Summer’s Children

July 19, 2012 by · 20 Comments 

Pure Season children of all ages are fabulous to analyze because the optical effects of the right and wrong colors are very pronounced. The skin is very absolute in its reactions to colours, so much so that I find it difficult for these Seasons to share the use of colours with neighbour Seasons.

For instance, a Soft Autumn who is very near True Autumn will still wear her perfecting and most harmonious Soft Autumn palette, but she might bring in a bit of metallic antique gold in a small area of eyeshadow just above the iris, which will find and accentuate the same colour in her eye. She could wear saddle coloured belts and boots if her peanut butter and light terracottas couldn’t be found. If the Soft Autumn is closer to her Soft Summer neighbor, on the cooler side, she might bring in flowing and feminine effects like pearls and soft plums in silky scarves, beautiful and a bit surprising among Soft Autumn’s warmer colours.

Be careful to keep the surface area small if you’re dabbling in a neighbour’s colours. Your most flattering palette won for a reason, actually many reasons. Soft Summer can have an appearance of tanned skin even when it’s not, and even more so when too-warm colours are placed near the skin, bringing in more yellow overtone, faint enough at this level to look like yet more tan. On the way home from the foundation counter, she risks having a too-yellow product in her bag. Dark Winter can have a very similar experience.

I never feel as good about a True Summer wearing any colour from the neighbouring Soft and Light Summers because the neighbours are warmed, and even a trace of warmth in colour will cause them to  look yellow. TMIT for True Summer and True Winter declares zero tolerance when it comes to any kind of heat in colour. True Seasons are also fascinating people because their character is often in line with that associated with their Season. As the True Seasons blend with one another in the Neutral Seasons, personality traits become more mixed and less predictable.

I adore children above anything. I am in awe of how much is held in waiting, ready to unfold in those small bodies, like little cocoons. When people bring them to their vet appointment, it’s all I can do to pay attention to the animal. I love the faces below.

Summer Children

Are gentle. They can hold a small bird in their hands.

Photo: Mrinkk

muted colouring, no black, a dreamy peaceful face

Have a lot of tiny toys with which they play intricate games  - are you familiar with Polly Pocket (about which my Dark Winter brother said “Have you ever tried to find that stuff when it rolls under the fridge? It feels like snot.”). Their homes have beautiful details in every room, right down to the toilet paper holder. The season of miniaturization. Often look better in small jewelry than large and chunky.

Take pains to get every meticulous detail of a picture right. Even a picture the size of a window. They’ll draw, tiny line by tiny line, with a patience a Winter might spend her life searching for. Can spend hours finding microscopic snails in tidal pools with great hand-eye control when they spot one.

One activity at a time is plenty. Learn a music piece note by note. Do not need to be in constant motion. As a child, ask him to mince the herbs. As an adult, this is the cook who peels squash, who cooks the chickpeas for the hummus from scratch, who undertakes all 22 of the steps in making Matzoh Ball Soup.

Get frustrated with others. Can get so frustrated with their Winter sibling’s harshness and Spring sibling’s impracticality that they need time in their room alone to calm down. Like about 2-3 hours. Five kids on a trampoline is 3 and 3/4 too many.

Photo: nadsenoj

who’s gentle? who’s rich and warm? who’s building? who’s playing a joke? who’s cool and composed? can you find dark&cool vs dark&warm?

Stubborn as a Dachsund. Very persistent till they get it right. Perseverance ranks at the top of the chart.

Don’t force their beliefs on others but don’t accept anyone else’s ideas either.  Sweet, pleasant, calm stonewalls.

Good impulse control from an early age.  The first to learn to shake hands when introduced to someone new. As grownups, still have a self-control that astounds.

Ask question after question after question. If a family rule is “No more questions after supper”, there are probably True Summer children in the home.

The most likely to keep your secret. Very discrete as adults.

Photo: pdsimao

soft, subtle (not dramatic and bold), rounded, gentle features and blended eye/skin/hair/brow colours; notice that all the colours are darkened to the same degree, keeping the contrast level between skin/hair/eyes/brows/lips low

Can be fusspots for cleanliness. Will not be thrilled to eat the birthday cake upon which five children blew out the candles, or even one other child. The mother may have brought a separate cake. Having a bottle of hand sanitizer clipped to your backpack should be a school rule.

Summer Grownups

If anyone will stay up till 3 AM cleaning the basement, it will be Light Summer. With Spring’s energy and Summer’s deep dislike for disorganized clutter, the crawlspace doesn’t stand a chance. Summer will not expect the world to share her needs and she won’t be miffed if you go to bed and leave her to it. She can’t sleep while the kitchen’s a mess.

Photo: criswatk

the pure loveliness of Summer, a feeling of softened curves, moderate colour saturation in a sweet-tempered face

Light Summer likes to talk almost as much as a Spring, but she’ll tell the entire story, and (this part’s important) (really important), in order. Thorough is the word here. She will be easily hurt and irritated if her Autumn sister hijacks the topic to tell her side and interrupts the orderly sequence of her thoughts. For Light and True Summer, it has to go 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,  not  1, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5, 7, 6. Autumn and Winter have more 1,2, 9, 10 tendencies. True Summer will explore every conjugation of a verb, could have, might have, and every option and outcome.

Photo: thadz

the little guy on the ground, very typical hair colour too, the whole squishy energy bundle sings of True Summer; there is more fine motor skill in that single little pudgy finger than many grownups can know

Drawn to quality in clothing. Will notice stitching and buttons. Prefer comfort clothes inside their comfort zone. A True Summer friend who has allowed herself to over-indulge in her diet wears her ‘punishment pants’ for a day or two to get herself back in line. All they are is structured, stiff, and straight.

Ask a Summer “How do you feel about..?” Ask a Winter “What do you think about…?” Ask an Autumn “What’s the most efficient way to get this done?” And Spring,  “What’s the fastest way to get this done so we can have a visit?”

Summer doesn’t like to live alone. Their sense of community, civic responsibility, and desire for domestic intimacy is strong. Winter fantasizes about living alone and takes more convincing to leave their computer.

Photo: wmstadler

already looks Soft Summer; beautiful tone-on-tone soft taupes in the hair

If True Summer’s indecisive, it’s because they want to do the rightest thing. If True Spring is, it’s because she wants every choice. Autumn decides fast to get it done. Winter didn’t see that there were more than two choices to begin with.

True Summers are wonderful teenagers. Their very high sense of personal integrity doesn’t let them fall into, or even be attracted by, that which doesn’t agree with their moral code. They can easily exclude peer pressure when they want to.

Don’t love changes in their routine. As a child, might have been very unhappy when forced to wear new clothes. Might even have been screeching “NOOOOOO” so loud after being put in a new snowsuit as a 2 year old that they got left in a snowbank by their Dark Winter mother when she went down the driveway to get the mail. Not that that would happen in my house, but you could hear the child loud and clear down a 1000 foot driveway. As a grownup, might be very happy married to a Spring who can get them to do things they wouldn’t normally do, especially on short notice, a sticking point for Summer.

Zinnia Starburst Brooch Set With Blue Crystal Stones by Iris Apfel

In many a Soft Summer, this is what we see when we look in your eyes, or variations on this theme; click on the photo for info (or Google “Iris Apfel at yoox”) and make it your signature piece

As adults, they may still have high expectations of what others should tolerate or how they should behave. A tub of Ben&Jerry’s ice cream really does have 4 to 6 servings and it is not necessary to snarf down more than one’s share. Are willing to devote time and effort to getting others to meet their highest self, knowing that nobody feels good when they behave beneath themselves. Winter might not be quite so into your Karma because to them, it feels like an ambush intended to control that they won’t exert on you  and don’t want you to exercise on them. If old people want to go ocean swimming alone, it’s their business.

Bring the natural gift of just knowing what it’s like to be the other guy, and caring enough to adjust their behaviour, what the world needs  more of than anything. Every character trait is a double edged sword and empathy is no different. Winter keeps themselves apart and outside of situations. If no offense was intended by spoken words, they’re not likely to hear it. It’s not that Winter is cold/distant/remote, their feelings are just less accessible. Summer is so deeply disturbed by rudeness and so strongly empathic that they can substitute the intention of the spoken words as their own, as they would have felt had they spoken the same words, that is, very offended.



watch the greys and watch them change, many Summer colours here. John has great base hair colour for Summer. Think John’s a Winter? Look at him and Yoko. See the Winter? Fascinating features John has, the Meryl Streep type Summers face of which we see many.


Photo: alesia17

Lovely Beauty

Makeup Colours

Soft Summers, look at Body Shop 14 eye pencil, a mauve with lots of grey that will blend into your eye shadow, not look separate from it. If ever there was a type of natural colouring that could dispense with eyeliner and just use eyeshadow darkness levels to define the eyes, this is it. They create a more diffused effect than any lining product, a swirling watercolour of deep plums, pinks, and greys. Your saturation isn’t nil, it’s just less than the others. Lancome Purple Quartz is an excellent eyeliner, and their lipstick The New Pink may be very near your natural lip colour. Body Shop 49 lipstick is worth your time too at a nicer price.

Light  Summer – Body Shop 148 and 55 are your warmer and cooler pinks in lipsticks. And MUFE HD4 blush will disappear into your face and allow the misty rainbow colours already there to take center stage. Lancome Rouge in Love 353M lipstick may be your lip colour or close, while 163M has beautiful presence without taking over your face. Lancome Optic eyeshadow is a lightly pinked light grey.

True Summer can look at Lauder Black Plum eyeliner, a great mid mauved grey till you tilt the page and see a lovely plum.  Lancome Purple Darling is another lovely purple eyeliner that’s not too greyed, a mistake often made with True Summer cosmetic colours. I love Lancome Berry Rose 312 lipstick and Pink In The Limo (probably your lip colour or close).



A reminder that I will not be shipping the book, Return to Your Natural Colours, in the month of July. If you’re in the US, Kerry at Indigo Tones may have some copies. Otherwise, best to wait till August.



Dressing Your Truth in 4 Types and Seasons

June 4, 2012 by · 64 Comments 

Nirmala left a comment after the last article on 12B that really sums it up. Kind of paraphrasing here, but as she says, we can’t see ourselves, that’s Problem 1.  Though we search for our truths, there’s no easy road. They are quite cleverly concealed, maybe as protection from us, for if any way were revealed too soon, we would probably misuse them like any information we get when we’re not ready.

A clothing system won’t be the as-the-crow-flies route to inner truth. The most it could do would be to open a window. The opinions of others, even professionals, are subjective, variable, relating taste and opinion more than anything else. Compliments are of no value to me, they just drag me off center for a week or two. Though the 12 Seasons of personal colour analysis may not have every answer, it is at least measurable as long as the compass is calibrated right.

The Sci\ART drapes are calibrated into measured increments. That’s what a Sci\ART colour analysis gets you that is so incredibly special. The line between one group and the next is clearly divided in coherent, defined, steady intervals. Connect the dots is way easier when the dots are numbered. Sci\ART has human colouring classified right. Doesn’t mean that analysts who do colour by eye are wrong. I’m a huge believer in humans as little electrical towers and perhaps some people can feel our emissions of light energy as our colours. I’d lose faith if two such analysts came up with really different answers though.

Dark Winter Type 1

Maybe Sally Field looking (not so sure she’s DW). Or Mario Tuttle, though with that nose shape, he’s more likely a Bright.



Dark Winter DYT Type 1
Dark Winter DYT Type 1 by christinems featuring clutch handbags


For Type 1, I went with light, young, fun, random, playful, upward, hearts and triangles, freedom of movement, sprays, fountains. Detail and eye catchers are placed high on the body, so no black outfits with yellow shoes.  Some bold is ok, this is Winter, but nothing serious, sharp, or rigidly repeating. Got to get light, bright, warm, fun, and alive into this. And fairly contrasting.

Tunics could be great here. And prints.

Lots of jewelry that doesn’t necessarily match. “Life of its own”, not floppy and not stiff, Perkily crisp.
I like the zigzag of the sleeves on the two tops at the top.

Clothes can feel light without being light coloured. Taylore Sinclair’s totality of radiance actually comes in here, where fabric, design, and texture all contribute to a person’s movement.

Chose heavy heart lockets that wouldn’t get lost in the contrast and weight of the colour. Torn between the 2 lockets.

Black can’t be chunky or serious or this girl will grind to a halt and look glued to the ground.

Shoes are light. Even a wedge is too blocky.

 Dressing Your Truth: What I Liked

About the Dressing Your Truth course, my friend asked “What do you like about it?”

- I like Carol. Makes no difference to me how she promotes herself, whether she’s licensed, whether women can or can’t find their Type, or how many websites she owns.

- I recognized my drive for standardization (of colour analysis systems), my obsession with being able to duplicate results (between colour analysts or it’s all useless to the client), and my need to promote it – all as Type 4 traits.

- I learned about the most dominant types of lines in my face. I follow them to apply eyeliner and blush. Our movement path could be drawn on paper as we negotiate tasks big and small, through problems towards solutions. The lines tend to be consistent with other lines, like those in our face. Fascinated me. I really like the part about how we move forward and how we get stuck. I’ve watched people who seem unable to end one interaction or activity and move on to the next. The nearer you get to an ending, the more they’re compelled to drag it out in a thousand ways. Since I almost erase the past as I’m living it, watching this deliberate delaying left me saying “Just  make a move. Don’t worry if it’s wrong or right!” Now I get why that was not helpful for them.

It was fun to actually draw makeup with those same lines. I see that if you draw a line across my eyes from outer corner> inner corner> inner corner other eye> outer corner other eye, the line is straight. So now I extend eyeliner out straight a little ways. My kids have not said I look nuts, which they are well trained to do given even a smidgen of provocation.

- The psychology that goes with the lines structures is great. I see now why True and Soft Summer have more issues with their palettes than everyone else put together…because it’s her (Type 2, Summer, whatever) nature to examine every single option over and over, like she can never have enough evidence to make a choice. And why I shoot off like a rocket and ignore all the fine print.

And why my Light Summer sister can get so deeply hurt over words or actions that I wouldn’t even notice. Her weakness isn’t her huge sensitivity; it is her strength because it’s her truth and because the world needs so much of what she has to offer. Telling her “Stop letting every little thing get to you!” is disrespectful and confusing to her. Now, I will hold her in higher esteem for it. Learning to honour others better has been the greatest reward of DYT. So much has fallen into place -why I’ve stood at makeup counters with Summers watching they energy test eyeliners.

Figured out why I have been sent so many more True and Soft Summer clients than any other. We relive the same experience over and over till we learn its lessons. I finally see that I need that character to balance me, to model certain behaviours I will need in my own future. I am grateful they came to see me.

- Picked up a few good clues on clothing to add to my Season and Kibbe, but this was far from the main selling point. As a matter of taste, Carol and I don’t share a belief of what looks good, let alone true. As a matter of statistics, it’s unlikely there are only 4 style Types in the world, even if you could prove that there are 4 main movement types. The diversity of genetics makes the probability too low unless the types are so broad that few can tell where they fit, especially if they contain some of each, which means most of us. And it’s been proven across populations that 4 main colour types won’t work. This energy system won’t be any different. Still, would I take the course again? I would in a heartbeat.

- Learned a lot more that I can apply as a better spouse/parent/workplace than as any kind of fashion star. But then, I came into it exposed to a lot of info about Winters, Dramatic dressing, etc. A newcomer might pick up some great advice or a good intro to thinking about how clothes are cut.  I did buy some jewelry and I like it.  For all 4 Types, the jewelry is nice for the price at the Store. Mine is about 2-4 times larger than it looks on the site.

IDK the DYT rules for the 4 Types.  I’m just extrapolating the energy of the person, like I did with how the colours felt to me in RTYNC (the blue book over in the right column). Doesn’t mean it’s the only way, just my way. DYT is a natural expression we feel as movement. Same with seeing those lines anywhere, a book plot, a mechanical device, a wind pattern. What Carol has tuned into and translated is four different movement types and how their energy feels interpreted with clothing to create a visual image. For instance, when we see parallel lines, they look like a mirror. With that, we associate reflectivity and stillness. Reminding of the 4 True Seasons? Absolutely, but a new spin in many ways.

There’s no reason you can’t be true to your colouring and your movement type even if they don’t coincide. Neither takes precedence because they’re describing different things. Your Sci\ART Season knows your colours. Your Type offers an opinion about your shape as expressed by your style of movement. The whole silver gold thing for Types, I pretend I never heard it.

True Spring Type 2

Type 2 is the Summer “stereotype”, awful word but it serves. So, connections – tops with bottoms, repeating colours, interlocking shapes. Gentle flow and drape. Less delicious and vivacious than the “stereotype” True Spring, more of a Summer analogous colour scheme. Wavy lines.

I know two of these women. They’re certainly True Spring, they look like T1, but they lead in movement with T2, at least when I met with them.


True Spring DYT Type 2
True Spring DYT Type 2 by christinems featuring cowl neck tops


Beauty Sixth Sense

Do I agree that women have a “Sixth Sense” about their own beauty, as Carol claims in the Dressing Your Truth course? Not for a second.  I know for sure they don’t. I had to be in my 50s to come close to recognizing me. Others can’t always tell either. I have a True Winter daughter whose Kibbe or Type I cannot figure out. I wish women wouldn’t feel so devastated and to blame when they can’t find their answers. I wish they weren’t so willing, eager even, to believe every word of it all.  I read it all like a novel rather than non-fiction, let it come at me like one person’s story, like one person’s travel diary.  Your journal to the same place would read different. I read it like a recipe book. I find one I might try out, and 20 that I would never use but I don’t burn the book. Why give someone’s opinion more importance than that?

Anyone’s an expert if they say they are. One quick look at logic trees with 4 only branches (4 Seasons, 4 Types) can tell you they will only apply to each person superficially at best. If you saw a 4-branch tree to cover all disease in the world, how much attention would you give it to find your own aches?  Not more than a glance.

Kibbe used the Yin Yang metaphor to describe variations of shape of bone and flesh. He also brings in the very important issue of scale, not just what it is but how certain bodies make it look (the Yang-er you are, the taller you appear and the smaller you make jewelry look). If you can find yourself in his book, he’s the guy who got human body geometry sorted most ergonomically. He makes a point of keeping the colour talk very general. It surprises me how dogmatic DYT gets on this point given that it’s not their emphasis. They could do the whole thing as well, indeed far better, if they just left colour out of it, but fine marketer that Carol is, she realizes that if she’s not 100% convinced, nobody else will be either.

Bright Winter Type 3

boxy practical  functional big textured simple natural regular strong corners

a very Yang person, pants have a fly and a worn with a belt

not so straightforward to express work instead of fun with these colours

heavily accessorized…now that works with BW and T3, glad I found someplace these 2 come together,

though come to think of it, a BW usually has some big Yang elements of character and colour

every one of these Seasons/Kibbes/Types have their intersections; it’s when you find them that the fun starts.

the slightest whiff of Spring and turquoise and purple should appear (Autumn? teal and burgundy)

not too confined at the neck so she can move towards you, as it is her movement to do


Bright Winter DYT Type 3
Bright Winter DYT Type 3 by christinems featuring wool blend pants


Deleted Comments

I deleted several comments to this website aimed at exposing Ms. Tuttle and her sources. Find them on Amazon if you like. Truly, I just don’t care. Anybody can pick up the similarities in wording and philosophies between various colour systems.  So what? Ballet, yoga, and Pilates have similarities that stem back to their common origins. However similar the language, DYT seems to have applied the knowledge in a different way so that’s fair.

Why does DYT create such intense emotion when it doesn’t work for a person? In any discipline, there will be those who can deliver and those who can’t. The consumer decides for themselves, just like which vet to take their pet to. We’re not saving lives here. It’s clothes.  So Tuttle’s explanation doesn’t work for you. Another one will. Where does our perspective go? The words of others only have as much power on our path as we choose to give them. These days, I’m picking up the pieces and moving on about everything.

In an email, I was advised to examine my own reactions carefully as to why I removed those accusatory comments and blame-filled reviews that were deemed “heart-wrenching”. My contemplation came up with this: I didn’t find it heart-wrenching at all that some clothing system didn’t work for one person. Probably did for many and didn’t for many. The expectation was unrealistic to begin with. Call me a heartless Type 4 but I couldn’t get bogged down in something so full of holes and hope to see me come into focus somewhere out of the haze. That’s looking for love in all the wrong places and we’re back to the Kingdom of Heaven being within, but it takes a heck of a lot more self-work to get to it.

Everyone finds their true self, the deepest soul that their body incarnates, in different ways. Colour has been a metaphor for many revelations but it doesn’t bring me to my knees. Where I go to get myself right, where I finally understood what it means to say “Love is free”, learned the true purpose of prayer, figured out what the Chakras/sacraments really represent (abundance, health, humility, love, truth, wisdom, and grace in that order, my opinion only), and met my best and worst selves in a way I could work on them, was in Carolyn Myss’s book Entering the Castle. It’s the Bible that I read and practice each day.

Although your colours hold true as part of your energy spectrum at every level of your being, they’re also part of the physical world and part of the five senses. The special and specific grace that you came here to share comes from deeper than that, or any tip-of-the-iceberg colour, image, or clothing system. Your truths are far more encompassing and more connected to the energy of Divinity. We’re a long way from understanding that but we can approach it and we can feel it.

 Soft Autumn Type 4

All the usual True Winter adjectives – bold, simple, symmetric, long straight lines.

Structured for sure. I keep my jewelry in fishing tackle boxes. $4.46 at Walmart now that you ask.

The lower R corner outfit would be secondary T2, with S straps on shoes and teardrops or earrings.

This one was by far the  most difficult. In my mind, I can see these colours looking fine for this person (though not how I see their best), but finding the clothes is another thing.


Soft Autumn DYT Type 4
Soft Autumn DYT Type 4 by christinems featuring strappy flat sandals



Long ago in our lives, shopping began as an exercise in acquisition. It suddenly made a lot more sense when you learned your right colours and shapes, becoming something you could fully control. Then a few more levels of refinement opened up. Now, it’s a game of hide and seek.



The True Summer – True Winter Divide

May 26, 2012 by · 34 Comments 

When Tina first learned she was a True Summer, she encountered the same roadblock that can stump most, probably all, newly identified True Summers. How do I know this colour is Summer, not Winter?

Have a look at previous articles Matching The Swatch Book: Blue and Matching The Swatch Book: Coral.  Both were written to help with that.

Today will be about the True Seasons, but most of it could apply to any of the related Summer – Winter groups, so Light Summer with Bright Winter and Soft Summer with Dark Winter. If you’re thinking “How are those related?”

>>Light Summer and Bright Winter both start from a pure cool colour palette, Summer and Winter, respectively. Then they move over one position in the same direction, towards Spring. To look at the colours, the same amount of the same kind of heat gets added to each one.

>>Soft Summer and Dark Winter move from their pure cool True Seasons by adding the same amount of the same kind of heat, that is, Autumn’s.

The blue book in the right sidebar, RTYNC, explains this in more detail. It also includes the map below. Like on a colour wheel, relationships exist beside and across.

For the True Summer and Winter, we’re working with colours where you cannot see one bit of heat. Not vanilla, watery sun, pale dust, white gold, certainly no beige, no tan, no orange, and yellow under certain conditions (coolness). True Summer’s is skim milk white. Its light colours seem more colorful than Winter’s because Winter’s lights have so little pigment, to create the ‘icy’ look. Summer’s lights are pastels, by definition meaning they contain more colour pigment and are softened by being grayed. There is no such thing as an icy pastel that I know.

True Summer has a pretty big range of darkness. It would not reach to black or white but can get quite close in ghost and dark grey.

Tina’s Sportswear for True Summer

Tina has a fine understanding of True Summer. My favorite feeling about this Season is its freshness. If I start getting a sensation of weight or thickness, my own interpretation of the Season doesn’t jive. I love the green and pink hoodies bottom right, the blue bag and sleeveless top, the pink shorts, the long dress. All really good.

The turquoise racerback tank might be a little bright (saturated) and a good example of what adding just a little Spring yellow does – so, I’d put that guy in Light Summer. But does it bother my eye in this collection? Not at all.

When you think about adding water to colour, you appreciate that it can become diluted and less saturated without losing its clean feeling? True Summer is like that. There isn’t so much gray that it looks like it got put in the dark wash. It does have some bluish-greying, but not enough to take the colour down very far. So for me, the pink hoodie top L, the Nike logo Tshirt and sweatshirt, the grey-mauve shirt and jeans all feel heavy – could that be fabric, pattern, texture, and shape? Sure, they all influence how we perceive colour. If your opinion is different from mine, that doesn’t mean it’s wrong.


True Summer Sportswear
True Summer Sportswear by tinabee1967 featuring fleece tops


Tina broke down her early trouble spots into four great questions. She also took the bigger and better learning step of making her own Polyvores that we can talk about. I want her know how much we appreciate her willingness to just listen to any comment, agree or disagree. Easy to say, not easy to do.

1) In a previous color system, I was analyzed a Winter (this happened to me!) How will I know if a color is just too much for me to handle?

Others will see the colour before they see you. And their eye will keep being dragged back to the colour. At first, you or your shopping friends may not be able to know they’re seeing this. In the mirror, consider if your head really matches your body.  Is one darker, thicker, heavier, blockier than the other or does there seem to be an easy rapport between them, like they belong together? When we look at outfits we often stare at the fit of the clothes and totally ignore the head attached to the top. Many hairstylists are masterful at this. They stand back and look at the hair creation and have blurred out the face in the center.

You may feel overpowered, as if you look smaller or weaker. You may feel tired. If you’re used to going about in Winter colours, you’ve accommodated this and learned to compensate. It won’t be something you can feel immediately on the road back.

Look for repeats of the colours of the item in your face, eyes, lips, or hair. This is hard to do and can be very ambiguous, but there are women who can sense this. Makes no difference in the world if you can’t.

True Summer’s natural colouring, features, and expression tend to have a gentleness. When they greet someone, they put them at ease. Winter colours won’t give you the feeling of relaxing.

True Summer can look ok in Winter’s light colours. Why not? They’re light and cool, that’s two things Summer does well with. But the iciness of Winter will positively glare on the Summer, while her face seems grayer (and her teeth too – whatever happens to the skin happens to the teeth and whites of the eyes), like her head is 2 feet back behind her body.

Your face will seem pale or tired, perhaps even bruised under the eyes, what you’d see if you suddenly put on a way too dark wig.

The shadows along the sides of the nose look darker in Winter colour, especially the dark colours. That shadow extends up to the inner corner of the eye. Darkness, as you know, recedes, making the inner corner of the eye seem collapsed backward. I believe that our eyes are the focal point of our entire being. Nothing should ever interfere with the other person’s ability to reach them.

When you shop, bring or wear a colour that you know works, a scarf maybe. If there’s a colour you’re not sure of, float your hand over the good colour about an inch. Relax your eyes and just let them take in the youth of the hand, the texture of the skin, the prominence of veins, the redness or wrinkles over knuckles. Hold the gaze for 10 or 15 seconds. Now switch your hand over the fabric you’re testing. Don’t over-analyze. Just ask yourself “step forward or step back?”. Which is the younger, fresher, cleaner, plumper, prettier shaped hand?

Black is a comparison thing just like other colours are, but when you’re seeing true black you know it, as “OK, now this is definitely black.” If you’re sure, it’s Winter. If you’re not sure, it could be Summer’s darkest gray. Summer doesn’t go quite that dark really, but if you need to buy pants, a little too dark but not black would get you through the day.

In Nature, even the darkest shadow doesn’t go to black in the daytime. (For those who have RTYNC, Summer is like noontime light, right?) It’s because of the amount of light, for one thing. True Summer landscapes are always backlit a bit from the sky overhead, despite the sun being hidden behind clouds, or from light filtering in from around or behind the image itself.

Also, maybe shadows don’t go to black because so many colours go into making a shadow. If you held a card painted with a pitch black X inside a True Summer grey shadow, you could still make out the X.

By fanning out your True Summer swatches and moving a pure black shape over it, your eye will pick out why black doesn’t fit. Eyes seem very good at picking out even close saturation differences, which is why black mascara never quite belongs on any Summer face. The viewer sees the eyelashes and then the face, perhaps the goal for believers in magazine ads.

Tina’s Evening Wear for True Summer

This is beautiful. There are light, medium, and dark options. In the purse top R, I usually look for a pink, blue, or mauve tone in True Summer grey, but this one would work fine. The delicate crafstmanship and attention to detail is Summer all over. The long purple in the center is good too, not over-saturated when you enlarge it (because it has a trace of heather, Winter would have none). The white dress on the model lower R, I’m not sure. Polyvore often loses colour and detail on light items. As it is, I think of Winter white because the background is True Summer and see how the dress glares? Couldn’t find a better example of what Winter white does on a True Summer face. The green feathery dress in the center gives me Soft Summer feelings of over-grayness, but again, it’s a fabric issue too.

True Summer Evening wear
True Summer Evening wear by tinabee1967 featuring a rosette dress


2) What is the difference between too saturated and not saturated enough?

I’ll let Tina’s Polyvore below show you that. Colour is all about comparison and this is so well done. Winter colours look like straight pigment. You couldn’t talk yourself into dustiness if you tried.  Ask yourself “Do I feel like a sheet of this colour could stop me from moving through it or even push me backwards?”

“Not saturated enough” is a really good point. Where do you tip into Soft Summer? I can’t explain the saturation cut-off verbally. You need your Colour Book swatches.  More useful for me is that colour gets warmer in Soft Summer, not just softer. You can see the slightest overlay of taupe over all the colours, even the blues and greens. True Summer may look coolly grayed but you don’t sense heat. That heat feels heavy, like chocolate milk compared to skim.

Remember that it’s not just a saturation question between True Summer and True Winter.  Winter contains a lot more red.

Tina’s True Summer vs. True Winter

True Summer vs. Winter
True Summer vs. Winter by tinabee1967 featuring peplum tops


3) Even when I was diagnosed a Winter before, I loved the colors, but whenever I saw a whole garment those shades, I always shied away from it and picked something “quieter”.  Am I right to always trust that instinct?

The vet in me finds the word ‘diagnosed’ very original in this context, like something you wouldn’t want to have. Is this the subconscious at work? :)

About trusting the instinct: Yes! Understanding that True Summer is too often thought of as lavender and Wedgewood blue and not much else.  True Summer is never in your face, even its darker versions.

Putting more than two Winter colours together could look like colour shock. Putting True Summer colours together looks lovely, like a place you’d want to stay awhile.

And understanding that too much quieter could take you into Soft Summer’s cooler palette, if you see greyness as quiet. I do, and I also see it as thicker. True Summer isn’t syrupy. It’s Jello. It’s silky cool, like perfume evaporating on your skin, like walking into air conditioning when it’s hot out, like feeling cool lemonade slip down your throat after an hour of gardening. It’s comfortable coolness.

Winter is much more serious. It’s more likely to interrupt. Summer colours will listen to you and offer caring advice. Winter may have learned the patience for that, key word, learned, but they still sidestep the emotion. A heart-to-heart on the porch swing don’t fit into its colour scene.

If you’re wearing your Summer items to shop and you try on something Winter, the rest of your outfit will seem drab and dishwater, when it looked elegant and perfect before. When two things don’t belong together, they drive each other further apart. Which is why I can’t see why we’re told to wear eyeglasses that oppose our face shape to “balance” us.  Reese in John Lennon glasses? IDK. What was so bad about our face shape to start with that we need to cancel it out?

4) Some of the makeup selections for True Summer feel and look “dull” to me. What is the best way to overcome this?

Perception – easily among my top favorite topics! I feel the floodgates letting go.

As with all things colour, everything is comparative. Dull next to what? Next to the parrot colours at the counter? Next to Winter colours? Well, you know, so does a True Summer person look softer (no way I’m saying dull, no human being ever looks dull, every colour story is equally spellbinding – do you find Winter people more interesting beings? NO. Nor are their looks.) On a Winter colouring, that makeup would look uninspired. But ON THE SUMMER FACE, they look as balanced and natural and healthy and vital and vibrant as the Winter woman’s do on her. Trust me. I never lie, whatever the cost.

There are too many negative colour associations in the world. Black is slimmer. Dark is stronger. Bold is more passionate. Vibrant is healthier. We even believe some of this. Well, they’re not. Colour doesn’t judge bold or indecisive. It just is. Clouds are not less beautiful than sunsets. They’re just clouds and sunsets and that’s how we appreciate them. We don’t walk in a forest saying “This tree is more beautiful than that tree. We don’t say “A tree in summer is more beautiful because the swaying of the leaves look so inviting compared to the simple shape of the wintertime tree.” They’re all special for the way they grew, the way they are, just because they’re there. People too. Colours too.

Consider it from the opposite side. True Winter’s makeup will look inflated, even bigger and even darker and even redder, on a Summer face. Parrot feathers on a dove does not look good. It’s not ugly. There is no ugly. What it looks like is forever separate. They can’t mesh.  By putting them together, both the dove and the feathers are reduced. They can’t penetrate each other and become one and the same, that sensation women experience so deeply when they see themselves in their most beautiful colours, as if releasing the drape at that moment would lose contact with some long-lost part of themselves they’ve only just found.

By adding to yourself more of what you already are, it’s like using you to support you even more. That’s where real strength comes from, right? It is not out there somewhere. Only you elevate and strengthen the very uniqueness and specialness of you.

Tina’s Personal Picks for True Summer

I have nothing to say that could add to this. All I mean by “a place you’d want to stay awhile”.

My personal picks!
My personal picks! by tinabee1967 featuring a sleeveless dress


Colours, Kibbes, and Types

Many of us have been exposed to various colour and style paradigms by now, Kibbe, Carol Tuttle, Jennifer Butler, and so many other artists and thinkers. We look for one colour or image system to have all the answers, but not one of them is all right or all wrong. Each one lets us gather a few new clues our identity. Types, Seasons, Essences, unless the system has 7 billion of them, not every word in any of them will fit any one person. Lines, colours, conscience, thoughts, shapes all feed into our final what? Voltage? Altitude? Energy is a good word but overuse had blunted its meaning. We are energetic beings, each a unique force field emitting one synchronous wavelength, like walking radio towers, receivers and transmitters. And resistors and capacitors, come to think of it. We are beginning to understand what this means and we’re drawn to it like bugs to light.

The Types come from Carol’s Dressing Your Truth system. I love this woman, what she stands for, her face and energy profiling. I’m still waiting to find the video called “What if My Facial Design and Energy Type Don’t Match” – not that I’ve seen that IRL (unless a person is confusing their primary and secondary type), but then I’m a believer that our lines, colours, and personality/character/movement are related, a lot more than I’d say in most company. If I taught colour analysis, I wouldn’t even bring it up. Carol’s DYT has 4 Types.

I may be severing any friendship we might ever have by saying that they correlate fairly well with the broad 4 Season associations that Suzanne Caygill saw, so Types 1, 2, 3, and 4 would remind you a lot of Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter. The difference is that any colouring can exist within any of the energy Types. Do I agree? No. We moved past 4 palettes because they didn’t represent most people’s colouring faithfully enough. Besides, a Dark Autumn with blonde highlights is not dressing her truth, no matter her Type. Nor is a Type 4 True Spring in wide horizontal B&W stripes. Whatever (probably a keyword for my Type 4). I can get over it for the bigger payoff.

Kate Middleton is a Soft Summer Type 4. Seems paradoxical. Does that mean that either her Season or her Dressing Your Truth Type is wrong? Not at all. It means we don’t yet have all the answers about colour, line, and character in humans. Kate still can find new ways of refining herself and adjusting how she wears her palette.  As a Type 4, perhaps within her Soft Summer colours, she is relatively high contrast and would wear straighter lines because they are found in her body and face, the lines into which her colours were painted. We can be too literal in our interpretations of all these systems when none of them excludes any of the others. They all build on some part of our wholeness.

Gwyneth Paltrow is a Type 4 Light or True Summer (probably). Regal, statuesque, still. Blunt sharp haircuts suit her, especially that chin length razor bob she had awhile back. Her solid wall of yellow hair is probably better on her than the randomness of highlights. Very straightened hair works on her because of the sleek, smooth, stylized Type 4 energy. Straight hair could feel forced and stiff on the True Summer Type 2 whose energy is much more sliding, like drifting in a rowboat trailing one hand in the water. All our answers won’t be together in one place. Each has pieces for the puzzle. We feel our way into whether they fit.

The best thing about what I do is the privilege of being taught by people the world over who share their questions and answers with me. I am truly and deeply humbled by that honesty and generosity. I love talking to my friend, Darren. He’s so sensible and smart, and he has experienced most systems you can name. He can pull together the details and the big picture into real world advice. He said,

What I see is different artists’ take on the same subject and from different angles. Everyone has their spin. Personally, I don’t have the time or the money to try to include every color in every palette that I have so for the moment I’m sticking with Jennifer Butler’s, if not just for the sake of self discipline and to see how creative and far I can stretch myself within those parameters. In the end my goal is that everything will eventually fall away and I will learn to trust my own eyes and my own inner guidance completely. I mean think about it. We both [all] artists in our own right with our own way of seeing the world. [Butler, Kitchener, Taylore Sinclair, Suzanne Caygill, Bernice Kentner, Irenee Riter, ]and on and on… they are just people like anyone else.

So I guess what I’m saying is that these people are great at pointing the way but they can’t take the journey for us. We all have to do that ourselves. In the end we have to do what it takes to make ourselves into who we would like to see, lose our own weight, and accept our own limitations, and be OK with it. At some point we have to accept that we know enough to relax and just be. Who wants to spend all their time trying to figure out what to wear so they can go shopping.


I wrote RTYNC, the book pictured on the right side. I get told “I doubt my PCA because my personality is off from what you wrote.” Don’t do that!!

I get told “Wearing my colours as exotic or tribal feels all wrong on me. Does that mean I’m not Dark Autumn?” NO!!! Trust the analysis. I painted word pictures that feel right to me but they cannot possibly apply to every Dark Autumn, all 7 billion divided by 12 of them.

I see women asking ” How can I have dark hair and be Light Summer?” But it’s relative. Your hair isn’t dark compared to 95% of Winters, it’s just darker than many Light Summers. We know our hair colours aren’t necessarily in our swatch book. Doesn’t mean it’s suddenly inconsistent or that your analysis was wrong.

In our truths lie our strengths. What is true about you is what is strong about you. That’s why it feels so important to look for it.  In our untruths lie our weaknesses. Which is why looking unnatural, like you could never have happened that way without really interfering with Nature’s plan, communicates to me as scattered energy. Real and right looks grounded and therefore strong. If it ‘s true that allowing ourselves to behave with false words and actions makes us weak, and it is, how does it not follow about our appearance?

So, do dark Summers look good in black? Not to me because black communicates absolutely nothing that is true about them. Not unattractive. You are never ever that. Besides, it will make the rest of your clothes in the colours that actually look beautiful on you suddenly appear old, tired, and sort of defeated, as will the skin tone. And will your dearest friends or salespeople tell you this? No, my sister, they won’t. The purpose of a compliment is to make you feel better, not to share truth. Wait 6 months and show them a photo of you in black and you in bluewater grey, they won’t pick the black.

Below, a YouTube DYT video on how the 4 Types wear red lipstick. It’s a beautiful comparison of these two women, mother and daughter, both embracing their individuality, with a “I’d have you no other way than as you are.” connection that you wouldn’t find among many adult mothers and daughters – and I bet these two wouldn’t have found, had Carol not developed her energy profiling. I believe 100% that every mother should read Discover Your Beauty Profile and It’s Just My Nature so her children can live acceptance in their home and know how to live it out in the world. How we should all live, all the time, not just with family.

Also, if you’re a Summer, watch more videos with Anne. She dresses beautifully for a Summer, mostly True. See the flower, the crystal in the necklace, the great great base hair colour (this is lighter than many a True Summer, Anne may be a Light, but it has the essential ash tone needed for the skin to bloom and look young). She talks about how Type 2 does dramatic lipstick right. The background would actually be a good lip on True/Soft Summer. See how Anne feels part of it while Carol looks Cut&Pasted in?



Unlearning is harder than learning. There was a time when we didn’t hold ourselves up to any standard but our own. And then the fight went out of us, media got too big in our  minds, but we can remember the simplicity of those days. We see it in our children. It’s time to go back there.

My Summer friends tell me they want more ooomph, they feel so blended. Tina brought up a great point about yellow in hair. Unless you came by it on your own, not only is it too yellow against your skin, it’s too light. The dewy deep pink blush goes out of your cheeks and you live in a NoRightColourLand between True and Light Summer. Once the hair is back to its natural darkness, the makeup intensity can go up to balance that, right to where it should be. Your colours have all the ooomph they should have on your face. In a hairstyle that looks loose and released, you bring your lovely grace to a room with no soldier overtones to mix us up. Fundamental to Carol’s teaching is “I can love me enough to be me, and I can love you when you give yourself the same permission.”

I’m not always a very good friend. Not good at making calls, making time. Not even a very good wife. My husband and I both married the strong, silent type. True Summers number the highest among my best friends and trusted counselors. There is something in that character that I need, that we all need.  The higher tuning of their heart brings balance to the higher tuning of my head.  They’re like the bed of roses I can fall into, finally exhale, and feel safe. Please don’t disguise yourselves. We’ll still see you but won’t understand why you’re retracting your gift. You are everything that the word Grace means on Earth, one of the most powerful words in any language.

We communicate so much more by our appearance than our words. What others sense is how synchronous our cumulative energy is.  Call that energy whatever term pleases you, it represents everything about a lifeforce that is more than just a body. We all agree that we can feel something bigger in ourselves and others than the space we take up. We are the size of the space that we have presence and influence in, the meaning of expanded consciousness. The Sci\ART colour analysis is an accurate measuring tool that taps into one of that realms. Your perfect lipstick is only the beginning. Who could feel the door to their best self open and not be speechlessly drawn forward?


Soft Summer’s Gorgeous Colour and CEs

April 7, 2012 by · 19 Comments 

Many a newly identified Soft Summer figures this is it. Forever.

Soft Summer Too Neutral
Soft Summer Too Neutral by christinems featuring wedding dresses

It’s fine and everything but so, you know, safe. That’s Soft Summer with some good building blocks, but an overall effect that’s a little too generic light grey.Where’s the excitement? Where’s the fabulosity?

Many (all?) clothes need to hang on the right body to come into their own. Soft Summer colours are pearls when they find the right skin. This post in the hope that one day, women will secretly wish to be a Soft Summer and be thrilled when their colour analysis lets them claim the palette as their own. It comes from imagining how even the most casual outfit has such elegance of suggestion and impression. Much of what was said about Romantics in the previous two posts caused me to realize that I could equally well have been describing the colour effect of the Soft Seasons. Of course, Mr. Kibbe describes this in his book, where Yang colours are vivid, dark, and matte, while Yin colours are soft, bright, and glossy.

Our subconscious is the playground between what we understand and try to control and what we can’t. It speaks in the language of colour and shape, which translate to symbol and feeling. Thought is Yang and intuition is Yin (just IMO, not research). Thought could be subdivided into linear, directed thought (more Yang) and the deliberations of abstract thought that deliver information disconnected from time and space (more Yin). Soft Summer’s colours always create very strongly in me a nebulous, shimmery sensation of being in an unreal place, a manifestation of the abstract mind, the ultimate right brain landscape. Ghosts of shapes and whispered sounds seem to move into sight just above a watery surface then fade back under to another form, like apparitions. I have to apply effort to see anything else when these colours together are in front of my eyes. I always sense an incredible balance between intellect and emotion in this person too, as if they live in that mind space where Yin and Yang are very intertwined. Imagine a Soft  Summer Romantic! Wow. Now there would be gifts you’d want to tap into.

Sometimes, women try out various colours in clothes or lipstick as they try to find their own colouring among them. They’ve read to use the extremes for this test, those colours no other natural colouring, or Season, would wear as well. For Soft Summer, they find that grayed mauve lipstick and a grayed pink cardigan and take photos or ask friends and family.

Unless the former lipstick colour was crimson, it could be that folks can’t make the adjustment that fast. Especially if you still have your old hair colour, which sends every colour perception about your face and cosmetics off to the four winds.

Soft Summer may have it the hardest because they keep hearing the word grey. When you’re not sure of the degrees, there’s a tendency to over-grey. As a short rest from Kibbe Seasons, now that simply Season Polys are a snap (or almost, Bright Spring Neutral Colours still experiencing delays), here are some Soft Summers Polys enjoying my vision of a colour palette whose peaceful beauty and gracious sophistication has no equals.

In 12 Season Personal Colour Analysis, Soft Summer describes the colours that combine to create a natural colouring that could look like Katie Holmes, Kate Middleton, or Angelina Jolie. Her basically Summer colouring mingled with a bit of Autumn’s light, so  a Neutral Season. Various darkness levels, yes, but darkness level isn’t the TMIT for this group. It can slide up and down on the light/dark (Value) scale. What matters most about how they’re coloured and how they shop is that colour never gets very pure, bold, or saturated. It’s just a little hushed.

This is getting livelier.

Soft Summer Gorgeous Colour 1
Soft Summer Gorgeous Colour 1 by christinems featuring a stainless steel bracelet watch

Below, the incredible burgundy raisin of the palette, the elusive yellow, some good light to dark graduations that get a second look when done in snakeskin.

Soft Summer Gorgeous Colour 2
Soft Summer Gorgeous Colour 2 by christinems featuring fossil jewelry

Still more colour, more saturation, more colour variety, keeping the flow by repeating versions of a colour rather than the copy colour. The scarf on the right has some olive beige, so fold it to hide that and wear it as a belt.

Soft Summer Gorgeous Colour 3
Soft Summer Gorgeous Colour 3 by christinems featuring pearl clip on earrings


If music is the art of thinking with sounds, then our appearance can be the art of thinking with colours, in the shapes attuned to the music of our own geometry. I feel the new challenge coming on of creating all 13 Kibbe styles in one Season’s colours.


Soft Summer Gorgeous Colours 4
Soft Summer Gorgeous Colours 4 by christinems featuring leather clutches

The outfit on the right was feeling metallic, in the cool stiff way of aluminum, but I liked it. The scarf is there to introduce the feeling of softness with folds and flowers and add many more colours in small blocks.


From Return To Your Natural Colours, the blue book near the top in the right margin, this section appears in every Season’s chapter. For you to see what lives in my imagination, it needs some illustrating.

Colour Equations

  • One light to medium-dark colour + one medium dark to dark colour
  • One medium-dark colour + one dark colour
  • One light to fairly dark neutral colour + one light to medium-dark colour
  • One light to medium-dark neutral colour + one medium to dark neutral colour + one colour in smaller area
  • One light to fairly dark neutral colour + one light to fairly dark colour + one smaller colour block comprising all three colours
  • Monochromatic, analogous, or gentle complementary colour combinations.
  • Overall medium to medium-dark effect

You see that it never gets very light or very dark. Complementary colours appear as reds with greens or blues with oranges as the 5th from left (where the orange is a very light beige made from a base of orange, dropping its value and saturation enough). The overall feeling is more cool than warm but not fully cool. You can sense there is heat here.

It’s bluebells in a drizzling rain, a lake in the Scottish Highlands, the coastline of British Columbia, a California winery when the fog rolls in. In Photoshop, the saturation doesn’t go over 35% when I make Soft Season colours. To give you perspective, Dark Winter’s are about 75% to 90%, True Winter’s are 83% to 93%, and Bright Winter’s run over 92% and most of the time over 98%.

For that last outfit on the R, I coloured the top and bottom blocks as analogous (green and blue are beside each other on the colour wheel). I imagined a colour halfway between the two for the handbag – because any colour that you could imagine as being between two of your colour analysis swatches is also most likely in your Season too. The scarf/neck detail is Soft Summer’s orange, bringing in a complementary effect.

As always, you own the Colour Book, you own the system. All the theory has been worked out for you. You mix them anyway you want to, your appearance is still a smooth even ride that others are happy to take.

Dressing the Essence of…Khloe Kardashian

March 25, 2012 by · 31 Comments 


The Flamboyant Natural (FN) Soft Summer

Design = Colour + Line.

We look best when we wear the colours that already exist within us. We look best when we wear the lines that we are too. Round bones and muscular builds look fantastic in certain lines, not the same as those for straight bones or narrow builds. It always comes back to dressing who you are rather than seeing how close you can get to media’s stereotype.

It’s good for a woman to have an understanding of the shape of her body and face. You’ll buy different earrings, I promise you. This is Mr. Kibbe’s book, the most usable book on body lines that I know.

Sticking to your colour and line guides actually opens doors. Like good manners, limiting our options when we shop appears to expand our opportunities, for looking 99 times better just in how a jacket closes, feeling stronger and more complete, and in the control we have over many other aspects of our lives.

Paisley and Taya did Flamboyant Natural Polyvores on facebook recently. I thought I’d try, should be easier than the Dramatic True Summer that still haunts me. Soft Summer colours are so plentiful, surely I could find them in any style? When will I learn to keep quiet?

Soft summer flamboyant natural
Soft summer flamboyant natural by tayachroma featuring jersey knit tops


I’m a Kibbe beginner so don’t assume that what you see below is correct or Kibbe-approved.

Flamboyant Natural (far more detailed descriptions in the book)

The Person: big-boned, wide, blunt features, not lush in body or facial elements. She’s Natural with a shot of Drama.

Example: I think of Andie MacDowell with her very strongly defined bone structure. Who else? Mrs. Obama is possible in that a suit can seem too stiff and constraining on her but sometimes her proportions look more Classic and contained in shape. Maybe it’s her Winter colouring and ethnicity that give her an appearance of being larger and more exotic. Could Jessica Simpson be FN?

Angelina Jolie seems too voluptuously Yin in the face and petite in the body. Julia Roberts? Not blunt enough. We need a strong Yang presence, more masculine features, as I have in my Classic way, so not the ultra-girly version of big-boned as Mariah Carey. How about Khloe Kardashian? Using this photo, let’s pretend she’s a Soft Summer. In fact, she probably is.  Scroll down this page and compare her shape and colours to her sisters’. Do you find she looks fabulous in the picture near the bottom in the blue outfit? The bag, earring, and shoes all look so good.

Khloé Kardashian

Khloé Kardashian Pictures

The Effect: wild, free, uninhibited, bold, strong. Makes me think of Dynasty meets Bohemian.

Jewelry: big, bulky, and not just artistic but extremely artistic. Here lives the drama side.

Clothes: oversized rectangle, oblong, or asymmetric. To me, that = straight sides with round edges. Must remember ‘not square’ and ‘no points’ when purse shopping. No hourglass, sharp, very straight, or delicate, all of which don’t sound like a good fit for Khloe. Also lots of separates are good (thank heavens, the shopping for top-to-toe looks for my Dramatic Classic shape is seriously hard). Will keep in mind ‘wide-loose-simple neck-sleeve-waist’ when shopping.

Accessories: this woman has a wild side and so should her stuff. She’d even be a rule-breaker and step outside the prescribed molds, wear colour a bit too saturated, wear many pieces at once putting a whole new spin on ‘unmatched’. Bold, big, simple, unique, with round edges. Makes me think of a Cossack hat, which actually could look really good on Khloe. Seems a natural fit, oddly. Every pot has a lid, ay?

It can be easier to know which colours suit which people by imagining many different colours of lipstick and hair on them.  It’s always in making the comparison that we see what seems so obvious afterwards. I saw all the wonderful NYPD officers in Manhattan and thought their uniform could be my perfect Dramatic Classic outfit, epaulets, gun, hat, and all. I think of our DC women, variations on Demi Moore, and we’d all look darn good in that get-up, like Khloe in a coonskin Davey Crockett/Daniel Boone hat.

I imagine extremes for all the Kibbe types and see what feels like the best fit – not that this is how I see the woman but that she could wear these outfits and look surprisingly good and right, while everyone else would look strange.

Dramatic : Vampire Queen, Catwoman.

Soft Dramatic: extreme in a luxuriant way, whether fabric, detail, shape – the clothes Valentino designs. Sensuality above all. Nevermind how big the bow is. Or where it is. Why is there always a feeling of a tragic past or overcoming some deep adversity in this group (not unlike the ‘born for a gentler era’ of the Soft Classic)? Is it their regal yet vulnerable bearing? I guess that’s the Diva part. Often exotic looking. Cher.

Flamboyant Natural:  sarong worn as long dress with huge Georgia O’Keefe flowers and loads of big colourful necklaces.

Natural: 1920s tennis dresses, or any dresses while skirts were still straight, with the loose sailor style neck, box pleats, and the big ol’ wide brim hat.  Most women’s sporting outfits from back then could be good. (KB, this feels like your natural home, I could even see the turban hat with large flower on side. Google ‘dress patterns 1920s’ and you’d be set).

Soft Natural: flapper styles, clothes from J.Jill. I once thought of the Olsen twins as being here, but I’m thinking they’re straight N. This woman is more feminine, less broad and blunt in her bones. Tori Amos?

Dramatic Classic: police uniforms. Talbot’s to White House Black Market. No wonder I’ve always loved men’s shirts and ties. If anyone knows where I could buy some of those NYPD pants, please LMK.

Classic: soccer Mom, khakis, twinset, pearls, classic Timex. Also 1960s TV housewife attire. Stewardess suit. Brooks Brothers to J.Crew. LL Bean. Martha Stewart wear.

Soft Classic: Talbot’s moving to Garnet Hill. Draping, knits, curves, the traditional feminine. The outfits you see when they do the 360 on What Not To Wear.

Theatrical Romantic: skating outfits.

Romantic: Scarlett O’Hara gown, parasol, lace gloves, and veranda. Not hard to picture Mariah Carey on the tree swing. A nostalgic feeling, Mr Kibbe calls it ‘from another era’.

The three Gamines : I have no handle on this look yet. I keep seeing Fortune Teller for FG but I’m still studying. Feel free to help out.


Back to FN.


Soft Summer Flamboyant Natural 1
Soft Summer Flamboyant Natural 1 by christinems featuring a tie waist dress


Soft Summer Flamboyant Natural 2
Soft Summer Flamboyant Natural 2 by christinems featuring lace up shoes


Soft Summer Flamboyant Natural 3
Soft Summer Flamboyant Natural 3 by christinems featuring glass jewelry

The problem with these oversize loose tops is that they can look like tents unless the garment is built to define the shouler line. Holding in my mind that strong horizontal element across the shoulders to give the shape and an easy sleeve let me scan clothes really fast. Do you think length of the blouse matters? Long sounds better on the women I think of, unless you’re Farrah Fawcett tiny sporty. Long jackets are better. From the photos of Khloe, various lengths seem to work. The length of her taupish jacket seems less relevant than the strong shoulder and heavier texture.

Oversize-irregular-but-stiff felt like searching for a kimono with shoulder pads and no belt, not so much a flimsy tunic. Smocks must be out, too fussy. Peasant styles are too flowy and would seem to droop in the shoulder. Hoodies with a shoulder shape would be good, with their low heavy draping and plush texture.

Wraps seem a style that flatters many bodies, but this woman could look bandaged if not mummified if they were too skintight. She needs freedom to move.

Went out on a limb with the one shoulder blouse, I think it could be great if it sticks to other guidelines. The bone size on the woman would establish the strong horizontal across the shoulder.


- Texture makes a difference. It felt important and necessary. Rough is natural.

- Jewelry- anything that most people would feel was wearing them. Look at the ring with the blue outfit. This is the flamboyant part. You can buzz through 100 Polyvore pages or store displays in 5 minutes. Belts too, looking for the opposite of shy. Also, jewelry can add a lot of texture, as the chain mail bracelet. Can do a lot of jewelry at once.

- Found no prints that really work.

- Dresses big, bold, sweeping? No finds. Dresses in general are hard because they create a continuity that can seem monochromatic in Soft Summer colours. On this person, the piece are better broken up and layered. Even, unbroken lines aren’t really found in Nature. Rough is better than resin. The blue and grey dress (not, it’s grey, not white :)) in the last Polyvore might be D, though it does feel ‘big, bold, sweeping’. The print elements and shoulders are round-edged, which, along with the pastel colours, I hoped would add enough Yin (curve) to work.

- This is one of those looks that doesn’t come together on a hanger. The right woman has to wear it. I keep thinking these images should scream “FLAMBOYANT!!!” but they don’t. Is it just the cool palette? No, I think it’s the straightness and simplicity. If he’d called it Intrepid Natural, I’d have different expectations.

- The asymmetry appears to matter a lot. Though not essential, the look works better when the left side is not the same as the right. The opposite would be true on a Classic type.

- Hard to do wild colour combinations in Soft Summer. Worked at using warm and cool versions of same hue together, going slightly outside the Season’s colours, as a slightly too warm green, and using wide variety of colours in one ensemble instead of being carefully matchy – interesting how a more natural and relaxed vibe comes across from that alone.

- Back to Intrepid Natural. A daredevil element should figure into each ensemble for this to feel right on this woman. It can’t be too safe, even if it’s just a big watch, a huge purse, some piece needs over the top in size or artistic prominence, regardless of the palette, because that’s what these people are to look at, as Carrie so smartly pointed out (Farrah’s hair and teeth).

- A crease down the front of pants is a good way of establishing vertical line. It helps make a good T effect in the ensemble grey pants/white top, lower R, 3rd collection.

- It really takes all the elements for the geometry to come together. Once I started selecting items, I had no idea where this was going. It just felt odd. Add in the jewelry, shoes, pants for tops, and I could see the end result as making sense and could then tell what needed removing. The accessories seem to be running the show but they need the right backdrop. I’m still blown away by how effective this book is but it does take patience and willingness to be wrong, like everything else. All you need to see is one photo of yourself in three different necklaces to light up your sense of why it works and get the value.

- The most important aspect of the shoes went through some shopping stages and evolved into ‘simple’. Too strappy would look as if it couldn’t hold her up. Too chunky and the picture gets bottom-heavy. Rather than just looking at Khloe, your learn more by comparing the shoes (and everything else) on the sisters. Khloe’s are good! Texture via shoes counts, as rope on a wedge heel or sole detail.

PS – Khloe, your hair is perfect. I admire your ability to dress for your body type. If you go lipstick shopping, look at Givenchy Paradise Pink. Remember to celebrate that you have more inches of completely gorgeous than most anyone else.



The Dramatic True Summer

February 20, 2012 by · 51 Comments 


David Kibbe, Where Are You Now?

Maybe you had your colours analyzed and you know you’re a True Winter. Armed with those most-flattering colours, how come it’s not coming together for you? You read about the drama of Winter and say,

“Why do they keep forgetting about me? Dramatic styles feel intimidating and say nothing about me at all. I love softness. Is my self-perception off, like it was with my colours, or is there still something missing? I’m frustrated with feeling frustrated all the time over how I look.”

Once you know the colours in your skin, your Season, it takes one trip to the mall to realize that even if you buy items colour-matched with a spectrophotometer, they don’t always look right or good. Who could argue? Your colour analyzed palette comes in many different styles. Which is yours? You can’t be great in both the swirly silky print blouse and the Hugo Boss blazer. The strong vertical stripes that work on me will do nothing for the woman who is defined by abstract, splashy florals, though our Season is the same.

I’m not talking about taste because that can be part of what got us into the trouble of not looking impacting in the first place, buying what we like or what we were told to like. A 15 year old says “I don’t want to be stuck wearing only square clothes if I have a square body. I want to wear the clothes I like. That makes me feel good.” And it looks good when you’re 15 and still searching for yourself. The style carousel very much depicts the brain storm going on inside. The whole picture fits because it is a true representation of the wearer.

We outgrow wearing the brain storm because we outgrow being the brain storm. Our self-assurance comes across in part by having settled, like the demons in the Golden Compass (in Philip Pullman’s story, our souls exist outside our bodies in the form of animals; before puberty, the animals shape-shift with our emotions and moods; after puberty they settle to a permanent species). Adults learn who they are and settle, which feels more settling to look at than a woman who is still trying out different identities (does that look like Midlife Crisis?). At this point in our lives, beauty that could happen on its own is important to find. Once processing is involved, it is as stressful to look at as hair that’s been straightened to within an inch of its life, best left to the young.

Mr. Kibbe is right. You do look better with his advice. You can be as literal or encompassing as you choose, just as you can wear some of your best colours or exclusively those. On shopping days, I (a Dramatic Classic) still wear leggings, boots, a long belted T under a shorter off shoulder sweater, not my best look. Big deal. On first impression days, it’s a jacket, the point being your best jacket isn’t mine and are you really sure you can pick out your best line, cut, and detail in any item of clothing? As many of us will  figure this out alone and get it right as were able to figure out their colours without expert guidance – that is to say, very few.

I am strongly attracted to classification systems that work. This one does, whether you’re in the business of dressing yourself or others. 13 styles, or image identities, are described in detail, including all aspects of clothing, hair style and colour, and cosmetic colours. These are gathered under 13 consistent shape/line/colour umbrellas, all of which relate back to essence you’re trying to project, the same one you already project through your body’s inherent lines.

Lines communicate and our lines communicate about us. Art students do an exercise where they draw an object using the bare minimum number of lines. They do another where a model changes position every 5 seconds and the students capture her form only with a few lines till she moves again. As with colour, when two visuals don’t belong together, they push each other further in opposing directions. If the face is asymmetric, a symmetric hairstyle will have the face looking downright lopsided. Two lines, three lines, and our brains are making decisions about what’s in front of us.

Though we don’t wear shoulder pads today, I was amazed at how relevant and usable his writing still is. The styles really do create 13 very different pictures.  Only you will write the book where you agree with every word, but his is so enduring because so many women still connect so strongly with it. A straight line then is a straight line today. The quantity of information for each identity is huge with little repetition between them. I typed mine on a card, laminated it, and carry it with my Colour Book. I learned long ago that I don’t know how I look to others from the front or back. What has especially fascinated me is watching women get their style right and having all this remarkable, defining geometry appear out of their face, just as colours suddenly appear in your face when you wear your own Season’s palette. Who knew that both were there all along?

Any image identity can go with any Season. While there are recurring pairs, Dramatics among Winters, Softs among Summers, Naturals among Autumns, any of the 12 types of colouring can be found within any of the styles. I know Gamine Dark Autumns. I know Dramatic True Summers. His models are a Dramatic Autumn and a Romantic Winter. Figure out each one separately first.

Celebs are tough to characterize because they’re all so thin that it hides their body type.  To give you the drift, Christina Ricci seems a Soft Gamine. Mariah Carey is a Romantic. Melanie Griffith may be a Soft Natural. Ashley Judd is a Theatrical Romantic. If they shared one another’s best styles, every one would have detracted from herself. Even on their Size 4 bodies, when it’s right, it’s oh-so-right. Kathryn noticed how perfectly Dramatic Classic styles suited Rene Russo in the movie The Thomas Crown Affair. I so agree, like they were made for each other.

Shopping is just a quest to find yourself out there. The prize goes to the one who can most accurately and authentically represent the inside on the outside. That look is unbeatable by any bank account or new wave. Kibbe’s book takes a lot of reading and thinking. So much like learning your own colouring, it places us in a temporary chaos that is important and necessary. Our usual shopping structure both supports and constrains us. Like in a Primal Soup, creativity and innovation are taking place under our radar from which we pull new idea relationships. We are inclined to move away from that chaos, but it’s an important place to move towards. A lot is happening there that is good.

Today, I’d like to try my hand at being a woman whose colours and style don’t mesh so easily. We start with a Dramatic True Summer, a Season we’re used to seeing embodied in lines that are curved, flowing, watery.  Maybe today’s model is the True Summer who says she wants to wear black and scarlet instead of her better palette. Maybe what she really wants and doesn’t know it, is an outlet that expresses the drama she knows herself to possess. All she can articulate is resistance and she assumes it’s to the colours.

Working with animals teaches you to listen harder. They’re all telling us what they want or need. When you miss enough diagnoses that were right in your original patient history, you learn to put your arrogance on the shelf.  If the colour system isn’t working for the woman, it’s not her who’s broke. Rather than say to her “Wear your colours for a week, you’ll get used to them”, which isn’t entirely wrong advice, perhaps incomplete is a better word, I need to think about where her reservations are coming from. As we know, there are thousands of psychological levels here, but at the heart of it, what is missing for her? Perhaps, this woman needs to discover her own lines. Then, she can assemble the apparel outlines inside which she’ll paint her colours and feel good at last.

What’s a Dramatic look like? Not the luscious dumpling Romantic that the singer Adele is. Draw a Dramatic with a ruler not a compass, not just the lines of the face but straight across the shoulders and long, narrow, and straight down the body. Kib’s examples would be Joan Crawford or Jamie Lee Curtis. Adjectives like statuesque, sharp, and imposing apply the instant they walk in the room. The very beautiful Darin Wright, creator of the outstanding Season-analyzed cosmetic line eleablake, seems to me a Bright Winter Dramatic. You’d fashion her statue with a chisel and hammer from a piece of marble, not from dough, cloth, or cotton candy.

How would she dress? Far more briefly than in the book,

YES: sharp and geometric; sculpted, sleek&long, crisp; mod to heavywt  fabric; bold, sweeping, clean, angular (plunging V, thin turtleneck, mandarin, halter necks); mid-thigh jackets; coat dress, sharp shoulders, narrow no-waist;  colours as ensembles, monochromatics or neutrals or pastels; prints Picasso, bold; jewelry thin, sharp, asymmetric.

NO: round, swirled, draped, broken or horizontal lines; sheer, clingy, rough; frills, ruffles, gathers; shapeless necks; flouncy, nipped waist, fussy buttons, shapeless or boxy; heavy-chunky.

How do you do  sharp geometry in a cool and soft colour selection in every single item for everyday life?

Dramatic True Summer

Dramatic True Summer by christinems featuring high heels

It was surprisingly mind-expanding (and tiring) to have to get into another headspace. I pretended Darin was looking over my shoulder – “Girl, I’d no more wear a shell, matching cardi, and pearls, I’d look like my Grampa!!!!!!!!!!! Someone get me a cold compress and a glass of wine, look what she’s doing to me!!!!!!!!!” It is most interesting what our eye doesn’t see when we’d swear we looked at every item on the Polyvore screen. Through Darin’s eyes, I saw items I would have never registered.

I thought about the word ‘modern’. No particular sense of humor as in not funky or groovy. Not trendy, which has no strength. Modern became clean&futuristic, very much a Winter association in my head up till now.

I thought about what ‘bold’ means. Not sassy, one of the modern versions of bold, which can look tasteless and juvenile and for this category. Keeping boldness of style a separate entity than boldness of colour mattered since True Summer colours don’t come across boldly and I was trying to keep the number of colours controlled. Sometimes, I used an accessory, an unusual colour, or a contrast level to bring up the boldness of an entire ensemble.

Drama while keeping the bling down meant rediscovering how to convey drama through line instead of Dollar Store sparkle or cleavage. Every single item had to convey continuous vertical line and/or extreme angularity and/or unique geometry. Only a few items had more than one of these at a time, very hard to find in this palette. When I look at the Polyvore, it seems too conservative. If the clothes were in Bright Winter colours, they’d jump off the page more, but on a True Summer, she’d become a ghost.

I got a funny feeling of homesickness out of nowhere. I really had to shut myself off and be Darin. Like playing that Rush Hour Traffic Jam puzzle, I had to be very plastic about moving colour and style around one another. It’s a brilliant exercise. By the end, I couldn’t even stand a round watch face, or even a square one.

And I shall never complain about trying to find Dramatic Classic clothes in Dark Winter colours again. Try to put a Polyvore together, like watches for all 12 Seasons or all 13 Kibbes. You really have to get out of your own head, but when you come back, your own head is lot clearer. By deciding why an item is wrong for a Season or style, you learn more than by deciding why it’s right or going on the “I just like it, that’s all.” instinct.

Next is the Romantic Soft Autumn. Make a Polyvore outfit of any type of Romantic Autumn if you have time and send me the link. I’ll post it along with mine.

Cool Season Makeup Palettes

January 26, 2012 by · 42 Comments 

Eyeshadow is the one cosmetic product that I find can be matched to the Colour Books without smearing it out on paper or on your face. How much eyeshadow can you really apply to your eyelid in one shopping session, let alone truly know if it suits you? Impossible. This is a product worth learning to judge from the pan.

Like every other aspect of choosing your  most beautiful colours, recognizing your best eye makeup depends in large part on recognizing everyone else’s too, at least in a general sense.

Tricia Bratley is a (trust me) beautiful (shockingly so and I’m going to prove it in the next post) Bright Winter. She lives on the Wirral Peninsula in the NW U.K. And she loves makeup, all makeup, not just her own Season’s, in which she is most accomplished. Tricia assembled the palettes you see below, took the photos, and so graciously sent them to me to share with you.

This series sets Summer and Winter neutral (as in grays and taupes) eyeshadows, colour eyeshadows, and blushers, adjacent. Within each palette of eyeshadows, you may find options for the three Seasons within each True Season, but Tricia focussed primarily on the True Summer and True Winter when she organized these collections.

These palettes consist of MAC colours. If you have any questions about specific pans, please post them in the Comments and Tricia will come in and answer.

Neutral Eyeshadows


Summer neutral eyeshadows.



Winter neutral eyeshadows.



Coloured Eyeshadows


Summer colour eyeshadows.



Winter colour eyeshadows.





Summer's blush.



Winter's blush.


These photos are so good that there is nothing I  can add. Enormous thanks to Tricia for her work and her generosity :)

Never fear, the True warm Seasons are next.

Light Summer CE And Being Not Pale

January 16, 2012 by · 20 Comments 

Keep in your mind who we’re putting these colours on. Next to a cross-section of the population, this person is pale. But let’s call it light, since pallor implies ill health. Sharon Stone, Meryl Streep, they will be overall lighter than most people you put beside them. Their darkest colour never gets very dark.

The Light Summer person is light to look at standing in front of a black wall. But not always. In their natural beige brown hair and eyebrow colour, they look more medium till you start putting colour next to or on their skin. Then you notice that the lightest blusher that would be invisible on most women has a huge effect. To balance and not overtake, their closet is light. Light needn’t mean a bowl of dinner mints. How does a rainbow dress to look interesting and impacting? First, see yourself through others’ eyes.

Photo: mvasquez13

Nobody complains about looking at rainbows. They feel fresh, hopeful, soothing, and happy. Let yourself be who you are and get media perceptions about power out of your way. The clothing, weight loss, anti-aging, personal growth, and cosmetic industries can get you to buy more stuff if they can convince you there’s something wrong with you. It’s cheaper for them to make clone colours. Please believe me, there is nothing wrong with you. In your light colours, you are breathtaking. The sun shines out through the sky and water of your eye colour. That is such a special magic and few are capable of it.

I had a very beautiful, natural, easy Light Summer client. She arrived quite certain that she was a Winter and was going though the motions of a PCA just to confirm it (and come to find out, she had recently bought light blue and peach Capris just because.) Part of her Winter conviction came from seeing her facial structure as strong or intense, which it was, more in keeping with her ideas about Winter. When I think of Spring Summer blends, fragile doesn’t describe their bone structure – or anybody’s bone structure, for that matter. Meryl Streep (whom she greatly resembled), Sharon Stone, Joni Mitchell, Carmindy, Ivanka Trump (perhaps a stronger Spring), these faces express far more than daintiness. You’ll see many fine-boned faces among all Seasons. Media’s convenient typecast of power as dark, intense, and masculine is very far indeed from what power really is. It’s important to distinguish power from intimidation, the cheapest form of power. And like all things cheap, it is neither sustainable or enduring.

Light Summer is a Summer above all. She likes precision and dislikes clutter. Like True Summer, her personality is considerate, and to a lesser degree, can work the details all day and all night, and be uncompromising about getting them right.  She is not really stubborn, just striving towards an idyllic vision that’s almost romantic, as in Utopian.

We often think of  ‘feminine’ for True Summer, all lace and flounce, but that’s not quite the right adjective. Womanly is better. Moon goddess. Fertile (her version of earthy), giving, patient, complete (hence the circle symbol).  She can be very sentimental though the first interaction may be quite formal. Relationships, wisdom, and intuition are nearer her heart than raw intellect, which on its own strikes her as unkind, one-dimensional, and too boringly linear, logical, and external.

Spring’s arrival brings the potential for a little more giddiness. She’s more cooperative, happy in the middle ground, and so easy to get along with. She loves a laugh and takes life less seriously. The sun is coming out. She has humour, self-directed humour, the single best entry ticket to self-knowledge. She doesn’t get all the way to the stronger Springs’ “If life’s not fun, what’s the point?” but she does think “Why can’t everyone just lighten up and get along? Why did God even make Dark Winters? They’re missing all the good stuff.”

Photo: Domba

She embodies the simplicity of just being pretty. A little cute but mostly pretty. A face like a doll. Christina Applegate. Light Summer is not tough or rugged, it’s tender. Not stern, it’s lenient. Not funky, but still informal. Life can get so complicated, but not here. This is the afternoon off, the nowhere-to-be day, the tell-your-troubles-to person.

Light Spring is creamy, Soft Summer is foggy, True Summer is cool and misty, Light Summer is sunny and barely misty (or do I mean myst?), like a Once Upon A Time land. The rainbow when the sun comes out. Flower petal showers. Trees always in leaf. The lightest dusting of sugar sprinkled all over, a Cotton Candyland (Light Spring is the Jellybean Candyland).



Light Summer Not Pale


Light Summer Not Pale by christinems featuring black pants

She wears the light taupe shoe well because her hair is light taupe. On this woman, it actually does elongate the leg.

She may carry a green purse and she’d probably even go about in green pants. Light, fresh, and fun.

Warmth? Cashmere. It comes in so many colours. Likewise, fleece. It floats.

Wash those white pants with your darks to soften the white a bit.

A serious colour? Add a girlie colour.

A lot of light? Add a darker colour in a small area. Sunglasses count. Cool frame, cool lens, light hardware.

The light colours aren’t that light. Winter’s are even lighter because they’re not pastels. Make big use of your medium range of colours to move away from the pale feeling.

Squint to blur the details and you see dappled light, the perfect light on Light Summer.

Could drift away like a thistle on a breeze.

The dress on the left, too dark? Maybe so slightly. Reminded me of bunches of grapes. Good colour flow. Wear a light shrug or Pashmina and a fun shoe. Carry a light purse. Impact without consequences.

Turquoise ruffled blouse too saturated? Maybe. Don’t care. Love the colour on this person and I see it on them just fine (rather than not seeing them in a too-much colour).

Those blue capris, that’s darker and more saturated than your navy. The pants will be what people see so the area will get bigger by proportion. The V-neck top to the right of the yellow dress is better. But, they work well enough. If you look at the whole picture, they don’t jump out.

The fun juicy accessory. Why not? So people see your Miu Miu  pink coral clutch first (in the outfit along the R side.) So what. Wear your matching lipstick and carpe diem. Light Summer has that Spring fun element. True Spring is the Hawaiian luau. The luscious scent of the lei, the side to side sway of the hula dance, all about relaxed mood, hips, deliciousness, and fun. Light Summer might not get that unfastened but she’s Spring enough for the hair to come down.

I love when Neutral Seasons  (those groups of natural colouring whose inborn pigments are neither 100% cool or 100% warm, but have in-between colouring on the heat scale) demonstrate both Seasons they’re composed of. Wearing cooler and warmer versions of their colours together, as a cool pink lipstick and a light gold lip gloss, is an example. It gives them dimensionality. I also love when they wear both esthetics together. A Soft Summer looks superb in lace (Summer grace) and denim (Autumn strength). A Soft Autumn is beautiful in a flowing scarf (Summer water/flow) and cowboy boots (Autumn leather/desert).

Light Summer’s elements are Summer (graceful, water, feminine) and Spring (sun, movement, sport, play). I love ballet effects (grace and sport) as wrap tops and skirts, ballet flats, scoop necks like leotards, or body-fitting fabric in pretty colours. I love prints a lot, that can show the dewdrops feeling and depict motion with the body’s movements. Outdoor combinations that repeat water and sun, as any kind of sun hat, floppy to baseball to gardening, are great. Small sparkly stones near or on another colour are beautiful, raindrops on roses, as beading on a cardi, better in a wave, or a necklace against a blouse, or an earring near a rose lip.

I was asked how a True Spring expresses two energetic states at once.  I haven’t come up with anything because there is only the one energy. That seeming rivalry isn’t there. But there are many ways of depicting the sun and on a True Spring, there is almost no such thing as clutter.  A yellow or turquoise Swatch, several beaded bracelets, a necklace of turquoise beads and another of different length with a cluster of small gold charms, all three at once, it just looks better and better. Keep sunshine and colour near the eyes at all times.


In the each Season chapter of the book, there’s section  called Colour Equations. To help you see what was in my head when I put those together, and I appreciate that illustrating them is needed, I’ve pasted that section below:

Colour Equations

One light, medium, or dark neutral colour + one light colour or one medium colour

One light to medium-dark neutral colour + one light colour + one medium colour

Two light to medium neutral colours + one other colour as a smaller block

More restrained use of complements as gentler colours or smaller areas

Use of analogous colour combinations, moving towards True Summer’s monochromatic designs

Overall light to medium darkness effect


I was seeing this:


Is it pale? Well, compared to what?  Dusk? Yes. All the black in the stores? Sure. The person we’re putting it on? No.

Does it still feel too light? Add a darker block and keep it smaller. People will see it.

There’s a fair bit of colour variation but still continuity between colours, because that’s what this person looks like. Mixing up the colours even more than what’s shown looks really good. Keep a balance. The more colourful the look, the gentler the colours should be. This isn’t something to worry about if you have a Colour Book of swatches, the gentleness levels are built in.

My thanks to Natalie who pointed me to Alima Pure’s line of cosmetics. The eyeshadow and foundation selections are beautiful, with many choices for Neutral Seasons. Under Products, choose your category and when the page opens, click View Swatches. You’ll see the whole panel open up for comparisons with colour accuracy that appears very good. I can’t recommend particular colours, having never tested them, but if you have experience with this line, please do leave a comment.

If we’re dressing to repeat how we already look (and we are because it feels good to the viewer), the overall effect shouldn’t get darker than medium on a white to black scale. Big light blocks can look bridal or sterile, not right on a fun-in-a-quiet way, optimistic, and cheerful person. Getting too saturated or busy with colour means her clothes compete with her and win. If colours get too dark, her skin will be drained and grey (and it will follow, who needs grayer teeth?) Remember too that viewers have a lot more colours to process besides your clothes – there’s hair, makeup, eyes, and that big block of skin – that aren’t in the graphic above. They will thank you if everything matches.

The Dance

How could I forget the music? From classical ballet origins in True Summer and then loosened up when Spring appeared. Spring brings magic and mysticism, freedom and imagination.

Proving that anybody can make fire:


Too hot for Light Summer? Maybe that’s Light Spring’s and we need something dreamier? A reader felt a connection with this very beautiful harp music.



Does The Darkness Range of My Colours Matter?

December 12, 2011 by · 11 Comments 

David Chilton wrote The Wealthy Barber and the recent The Wealthy Barber Returns to help people understand how financial planning is do-able by everybody. Securities analysts can discuss financial theory till Wall Street freezes over but for consumers, the answer to all that is “Yeah, great. Show me how to use it. Show me how I’m supposed to make it work.” The same applies to colour analysts.

We know from How Can I Be 3 Seasons? that the field of colour analysis will be a sure-fire appearance asset for 100% of consumers once we sort a few things out. Already now, when it works, it REALLY works. When it’s good, it’s VERY GOOD. It is THE BEST thing that could ever happen to how you look and how you shop. The problems and questions need to be hauled out in the sunshine so we can get a good look at the cracks so we can seal them up for you.


This week, we’re sharing some of the questions I receive most by women who phrased the issue really well. Any changes I made are to preserve anonymity.

#3: …what I really would like to know is, what is the range for a Soft Summer when using the [swatches]?  I mostly mean in terms of value. For example, there is this one random rose brown that is unlike the rest of the browns. Do I need to buy rose-browns that are that depth? A few months ago I purchased a set of Soft Summer paint chips from Mary Steele Lawler and since I’m [interested in home decor], I found it quite interesting. When I found the rose-brown in a paint strip card, I believe it was the second darkest color and it had several lighter colors on that card. None of these are in my Soft Summer fan. Does that mean that they are also allowed since they are just darker and lighter versions of the same color? Can I take any of the colors to my darkest and lightest range?

Good, good question. Short answer: No, you can’t go fully to the lightest and darkest versions of your colours. Why not? Because they have to be lightened or darkened by adding or changing something. As soon as you do that, you change value (lightness/darkness) but you also change some other colour dimension too, either warmth or saturation. And then, poof, they look better on somebody else who matches the new settings better.

Soft Summer can go a tinge lighter than the swatches but not a lot before you trip into another Season. If colours become too light by having too much of the greying effect subtracted, the colours get too saturated and they don’t work with the person or the rest of the clothes. If you lighten the colours by adding white, they get too light for the person to balance. If you lighten them by adding yellow, you add too much of the wrong kind of warmth, plus you increase the saturation.

Photo by Dominic Morel, South Africa.



You might be able to move a little in value depending on your Season.

Whatever your Season, always observe The Most Important Thing about your Season’s colours. For the Lights, it’s lightness of colour, where even the darker colours would look light on people of non-Light-Season natural colouring. For the Darks, it’s that colours be quite dark overall, without saying that every colour is dark.  Lightness and darkness respectively is what makes the skin of these groups most young and evenly coloured. They cannot compromise on these key points. Warmth/coolness of colour is less stringent unless you’re a True Season. A Light could go a touch warmer and that might work, as long as she stays light in the colour. A Dark might go a little warmer or cooler, but darkness is what the viewer should recognize first overall.

Does this mean that a Light Season person can go as light as they want? No, it doesn’t. If you fan out a Winter and a Light Summer colour swatch book, you’ll see that Winter’s lightest colours are actually lighter than Summer’s. To satisfy Winter’s requirement for light colours to be icy, they contain very little colour pigment. Summer’s lightest colours are more ‘colourful’. To create the very high contrast Winters all need to look their very best, their icy colours must be very close to white. A Summer’s lightest tones are called pastel, meaning more pigment and greyed a little bit. Colour analysis wants to establish ‘How light are your lights and how dark are your darks and let’s get your wearing your full range’. Summer’s range of lightest to darkest is narrower, Winter’s goes to the very ends at white and black. A Light person can go a little lighter but needs to keep it pastel.

Awareness of what you see first takes practice. It may be easier to learn this by looking at an entire person. A Dark Season outfit will make the first impression of being darker than medium on a white to black scale. There may be (there should be) light parts that are very light, but what sinks into your sight center first is dark. A Bright Season person’s first ping on your consciousness should be clarity. One speck of dust, one little puff of cloud floating through, a trace of haze, and all those other great colours she’s wearing just got neutralized a little bit, and so did the glow of her face.

For the Softs, your eyes should register grayness, mutedness, fogginess, dullness before they check-in what the colour is. It’s gray before it’s yellow or purple or blue.  Soft Summer’s greying will be more perceptible, might strike your consciousness before how warm/cool or how light/dark. It’s that softness that matters most to perfect this skin and to meld what you wear with what you are. The position on the warm/cool scale isn’t quite so tight, there is a little fluctuation. The degree of lightness or darkness isn’t very tight either. A pretty wide range of each exists, though not all the way to white or black.

Even the lightest colours have a fair amount of pigment, more than the other two Summer Seasons. The Soft Summer represents the Summer palette seen in the shade. A little gold is added, though so little this far away from True Autumn that its effect is to complement Summer’s blue and make greyness. It will warm too, but out here, it doesn’t look gold or yellow, it looks like a fog brown overlaying True Summer.

Soft Summer is capable of many colours besides what’s in the Book as long as they hold the saturation position very low (and of course, adhere to the warmth and darkness ranges). It’s a balancing act. If the colours are changing their lightness/darkness level and changing the saturation too, then it wouldn’t look so good. If the colour is becoming lighter/darker and is staying very soft and muted and is staying cooler than warm, the harmony for Soft  Summer should be pretty good. You’re always balancing the 3 scales of colour at once. If you see a rosy brown outside your fan but your taste tells you it would look fine with your other fan colours, then it probably would, especially if it’s not a big area.

We often try to change one parameter of colour in our questions, forgetting that as soon as you change it, the other 2 change right away.

This is how it works in my eyes and thinking. If ever I find a colour mixing course to teach me in more detail, I’ll be there, brushes and mixing pots in hand. Something I’d like to know is this: Is there a lower limit to Soft Summer’s saturation? Does the Season occupy all the cool-neutral, mid-value colour space back to the starting point at the all grey axis? I’d say not because that axis is made of Winter greys, meaning composed only of B&W. To be a Summer Season grey, some pink, mauve, or blue should be definitely discernible. To qualify as a pastel at all, a fair bit of pigment must be present, more than for an icy colour. Hey. Either I’m wrong or I just answered my own question.

Can Natural Hair Colour Ever Be Wrong?

November 30, 2011 by · 51 Comments 

First, it’s never wrong. Never. Nature does not colour anybody discordantly. You are always your best match. Your childhood and adult hair, your grey hair, your teeth, your tan, your eyelashes, veins, freckles, the colour you blush, all perfect, all consistent. You were painted with one palette and one brush to be one Season. 80% of the time, probably more, you will stay within that group of natural colouring. Everything was made to go with everything else in mind.


Light Summer

Even if we are determined to ignore the stereotypes, uncertainty will creep in. How can a Light Summer grey early in life and to a medium dark grey? Wouldn’t that disqualify Light Summer? Let us call our model Linda, one of the many women of such sensitivity and emotional intelligence that colour has brought into my life.


For Linda, and she is far from alone, hair becomes our ‘self-defining monstrosity’. It’s never right. We’re subservient to hair stylists and their often-demented tastes, trends, and media, and our own dogged dissatisfaction with everything, most especially what we were given.

Bonaparte said “Good politics is getting people to believe they’re free.” Well, so is good marketing. The industrial revolution learned to create a prototype and then reproduce it as many times as possible with the least inputs. The plan worked rather well in the 20th century. Not so any more.

Bonaparte also said “History is just a series of lies on which we all agree.” Turns out you could substitute the word marketing for many other words in all sorts of contexts.

Linda’s PCA was done IRL with thanks to Sci\ART analyst Julia Dupps of Wish Wardrobe Consulting.

When we look together at your face changing with the drapes, we pay attention to the amount of shadowing under the chin. If there’s none, there’s no distinction between face and neck. They appear to be in the same plane, 2D, giving a heavy double-chin impression. If there’s too much shadow, the darkness bleeds up the sides and front of the face. It looks tired, severe, overly shadowed. On Linda, the lower half of her face is 10 years older than the upper half when she wears black. That’s not just a Summer effect, it’s very often a Light Season effect. Other Summer types handle darkness better.

What helped Linda to see the effect of black was to cover the lower half of the face in the photo wearing black. Let your eyes relax and take in the upper half of the face. Now take your hand away. Not the same, is it? You feel a step backwards, of tension, not the step-forward of relief.

She herself asked it perfectly: “Given that hair colors vary so widely in all the Seasons, why is it that two people are perfected by roughly the same colors but not the same hair color? Or does it have something to do with personal intensity levels and contrasts?”

Right! It’s a great thing when a question snaps straight to the issue. For instance, why can a True Winter who cannot look good in any orange in makeup or clothing get born with seemingly orange hair, as a natural redhead, and look magnificent? Even if we agree that hair colour is not tied to Season, only skin tone is, how can a person without orange in the skin wear an orange hat without clashing?

Short answer: Not sure but I’ve seen it so many times that I’m convinced. I have never once seen natural hair colour not work beautifully with the palette and the skin. It just looks more unique, more unexpected, more individual, a personal signature optical effect. It always looks breathtaking. Even if we agree that hair colour is extremely variable among Seasons, how can orange in hair work when orange in clothes doesn’t?

My longer answer is that there are many ways of using primary pigments (red, blue, yellow) to create colours. You can make the very same orange, say, using many combinations of red, blue, and yellow, as you vary saturation, warmth, and value. It’s the endless play between the 3 primaries and the 3 dimensions (warmth, darkness, saturation) that makes the variety. So perhaps the red-haired True Winter or True Summer got there with cooler pigments. When pure cool Seasons reach their 20s, if they got red hair, it’s not usually Ron Weasley red. There’s often a pink or purple cast, like cinnamon rose, or a lot of darkness. Below is my husband, a True Winter, with our daughter who is now an 18 year old Dark Winter with a million freckles. His eyes are warm amber brown. He ain’t no Autumn, the ruddiness in his skin is out of control in muted colour, warm or cool. He is mostly grey now and still absolutely needs True Winter coolness and saturation to calm his skin and slim his face.


The idea that you can make the same colour using many different pigment combinations isn’t new to us. We see certain swatches that are so very similar between Seasons. They were created using different combinations of the primary pigments, and adhere to the particular 3 colour dimensions of their respective Seasons, but the final swatches can look very  alike. As one of Rachel’s recent comments reminded me, what makes the two similar dots ‘belong’ to their different Seasons is the colours you wear them with. Visually there is harmony because at a more fundamental level, all the swatches were created with the same colour properties in mind so they can make a visual connection when seen or worn together. That’s their reason for being together on your body, with your Season’s palette, in each outfit, and with your hair and cosmetic colours. They feel related to one another with a ring of truth and believability. We can perceive it better than we can describe it.

The graphic below was made for an article dedicated to helping True Summers select their best corals. There’s a similar article about choosing blue.


Dark Winter above, True Summer below.


Dark Winter and True Summer have some really similar cool corals. Not surprising since both are cool Seasons and both are slightly muted. The difference is how they’re muted, in that True Summer is muted by blue-gray. Dark Winter is muted by Autumn gold but there’s so little of it out here at Autumn’s outer limits that it just looks like a trace of cool grey in the colours, not unlike True Summer gray. Dark Winter is much more saturated colour but True Summer has some clarity too. Each version of coral belongs with its palette very naturally and easily. No swatch sticks out like a visitor because they were all made with pigments undeviating with the rest of the colours for that group.

Eye colour is more predictable than hair in a Season but there are still surprises. Some of you have taken close-up pictures and couldn’t believe the colours the camera found. Or you try to photograph a Catherine Zeta-Jones golden brown Winter eye and all this black comes out. My conclusion is that we just don’t know precisely how our pigments are combined, or if someone knows, I would be most grateful if they would tell me.

I think there are other variables than just colour. Skin thickness for instance. Summer skin really looks thinner to me, like a rabbit compared to a big dog, for those of you with a fascination for animal surgery. Maybe more venous blue is showing through Summer skin. Winter is thicker-skinned (in more ways than one), more rubber than paper. Fewer colours show through. Winter’s can be an almost colourless skin without makeup except that the red comes out…makes sense, red is a colour whose contribution we perceive more strongly. Munsell’s properties of colour were developed based on how we perceive colour, yellow less and red more.

Many, many True Summers have quite dark hair.  Jaclyn Smith for one. Olivia Newton-John for another (who might be a Light Summer but I say True only because she isn’t a great blonde).


Dark hair can be found in Light Summer too. We could call her Lily.


She even looks like Jaclyn Smith. Round eyes, full lips, rounded cheekbones, this is a very Summer face. When I look at photos, first thing I do is make a hand window to block out the hair, natural or not. If you screen off the hair from the face, suddenly it’s a much softer look. The bold Winter drapes would be far too aggressive. The faintest, most gentle heat is here.

I can hear someone thinking “Wait a minute? What about Bright  Spring?”  This is when I start flipping makeup colours in my head. Let’s put near-neon-rose lipstick on Lily’s face. What do you see first? The lipstick or the woman? A Bright Spring could not only balance that colour but needs it for her makeup to rise up to meet her natural pigments.  There’s always something a little crisp for me in Spring. Light Summer is crisp as in lettuce, so still soft. Light  Spring is tissue paper. True Spring, hm, taffeta? Bright Spring contains Winter, it has more hardness. It has to snap when it breaks like a matchstick icicle. Bright Winter is a candy cane. Lily’s face has gentle, rounded features and watery (not intense) colours in her eyes. (Not that I do colour by these analogies, just that it’s interesting.)

And yet, Lily’s hair and eyebrows are darker than you’d expect on a Light  Season. In Light Summer’s cool, fresh colours, only warmed exactly as much as her eyes and skin, her skin will be positively blooming, clean, and young. The mantle of darker hair makes a higher contrast than we usually see on the lighter-haired wearer of those colours, the most pleasant surprise. We want to keep looking. That’s her special radiance. Getting back to Linda’s original question, this is also why I don’t talk about contrast very much. There are too many versions of it in any Season. What looks real and right and makes sense for contrast is to repeat what you look like. Lily and Linda will balance more distance between light and darks than Michelle Pfeiffer, but all three women are working from the same Light Summer colour menu.

Our Linda looks perfect with radiant skin and distinctively beautiful eyes in her light, fresh colours. A weight seems to have been lifted from her, even in the expression in her face and eyes. Instead of the eye stalling on the dark colours, we look at her face and are aware of the light aqua in the same eye space and have a good feeling from that. Her hair that could look hard when repeated in Winter’s colours takes on a cool lightness of weight, and gives her face the composure, wisdom, and individuality that she has earned. Light, fluffy, soft grey hair could be lovely too but somehow the darker colour and texture give a self-possession that distinguishes her more, not less.

It sometimes seems as if younger women want permission to be every Season, desperately seeking proof that anything really does work. By the time we’re 45, many just want permission to be Winters. In our 60s, we seem to segue into True Summer. After years of ‘winterizing’ herself, Linda questioned her hair colour for her Light Summer (and she’s not fully winterized – saturate the jacket to full on royal purple and imagine fuchsia lips!). She’s more perceptive than overly sentimental about herself and was able to  realize this : “…the underlying issue was that I did not want to be a Light Summer and was looking for a way out!!  I focused on my hair as the reason why I just could not be a Light – not wanting to remember how lovely my skin looked with that palette. I pictured lights as Cate Blanchett and Naomi Watts – but more defining than how I pictured Lights is how I pictured myself. ”


The Soft Seasons

A woman who has had every hair colour is very often a Soft Summer or Soft  Autumn. As we said in Soft Summer Landscapes, the medium-ness of this colouring allows it to be swayed in many directions, though seldom with big success if it rocks too far. The owner of said colouring can feel restless and questioning, like “Is this all there is for me? Peacock everywhere and I’m fog?  What am I supposed to do with that?” Hair and  makeup advice is all over the map for these women because without draping, nobody can figure out the common denominator that knits every colour to the canvas.

If an industry can convince you there’s something wrong with you, they can destabilize you, which makes you buy more stuff. That’s easy to do. Just make everyone believe that if you can’t do peacock and your friend can, then you must have missed the boat. We forget how sensitive we all are to colour. One man in a room, one pink stripe in his tie, and every woman caught it. Being bashed over the head is less distinctive in our world than quiet self-assurance. Isn’t it quiet self-assurance we’re all striving to reach?

I won’t say a lot about Soft Season hair because it’s been covered. Ask me where if you can’t find it. Hold the faith that every colour is beautiful. Worn by a human being who contains those very same colours, it becomes miraculously beautiful. The person is elevated to a version of themselves that even their second best Season colour-analyzed swatch book can’t achieve, no matter how close you are between the two. A Soft woman’s best hair grows out of her head as a slightly warmed ash, maybe darker, maybe lighter.

The next four are photos of (let’s say) Micaela. She is a Soft Autumn, though to me, looks closer to Soft Summer than True Autumn.

Blonde (and wearing white):







Did you feel the relief when you got to the last picture? It takes an effort to go back to the first three. Micaela feels it too, you see the ease in her face when she releases the struggle and simply wears what she was made to wear. How could she possibly make herself more lovely to look at than in the final photo? Why would anyone be given so much pure beautiful light and proceed to conceal it? As she said, we all look back at past photographs and wonder “Why couldn’t I see it before?”

Once a colour analysis is done, it is undeniable to have seen your own face change with your own eyes. Many women keep the result to themselves for a few days. They feel a mental and emotional shift taking hold that feels quite precarious at first. It’s always vulnerable to come out of a hiding place. Eventually, you carefully give way to the delight of finding a secret garden in your interior, a cautious ‘hard to believe this could be as good as it looks’. Soon enough, the need to protect it and keep it private evaporates. Nobody is happier for you than me. Not because you’ll wear better lipstick. Everyone should find their garden.

Mr. Springsteen said “You can’t start a fire worrying about your little world falling apart.”

But this is more fun.


The name of the album is You Get What You Give. Very apt.

Listen to the song.

…change your geography.

…when you lose yourself, you find the key to paradise.


With great thanks to the women whose grace and generosity in allowing their photos to be shared helped us to see and learn. And with recognition of their achievement in having outgrown their hiding places.



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