Light And True Spring: Neutral Colours At The Office And CEs
March 3, 2012 by Christine Scaman
The previous article was about settling into the mood. We looked at some landscapes to help us get the human face and all the emotions it evokes out of our decision-making. The brains of women especially go into an overdrive when we see faces (which is why advertisers make a point of using a face or at least a set of eyes in ads) that make it very hard to be completely impartial about colours to include or decline from the scene. It looks good, right, and real when the woman, her natural colouring, the colours she’s wearing, her own style, and the style she’s wearing, all point in the same direction.
We also decided on the neutral colours are that will be the spine of a work wardrobe. Spring looks so good in colour that ‘neutral’ was expanded from grey/beige/brown/taupe to include navy and your darker green, which are the suits I’d choose. I’d also add blush and pale peach to the light colour choices.
First thing: You Don’t Have To Be Perfect. (Or: Don’t Let What You Can’t Do (or Find At The Stores) Stop You From What You Can Do). We could have an ID bracelet : iLearn. iAdapt.
The face, the woman
Let’s bring in faces. Who are we dressing?
Taylor Swift Pictures
Her new hairstyle (hippie looks excellent on Spring) and lighter makeup are beautiful. I always saw her as Light Spring but wonder if she might be True. This hair colour is too ash (ash being comparative, like all colour is – her hair isn’t ash brown but it is greyer and dustier than Goldie Hawn’s) and could be more brightly yellow and maybe a bit darker. That and the muting of the dress are causing her to lack bone definition. The face blends into neck. The center of the face is blurry. There’s the feeling that the whole is a bit anemic, of wanting to step in with a brush and add more colour. Then again, maybe it’s all lighting. She’s still so much better than she was.
Taylor wears a simple, young, natural style that suits her and looks like what she represents. All the signals point the same way. That feels secure to look at. We are given every reason to trust that she is who she appears to be. In a business setting, especially in sales and teaching, this matters a lot. People are much more open, both sharing and receiving, if they’re not expecting you to play a wild card.
60 Minutes is the only TV I watch so I see Leslie a lot. I find her very beautiful in her expressions. She conducts an interview with curiosity and interest, not a fact finding mission. One of Spring great assets is their charm. Because Spring can look so young, age bestows a power and confidence that the young may not feel easy to own. Below is how a True Spring looks wearing Light Spring colours: better than many other choices but somehow not enough the balance her. She is more colour than what she’s wearing. Notice the Suzanne Somers- type face proportions. True Spring was assembled to look best when they’re smiling. You see twinkling eyes, dimpled cheeks, beautiful teeth, the natural disposition is just to be happy.
Give her heat, anybody’s heat and it’s better because heat is the TMIT for True Spring. The eye colour is more faded than it needs to be but that’s just a little colour adjustment to bring them up to the level of the hair and lip intensity. I often feel that I’d be happy to know her and be in her presence. Looking at these Spring faces, who wouldn’t?
Ivana – love her lipstick, dress, and necklace. A woman who knows what looks good on her never goes out of style. Perhaps the blush is a little cooler than the lips, bah, she still looks great. True Spring needs a lot of cosmetic colour for their magic to happen. Nobody can outdo them cream skin, lagoon eyes, clear apricot cheeks, and pure coral lip colours, all swirling around. Colours aren’t too blended because they aren’t on the natural face. Ivana’s lips, cheeks, and eyes are distinct (I’d even define her brows more). I’ve said Ivanka, her daughter, may be a True Spring and she has some of her mother’s qualities, but her voice is deep and her manner blunt, more Autumnal. Who knows?
By comparing the neighbour Seasons of Light Spring (the natural colouring made up of True Spring’s base palette, then cooled and hazed by a wash from Summer’s, so 2 True Season parents = Neutral Season) and True Spring (the natural colouring defined by pure, light, warm, yellow-based pigments), you can see the size of the visual heat shift. You can see darkness and saturation shifts as well when you look from one Polyvore to the next.
For the good of the group, Spring, wear more colour than anyone else. It’s a good rule, rather like ‘always be the most sober person in the room’. For the office, keep the number of juicy colours to one big block and one little one, which could be lipstick or earrings, a watch or scarf. Try keeping the very colorful items near you but not on you if you feel too much at first. A colourful jacket or sweater you can drape or carry, a clutch or wallet, a hair accessory on the back of your head, shoes, a laptop case, it all counts if it’s seen in your vicinity. Colour signals confidence, creativity, imagination, sensitivity, and an open-mind. If I’m hiring, those and self-motivation are what I’m looking for because they’re near impossible to teach, learn, or implant.
Use grasshopper green and goldfish orange. All of us, so often, the TMIT of our Season is what we’re busiest suppressing and covering, the thing that makes us most special that we downplay. Being a toned down version of our TMIT makes us usual, average, and hidden. It seems we do it without thinking, and yet it’s the unique features that we love most about others, that define them, not the traits they share with the rest of us. If True Spring does wear mostly neutrals in clothes to work, make every accessory coloured within the limits of the boardroom. While that may look too fanciful on anyone else, on a Spring, it’s a woman who knows what suits her.
All-one-colour looks too quiet. Analogous colours are too gradual. Spring jumps around more, facial expressions changing every few moments. The person looks like a lot of colour and is better balanced when dressed that way. Of course, nobody looks like a lot of colour right out of bed. Most humans look like variations of brown. We don’t sit at the Food Court and see the yellow-based people. If you stood everyone side-by-side, you’d see the yellow ones. Dressed in their best colours instead of the colours of pavement that are favored these days, suddenly everyone looks different and more like themselves.
For the Polyvores below, if you visit the site, you can zoom in and take a better look round.
Be unexpected. A blue that has a trace of violet. A coloured shoe. Wear the coloured skirt or pant and neutral top or vice versa but wear colour. Keep the cut conservative and the size of the vivid block controlled.
Purple is so important on Spring, but like yellow and orange, can make textile or garments look less quality, so make these your most beautiful purchases.
The daisy print is saved because the centers aren’t yellow. The grownup version of kids’ items looks superb – hairbands, patterned tights, beads, all very workable in neutral colours.
Not tortoiseshell, which looks odd to me on everyone but the 3 Autumns. Coloured plastic better.
Avoid fabrics that mute or dull colour. Pick fabrics with a little shine in one element of the outfit. It’s pretty because you shine a little. Also, it adds the sensation of movement just by breathing, which keeps shifting the light play.
If the outfit is neutrals, make the accessories colourful and the makeup glowing, vibrant, alive. Neutral colours don’t belong on True Spring faces and nor do shy lips, which True will turn gray. Just to simulate the natural lip colour for a no-makeup look, it takes a lot of pigment. Neutral colours do belong on Light Spring faces – grey eyeshadows, softer blush, and apricot and beige lips.
Don’t wear darkest with darkest, especially Light Spring. The overall value effect is light for the Lights and medium for the True.
Wear green. It’s excellent for those of us looking at you.
Liven up neutrals by finding them in prints. Coloured buttons are good.
Why all the solid colours in the collections? Because I don’t see prints I like. I was asked to do florals for the 12 Seasons. I’m sorry, it would take years. Wear them if you can find them. Prints are great on Spring.
Consider that neutrals are a bigger challenge for Spring than colour and for True more than Light. Look at navy, your darker turquoise colours as pant, suit, and skirt colours. Widen the meaning of neutral colour. Some analysts consider your red among your neutrals.
Coloured coats, trenches, and jackets look good on you.
Keep the overall look relaxed. The dark suit looks stiff and heavy. Spring isn’t wrapped that tight.
Play to your strengths. What is it that Spring knocks our socks off with that nobody else can do? Yellow-green. It’s uncommon, it looks like the new leaves we wait for each year.
Don’t match too much.
Wear lots of accessories. You know how children can wear a candy necklace, several bracelets, hair clips, and look fabulous. Spring has a lot of that.
Never dull down Spring in any of the 3 colour dimensions. A True Spring who compromises saturation or darkness level looks pale, floury, grey, with doughy bone structure and no angles in the face. True Spring is looking for warmth first, yes, but pure pigments and enough darkness really do matter too.
What about a print with white in it? What should come across is sun. Even a little white can look too crisp and drain you as the Bright Spring drapes did. The two turquoise tops in the upper left of the Polyvore – see how the one to its right has more warmth of a yellow type beaming out of it? The dots one on the left is cooler in the colour, and cooler still and sharper by the white, no primary sense of sunshine, looks more Bright to me.
True Spring goes darker than Light. Experiment with it. If you overshoot, it’s not a big deal. If a Light Spring overshoots, even far from the face, the whole picture is weighed down.
Beige yellow, butterball yellow, not cool yellow. The yolk in those Laura Secord Easter eggs. For zingy days, wear it with purplish blue and pretend you had no idea what purple and yellow do for each other.
I wouldn’t wear red, orange, purple pants to the office but would in a skirt with a cream or beige top. Consider more stuff at the store tomorrow than you did yesterday.
Wearing a busy coloured top? Make the bottom be one of the colours in the top rather than adding yet another colour element.
Mod looks great.
Orange can be a colour that preoccupies the eye, maybe just my eye, but it’s very at home on Spring.
The brown dress – too muted/orange/Autumn? Maybe it’s on the line. Wear it with the Spring orange cardi to pull it over to Spring.
I love blazers. Love them. You won’t wear your red lips to work, favoring nectarine, but wear your red blazer. It looks awesomely strong. Wear it on Casual Friday to stay office-worthy.
Much like True Spring but a lighter colour stamp, since the Season’s TMIT is that colours be light.
Bit more monochromatic than True Spring but still lots of colour. A pink blouse and a turquoise sweater look fine. Since the article is about neutrals, I used those more but go the colour way if you like. We will be very happy looking at you.
The cooler yellows are gorgeous as are the cooler pinks.
Build your wardrobe in the next few months, even buy your Christmas dress now. You’ll be happy in December.
Light Spring Looking Serious has a lot more information about this Season.
We still need to superimpose the Polyvore below on top of those we just looked at. That’s how much the audience has to connect. We are like a 1000 piece puzzle to look at. So amazing when all the pieces fit, so obvious when one doesn’t, somehow our eye goes right to it. Imagine a black dot floating in those collections. You would see nothing else, you’d just stare at it moving around like some kind of hypnosis, like the railroad tracks effect of black mascara.
True Spring on the left, Light Spring on the right.
In 12 Season personal or seasonal colour analysis, True Spring looks
- Yellower and warmer.The pink drop earrings for Light Spring are cooler pink and the metal less yellow. Belt buckles are yellower for True Spring.
- Brighter, which can translate to bolder.
- More pigmented or saturated (compare the green shoes – are they yellower on the Light side? Yes, but you’re always juggling heat/value/saturation at once and these are less saturated).
True Spring’s accessories can also take on more weight. That could be more solid (a heel), sturdy (fabric weight, a buckle), chunky (a belt), big (a stone), or wide (a strap). That bead on a wire effect in jewelry, it looks really excellent on Light Spring. Don’t be too literal or exclusive here, many pieces will work well in both Seasons.
From the book RTYNC pictured in the column to the right:
Colour Equations Light Spring
One light, medium, or dark neutral colour + one light colour or one medium colour
One light to medium-dark neutral colour + one light colour + one medium colour
Two light to medium neutral colours + one light colour
One neutral colour + two colours
Use of complementary pairs in medium sized blocks or with quieter colours.
Overall light to medium darkness effect
Colour Equations True Spring
One light, medium, or dark neutral colour + two brighter colours of similar area
One large block light to medium-dark neutral colours + one small block medium-dark to dark neutral colour + one brighter or lighter colour
One light, medium, or dark neutral colour + one bright colour + two other colours in small areas
Full use of complementary pairs
Overall light to medium-dark effect
We are dressing to look like we inhabit our natural space, looking like we were meant to look when we stepped into this world. The glow and vitality of perfect health and eternal youth are Spring’s claim to fame.