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. Â 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.
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.Â 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 Â 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.Â 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.
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.Â 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.
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. Â 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.Â 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.
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.Â 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 andÂ 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.
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).
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.Â 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. Â 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?
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. AÂ 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.
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 Â 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.
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.Â 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?”
- The one with the star, either for Light or True Spring, would be nice on a strawberry blonde.
- For Bright Spring,Â Â 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.
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 donâ€™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”.Â 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.
- 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 tookÂ #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 naturalÂ 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?
-Â 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.
-Â 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.
- 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.
-Â Bright Winter can disappear shine. It’s just amazing what they can suppress. Might even consider the word oppress. JK.Â 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.
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.Â 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?”Â Point taken. Nobody does. You’ll find colours and styles you might not normally see.
Light Summer in December
True Summer in October
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 unlikeÂ 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;Â 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 Winter in September (or March)
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 andÂ 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.Â 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. Â 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 earÂ 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.
I hope that you go to the site and make these images bigger. There are some really nice things here.
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.Â 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 TrueÂ 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 didnâ€™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.
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. Â 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.
This is too hard. Close in many ways, beautiful and powerful face,
Both of those forgot two very important elements that have to show up together: delicate (missing above) and happy (missing below).
In the meantime, AnnieÂ 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.
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 Â 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 Â 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.
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.
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.Â 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? Â 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.Â 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.
Dont mess with this hair. This is not medium brown hair. It’s magic.
Often, a Bright Season tip-off Â 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.
Here is one reality.
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.
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 appliquÃ©d on the front. Like wearing garland. We’re feeling effort and distraction.Â 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, Â 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).Â 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.
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?
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.
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,Â dreamy, dreamy. (Light, True, Soft )
Summer colours are light (compared to Autumn and Winter), cool, and soft.Â 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? Â 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 theÂ Close EncountersÂ movie.Â Â (Read the story – no accident that Spielberg put 6 year old ballerinas in those outfits. The man had a handle on Summer.)Â 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.
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: Â peach
True Summer: Â cotton
Soft Summer: Â flannel
Soft Autumn: suede
True Autumn: velvet
Dark Autumn: leather
>> 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.
>> pearl to petal, as daisy, as butterfly wing. A little more fluff than Spring, a little more dry-down.
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. TheÂ Mineral GlowÂ 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.Â Down in Skin type, click all the types. Down in Ratings, deselect all the boxes except Paula’s Pick on the left side.Â 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.
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.
>> 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 Â 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.
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:Â 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.
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.
that Â 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 Â 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:
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?
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.
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 Â 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.
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.
“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?Â 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.Â 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. Â 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
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.
- 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, sharpÂ 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.
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 Summer Hair Colour
This came up on facebook but this is a good place to insert it.Â Whatever your Kibbe or Season,
When do highlights in the hair look right?Â 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.Â 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? Â 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 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.Â 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. Â 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.
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. Â 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.
Recently, Amelia at True Colour AU posted an article entitled PCA Myth Busters â€“ â€˜Perfecting the Skinâ€™ (Part 2) and â€˜Any Hair/Eye/Skin Colour Can Be Found in Any Toneâ€™ (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 . Readers saw it in the articleÂ ”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.Â 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.Â 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. Â 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 ( 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. Â 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.”
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. Â 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.Â 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.
When I wrote the articles about True Season children two years ago for a previous blog, there was no Autumn article because I didn’t know any Autumn kids to watch. I still don’t know many. I know many Autumn grownups these days. They’re so levelheaded, so reasonable, that it’s hard to think of those elaborate parts of their character that can be quirky or funny. To them, what is, is. Not more, not less.
They’re like everything that’s great about trees and home baking. Not fancy or fussy, I love their company so much for the WYSIWYG, sound, comfortable, real-world advice they offer. Their constancy and durability give us a feeling of people who are extremely trustworthy, reliable, and rock-steady. There’s no zigging and zagging.
gentle eyes, a soft face, perhaps some Summer; she could even be a Soft Â Summer but the eyes look too orange
Capable. This is the kid you want yours to be with if they go horseback riding. If yours falls off and is having wrist issues, the Autumn child can catch both horses, lead them home, find a grownup or a phone, call the parents, and get the right kind of help.
Life goes smoother if the other kids could just agree with them. There may be no physical attacks but there will be direct words spoken and order imposed. She’s doing the talking at the lemonade stand. Not bossy, not show-off, just doing the job.
Least likely to be picked on. Assertive from an early age.
dark but somehow soft (muted actually) ; the strong facial lines, smile lines
True and Soft are social, not solitary. Dark may isolate himself more and talk to dolphins while all the other kids are trying to tip the raft. Winter needs time apart.
Might be stocky or sturdy, especially the boys, and boy, can they eat. Regardless, boy or girl, these children are strong and willing to use their strength. They are powerful athletes and real survivors. Their stamina and endurance stays with them into adulthoodÂ as 50 year olds who can still outskate all the kids in pond hockey.
someone was smart when they put him in orange; notice the orange tones in the hair and a very strong face, even for a baby
When the Soft Autumn child tells a story, the emotions involved will be inflated higher than anyone else’s version because their Summer-ness felt them so deeply. The Dark Autumn child will have more worries about the events in the story and their meanings and repercussions. The Winter in him will keep him worrying about it for days. The True just tells it like it is. The most exaggerated thing about this person is that they have no exaggerations.
Need time to process surprises and really wishes you wouldnâ€™t. His Spring sister’s idea of euphoria would be a surprise a minute.
building, digging, stacking, carrying, exotic eyes, Carol’s T3 defined points at the outer eye corners (from Dressing Â Your Truth)
They must have their own experience of something to change their mind. They are the original can’t-tell-them-anything kids.
strong and striking, Autumn and Winter ; not romantic or cute (Summer and Spring)
The Autumn child is straight up. He doesn’t conceal, cannot deceive. He’s not a jokester and is never devious. His Spring brother, who takes life less seriously and has a big imp streak, has figured out that when Mom’s on the phone, he can climb out a window, double back around the house to the kitchen, and sneak his fifth Popsicle of the afternoon. The Autumn child might walk very quietly into the kitchen, but if noticed and asked, would be compelled to admit “5″.
Spring fills us with the wonder of the moment. It is immediate. Summer is the cradle that keeps us safe while pushing us to meet our highest potential.Â Winter symbolizes mental capacity, to reason, to rationalize. Autumn is the work we do on Earth, to enrich, to build, to create, to leave something better than we found. Autumn completes our wholeness as the power of the physical body, inseparable from emotion (Summer), spirit (Spring), and logic (Winter). Without the balance between them, we cannot heal ourselves because each one is assaulted when the other feels injury. We also cannot fulfill our human potential. We cannot have been put on Earth with the abilities we have to live as cavemen. We must be here to live up to a higher ideal. The pendulum between the four powers sways but our answers are not behind us. Once we learn our center as a humanity by respecting all four energies equally, we will find a sustainable way of living and the answers to longevity.
Sensible, practical, no-nonsense, peaceful. Harrison Ford. Martin Sheen. Their steadiness makes them shoe-ins for feel-good TV presidents. The Summer contribution of do-the-right thing to Autumn’s save-the-day strength.
The Dark Autumn boy will explain, indeed expound, actually expostulate, on his topic, with no awareness that nobody has had a chance to speak for 20 minutes. The Dark Autumn man is not very different, but he speaks more slowly so he has time to formulate his thoughts. He is the professor to Dark Winter’s philosopher.
strong and capable at every age
What happens when a Summer and Autumn live together? Felix&Oscar.
Soft Autumn’s husband asks that you not tell her that a family member is in personal crisis or he’ll be sent back to the Farmer’s Market. The rest of his morning will be spent making ham sandwiches. He already delivers an asparagus quiche to the Art Gallery once a week. She combines Summer’s love and upstanding decency and Autumn’s foot on the gas to nurture the entire world.
True and Dark Autumn will be on time. Let’s get to it. Then we go on to the next job, though we tell ourselves weâ€™re going to rest. We can chat after, but I won’t be late for my next appointment or make you late for yours.
If a client has all her children colour analyzed, she could be a True Autumn. She sees the sense and the savings, and is completely open to change. Light Spring will do the same, a mix of her Summer desire to make her family happy and her Spring enthusiasm when she spots a good thing.Â They will adopt their new palettes very quickly, without Winter’s tendency to contest or Summer’s to resist.
hazy eyes, hushed skin, a future Soft Autumn
If itâ€™s a plain and honest opinion you want, go shopping with an Autumn. Summerâ€™s deep streak of kindness will embellish with the compliment, any compliment. If you’re ok with the cold-blooded comment, a Winter can tell you that your suit is fine if you don’t mind looking like a birthday cake. And then you say to them “Now, how would you feel if someone spoke to you that way?” And they say “Fine. I wouldn’t care.” They’re telling the truth. They are thick-skinned (so they balance matte and opaque cosmetics), while Summer is thinner-skinned, as sensitivity of skin and emotion, as wearing a softer, lesser pigment deposit (so tinted moisturizers), as being more touchy of feeling internally and of texture externally, as tactile, with highly developed brain-hand connections and sense of touch. Summer skin is soft matte. Spring’s looks best dewy. Just as everyone’s busy is different, everyone’s Golden Rule comes out different but it’s still the same rule. Winters should shop with other Winters. Buy them the book Getting To Yes for Christmas. It will help them in life.Â The kindness of Summer and sweetness of Spring might see this Winter, meaning me and only me, as having the heart of that first cockroach that crawls out of a nuclear accident zone. On the other hand, I won’t tell you 3 months later that I really didn’t love you as a blonde but didn’t want to hurt your feelings, knowing what that hair cost you and all.
Dark Autumn brings in Winter’s flash. Whether Gamine, Classic, or Natural, words like Dramatic and Flamboyant will apply. Getting out oh the car, she will not come across as medium. Something is extraordinary and exaggerated – height, hair thickness, texture, and length, snap in her character, or embers for eyes. Julia Roberts may be Dark Autumn, Bianca Jagger, Dark Winter, perhaps both Flamboyant Naturals. The Dark Autumn will reveal or release much more of herself, while the Winter will keep larger parts of herself locked down.
The three Autumn groups look rightest in brown eyeshadow and liner because brown is dark orange and orange, gold, rust, etc. are cornerstones of Autumn. The only other great one for brown eyeshadow is True Spring. Everyone else is better in their grays.
Â Autumn’s face (left) Â speaks to us of resilience, bravery, and grit, in colours that are darker and more muted than the lighter, brighter skin on the right; Summer on the right is dreamy and swoopy – on both girls, gorgeous base hair colours for Soft/True Autumn and Light Summer
Will promote what she believes in gladly. She told every one of her True Autumn friends that some of the best makeup colours around are at Dressing Your Truth online store for Type 3. Â The three lip glosses just glow with rich warmth. And an Autumn pink eye shadow, you’d find that nowhere. Then there’s, the jewelry! She saved hours with the 6 pages of superb choices at the store. She thought about all her outfits and chose what would complete each. (Her Spring daughter just bought everything she liked, with no planning at all, figuring it would all work out. Imagine that.) To express her traces of Summer or Winter, a Soft and Dark Autumn resepectively might look at the Type 2 (Summer according to me, not to the folks at DYT) and Type 4 (looks Winterish) accessories. Since both SA and DA are Neutral Seasons, they can be flattered by silver and gold. A Soft Autumn looks great wearing Autumn colours in Summer’s way (analogous, flowing, floral, soft). Dark wears her palette in Winterâ€™s way (bold, more contrast). Â So integrate your smaller contributing Season by wearing their style in jewelry with clothing and makeup in the colours and style of your own Season.
Soft Autumn, try out Lancome RIL 230M and 240M, your natural lipcolour is one of these or in between.Â Also NARS Mayflower lips, Body Shop 11 and 07 lipstick, and MUFE RAI 19 (for TA too) lipstick.
On Dark Autumn, NARS Pigalle, MUFE HD8 blush, Lauder Maple Sugar and Rich Currant lips. A good, dark,warm, barely muted blue eyeliner is Revlon Colorstay pencil in Navy. Dark Winter could wear this very well too as they have warm tones Â in hair and eyes.
True Autumn : MUFE HD10 blush, Givenchy Gold Brown lips (really nice, this lipstick, but sample it at Sephora first, big $$).