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.

 

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True Summer Visuals and Soft Dramatic Styles

June 15, 2013 by · 11 Comments 

The term Soft Dramatic (SD) is one of 13 Image Identities from David Kibbe’s extraordinary book from 1987, Metamorphosis. If you can find yourself, it can be an astounding key to your best clothing line.  I am so NOT a Kibbe expert. I’m certain that if he looked at my Polyvores, he’d think, “This isn’t what I meant at all.” Reader beware.

David Kibbe Metamorphosis

 

 

This question from J:

I’d like to add femininity to casual wear but sometimes I don’t know how. Mrs. Tuttle (of dressingyourtruth.com) has helped with that a little, so I know now that I like silver teardrop earrings, lace, cowl necks, and ruffled scarfs. How to add glamour into your everyday life/work? I used to want to appear as strong as possible. Now I have softened it down a bit, and, big surprise, no one ate me. ;-)

I think I have the most difficulties separating the True Summer from the Soft Summer in the range of beiges/taupes/browns and the range of corals/reds. Kind of the colors that we see as “warm” per se. Maybe also some of the greens, that are not actually blue greens, but more along the “grassier” or khaki side. The more unusual Summer colors, I guess.

 

By the time we’re working with neighbour Seasons in 12 Season colour analysis, and from the same parent Season, like True Summer and Soft Summer, finding words to help you distinguish them is not possible, at least not for me. They’re just too close if you look at them one swatch at a time. Trying to find your colours that way may be part of why PCA fizzled 40 years ago.  Going back and forth and back and forth and back and forth from one colour dot in a swatch book to a piece of fabric  will only make you irritable and the store staff even more so.

My best advice is to learn to look at your entire palette when you try to match a garment to it. Have a read of the article Getting More From Your 12 Tone Swatch Book.  This is a total woman, head to toe, all the colours together all the time, big picture situation.

If you’re a precision person, as Summers often are, you’ll want to own both True and Soft Summer swatch books. Compare them both to a garment by laying them flat and fanned out on it. You’ll see which is best. Sometimes, it’s very hard, in which case, it just doesn’t matter enough for clothing. For drapes, that would be a fabric I’d never use. How can you test with it if both work? When you look at only one, one anything, your visual system is stuck. It’s like asking someone if this colour looks good on you. They’ll say Yes. What they should say is, “Compared to what? Show me two and I’ll LYK which one is best.” That’s how our biology is configured to get information from vision.

You’ll want to own Colour Books from different companies. The more ways you see and read about your colours, the more sense they will make and the more recognizable they’ll become. You’re looking to replicate a feeling, not a particular colour.

 

Photo: surrahman

Photo: surrahman

 

Also, to my eye, color not only flows from cool to warm but also from one color to the other. So, sometimes, I just don’t know, if, what I look at is a grey with a lot of purple in it or maybe a very greyed down purple?

We’re not comparing apples to apples in that question. Colour always flows from cool to warm. It’s built into the physics of how light strikes objects. It can’t be altered or argued. In the 12 Season sequence, the heat setting of one palette shifts to a warmer or cooler setting as you move along to the next Season.  If the two purples you describe belong to True and Soft Summer, one will be warmer. If you paint them as two dots and let them run together, then the colours will indeed flow into one another, but the two ends and any given colour between them will only belong in one Tone’s palette, the one whose colour dimensions (heat, value, chroma) match those of the colour.

 

True Summer and True Winter
True Summer and True Winter by christinems featuring pyrus

 

I get the feeling of coolness and freshness that you described. What I don’t understand here is the softness. Soft as opposed to True Winter, yes. But then, when I’m in a store, all those colors mixed up, that is not the feeling I get.

Regarding the image above, understanding ‘softness’ in your question to mean low saturation rather than draping fabric, and choosing apparel line and styles randomly just to demonstrate some colours:

Summer colours are on the left. They feel watery, misty, calm. Not heavy. Far from white. A little heathered.

Winter colours, on the right, feel more aggressive and intense.  They have more green. More colour. They’re further from gray. It’s hard to tell though, because as colour darkens, or as one colour dimensions changes in any way, we find it tougher to judge the other two colour dimensions. The top one seems too close to white for a Summer and I don’t pick up heathering.

Neither one is at minimum or maximum saturation, because True Summer and True Winter are not. What matters most is that they’re cool. Even that’s hard to tell. Winter’s green can look warm, I suppose because the blue and yellow that made it came from Winter’s paintbox, where the yellow is intense.

What about the center column? I wouldn’t know if those are Winter or Summer any better than you would just by looking at them.  I’d have to lay the palette on the garment and see if the two were equal or if one loses energy. You’ll see this happen. The Summer palette will dull if the fabric is Winter. The swatches will be much too strong and bold if the colour is Summer. You’ll be able to feel which one is at home for most fabrics. If you can’t, it would probably be fine. You might need to own the Winter Book. The more precise you want to be, the more precision tools you’ll need to acquire. True for carpenters, musicians, and colour matchers. Not a big thing. Probably costs less than two blouses. You won’t learn this by owning one Book. You’ll get it as soon as you own both.

Clothes in photographs are just like people in photographs. A little off. You can take a hundred pictures of the same person, same time, same place. They look different in each one. Can’t tell what’s true. In real time, our brain can adjust for that, like it does all the time with all the white we think we see that would not be pure white, were an artist to paint it. For survival, our brain has adapted to learn when to get visual information that means white, even if the colour isn’t white. We see many photos of women trying on clothes. When have you ever met anyone and had them look just like you expected? Never. If Mr Kibbe writes another book, I hope he puts in lots of group photos.

Photo: lpierard

Photo: lpierard

 

I do get a feeling of elegance. The same cheap sweater, that looked so funky and trendy in Autumn’s beige, managed to look somehow more expensive in the blue-grey. Seems elegant and calm to me and… nothing! There’s nothing added, no warmth, no “pop”. It just stays as it is. I used to judge that as boring and without personality. Now I’m open to see if one day it will show me that there actually is something. Maybe I just can’t see it yet. I wonder if what I’m asking for is a comparison of the visuals for the three Summers.

True Summer, like True Winter, isn’t an overly colour busy Season. In the Winter’s case, it’s because every colour is so much that one at a time is plenty. In the Summer case, there’s a tranquility, with none of the agitation that accompanies heat, whether smoke (Autumn) or sun (Spring). The softness of the colours means that they weave together more fluently than Winter. Even a hint of hectic or functional takes the feeling off track. Also no giggles, no sarcasm, no squirting (Spring), and no forcing, no pushing, no controlling (Winter). All is perfect and  all will be perfect. Not rugged, earthy, productive, or work-related (Autumn), no showboat, glitter, or anything synthetic (Bright).

A visual for True Summer: the Japanese Zen garden.

Peaceful, green, strong, by no means self-effacing, monochromatic, courteous, the penultimate of diplomacy and respect, meditative, reflective, cool but not dark, searching.

Soft Summer’s visual is heavier, more solid and substantial, a rock garden, a woodland. Light Summer’s has movement and lightness, a fountain.

 

Photo: lemunade

Photo: lemunade

 

Maybe also some jewelry advice. I do fine with the T2 lines for that, just not as huge as they present everything. But I find it very interesting, that they are all about teardrops and elongated s-curves, all very looong, while you mention the circle as the True Summer shape.

That circle shape came from my imagination. It is not a fact, it’s a blend of what I’ve read, seen, and thought about. There’s no more truth in it than if you said, “I think Summer’s shape is a pentagon.” There are no facts here and only a little logic. The left brain isn’t the one doing this. We’re not measuring anything. I could see spirals too for the true cool Seasons, though more in Winter since they begin and end in the deep center, which has True Winter written all over it. The trailing vine is definitely a good Summer shape. For many, their hair follows this line. Every Season could have many shapes. So could every body type. Some see triangles for Winter. I don’t feel it but I can see why they do. Spring is more triangly to me, though more the zigzag than the closed shape.

Jewelry shape and line is decided by body type. Its colour comes from your own natural colouring, your Season or Tone. A Dramatic Classic True Summer won’t look as good as she could wearing long necklaces or pearls. You’ll barely even see that jewelry on her. The hugeness of T2 jewelry at DYT could be really good fit for SD bodies (note that I have not looked at it).

 

Photo: br44

Photo: br44

 

I’d just love to see your perspective on Soft Dramatic True Summer. How does this combination of colors and lines and whatever else there is look to you?

It won’t match the Type 2 of Carol’s system. In each of those 4 types are way too many kinds of bodies.  There is swirl, flow, and drape in Soft Dramatic but the scale is much bigger than what T2 says to me. This body is not mainstream and her presence isn’t safe.

I know this woman from my life.  She is indeed a True Summer. She’s 5’9″, sleeps till noon, reads all day, is far more busty than hourglass. In fact, I have no idea what her body looks like below her bust. Couldn’t tell you if she’s curvy or not, no idea what her legs look like. I do know that she’s a knockout.

She cooks like Julia Child, drinks like a sailor, wears a splashy sarong skirts and big chunk diamonds in her ears to have her backyard bulldozed, and looks ridiculously like a plump and top-heavy Linda Evangelista. The sarong and diamond look is the only time I notice what she has on. She also favours mid-thigh tunic tops and straight Capris, which look pretty good as long as the print is a big, boozy Georgia O’Keefe vision.

Her right location is in a chaise longue beside a Vegas pool with a turban on her head, cigarette holder in hand, G&T on the go, watching the 18 year old pool boy at work. The picture absolutely needs up-there jewelry, exactly what Kibbe describes. Smooth, big, and $$$-looking. Andre, the masseur, is arriving later this afternoon.

These are casual clothes. It’s easy to fit this body in gowns and gigantic jewelry. What’s it look like at the parent-teacher interview?

 

True Summer Soft Dramatic 1
True Summer Soft Dramatic 1 by christinems featuring diane von furstenberg

 

Like colour, the whole point is to bring together the person and the clothing lines that bring out the absolute best in each other. Finding the style in any palette would be tough because it’s just so exaggerated. The women who would look great in it have no idea who they are, not unlike fuchsia blush. For the general population, the image seems meant for the stage, not the office. Get Noticed clothes are scary when the crowd all looks identical.

She has much less texture and more opulence than a Flamboyant Natural. She won’t wear wedges, the FN could. Same big frame, big hands. A movie star who comes into her own on the big screen, loses something on a TV, and looks almost ordinary on a smartphone. A cocktail ring babe. Sunglasses and wide brim hats, earrings, necklace, rings, scarves. Drama, glamour. She can make the dainty, delicate, and simple disappear, not in the good way, like blue on Summer, which is so much part of them that it’s almost invisible, like their ultimate neutral, their perfect equal. Here, little stuff gets chewed up like it isn’t even there, the ultimate unequal.

Like all Summers, contrast outside her colour palette can disappear her. Stay inside your lightest to darkest range if possible, whoever you are.

 

True Summer Soft Dramatic 2
True Summer Soft Dramatic 2 by christinems featuring patent leather shoes

 

The only way to get your clothes look like yours is to wear your own line. That’s when you look normal and fabulous, as opposed to normal. Your clothes look like ‘just clothes but wow clothes’, like Bright Winter blue sapphire satin looks like ‘just blue but wow blue’ only on that one type of natural colouring. These clothes are lusciously large scale. In this picture of Sophia Loren, it doesn’t seem as if she and her clothing bring out the best in each other. Nor this image. She’s  not who we know her to be. The colours and lines next to her look as if she feels some way that she doesn’t at all. There’s no point telling the world that.

The True Summer colour analyzed palette is the opposite of exaggerated. I can see that it might be careful looking on this woman. Accessories and big shapes pull the whole thing in the right direction.

Discovered I could search ‘drape’ on Polyvore. That moved things along.

True Summer looks better in their greens and teals than their blues. Blue is too equal to their native wavelength. They’re like a blue aura inside a blue force field. Such a good fit that you can’t tease them apart. All their blue-greens are unbelievably enhancing. Like if you can find the right red lollipop red, it’s more incredible on True Spring than their yellow, maybe even more stunning than their nectarines just by the power of red.

For an Soft Dramatic, no casual outfit will ever be casual by other body types’ standards. The clothes look normal in a Vogue shoot, not a Food Court. This is not a Natural body. Turtlenecks, hoodies, shirts, the clothes much of the industry provides are not the ones that best flatter her. How to do casual? Would wear kitten heels when the men arrive to replace the front porch, but not high heels. Will not wear shoulder pads to the Farmer’s Market. Will wear flip-flops when hosting the Fun Day BBQ for the summer cottagers and their kids. Is going to wear jeans, fleece, and flats just because they feel good.

 

True Soft Dramatic 3
True Soft Dramatic 3 by christinems featuring paul smith – black label

 

 

 

—–

 

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.

 

Jackie and Annie Are Bright Winters

December 5, 2012 by · 33 Comments 

Jackie

 

Visible darkness, the eyes are near black, but how much darkness exactly? How near black?

Is that muted skin (Summer or Autumn) or sallow (a Winter)?

Is she sweet (Spring) or graceful (Summer)? She’s both if you know her. Who expected her to pull off so much drama?

In Jackie, are we finding Summer’s ‘quiet-till-you-know-her’ or Winter’s contained?

 

 

If I am completely uncertain beforehand, she’s usually a True Something or a Bright Spring. I’ve seen Jackie at her work many times.  She chooses a lot of cool, muted colours, like a Soft Summer or any young woman in today’s retail offering. Sometimes she wears black, which clears, defines, and comes close to overpowering. No way she was warm enough for a Spring, even a Bright Spring. No doubt that the B&W of True Winter would be too sharp. I had never seen her wearing makeup.

In 12 Season (12 Tone) personal colour analysis, Bright Winter is the Neutral Season, or group of natural colouring, that takes most of its colour properties from Winter, with a small, but so important, contribution from Spring. When the two Tones of highest chroma come together in one person, our senses feel the hit of the purest pigments, offered in a most gentle presentation.

I didn’t imagine she would balance Bright Winter. A colour analyst has the same comparison-based sense of vision as everyone else. We can guess but we know how much money you will part with based on our advice. We don’t guess. We measure. She balanced it and then some. Her eyes were clean and crisp – what happens to part of the face happens to the whole face. It’s just that some features are better markers for it. If your eyes are clear, so is your skin. If their edges are clean, so are the rest of your features’.

Beginning with how a person looks, dark, light, etc. is only a little more secure than naming Season based on character. Especially the True Seasons. It takes a certain amount of guts to pronounce True with drapes, let alone without. Especially the True Spring and True Winter. They never look like the averages. Those we think we know from media are usually very altered.

Was I looking at a curvy faced Summer with sleepy eyes and swoopy lines? Or a Theatrical Romantic (TR) (as per David Kibbe’s fantastic 1987 book, Metamorphosis), with sharp curves in the face and the frame? All of Mr. Kibbe’s 13 body types appear in all 12 groups of natural colouring, but when I see TR, I think of Brights. What they have in common is slenderness. When you really look at them, they’re narrow from left to right, like the frames you imagine models must have to photograph so well, but much more feminine in the curves. Of the Brights I see, half or more are TR.

 

 

She couldn’t be Soft Summer. The connection that the black in the eyes made with Winter drapes was one thing. Only brown eyes in one of the 5 Winter-influenced Seasons will do that. Plus, just moving ideas around before the analysis, her character wasn’t right. The Softs are Brights are both gracious but contained. Soft Summer is steadier. She is thinking about keeping the ship on course, attending to the work of the day. She gave the analysis some thought and gathered a list of questions. She is going to get it right.

The Bright Seasons just show up for the experience. Winter thinks their way through it, Spring feels it. Brights are sparkly, not the first adjective you might think of for any Season on the Autumn side. Jackie is very sparkly once her right colours are near her, with the points of the sparkles in her nose, her chin. Anyone could have thought that was Summer’s doll-like face, small chin, beautifully shaped nose…but nobody can link character or facial features to colouring until the drapes find the truth of the colours. After that, a lot more starts to make sense.

Colorants remain pure in apparel and cosmetics for Bright Seasons because the native colours are pure. Saturation in dyes can go, and will go, as high as chemistry can take it, higher than Munsell saw back in his day. I have never seen the colour that can overpower this skin in purity. Darkness, yes. Chroma, no. Maybe if you wrap them in a neon tube, but I bet Bright Winter would just look better. Part of what sets them apart is the potential for extravagance that takes everyone by surprise, them most of all. Placing this skin in soft colour, meaning muted, meaning blued or pinked greys, meaning pastels, you wouldn’t do it if you’d watched what happens in real life with your own eyes. You’re looking at a face in a dirty mirror.

Colour saturation is extremely high in the Bright Seasons. Too often, we darken when we saturate colour in our imagination. The 3 Colour Scales (hue, value, chroma) are independent, meaning that when a colour is altered, the other colour dimensions are necessarily affected, just not necessarily in the same way. Bright Winter has higher chroma (more saturation, pure pigments), higher value (lighter), and warmer hue than the other Winters. (One could argue that theoretically, the overall value is mid range and the range reaching fully to B&W, so the same as True Winter. It is hard to accurately judge value when colours have different saturations and/or hues. My eyes think they see Bright as lighter than True, just because the yellow in the Bright palette looks lighter.)

 

 

I look for colours with incredible pigment purity and yet, some transparency. Coloured crystals, coloured glass. Jackie was too comfortable with Clinique Kissyfit lipgloss, magnificent that it was. I want you a little uncomfortable, especially Winters who don’t like to give up control. Many are pretty sure that they know their own best presentation better than anyone else (more Darks and Trues than Brights). They come in telling me they already have their best hair colour and they won’t wear pink or orange. In truth, they see themselves accurately to the exact same degree as anyone else, which is to say, maybe 50-50. Jackie had the perfect mindset. She wouldn’t put her foot on the brakes no matter what. She could see her appearance getting better and better and she just went with it. A little nervous? Maybe. Did it anyway.

I’ll keep adding till we push open those doors. As you know if I’ve put makeup on you, I’m not stingy or careful with the amount. I want you to see right colour fuse with your face and to give you balance. Never get in the way of your own glamour. Of your own anything. We moved on to Tarte Nuria gloss. Jackie could see that it was a lot more than she’s used to, but she couldn’t look away or say that it didn’t look superb. Each building block of makeup on a Winter looks like too much on its own. You need it all to balance. Eyes with this intensity need a mouth with something going on, or the face is off kilter.

We used a charcoal liner and lots of it and L’Oreal Blackened Smokes eyeshadows. Pulling the dark sparkly black shadow over the grey liner was magic. Black mascara. I’m coming to notice that Bright Winter often has ridiculously gorgeous eyelashes.

Lighting is variable in these photos and many are taken in a mirror. The colours may not be what you expect for Bright Winter. These photos have gone through four digital machines before you see them. Besides, they are surrounded by too many other colours and uncontrolled lighting to know what they really are. To know the truth of a colour, it must be surrounded by neutral gray. The walls of the room are painted neutral gray but they sure don’t look it, do they? Correct colour analysis requires neutral surroundings. For me, that’s the first non-negotiable standard.

 

 

I believe that the best beauty is the easiest for others to see. The minute something doesn’t fit, we feel it in our gut. The person has altered themselves, as if they couldn’t trust themselves the way they were. If they couldn’t, should we? People are more relaxed and honest with us if our appearance speaks the truth of us.

The beautiful girl in these pictures is at ease with herself. Jackie is easy easy for us to look at. She’s wearing lots of makeup but the colours feel like an effortless, natural part of her face. Most important, her expression shows us that Jackie feels happy and calm. We, in turn, feel happy and calm. Humans are highly empathic, women especially.

What I want to give you is what Jackie has in these photos, a feeling of being fully satisfied and grateful with what she was given, of knowing that her gifts are perfect, plenty, and enough for anything she chooses to do. I love to analyze young women so they can experience this no-turning back moment. May they carry it for a lifetime and never fill a makeup bag with colours made for anyone but their own true selves.

 

 

Annie

I am thrilled when I meet women who present themselves as they are. I have a lot of respect for the fact that when we meet, clients are without their makeup. I am given the enormous privilege of a blank slate and the permission to take it where I see the most genuine beauty. Some women don’t wear makeup and never will, and that’s fine as long as the decision is made from consciousness or hope, anything but fear (and if it’s fear, I will help you).

What happens when a woman loves sweats and denim jackets, sees herself as a student, say, or scientist, not a bombshell, dresses in Summer’s colours, and finds out in one short afternoon that she is a Bright Winter?

Annie is a stunning, and I mean stunning, Bright Winter with medium brown hair and aqua turquoise eyes.  Big similarities to Sophie Ellis-Bextor, with a little lighter hair colour (see the hair colour photo in next section). Annie works and studies, loves her jeans, runners, and hoodie, and has all her gear in a backpack.

Like Jackie, she found it hard to look away from her face in lovely makeup and her own, perfect colours. Once she got back home, it came to her that she wasn’t at all sure she wants to go around being stunning. Annie is discovering what many of us have, that being noticed for our great beauty surprises us by being awkward. We get over that. Then we have to put our clothes together.

She read all the adjectives about energized, dynamic, and sharp, thought about the Snow Princess analogies and heard this. It’s too loud. Bright Winter is not brash. No Season is. Each one finds a balance. The darker, the quieter. The bolder, the more minimalist. The purer, the more crystalline. The brighter, the sweeter.

 

Photo: ilco

 

This is too hard. Close in many ways, beautiful and powerful face,

 

Photo: african_fi

 

Both of those forgot two very important elements that have to show up together: delicate (missing above) and happy (missing below).

 

In the meantime, Annie just wants to be this. Also beautiful, but Annie looks like this about as much Sophie E-B. There are aspects that are right but it’s probably not the best fit.

 

Photo: Daphne01

 

Some of these are personal adjustments, as Annie feels her way to being at home in brighter colours. I recall going in to work my first day after my ‘adjustment’ and thinking everyone would notice and comment. Nobody said a word. We move into our new direction too slowly for others to really pick up on it, but to us on the inside, those first few steps feel almost earth-shattering.

But also, Annie is right in that Bright Winter walks a fine line. To say Snow Princess and leave it at that emphasizes the cold, the regal, all true, may be easier if you have Nordic genes, but forgets Spring’s melt. The Bright Seasons are a world coming alive, fresh and young, the activity of life great and small on the forest floor, in the trees, and in the fields. The lid is still on, this is still Winter, and now getting ready to fire on all cylinders. That building up is the stored energy of Bright Winter, the flash of a yellow silk tank or lining in a dark tuxedo.

The contradiction of Bright Winter is in how it will fire: as babies, with all their innocence disguising a powerful intention to live. When we choose clothes, we want that element of extreme youth, even before birth, earliest dawn. Baby colours on Winter’s dark background. Sounds of bells when the sun comes up. A jeweled silver locket. Dangling crystal earrings. A thin, shiny, sugarplum belt. Yoga pants with a line of sequins down the leg. A pink scarf with  gold and silver metallic threads. Sun is still an afterthought in the early hours. Like a child’s tiara, it doesn’t have to be big and heavy. Accessories are a great way to bring your energy closer and keep the detachment you need to not feel threatened while you absorb it.

The  image below is closer to Bright Spring. They still have Winter’s darker reserve but it sneaks away from them. Many more giggles. Fireworks are delicate and temporary, true of all Spring, but there’s too much movement for Winter.

Photo: enbo62

 

This is better. The feeling is not so much delicate as fragile. It is delicate as intricate. The colours are the same. The faces too.

 

Photo: ilco

 

Need not be complicated or expensive. Need not be a big area. We see small areas just as well. A bright pink tank top with a little pink sequin detail, an ice grey hoodie in an athletic knit instead of sweatpants fleece, dark jeans, runners with a turquoise swoosh, little diamond earrings for $7, and a backpack with a red zipper.

I can’t think of a store that does inspired style with a big nod to adorable better than J. Crew. Search the Women’s page. Icy boatneck tees, an awesome handknit mixed media sweater, bright cashmere…but these girls aren’t done up and fancy. They’re not Ice Anything. Somehow they still look a little special. They’re uncommonly accessorized. Kate Spade has sweetness too, but usually too perky for a Winter. Is Crew too safe? Maybe so, but by the time these women reach their 40s, they’ll be ready to pull out more stops.

What we do is just proof in the physical world of what we believe. We cannot change our beliefs instantly, regardless of how strong the argument and the evidence. We live through that shape shifting time when we saw one thing, we consciously know it’s true, but everything else is catching up.

Give yourself the time. Invisibility was a kind of superpower in its own right, just maybe not the one you want for the rest of your life if you really think about it. Once you’ve seen yourself in your best colours, going back to invisibility feels like letting yourself down. You feel your way into your new colours over a few months. You have time to wonder, “This is just clothes. Why is this affecting me so much?” You’re doing this for you, always the hardest person to convince. Once we believe in us, everyone says, “What took you so long?”

Tea and Coffee Hair

Bright Season hair is uncommon. It’s glassy. It’s lighter than True Winter in many cases. The mistake is made of assuming it’s light to medium brown because what else are we going to call it?  Wearing wrong colour, it can appear to have the dusty quality of Summer ash brown. Once the colours of clothing are adjusted, your hair looks as different, improved, and cleared, as your face.

Bright Season hair is never ash. If I were a hair colourist, I might know how to create it, or maybe it can’t be done. I have never seen it improved by hair colour. The colour is always too dense and heavy. Maybe it’s because the hair colour industry’s way of making choices for women is broken, not the fault of the stylists who are the nicest people. Maybe because Brights should just leave their hair alone. Colour chemistry hasn’t caught up with the specialness of it. I do wonder about Laminates though. They may have a place, as coloured cellophane, consistent with hair that is basically already that.

I’ve likened Bright Season hair colour to tea and Autumn-influenced hair to coffee. Bright Season hair is not only lighter in colour, the colour is lighter in density.

Annie’s hair, Earl Grey Tea with lemon in it.

 

Jackie’s hair:

 

 

Dont mess with this hair. This is not medium brown hair. It’s magic.

Often, a Bright Season tip-off  is hair that is not as dark as eyes, when eyes go to black. Not always. Asian people often have hair and eyes of equal darkness. We have another Bright Winter article coming with hair that is as dark. We’ll show you root beer and black tea.

 

What are your thoughts about Eva Green of James Bond’s Casino Royale, here and here?

Here is one reality.

Another.

Many aspects of her face remind me of Jackie’s. The shapes of the eyes and smile particularly.

Who knows what’s real? Are the freckles? The hair colour? But what colouring.

 

—-

 

Use of Images

The images contained in this article are of private individuals, not celebrities. I consider the permission for me to use them as a privilege. It is my intention to protect these women’s privacy and generosity. If you use any of the photos without permission, I will seek legal counsel. I do not want to have to reduce the beauty and detail of the photographs with watermarks.

This is a learning site. You are free to use any of my words so long as they are attributed back to the page you got them from (meaning entire URL, not just the site name), in every instance of their use. If you mix up my meaning and get the message wrong, feel free to omit any reference back to me.

 

 

The Best Skin Finish on Summer Colouring

November 12, 2012 by · 33 Comments 

Feeling Imbalance

I went to a meeting. As the women arrived, one woman distinguished herself immediately as a leader in any crowd. Her physical presence was noticed first because she was quite tall and strongly built. Her face was equally strong, in the colours of coffee, cream, and golden piecrust, with clove brown eyes. Wearing bronze eyeglass frames with copper glints, her only makeup a beautiful deep cinnamon lipstick, she was striking and beautiful.

She moved through the crowd with confidence. She had the business savvy to put in a plug for her company as smooth as could be. Her natural qualities of character were as manifest as her beauty. Her choices in clothing and jewelry, although of high taste and quality, were confusing.

Nobody is ever unattractive. Every woman is truly a beauty in her face and her heart and I can look straight in your eyes to say that. But there are better choices. Better ways to spend our money that look more truthful and less artificial. In a white dress with splashy flowers in primary colours, suddenly, the random blonde hits in her hair stood out as disorganized. The coloured glass bead necklace looked plastic because our energy modifies not only colour but also texture and everything else that comes near it.

In the white jacket, our needle skips into a groove of wondering about skin that’s seen too much sun. It’s uncomfortable now. We have thoughts we don’t want to have. During your colour analysis, we’re going to see what the drape colours do to your skin. We are equally going to observe what your own colours do right back to the drapes (and so to your clothes and jewelry choices). Next to our woman’s colouring, white ages her skin. She in turn alters simple white to become strident and look, well, a little cheap. Thoughts we don’t want to have.

We love this woman. It doesn’t feel right that we can’t settle in her presence but our visual system is on a roller coaster with too much to process. I’m always reminded of a light-coloured person wearing those Christmas sweaters in strong reds and greens with shiny ornaments appliquéd on the front. Like wearing garland. We’re feeling effort and distraction.  Subconsciously, we’re scanning the room for somewhere easier to be. She is an Autumn, probably True Autumn, wearing colours and feelings made for another woman.

Where’s the balance? How can we know the way to enhancing what we are in a way that attracts people into our presence? By wearing the colours and lines that we are.

Soft Natural True Summer

One of our group wondered about a Polyvore using the True Summer palette, adapted for a Soft Natural body.

 

Classic bodies are people who are medium in their proportions, like me. Nothing really out of the ordinary,  in the center of the National Standards charts. Natural bodies are similar, with a heavier bone structure and more muscular tendency. The other groups belong to those body shapes that strike you as ‘not average’. They are Dramatics (long and lean, Keira Knightley, or long and curvy, like Bond girls, Ursula Andress), Romantics (smaller curvy, like Adele) and Gamines (Mighty Mites).  These are very loose versions of the 13 body types outlined in David Kibbe’s 1987 book, Metamorphosis. If you can find yourself, it is brilliantly good.

I am not brilliantly good at Kibbe’s interpretations. This is my take on SN. It won’t match anyone else’s.

 

True Summer Soft Natural
True Summer Soft Natural by christinems featuring turquoise jewelry

 

Classics dress head-to-toe. Natural means separates.

No Croc, Brahmin, Python…Summer isn’t lizardy, futuristic, or obviously modernistic. Even on a Dramatic, they are more of a high breeding and ancestry group. Those other words are too cold and hard. They seem oily to me, moving into smarmy. Great on the right person though. We’re just looking for your normal. If you look like you’re wearing a costume, you’re in the wrong Kibbe and/or the wrong colours for you.

Choose coloured handbags. The choice in this item is endless. Gray or black ranges from sensible to serviceable to kind of depressing. Water colours, berry pinks, gorgeous blues, these are beautiful places to pick up the makeup colours. Trust me, we’ll see it, even in a fingernail. You would on someone else, right?

Cool Shimmer

Summer skin is most beautiful when it’s smooth, silky, and dry. This colouring is not at its most beautiful glossy or frosty, slick or metallic, which boomerang us back to wet, cold, and hard.

True Summer skin’s way of handling light is the diffusion of moonlight. There, we can find no sun, no hardness, no glitz, no wetness. There’s no winking like fireflies (that’s Bright Spring), no sharp gleam of platinum (True Winter), no dew (Light Summer), not iron and lead (Dark Winter’s gray feelings), and on it goes. Moonlight is not blingy (that’s Bright Winter’s normal). Moonlight is very cool and very soft. In a morning sky, it’s a sheer cloud-white curtain moving in a breeze. At night, a cloak of pearly, silvery light.

Vision theory moment: Moonlight is a combined reflection of sunlight, starlight, and reflected earthlight. It is neither blue nor silvery. We have colour sensitive cone cells in the retina whose highest sensitivity is to yellow light. But when illumination levels are low, the cones fire less. We become almost colour blind. The very light-sensitive (but colour-insensitive) rods take over and they happen to create more impulses in response to blue and green wavelength light.

 

Photo: Bongani

 

In the way of Summer skin to mirror the colours and textures it wears, it will shimmer in brushed silver. The way to iridescence in skin is in brushed shimmers in pink, lavender, or blue, since these are the notes found through the entire palette, including the grays. You look amazing. The shimmer is an even veil. Put a Winter in those colours and textures and you’re looking at the skin through a window that needs cleaning.

Even satined makeup requires caution. Satin on Summer skin can convert into cold and frosty because these colours are already so extremely cool and the complexion is delicate. On Winter skin, frost is just skin, in the same way that Winter’s so-white-it’s-blue white will be just-white on a Winter and aggressive-colour-under-oily-face on a Summer. Only you see your clothes on a hanger. The rest of us see them compared to your own colouring right under your face. Again, just looking for what looks like normal white on you.

Textile that mutes colour is effective. Not the stronger thicker textures of Autumn colours (and skin). This is the much softer side. Summer isn’t thick, straight, or hard. It’s swirly. Spring is sweet and scattered, moving towards pointy and buoyant. Summer is grounded. It sweeps like a porch swing, a branch in a breeze, the lines created when you pour liquid slowly into liquid. The Best Skin Finish on Summer Colouring: , dreamy, dreamy, dreamy. (Light, True, Soft :))

Summer colours are light (compared to Autumn and Winter), cool, and soft. Summer surfaces look muted and lightweight (Spring, who goes from frothy to floating, is closer to weightless), with brushstrokes or a gently buffed texture. The softness is feathery. Fluffy is good. Downy is great. Good dreams have fleecy edges.

Shiny surfaces shift colour to appear lighter and brighter. That’s great on Spring but makes no sense with Summer’s colours. They don’t cooperate. Since those same colours exist in Summer skin, it won’t cooperate either. White feathers can be almost blue in moonlight but they’re never the colour of lightning (Winter).

The True Season Analysis

If you’re a True Summer, remember when the analyst saw that drape on you right at the beginning of the PCA and stopped for a minute? And changed drapes and went back to the silver, and kept going back to the silver without telling you why?  She saw something. She didn’t move the drapes that way on your Bright Spring daughter.

Finally, she said, “I see today’s session is going to be a little different.” A True Season analysis is quite singular. In the True Summer silver drape, the face is perfect right from the start. Skin is evenly coloured. The eyes are so huge, you’ll think I’ve lost my marbles, I wonder if the colour analysts will recognize this, I am reminded of those glowy pearlescent white alien forms with great big eyes like from the Close Encounters movie.  (Read the story – no accident that Spielberg put 6 year old ballerinas in those outfits. The man had a handle on Summer.)  In some ways, with a True Season analysis, you begin at the end. Most remarkable, regardless of which of the 4 True Seasons you see.

More True Summer. They always look like this to me. The eyes are all you can see, the skin is so cool and quiet.

 

Photo: prima_vera


 

Photo: ilco

 

The Summer Skin Finishes

Integrating Summer into the Spring and Autumn we’ve already done,

Bright Spring: glass

True Spring: persimmon

Light Spring: petal

 

Light Summer:  peach

True Summer:  cotton

Soft Summer:   flannel

 

Soft Autumn: suede

True Autumn: velvet

Dark Autumn: leather

 

True Summer

>> paper to pearl

Use face powder. Translucent.

Use a foundation brush that makes the product a thin even layer. If I’ve applied your makeup, you know I’m selective in the extreme about where concealer goes and how foundation is applied. It’s fast and simple but there’s a way that I think works best.

What I don’t do for lack of time is follow with something I do on myself, and everyone could, which is to buff the skin a bit more. The Body Shop Extra Virgin Kabuki brush is my favorite (found it on beautypedia.com of course). It’s much too general to be the first foundation brush to my picky preference, but it leaves a superb buffed finish without moving the concealer and foundation from their zones.

The Shine Stopper at Paula’s Choice is very good. It works well on the T-zone.

The lips should look about like unpowdered, natural skin or just a bit shinier. Gloss = goop in a heartbeat. I’m not telling you to have powdery lips, just stay with reasonable, believable lip moisture, not a whole lot extra.

The colours of water are so important in True Summer – wear this type of jewelry, scarf, and movement near the face.

Navy mascara, soft not intense sapphire (Dior Icone Blue 268). Grey is hard to find, but the various Soft Blacks and Almost Blacks are fine. Black equals railroad tracks.

Stay with calm, fresh, gentle contrasts. Summer’s light colours are pastels, meaning more pigment than Winter’s light colours that are much closer to white. Avoid too much distance between lightest and darkest elements in hair, cosmetics, and clothes. Keep them closer together.

It’s quite important to settle in your mind how far from white your lightest colours are. Look at them and notice that it’s a long way to white from your coloured pastels for all three Summers. The eyeshadow highlight for Winter is some version of ice. On Summer, I use more colour under the brow bone, as muted (grayed) shell pink, where the amount of graying depends on the Season. True Summer might wear Merle Norman Ballerina, while Soft Summer could wear Merle Norman Mist.

Use eyeshadow instead of eyeliner or diffuse the liner well by applying shadow over it.

 

Light Summer

>> pearl to petal, as daisy, as butterfly wing. A little more fluff than Spring, a little more dry-down.

Photo: mcoot

 

The True Summer section applies. There is more warmth here as a first warm weekend in May. Outdoor glows are great but controlled. A pale pink gold gloss or an uplight on the cheeks is plenty. You are a Summer, not a Spring, so restraint is needed. A May picnic isn’t the same as the beach in July. As a Neutral Cool colouring, remain cooler than warmer in everything you add. The Mineral Glow in Shimmer at e.l.f. is a nice choice without a lot of heat or a silly price.

On the Light Seasons, the lightest colour is plenty. The lightest application is plenty. The sheerest sheers will look so much younger. The blush by e.l.f. called Shy is one I love. It would set you back 2 whole dollars.

Face powder still applies. Use translucent, perhaps with a slight yellow tint.

Wondering what else to invest in at e.l.f.? Go to beautypedia.com. Click Search All Reviews. Choose Brand e.l.f. Cosmetics.  Down in Skin type, click all the types. Down in Ratings, deselect all the boxes except Paula’s Pick on the left side.  Why spend the same money and not get the best? Scan down the price column. Not bad. Now go back to the Search and select the Very Good box. 4 pages. Even better considering what’s coming next month.

 

Photo: przybsz

 

The best makeup takes the lines and colours you already have and makes them more. It doesn’t work to superimpose someone else’s lines or colours on yours. Carol Tuttle of Dressing Your Truth taught us to consider the slant of a straight line drawn across outer – inner – inner – outer corners of our eyes. Position the outer corner of your eyeliner along that straight line.

The Spring stroke in Light Summer often places the outer corner higher than inner. Follow that. Don’t add cat eye effects unless you’re under 20, going to be in a music video, or are a Bright Winter Theatrical Romantic, and even then, it’s better in eyeglass frames than eyeliner.

Many True Summers have a very round eye, almost square. If the outer eye corner seems to pull downwards, then don’t extend the line at all, just keep it close to the rounded outer corner of the eye.

One of the many places to use concealer is to cover the red and/or downward crease at the outer corner of the eye. Blend the concealer up, not down. Everyone should do this. Nobody over 20 should use frost.

 

Soft Summer

>> pearl to flannel

From our textures above, Soft Summer becomes more woven, drier, and thicker as we move deeper into Autumn. Cotton to waffle weave. Light Summer will wear L’Oreal Peony Pink lipstick, while Soft wears Spicy Pink.

Soft Summer is not the dustings of icing sugar or flour above. It’s a dusting of dust. Contour with powder 2 shades darker than foundation. It looks like believable sun without seeming dirty or yellow. Clinique Superpowder Double Face makeup in Matte Tawny 06 is an option. Your choice is still cooler than warm, like a foundation but  a few shades deeper.

Use it as contour, as we began discussing in the Autumn article previously. That means in a 3 shape around the forehead, where the bone is most prominent, around the temple, under cheekbone so the blush can be blended above it and nearer the midline, and a little under the jaw. If the nose shape is not sharp, add second contour by beginning at the inner corner of the eye and go down the sides of the nose bridge, just off the midline, not down on the nostril. The deeper eyeshadow that goes above the crease is diffused away as it approaches the midline, at a level about where this second contour placement would go if extended under the eyebrow.

 

Photo: riceguitar

 

During the cosmetic colour section of your PCA, we focus on what right colour looks like on your skin. I really want you to see someone very new to you and also, that when cosmetic colour is correct, you can apply it and pack it on and apply more. It just melts into the skin. You can be a lot less careful than you’re used to with wrong colours. Some steps are left out for lack of time and small learning opportunity. Lipliner is one. I never use coloured lipliner anyway. I use a clear sealant to keep lipstick in place. Paula’s Choice makes a great one. The Lip Lock pencil at e.l.f. is another.

The cosmetic selections for Soft Summer are unlimited. You could fill pages and pages. At e.l.f., the Mineral Blush in Plum mixed with Pink or Joy to get the right darkness level, looks like it would be pretty.

For eyeshadow, look at the Endless Eyes Pro Mini in Everyday. You won’t use them all but for $5, it’s almost ridiculous.

 

On Summer, application is gentle and swirly. There are so sharp lines or edges.Diffuse one product into the next. The canvas is drier, using powder to ensure that products don’t catch and jump. If using cream products, apply them to the skin before the powder so they appear from within.

 

Recap: The skin is soft and dry, setting up gentleness and gradual muting. The features are blended into the skin with colours that create a soft flow or diffusion instead of sharp definition. As colours flow into each other as hazy mists, it feels difficult to tell where one feature ends and the next begins.

For Autumn: 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.

—–

 

Contrast For 12 Seasons

October 26, 2012 by · 14 Comments 

Part 1

 

 

The video above is here at YouTube.

 

I need to refine something I said in Part 1. I’m grateful to anyone who steps forward and challenges me. Don’t worry about hurting my feelings, it’s next to impossible to do. I know you’re questioning my ideas, not me personally, so please do as Rachel did and respond honestly. We all learn something.

 

Rachel heard,

that  A) all colors in the palette should work equally well for anyone in any combination. This, in and of itself was easy to understand, but when combined with concept  B) if you don’t use the proper amount of contrast for your type (i.e. true winter is a high contrast type, so it needs high contrast combinations) you will be expressing less than your potential.

She responded, “Now, each one of these ideas works fine on its own, but when you put them together, I believe there is a contradiction going on.”

 

Good points, Rachel. I wasn’t clear in my thinking. How about this:

Part 2

 

 

Here at YouTube.

 

Rachel thought about it and asked,

Maybe what you meant was: stick with your type’s contrast level. If you are a season influenced by winter, that will be high. If you are a season influenced by summer, that will be low. Other seasons: medium. It works regardless of whether you are an exception to the seasonal stereotype. Have I got it now?

 

Me:

Yes, that’s what I meant – and that nobody needs to even think much about it except Winters.

I can’t think of any Season that couldn’t go to the highest extreme in their palette. Is it necessary to refine them? Only for the three Winters, not Bright Spring or Dark Autumn who also have some of Winter’s colour properties in them.

Also an important point: the size of the lightest and darkest doesn’t matter to establish the value contrast range. A band on a collar, a very shiny piece of platinum, a row of black navy buttons, white stitching…as long as the two extremes are present, the viewer will register them, the range is set, and the point is made. Adjust the size of the lightest and darkest blocks to the overall darkness level you want to achieve.

Would you sometimes need to heighten the contrast level offered by your Tone’s palette? I don’t think so. I don’t know of anyone within a Season who needs more contrast than their colours provide, regardless of the distance between hair and skin’s apparent darkness level. To do this, you have to lighten your lights, darken your darks, or both. We know that the 3 Colour Scales go up and down independent of each other (meaning you can have saturated colour that’s light or dark, warm or cool) but also that when you change one parameter, you influence the other two. To lighten your lights and/or darken your darks, what did you have to do? Add white? Yellow? Blue? In most cases, you’ll alter the colour right into one of the other 11 Tones and out of harmony with your natural colours.

 

Part 3

A few more questions from readers about True Winter.

Here at YouTube.

 

Who would wear very high value contrast (light to dark) and very high colour contrast (complementary colours, like the skirt and scarf mentioned earlier or similar shapes of nearly equal size)? A Bright Winter.

Like Dark Winter, she has a better white than True Winter’s so-white-it’s-blue. Retail reality probably means that she’ll just buy the TW white. She is the lightest of the 3 Winters and I find she is better in coal than the dark, dense pitch black of True and Dark Winter. The 3 Winters do go all the way to B&W but I see their pure unadulterated form best on True. Dark and Bright need to adulterate.

Important for me to be reminded that nothing applies to everybody. In our group on facebook, we talk about colour as it applies to different body types, even within the same Season. No two women will apply the same palette in the same way. Partly, that’s just taste. As the ladies pointed out, tapped in as they are to elegance and balance in body line as much as colour, (applying David Kibbe’s 13 Image Identities from his 1987 book, Metamorphosis), women of the same Season but different body line will combine from their palettes differently. As a Dramatic Classic Dark Winter, my colour contrasts are higher, with heavy use of neutral colours. A Theatrical Romantic Dark Winter might find that too stark and minimal. She would wear more colours together at once, using more of the mid-range colours together. She looks and moves in a more delicate and animated way than I do, and she looks right when  she repeats that energy in how she dresses, applies makeup, and chooses hairstyles.

Everybody adjusts everything in the way that’s right for them. It’s easy once you know how. One afternoon, you and I together. You will be amazed at the new tools in your toolbox.

 

—–

The Soft Dramatic Soft Summer Part 2 (and Hair Colour)

September 25, 2012 by · 16 Comments 

Still lunar and fluid like all Summer, still vaporous, but with a dimensional quality, like a silvery apparition, the hologram we discussed in Part 1. Soft Summer does not have a feeling of steps. What these fairly-light and fairly-dark colours do is flow smoothly.

Paisley asked

“Can the Soft Summer archetype as you model it have a warmer embodiment?…mostly we’re compared to water spirits (which imagery I do love). I wonder if we could have a warmer side that’s maybe more of a mountain spirit? I do have warm-leaning eyes and some warmth in my hair, but yes, the SA drapes turn me yellow. Even so, gold, brass, copper, and rose gold are better on me than silver or pewter, which tend to just sit there on me.”

She makes an important point that applies to many Soft Summer. That warmer incarnation is certainly in my head, but maybe not always in my words and images. Something that comes up often for me is that I see many who are very borderline Soft Summer/Soft Autumn. They’re like the neutralest of the Neutrals, positioned almost even between those two Neutral Seasons. To see the eyes alone, you’ll pick the warmer Season for sure, except that the skin yellows with drapes. On these women, silver (not overly cold and shiny) and gold (not overly yellow and shiny) are about equal.

Soft Summer warms and solidifies significantly relative to True Summer imagery. In my book (over in the right column), we went from a lake to a forest. Hopefully, the Polyvores below portray that.

About shimmer, Paisley said,

As long as the iridescence doesn’t take the color too high, I think iridescent makeup is gorgeous on us. Also your makeup style depends on your Kibbe. Having been identified as a Romantic, I was relieved to read Kibbe’s recommendation that even daytime makeup should have some sparkle. I think very softly glowing making adds to the misty factor, as do finishing powders that are pearlescent. The point being to keep it soft-focus — it’s can’t go toward metallic in any way. But glowing and pearlescent is gorgeous on us, IMO.

And IMO, you’re exactly right, Paisley. I can not say it as well as a woman who lives it.

Seems to me that part of the shimmer, maybe all of it, is explained by the equiluminant property of this palette. Rendered in B&W, it would appear to be just a few shades of grey and much of the detail would disappear. Bring in colour and the combinations are pure melody. Everyone of the 12 Seasons soars depending on what you can do with it. For Soft Summer, it’s in the allure that happens when these colours are worn together on this type of colouring.

Why? Because vision in our brain operates on two parallel tracks. The colour system recognizes faces, objects, and details. The B&W system sees movement, depth, and position.  In equiluminant compositions or outfits, the colorblind B&W track won’t quite be able to tell the location of the elements. But the colour track will see the elements well. This disconnect gives these compositions an unstable, shimmery, unearthly feeling. We talked about it in Part 1. Sorry for repeating, it is so amazing to me.

The SD body has presence. The horizontal shoulder line is substantial and the vertical line equally so. I am not a Kibbexpert, but narrow, petite, or slender wouldn’t be words I’d associate with Soft Dramatic. If someone picked those words for you over Amazonian, I’d have to wonder about another Image Identity. If you look at Images for Raquel Welch, she is luscious-yes, dumpling-no. Compared to other body types, these are a little burly. A lot of size, strength, and length in the upper and lower body.

Kibbe Soft Dramatic (SD)

  • broad shoulders, a strong horizontal line
  • a long bold sweeping vertical line
  • drape, flow, light fabric ; soft plush – so far, great on Soft Summmer
  • shiny fabric – for Soft Summer, this looks like the lustre of pearl and abalone shell ; go past it and your colouring will make the fabric shinier than it is and the fabric will make your face more muted

 

Soft Dramatic Soft Summer 1
Soft Dramatic Soft Summer 1 by christinems featuring a tuxedo shirt

 

 

Many Summers ask if they look good in pearls. They absolutely do, taking into account your body’s geometry. Classics wear the classic strand(s) better than one big-huge piece. Dramatic bodies need big and geometric shapes to include the necessary angularity that balances who they already are.

We’ve talked about what looks like black and white on you in Black and White for 12 Seasons. Once you learn to manipulate what you wear to look like B&W or black&red or whatever on you without actually wearing those colours, you have cracked the code. You can achieve any look without ever venturing into unflattering colour by knowing how your own colouring exerts influence over what you wear. How do you do this? Wear your 12 Season Sci\ART palette. Job done.

Mr. K talks about bold and dramatic colour combinations. Great. Use your palette and go wild. Don’t compare your bold and dramatic to how Mr. Spock would get there.

Contrast levels are high here. First, it increases the drama and boldness. Second, I’ve rethought this whole contrast thing – 3! videos coming up about that in another post.

 

Soft Dramatic Soft Summer 2
Soft Dramatic Soft Summer 2 by christinems featuring oversized tops

 

  • Head to Toe.
  • T with rounded edges, always the vertical and horizontal lines.
  • Luxe and glamour.
  • Colour repetition works well to give flow and continue a vertical line.
  • Not stiff, tight, shapeless, sharp of drape.
  • Lots of length. Strong geometrics with soft edges.
  • If you don’t like the muted purples, don’t wear them as clothes. But they make darn good eyeshadow.
  • Wear your hair colour on your feet.

 

Soft Dramatic Soft Summer 3
Soft Dramatic Soft Summer 3 by christinems featuring strappy platform sandals

 

Enlarged the jewelry to be big. With her size and the very generous amount of Yang, jewelry needs to be scaled way up or she’ll dial it down into a dime store trinket.

For the day of the week you go to the office, not the opera, there are shoes here that won’t punish your back and feet. The guys wouldn’t put up with that. Why should we?

 

Soft Dramatic Soft Summer 4
Soft Dramatic Soft Summer 4 by christinems featuring a gathered skirt

 

 

Soft Summer Hair Colour

This came up on facebook but this is a good place to insert it. Whatever your Kibbe or Season,

When do highlights in the hair look right? When the distance between the lightest and darkest approximates that in the rest of the colouring (except if you’re a Winter (where contrast rules are unique and addressed in those 3! videos)). That’s how the hair can be a realistic extension of the head.

Summer’s light colours are pastels, more ‘colourful’ than Winter’s icy colours. Also, their darks don’t get extremely dark. So there is not a big distance between the lightest and darkest colours. Soft Summer begins from a darker base colour position than the other Summers. Applying the pastel concept, their highlight will be darker than the other Summers too. Message for colourist: don’t overbleach or add back toners that are too light.

Use a taupe highlight, like medium mushroon, for a tone on tone look. The colour is in your swatches. It is cooler than it is warm. But be careful. Someone sees warmth in the eye and the very neutrality of the skin and overestimates the warmth. Soft Summer is often getting coloured way too light and yellow so the face goes oily and yellow. This is not a butterscotch light, it’s taupe.

Also be careful again. That dusty quality in the hair is essential to bring the roses out of the skin. I mean, essential. Don’t stare at your hair colour and not see the whole like we do. Don’t compare your hair to anyone except other perfect Soft Summer hair, like Princess Kate. Would she look better with saturated hair? No way. Highlights? Absolutely not to me.

Start with a colour a couple of shades lighter than the base, usually a medium ash brown And be careful once again. Chemical colour is often very saturated and looks darker than expected, like saturated cosmetics do. So you might even go a few shades lighter than the base to compensate.

If you can keep 80% of the hair as totally unprocessed, much better to give the skin harmony and perfecting potential that chemistry so skillfully removes with chemical pigments. Make highlights filaments, not chunks.

How about this?  Look at the before. Cooler than warm but not pure ash cool silvery brown. The highlights on the right side of your screen (not the model) are pretty good in the lower half of the hair. On the other side, the eye can get caught up on the too-light strands. Soft Summer’s total expression is Summer colours in shade. Still, those too light strands are at least cool beige, not platinum, not yellow or orange. The base is pretty darn good for a Soft Summer. I like it. (IDK if this model is a Soft Summer, it’s just about the hair).

 

—–

 

The Soft Dramatic Soft Summer Part 1

September 18, 2012 by · 8 Comments 

Appearance

The body types being referred to below come from David Kibbe’s excellent book on the subject, Metamorphosis (1987). For me this is the book that works, IF you can find yourself. It’s harder than you’d think. I am asked to offer it as part of PCA appts, which I’d gladly do if it could be objectified. As long as it’s just my opinion or Mr. Kibbe calls me to train with him, the client won’t get her ROI (return on investment).

 

Searching for the Soft Dramatic Body

She has a lush, exotic quality to her features. Angelina Jolie? Maybe if her head were on Sharon Stone’s body. This is where it becomes anyone’s opinion, but to me, her body is too small and compact, her expression is very open and giving and the features are too Yin. She’s not physcially big enough to embody Diva. Height does matter somewhat. This is an imposing physical presence that seems bigger than it is at any height. An SD woman commands her space.

If Phyllisha Rashad is Dramatic Classic (DC), SD is more physically Yang than that. Even a DC could drown in all the fabric draping of SD, or look that way even with the draping scaled down to her size, as if she’s wearing curtains.

I wonder if IRL, Angelina’s proportions would have that Hollywood quality of large head/small body that photograpshs well. JAniston has that too. Whitney Houston would be very close to SD and often dressed that way.

SD and Flamboyant Natural (FN) are close in my head. What separates them is the FN’s ability to still wear sweats and eat popcorn. The SD is not nearly as accessible or approachable. She has a more formal energy all the time. She doesn’t own sweats and can barely force herself into yoga wear, but she’s easy to imagine with a tennis racket, on a skateboard, running on the beach at 6am without makeup. Movement is key for the Naturals.

Naomi Campbell? Perhaps, but she seems very slender.

Linda Evangelista? Very possible.

Someone smart suggested Kate Winslet as a Soft Dramatic (and very possibly Soft Summer). That’s a great choice. Big body. Lush, large features with a lot of overall Yang energy, too much to assign her curviness to the Romantic or Soft Classic group.

Visual Processing and The Soft Summer Palette

Neurochemical information travels millions of pathways from retina to various centers in the brain. That’s just the beginning of how an image forms. Neuropsychology kicks in and modifies the retinal data to adjust for lighting, experience, and assumptions as the brain strives to make sense of what it sees, and of course, of surrounding colours.

We appreciate that seasonal or 12 Season colour analysis is based on simultaneous contrast, the fact that two colours side-by-side change one another in our perception.  Soft Summer is a most spectacular Season but we can too easily focus on “those colours are dull” instead of what that very ‘dullness’ makes them capable of that no other can do.

For all three Summers, the ability of adjacent versions of the same hue but differing values to appear 3D, to advance and recede, is central to (my) understanding (of) those Seasons. On Summer colouring, monochromatic colour schemes lose their flatness and give the illusion of a rounded, touchable image. Why the Summers? Because they’re cool-colour (blue-based) colours, so when their value is made darker by adding dark grey or black, they remain blue and they do so across the light/dark band. They don’t turn green or purple.  This works especially well with the True and Soft whose colours are muted, which our brains interpret as ‘far’, establishing a depth relationship.

 

Because of how edges are discerned at the level of the retina, we have more difficulty understanding edges. Monochromatics are even more challenging for discerning edges. They seem to move. They come and go and float around. With even the slight influence of Autumn in this Neutral Season Soft Summer colour collection, this 3D effect from contiguous monochromatics moves to a whole new level.

Over the Autumn palette’s span, which has influence in five different groups of natural colouring, the theme is dimensionality. It’s been called texture, strength, rope, weave, all expressing a similar notion of how this colour language speaks most clearly. Soft Summer steps up from the early 3D effect above that works so well on True Summer, to the phenomenon of the hologram. Still shimmery, more 3D.

Photo: acidxpop

 

With no good evidence, I’ve always seen the Soft Summer composition as lost edges, a figment of the imagination, impressions of depth that might just be apparitions, uncertainty about what is real, like the ghosts of shapes that move in and out of each other, whispered suggestion, signals you’re not sure you heard or saw, phantoms moving in and out of your perception.  The colours made sense tome that way. Finally someone smarter than I am explained it to me: equiluminance.

Luminance means the intensity of emitted light from a surface. That’s not exactly the same as light/dark levels or value because the trunk of a birch tree in shade and one of its leaves in sun may emit similar light at that moment, but in some ways, our brain sees luminance as value. Equiluminance means equal value or light/dark level.

The brain uses its luminance pathways (gray scale, black to white, value) to inform us about position (Where). The chromatic pathways (colour) tells us what things are, their forms and shapes (What). Take away colour and we can’t discern what things are quite as well.

Without colour, the painting looks 2D by the loss of detail in depth. The examples above come from this great website where you’ll find many more great examples.

When colour transitions are gradual because they are of similar value, our colour perceptive brain pathways (or chromatic pathways) are activated but our luminance pathways are not. We feel a little unsure of shape, position, and motion. We have trouble placing forms and objects. In Soft Summer, where saturation is low and values are medium, the colour combinations are exquisite to the point of being supernatural because shapes seem less stable.

The Sci\ART palettes make all this that I talk about happen automatically. Those palettes put these visions in my head, not the other way around. You don’t have to do much other than wear your colours.

 

Apparel in Part 2. Next article, I promise.

 

———–

Harmony in Personal Colour Analysis

August 7, 2012 by · 25 Comments 

Recently, Amelia at True Colour AU posted an article entitled PCA Myth Busters – ‘Perfecting the Skin’ (Part 2) and ‘Any Hair/Eye/Skin Colour Can Be Found in Any Tone’ (Part 1), a myth for which I surely take responsibility, maybe full responsibility, for perpetuating. Actually, I recognize a lot of those myths ;)

More Myth Busting Please

I am only grateful when someone teaches me something, changes my way of thinking, or points out where my words have been misleading or confusing. As in everything she writes, Amelia is 100% correct. She is always very gracious in disarming and dismantling my various discrepancies. I feel a bit regretful that Amelia has to keep defusing the bombs but I sure do recognize and appreciate her patience and willingness to teach us all on her website. We badly need precision in this game. And to keep asking questions at the leading edge of understanding ourselves. And to be grateful to be part of a movement that respectfully improves people’s lives by guiding and supporting them towards choice and truth.

Digression: About the TMIT thing, for those wondering where it came from (I see a response at TCA to a reader question about it) – I made it up all by myself :D. Readers saw it in the article “The Most Important Thing (TMIT)”. Besides precision, the other thing we could use in this game is a means of remembering and applying the fact that colour is comparative.  Forcing it to be absolute is trying to outsmart the system to make it easier. That won’t work well. The Light Season woman might think “Hey, if black on my body makes those areas look bigger, would a black bikini top make my chest look bigger?” Nope. It boomerangs to accentuate the smallness.

I have said that the longer two things (colours, shapes) stay together, the more they emphasize their differences and look even more unbelonging, unbalancing, and unbecoming. They push each other even further in opposite directions. A woman in a drape colour that is not congruent with her inborn colouring looks more blemished, shadowed, and ill, the longer you look at her. Slinky fabric on a straight body just looks wilted and limp. I found a very cool page that helps illustrate how our we alter the things we look at.

Our nervous system, all five senses, work by making comparisons.  Bark doesn’t feel as rough if you wear clothes made of burlap. It feels so much rougher if you live in a satin lined cocoon. A room seems warmer and bigger if you come in from a cold cave. The brain generates visual images largely by comparison too. We never see what’s really there, interesting on a whole new set of levels. A nightlight is plenty bright at midnight. To get your new foundation right, bring your old one so the cosmetician can make a comparison. And in colour analysis, we’re always comparing 3 properties of colour. I didn’t call it TOIT, The Only Important Thing, or The One Important Thing, right?

 

The Endpoint IS Harmony

For me to say that the endpoint of a colour analysis is evenly coloured skin was a poor choice of words because it could be evenly grayed, like a ghost, or evenly pasty, evenly red, etc. Every face needs some shadows for topography and definition. Otherwise, it’s a moon face, it’s blurry, flattish, and fattish. A pencil sketch of a face contains many shades of grey. A colour sketch of a face contains many colours. If there’s no 3D geometry because there are no shadows of any sort, the face and neck appear to occupy the same plane, like there’s no chin or a double chin. On the crosswise axis, if there are no shadows, the nose looks blurred into the face without a defined shape of its own.

I am after a clear, tight, smooth skin that has little (but not zero unless you’re under 14) use for concealer. Sharpness and contrast levels are perfect, noise reduced, great and appropriate colour intensity, and lip colour is pink without being grayed, yellowed, or blued (because when they’re subtle, those effects are easier to see in the lip than the skin, but they happen to the entire face. What happens to part of the face happens to the whole face, but certain features show certain effects better – like if edge of iris blurry, then whole face blurry.) The other extreme, too much colour activity with reds that are too red, shadows too dark, and light areas too oily and shiny, is not good either. The face looks too activated instead of calm.

I avoided use of ‘harmony’ to describe the desired effect of PCA because it has many interpretations, as many as there are analysts. It seems abstract, even though it’s not.  It’s qualitative, not quantitative, at least in the beginning of seeing this – and I am remembering that Amelia said endpoint and I’m still at the beginning of an analysis, so we’re still in perfect agreement. To explain to the woman staring at her face in the mirror what to look for, I begin by defining the reasons for my choices based on measurable parameters as darker/lighter, yes/no, yellower/clearer, greyer/pinker because she can tune into these almost immediately. For readers, would you have understood better if I’d written “You see more harmony.” or “Eye colour looks more intense.”?

 

 

Harmony can be recognized once you’ve connected the seeing and the feeling of it a few times, but how do you explain it? Like nausea or passion, it is beyond the divisive nature of words. A spoken language is separating. Almost isolating. Word A means this. Word B means that. Draping decisions are necessarily exclusive – it’s this one or that one based on certain findings. For a new analyst, the distinction matters. She might see simultaneous good and bad effects when comparing two drapes or two sets of drapes – how to know which one gets precedence? Harmony is inclusive. It speaks of wholeness and unity. Colour measurement appeals to our rational mind. Because colour is visual, it also invokes the image-based mind that deals in emotion, imagination, art, and intuition. Hard stuff to find words for.

Harmony can seem obvious when two things are far apart, like these gentlemen. And not just with colour. Could Placido straighten or highlight his hair and look better? Could he do either without you knowing it? Would harmony be disrupted if Denver had been born with Domingo’s voice? When two things are closer together, it can be a harder call. (Does anyone know what that language is in the subtitles? The characters are very pretty.)

 

To begin by thinking your way to it and eventually feeling your way into it, maybe that’s what experience is. It surpasses conscious thought in favour of just being. Some things are not this way. You don’t think your way to sleep, you release to it, but sleep is not new to our nervous system. Not so with colour. The client is being asked to see something she’s never seen before on the most vulnerable canvas of them all, the most invested real estate on her body – her own face.

Plus, we are exploring current reality in a big way, a place most of us hold only briefly each day. A colour analysis asks us to live in the moment for 2 to 3 sustained hours. Fatigue and sensory overload, plus info overload if I’m the one doing the analysis ( :D once again), can set in. For one woman, by the final decisions, she’s worn out and finds the subjective easier to see. In another case, she has gained enough experience during the draping and can see and feel the best harmony in the final choices. In either case, what I’m after is exactly what Amelia says, ultimate visual harmony.

To any of our senses, harmony describes the linking between a stimulus that presents as a single, continuous whole and the agreeable feelings that arise in our minds, a flawless satisfaction. This is what others have sensed when they say we are glowing or look great. When we get concurring data from our senses, we feel good, reassured, and relaxed. The world is working right. When we don’t, that’s called motion sickness and many other forms of sensory conflict. That’s the Bright Winter woman wearing True Summer colours.

 

Let me see if I can do a better job of describing harmony for you – at least, what my eyes see.

Harmony means that the whole person and what they are wearing vibrate together because they emanate the same wavelength of colour between their natural colouring and what they’ve added to themselves. Energy in synchrony.

The item/colour is part of the person, not separate. If you merged the colour and the person into one image, there would be no division lines.

These bring out the best in each other. The longer you look, the more good things you see, feel, and associate, and the more pleased you feel.

The clothes, makeup, and hair colour look like extensions of the person.  You can find them in each other.

Is there perfectly uninterrupted visual flow between the face and the colours it’s wearing? Can your eyes move from the face to the colour and back and never feel effort?

They look rational and logical together. If you’ve ever seen lettuce green on a Dark Autumn, it looks zany and cartoonish. Dark army green on a Light Spring looks like they’re in hospital.

Like a migration back to yourself, like a homing pigeon, you’re coming back to a place you knew and probably held somewhere, even if by a thread. Does the colour look native to your face?

Does the colour look like a natural extension of the head? In wrong colour, between the colour and the person is a disconnect, they seem disjointed. We want to keep complete integrity between who we are and what we add to enhance ourselves.

When the colours we wear are not in accord with our own, they push each other further in opposing directions. That sensation of being pulled apart cannot compare with the peace of being at one with the things you have added to the image of you. Others feel it perhaps more strongly because they can see us. That ‘not good’ feeling is disharmony.

Continuity <> Interruption = Relief <> Tension. Pleasure <> Processing. Ease <> Work. Nobody likes tension, processing, or work so they’ll feel resistance and look away. On the other hand, with a blue-eyed True Spring in her turquoise drape, it’s hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. Like a language, every element interacts with every other in a relationship. You have no sense of where each word ends and the other begins. Insert a random foreign word in a sentence and it loses its meaning, its flow, its imagery, and the logical and beautiful sound of the words together. At best, it’s a distraction that needs dealing with.

Do you wear readers with strength about 1.25? In wrong colours, you look to us the way the world looks to you before putting on those glasses. Before you put your contacts in for the day, do you feel like you’re not quite part of the world? Once you can focus, you feel more present. That’s how wearing right colour looks – the person is fully present at full power. They are fully engaged and available for us to engage with them, not like a photo where you’re so far from the lens that nobody’s even sure it’s you in the picture. In wrong colour, it’s like an out of focus photograph, like the object isn’t quite there. Once the focus is corrected, you feel as if the object has advanced to be in the room. You can appreciate it fully, where before, some aspects of it were neutralized, canceled, limited, or held back.

Is the colour so demanding that it takes effort to keep your gaze on the face, or so underwhelming as to be insignificant in your awareness, like Johnny Depp in a pale beige shirt and pants? Now we’re getting away from harmony a bit, into what I think of as colour balance, but it’s really all going into the same pocket.

To paraphrase what a child said so beautifully to a recently analyzed friend: “I really like your outfit. Everything matches you.”

New Limits

Part of the reason that I love talking to my friend, Darren, is that he can be objective about the value and pitfalls of conventional wisdom. He applies his unique persona (we all have one) and his imagination to stretch the borders. Exploring the new edge is when the ride is really fun, like discovering new rooms in an already fantastic house.

… sometimes I find pleasure in discord, when things seem to clash but in a good way. Not everyone likes the offbeat but sometimes I find it awakens me and makes me see things different. Like for example the color blocking trend often clashes unlikely colors…

On a different note, but very apt, Darren also said:

I suppose no system is foolproof but I do like that your system allows the client to see themselves draped in the colors especially in comparison with other colors. What is your experience though when a client insists that even though they look good in say, Soft Summer colors, that their personality will not allow for such quiet, softness? Or the Deep Autumn who just loves, loves, loves Light Spring colors and can’t imagine ever feeling comfortable in anything Autumn?

My answer: keep personality out of it if you want to look great. We don’t really know our personality and it’s probably more congruent with our appearance than we’re prepared to admit. We adjust our character in a thousand ways in every situation. We don’t know ourselves. Other issues come into it. A Dramatic Classic and a Flamboyant Gamine (from David Kibbe’s book, Metamorphosis (Atheneum, Macmillan, 1987)) will have different characters, both Dark Winters.  An Autumn who sees herself as something besides some type of Natural – not saying you are or not, just that it’s very hard to self-know if you don’t have a measuring tool and you may go a long way down the path of who you imagine yourself to be. Do colour by sight.

I recently analyzed a Dark Autumn. Julia Roberts gets out of the car. Tall, angular, dramatic, full features, a face that could light a fire with its power and beauty, and still be your BFF. Could she see herself that way? Does the real Julia? We would all need a little practice to live up to her Flamboyant Natural larger-than-life magnificence. Was living life as a Romantic Soft Autumn easier? Our Julia has brilliance she cannot see. She will make the colour and style adjustments with ease. She already has. On seeing her Season, she asked “What if my character isn’t bold, striking, or dramatic?” Her appearance sure is, but she had a point. She feels graceful and feminine. Where is the connection with eggplant and turmeric?

We are all a bit of everything.  We all have grace and femininity, but hers wasn’t heavenly or exquisite predominantly. What came across was splendid and strong, even in her character. Over time, she may have taught herself to soften and suppress her edges (and her edginess) in character as well as clothing. These became the new normal, the new me.

Do what Darren said:

You go home and sort it out. It’s complicated, no doubt, but growth-worthy too.

And she wrote recently to tell me that outspokenness seems to be creeping into (back into?) her conversation.

Colour analysts have the best job in the world.

 

__________________

 

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