You are about to take a personal journey with Danish author, Anne-Cathrine Riebnitzsky. I know that many readers will find familiarity in her experiences and feelings. I am very grateful to Anne-Cathrine for discussing personal colour analysis from the one side that matters most: the client’s.
I self diagnosed as a Winter in the 90ies after reading the book “Colour Me Beautiful.” I was 15 or 16. There were only four seasons then. My internal feeling was that I was a Winter. I was a bit sorry that the beautiful strong colours of Spring couldn’t be mine as well, but in my heart I never had any real doubts. A Winter I was.
I followed the idea of Winter to the best of my ability but gradually swayed in other colour directions too. The years passed and I thought less about colours.
One day probably about 5 years ago, I tried on a beige item and noticed how my skin was completely even. Most people who knew just a bit about colour would often comment on my “warm green eyes” and I had begun to suspect that perhaps I was an Autumn instead. The beige colour had me puzzled … now I did not know what I know today. I was unable to see the whole picture. And moreover it turned out that I am one difficult woman to analyse.
This beige colour became the beginning of a long journey hunting for my true season. Here I discovered how much had happened to the world of colour analysis since the 90ies. I discovered Christine’s wonderful blog and many other sites. I became quite absorbed with colours as a new hobby.
Lesson no. 1: Even and “perfect” skin is not the same as your face looking like the colour you are wearing. Believe me – you will be misled if you go down this road. Even and perfect skin is something entirely different. It is you glowing in a way you had not foreseen, and unless you are fortunate enough to already know your colours you may actually never have seen this face before no matter how often you stare in the mirror.
The first analysis
I tried to analyse myself. That is really difficult to do. I finally flew to another European city to have an in person analysis. I was desperately hoping to be a Bright Spring. Those were the most beautiful colours to my eye at the time. Second would be Bright Winter. The worst would be Soft Summer because I couldn’t associate with the colours – though I actually owned numerous pieces that were soft.
The analyst was Sci/ART trained – this was the system that to my rather systematic mind made the most sense. There are multitudes of colours and many that suit us, but the whole measuring process is to my mind the key to opening the door of the vast house which is your season and which you will only feel at home in if you have in fact opened a house which is your house.
From the first four drapes it was clear that black and silver were best. There was no doubt I could wear black. This was something I had questioned myself, and I was glad to get this confirmed. We moved through the many drapes. I was difficult. Provoking a bad reaction to my skin is not easy. The warm drapes are the only ones were it is really easy to see. From there it is a slow game. We slowly exhausted the possibilities – almost all of them.
We actually ran out of time. But we agreed on Bright Spring – though one of the drapes was actually too strong and there was a reflection from the skin on my chin. I was happy with the result. And also quite aware that I had actually pushed for something which might not be the accurate truth. Unfortunately I had to fly back the next day and my analyst had an appointment so we were out of time.
Lesson no. 2: Make sure you have plenty of time for an analysis. Perhaps you are really easy. But perhaps you are not. It may take five hours. How long it takes is not important. Getting it right is important.
Lesson no. 3: Do not try to force your analyst or manipulate her. They are human beings too. Be accurate about this. Try to observe what really happens in the mirror – not what you would like to happen. Difficult, but necessary.
Correction by shopping
It so happened that I wore the Bright Spring colours quite well – however eventually my mistake caught up with me, as I bought a turquoise blouse which was an exact match to the fan – but which also shone off from the skin under my chin. Exactly as the one drape had done in the test.
I was back to square one somehow.
I flew to another European city to have my second test. Also by a Sci/ART analyst. I told the analyst in advance of my previous history. She sat me down and looked at the first four drapes. I could still wear black and silver equally well.
Here is the hard part for you: If you were an analyst and a client walked in and said that she had discovered she wasn’t a Bright Spring after all, where would you go? What would you assume?
This analysis moved forward speedily. Very fast – faster than I could understand – I was a Soft Summer. The season whose colours felt most wrong for me. But I had promised myself not to try to sway any analyst ever again. I had promised my self that whatever the outcome I would try it, live with it, and do my best to accept it.
The worst part of this analysis was that I didn’t see nor understand what the decisions were based upon. I couldn’t in any way see how those drapes enhanced me. Only the last two drapes could I see. The pine green was actually intensifying my eyes like it is supposed to. The dark blue did something to my hair.
The whole thing took less than two hours including makeup. Off I was and the analyst went on to the numerous other clients at hand that day. I went outside into a park and sat down and cried. I know it sounds ridiculous and that this would probably not happen to you. You would have walked straight back and told her to redo the whole thing. Well, I didn’t. I flew home and lived in Soft Summer for 18 straight months. I hated the colours. The compliments stopped. I felt kind of depressed. But I am a diligent person. I am a perfectionist and I actually do not care what I have to put myself through once I have decided upon something.
It was incredibly difficult for me to make an outfit work – though it is supposed to be easy in this season where the underlying grey combine all the colours. It was a struggle for me. I had the palette lying open on my desk to try to get to know and like the colours. I could get myself to like the darker colours, but the light ones didn’t mean anything to me.
Lesson no. 4: You should not have to struggle so hard! Some may be surprised by their palette. But really – if you have tried living in a season and it still feels wrong, then there is probably something wrong. Colours are energy. If you live in the wrong house it is going to feel complicated hard and wrong and probably depressing. I am not with the people who say that this is not exact science. Well – in a way it is. Colours can be measured quite accurately. And you should look more than just “kind, relaxed, well” – you should look remarkable.
Elea Blake makeup
I bought some of the make up for soft summer from Elea Blake – here I received the first confirmation, that Soft Summer might not be true after all. The darker choices in eye makeup were fine. But the skin make up was a puzzle. None of them worked. As in NONE. They all looked like something that had been smeared on top of my skin. They would not blend.
Knowing that Dark Winter and Soft Summer can sometimes share some colours I bought some small samples of DW makeup. Those worked a lot better. This new information rumbled in my mind.
Lesson no. 5: If you really are searching for your season and you truly cannot in anyway find the means to go and have a test, then see if you can narrow your options down. Write to Elea Blake and order the small samples of skin make-up. It could give you a good hint. I believe it is more accurate than lip draping. These products are very precisely composed. My personal belief is that at least 3 or 4 of the skin colours should suit you if you are in that particular season. I may be wrong, I am no expert – this is just my own personal experience.
Sitting next to a real Soft Summer
In the summer 2013, I participated in a congress for creative writers. I remember this moment distinctly. I was sitting next to a woman with silver hair and beautiful hazel eyes – quite like my own. She was the most stunning person in the room. We all looked at her from time to time. Never had any silver haired woman in her 50ies looked so beautiful. We were many young people – but none as beautiful as her. I knew she was a Soft Summer. She wore Soft Summer. She had never been analysed but she knew her colouring and she combined them in a way that could not possibly have made me look the least bit interesting. I remember the exquisite earrings in green and purple mother of pearl, her lilac blouse, the soft pink lip. That did it for me. I was no Soft Summer no matter how hard I tried.
On line analysis
During my whole journey I had two online tests where I sent a lot of photos – one said Bright Spring, one said True Summer bordering with Soft Summer. The latter was followed by a makeover done on a photo of my face. I strongly disliked the look of it. I had no idea who the woman on the photo was – I understand that the photo to begin with was me – but I couldn’t recognize the woman as me.
Today I look at the questionnaires that were designed to help those analysts make a decision. Well … let it suffice to say I cannot recommend it.
I gave up on the whole thing. I couldn’t work it out. It was a relief to put on a black T-shirt – both emotionally and physically. I believe most people actually can feel the effects of colours. Even hospitals use colours.
I went with what I felt, bought a Dark Winter fan and noticed a big improvement.
A small miracle
By chance I noticed that one of Christine’s newly trained analysts was a Dane. I had seen her name before and contacted her via Facebook. I warned her that I was difficult to test and that I didn’t know which way to go now. Except I probably was some kind of Winter. At least some kind of cool or cool-neutral season. Or perhaps I was something else. Probably not a warm.
We agreed on a date. Anette was eager yet admitted being a bit nervous since I would be one of her first real clients. She said I wouldn’t have to pay if we couldn’t figure it out – which was nice of her and took some pressure of, though admittedly by now my life had changed so much that the cost was less of a concern.
Anette had blocked the whole day for just my analysis. She said she was looking forward to learn too.
The draping began. I was fortunate enough to not have any trace of colour in my hair (I have always found it difficult to strike anything that would look natural).
The first four drapes showed what I already knew. I could wear black and wear it remarkably well. Warm colours were not so good. I actually felt unwell wearing those colours. We made due note of what bad effects looked like in my face.
I have many different colours in my eyes. I have dark hair. I balance a lot of dark and cool colours. We moved forward slowly. I had explained that it was vital for me to understand and see with my own eyes what was a good drape and what was a bad drape. We got rid of the warm seasons quickly. The obvious ones. Then we moved on. Anette kept saying – well, this is not bad, but I believe you can look a lot better. This hope carried us on and on and on.
The biggest surprise for me was that beyond the true warm seasons, my worst colours were from Light Spring and Light Summer. There were a couple of turquoises there that were so harsh and strong and “unbelonging” on me that it took me by surprise.
So what about Soft Summer then? Well this is actually not my worst season. I completely understand that I could be put in that season though it is very far from what I really am.
Once we finally moved into the 3 Winters we knew we had it. My eyes cleared. I did not know that the white in my eyes actually can become really white. I had not seen this for so long I thought it had disappeared with age. The bit of my hair that was visible shone with a depth that was really becoming. Winter it was. We just didn’t know which one. It was very difficult. I span a lot of colours. I span a lot of coolness.
By comparing all the blues we finally discovered that it was not Dark winter. I became slightly fussy around the chin. So more colour then. More intensity. Though DWs reds were beautiful on me.
In the end we settled with True Winter, but not entirely sure. We decided I would have to come back another day. We were both exhausted. It had taken about 5 hours.
I drove home excited. After all this was actually still a huge success for me. I was now down to two beautiful seasons which I both really liked and which also made me look more stunning than I had seen in years.
Lesson no. 6: There is no such equations as “I look terrible in Soft Summer ergo I must be a Bright Winter.” You worst is not necessarily straight across the wheel of seasons. It could be only a few seasons away.
Second visit – the final result
I lived in and with True Winter. Colours that are hard to find when shopping, so I didn’t find that much new stuff – but clear white was easy to find and really good. Black was good. I dyed some old faded jeans and some old dresses. I knew enough about material from reading Christine’s many articles and from intelligent people who comment those articles, to know that cotton and soft fluffy surfaces weren’t going to hit it right with a Winter – but the black jeans work well. I never really liked cotton much anyway – it is easy to wash, but there my interest stops. Cotton fades really fast compared to plastic, satin, silk and shiny leather.
Black mascara was good. Again I had really good help from the little samples from Elea Blake. Unfortunately I had only ordered True Winter – but still this helped. The samples of skin makeup and lipstick were a great help. I noticed that some of them turned me a little pale and “deadly grey” around my mouth. A sign that these colours might be a bit too cool. Anette wrote to say she had noticed a bit of quietness in the true winter drapes which she wasn’t sure was right. But then we had a few of the Bright Winter luxury drapes that we were not entirely sure about. Were they too much? Too warm? Anette and I wrote many emails back and forth.
Anette and I had not had time to get around to makeup during the draping session. For the next visit I decided to wear mascara and my usual eyeliner which is black. I know it may sound hard but black doesn’t look hard on me. It is the only colour that doesn’t turn the lower rim of my eyes red.
The makeup actually helped in this case. It also helped a lot that we were now down to two seasons – our eyes were fresh and ready. I was a Bright Winter as I had slowly come to suspect.
There may be many more Brights out there who like me actually do not look too bad in colours that are not theirs. They just do not look as smashing as they would in their true colours. I think the reason is that Bright can take so much colour – and therefore you would have to be severely off on more than one dimension to look really bad. But I also think that these are the seasons who more often than not look a lot less beautiful than they could.
Looking back I now understand why evening gowns always have been so easy for me. 1. I would never go to a big party without makeup (and makeup greatly enhance winters). 2. Gowns are often in bright colours and often in shiny material which is a real winner on me.
I am still adjusting. I am still feeling the energy of this season. But I have come home. I got to see with my own eyes what my season really is. I understood what I saw. I love the colours. I also now know that there are colours out there in the world which are brighter than any human colouring – but 99% of the time I have to focus on getting the colours bright and clear enough. I have come home.
I remember how Bright Spring always made me feel a bit exhausted – like the energy was a bit too high for me. I felt a bit serious and stern in True Winter. Bright Winter is wonderful. It is enhancing, asking me to be what I am and to not shrink back in fear. Bright Winter is asking me to be bold, to be me, to be all of me – and in doing so allowing others to be all of who they are.
Sometimes I am wearing an outfit that is not quite enough. Not enough sharpness of colour, not enough contrast. It feels a bit boring, a bit like “come on you can hit the mark, so be your best” – so I make adjustments. It is not at all difficult for me to combine these colours. Not at all. It comes naturally. Black pants and a blouse in a strong colour – easy! Lipstick, black mascara – easy.
I use the advice from the article about the makeup for Winters. I don’t fade or remove anything till eyes, lips, and blush are all there. I do my shopping carefully. I make a list of what I need and I do not compromise – not in colours, not in lines. It is not that hard really. It just takes a bit more patience than what is natural for me – but the effort is well worth it.
A couple of things on my mind lately.
First, body lines and how they matter as much as colour (or almost :)) in a final image.
I send out a newsletter to my clients containing items from the retail world that show the colours of that Season, with talk of how it beautifies that particular group of natural colouring. With every new issue, I worry that women will see it as an endorsement of every item for every person. I feel responsible when I see a tall, stiff body dressed in draping clothes that just look floppy and clingy. I’m thinking that I need a new format. Body line is taken into big consideration when I shop for me. So should it be when I shop for you.
Second thing bugging me a bit. I wrote RTYNC 2 years ago (blue book, right column). There, I began understanding the language of the 12 Seasons (Seasons means types of colouring that humans can be organized into), and how all five senses are invoked in our perception of colour. The problem became that folks tried to fit themselves into those categories instead relying more on a complete and thorough draping process. If you’re a dramatic, intense Light Spring, then you are.
I’d hear, “I was draped as a True Winter but I’m not dramatic, so should I wear Summer colours? Maybe I’m not a Winter?” If you’re a Winter dressing as Summer, you look weak. Many Summers can take a fair bit of saturation, beyond the swatch books probably, but they are not Winters and nor are Winters Summers.
Softer True Winter
I guess my question is, how in the world can one come to terms with feeling, being and acting more like an autumn, but being draped as a True Winter?? I don’t feel like the dramatic that I am supposed to be as a winter. I also have salt & pepper hair, so I feel like I am softer somehow and really wish there was a “soft winter” category. I do feel like with my graying hair, I have a softer look to me and am worried that I will look harsh with stronger make up. What can you suggest for someone like me? Is there anyway to wear softer winter colors without looking completely off? I do wish there were more examples of gray haired winters out there.
Or Google “gray hair women” and see the many fantastic Pinterest collections, like this one.
The minute I or anyone else writes something about the Seasons, it becomes a pigeonhole that gets propagated all over the place. If you find your whole person as you know her, or as anyone else knows her, inside a book, you’re among the rare.
The drama with True Winter is a typecast. I have never seen one where it’s absent, but it’s not obvious. Some are fiercely loyal, will take the car to drive their friend to Emerg if her brother takes sick, stay up all night with the family, and create lots of conflict when you suggest that someone needed that car to get to work. They live in a body like Pink’s and wear off-the-shoulder sweaters and leggings and carry gym bags instead of purses, though they have a penchant for chandelier earrings.
Some are intensely dedicated promoters, requesting that you mail them boxes of your business cards because they’re giving them out like candy. They’re 65 and not interested in theater of any sort, prefer practical clothes and a little gloss and blush only, but they know what they like and don’t mind saying what a person might not want to hear. Winter is very brave. This one has the body of TV Mom. The face looks casual and kind, though the eyes look at things with intensity. She wears pearls and traditional femininity; nice classic suits for the office, small dangle earrings. Black, white, and red together are too bold for her taste.
Some can be very harsh except about their own needs, extreme, and a little revenge oriented. They will do a Beyonce lemon juice fast for a week and eat a whole ice cream cake on Saturday. Their drama is to exaggerate their social behaviour with friends as much as the intensity of their alone time, feeling pulled apart without both. Outward drama is expressed as No Limit eyeliner one day, and no makeup the next. Not interested in jewelry, it’s confining and fussy. Tall, lean, not a single cuddly element, they’re in running shorts or skintight jeans and muscle tanks with a black leather jacket. Wouldn’t wear pink of any sort, might consider purple (which is a type of drama in itself).
Drama gets grouped with flamboyance, exaggeration, and excess, creating fashion synonyms and crossovers that weren’t intended and will only apply to a few people. The word drama can take many forms. For many True Winters, their drama is of distance and silence. The meaning is more about the tension of extremes and absolutes. The drama is the simplicity, rather than turmoil, tragedy, tension, and crisis. Those are more hot-blooded. There may be scenes but they’re quick. When it’s over, it’s over.
Many are not as dramatic looking as the Season has been made out to be. They are not very dark. True Winter is often very medium in appearance, average, regular, everyday faces. Once the drapes go on, their drama is in how absolute the skin’s reactions are to colour. For others, the drama will happen once everyone sees that strong fuchsia-violet lips and cheeks look completely at home and the face is suddenly not plain at all. It’s strong and clean. This is a hard face to describe because it won’t stand out at the mall. Liz Taylor, with the eye colour and delicacy in the face, was more likely a Bright Winter, a colouring that looks more exceptional out and about.
This is where the crossover into Autumn happens, especially in the old days. Dark eyes and hair, and you were a Winter. In both, words like strong, bold, practical, and determined, could apply, so personality quizzes got mixed up. Both can be passive-aggressive. Autumn usually has more compassion and less intensity, but not always. Too much history goes into shaping personality to figure out Season by character.
There is no Soft True Winter in the colour system that I practice. That just basically means True Summer. However, True Winter is not fully saturated. Next to Bright Winter, it looks quite soft, like True Summer in many colours. What this skin cares about more than saturation is coolness.
We need some clarity about the softness you’re looking for. Perhaps the colours are fine and we haven’t quite nailed down the problem yet. Softness can mean many things. In colour, it means dusty. That will set you back. Maybe you need True Winter colour with softer lines, textures, and prints – romance – Angora, cashmere, florals, swirls, and so on. Maybe you need to choose lighter colour and less darkness from the True Winter palette, especially once hair silvers. This is a lovely time to wear the icy lights. True Winter that’s not wearing those is not really being True Winter. They’re being a Dark Something.
Think of the drama more as colour minimalism, which your Autumn-y sensibility will appreciate. You already don’t buy pastels as a was-Autumn. You probably also like style simplicity without much decoration. That said, there are women of every Season who absolutely need high level adornment just to look normal, and so are there women who look better in sleek functionality in every Season.
With silver hair, I would think of wearing more grays than black. Aim for a lighter overall effect. Wear sheer cosmetics and the bold colours away from your face as purses and nail polish. Feel free to drop the saturation a bit but don’t wear pastels, whatever you do.
The floral cardi and pants are allover too dark. Add a light element near the face where it has more impact. Doesn’t have to be equal surface area, we still get it.
Keep distance between colours. Lights next to darks. Avoid too matchy (black shoes with berry dress feels better than all berry).
What feels safe?
Don’t make too many noises about looking great in black and white while out in public. Wear them a lot and add only one other colour. If you look at everyone else, you’ll see that this is plenty dramatic.
Wear lots of gray.
What feels unsafe?
Colour in general? Keep it small and away from the body, like a purse. We still see it as part of you.
Icy colour? Buy a pyjama.
Fuchsia? Buy the next closest colour that feels better.
Metallic and shine? Ditto colour in general (above) or bypass them altogether.
Avant-garde style? Wear traditional. If you like pearls, just be very sure they’re not creamy if they go anywhere near your teeth.
A Gentle Dark Autumn
Writing about this Season thus far has seen words like tribal, equestrian, military, strong, menswear, business. True for some body types.
Here are some more:
Delicious fire, Aztec Chocolate Truffle brown, dark cocoa dusting, melt in your mouth center,
Plush velvet curtain red, you crush it in your hands over and over because it pushes back, sumptuous feeling,
Teal satin, liquid metals dripping off curves, sensual looking,
Whites of liqueurs, Bailey’s Irish Cream,
Cognac and Benedictine yellows and browns, opulent, expensive, reserved for the few,
Dark, hot Espresso, the heart beats faster, involuntary,
Nothing you can do, once it takes hold of your senses, Dark Autumn stimulates,
Until you’re damp, you don’t know Dark Autumn, whose power lies in overwhelming arousal.
Are you panting?
In life, always move towards the heat. Maybe it’s a little scary, but this heat tastes yummy and it feels gooooood. Rich fudge syrup, liquid gold and bronze, the glorious heat of Autumn…
With a bite. Winter’s darkness is less comfy. Chartreuse gets noticed. Chili and diamonds are an uncommon match.
There is nothing dilute about our relationship with these colours. They are not a gentle caress. We love them with intention.
We are most afraid of our light.
You don’t have to be perfect.
A little Soft Autumn (ruffle blouse lower R) will do no harm. It’s still warm-neutral of the right kind of heat (Autumn’s). If people could get their heat level right, that alone makes a gigantic difference in appearance.
Below, not giving up your white pearls? Why should you? You have enough Winter to wear them. Just do the same thing as you do to black -warm it up with the other things you add. If the pearls are creamy, antique, or chocolate, even better.
Wear red (we feel red as warm).I know I’m pushing my luck with the mixed prints in the center. I pick clothes that would impress me all to pieces if they walked in the room.
The gray boot too cool and blue? Sure is. Wear it around the city for a few days, it’ll be fine. If you find a colour nearer to elephant or asphalt gray, excellent. The shoes the model is wearing are fine too.
These Polyvores are not body type specific. It’s not my specialty, and as with colour, even if you’re moderately closer to yourself, you are unbelievably better to look at. Compared to military or tribal, these fabrics drape more, lines are rounder, legs taper (softness and bootcut look odd together to me), and styles are more classic. Still Dark Autumn.
The point is that to create a beautiful, connected, rational, intelligent image with apparel, the lines take their shape from whatever yours are. Just like the colours.
Coming soon, by request, a more dramatic, yet still classic Soft Autumn. Autumn without texture? Summer without softness? Sure.
Still happening. Bright Winters are walking in the door with so much to teach us.
Too light for Bright Winter? too warm? too soft? Why isn’t it shocking? I like it. The pigments are clean. It doesn’t feel like a Light. The shocking part is only one interpretation. There are a million others.
Q: If I’m a Bright Winter, why does half the makeup look terrible on me?
Short A: That’s typical of all 8 Neutral Seasons. Nothing different going on.
Long A: Being a Neutral Season, meaning a blend of a warm and cool parent colour groups in your natural colouring, means that your palette contains warm and cool versions in most every colour family. That in turn is because that’s how the colours in your body are set up.
In a Neutral Season person, the native colours might be very fussy about lightness or darkness, or softness or clearness. The skin says, “You mess with one of those, I’m going to mess with you. ” On the warm to cool issue, the colours say, “A little warmer or cooler, no problem. I’m fine with as long as you don’t drive all over the road. A little right or left of center isn’t a problem. I have a different center line I have to stick to for you to be awesomely beautiful and defined in your clothing, hair, and makeup. A touch warmer or cooler? Fine. Do what you gotta do.”
That’s most people. Nothing is true in everybody. Some Neutral Seasons are as fussy about heat as a True Season is, or almost. Especially Bright Winter because the skin is Spring-delicate but the colour intensity is Winter-big. Touchy combination. The magnitude of Winter’s scale (when it cools, it cools fast and hard; when it darkens, you notice), plus the complexity and high responsiveness of this colouring, and the tolerances are more Yes or No – not unlike everything else Winter.
In clothing, I have never seen the Neutral Season woman who can’t wear her warm and cool colours very well, some more rigorously than others, of course, as we talked about in the previous article, Bright Winter Q and A. We all begin in our 12 Tone or Season palette and adapt it to our particular contrast level, body shape, age, taste, and so on.
That’s clothing we’re talking about. Neutral Seasons look boring if they stick to one edge of their palette, be it warm or cool, regardless of how close to their warm or cool neighbour their colouring sits in the 12 Season cycle. They are far more exciting and interesting if they dress all over their palette.
Cosmetics are different. It’s the rare Neutral Season woman who wears her warm and cool colours equally well in makeup. Most of us have a particular heat level within our palette that seems to work best. It’s less tightly defined with clothes. It is more tightly defined with colours we paint right on our face. The heat level for cosmetics isn’t always related to where our colouring is positioned in our Season or Tone, warmer or cooler, probably because cosmetics mix with skin pigments and are influenced by other aspects of skin chemistry. A bright Dark Winter could wear the same lipstick as a dark Bright Winter. Bite Quince is a great example.
Some Neutral Season colouring is unusual in its high sensitivy to heat level in clothing. Really, in any Season, the average appearances and rules about appearances don’t exist in the real world, certainly not among the Brights. There will always be those in any colouring than sit at the extremes of any parameter. Some Bright Winters tolerate dark colours well, but white not so well, where a little too cool is a lot too ghostly.
Is an analyst going to have 5 white drapes? No, of course not. Especially not white. It’s the hardest analysis colour to make decisions from and the most difficult colour to assign to only one Season’s drape set. How extreme can you make white to have it represent only 1 Season as Test Drapes must do? If the Test Drape white is not your perfect white, your analyst tells you what needs adjusting based on your analysis process, and you go to the store and find THAT white.
Makeup texture is crucially important in the Brights, again because of the big scale and volatile settings in all 3 colour dimensions. On all colouring whose appearance is young and angelic, sheer may be better than matte. On a more dramatic presence, an opaque texture is necessary to support a face that expresses power in the more traditional sense, to balance more imposing eyeliner and blush that in turn balance the architecture of the face.
Lips should balance eyes and hair for the whole head to look balanced. If hair colour or textures are strong and striking, as opposed to clear and gossamer, matte lips can make more sense, though it’s still brightness that really matters. On a strong, mature face with Winter level features – significant hair, arresting eyes, and notable clothing – an invisible mouth too close to skin colour, is, well, it’s old. This kind of face wears matte just fine and is too busy to reapply gloss every half hour.
Bright Winter? Clean pigment, not too warm, small yellow accents, ends very near black, red-toned gray in background (but not blue or mauve grays like pigeon or raincloud). That’s a stunning outfit. Only a Bright Winter could wear that pink in eyeshadow, blush, and gloss – but not every Bright Winter.
Q: In the last article about Bright Winter Q and A, do you think some people are in between Light Summer and Bright Winter in their Season position? Do they look pretty good in both palettes in clothing?
Short A: No. I think nobody is located between True Seasons. True Seasons don’t overlap. Colouring can be located between Neutral Seasons. Bright Winter and Light Summer share some colour properties but their clouds don’t overlap in colour space. Some great analysts might see this otherwise though. Don’t get locked down by my bossy delivery. That’s just how I talk.
Can they share clothes? Depends. Age, taste, safety, degree of fussiness about being perfect. Also how colour perceptive the audience will be.
Long A: Christie Brinkley could be between Reese and Julianna. No real reason for me pointing that out, just a similar kind of colouring and face. She might be neither Light Summer nor Bright Winter. Probably isn’t, in fact.
I said before that Winter is an extension of Summer. You know by now that I say things too broadly just to unstick something in your head that shouldn’t be there. For instance, when I said, “Any Season can have Any hair and eye colour.” It’s mostly true. You can have blue, green, or brown eyes in any Seasons. Now, it won’t be the same blue, green, or brown, but we can’t get into the details until the wrong generalization is out of your head space.
So Winter is more Summer in some ways. OTOH, Autumn and Spring are seriously different. Therefore they belong opposite a circle from each other, with Winter and Summer also opposite. Then the Neutrals can assume their correct positions, or oppositions. Then the heat levels can assume their correct positions, or oppositions.
There are colour analysis systems that go around a clock in the Spring, Winter, Summer, Autumn order. I don’t understand that. For me, I can make more sense of Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter. That makes the neighbours and the opposites more logical in my head. While I respect the work and vision of everyone in our industry because every one has added to our knowledge, placing warm next to warm is in contradiction with the physics of illumination. Warm and cool don’t move into each other, they move away from each other, I believe.
But there is NO Winter person who drapes equally in Summer colour, IMO. You’re one OR the other. When I say Winter is more Summer, I have no smudged line in my head. You’re still on one side or the other side.
To me, there is never a real life person who can’t be put solidly in one. Some great analysts disagree. If I’m the analyst today, a person is either Winter or Summer. There’s no blend. My students don’t leave here without proving this to themselves.
In a TEST situation, you’re either or.
My more specific point was that they can use Light Summer to grow into Bright Winter. In the store, you can wear Light Summer if Bright Winter is too much, and still look a million % better than all the other choices you could have made that day. In the totality of a Light Summer outfit, a Bright Winter item could be the only thing people see under PCA lights. Or vice versa. IRL is different. Our eyes adjust and adapt and compensate all the time.
Coming around to bright colour? Great. Keep a delicate feeling about it. Keep your lights close to white if you’re Winter. Could the flower be Bright Spring? Maybe, hard to tell from photos. If there’s real red, it’s feels closer to Winter. Shocking? Maybe in a cement room.
Q: I wore a perfect Bright Winter lip colour, not too warm or cool. It swatches just right. I took good pictures. All my friends said it was wrong for me. Now you tell me I’m a Bright Winter. How can I wear lipstick that everyone thinks is off?
Short A: They were too absolute, and about a different issue.
Long A: First, if the friends are online and have not been in a room with you, they don’t know because they can’t know. Ever met anyone who was exactly what you expected online? Ever seen a cosmetic that was?
Second, what do you look like? Young woman, young features, and opaque looks like Mom’s makeup. Often much of the palette of colours, in clothing too, is too powerful for young men and women to pull off. It will happen in time. The adult will surface. Eventually, the face will shift from Spring sweet to Winter regal, even though you’re still Bright Winter at 17.
It makes sense to give a hard face a hard lipstick. Give a soft or young face SHEER lipstick, NOT SOFT. Don’t reduce saturation or you’ll move the colour to someone else’s makeup bag. Reduce opacity. Two completely different concepts.
The friends knew they crashed but couldn’t tell into what. The issue was opaqueness, which does look like Mom’s Makeup. The viewer sees that and thinks, “Whoa. Back up. I have no idea where this gun will fire. I’m not getting close and not showing much of myself.” The friends felt that and said, “Can’t be your Season if the lipstick test fails.”
They were just wrong about what’s wrong. The GummiBear version of the exact same colour could be superb. High pigment density in a transparent application is how Bright makeup looks right. Makeup makes sense and belongs on a face when it reflects light in the same way that the skin reflects light (see Best Skin Finish articles, Winter, Summer, Spring, Autumn.)
Opacity and transparency are not ways of measuring colour but they most assuredly influence how we see and feel about it. Would you put house paint on a doll’s lips? Same colour in jellybean, does it feel better? On a Bright, too sheer is ChapStick. There has to be pigment density + pigment purity + transparency of application.
We can’t look at a photo and adjust one parameter of those three and know what it would do to the face, just as we can’t look at two colours of different colour dimension, say saturation, and guess the lighter and darker. Our eyes get mixed up when one thing changes, about the other things. It guesses wrong. Which is why a correct PCA has to find a way to tease the 3 colour dimensions apart and evaluate each one separately. That means exact drape colours and a logic process that sails around these storms, not into them.
Sheer also allows more movement on the warm-cool axis. Sheer makeup is good on anyone making adjustments because our own pigmentation shows through and brings it nearer to us. It’s instant, built-in, foolproof cosmetic colour customization.
There is always part of what looks right to people that’s just taste, same as any art form. And memory, intuition, emotion, and subconscious. We have little control over any of it but they influence our decision-making. Analysts fight their personal feelings about colours all the time to keep it purely objective, part of why a PCA system that measures something is so essential.
A nice picture to break up all the print. Ridiculous how much I can talk. Also lots of Bright Winter going on. Clarity, smoothness, high reflectivity, transparency, and some nice neutral colours for pants and a coat in the background.
Q: If I’m a Bright Winter, why do I look like a child when I wear the clothes? The colours shouldn’t wear me, should they?
Short A: You’ll grow into them and get used to them. It’s normal.
Long A: A young Bright Winter might feel the colours wear him until he’s 30, especially if he’s blonde and blue-eyed. If the family and friends have only seen the sunny rascal face, and that’s how he’s always been treated, and therefore how he sees himself when he looks in the mirror, how can anyone know that the power face is already the bigger part of him, and will get bigger with adulthood? When everyone has seen him as Dennis The Menace, how fast can the room adjust when Beckham on the GQ Cover stands up? Everyone has some catching up to do when Dennis walked in and Chris Pine will be leaving (hey, Pine looks like Hough, Witherspoon, and Brinkley too. Like they could be a family.)
How would you feel if she were your sister and your consciousness of her goes from this to this (scroll down to Out of the Desert), in an afternoon? (these are not necessarily Bright Winter; get the feeling and the lines, not the colours)
When those who always saw Lollipop Bouquet had to adjust to Candy Cane?
And what if Candy Cane suddenly became Grecian vase? Winter is a grown-up. Never underestimate the power, maturity, and seriousness inside even the youngest Winter. Many Winters seem floaty in various ways. Don’t be fooled. They’re not.
My eyes saw the person and, because the skin is quiet and the face is united, bounced immediately to the eyes. And couldn’t move away from the eyes without conscious effort. Perfect. The lips balance the hair and eyes so the whole head looks balanced. Barbie or bubblegum would not be better. I can’t even talk about rust. The face would not come across as it does with less lip. The image would be compromised compared to this one. The same could be said of more lip, especially in the angelic quality of the face. Burgundy would not be better, even her own sugarplum could be a lot. For now. If you’re not wondering what the lip colour in the photo is, you and I have a whole different opinion of beauty. And that’s perfectly OK and normal, probably everyone has different opinions about beauty. It’s YSL Glossy Stain #13.
More importantly, until you’re seen in real life in your true and native colours, nobody really knows what you look like.
Lines won’t assume their correct shape till we see them in their real colour and texture. We don’t know the true shape of a line till we see it in its true and real colour. Carol Tuttle of DYT really saw texture differences well, and closed the circle nicely by describing them and then applying them in apparel.
Under the PCA lights in a gray working environment, we cancel all the surrounding world’s noise, and there’s a lot of it. Then we find the right colours and textures. On every face, with every drape change, we answer questions about:
ONLY THEN do we look at the face and say, “So now. What shape is THAT?”
This is part of how body line assessments get confused. If we see a jaw or nose or facial line that’s fuzzy or distorted by incorrect colour, it makes it harder to find the Kibbe or Type or whatever archetype system we ascribe to. Especially in photos where nobody has spent any time with the real you, and where our eyes must make assumptions.
This is why correct colour analysis takes priority in choosing apparel. First, you know your colours for sure, then figure out your lines, and then your own unique expression.
L. is a recent student whose background is in science. Her work demands that she peel thinking patterns and decision-making processes back to the bone. Of the rigor of the PCA process, she said, and I paraphrase,
What sounds good and feels good might be right but it might not. We need to keep all options open and examine them. As humans, we have a vested interest in an outcome whether we admit it or not. Therefore a correct analysis of anything, colouring, a drug, a patient, requires that we solve a problem in many different ways before making a conclusion that will later support a structure. It’s a cumulative gathering and building of information to arrive at the best decision.
What’s the vested interest? Proving to ourselves that we’re right about what we thought we were right about. Ego’s favourite game.
What’s the structure that will need to be supported? You at the mall, at the makeup counter, in the hair colourist’s chair, in control of your appearance.
Just beautiful. Dark green is the neutral. Love colour as neutral on anyone with Spring. Baby peach is gorgeous on Brights. Faint heat in the center. Symmetric, repeating, balanced (Winter) and out-of-this-world.
To the previous article, Susan asked:
Q: Brights who ‘look’ light, bright and clear; do you mean they look so only in their colours?
A: Depends. Sometimes, wearing muted colour can dull them down substantially. What’s a Summer colour compared to a Winter one? Warmer and duller. And that’s exactly what a Summer white drape does to a Winter face, makes it yellower and fogged in, among other things.
On some Brights in muted colour, they seem to look more bright and not attached to their clothes in some way. Like the two elements are finding the place where they most differ and force it even wider.
Back to TMIT, another broad compromise to help us think about something in a new way. Dark people look good in dark colour. It’s pretty easy, even if it’s not perfect. Dark Winter can manage Dark Autumn or dark Soft and True Summer quite ok. Bright people look normal in bright colour, while the rest of us look a little absurd and taken over by our clothes.
That’s what the colours do to us.
All colour, every idea and any conflict, is a 2-way relationship. Walk around the belief and look at it from the back side. What do we do to the colour?
We could rephrase the above to say that Dark people can take a dark colour and make IT look normal and not so dark. My lipstick is very dark among the 40 choices in that brand. It doesn’t look black on me but it would on most people.
A Bright person can take a bright fabric and make it look normal, just blue, just pink, what’s the big deal? On the rest of us, it settles somewhere along the foolish-neon-toxic spectrum, and more so, the longer it sits on us.
We could say that a Bright person takes a clear colour and makes the clearness look less exaggerated. Maybe that’s the ultimate tolerance. The best belonging. “I’ll take what’s out there and extreme about you and bring it in here with me. We can bring out the best in both of us. Neither one bigger or more the way it would be on someone else. Neither of us lost or less. Instead, and only when we’re together, we are able to make each of us found and more.” Synergy. More than the sum of the parts. Synchrony between our native wavelength and that of what we add. Harmony. The magic word. The magic feeling that colour analyzed people feel and others see.
Many Bright Springs have requested a similar Q&A post. For me, these are not the Q that come up for that colouring. Are they for you? If yes, I’m happy to write about it. If these are not your exact concerns, what exactly do you want to know? What problem are you having? What doesn’t make sense? What are you just putting up with or having to work around all the time? Tell me the exact issue. If one person is wondering, be sure that thousands are.
I seem to be in a groove of seeing so many Bright Winters lately that I figure I’m still supposed to write about it.
The reaction a person has to learning that their natural colouring falls into the Bright Winter group is either delight or despair. Seldom is there anything in between. The reason for most Season misgivings comes from misunderstanding the colours or the analysis process.
Some of the information below may be hard to imagine. It’s the only way I know to explain it. (Analyst who were trained by me will receive the discussion below soon in their Review Topics documents – and it will be even more technical.)
Here some come concerns Bright Winters may have:
Q: If I’m a Bright Winter, why do I look too blue in some of the Bright Winter drapes?
Short A: Because you’re warmer than the drape.
Long A: Depending on the person, this type of colouring is extremely finely adjusted and very sensitive to excessive darkness, redness, and or blueness. Some people handle the blue very well, almost as cool as True Winter can handle, but they become gaunt in black. Others can develop red spots in the cheeks, like a feverish face, in too much blue-red influence but they have no problem with darkness.
To match the exact coolness level of every Bright Winter, the analyst would need approximately 4 blue drapes. And then 4 reds, 4 greens. And then repeat that for all the possible tolerances to hue, value, and chroma of every person in all 12 Seasons. Not reasonable.
Also not necessary. The analyst with a comprehensive understanding of the analysis process is prepared to choose the Season because it’s better than the others, not necessarily it’s the best possible choice of this colour on this person. The client shouldn’t expect every Bright Winter drape to be perfection on every Bright Winter face. You find yourself inside your correct colour parameters. Sometimes, an analyst’s decision feels like a compromise and doesn’t make sense, but it’s still the best and correct decision of the comparison.
I am a Dark Winter.
I need makeup to wear black. Makes sense, black is only automatic on True Winter.
I can wear some medium and dark True Summer colour. Makes sense, True Summer is a little warmer and more muted than True Winter. So is Dark Winter.
True Spring colours clear my eyes better than True Autumn, if the two are being compared. Makes sense, Winter is looking for more clarity than Autumn provides.
I love and can wear Dark Autumn dark colours. Makes sense, I’m more warm and muted than many Dark Winters and darker colours are pretty easy on Dark Seasons.
None of that makes me a Spring, Summer, or Autumn.
If all people were exactly the same within one Season, then all the women of that Season could wear exactly the same lipsticks equally. Not the truth at all. My perfect lipstick colour is dull and disappearing on a cooler, clearer Dark Winter. There are ranges inside each Season. If the information clues were picked up along the analysis path, the right decision will be made at the end. The analyst doesn’t need to have my perfect Dark Winter blue drape in her set to know I am a Dark Winter. There might be versions of blue that I would wear a lot better than the blue drape she might have, but she learned my face, did her comparisons, knew what to look for and how to interpret it. A Season decision is a moving target until the very last comparison.
The Test Drapes are special. They’re measuring and comparing. Don’t look for home in them. Don’t expect to be finally and ultimately perfected. You need only be better than in any other. The same exquisite tolerance to colour parameters happens in all Seasons, but because Winter’s scale is so big and this colouring quite delicate, the disparity gets noticed more.
The public might not always understand. Don’t pay too much attention to the chat room group. They can’t know how it works because they’ve never been shown. All they see is the end result. One appendectomy can look like another if all you see are the people 3 weeks later. What happened in between may be wildly different. One person might never have had appendicitis in the first place. One might finally get rid of abdominal pain that’s haunted her for months. Another might be sure the surgeon made a mistake, but the fact is that sutures are more irritating to her tissues than the average while the surgical technique was exemplary. Her chat room group wouldn’t know any of that, but they’d make judgments and give opinions anyhow in an effort to support her.
clear water, close to white, more icy (Winter)
Q: Why is the bottom half of the face so darkened by black if I am Winter?
Short A: This is a WAY lighter Winter. Even True Winter isn’t all that dark. There are many blonde and light-brown haired True Winters with light eyes. Many.
Long A: Nothing applies to everybody. Some Bright Winters, even blonde haired, blue-eyed persons, are fine with darkness. Others who might be darker to look at will have a definite upper limit for darkness. Some can manage strong darkness in blue or green, but begin having detracting optical effects in the appearance at medium gray. Some are fine with shiny black, as long as True Winter blue is extracted, but are not good in matte black. Texture matters to a composition as much as line and colour do; therefore, texture matters in personal colour analysis (PCA).
The only more ghoulish Goth than Bright Winter would be the Light, True, and Bright Spring. All four types of natural colouring, or Season, or Tone, look light, bright, and clean. What about that sounds Goth? They conflict with the dark, depressing, serious Goth look – OTOH, maybe Goth are supposed to look compromised. Glowing and Goth doesn’t match. Bright Seasons are glowy. That’s how their skin reflects light. They look too healthy and vital for Gothness.
From the document that I send my clients:
Bright Winter epitomizes the sugar frosting of snow and sunlight. The innocent fairy tale character could wear shimmery violet-pink eyeshadow, blush, and lipgloss, adding even more crispness and show biz with near black eyeliner and big lashes.
Many Bright Winters are blonde and blue-eyed, with a feeling of girl-next-door, like the stereotypic Light Summer, except for the strong, clear, sparking eyes. Other lighter Bright Winters look Scandinavian/Nordic Ice Princess. Although some Bright Springs have the coolness that feels like royal distance, most are more informal, bubbly, chatty, rounded in their edges, and natural in their energy.
more pigment, more gray, closer to pastel (more Summer) – where does icy end and pastel begin?
Q: So Christine, you’re saying that all Brights can always take any level of saturation?
Short A: There is no Always, Must, Should, or Never in human colouring.
Long A: Textiles can be saturated beyond what you’d find in a human being. There are colours that will overwhelm even a Bright. I am saying that on a comparative scale of humans, Brights are most harmonized and flattered in the purest pigments.
icy grays made of B&W (Winter eyes)
Q: What if you said I’m a Bright Winter, which still I don’t believe BTW, and I look really dark?
Short A: Then you are a Bright Winter who looks dark.
Long A: In the colour analyst training course, my students and I spend our first morning proving to ourselves that our eyes are rather clueless about looking at paint chips and knowing their colour dimensions. I guess we could see which is lighter between 2 colours of equal saturation. Change the saturation setting of one paint chip and we lose it. We guess wrong. If we can’t guess a paint chip, how much harder must it be to gauge a human face just by looking. You need a way to measure, a.k.a. drapes.
You look dark, fine. Your most important colour attribute is still that your pigmentation is very clean and clear. You are more clear than you are dark, but no rule says you can’t be both to some degree. It’s knowing the amount of each one relative to the other that’s tricky.
pastel means more pigment + more gray (Summer eyes) – where’s the dividing line between icy and pastel? is there one?
Q: I read RTYNC and Bright Winter felt too zingy. I’m not electric and flashy.
Short A: You can’t see yourself. Compared to a range of other humans, your colouring feels more electric than a foggy day would. I was trying to make a comparison. Who do you know who looks foggy?
Long A: Ignore RTYNC (the blue book over in the right column). I can’t write the sequel because I created what the colour world needed least, 12 more stereotypes. Back then, I knew half what I know today. Maybe there’s another book taking shape that describes the real world better, the enormous variety, how people of the same Season can look incredibly different.
Why write about Seasons at all? Because it’s fun and interesting for us humans to look at one another and see all the possibilities. The stereotypes are like your horoscope. Kathryn Kalisz (founder of the Sci\ART system of PCA) also wrote about how people in the Seasons can look. I asked her once what Season someone was. She laughed and said in the most cheerful voice, “I have absolutely no idea! Until they’re in my chair.”
That book was only intended to help you see who you’re not, give a sense of how those colour energies made me feel so you could ask yourself the same thing, and give you 12 approximate palettes to make comparisons so you don’t have to own 12 swatch books. It got used too literally. The disclaimer at the front says that you will not be able to find yourself accurately, or at all. Should have been in big red print.
The Light Summer to Bright Winter Spectrum
This picture of Julianne Hough (said “huff”) came my way. It reminded me of a friend.
After thinking about it a bit, I realized that the face is like an exaggerated Reese Witherspoon.
Thing is, Julianne can do this. Is the dress wearing her? Is the makeup stronger than she is? By a lot or a little? If the hair were deeper, would she balance the other colours better? The balance is a little off but it’s hard to know what needs fixing and what doesn’t. Too many unpredictable variables. Just like draping a face. Reese were done like this, would the balance be off by less or by more?
Julianne looks to be in that girl-next-door Bright Winter to Light Summer spectrum. Except the eyes. Those eyes are crystal clear. Who knows what her natural hair colour is? From the gallery of images, I see that too yellow hair makes her face too yellow. Too light hair makes her face look puffed with flour. If you think of Bill Gates as average Light Summer colouring, those eyes would be wild in his face.
Reese seems to me a Light Summer. This makes sense. Winter is like an exaggerated Summer. The Warm Seasons are different. Autumn is not a continuation of Spring. It’s a whole different type of warmth. In a Season circle or progression, I would not Spring and Autumn side by side; I’d put them opposite one another.
the blue – too much pigment for icy; too pure pigment for pastel > probably not strong Winter or Summer ; we see this colour in Bright Spring eyes
Q: If Winter is an exaggerated Summer, why not have a Season in between? Like a continuation between Light Summer and Bright Winter, or True Summer and True Winter?
Short A: You’d get no new colours that weren’t already spoken for in one of the Seasons. I see the brilliance of the Sci\ART method of PCA, a genius that I am more in awe of with each client, as 12 stand alone groups. It makes their unique radiances strong and distinct. Smudging them into one another would dilute that and make analysis decisions much harder. Can a client blur them into each other? Absolutely.
Long A: Because real people don’t drape in between Summer and Winter to my eyes, though other analysts that I respect gigantically might not agree. A Soft Summer still looks better in Summer drapes, just a little weak. A Dark Winter still does better in Winter drapes overall if you know what to look for.
Also, making a cool Season overlap into a cool Season is in contradiction with the physics of light. That’s not how sunlight illuminates objects on our planet as interpreted by our eyes and brains.
Would the Bright Winter person look better True Winter’s drapes than True Summer’s drapes? Not always that easy. The light Bright Winter person’s face loves the lightness of Summer.
We can’t look at faces and know if they’re lighter than saturated, more cool than light, more saturated than warm, etc. Our eyes are not capable. We have to put a quantitative measuring system in between. Those are the drapes. Even then, in the early part of the analysis, all the features don’t behave the same way. That only happens at the end.
You will be wildly surprised at what your eyes will see happen with the drapes. The rug will get yanked out from under the feet of what you think Seasons have to look like. There are a lot of technical reasons for decision-making that Terry Wildfong and I train our students in carefully and thoroughly because we measure many markers at once in each face, with each new colour change.
The analyst evaluates many markers, related to line, colour, and texture, and makes a better-than choice. The markers will not be the same in every face. A Dark Winter man may wear Bright Winter saturation fairly well if his colouring is intense, but his face might look very oily. Another Dark Winter man will lose eye energy in Bright Winter drapes but the complexion reflects light much the same between the two. We take a lot of time to learn every face because each reacts to colour in a unique and individual way.
And it can still be very difficult. At this point in my career, although I retain near dismay for how complex a PCA can be, I’m usually pretty confident in my Season decision. I saw a woman recently. We went between Bright and Dark Winter. Back and forth, back and forth. Test Drapes, Luxury Drapes, makeup, back and forth, back and forth. In the end, I decided on Bright for a selection of reasons. Not just one reason. Many reasons, which I itemized in the documents I sent her. All the analyst can say sometimes is, “This is how I saw you today. And this why.”
Was I correct? I hope so. Was she so difficult because she was extraordinarily beautiful, like trying to make a child look bad? Was it because she was of darker complexion? I’ve invited her back to model for a training course because I need fresh eyes, a different day, and some outside opinions. Some puzzles are more enigmatic.
Sometimes, facial features are very tough to prioritize. We see good and bad things in 2 Seasons in most every comparison until we’re at or near the end. This is normal and expected.
many a Dark Season eye
Q: Which observation is most important?
Short A: Depends. Every face is different.
Long A: There’s no such thing as most important. Your eyes are not more important than your mouth. A jaundiced face isn’t more important than an unfocused face. It’s the totality of a face. The answer would be different for every client. Even a well-trained or very experienced analyst can be perplexed.
If a client is much more comfortable in one Season, the best decision might be to have them wear it for a while. Throw out nothing. Buy a gloss and a few inexpensive T-shirts. Adjust the hair colour. In a few months, have another draping.
1. When you can’t be anything else
In his very famous Stanford Commencement address of 2005, Steve Jobs says that your heart and intuition always know what’s best for you. I believe that to be 150% correct. That is, if you can connect with them before judgment arrives. Once judgment settles in, it’s over. No more right or truth can happen. We’re stalled in a character that has reverted to a less mature form.
I watch this video quite often for the reminders.
I began seeing Jennifer for facials two years ago. Before too long, a pattern emerged. Before starting the car, I’d sit in her driveway for 10 minutes writing down all the things she said about how to think (and not think) towards what I want my life to be like.
I’ll experiment with any advice, from Deepak Chopra to Alan Weiss. A woman I adore suggested a Vision Board, among my present projects. Fascinating to me that I wasn’t sure how to make one effectively, so send along your good resources. Experiments tend to work or not pretty fast.
From Visit 1 with Jen, I supervised my mindset according to her guidance and my life direction began to materialize faster. Presently, I’m reading The Power of Framing by Gail Fairhurst, in which she discusses priming the pump of our subconscious so that we can have rehearsed situations for our best reaction as they happen, not a day later. To describe in left-brain language what Jennifer’s guidance does, it would be that.
She listens to me talk for about 60 seconds, evaporates all the irrelevance, and extracts the highest calling. She can link me to my greatest good and the situation to its best outcome near immediately. If her words don’t make sense at the time, I wait 48 hours. Once it took 2 weeks to get the “So that’s what you meant.” light bulb moment.
Sometimes, we begin with a card reading (not Tarot or Zodiac) to give us something to talk around. The results of the four cards I choose are always freakishly related to one another and to new directions that are opening up or something I’m worried about. They might be a confirmation. They might feel uncomfortable and I start with the excuses, but I’ve learned that sooner I stop talking and start listening, sooner things arrive. She can get me out of my own way faster than anything I’ve ever encountered.
As with colour, we sabotage ourselves in so many ways until someone who sees us clearly says, ”This is your colouring. This heat, this darkness range, this softness.” Until the physio says, “Stop hiking your right shoulder and your left hip won’t hurt.” Until an intuitive person says, “Stop right there, that’s a judgment and I hear you apply it every time you bring up that situation”.
Jen taught me how to meditate. The usual ways were boring. I can pay attention to 2.5 breaths max. She said, “Try listening for the most far away noise you can hear.” That was fantastic. You know your eyes and brain relax when you look far away? This is exactly the same. It also creates a big, empty, open space between you and the place you’re listening in.
This is not the usual psychic “you have sorrow in your life” or “money is coming to you” reading. Jen’s readings are clearly “you gotta give something to get something and here’s what you gotta give.” When I leave, I have the jobs for the month. My jobs are the ways that I will hold and transform my thoughts. If I’m willing to do it, change is willing to come.
This isn’t only in person. She’ll do readings just by hearing you talk. She’s at Cloud 313. Below, she describes the difference between psychic and soul readings:
Regular psychic readings are more likely to tell you what is coming to you in the near future, which will be based on the vibrational energy & thoughts you have been sending out into the universe. Soul sessions/readings are geared more towards me tuning in to your soul, retrieving and interpreting information on the level of soul. When we “hear” the truth from our higher intuition it resonates perfectly with us on every level – we can instantly FEEL a change physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. We can use this information to begin to practice new ways of being, allowing us to be easily joyful, confident and loving in all our moments as we move forth towards our soul’s true purpose. Our soul does not require us to analyze our past, present or future meaning. We do not need to focus on our darkest secrets or fears.
She looks quite amazing, not a face you see often or a presence you feel often. You probably have no idea what personality she has. Well, she’s completely down-to-earth and very direct. She enjoys colour but feels most grounded wearing black (oddly, that’s when I feel most tethered – which is the same as grounded, come to think of it). Her house contains more shades of red than any other colour. No question, she had the priestess presence of Zyla’s Soft Winter. Winter that she is, she is completely and unquestioningly internally guided. She will wear black exclusively. That’s her way to be Bright Winter. It’s a success story.
Jennifer had to be a Bright Winter. This mixture of faith and trust that normally resides naturally in children, people who have complete faith in magic because they see it all around them, takes a form in adult bodies. Material magic is in the Bright Season neck of the woods.
I expected her to feel all sorts of energy things during her PCA. No. She was a model for a colour analyst training course, probably the fastest student-directed PCA ever done. Jen flicked away all the other colours like pesky spirits trapped in a middle world to confuse humans. We all saw that every other choice was so far behind that we could barely recognize its presence. Even True Winter was, “Yeah, whatever, get that one off, put the other colour back.”
Variations on the Bright Winter Theme
I have said: “Add Spring’s wonderful humour to Winter’s formality in jewelry that sparkles, belts that are crayon-coloured and shiny, or imaginative hair accessories.”
Bright Winter colouring often reminds us of storybook characters, Snow White being the most familiar. That Katy Perry face, the child in a grown-up body, will follow that advice.
Nothing is for everyone.
Every woman expresses her colours in her own way.
She’s not always Sweet Queen. Sometimes she’s another type of queen. She might be the person that is bigger than life, big, strong, and flamboyant, a super heroine. She will wear the big, bold, bright colours in large areas easily. Pucci designs in prints. Platinum rings that look like silver lava. Shiny zippers and buckles make sense on her. They express a truth about her. They are a rational continuation of her energy. I think of Sci\ART Lauren Battistini of Color My Closet in Houston.
When the image is more mysterious, as the fortune-teller, she enjoys Winter’s ability to wear dark drama like no other colouring can. Try the dignified version in huge eyes and crystal clear-as-glass details (transparent buttons, lip gloss) to convey consummate clarity. These words, divine everlasting infinite immortal omniscient omnipotent. Wear a Zodiac medallion (eternity) on a violet (higher realms, highest Chakra) cord.
The character might be even darker, sensuous and mysterious. Morticia Addams has been suggested. Yes, like that. She was extreme, but still stunning, like a slinky and more dangerous Jessica Rabbit, pale as the most seductive apparition. Subtle, snaky wit and fierce loyalty describes most Winters I know. Morticia radiated power – perhaps that’s the part we’re not ready for.
It was she who said,
You have enslaved him. You have placed Fester under some strange sexual spell. I respect that.
Our credo: “Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc.” We gladly feast on those who would subdue us. Not just pretty words.
Winter is the gorgeous Goth, oxymoronic somehow. Some do it so well that their beauty is shocking, as deadly as Morticia. Friends and family may be uncomfortable because it’s just so believable, such a good extension of you, that you seem to be in costume when you’re not. They’re not sure what to think.
If you want to tone it down, wear the hair differently from Morticia, maybe in a sexy secret agent loose bun or a sporty teenager messy bun. Move the hair up, or add shorter, face-framing layers, or add bangs. Avoid black. Add sparkle here and there. Wear a very subtle complexion warming product like Givenchy Croisiere 1, Spring’s pale peach gold, adjusted to be invisible on your skin and set your makeup too. Wear peach-red gloss and blush, not blue-red.
Some folks don’t really remind of any character. I think of Nikki Bogardus of My Color Rx. And some don’t embody a story character but they certainly have some of those properties – a stunning and beautiful profile and impossibly long fingers that move like feathers, highly theatrical and romantic at once.
Jen is another expression of Bright Winter, quite beyond the naivete of Snow White. Design = Colour + Line. Fully half of a PCA session is concerned with the lines. This colouring can be painted into lines that are very adult, with a far-reaching wisdom, fully grown and ripe with experience, if you see where I’m going. Wear red. Wear velvet. Have a hairstyle that’s luscious. Where does supernatural meet sumptuous, as it does in Jennifer? Rhinestone. Black, but not industrial. Black, but not diesel black or office chair black, those are all Dark Winter. How do we make black yummy? Beading. Shine. Swirl effects. Lace. Big hair. A darkly luscious Marilyn Monroe.
You understand that I get carried away with words, right? And the image gets bigger than life because it’s fun to see where things will go. Don’t picture a red velvet leotard and a push up bra. Just saying, there are way more kinds of great women in the world than Sweet&Sunny.
Step into your own power. You saw that happen in our mirror when we analyzed your colouring. In Sweet&Sunny or Soft&Dreamy colours, you were literally not there. We couldn’t see you. You were not in the room. Be who you came here to be.
You can convey these pictures with one tiny item. It takes barely anything for the viewer to make a connection. Mary Kay Crystalline eyeshadow highlight, pure as the driven snow, and a mouth-watering accessory, a shiny pomegranate juice wallet. Voila. Not a high wire act.
2. When you wish you were anything else
The tough love section. And please believe me when I tell you that I do love you. For every one of you who is feeling exposed, who is trying something new, who can’t find that hiding place when it was right there yesterday, I have nothing but love and respect for what you’re trying to do.
When your colouring was analyzed, your conscious and subconscious minds got a wake up call they didn’t see coming. I get it. I was it.
I could have stayed there. Nothing bad would have happened. There is no pretty or ugly. There is no wrong or right. My face is not the same colour as my arms. You can see my Dad but my features are less focused. I know, you can see that for yourself.
Once we see a new way of thinking, we can choose to absorb it or reject it. Our call. Walk away from it if your heart and intuition say N.O.W.A.Y.
I looked at the Winter makeup and saw a clown. I could see nothing else. And being a Winter, I’m always right. Just ask me. Others might be right but I’m more right. I got compliments the first day, but No, Sir, That Is Not Me.
On the other hand, winters are hard on themselves and they are smart. Winters are good at living at the rules they set for others. They can separate emotion from the problem or the job. So do the job. It’s a sweater. Buy it cheap. If you were the analyst back then and I had been your client, what would you have said to me? Try it for a month. I did. Took me 5 days and then it couldn’t come fast enough. 4 years later, it’s still coming and it will for you too.
You do not have to be perfect. I know, words lost on Winters.
While you’re separating things, separate colours from styles. Every body type, fashion preference, weight issue or non-issue, age, and comfort zone exists in every type of colouring.
I was convinced I was a summer, maybe a soft summer. I had been analyzed as a summer in the past, and advised never to wear gold jewelry. I like foggy, misty colors. Pretty much my entire wardrobe is muted blues, violets, & greens, plus black & gray, which I thought complemented my gray (once ash blonde) hair & blue eyes. I’m not arguing with [the] evaluation — I agreed with her that my complexion evened out and livened up with the BW drapes — but I don’t like bright colors! Especially red. Reds and pinks make me queasy. Just looking at my BW color fan makes my head hurt. What to do? How to embrace an identity of Bright Winter and supposedly present my best self, when the only thing from your BW wisdom that resonates with me is a fondness for tailored, glamorous, nearly formal clothing?
Part of this is my fault. In describing these colours as highly pure and energized so you could distinguish them on a scale of every possible colour including the other Winters, people heard NEON and felt like STROBE.
Textile colour exceeds human saturation. You’re picturing an extreme and you’ve painted it head to toe.
In What It Takes To Look Normal, we talked about how strawberry red doesn’t look bling on you, it just looks like medium red. I’m not sure how many more tips I can come up with.
The best advice really is to try it for a little while.
“Well, you have to start. Do it for a month” is that in my case I’d have to throw out and replace just about everything I own — and everyone seems to agree that BW is hard to shop for!
That’s a Winter’s world. Be perfect or do nothing. Why is perfect necessary? Can we put it on hold for a year?
Everyone who learned their colouring replaced everything they own over about 2 years. It’s important to NOT throw anything out. Those items will be how you evaluate progress and make comparisons.
And “everyone” will only be as accurate as “everyone” ever is, which is to say barely. If you listened to “everyone” about other things in your life, you’d know what you did when you were 16 and heard the “everyone” voice for the first time. Live your own experience. Make one move. Wear one sparkling bracelet with one charm on it that has meaning to you and gives you energy. Your little intention that you will open your heart.
There is definitely a bright winter stereotype of vaudeville costumes. I’ve had a role in perpetuating that, probably a big role. The irony is that this is the only coloring that doesn’t look like a silver bullet in these colors.
We’re saying to choose pure pigmentation, nothing more. Dressing as The Flash isn’t the plan.
The colours looked brighter under the PCA lights. Those are seriously honest lights. They need to be. Same with O.R. lighting. The surgeon has to see the earliest signs of changes in colour of tissues. Some professions have brutal lighting but you wouldn’t want it any other way.
Regular lighting is indirect and bounces off all sorts of objects, which is why close enough is often good enough in foundation. Our brain adjusts a lot, like all the white we think we see that a painter would not paint white. We don’t need accuracy to survive so we didn’t evolve to see it on our own. To survive and reproduce, all evolution really cares about, we need to draw accurate information from our surroundings, which we do by being less absolute. We make correct approximations. Not good enough for a colour analyst.
If you love heathery colours, wear them. My teenagers get along splendidly well wearing what they like. If this is a good plan for you, PCA can save you money even here by suggesting you not buy anything too costly. The clearness of Bright Winter colouring will drain other colours, reducing them into a tired old item that’s been washed a lot. There is no way I know to make those colours interesting on you, if they get noticed at all. Put your cash someplace else.
Biggest part of helping someone is teaching them to help themselves.
Biggest part of helping yourself is answering this: What are you willing to do?
Let’s break it into steps. You decide if you’re willing.
1. Do nothing for a month. Not one thing. Let the whole PCA sit on the highest shelf in the pantry. Leave it there. If your Season grows legs and moves in the night or starts making chirping sounds and bugs you enough, doing something will become the path of least resistance. For now, your best decision is to stay where you are.
Action step: Give this (and your analyst) a chance. Change will be unsettling. The iChing said
“Before the beginning of great brilliance, there must be chaos.”
Deepak said something similar in the 7 Spiritual Laws of Success. I read one daily. Today, try #2 in the Law of Detachment.
2. Choices. You can choose to look for every reason why it won’t work. Dog trainers experience this day in, day out. My dog is different and not one of your 40 ideas will work. At the end of the day, the trainer’s hands are tied. Keep the dog you have. You made it be the way it is so part of you is already OK with that. Dogs and owners train each other, the dogs doing the massive majority of it.
Action step: Start small. Buy a wallet or nail polish. We still see it as part of you. Wear a sparkly something. I favour these at Macy’s. Simple, symmetrical, repeating, balanced, all good Winter words.
3. Don’t wear the makeup. Or any makeup. Half of women don’t and wouldn’t and don’t care.
Many women wouldn’t have a PCA at all simply because makeup is uncomfortable. Many wouldn’t be trained as analysts only because they’re uncertain about applying makeup on themselves, let alone others. Sell who you are. Women will think, “Someone like me. I’ll be comfortable with her.”
Many who would bring so much to this career hold back. They worry that they don’t wear makeup and won’t fit into an image industry. Think there’s no market sector that doesn’t wear makeup and still wants to look great? Lord.
Action step: Do it as a group. If I’m writing an article, I’ve gathered from the many emails that the audience must be wide. Here’s another market sector to open up. The New Bright Winter Support Group. Many reading this have figured out this colouring. They could offer the most valuable kind of help. What did you do? How did you think about it? How long did it take to get comfortable? What’s still hard and how are you managing it? Of the advice out there, what do you just ignore? Do you have a vision you’re moving towards in your choices?
4. Two sessions. If you live near the analyst and you know makeup is a problem, ask ahead if you can split the visit in two parts. PCA first, makeup in 2 months. Every analyst should be offering some kind of progress visit after a few months. If you’re hitting the brakes as we get to the end of the analysis, the makeup will go in one ear and out the other. You’ll be processing a thousand things and wanting to get out of there. If you want to sit in your car and weep, you should be free to go do that.
But don’t turn yourself into a victim, ay? In your life, you’ve gotten lots of advice you didn’t take. This can be the same. Here’s a Bright Winter thing: emotional vulnerability on a giant scale. Spring’s emotion and sweet optimism mixed with Winter where everything happens on a grand scale, and drama soon becomes melodrama. The emotional vulnerability is laid out over and over only to have it shot down. Hopelessness sets in. Rein all that back in. Get out of your life. Look down at yourself from a balcony.
Action step: Winter excels at big perspectives. Go there. “Instead of finding everything about my appearance that I don’t like, I guess I better find the things about me that I do like and notice those for a while. Have I being systematically brainwashing myself over the years? OK, so I can’t unlearn everything as fast as my PCA experience did, but I can take it slow and re-examine a lot of things.”
Energy flows along behind attention. Get conscious about where you’re putting yours because you are literally telling yourself the story of your life. From the balcony, what is the story of your life? “She is going to…”
5. Let’s try out some voices. See if you can recognize yours. There is no wrong or right.
Christine was right when she said that it’s easy to see the changes. I understand her writing better now but I like my clothes and I’m going to keep them. Interesting experience but I probably won’t do much with it.
I might try those colors but the people in my life won’t like me wearing them. When I told Christine that, she looked at me funny and said, “Who gives a shit?” but that’s just Christine and she’s kind of hard. She must have felt really strongly about this topic because it was the only time she swore. She said, “Stop abdicating your power and decide for yourself how you wear your hair and what clothes you choose. Let someone else control the little things, and while you were distracted, poof!, they’re controlling your big things.” Whatever. Might work for her but I care what my husband thinks and I want to look good for him. Good thing her husband is a True Winter, they probably deserve each other, imagine living in that house.
Okie dokie, something is going to have to change. I could see that in Summer colors, I looked like I was being prepped for surgery. In Autumn colors, my skin and eyes reflected light like a farm pickup truck that hasn’t seen rain in a month. I had pea soup skin. The lighter Springs weren’t so bad, but I looked like a horse that has its winter coat. Puffed. No sleek planes and angles. Wider and duller. Am I really going to spend the next 40 years of my life in clothes that tell other people that I’m not really here because I’m nervous about the color of a sweater? My 90 year-old self would kick my butt around the block.
I know that to get anywhere in life, you have to know where you start. PCA gave me that. I got handed my Owner’s Manual, or a chapter of it. I get to decide where and how to drive the car.
Now I need to picture where I’m going. A start place and a going towards place. Two points define a line. I now understand the space from here to there. It know it will get clearer once I start because that’s how life always works.
Action step: Celebrate that you can wear black quite well. Do you know what others would give? I mightn’t advise that you wear a turtleneck of it. Black is a little rough on Bright Winter, even though you’re a Winter. A colour that’s too cold and dark will need adjusting and it’s hard to make sunlit black.
A colour that’s too cold, even if the saturation and darkness levels are Bright Winter, will cause blue shadows and need adjusting, even though you’re a Winter. Some of my drapes might do that if you’re a little warmer than they are, though both you and they reside under the Bright Winter umbrella. That’s a common happening in Bright Winter colouring, male and female. Every human can’t hope to be equally represented in every way when there are only 12 categories.
Let’s be real. Every Winter will have black pants while they’re trying to figure stuff out (if they didn’t before) and so they should. Their colours go well with black.
6. Start with colours you already like. Periwinkle and turquoise are usually easy.
Move towards purer pigmentation. That’s all it is. Go top to bottom.
7. You like soft colours. You already like gray. Wear more. Rely heavily on neutral colours.
Action step: Little adjustments the next time you buy pants or decide which pants to keep.
The Winter lineup on the bottom.
Winter gray is made of black and white. Might look a touch blue or red.
Pink and purple gray are not so good. A red gray like the cords on the right side is better.
Blue gray is ok too if it’s close to white. Rainclouds and pigeon medium-blue-gray won’t be the best choice you can make.
Winter white pants are good.
Trade soft blue for more blue, 3rd from left.
The top center pants are not bad at all. They’re just very dark. I like dark clean gray better than black but it’s very dependent on the person. Some Bright Winters have beige hair and wear black exceptionally well, no problems of any sort even in a turtleneck.
8. Forget about contrast. Revisit it in a few months.
Action step: I’m going to build me an outfit on the internet.
Learn Polyvore. Learning your Season is much like learning software. You Google and YouTube about it. In the end, you figure it out by messing with it, getting some stuff wrong, remembering what worked, setting up new maps in your head till they are easy and automatic.
On the internet, it’s free. As many times as I need.
My pants are going to be gray. Already own those. I’m going to wear a light peach colored sweater. Peach is hardly ballistic. The wool will soften the look and the colours. I might go for mint too. Today, I give myself permission to buy anything I want. The only deal is, I can’t pick anything I would normally buy.
I’m going to wear a white blouse under it. Easy and pretty. I’m not even going to think about shiny fabric for a year.
Maybe it’s Christmas. I’m going to pin one sweet little Jingle Bell to my cardigan as a brooch. Maybe a sparkly angel. No other jewelry. Actually that doesn’t sound very hard.
Christine asked me to do her one favour. I can hear her voice. “Please, don’t buy a brown or black purse. Please. Anything else. Pick crystal gray. Doesn’t have to be fuchsia sequins. Just not functional.”
I hid the big colour inside a purse. That allover purple purse, we’ll just put it up there in the corner, top shelf of the pantry.
Saw some jewelry I had to have.
If I saw this on another woman, I can admit that I wouldn’t brace myself.
At first, I got many Soft Summer clients. I know what the lesson was. Learn from them to be a nicer version of yourself.
Lately, it’s Bright Winter. I still cannot figure out the lesson so we’ll be here for awhile.
Having just returned from a week in my native city (Montreal), I’m reminded of how much more grunge/tough-chic urban dwellers are compared to me. I live in the exact center of a clump of trees which grow in the exact center of 90 acres of corn.
The anonymity of city living may explain in part why all the grey and black. Perhaps also the multisensory assault and the need for some quiet somehow. Imagine if everyone were very colourful, or if they all had different coloured coats. It would be too much to take in. I don’t feel it in the small town where I live, but I sure love visiting cities. Montreal is a brilliant city with lots of character. Where you buy a screwdriver is beyond me. It’s all restaurants and bars.
I’m a Dark Winter in colouring. If human colouring were divided into 12 groups, or Seasons, mine would come from the Winter palette of jewel tones. To that, you’d add a few drops of crude oil to darken, dull, and warm slightly. The dull black of crude oil is what happens when Autumn’s deep rich gold mixes with sapphire and ruby. Picture the difference between the matte Batman black (Dark Winter) and the bluer and shinier vinyl record (True Winter).
For Dark Winter colouring, industrial/combat looks almost fall together. Though this won’t apply to all body types, the functionality, simplicity, toughness, masculinity all ring pretty true. I’m not a fan of all black but here, you have white, darker than usual blush (eleablake Accomplished, MAC Fever, this is no rosy cheek look), lipstick, and a ring the colour of blood. The lipstick is sheerly dark because this a natural/young/minimal look (Merle Norman Stolen Kisses).
Muscle tends to be easy for the 3 Autumn types of colouring, who do a cargo/military version. And Heaven knows if there are great boots for them to choose from.
It seems hardest to put this together for Spring. The heavy use of neutral colours always feels too drab on Spring, on whom I find colour is a better neutral than the traditional gray range. Even in their own grays, the excitement isn’t quite there. I still can’t visualize a Spring version that makes sense. I struggle with the toughness as well for True and Bright. Still, it just takes some adjusting. More colour, less metal and leather.
What about a Summer? Overall, this colouring is great in neutral colours and monochromatics. Some Light Summers are surprisingly edgy and G.I. Jane. They know it too but in trying to express it in Winter colours, the whole thing can come off too butch. Below, some adaptations.
Should be easy, she has the same relative darkness, dullness, and texture to True Summer as Dark Winter to True Winter.
She’ll do less distance between lightest and darkest, looks way better on Summer colouring.
Ombre and fade effects are nowhere better.
Wear the bracelets on the same hand.
Could do a mascara version of soft black for the boot.
Equestrian boot are too glamourous and Uggs make us walk too shuffly and mushy.
Denim is so ubiquitous that we barely register its colour unless it’s pretty saturated.
You can’t see the model in the Tshirt because she’s unlikely to be a Soft Summer so she’s disappearing.
Don’t buy the makeup on the Polyvore, I haven’t swatched any of it.
Anybody but especially the boy-body nerd > messenger bag.
Amazing in her teals.
Those earrings are lakes.
The eyeshadow is matte.
Anybody but especially the field hockey player > backpack or hobo.
True Summer is such a clean-water Season, it’s hard to make it look messy.
Cate Blanchett on the other side of the subway platform. With this wicked good haircut. In this clothing, I’d stare shamelessly.
But without the high-class natural makeup. There’s something too wholesome or healthy about it. I kept peach out of the blush and lip.
Eyeliner is important and you need one that allows you to wear a lot without closing down the eye size. Our makeup should be as much as us, not more. And not less, personal taste depending of course.
I’m completely attracted to biker jackets. Engineer boots too.
Bracelets on the same hand. Warm and cool together are good on Neutral Seasons.
The belt is bubbles.
She has double piercings in her ears.
The Spring in her makes her great in tye-dye. I picked watercolours of galaxy earrings today.
The blue beanie, because marled wools look terrific, because blue disappears on Summers, like a non-colour so it doesn’t really add another colour block.
Purse too saturated? Yup. Coat too something else? Probably. As if a woman wearing this is going to pass up a great purse because it colours outside the lines. Where we do and don’t draw our lines makes us more interesting.
Personal Shopper + Colour Analyst = VALUE
Shopping takes hours of planning and thinking. Which I enjoy more than I can say but seldom have the time. I know you don’t believe this, but many people have way more money than time. I meet them all the time. I get links to Theory suits and Burberry trenches to advise about, shopping bags full of Cle De Peau makeup to sort through, and offers of all-expense paid travel if I’ll go analyze colouring and take on the shopping thereafter.
Believe this too. It’s not because I’m good at it. All I have is the ability to choose colours that flatter because I can measure the person’s colouring, i.e.: I know their Season. That alone sets me apart from all the other stylists. I work from airport waiting lounges, Starbucks, shopping malls, wherever and whenever, with nothing but an iPad.
Sound like your path? Consider training as a colour analyst. Fashion advice without the ability to analyze colouring accurately will be like Hollywood, trendy and unpredictable. If you love shopping and can analyze colouring, you are a different commodity, higher in the value chain, even at the celebrity level.
Q: Why is learning Yoga like learning your colours?
A: Because it’s the same as learning anything.
It takes a Winter to make black look interesting, deep, meaningful.
Only a Summer’s colouring can take pastel yellow, and greenish yellow at that because how else can you make yellow cool but add blue, and have it look happily, generously, fully, softly, buttery yellow.
The drape colours and our clothing colours, they have an effect on us. We have an effect right back on them.
The heat of True Autumn doesn’t look too hot under that face, nor does it make her face too yellow. The gold, teal, and bittersweet look perfectly at home and she looks peaceful and honest, Autumn’s claims to fame. I so love these qualities in these people. There is nothing for neuroses to stick to. It just bounces back in the best way.
The Dark Seasons aren’t necessarily dark to look at. There’s lots of hair and eye variation, just like any other Season. What Dark means is that on them, dark looks normal. On other colourings, it would look too dark. My ‘normal lips’ lipstick is darker than you’d expect because as a Dark Winter, my colouring takes dark and turns it into right. Once we learn our own colouring, we control the retail world, a nice change from the other way round, which is how most folks live.
A Spring guy in Autumn colour tells the world, “Hi, I’m John and I’m a little angry all the time. Watch out, I piss off easy.” And yet, nothing of the sort is true, but no wonder nobody will give him leadership positions.
You walk into an office. Before you cross the carpet to shake his hand, the Autumn guy in Autumn colours has said to you, “I am THE guy who’s going to get you and your 8 cats out of a burning building.” And as you cross that carpet, you think, “Buddy, you are THE guy I want around to get me and Poochie out of the fire.” If he’d been wearing Summer colours, he looks lucky to get himself out, let alone Poochie and you.
Find the first edge of your Season. Settle, wait, and become. Grow back into your natural colouring.
Here’s a stereotype for you: the Bright Winter being told she’s a Light Summer. Happens often. Both are Neutral Seasons that have much in common in 12 Season personal colour analysis (PCA). Both add the same amount (small) of the same kind of heat (Spring). But we forget the differences between icy and pastel and can’t interpret them on a human face without right drapes. Bright Winter’s super concentrated blue looks normal on her, just blue, even more normal and balanced if it’s shiny. She looks reasonable in it. Reasonable, exciting, and could be taken perfectly seriously without being remembered only for what she wore.
Digression 1: about comments that Winters can’t be blonde-haired or beige-haired and blue-eyed because it lacks in contrast. It simply isn’t true. Please, come and watch a real analysis with accurate drapes. Please, at least be open to the possibility that there is another way. Once you see this person balance pitch black, or once you watch their presence fade, the lower half of the face weaken and recede, see the face appear dusted with white powder in Light Summer colour, the face become mottled and yellow in Summer whites, you begin to understand. PCA is about discovering your natural colours. If this light-appearing person harmonizes with pitch black and pure white, then they contain those pigments. Therefore, they contain the contrast of a Winter. The fact that this information can’t be discerned by staring at the complexity of a human face doesn’t make the information incorrect. It’s the part about knowing human pigmentation without measuring it that might need some revision.
Digression 2: I see things online about the relationships between Neutral Seasons that have a similar start point and add the same amount of the same kind of colour warmth/coolness. So, Dark Autumn and Bright Spring begin as pure warm Seasons (True Autumn and True Spring) and move one step into Winter. When they share colours, to my eye, it doesn’t work as well as the theoretical/conceptual argument would have you think. Keep the overall balance in mind. Try not to borrow from the other palette precisely, but rather from a space between it and yours. It’s not a bad idea at all, it’s quite clever. There is a relationship between these groups for sure, as there are many relationships between the groups of natural colouring, the Seasons. I find the Winter Neutral Seasons of Dark and Bright actually do better in True Summer than Soft or Light respectively. True Summer is just a little warm relative to Winter, has more clarity than Soft and more darkness than Light. The overall of True Summer looks closer to home on a Winter Neutral than Summer’s Neutrals do. In clothes or drapes, it’s the True Summer that looks better on Dark and Bright Winter, IMO.
On a Light Spring-coloured person, Soft Autumn colour looks bulky and chunky.
The reverse: an Autumn woman wearing Spring colour. Well, you know how tiny, dinky jewelry on a large-framed body can make the jewelry look smaller and the body bigger? The strength and substance of Autumn colouring forcibly placed Â next to Spring’s lightness and fun makes the face look more solid (I’m trying not to say masculine) and the colours immature and inexpensive. In her right colours, Autumn women project all the feminine beauty that Summer can in Summer colours. I mean, Autumn is Raquel Welch territory. There’s a reason that picture of her wearing a fur bikini was iconic. Wouldn’t have happened in Twiggy psychedelic daisies. Even at a tiny level, this effect takes place. A Soft Summer woman wearing True Summer colours looks a little more muscular or macho somehow.
On a Light Summer, the Bright Winter colour is the only thing you see. Even if it’s only one part of an outfit, it becomes either the only thing you notice or the only thing you don’t notice. Of course, there’s a middle ground, where a dark Soft Summer that’s a bit more saturated could be close-enough-is-good-enough on a Dark Winter.
What’s really good about these relationships is that they get the heat level correct. That’s absolutely huge. It’s amazing how just getting this one colour dimension right changes your whole appearance and the feeling of your appearance. In cool colour, you look grayed and a little cyanotic. The good news is that your transfusion is as easy as changing your shirt. In too warm colour, the skin is yellow, teeth yellow, eyes dull, bone structure is blunted and flat, all true whether it’s your hair, foundation, or clothing. It’s so hard to get cool foundation. All these makeup artists talked companies into yellowing foundation, but it’s way too much. Chanel, Merle Norman, some of the L’Oreal True Match, they make some decent cool choices. Cool foundation, especially Winter’s, is grayish in the bottle.
Some theoretical arguments don’t work well IRL. For instance, you could draw a line in colour space where 2 Seasons meet and there would be some shared coordinates, meaning colour dots belonging in either Season. No right or wrong, it depends on the system and the palette designer. I have never once seen the textile colour that belongs equally well in 2 groups, nor the person in 2 Seasons. This is partly why other PCA systems don’t cross-over well into our Sci\ART based system. Not only is their logic process different to arrive at the Season, but the colours often belong to more than 1 Season. In Sci\ART, at least my vision of it, every colour stands alone and every Season stands alone. That’s a very big deal as distinctions go. Our drapes don’t work with other systems, nor their drapes with ours. You can’t just say, “It’s all colour analysis, should be interchangeable.” Trust me, it ain’t. You’ll get yourself in a mess that will need some fixing. (more about this in the comments to the Career article, one back). I am absolutely not saying that one is righter or wronger because every system and every vision has its merits, just that they don’t mesh together.
We should be defined in our clothing, bringing out the best in each other. Our face should be in front of our clothes and distinct from them. A Bright Winter in True Spring colours is very close to greatness. Except that she is draining the colour from the fabric and backing it up from our awareness. The lower half of her face is disappearing into the garment so her presence is dissolving into her clothing. The face yellows and the drape is already yellow, like a big yellow circle of flatness. There’s no excitement. Another person or analyst might see that as harmony or as a glowing tan effect, but I don’t. Â A difference of opinion perhaps. It depends on your ideal of beauty. You might totally subscribe to Hollywood’s love of a solid yellow wall of hair. That’s great and fine, but I wouldn’t. We don’t all need to line up behind the same idea. There is no right and wrong here.
Summer’s skim milk white looks as cloudy as skim milk white is relative to Winter white, placed under a Winter face. They don’t belong together and push each other even further in opposite directions. They find the thing that makes them most different and widen a little adjustment into a chasm of unbelonging. Under a Summer face, her white looks like white. Just white.
Notice grouchiness, confusion, and doubt. “They don’t make anything in my colours.”
I ask students, “In that colour, how does the person look like he’s feeling?” We sense that he must be feeling in a way that he doesn’t at all. Bright Spring in Light Summer colours can look feeble and frail. Like, “Hi, I’m Ted and I’m exhausted.” No kidding he’s had trouble getting hired. His inner and outer energies come rushing back when he wears what he is. Vitality and health can be as simple as choosing a different T-shirt.
The Dark Winter in Soft Autumn colour announces, “Hi, I’m Ellen and I’m running out of gas. I’m checking out.” Change your shirt. Suddenly, your hair looks clean, more coloured, the skin is tight to the bones, all good. Suddenly, people are more interested in giving you money.
A Dark Autumn wearing Light Spring peach looks like a log cabin painted blossom pink. It’s irrational. A floating, disconnected head. This picture says, “I can’t make reasonable decisions about myself. How likely am I to make them about you?”
Colour analysis matters. Every person should have this information about themselves by the time they are 20. Like a social identity. Social competence has incalculable value in this world. Others decide this about us within about 10 seconds of seeing and greeting.
On a random clothing rack, Soft Summer colours are the grayest relative to all the other colours. The Winter colours are the boldest and darkest. Maybe our character tries to equalize itself, or find balance for the traits that are more extreme in us, so we reach for our opposite. Many a person with Summer’s type of natural colouring wants to project more push by wearing Winter colour. It backfires. Now, the only thing you can see between her nose and toes is the garment. By comparison to the clothing, the woman has faded away even more. Now she looksÂ muted, where in Summer colours, she would look fresh and gorgeous.
She stays with Winter. Hair colour that was fresh, natural, and lively gets is run down and washed out against the Winter background, so she tries a few hair colours. She tries darker eyeliner. But all those bold colours don’t tell the world, “I am audacious and adventurous.” because we can barely register the person at all, nevermind find them daring. The person who is meticulous, tolerant, perceptive, precise, and soft-hearted is telling the world,
“I am unplanned, indiscriminate, possibly abrupt, possibly intense, and possibly odd.”,
so, even before introduction, from the time it took them to get from the door to you, you think, “Note to Self: Prepare. This could go a lot of different ways.”
Ten minutes later, you think, “Wow. This is the nicest person ever. I could talk to them for a week. Didn’t see that coming.”
Once Summer pulls their own colours from the closet, the magic happens. Â The wavelengths synchronize instead of competing with and neutralizing each other. The whole picture unites. Those grayer colours aren’t gray at all on her.Â They’re fully energized, present, and focused, and so is she. Her hair is very colourful and enhancing.
Remember that you are safe. You already look way better than you used to. From here, it just gets better.
Bright on Bright = Normal
Bright colours donâ€™t look overly bright on Bright Seasons. It’s the rest of us on whom they are too strong and more than we are, a distracting challenge to our natural colouring. On non-Brights, the colours say, “Look at me!!! Look at me!!!! Forget about her up there. Look down here where all the action is!!!” We would look drained and erased, worn out from always competing with our clothing. Not so on the Bright colouring. They look normal.
A Bright Winter can drain colour from most any fabric, including Dark Autumn and Dark Winter. She can dull Dark Winter’s strong coral rose into looking like True or Soft Summer colour.Â Under her face, Dark Autumn’s fabulous, rich, full, bronzed raisin looks drab and plain, maybe even a little dirty. Which is how Autumn makeup looks on her face.
Even True Winter, one powerful set of colours, looks washed too many times on a Bright Winter. Plus heavy and blue. No excitement. The whole image drags down. Change the drape. The lights come on. The whole picture lifts up. The lines all focus and turn upwards instead of like melting ice cream.
Many Bright Seasons, Winter and Spring, have beige hair. They contain Spring, after all. They often feel the hair is mousy and blah. It sure is if they’re wearing muted colour. All the life goes out of it. Out comes the hair chemistry. If they’d just change their shirt, the hair would sparkle. Bright Season hair is never ever mousy in correct colour.
Trust. Just let gravity take you. The great clothes and cosmetics will start showing up just because you’ve asked them to. Give it your attention but don’t stress. Effortless effort.
A Bright Season in their own colours doesn’t look like a Hiliter marker or more noticeably coloured than anyone else. Her red just looks like normal red. On someone else, the shirt would walk into the room before she does. It’s only on a Bright that it wouldn’t behave that way.
She doesn’t need to shop for shiny purple or neon pink. She just wants to repeat certain colour properties to look normal. That’s what it takes for her to look like she really looks. Colour analysis will find you a pretty lipstick but it’s way more organic than that. It will find what you really look like, in colour, line, and texture. The feeling in the observer is, “Oh, is that what you really look like? I couldn’t see you before. You were distorted.”
You know how when people take off their glasses and you suddenly get a whole different picture and feeling? It’s like that. An artist could paint you with a thousand different facial expressions. The viewer would expect a thousand different women to own each face. Might as well broadcast the real one.
New Bright Seasons may experience disappointment bordering on fear. She has seen her colours on others and thought, “Oh, that’s just too much.” Yup, on them, it sure is. But the rest of us see those colours on you, not on your hanger or on everyone else in the room, the way you do. On you, we think, “Fine. Nothing to adjust to. Normal. Enough. Good. Interesting. Complete. Balanced. Clear. Healthy. Easy to look at. Nice eyes. That woman gets herself.”
She’s here for us to interact with. Otherwise, she’s partly invisible, a place where many of us feel so much safer and try hard to find a reason to justify staying. And oh, boy, when a PCA is pulling out of your hiding place before you’re ready, it’s panicky. Go with it. It serves nobody to play small.
We compensate in so many ways to disguise or adapt our personality, often without knowing it, often in response to demands of the environment, parenting, society, and all the other pressures coming in. In the never-ending journey toward self-knowledge, surprising examples of being untrue to oneself turn up.
Surrender to stillness. Don’t overthink it. Just be in it.
Easing into the Bright Seasons.
You don’t have to wear the test drapes. They’re just measuring you.
You are not head to toe poster paint as a Bright, or dishwater as a Soft, or maudlin if a Dark. I use words that separate the palette from all the others in the mind of a person considering all 12. I have neglected to clarify that solo on the right wearer will it not look as extreme as the description. It finally makes sense.
Combinations matter. Add zing, your way. Wear dark teal jeans, a peach blouse, and wind a shiny, Chinese silk, peacock-printed scarf round your neck. This is a very different Winter from the other two.
The heat matters to Bright Winter. She needs to add the sunny, the sunbeam. This colouring shadows easily in too-dark or too-blue. Bright Winter is close to Bright Spring. A person could design those colour palettes to be closer to True Winter or Bright Spring and still be within the realm of Bright Winter. Who’s to say either is righter or wronger? They need the heat in their colors.
She forgets that the saturation only means pure pigment. It does not mean vaudeville, hussy, burlesque, or Halloween clothing. Purity of pigment matters. Even in True Winter, a palette of pretty high saturation, her skin will dull to the exact degree that True Winter is dull relative to Bright Winter.
The overall picture is too dark. Bright Winter is significantly lighter than the other Winters. Although the darkness range is similar to that of True Winter, the global impression is definitely lighter. Many of these folks have medium beige hair and blue eyes. Even if hair and eyes are dark, there is a light-bright reflectivity in the skin. Too dark or too blue moves to gaunt very fast here. Black is not automatic at all. Very very unique type of Winter.
She’s got the colours right but the garment lines are too straight and serious, when she’s not linear in her body type. Natural shapes make stripes feel like jailhouse prints. If you’re very rounded in your outlines, you should be shopping at Victoria’s Secret. Straight lines don’t work with your curves, they over-accentuate them. Two differently shaped garments tell a different story, despite being identical in colour.
If your character is flighty and whimsical, banker’s stripes make you wonder if the analyst got your Season wrong because your spare and linear-thinking Bright Winter friend looks so good in them. Your analyst did fine. No two women of the same Season will wear it best in the same way. Your colours are when your clothing, cosmetic, and hair colour journey must begin, but it’s not where it ends.
Her makeup is too strong for her age. If you’re 20, wear sheerer and lighter. Feature definition looks like youth but adapt it for your age.
Her makeup is too dry and opaque. High pigment in transparent application is better.
Shine is better than matte. Satin and frost shine is better than dewy and wet shine if Winter, the reverse if Spring. Distinguish the two types of shine in your Â mind. They look different to the rest of us and tell a different story.
Fun matters. Wear something happy. A polka dot leopard pin. A black watch with a gold daisy motif in the face. Button-down classics drag the whole thing down.
Sweetness. These folks have a cute quality when they’re 70, like kids in an adult body. Add baby peach, yellow, candy colour, peppermint colours. Find colours that would taste good and a little sharp or a little acidic. (But not bitter/vinegar, which is better on Dark Autumn)
Ease in with bigger neutral blocks and smaller colour blocks at first. A Bright might look boring in too much neutral colour, maybe more so if a Natural body type. The 3 Springs are this way, but it extends to Bright Winter, who needs colour in a sharp way, and the Light Summer who is also flattered by colour in an analogous type of scheme (colours that are neighbours on a colour wheel).
Try the bright colours further from the centre in the beginning, as nail polish or a handbag.
Limit to smaller pieces for shine. A watchstrap. All Winter does well in some type and amount of shine.
Explore the lighter colours. I completely disagree with the hair colour myth that lighter hair colour looks younger on all women. I do agree that all colour, and light colour in clothing, looks younger than the Safe Black don’t-notice-me uniform. These can be hard to find and take practice to match. Learn to lay the open palette on the garment rather than matching one little square or dot to anything. That’s what you look like in that garment. Do the light colours of the palette look either wimpy and weak or too strong, sparkly, or separate relative to the garment? If they belong together, the two should just settle in.Â Great clothes are part of you, like a great rider and the horse are part of each other. Picture how it would look if horse and rider were out of stride. That’s how wrong colour feels.
Uplight with pale gold for Spring, in sharper lines if Winter, like NARS Albatross.
Our colour palette is where we begin. From that platform, we find our contrast level. the blonde haired blue eyed Bright Winter is a little more gradual, but still supports black mascara than the Asian Bright Winter.
Melt into a new friendship.
Live with it for a month. Then go back and try on the clothes and cosmetics you wore before. Do they still feel like home?
Just like feeling irritability in a pose, if you allow it quietly and calmly, it Â might flip to its opposite: Peace.
We have two themes in this article. One is to assemble outfits that are ‘off-Season’. It’s easy to find clothing in our 12 Tone palettes at certain times of year and near impossible at other times. The second is to introduce a new style voice, since I wonder if my outfits are a little repetitive.
My daughter, Ally, has more style in her little finger than I’ll find in my whole life. She’s Kibbe-innocent but can see whether lines match people instantly. Today’s Polyvores are from her perspective.Â I asked her to keep in mind that she’s dressing women of all ages, to which she replied, “No woman of any age needs to wear granny clothes and I’m not picking those.” Fair enough.
Ally’s also here to break a few rules. In her charming 17 year old way, she asked, “Why does anyone have to do what you say?”Â Point taken. Nobody does. You’ll find colours and styles you might not normally see.
Light Summer in December
True Summer in October
Any one piece may not be perfect. But the whole thing together works. As S., the student who arrives this week for the training course, so aptly pointed out, the word ‘match’ isn’t always appropriate. I use it too often. Whether your clothes match the swatches in your palettes, whether your lipstick matches your red belt, whether your sweater matches your hair – it doesn’t really matter so much. They need not be identical colours. They need only look like they live in the same harmonic field relative to the the whole composition.
The idea is to use colour to create a vision that is cohesive. All the elements are working together and with you. Everything has a good reason for being there. That’s how we look at paintings, landscapes, and other people. We don’t dissect the saturation of their blouse. So the vest above is on the dark side. So the pink backpack could be pinker. In the big picture, I’m not sure it would make an important difference. The parts are finding enough in common to stay together. Not unlikeÂ marriage, or any other relationship.
True Autumn in April
Yes, it really is this cold here in April.
It strikes me that we’re still just making Polyvores. This may answer part of our purpose, which is, how to wear muted, warm colours when everyone else looks like an Easter basket.
The other part of the question is, where do I go to find my colours in April when the stores are full of coloured candy floss?
- shop wider;Â I’ve actually begun buying things I find on Polyvore. As eBay is the world’s biggest yard sale, Polyvore is the world’s biggest shopping mall right in my house.
- buy online, always risky, but many allow free returns.
- shop all year round for all year round; within 6 months of your PCA, once it’s caught up with you, or you with it, you will keep most of your choices for years, and you’ll spend more per item because you’ll know it looks right and will work with the rest of your closet
True Winter in September (or March)
Any of us who knows both her colours and her body line finds shopping nearly as easy as it used to be. There’s no one-stop-shop any longer. We buy Christmas outfits in July, we are always looking. Other than True Winter and Soft Autumn, I don’t really dedicated stores for colours. Even for those groups, you’ve only got their (limited) design lines to select from.
By request, the Bright Spring Dramatic Classic
Dramatic Classic, where pouffy becomes maternity or Jack Sparrow. A rounded edge is Peter Pan.
What’s interesting here is that the Bright Seasons tend to have a lot of sweetness in the personality. I’ve heard them called pushovers but that comes from someone who’s only working from a traditional, narrow, male-based definition. Power wears many hats. These people are not mean, abrupt, rude, or rough. As the Bright Spring is a Spring, she will take things to heart. You can’t throw words around that you don’t mean. Being with her is an exercise in being happier andÂ more gentle.
Dramatic Classic is not sweet in the traditional sense either. If anything, it’s a little sharp. If you began with the absolute average woman, DC isn’t closer to being the average child. It’s closer to being the absolute average man.
The intersection of the two is that Bright Spring’s colours and DC’s lines are both very clean. No extras, no gadgets, no fuzzy, no fluff. If you drew the outline, the edges would be sharp, no question where one thing ends and the next begins. Nothing fades into anything else. Absence of blur effect, noise reduction up.
I gave Ally a few colour words – lively, clean, same or opposite colours, a little bit of Winter, and the shape words – sleek, expensive, close, upside-down triangle or straight lines, and then just asked her to dress me. She didn’t read the book because we get too rigid about rules and end up in costumes. Her job was to pull together an overall effect.
Black is small, shiny, on the bottom half, with other elements that warm up the overall look. If black is in the top half, it takes up small surface area, it’s opened up like lace or pointelle, or there’s lots of skin.
Every item need not be sunny, there’s Winter here. But each vignette should say bright, alive, warm, crisp.
Something delicate really looks good.Â Crispness near the face looks good, it need not be especially yellow. Bulk with angularity looks clunky or spiky. Fine, thin crispness is good, like icicles.
Smooth, geometric, shiny, new, expensive – all work with the pearls, in a chunkier setting. Â The pearls are fine because the edges are defined, as feathers would not be. Those long dangling earrings, some DC’s might disappear them, but on a Bright Spring DC, they’d be great. The sharpness offsets the small size.
Hearts are an inverted triangle shape, as are teardrops, both great on Spring and DC.
The whole earring that sprays up – unless you know different stores than me, you’d never wear earrings. Chunky smooth pieces that sit close to the earÂ and have a solid presence on the ear lobe are good.
Mixed metals are good here when they’re shiny.
No platforms on shoes. Frankensteinish.
I normally would never wear a bow, but the asymmetric position of it is good. I like the design on that sweater, interesting with the blouse. One of those excellent combinations that nobody could do like Bright Spring.
I hope that you go to the site and make these images bigger. There are some really nice things here.
I am Canadian. Summer is from May to September. In some parts of our country, we seem to have two Seasons, July and Winter.
V is a Dark Winter who lives in the Northern US. She spent some weeks in Florida in July. She made these observations:
I must’ve seen about a dozen women (ages 40 – 80) during that 3 week time frame who were wearing all-white outfits.Â These were just women who were out shopping, dining, whatever…not dressed up for anything special that would otherwise dictate wearing white.Some wore dresses, some wore loose tops with loose pants, etc.They all looked cool and appropriate. I didn’t have time to study what season they might have been. I simply thought they looked cool and refreshing.
V was attracted to the head-to-toe light colours but wondered if a dark Â person would look great in all white. My first thought was, wear the clothes. Why not? It’s just clothes. Enjoy the holiday by changing everything about how you normally live.
If I think of Jacqui Onassis in all white or white&navy, I pick the white and navy. If you take in the totality of any person, all white is never enough. In the totality of an appearance, there exists much more than just clothes, like eyes and hair. Maybe by wearing all white, our heads become a little more colourful, and that’s not bad. Little things can go a long way. Lipstick and mascara count.Â Throw on a great belt, a superb watch, a gorgeous head scarf, or important earrings. As ever, taste is always right, but to me, all white isn’t much more interesting than all black. Those outfits succeed based entirely on what’s added to them.
Light and Location
V. did some research and came up with this excellent article.
The author is on to something. Equatorial light is more direct (straight overhead) so more short (blue) wavelengths must reach there more often, possibly causing colours to appear cooler.
And then there are cultural differences, like if everyone around you is a blonde, how long do you stay brunette before you start feeling like an outsider? When we bring ourselves to a new place, do we change our apparel colours to suit the place, the light there, or the fashion there? What’s in the stores is different. We buy stuff when we travel that we’d never buy at home, but it just felt right for the place and the time as a way to recognize the many ways in which the new place influences us consciously and physiologically.
Dark Winter About Town in July
Any woman who knows her best colours will find some times of year easier to shop in than others. The next article will show some off-season collections. For today’s palette, buying dark saturated colour in May isn’t easy, it’s true. Like everything, you get better at it. You learn to buy your summer clothes in November. Colour analyzed women have the confidence to buy apparel whenever they find it. The colour will be just as good in six months as it is today.
Exciting Colour Combinations
I’ve had enough time living with my Dark Winter palette to now have a closet full of DW clothes. And the colors do all ‘go’ together, as one would expect. The question I have is…as so many of the DW colors are darker (and on the less-vibrant side, due to their ‘drop of chocolate’ or ‘slight film of soot’), when I pair 2 colors …for example a cobalt blue dress with a lightweight purple flyaway cardigan over it….to me, the color combination just looks “blah”. And I see this over and over with combining my DW clothes. The individual pieces are fine, but I can’t just easily mix and match. This is particularly obvious when I travel. I may have suitcase full of Dark Winter clothes but many of the combinations just don’t have much eye appeal. I’m obviously missing something that will add the ‘jazzy spark’. What am I missing?
I wondered about
1. Are the colours being worn truly saturated? This is something Winters have to grow into. As a Winter, colours are bold, strong, almost shocking. A person who doesn’t have the True Winter palette there for comparison might think many of your blues and greens are True Winter’s. These colours are so not blah that wearing too many at once can get parrotty.
2. Some women much more flamboyance and/or drama in their geometry or their preferences than others. They need styles of clothing that convey that. Design and style require that both colour and line to be right for the individual. Are the cuts too conservative/classic/careful for a person who needs more flair? Â All of those will come across as frumpy-ish if you are Yanger than the clothes, no matter what colour they are. Flamboyant people wear more colour all the time.
3. Clothes alone, like makeup alone or hair colour alone, don’t convey the whole image. Accessories add many layers of expression. When we buy ourselves a present, it’s often a cosmetic – affordable and fun. We own enough cosmetics and they’re repetitive. We should be buying accessories. On Winter, they also are bold, noticeable, with big presence. The hard metallic element is very much part of the image.
4. Your own taste. My suggestions can only take you so far. If they were complete and applied equally to all women, that would mean that there are 12 kinds of women. Study how other image systems put colour together. Your answers are not in any one of them but in the places where they all intersect.
Dark Winter Staying Cool
Dark colours are also very warm. Any suggestions on how to look good dressed as a Dark Winter and stay cool too?
My eye likes a Dark Season person (in the 12-Tone personal colour analysis system, that’s Dark Autumn and Dark Winter) to give an overall medium to very dark impression. Don’t forget that you are already a dark block all by yourself. We tend to look at outfits, like the all white top and pants, and forget the person they’re hanging on, the block that makes the biggest contribution of all. Picture outfits from the top of your head down, not your neck. That’s how they look to the rest of us.
Sheer or floaty textiles and lots of skin can cool even if it’s dark. I find black much more interesting in hot weather. Icy colours are an automatic fix here too. It’s Winter that gets close to white in their lightest-darkest range and takes advantage of these colours in hot weather. Summer folks may have more choice in the stores in July, but their pastels are quite far from white.
Our appearance doesn’t begin or end with clothes. It begins with the person and ends with the entire composition. Dark nail polish, jewelry, lipstick, or a purse isn’t hotter to wear but absolutely affects the whole picture. Jacquie O. was fine in her white pants, white headscarf, and white&navy tee, but it was the huge dark glasses that balanced the image. Those were what we identified her with most.
I can’t think of a website that gives real women better advice, usable and beautiful, than Imogen’s. I see she’s done some work on the site and now has an e-book that you could get free. Here, Imogen shows colours for different seasons.
Dark Winter on Vacation
What might we wear that’s more interesting than all white and still relaxed?
In any change you want to effect, three questions matter:
1. What do I want?
2. Where am I now?
3. What am I willing to do to get what I want?
What Do I Want
Very hard question. Most of us are schooled in what we don’t want. You might want to develop the full edge and potential of your appearance. If your idea of great makeup is to take what’s already there and make more of it, as mine is, Winter’s best makeup might have your redefining your position. The colours in the face are a lot and now we’re going to add a lot more. Adding just a little more doesn’t move Winter very far from the start point, or nowhere close to the max point, but maybe you just want to know a nice eyeliner and gloss and that’s all. There is no right or wrong answer.
There is nothing wrong with being a Winter without makeup. The important thing is to channel what you do towards the outcome that you want. Too often, we’ve never identified either what we want or what we do to help or hinder that. If you’re a Winter, the time has come. No face is more altered with makeup. As in life, the good and bad are equal. As in all things Winter, they are also simultaneously at both outer limits. Other types of colouring tend to look more similar with and without makeup, which is a definite good thing. But it’s the Winters who can go miles from where they started, and that’s good too.
I like a lot of colour on Winter, a lot of makeup, a lot of drama. The face is that way already. I want every woman to be all they could be. Would our 80-year-old selves excuse us for having been less than that? Would our reasons have been good enough? Hint: no excuse or decision based on fear or negativity is ever good enough.
This is good.
I know it’s hard. This is the group whose language is power, a currency that women have been un-trained to deal in by every force in their lives. Power is not second nature to us.
Where Am I Now
Even harder question. Unpacking our own luggage and seeing what’s really in there can be scary, especially if the zipper has been jammed for awhile. Lots of people can’t admit their height and weight and those are facts. As the oft-heard quote states, “Reality is an acquired taste.” And slowly acquired at that.
All those Winters from the 80s, which seem to have been in the majority, are very seldom Winters, which is fine because they’re usually wearing Summer colours. The real Winters are buried among every other type of colouring. Their road back is a longer one for the Tone you might think would be the easiest to analyze and dress. They don’t see it coming unless they are very dark of hair and eye to begin with.
Once, I’d love the Winter to walk in who is overdone in her Winterness. The young ones are, even without makeup. They’re bringing it. More eyeliner (that we remove), thigh high boots (brown, but they’re trying to be bigger and it’s good), cape flying, doing something luscious with the hair, more ME-ME-ME. In our fifties, we women have toned ourselves so far down that we can lose our discernment of what is just normal and right.
Especially in our later years, when our faces finally carry all the power that took 50 years to build, isn’t it time to stop being so careful? I get that not everyone wants to present a heavily made up, dramatic face, but it’s not even about drama in makeup. There is so much caution to shake off. Drama and glamour haven’t been added for a long time and yet, this is where they are most at home, most normal.
Personal Colour Analysis is a gateway to Here’s Who You Are.
What’s In A Winter Face: both extremes at the same time.
To be more specific:
1.Â Contrast. You saw this coming. It means that there is a lot of distance between everything and everything else, such as:
Features from skin. Â The skin is very even, smooth, and quiet. Insert into that landscape a mouth, cheeks, eyes, and eyebrows whose colours create a big and sudden jump from the background. That Shiseido banner up above.
Light – dark levels of contiguous colours. Eyeliner is dark (it contains more black than any other group). The eyeshadow next to it, the lid colour, is a fair bit lighter (lid colour is medium on the other groups). The next band, the eyeshadow contour, is quite dark by comparison (more about that later). The eyeshadow highlight is icy light, nearly white (not the case for pastel on Summers and creamy on Warms).Â The brow is quite dark (but not darkened more than Nature designed on anyone), very sharply defined, and dramatized extra (crisp, arched, lengthened, whatever works on that face, which is simply to see what’s there and make more of it).Â For sure, any particular face might need these adjusted a little, but this is the generic look.
Textures, ultra matte to ultra shine. Quiet skin. No special effects. Snow White’s face isn’t contoured (which sets up lowlights for Autumn), dewy (sets up highlights, best on Spring), or cottony (sets up fluffy, just right on a dreamy Summer). On a Winter face or a winter landscape, those look muddy, busy, and trivial, a million miles from Winter. You want foundation whose coverage is opaque enough to make a very even blanket. Powder the whole face evenly.Â Add lots of eyes, lots of mouth, more blush or less (both can be good). Done.
The Best Skin Finish on Winter Colouring is: Even.
2. Drama. It’s like a deficiency when drama is left out of a Winter eye design. Not wrong. There is no wrong, no answer that works across the board, even within a Season. Winters I’ve seen, they not only balance drama, they are enhanced further with it. It doesn’t look even dramatic, exciting, stimulating, theatrical, or otherwise extraordinary. It looks normal.
Would the image above make sense with a soft and gentle eye colour or shape (expression)? Winter’s is not a gradual, blended, or soft face.
When Summers buy cosmetics, look for products that have a gentle application. Remember when we applied your makeup and we divided the foundation with moisturizer, as I do on every Summer and Spring, because heavy and matte products look like a mask on your delicate skin texture and softened colouring? The same principle applies to all your cosmetics. Having said that, we also showed you that when a colour is correct, you can apply almost any amount of it and it just blends believably into the skin. That’s true, but these are two different ideas. Summer begins with a product that swatches like a watercolour. Winter is looking for oil paint.
3. Keep the number of cosmetic colours low. 1 is good. Colour is subtracted from winter landscapes. Many steely dark grays, many icy grays or icy colours (means nearly white). Very little colour activity. And suddenly, a deeply flushed cheek. A red or purple mouth. The colours in the face are shocking enough on a still and quiet energy.
Remember how on Lights, dark colour takes over? On Winters, it’s colour itself that becomes too much too quickly.
Would this be more effective if we added a buttercup, a bluejay, and a lilac? No, the red would lose its voltage. There are thousands of these photos out there because they make sense to humans by reinforcing something we already know and recognize.
4. Intensity. Don’t leave any features behind. Enhance each one to the same degree. Thou Shalt Not Be Wimpy. Apply a lot of colour to each feature and don’t blot any off till the whole face is done. Each part looks like too much on its own but it all works together when all the pieces are in place. Blend nothing till every part is done or you’ll overblend that feature back into cautious and unbalance the face.
Thou Shalt Not Be Wimpy applies equally to concealer as lipstick. The blues and purples in the skin are so saturated that a sheer concealer won’t hide them nearly as well as a product with good opacity. My favorite is Arbonne for that reason, plus it stays where it’s applied, it lasts amazingly well all day, and it dries fast so I can apply foundation over it immediately without overly diluting it or smearing it everywhere. I am very fussy about where concealer goes but I use a lot of it. For reference, I wear Arbonne Medium.
What Are You Willing To Do
Look very different to yourself? Exchanging a plaid duffel coat for a black and white herringbone is a step. Wearing bigger jewelry than all your friends? Be the only one of the girls to wear a fuchsia red mouth?
Draw a lot more attention to yourself? Stand out and apart? As many have discovered, getting noticed for being different isn’t easy, even is it’s a good different.
Wear your real true This Is Who I Am hair colour?
No right or wrong, just questions. Everything looks easy from the outside. Try it, you may find it takes some effort. What are the conditions on what you’re willing to do?
Would you wear twice as much makeup as you wear today? Most Winter women accept the eye makeup fairly easily. Lips can always be sheer. Winter’s sheer is Spring’s “Oh, dear Lord, too much, wipe it off, start again.â€ Winters, pick sheers with a lot of colour or save your money and buy Chapstick. Where you hear the brakes screech is with the blush. They feel like clowns for a week. What everyone else sees is a pulled-together face. Not in how much, which you can decide, but in how red. Blood on snow, right?
The Nature of Reflected Light
The Spring, Summer, and Autumn articles Â preceding this one are linked in their names. The idea is that our natural colours have a way of reflecting light. Beyond just the colours of the reflected light, the wavelengths have properties that reach our other senses, as texture for instance. In Chinese medicine, our fingers are entry and exit points for energy. Of course. How could they not be? They touch everything. They’re up and down-loading who we are all the time. Each of our sense organs is doing the same. Each of the 12 Tone colour collections speaks a certain language, is evocative of certain emotions, reminds of certain landscapes, and makes sense if consistent in colour and touch and sound and scent and taste. It’s all happening at once. The knee bone is connected to the neck bone.
Summer’s soft, gentle, serene, muted colours don’t make sense in leather pants. Skin with that colouring has reflective properties truer to the surface of an opal, not a mirror or an elephant’s hide. Soft Autumn skin reflects light like felt and its colours are more beautiful in that texture than done up in Mr. Freezies. Do colours bounce light in certain ways that tell us texture? Or is it that skin painted in certain colours also carries other qualities that bounce light in a way that impresses texture?
The True Winter surface is smooth and hard. Dark Winter is smoother than Dark Autumn but not 100% smooth; it’s also thick, and not quite as hard as True Winter. Bright Winter is very smooth, shinier, and semitransparent – Dr. Sheldon Cooper, as opposed to Autumn’s Magnum P. I. Though some will cringe, I’m still going with rubbery for Winter skin by comparison with the other Seasons.
So far, we’ve said:
Bright Spring: glass
True Spring: persimmon
Light Spring: petal
Light Summer: Â peach
True Summer: Â cotton
Soft Summer: Â flannel
Soft Autumn: suede
True Autumn: velvet
Dark Autumn: leather
Dark Winter: Vinyl
If we start at Dark Autumn and move along to its cooler side, we arrive next at Dark Winter. These are both Neutral Seasons. Dark Winter has more in common with the True Season parent of True Winter, but does share the most important dimension of colour, darkness, with the Neutral it’s paired with and whose descriptor it shares, that is, Dark Autumn.
We begin with Autumn’s canvas, which is strong and textured. As Winter settles in, the skin texture smooths out. Dark Autumn’s leather is transitioning.
Dark Winter skin throws light back like vinyl.
Not just record vinyl, but inflatable products, dominatrix gear, and tarps. Maybe even a car. Industrial, tough, shiny, smooth, waterproof, and useful. Good Dark Winter words. Not bad words for their jewelry and belts either. Dark Winter takes Dark Autumn’s gypsy/Rustic Opulent and shifts it to gladiator. A sweater in black or dark grey metallic looks like chain mail. Stud, armor, and heavy link effects are a natural fit here, scary elsewhere.
Dark Winter is mysterious. It’s Christmas Eve, the dark jewel-toned ornaments, the fireplace, the night, the lights in the windows. Very nice, but there’s something bigger going on. The feeling of waiting for something. Waiting for the reason behind the pretty. Deeper, even darker. Sinister.
Nude lips on Winter looks tired and old. Dead lips, a good friend calls it. My new favourite lipstick is Shiseido RD 305. It is just pink enough to not be red-lips. It is beautifully saturated with the touch of brown that Autumn adds to make your colours less cold and more natural than True Winter. That brown is essential to create the encompassing harmony that only a colour analyzed appearance can give. You are coloured with a little of that brown, where brown is dark orange, and your hair, skin, and eyes have some gold-amber-orange tones. If your skin is light to medium, this colour may be your best natural lip.Â It’s not dark, often the case with Dark Season lip colours. It’s fresh daytime believable natural lip colour. Not ready for it yet? Top it with clear gloss.
Bronzer can play a tiny part because Autumn has left behind the slightest texture or roughness. Contour carefully, with powder that has enough red to disappear into the skin (eleablake‘s Miss November is great). Follow the 3 shape at the sides of the face and down the sides of the nose bridge, using a small amount, more to carve more geometric drama into the face than to warm it up.
Soft Summer’s darker foundation trick to contour is too wishy-washy here. More colour is required to be noticeable and achieve the outcome. It’s not a bad option as you learn or if you want a very subtle effect, just be sure the darker powder is as cool as your foundation or you’ll look yellow. It takes a lot of colour to make any difference on the intensity of this inherent colouring. A few shades of beige this way or that will make less difference on Winter skin. Carefulness is plain pointless.
Darkness works. Smoke is natural, like the Autumn muting in the skin. Smoked eyes make sense. The lighter lid eyeshadow can equally well be fairly dark. Any Season can do smoked eyes, but it’s most at home on the Darks. Even the other two Winters are best to exercise caution in darkness so it doesn’t look heavy. They look better in clean and silvery.
True Winter: Ceramic
Even smoother and even harder.
True Winter: ceramic. Like a white sink. Impenetrable, tough, and enduring.
Clean. Picture the makeup colours from your palette painted right on that white sink. Dark eyes, red-violet cheeks, red-violet lips. No fuss, no frills. Not smoked (Dark Winter) or clear, as in translucent (Bright Winter). Can you tell this before they’re draped, by looking at them? Absolutely not. True Winter is always the draping surprise for me, even more so than Bright Spring.
For True Winter, that very quiet blanket of skin without a lot of cheek colour, or with an icy light cheek, is excellent, like the picture at the top. For Bright and Dark, colour on the cheek is better, I find. It adds to Bright’s liveliness and Dark’s intensity.
Eyeliner is dark. Eyeshadow is quite light and silvered. Under brow highlight is near white or some icy (near white) colour. Contour and back corner eyeshadow is quite dark. Darkening the outer back corner of eyes looks good as a way of adding drama. Use a dark gray/black eyeshadow. Go over the eyeliner to fill in holes. Drag the dark shadow out past the crease. Turn around and start pulling in inward above the crease, not in the crease. This enlarges the apparent size of the eye and recedes the skin above the crease that can close in. On eyes where the upper half of the lid is smaller than the lower half, the crease is shallow, or the eye prominent, you would omit this effect. Deposit some dark shadow at the outer lid corner.
Other Seasons will use a darker shadow that isn’t much darker than the lid colour or skip the effect altogether. On a Light Season, where dark colour takes off, the eyeshadow contour can just be the medium lid colour packed on a bit more heavily. On a Soft Season, the liner, lid, and contour are quite close in darkness level, as in medium, with contour only slightly darker. They distinguish their roles by being of different colours in similar darkness levels, rather than Winter’s variations on one colour (gray) in extremes of darkness levels. On a Winter, light means really light and dark means really dark. You are it already. So be it, as P. said so cleverly.
I do not know how bronzer can improve this face but I’m willing to see it if anyone has good products or ideas. You wouldn’t want to dull that spectacular opposition of The Purity and The Darkness that only this colouring incarnates.
Winter’s sheer is Spring’s almost-opaque. The best Winter gloss I can think of comes from Lora Alexander at Pretty Your World. The texture, finish, and amount of colour are excellent, with good clarity. Glama and Hot Lips lip colours and Fast Track blush are great (I own them). From this compare page of the Cool Winter selections, Diva looks super good too.
Though True Winter is very red-based and looks great in blue-based red apparel, I find their most natural fit for blush and lipstick is somewhere in the pink-fuchsia-purple spectrum. That may be because true red lips are like true black eyeliner, somehow harder and more dramatic than human faces really are. Dark Winter’s burnt rose red and Bright Winter’s strawberry or pink red alleviate the pure redness. True Winter does the same by using violet, meaning clear purpled pinks. Arbonne’s Raisin gloss is a very impressive purple. Lauder’s Raspberry Pop is good but gentler, as is Merle Norman’s Raspberry on Ice.
Bright Winter: Silicone
How about Bright Winter? That amazing special blend of innocence with a dark, brittle edge. The geisha could span the Bright Seasons. Once the delicacy feels almost too rare to conceive on this Earth, the hummingbird, a membrane-thin gold foil, we’re into Bright Spring.
Spring has a hand in Bright Winter. Therefore, we need a sugar coating, shiny, fun, and ornamental. Pink frosting on lids, cheeks, and lips, lilac highlights, more play (more colours at once), more theater (cat eye, a few false lashes, fine winged brows, bright lips, hats with veils, cloche hats with beautiful ornaments, because hats and earrings are face accessories). Below, the haircut, the dress print and line, all awesome.
Definitely a lighter palette than the other Winters.
The skin’s reflectance had me searching for an analogy. Fine china with that near-transparent edge? Thinking, thinking,…mostly Winter, therefore rubbery and even, but a little softer with a transparency in the outermost layer… oh, you’re going to love this, jellyfish! Not good? Soft boiled egg? Maybe. Yes.
But jellyfish is so good. Stay with me here.
The flamenco dancer.
Heavenly and magical.
You see where I’m going?
How do we translate this to makeup? You don’t have to do a lot, you have this smooth and rubbery (all Winters) clarity (Brights) already. Clear silicone skin. Increase it with Â intensely coloured products, pigments so pure, you would swear they’re transparent. Brush powders with the slightest finest shimmer effect on all exposed skin. Don’t stop at the jawline. It’s a sprinkling of fairy dust, that sugar topping, an overall crystalline effect.
Bronzer? A little icy gold uplight, sure. Baby peach, always good on Brights. Very little.Â We feel no bronzer per se here:
Chanel Glossimer in Jalousie is nice.Â Bagatelle is a light, pretty peach, Clarins Crystal Violet and Revlon Lip Butter in Raspberry Pie could be shared with True Winter. Stila Lipglaze Raspberry Crush is very good.
Recap: The skin is calm and even in colour and texture. By using strong lines, bold colours, intense pigment deposits, and big distance between light and dark, both adjacent and separate, we create very clear feature definition. There is no question about where one ends and the other begins.
For Summer, we said:Â The skin is soft and dry, setting up gentleness and gradual muting. The features are blended into the skin with colours that create a soft flow or diffusion instead of sharp definition. As colours flow into each other as hazy mists, it feels difficult to tell where one feature ends and the next begins.
For Autumn:Â The skin is contoured, setting up lowlights. The features are defined from the skin by colours that are warm and velvety and the judicious use of metallic glints.
This was Spring: The skin is dewy, setting up highlights. The features are fresh, lively, distinguished from the skin by being very colourful, moist, and vibrant.