Introducing Colour Analyst Anette Henriksen

March 23, 2014 by · 15 Comments 

Today, it is my honour to introduce to you a very beautiful person. When we met last year, Anette already had a great knowledge of the history of colour analysis and many of the methods that have been used. With meticulous training and drapes of uncompromising accuracy, Anette will bring her intelligence and experience to the European client. You met Anette briefly in the article by Anne-Cathrine Riebnitzsky, Sharing A Colour Journey. To perform your colour analysis, you will find a woman of great compassion, kindness, practicality, and generosity. I love my time with her because she is openly committed to making the choices that bring joy into her life and to sharing that energy with others.

 

Anette1

 

In Anette’s own words,

In September 2013, I finally had the opportunity to travel to Canada to become certified by Christine as a 12 Blueprints Colour Consultant.

I have been interested in colour analysis for a long time. In 2009, I traveled to London U.K. to be certified as a Colour Me Beautiful (CMB) consultant. I thought it was the best colour system in Europe at that time,  the company is well known and has existed for a long time, so a safe choice for me and their drapes are beautiful colours.

After a while I started to feel, that something was not quite right for me. It was too difficult for me to work with the system, because I was missing a plan of action to go from A to B.

After seaching and reading all I could on the internet for answers, I ended up finding the Sci\ART 12 Tone system. I could not let go of that approach, as it seemed to make a lot of sense to me.

Turning to Christine for a second colour education was the best thing I could do. All my questions were answered and the right tools to get the most accurate results were given to me, which was my biggest concern in CMB.

The one thing that surprised me the most in all this and which I was not prepared for, was the fact that I was NOT a Bright Spring, which I had lived as in many years. I turned out to be a Dark Autumn in the 12 Tone System.

I am still struggling a little bit, but it is getting better every day and I am starting to see myself from a whole new perspective. Very odd, how easy it is to see others colouring, but not oneself, even after education ! Also very exciting and I have learned a lot about personal colouring and the beauty in yourself when your true colours are found. Even though I have lived as a Bright Spring, I now see that I actually had a lot of Dark Autumn clothes.

So why, do/did I have a hard time letting Bright Spring clothes go ? I think, it is because I want to stay young and fresh to look at (I am soon 50 years old) and my personality also feels very alive and optimistic. I do want people to “notice” me. I am not the kind of girl hiding behind my clothes, my car has always been bright red, and my home is full of bright colours. I think, that is mainly one of the reasons, why I wanted to be a Bright Spring.

Here are two photos. In the top one, I am wearing a Bright Spring blue jacket. In the second one, I wear a Dark Autumn colour.

 

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My own journey is the best example of why I love personal colour analysis. It can have a very strong influence in changing a person’s feeling about themselves for the better. People become more self-confident. I love to know that I can help them buy clothing and make-up more wisely. That is a really great thing.Why would we waste our hard earned money on something that is not our very best ?

My mission and hope for the people I drape are to help them discover the beauty they already contain. Every person can make this gorgeous aspect shine to their own advantage by using their best unique palette of colours.

An accurate colour analysis is as good and useful to a person as the struggle of a misjudged analysis is hard and difficult. I have seen this many times reading the colour groups on facebook. It makes me very sad.

I want to do whatever I can to find your true/correct homebase/season. I will not compromise on the time to get there together with you. If we have to use more than 2-3 hours to narrow down the right conclusion, we do.

Of course I can not promise you to be 100 % correct for the rest of my life doing this. Every human being can make mistakes (and they will), but I can assure you, that the Test and Luxury Drapes (I own both) from 12 Blueprints are calibrated and very accurate. This is very important, together with using Full Spectrum lighting, to get to the correct final result.

One thing I have learned over the years about colour analysis is that this is not always easy. Every human being is unique. But it can be life changing and that is the reason why I found this so compelling, exciting and fascinating. I knew that it had to be a part of my life !

 

Anette4

 

To share some of my background, for the last 14 years, I have had a professional career as a Medical Representative with a large drug and wellness company (Novartis Healthcare), visiting doctors with all kinds of medical products. Although this has been a lot of fun, I feel my time has come for new opportunities. I hope to be able to combine it with my colour business, where my real passions lies!

If you would like me to help you, we will work together as a team. I would be happy to invite you to my home in Bramming (Denmark), where I live with my husband (Steffen) and three children (Martin, Louise and Mette).

I have a nice colour studio in my home (in a separate room), where I will drape you. Over the years I have invested in a lot of colour equipment from all 12 big posters from True Colour Australia to differents kinds of colour wheels and colour palettes.

It may become an option for me to travel in Europa to bring you the method I have learned. It will depend on whether there is interest. I have begun a travel request file. If you would like for my business to visit your city, please send an email at the contact info below. Once there is enough interest, I will begin planning the visit.

If you want to, you can also travel by train or plane to see me and you can stay one night in our house, it is all up to you !

Yours sincerely,

Anette

AnetteLogo

 

Contact info:

Anette Henriksen

Bøgely 29

6740 Bramming

Denmark

Phone: +45 75101347

Cell: + 45 27851125

Email: anettehenriksen@outlook.dk

Website: (coming soon)

 

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Spring and Autumn Natural

March 16, 2014 by · 9 Comments 

The great thing about writing is that it forces you to pin down your beliefs and your reasons for them.

Paraphrasing a reader’s question:

I was reading about Bright Springs on your website and I was wondering if you could help me get an outfit visual on what natural means. I understand earthy, but natural is still confusing to me.

You have used natural in this context: True Spring; no bold lines, the blocks are distinct by colour divisions. Not misty, earthy, heavy, bold, geometric. Instead, Spring is energetic, hippie, fun, busy, buoyant, and natural (where natural is not the same as earthy).

 

What did I mean about Autumn and Spring being natural in their energy? What do they have in common in that way?

Every Season has associations in Nature. Summer is how water feels, of high importance to water-based life forms like us. Even in the depth of winter, Nature is extravagant. Snow on a tree branch is so much to see and think about, but the number of colours is small to the point that even black and white are colours in this context. Because of Summer’s cool haze and Winter’s cold stillness, although natural, the feeling is less animated.

What the two warm Seasons have in common is heat. Warmly coloured people wear a lot of colour well, as does the planet in warmer locations. Complementary colours, that have the ability to energize one another when worn side by side, is effective on everyone. The warmer the colouring, the closer the blocks would approach equal size. A holly bush, good Winter visual, is much more green than red. The red becomes highly effective in that context.

Natural implies that it would be seen usually in the natural world. Natural effects feel more organic, like food and flowers. The end of summer harvest and the Island Paradise depict Nature as home, security, familiar, nurturing, nourishment, warmth, shelter, and support, in ways that diamonds and sapphires do not.

The Bright Seasons wouldn’t make up an entire landscape the way that True Autumn (October harvest) and True Spring (tropical beach) would. In helping these persons understand how to dress, there is no easy landscape or imagery to refer to. A Dark Autumn could Google ‘Moroccan design interiors’ to get the colour effect  (thank you to Rachel for the idea). A Light Spring could look up ‘pastel interior design’, ‘fairy landscapes’, or ‘spring flowers’ and recreate the entire scene. Googling ‘bright colour interior design’ is quite good for ideas but you’d use it selectively to make an overall look.

As the Polyvore below shows, the Bright Seasons are basically pure pigment. Search ‘design-seed.com’ on Polyvore. Lovely palettes. Beautiful, imaginative ideas to maximize the flexibility of your colour swatches.

 

Design seed palette images
Design seed palette images by christinems on Polyvore

 

Once Winter appears, colour effects become more synthetic, which feels modern. They feel more forced, cooperating less with what’s around them. The paradox of Winter is to be modern and permanent at once, like a diamond. When Winter overtakes Autumn, in the Dark Winter, the rustic element is pretty well gone. Many of the colours look like candy when worn by an Autumn-coloured person. When Winter is in larger proportion than Spring, in the Bright Winter, well, it gets complicated.

This may explain why this colouring is such confusion to people, and can be a challenging analysis. During our last training course, we met 5 Bright Winters -

  • the Snow White
  • the exotic Indian Princess
  • the I’ve-always-been-told-I’m-a-Summer-but-it-doesn’t-feel-right
  • the blonde-blue-eyed Winter
  • the magic elf

There are a thousand more. Sydney Crosby colouring, for instance, with green-gold eyes. They drape better in Winter but their heat level approaches Bright Spring.

Since I need digressions, I’ll repeat something I said on facebook:

Season isn’t just an issue of how light or dark we look, as you know. There are darker Light Springs and very fair Bright Winters.

How warm or cool, how saturated or heathered, another human might be are very hard or impossible to judge.

So we give their light – dark level too much emphasis when we guess. This is part of why folks have so much trouble wrapping their heads around a light haired BW.

The other reason is that people are still looking for those ‘clear eyes’ that are supposed to jump out at you. BW does have a clear eye, but we can’t pick them out of a crowd because we’re not that good at judging it and they don’t look any more unusual than any other human. If you put their eyes into another Season’s face, you’d pick it up instantly.

There are many, many BW people out there. It’s not rare.

The Bright Spring colouring exists but not quite as often, at least not where I live, though still more common than the True Season colouring. I imagine the colours are occasional even when you’re standing on the Equator. A feather, a beak, in an otherwise colour-quiet body. These colours are extreme, at the limits of what colour could do in a terrestrial life form.

Bright Spring is a little special. The high purity of such plentiful colour tips it nearer man-made or magic. It’s more fantastic, more HDR photography, colour enhancement, the rare, delicate, and exceptional. How do you put such Bright colours in a print? The result is wildly energized, beyond most habitats. Colour-blocking is not natural. In Bright Spring colours, small print elements appear pixilated, also not natural.

Spring and Autumn Natural

Spring is juicy, light, sunny, clear, shiny, wet, and floaty. We should distinguish shiny as in dewy and wet (Spring), shiny as in frosty, hard, and cold (Winter), shiny as pearlescent (Summer), and shiny as in hot and metallic (Autumn). Raindrops, hearts, daisies, stars, starfish, seahorses and all baby and/or magic animals, clover (especially 4-leaf clover), belong to Spring.

Earthy is perfectly at home on Autumn colouring. Earthy to me means muted+orange. Basically, dull+warm. I ask everyone who reads this to remember that no colour is dull under the face with which it harmonizes. Same as there is no such thing as dull/mousy hair unless it’s placed next to unharmonizing colour.

Autumn is earthy, heavier, thicker, rich, drier, 3D, dense colour.  In the orange sweater game below, the natural the other won’t wear is shown. Autumn keeps company with wicker, tortoiseshell, and fossil.

Lava lamps, fireworks, starbursts, and video games, are unpredictable, fun, and random. Like cartoons, Spring’s is a flatter (2D) effect.

A chess board, the regularity of the pattern, the solid figures, the serious and predictable rules, the 3D shapes and movements, feel Autumn.

Horseshoes could go either way, having both good luck charm and equestrian about them.

This is a game I enjoy. Where is the orange sweater better? [Hint: There are as many correct answers as there are tastes and preferences reading this.]

Some fabrics are muting, like wool and tweed, but that doesn’t automatically mean Autumn. Neither Spring nor Autumn are fully saturated. The orange sweater seems Autumn-ish because it’s wool-ish, but it’s also an orange-pineapple ice cream colour. It’s not so bad on the Spring side.

Would changing the wooden buttons to clear, shiny glass matter? Sure. The watch isn’t natural, but it does live in the world of fruit salad. Food is natural. Jello and LifeSavers are less natural, more Bright Spring (as this watch could be, since the numerals are white, not ivory).

Toggles, tassels, and buckles are usually Autumn territory. But really, they belong better as Yang-side symbols of Classic clothing style, prep styles and the fox hunt rather than the Yin-er dinner party. Everyone can adapt anything. Winter makes them platinum. Spring changes them to coloured plastic.

I have said that I do not believe in the existence of a group of natural colouring that blends Spring and Autumn’s colour properties. Nobody drapes equally in True Autumn and True Spring. In fact, the other Season is often the worst choice on these people. They prefer Summer (where Spring is grateful for the lightness) or Winter (where Autumn can make sense of the darkness).

Draping is a time for technical perfection. That is a long way from shopping. If shopping is rigid, you’ll get tired and give up on something too good to pass up. Same as if you stay too hard on your budget, diet, or exercise program, you’ll burst and do something that will have you regretting. Knowing what matters more and making the most of it keeps you making the very best choices in a sustainable purchasing system.

 

Spring and Autumn Effects
Spring and Autumn Effects by christinems featuring blue pants

 

Equal Energy Colour

Wearing Bright Season colours doesn’t mean that you’re a walking flag, just as the idea that Dark Season colouring wears only dark colours is not true. It means that of the 3 dimensions that every colour answers to (warm-cool, light-dark, muted-clear), the one thing about yours that isn’t medium is its purity of pigment.

Your colouring takes a Bright colour and makes it look normal, and you look normal in it. The other choice being, “It is a bit lifeless and you’re lifeless in it.”  A Dark person takes a dark colour and makes it look very normal with lots of colour and without getting shadowed by it. The other choice being “Is that black? Why, no, when it’s off your body, I can see that it’s quite purple. You’re changing it to look darker than it is. And it’s making you look like you’re standing in the shade. Weird.”

Energetically equal: You could lay the Bright Spring Colour Book on a Bright Spring item of clothing and have them be perfectly in balance, neither one dominating or disappearing. Therefore, they are in harmony.

The blue top could be True Spring, it’s not super intense blue, but the jump from light to dark in that outfit is more than you’d see on a True Spring. The white pants are too cool for True Spring. The overall darkness effect is still medium light, good on both True and Bright Spring, where True is a bit lighter.

 

Balancing Bright Spring
Balancing Bright Spring by christinems featuring j. crew pants

 

The items in the centre column can be inserted into Bright Spring outfits and the whole thing doesn’t fall apart.

Let’s put them into True Spring now.

 

Balancing True Spring
Balancing True Spring by christinems featuring shirts & tops

 

I don’t find the items balance so well. The top is too red and too blue. The jewelry is a little too bling. The clutch is hopeless.

Notice in True Spring that there are no bold lines. First, it’s harder to make a bold line when colours are gentle. Second, these colours won’t balance black, the boldest line of them all, in any quantity. The black just takes over. In small areas, Bright Spring can balance black quite easily.

That red leather jacket is interesting. I’m not sure where the real item would work. True Spring does have a red lollipop/fruit punch red. Leather tends to be heavy and thick on Spring, but in certain colours, such as light camel, it can work fine.

Who wears the dress?

Same exercise with dresses.

Animal prints are natural. But we can’t make assumptions about Season. Is the leopard print shiny gold better with the Autumn or Spring selection?  Is there one group where it seems too sparkly, separate, jingly, attention-getting, as Spring colour would on an Autumn person?

 

Spring and Autumn Colours
Spring and Autumn Colours by christinems featuring a cotton dress

 

Just because the print is floral and fun doesn’t mean it’s Spring. Humans colours can fill in many different lines, so can prints. When we see that orange flowered dress among items that seem very True Spring – does it belong?

Does it matter as long as it provides heat? It does. The person will look quite different, and distinctly better in one.

We can’t stare or think our way to this answer.  You talk yourself into one and then into the other one. How will we figure it out? By measuring it using comparison, of course!!

Unless you have wavelenth-calibrated eyeballs, and I’ve never met anyone like that, you have to compare it. Lie the swatch book on it and see what happens. Put the dress among your Personal Luxury Drape collection.

Force the extremes. Some  of the Autumn dresses below contain black (Dark Autumn), which Spring colour will bounce right off of.

 

Spring or Autumn Choices
Spring or Autumn Choices by christinems featuring an orange dress

 

Where do the flowered dress and leopard print go? Not any easier, is it? If the leopard print is Bright Spring, it will be fine with a little black. Ditto the orange dress if it’s Autumn.

 

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A Sharper Classic Soft Autumn

December 28, 2013 by · 4 Comments 

Not entitling this Dramatic Classic because I don’t want to imply that I have any expertise in body line assessment and the fashion choices therefrom. But I have opinions, oh boy. Since I’m a Dramatic Classic myself, I would like your help in adjusting what I could do better before I spend money.

Recently, we showed some softer wardrobe choices for True Winter, for those who don’t feel that making coats out of Dalmatians quite describes them. In the same post, we saw choices for Dark Autumns who identify better with mink than shearling.

We talked about synonyms. For example, in the Light Seasons, light could mean not dark, and also not heavy, not complicated, not aggressive, and good-humoured.  Softness as it applies to True Winter and Dark Autumn would not imply more graying of colour, since that contradicts the colour attributes of those groups to some degree. We looked for synonyms for softness that found the intersection between the word soft and its other possible meanings – perhaps velvety, creamy, rounded, flowing, smooth, supple, decorated, satiny. Soft has many other renditions, in soft tastes, scents, touch, sounds and music, and shape, form, and texture. Today, we’re going to look at all those to find expressions of sharpness.

Classic Soft Autumn 1
Classic Soft Autumn 1 by christinems featuring swarovski crystal jewelry

 

Dressing for Sex Appeal and Wealth

This is not the same as Dressing for Sex and Money.

What Is and Is Not Sex Appeal

What does sex appeal look like? Or what looks like sex appeal? I don’t have to have sex or even want sex. The point is about telling the world that you’re fully engaged in life. Sexuality is part of life as a grown-up. The thought of broadcasting sexuality never enters my mind and doesn’t have to. Sex appeal comes across just by looking like me and for every woman when she looks like her real self. When I wear who I am, I am saying, “I trust my gifts.” That’s the seduction.

Everyone woman is extremely beautiful. She doesn’t have any choice. The switch flips to ON when the X’s line up. Female energy was drafted that way in tandem with female anatomy. I’m the guy in the room who never laughs at stand-up comedy, talk show humour, Elf, or any other funny person, Robin Williams only sometimes. If you can get past all the fu** during the movie, The Heat, I had tears running down my face. There’s a point to this story, which I’ll get to here, many digressions I can feel coming on. Sandra Bullock has an athletic Natural body shape, to which has been added lots of drama of a swashbuckling type, rather than a Nature walk type.

With neither she nor we being conscious of it, we see what happens to our perception of her (played out hilariously but accurately by the characters and script) in different clothes. When the story needed her to be boring, the wardrobe folks knew just what to do. Put that body in a suit. It never manages to look right. She looks awkward, just how the story needs her to be.

As when wearing someone else’s colours, there is no wrong or bad or ugly. Every woman overflows with beauty, sex appeal, and femininity. But there are better choices for those to come across. Sandra, gorgeous woman and a gorgeous suit, combine to create no excitement whatsoever. Something gut-busting happens to the suit and whaddaya know, she starts looking great. Eventually, she appears in battle gear. Now we get why the movie is called The Heat. We feel relieved, relaxed, and suddenly very interested in her. She’s available to us in every way. In the suit, her presence, drawing power, and magnetism came in around negative 20. The army gear was closest to her brand of sensuality. Wearing it, she looked most feminine.

However your colours and body type were intended to seduce is irrelevant. It goes on autopilot when you stay true to them. Bubble gum and cherries perfume can be fantastic on some women, and be confusing at best on another who could have been so much more elevated, expressed, and attractive simply by changing to a casbah patchouli event. A forest makes no sense smelling like apple pie, right? Projecting authenticity comes across as sex appeal, as “I’m in the game. I know what looks good on me.”, “If you throw me the ball, I’ll know what to do with it.” Which extends to, “I am  capable. You can trust me with responsibility, decisions, and money.”

Confusing sex appeal with media-sexy has women of all ages giving it away, forcing it away. That’s not sex appeal, it’s despair, but many women compare themselves to it. Trust me, the pushiness has nothing to do with attraction. It’s capitalizing on assets. Men are built to know the difference.

All I’m saying is you’re lovely as you are. You are enough as you are. I’m a little disappointed if you still wear orange when you’re a Soft Summer. It’s not peaceful. I’m very OK with you wearing it if you know it doesn’t look good but you love wearing it anyhow. That’s peaceful in a different way.

Many women, especially the 18 to 30 group, cannot tune out ridiculous sexualizing of women.  I’m not saying to ignore it, that’s hardly realistic. We all know it’s there. We all know that 90% of advertising involving women’s bodies is drastically altered. A mediator might say it can be there, it can matter, and you’re still enough, and what we can do about it to help you find a better peace.

How I find peace:

1. Meditate. My favourite is from Deepak Chopra. Listen to it with earpods if you can, now that is a trip. In meditation, you’ll find optimism. Joined with the forces that create worlds, how can you ever be alone?

We’re programmed for action. It’s intoxicating to to have 20 new Likes and 30 new emails to answer and a new diet and a new resolution and to be doing all the time. Sitting still is not intoxicating by exhilaration, it’s intoxication by nurturing. Like eating spinach. Except, we are programmed for instant gratification. Not the week after you ate the spicach,  let alone 20 days or 20 years later.

Our brain is always in fight or flight. It always sees things it thinks it has to protect us from. As Dr. Changizi explains so fantastically well in The Vision Revolution, our brain has evolved brilliant ways of keeping us safe. The larger problem is that in fight or flight, the brain is incapable of learning. It can be a stressor with a toxicity of its own. Neuroscience tells us that the sustained stress actually shrinks the hippocampus (cognitive function, adaptation, learning). Like an over-protective parent, we need to find some freedom to spread our wings. The brain thing is rooted so far in that we’ll not dig clear of it. The only way is by quieting it. With stillness, maturity, and accountabiltiy, we can see clarity.

2. Move. Bloodflow is an important pat of neuroplasticity. Brain, body, spirit, what happens to one happens to all. And it puts a better frame around your life.

3. Laugh at it. Fear-based illusions, such as comparing to media-women, can’t stand up to being laughed at. They can’t find the toe hold they need to anchor in. I meet women and we’re divided in two camps. Those where media got into their head and those where it doesn’t. Doesn’t matter where we live, what we do, our age. Is the difference how much we need/want/care about the company of men? I don’t know but if I can help one woman be free of the you-are-not-good-enough chatter in her head, I want to be there. Read Caitlin Moran’s How To Be A Woman.

4. Make a space  for what’s wrong about sexualizing women’s bodies in the pursuit of money. An important friend shared this link  (Pinterest, Don’t Compare Yourself) with me. I sent it to my daughters, son, nieces, nephews, sister women instantly.  Girls, boys, and young women and men need to talk openly about it. There is nothing wrong with us. Not one single thing. We. Are. Perfect. I. Am. Perfect. You. Are. Perfect. They just convinced us there were  things that needed fixing to sell us stuff, and damn but we bought into it like crazy. If everyone woman I see is perfect in herself, how can that not apply to me as well?

Why It’s Good to Look Like Wealth

Not …Look Like Money. Different thing.

What looks like wealth? Similar discussion. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Certain bodies automatically make certain lines look richer. Sandra’s body will make a banker’s suit look cheaper than it is. Looking like wealth is not related our bank account, money per se, or equating success with money. They’re only loosely related in my book. Not about where we shop or comparison to others. Those backfire by setting up too many more-than and less-than relationships that block the multiple and powerful ways in which outside influences can help us.

It’s about wealth as synonymous with maximal happiness, because isn’t that what wealth is? That, in turn, is synonymous with success. Maximum happiness (success) is maximum peace. A particular style on a certain body conveys abundance, which speaks to creation, fulfillment, sharing, and enough. The connection and belonging says, “These two things are extensions of each other. They share something real.” To us the viewers, it feels peaceful to look at.

Wearing the same jacket everyone else is wearing says, “I follow. I obey. I am willing to negotiate myself, instead of celebrating myself, to accommodate a magazine, a friend, a man, a job.” Or  maybe it says, “I am imposing this effort on myself to get something.” That sets up struggle, and in turn resistance, and winds up pushing what we want even further away. Not peaceful to be or to look at.

Telling the world (and yourself) that you live an enriched, independent, expanding, self-directed life will happen by choosing a different jacket. In the black T and cargo pants, we felt Sandra tell us about being unconstrained, unbridled, and without inhibitions. That’s the truth of her particular energy. It isn’t the truth of mine. When we find our own, we all express autonomy, individuality, liberty. A free human. Now that’s a beautiful thing.

When body and line, or body and colour, are the same, they connect. There were meant to be together like silver and moonlight, like forest sounds and forest smells. We like it. We want to engage. Tension flows away. We want to stay longer and keep the good feelings coming. Colour Analysis, like Line Analysis, is the Theory of Relativity. When it feels good, time goes by faster. You’ve discovered your brand of wealth. You are closer to your peace.

 

 

Classic Soft Autumn 2
Classic Soft Autumn 2 by christinems featuring L.K.Bennett

 

The Season – Your Natural Colours

In 12 Season personal colour analysis, Soft Autumn is the Neutral Season (meaning a group of natural colouring that is a blend of a warm and a cool source Season) that is mostly Autumn with some influence from Summer’s colour properties.

Autumn overall implies golden heat, muted colour, and darkness. Summer’s colours suggest blued coolness, muted colour again, and a lighter colour selection.  Since both are muted, their combined Season is very soft, softer than either Autumn or Summer’s already soft starting place. As opposed to the type of softness we were seeking in the Softer True Winter article linked above (where soft did not mean muting of colour), here, soft really does mean muting or graying of colour. With soft colour (muted) and Summer’s presence (soft as in traditional ideas of femininity) in Soft Autumn, how do we create a wardrobe for a person with sharper lines?

We can’t do sharpness of colour, since muted colour is a prerequisite of Soft Autumn. We can’t do sharp as darkness either. Soft Autumn colours are very soft, quite warm, and medium light to medium dark. It’s the lightest Autumn. You can easily read without turning on a lamp. Because it’s on the sunny side of Autumn, the colours feel bathed in late afternoon light. Not candlelight, that’s Dark Autumn magic.

We need some other expression of sharpness, the same one that the body itself expresses. That’s when our clothes make sense, when their lines and colours are the same as the body they go on.

 

Classic Soft Autumn 3
Classic Soft Autumn 3 by christinems featuring turtleneck tops

 

The Line

Dramatic Classic is familiar to us recently as one of the 13 Image Identities in David Kibbes’ 1987 book,  Metamorphosis. The terms have been used in other style contexts and seem to have a similar meaning.

There are bodyline experts with the skill to join any of the 12 Season palettes with each of the 10 to 12 body types. Watching them work is quite fascinating. Their results are transforming, startlingly so. My worldview is jolted forward every time I see it happen. I am not one of those body type experts. I’ll defer to their greater knowledge every time.

My Polyvores are not textbook perfect.  Someone you hire as a line expert is expected to adhere to the highest potential of knowledge and practice, as I do in a personal colour consultation. Here, I’m doing an adaptation. Fashion that doesn’t work in my life doesn’t work period. It’s here to do me the favour, not the other way around. Sure, the shoes below should be more pointed in the toe, but my feet will hurt the day his do.

Classic always seems to me very medium. Nothing is extreme or irregular, in body size or facial features. The lines and angles are on the sharp side of medium, like Jacqueline Onassis, as opposed to a person whose lines and angles are on the rounder side of medium, like Grace Kelly.

As with the 12 Seasons of natural colouring, there are very few averages in the real world. To know for sure, you should ask someone who understands the entire scope of the subject. I’m a Classic but I’m told my eyes are big in my face, though C types usually have features that are pretty even. I guess my big teeth even out my big eyes, though my lips don’t. I’m shorter than usual for a DC but my body parts are evenly distributed.

My taste is conventional. When I wear unique or creative items, I get “?????” looks. When I think I’m stretching the limits, my kids tell me I look plain – because they can compare me to the full range of how people look. I can only compare me to me, which is one more reason why self-colour-analysis and self-line-analysis tends not to work.

An interesting question: Are women good at picking out clothing for their body lines? I don’t know. If it’s like colour, they run 50% in terms of how many people have a sense of their colouring and how many of their best colours they could choose. I had absolutely no sense of body line, like zero. I’d wear whatever I saw around me. Life and shopping are so much better now. How I’m treated and how I treat myself are so much better. Like colour, you don’t have to be perfect. Being halfway better improves appearance by three quarters. If you would like to learn from someone who really dose understand how to make the very best of body line, follow the wild papillon at Polyvore. You’ll find clothing choices explained and many collections of Seasons and styles, including a few different Soft Autumns.

Interesting that no Polyvore collection comes together any faster than any other, even the Soft Classic Summers. We may feel that all this knowledge will make shopping truly impossible, but that’s not what happens. With a little practice, we get better at seeing ourselves and knowing our stores.

 

Classic Soft Autumn 4
Classic Soft Autumn 4 by christinems featuring platform sandals

 

The Meeting Place

Where’s the meeting place of Soft Autumn’s colour language and a sharp classic line?

Autumn does Business Chic incredibly well. The drama part escalates the picture to High Stakes Executive. Makes me think of the projection of Ivanka Trump. She is not medium enough to be a classic, has some fullness in her features, and who knows what Season she is, but her professional clothing style is close to DC at times. Maybe Julianne Moore could be DC. The whole Bulova type brands, you know? Lord&Taylor has all sorts of nice Ivanka wear for classics, sharp and soft.

What might be an issue?

Autumn texture. Texture is too broken up. Ivanka is sleek, tight, clean, and organized, not earthy and natural. I also doubt she’s an Autumn. Julianne has much more texture (freckles, hair) and she may have some Autumn, though I doubt it’s as much as is often suggested. I believe in wearing what you are, so Julianne would add a little texture (snakeskin or metallic, not fluffy or chunky wool).

Animal prints could go either way depending on the item.

A suede belt? Probably too natural for a Classic. A suede skirt? Not sure so I tried it, picking the least adorned one I could find.

Leather jacket (leather pants should be worn by nobody, but then I’m a Classic)? I think so.

Plastic, because it’s really smooth? I don’t see it as natural enough for any Autumn.

Be careful with hair highlights. They can look random, which translates to a little messy and uncontrolled on a very organized and controlled woman and her wardrobe. This is a nice colour, though many Soft Autumns are significantly darker of hair colour.  The hair style and the person seem a bit natural, but it’s a good colour without looking obviously processed or busy.

 

We can associate Summer with flowy fabric. Not all of them. Don’t apply the Season stereotype to anyone, about any aspect of colour, line, or shape. Soft drape won’t stand up on this body, it risks looking limp. Limp doesn’t express sex appeal and wealth.

How else can we interpret flow? From thesaurus.com,

  • continuity: as in gradual colour transitions, great on Soft Seasons
  • series: so maybe a monochromatic outfit, which can look expensive because it’s not irregular
  • connections: as repetitions, very good on sharpened classics.

Summer circles? The person is way way more classic than they are dramatic. If the shape is sleek and a little sharp, could be fine. Clean and organized work for sure.

 

Classic Soft Autumn 5
Classic Soft Autumn 5 by christinems featuring ivanka trump pumps

 

10 Rules of Dramatic Classic According to Me

I’m a DC Dark Winter. What I think applies to most sharp-side classics is:

1. Smooth, especially around the face. If it’s not, we’ll push each other further in opposite directions as opposite things do.I’ll look flat and 2D while the item looks like a bathmat.

2. No mess, all organizers welcome. Even ruching is an issue but a little low down on the side is ok. Scarves are complicated but a simple one that lies flat and is arranged a little dramatically could be good on a Summer blend. I doubt traditional lace will work, she’ll drain energy like a dripping tap, but there is a version of everything for every body. I just haven’t seen lace for all the body types yet. You can build natural looks wtih lower budgets. This look is harder because there’s nowhere to hide. Goodness knows, I still try every day.

3. Little or no explicit decoration. No ruffles, peplums, bows, lace, fuss. Even prettiness can start looking frumpish on this body when you’re not paying attention. No open toe shoes but sandals ok, slingbacks excellent.

4. Not cute or young. Cap sleeves, borders, a hint of bunny ears, kitten heels, they just look silly, not cute or young.

5. Nothing weird. It’s a medium and symmetrical body. How wide could the tolerance for weird be? Where would weird find a home? No pink briefcases, patchwork raincoats. Your Natural teenage daughter might say your clothes are plain, old, and boring when she sees pictures of them, just like she’ll say the colours are dull if she’s a Winter (she won’t recognize them as plain or dull when they’re on your body, under your face).

6. I never know why I feel so negative for crew necks since they’re so classic. Boat necks are worse on me, I think. The neck has to slice up or slice down, and slice narrow, to keep the voltage high, which is what I really want in this life. A crewneck might be OK if there were a collar necklace and the rest of the top were great  or had a superb dramatic print. Cowlneck could work well on this colouring but I’d need to be shown how . Asymmetry or sharp pleats on one shoulder could make a crewneck better.

7. A certain amount of busy-ness in a print is fine but there’s limits. Damn straight I’m a good DC with helmet hair to prove it. Same with a purse, which should have plenty of organizers inside. If they’re on the outside, all those zippers and snaps look busy and messy and feel annoying and complicated.

8. About stripes: diagonal and vertical good, horizontal trickier, ok if thin and regular.

9. For purses: nothing squishy, fairly square, and not real big or real small. Picture the purse version of a banker suit. Now, we’re in low gear, giving it gas, and we’re towing.

10. No visible logos even if it says Armani, which is a super good DC brand and seldom (ever?) has visible logos. Hugo Boss is right up there too (Bloomingdales has some great items).

 

Classic Soft Autumn 6
Classic Soft Autumn 6 by christinems featuring Elie Tahari

 

What I Don’t Know About Sharp Classic Autumn

1. Length of jackets. I think it’s tight as a cropped style at the waist or long just after the break of the hip but not further. This may depend on height. I’m not tall (5’4″).

2. Plaid is usually good on Autumn but I can’t quite imagine what it looks like for Summer + Classic + sharp.

3. Pearls on a Summer blend could be fine. This whole topic interests me a lot, how much the different Seasons actually could express the style stereotypes inside the style types, like their own dialects.

For instance, those equestrian boots in 6 – equestrian anything is automatic wealth of a classic sort. Ski anything is wealth of a dramatic and natural sort.

The link bracelets in 3 and 5. Links are good on Autumn. They can run a little biker on me. I know a DC Bright Winter, they’d be even more biker on her.

Natural elements are good on Autumn – the leaf necklace in 4. I don’t see it on Winters. This is almost astonishing to me. Like seeing it all in a new way. Paraphrasing from The Polar Express, “It doesn’t matter where the train is going. What matters is whether you decide to get on.” I’m on all the way to wherever the Destination is. I hope to see you there.

Is a sharp classic from the Summer colouring groups less sharp than a Winter? Kate Middleton seems to me a sharpish classic. Wearing those styles is when she looks great. I don’t see Diana’s big outward natural energy. Diana always looks big in photos, even thumbnails. Kate looks smaller despite her height, and more contained. I did wonder about a Natural energy but she has so much symmetry.

Symmetry feels formal, I would guess, which is where the Winter stereotype of “formal, ceremonial” must have come from since so  many Winters have symmetric features. Most certainly, not all Winters have them. Asymmetry feels informal, which feels livelier (warmer?) and works so well on many Springs. Many Springs have that cheerleader/BFF feeling of Natural body types, but there are plenty of Classic, Romantic, and Gamine Springs. Anyhow, everyone will have a worthy opinion about Kate. Kate is softer than Mrs. Onassis, the image of DC. She wears that hairstyle well. Is it just because she’s young? Michelle Pfeiffer is quite sharp and she’d be a Summer. I really wonder how much Season would influence line within a given body type.

I would also like to know if women have different degrees or tolerances within a group, as they have with colour. Inside our 12 Seasons, we find our best individual expression. Body type must be the same, since we can’t divide all humanity in 10-13 groups within which the advice will apply to each person equally. Every woman expresses her Season her own way, even with the same body type. Like the 12 Seasons, it’s not so much a rigid gospel as a way of bringing some kind of measurable, teachable, reproducible objectivity to our native lines.

Body type analysis is a guide for my Light Summer Soft Natural sister to not default back to her True Autumn Gamine styles, for which we are all grateful. My Dark Autumn Gamine friend finds affirmation and confidence to wear her knit red dress with yellow footprints (I’m not making this up) in her small farm town. Suddenly people see, expect, and love her snapping wit, instead of expecting a TV Mom when she wears more conventional outfits and taking offence at a style of humour that was so big, it took them by surprise.

Back to the clothes, some of these outfits would work for Kate and some may be too masculine. She needs more decoration. Again, is it because she’s young? Softer in the range of DCs? Not Classic at all? Because we’re used to seeing her items that cost 10 times the amounts that I controlled above?

4. How much asymmetry? Not a lot but some is fine. To me, the softer Classic is much more symmetric than this one. I really like the neck and flat pleats of the pinkish dress in 4.

5. How much flare? Bootcut is ok if you can’t find straight leg. The coat up there in 6 is good in the top and in that it flares but doesn’t flounce in the skirt. Worn by a classic body, would it look like two styles fused into one garment? Not sure. Maybe better for a softer classic.

6. If you find black soles on boots – you gotta know when to fold ‘em. Soft Autumn has pretty good darkness and the contrast from boot to sole may increase the overall sharpness.

7. Gray is great on Summers and Autumns, and good at becoming what’s around it. I put in that jacket in the lower L of 6 because the style is good. The gray is too sharp though, better for Dark Autumn or Dark Winter. The color necklace is too soft, too colourful, and too irregular is my guess. It doesn’t belong. I was trying to use colours to take attention away from an imperfect gray. I don’t think this outfit would really work on a Soft  Autumn but I wanted to try it. So many good things about Polyvore, the ultimate in comparison shopping and no-limit outfit trial runs.

8. Set 6 is where I experimented. The top R group is probably Soft Summer but I’d try it in a store. A cool Soft Autumn might wear the colours. Is the dress too irregular? IDK but I’d try it for that too; it’s smooth around the face.

How much saturation could Soft Autumn wear? That aqua dress just to the R of the numeral 6, I’d certainly lay the palette on it and see what happens.

The crystal pleat coppery skirt? Again, IDK if it would be wrong on DC, but I like it a lot. A line expert could probably tell you how to wear  it.

 

What watches? There’s a lot of watches? The batteries ran out long ago. Don’t replace them, save money and buy perfume.

 

—–

 

True Winter Sans Drama and A Gentle Dark Autumn

December 16, 2013 by · 16 Comments 

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

For example,

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.

Elizabeth Taylor.

Stacy London.

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.

 

Winter Sans Drama 1
Winter Sans Drama 1 by christinems featuring silk blouses

 

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).

 

True Winter Sans Drama 2
True Winter Sans Drama 2 by christinems featuring formal pants

 

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.

 

A Gentler Dark Autumn 1
A Gentler Dark Autumn 1 by christinems featuring pearl jewelry

 

 

A Gentler Dark Autumn 2
A Gentler Dark Autumn 2 by christinems featuring dark brown dress pants

 

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.

 

A Gentler Dark Autumn 3
A Gentler Dark Autumn 3 by christinems featuring a stud earring set

 

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.

—–

 

 

Nude Shoes for 12 Seasons

June 5, 2013 by · 17 Comments 

This article began from working with a Soft Summer who asked what the colour of her nude shoe would be.

I’m no more artistic or visionary or gifted with special colour acuity than you or anybody else. I’m just a guy who knows what I like to see and put those 12 Season palettes into 12 contexts. I don’t have a day of fashion education. I guess I’ve been amazed at how many could see it my way but part of me always wants to hold up her hands and say, “Wait a minute, who says I’m right?” Every time I show or say something, I hope everybody’s next thought is, “Yeah, fine, but give me a second. Do I agree with her?”

 

Spring

 

Spring Nude Shoes
Spring Nude Shoes by christinems featuring l.k. bennett shoes

 

- The one with the star, either for Light or True Spring, would be nice on a strawberry blonde.

- For Bright Spring,  the black would anchor them to the ground. The placement of it is elongated, as opposed to a crosswise bow or strap. Many are quite dark in appearance and would do well with a little black. Many others are lighter, more neutral, golden or beige overall and could wear their beige, quite like the shoe right under the words Light Spring in the row below.

- True Spring may be fair or darker than you’d expect, containing many golden greens, new coin gold, and peach-brown colours.

- The Light Spring…for them and the Light Summer, this is a fashion event that looks really good with their body and their colour-analyzed clothing.

- It’s all about the uninterrupted line. Peep toes are OK but keep the nail polish subtle.

- Few or no horizontal effects – cap toes, bows, stripes, ankle straps are only in if the shoe is fabulousness.

 

Fashion Rules 

I’m nitpicky about perfection. For Winter, close enough is never good enough if they care about the subject at all. The idea of this article was to find that nude shoe for each type of natural colouring, or Season, or Tone, that does what fashion has taught us, which is to elongate the leg. As I got going with this article, I knew that I like to see a shell pinky beige shoe on Light Season women with light hair (Helen Mirren), just because it looks nice, not because her legs look any different. Besides the Light Spring and Summer, I’ve never thought flesh-coloured shoes looked so great, nor did it ever inspire any, “Why, what long legs you have!” sensations.

I don’t believe most fashion rules. They don’t work as well as we’re led to believe. Like the idea of wearing one colour head to toe to look tall. You don’t. You might look great or like a short person in a mobster getup, but how tall you look is about the same as if you wore light or medium colour head to toe. Far as I can see, bisecting horizontal colour blocks do matter. Length of garments can make a difference, in that a shirt that ends below the rear end makes legs look shorter than one that ends at the hip bone – but the overall woman doesn’t look shorter. As David Kibbe said in a video recording of a session with a Gamine, “maybe you look taller if you’re standing in a room all by yourself”.  Who’s ever seen a 5’2″ woman and thought, “Boy, I could have sworn you were 5’5″!!!!” Victoria Beckham looks good in darkness, but even in stilettos, she looks like a small, slim woman.

Colour and line are all about context. They only look a certain way depending on what’s beside them. Put a woman alone in a picture wearing a shoe of colour similar to her leg, angle the lens upwards a little, make sure the floor is the colour of the shoes, and maybe the leg looks longer. Out in the real world, pouf, gone. She looks like a normal woman with pale shoes or absent feet.

Another of my Star Trek analogies: you know the transporter beam? When the person’s molecules are still spinning around and they haven’t gelled and landed yet? That’s the feeling I get from light shoes on dark people, as if they haven’t quite arrived. It’s a “where’s the rest of you?” impression. Similar thing happens when dark people wear none or light lipstick. We see the hair, we see the eyes, but they have no mouth. It feels like the bottom half of their face is vanished or someone turned down the opacity, as if it’s not solid. You can actually create this magnificent effect by just Bright or True Winter in Summer colours. They have lots of eyes, they always do. The face drains, so the eyes seem even stronger by comparison. They say, “My eyes are too much.”, but the real deal is that their face isn’t enough. The lips fade into the skin, the jawline is hard to see, really, it’s like the bottom half of the face is gone.

 

Summer

 

Summer Nude Shoes
Summer Nude Shoes by christinems featuring patent leather pumps

 

- Mauve flesh tones are superb on Soft Summer.

- I think this image of Kate Middleton looks great. Very balanced.

- Stay inside your lightest to darkest range as much as you can. A too-light shoe can stick out like too-light highlights up at the other end.

- Thank you to D. who showed us two of the styles. You should see her buy a cocktail dress. Simply amazing what she finds out there.

 

Ask Your Kids

As a Winter, I tend to say no before I say yes. I’ve retrained myself to think, “Why no?” About the nude shoes, I asked my 18 and 19 year old daughters. They’re of an age to believe that the status quo is probably and usually wrong. They’re of a generation to reject dogma. They understand their own natural colouring (or Season, or Tone) and how it differs from others’. If you can do anything for your sons and daughters to give them identity and independence, never mind save them a fortune, have them know their colouring. Every person should know this about themselves by the time they’re 20. Their life will be different. I’ve analyzed 3 year olds. Their lives are different.

I asked them “Does wearing a nude shoe, in a colour similar to the skin, make you look like your legs are longer?”

It took  #1 less than 3 seconds to say, “No, it makes you look like you have boxy clunky feet”.

- “Does it ever work? Say if the shoe is small with minimal platforms or stilettos or other weirdness that draws attention to the shoe?”

- “Maybe. I never think skin-coloured anything is anybody’s best choice.”

 

#2 said, equally instantly, “No. It looks like there’s something wrong with your feet or you have no feet.”

- “Does it ever work? What about those really neutral shoes JLo wears?”

- “Not that I can see. It doesn’t look like long legs or anything, if that’s what you’re after.”

- “How can you look like your legs are longer?”

- “By having long legs in the first place. ”

 

Let’s say Nude Shoe will mean the shoe you could wear with anything. The one that will be least obvious at the end of your leg. It will be neutrally coloured for your type of natural colouring. Lots of women appear to have the same skin colour. This nude shoe trick is like finding your foundation – which one will be hardest to see against the background of you?

 

Autumn

 

Soft Autumn Nude Shoes
Soft Autumn Nude Shoes by christinems featuring leather shoes

 

- When you’re really close to the core colour, you don’t notice it on them. Like mulberry lips on Dark Winter, like blue anything on True Summer, like gold on Autumn. True Winter can disappear black so you can do things with black that would be more obvious on the other types of colouring. Autumn can disappear print, texture, and metallics that would be a distraction on someone else and would make you notice the shoe more because the person already appears to contain print, texture, and metallic. The shoe is just adding more of the same. That’s what the game is about. Adding more of what you already are. It looks calm, settled, belonging, and right.

- Pinky, peachy, and yellow-beige are Light Spring’s world. Soft Autumn doesn’t do beige, they’re too dark and muted. Beige looks wimpy unless it’s pretty dark. They have green-toned grays and many neutral browns.

- Dark Autumn is a lot. It has heat, darkness, strength, texture, metal, animal. They need a lot of shoe.

 

Winter

 

Winter Nude Shoes
Winter Nude Shoes by christinems featuring high heel shoes

 

- Nude makeup is out of gas on Winters. I find flesh-toned shoes about the same.

- Here’s a Winter (Kim Kardashian) who owns some shoes. Look through the style gallery and decide for yourself which is the longest leg, the tallest woman, and the most holistic image. Look at the whole image, not just the feet. Another gallery of Kim’s shoes.

- Better to stay with their disappearing colour. Keep the lines plain, the detail small, and show lots of skin, like the width of the exposed skin in the True Winter pump, like the lace in the Bright Winter shoe. Since black disappears on True Winter, you can sneak in a crosswise strap.

- Bright Winter is decidedly lighter than the other Winters. They are also shiny. Shoes made of tin foil would blend right in.

- The snakeskin shoes for Dark Winter (which I sincerely hope are fake). They’re fabulous. Autumn’s texture and nod to nature, Winter’s slick and expensive.

- Victoria Beckham could be a Dark Winter. Here is that colouring in a light gray shoe. Look at the 4th image down, where she’s stepping down off a step. The colour above that is better, it looks more part of her.

- Bright Winter can disappear shine. It’s just amazing what they can suppress. Might even consider the word oppress. JK.  I’ve seen them turn black-brown eyeliner into gray when you paint it on their hand. You can put them in gleaming royal blue satin and it’s just a blue blouse.

Are nude shoes gray if hair is gray? Maybe so.
—–

Season Colours in the Off-Season

February 23, 2013 by · 15 Comments 

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.  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?”  Point taken. Nobody does. You’ll find colours and styles you might not normally see.

Light Summer in December

 

Light Summer in December
Light Summer in December by christinems featuring purple stud earrings

 

 

True Summer in October

 

True Summer in October
True Summer in October by christinems featuring an amethyst necklace

 

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 unlike  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; 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 Autumn in April
True Autumn in April by christinems featuring dorothy perkins

 

True Winter in September (or March)

 

True Winter in September
True Winter in September by christinems featuring slim pants

 

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 and  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.  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.  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 ear  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.

 

 

Bright Spring Dramatic Classic 1
Bright Spring Dramatic Classic 1 by christinems featuring leather tote bags

 

 

Bright Spring Dramatic Classic 2
Bright Spring Dramatic Classic 2 by christinems featuring l’wren scott

 

 

I hope that you go to the site and make these images bigger. There are some really nice things here.

 

True Spring Blue

February 4, 2013 by · 9 Comments 

Every time I apply the 12 Tones of colours to a different medium, it’s like learning it all over again. Once you’ve learned to choose clothes, you figure makeup will be easy. Not so. It’s a whole new sorting experience. Students who come for the Analyst Training Course will bring a page of makeup swatches that we’ll classify to Season. We will also have a bag of fabrics and we’ll organize those. And they’ll think, “Does this ever get easier??” This is partly why I feel that those who are serious about their colours should own their swatches in more than one format.

Shopping in the Theoretical Universe

When one of the three colour dimensions (hue, value, chroma) changes in a colour, so do the other two. Maybe you’re looking at a green item and it seems a little less pure and more heathery than your swatches. You’re really not sure if it’s still in your Tone’s chroma range or not. Compare the item to your swatches based on something besides chroma.

Darkness level can be useful. If the Tone has definite upper value limits, like the Light Spring and  True Spring (though really, they all do except the 3 Winters), this can exclude certain Bright Spring colours. The pastels of Summer have a fair bit of pigment, much more than the Winter icy light colours, so giving a light colour to Summer or Winter isn’t hard. The Winter ones are much closer to white.

Sometimes, the distinction isn’t so easy, especially between neighbour Neutral Seasons, meaning the 2 Softs, 2 Lights, 2 Darks, and 2 Brights. We have to go after what makes them most different. You have to get colour-specific because they’re too similar in terms of the 3 colour dimensions. Is one redder, greener, yellower, etc? Even with Trues and their 2 Neutral Seasons, it would be hard to distinguish True and Soft Summer by darkness. For some of the colours, the saturation difference doesn’t seem obvious, though it is there, because both are muted. True Summer is cooler, but ‘cooler’ is too generic. True Summer is bluer than Soft Summer. Even the blues are bluer.

Neighbouring Neutral Seasons are more accepting of one another’s colours without interfering with the overall harmony. They have the most important colour dimension in common – Light, Soft, Dark, or Brightness. They’re similar in value. The heat setting is close, one cooler, one warmer, which musn’t be discounted. One definitely looks better and one definitely looks worse, but there’s some willingness to compromise.

True cool Season palettes share no colours with their Neutral neighbours because the Neutrals contain a little heat, the one dimension where True cool Season skin won’t negotiate. There are definite detractions from appearance.

True warm Season palettes share no colours with their Neutral satellites because their Neutrals contain a little coolness, the one dimension where True warm Season skin won’t negotiate. The person doesn’t look as good in many little ways that, when added into a bigger picture, make a big difference.

So, why couldn’t the True cool Seasons share colours, like a True Spring wearing True Autumn colours, since they both respect the need for warmth? The theory seems sound enough – as long as the theory only recognizes this one single dimension, which isn’t how colour works. The result reminds me of one of Sherlock Holmes’ more famous quotes, from A Scandal in Bohemia,

It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly, one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.

 

 

Any two True Seasons have only one colour dimension in common: heat (Spring and Autumn), high saturation (Winter and Spring), coolness (Winter and Summer), low saturation (Summer and Autumn),  lightness (Summer and Spring), and darkness (Autumn and Winter) . In an analysis, a person who looks good in Autumn and Summer is probably enjoying the softness of the colours. It’s the only thing the two Seasons share. The fact is that they differ in the other two. All three have to be bull’s eye perfect for ultimate harmony. True Seasons do not share colours no matter how dark blue the True Summer’s eyes are or how blonde the True Winter.

Winter colours on Summer people stick out. It’s hard to see anything else. Summer colours on Winter people are weak. Maybe a couple of each could slide by but the whole thing isn’t right. It fascinates me to no end how the Sci\ART drape colours that Kathryn Kalisz assembled are not always exactly to be found among her swatches. And yet, the harmony with the Tone is unmistakable. I think of True Autumn’s famous schoolbus yellow, beloved by many who have been draped with it. It’s not exactly in the True Autumn swatches. You might even think it’s in the Bright Spring group. Lay all the fabrics out together and you’ll see that the colour belongs with True Autumn.

 

So many of Conan Doyle’s character’s quotes apply to PCA. From The Sign of Four,

I never guess. It is a shocking habit,- destructive to the logical faculty.

 

Colour analysts do not guess. You know or you don’t. If you’re not absolutely sure, don’t call it. Say the truth, “I don’t know.”  Fine, we’ll figure it out some other way, but don’t bring in a mistake that will carry through the rest of the analysis. People send  me photos and I say, “I do not know.” When I was in medical school listening for heart murmurs, the students would say “I think I hear a murmur.” And the Scottish professor who had seen it all or the genius woman who led the surgical department, they replied, “Pick one. Either you hear it or you don’t. Commit.” Colour analysis is not guesswork. It takes some confidence. You have to know when to open-mindedly yet politely ignore the client the way a doctor does with rambling medical histories and pages of internet self-diagnosis. It’s not that the ramble contains no value or truth, it’s just that given the facts of the patient’s condition (or colouring) and the facts of symptoms and illness (or colour classification), some of their conclusions cannot be correct. In our training, we will cultivate the strength of your convictions.

 

And from so many of the stories, the most immortal quote of all, for the I-look-just-like-my-Soft-Autumn-sister who drapes to be a True Winter:

“… and when you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

 

The Neutral palettes will compromise on heat level as long as their important dimension is respected. Keep colour dark, and Dark Autumn skin says, “A trace cooler, a trace warmer, a trace more saturated, I’ll play along. Your total look won’t fall apart.” If colour goes light, Dark Autumn skin says, “Sister, get it right or you’re done like dinner.”

Keep colour light and Light Summer skin says,”Stick with the cooler of Light Spring’s colours and it won’t be a big deal. They’re all pretty light in the big picture of  white to black. Yes, OK fine, Light Spring is a bit yellower, so don’t plant a big block of it right under your chin, but your harmony won’t self-destruct.” Once colour goes dark, Light Summer skin says “There will be no good choice. We won’t like anything we see in the  mirror. You did pretty well in the True Summer drapes, arguably your closest runner-up, till they turned dark and we took a wrong turn.”

Back to the topic, choosing blue for True Spring. It’s kind of tricky because blue is inherently associated with coolness. Many have trouble with True Spring blue. I would guess that the difficulty arises between True and Bright Spring. The other Seasons’ blues are quite different. Is Bright Spring blue just bluer? Yes, partly, and as the amount of blue increases, so does the darkness. Other things change too. Red is arriving in Bright Spring. Yellow is moving out. Pigments are not being muted. They’re so pure, they’re almost synthetic. True Spring still looks from-nature, without the sense of  the Brights’ “Whoa blue.”

By the time we add enough yellow to colours to create a True Spring group, the most yellowed colours of all, there’s not much blue or red among the swatches. They’ve turned into turquoise and coral. But True Spring does have some blue that harmonizes perfectly with the other colours. It’s very blue but not as blue as it could be (which would be closer to Bright Spring) and not very dark.

Bright Spring blues are not just more saturated than True Spring. They’re redder by the arrival of Winter (so purplish) or less yellow (so without a green or teal quality that True Spring’s darkest blue has) . When you compare them side by side, the individual colours in the palettes are not as similar as the whole palette appears to be. This is a hard call though, if you only look at one palette. So if there’s one palette where you get hung up, buy it. Make sure you know the difference. Learn to trust your eyes and your taste too. If the blue item doesn’t disrupt your beautiful harmony, then it will probably be just fine, especially if the colour block isn’t too big.

 

Shopping in The World As We Know It

Got all the talking out of my system. I’m scanning the Polyvore layouts looking for True Spring blue.

I want colour. As I look, I think ‘lots of blue, lots of blue’.

There should always be more colour than darkness to perceive in all of True Spring. More colour and a feeling of sunshine. Yellow sun shining down on blue would make it look a little green IF you compared the blue to a redder blue. It leans a little turquoise/teal, not red/violet, to harmonize with the rest of  the composition, or palette.

Remember that colours on every monitor look different. We’ll think more about comparisons than absolute colours. I started this post about 10 times and kept changing everything till I only worked on it in the same two hour slot each day. Imagine how long that took.

1 looked pretty good, but too dark. It’s saturated, so must be Winter or Spring. Spring’s blues aren’t red. If anything, they’re greenish, presumably from all the yellow in them. Winter’s colours are redder. I’d put this in Bright Spring as their second-darkest blue.

2 is too hazy for True Spring. It’s too dark for Light Spring and a little too saturated (too much blue) for True Summer. It also has a green quality, meaning it must be heated with yellow or gold, which True Summer isn’t. It’s in between the warmer and cooler darkest blues of Light Summer.

3 is not saturated enough for a Spring. It’s also more pink-mauve. I’d put it in Light Summer.

4 is interesting. It’s reddish, making it look a little purple. Means Winter. Too light for Dark Winter. I’d see it between True and Bright, closer to Bright.

5 doesn’t have the slight greening of True Spring’s darkest blue. Looks to me like Bright Spring’s darkest blue. A true blue that is obviously no black.

6 is  more saturated than 3 but not enough for True Spring. I see haziness. Must be Light Spring. Amazing how hard it is to gauge colour in different lighting, ay? And across different textiles.

7 is hard. Doesn’t seem red enough for True Winter. The saturation is very high, leaving the Brights and Dark Winter. It feels too saturated for Dark Winter. Not sure. Probably be alright for all 3 Winters. I’d need to see the item surrounded by gray under full spectrum lights to decide for sure.

8‘s shine is making it look lighter than it is. I could imagine Light Spring’s darkest blue. Looks like it could be bluer, like it’s not at full saturation. It’s  not True Spring blues which lean to green, and not dark enough to be Bright Spring’s dark blues. Bright Spring dark blues are greenish or reddish. This is pinky, like Summer’s mauve undertone.

 

 

 

Spring Blues 1
Spring Blues 1 by christinems featuring stella mccartney

 

 

9 is heathered. It lives between Light Spring and Light Summer.

10 is a good contender. It could be Bright Spring too, better if it were a trace more violet. Bright Spring is a Neutral Season. Like all Neutral Seasons, they have warm and cool version of colours including blue. Bright Spring has a greener blue and a redder blue.

11 is nice, ay? makes me think of Japanese art, those blossoms on branches. The blue could be good for True Spring. The flowers that go to white and black moves the item into Bright Spring or Winter, but the blue doesn’t have the red-violet quality of Winter’s effect on blue.

12 has yellow and significant haze, so a Summer. It’s a sunny day, not a shady one, so Light Summer. But it’s too desaturated for Light Summer. Maybe it’s at the low end of that Tone. If we pretend the light  on it is a little cooler, it would be True Summer.

13 has yellow and more pigment, still hazy. It feels better in Light Summer.

14 is a little too saturated for Light Summer, it could be Light Spring.

15 is yellowed too much for Light Summer, looks like Light Spring.

16 is very close to white. One of the Winters get that.

17 Well, gosh, Light Spring? It’s a little too red for Light Summer and for Soft Autumn. Not dark enough for True Autumn, I don’t think. In Light and True Spring, those orchid purples appear. But it’s dusty. Maybe Light Summer is better. In making drapes, I’ve learned that there are very few, maybe zero, colours that nobody could wear. There are many, many colours out there that are  not in the swatch books, but they don’t need to be. They only need to harmonize with the colour dimensions of that group. For a colour such as this one that I can’t place visually, I have to fan out the possible swatch books and lay them on the fabric to see which ones belong together. This probably simulates most online shopping situations.  (Commentary on this colour edited Oct. 27/13)

 

 

Spring Blues 2
Spring Blues 2 by christinems featuring vila

 

18 isn’t lots of blue. What I get first is dusty, then dark. Soft Summer. Thank you, goddess, easier one.

19 could be True Winter. It’s not at full max sat like 22 and it’s reddish. You’re not alone in finding this really hard and I have all 12 Colour Books.

20 True Spring, oh, please? Nope. Not greenish and a little too dusty. If I had to say, does it lean green or purple, I think, “Shoot (or a word with similar first sound), I don’t know.” I hold up the True Spring swatch book and the blouse turns pinkish. I see a marketing opportunity here. We could sell pieces of cool, neutral, and warm gray. You could hold your garment up to it and watch them change each other. This top looks like Light Spring.

21 is Soft Autumn, right? I’m not so sure. It’s a little too colourful and not dark enough. Amazing too how hard it is to judge one colour dimension when the other two aren’t constant, as in, how hard it is to tell which of two colours is lighter when their saturations are not the same. Soft Autumn is less saturated and more dark. Light Spring purple is more decided about itself, it’s is either bluer or redder. Light Summer? Yes, probably.

22 could be True Winter in the light areas, aggressively blued with definite black feelings. The saturation is so high that I think of a Bright Winter. Shopping in the real world is like searching for the lost world of Atlantis.

23 is True Summer. I pick up no heat, or hardly any. It goes a little darker than True Summer at the bottom and the top blue part is not quite as freshly cooled. Soft Summer would be fine here, though her blues are a touch warmer, and her lighter blue-gray is less blue. Whatever. We are going to have no clothes unless we cut ourselves a little slack.

24 could be True Spring quite well (or Light Spring). The aqua writing is too blue for True Spring (would be greener) and works better in Light Spring.

25 Stark white, high contrast stripes means there’s Winter in it. The blue is too blue for True Spring. The two Bright Seasons could  manage this but they would want to add sunshine to the overall look. Too saturated for Dark Winter. Could be True Winter.

26 Light Spring. Groan. I have to believe this is getting easier. For True Spring, it would need a faint green tinge and no dusty quality. This has a red tinge. I know that because I held the True Spring book up to it and the item looked even redder. But I gotta say, it’s so close.

Spring Blue 3

Spring Blue 3 by christinems featuring a lace tee

 

The other confusion might be with True Autumn, but there’s no problem here. True Autumn blue is redder (purpler, actually), duller, and darker. I figure the purple must come from making gold (Autumn) from the yellow primary, since gold is added to Autumn colours. Adding purple would mute and darken yellow. Then, adding gold (purpled yellow) to blue  makes darker, muted, purply blue. True Spring’s darkest blue is not as dark as True Autumn’s, and it’s a little green (from all the yellow of Spring), not a little purple. Autumn mostly has teal and brick, what happened when all the gold was added to blue and red.

27  Enough fooling around or we’ll be here all night. 27 is good. I’m using 36 as my reference red-blue in this panel. 27 one leans green.

28 is one of those pieces that would keep me wondering why. Why does it look like a strapless dresss with an undershirt? That orange stripe would captivate my attention and I’d be stuck. Not everything has to make sense of course. Like my liking of yellow-beige stone with plum doors for a house. Just put it here randomly.

29 Bright Spring. Too light for True, and tending red. Plus, details are silver.

30 I can feel a tough one coming on. Too blue for True Autumn and Dark Autumn. Must be an Autumn, though, it feels muted and earthy. What’s too blue for Autumn and still muted? Summer is. This is too blue for Soft and True Summer. Wouldn’t be Light Summer, would it? It’s a trace dark, but as Sherlock says, once you’ve eliminated the probable… Honestly, it doesn’t feel altogether harmonizing with Light Summer’s freshness and it’s somewhat dark. How about Soft Autumn? It’s a little too blue, but it feels more belonging. Is that just the cut? If it were a sheer blouse or shiny taffeta, would I have an altogether different feeling? This textile reflects light in a way that mutes colour. One thing I hoped this post would illustrate: We post photos of ourselves in a Light Summer colour when we’re really in Soft Autumn. I get sent photos of a woman comparing Light Summer and Bright Winter, and the colours she’s wearing are off for both. Maybe by just a hair but it changes the whole skin reaction, just as it changes the perception of a garment. Photos and I don’t get along. My other point: sorting drape colours accurately is hell on wheels. Understandable why analysts have trouble agreeing.

31 is OK. A bit light and better by colour in Bright Spring. The lace is rough, which makes the saturation look lower, which would place it in True Spring.

32 Quite blue for a True Spring or True Autumn. Not enough chroma for the 3 Winters. Too saturated for a Summer blend. Dark Autumn?

33 Heart be still, it seems fine. Lots of blue, not too dark. Navy isn’t something I agonize over. I organize it in fairly dark and dusty (Summer, ease up on darkness for Lights), really dark and saturated (Winter), not dark and very blue (Spring, more dark for the Brights), and there are better choices (Autumn).

34 Thanks be to Jesus!!!, another good one.

35 is good. Lots of blue, not max blue, not too dark. How do I know it leans green? Because I’ve given myself a reference point, which is 36. In a store, do the same. Gather up a bunch of close colours. Your eye will sort them automatically.

36 is a red-blue. Would be True or Bright Winter. It on the darker side and not fully saturated, as True Winter is, but I can look at it again and think, “No, no, Christine, you ding-dong, the darkness is fine for Bright Winter. It just needs a trace more chroma.” Holy  cow, who cares? There are 30 million worse blues you could wear.

37 Put the kettle on, dolls. It’s good.

 

True Spring Blue 4
True Spring Blue 4 by christinems featuring peplum tops

 

 

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The 12 Colour Equations

November 24, 2012 by · 10 Comments 

The first draft of the Training Guide came back from my wonderful editor. Iryna, my equally wonderful book formatter, is waiting to start but I still have some work to do.  I’ve been keeping my head down and not attending to posting articles and answering comments as I should. My apologies for that.

I should sound more excited because I am. I’m really looking forward to these training events – maybe especially the part where we put our feet up at the end of each day, have a glass of wine, and share some informal conversation. That and going across the street (from the hotel in London ON) to swatch makeup at Sephora. It’s going to be good.

I’m not going to talk much today. Many have asked for the 12 Colour Equations from the book, Return to Your Natural Colours (linked over in the right column) to be posted all in one place. Here, they be. Any that have appeared previously have a link to that article posted with the title. Explanations are in the articles and/or the book itself.

A reminder that these palettes went through Photoshop’s colour model, my computer, the servers, and your computer before you saw them. At each step, they changed a little. No two readers are seeing the same thing. Don’t use them to buy clothes or makeup. Use them as comparison with the eleven others. To choose your colours and know your true darkness range, use your 12 Tone swatch book. Nothing else is calibrated right.

Use them to notice how my taste  prefers to see neutral colours used, the overall degree of colourfulness, the use of complementary colours (to each other and to the skin undertone), and the gradual or sharp flow between colours. The geometric figures make it hard to impossible to illustrate watercolour diffusions between colour blocks, so for that, you need to read the book or other sections of this website.

 

 True Winter

If you see light icy gray, feel free to sub in diamond and platinum, certainly neutrals for you. These also can be used in place of white to set the high contrast range with black.

Very purple, this Tone. Not much red, but a lot of pink, fuchsia, and purple. No. 5′s purple is also a near neutral colour for True Winter, more magnificent than black against the skin tone.

 

—–

Dark Winter

In the article Colour Equations Dark Winter.

 

 

———-

Bright Winter

Easy one. Shoot the sat up to 98-100%. Small areas of complementary colours. Something has to be happy, which means a little random (repetitive=predictable=work=Autumn)

, but not too happy. If it gets too happy, rein it in. Move it darker. Make the pattern repeating. Bright Winter is the “Life is a party. So, how come I’m not having fun?” paradox.

Something has to be delicate too. Add significant jewels profusely. Jewelry is your normal.

And shiny shoes and purses. Super shiny is also your normal.

 

 

—————-

True Autumn

 

The original is darker and more saturated in Photoshop. They lose when they’re uploaded. As dark as the belt inset in #1 feels right.

—–

Soft Autumn

 

 

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Dark  Autumn

In the article Dark  Autumn CE and Apparel.

 

 

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True Spring

In the article Light And True Spring Neutral Colours at the Office and CE.

True Spring is a (2 colour + 1 neutral) or (2 neutrals + 1 colour) look. Actually, that’s probably everyone’s best way to use neutrals, but when you wear the  2 colour, they can both be equally sized if you choose (others might use 1 large and 1 smaller block), and they can be complementary or at least quite different colours (others would wear colours of the same family or neighbours on the colour wheel).  When you wear the 1 colour look, make it a bright one, not one of the gentler ones.

 

 

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Light Spring

In the article Light And True Spring Neutral Colours at the Office and CE.

 
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Bright  Spring
In the article Bright Spring Neutral Colours and CE.

 

 

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True Summer

 

Not happy with that one, it uploaded at the very low end of the saturation possibility. The bigger problem is that it looks too warm. True Summer hinges on absolute coolness. Try again to give a better sense of the darkness and saturation levels. Darn, now Soft Summer looks too light. It’s all about comparison.

 

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Light Summer

In the article Light Summer CE and Being Not Pale.

 

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Soft Summer

In Soft  Summer’s Gorgeous Colour and CEs.

 

 

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Undertone Equations

Also in the book RTYNC, I write an equation called Undertone Colour for each of the 12  Tones that describes how I see my version of the 12 undertones happening. The undertones are shown in the top right corner of the 12 colour layout pages. Below is a graphic that shows the colours I saw as the building blocks of those undertone equations.

To be really clear, I am not a colour mixing expert. This is only how I figure it in my head and much of it is probably incorrect.  You gotta start somewhere. This colour chart is a good guide to the colours referenced.

 

 

Winter

Blue = French Ultramarine

Red = True Red to Alizarin Crimson

Black

Summer

Blue = Cobalt Blue

Pink = Rose Madder Genuine looks right. In the photo below, I used Permanent Rose, Cobalt Blue, and some yellow to make the colour at 6 o’clock, True Summer.

Gray = is gray really added? As a product of black in pigments, a single drop can take over a mixture. Is the muting of the Tone done with complements alone to preserve the blue-pink undertone? I don’t know. In the colour circle below, no black was used, even for the Winters.

Spring

Yellow – the daffodil, the buttercup.

Autumn

Gold = Raw  Sienna to Gold Ochre.

 

Practicing The Undertones

A year ago, when I was thinking about the Undertones for the book, I did this. The white page at the top gives you a white balance.

I have many watercolours. If I had one straight that felt right, I used it, though it could easily have been made from the neighbour colours.

 

 

 

True Winter: Winsor Violet + Ultramarine Blue.

Dark Winter: Crimson Lake + Sepia.

Bright Winter: Permanent Red + Cadmium Yellow.

 

True Summer: Cobalt Blue + Permanent Rose + Spring yellow.

Light Summer: Cerulean Blue.

Soft Summer: True Summer’s mixture + Sepia.

 

True Spring: A mixture of Cadmium Yellow, quite warm on its own + Lemon Yellow hue.

Light Spring: Permanent Rose + Spring yellow + trace of Cobalt Blue.

Bright  Spring: Permanent Rose.

 

True Autumn: Burnt Sienna.

Soft Autumn: True Summer + Yellow Ochre. I like yellow ochre, it has a thickness and opacity that reminds of a strong Soft Autumn visual I have, which is fudge.

Dark Autumn: Brown Madder (and maybe some red or blue, I don’t recall)

 

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Can Eye, Hair, and Skin Colours Conflict?

November 7, 2012 by · 33 Comments 

Answer: No. Never. They can appear to conflict until your colours are correctly analyzed.

I get 3 or 4 emails each month about this. So let’s talk about it, framed around pieces of conversations with real women. It’s the practical application of my digression in the earlier post, How To Match Foundation.

Palette and swatch in this post always refer to colours found within your particular group of colours in the 12 Tone system of colour analysis developed by Kathryn Kalisz. Some of the Tones or Seasons may have similar or identical names with other companies but if their origin isn’t Sci\ART, their colour collections are different. I don’t know how other organizations developed their palettes, what their colours are, or what the desired outcome of their PCA process is. It’s not my place to answer questions about them.

The eye photos in this post are just lovely pictures. They are not textbook examples of the words or the ideas.

 

Photo: L-O-L-A

 

If hair/eye colours are not in the palette

I am a Bright Spring with dark brown eyes, dark brown hair, and light skin.

Yes, Spring under Winter influence is often brown eyed, from a glowy topaz jewel yellow to black brown. Many persons of Asian and Celtic origin have this colouring of darkness in hair and eyes and lightness and brightness in skin.

Since this is predominantly Spring, not Winter, the person is sometimes not conspicuously contrasting, though they certainly can be. A brown eye with light skin or hair is fairly contrasting in itself. Sometimes, the Bright Spring eye is so light brown that it’s yellow, like a wolf. It’s quite a thing to see. Or to be, I would think.

It’s this,

 

Photo: beverlytaz

 

not this, but notice the coat colours and the eye-coat harmony, animals are just like us,

 

Photo: danjaeger

 

 

The color of my veins, lips, and cheeks are all in my color swatches and flatter me.  However, the brown in my eyes and my hair is not in my color swatches and does not flatter me when I wear clothes of that color.  How can I wear brown as an eye and hair color but not anywhere else without looking washed out?

You’re wearing the colour you think you see, which is never what colour is. Here is one reason for why it’s harder to figure for some Tones.

There is variation in hair and eye colour in most Seasons, but nowhere more than True Winter and the Brights. I’m not sure of the answer from a genetic perspective. I don’t think anyone can answer the magic of how harmony happens in spite what our eyes think they see. Maybe the mysteries should remain mysteries.

The way I reason it is that we don’t know the exact pigments that make up our hair and eyes.  If I showed you 20 brown eyes, could you pick out your own? Would you pick the same brown as your friends would choose? Would you pick the same browns, yellows, oranges, and other colours, that the drapes (consistent with the Sci\ART colour calibrations) identify within your colouring? Probably not, on any count. We do not know which colours make up our final colours until one is draped. If you knew and wore the ingredients that go into your total hair and eye colours, you’d be utterly flattered.

Bright Spring has many yellows, beer and clear cider colours. When they have dark hair, it’s usually root beer and black tea. It is never coffee, which only looks heavy and thick on a colouring that is as far from those as you can get. Lighter brown hair is herbal tea, not orangey-muted-gold, not velvety-dense-brown. It might look ash brown or medium brown but it isn’t.  It is clear. While clear means high chroma, and transparency is not a quality by which we define colour (because colour can be bright or soft and still see-through), this hair is like coloured cellophane.

 

Photo: boogy_man

 

People with green, blue and grey eyes seem to always look great if they match their clothes to their irises.

I would not agree. Blue eyes will match blue drapes or blue clothes in any Season but the best match is only in one. It’s not even a difficult decision. Some aspects of a correct analysis are challenging for a woman to perceive on herself. Achieving the ultimate eye colour is usually easy.

The colour a woman has matched to her eyes all her life is never the best or correct one in my experience. She needs her Colour Book to direct her to her turquoise and only then will her eyes become all they could be. I see women hope they’re wearing their eye colour all the time and most cases, they’re barely in the ballpark.

Blue eyes under Spring influence (one of the 5 possible Seasons) are seldom blue. They’re turquoise, aqua, or cornflower (light blue with very little green, the cornflower being one of the few truly blue flowers, but to me, appears a little violet). It’s a beautiful thing when you find it.

 

Photo: mzacha

 

Not just me but a lot of brown-eyed people can’t wear brown.

Quite right, many brown eyed people are Winters of some sort and have very little brown in their palette. And when they’re draped, darned if much of the brown in the eyes suddenly turns black and then they’re wearing their real eye colour at last.

Hair and eye colours as they appear are often not in the True Winter, Bright Winter, and Bright Spring palettes.  I think the way it works is that the contributing base pigments are there but the mix isn’t.

You could say to me, “OK then, if I could take colours from my palette and mix them, are you saying that I could theoretically make my hair and eye colour from the swatches? ”

I think so but the truth is that I don’t know for sure if any and every mixture would still guarantee that the hue/value/chroma remain constant. If you mixed complements, you would mute the colour if either of the originals contained the complement of the other. You’d mute the resulting colour into a more muted Season.

To make clear green (say, Winter), you need a blue and a yellow without red, I would think. Could it be done? Winter colours contain red, but are there a blue and a yellow without red? I’m not enough of a colour mixer to know.

Thinking out loud now…To make clear orange (Spring), you’d need a red and a yellow that contain no blue. That seems possible, Spring colours are not blue-based, though some contain blue.

Clear violet – needs a blue that leans red and a red with some blue in it, neither of which contain the complement of violet, yellow. That could make a brilliantly clear violet, even a violent violet, if it’s necessary – sure it is, for Winters. How is that done for Spring where yellow appears in every colour? Haven’t figured that out yet.

Can I make amber or warm brown eyes with a True Winter palette? I think so. True Winter contains yellow, very saturated, a little blue without turning it green. It also contains the other primaries of red and blue. Three primaries make brown.

True Winter and the Bright Tones are intricate and unique types of colouring. Not inconsistent, just complex. Which is why I suggest they think twice before colouring their hair. I have never seen it be improved enough to balance the cost, time, and upkeep.

 

Photo: lcrumling

 

I can match clothes to the rim around my iris (which is sort of a dark periwinkle) and it is quite flattering but if I wear clothes that are the same brown as my irises I look washed out.

So it’s not the right brown that you’re wearing, it’s just the one you think you see as the amalgamation of all the many colours in your iris. Good call to notice that the rim of the iris is different and if you can match it, a superlative colour on every person.

 

 How can brown-eyed people can be any Season, but only Autumns can look great wearing brown clothes and makeup? 

There are a million versions of brown eyes. Brown eyes can be in any Season, but they won’t all be the same brown. Same with the 12 Tone palettes. Many Tones have brown choices but they’re not the same brown.

Nine in ten women only find out their real eye colour when they are draped. Those brown-eyed people you refer to in your question and the browns that you refer to looking great on Autumns… very unlikely the same brown.

 

Photo: mokra

 

 

Are cool hair and warm skin possible?

I was snow white blonde as a child, but am now a dark, ashy blonde. It’s a cool colour.

 Dark ash blonde could be found on a cool, neutral, or warm person. Apparent hair colour isn’t tightly tied to the true heat level of your colouring, though your overall contributing colours and appearance are always 100% in harmony. Every person. The true heat level of your hair is perfectly consistent with the heat level of your skin and everything else.

We could take your dark, ash brown hair and place it next to five other dark, ashy heads. It would be interesting to see whose is cool, whose warm, and whose is neutral in between cool and warm. I would guess that your hair wouldn’t be the coolest if we compared it on a scale. It might be cool-ish, but that’s not Absolute Cool.

Because you know, Absolute Cool and Absolute Warm, they’re rare in human colouring. Kind of extreme. I haven’t seen a True Autumn or True Winter in ages. I see several Neutral Season versions of Autumn and Winter every month. The thing to wrap your head around is Neutral. What does it mean? What does it look like?

Just playing the odds, you are neither warm nor cool in skin and hair. If you’re like eight or nine people in ten, why wouldn’t you be, you’re a Neutral Season that might lean towards cool.

Whatever you are, cool, warm, or somewhere in between, the setting is the same in all your features. One genetic code governs your paintbox.

 

Photo: otbora

 

 But I have medium light skin with golden undertones and no rosiness in the cheeks. All I see is yellow. Wouldn’t that be warm?

Colour analysis, which guides every colour decision you will make, isn’t about what you look like or appear to look like. Your natural colouring group, Tone, Season, is determined in the one way that can truthfully reveal it: how the colours in you react to other colours. Nobody can know their truthful colouring correctly without testing their own skin’s reactions against an organized and measured set of colours in a colour-neutral environment. If your colours react the way you expect them to, you would be that one person in 50 who knew ahead of time what was going to happen. That’s why it’s so hard to do from books and photos and impossible from verbal descriptions.

Your skin probably is light-medium. What colour your undertone is, or even whether it’s warm/cool/neutral, nobody knows till we test and measure it. Why am I so sure? Because nobody who comes to a colour analysis appointment is ever wearing their correct foundation – until we solve that question forever more and show you how to make the best choice.

 

Photo: thegnome54

 

If my hair is overly golden, my skin looks red. When it’s natural dark ashy color, highlighted with platinum, it looks tanned and alive. Just natural it is bland. Dark red wasn’t good. But when I went a more natural dark blonde with subtle red tones, I got many compliments. Dark golden blonde, more of a caramel, washes me out, as does all over light blonde with no contrasting darker pieces. Can someone have a seemingly warm complexion with cooler toned ash hair?

Actually it’s really common. Usual, in fact. Though there’s lots of good colour observation here, the description could occur in many of the 12 types of colouring. Sounds to me like you have cool-neutral skin with a little warmth, but placed next to wrong hair colour, it will look warmer than it really is.  You may have a false yellow overtone, like many cool Neutral Seasons, and be interpreting that as your golden undertones and yellow warmth from the previous question.

Too yellow hair does make faces red, especially True and Soft Summer, I find. But then, there’s a disconnect in your comments. Dark ash with platinum sets up big distance between lightest and darkest, which I find looks right on nobody.

On Summer, their light/dark range isn’t this wide, since it goes from pastel to mid-dark, not icy light to very dark (which is Winter). And so it follows that their best highlight is not that far from the base colour, or else they look striped and severe.

On Winter, they do have this big light/dark range but putting it in the hair is only disruptive, breaking up their force. The randomness looks messy when placed on a colour language that is very far from random. Of course, nothing applies to everybody and you can’t generalize about hair colour across an entire Tone. Some Lights are not flattered by highlights either.

3/4 of women would say their natural hair colour is bland. Not remotely true but media has taught us that it is so they could sell us hair colour. The hair industry, ay? Their biggest problem is that they think they’re fine. Many women would not attest to that – the same ones who bought $40 a bottle of wrong foundation colour. Women love their colourist most of the time. We feel real friendship and loyalty. But regarding our faith that we really are wearing our very best hair colour? Not so sure. Hair is a trend-driven industry – highlights, lowlights, we’ve never tried copper, let’s go lighter. We only have one skin colour. It is illogical that we could be flattered by five hair colours. Become the expert of your own appearance.

Until you are wearing your best clothes and makeup, your natural hair colour will not appear as beautiful and perfect as it is – so I advise women after a PCA to make one trip to the salon to get the heat level set right and come closer to their natural colour. Then leave the hair for a few weeks and work on the clothes and makeup. Your eyes need time to readjust to the real original you and to absorb how your better colours affect your apparent hair colour by making it look perfect and ideal. Then you can really see your hair colour and you can go back to the salon, hopefully only one more time, and finish the fine tuning.

Also, once a woman has had many hair colours, she and those who have seen all those colours can’t make a solid judgment any longer. There’s just too much history swirling around. Someone outside your box needs to touch the reset button. I nominate your friendly neighbourhood colour analyst.

 

Photo: ElvisFan76

 

I am at a loss as to what color to dye my hair.

I’m at a loss too till your colours are accurately analyzed. You are like 98% of the real people in the real world who seem conflicting. You’re not. Nobody is. Everyone’s colours make complete sense.

Once we have your Tone understood, every single aspect of your colouring and the colour decisions to follow are consistent and coherent. It’s not even hard. Once we know the truth, each one of us is very logical and connected in our colouring.

But. Even knowing your Tone, I still couldn’t give blanket hair colour advice that would cover every woman equally well. Everyone makes her own darkness adjustment within a Tone. Not everyone is necessarily improved by departure from her natural hair as it grows out of her head. And for nobody is this more true than the Bright Seasons.

 

Photo: Jan Willem Geertsma

 

Art and Science

Not being able to explain a thing doesn’t make it not true.

C. said it so beautifully here,

…the science of light, the discovery that it is both particle and wave and how it behaves erratically when observed. So nature is evasive and we can not reduce everything in the world around us to neat mathematical equations

….artists working in isolation through history have been representing through symbol what scientists have been discovering in the lab at the same(ish) time and not even known it. Think of the cubists and surrealists relating back to Einstein’s new world of curved space and the theory of relativity, or the complex inherent patterns in Jackson Pollocks’ work reflecting a new understanding of the complex, previously overlooked patterns in nature.

It seems artists, at least revolutionary ones, had/have a deep unconscious understanding of the stuff of the universe and represent it through symbol before we have the words or the science to explain.

All of these threads…point in the same direction. Colour theory, it seems, is not about finding the best lipstick. It is recognizing we are made of the stuff of the stars and finding our place in the universe.

 

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The Best Skin Finish on Autumn Colouring

September 30, 2012 by · 31 Comments 

Autumn light is long, low, and less. Like in the late afternoon. Like the difference between indirect lighting and a 100W bulb in the ceiling. The effect is to emphasize shape and depth, which looks rich and warm.  The feeling is safe, cozy, secure, all the reasons why we don’t put fluorescent overhead lights in our homes.

On a face, shape and depth take on a pronounced three-dimensionality – hills and valleys. Up close, it looks an uneven surface, a grainy quality – lines, freckles, fullness in hair, thicker looking skin, a feeling of plush and pile. From  a distance, this varied natural landscape depicted in such rich, low intensity tones has great resonance.

 

We’re going to use the quality of light and shiny colour to advance and matte and darker colour to recede. This will generate movement backwards and forwards to feel like depth and texture. We don’t want the face to look grainy, we’ll leave that to fabric, but we do want the appearance of profound strength.  It looks deep, synonymous with complex, wise, and penetrating. I think our brains are much more plastic with synonyms than we know and worth unleashing. It’s amazing what flutters up and out of the soup.

Remember the What and Where subdivisions of our visual system? We talked about them in the Soft Dramatic Soft Summer, a few articles back. The Where system, although not colour perceptive, is extremely sensitive to value contrast changes. It decides depth. We might only be able to recall about 7 or 8 grayscale levels but by putting them side by side, our Where system can discern a multitude of levels. On an Autumn face, we’ll put darker  colour on the skin to make the lighter areas seem lighter. As with shading in drawing, or chiaroscuro, this models the illusion of depth and volume.

We know that wearing many layers, along with looking warm and creative on Autumn, looks 3D. Here’s another way for attire: wear repeating patterns. Can be geometric (plaid), natural (leaves, paisley), or brushstrokes (Impressionist painting style). With two incoming images, one for each eye, the brain has to decided which goes with L and R. When the images are multiple and repeating, some get switched. Makes us think we see depth.

At one far end of Autumn’s influence on natural colouring, the Season we call Soft Summer in 12 Season Personal Colour Analysis is mostly coloured with the Summer paintbrush, resulting in a moody blues feeling. Autumn’s gold effects are beginning to co-exist, like the hologram of the previous articles on the Soft Dramatic Soft Summer Part 1 and Part 2.

At the other end, where Autumn also plays a smaller part, Dark Winter is a cool-based (Winter-based) group, like Soft Summer. Here though, the advance/recede is superseded by Winter’s high contrast, making depth and texture of lesser prominence.

What about the 3 Autumns?

Soft,

Photo: ColinBroug

True,

Photo: boogy_man

and Dark, interesting how much temperature changes with light, darks are darker below and you’re looking for a sweater.

Photo: johnnyberg

 

how does these types of natural colours amplify the many gifts they were given?

Autumn is seldom smooth to look at. This is not a My Little Pony world. Spring’s wide-eyed-wonder is not the rhythm of this drum. Autumn is rope, not ribbon.  Autumn is not dewy or creamy or anything that reminds us of smooth. Dewy spices, dewy chocolate, dewy rust, they don’t make sense. Expressed in Autumn’s colours, dewy somehow feels slimy. Dewy curry. I mean, I ask you.

Autumn is hot, dry, velvety thick, and metallic. You could say a rose petal is velvety, yes, but it’s not dry. Worth taking a minute to think about the difference between shine, frost, and metallic.  To me, shine is smooth and wet and belongs on Spring. The difference between frost and metallic may be semantic or may be about the colour they’re rendered in, where frost is cold and icy colour, so Winter, and metallic is hotter and medium to dark, as copper, gold, bronze, and their variations. So what’s shimmer? Good Q. Is it very  finely ground frost or metallic?

So wear bronzer! Like with Spring, I use the same product on the 3 Autumns, mostly because I travel and want to minimize. Spring’s was a beige based peach-gold. Autumn’s is baked earth, dark tan, a more orange-brown type of gold and a darker colour. I like Rimmel SunBronze 02 as a good colour that’s not very shimmery.

On Soft Autumn, I apply it much the same way, in a 3 shape from temple>just below cheek and side of face>under jaw, but using less than on True Autumn. On True,  I use more and let it be both heat and contour. Dark Autumn’s makeup colours are quite saturated and strong and with her Winter input, she is more contrasting than the other two groups. If her hair is warm, I often skip the bronzer and let her makeup stand alone and allow a warmer hair-cooler skin event, always visually intriguing on Neutral Seasons. If her hair is cooler, I might apply the bronzer. You need to know that eleablake did an outstanding job of creating cosmetics for the 12 Sci\ART palettes and their bronzers (12 different skin-accurate shades!) are IMO the best around.

The sentence we began with said it. Autumn is about low lighting. On a face, that means contour! It’s huge here. Take the 3D in you and make it more. Shadows go dark in Autumn fabrics, so should they on the faces. Where Spring uplighted, Autumn shades and contours the valleys. Would I do both? No. It would start looking bizarre.

You can use bronzer or a slightly darker powder than your perfect match. It’s interesting that you can go quite a bit darker than you think and create bold shadow emphasis and once blended, it still looks normal. Apply it at the temples, sides of nose, hollow of cheeks, under chin. There’s a good image here from the excellent book, Looking Younger by Robt. Jones, and below the contour image halfway down is a link to another article in the same blog that shows you Aucoin’s version. Create  the near and far that is so much part of Autumn scenes.

 

Oh, so good. Rich colour, warm colour, strong accessories, gorgeous lips, sensual features, fantastic bones, amazing hair.

Debra Messing
Debra Messing Pictures

 

But when Autumn makes up like a Spring and adds Winter apparel,

 

Debra Messing
Debra Messing Pictures

 

Coating the entire surface of a brick wall in shine doesn’t help define its surface. If anything, it neutralizes or trivializes it. Besides, the surface isn’t by Nature very reflective of light or full of highlights, so coating the surface with it is just strange, like a trick that you don’t quite get how it works or what you were supposed to see or understand.

However, a dot of shine here and there over velvet matte layers using deep, rich colours brings more dimensionality. Keep the face suede, which makes sense. Add deliberate shine over the iris. Dimension is created better by deliberate placement of metallic over matte products. It is not present at all in entire shiny eyelids, cheeks, or lips.

Best JLO pic I know – feline, exotic. This photo makes me choke up. My jaw drops. Does straight white girl hair and powdery puff makeup look better? No. Does soap opera hair and safe peachy makeup look better? No.

Anyone’s browser having issues opening the JLo photo? Try copying and pasting this link into the address bar:

http://famous-wallpapers.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Jennifer-Lopez14.jpg

Let’s take that makeup to the next level and compare them.

 

 

What’s the same

- eyebrows definition without darkness or high contrast

- a dark powder from the inner corner of the brow down the sides of the nose just on the edges of the midline

- eyeliner around the entire eyes, angled down with the eye at the inner corner and up with the eye at the outer corner

- flesh tones – although when we’re in our correct makeup, we’re all wearing flesh tones, but here the traditional flesh colours (beige, brown, orange,  camel, gold) are superlative

-squint and look at Jennifer; the bronzer does around the face on the outside in the same way as on many of the cats

- the mouth has a dark liner, medium colour, light center gloss, using layering to create a 3D effect just like Autumn does with clothing colours

- everything about the hair is rave-worthy; Autumn is not particularly light though they’re often dyed that way; the highlight is minimal, just enough red to give us the idea without an entire redhead that can take over our awareness so we miss out on the amazement of the total image; this hair is very much about lowlights just like the rest of the Autumn ambience; I see few natural redheads among Autumns and though they wear it well, I find this looks more dimensional, interesting, and authentic

- her entire face is velvet, not sparkle

- coppered, tawny, metallic hints, hot hot

 

Never underestimate the power of jewelry near the face to do what makeup can’t reasonably do. Wear it near your face. Make it textured as in bumpy, irregular. Use clothing the same way, with all over shine that doesn’t work on a face or just metallic threads, keeping it layered and uneven, as raw linen.

Use matte eye shadow to look like velvet. The feeling should be like pouring thick cocoa. Remember the movie Chocolat (Juliette Binoche, Johnny Depp, rent it, it’s beyond great), that hot, dark liquid that was going to heat you up in every sense of the word? Go for that eye shadow look.

And you knew there were flecks of hot chili in that elixir? Wear a dot of shiny antique gold above the iris, not all over the lid which is less dimensional – like if you put concealer on the light skin and on the shadows, you’d  cancel the effect of the product to even out the shadows.

Do not cover up freckles ever. They’re splendid at every age. Believable beauty is always better. They look textured and young.

Smoky eyes are good.  Run your darker eye shadow over the eyeliner to fill in the holes, make it look less linear, and smoke it up.

 

The Skin Textures

We did Springs previously. That went as:

Bright   Spring = glass

True Spring = persimmon

Light Spring = petal

 

So the Autumns could be:

Soft Autumn = suede

True Autumn = velvet

Dark Autumn = leather

 

3 Autumn Seasons 

True Autumn:

Add heat all over the face, you might as well, the skin is that way already. The True Warms look great with bronzer applied as we have heard, ‘where the sun lights the face’. On the Autumn Warm Neutrals (Soft and Dark Autumn), a little restraint may be better. On the Autumn-influenced Cool Neutrals (Soft Summer and Dark Winter), bronzer looks better to me when confined to contour.

Revlon Abstract Orange lipstick is interesting. It’s red and brown and orange, layered and very dimensional. Super good with Arbonne Sunset blush. Made to be together.

Metallic eye liner could be great here in a colour that’s not too dark, just like real gold. Autumn looks best when it’s real, not plastic, synthetic, or artificial. Glinting added to very dark colour sets up too much contrast and goes with Winter.

Soft Autumn:

We’ve shifted from the more delicate muted Summers to Autumn’s stronger muted colours and texture, to skin like suede. Colour is rich, earthy, but retains some Summer grace. Look at Arbonne blush in Dusty Rose and compare it to their Blossom, a real beauty for Light Spring. Arbonne eyeshadow in Smoke and Sand are great Soft Autumn colours as well.

Eyeliners that you thought would be good often go on looking too dark and/or too hot (orange or red). This is my most challenging colouring by far for finding eyeliner I like. At Shoppers in Canada, Essence liner in Teddy costs a dollar. It will be great on many Softs and some Trues. Using eyeshadow as liner is wonderful on the Soft Seasons to avoid harsh lines, enhance the low contrast effect further, give you so much more choice of colours, and let you enjoy some of your darker tones in cosmetics.

Take care with metallic eye liners that they’re not the only thing people see, especially if eye colour is light. Imagine them in the Harvest Field photo above, they’d feel very hard. With the essential muting of the Soft Seasons, iridescence and luster are beautiful, real, and enough. If you’re doing metallics, don’t go dark.

Dark Autumn:

Nobody looks as right in leather, like those bomber style jackets, shearling lined, metallic effects in snaps and zippers. If Soft Autumn is Indiana Jones, then this is the Marlboro Guy. It’s a stronger, heavier, thicker look. Stronger and more defined eye liner works, though still can be very smoked. True Autumn is not high contrast, so lips and brows are more part of the face. On Messing above, the makeup is great, the glasses are getting dark for a True (no idea what Season she is) but they don’t really compete with her face. They’re interesting, smart, explore the edge with confidence, and say “I know what looks good on me.”, which is a fairly unique thing to be able to say.

Use more drama in contrast (Winter coming in) with eye shadow as a darker outer corner, defined brows, and a mouth that stands out from the face. Lips can still be flesh tones, which looks too erased/flat/tired/dead/old/pick your word on Winter, but these are deeper than the True or Soft Autumn flesh tones. They are darker, redder, maybe a little burnt looking by comparison. (I appreciate that in our ideal makeup colours, we’re all wearing flesh tones but I mean it here as the browned colours.) Givenchy gloss in Delectable Brown could be great on Soft Autumn, while the Darks might look at Sensual Chocolate, here at Sephora.

Ideal hair colour for the 3 Autumns is the eye colour or somewhere among the eye colours, an effect very few other Seasons accomplish so interestingly. Gingerbread brown eyes are truly visually compelling. These are the warm dark browns from chestnut to coffee bean. Red works because Autumn’s quite controlled red is increasing towards unleashed when Winter appears full on.

No question, to balance higher saturation, more red in the colouring, and darkness, you need more cheek colour to look vibrant, healthy, and fantastic. Look at Arbonne blush in Merlot.

And of course, lips need presence, especially once these faces reach full power in their 40s and onward. Both Dark Seasons can struggle with all the too-dark-for-daytime choices. As a Neutral Season, Dark Autumn has a warmer and cooler version of all its colours, including red. Oh, to find that saturated-but-not-too-much, red-that-isn’t-rust, warmer-than-cool, doesn’t-look-black-at-night, I-could-go-on…Could it be Arbonne Jam? Try it and tell us.

(For those who live in North America, you may have an Arbonne rep you can Google. My newest great friend, Ramona Robinson, is based in London, Ontario. She can sample and send product anywhere on the continent. There’s no hard sell here. Ramona is a woman who sincerely wants to empower women with better information, health, and awareness in all aspects of their lives. Contact at rjrobinson@rogers.com. Tell her I said Hi.)

 

Recap: 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.

 

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