Bright Winter Q and A

November 29, 2013 by · 19 Comments 

I seem to be in a groove of seeing so many Bright Winters lately that I figure I’m still supposed to write about it.

The reaction a person has to learning that their natural colouring falls into the Bright Winter group is either delight or despair. Seldom is there anything in between. The reason for most Season misgivings comes from misunderstanding the colours or the analysis process.

Some of the information below may be hard to imagine. It’s the only way I know to explain it. (Analyst who were trained by me will receive the discussion below soon in their Review Topics documents – and it will be even more technical.)

Here some come concerns Bright Winters may have:

Q: If I’m a Bright Winter, why do I look too blue in some of the Bright Winter drapes?

Short A: Because you’re warmer than the drape.

Long A: Depending on the person, this type of colouring is extremely finely adjusted and very sensitive to excessive darkness, redness, and or blueness. Some people handle the blue very well, almost as cool as True Winter can handle, but they become gaunt in black. Others can develop red spots in the cheeks, like a feverish face, in too much blue-red influence but they have no problem with darkness.

To match the exact coolness level of every Bright Winter, the analyst would need approximately 4 blue drapes. And then 4 reds, 4 greens. And then repeat that for all the possible tolerances to hue, value, and chroma of every person in all 12 Seasons. Not reasonable.

Also not necessary. The analyst with a comprehensive understanding of the analysis process is prepared to choose the Season because it’s better than the others, not necessarily it’s the best possible choice of this colour on this person. The client shouldn’t expect every Bright Winter drape to be perfection on every Bright Winter face. You find yourself inside your correct colour parameters. Sometimes, an analyst’s decision feels like a compromise and doesn’t make sense, but it’s still the best and correct decision of the comparison.

I am a Dark Winter.

I need makeup to wear black. Makes sense, black is only automatic on True Winter.

I can wear some medium and dark True Summer colour. Makes sense, True Summer is a little warmer and more muted than True Winter. So is Dark Winter.

True Spring colours clear my eyes better than True Autumn, if the two are being compared. Makes sense, Winter is looking for more clarity than Autumn provides.

I love and can wear Dark Autumn dark colours. Makes sense, I’m more warm and muted than many Dark Winters and darker colours are pretty easy on Dark Seasons.

None of that makes me a Spring, Summer, or Autumn.

If all people were exactly the same within one Season, then all the women of that Season could wear exactly the same lipsticks equally. Not the truth at all. My perfect lipstick colour is dull and disappearing on a cooler, clearer Dark Winter. There are ranges inside each Season. If the information clues were picked up along the analysis path, the right decision will be made at the end. The analyst doesn’t need to have my perfect Dark Winter blue drape in her set to know I am a Dark Winter. There might be versions of blue that I would wear a lot better than the blue drape she might have, but she learned my face, did her comparisons, knew what to look for and how to interpret it. A Season decision is a moving target until the very last comparison.

The Test Drapes are special. They’re measuring and comparing. Don’t look for home in them. Don’t expect to be finally and ultimately perfected. You need only be better than in any other. The same exquisite tolerance to colour parameters happens in all Seasons, but because Winter’s scale is so big and this colouring quite delicate, the disparity gets noticed more.

The public might not always understand. Don’t pay too much attention to the chat room group. They can’t know how it works because they’ve never been shown. All they see is the end result. One appendectomy can look like another if all you see are the people 3 weeks later. What happened in between may be wildly different. One person might never have had appendicitis in the first place. One might finally get rid of abdominal pain that’s haunted her for months. Another might be sure the surgeon made a mistake, but the fact is that sutures are more irritating to her tissues than the average while the surgical technique was exemplary. Her chat room group wouldn’t know any of that, but they’d make judgments and give opinions anyhow in an effort to support her.


Photo: helen25

Photo: helen25

clear water, close to white, more icy (Winter)


Q: Why is the bottom half of the face so darkened by black if I am Winter?

Short A: This is a WAY lighter Winter. Even True Winter isn’t all that dark. There are many blonde and light-brown haired True Winters with light eyes. Many.

Long A: Nothing applies to everybody. Some Bright Winters, even blonde haired, blue-eyed persons, are fine with darkness. Others who might be darker to look at will have a definite upper limit for darkness. Some can manage strong darkness in blue or green, but begin having detracting optical effects in the appearance at medium gray. Some are fine with shiny black, as long as True Winter blue is extracted, but are not good in matte black. Texture matters to a composition as much as line and colour do; therefore, texture matters in personal colour analysis (PCA).

The only more ghoulish Goth than Bright Winter would be the Light, True, and Bright Spring. All four types of natural colouring, or Season, or Tone, look light, bright, and clean. What about that sounds Goth? They conflict with the dark, depressing, serious Goth look – OTOH, maybe Goth are supposed to look compromised. Glowing and Goth doesn’t match. Bright Seasons are glowy. That’s how their skin reflects light. They look too healthy and vital for Gothness.

From the document that I send my clients:

Bright Winter epitomizes the sugar frosting of snow and sunlight. The innocent fairy tale character could wear shimmery violet-pink eyeshadow, blush, and lipgloss, adding even more crispness and show biz with near black eyeliner and big lashes.

Many Bright Winters are blonde and blue-eyed, with a feeling of girl-next-door, like the stereotypic Light Summer, except for the strong, clear, sparking eyes. Other lighter Bright Winters look Scandinavian/Nordic Ice Princess. Although some Bright Springs have the coolness that feels like royal distance, most are more informal, bubbly, chatty, rounded in their edges, and natural in their energy.

Photo: quil

Photo: quil

more pigment, more gray, closer to pastel (more Summer) – where does icy end and pastel begin?


Q: So Christine, you’re saying that all Brights can always take any level of saturation?

Short A: There is no Always, Must, Should, or Never in human colouring.

Long A: Textiles can be saturated beyond what you’d find in a human being. There are colours that will overwhelm even a Bright. I am saying that on a comparative scale of humans, Brights are most harmonized and flattered in the purest pigments.

Photo: noohoo

Photo: noohoo

icy grays made of B&W (Winter eyes)


Q: What if you said I’m a Bright Winter, which still I don’t believe BTW, and I look really dark?

 Short A: Then you are a Bright Winter who looks dark.

Long A: In the colour analyst training course, my students and I spend our first morning proving to ourselves that our eyes are rather clueless about looking at paint chips and knowing their colour dimensions. I guess we could see which is lighter between 2 colours of equal saturation. Change the saturation setting of one paint chip and we lose it. We guess wrong. If we can’t guess a paint chip, how much harder must it be to gauge a human face just by looking. You need a way to measure, a.k.a. drapes.

You look dark, fine. Your most important colour attribute is still that your pigmentation is very clean and clear. You are more clear than you are dark, but no rule says you can’t be both to some degree. It’s knowing the amount of each one relative to the other that’s tricky.

Photo:  mishel_sun

Photo: mishel_sun

pastel means more pigment + more gray (Summer eyes) – where’s the dividing line between icy and pastel? is there one?


Q: I read RTYNC and Bright Winter felt too zingy. I’m not electric and flashy.

Short A: You can’t see yourself. Compared to a range of other humans, your colouring feels more electric than a foggy day would. I was trying to make a comparison. Who do you know who looks foggy?

Long A: Ignore RTYNC (the blue book over in the right column). I can’t write the sequel because I created what the colour world needed least, 12 more stereotypes. Back then, I knew half what I know today. Maybe there’s another book taking shape that describes the real world better, the enormous variety, how people of the same Season can look incredibly different.

Why write about Seasons at all? Because it’s fun and interesting for us humans to look at one another and see all the possibilities. The stereotypes are like your horoscope. Kathryn Kalisz (founder of the Sci\ART system of PCA) also wrote about how people in the Seasons can look. I asked her once what Season someone was. She laughed and said in the most cheerful voice, “I have absolutely no idea! Until they’re in my chair.”

That book was only intended to help you see who you’re not, give a sense of how those colour energies made me feel so you could ask yourself the same thing, and give you 12 approximate palettes to make comparisons so you don’t have to own 12 swatch books. It got used too literally. The disclaimer at the front says that you will not be able to find yourself accurately, or at all. Should have been in big red print.


Photo: robertovm

Photo: robertovm



The Light Summer to Bright Winter Spectrum

This picture of Julianne Hough (said “huff”) came my way. It reminded me of a friend.

After thinking about it a bit, I realized that the face is like an exaggerated Reese Witherspoon.

Thing is, Julianne can do this. Is the dress wearing her? Is the makeup stronger than she is? By a lot or a little? If the hair were deeper, would she balance the other colours better? The balance is a little off but it’s hard to know what needs fixing and what doesn’t. Too many unpredictable variables. Just like draping a face. Reese were done like this, would the balance be off by less or by more?

Julianne looks to be in that girl-next-door Bright Winter to Light Summer spectrum. Except the eyes. Those eyes are crystal clear. Who knows what her natural hair colour is? From the gallery of images, I see that too yellow hair makes her face too yellow. Too light hair makes her face look puffed with flour. If you think of Bill Gates as average Light Summer colouring, those eyes would be wild in his face.

Reese seems to me a Light Summer. This makes sense. Winter is like an exaggerated Summer. The Warm Seasons are different. Autumn is not a continuation of Spring. It’s a whole different type of warmth. In a Season circle or progression, I would not Spring and Autumn side by side; I’d put them opposite one another.


Photo: J-Stuart

Photo: J-Stuart

the blue – too much pigment for icy; too pure pigment for pastel > probably not strong Winter or Summer ; we see this colour in Bright Spring eyes


Q: If Winter is an exaggerated Summer, why not have a Season in between? Like a continuation between Light Summer and Bright Winter, or True Summer and True Winter?

Short A: You’d get no new colours that weren’t already spoken for in one of the Seasons. I see the brilliance of the Sci\ART method of PCA, a genius that I am more in awe of with each client, as 12 stand alone groups. It makes their unique radiances strong and distinct. Smudging them into one another would dilute that and make analysis decisions much harder. Can a client blur them into each other? Absolutely.

Long A: Because real people don’t drape in between Summer and Winter to my eyes, though other analysts that I respect gigantically might not agree. A Soft Summer still looks better in Summer drapes, just a little weak. A Dark Winter still does better in Winter drapes overall if you know what to look for.

Also, making a cool Season overlap into a cool Season is in contradiction with the physics of light. That’s not how sunlight illuminates objects on our planet as interpreted by our eyes and brains.

Would the Bright Winter person look better True Winter’s drapes than True Summer’s drapes? Not always that easy. The light Bright Winter person’s face loves the lightness of Summer.

We can’t look at faces and know if they’re lighter than saturated, more cool than light, more saturated than warm, etc. Our eyes are not capable. We have to put a quantitative measuring system in between. Those are the drapes. Even then, in the early part of the analysis, all the features don’t behave the same way. That only happens at the end.

You will be wildly surprised at what your eyes will see happen with the drapes. The rug will get yanked out from under the feet of what you think Seasons have to look like. There are a lot of technical reasons for decision-making that Terry Wildfong and I train our students in carefully and thoroughly because we measure many markers at once in each face, with each new colour change.

The analyst evaluates many markers, related to line, colour, and texture, and makes a better-than choice. The markers will not be the same in every face. A Dark Winter man may wear Bright Winter saturation fairly well if his colouring is intense, but his face might look very oily. Another Dark Winter  man will lose eye energy in Bright Winter drapes but the complexion reflects light much the same between the two. We take a lot of time to learn every face because each reacts to colour in a unique and individual way.

And it can still be very difficult. At this point in my career, although I retain near dismay for how complex a PCA can be, I’m usually pretty confident in my Season decision. I saw a woman recently. We went between Bright and Dark Winter. Back and forth, back and forth. Test Drapes, Luxury Drapes, makeup, back and forth, back and forth. In the end, I decided on Bright for a selection of reasons. Not just one reason. Many reasons, which I itemized in the documents I sent her. All the analyst can say sometimes is, “This is how I saw you today. And this why.”

Was I correct? I hope so. Was she so difficult because she was extraordinarily beautiful, like trying to make a child look bad? Was it because she was of darker complexion? I’ve invited her back to model for a training course because I need fresh eyes, a different day, and some outside opinions. Some puzzles are more enigmatic.

Sometimes, facial features are very tough to prioritize. We see good and bad things in 2 Seasons in most every comparison until we’re at or near the end. This is normal and expected.

Photo: idigital

Photo: idigital

many a Dark Season eye


Students ask,

Q: Which observation is most important?

Short A: Depends. Every face is different.

Long A: There’s no such thing as most important. Your eyes are not more important than your mouth. A jaundiced face isn’t more important than an unfocused face. It’s the totality of a face. The answer would be different for every client. Even a well-trained or very experienced analyst can be perplexed.

If a client is much more comfortable in one Season, the best decision might be to have them wear it for a while. Throw out nothing. Buy a gloss and a few inexpensive T-shirts. Adjust the hair colour. In a few months, have another draping.





Myles Is A Bright Winter

September 27, 2010 by · 41 Comments 

All out glamour.

All out color. Such flamboyance of color that it takes Bright Winters time to get used to wearing it. Not Myles. He got it instantly, like he’d always known it.

Men are usually more intensely colored than women of the same Season, and Myles’ natural coloring is a great example of that. The concentration of pigment in the hair color alone is a testament to the high color saturation of the entire person. It is less obvious in the Bright Winter woman, but Jocelyn (Jocelyn Is A Bright Winter) could still dominate every color she wore, almost including black.

As a Bright Winter, in 12 Season (Tone) Color Analysis, he is fundamentally a Winter, but incorporates a small element of Spring. That means that the True Winter palette, with its dark reds, blues, and especially purples, has a pale yellow light shining on it. Colors become lighter and so slightly yellowed. The effect is of brightness and high energy, conveyed by the highest color saturation in the spectrum. (To understand saturation better, see the article What Are Clear And Soft Colours?)

You’ve met Myles before in Clear and Muted Orange In Eyes, in the first photograph illustrating beer bottle transparency in the browns and oranges coloring the iris.  Here is his eye, once more. Notice the very sharp transitions between hair/skin/eye color, and how generously pigmented the colors are.

Myles had one of the most sophisticated internal color guidance systems that I’ve seen, man or woman. He could see the effects with ease, in others and in himself. He could describe what was happening under the color’s influence using unconventional analogies that scratched well beyond the surface. He could direct his own analysis after having watched his wife’s. He originated the expression “the face in hi-def” that I’ve used to describe the sharp focus of the facial structure in right color.


On such uncommon coloring, we were bound to see some extraordinary effects. The draping begins with 4 drapes representing extremes of the 4 True Seasons. The Spring drape is a deep shimmering golden caramel. Those eyes of his were enormous and glowed with a shockingly golden yellow light, not something I’d ever seen at 10AM, or any other time. It was like meeting an owl in a dark night forest.

His skin was too yellow in the Spring drape. It follows that the whites of his eyes were quite yellow.  That was bound to happen in a pure Spring drape on a person of predominantly cool skin, since Myles is a Winter type. We quickly got all that sorted, but for a moment, the blazing luminosity in the eye made you forget everything else.

Myles’ PCA proceeded quite quickly because the optical effects were so undeniable. There was no other Season to which he could possibly have belonged.

Among the Bright Winter test drapes is a gleaming dark sapphire fabric. Not only is it electric blue, it is very shiny. Nobody, but nobody, can balance that color unless they are Bright Winter. It dominates even True Winter unquestionably.  Myles wore this color with ease, and without fidgeting the way men do in shiny fabric. He felt confident, attractive, and relaxed.

The final point is to notice the very fine quality of the skin texture. Many Springs have this very youthful, poreless appearance in the skin. If the skin were fabric, Spring’s would be handkerchief cotton to satin. Many Springs also have a triangular or pointed feature, like Myles’ finely carved nose.

The uplifted outer corners of Audrey Hepburn’s eyes are another example. On a child, they look like the eyes of an elf, or Tinkerbell. You might see the more pointed chin of a heart shaped face, a prominent bow in the upper lip, or the outer corners of the mouth tipped upwards. For these reasons, Springs can look very youthful and alert.

The Bright Winter Man

Men are harder to know from their attire because there is more social pressure on them to conform to “guy” looks and behaviors. I see it already in my 13 year old son. A woman can communicate the unrestrained allure of a Bright Winter with jewels, shiny accessories, luxurious fabric, and large blocks of very bright color. She is the only one among the 12 Seasons who can wear logos, and they won’t look plastic.

What does a man do? First of all, what is he trying to communicate? That’s everyone’s first question when they dress.

The Bright Winter man combines Winter’s power signal with Spring’s positivity and enthusiasm. His subliminal statement is dynamic force. He is the contrast of sunshine on ice. Is there a more glorious, energizing place to be than a ski hill in March? The bracing wind, the speed of the run, the sun we’ve waited all winter to feel on our skin…no wonder people are euphoric.

The overall effect of his look should be dark, like all Winters. It should also of the highest contrast, the most important component of Winter dressing. There is maxed separation between the lightness of the skin and the darkness of the hair, so clothing combinations feel right to look at when they repeat that.

Spring makes this personal color palette the lightest of the 3 Winters, so he wears stark white extremely well. White combined with a bigger dark block is better. White (or icy light)+bigger very dark block+small bright accent=even better. Dark + bright is equally great. Only Bright Winter men can still be taken seriously in these pairings. Men of other Seasons are somewhere between dominated-by-clothing and rapper-snowboarder-silly.

His biggest problem may be not looking too formal. Even a black-brown or ink-navy suit will look like a tux with a white shirt. Dark charcoal gray will be a fantastic suit color. With an icy violet shirt? Only one guy in the room will be doing that, the only one everyone’s looking at. He looks commanding and interesting, but that violet softens him a bit. It even hints at playfulness.

When he wants to look scary dominant imposing authoritative, he can wear the night sky suit, even better with a little shine in it, the white shirt, … what about ties?

I love ties. I can look at them for hours. A man can say more with a tie than a woman can with anything. This guy can’t go as wild as his Bright Spring brother can, his Winter reserve just won’t let him. He is better when he’s on the formal side. When he chooses more traditional (still high contrast) designs with larger dark blocks that repeat the suit color, the element of bright color will seem less bold.

Winter does not want to come across as unpredictable or random. Nor do you want a design where all the colors and lines seem to flow together, which happens when the pieces of the puzzle are small. The Winter exterior should look very composed and quiet, but dramatic.

Lines should be thicker, rather than fine, which balances the strength of the colors better. The print should be obvious, which tie designers seem to do mostly in stripes. The other choice is 10,000 ladybugs. The edges of each color block should be crisp, since they are in the natural coloring. This tie could be worn well by the Bright Spring, and even the True Spring man. The tie is here, at Nordstrom.

As a Neutral Season, meaning a blend of 2 True Seasons, the palette offers a warmer go-to golden red  and a cooler blue-red, a strong fuchsia. Even as a very small constituent in the overall look, the harmony gets noticed. Women can create this effect with lipstick or eyeglass frames. The red in this tie repeats that golden, strawberry red undertone, and looks electric on this coloring. It is here, at J.Crew.

I like this tie too. It is a Winter grey, like clean sharp steel, a blade, a knife edge, a scalpel. There is a slight jewel effect in the lighter stripes, like platinum, or crystallized sugar, that sparkles without being obnoxious. Tie here at Nordstrom.

On no group of man does safe color fall flatter. Casual clothing in general is very difficult because of the inherent formality and intensity of the appearance. All 3 Winters have some difficulty with jeans, but this group most of all. Nothing works, not the faded color, the almost-sloppiness, the rugged strong quality. Jeans should be the darkest possible black or blue in a classic cut.

T-shirts should be shockingly saturated with color, hopefully more IRL than in the photo. The diagonal line in this polo (here at Nordstrom) gives a triangular effect that repeats that physical traits we talked about earlier. Zigzag lines add energy and asymmetry, both Spring’s influences.

For men, Colour Analysis is more about looking good than the spiritual journey that it becomes for women. They understand that the viewer interprets appearance as education, social status, risk-taking, and creativity. For a man, clothing is an investment in themselves and their business. Fair or not, appearance is a factor that helps people decide how much money they’re willing to give us.

Men, you attract trust with your clothing, a commodity that men don’t come by easily. Making these choices is not what your wife is for (until after your PCA).

Kip Is A Light Summer

September 5, 2010 by · 9 Comments 

Kip’s family and ours have known one another for many years. As a child, he had flaxen hair and light blue eyes, and he certainly gave a Spring impression, or at least a very yellow impression.

He’s in his 30s now. His hair has darkened. He has a tan at the moment. Combining  the freckles, the fact that his mother, and probably brother, are True Autumns, that his skin resembles his Soft Autumn sister’s, and that there are red tones in the hair (and very much redder on other family members),  I wondered if Kip was going to be that Spring/Autumn person that we discussed in a previous article and its comments (see the previous article No Summer+Winter or Spring+Autumn Blends).


We saw right away that Winter was dominating and severe. The blackened sapphire and emerald took over.

In the True Autumn drapes, Kip might have been up every night for a week looking after his young children. The shadows and unshaved appearance were obvious. The lower half of the face was darker, making the jaw look very severe and the face 10 years older. BUT, his eye color intensity was surprisingly good. For those who are new here, you’ll read often that I do not factor  the eye color  into determining the Season. It simply does not matter. However, I very much consider which drapes make your eye color the most intense.

In the True Spring drapes, the skin was too yellow and the eye color was dull and greyed out.  If I could erase the yellow in the skin, there seemed to be an easing of the lines, a more even luminosity, as is usually seen in any Spring blend. The skin looked healthy and very evenly colored, while True Autumn made the skin obviously worse, even in the very slight Autumn Seasons. So, Kip was not going to be the person who can wear  True Spring and Autumn colors equally well.

True Summer was interesting. The yellow caused by True Spring cleared from the skin. The skin retained the good effects the Spring drapes created, of young, clear, ideal skin, but could also intensify the eye color to the same degree that the Autumn drapes did. The whole effect was a little flat, though the balance with the person was the best of the 4 True Seasons.

Light Summer’s bare trace of sunlight gave us the perfectly lit skin, without compromising the eyes. Light Summer is the Neutral Season (so blend of 2), that is mostly Summer with a minor influence from Spring. I guess that the reason the Autumn drapes worked so well to intensify eye color was their low saturation, which is the color characteristic that Autumn  shares with Summer. When doing the analysis, always focus on the skin. Once you get that right, the eyes will automatically be their best.

In men, the deciding Season always creates the cleanest, strongest bone structure. They do look younger, the skin clearer, but what I see is just plain “handsome”.

Light Summer’s Colors

Light Summer’s are popsicle colors. No, not quite that bright. Rainbow colors. It’s not just True Summer overexposed. The light and clarity of Spring make the feeling of the whole palette much more lively. Any single color may be similar to some of True Summer’s, but the whole person viewed together, just as the whole Colours Book fanned out, is more energetic than True Summer. That clearance of True Summer’s gentle cloud brings a springy feeling, in more ways than one.

The Light Summer is color in sunlight. Compare this to Soft Summer, which is color in shade. Notice the shirt he’s wearing – color in shade. The chair is probably the true color. In sun, it would be Light Summer’s – so a little bleached out, and better on Kip. Still cool and fresh, like True Summer, but just that mention of clear light.

Watch how the color moves in the image below as it changes from light areas to shaded areas. In our physical world, light is reflected from objects in a continuum of light-true-dark, or warm-true-cool. In 12 Tone, or 12 Season, Color Analysis, the Tones progress from one to the next through the same sequence.

Kip’s most remarkable color was his off-white (the color of the Light Summer white drape in the previous article How Light Summer Goes Grey) . Not a browned off-white, like clamshell, which is Soft Summer’s. This is vanilla ice cream, but not French vanilla, which is too yellow. It took a conscious effort to remove that drape because he just looked so extremely right. Everyone in the room just kept looking. The longer a right color is on you, the more good things come out. The longer a wrong color is on you, the more bad things come out.

Summer’s palette showcases Kip’s gracious intelligence better than any other. Far more a listener than a talker, more peaceful than animated, more caring than needing, the personality of Summer men is admired more for their support of others than their call for self-promotion.

Color that’s too cool or cloudy says nothing about his easy smile and sense of humor, the pleasure he takes in physical activity, his respectful appreciation of Nature, or his capacity for adventure. His essence is quiet and easy to be with, but is made for the outdoors. The feeling is relaxed, sea and sand, boats and bicycles, not formal.

Light Summer Clothing

As important as it is to always look at color in daylight, the Light Seasons have to be especially careful to do so. There is no type of dark color that flatters them. In mall lighting, it’s too easy to go too dark.

A soft white shirt and a silver grey jacket would be outstanding. Pure white will take over, reducing the person, and we do not wear clothes to be diminished by them. A man wearing a coat/shirt in too-strong colors makes him look weak, and makes the size of the head look too small for the shoulders.

Spring/Summer men don’t sing to me in plaid, which can look workday and practical. Corduroy, same. Too much texture looks heavy and dulls the fabric. Light colors belong with light fabrics. Uncomplicated cottons, denim, natural linen, lightweight wool, and knits look smooth and balanced. Autumn’s focus is work and productivity. Spring is lighthearted and lives to enjoy life, to play, to have fun.

A light cotton shirt with a colorful stripe in a single color, which I think is called a Bengal Stripe (below from Savile Row Co), cool tan chinos, now that looks good. His temperature looks cool (he needs to, he’s a Summer above all), but there’s that little effervescence that elevates him to another frequency.

Love it in pink and in turquoise.

Purple and yellow

He definitely has a yellow look, though less than in his teens, and yellow in his skin. Any Spring blend needs to get comfortable wearing purples, though Light Summer hasn’t as many choices as the purer Springs.  Because purple and yellow intensify one another, and the Colours Book shows you the right purple swatches for your particular type of yellowness, it looks remarkable. The shirt below is at Paul Fredrick. The white is that trace-of-vanilla off-white and all the purples are right.

Women love feminine colours on men. OK, I love them. It doesn’t need to be a mauve turtleneck. One stripe in a tie will get the room’s attention. Women keep looking at the one guy who can wear a cherry popsicle stripe in a sky blue tie. Men respect it because so few men know how to do this and accentuate their masculinity, rather than seem to compromise it.

Before you turn 30

This was a very interesting PCA for me. It reinforced what is easily forgotten, to never drape a person with predicted ideas of the outcome. Never start guessing. Go into the analysis with a blank slate, do the driving, and let the drapes give you the answer.

About finding that Spring/Autumn flow…the instrument I use to measure color, the Sci\ART drapes, are not designed to help me find that coloring. I don’t think it matters.

As a professional community of Personal Color Analysts, our strength will not be in fragmenting ourselves over linguistic and detail. We are already exclusive enough. Whatever system analyzed you, you’ll still look way better than you did before. Wouldn’t a world where everyone had a PCA by the time they’re 25 be beautiful? If a PCA were as automatic a grad gift as a laptop? If PCAs were part of everyone’s life like gym memberships?

Kathryn Kalisz’s passing in January was a loss to our entire community. Too much knowledge is lost when one person passes, unless we share our strengths. As Kathryn once said to me, “There’s plenty of business for everybody.”

Note: I do not own the images above. If you own these pictures and would like me take them down, I will gladly do so.

Clear and Muted Orange in Eyes

August 23, 2010 by · 11 Comments 

I am very excited about this post because eyes are so magically beautiful. If Personal Color Analysis is a window into our truest self, then eyes are the lenses through which those colors are projected back out into our world as our feelings, memories, and histories.

On our Facebook page, I once called a dark green-brown eye ‘swampwater green’.  The eye color is particular to some people in the Bright Spring and Winter Seasons. One day, I will find you that eye color, but today is not the day. (The article How Springs Intensify Eye Color gives a link near the end to Heather at; her eye is as close a photo as I’ve found.)

It’s this particularly confusing concept of eye clarity where people get hung up. In 12 Season, or 12-Tone Color Analysis (I’m working at changing my terminology), these ‘clear eyes’ are often found among members of the clear (high saturation) Tones, namely Winter and Spring, and their 2 blends of Bright Winter and Bright Spring.

The fascination with these Tones is because of their rarity, and that very arresting quality of clearness. We recognize that it’s different, but it’s hard to describe verbally.

Here is a man’s eye. You’ll meet him in another article. For now, notice the color of the eye. Look at the quality of the orange tones.

Now, look at this woman’s eye. She is a Soft Autumn.

And now these 2 items.

Can you see which item matches the orange in which eye?

I once said that Spring’s eye makeup browns are not orange-y, which is true, because orange-browns tend to look earthy, the bane and blight of a Spring’s color existence. However, Springs certainly can wear many oranges in clothes and respect their tropical palette quite gorgeously. So too can there be orange in a Spring eye, but it’s not the same orange as Autumn’s.

Autumn’s is a dull rust, right? It’s the opaque, heavy-feeling, quiet, solid brick. Even in a faraway Autumn blend like Dark Winter, the orange has this same thicker, denser quality.

The orange in a Bright Spring or Bright Winter (or True Winter or Spring) eye is the beer bottle. Clear Tones (Seasons) have clear colors. They are reflective of light, not absorbing, as the Autumn seems to be, and more fragile looking perhaps.

The orange (because brown is just dark orange) of a True Winter eye is usually not as clear as that in a Bright Winter eye. That’s because the Bright Winter palette is even more highly saturated (i.e. clear) than True Winter’s. Is is so in every single case? No, there are always exceptions and degrees.

A reader sent me this most amazing eye photo.

Medium-dark brown hair, reddish in the sun. Lashes are light.  The orange is beer-bottle clear, right? Notice too the yellowness of the skin tone (quite possible that it’s just from the lighting) and the generous heaping of sunshine yellow in the rest of the eye color (unlikely to be as influenced by lighting, though transparency might be). Without drapes, this could be a True Autumn for all I know, but I sure get a Spring feeling.

Eye effects are much easier to see in a light colored eye. Green can be more complicated. Brown is downright  difficult.

Can you draw conclusions about Season from eyes? No. Many saw the man above as Dark Autumn before the drapes. In shade, the clarity of that orange was all but lost and it seemed more hazy.

I try so hard not to look at eye color during a PCA, because the drapes don’t always confirm those leading assumptions that objective color analysts should never make. ANY of the 12 Tones can have ANY hair and ANY eye color. That’s Rule No. 1.

The Right Sweater For Dark Winter Men

January 4, 2010 by · 4 Comments 

Our first job is to define the principles of all Winter dress, since Seasonal Colour Analysis for clothing absolutely applies to men. This way of using colour and style probably extends to the Dark Autumn, who has enough intensity in his personal colour palette and the Winter trace that allows him to wear clothes in a Winter way.

That way is as follows. It is expensive, smooth, poised, and formal. Patterns, and prints are balanced and repeating, not random.  This is an image of wealth and luxury, of tailored clothing and timeless design.

One could not necessarily call it reserved, since the colours of Bright Spring are all-out, freewheeling, highly saturated colour. (See What Are Clear And Soft Colours? for the meaning of saturation in colour).

The Dark Winter is certainly reserved, to the point of being serious. This group shares all Winters’ quiet mood, but with dark colours. There is nothing playful or youthful here.

What does the Autumn hint bring in? First, it brings in a little brown, which warms and mutes the colours. They seem less distant and cold. Autumn also allows a bit of texture, without getting into rugged cable knits that are too functional and not polished enough.

Smooth cashmere and wool work very well.

I also like a ribbed sweater, like this one at Banana Republic, as long as it’s not too chunky. It respects the impression of the Winter style, so repeating and balanced, but introduces a little texture. The rough surface is the bridge to Autumn.

Zip-neck sweaters are great if worn in a formal way. A full-zip feels to me too much like a hoodie, too juvenile or casual, almost sloppy.

Horizontal stripes are too sailboat or rugby shirt. This group expresses “serious” best.

Argyle comes in every colour. Does it work if the colours are Winter? To my eye, the styles don’t mesh. All those zigzags in argyle are too animated, and look hectic on Winter’s quiet energy.

This is a beauty at LLBean,  in the colour Mountain Red. It’s shown in the catalog with a white shirt and looks sharp. With a charcoal pant, casual or formal, this guy is getting noticed for all the right reasons.

V-neck, crewneck, and turtleneck all feel good on these men (only my opinion). The choice of shirt is important. The aim is simple drama. An iceberg has simple, quiet drama. A circus does not, it has complicated drama. A day on a sailboat has no drama.

The colours should contrast strongly (very light with very dark). Dark charcoal, eggplant, or ruby, with a crisp white shirt. An icy grey shirt and a midnight blue sweater.