Something I’ve noticed over the past year. She is always a woman between 55 and 65. She is most often one of the 5 Winter blends, simply because the visual effect I’m about to describe is more visible in that natural colouring, but it happens in all 12 groups or Seasons. In 12 Season personal colour analysis (PCA), the 5 Winters include True, Dark, and Bright Winter, Bright Spring and Dark Autumn.
When we meet, the closest description is that the clothes she wears have faded away. By comparison, the woman isn’t faded at all. Her face is lively, her character sparkly. Her hair is silver or in the process of becoming. There’s lots of life in her eyes and her conversation. Why can’t I see her clothes or makeup?
Beyond cute, but are those eyes real? Would Nature on her own have paired these windows with this house? Do coloured contacts look easy and calm or do they (do you) feel manipulated?
This character ‘s windows balance the house.
It’s the clothes. They make no impression, as if there are no clothes. I’m used to meeting women who dress very neutrally on the day they have their colouring analyzed. I’m used to outfits where one or two items might be great, but the rest are too much or not enough in some way, though I don’t know how before we see what happens with the drapes. Without PCA, nobody can get every item to be in perfect harmony with every other.
When we visit at the beginning of the session, it takes too much effort to notice the clothing, which you can’t do and stay current in the conversation. It’s too distracting to keep going back and forth. Speaking with her while looking at her feels like listening to English and answering in German.
You have to tune out thinking about the clothing out to stay sane. Whatever those clothes cost, they might as well not be there. The head feels connected to a sheer, pale beige shirt and acid-washed light blue pants. The image is so unbalanced that one suspects it can only be intentional. Like the day Lady Gaga was interviewed on 60 Minutes in a skin coloured bathing suit/bustier sort of affair. It was a head with no body, on purpose. An interesting visual and psychological manipulation, of which Gaga is quite masterful.
Our woman often says, “I don’t get service in stores.” She doesn’t mean good or bad. She means not any. The store staff isn’t rude. They literally can’t see her. She looks a little see-through. If we touched her, our finger might not hit solid bone. It might just keep going. She looks like her apparition version, ephemeral.
Absolutely beautiful but does it feel real? With two misty green eyes at the top, it’s like beauty from another dimension. Change the eyes to powerful aqua, amber gold, or yellow green. Will you notice the rest of the scene? Will it feel solid?
Who is the woman we look at and who is the one we look through? If she’s a Dark Autumn or a Bright Spring wearing Light Summer colours, we will look through her. She’s coming down the hall but not in the room yet. I can see her there on the other shore but some part of her soul is delayed, not yet embodied. I’m in the field with the flowers and she’s way over on the other side.
How much can you make out over there when you can barely see the flowers on your shore?
She seems suspended, as if we have to wait for her. If we interact with her, she won’t hear, she’s too far away. If we do speak with her, we’ll hear an echo. Distant objects are muted, cool, and less defined. Close objects are more intensely coloured and well-defined.
We evolved to associate cool and muted colour with distance.
Visually, she’s literally ‘not all there’. That expression has a lot of meanings. Subconsciously, we apply them all. If we look not-solid, then we look airy. Airheaded? Vacuous. Vacant. Shallow. Drained. Emptied. This is not going in a good direction.
If there’s another woman in the room who feels fully present, we’ll be more aware of her and we’ll speak to her. She’ll get faster better service in stores. She’ll get promotions, responsibility. We think she’s smarter. People will expect more of her and put more of themselves into their communication with her. They’re not rude. It’s just that they see her better.
The Space Between Us
I saw Eva*, a Soft Autumn woman recently. In the wholeness of her eyes (the trees), her skin (the lighter statues), the small amount of water (Summer) and the solid stone (Autumn), the fluid and blur effects (Soft Seasons), she looked like this fountain. You know that the fountain has to be hard for the whole image to work. You clearly see its 3 dimensions. 3D is tremendously important in translating Autumn.
Could this scene be conveyed in the beach colours (Light Spring-ish) up above in Brunarte’s photo? No. The magic only takes effect when the truth has been found, when the lines and the colours belong. Would shade and fog colours (Soft Summer) work? Or does this feeling require its warmth?
Previous analysts had found Soft Summer and Light Spring. One analyst saw the softness, one saw the lightness and warmth. The missing piece was a solid bone structure. In Light Spring, she was evenly lit and illuminated, but without solid-looking bones. I adored this woman.
Eva didn’t fuss or drag up any negativity. Instead, she chose to pick up the trail of breadcrumbs. In seeing the puzzle pieces separately, and then adding back the final one, she understood so much more about her colouring that if the answer had been right the first time.
She could see the relative importance of the parts. TMIT has been talked about before. I used an over-simplification to illustrate something, and it may have ricochet’d around as shortcuts sometimes do. Every element matters.
A colour analyst is always balancing and comparing.
We want the geometry of the face to be solid, but we stop before it gets severe.
The substance of the bottom half has to match the substance of the top half.
The illumination of the bottom half has to match the illumination of the top half.
The wrong colour: The features are un-united. If the red is too red, white is too white, blotches appears, the face looks scattered apart.
The balance: The features all belong to the same face. For some people, their truth is to have strong reds and blues. That is their right colour.
How do we know what’s real? Our sense of vision has no idea. Until it gets a comparison. We talked about this a lot in the last article, Different PCA Systems, Different Results.
Eyes are the focal point of the whole person. Eyes are everything. We’re magnetized to them. Nothing, nothing should get in the way.
Our eyes truly are the window, the two-way mirror, the story, and the soul of who we are.The surrounding face should be stable and secure, not floating and vanishing. The eye is framed by the browbone above and the cheekbone below. Both facial structures should be in focus, solid and well-defined on the face. A brow that blends into the skin and a cheekbone that is collapsed weaken the presence and our awareness of the presence. The jaw and chin must balance. Too much weight on one end and the scaffold of the face tips over.
As we have said, our woman’s head isn’t faded at all, even without makeup. The intensity of the eye colour is very high in the face. Something may be highly dramatic. The hair might be big, easily belonging to bone structure that’s stunning, all sharp angles, like she walked off the set of Dynasty. Or, her features might be lush, all swoopy and dreamy, with an gorgeous man-magnet shape. To meet, she’s fun and funny, interesting and interested. She is way more than her clothing choice. Her head is fully there but her body isn’t.
I thank my dear friend Adele* for explaining to me that in her own life, her disappearance has been necessary, voluntary, and temporary, intended to create a space. She is holding and honouring a place that represents a letting go of all that needs releasing, and trusting that what comes next will be right. By making a place inside that’s a little blank, she announces herself open and hospitable to anything. We see her as incomplete on the outside because she is incomplete. For the moment, this is the truth of her.
At this stage of life, many of us women in our 50s sense a disconnect where the exterior is no longer communicating the rich interior. We can’t figure out how to get the two on the same track again in this new phase of life. Adele is hiding while she tries to figure something out. I love that she knew when the time was right to remove the cloak. Sometimes, the shelter is too safe and we stay there. Not Adele. She did the releasing, the waiting, the becoming. When she was ready to know her most basic truth, she had her colouring analyzed. Bright Spring.
The change back is a little tricky. Adele is now used to visual neutrality. In her head, she knows that Bright Spring colours are where she looks most present. She knows they don’t look overly bright on her. They look normal. Next to her, it’s all the other colours that look faded. True Spring’s juicy coral looks tired and old under her face.
Adele should run a women’s support group. She is so clear on this topic. She feels no weakness or compromise. The inside needed to be neutral gray for a while. The time for that has passed. Now, she is holding back from shopping and seeing how many old choices were just old habits. Makeup and hair colour changes are waiting to get clarity about who’s underneath it all. She’s been amazed to see that her silver hair is quite yellow.
Adele and women like her have been among the most fascinating self-healing journeys I’ve seen. They’re so smart that I just have to sit down for a minute. I see a conscious decision to retreat from our bold, bossy world, to float to wherever she is taken with trust, to feel her way through things instead of always thinking, and seeing what her real self could attract from the inside. This is why I love what I do beyond telling, that it brings this enrichment into my life while I still have so much time to become more from it.
From the remarkable quotes on this page, words by Jiddu Krishnamurti, far more profound than a mere statement about the human capacity for recursive thought,
The highest form of human intelligence is to observe yourself without judgment.
Silver Hair and Warm Colouring
I’d be a bigger fan of colouring hair if there were better colour advice out there. If the best hair colour were easy enough to achieve (Dark Seasons, Light Seasons). If silver didn’t look so very good on certain colouring (Brights) or so natural and easy on others (Cools and Softs).
Plus, some of the most chic hairstyles I know are on the Pinterest pages of the silver hair sites. Send an email if Google doesn’t find them for you. There are about 4 or 5. Best hairstyles ever, regardless of hair colour.
Reader Q: I was once analyzed as a True Autumn and lived that way for many years. Now the colours feel too intense for True Autumn. Is Soft Autumn now better?
I don’t follow people over years and life changes, or know PCAs that have, so I’m not certain of what really happens. I do believe we soften a little and cool a little as hair shifts to white, and skin probably shifts accordingly. We must project colour differently as we contain less water. Mostly, the answer is the same one you’ve heard many times: It depends on the person.
I also believe we stay in our Season most of the time. The very odd person who was right between 2 Neutral Seasons but closer to the warm might shift over to be closer to the cooler one, but that’s rare. I see women over 60 still quite equally spread among the 12 groups. Often, I think the change isn’t so much in the best colours as the best neutrals. The darker browns and grays are replaced with the medium to lighter ones to repeat the hair.
This beautiful face would dominate Soft Autumn colour today and probably always.
A True Autumn might shift a little closer to Soft Autumn without going that soft in the colours. She might not. I know some silver haired True Autumns. It’s visually amazing. Powerful, rich, hot, strong. On that woman, Soft colours would look faded. It’s only next to Soft Autumn that those colours attain their highest energy. She still needs the hot orange, the golden greens, whisky and burnt sugar, for her clothing to look energized and for her to look energized in it.
That look of blending into our clothes is too-often misunderstood as harmony. Disapperance is the opposite of what harmony looks like. Harmony looks like the highest energy the two can bring out in each other, so perfect is the synchronicity. It feels like singing at the top of your lungs. It feels like the fullest, most extravagant concert, every instrument at once and still perfect pitch, harmony, and melody. No part of the story is stronger or weaker. The balance is heavenly. Synergy means a combined effect which is greater than the sum of the two separate effects. Your clothing, cosmetics, and hair colour bring out more of you, and you of them, than either would if seen separated.
Defining Your Business
It has been a gift to meet so many women who participate in the various silver-haired forums and online groups. So much power and support, I can tell you that it’s been an eye-opener. Many would like to be involved in the training course to become PCAs (more info here). Some hold back because they feel that they don’t know – or want to know – enough about makeup.
In this business, you are whatever you present yourself to be. Just be clear about it up front. Your clients will find you if you tell them who you are. Tell them what you believe. Giving people logic doesn’t make them call you. Giving them sympathetic emotion, “She really knows how I feel because that’s how she feels.”, sure does. The market for people looking for the metaphor or vehicle that reconnects them with themselves in an honest, loving, meaningful way is bigger than you can imagine. We are all in this boat to some extent.
I welcome the students whose purpose they can clearly state as helping others, celebrating the person that we are, finding peace in the package we were put into. Our outsides are as they are for a reason. Honouring that takes us 55 years. The freedom is like walking onto a sunny beach after being in a dark, smoke-filled room for a week. We can help everyone find it.
Own 12 lipsticks or glosses and blush, some pressed powder foundations. Between Avon’s endless range and continuous sales, Revlon’s no-animal-testing, and beautypedia.com’s advice on where to put your $, you can be set up without a big expense.
Develop what you love. Find ways to support the massive market segment that Adele represents. The knowledge of how to do it is already in you. Figure out how to give her what you need.
My friend, Rick Beckman, takes care of this website. I’d be so lost without him. He comes in now and again, he looks things over, he cleans up what needs cleaning. He is a blessing in my life. Together, we’ve begun a big upgrade to improve the navigation, make it easier to find articles and topics, and create more separation between the blog, the training course, the drapes, and any new things that might come along. Rick has already begun installing things behind the scenes. If you log in one day and notice some oddness, know that it’s temporary. The next day, it might be replaced with new oddness. Like free and fun side-show.
A Â note before we start.
Personal Luxury Drapes
Buried in a lot of facts and numbers in the last article was a feature that I wanted to be sure everyone noticed.
Remember those Luxury Drapes that included your most beautiful colours, that you watched at the end of your 12 Tone Â (12 Season, Sci\ART) Personal Colour Analysis (PCA)? You can now own your very own set.
The article with more information is linked here. Scroll down about 3/4 of the page, just after the picture of the blue and aqua waves.
How Can PCA Results Differ So?
Let’s talk about an issue that I’m e-mailed about over and over.
A woman has been analyzed by many systems. Could be North American or European. Could be recent or over 15 years. Could have been with a Sci\ART based analyst like me or not. In person and online.
Her colouring has been analyzed by eye, matching coloured cards and fabrics to form a colour booklet. She’s been draped in 20 minutes and in 2 hours, with fabrics pieces, large and small. One company matched her colouring to paint chips from which a computer generated a palette. Some considered skin alone, some hair and eye colour. All of this in 4 Seasons, 12, and 16.
Most of the time, drapes came out with one set of results, often fairly close (say, Light Spring, Light Summer, and Soft Summer), but not necessarily. Could be all over the map. Matching by eye and computer came out with quite different results (perhaps, Soft Autumn, Autumn/Spring blends, and a Bright Spring, or a mix of the 3), sometimes close, sometimes quite disparate.
She is confused enough that to sign up for one analysis after another and find less satisfaction and closure each time.
Before you read any further – though I haven’t studied the fundamental belief behind all these systems, it appears as if they agree that people look best when they wear the colours their bodies contain. If you disagree with that premise, you’re barking up a whole different image consultant tree that I can’t even advise about. The following applied to the folks who believe our body colours are our most flattering clothing/hair/cosmetic colours.
If You’re on The Draping Side
To follow me,
(which I say in that way NOT because I invented the system I use, I didn’t, Kathryn Kalisz did, probably modeled on previous systems in existence, but because I can’t guarantee that all Sci\ART-based analysts reading this would agree with me and I would not presume to speak for the group,)
you have to buy into some central beliefs about human colouring and its analysis.
First is that we have A hue, A value range, and A chroma setting. ONE of each H, V, and C. Every pigment governed by our personal genetic code respects these settings. They apply to every colour we contain, all the blues, greens, oranges, pinks, every one of the thousands of colours in us. They do not deviate very much from their setting. Each of the 12 HVC-based colour palettes holds to its particular settings and does not deviate very much either.
Second. I do not believe that human vision is well set up to understand colours just by looking. Certainly not static isolated colour. It’s just how we are. There’s no point arguing it, any more than disputing that we see cool, muted colour as distance and hear high notes as youth. Human eyes misjudge HVC in swatches let alone the complexity of a face.
What Lauren* said is so clever:
What you see when you look at me is not what makes me, Lauren.
I believe that we are especially limited in our colour perception when it comes to the colours of our body. With David Zyla’s Color Your Style: How To Wear Your True Colors, I could not figure out my finger or vein colour. Wore myself out, as one of my favorite women said. Some might get it but I didn’t know jade from teal, and were the veins slightly purple?
I could get it when I laid my swatch book alongside the body part. Then, it lit right up. Was that wrong or right? No idea. Couldn’t do the finger pinch test even with the swatches. I did love his application of the colours, his individualized usage, and his artistic imagination. I loved that he disbelieves so many of the crazy myths about PCA. I agreed with so many of his words and ideas.
Maybe I have to use drapes because I’m so poor at judging human colouring or they’re just what I’m used to. I can look at someone in whatever their hair, clothes, and makeup is and I can’t find their true colours. All I can usually tell is that something’s off. I could then start adjusting them in my mind. Darken the hair, brighten the lip. Darken the hair, leave the lip, warm up the shirt. Leave the hair, cool the foundation, cool the shirt, and lighten the mascara. It could go on for days, with no answer at the end. Being impatient, I pull out the drapes. Grant me the serenity to know what I can change.
What we are extremely adapted to understand are change and comparison. In bold pinkÂ because that’s how important they are.
Cognitive scientistÂ Dr. Mark Changizi wrote a book that is literally changing my life (I can’t thank Sarah enough for pointing me in this direction.) In The Vision Revolution: How The Latest Research Overturns Everything We Thought We Knew About Human Â Vision, he hypothesizes that we barely register ourselves as having a colour, a taste, or a smell. This baseline setting is vital because we are particularly tuned in to the slightest change in the baseline. Fevered skin feels very hot, yet it’s only 1-2 degrees above baseline. How fascinating that all human skin of any ethnicity is very close in its reflectance of light in wavelength. Still, we’re far better at registering change in skin colour of our own ethnicity, our zero setting – though we can certainly learn and improve our ability to see colour change in skin of different baseline than our own.
It’s as if our entire nervous system is set to zero where other humans are concerned. That way, we can be especially sensitive to deviation. He speculates that this evolution allowed us to read one another’s condition better by the slightest change in skin colour and that we’re highly sensitive to it. This adaptation in our colour vision allows us better survival as a tribal, social, cultural collective. In specific situations, for instance, survival of the young or assessing the strength of an opponent, extreme sensitivity in reading very slight change in skin colour was a successful evolutionary event.
And then, OMG, it gets better, and I’m only 40 pages into it. At veterinary school 23 years ago, in Principle of Surgery class, we were given an exam question : Explain at the cellular level the physiologic conditions which cause tissues to become white, yellow, green, blue, red, and purple. Dr. Changizi answers the question in terms of the quantity of blood under the skin and its oxygen concentration superimposed ON TOP OF A COLOUR WHEEL!!!! Could barely believe what I was seeing. Got all goose-bumpy. Heart extra-pumpy.
In the course manual for students training to become PCAs, I wrote more than I needed to (what else is new?) about the wavelength sensitivities of the cells in human retinas. It’s so fundamental though. I couldn’t leave it out. It explains the comparison basis of human vision. Why red, green, blue, and yellow have their positions around a colour wheel. Why they’re opposites in the first place. OK, listen to this: turns out that our retinal cells are stimulated by the very wavelength patterns that correspond exactly with how light is absorbed by hemoglobin under skin. Meaning our colour vision evolved exactly to see changes in blood under skin! Meaning that by knowing the stimulation patterns of retinal cells, you could determine the blood oxygen concentration of the person you’re looking at!!!!!!! On page 43, Dr. Changizi says, “That synergy turns out to be crucial to our empathic ability.” You just have to read this amazing book. The windows it will open…
I’m pretty sure the answer to undertone is in here. Bernice Kentner, a personal hero of mine, related it to blood velocity, which sounded a little iffy in the absence of numerical data, but that was 30 – 40 years ago. Maybe this is what she was getting at. Others have related undertone to differences in blood colour or hemoglobin – again, IDK. Could be I just haven’t seen the data. It’s possible. Â We all have different melanin.
But is it probable? Melanin has a different purpose. It doesn’t carry oxygen. We wouldn’t die if our melanin changed a little. We might die if our hemoglobin changed a little. Is Nature likely to allow all primates, and then all races within a group of primates, to have different hemoglobins? It seems as if blood colour would be more rigidly controlled than melanin, with fewer mutations tolerated, because of the life and death implications. Still, I’m open to anything. I think Changizi is on the right path. As often happens, science catches up with art.
Anyhow, sorry, undertone is still one of my BIG QUESTIONS in PCA, back on topic,
change is what we’re excellent at seeing.
And comparison. Â Think about this: As the zero setting ourselves, we serve as the Control group!!!! We compare our hand, which we register as zero, to the hot fevered face, only 1 degree warmer and we say, “You’re so hot! Into bed!” Â My heart beats faster just writing it. The miracle that is Nature.
The book is awesome. Not medical or doctor-y or science talk at all. Written like a story with huge mind-blowing ideas on every page. I owe you, Sarah.
Third, I do not believe that colour is well set up to be understood in the first place because of how much it’s influenced by whatever’s around it, which is why my drapes are a solid colour and a lot of it. Colours change one another. When energy fields come into contact, they change one another.
Even at a distance, they change one another. While a drape is swinging around the client’s head, before it has settled on their chest, the face is already being profoundly altered. A reminder that students have heard and heard and heard: DROP-THE-DRAPE. Drop it right out of eyesight when assessing a face. If your eyes can see it, your perception is altered by it. I might tattoo the words on the palm of my hand or have a really nifty sign made up.
Not All Drapings Are Equal
A person who’s been draped many times will have noticed big variation in drape sizes, colours, numbers, method of interpretation, order of use, colours within any Season or group, and particular name of the Seasons or groups.
Can draping be flawed? God, yes. Everything can.
Wouldn’t it be great if the all the above steps were standardized? God, yes. Or even within one company!
So we’re taking a hard look at it. We’re making drapes in controlled and consistent colours, set after set. We’re talking about alumnus refresher courses from Terry. Finding standardized ways of draping and teaching.
Inside our group, we’re dragging everything out under those brutal full spectrum lamps and taking a hard look at it. Truth matters to me. I don’t care how uncomfortable it is. The hardest part of fixing most problems is knowing what they are in the first place. Giving honest feedback is tough, something I recognize sincerely and feel a lot of gratitude when I receive it.
We’re getting over our fears about change, our embarrassment at having conflicting results, the projects we worked so hard on, what clients will think, and pulling it all apart. In my over-transparency, I’ll put my problems on the internet and let everyone weigh in. There are great ideas everywhere, very often outside the industry.
And everything is getting better.
The consumer’s role
I would like to see the clients take some responsibility here.
When they’re ill, they decide between consulting a naturopath and an M.D. Nobody expects the two to be especially similar. Disagreeing results are actually expected. We’d be surprised if they agreed. We allow them to be apples and oranges. Neither is foolproof. Does it mean that they do not improve our lives? Of course not.Â When it’s good, it can be transforming.
In choosing one, the client must decide what they believe. About having your colouring analyzed,
Do you believe that neutral gray surrounding matters to accurate colour measurement or do you not? Would you say that it is crucial? A deal-breaker?
That full spectrum lighting is the only way to render every wavelength (colour) evenly?
Do you believe that humans can have trouble judging colour by eye?
That computers and photographic equipment alter colours at each step of software translation?
(If you answered No, Maybe, or Sometimes to any of the above, seek analysis services from someone other than me. Before you see them, accept that the outcome will differ wildly from what I might say and that you’re going to be OK with that because you understand that eyes will think they see 5 Â colours if they see 1 colour in 5 different contexts.)
Ask the analyst if you’re not sure. Whether they call the groups Seasons or something else is the least of your problems. That barely matters. Before she signs up for one more PCA, the consumer needs to ask,
- what is the source of the colours you’re giving me?
- how do the groups of colours, whatever you call them, get eliminated or selected?
- what’s the basis for the groups? why are those colours part of that group?
You’re going to have to decide. I’m not here to put down anyone else. I explain the core beliefs of my practice. If other systems could do the same, I’ll link to it. I’ll post it on this site. We all have something to add.
I simply suggest that various methods can’t be dovetailed together. There is no point in wondering why they can’t find common ground. You might as well stop trying. We diverged way back at the beginning. You’re comparing the Big Bang Theory to Let There Be Light. It’s a square peg/round hole relationship. It ain’t gonna happen.
Maybe you’ll say, “Well, how ‘m I supposed to know? I’m the consumer. It’s all you analysts out there who have studied colour theory. Why can’t you guys figure it out and tell us, once and for all?”
Great answer. True answer.
The public has not the context, the theory, or the experience to make these decisions, though they love to hash it out online. Unless you’ve watched many drapings and followed the practitioners of the by-eye technique (which I have not), you don’t really get either one, let alone where they might come together. Sometimes different words are being used to describe the same thing, and even that is rightly confusing to the public.
Maybe an analyst who has studied all the systems could find an accurate way to merge them? After all, the systems are all looking for the original body colours. Should be simple.
I’d love to see what someone comes up with. It’s easy to learn all the theory there ever was and find every reason why no system has 100% final say. Sooner or later, to be a colour analyst, you’ll have to pick one for its strengths, learn how to compensate for its flaws, and crawl around down here with us sinners and losers who do our best to analyze human colouring every day.
A certain client, with a broad-minded approach to life, might see both naturopath and MD. She might look for what works for her in the advice of each. She might see them as an extension and expansion of the other, adding more layers of approach and interpretation that are fascinating in themselves. She would look for the strengths in each approach. The advice that didn’t jive, she just sets aside for now with a reminder in her calendar to take another look in 3 months.
Because it is based on what we’re good at seeing: change and comparison in a calibrated measuring system with no other colours present.
Draping takes a human weakness (our ability to see the colours of skin) and turns it into a strength (our ability to register the slightest changes in reactivity of skin when given comparison) by utilizing an ability that human colour vision isÂ massively adapted to see and see well (skin colour alteration from baseline).
The purpose of draping is not to be a wrinkle eraser. It is do determine your baseline. The truth of you.Â
If you’ve never watched a calibrated draping or still believe there can be no blonde or red-headed Winters, I can’t give your opinion much weight. There’s so much more to it than people realize when it’s done correctly. Ask students who have taken the training. I think many were more than a little surprised. And these were mostly people who had studied all the books and websites.
None of the big names in PCA ever warned against draping, that I recall. Bernice maintained that draping always had the final say.
Online groups talk about hair and eye colour. Why? Because it’s what they see most prominently. As humans, they’re not programmed to see the skin colours of other humans (nevermind that cameras don’t sample colours the way human eyes do and therefore arrive at different results). If asked why all the talk about hair and eyes, they’d say, “Because skin doesn’t really have much colour. It’s hard to talk about it.” YEAH!!! That’s the whole point. It doesn’t. But when it changes, even slightly, we have seen it over thousands of years of evolution linked to our very survival. Cameras can’t do it but human vision is all over it.
Why draping? Because it’s the best way of compensating for the tricks our brain plays all day long as it adjusts what our eyes take in. You don’t believe that all we see are adaptations of reality? That what we see is highly inaccurate? Google ‘optical illusions’. Vision isn’t designed for accuracy. As Dr. Changizi points out, evolution doesn’t care about accuracy. Evolution cares about spreading genes around.
Hair and eye colour are relevant to PCA and human colouring determination, but not in the way folks think.
Hair is a body colour and contributes to overall harmony, no doubt. But hair is only melanin, a limited representation of our colouring that doesn’t change a whole lot with clothes. It’s made of many colours. Some analysts may be excellent at finding its true colours, but the public seldom is – either because they’ve altered it with their clothing (a Dark Winter wearing Soft colours) or don’t see it as others do (a Bright who thinks she has mousy hair because it’s medium beige brown). We’re not really good at seeing hair changes. Could be why hair is limited to so few body parts in humans.
Eyes? The lines can be informative, but they’re not tight data. Colour is somewhat useful, more its distribution patterns than the colour itself. Nobody ever talks about colour clarity. Why not? If we forgot about eye colour per se and approached it as HVC, we might get closer to the truth. Sorry, digression, anyhow, eyes are complex, multicoloured, multilayered entities full of mirrors and windows. Too much physics, optics, and reflection going on. Huge and gigantic importance if you know what to look for and are given comparisons.
A moderate approach
I have the deepest respect all the prophets and visionaries that laid the foundations for modern PCA. So often, a prophet’s words and how they got used differ widely. No seer who came back today would tolerate the labels that got put on him or her since their voice went quiet. Rules get hammered into place that the original thinker never intended so rigidly. Â The focus gets turned around, the dogma is over-defended and over-adhered to, while the creator would have a much more welcoming and tolerant viewpoint.
Decide to just enjoy the process. Consider that there is no person, system, colour collection, medicine, or anything else, that can utterly and finally explain us to ourselves. Enjoy the style, the artistry, the creative excellence of every approach, and the endlessly fascinating opportunity to see ourselves through the eyes of another.
The colours have been selected and production has begun on the Round 3 of the 12 Blueprints Test Drape collection. Nine sets are made in each Round after which colours and textiles are reevaluated.
First, please allow me answer a question that I have been asked.
Why don’t I teach with the drapes I make?
After analyst training courses were offered once again in February, 2013, with 2 to 5 new colour analysts per month since, the drapes have sold faster than I could make them. Now that I’m caught up, I will be adding to my Sci\ART drape sets to merge them with the 12 Blueprints drapes. The Key, 4 Test, and Red Drapes will remain the same. The only change will be adding to the 12 Test sets to bring them up to 6 drapes of same colours, rather than the present 3 of varying colours.
Secondly, the Sci/ART drapes are among a very small number assembled by a Munsell Master Colorist. Students should have the opportunity to use them, giving them a sense of the history of our profession, and a comparison with the drapes they will use in their own businesses.
I was trained with Terry’s Sci\ART drapes, quite different from the sets I purchased two months later. No transition time was necessary. Therefore, I didn’t feel that teaching with the exact sets the new analysts would be using was a priority. The order of use and decision-making processes are identical.
There are drapes collections in Canada and the US. European students take their drapes home with them. Though we do use them for the course as the student wishes, unpacking them and repacking them for airplane journeys is a process in itself. Like maps, they never pack up as clean and flat as the first time.
I have taught with the Round 1 drapes and used the Round 2 sets. Both performed perfectly well.
What’s New in Test Drapes Round 3
Already, the 12 Blueprints Test Drapes have no precedent. Improvements will continue to come on board with each Round of production. Terry and I are carefully studying the borders of the Seasons in terms of their boundaries in colour space. I doubt that either of us anticipated how truly fascinating and eye-opening the journey would be.
The Red Test Drapes have seen the biggest change. Previous sets were modeled after the Sci\ART drapes, with a cool, warm, and a neutral drape, either as warm neutral or cool neutral. In Round 3, both warm-neutral and cool-neutral are now present in each of the 4 Red Test sets, along with the pure warm and pure cool colours. Also, all 8 Neutral Seasons are represented in the 8 neutral drapes so every Neutral Season client should resonate highly with at least 1 of the 8. They are working beautifully.
Colour comparisons are more exciting than ever. Tolerances for specific colour dimensions may be tighter. More than anything else, I’m especially proud of the plasticity of these drapes. Based on our solid belief that colour analysis is entirely dependent on relationships and comparisons, we aimed to express the 3-dimensional truth of every colour. However the analyst moves in colour space or in the algorithm of the analysis process, this colour series will provide a powerful platform for her/his decisions.
Stunning and beautiful fabrics are used in the Red Drape and 12 Test series. This has been true in previous sets, though more so now, as we gain experience, skill, and confirmation from watching the drapes perform.
Broadcloth continues as the basis for the 4 Test sets to give all analysts standardized colours and to take advantage of the variety and consistent availability in those colours.
With additions to the Red Test series, the collection now comprises 112 drapes, not 108.
To reflect the increased number and fabric expense, Round 3 Test Drapes will sell, as of November 1, 2013, at CDN $3543.68.
For Analysts with Round 1 and 2 Sets
If you’ve already bought drapes and would like to expand your Reds to contain both a warm and cool neutral, email me and we’ll figure out what you have and what you need. We’ll work together to provide you with exactly what you want, ASAP.
You’re not missing out if you don’t. My Sci\ART sets served as the models for to the Rounds 1 and 2 sets, and have served me well for 4 years. Adding more bells and buttons to a car doesn’t mean it drives itself. Sometimes more is just more. Whether there are 3 or 4 drapes per value level in the Red Drapes does not in any way relieve the analyst of a single aspect of the criteria in the decision-making process.
If Terry and I trained you, you know how to drive. You know what to look for in the Red Drapes. You know which colour dimension they measure, and how to get indirect information about the other dimensions. The new drape additions are optional. You have had experience with a client whose parameters are reacting well and poorly in both the neutral and pure cool, with no 100%. You appreciate that it may just be that the drape is warm-neutral and the person is cool-neutral. Leave them both in, confirm later with the 12 Tests.
No decision is ever conclusive till it’s confirmed in a variety of contests, at least two, hopefully more, even if the evidence is indirect. Colouring/Season is not fully described by the Red Drapes, as you know. Depending on where the colouring leans in their Season, on the particular Season to which each red drape belongs, and sometimes just analyst familiarity with that face, results may differ. You still need to apply full-strength interpretive skills to the Reds. And you still should spend ages on the Key and 4 Test sets.
These are very fine drapes. Very fine.
6 sets of Luxury drapes each were manufactured, with 15 drapes in each of 12 Seasons.
The earlier article is here, which discusses their multitasking ability. The client perceives their first leap from theory and swatch into real fabric. Although your Test Drapes contain more colours than the Sci\ART sets, the Luxury Drapes still have enormous value as Season confirmation for analyst and client. Great Test Drapes are good. Experience is good. A backup is still welcome.
3 sets remain.
No further sets are expected until February or later.
There are 180 drapes, all stamped and tagged.
For Personal Colour Analysts, the cost is CDN $4860.00 + $631.80 (tax) + $29.00 (shipping inside US by FedEx; shipping outside the US depending on destination)
Though the Test Drapes are reserved for analysts trained by Terry or me, the Luxury Drapes are available to the entire Sci\ART and 12 Blueprints communities.
Personal Luxury Drapes
Numerous requests have arrived to offer the Luxury Drapes as single Season sets for clients who have enjoyed a Sci\ART-based Personal Colour Analysis.
I am glad to do so. There’s great value in having a 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 imagine 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, just as an analyst receives.
Offering full sized drapes allows you to reach the drape fully round your shoulders to get the most colour effect. You are also ensured sufficient fabric to make outfits. You will enjoy watching the harmonies play. Take them shopping. The item you’re considering buying should be a great fit among these fabrics.
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), as well as beautiful versions of colours we do test with (more greens, reds, and so on). 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).
I am excited to make this aspect of a working PCA’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. Me being me, I’m already looking down the road, thinking about a selection of beautiful printed fabrics (which Terry and I have been wanting to do), wedding whites, or adding any other idea that seems brilliant.
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, therefore 15% more than for analysts. With 13% Canadian tax, the total is CDN $525.45. Please add $20 FedEx inside the US. Shipping cost to other destinations can be provided at time of purchase inquiry.
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.
If you would like to purchase your own set of Personal Luxury Drapes, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. They will be available only to clients of Sci\ART based analysts. If you wish to buy a set, please do mention with whom you had your analysis and when it took place when you email me.
A couple of announcements:
For Training Course Graduates
As a 12 Blueprints community, our understanding of human colour analysis grows in size and adds more layers each time we meet for a training course. I ask the Universe to please send me the people that I need for my own growth. It’s doing exactly that. I can’t express how fulfilling it is to end a 3-day course and realize that the students have once again taught me as much as I was able to show them.
To continue sharing the knowledge we build among our members, the posts entitled For Training Course Graduates will become more frequent. They will continue to be privileged (the password is in the Training Guide) but the title will appear on the main site as it does for all articles. Please do email me if you have difficulty accessing them.
The information base on this website is getting big. By requests, posts are now archived by month in the right column under Recent Comments.
Alan Weiss is the authority on solo consulting. A colour analyst is in many ways a solo consultant. I own several of his books.
I enjoy the balance of his very linear approach with my very eclectic one. Â I admire that he listens to his own drummer, as far from locked down by how the majority thinks as it’s possible to be. Â His idea of success is not the corner office and all its trappings. Neither is mine.
Because I would like to upgrade this site this winter, I went to the source. I’m reading his new book, co-written with online strategist, Chad Barr. The book isÂ Million Dollar Web Presence: Leverage the Web to Build Your Brand and Transform Your Business. I appreciate how rich the content is. The advice is to be provocative and re-inventive.
In the earlier Million Dollar Consulting, pg. 327, Alan is discussing what a speaker should wear when filming a video from the speaker’s perspective. He asks the question, what’s not to like about black?
The short answer is that there is no colour, cosmetic, diet, vaccine – nothing that works equally well on everybody.
(Edit October 9, 2013: Alan and Chad get the influence that colour has on the impression we create. On Pg. 112 of Million Dollar Web Presence, they recognize the importance of colour analysis to look like a true professional.)
Since I’m incapable of short answers, I’ll be provocative and take on the question about black, one that almost every client asks a Personal Colour Analyst. Our clients know their best version of black.
12 Reasons for 12 Different Blacks
1.Â With respect to anyone who feels otherwise, I disagree that “black is always stylish and it’s slimming, plus all accessories go with it”. It isn’t, it isn’t, and they don’t. Not for men or women.
2. The fact is that black flatters very few people’s natural colouring. Black can’t be at home with most types of natural colouring because it isn’t there in the first place. The native pigmentation doesn’t darken that far. Black just sits on top, out of sync. For those of us looking at it, it’s the visual equivalent of riding 50 miles in a car with an out-of-tune radio.
3. The slimming myth is a myth. A fashion propagandism. Black is not slimming unless that darkness exists in the natural colouring to provide balance and context for it. Without those, the black block gets bigger. On the bottom half, the black block looks heavy. Bulky. Fat. Fuzzy. Sweatpants.
On the top half, the shoulders appear wide and the head small. That looks weak, especially in a man, since women can often balance the picture with bigger hair. In video, where scale and proportion can be distorted without the rest of the body and background to re-align things, it’s especially noticeable.
Even in a little photo, a Facebook profile or a head shot, we feel it. In black, Man #1 in black looks
- and intelligent.
Man #2 in black looks
- shiny, which comes across as sweaty and anxious,
- has a redder nose than the rest of his face = unhealthy, and such an easy thing to alleviate in right colour,
- and really needs a shave.
If Man #2 now did a video wearing a so-white-it’s-blue shirt or jacket, his complexion is corrupted, as if wearing too-light foundation. We’re distracted, almost suspicious, like there must be a reason for the distortion. Result: We can’t listen to 3 consecutive sentences. All because of the shirt he wore, here comes this background feeling of “He’s never on. He’s always off.” Only one natural colouring can make that white look normal. Even on Dark and Bright Winter, the clearest, cleanest, freshest, most accessible skin (which are extended beyond skin to the entire person in the perception of others, of course) require a better choice.
Would a man react to the images of Men #1 and #2 Â in the same way as a woman? Not sure. Given two options, most men would likely pick the better one.Â Many men are well tuned in to what they see.
Sarah asked if men pick up global cues or individual feature changes better during their colour analysis. Depends on the guy. They have fewer voices in their head regarding appearance to wrestle down than women do. Once they get it, they’re often really good at it from both wide and narrow angles. Photographers are terrific because they know already how much perception can be altered by visual information and that it’s an illusion, nothing to get nervous about.
4. On the wrong colouring, the woman looks more childlike than ever in black. There was an editor of Allure magazine who probably lived in NYC, wore the black uniform, probably paid a fortune for it, and looked immature and little girly. Angela Merkel could fit into this group as well. It’s hard enough for women to get taken seriously.
5. Black is so dense, dark, and cold that many people completely disappear. Say, Kelly Ripa, a woman whom the show’s producers already make hard to see on a small screen for some reason. Her image always looks vanishing, but much more so in black or against a very dark background.
6. It changes the skin colour of many people to gray or green or red or blue, sometimes more than one at a time. Health is a definite power player. Telling the world anything else is detracting.
7. Black ages most people. I do not believe for one second that youth is a power player. Authority can increase with age in both men and women. There are many powerful ways to age but appearing fatigued or gaunt is not one of them. No faster way to look old and weak than sink your eyes back in their sockets, compliments of black.
8. Only one type of natural colouring is 100% enhanced and complete in black. Alongside a distant colouring, black causes the expression to be severe, the opposite of team player, counselor, guide, or teacher. The face above the black says, “I am abrupt, humourless, and unfeeling.” Clothing communicates. It tells our story and it tells it inside 20 seconds. It’s worth getting our clear message out in every way we can. Truthful self-expression is so important. Ask any blogger or forum contributor. It’s what keeps our tribe together, how we discover our shared purpose. It’s how our best-fit clients find us.
9. All-black is boring, overdone, and monotone. It expresses neither imagination nor creativity, both of which feel nimble. How does this guy look like he’s feeling today?
Isn’t it better to tell others that you feel like this? Dark grey pants, pearl grey shell or shirt, dusky gold blazer or stripe in a tie, and almost white accents. Extra ordinary. Energy. Lift. Sparkle.
10.Â Black might make textile look more expensive but usually the opposite happens. An expensive choice looks cheaper. On women, there’s a Baboushka effect. Sheryl Sandberg looked much better in the gray and black she chose for her brilliant Â talk at TED than she would have in all black.
Colour is inherently young and expressive. Black plum, dark espresso, the soft gray on the underside of a cloud that’s sunlit on the top, golden barley, crisp teal, stormy Atlantic blue, do not reduce professionalism. They’re a visual attraction in the best way. We in the audience LOVE to see that. We feel a little more cared for or like we’re already friends. You went the extra mile for us.
11. Black is a space hole, a blank. On too many people, it creates no impression. People’s attention flits over and past us. We become faceless and nameless. It’s hard enough to get noticed. How often have we seen this coming at us across an urban intersection? How often have we connected with each face, or any face? No accident these faces are blacked out.
12. Light women, say, Sen. Hillary Clinton, can appear to have beard or mustache effects. Light coloured men can look as if they haven’t shaved in days. Or took a punch under the chin.
Our Eyes Are Our Focal Point
I agree with Alan is that clothing shouldn’t be distracting to be audience. Busy prints, whites that glow, colours that brighten under the lighting, are not the best choices. TV news and sports anchors are an amazement of clothing, hair, and cosmetic distraction.Â The women’s appearances are going in a thousand directions. The men’s shirt/tie/jackets can be eye boggling.
Our eyes should settle on the eyes of the person with whom we’re communicating within a few seconds. Our eyes are the focal point of our entire being. When the viewer’s eyes keep traveling around with no place to rest, it’s like a painting full of details with no centre of attention. Our eyes get tired and move on, looking for the relief of a resting place that feels better.
A face without a focal point is like watching a buzzing fly, waiting for it to land. Annoying just thinking about it and annoying to look at.
Solid black shifts the distractions up to the person’s face. Break down the order of what you recorded in the next ten people you see. In order of appearance, on a person who could have spent their money on a much better version of black, customized to their own colouring, we will see
shadow under chin,
red eyelids again, how come they’re red?? must suffer from allergies,
hey, nose is red too,
eyes, why can’t I just stay here? weird
red nose again…on a woman, it’s wrong hair colour but why a guy? you think he drinks?
around and around, where it ends, nobody knows,
OK, I feel tired,
now they’re making me think, which I never signed up for, BTW
I need a rest,
look at somebody else.
There. Him over there. That’s a relief.
I like him better.
Professionals should have their colour analyzed in their first year of school, and the Media Communications class first in line. Second in line: Real Estate Agent class. You know how the real estate companies post all those profile pictures of their agents side by side in the newspaper ads? Oh, boy.
It doesn’t have to be perfect to be so much better. Below, I can see the guy and the clothes. Not the guy orÂ the clothes. He’s apart and defined by clothes but I like that they’re there. His pocket square is interesting and says something real about him, in the right amount. Would he be better in black? Doubt it.
Justin Theroux is on the cover of October 2013 GQ, with some great photos inside. Nice choice from the style editor. His image has energy and substance, almost like having him here with me. I don’t read this publication but maybe I should. I have many male clients and get great satisfaction from analyzing the colouring of men. I wonder if GQ dresses all the men this well.
Your PCA gives you the most becoming black alternative. Neutral colours are great on video. Just knowing your best black and gray is miles ahead of the appearance game. Wolf gray and stallion black-brown are interesting and strong. Colours of smoke and shadow are dimensional, full of character.Â Grays are moody, thoughtful, mature, and profound. They work well against the light and dark backgrounds of day and night.
What can you do to learn if black works in your favour or against you? And what to replace it with?
By doing the same thing that Alan Weiss and Chad Barr’s clients do. They hire an expert with an excellent tool kit.
J.T. Used to Look Dull (but really wasn’t)
Having your colouring analyzed is a brand investment.
J.T.* is a personal trainer.Â He loves blue and summertime. As he walked in, Â our reaction was medium. Hair was medium, height: medium, appearance impact: medium. Most noticeable were nice blue eyes and a very fit body. His clothes said exactly zero, as in “I could be anybody.”
Looked like Lance Armstrong in a vague way. We analyze him to find Daniel Craig in an obvious way. Sparklers for eyes, tight skin, gorgeous circulation and vitality in his skin.
A man can dull himself down in wrong colour something unbelievable, and gray his hair to looking 10 years older. Clean, sharp gray is great. It’s electric. Dingy gray is hardly hot.
I react much more strongly to my husband in his right colours (True Winter). In his usual garb, I barely notice him. He’s like a washed out person that I mostly ignore, which is easy because he’s not a big talker. He’s just gets easier to ignore, like he’s camouflaged himself. Hey. Waaaaaaait a minute. Maybe he’s doing it on purpose to be left alone. Oh, dear, is he really that clever?
J.T. looks Spring/Summerish. It’s great to have that colouring, but a Bright Spring pays a very high price to try. J.T. looked like Lance A. will in 20 more years. Buy personal training from him? Don’t think so. He looks like he can’t walk a mile himself and wouldn’t be an ounce of fun.
About himself, he said, “I always have a song in my head.” The colour analyst’s job is to help J.T. show that to the world. That’s the guy I want to meet, not the dial tone guy.
By wearing Summer clothing colours, he’ll never have the incredibly calm eye of a True Summer, with the fantastic reflectivity in eye and skin that Summer colouring attains. Light will never play off the angles of his face with the same silvered edges that a True Summer could have. Never will he look heavenly, as Summers do. In Summer colours, all he can ever achieve is medium. God’s sake, why be telling people that about yourself? It’s a sad day when Daniel Craig drops himself down to “yeah, whatever, I’m pretty sure he has blue eyes”.
Is Craig a Light Spring? Soft Autumn because of red hair (nobody still believes in that, do they?)? Who knows? We’ve just trained two new analysts. The experience was warm and sharing, with a huge amount of new learning about what PCA is, not what it was. They saw first-hand how wrong we are when we guess. I know they would confirm for you that we can’t eyeball human colour dimensions. We can’t even eyeball a paint chip accurately because the biology of our eyes gets confused about colour levels once any colour dimension changes. Comparisons are the key.
And this is before we talk about having any other colour nearby – makeup, walls.
And before we apply hue, value, and chroma to the emotional and cognitive psychology of a human being. PCA is so much about human connection.
Craig’s blue eyes…Light Season, you think? maybe…what are the differences between icy colours and pastels? (Dearest Graduates – rhetorical Q, don’t chime in.) We’ve got your really light Bright colouring people and your really light Light colouring people. Until colouring is put to a measured test by draping, knowing its frequency on the saturation scale, or heat scale, or value scale, is beyond my sense of sight. IÂ do know for sure that it matters a serious lot when they all go shopping.
In the Vanity Fair article, J.T. and Craig seem the same exact man, a little strict but great sense of humour.
Colours and humans are so alike. The moment they get close or touch, they both change. It’s all about relationships as energy fields come into contact. They can’t not change. It’s not in the Nature of living energy fields to be frozen. The frozen kind would be called photographic images.
Could Winters change less? Summer reacts the instant someone walks in the room, offers tea, brings in a chair, suggests we sit on the porch where the breeze is so nice. Winter will notice you 15 minutes after you get there and say Hi 10 minutes later, when they’re done focusing on that pin point.
No, no, joking, that’s not true, everybody’s colour changes the same amount. Everybody and everything is about relationships. True what I said about them noticing you though
After a day together, students see where my analogies come from. The best one to date has to be from R., about a True Summer in school bus yellow, “You look as if you’re about to burst into flames.” We laugh, we relax, the client has fun, and the analyst has fun.
By the time he left, Bright Spring colours in his pocket, my entire assessment of J.T. had shifted from medium and ‘Buy a workout from him?? No way. He looks like he needs help getting his groceries into the car!’ to potent, spiritual, would really care about helping me, funny, fun, energized, pain free, a man who looks like he’d deliver.
Today, J.T. is an ad man’s dream: a 3D, living, breathing ambassador for Brand J.T.
AÂ Note – This website’s information content has grown to the point that articles are hard to find. By request, Archived Posts can now be found as a drop-down menu under Recent Comments in the right sidebar.
Picture this: a search engine for your colour palette!
I believe that we are most beautiful when we wear the colours we already are. Knowing the precise colours of our own pigmentation, all the reds, greens, blues, yellows, and so on, that we were painted with is what a Personal Colour Analysis provides. Wearing the hues of your very own colouring really does make your life better than if you wear the colours that I am, or some other person, or both of us at once. You look better and you feel better Â to us when we look at you.
I want to solve the problems in PCA. One of them is that the user experience needs improving. Finding our colours in clothing should be far easier and faster than it is. No wonder so many people are stuck in black. It’s right there on all the racks. Locating one’s colours, let alone putting an outfit together, takes way, way too long.
If consumers had more available choice, they could make the colour decisions that they know are best for them. This would put some dollar pressure on the fashion industry to provide us with yet more of our colours. We would return less. We’d be happier. Win-win.
I’ve learned that giving a man or woman a swatch book containing their most exceptional colours and hoping they’ll find them at the mall or online is not enough. Part of the fix is education. Time is taken with clients, and even more time with students training to be colour analysts, to learn to harmonize solid and printed coloured fabrics to each Season. The public needs some teaching in how to do this.
The other part of the fix is making items easier to find. The Internet’s power is in its search capacities, most of which are free. The Internet should be working for you, not the other way around. The Internet itself should go around the web for you finding your accurate colours. That capacity to search is already in place.
I send clients newsletters containing items in their colours, with some discussion about why that garment would enhance them so well. This takes me hours and hours. If it’s May, I barely search for Dark Winter, it’s just so hard to find.
Enter Jeremy, the technology member of the team at The Dress Spot. When he got married two years ago, he couldn’t believe how hard it was for his fiancÃ©e to find slate blue bridesmaid dresses with capped sleeves. Right there with you, Jeremy. My friends and I are looking for 60 to 65 colours all the time.
He describes his passion as solving consumers’ issues with technology. The Dress Spot is dedicated to connecting your colours with real-world clothing quickly and accurately. Image analysis is used to determine an item’s true colour as exactly as possible. There are great filters for colours, design features, retailers, and price.
The colour filters are the most thrilling. Open the window linked above. See the colour fan at the upper left? Click it and watch it open up. Now click on one of the colour words across the top. This is about when I started getting excited and thinking “Finally. Finally.”
I picked a very bright green. No solid colour choices. I was offered 6 alternative choices! Looked at the choices, picked a Soft Autumn-looking brown. My choices were green-based, a colour which many Autumn browns contain, because the original colour was green. Found this dress. I mean, this is just lovely. Took me less than 5 seconds.
The dress is here at Nordstrom.
The colours are as accurate as possible. Comparisons are easy. The site is free.
What about Polyvore – a great, great site that we know and use a lot? It’s so gigantic that it’s difficult to actually buy from, and not highly colour-selective. Since fashion is based on crowd direction, the beauty of that community is in the sets that members can create.
I asked Jeremy 4 Q:
1. The alternative choices were impressive. How does the software pick alternatives? Does it keep to a certain hue and give options along the saturation axis? In the alternatives, value seems to remain pretty constant.
Jeremy: It simply moves to a closest color in the HSL space that has a dense pocket of in-stock dresses. Â So it will often keep the Value consistent and shift hues or lightness slightly. Â Usually one or the other, not both. Â I wouldn’t say it necessarily stays within the Season.
2. Once an item is sold out at the retailer, how does your site manage it?
J: We update our inventory twice a day to ensure that nothing is ever more than a few hours from live data. Â Additionally, most dresses on our site are sold by larger retailers who don’t go in and out of stock with any volatility. Â They’re pretty slow to go out of stock. Â I’d estimate at least 98% of our inventory is current at all times. Â We drop retailers who don’t update their inventory status frequently enough for our quality standard.
3. What about prints, of which I see a few, and solids?
J: Right now we support ‘multi-color’ vs. ‘solid’ (which you can toggle with the ‘multi-color’ checkbox under the other filters on the left). Â Multi-color basically means anything that isn’t a solid color. Â Things like stripe and specific pattern filters are new technology we’ll be rolling out in the next few months.
J: We have many formal dresses from Nordstrom et. al, but we’ll be adding Dessy (a leading bridesmaid dress manufacturer)Â next weekÂ and hopefully David’s Bridal soon (again, for their bridesmaid dresses). Â Bridal gowns, on the other hand, will likely not be included for a while. Â Bridal gown designers are particular about their dresses’ distribution and have strict agreements with their chosen distributors/retailers. Â That industry is very non-digital.
My suggestion was professional wear. I asked Jeremy if he foresaw a site that could analyze the colours of a skirt, and suggest shoes and a blouse based only on the colour matching skill of the software, skills that this site appears to already have in place anyhow. He said, “Hmm. That’s interesting.” Good start, ay?
Here’s a question for you, dear readers: What’s your most frustrating part of finding clothing in your palette colours? If your brother were a coding genius on sabbatical, looking for something to do, with no limits on what he could design, what kind of colour shopping app would you ask him to build?
If you played with the site, what impressed you or didn’t work so well? If you had Jeremy’s job, what’s the first thing you’d do?
Someone might say, “Could my Season colours be coded in specifically and grouped together?” I agree! It is high time you had access to that. I am so happy to tell you that it’s in the works.
You are a hugely intelligent and creative group. Please do help to shape The Dress Spot into a tool kit that is expressive of how consumers like yourself, with exact knowledge of their own colouring, could benefit even better from the online clothing purchase experience.
Q: Why is learning Yoga like learning your colours?
A: Because it’s the same as learning anything.
It takes a Winter to make black look interesting, deep, meaningful.
Only a Summer’s colouring can take pastel yellow, and greenish yellow at that because how else can you make yellow cool but add blue, and have it look happily, generously, fully, softly, buttery yellow.
The drape colours and our clothing colours, they have an effect on us. We have an effect right back on them.
The heat of True Autumn doesn’t look too hot under that face, nor does it make her face too yellow. The gold, teal, and bittersweet look perfectly at home and she looks peaceful and honest, Autumn’s claims to fame. I so love these qualities in these people. There is nothing for neuroses to stick to. It just bounces back in the best way.
The Dark Seasons aren’t necessarily dark to look at. There’s lots of hair and eye variation, just like any other Season. What Dark means is that on them, dark looks normal. On other colourings, it would look too dark. My ‘normal lips’ lipstick is darker than you’d expect because as a Dark Winter, my colouring takes dark and turns it into right. Once we learn our own colouring, we control the retail world, a nice change from the other way round, which is how most folks live.
A Spring guy in Autumn colour tells the world, “Hi, I’m John and I’m a little angry all the time. Watch out, I piss off easy.” And yet, nothing of the sort is true, but no wonder nobody will give him leadership positions.
You walk into an office. Before you cross the carpet to shake his hand, the Autumn guy in Autumn colours has said to you, “I am THE guy who’s going to get you and your 8 cats out of a burning building.” And as you cross that carpet, you think, “Buddy, you are THE guy I want around to get me and Poochie out of the fire.” If he’d been wearing Summer colours, he looks lucky to get himself out, let alone Poochie and you.
Find the first edge of your Season. Settle, wait, and become. Grow back into your natural colouring.
Here’s a stereotype for you: the Bright Winter being told she’s a Light Summer. Happens often. Both are Neutral Seasons that have much in common in 12 Season personal colour analysis (PCA). Both add the same amount (small) of the same kind of heat (Spring). But we forget the differences between icy and pastel and can’t interpret them on a human face without right drapes. Bright Winter’s super concentrated blue looks normal on her, just blue, even more normal and balanced if it’s shiny. She looks reasonable in it. Reasonable, exciting, and could be taken perfectly seriously without being remembered only for what she wore.
Digression 1: about comments that Winters can’t be blonde-haired or beige-haired and blue-eyed because it lacks in contrast. It simply isn’t true. Please, come and watch a real analysis with accurate drapes. Please, at least be open to the possibility that there is another way. Once you see this person balance pitch black, or once you watch their presence fade, the lower half of the face weaken and recede, see the face appear dusted with white powder in Light Summer colour, the face become mottled and yellow in Summer whites, you begin to understand. PCA is about discovering your natural colours. If this light-appearing person harmonizes with pitch black and pure white, then they contain those pigments. Therefore, they contain the contrast of a Winter. The fact that this information can’t be discerned by staring at the complexity of a human face doesn’t make the information incorrect. It’s the part about knowing human pigmentation without measuring it that might need some revision.
Digression 2: I see things online about the relationships between Neutral Seasons that have a similar start point and add the same amount of the same kind of colour warmth/coolness. So, Dark Autumn and Bright Spring begin as pure warm Seasons (True Autumn and True Spring) and move one step into Winter. When they share colours, to my eye, it doesn’t work as well as the theoretical/conceptual argument would have you think. Keep the overall balance in mind. Try not to borrow from the other palette precisely, but rather from a space between it and yours. It’s not a bad idea at all, it’s quite clever. There is a relationship between these groups for sure, as there are many relationships between the groups of natural colouring, the Seasons. I find the Winter Neutral Seasons of Dark and Bright actually do better in True Summer than Soft or Light respectively. True Summer is just a little warm relative to Winter, has more clarity than Soft and more darkness than Light. The overall of True Summer looks closer to home on a Winter Neutral than Summer’s Neutrals do. In clothes or drapes, it’s the True Summer that looks better on Dark and Bright Winter, IMO.
On a Light Spring-coloured person, Soft Autumn colour looks bulky and chunky.
The reverse: an Autumn woman wearing Spring colour. Well, you know how tiny, dinky jewelry on a large-framed body can make the jewelry look smaller and the body bigger? The strength and substance of Autumn colouring forcibly placed Â next to Spring’s lightness and fun makes the face look more solid (I’m trying not to say masculine) and the colours immature and inexpensive. In her right colours, Autumn women project all the feminine beauty that Summer can in Summer colours. I mean, Autumn is Raquel Welch territory. There’s a reason that picture of her wearing a fur bikini was iconic. Wouldn’t have happened in Twiggy psychedelic daisies. Even at a tiny level, this effect takes place. A Soft Summer woman wearing True Summer colours looks a little more muscular or macho somehow.
On a Light Summer, the Bright Winter colour is the only thing you see. Even if it’s only one part of an outfit, it becomes either the only thing you notice or the only thing you don’t notice. Of course, there’s a middle ground, where a dark Soft Summer that’s a bit more saturated could be close-enough-is-good-enough on a Dark Winter.
What’s really good about these relationships is that they get the heat level correct. That’s absolutely huge. It’s amazing how just getting this one colour dimension right changes your whole appearance and the feeling of your appearance. In cool colour, you look grayed and a little cyanotic. The good news is that your transfusion is as easy as changing your shirt. In too warm colour, the skin is yellow, teeth yellow, eyes dull, bone structure is blunted and flat, all true whether it’s your hair, foundation, or clothing. It’s so hard to get cool foundation. All these makeup artists talked companies into yellowing foundation, but it’s way too much. Chanel, Merle Norman, some of the L’Oreal True Match, they make some decent cool choices. Cool foundation, especially Winter’s, is grayish in the bottle.
Some theoretical arguments don’t work well IRL. For instance, you could draw a line in colour space where 2 Seasons meet and there would be some shared coordinates, meaning colour dots belonging in either Season. No right or wrong, it depends on the system and the palette designer. I have never once seen the textile colour that belongs equally well in 2 groups, nor the person in 2 Seasons. This is partly why other PCA systems don’t cross-over well into our Sci\ART based system. Not only is their logic process different to arrive at the Season, but the colours often belong to more than 1 Season. In Sci\ART, at least my vision of it, every colour stands alone and every Season stands alone. That’s a very big deal as distinctions go. Our drapes don’t work with other systems, nor their drapes with ours. You can’t just say, “It’s all colour analysis, should be interchangeable.” Trust me, it ain’t. You’ll get yourself in a mess that will need some fixing. (more about this in the comments to the Career article, one back). I am absolutely not saying that one is righter or wronger because every system and every vision has its merits, just that they don’t mesh together.
We should be defined in our clothing, bringing out the best in each other. Our face should be in front of our clothes and distinct from them. A Bright Winter in True Spring colours is very close to greatness. Except that she is draining the colour from the fabric and backing it up from our awareness. The lower half of her face is disappearing into the garment so her presence is dissolving into her clothing. The face yellows and the drape is already yellow, like a big yellow circle of flatness. There’s no excitement. Another person or analyst might see that as harmony or as a glowing tan effect, but I don’t. Â A difference of opinion perhaps. It depends on your ideal of beauty. You might totally subscribe to Hollywood’s love of a solid yellow wall of hair. That’s great and fine, but I wouldn’t. We don’t all need to line up behind the same idea. There is no right and wrong here.
Summer’s skim milk white looks as cloudy as skim milk white is relative to Winter white, placed under a Winter face. They don’t belong together and push each other even further in opposite directions. They find the thing that makes them most different and widen a little adjustment into a chasm of unbelonging. Under a Summer face, her white looks like white. Just white.
Notice grouchiness, confusion, and doubt. “They don’t make anything in my colours.”
I ask students, “In that colour, how does the person look like he’s feeling?” We sense that he must be feeling in a way that he doesn’t at all. Bright Spring in Light Summer colours can look feeble and frail. Like, “Hi, I’m Ted and I’m exhausted.” No kidding he’s had trouble getting hired. His inner and outer energies come rushing back when he wears what he is. Vitality and health can be as simple as choosing a different T-shirt.
The Dark Winter in Soft Autumn colour announces, “Hi, I’m Ellen and I’m running out of gas. I’m checking out.” Change your shirt. Suddenly, your hair looks clean, more coloured, the skin is tight to the bones, all good. Suddenly, people are more interested in giving you money.
A Dark Autumn wearing Light Spring peach looks like a log cabin painted blossom pink. It’s irrational. A floating, disconnected head. This picture says, “I can’t make reasonable decisions about myself. How likely am I to make them about you?”
Colour analysis matters. Every person should have this information about themselves by the time they are 20. Like a social identity. Social competence has incalculable value in this world. Others decide this about us within about 10 seconds of seeing and greeting.
On a random clothing rack, Soft Summer colours are the grayest relative to all the other colours. The Winter colours are the boldest and darkest. Maybe our character tries to equalize itself, or find balance for the traits that are more extreme in us, so we reach for our opposite. Many a person with Summer’s type of natural colouring wants to project more push by wearing Winter colour. It backfires. Now, the only thing you can see between her nose and toes is the garment. By comparison to the clothing, the woman has faded away even more. Now she looksÂ muted, where in Summer colours, she would look fresh and gorgeous.
She stays with Winter. Hair colour that was fresh, natural, and lively gets is run down and washed out against the Winter background, so she tries a few hair colours. She tries darker eyeliner. But all those bold colours don’t tell the world, “I am audacious and adventurous.” because we can barely register the person at all, nevermind find them daring. The person who is meticulous, tolerant, perceptive, precise, and soft-hearted is telling the world,
“I am unplanned, indiscriminate, possibly abrupt, possibly intense, and possibly odd.”,
so, even before introduction, from the time it took them to get from the door to you, you think, “Note to Self: Prepare. This could go a lot of different ways.”
Ten minutes later, you think, “Wow. This is the nicest person ever. I could talk to them for a week. Didn’t see that coming.”
Once Summer pulls their own colours from the closet, the magic happens. Â The wavelengths synchronize instead of competing with and neutralizing each other. The whole picture unites. Those grayer colours aren’t gray at all on her.Â They’re fully energized, present, and focused, and so is she. Her hair is very colourful and enhancing.
Remember that you are safe. You already look way better than you used to. From here, it just gets better.
Bright on Bright = Normal
Bright colours donâ€™t look overly bright on Bright Seasons. It’s the rest of us on whom they are too strong and more than we are, a distracting challenge to our natural colouring. On non-Brights, the colours say, “Look at me!!! Look at me!!!! Forget about her up there. Look down here where all the action is!!!” We would look drained and erased, worn out from always competing with our clothing. Not so on the Bright colouring. They look normal.
A Bright Winter can drain colour from most any fabric, including Dark Autumn and Dark Winter. She can dull Dark Winter’s strong coral rose into looking like True or Soft Summer colour.Â Under her face, Dark Autumn’s fabulous, rich, full, bronzed raisin looks drab and plain, maybe even a little dirty. Which is how Autumn makeup looks on her face.
Even True Winter, one powerful set of colours, looks washed too many times on a Bright Winter. Plus heavy and blue. No excitement. The whole image drags down. Change the drape. The lights come on. The whole picture lifts up. The lines all focus and turn upwards instead of like melting ice cream.
Many Bright Seasons, Winter and Spring, have beige hair. They contain Spring, after all. They often feel the hair is mousy and blah. It sure is if they’re wearing muted colour. All the life goes out of it. Out comes the hair chemistry. If they’d just change their shirt, the hair would sparkle. Bright Season hair is never ever mousy in correct colour.
Trust. Just let gravity take you. The great clothes and cosmetics will start showing up just because you’ve asked them to. Give it your attention but don’t stress. Effortless effort.
A Bright Season in their own colours doesn’t look like a Hiliter marker or more noticeably coloured than anyone else. Her red just looks like normal red. On someone else, the shirt would walk into the room before she does. It’s only on a Bright that it wouldn’t behave that way.
She doesn’t need to shop for shiny purple or neon pink. She just wants to repeat certain colour properties to look normal. That’s what it takes for her to look like she really looks. Colour analysis will find you a pretty lipstick but it’s way more organic than that. It will find what you really look like, in colour, line, and texture. The feeling in the observer is, “Oh, is that what you really look like? I couldn’t see you before. You were distorted.”
You know how when people take off their glasses and you suddenly get a whole different picture and feeling? It’s like that. An artist could paint you with a thousand different facial expressions. The viewer would expect a thousand different women to own each face. Might as well broadcast the real one.
New Bright Seasons may experience disappointment bordering on fear. She has seen her colours on others and thought, “Oh, that’s just too much.” Yup, on them, it sure is. But the rest of us see those colours on you, not on your hanger or on everyone else in the room, the way you do. On you, we think, “Fine. Nothing to adjust to. Normal. Enough. Good. Interesting. Complete. Balanced. Clear. Healthy. Easy to look at. Nice eyes. That woman gets herself.”
She’s here for us to interact with. Otherwise, she’s partly invisible, a place where many of us feel so much safer and try hard to find a reason to justify staying. And oh, boy, when a PCA is pulling out of your hiding place before you’re ready, it’s panicky. Go with it. It serves nobody to play small.
We compensate in so many ways to disguise or adapt our personality, often without knowing it, often in response to demands of the environment, parenting, society, and all the other pressures coming in. In the never-ending journey toward self-knowledge, surprising examples of being untrue to oneself turn up.
Surrender to stillness. Don’t overthink it. Just be in it.
Easing into the Bright Seasons.
You don’t have to wear the test drapes. They’re just measuring you.
You are not head to toe poster paint as a Bright, or dishwater as a Soft, or maudlin if a Dark. I use words that separate the palette from all the others in the mind of a person considering all 12. I have neglected to clarify that solo on the right wearer will it not look as extreme as the description. It finally makes sense.
Combinations matter. Add zing, your way. Wear dark teal jeans, a peach blouse, and wind a shiny, Chinese silk, peacock-printed scarf round your neck. This is a very different Winter from the other two.
The heat matters to Bright Winter. She needs to add the sunny, the sunbeam. This colouring shadows easily in too-dark or too-blue. Bright Winter is close to Bright Spring. A person could design those colour palettes to be closer to True Winter or Bright Spring and still be within the realm of Bright Winter. Who’s to say either is righter or wronger? They need the heat in their colors.
She forgets that the saturation only means pure pigment. It does not mean vaudeville, hussy, burlesque, or Halloween clothing. Purity of pigment matters. Even in True Winter, a palette of pretty high saturation, her skin will dull to the exact degree that True Winter is dull relative to Bright Winter.
The overall picture is too dark. Bright Winter is significantly lighter than the other Winters. Although the darkness range is similar to that of True Winter, the global impression is definitely lighter. Many of these folks have medium beige hair and blue eyes. Even if hair and eyes are dark, there is a light-bright reflectivity in the skin. Too dark or too blue moves to gaunt very fast here. Black is not automatic at all. Very very unique type of Winter.
She’s got the colours right but the garment lines are too straight and serious, when she’s not linear in her body type. Natural shapes make stripes feel like jailhouse prints. If you’re very rounded in your outlines, you should be shopping at Victoria’s Secret. Straight lines don’t work with your curves, they over-accentuate them. Two differently shaped garments tell a different story, despite being identical in colour.
If your character is flighty and whimsical, banker’s stripes make you wonder if the analyst got your Season wrong because your spare and linear-thinking Bright Winter friend looks so good in them. Your analyst did fine. No two women of the same Season will wear it best in the same way. Your colours are when your clothing, cosmetic, and hair colour journey must begin, but it’s not where it ends.
Her makeup is too strong for her age. If you’re 20, wear sheerer and lighter. Feature definition looks like youth but adapt it for your age.
Her makeup is too dry and opaque. High pigment in transparent application is better.
Shine is better than matte. Satin and frost shine is better than dewy and wet shine if Winter, the reverse if Spring. Distinguish the two types of shine in your Â mind. They look different to the rest of us and tell a different story.
Fun matters. Wear something happy. A polka dot leopard pin. A black watch with a gold daisy motif in the face. Button-down classics drag the whole thing down.
Sweetness. These folks have a cute quality when they’re 70, like kids in an adult body. Add baby peach, yellow, candy colour, peppermint colours. Find colours that would taste good and a little sharp or a little acidic. (But not bitter/vinegar, which is better on Dark Autumn)
Ease in with bigger neutral blocks and smaller colour blocks at first. A Bright might look boring in too much neutral colour, maybe more so if a Natural body type. The 3 Springs are this way, but it extends to Bright Winter, who needs colour in a sharp way, and the Light Summer who is also flattered by colour in an analogous type of scheme (colours that are neighbours on a colour wheel).
Try the bright colours further from the centre in the beginning, as nail polish or a handbag.
Limit to smaller pieces for shine. A watchstrap. All Winter does well in some type and amount of shine.
Explore the lighter colours. I completely disagree with the hair colour myth that lighter hair colour looks younger on all women. I do agree that all colour, and light colour in clothing, looks younger than the Safe Black don’t-notice-me uniform. These can be hard to find and take practice to match. Learn to lay the open palette on the garment rather than matching one little square or dot to anything. That’s what you look like in that garment. Do the light colours of the palette look either wimpy and weak or too strong, sparkly, or separate relative to the garment? If they belong together, the two should just settle in.Â Great clothes are part of you, like a great rider and the horse are part of each other. Picture how it would look if horse and rider were out of stride. That’s how wrong colour feels.
Uplight with pale gold for Spring, in sharper lines if Winter, like NARS Albatross.
Our colour palette is where we begin. From that platform, we find our contrast level. the blonde haired blue eyed Bright Winter is a little more gradual, but still supports black mascara than the Asian Bright Winter.
Melt into a new friendship.
Live with it for a month. Then go back and try on the clothes and cosmetics you wore before. Do they still feel like home?
Just like feeling irritability in a pose, if you allow it quietly and calmly, it Â might flip to its opposite: Peace.
Excellent Q from a reader:
I’m a Bright Winter and have always felt that I had cool undertones to my skin but also have some freckles which makes it less obvious. Â When Prescriptives Cosmetics was in business, I tested as having Blue Red undertones and I used their foundation with cool undertones for years. Â I recently decided to try Bare Minerals foundation. Â Two different people who sell this brand have tested me as a Neutral undertone. Â This could make sense since I’m a neutral season but I’ve always known myself to have cool undertones. I have a little bit of a tan right now. Â I’m not trying to tan, but I play tennis outside and despite my sunscreen I get a bit of color. Â Would it be possible for me to seem like I have neutral undertones in the summer when I have some tan and then seem to have cool undertones again the rest of the year when I don’t have a tan? Â I’m just wondering if I should wear a neutral foundation in the summer and a cool foundation the rest of the year.
Your undertone is fixed and determined by your genetics, and is shared by all your colouring including your tan. Your Season doesn’t change with a tan, though you might have different colour preferences, for the higher contrast with the lighter choices, for instance. Many Bright Winters can find black too severe or their coolest colours too shadowing, and a tan might change those tolerances enough to feel more comfortable.
When you’re tanned and look warmer, the undertone might seem warmer. Whatever undertone means, it doesn’t mean ‘overall feeling and effect’. This is one of those “It looks warmer and feels like it should be warmer, so therefore it is warmer.” conclusions that are not necessarily sound.
Even pure cool Seasons can tan very golden looking. They look more yellow, but when their colours are tested, it’s still the same cool yellow their genetics always produced. They may have more melanin, which contributes red, brown, blue, and/or black, depending on the type of melanin, but it’s the same colour of melanin that it always was.
PCA determines where your inborn colours sit on 3 scales. Every colour, every body part. (In illness too? IDK, I’ve never draped a Before/After and don’t know anyone who has).
The heat scale. Warm/cool/neutral? Neutral on the cooler side, the warmer side, or 49/51 between fully warm and fully cool?
The saturation scale. How concentrated were the pigments that you were painted with? Very, or were they a little more dilute?
On the darkness scale, you don’t have a setting so much as a range. Do your inborn colours go all the way from white to black? Only 1 of the 12 does, the True Winter. I’m a Winter but don’t reach fully to pure white. Mine is a tiny bit dirty white. A woman might hug chalk to pewter. If she wears black mascara, it’s railroad tracks because it’s outside what her natural colouring can balance. If she over-lightens her hair highlights, it will never look natural or real because only processing could achieve that much lightness in her body.
The hair of a yellow haired Light Summer can seem very yellow. She’ll go online and get told she’s a Spring of some sort. A clerk will give her warm foundation. Wrong. Unless they measure it, how could they know that the yellow in her body comes from Light Summer’s less saturated and subtly cooler palette, not Spring’s?
A salesperson has no way of measuring people’s settings on the 3 Colour Scales. Even the most experienced colour analysts canâ€™t eyeball the settings.
Depending on how the line of products they’re selling is coloured,
(do they have access to foundations warmed by Spring yellow and Autumn gold separately? as we know, warm can include yellow, beige, peach, orange, gold, brown, etc.)
(are those bottles labeled cool/warm/neutral really so, and in the same way that a colour analyst means it?)
(is there consistency in the cosmetics industry regarding pigments and terminology? if not, one company will call you warm, the other will say neutral)
(is the salesperson highly discriminating, nitpicky, rigorous, fussy, and particular? these are the people you want; I’ve been foundation-analyzed by the head of training for North America for a huge company within the last 6 months, the result was not good)
…a cosmetics salesperson could separate cool/neutral/undertone by matching foundation. The same foundation colour is the best match on the same Seasons in 3 in 5 women of the same race. It’s just not rock solid.
Foundation is a mixture of your heat level, darkness level, inherent saturation, plus surface pigments. As Dark Winters (my assumption), Mrs. Obama and I have the same heat level, darkness range, and saturation of inborn pigments. She has more melanin but it’s the same colour as mine if we test it. She has more melanin in the outer layer and wears different foundation.
Big Disclaimer: I made up all of the above. That’s only how it makes sense to me. I do not know what undertone is or where it is. Is it a layer by itself that you could isolate and dissect out of the skin? I doubt it. Is it simply the difference in people’s hemoglobin? IDK. Is it just a mixture of all the body’s pigments, if you poured equal amounts together in a bowl and stirred, bluer in Summers, redder in Winters?Â Does it even have a colour or is just a gray that’s cool, warm, or neutral? I don’t know and am not aware of the scientific testing that offers proof. This is one of my remaining Big Questions in PCA.
I am pretty certain that what a makeup company means by cool-neutral-warm is different from a colour analyst meaning. One story is probably part of the other one but they don’t fully overlap. We’re all using the same words to mean different things and consumers can’t sort out the facts. Therefore, the Q above would also be a good one to ask a cosmetic pigment expert.
I do not change the heat level of my foundation in summer. I do use a product that sits darker in my own darkness range. Both products are cool neutral on a heat scale.
The answer to the reader’s Q is one of those It Depends. Theoretically, she has a cool-neutral skin undertone and will always wear that choice in foundation. However, depending on where she finds the best foundation match, it might be labeled otherwise.
Remember. I invent answers to these questions till I can live with calmly.
In the article introducing the Luxury Drapes, I inserted a section about the conversations I hear about Bad Economies, Tough Times, This Is A Terrible Financial Climate To Start A Business, followed by my usual too-many-paragraphs stating that I don’t believe a word of it.
And still don’t. The economy is strong, the evening news is theater, just don’t go buy a house you can’t afford.
Of course, that money section didn’t belong in that article so I removed it. Holding back because of bad economies applies to more of PCA than just Luxury Drapes. I get many inquiries about women who would love to be trained but fear that their business will not recoup their expenses. Leaving a paycheck-every-2-weeks job brings fear. The kind of fear that is best ignored.
Projections are something the male brain loves. The charts and graphs can get other male brains feeling exhilarated. They can impress each other. Some women buy into them, and others donâ€™t have clue what they’re talking about and don’t care enough to learn. I’m in the second group. Projections make my eyes glaze over.
Projections are usually wrong, besides being narrow and confining. They set too many terms and conditions on what might happen. They never tell the whole picture. When something new and great comes along, the automobile, the internet, and it always does, or something awful, a tsunami, what use are last year’s charts?
The whole projections and predictions thing is stupendously stupid in my head. A business plan that takes more than a page is a waste of space unless you’re trying to convince a banker. It forces you to map out your future like a game of Twister. If I step left 3 paces, and then I go right 3 hands, I will be there. The problem is that all you ever see is the gap.
Make a wish, cast it out there. Let it come back to you however it wants to. The root of your richest, highest, truest ambitions will not come from feelings of insufficiency. If it fills you with joy, that’s the direction you move in. Fine tune the next wish as the first one becomes part of you.
Don’t think about every reason things could go wrong. Live your best life. Know your own bank account. Have a sense of your net worth and cash flow. Forget what ‘s going on around you. Â Most of it has nothing to do with you.
Expert Advice in Women and Money
Tracy Theemes is the woman that I acknowledge first in Return to Your Natural Colours (blue book, right hand column). Tracy is a huge believer in women-owned businesses, in part because they account for the #1 income earners among women.
She is a financial advisor specializing in women investors in the US and Canada, helping women use their resources optimally. She advises women who own multimillion-dollar businesses, women struggling with divorce or welfare, and all of us in between. She helps her clients balance knowledge, fear, resources, erroneous assumptions, should vs. shouldn’t, and can vs. can’t. In her many years of experience, far too much energy is being given to “can’t”.
She has a recently-launched book that applies to every woman the world over. In it, she suggests kindly and attentively that knowing how to run a house on a budget is not financial empowerment. This book is about defining ourselves as women, why the world buys into the male financial model and how that came to be, and the money language that women are wired to understand. In fact, women are biologically equipped to be better at money than the guys are. Tracy outlines a 5-step financial plan that brings us solid financial grounding whatever our income and savings. The plan provides us with awareness. Awareness of where we are now, where we want to be, and how to have that happen. Letting the men look after this is a weakness. Her explanations make complete sense, no charts, no graphs.
The book is here at Amazon.com
Tracy understands first-hand the exhaustion and distractions of constant juggling – children, career, marriage, self-growth, and physical health. She never stops believing that there is nothing between you and your power to control your money except the kind of fear that is not important and holds us back. You will never meet anyone who sympathizes with your life more sincerely, who believes more certainly in your power to know and own your money, who realizes how hard it is to talk about money inside and outside a family, and who will have your back the whole time.
Her advice is real, possible, and safe. Standing up and embracing our money is better and easier than living in denial of this massively influential energy form. Being free and in control opens up creativity and giving, the only real kinds of receiving.
Below, our conversation.
1. Christine: If we listen to media, especially North America’s paranoid media, we believe it. They feed us that the news is bad because it gets us more excited than good news. It moves us to act and we buy more media, affirming the reason that media is in business.
Worse, we become North America’s paranoid society. Then someone comes along after awhile and says, “Hold on. Let’s take a step back and see what’s really going on here. Well, turns out it’s not what we thought at all.”
Have you read Freakonomics?Â Things are not as they seem. Obvious conclusions are often incorrect. Conventional wisdom is usually wrong, based on legend&lore, and is soon replaced.Â
A person stops getting vaccinated. They don’t get polio. Must mean that vaccines are unnecessary. No, no. It means what it always meant, that disease and vaccination are balanced in populations. If enough people stopped vaccinating, the disease would re-emerge. The person didn’t get polio because enough of the rest of us are still getting vaccinated.
And just because 2 in 10,000 have a negative event related to a vaccine, does that mean we should stop vaccinating populations? No, no. Just like PCA, in the vast majority, the good far outweighs the bad.
Sure, economies downsize. In certain sectors. That’s just making room for the thousands of jobs that haven’t been invented yet. Today, if you can’t get a job, you make a job. You don’t have to slot into an already existing job. That’s how things used to be. Besides, in bad economies, what sells the most is smokes, booze, and looking better. If you can add enough value to your service, Personal Colour Analyst seems to me a win-win career because it’s independent of economic trends, albeit less so than mascara and vodka because they’re cheaper and the gratification is instantaneous. The women I see have matured well beyond the confines of instant gratification anyway. They’re looking for something far more profound.
Â I’ll believe nobody has money when I stop seeing line-ups waiting to pay for $4 coffee.
When women stop saying to me, “Just tell me what to buy.”
When Dollar Stores don’t close down.
When mall parking lots are empty.
When the Hampton Inn is never sold out and the Quality Inn always is.
Seems to me a fine economy for entrepreneurs, those near retirement age, home-based and cash-based businesses, flex hours, people with children…come to think of it, I can’t imagine a better time to join our profession.
Tracy, am I just naive?
Tracy: For 30 years, it seems it’s always the wrong time to start a business. It’s a “bad economy” in every economy. It’s always a volatile stock market. People are still worrying about what they read in ’92.
My advice: Own what you are trying to achieve.
2. C: Is there a right time to start a business, or from a personal perspective, is there a right time to become trained in a new skill?
Tracy: Women are relationship-oriented. For some reason, when we ask the people who form our relationships about new ideas we have, they feel compelled to think of every reason why something might not work out.
It seems to be genetic in women to underestimate our value and ability to own a successful business. Go with those feelings but know they aren’t real. Even established businesswomen second-guess themselves. This is not a good enough reason to avoid pursuing a career you would love. These feelings are not an excuse for not doing something you want to do.
Unless you were raised in a 5th generation business-owning family, you will never be more than 75% certain. Go for it. Don’t wait for 85%.
3. C: Many women communicate to me that they dream of becoming colour analysts but…
Any thoughts about women and risk?
Tracy: Research shows that women are more perceptive to risk than men. Women are much more sensitive to their feelings in general and are able to label them better than men. Research also confirms that once women gain knowledge about a topic such as money, we are much bolder investors than men, whose risk-taking is reduced with greater knowledge.
All people self-medicate with certain ideas they hold, the securities we all need to have around ourselves. We know that there is a type of fear that is simply rebound from big decisions that throw these shelters and protections off balance – and that those who experience that fear and pause before financial decisions become better business owners than those who do not experience any fear. There is an optimal hesitation that we can moderate slowly as we make conscious changes in our lives. Keeping some of it is a good thing.
How we overcome feelings of fear and risk is by practicing with the little things first.Â If something doesn’t work, fix it. We come to realize that there is no end of the world. You hate a haircut? Let the hair grow back and try again. You bought a blouse you regret? Take it back. We can apply this to business and see that no decision is irrevocable. Business is a process. Like health, you are continuously on the path of adjusting and improving.
4. C: I want to see Personal Colour Analyst be recognized as a viable profession, one in which women can support themselves and their families.
We can’t survive on minimum wage. Why is it even called that? Stuff costs too much even if we live modestly. Well, it depends. You can have a fantastic lifestyle and no cash. A surfer. We could point to college dropouts who become dot com billionaires. We stand back and say, “Well, my goodness, isn’t that an interesting part of our world?” They had enough arrogance to believe they can outsmart the system and enough brains to do so. Like fashion models and other meteorites though, this is hardly a strategy for the rest of us.
How do new or experienced analysts set a price for their service?
Tracy: Pick a number that seems reasonable and double it. You’ve already factored your inputs and time in subconsciously.
Everybody thinks their town needs a financial break. It isn’t true. Remember that you are not your clients. Don’t try to think for them. You might not get a $300 haircut, a $300 hotel room, a $300 colour consultation, but your clients would. They do it all the time. They are not your social circle or family, nor do they need to be.
The business owner is not her target market. She is not the example for how her clients think. You can find clients, many clients, who will do what you won’t. There is plenty of wealth, even if it’s not where you hang around.
Charge your full price 80% of the time. Sometimes, when starting out or well established, give your work as a gift, for experience, referrals, or pro bono in the community. Never discount the service. A reasonable hourly rate is $100 to $140, which grows as you develop credibility in the community.
Women must stop seeing themselves as part-time earners to help the family. We should think of ourselves as business owners, as the makers of our own retirement, and as the source of support for our family.
5. C: How can a woman know the right time to take the training? As a financial advisor, if a client were considering a new business venture as a colour analyst, what would be your thoughts?
For me, it was when life gave me no other choice I could live with. The opinions and judgments of others were irrelevant, positive or negative. They felt outside me, as if their words were not even about me, but some stranger.
Tracy: You are taking an economic jump that your family and friends are not. Only listen to the advice of other business owners.
From that point of view, this career offers you full control of your investment. You are the pilgrims of a new profession. It will be as great and wealth-producing as you make it. There is no paradigm, no glass ceiling, no pattern or model you need to fit into. As a community, you are making it up as you go along.
I want to underline the importance of having nothing to break through, as so many other professions have required women to do. The value in this must not be underestimated. If all colour analysts charged $500/hour, then that would be the accepted starting fee. Psychologists just started talking. Now they earn 250/hour.
The most lucrative investment you can make is in yourself. It’s the only thing you have 100% control over. Especially as a sole proprietor, you completely determine how hard you work, how much you advertise, what innovations you offer, your brand, and your fee.
Invest in yourself. You can’t go wrong.
A prospective student asked:
I want to know whether this career is a scalable business or best enjoyed with the support of a second occupation (since I noticed you are a part-time vet). A PCA [is about $250]. But how do you build the business over time given its not a repeat business business?
After 4 years as a colour analyst, I have retired from the veterinary profession, hopefully to meet new successes elsewhere. I live in a small farming town, near larger professional cities. I learned to travel to gain exposure, which I no longer do. Not every analyst will need to do that. People are very willing to drive an hour or two. Word spreads fast.
Will it matter if it doesn’t work out? Not even a little bit. I will have tried. I can easily go back to earning money with cats and dogs, or in a brand new way I haven’t even seen yet.
PCA is very much a repeat business, in that once you’ve done Mom, you’ll see daughter, Grandma, son, husband, son’s fiance,…. The secret is to do such a brilliant job with each client that they want to come back, see someone they know be analyzed as a refresher for themselves, ask you a few more questions. Take such good care of every client that they wouldn’t dream of severing the connection.
Never in any field make assumptions about what you’d pay or what you’re worth. This is a deadly bad habit. As Tracy said, you are not your client. You are spending your money now in places others would not. What I’d spend on my dog as a veterinarian is nowhere near what my clients at any income level might spend. The software developer is not the teenager. The pharmaceutical company owner is not the woman choosing toothpaste for her family. Focus your attention on how to make your service spectacular. Exceed all her expectations in that way, not by being the cheapest game in town. That never impresses anybody.
During the training, we do discuss growth through excellence, surprise, individuality, and variety, as well as how to grow yourself in your community. Â Your training guide manual includes a big section about it.Â The possibilities are literally endless with nobody writing your own story except you. What’s more empowering than having so much say in your own future?
There are admittedly many unknowns in a business like this. Moving them all around like puzzle pieces, hoping they’ll snap together and make a clear picture, is not going to happen. If you feel anxiety and hear alarm bells warning you to protect your borders about how it’s all going to turn out, I respectfully suggest that the time is not right to jump in.
The financial doomsayers will never say, “Yes, this is going to happen!!” But listen, what if the US recovery is real? Think of all the pent-up demand out there!
Lower the bar on what you’re willing to worry about. Believe that it will all turn out fine. That’s what the students so far have had in common. They will grow their colour analysis business exactly how they grow the rest of their life: by expanding what they love and getting less caught up in what makes sense.
Feel your way into it, don’t think so much. The outcomes you project might be stale white bread compared to what could happen. Leave room for some of the mainstream, run-of-the-mill magic that’s standing around, waiting for you to notice. Life’s best things come in when we don’t have the controls.
Have you answered the most important Q? This is the A you most need to know. What do you want?
Nikki Bogardus is adding travel dates for the fall season. See the Colour Travels section, top of the column on the right side of this page.
One position has opened for the Colour Analyst Training Course from Sept 30 to Oct 3. For info, click on The Course, above in the horizontal bar.
An additional Training Course has been added in Nov 10 to 12. email me at email@example.com to talk about it.
One space has opened up for the Colour Analyst Training Course from Â Nov 25 to 27. This will be the last course offered in 2013 (at the present price for the course and the drapes).
A new name appears in the 12 Blueprints Analyst Directory: Heather Noakes is located in the Sacramento area of California. Heather will be in Virginia in November and would be glad to discuss a PCA appt. via her website at Â modaincolor.com. The dates have been added to Colour Travels over on the right. An article introducing her to you will appear here within the week. A superstar.
Big news! At the end of September, a woman is being trained as a 12 Blueprints (Sci\ART based) colour analyst from….wait for it….SEATTLE!!!! I expect that she’ll be very busy (so would someone in Vancouver and Montreal, many email requests from those cities).