MediaBeauty needs some whistleblowing. That is not Beauty. A better definition can be found in John O’Donohue’s book, Beauty: The Invisible Embrace. Every woman is beautiful, as are every man and child, and equally so.
I ask my kids for feedback about an outfit. One of my daughters says, “…just my opinion, but then, I’m so masculine.” She’s not right. No woman is ever masculine, unless you buy into traditional (old, boring, limited) definitions of masculine and feminine. Which I do not.
However, a woman can use colours and lines that are foreign to hers that cause her to appear less womanly, either beefier than she is or more frail. Obviously, the distinctions blur here, but the problem isn’t in looking like a very beautiful man if that’s your natural and real brand of feminitiy.
Just as we are the most authentic and genuine backdrop for our own hair colour, whatever it is. Forcing such things results in a sort of distortion that others feel. Or I think others feel it. I do but I sometimes wonder if, as a Winter Libra Classic, I got an overdose of balance tuning, as if I am thrilled by symmetry in a way that mostly those who work in neurology and plastic surgery can relate to. Also, dressage riders.
It makes me happy that my girls’ generation is growing up with Lady Gaga and all the revolutionary artists of this time. These people are willing to expose their identity, or create a new one, to turn conventional thinking on its end very quickly. They’ve always existed, but not in these numbers and no longer underground.
When we choose to change how we see, we change what we see. Or is it the other way round? It’s both ways. Gaga changes what we see. She throws back rules about feminine and sexy and says, “Would appear those rules don’t apply to me.” And, as always when one person speaks up, half the audience stands up and says, “You know, they don’t apply to me either. I’m not different or alone. I’m the same as you.” Hence, her following.
The rest of us make the small, safe changes, just enough to survive in our minds. We keep it quiet in case we have to justify ourselves. We are too tired to fight. We figure raising our kids and keeping our homes matters more. We’re still stunned by what has been done to us over the previous 3,000 years, and thought just maybe, someone would notice out of kindness and decency. They won’t. They never had to learn how. Many women can’t find their voice yet today. Little ripples are fine if that’s what you can manage. You’ll feel better. Sometimes, though, a tsunami isn’t such a bad thing to shake up a tired and harmful status quo.
In The Magus, John Fowles says,
Men love war because it allows them to look serious. Because they imagine it is the one thing that stops women laughing at them. In it they can reduce women to the status of objects. That is the great distinction between the sexes. Men see objects, women see relationship between objects. Whether the objects love each other, need each other, match each other. It is an extra dimension of feeling we men are without and one that makes war abhorrent to all real women – and absurd. I will tell you what war is. War is a psychosis caused by an inability to see relationships. Our relationship with our fellow-men. Our relationship with our economic and historical situation. And above all our relationship to nothingness. To death.
Makes me wonder if this is why colour analysts are mostly women. Our minds feel relationships. And another reason. Anyone subscribe to National Geographic? The February 2014 issue contains research from McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario) kinesiologist, Dr. Jennifer Heisz, that in looking at faces, women make more eye movements, fixate on individual features almost twice as many times as men, and scan far more frequently, generating a more vivid picture in our minds.
Gaga takes all the stuck thinking about what is feminine, sexual, right, wrong, belonging, identity, and throws it right back in our face. She can do much more to free my daughter’s mind than the blonde starlets, also successful by the zillionaire standard, that marketing compressed has into MediaSexy.
Gaga’s not a role model, she’s not trying to be. She says, “Whose culture is really sick? Let’s talk out loud about what’s going on.” All those starlets, many having had enhancement procedures by the time they’re 18. These are our society’s success stories? Schools that overlook all the kids in the classrooms dysfunctioning on pot because they sit nicely and quietly under the influence of THC. So what if it drops the boys’ testosterone and causes permanent changes in the brain within 4-5 years? Is being quiet and getting along really better?
On the second point, yes, everyone has fear. Well sure we do, of things that will probably never happen. Not everyone is in Vogue, not everyone is In Style, not everyone is Allure-ing by their perfect-world implications. But we can aspire to what is best in them. As Rachel said, looking at couture elevates everyone. It broadens our idea of what’s possible, taking our idea of ‘normal’ to a higher place of creativity, freedom of expression, and imagination, exploring the boundaries of taste and forcing us to explore our own.
I have a love hate relationship with fashion and beauty. In a male power structure, women are the outsiders, kept there by the insecure bullies at the top. We’ve learned to survive and succeed by getting along or playing along. Why isn’t it good enough to just be who we are? But then, we women hand over money for creams we know won’t work, for clothes we can’t eat or walk in, like going back to binding our feet. We surrender our bodies and our money. It’s not the guys making us do that. They don’t know and don’t care.
To get clarity on big subjects that can be a fuzzy haze of what others think, we need to define it for ourselves. Is wealth really just piles of money to you? Probably not.
My definition of beauty is anything that could have happened by itself. Without force to make something happen or resistance to prevent it from happening. Something that just is in its own right, the way that Nature made it. There’s synchronicity in that and it feels good. Great makeup is taking the colours already in your face and adding more of them.
Would a lily-of-the-valley be as beautiful if the flower were orange? It might take some getting used to because it’s not what we’re accustomed to seeing. It feels a little insecure. If the color of the flower then gently shifted back to white, we’d feel ourselves relax. Tension eases in thinking about it. It would feel belonging, calm, settled, affirming, and right.
Beauty in apparel is extraneous beauty. The same sensibility applies: it could have happened by itself as a continuation of who the woman already is. Amplify what you already are. Repeat the lines and shapes already in your body.
If you were asked for your definitions of wealth and beauty, would you have an answer?
Philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said,
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
There are forces that are bigger than us that we are part of. Our fingers and toes are antennae, like animal whiskers. Our five senses are receivers, not metaphorically, but quite literally, operating by the flow of charged particles. With Nature as our connection to those higher forces, using the sensors in our bodies, we can tap into these energies. It’s not hard. Everyone does it. We call them feelings. I recognize the word I use as beauty as something that feels good to look at. The same feeling of consistency from all five senses, from extraneous beauty as from the natural world.
We are sensitive to many forms of energy and levels of vibration. Extending our senses, as Neil Harbisson does in the reality-rocking video below or linked here at TED, prepares us to interface with other energy forms. Yes, you could decorate a log cabin in Art Deco colours. You might be unfettered by traditional decorating rules and think that looks great. Neil Harbisson might tell you that sitting in the cabin feels like the grocery aisle. The rest of us sense it as well, just using different equipment. Interesting how the sounds of people seem to be just a few notes. Think about this. Presumably, when he ‘saw’ these people, they were clothed. What if they’d been dressed in their own colours? Could each of us really be a single note?
We do have to dress. Appearance conflict does exist. Figuring we won’t be judged by our appearance is contrary to human evolution. Way back then, apperance was a survival decision based on energy recognition. Today, it’s energy recognition of a different sort.
The quote at the beginning above implies that no matter what we wear, we elicit the exact same feelings in a viewer. Here, we differ. You’ve seen my images in the article, The “I Know What Looks Good On Me” Dream. We don’t feel the same or expect the same of those women. Would you hire them for the same jobs? She’s the same woman. Same degree of intelligence, competence, humour, kindness. Would she attract the same man? Would he expect the same woman? We can be completely liberated from MediaBeauty and CultureBeauty and still feel that our response is different.
You sit across a table to interview three women. One is Kate Winslet in no makeup and a gray dress. The second Kate has copper hair with blonde streaks, wears a bright orange cardigan, no-colour lip gloss, and designer black framed glasses with little pink rhinestones in the temples and bar of the frame. The third has rose coloured lips that match the flowers in her dress, a plum cardigan, dove and soft plum eyeshadow, and soft light brown hair held back on one side with a silver clip. Would your impression be of three equal women? If yes, then you have a great kindness and imagination, and more time than most peole conducting interviews.
It also suggests that you have voluntary control over primitive brain regions that make instantaneous, subconscious brain decisions. I believe this processing occurs too quickly and is embedded too deep to access. There is another meaning for beauty, the Hollywood kind. Elizabeth Taylor, Zoe Saldana, they have beauty that we process instinctively and also at a cultural and more conscious level. It has to do with taste, time, and geography. It’s rather a shame that we use the same word for these two meanings, because this models&celebrities beauty brings us back to Hollywood definitions – those ones that I don’t buy into, because they can be packaged, propagandized, and artificially measured by whatever the scale du jour happens to be.
Clothes tell our story. Who we are today, and who we are all the time. Wearing the book of someone else or of nobody, our story becomes of someone else or nobody. We could wear long gray dresses to equalize everyone, but is it likely to happen? We are beautiful without colour, as many of the images in this article, but colour makes us more miraculous and more children of our planet.
All energy, no matter its form, is a multiplier of itself. Beauty in others enhances our own whatever form that beauty takes. It doesn’t detract. A beautiful presence in a room doesn’t render others less beautiful, everyone becomes lovelier. When one person shows non-judgment and forgiveness, everyone becomes more that way.
Yes, all people are beautiful, but in multiplying that beauty, it becomes even more of the original, a heightened awareness of reality. Adding wavelengths that clash with our own diminishes our signal. We are less present. Though the woman is the same, beautiful simply in the fullness of being here, we have dimmed her radiance. Her energy drops like a weak winter sun. You can see this easily during a colour analysis. Ask any of my students. They have all seen it. In conflicting colour, our ability to feel her dulls. We lose some of her.
When we reach for something, we push it further away. When there is no struggle, our energy (vibration in New Age parlance) rises. Looking believable, which is simply fidelity to how we were made, contains less struggle. Our story to our own ears and others’ is about our clarity, our fulfilling presence, the abundance of our reality just as it is.
In our own colours, we are effortless. When there is no effort, there is neither resistance nor force, neither pushing or pulling. Now, we are free to move forward in our best alignment and purpose. We are true extensions of the Universe as it is a true extension of us.
You have met Terry Wildfong here. She was my trainer five years ago, remains my most respected colleague in colour analysis, and is my collaborator in choosing the colours for the Test and Luxury Drapes for our students.
Our beliefs and methods are as identical as those of two people can be. We may use different descriptive words. The fundamentals do not differ. What we see and how we believe it must be interpreted is exactly the same, and the same as Kathryn Kalisz’s writing, which we consult frequently.
Terry tells me that she has planned a series of articles written to educate the PCA consumer. The link to her introduction is here.
Great stories and big achievements often begin as a series of small, synchronous events. In late November, I received an email from Rachel asking if she could take part in the training course beginning in about a week. She wanted to be in a course with another person. The course running that weekend came together at the last minute for Lisa whom you’ll meet briefly here and more another day, so there was a position still open. I don’t really buy into coincidence. I believe in opportunity and timing. I will follow anything that even slightly resembles a green GO light flashing in the sky. Of course, we figured it out. Rachel climbed out of a taxi on a Friday. She, Lisa, and I began three amazing days.
Rachel has said that she’s been storing energy for years for this time to arrive. As a colour analyst, her eye is highly accurate. More importantly, she understands how to think and how to correct her thinking in the moment. Her insight into body line, style type, and applying the best of the fashion world as you embrace the simple joy of being who you really are, will literally astound you. I had seen some of the online discussion and yet, the in-person experience was unexpectedly powerful. I’m now working towards the image of Michelle Pfeiffer in Scarface. The image at the bottom will be reserved for the arsty among you
You have met Rachel before in the article Growing Into Bright Winter. It is my honour to formally introduce her and her business to you today. You can find information about Rachel’s services (including Personal Colour Analysis (PCA) and Personal Image Analysis (PIA)), location, scheduling appointments, and contact information at her almost-complete but functional website, bestdressed.us. Read her first blog post, How True Colors Reveal True Features. These transformations never cease to amaze us.
from L to R, Lisa, me, Rachel
Before Rachel takes her turn, Lisa added a few words,
I met Rachel last fall, when I had the incredible luck to get her as my classmate at Christine’s training course. She is captivating the instant you meet her, and the thing about her is that everything you feel at that moment, and as you get to know her — that she positively sparkles, and is magnetic, astute, warm, totally adorable, fiercely smart, beautiful, and at peace inside — all of it IS authentically her. And she’s only 28….yes, one of those old souls who connect with people of all ages; I saw for myself her genuine rapport with teenagers, to women in their 70s.
It’s Christine who can speak with authority, and much more knowledge than I have, on Rachel’s truly remarkable eye for the nuances of colour (in fabric and in faces), and of course, on her unequalled insight into body lines, so I will leave that to our teacher. (Except to say, from personal experience, that being typed by Rachel is transformative – you feel deeply that you have been seen and understood). Let me finish by stating it in black and white: There is going to be a cult of Rachel.
(oh, and I did realize at that training weekend that I was witness to a meeting of titans, and the start of perhaps THE partnership of the 21st century, between Christine and Rachel – I am not exaggerating. But thats whole ‘nother story, ha…)
Rachel’s Own Story
I guess you could say that I’m a life-long style addict. My Barbie collection was nuts – but I didn’t really care about more Barbies, I wanted the clothes. At 17, I went off to study political science at Bryn Mawr College, but after two years there began to feel I was denying my creative urges and made the decision to apply to schools where I could study fashion design. My top choice, Parsons the New School for Design, accepted me and I enrolled immediately and earned my BFA there, in NYC’s amazing garment center. Since then, I’ve done a variety of creative work, including floral design, personal shopping and wardrobe assistance, freelance fashion design projects, and costume design for film and stage.
Given my history with clothes, it’s probably not shocking that people always noticed and appreciated how I dressed. Regardless, sometime in my late teens, it began to bug me that my style was kind of all over the map, and further, that the pieces I loved on the hanger didn’t always flatter me. I tried a lot of different methods to hone my personal style, but always ended up with a closet full of somewhat random items that I loved individually but didn’t work together, or necessarily on me. It might sound trivial, but as a design professional, I always felt embarrassed that I somehow hadn’t yet perfected and defined my own look. Then, one fateful day, a blogger I read routinely posted a link back to an old post from her archives on how to find the colors that work best for you. I remembered having seen some Color Me Beautiful books in the bookstore, but not having been able to figure out what season I was, and being afraid of getting stuck with colors I didn’t like, I put them down and forgot about them.
Now, for some reason, I was willing to try again. A quick google search got me started with two deep wells of information: the Yuku forums, and 12blueprints.com. Within a couple of weeks, I was drawing out the seasonal circle for friends and trying to sort out what season they might be. My personal journey to my colors is quite a story, but one that I will save for a post on my own blog. I knew I wanted to train and learn to do it properly from before my first draping, but due to the circumstances at the time, the path ended up being more meandering, in the best possible way, than I predicted at the start. Only when the moment was truly right, did the universe lead me to Christine’s training program, almost 2 years after a blog post set the chain of events in motion. All the time and energy I have spent learning and researching about every facet of color analysis and related style theories prepared me to fully embrace and understand Christine’s incredible, genius way of teaching.
I believe, from my own extensive personal experience, that knowing your perfect colors is the critical first step to having a signature personal style that flatters you and expresses who you truly are. It is my pleasure and privilege to share with each client, in roughly 3 hours, the amazing and uplifting insight that I searched for through a decade of fashion training and professional experience and finally found at my PCA. I’m not the kind of person who squeals very much, but I find myself grinning from ear to ear and making all manner of high-pitched noises every time a PCA concludes. Seeing the difference I’m able to make for the client before both of our very eyes makes this truly the best job in the world.
As a bit of a post-script, I want to just say a few words about my development of Personal Image Analysis, my own proprietary version of the style counterpoint to a PCA. I know many of you have followed my progress all the way and are waiting with baited breath for this service, and I am so deeply grateful for your enthusiasm and support. Because many women will travel to see me, I want to make my services in discerning a woman’s type and discussing all of her styling concerns available when my PCA studio opens in Philadelphia, currently slated for the weekend of February 22nd of this year. Online analysis will open in late March or early April to accompany an exciting information service that will be presented cooperatively by Christine and me. I look forward to the opportunity to be a part of your personal style and color journey!
Numerous requests have arrived to offer the Luxury Drapes as single Season sets for clients who have enjoyed a 12 Season Sci\ART-based Personal Colour Analysis. I am very happy to do this.
Do you know which drapes I mean? Once we knew your Season with the Test Drapes (took about an hour, hour and a half? with me or Terry (my excellent trainer, always my teacher, we work as a team on the drape colour selections)), but before we removed the fabulous gray scarf that you wanted to take home and wear forever but I wouldn’t give you
we took a separate set of drapes out of another tub. These Luxury Drapes were heavy and kept slipping off. I began by reminding you “Don’t think of them as 15 turtlenecks.” We turned the pages and talked about how you wear your colours. Once your makeup was on and the scarf off, we looked at these drapes once again. In some cases, if we weren’t sure about your Season, we might have compared them with another set, choosing a blue and a blue, or comparing colours that were extremes for the two Seasons.
There’s great value in having an experienced colour analyst (two of us, in fact!) translate your swatches to their manifestation in fabric. Once you see how 15 of your colours are interpreted in various textiles, it’s far easier to extrapolate the other 40 to 50 colours in your colour palette.
The drapes will be the full 18″ x 34″ size that are in the analyst sets, grommetted, stamped, and tagged, exactly as the analysts are using.
Full sized drapes, rather than napkin-sized pieces or smaller squares, are my preference by far. You just gotta have enough colour. As with cosmetics, if the colour’s right, you can wear any amount of it. A small sample doesn’t challenge our colouring enough to show us that it will adopt or reject a colour. It won’t bring out all the possible good or enough surefire evidence that’s it not good. The large size allows you to reach the drape fully round your shoulders to get the most colour effect.
You are buying these fabrics to visualize harmony with your colours and features, and also to imagine a wardrobe and the interactions among its colours. The large size ensures that you have sufficient fabric to make outfits. The blocks will be big enough to demonstrate what equivalent energy means. More colour makes it far easier to decide whether a colour can take part in a relationship, or will be not enough or too much. When Terry and I are challenged with a certain colour’s Season, we lay out the Luxury Drapes with the mystery item in the chain. If it doesn’t belong, you can spot it right away.
You will enjoy watching the two-way energizing effect of true colour harmony. Lay your fanned out swatch book palette on the drape fabrics. Notice that each every colour is very vibrant, in focus, and the fabric underneath is also the most it can be. These two things bring out the best in each other. Understand this better by placing your swatch book on items in your house, furnishings or other clothing. Pay attention to the swatch colours and to the colour underneath. Begin with an item that you know is far from your own colours. Notice that the palette lacks the colour energy and vitality that it has on your drapes, or the opposite, that the palette is dominating the background colours, as if it were separating or sitting far above it. What is happening to the palette is happening to your face. Every item you buy should cause every swatch of the palette to be as strong, and strengthened equally, as it is on your drapes.
Analysts already have white, yellow, green, blue, and red in the Test Drapes. The Luxury Drapes contain colours that we don’t test with (purple, for instance), beautiful versions of colours we do test with (more greens, reds, and so on), and more versions of colours that are spectacular on that particular colouring (turquoise and shine on Springs).
Test colours are somewhat proprietary and won’t be included. However, I do feel that you should have your white in your Personal Luxury Drapes. One colour will be substituted for white in these sets (unless you indicate otherwise). If there’s a certain colour that you’re having trouble with, say Summer yellow, I’m happy to substitute that as well.
At this time, I have a fairly large fabric inventory. Limiting myself to only 15 colours per set for the analysts can be a struggle. I want everyone to have every colour. You are welcome to request as many colours as I have (price below). You are also welcome to request certain types of colours (reds, level of shine, hair or cosmetic colours, neutrals, your black or alternative), if I have that material. Once a set has been purchased, adding to it in the future is too complicated to describe. Best to buy everything you might want the first time.
A personalized letter accompanies the purchase. It outlines the information held by the drapes and how to make use of them to guide your purchases, with situations that might arise for each Season. For example, the Neutral Season drapes will contain the warm and cool versions of most colours.
The precise fan colours are not necessarily represented and they don’t need to be. Maybe it’s better that they’re not, to give you a sense of the Season’s borders in colour space, often wider than what the literal interpretation of the swatch books suggests. Remember that you have a thousand colours that are not in those fans. The drapes can teach you to select any colour that can harmonize with your Season.
I am excited to make this vital aspect of a working colour analyst’s tool kit available for you. The more ways you see your colours, the better you understand, recognize, and use them. There’s nothing I want more.
To support the colour analysts, it is only right that they purchase the drapes at a lower cost than their clients.
Retail price for a set of 15 full sized drapes is CDN $465 ($31 per drape), therefore 15% more than for analysts.
For Canadians, the 13% HST is added for a total of CDN $525.45.
Drapes must ship from Canada. Residents of other countries do not pay the HST. I cannot say what duties or taxes are required in your country.
Only one Season’s set will be sold to an individual.
Other colour analysis systems use different colour collections in their Seasons. I don’t want our palettes to create conflict in their clients’ process or practice. In your inquiry to me about the drapes, please mention which Sci\ART analyst you saw for your PCA. This purchase is not refundable so do feel very certain that the answer is correct and you feel good with it.
If you would like to purchase your Personal Luxury Drapes, please email me at email@example.com.
I appreciate every comment that has been offered on this site over the years. I also respect that those comments were made with intention to learn, but also with kindness, remembering that there is a human being on the other end.
A Place to Learn Together
By human being, I’m not referring to myself. I welcome all critique. Mostly, I want this to be a safe place to seek and find truth and the highest possible potential for me, you, and colour analysis. This site is also a record of my own growth as a colour analyst. I felt the need to remove all the videos from here and YouTube because I don’t recognize that person as me anymore.
However vulnerable in the moment, old patterns need to be seen for us to separate and leave them behind. We have to recognize mind chatter about colour analysis, as about all our beliefs. Our mind is driven to protect old beliefs that were acquired years ago when that was the best we had.
In what I’m about to say, I am not criticizing anyone. I am offering you a new strength. In trying to follow these new ideas, know that you are very supported by the many who have understood this now.
Kindness in the comments would encourage me to post more photos of how the Seasons of human colouring appear in the real world. Problem is, they end up on 100 Pinterest boards and a million other places over which I have no control. I know that you would love to see them and I would love to post them but I can’t protect the person’s privacy. If you have no concerns about where your photo ends up and have been correctly analyzed, send me your picture and I’ll be glad to post it (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Some have said that Hanka can’t be a True Winter (article A Blonde True Winter), or that I am not a Winter of any sort.
With every respect, how in the world could you know? The computer you’re reading this on denies you every single tool you need to evaluate, or even accurately see, human colouring.
You don’t have a grayed environment. You have a busy background that influences colours. You could be reading on your phone on the subway.
Instead of accurate lights, you have whatever lighting the time of day requires and the room you’re in offers. We have no idea what any person looks like till you see them in full spectrum lighting. Students remark on how surprisingly much faces changes just by switching from overhead room lighting to properly placed full spec lights.
You don’t have access to skin in the photos on this site. They’re wearing makeup. I’m happy to post photos of women with no makeup if you’d like to send me yours, email address above.
You don’t have drapes. Or anything else for the skin to react to. Of the many companies out there offering PCA services, I would have to hope that if we agree on one thing, it’s that the ‘analysis’ part of PCA refers to the evaluation of simultaneous contrast effects. That word, contrast? By definition, it means between two things.
You don’t even have the person! Ever met anyone who looks exactly like their photo? I haven’t.
Easy to forget about the water. Until something ripples it.
Be careful about the medium. It inserts itself so subtly that we don’t even know it. Media isn’t selling truth. It’s selling the medium. It’s selling itself. The newspaper isn’t selling the news, it’s selling newspapers. Five newspapers have 5 different versions of the news. Only 1 thing happened. People are only 1 Season. But the newspaper changed what happened and we forget that it took up the space between us and the real event.
The lights, the gray room, their purpose is to null the medium, to cancel it back to Zero Effect, so it can’t distort our perceptions in the ways it so very much does.
The Real Basis of PCA
There’s one other thing you might not have. A grasp of what real PCA is actually measuring: colours under the skin in the capillary layer where the blood travels. The so-called undertone layer.
That is where the truth of your colours is expressed and consistent, despite surface changes like suntans. At the level of circulation. That’s what the drapes are reacting to. We’re biologically adapted to see through skin and are hugely sensitive to tiny incremental changes.
Humans are gifted with the ability to see through human skin to some degree, as Dr. Mark Changizi has demonstrated and described in his book, The Vision Revolution (discussed in 12Blueprints article Different PCA Systems, Different Results). A photo or a monitor only gives you the surface. That’s the limit of what it’s capable of. Only real human eyes, connected to a human brain, looking at directly at another living human is capable of see-through vision, or Xray vision, as Dr. Changizi calls it.
That’s why gadgets that take photos of the surface are quite limited, unless I have mistakenly reduced their scope and they are in fact contacting the lower levels of skin. Now, if it’s just a surface photo, this would follow a very different practice of colour analysis than mine. Never mind how many times each step of the software altered the colours between the gadget, the computers, and your eyes. About 4 to 8 times. Kind of hopeless.
When I’m sent photos, I place no faith at all what they show me. I don’t say much because the medium has utterly clouded my analyst’s eyes. I wish women would stop sending me photos. Besides, I don’t believe I’m here to do it for you. I am here to ignite it in you, show you how to do it for yourself, and bring it to your communities.
Surface acquaintance may be why little machines that match foundation did not work for me. Foundation must match surface and undertone. Dark Winter surface skin can appear quite yellow. True Summer skin can tan quite golden, but when analyzed correctly with accurate drapes, the person remains a True Summer. We’ve proven this to ourselves in the training courses, depending on the models we had for that session. The foundation that matches them remains very cool unless they are quite tanned.
Amazing what cameras and computers can do.
But, listen, seriously, nothing against your skill. Maybe you’re a genius. IDK what you know and don’t know. You might be fabulous. How would I know how current you are or how many clients you’ve draped with excellent drapes?
I just know the medium is dangerous and pointless. You don’t have access to the lower layers of the skin. So you’re sunk. You have absolutely no accurate data from which to draw conclusions. All I’m saying.
Averages, Meanings, and Old Formulas
So what do you have? All you’re left with are the stereotypes and the patterns to fall back on. That’s all this medium can give you. It took away everything else. You’re forced to use averages. The old, wrong conclusions. You look dark so you must be a Dark Season. These walls need to come down for us all to move forward.
By the way, forget the words, OK? Dark, Light. It’s not about whether you look dark. Has nothing to do with it. There are dark, medium, and light looking people in each of the 12 groups. Sure, Steve Jobs dark is not likely a Light Summer, but Maggie Gyllenhal is entirely plausible.
When someone decides you look dark, they’re looking at your hair and eyes. The old, wrong patterns again. Do you really see Steve’s skin as much darker than Maggie’s? Did you even think about their skin? Dr. Changizi has shown that humans don’t register healthy skin of the same race as having hardly any colour – an evolutionary adaptation that allows us to be wildly sensitive to the slightest changes, and a brilliant one.
It’s not about whether you wear dark. Nothing to do with it. Everybody has light, dark, and medium colours in their native colouring and in their colour analysis swatch palettes. Hanka is a very normal darkness level for a True Winter, seen it numerous times. So is Kim Kardashian. And they go lighter than that. And they can have red hair. And yellow in the eyes. If you haven’t seen that being draped, how could you say if I’m right or not? What if I said that in the photo of Hanka linked above, the yellow hair colour is dulling her skin, lip, and eye pigmentation and from that photo, nobody has any idea what she looks like or what her native colours are?
The meaning of those words refers to how those kinds of colours react to your skin. That’s it. Let your analyst worry about the words. I need you to put your attention in the right place, which is learning to match your swatch book in stores.
Does anyone see their skin as very different? His teeth are cooler. Her eyes are darker. Wait, looking at wrong things, back to skin tone. Well…I just don’t know what to say. How much has to do with different ages? Between men and women?
We all play the guessing game. It’s fun and interesting. A colour analyst can recognize the mind chatter, that it’s just a reaction, and can clear it out when the analysis begins. She has been taught to recognize the far bigger picture.
We’re stuck in ruts so deep we don’t even know it. We need comparisons. Many different ones. Like training any muscle, we must give our lazy perceptions lots of different relationships, shock them, force them to adapt. If they’re right, they better be ready to prove it before I tell anyone they’re a Season.
12 possible outcomes, equal probability of each.
The guessing is done. The lights go on. The draping begins. You get your answer.