A Brown-Eyed Summer

May 14, 2011 by · 19 Comments 

And not just a Summer, but a Light Summer!

Geoff was one of the people I analyzed as part of my training, with Terri there to guide me.  Though I wasn’t tuned into people’s colouring back then, his impression seemed very medium and still is in my memory. He had medium-dark sandy brown hair and eyes that seemed twinkly somehow, but light or medium in depth, no idea what colour.

It has been pointed out that if I believe that eyes and hair are irrelevant to Season (and I do), then why do I keep talking about them? Because skin is hard to talk about. In a previous article, Jocelyn Is A Bright Winter, I had watched her at work for years, so I had some idea of how her skin reacted to colour. Geoff and I just met that day, which is the case with most clients.

His Season was Bright Winter. At the time, I had no idea what the significance of that was. He could have been any Season and it would have seemed perfectly plausible. Every one of the 12 Seasons had an exactly equal outcome probability. That precious trust is one of the hardest things to hang onto as experience brings expectation, complacency, and ruts. The beginner is far more willing to wander off the beaten path, too naive to know what the implications are.

As time passed, I often wondered if I would ever have the confidence to a call a medium-colouring person a Bright Winter without Terri standing beside me. Terri had analyzed hundreds of people, probably thousands, having been an analyst since the 80s, first with one of the biggest brands in PCA, and eventually settling more comfortably with Sci\ART.

In PCA, the average is the exception. The general population, the people at yoga class, your family, nobody quite looks like the pictures in books. Those perfect averages are as rare as the patient with a disease who shows up with all the textbook signs and symptoms. At least, I never see them. Most everyone has something that seems not to fit.

Let’s call this lovely woman May. She had been analyzed many years ago as a Summer, in a 4-Season system. It was closer than the other choices, though she did wear some Spring colours, especially the robin’s egg blues. May is remarkably colour perceptive, even to the fine details, and could decide even with the first drapes which was better. She is one of the few women I see who came in wearing her best colours.

We began as Light Seasons always do. Terrible, but terrible in Autumn. We could have counted 15 different problems. Overwhelmed by Winter’s aggressive darks. No surprise so far. True Summer made the skin a bit greyed, but it looked younger and more evenly coloured. True Spring brought an easing of lines and that typical smoothness of skin of this Season, but she was too yellow. Very typical of the Light Seasons. Seen this many times.

And I’m feeling a bit nervous because those eyes are brown and they are not changing, though the skin and eyelids around them are changing dramatically. Eye colour intensity or crispness of outline of the iris don’t change equally in everyone, but as I get to the better Seasons, these factors are usually helpful guides. Contradictions can happen, as the Soft Autumn eyes in skin that has cooled and softened to Soft Summer in a woman in her 60s, and skin always matters most. The eyes won’t change in a face while the skin remains the same, it’s just easier to see in the eye as we refine the very best colours.In May’s case, we seldom looked at her eye colour or sharpness. We did it entirely by looking at skin.

Life often teaches us what we most need to know at the time we are truly receptive. I get challenged a fair bit about ignoring eye and hair colour, and sometimes I question myself. May came along, I believe, to teach me to stick to my guns. If eyes don’t matter, and ANY Season can have ANY hair and eye colour, then it was time for me to put my money where my mouth is.

We knew True Summer and True Spring weren’t right. I kept seeing those dark eyes and going back to Bright Spring. Bernice Kentner of CMAS, whom I hold in highest esteem, has said that a brown-eyed Spring is mostly a Winter blend, and that has been my experience so far. There was no way. May is not crisply cool to look at, and Bright Springs usually are.  Those drapes were not only draining, but they looked crazy, like the woman and the colour were separate and had been Photoshopped together.

I thank May for sitting there so patiently, Summer that she is. PCA is like a video game. It doesn’t let you see any level of clues till you’ve mastered the previous level. It holds back knowledge you’re not ready to use correctly. We tried Light Spring and Light Summer a few times and couldn’t choose. I never belabor these moments, I change the energy. We went backwards, tried Soft Summer and the True Summer and Spring again, just to give our eyes more ways of seeing. Then, it was obvious. Light Summer was clearly and obviously the one. Her skin was the absolute youngest, without being yellowed as Light Spring caused. In a 12 Season Personal Colour Analysis system, Light Summer is the person whose inborn colouring is predominantly Summer’s, with a trace of Spring’s clear, light, yellow sunlight.

I wonder if she was a Light Spring as a younger woman. Her skin may have cooled and softened into Light Summer. But a brown-eyed Light Spring is still most uncommon. And those eyes are brown, but fascinatingly so. A blue-eyed Light Summer has a very clear open wreath around the pupil, like this:

See the browner doughnut around the pupil? And see also the absence of lines and spokes and specks and other detail throughout the iris? Very typical of all 3 Summer groups.

In May’s eyes, substitute all the blues for browns and you’re there. Same very prominent open wreath, actually even wider doughnut than the eye above, same absence of strong lines,  and of a darker brown than the very slightly lighter brown outside the wreath.

What else was fascinating? Her eyelashes are light-medium blonde, about like the eye above or perhaps a bit lighter, and far lighter than her eyes. Her eyebrows are extremely fair.

Her hair colour is lighter than her natural light brown was in her earlier years, and her natural is now gray. Hair is hidden during the analysis, so imagining her in darker hair would not have made a younger face.

If you can’t buy a brown-eyed Summer, what else can you picture? Nothing I can think of. Try putting other Seasons’ makeup on her. I can’t see it. She is wearing the lightest silvery taupe eyeliner I have. Even through tinted lenses, can you imagine darker without the eyeliner being an obvious dark line on this skin? Not really. May is wearing  quite a bit of light gold-peach bronzer and carnation pink blush and lipstick, but the white analysis lights are still on so the skin seems a bit whiter.


How Summers Intensify Eye Colour

June 3, 2010 by · 24 Comments 

We often see the attempt to charge eye color with more makeup. When were you not just staring at the makeup? Natural skin and eyes can only compete with so much pigment before the cosmetic takes over. Luckily, when the color is one that already exists in you, you can apply it quite heavily and it will appear as a believable part of your face, but there are limits.

There is a lot more to intensifying eye color than eye makeup.


Never underestimate the power of color analyzed clothes colours to amplify eye color. This alone will do more than makeup on anyone. It’s a way bigger block. How much color can you create with a skinny line of liner or a tiny eyelid’s worth of shadow?

I’ll emphasize that it is not only your same-as-eye color clothes that charge up eye color, though those might work best. It’s all the colors in your Personal Colour swatches. Each one will clear the white of the eye, just as it clears the skin. Your pinks, greens, and grays should all intensify eye color.

Brows and Blush

Colour Analysis will bring attention to your eyes like never before, even if you don’t wear makeup. Groom your brows, have them beautifully shaped, and pencil in the thin spots. Think of eyebrows as the picture frames for the eyes. They matter.

Once many women get the right shade of blush, their first comment is most often “It brings out my eyes.” Absolutely it does, instantly and strongly. Look for that effect to happen when you buy blush.

When Good Color Goes Bad

You know I don’t care for purple, green, and blue on eyes if the viewer can perceive the color. I don’t buy that it intensifies eye color. It just looks playful (at least where I live) and it’s usually all people can see. You surrender too much power, not a price I want to pay for beauty.

Eyeshadow Palettes for Eye Colour

Think twice about investing in palettes made for certain eye colours. Have you ever seen them work?Have you ever said to a woman “your eyeshadow makes your eyes look so much greener” and really meant it?

Why don’t they work? Because there is no universal formula. There are 15 greens in a green eye, it’s too confusing to be able to pick out the core ones. Also, any skin can have any eye color or combination.  If the eyeshadows are made for the green-eye cool-skin woman, then it dulls the skin of the warm-skinned woman. This is the reincarnation of the same silver bullet  we’ve dodged before as “the lip colour that suit every skin tone”.

Off the soapbox, now.

Using the right browns and greys,

And understanding that not everyone can do everything,

And that without a Color Analysis, cosmetic color browns and greys are the hardest of all colours to understand by a long shot,

It’s about repeats and complements and contrasts.

This is 12 Seasonal Color Analysis. There are 3 Summer Seasons, the True, the Soft (blends an Autumn trace), and the Light (a dab of Spring).

True Summer

True Summer eyes look best to me when they are gazing out of a misty pool of cool greys. Soft greys, not sharp greys.

  1. Soft navy eyeliner, not blackened sapphire.  True Summer often has very deep blues in the eye that can be repeated.
  2. Dark denim eyeliner repeats the overall color and darkness level of the eye.  Annabelle’s Blue Grey is one of the best I know for True Summer.
  3. Cool grey or blue grey eyeshadow repeats the True Summer’s skin’s undertone. Mauve-grey can work, but many Summers have pink in the eyelid rims, and we don’t want to repeat that and make they eye look bloodshot.
  4. The contrast of a cool blue eye with a warm brown shadow is stunning, so the magazines tell us. Warm brown shadow on the True Summer skin tone is mud. There is no heat in this skin. You can’t fake it. Choose your right, rosy browns since brown is approximately blue’s complement. Sally Beauty Chocolate Truffle Trio is good.


Soft Summer

These eyes look best when they’re gazing out of a misty pool of…mist. Like they’re surrounded by fog, a pale neutral tan-brown. No hard edges, everything quiet, blurred, and diffused.

  1. Repeat the tan brown in the eye with eyeliner.

The eyeliner is the bodice color. This is odd, but the Canadian Superstores carry a line of clothes/makeup called Joe Fresh. Their Twist Up Eyeliner pencil in Charcoal is the right one.

Your medium and dark eyeshadows are all contained in this dress (linked to Jones New York, but no longer available).

Paula’s Choice, the one and only skin care company I place  my full trust in, was making an eyeshadow called Granite awhile back. It was custom-colored for this skin. They were making the best colored, best matte, best priced eyeshadows around, but not many people knew it, I guess. A certain direction as to who should use what…

2. That tan brown can be repeated again in the highlight colour in the hair. Lots of bleachy blonde highlights do not work, they look like grey stripes, like a strange intended aging effect. The right highlight is browned down. All the Autumns can repeat hair color and eye color. This is beautiful, real, natural hair for a Soft Summer, on Jennifer Aniston. They often get her too blonde and her eyes fade immediately.

3. Any contrasts? The whole concept of the Season is low contrast, so you have to be exceptionally subtle with all makeup. Neutral Seasons have a little heat in their skin, and cooler and warmer choices in their palette. We’re still mostly cool here though, still muddy in warm brown colors. The skin looks heavy and the heat of warm brown in the eyeshadow can yellow the white of the eye in a subliminal way, looking unhealthy. There is no contrast I know, not light/dark, warm/cool, or hi/lo saturation.

4. Any complements? I’m often asked if orange-toned eyeshadows work on blue eyes, or purple tones on green eyes, etc. This is usually a blue eye, sometimes surprisingly pale, or a blue-green eye, where the eye color becomes very strong in pine green clothing. The orange-toned brown eyeshadow for the blue eye is deadly. That green eye could be accentuated with a dusty plum shadow, but it’s soft.  The viewer should not see purpleness.


Light Summer

These are the eyes that get more makeup piled on, hoping to make them “pop”. Either that, or there’s the hope that a dark line will look good against the light eye color. That’s altogether too much hope. The eye can’t balance it, the end result being to close in the eye. Once again, all we see is makeup.

This is a Light Summer eye below. Black mascara has no place here. You could barely find any colours that are even medium in darkness. Gentle light colors are key.  Airy and fresh is what will look  healthy and young.

In the middle swatch, Photoshop extracted the grey shade from the middle of the iris around the 4 o’clock position. The lower one is the colour of the eyeshadow I like to apply after an analysis (Shu Uemura M Beige 815, I believe; why get specific, it’s no longer available; Paula’s Choice did a color called Moonlit, also quite perfect, also unavailable). Both swatches are very close to the Personal Colours palette.

  1. Eyeshadows are mostly gray, not brown. Use very light colors because the eye color is very easily overwhelmed.
  2. Repeats ? None I can think of in makeup. Some people have a much stronger turquoise in the eye and can repeat it in clothing.
  3. Complements? Not in eyeshadow. However, since there is heat in the skin, it can support some bronzer believably, especially as Spring’s contribution is sunshine and the outdoors. A light application of a peach-gold will bring out the eyes without looking artificial. Remember, the best beauty looks like it could have happened by itself. I like Cover f/x Bronzer f/x in Gold. Also, wearing your mauve and purples in clothing will bring out the pale yellow sunlight you may have in the eye, which is pretty.
  4. Contrast. None I can think of. The whole Season’s concept is “not dark”.


Not doing the things that detract from eye color is important too.

1. Avoid yellow in the hair unless Nature gave it to you. Your most delicate of all skin will go red or yellow. Your eye will dull and gray out when the white of the eye goes yellow. Your highlight is just on the neutral beige side of silver if you’re a True or Light.

2. Big dark lashes. The viewer can’t peel their eyes away from the lashes – maybe that’s what you were going for with the Diorshow and the Telescopic. To paraphrase Isak Dinesen, when God wants to punish us, he grants our wishes. Summers should wear grey mascara, which is all but impossible to find. Try “Soft Navy” or “Soft Black”, smearing it on a tissue first to be sure it’s not too dark black.

Ask me some questions.

Anyone know the eyeshadows that match those Light Summer swatches?

Best Makeup Colours : True Autumn

May 28, 2010 by · 29 Comments 

True Autumn’s colours might be unexpected. At least, they are to me.

True Autumn is one of the 4 True Seasons. Far more people fall into the 8 blended or Neutral Seasons. This is 12 Seasonal Colour Analysis.

I keep reminding myself that the colours are not very dark, a little darker than True Spring’s.

What these colors are, above all else, is warm. That’s the pivot point of the whole Personal Colour Analysis cosmetic colour and clothing colour palette : warmed by gold (not yellow).

Gold is grayer than yellow, hence the blunted or dulled colours relative to Spring’s. Are the colours drab? Only if you consider pumpkin, curry, warm teal, and deep periwinkle dreary. There is way too much heat and glow to be monotonous.  True Autumns are often practical women who run from excessive show, so they need practice to get comfortable in their color temperature.

The color I most typically think of as simple brown is not here. It’s in True Spring, in Soft Autumn, and other groups, but not here. Most Autumns love brown, and wear a lot of it, but very often some other Season’s version. These browns are greyer, greener, redder, or more orange. There is a browned effect to all the colours, compared to other palettes, but brown per se is only here in the darkest tones this Season has. Quite fascinating, really.

Frost over 40 is usually a mistake. Still, the skin of True Autumn can look like a recent dermabrasion, the skin tone is so smooth in the right colors. Seems a shame not to work that a little. Matte bronzer is a fabulous way to heighten the warm burnish of the skin.  These are not really pink blush people, but a touch of warm gold blush along with the bronzer is hard to beat.

They also can have metal colors (gold, copper, bronze) in the iris, a most amazing effect. A warm gold eyeshadow, placed as a dot in the center of the upper eyelid, just above the eyeliner, then covered with the usual matte eyeshadow, adds dimension and accentuates that impossible gold in the eye. It’s like fire inside the eye. A particle of MAC Woodwinked gives an antique gold impression.

Their makeup looks like this. Are there other possibilites? Sure, your Colours Book gives you about 15 eyeshadow/lipstick/blush choices.

Are you a True Autumn? Look at Clinique lipstick in Paprika, Lancome Couture Suede, and Revlon Sandalwood Beige. Do they look too bright? Is it because your hair color is too light/blonde/cool?

Choosing The Ideal Bridal White

May 24, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

The colour of bridal satin is as important (more important!) than the style.

The yellowing effect of ivory on Summer skin…

The drained, tired skin of an Autumn in soft white…

The disappearing Summer bride in Winter’s aggressive, hard, cold, frosty, sharp white…

Know your perfect white with a Personal Colour Analysis. Achieve your skin tone perfection on this of all days. Your wedding gift to yourself.

Have your Colour Analyst send 3 e-mails.

One to your dress shop, so they can choose the perfect color and style.

One to your makeup artist. If she works with a PCA, there is a cosmetic colour palette and particular radiance in her head instantly.

One to your florist. If he understands PCA, he makes a composition, knowing the flowers to use and not use.

Your jeweler, your hair colorist, everyone needs to know. When the team works together, you become extraordinary.

Are you getting warm? I am.

We look at the colours of satin for the 4 True Seasons. In correct Seasonal Colour Analysis, there are 12 personal palettes. The other 8 are Neutral Seasons, or blends of the 4 Trues.

(I do not own the Sci\ART Bridal Drapes Set of 12.)

Did I say grey when I should have said white? Yup.

Did I say Summer when I should have said Spring? Yes again.

I was trying to be animated, you see…

Best Makeup Colours : True Spring

May 5, 2010 by · 8 Comments 

We each have a map, an inborn GPS that aligns us with our best makeup.

The makeup that looks most believable, youngest, the least severe (synonymous with ‘aging’), and the least fake is dictated by our natural coloring.

Anything else can look as off as a herd of grazing cats. It just feels wrong, you know? Not impossible, just crooked.

Choreograph your appearance to keep repeating.

You begin with a natural colour palette that is specific, not random.

Repeat it with your clothes.

And again in your hair colour.

Again in your makeup.

Once more in accessories.

Level after level after level of building blocks that stack up precisely. Every element is aligned. That looks like strength.

Learn which of the 12 palettes is yours with Seasonal Colour Analysis. The cosmetic colour palette below will be in your personal colour palette swatch book.

We’re going to go through the True Seasons first. They don’t have a cooler and warmer alternative. The True Spring is purely warm, the most important thing about its colors.

This palette is a little different from True Summer’s. Even purely warm Seasons have greys, they’re just warm.

The best lip/blush (because they should be the same) fuse with the basic undertone of your skin.

You adjust the depth of your makeup colors to the darkness of your coloring or complexion. The lip colours should be about the same intensity as the hair colour.

In learning who you are not, the release will flood you with amazing freedom.

In understanding who you are, you will be renewed – and you will look rejuvenated, by 10 years at least.

Best Makeup Colours : True Summer

April 26, 2010 by · 17 Comments 

Makeup is the look factor that most confuses women. Our choices are all over the place. Our wardrobes, though not always correct, often follow more order.

Among makeup products, lipstick is the single item that most women want to learn to get right. We know that we can’t all wear each other’s makeup, but where do we go after that?

There has to be a logical method driving the choice. It cannot be just random, buy what I like, hit-and-miss. That will miss, by a little or a lot, but it will miss.

The only sensible place to start when decorating your house has to be considering what’s already there. The only sensible starting point for makeup has to be an understanding of YOUR own coloring, the canvas that you’re going to paint the makeup on. It has its own inherent colour scheme. It’s easier and much prettier to go with it, instead of against it.

Instead of lining up fairly parallel with your own coloring when you choose makeup, what if you could wear an identical match? A mesh so seamless that nobody could tell where the makeup ends and your face begins? When the alignment is that good, the makeup looks custom-colored for your face.

For True Summer, it looks like this.

In Seasonal Color Analysis, this Season’s cosmetic colour palette is “cool, soft, and light”.

There is a simple system that matches up every piece of the makeup puzzle so it works together, and with the person, with their clothes, with their hair.  The legwork is done for you forever more. You have a map of your own coloring. Personal Colour Analysis is the GPS that points you directly to your best makeup colours. This degree of color precision can’t be reached any other way.

To know what you are, you need to know what you are not. 90% of what is at the makeup counter is what you are not.

Skin Undertones

April 15, 2010 by · 69 Comments 

You may want to skip this post. There will be no concrete answer at the end. It will be a thought repository for my ramblings till someone helps me understand this. If you can’t stand the nitpickiness, I’ll understand entirely.

I realize that I’ve been referring to “undertones”, as in the Eyeglass Frames videos too randomly. I said that the dusty plum of the Soft Summer frames was essentially the undertone of that skin.

Traditionally, undertones are thought to be either cool, neutral, or warm, not coloured.

Overtones are the outside colour of the skin, like the names of foundation, porcelain, bisque, buff, natural, warm beige, etc. Light/medium/deep also refers to overtones. The overtone must be in the top epidermal layer, presumably the relative melanin/hemoglobin/carotene amounts.

You can get any combination of undertone and overtone. So warm undertone + ivory overtone, or cool undertone + ebony overtone, etc. Porcelain and ebony overtones can share the same cool undertone.

Worth noting too is that you can have a false overtone. The red flush in the skin of women with too-yellow hair, or the yellow overtone in the cool dark Seasons when they wear too-warm colour, these are just effects created by bad colour.

Where is the undertone and what exactly is this colour that we are calling cool-neutral-warm? I mean, cool what? Cool grey? Cool blue? A cool colour that varies by Season, but is of the cool classification?

I looked for input from respected sources.

1. Bernice Kentner of Color Me A Season, always ahead of her time, describes undertone as a real colour, a combination of 4 variables. From her book, The Magnificent Eye, she describes undertone as the result of an equation made up of 4 variables:

. the thickness of the skin which varies by Season and determines which colours show through

. the yellow-brown colour of all skin, beneath the top layer

. the meshwork of oxygenated (red) and non-oxygenated (blue) blood vessels beneath the skin

. the velocity of blood flow in those vessels; so Autumn’s faster blood flow shows more red of arterial blood

I don’t know about the blood flow velocity. I would think that ultrasound would have detected those differences among people. If she means how fast the capillary beds are cleared, well, I don’t know.

I absolutely agree with her that Seasonal Colour Analysis is not about overtones. If it were, women who wear the same foundation would be of the same Season.  If it were, yellow skin would wear warm foundation, but it often does not (or should not).

2. Lauren Battistini at Color My Closet makes the fundamentally important point in this post,  that undertone refers to how skin reacts to color. If your skin is most perfected by cool colours, then your skin’s undertone is cool. Not certain if I can extrapolate Lauren’s words this far, but maybe this means that undertone is not a real colour at all, and isn’t located anywhere in the skin’s biological layers. It is a reactionary term.

Personal Colour Analysis is about identifying the precise degree of darkness, warmth, and saturation in the colours of your body, and so in the colours that perfect your skin when you wear them. It has nothing to do with overtone really. We’re looking for the skin’s reactions, or undertones.

In the Comments, Lauren says that each Season has a “core color”, using the example that Autumn is orange. Each Season does have a signature or core colour (Winter=red, Summer=blue, Spring=yellow), but that is not quite the same concept as skin colour, though there’s some overlap.

3. Imogen Lamport at Inside Out Style Blog writes an excellent blog with practical real-world advice. In this post on skin tone and makeup, a client writes in with a question. Imogen offers several examples from her experience as a colour analyst.

If I understand this right,

Now you may be more obvious and have a warm yellow or goldish undertone and overtone and therefore warm colouring, or you may have a pinkish undertone and overtone and be cool.

…means the pure Seasons are those where overtone and undertone accord. She cites examples where the two may conflict – but I’m still confused.

4. Beauty School Blog is written by makeup artist, Jen. I find it a fresh take on makeup blogs, with good lessons, a genuine voice, and a wider spectrum of topics. I found this article very thorough. But I’m still confused. If the undertone is a real colour, then which colour is it exactly, and where is it?

5. The colours of melanin. This, at Dead Dog Cafe, doesn’t fully attack the topic but does implicate different forms of melanin.

Pheomelanin, yellow to red-brown (ie: orange) : small quantity  + blue vessels > green or sallow of some cool Seasons.

”                                  ”                         ”                  : large intensity + blue vessels > warm gold of Autumns and Springs

Eumelanin is the black/brown pigment of non-Europeans.

6. The 12B concept of undertones. The pictures posted along this article show how undertones appear in my head. There is no scientific testing here, only what I see when I look at this skin. (Dark Autumn could be redder. Bright Winter could be lighter and yellower. Light Summer, I couldn’t decide. Close enough to make the point.)

What use is it?

Foundation is matched to undertone (cool/neutral/warm) AND overtone (ivory to ebony). These images don’t help with that.

But these are your fundamental lip and blush colours. These are your from-within, most intrinsic colours. Using them for eyeglass frames, ties, scarves, and accessories looks good, though the viewer would never know why.

Am I way off? Have I over-simplified or over-complicated?

I’d surely love to hear your opinions. This feels like a linchpin in my understanding of skin and colour. It’s really just a theoretical point, but I think about it.

Matching The Swatch Book : Coral

April 3, 2010 by · 15 Comments 

This is Part 2 of the post that answers a client’s question re: deciphering her blues and corals when shopping with her Colours Book.

Part 1 is at Matching The Swatch Book : Blue. Today is about True Summer corals. This would not apply to Soft Summers, who have very different colours. Light Summer may have an occasional similar swatch, but not a whole page.

Coral is one of the more difficult colors to predict in 12 Seasons Personal Colour Analysis. Any color, like turquoise or peach, that has an inherently warm AND cool component, is tougher to grasp confidently.

As we said in the Blue post, it’s often the colours in more distant, seemingly unrelated, Seasons that can be most similar. I looked for the most similar corals to True Summer’s.

They are not among the 3 Summers (except maybe the odd one in Light Summer). No coral in the Spring or Autumn palettes would confuse you if you had your Colours Book.

The corals of True Summer and Dark Winter are similar tones. Side by side, Dark Winter certainly has a dark brown element that takes away the rose-petal freshness of True Summer’s but they are quite close.

Wow, ay? So, how might you tell them apart?

1. True Summer is absolutely cool. You should be able to find no heat, no yellow, no brown. OK, but hard to do with coral, since it always seems a little warmish.

2. If it’s a cosmetic colour, don’t compare makeup colours on your arm or face. None of us can ever be objective enough about our face and arms get messy. Paint it on white paper to compare it to your Colours Book.

3. Does the item convey a feeling? True Summer should express cool, serene, fresh, feathery, and delicate. Choose a visual to help. Rose petals, watercolor, mist, water are True Summer. It should feel true to one of True Summer keywords : gentle.

For True Summer, it’s watermelon, not geranium. Soft plum, not deep eggplant. Soothing, not strong. The personal swatch book may feel hard to interpret, but when you see it in the entire piece of clothing, the colour is easier to figure out.

If you see a trace of sunshine, it’s wrong, it’s Spring. True Summer is absolutely cool.

Ask yourself  “can I see black in the shadows?” . If yes, it’s Winter’s. And this is a good way to make a colr go one way or the other. If it’s a tissue or sheer fabric, wearing a white or dark tank underneath can pull it towards  Winter or Summer very effectively.

4. Compare it to 2 items that you KNOW to be warm and cool. It will be easier to position yours accurately when you have a range with endpoints.

5. Consider the fabric. Colour is an emotional expression that is conveyed by weight, by combination, by style and stitching lines, as well as hue.

If you feel a heavy or somber presence, it’s probably off. Even when True Summer gets darker, the feeling is still graceful and fine. Winter colours look (and feel) aggressive on a True Summer.

If the colour feels like it would have to be velvet because the feeling is so solid, that is not True Summer. If it feels made of gauze or linen, it is right.

If the colour were curtains, the True Summer would let light through. Dark Winter is occlusive because of its degrees of saturation and darkness, both way higher than Summer.

6. What story is being told by the colour? What background does it create? a watercolour or an oil painting? a sheer or a tapestry?

7. In a swirl with Summer’s other colours, would it be dominant, or too aggressive, and overshadow all the more delicate colours?

All True Summer’s colours are very slightly faded. Spring has the odd similar swatch but it is distinctly more saturated, a clearer colour. In the graphic above, I could have softened (reduced the saturation, grayed) the Summer colours even more. As soon as Spring appears, the colours become rainbows to parrot plumage, but they’re clear, not dusty colours. True Summer is just the slightest bit washed out.

If you love the item and your instinct is that the colour is right, buy it if you can return it. Try it with the rest of your palette, in different lighting. Often, a colour that is extremely close can be made to work well because of what it’s combined with, since so much of Season harmony is conveyed by how your colours are worn together.

I believe these are the last stages before becoming completely colour confident. Don’t do it from memory, you’ll lose money. Always consult your Colours Book.

You’re still moving forward.

Matching The Swatch Book : Light Grey

March 13, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Once we isolate your place or Season in Personal Color Analysis, the next step is to look at the swatches in your Colors Book, and those of your warmer and cooler neighbors.

When we’re dealing with 12 Seasons, each with a palette of 60 unique colors, there will be some colors that are very close. Surprisingly, the difficulty is not usually between your Season and your immediate neighbors. More often, the catch will be with a more distant Season.

2 examples:

1. The excellent example of this jacket at Ann Taylor came up on the Facebook page. I took a quick look and thought “light, clear, cool = Light Summer”. An astute reader pointed out that the grey is so light that it should qualify as icy, and so a Winter color. She is completely right.

True Summer greys are easy to pick out because they’re blueish or pinkish.

Light Summer presented a learning moment, nothing I love more to deepen and sharpen our understanding.

Light Summer and True Winter are both cool Seasons. When a color, light grey in this case, is cool AND very light, AND clear, as the Spring element brings to True Summer’s dusty shades to produce the Light Summer palette… well, when does it become Winter’s icy grey?

Summer colors are pastels, which means they are not so extremely light as icy colors. (see Icy Colours And Pastels) A pastel, by definition, has more pigment and is softened with gray. This applies also to gray itself.

Light Summer left, True Winter right.

The picture above shows the closest matches from the 2 Seasons’ Colors Books. Light Summer is yellower, or less absolutely crisp and cool, but it’s subtle. Light Summer also has more pigment, more “color”.

If any of you see the faintest blue tone to the Light Summer grey, you’d be right. This is a leftover from the True Summer greys which has been partially extracted by Spring’s color clarity. Winter’s greys are made of black and white only.

Notice too that the lightest grey in the True Winter Book, basically the color of the jacket, has no similar value (or lightness) in the Light Summer. Winter’s icy colors are even lighter than the lightest colors in a Light Season.

2. The Trace of Autumn’s Brown in Soft Summer and Dark Winter could be confusing because both Seasons have a similar relative position in the order.

For these 2 Seasons, both are one Season away from a pure, cool Season (True Summer and True Winter, respectively).

Both are removed from that True Season in the same direction, meaning both blend with Autumn.

In fact, there are no similar colours in the 2 Colour Swatch Books.  I’m not even putting a picture here because not one of the 60 tones is close. Soft Summer’s very low saturation and Dark Winter’s much higher saturation make the choice clear.

The lesson

Shop with your Book. Never think you’ll remember a color correctly or be able to judge it accurately.

Don’t feel overwhelmed, thinking you have to keep 12 Seasons’ worth of colors in your head. I don’t, but I never buy before checking my Book. I still put a lot of things back.

The Draping Process in Colour Analysis

February 28, 2010 by · 9 Comments 

To be accurate, Seasonal Colour Analysis requires:

  • that the drapes be precisely coloured to proceed through each level of the 3 properties of colour, namely Light>>Dark, Warm>>Cool, and Clear>>Soft
  • that the drapes be used in a logical order so the results can be evaluated accurately

It is a bonus if:

  • the system checks itself, so you don’t wander down the wrong road
  • the system allows you to find several ways of solving a question, should you arrive at an impasse.

The Sci\ART system provides all 4 elements of a methodical approach to Personal Colour Analysis. There are 12 Seasons, which allows for the subtle variations in colour levels without providing more choice than an eye could really distinguish.

PCA systems with more than 12 Seasons are probably distinguishing the Seasons based on how colours are combined, rather than the colours themselves. That is perfectly  valid. Seasonal Colour Analysis is not just about your skin perfecting colours. It is very much about how the colours are worn to best harmonize with the energy of the person wearing them.

The video below is at YouTube, at 12 Blueprints Personal Colour Analysis The Draping Process, if the embedded video below doesn’t work.

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