How do members of a Season borrow colours into their wardrobe successfully? All sorts of diagrams exist to assist people of certain colouring, or Season, in finding clothing colours that are not within their palette.
Examples you might see include,
- True Summer and True Winter – because they’re both very cool
- Dark Winter and Soft Summer, which have a similar relationship as Bright Winter and Light Summer – because all four begin with a cool palette and each pair adds the same amount of the same kind of warmth, Autumn gold and Spring yellow respectively
- Dark Autumn/Bright Spring and Light Spring/Soft Autumn – because if you map the Seasons in a progression around a circle, the same relationship exists between these pairs as the ones above. Both begin with a warm palette and add the same amount of the same type of coolness, Winter’s or Summer’s, respectively
These generalities are best applied only to certain colours. On the whole, I’m not sure how well they serve outside the theory. I don’t believe in second-best and runner-up Seasons. They don’t exist. Any Season could absorb various colours from various other Seasons quite nicely.
In the examples above, only the heat level is being factored in, placing too much emphasis on it. The other two dimensions matter will matter a lot when the medium-browns are put under the faces. Certain pinks might slide by though.
At least for Dark Winter/Soft Summer, the heat is the same type, Autumn’s. The third example is ignoring the very different kind of heat in Autumn and Spring colours. In many cases, the worst colours for one can be found in the other warm palette. A blue-eyed Dark Autumn can have some similarities with Bright Spring’s appearance, as can the green-gold eyed Bright Spring with Dark Autumn – if they read about them, but not if they wear them. Many of the colours can be weirdly unpleasant on the opposite person.
Even at a tiny level of Autumn, Spring warmth can look like an odd, greasy, abalone shell event on Soft Summer skin. Except the eyes. Eyes are always true. Soft Summer eyes just sit there in this iridescent face looking estranged. It’s as psychologically awkward as when I wear cat eye, glittery sunglasses, to which people react in most uncomfortable (and entertaining, if you like watching that sort of thing to illustrate a point, which I do) ways.
Why might broad guidelines only work for some colours but not all the colours? They make an assumption that every person inside a Season will react to every colour in the same way. Not true at all.
Three True Springs would have three different paths through the draping sequence. Not every drape in Test or Luxury is perfect on every person in that group. It is simply the best decision in a constellation of 10 – 15 observations.
To this day, about 300, maybe more, PCAs later, I still take time to write what I learned from each one. I had to see about 12, sometimes 25+ (Bright Winter for instance), of each Season to have trouble coming up with something new. For the Trues, I have seen about 6 of each, so each one is still quite new, not counting True Summer at 19. I will never stop learning from True Seasons.
Why shouldn’t every drape be our best drape? Because there is so much fluidity needed to perfectly repeat the millions of ways in which Nature painted all the people of any given Season. Because every instrument does not play an equal role in a symphony. A thousand reasons that this website has thought about, and many more that it hasn’t.
The natural order of colour
The world is full of concepts that have one meaning in theory and another in practice. As much as humans love to pigeonhole and predict, we live in a massively variable Universe. It might look random and messy. Humans devote large amounts of time to resisting this in favour of rules. We like the security of the restrictions and the ropes.
We understand that the Universe is neither messy or random. It’s infinitely organized, with complexity and levels far beyond anything our rules can capture. What we should be resisting are all the rules. They’re too simplified.
Amelia Butler at True Colour Australia posted the series, Tonal Contentment vs Tonal Restlessness, in several parts, here to her blog at Colour and The Human Being. So comprehensively, Amelia takes us back to what the Sci\ART palettes were intended to be and reflects on their application today. Amelia makes many valid and useful points, covering a wide range of colour applications.
There can be much critiquing of PCA philosophy and method. What works for some won’t for others, the difference relating equally to the conscious and unconscious colour persuasions of the person as to their colouring. Some answers should be sought elsewhere.
The Sci\ART 12-Tone system really is the gold standard of human colour analysis, as Amelia says. Once an analyst has worked with the system, there is not much traffic back the other way. Until an analyst, or anyone, has seen 10 or 20 PCAs, they barely scratch the surface of understanding it. I barely scratch that surface, in the same way that I barely understand how Nature is coloured, and am in awe of both. The more you know, the more you realize how little you know, right?
Perhaps, our Tone is more of an expression of our position and energy equivalence in the natural world. We are inextricably spun with wool from the same spinning wheel as all of Nature. Social conditioning pulls us in the opposite direction. That’s fine. We live, work, dress, and learn our life lessons in societies. We are barely aware of imposing our social and psychological conditioning on our every decision.
The Natural world is not Fashion. They have so little meaning and purpose in common. Why did I use up energy trying to overlap them? It was exhausting, like forcing astronomy to be astrology. The harder I tried, the more I realized how different they are. There was no point. Now I’m coming out the other side.
I relax and let each fulfill its purpose. Nature isn’t right or wrong. It just is. We don’t talk about how tree leaves should be a different shade of green to fit the picture better. It is what it is. It follows a natural order. So do the Sci\ART palettes. If you’d like a fashion green sweater in your composition, wear it.
Today, the confidence of experience releases me from defending Kathryn’s colour system any more than I would any image Nature put together, though I used to when I was younger (as I will tell anyone who will listen, it’s because I rationalize and justify everything, including emotion and instinct, being an Enneagram Type 1).
Enneagrams and watching Sherlock on BBC are my life right now. It might bore you if you knew me. I would try not to talk about it all the time, but then we’d talk about my other favourite topic, The Universe and Our Highest Potential, which brings us right back to E Type 1. How hard is it to hit the Escape key on ourselves? Quite. Ask anyone who’s had a PCA. The best way to approach having your colouring analyzed is as a stranger to yourself. The face in the mirror is a woman you don’t know. She’s just a person picked from a crowd. You have no idea about what she likes, what she’s been told, how she’s been hurt, or what makes her feel happiness. Nearly impossible to do.
Sometimes you have to go backwards to move forward. Like being inside an ascending tunnel, you think you’re repeating and repeating instead of climbing because the walls always look the same. But we do mature, part of which is repeating the same lessons at higher levels. These days, Kathryn’s colour system feels to me like a true witness to how colour is in our world. To my eyes, that is more than enough, and more than enough privilege to bring other people closer to their place in the scheme of it all to last me the rest of my days.
We can look better, shop better, be more true to ourselves, and still find a thousand personal self-expressions without creating any disruptions in the Universe. But then, we Enneagram Type 1′s who read on this page (under Adaptive Behavioral Schema) learn that…
They have a highly developed and practiced intuition for when someone or something is doing what it is supposed to do. A being is good when it is fully itself and when it is fully doing what it is meant to do.
If you can’t begin with an agreement that Nature provides us with the most perfect colour harmonies inside and around ourselves, and that our dress looks best as a faithful extension of that, well now, it might be best to get other opinions for your clothing colour system. Actually, it’s a good idea to get many opinions on anything.
The colours of objects are tightly related to the unifying properties of the light shining on them. You can only get back the wavelengths that you put in. If you put in more reds and yellows and less blues, that’s what’s going to come back. If you put in no light, you get back no colours, like the picture above.
First was the Light, which changed in a regular and predictable way. Then came the objects that developed as they did because they needed something from all the particular Lights. The Lights determined not just how they look but what they are, which energy level they hold. If the Lights had been different, the objects and life forms would have been otherwise. And then evolved the human sense of sight, also customized so perfectly to all the Lights. There might have been other possible anatomies to allow sight, but this is the one that is. And so it was from the beginning, you know?
Finally, came colour analysis. I love it most when it remembers where it began, as the beautiful partnership with Nature’s designs that became possible. Some of the landscapes Rachel is pinning on her 12 Season boards are blowing away anything I could have imagined. That Dark Winter locomotive image, what a vision Rachel has. The Sci\ART system captivated me 5 years ago and it does so today, tenfold. PCA systems should not be adapted to fashion, just as women’s bodies should not be. That’s a mess on too many levels and can’t hold up to real world use. Start with the way light is, the way sight is, and the way real bodies are made. Build the fashion thing on top of that.
Although it translates completely to fashion, you can step outside it at any time. This is not a limitation of the palette. The palette is an intrinsic center from which you can radiate in beautiful and important expansions of yourself. We gotta start somewhere to sort out some kind of relationship between us and the colour free-for-all at the mall. The Sci\ART system is the one that is most rational to me.
Nature is at once the most soothing and the most re-energizing environment there is. It is a relief from the disharmonies to all five senses to which we are subjected for most of the day. The relief in natural compositions somehow leads to those that also the most exciting.
Could they be even more exciting? Sure. Nature constantly steps outside the colour charts. And yet, every colour is able to dissolve into the image. Artists do it all the time. An addition of outsider of colour can be more happy and auspicious, more evocative, both stimulating and very belonging.
Which brings us back to our topic. How do we add colour flexibility that feels passionate and exciting, but still relevant to the wearer?
The colours we are made of are so beautifully unique to us. How can we bring that individuality into our self-expression?
I think that when color analysts talk about sharing colors, they have to specify whether they are discussing a technical situation, such as a draping, where no amount of colour compromise can be tolerated, or whether they are discussing a shopping or retail situation, where some compromise will have to be acceptable and could even be good.
I also believe that which colours are best borrowed are decided one woman at a time, with her analyst, after a thorough draping. I hope that everyone knows of Terry’s articles outlining the steps in a proper PCA, the latest installment addresses clearing the skin, linked here.
Let me think of some situations:
1. From above, and very common, Dark Winter and Soft Summer. When they shop, Dark Winter could manage some darker Soft Summer clothes. Overall, they would do better shopping in True Summer and staying with medium to dark colours. Pastel lights are not welcomed by Dark Season skin.
A Soft Summer keeps her darkness dusty or her clothes weigh her down. Of all the Summers, Soft will wear Dark Winter colours best, but because the colours are all more intensely pigmented than she is, this person will give some of their power away to their clothing.
2. If an important dimension of colour (hue/value/chroma) is satisfied, certain colors are quite tolerable by more than one group. There are yellows, oranges, and reds that could be worn very well by True Autumn and True Spring. Orange is especially easy, including many browns, brown being dark orange. These colours are inherently warm. From above, True Summer and True Winter could share some pinks and purples, which might appear dark and strong on True Summer and medium on True Winter.
3. The person’s inherent colouring should be considered. A blue-eyed person will be able to wear blue from a few more neighbouring Seasons than a brown-eyed person might. Just coming close to repeating our own colouring is visually effective for connecting us to our clothing.
Even inside a Season, a Bright Spring with cider, amber, and clear orange in the hair and eyes could wear their intense dark yellow much better than a Bright Spring who has silver hair and blue eyes. For the aqua eyed Bright Spring, those yellows might never be more than an occasional stripe in a tie or the thread to sew on some buttons.
Sometimes, Dark Winter has the very same yellows in the eyes as a Dark Autumn, or close enough to be extremely interesting. No Dark Winter will really wear a big block of Anjou pear or chartreuse excitingly, but a small piece of it somewhere near the face can be most intriguing.
4. Exactly which colour is it were discussing? Blue might be easier to share among True and Light Summer than yellow, which less of a meet-you-halfway colour for very cool colourings. The 3 Springs could move yellow around quite easily. It almost dissolves into them, so naturally does it occur. It soaks into the picture and the colours around it adjust it the rest of the way.
You’d think red could move across the Bright and Dark Winter, where it is very successful, red being a core colour for Winter. It can work but not easily. Your best guess at the Season a red belongs in is probably decent. Red has strong identity in our eyes and is reactive against skin. Beige, coral, and turquoise are harder to guess and are less dictatorial next to skin.
Light Spring and Soft Autumn could move some yellows back and forth. The rest of the colours, not so much, not even the neutrals. Lay the opened Soft Autumn fan book on a Light Spring fabric. The neutrals, loosely translated as many of the complexion colours, might turn peculiarly greenish. That’s exactly what that fabric will do to the Light Spring face. Yes, both are warm-neutrals, but they do not appreciate one another’s type of heat or darkness level.
5. It depends where the coloring falls on the Season continuum. Our colouring doesn’t sit on a dot in a clock diagram. It spans a stretch halfway between the neighbours on each side. At least, that’s how it looks on a flat map. Really, it swirls around inside a spherical structure. In a Season, parts of it switch on and interconnect just like in a lit-up brain scan.
We are so used to flat images that we forget how very dimensional our world is. Energy isn’t a wave. Look at the wave end on. It’s a spiral. Hence, that purple snail shell logo at the top. Maybe one day, they’ll find that it’s actually a spiral inside a spiral, a double helix, a Universe at the center of every cell. Very appealing to think about. Don’t worry if you have no idea what I’m talking about. Trust me, you are not alone. I’m really quite medium and normal in person Really.
A warm Soft Summer and many a cool Soft Summer could happily wear the cooler greens and blues of Soft Autumn. Their reds and yellows? Not so much. Neutral Seasons can wear some of the neighbour colours of close heat, but not all of them will do them favours.
6. If Dark Autumn and Bright Spring were to share, how would they do it? If we agree that the size of the color block is large and right under the face, it’s a bit challenging to figure out. They sure wouldn’t crossover in the light or medium darkness colors. There may be some dark forest greens that could work okay but not much more than that that I could see.
7. Where will the colour be worn? Gray and navy are very adaptable colours to begin with, and more so if you situate them in the lower half. If it’s footwear or sunglasses, the viewer implicitly factors in functionality and expects that they may be darker than a scarf would be.
8. Have confidence in your individuality. Enjoy it. It’s the best part of this whole thing.
9. Where do you want your focal point to be today? Let the statement necklace or the violet purse own the day.
10. Get your lines right. This is quite major. Has anyone seen the pictures of Princess Kate that I pinned recently on the Shopping for Your Season and Style board? In the eyelet dress, colour correct, the image is clumsy. In the yellow dress, probably a Dark Winter yellow, she looks fantastic. The more bits and pieces of the whole are excellent, the more they draw in the rest.
You may remember the question from the reader who felt uncertain with learning that her colouring falls into the True Winter group, and how to reconcile it with the drama that is usually depicted for that group. As if ‘decadent glamour’ is the only kind of glamour or has only one interpretation. Pfff. Limited, limited.
Her question was a great one. Find it in the article, True Winter Sans Drama and A Gentle Dark Autumn. She recently visited Rachel to be draped, confirming True Winter, and for a PIA (Personal Image Analysis). As a Yang Natural, her version of glamour (and we all have one) is not Dynasty, which is the usual TW stereotype.
By expressing True Winter in certain textures and prints, the right cut of pants, belonging shapes and styles in jewelry, the True Winter palette has become a happy home. Snow leopard effects!? On a True Winter Natural woman? That’s so good, it shook up my world when I read it.
In her words,
So, I now finally feel like I know what to wear and what to look for and what to just ignore…it was difficult for me to figure out having a natural style along with TW, but now, I’m finally able to put it all together!
Like hair colour, sharing is a colour by colour, person by person, adaptation that a colour analyst can make for each client. All she needs to do is watch how their skin reacts to a variety of measured colours.
I send clients a nutshell digest of their draping experience, how their skin reacted to certain colours, addressing how they fall outside the majority of the written information for the Season, and any particular questions they had. The experience is just too big, too technical, too mentally stimulating, and too emotional to absorb it all and have it available 6 months later. It would be like hoping to recall every word the dentist said about all 32 of your teeth from your check-up last summer. For instance, I sent this little summary recently:
It is very common in all colouring at any age to find that the particular colour in the drapes for their Season is not necessarily their best version of that colour. This is especially so for Bright Winter. As testified by your eye colours, you are lighter and warmer than the average appearance and colour reactions in this group. Many persons of this colouring cannot wear the extremes of the palette till they have fully darkened with maturity, around the age of 30.
When Bright Winter colours were excellent, they were breathtakingly so, an effect no other Season could match in any colour. The usual caution exists for this Winter Season to avoid the blackest black, which will be especially relevant for you. Choose darkest charcoal instead, preferably with a slight sheen if the occasion permits. Dark navy did not have the darkening effect of black – it is common for people with Spring influence to be much more tolerant of ‘colour colours’ than of black (which gets too dark), white (which may be glowy unless right), and gray (which may lack the excitement of colour that you wear so natively).
You were easily able to wear the coolest positions in your Season and the warmest, as long as the colour were light to medium on a darkness scale. For these choices, always choose a Bright Winter colour. If the realities of shopping require some compromise, the darker Bright Spring colours might be the place to borrow.
Great Q from readers,
1. Obviously Light and Bright Spring share the same parent Season, but I wondered how Summer/ Winter manifest their influence on the palettes and on the people?
The Light Spring palette contains a Summer touch, which alters the True Spring colours by doing what Summer does … it cools, softens, and lightens them.
Under the wave of Winter’s wand, Bright Spring is overall darker and goes to a much darker endpoint (the lightest to darkest range is very wide, getting close but not fully to pure white and black), and is strongly pigmented. Its heat level is the same as Light-Spring, meaning on the warm edge of neutral, where neutral is halfway between warm and cool.
I can see you there reading, thinking, “Yes, yes, I know all that. But how much does Summer cool, soften, and lighten True Spring?”
It’s impossible to describe verbally and is best understood by seeing it. You can see some pretty good approximations by searching ‘Season palettes’ on Pinterest, my new favourite hangout. I bring my iPad to bed. I’m like Harry Potter under the covers with his magic wand long after he should have been asleep. Scanning those pictures to add to the two boards, Shopping for Your Season&Style and RealWoman Sex appeal, is addictive. Social media, ay? Once you find the right one, it owns you. Rachel, whom you’ll meet formally soon, is to personal line and shape analysis what I have been to personal colour analysis. We contribute to each item pinned from both perspectives. Very cool information, very cool way to shop.
The blue book over on the right, RTYNC, contains 28-colour layouts (also pretty good approximations) of the 12 groups to give you a sense of the jump in the colour dimensions from one group to the next. It also contains a lot more verbal description and analogy if you learn better that way.
How does Summer manifest in a Light Spring person? Even harder to nail down. The person does not usually have sharpness, which might mean in features (Julie Andrews’ nose and teeth) or character. See the woman wearing the pink dress in Polyvore 4? Could look about like that, though happier expression.
But where’s the line? What would you call sharp? Is teasing sharp because Lights have that? They can certainly have pointed chins, eyes, and teeth.
2. How do Summer and Winter’s presence come across in Bright Spring people?
Summer tends to create a person who is more aware and concerned of how others think and feel, but not always. Summer has great decency. In Winter, there may be less concern with saying what others want to hear and more emphasis on fairness, and that is decent too.
We could say that Summer contributes a pleasant, well-mannered character. Sounds watered down. Light Spring is by no means dilute. The person may be very talkative or quite spunky (as opposed to determined, more Autumn), which come in with Spring. That said, a Summer can talk, oh boy, as they work through ideas. They have plenty strong intentions, especially when they feel honour (not quite the same as Winter’s pride) lays in the balance.
As they learn the draping process, students are shown how to deliberately seek out the effects of the 4 True Seasons’ colours in the client’s face. Later, as the drape colours become more specific and the presence of certain Seasons may be much smaller, they remember those effects from the coarser level and can come back now and apply them on a finer scale. In the story that follows, how would Winter and Summer manifest in a person on a much finer scale (since, in 12 Season PCA, Light and Bright Spring contain a small amount of Summer and Winter, respectively – how small? Different in everyone. Some Light Springs have a lot of Summer, some much more Spring.)
Summer and Winter visit their friend, Dara*. Dara is trying a new Style in her clothing choices. Her husband, Ted*, has a successful sign-making business and they just built a new house. Winter sees the house and Dara’s clothes. She thinks, “Yeah, it’s a nice house. I might try those kinds of curtains. I’m not so sure of my Style type. I think I have more Yin and need rounder lines and more decoration. I’m being too minimalistic.” Winter goes home. She thinks and thinks and searches and thinks and studies pictures and makes her mother look at a thousand images on her phone (which the mother thinks all look the same but no way is she about to say so). Next time you see her, she’s added a silver chain. Had to take off the earrings and bracelet though, they were too much. Her clothes are about the same. You ask about her visit to Dara, “Her house is very nice. What else can I say? It’s her house, got nothing to do with me. I was impressed with her new clothing styles. She’s right about herself. I’m evolving my own style.” And you sit there thinking, “Is this a trick question?”
Summer calls you the day after the visit. “Dara’s house is so beautiful. She looked great, she always does. I hope she’ll be very happy there. Didn’t you feel so sad for her? (Winter is thinking, “Is this a trick question?”) Deep down, she despises that house. (Summer’s eyes are all big and round and teary, and she puts lots of feeling behind her words, especially despises.) Dara doesn’t enjoy it, she wishes they were back in the old house. All she can feel is Ted’s business taking him away from her all the time to pay for it. I’m just baking her some banana bread for the kids and taking her out to lunch later today.”
How does Winter manifest in Bright Spring? They hold themselves a little apart. Their feeling about the world and their place in it is more controlled. When Summer and you have a conversation, she’s nodding. She can hear how you feel. Winter is moving very little, conserving emotional output. Summer is using her hands. She is out of herself , thinking about she relates to you. She sent you the testimonials you asked for within a week of getting home :). From Winter, you’ll be waiting. She got home, went back right into own her head, and will think of you in terms of how you relate to her.
3. I heard the palettes are similar – do you see Light Spring as a lighter version of Bright at all?
They’re similar but just lightening Bright Spring won’t get you Light. Maybe fading Bright might do so with some complement and lightening it with some white. Light Spring is creamy, which gives it a frosted glass haze or milky glow that Bright Spring absolutely wouldn’t have. The Bright Spring windshield is crystal clear and the pigment concentration is dialed way up.
It’s like the difference between
Both warm-neutral to warm. The Bright (bottom) has icy colours. Light (top) doesn’t approach white. Note that neither image represents the whole palette nor what is possible with it.
4. Could they theoretically borrow any colours (even though this isn’t the best option)?
I’m glad that you asked this good question. I feel that I often answer Q wearing one of two hats and how are people expected to know which is on when?
You know how you fan out any swatch book and no colour is more or less than any other? Your attention is equally divided when the fan is opened up. They have equal visual energy. If you moved one of those Light Spring flowers into the Bright Spring bouquet, even if the colours were all pinks, it would get a little lost. You’d ignore it more. If that were the blouse, worn with a Bright Spring skirt, you’d be looking at the skirt.
If you lifted the butterfly onto the Light bouquet, it would be hard to see anything else. As when a Light wears a Bright’s lipstick. When palettes have a lot in common, as Light and Bright Spring, some colours will work well enough but others will be too prominent. The pinks might be quite comfortable and belonging but the yellows will jump out at you.
Wearing the first hat: In a theory situation, as the question states, such as during the training course, the answer is no. We learn how to place any colour, clothing, cosmetic, or any person, into one Season. The Q is, “Which 1 of the 12?”
#2 hat is worn when advising a woman shopping. She is using the system in another way. The only question she needs to work out is, “Me or Not Me?”
Each application is equally important. First, we learn the rules of the road and the driving laws. As drivers, we take shortcuts with a subconscious sense of where and when. The woman who understands her colour palette can discern which shortcuts are safe and logical and which will be unsuccessful. She’ll have a few fender benders along the way but at least she’s behind the wheel of her own car, taking herself where she decides to go.
Say you’re the woman shopping. Working through the compromises of the retail world might open up 5 more questions,
- How close in colour is good enough? What kind of person am I on this subject?
- How fast do I need to buy this item?
- Am I spending $50 or $500?
- Are the lines of the item so exceptional for me that I’m not passing it up on a little colour issue that will make hardly any difference. You can see examples of this on the Shopping for Your Style and Season board at Pinterest. (the link at the bottom of the R column on this page may take you there, but the website is having a mini nervous breakdown about weekly till it’s upgraded. The link is here too.)
- Do I think the colour might be Light Spring and I know I’m a Bright but I think it looks great in this composition?
- Is this an item that really could fit well into several Seasons, even according to uptight analysts like Christine? When I look at the Shopping for Your Season and Style board at Pinterest, most items are good in two or more groups. She must be wearing #2 hat. (You’re so right. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter. PCA is a life-transforming tool, like a driver’s license or a computer. I want that for you. Being too rigid means missing too many fantastic clothes.) In both hats, jewelry and makeup are definitely mobile in most cases. Many clothes too, if they’re not right up under the face or are in small real estate. Not every element needs to be perfect for the whole thing to harmonize very nicely. In many paintings, prints, and ensembles, the other colours help create the belonging.
Mostly Light Spring
Mostly Bright Spring
5. Some of the warm pinks/apricots look similar – how do I know if I’m looking at Light or Bright Spring when choosing these colours?
You can think colour correctness to death and still get it wrong. I do. We all have to compare it to something. You can compare it to anything, a cosmetic, another item of clothing, a painting, a cushion.
Women who own their own Luxury Drapes (or a closet that is colour accurate) can place the item among the good colours and see if it holds its own, is more, or not enough. They’re full-sized drapes so it’s easy to see colours balance and energize. The article about those drapes is being moved to its own post, it will reappear soon.
Because these 2 colour groups share so much, to choose between them will require forcing the extreme that the other won’t tolerate. Light Spring’s muting will be Bright Spring biggest complaint, while Light Spring will ricochet back the other way when she sees the darkness of Bright. So compare to black. It’s dark and saturated. The booties on the bottom next to the perfume – the peach must be Winter influenced to be energetically equal to white and black. The yellow jacket, the same. There’s enough peach in the peach and yellow in the yellow to balance a lightness extreme (white) and a darkness and saturation one (black). These may be Bright Winter outfits because the white and black are not in Bright Spring colours, but they’re useful to judge the balance.
Some colours matter more than others. The peach coat (lower image) might be a little weak but it’s workable. Gray is good at becoming what’s around it. Jeans adapt pretty well if their darkness level is the same as the overall for that Season and they’re just blue. Red and green are less cooperative. Sometimes, it depends on the viewer. Some people are very sensitive to yellow. I am to orange. These colours are either right or not right, but there’s not much you can do about that.
How about the coral dress that appears in both layouts? Where is it energetically more even in the composition? Compare it to the bouquets as well. Is it perfect in either? Is it workable in one, both, or none?
Light Spring was looking all dreamy and holiday till I inserted that green purse. Is that item helping the nice feelings or is it taking over? Is everything around it washed out and falling back? That’s what a Light Spring woman looks like wearing Bright colours. She fades and drops – or, looks older and tired, like the Light Spring clothes next to the purse that look something that doesn’t feel good…. washed too many times…dirty…dull? The green looks aggressive plus it’s all you can see.
Shopping for Bright Spring (Looking Normal)
Neutral colours (beige, taupe) could be matched a little more closely for Spring where they can be a little blah, but they’re still versatile. Where Summer and Autumn wear these colours flexibly, and Summer and Winter can share some grays, Spring colouring wears colour colours more easily than beige and gray (IMO). Also, when we wear our neutrals, they tend to be in large block items. To excite the composition, neutrals with yellow, not muted orange (=earthy). The beige sweater in 4 (and the pants with the orange top in 3), I have no idea where it harmonizes but it works OK. Next to the very shiny necklace, the sweater isn’t looking dingy, clumsy, or chunky the way an green-beige or camel Autumn colour could on this woman. Both versions of the tights are great. Add colour somewhere!
Again, use black to judge belonging colours. Light Spring loses energy even faster than next to the green purse. Bright Spring gets close enough to black and the colours can balance black without losing ground. The woman in the pink dresss in 4 can hold her own with the earrings but you sense some conflict. Before reading this, you thought, “Why’d she put those earrings with that dress?” Because now you get to feel it. There were a million worse choices, but still, this is not settled. I could have wasted paragraphs.
Black is quite useful in the Bright Spring wardrobe:
- to crisp edges of colour blocks, as the earrings with the mint blouse in 4,
- to outline shapes in a thin black line, as in a print or colourblock, which gives a cartoon appearance that is so right on Gamine body shapes,
- to darken the overall effect selectively without dulling, cooling, or darkening the colour blocks themselves,
- to add Winter’s formality,
- to slim this woman who can balance black, as the mint top and black skirt in 4, the colours are getting along fine, the black is a little strong but it doesn’t appear visually larger
Shopping Search engines are hugely helpful. Polyvore is great. A Light Summer asked recently where to find pants. At sites like Polyvore and Shopstyle, the retail world opens at your feet and it’s uncommon to find items sold out. They are a fantastic way to find your white items online. You want jeans that are a little on the green side? As a Light Spring, the answer is, “Sure do!” Give me 15 minutes. I’ll find you 5 pairs.
6. What do Light Spring colours look like on Bright Spring?
Weak. The way the creamy peach flower from the top photo would look next to the oranges in the bottom photo.
7. What does a Light Spring woman look like in Bright Spring clothes?
Forgettable. What happens to the Light Spring bouquet when the butterfly lands on it. Tired, like she’s having the life sucked out of her. All her sunshine glowing peaches and cream radiance is gone. Between her feet and the top of her head, all you see is clothes.
8. If I find an item that is very saturated and in the medium value range, which Seasons could be likely contenders? I keep getting stuck with colours like hot pink – thinking they look good due to being bright, but on closer inspection often too cool on me and don’t harmonize with the fan…
Very saturated could include the 3 Winter palettes and Bright Spring. True Spring doesn’t have hot pink.
9.a) The person who looks very wintery with dark hair and pale skin. What are the signs that she’s Bright Spring?
There are none other than how her skin reacts to the drapes. The women in the Polyvores could all be Bright Springs. Or some kind of Summer or Winter.
9. b) Should she do anything different with colours or combinations?
She probably sits closer to the cool side of her Bright Spring colouring, near the Bright Winter pigmentation. She many find that the cooler colours in cosmetics work better.
She should still wear the entire Bright Spring palette as clothing and jewelry. Those colours are all in her if the drapes measured her as Bright Spring.
I don’t get caught up on the contrast thing too much, I think it’s built into the palettes. Some women of this colouring may feel quite contrasting and prefer wider distance between lightest and darkest colours in their outfits. This woman may look (and feel) more Winter and use more jewel tones, icy lights, neutral colours, formality in apparel, and boldness in cosmetic application.
Here’s what I think about that coral dress from the top Polyvores. It is not beautiful in the Bright Spring group. The peach coat may not be perfect, nor the yellow shirt on the L side, but they don’t detract. The dress is dull and detracting. In the Light Spring composition, it feels better but it’s a light sink. Light should bounce out of a Light Spring palette like sunbeams, like Creamsicles. It should feel fresh, light, and happy. This dress is not what an apricot tulip would feel like. If you cover it up, the rest of the group gets better, so it’s detracting here too. Still a lovely dress. Might be just the photo, might be an Autumn colour, this is what PCA from photos is like. No idea where this item would fit and would need to try it IRL to be sure.
Not entitling this Dramatic Classic because I don’t want to imply that I have any expertise in body line assessment and the fashion choices therefrom. But I have opinions, oh boy. Since I’m a Dramatic Classic myself, I would like your help in adjusting what I could do better before I spend money.
Recently, we showed some softer wardrobe choices for True Winter, for those who don’t feel that making coats out of Dalmatians quite describes them. In the same post, we saw choices for Dark Autumns who identify better with mink than shearling.
We talked about synonyms. For example, in the Light Seasons, light could mean not dark, and also not heavy, not complicated, not aggressive, and good-humoured. Softness as it applies to True Winter and Dark Autumn would not imply more graying of colour, since that contradicts the colour attributes of those groups to some degree. We looked for synonyms for softness that found the intersection between the word soft and its other possible meanings – perhaps velvety, creamy, rounded, flowing, smooth, supple, decorated, satiny. Soft has many other renditions, in soft tastes, scents, touch, sounds and music, and shape, form, and texture. Today, we’re going to look at all those to find expressions of sharpness.
Dressing for Sex Appeal and Wealth
This is not the same as Dressing for Sex and Money.
What Is and Is Not Sex Appeal
What does sex appeal look like? Or what looks like sex appeal? I don’t have to have sex or even want sex. The point is about telling the world that you’re fully engaged in life. Sexuality is part of life as a grown-up. The thought of broadcasting sexuality never enters my mind and doesn’t have to. Sex appeal comes across just by looking like me and for every woman when she looks like her real self. When I wear who I am, I am saying, “I trust my gifts.” That’s the seduction.
Everyone woman is extremely beautiful. She doesn’t have any choice. The switch flips to ON when the X’s line up. Female energy was drafted that way in tandem with female anatomy. I’m the guy in the room who never laughs at stand-up comedy, talk show humour, Elf, or any other funny person, Robin Williams only sometimes. If you can get past all the fu** during the movie, The Heat, I had tears running down my face. There’s a point to this story, which I’ll get to here, many digressions I can feel coming on. Sandra Bullock has an athletic Natural body shape, to which has been added lots of drama of a swashbuckling type, rather than a Nature walk type.
With neither she nor we being conscious of it, we see what happens to our perception of her (played out hilariously but accurately by the characters and script) in different clothes. When the story needed her to be boring, the wardrobe folks knew just what to do. Put that body in a suit. It never manages to look right. She looks awkward, just how the story needs her to be.
As when wearing someone else’s colours, there is no wrong or bad or ugly. Every woman overflows with beauty, sex appeal, and femininity. But there are better choices for those to come across. Sandra, gorgeous woman and a gorgeous suit, combine to create no excitement whatsoever. Something gut-busting happens to the suit and whaddaya know, she starts looking great. Eventually, she appears in battle gear. Now we get why the movie is called The Heat. We feel relieved, relaxed, and suddenly very interested in her. She’s available to us in every way. In the suit, her presence, drawing power, and magnetism came in around negative 20. The army gear was closest to her brand of sensuality. Wearing it, she looked most feminine.
However your colours and body type were intended to seduce is irrelevant. It goes on autopilot when you stay true to them. Bubble gum and cherries perfume can be fantastic on some women, and be confusing at best on another who could have been so much more elevated, expressed, and attractive simply by changing to a casbah patchouli event. A forest makes no sense smelling like apple pie, right? Projecting authenticity comes across as sex appeal, as “I’m in the game. I know what looks good on me.”, “If you throw me the ball, I’ll know what to do with it.” Which extends to, “I am capable. You can trust me with responsibility, decisions, and money.”
Confusing sex appeal with media-sexy has women of all ages giving it away, forcing it away. That’s not sex appeal, it’s despair, but many women compare themselves to it. Trust me, the pushiness has nothing to do with attraction. It’s capitalizing on assets. Men are built to know the difference.
All I’m saying is you’re lovely as you are. You are enough as you are. I’m a little disappointed if you still wear orange when you’re a Soft Summer. It’s not peaceful. I’m very OK with you wearing it if you know it doesn’t look good but you love wearing it anyhow. That’s peaceful in a different way.
Many women, especially the 18 to 30 group, cannot tune out ridiculous sexualizing of women. I’m not saying to ignore it, that’s hardly realistic. We all know it’s there. We all know that 90% of advertising involving women’s bodies is drastically altered. A mediator might say it can be there, it can matter, and you’re still enough, and what we can do about it to help you find a better peace.
How I find peace:
1. Meditate. My favourite is from Deepak Chopra. Listen to it with earpods if you can, now that is a trip. In meditation, you’ll find optimism. Joined with the forces that create worlds, how can you ever be alone?
We’re programmed for action. It’s intoxicating to to have 20 new Likes and 30 new emails to answer and a new diet and a new resolution and to be doing all the time. Sitting still is not intoxicating by exhilaration, it’s intoxication by nurturing. Like eating spinach. Except, we are programmed for instant gratification. Not the week after you ate the spicach, let alone 20 days or 20 years later.
Our brain is always in fight or flight. It always sees things it thinks it has to protect us from. As Dr. Changizi explains so fantastically well in The Vision Revolution, our brain has evolved brilliant ways of keeping us safe. The larger problem is that in fight or flight, the brain is incapable of learning. It can be a stressor with a toxicity of its own. Neuroscience tells us that the sustained stress actually shrinks the hippocampus (cognitive function, adaptation, learning). Like an over-protective parent, we need to find some freedom to spread our wings. The brain thing is rooted so far in that we’ll not dig clear of it. The only way is by quieting it. With stillness, maturity, and accountabiltiy, we can see clarity.
2. Move. Bloodflow is an important pat of neuroplasticity. Brain, body, spirit, what happens to one happens to all. And it puts a better frame around your life.
3. Laugh at it. Fear-based illusions, such as comparing to media-women, can’t stand up to being laughed at. They can’t find the toe hold they need to anchor in. I meet women and we’re divided in two camps. Those where media got into their head and those where it doesn’t. Doesn’t matter where we live, what we do, our age. Is the difference how much we need/want/care about the company of men? I don’t know but if I can help one woman be free of the you-are-not-good-enough chatter in her head, I want to be there. Read Caitlin Moran’s How To Be A Woman.
4. Make a space for what’s wrong about sexualizing women’s bodies in the pursuit of money. An important friend shared this link (Pinterest, Don’t Compare Yourself) with me. I sent it to my daughters, son, nieces, nephews, sister women instantly. Girls, boys, and young women and men need to talk openly about it. There is nothing wrong with us. Not one single thing. We. Are. Perfect. I. Am. Perfect. You. Are. Perfect. They just convinced us there were things that needed fixing to sell us stuff, and damn but we bought into it like crazy. If everyone woman I see is perfect in herself, how can that not apply to me as well?
Why It’s Good to Look Like Wealth
Not …Look Like Money. Different thing.
What looks like wealth? Similar discussion. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Certain bodies automatically make certain lines look richer. Sandra’s body will make a banker’s suit look cheaper than it is. Looking like wealth is not related our bank account, money per se, or equating success with money. They’re only loosely related in my book. Not about where we shop or comparison to others. Those backfire by setting up too many more-than and less-than relationships that block the multiple and powerful ways in which outside influences can help us.
It’s about wealth as synonymous with maximal happiness, because isn’t that what wealth is? That, in turn, is synonymous with success. Maximum happiness (success) is maximum peace. A particular style on a certain body conveys abundance, which speaks to creation, fulfillment, sharing, and enough. The connection and belonging says, “These two things are extensions of each other. They share something real.” To us the viewers, it feels peaceful to look at.
Wearing the same jacket everyone else is wearing says, “I follow. I obey. I am willing to negotiate myself, instead of celebrating myself, to accommodate a magazine, a friend, a man, a job.” Or maybe it says, “I am imposing this effort on myself to get something.” That sets up struggle, and in turn resistance, and winds up pushing what we want even further away. Not peaceful to be or to look at.
Telling the world (and yourself) that you live an enriched, independent, expanding, self-directed life will happen by choosing a different jacket. In the black T and cargo pants, we felt Sandra tell us about being unconstrained, unbridled, and without inhibitions. That’s the truth of her particular energy. It isn’t the truth of mine. When we find our own, we all express autonomy, individuality, liberty. A free human. Now that’s a beautiful thing.
When body and line, or body and colour, are the same, they connect. There were meant to be together like silver and moonlight, like forest sounds and forest smells. We like it. We want to engage. Tension flows away. We want to stay longer and keep the good feelings coming. Colour Analysis, like Line Analysis, is the Theory of Relativity. When it feels good, time goes by faster. You’ve discovered your brand of wealth. You are closer to your peace.
The Season – Your Natural Colours
In 12 Season personal colour analysis, Soft Autumn is the Neutral Season (meaning a group of natural colouring that is a blend of a warm and a cool source Season) that is mostly Autumn with some influence from Summer’s colour properties.
Autumn overall implies golden heat, muted colour, and darkness. Summer’s colours suggest blued coolness, muted colour again, and a lighter colour selection. Since both are muted, their combined Season is very soft, softer than either Autumn or Summer’s already soft starting place. As opposed to the type of softness we were seeking in the Softer True Winter article linked above (where soft did not mean muting of colour), here, soft really does mean muting or graying of colour. With soft colour (muted) and Summer’s presence (soft as in traditional ideas of femininity) in Soft Autumn, how do we create a wardrobe for a person with sharper lines?
We can’t do sharpness of colour, since muted colour is a prerequisite of Soft Autumn. We can’t do sharp as darkness either. Soft Autumn colours are very soft, quite warm, and medium light to medium dark. It’s the lightest Autumn. You can easily read without turning on a lamp. Because it’s on the sunny side of Autumn, the colours feel bathed in late afternoon light. Not candlelight, that’s Dark Autumn magic.
We need some other expression of sharpness, the same one that the body itself expresses. That’s when our clothes make sense, when their lines and colours are the same as the body they go on.
Dramatic Classic is familiar to us recently as one of the 13 Image Identities in David Kibbes’ 1987 book, Metamorphosis. The terms have been used in other style contexts and seem to have a similar meaning.
There are bodyline experts with the skill to join any of the 12 Season palettes with each of the 10 to 12 body types. Watching them work is quite fascinating. Their results are transforming, startlingly so. My worldview is jolted forward every time I see it happen. I am not one of those body type experts. I’ll defer to their greater knowledge every time.
My Polyvores are not textbook perfect. Someone you hire as a line expert is expected to adhere to the highest potential of knowledge and practice, as I do in a personal colour consultation. Here, I’m doing an adaptation. Fashion that doesn’t work in my life doesn’t work period. It’s here to do me the favour, not the other way around. Sure, the shoes below should be more pointed in the toe, but my feet will hurt the day his do.
Classic always seems to me very medium. Nothing is extreme or irregular, in body size or facial features. The lines and angles are on the sharp side of medium, like Jacqueline Onassis, as opposed to a person whose lines and angles are on the rounder side of medium, like Grace Kelly.
As with the 12 Seasons of natural colouring, there are very few averages in the real world. To know for sure, you should ask someone who understands the entire scope of the subject. I’m a Classic but I’m told my eyes are big in my face, though C types usually have features that are pretty even. I guess my big teeth even out my big eyes, though my lips don’t. I’m shorter than usual for a DC but my body parts are evenly distributed.
My taste is conventional. When I wear unique or creative items, I get “?????” looks. When I think I’m stretching the limits, my kids tell me I look plain – because they can compare me to the full range of how people look. I can only compare me to me, which is one more reason why self-colour-analysis and self-line-analysis tends not to work.
An interesting question: Are women good at picking out clothing for their body lines? I don’t know. If it’s like colour, they run 50% in terms of how many people have a sense of their colouring and how many of their best colours they could choose. I had absolutely no sense of body line, like zero. I’d wear whatever I saw around me. Life and shopping are so much better now. How I’m treated and how I treat myself are so much better. Like colour, you don’t have to be perfect. Being halfway better improves appearance by three quarters. If you would like to learn from someone who really dose understand how to make the very best of body line, follow the wild papillon at Polyvore. You’ll find clothing choices explained and many collections of Seasons and styles, including a few different Soft Autumns.
Interesting that no Polyvore collection comes together any faster than any other, even the Soft Classic Summers. We may feel that all this knowledge will make shopping truly impossible, but that’s not what happens. With a little practice, we get better at seeing ourselves and knowing our stores.
The Meeting Place
Where’s the meeting place of Soft Autumn’s colour language and a sharp classic line?
Autumn does Business Chic incredibly well. The drama part escalates the picture to High Stakes Executive. Makes me think of the projection of Ivanka Trump. She is not medium enough to be a classic, has some fullness in her features, and who knows what Season she is, but her professional clothing style is close to DC at times. Maybe Julianne Moore could be DC. The whole Bulova type brands, you know? Lord&Taylor has all sorts of nice Ivanka wear for classics, sharp and soft.
What might be an issue?
Autumn texture. Texture is too broken up. Ivanka is sleek, tight, clean, and organized, not earthy and natural. I also doubt she’s an Autumn. Julianne has much more texture (freckles, hair) and she may have some Autumn, though I doubt it’s as much as is often suggested. I believe in wearing what you are, so Julianne would add a little texture (snakeskin or metallic, not fluffy or chunky wool).
Animal prints could go either way depending on the item.
A suede belt? Probably too natural for a Classic. A suede skirt? Not sure so I tried it, picking the least adorned one I could find.
Leather jacket (leather pants should be worn by nobody, but then I’m a Classic)? I think so.
Plastic, because it’s really smooth? I don’t see it as natural enough for any Autumn.
Be careful with hair highlights. They can look random, which translates to a little messy and uncontrolled on a very organized and controlled woman and her wardrobe. This is a nice colour, though many Soft Autumns are significantly darker of hair colour. The hair style and the person seem a bit natural, but it’s a good colour without looking obviously processed or busy.
We can associate Summer with flowy fabric. Not all of them. Don’t apply the Season stereotype to anyone, about any aspect of colour, line, or shape. Soft drape won’t stand up on this body, it risks looking limp. Limp doesn’t express sex appeal and wealth.
How else can we interpret flow? From thesaurus.com,
- continuity: as in gradual colour transitions, great on Soft Seasons
- series: so maybe a monochromatic outfit, which can look expensive because it’s not irregular
- connections: as repetitions, very good on sharpened classics.
Summer circles? The person is way way more classic than they are dramatic. If the shape is sleek and a little sharp, could be fine. Clean and organized work for sure.
10 Rules of Dramatic Classic According to Me
I’m a DC Dark Winter. What I think applies to most sharp-side classics is:
1. Smooth, especially around the face. If it’s not, we’ll push each other further in opposite directions as opposite things do.I’ll look flat and 2D while the item looks like a bathmat.
2. No mess, all organizers welcome. Even ruching is an issue but a little low down on the side is ok. Scarves are complicated but a simple one that lies flat and is arranged a little dramatically could be good on a Summer blend. I doubt traditional lace will work, she’ll drain energy like a dripping tap, but there is a version of everything for every body. I just haven’t seen lace for all the body types yet. You can build natural looks wtih lower budgets. This look is harder because there’s nowhere to hide. Goodness knows, I still try every day.
3. Little or no explicit decoration. No ruffles, peplums, bows, lace, fuss. Even prettiness can start looking frumpish on this body when you’re not paying attention. No open toe shoes but sandals ok, slingbacks excellent.
4. Not cute or young. Cap sleeves, borders, a hint of bunny ears, kitten heels, they just look silly, not cute or young.
5. Nothing weird. It’s a medium and symmetrical body. How wide could the tolerance for weird be? Where would weird find a home? No pink briefcases, patchwork raincoats. Your Natural teenage daughter might say your clothes are plain, old, and boring when she sees pictures of them, just like she’ll say the colours are dull if she’s a Winter (she won’t recognize them as plain or dull when they’re on your body, under your face).
6. I never know why I feel so negative for crew necks since they’re so classic. Boat necks are worse on me, I think. The neck has to slice up or slice down, and slice narrow, to keep the voltage high, which is what I really want in this life. A crewneck might be OK if there were a collar necklace and the rest of the top were great or had a superb dramatic print. Cowlneck could work well on this colouring but I’d need to be shown how . Asymmetry or sharp pleats on one shoulder could make a crewneck better.
7. A certain amount of busy-ness in a print is fine but there’s limits. Damn straight I’m a good DC with helmet hair to prove it. Same with a purse, which should have plenty of organizers inside. If they’re on the outside, all those zippers and snaps look busy and messy and feel annoying and complicated.
8. About stripes: diagonal and vertical good, horizontal trickier, ok if thin and regular.
9. For purses: nothing squishy, fairly square, and not real big or real small. Picture the purse version of a banker suit. Now, we’re in low gear, giving it gas, and we’re towing.
10. No visible logos even if it says Armani, which is a super good DC brand and seldom (ever?) has visible logos. Hugo Boss is right up there too (Bloomingdales has some great items).
What I Don’t Know About Sharp Classic Autumn
1. Length of jackets. I think it’s tight as a cropped style at the waist or long just after the break of the hip but not further. This may depend on height. I’m not tall (5’4″).
2. Plaid is usually good on Autumn but I can’t quite imagine what it looks like for Summer + Classic + sharp.
3. Pearls on a Summer blend could be fine. This whole topic interests me a lot, how much the different Seasons actually could express the style stereotypes inside the style types, like their own dialects.
For instance, those equestrian boots in 6 – equestrian anything is automatic wealth of a classic sort. Ski anything is wealth of a dramatic and natural sort.
The link bracelets in 3 and 5. Links are good on Autumn. They can run a little biker on me. I know a DC Bright Winter, they’d be even more biker on her.
Natural elements are good on Autumn – the leaf necklace in 4. I don’t see it on Winters. This is almost astonishing to me. Like seeing it all in a new way. Paraphrasing from The Polar Express, “It doesn’t matter where the train is going. What matters is whether you decide to get on.” I’m on all the way to wherever the Destination is. I hope to see you there.
Is a sharp classic from the Summer colouring groups less sharp than a Winter? Kate Middleton seems to me a sharpish classic. Wearing those styles is when she looks great. I don’t see Diana’s big outward natural energy. Diana always looks big in photos, even thumbnails. Kate looks smaller despite her height, and more contained. I did wonder about a Natural energy but she has so much symmetry.
Symmetry feels formal, I would guess, which is where the Winter stereotype of “formal, ceremonial” must have come from since so many Winters have symmetric features. Most certainly, not all Winters have them. Asymmetry feels informal, which feels livelier (warmer?) and works so well on many Springs. Many Springs have that cheerleader/BFF feeling of Natural body types, but there are plenty of Classic, Romantic, and Gamine Springs. Anyhow, everyone will have a worthy opinion about Kate. Kate is softer than Mrs. Onassis, the image of DC. She wears that hairstyle well. Is it just because she’s young? Michelle Pfeiffer is quite sharp and she’d be a Summer. I really wonder how much Season would influence line within a given body type.
I would also like to know if women have different degrees or tolerances within a group, as they have with colour. Inside our 12 Seasons, we find our best individual expression. Body type must be the same, since we can’t divide all humanity in 10-13 groups within which the advice will apply to each person equally. Every woman expresses her Season her own way, even with the same body type. Like the 12 Seasons, it’s not so much a rigid gospel as a way of bringing some kind of measurable, teachable, reproducible objectivity to our native lines.
Body type analysis is a guide for my Light Summer Soft Natural sister to not default back to her True Autumn Gamine styles, for which we are all grateful. My Dark Autumn Gamine friend finds affirmation and confidence to wear her knit red dress with yellow footprints (I’m not making this up) in her small farm town. Suddenly people see, expect, and love her snapping wit, instead of expecting a TV Mom when she wears more conventional outfits and taking offence at a style of humour that was so big, it took them by surprise.
Back to the clothes, some of these outfits would work for Kate and some may be too masculine. She needs more decoration. Again, is it because she’s young? Softer in the range of DCs? Not Classic at all? Because we’re used to seeing her items that cost 10 times the amounts that I controlled above?
4. How much asymmetry? Not a lot but some is fine. To me, the softer Classic is much more symmetric than this one. I really like the neck and flat pleats of the pinkish dress in 4.
5. How much flare? Bootcut is ok if you can’t find straight leg. The coat up there in 6 is good in the top and in that it flares but doesn’t flounce in the skirt. Worn by a classic body, would it look like two styles fused into one garment? Not sure. Maybe better for a softer classic.
6. If you find black soles on boots – you gotta know when to fold ‘em. Soft Autumn has pretty good darkness and the contrast from boot to sole may increase the overall sharpness.
7. Gray is great on Summers and Autumns, and good at becoming what’s around it. I put in that jacket in the lower L of 6 because the style is good. The gray is too sharp though, better for Dark Autumn or Dark Winter. The color necklace is too soft, too colourful, and too irregular is my guess. It doesn’t belong. I was trying to use colours to take attention away from an imperfect gray. I don’t think this outfit would really work on a Soft Autumn but I wanted to try it. So many good things about Polyvore, the ultimate in comparison shopping and no-limit outfit trial runs.
8. Set 6 is where I experimented. The top R group is probably Soft Summer but I’d try it in a store. A cool Soft Autumn might wear the colours. Is the dress too irregular? IDK but I’d try it for that too; it’s smooth around the face.
How much saturation could Soft Autumn wear? That aqua dress just to the R of the numeral 6, I’d certainly lay the palette on it and see what happens.
The crystal pleat coppery skirt? Again, IDK if it would be wrong on DC, but I like it a lot. A line expert could probably tell you how to wear it.
What watches? There’s a lot of watches? The batteries ran out long ago. Don’t replace them, save money and buy perfume.
Still happening. Bright Winters are walking in the door with so much to teach us.
Too light for Bright Winter? too warm? too soft? Why isn’t it shocking? I like it. The pigments are clean. It doesn’t feel like a Light. The shocking part is only one interpretation. There are a million others.
Q: If I’m a Bright Winter, why does half the makeup look terrible on me?
Short A: That’s typical of all 8 Neutral Seasons. Nothing different going on.
Long A: Being a Neutral Season, meaning a blend of a warm and cool parent colour groups in your natural colouring, means that your palette contains warm and cool versions in most every colour family. That in turn is because that’s how the colours in your body are set up.
In a Neutral Season person, the native colours might be very fussy about lightness or darkness, or softness or clearness. The skin says, “You mess with one of those, I’m going to mess with you. ” On the warm to cool issue, the colours say, “A little warmer or cooler, no problem. I’m fine with as long as you don’t drive all over the road. A little right or left of center isn’t a problem. I have a different center line I have to stick to for you to be awesomely beautiful and defined in your clothing, hair, and makeup. A touch warmer or cooler? Fine. Do what you gotta do.”
That’s most people. Nothing is true in everybody. Some Neutral Seasons are as fussy about heat as a True Season is, or almost. Especially Bright Winter because the skin is Spring-delicate but the colour intensity is Winter-big. Touchy combination. The magnitude of Winter’s scale (when it cools, it cools fast and hard; when it darkens, you notice), plus the complexity and high responsiveness of this colouring, and the tolerances are more Yes or No – not unlike everything else Winter.
In clothing, I have never seen the Neutral Season woman who can’t wear her warm and cool colours very well, some more rigorously than others, of course, as we talked about in the previous article, Bright Winter Q and A. We all begin in our 12 Tone or Season palette and adapt it to our particular contrast level, body shape, age, taste, and so on.
That’s clothing we’re talking about. Neutral Seasons look boring if they stick to one edge of their palette, be it warm or cool, regardless of how close to their warm or cool neighbour their colouring sits in the 12 Season cycle. They are far more exciting and interesting if they dress all over their palette.
Cosmetics are different. It’s the rare Neutral Season woman who wears her warm and cool colours equally well in makeup. Most of us have a particular heat level within our palette that seems to work best. It’s less tightly defined with clothes. It is more tightly defined with colours we paint right on our face. The heat level for cosmetics isn’t always related to where our colouring is positioned in our Season or Tone, warmer or cooler, probably because cosmetics mix with skin pigments and are influenced by other aspects of skin chemistry. A bright Dark Winter could wear the same lipstick as a dark Bright Winter. Bite Quince is a great example.
Some Neutral Season colouring is unusual in its high sensitivy to heat level in clothing. Really, in any Season, the average appearances and rules about appearances don’t exist in the real world, certainly not among the Brights. There will always be those in any colouring than sit at the extremes of any parameter. Some Bright Winters tolerate dark colours well, but white not so well, where a little too cool is a lot too ghostly.
Is an analyst going to have 5 white drapes? No, of course not. Especially not white. It’s the hardest analysis colour to make decisions from and the most difficult colour to assign to only one Season’s drape set. How extreme can you make white to have it represent only 1 Season as Test Drapes must do? If the Test Drape white is not your perfect white, your analyst tells you what needs adjusting based on your analysis process, and you go to the store and find THAT white.
Makeup texture is crucially important in the Brights, again because of the big scale and volatile settings in all 3 colour dimensions. On all colouring whose appearance is young and angelic, sheer may be better than matte. On a more dramatic presence, an opaque texture is necessary to support a face that expresses power in the more traditional sense, to balance more imposing eyeliner and blush that in turn balance the architecture of the face.
Lips should balance eyes and hair for the whole head to look balanced. If hair colour or textures are strong and striking, as opposed to clear and gossamer, matte lips can make more sense, though it’s still brightness that really matters. On a strong, mature face with Winter level features – significant hair, arresting eyes, and notable clothing – an invisible mouth too close to skin colour, is, well, it’s old. This kind of face wears matte just fine and is too busy to reapply gloss every half hour.
Bright Winter? Clean pigment, not too warm, small yellow accents, ends very near black, red-toned gray in background (but not blue or mauve grays like pigeon or raincloud). That’s a stunning outfit. Only a Bright Winter could wear that pink in eyeshadow, blush, and gloss – but not every Bright Winter.
Q: In the last article about Bright Winter Q and A, do you think some people are in between Light Summer and Bright Winter in their Season position? Do they look pretty good in both palettes in clothing?
Short A: No. I think nobody is located between True Seasons. True Seasons don’t overlap. Colouring can be located between Neutral Seasons. Bright Winter and Light Summer share some colour properties but their clouds don’t overlap in colour space. Some great analysts might see this otherwise though. Don’t get locked down by my bossy delivery. That’s just how I talk.
Can they share clothes? Depends. Age, taste, safety, degree of fussiness about being perfect. Also how colour perceptive the audience will be.
Long A: Christie Brinkley could be between Reese and Julianna. No real reason for me pointing that out, just a similar kind of colouring and face. She might be neither Light Summer nor Bright Winter. Probably isn’t, in fact.
I said before that Winter is an extension of Summer. You know by now that I say things too broadly just to unstick something in your head that shouldn’t be there. For instance, when I said, “Any Season can have Any hair and eye colour.” It’s mostly true. You can have blue, green, or brown eyes in any Seasons. Now, it won’t be the same blue, green, or brown, but we can’t get into the details until the wrong generalization is out of your head space.
So Winter is more Summer in some ways. OTOH, Autumn and Spring are seriously different. Therefore they belong opposite a circle from each other, with Winter and Summer also opposite. Then the Neutrals can assume their correct positions, or oppositions. Then the heat levels can assume their correct positions, or oppositions.
There are colour analysis systems that go around a clock in the Spring, Winter, Summer, Autumn order. I don’t understand that. For me, I can make more sense of Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter. That makes the neighbours and the opposites more logical in my head. While I respect the work and vision of everyone in our industry because every one has added to our knowledge, placing warm next to warm is in contradiction with the physics of illumination. Warm and cool don’t move into each other, they move away from each other, I believe.
But there is NO Winter person who drapes equally in Summer colour, IMO. You’re one OR the other. When I say Winter is more Summer, I have no smudged line in my head. You’re still on one side or the other side.
To me, there is never a real life person who can’t be put solidly in one. Some great analysts disagree. If I’m the analyst today, a person is either Winter or Summer. There’s no blend. My students don’t leave here without proving this to themselves.
In a TEST situation, you’re either or.
My more specific point was that they can use Light Summer to grow into Bright Winter. In the store, you can wear Light Summer if Bright Winter is too much, and still look a million % better than all the other choices you could have made that day. In the totality of a Light Summer outfit, a Bright Winter item could be the only thing people see under PCA lights. Or vice versa. IRL is different. Our eyes adjust and adapt and compensate all the time.
Coming around to bright colour? Great. Keep a delicate feeling about it. Keep your lights close to white if you’re Winter. Could the flower be Bright Spring? Maybe, hard to tell from photos. If there’s real red, it’s feels closer to Winter. Shocking? Maybe in a cement room.
Q: I wore a perfect Bright Winter lip colour, not too warm or cool. It swatches just right. I took good pictures. All my friends said it was wrong for me. Now you tell me I’m a Bright Winter. How can I wear lipstick that everyone thinks is off?
Short A: They were too absolute, and about a different issue.
Long A: First, if the friends are online and have not been in a room with you, they don’t know because they can’t know. Ever met anyone who was exactly what you expected online? Ever seen a cosmetic that was?
Second, what do you look like? Young woman, young features, and opaque looks like Mom’s makeup. Often much of the palette of colours, in clothing too, is too powerful for young men and women to pull off. It will happen in time. The adult will surface. Eventually, the face will shift from Spring sweet to Winter regal, even though you’re still Bright Winter at 17.
It makes sense to give a hard face a hard lipstick. Give a soft or young face SHEER lipstick, NOT SOFT. Don’t reduce saturation or you’ll move the colour to someone else’s makeup bag. Reduce opacity. Two completely different concepts.
The friends knew they crashed but couldn’t tell into what. The issue was opaqueness, which does look like Mom’s Makeup. The viewer sees that and thinks, “Whoa. Back up. I have no idea where this gun will fire. I’m not getting close and not showing much of myself.” The friends felt that and said, “Can’t be your Season if the lipstick test fails.”
They were just wrong about what’s wrong. The GummiBear version of the exact same colour could be superb. High pigment density in a transparent application is how Bright makeup looks right. Makeup makes sense and belongs on a face when it reflects light in the same way that the skin reflects light (see Best Skin Finish articles, Winter, Summer, Spring, Autumn.)
Opacity and transparency are not ways of measuring colour but they most assuredly influence how we see and feel about it. Would you put house paint on a doll’s lips? Same colour in jellybean, does it feel better? On a Bright, too sheer is ChapStick. There has to be pigment density + pigment purity + transparency of application.
We can’t look at a photo and adjust one parameter of those three and know what it would do to the face, just as we can’t look at two colours of different colour dimension, say saturation, and guess the lighter and darker. Our eyes get mixed up when one thing changes, about the other things. It guesses wrong. Which is why a correct PCA has to find a way to tease the 3 colour dimensions apart and evaluate each one separately. That means exact drape colours and a logic process that sails around these storms, not into them.
Sheer also allows more movement on the warm-cool axis. Sheer makeup is good on anyone making adjustments because our own pigmentation shows through and brings it nearer to us. It’s instant, built-in, foolproof cosmetic colour customization.
There is always part of what looks right to people that’s just taste, same as any art form. And memory, intuition, emotion, and subconscious. We have little control over any of it but they influence our decision-making. Analysts fight their personal feelings about colours all the time to keep it purely objective, part of why a PCA system that measures something is so essential.
A nice picture to break up all the print. Ridiculous how much I can talk. Also lots of Bright Winter going on. Clarity, smoothness, high reflectivity, transparency, and some nice neutral colours for pants and a coat in the background.
Q: If I’m a Bright Winter, why do I look like a child when I wear the clothes? The colours shouldn’t wear me, should they?
Short A: You’ll grow into them and get used to them. It’s normal.
Long A: A young Bright Winter might feel the colours wear him until he’s 30, especially if he’s blonde and blue-eyed. If the family and friends have only seen the sunny rascal face, and that’s how he’s always been treated, and therefore how he sees himself when he looks in the mirror, how can anyone know that the power face is already the bigger part of him, and will get bigger with adulthood? When everyone has seen him as Dennis The Menace, how fast can the room adjust when Beckham on the GQ Cover stands up? Everyone has some catching up to do when Dennis walked in and Chris Pine will be leaving (hey, Pine looks like Hough, Witherspoon, and Brinkley too. Like they could be a family.)
How would you feel if she were your sister and your consciousness of her goes from this to this (scroll down to Out of the Desert), in an afternoon? (these are not necessarily Bright Winter; get the feeling and the lines, not the colours)
When those who always saw Lollipop Bouquet had to adjust to Candy Cane?
And what if Candy Cane suddenly became Grecian vase? Winter is a grown-up. Never underestimate the power, maturity, and seriousness inside even the youngest Winter. Many Winters seem floaty in various ways. Don’t be fooled. They’re not.
My eyes saw the person and, because the skin is quiet and the face is united, bounced immediately to the eyes. And couldn’t move away from the eyes without conscious effort. Perfect. The lips balance the hair and eyes so the whole head looks balanced. Barbie or bubblegum would not be better. I can’t even talk about rust. The face would not come across as it does with less lip. The image would be compromised compared to this one. The same could be said of more lip, especially in the angelic quality of the face. Burgundy would not be better, even her own sugarplum could be a lot. For now. If you’re not wondering what the lip colour in the photo is, you and I have a whole different opinion of beauty. And that’s perfectly OK and normal, probably everyone has different opinions about beauty. It’s YSL Glossy Stain #13.
More importantly, until you’re seen in real life in your true and native colours, nobody really knows what you look like.
Lines won’t assume their correct shape till we see them in their real colour and texture. We don’t know the true shape of a line till we see it in its true and real colour. Carol Tuttle of DYT really saw texture differences well, and closed the circle nicely by describing them and then applying them in apparel.
Under the PCA lights in a gray working environment, we cancel all the surrounding world’s noise, and there’s a lot of it. Then we find the right colours and textures. On every face, with every drape change, we answer questions about:
ONLY THEN do we look at the face and say, “So now. What shape is THAT?”
This is part of how body line assessments get confused. If we see a jaw or nose or facial line that’s fuzzy or distorted by incorrect colour, it makes it harder to find the Kibbe or Type or whatever archetype system we ascribe to. Especially in photos where nobody has spent any time with the real you, and where our eyes must make assumptions.
This is why correct colour analysis takes priority in choosing apparel. First, you know your colours for sure, then figure out your lines, and then your own unique expression.
L. is a recent student whose background is in science. Her work demands that she peel thinking patterns and decision-making processes back to the bone. Of the rigor of the PCA process, she said, and I paraphrase,
What sounds good and feels good might be right but it might not. We need to keep all options open and examine them. As humans, we have a vested interest in an outcome whether we admit it or not. Therefore a correct analysis of anything, colouring, a drug, a patient, requires that we solve a problem in many different ways before making a conclusion that will later support a structure. It’s a cumulative gathering and building of information to arrive at the best decision.
What’s the vested interest? Proving to ourselves that we’re right about what we thought we were right about. Ego’s favourite game.
What’s the structure that will need to be supported? You at the mall, at the makeup counter, in the hair colourist’s chair, in control of your appearance.
Just beautiful. Dark green is the neutral. Love colour as neutral on anyone with Spring. Baby peach is gorgeous on Brights. Faint heat in the center. Symmetric, repeating, balanced (Winter) and out-of-this-world.
To the previous article, Susan asked:
Q: Brights who ‘look’ light, bright and clear; do you mean they look so only in their colours?
A: Depends. Sometimes, wearing muted colour can dull them down substantially. What’s a Summer colour compared to a Winter one? Warmer and duller. And that’s exactly what a Summer white drape does to a Winter face, makes it yellower and fogged in, among other things.
On some Brights in muted colour, they seem to look more bright and not attached to their clothes in some way. Like the two elements are finding the place where they most differ and force it even wider.
Back to TMIT, another broad compromise to help us think about something in a new way. Dark people look good in dark colour. It’s pretty easy, even if it’s not perfect. Dark Winter can manage Dark Autumn or dark Soft and True Summer quite ok. Bright people look normal in bright colour, while the rest of us look a little absurd and taken over by our clothes.
That’s what the colours do to us.
All colour, every idea and any conflict, is a 2-way relationship. Walk around the belief and look at it from the back side. What do we do to the colour?
We could rephrase the above to say that Dark people can take a dark colour and make IT look normal and not so dark. My lipstick is very dark among the 40 choices in that brand. It doesn’t look black on me but it would on most people.
A Bright person can take a bright fabric and make it look normal, just blue, just pink, what’s the big deal? On the rest of us, it settles somewhere along the foolish-neon-toxic spectrum, and more so, the longer it sits on us.
We could say that a Bright person takes a clear colour and makes the clearness look less exaggerated. Maybe that’s the ultimate tolerance. The best belonging. “I’ll take what’s out there and extreme about you and bring it in here with me. We can bring out the best in both of us. Neither one bigger or more the way it would be on someone else. Neither of us lost or less. Instead, and only when we’re together, we are able to make each of us found and more.” Synergy. More than the sum of the parts. Synchrony between our native wavelength and that of what we add. Harmony. The magic word. The magic feeling that colour analyzed people feel and others see.
Many Bright Springs have requested a similar Q&A post. For me, these are not the Q that come up for that colouring. Are they for you? If yes, I’m happy to write about it. If these are not your exact concerns, what exactly do you want to know? What problem are you having? What doesn’t make sense? What are you just putting up with or having to work around all the time? Tell me the exact issue. If one person is wondering, be sure that thousands are.
Excellent Q from a reader:
I’m a Bright Winter and have always felt that I had cool undertones to my skin but also have some freckles which makes it less obvious. Â When Prescriptives Cosmetics was in business, I tested as having Blue Red undertones and I used their foundation with cool undertones for years. Â I recently decided to try Bare Minerals foundation. Â Two different people who sell this brand have tested me as a Neutral undertone. Â This could make sense since I’m a neutral season but I’ve always known myself to have cool undertones. I have a little bit of a tan right now. Â I’m not trying to tan, but I play tennis outside and despite my sunscreen I get a bit of color. Â Would it be possible for me to seem like I have neutral undertones in the summer when I have some tan and then seem to have cool undertones again the rest of the year when I don’t have a tan? Â I’m just wondering if I should wear a neutral foundation in the summer and a cool foundation the rest of the year.
Your undertone is fixed and determined by your genetics, and is shared by all your colouring including your tan. Your Season doesn’t change with a tan, though you might have different colour preferences, for the higher contrast with the lighter choices, for instance. Many Bright Winters can find black too severe or their coolest colours too shadowing, and a tan might change those tolerances enough to feel more comfortable.
When you’re tanned and look warmer, the undertone might seem warmer. Whatever undertone means, it doesn’t mean ‘overall feeling and effect’. This is one of those “It looks warmer and feels like it should be warmer, so therefore it is warmer.” conclusions that are not necessarily sound.
Even pure cool Seasons can tan very golden looking. They look more yellow, but when their colours are tested, it’s still the same cool yellow their genetics always produced. They may have more melanin, which contributes red, brown, blue, and/or black, depending on the type of melanin, but it’s the same colour of melanin that it always was.
PCA determines where your inborn colours sit on 3 scales. Every colour, every body part. (In illness too? IDK, I’ve never draped a Before/After and don’t know anyone who has).
The heat scale. Warm/cool/neutral? Neutral on the cooler side, the warmer side, or 49/51 between fully warm and fully cool?
The saturation scale. How concentrated were the pigments that you were painted with? Very, or were they a little more dilute?
On the darkness scale, you don’t have a setting so much as a range. Do your inborn colours go all the way from white to black? Only 1 of the 12 does, the True Winter. I’m a Winter but don’t reach fully to pure white. Mine is a tiny bit dirty white. A woman might hug chalk to pewter. If she wears black mascara, it’s railroad tracks because it’s outside what her natural colouring can balance. If she over-lightens her hair highlights, it will never look natural or real because only processing could achieve that much lightness in her body.
The hair of a yellow haired Light Summer can seem very yellow. She’ll go online and get told she’s a Spring of some sort. A clerk will give her warm foundation. Wrong. Unless they measure it, how could they know that the yellow in her body comes from Light Summer’s less saturated and subtly cooler palette, not Spring’s?
A salesperson has no way of measuring people’s settings on the 3 Colour Scales. Even the most experienced colour analysts canâ€™t eyeball the settings.
Depending on how the line of products they’re selling is coloured,
(do they have access to foundations warmed by Spring yellow and Autumn gold separately? as we know, warm can include yellow, beige, peach, orange, gold, brown, etc.)
(are those bottles labeled cool/warm/neutral really so, and in the same way that a colour analyst means it?)
(is there consistency in the cosmetics industry regarding pigments and terminology? if not, one company will call you warm, the other will say neutral)
(is the salesperson highly discriminating, nitpicky, rigorous, fussy, and particular? these are the people you want; I’ve been foundation-analyzed by the head of training for North America for a huge company within the last 6 months, the result was not good)
…a cosmetics salesperson could separate cool/neutral/undertone by matching foundation. The same foundation colour is the best match on the same Seasons in 3 in 5 women of the same race. It’s just not rock solid.
Foundation is a mixture of your heat level, darkness level, inherent saturation, plus surface pigments. As Dark Winters (my assumption), Mrs. Obama and I have the same heat level, darkness range, and saturation of inborn pigments. She has more melanin but it’s the same colour as mine if we test it. She has more melanin in the outer layer and wears different foundation.
Big Disclaimer: I made up all of the above. That’s only how it makes sense to me. I do not know what undertone is or where it is. Is it a layer by itself that you could isolate and dissect out of the skin? I doubt it. Is it simply the difference in people’s hemoglobin? IDK. Is it just a mixture of all the body’s pigments, if you poured equal amounts together in a bowl and stirred, bluer in Summers, redder in Winters?Â Does it even have a colour or is just a gray that’s cool, warm, or neutral? I don’t know and am not aware of the scientific testing that offers proof. This is one of my remaining Big Questions in PCA.
I am pretty certain that what a makeup company means by cool-neutral-warm is different from a colour analyst meaning. One story is probably part of the other one but they don’t fully overlap. We’re all using the same words to mean different things and consumers can’t sort out the facts. Therefore, the Q above would also be a good one to ask a cosmetic pigment expert.
I do not change the heat level of my foundation in summer. I do use a product that sits darker in my own darkness range. Both products are cool neutral on a heat scale.
The answer to the reader’s Q is one of those It Depends. Theoretically, she has a cool-neutral skin undertone and will always wear that choice in foundation. However, depending on where she finds the best foundation match, it might be labeled otherwise.
Remember. I invent answers to these questions till I can live with calmly.
Here is an excellent question from K, one that I am asked often for most Seasons as some variation of,
Should All My Colours Be Equally Good?
In K’s words,
My question relates to the darker and cooler colours of the Bright Spring palette. Bright Spring was clearly the hands-down winner in the draping, so I don’t doubt that. However, despite really enjoying wearing the lighter and brighter shades in the palette, the cooler and darker shades seem “heavy” or “draining” somehow – the lighter ones seem to reflect more light off my face and “brighten” me up more. The darker and cooler colours also feel too serious or something. I am on the warmer side, so perhaps this could account for it…
I wondered if the darker colours were only supposed to be used in smaller blocks, or intermixed with the lighter values, in order to brighten them up? Or, should all of the colours in the palette look equally good in a large block under the face?
I also feel better in warmer, sunnier makeup, again seems less serious/formal than the cooler shades. I have tried to wear some of the cooler fuchsias as lipsticks, and it feels overdone and constrained somehow (although I do recall your comment about winter makeup being like housepaint on spring, so perhaps even if it’s a swatch match, the heaviness of the pigment/texture could throw things off)…?
These are good questions with some answers that apply to all persons of any Tone. Each woman and her own natural appearance will refine other answers. There is no one-size-fits-all when there are only 12 groups.
My first thought when I read the Q was, too dark for what? From K’s question, I take it that she’s asking about wearing the darker colours in large area, as she says, rather than whether they’re too dark to wear at all because they fall outside her own darkness range as a person within that Season. The second option can’t be it because the drapes measured her value (light/dark) range. They measured her heat level (hue) and chroma too. The Season is the name given the hue/value/chroma settings that she is herself, or the best harmonic match.
Think of your palette colours as the paint puddles on an artist’s hand board. They are the colours you will use to make an abstract painting.
No rule tells the artist that she has to use equal areas of each colour. The size of the colour elements in the painting will vary widely unless your composition is intended as a tablecloth of equal sized blocks. Thatâ€™s not wrong. It can still have interest, emotion, and mood. But most of us don’t dress as coloured checkerboards. It feels somehow limited in the mind, restricted instead of expansive, not expressive of who we are as individuals. Our clothing choices tell others our story. A checkerboard is like a spreadsheet of us rather than a picture of our beautiful spirit.
could be good on an Autumn; I owned a T-shirt like this once, it was great
Every colour in any painting has a presence regardless of its surface area. Without that one thin black line, it’s a different painting. You notice one tiny yellow sail on one tiny boat in a big blue ocean landscape. You notice a woman’s nail polish or a miniature diamond within seconds. Could be the little areas attract more of our attention because they take more effort to be noticed.
We are not one block of colour to look at.Â In the eyes of others, we are the entire colour palette, every colour, all at once, all the time. Fan the thing out. There. That’s what the rest of us see when we look at you. Extracting one colour and wearing it as a solid block doesn’t repeat any person perfectly. Â The colours that are most natural and instinctive will be the ones that work best alone in large blocks. Though everyone has maybe 10 that are fantastic, the best of the best might be
- the undertone colour or close to it, like yellow orange on True Spring, or mulberry on Dark Winter
- Â representing the primary colour dimension, like antique mauve and silver smoke on Soft Summer
- sometimes repeating an eye colour, like flame gold and hot, rich green on True Autumn
- sometimes exemplifying the feeling of the Season, like bright and energetic on Bright Spring, or blossom colours on Light Spring
- the complement to the core colour, as purples on the five Spring-influenced groups, or a combination, such as periwinkle on Light Summer, that holds the blue of Summer and the purple of Spring and is heartbreakingly lovely
- and sometimes it’s beautiful and I’m not sure why: True Summer in soft fuchsia, watermelon red, or rose petal, with dangly, swirly silver earrings is plain gorgeous.
True Spring; no bold lines, the blocks are distinct by colour divisions; not misty, earthy, heavy, bold, geometric; instead, this is energetic, hippie, fun, busy, buoyant, and natural (where natural is not the same as earthy)
On a Bright Spring, the pure, fresh, spanking new colours will absolutely look better in a single block under the face than the business suit colours, even better if they’re shiny. Of course, they do. It would be odd and worrying if they didn’t. Bright Spring is defined by brightness and a good measure of lightness. It is expected that those types of colours would be automatic and easy. Bright means bright by any connotation of the word, including light, upbeat, clear, and vivid. Bright means intelligent too :). Â Revlon Colorburst gloss 046 in Sizzle contains everything I mean – clear, intense, purely pigmented, just enough red to have kick. Every Bright Spring I know would be great in it.
Light colours are extremely visually attractive on Light Seasons. That’s the whole thing about that type of colouring. Light means light as buoyant and airy too. When you see dark colours on a Dark Season, conversation hangs for a few seconds. The mind is preoccupied with seeing. The Most Important Thing, TMIT, is not just most important for technical reasons. It’s also very organic. A colour-analyzed appearance is appealing to our intellect and intuition equally. The right and left brain hemispheres are equally fulfilled. For a second, the satisfaction is so high that nobody talks, like the first spoonful of dessert or sip of your favorite coffee, where one sensory system is 99% engaged.
Bright Spring; as busy or quiet as you like; more dark colours and/or small areas of black contribute to an overall darkness level that is darker than True Spring; Â pure pigments, still happy, bright, and fun; Â the composition speaks of movement, the colour blocks remain quite distinct; modern, clean, and stylized, less natural than a field of daisies or a wheat sheaf, more energy than a lily pad
The darker colours of the Bright Spring palette will not turn the person yellow, pale, shadowed, or otherwise distorted as colours of other dimensions, found in the other 11 Seasons, did. Worn alone, their mood may be too somber for the natural appearance. The feeling we attach to neutral colours and dark colours has more gravity than do the light and bright colours. For this reason, Bright Season people tend to look better in the shiny version of their colours than the matte side of the drapes.
Bright Spring contains Winter and that presence is important. When Winter steps into the warm Seasons to create its four Neutral Seasons, its effects are less subtle than when Summer steps in. The cooling and darkening are more noticeable. You can tell in the person. They look more contrasting, though not necessarily dark. Some aspect of the appearance or character may be exaggerated, like strength of eye colour, the sharpness of the planes of the face, sweetness on a dark person or intensely goal-driven tendencies in a light person.
William Shatner was like a True Spring Captain Kirk. Willing to be childlike and funny, with rounded edges. You’d be safe if you met him at a party. Chris Pine is the Bright Spring version. Edgier, more aggression, more contrast in the colours of eyes and coolness in skin, and you’d know to lock up your daughters. Point is, Pine isÂ missing something if he dresses too safe. He needs the cooler colours and the darker colours to activate the bright, fun colours. Otherwise, he’s a boringly inauthentic version of himself. This applies to every Bright Spring I’ve ever seen, and I’m certain that includes K. Wear the cools and darks. Choose small areas but don’t leave them out.
Bright Winter; Winter’s presence is darker, sharper, balanced, and less reachable; for all Brights, the light element is clear, large, and holds the prominent interest and mood; the lines express the teardrop shape of Spring; this woman has a logical reason to flip up her eyeliner at the outer corner
What about a Soft Summer woman in a long navy dress? Â Even if it’s her navy, the dustiness really needs to be completely obvious, it’s TMIT after all, or the full impression risks being darker than she is. Her body will seem small in comparison to her neck and shoulders. The navy may even start looking darker than it is. The whole picture is like a willow tree top on a black flagpole. Thinking, “Well, I can see it’s muted where the fabric is sheer…” is not near muted enough.
As an aside, I can’t talk without them, you should try shopping with me, that straight solid vertical line says Winter to me, for no logical reason. Winter always feels like solid, still equilibrium. Solid, but not earthy. A marble statue is solid but not earthy. A pharaoh is solid and a little earthy. Maybe that’s why I keep the pharaoh visual in my head when I put on Dark Winter and True Winter eyeliner. Geronimo, Chief Tecumseh, they’re earthy. A Grecian column is still, neither earthy nor energized. It just is. None of them makes sense with flipped up eyeliner.
Back to the navy dress, with a silver gray shawl, sure, could be fine, but if the colour really is the darkest option in the swatch book, this is not the most beautiful painting I could put under a Soft Summer-coloured head, no matter how light or dark her hair colour.
Soft Summer is about this dark to look at
About the colours you saw yourself in during the draping process, where some looked more captivating than others:
The Test Drapes are not intended to be colours you buy, at least not the drapes that the new colour analysts from the training course are receiving. They are intended to be a little, hm, obnoxious. Terry and I looked for a colours where the other contestant colour would not be worn well, if at all, by the same person. The analyst is trying to make a decision, not suggesting you’ll be wearing these colours. If you’ve draped real human beings, youâ€™ve seen how challenging these decisions can be. The drape colours, and you have many in our Test Drapes, push the extremes so the analyst is most supported in making the correct choice.
Dark Winter choices; top, bold colour in a neutral background ; middle, warms and cools together; lower, more colour, use of undertone colour, small areas of Â intense heat, spans white to black
The Test Drapes also allow the client to see who they’re not. I can babble on about saturation till the cows are home and fed. When my client understands what to never, ever put down $ for again happens when she or he sees the colour in textile. She develops a broad understanding of what Winter colours really look like, what pastels really are, and what muted actually means. If the drape colours are focused on being oh, so pretty, they can end up too similar. Wrong decisions might slip in.
True Spring; use as many or few colours as you like; the effect is sunlit, warm, natural, alive, moving, changing, safe, joyful
The Luxury Drapes and your swatch book colours are not ponchos. They do not look equally perfect in equal space under your face, though other analysts might disagree or have a different definition of perfect. **They are equally wearable without warping the overall harmony.** That is how they’re special. They allow you to narrow down to 1 out 12 the colours in the store that you have to choose from. In fact, they contribute with gigantic importance to the final harmony.
Four to eight of the colours are magic. At your analysis, they might not be the same 4 to 8 as the next woman of your Tone, though once an analyst gets used to her drape set, they usually are quite reproducible. They could be different between Sci\ART analysts, all of whom have different drape sets, so any two analysts would name the exquisite and confirming colours differently, as would the women you chat with online. We can say that none of the colours detracts in any of the ways your face demonstrated in wrong colour during the analysis.
Light Spring; you can feel the blouse, the texture, the scent, the necklace, the highlights; how lovely to Â be in the world and look like this
We can’t wear head to toe magic colours. A painting in only magic colours is both mundane and insane with nothing to set off the magic. We literally need grounding, as in ground colours. The rest of the colours take part in dimensional compositions that create a scene. They set up the lighting, give the eye a place to rest so it can take in the actors and the action, arrange the music almost to the point where you can hear a single note throughout the composition. They match and support the plot.
Dark Autumn; small areas of black; no white; a parchment effect, a bronzed impression ; corners; bold elements without being a modern geometric; more natural than modern/synthetic (which is Bright)
Really, colour is only definable by wavelength. Nothing else.
Colour as we see it is a massive optical illusion.
We cannot even know the truth of a line until we see it in its real colour. The real shape of a face, for instance.
That’s why the room goes quiet when the colours and the person connect, when the magic snaps into place. Because we need a minute to absorb what our eyes see and admit that before, we never saw what we were looking at. It’s a “So this is what she really looks like.” moment. Somebody might laugh. In the brilliant Cluetrain Manifesto, David Weinberg said that laughter is the sound that knowledge makes when it is born. The lens just focused on that human being. Once the colours and the person are on the same wavelength (literally), the full force of their nature is brought into the light (literally).
Light Summer; quiet grace, the optimism of the flower, swirly, no black lines, more colour or less colour is up to you
Whether your colouring is lighter or darker matters some, depending more on what your eye likes to see if you were looking at a woman who looks like you, rather than any rules someone sets down. The overall darkness level of the painting is nice when it’s the same as yours.
Your inherent contrast level – how big is the colour jump between your own big colour blocks, eyes, skin, hair – matters a little, but I think people get too hung up on it, at the risk of looking like they wear the same thing every day. Your Colour Book is like a 16 lane highway. Narrowing yourself down too much is like only driving in the middle lane. Â I don’t see being too careful about this making much difference for the better. You probably look better and more interesting than you think you do, in more colours than you think. If you are more medium in overall contrast, then insert a medium block of any size. Spend time expanding yourself to use your colour-analysis swatches all the way to the ends of every strip. Get out of the middle lane and try an off-ramp. It will be good.
True Summer; says who, water has to be blue? It can be silver gray, hydrangea purple, light misty blue, and cloudy day dark gray, better at the same time.
The warmth or coolness of your position in your Season does not affect which colours look better in clothing that I’ve ever seen. I actually like when warms and cools are worn together by Neutral Season people. It looks interesting, imaginative, and artistic. It gets that “How did you know how to do that?” thing going.
Warm or cool side colouring within a Tone can play a role in cosmetics in some people. Â Cosmetics are less predictable because they sit on your face and mesh with your internal pigments to result in a mixed colour. The same lipstick doesnâ€™t look identical on two women of the same Season. The Seasons are too broad for that.
This aspect of your colours needs a little experimenting and custom-choosing, one woman at a time. Your Season is your center of gravity, which doesn’t mean you can’t move around without tipping over. Women often start where they’re most comfortable. Within a year, they decide to try an old too-cool lipstick again before they give it away and wonder, “Why did I think this was so bad? Why was it planted in my head that it is dark and purple? It’s neither one.”
Soft Autumn paintings; more Autumn geometry on top, great boots, an excellent handbag, a warmer overall feeling; in both, beautiful use of texture; bottom, an interesting way to bring in blue, as a pendant on a necklace
I sometimes wonder if we look for too many rules. Is there a line where we want to be told every aspect of how to dress, or how we do anything, by someone else, so that we don’t have to take on any responsibility for it ourselves? I’m all for getting advice on hair colour and makeup from colour analysts and other advisors who have a critical approach to colour and our appearance.
But there’s a difference between asking, “What looks good ON me?” and “What looks good TO me?” Â I can talk lipstick into the ground. What I love way more is the woman who tuned me out awhile ago and is thinking, “What would MY eyes like to see?”
True Winter? No. Too safe. This is nowhere on True Winter.
True Winter? Still no. Too much outward energy. True Winter is the Earth, and often a person, turned inward. For many Winters, empathy is a learned quality. Pent up energy, surging outward, but still cold, is Bright Winter’s feeling.
True Winter. The whites are so white, they’re blue. The black is the pitch of night. The number of colours is 1, elevated and undeniable. The feeling is contained but not gentle. This energy form is hearing its own rhythm.
At what point we insert our own opinion differs for each of us and no answer is wrong. The women and men who read here are brilliant and very far from being doormats. The fashion industry has made easy prey of us all. I get confused too and ask my kids what looks good on me.
I just wonder if we women have gotten so used to being told what to do that we’ve learned to like it. It’s easy. It’s familiar. It’s the devil we know. It would tick everybody around us off royally if we announced that from now on, we will think, choose, decide, and undertake on our own. Problem is, it keeps us stuck in someone else’s vision.
For me, beauty exists when I recognize the natural world I live in. Maybe that’s why I don’t find a lot of little detail attractive on certain types of natural colouring. We don’t see small detail in the dark (Dark Autumn and Dark Winter). We don’t see intricate detail from a distance (the 3 Winters).
I would rather you have hair colour and makeup in opposition to every word I’ve ever written a million times over before you let someone else tell you what you think. Or worse, what you feel. My answers, anybody’s answers, to how you wear your colours can only take you so far because they are neither right or wrong. Ask yourself, “What feels good TO ME?” Only there can YOUR right answers be found.
Anyone who knows what personal colour analysis is, rather than what it was, lives with a growing sense of how well it works and how much it can improve your choices. The system divides human colouring into several groups, 12 in the one that I use. Since there are far more than 12 kinds of colouring once you get into the subdivisions, not every aspect of each group will apply equally to every person in it.
As you find your private garden and arrange the flowers and furniture to suit you, you ask some excellent questions. L sent me this,
Â Â I’ve been very happy with my Soft Summer colors and they’ve made a
huge difference overall. The issue is though, that my hair color is just so
much warmer than my palette that many of my neutrals don’t look that great.
I stopped coloring my hair a couple of years ago and it’s neutral medium
brown at the base and the lengths are quite warm, perhaps a light chestnut
color would be accurate with even lighter ends.Â This warm brown just
doesn’t look that wonderful with all the grayish-taupes which make up the
majority of my neutrals. As an interior designer I wouldn’t put these colors
next to each other, so it bothers me to do so when getting dressed.
According to old pics and my mother, this is my natural color. I had
forgotten that since I’ve been coloring my hair for over 30 years. I’m just
tired of trying to use toners and shampoos trying to cool it down.
I’ve been looking at other companies SS and Summer fans and found wonderful
browns in the CMAS Summer fan, and Lora Alexander’s (www.prettyyourworld.com) Soft Summer fan.
I was just curious about Sci-Art’s and your opinion about hair not being that
great with the palette since you cover it during the consultation.
Overall, I’ve discovered that I lean a bit warm within Soft Summer and I
really wish [the present palette] would give a wider range of neutral browns. I
own the Soft Autumn fan and I don’t need to go that warm, but just a bit
redder, rosier than my [present] fan.
Neutral to warm? Neutral to cool? Who knows? We’ll have to measure it somehow. That’s what the drapes do. Our eyes alone are not able without imposing some errors, because of how eyes and brains work. And because of the most misleading thing of all…assumptions.
Many of L’s comments could apply to all the Seasons fans. In any Tone, the likelihood of including even half the possible hair colours is less than 50/50 since hair colour is only moderately tied to Season. Why is that? My guess is that it’s because hair colour comes from melanin. Skin colour comes from melanin, hemoglobin, and carotene. Hair colours are an incomplete version of our truth, though what’s there is real and harmonized with us nonetheless. Just not detailed enough to do a PCA with. Hair also doesn’t change enough in response to colour to take accurate measurements. Skin tone does, therefore we use it to guide a colour analysis.
Soft Summer doesn’t tend to vary as widely as some but it certainly ranges in darkness, though it remains on the cool divide of neutrality. In all 12 Tones, eye colours seem to me to be more closely resembling the skin colours contained in the colour analyzed swatch palette, and yet they can appear very warm in persons of this Season. Test them and they still have the best energy in the cool-neutral Soft Summer drapes, not the warm-neutral Soft Autumn drapes. Why isn’t eye colour tightly linked to Season? Similar reasons to the hair, adding in the Rayleigh scattering that makes the sky blue, and other aspects of the physics and biology of an eyeball, such as how it’s pigmented, where its blood layer is located, how it reflects light because it’s in a water-based jelly, and many other factors.
Soft Summer eyes can be darker, lighter, warmer, cooler. As long you give them what they care about most: colours that are soft.
A warm-eyed Soft Summer must mean that though we see lots of warm colours of yellows, golds, and oranges in the eyes, these are present in their cool-neutral versions and are outnumbered by the greens, grays, and blues of Soft Summer. You would think the two Soft Seasons’ yellows and golds to be quite different until you try to harmonize a colour palette and realize how close they actually are.
Soft Summer is also a Season where the Neutral persons are often quite warm, on the 49/51 divide between the Soft Summer and Soft Autumn. An analyst needs to be on her toes and own a seriously good set of drapes. They say that our hair and eye colours are among our neutral colours but I agree it is so if you know the real colours of your eyes. If you match what you think you see, which is never what colour really is, you’ll go too warm for your skin and turn yourself a little dull and jaundiced.
Whoa now, that’s a Winter eye! Same colour family, cool-neutral hues, similar value level (lightness/darkness), but what’s different? That third colour dimension. And the type of heat, which appears more Spring-yellow than Autumn-gold. Whole different feeling.
How can True Winter or Light Summer be a redhead? Combine their yellow and their red, I would think. Every Season has both in their own versions. The hair tends not be orange, it’s redder than that. But both have yellows, nearly primary yellow in Winter’s case, which is why their green drape can look so yellow in some situations.
L. is colour savvy enough to sense the best solution, which is to move very slightly to a warmer place without losing the harmony. Soft Summer skin is happy to negotiate on warmth of hue as long as the colour stays soft and dusty, not intensely saturated. In my Sci\ART drapes, there are 3 drape colours, identical fabrics, that are used in 2 places. The Soft Summer and Dark Winter burgundy red test is the same. The Soft Summer face is not as flattered as it could be. The client notices that. Seeing the difference is a better learning opportunity than if I just babble on about colour dimensions, because the client sees that she needs to buy dark&dusty, not dark&densely pigmented, and that darkness is not her shopping challenge issue. Saturation is. It’s a strength of the drapes, not a weakness. Makes me now wonder if I should put a few ‘don’t go here or here’ among the Test and Luxury Drape sets that I assemble. But no, you saw those during your 12 Tone colour analysis session.
Ah, back to Soft Summer eyes, neutral but cool, and soft soft soft.
Only dyed hair is, or approaches, all one colour. Natural hair has many colours to make an overall tone. You might see one colour but the rest of us don’t. Â How it reflects light and shows its colours requires its true colours to reveal the correct tones. Soft Summer has a drop of gold in her hair, not yellow. She is not a great blonde. A True cool Season in even slightly warm clothing or makeup has yellowed, dingy colour. If it’s silver hair, it looks like smoker’s yellow-gray instead of their beautiful clean silvered gray. The foundation colour must be accurate, hard to find in today’s overly yellow base makeup selections.
Others don’t see the discrepancy in our hair as we ourselves might. We don’t see hair as an object of one colour like a wall or a pillow. You might not pair those objects but they’re not coloured with hemoglobin, carotene, and melanin. We sense that living things are Â not coloured in the same way as objects, and that man-made objects are Â not coloured in the same way as Nature’s inorganic objects. Despite the difference, we are able to find the harmonizing colours and the relationships between them, as us and our clothes.
We can bring colours into our harmony too. Because it’s applied to our face, makeup interacts with the pigments in the skin. A lipstick that swatches on paper as Light Summers might fall flat on some Light Summer and be lovely on some Light Springs. This is called Making The System Work For You. Clothes don’t change so much. No question, in the same way that the drapes have an effect on us and we have an effect right back on them, so do we change our clothing colours somewhat, just not to the extent of makeup because of how it’s used. A Bright Winter can change True Summer’s beautiful, cool yellow into a grayed piece of cloth that’s been washed too many times.
What kind of eye is this? Soft or saturated? Neutral? How Neutral? Spring’s yellow heat or Autumn’s gold? Of the 3 colour dimensions, which one matters above all? Â I have no idea. This is why I can’t look at photos and know Season. I have no comparisons and no ruler. All I can say is what I always do, whether I’m shown a photo or a real person in front of me: “Could be this or could be that.” If it’s a real person, I can say, “Where’s my drapes, lights, and gray background when I need ‘em?”
L. knows that I would never advise any woman to colour her hair ever. Her natural colour will always be her best colour. Sometimes we can decorate up a little and keep the balance, and that’s good too. My advice is to save herself the time and money and wear her natural hair. Once Â her hairs grays, she’ll only look better. Gray is what the Soft Summer does better than anybody because gray is inherently cool, as they are, and they start off with more of it in the natural colours that define them than the other colouring types.
If L.’s discerning eye prefers to warm a few of her clothing browns, excellent. She has to feel well in what she wears. There will be no repercussions as long as the harmony is maintained (more on that in Getting More From Your 12 Tone Swatch Book). There would be more substantial repercussions if she tried to alter her hair colour.
What about L.’s question about the colours present in the Sci\ART palettes? Without stirring up a nest of hornets that have finally gone to sleep, I’ll take a guess. Only a guess. Please don’t come after me on this, I have no valid opinion to offer so I won’t say much. I do not know what was in the head of the person who designed the palettes. I’ll take a shot: As I understand the history, at the time of her passing, Kathryn Kalisz was adjusting the Season palettes, as she probably did a few times over the years for different reasons. She deeply wanted people to feel comfort in their colours, but some of the feedback sometimes said that the colours were too much, probably more in the saturated Seasons. Part of the reason for the choices may have reflected this, though I doubt it was the bigger part of it in this particular instance.
There was (is) also the question of whether the Neutral Season colours should be closer to the parent Seasons, as Soft Summer to True Summer, or to the other Neutral with which they share the most important colour dimension, as Soft Summer and Soft Autumn. Is one right and one wrong? Does there need to be a hard rule? I would say No and No as long as the dimensions of each Season is respected, though I’d be thrilled to talk about it. Where does one cloud in colour space end and the next begin? Is there an overlap? How big is it, what’s the rule? How big should it be, different question? You have thousands of colours. Maybe one day, someone will make 4 Colour Books of swatches for each Tone, not just 1. Smart woman that L. is, she found other options that contained what she was looking for and she knew how to select those that applied to her.
This completes my long-winded way of saying that L. made great choices and decisions on her own Nothing I love better than a woman empowered to work through the many choices about her best self, in any context, and come out right. Discernment is a beautiful thing.
I met with Chantal* and Rita* within a month of each other.
Chantal’s hair is cut in a short, wash and wear style. The top layer is very yellow, while the hair beneath is medium-dark brown, entirely natural. She is in her late 50s and will probably still have yellow hair in 20 years. Makeup took away 15 years and showed us a very defined bone structure, with high cheekbones and a nose that tips up at the end. Her expression is focused, questioning, and very alert. A personal colour analysis (PCA) long ago said Spring, which we agreed seemed reasonable. She loves colours. Where most women arrive wearing black or no-commitment colours, she had on a lovely green blouse.
Rita expected to hear Light Summer. She does appear fair, with blue-looking eyes and medium brown hair, coloured to a red-gold colour that works surprisingly well, a bit like rose gold jewelry. Although seemingly light of skin, hair, and eye, it was something about her expression and the shape of her features that put the geisha image in my head. Young, exotic, yet apart, on a Caucasian woman in her 40s.
These women have a lot in common. They live practical lives and make practical choices. Both are sensible, serious, organized, quiet, thoughtful as in pensive, and introspective. Neither is rapid in their movements, impulsive, random, giggly, youthful (except to look at), overtly cheerful, or chatty. Nor are they blunt, direct, or sharp in the slightest. They are very polite, pleasant, and hold their cards close.
On meeting them, the impression is light and warm, except that the intensity of the eye in the face is compelling, rather than blending evenly into the face and equally with the other features. The eyes seem like ‘more’. This is not an impression I get from the brown-eyed Bright Spring, maybe because hair is usually darker and the overall look is more balanced.
In the world of 12 Season colour analysis, the natural colouring known as Bright Spring takes its pigmentation from the Spring qualities of colour (warmed by yellow, pure colours, not very dark). Winter has a little say, causing the colours to be cooler, redder, bluer, darker, and even more pure than Spring alone. Bright Spring is a colour rush.
Accepting Bright Spring, or any Season, from the draping is usually easy. It’s a done deal by the time we’re finished. 9 in 10 people can easily see their appearance change. It is what it is. The makeup is harder to accept. The conundrum of “I don’t recognize myself.” and “That woman in the mirror looks fantastic. Why is she acting like me?” takes time to sort out internally.
The book RTYNC (in the right column) and the documents I send clients Â (similar to the book, but they continue to evolve as I learn and widen my own experience) suggest that Bright Spring looks most consistent with their natural appearance when they dress as activated, energized, bursts and squirts, crazy zigzags, a sunny morning after a freezing rainstorm,
combined with the delicate, a chandelier, gold foil, tinsel, cinnamon heart candies,
and the young,Â a large or small shiny coloured purse (Bright Spring is not medium), hairbands, sheer coloured tights, and mod looks. A little sharper than Twiggy daisies.
Cirque du Soleil. The motion, physical vitality, and adrenaline of the trapeze. Coloured spotlights. Body paint.
What if you’re really a denim and khakis, Old Navy T-shirts, practical jacket, medium black purse, brown suede slip-ons kind of woman? What if you just like to look medium and not one of those qualifiers connects with you at all?
Some questions came up.
1. Â Can you confirm that colour 3.3 (from the True Colour Australia Colour Book) is a very dark brown? What would you call it?
Yes, but to me equally gray as brown. I think of the colour of a seal. Bright Spring’s grays and browns are uncommon, very hard to find in cosmetics, and don’t have easy associations for names. They’re just colours I memorize and look at again often. Most important, the colour is not earthy.
2. What is the difference between black and coal?
The image of coal is to illustrate the darkest black&white gray possible before flipping to solid, dense black.
3. Â I noticed that you show lots of gray shoes in the emails while the book suggests using hair colour to choose shoes – I would feel more comfortable with the yellows and browns of my hair colour as I’m not a big fan of gray – do you see that as a good choice for me? Â And is this boot close enough to my hair colour, which is darker underneath? Â I’m not sure I can see myself trying to find or wear light yellow boots/shoes! Â If this is too tan, too earthy, is there a way to work with that? Â
The boot Chantal asks about, above, is hereÂ at Roots Canada.
Overall, I think they’re fine. No two women will wear their colours the same way. I like that the boots are not too dark, orange (a bit orange, but lots of yellow), or lumberjack, with heavy treaded soles or cowboy feelings. Your energy isn’t really mesa or Cheyenne. These just feel natural, which is how you feel to interact with. You have no pretense or drama in what you choose to share. So in that sense, I like their authenticity and ease. The boots don’t feel like they have something to prove and neither does Bright Spring.
They are quite warm in colour, warmer than you are. They may not go perfectly with your new clothes colours, even if the clothing style is great with the boots. Wearing your hair and eye colour is one of those areas where women have to decide for themselves. I find that it can get you into problems when you interpret your hair or eye colour incorrectly, which we all do, all the time. Eyes have 20 colours in them at least. Hair is not a good indicator of Season, but it does have the same warmth setting as everything else about your colouring. This is common with True Winters who have apparently warm eyes and hair – if they wear those colours, their skin turns yellow, and there is conflict with the rest of the outfit.
For Bright Seasons, hair colour is the most difficult to understand and replicate. If the colour swatches show more gray, it’s because you are at that coolness level. Brights look poor in brown eyeshadow unless it’s the cleanest colour (no orange, no muted, no earthy). True brown can become mud on these faces. The clarity of your pigments can turn even medium browns into looking heavy and clumpy. But it’s important not to discard every item – I would wear these boots for sure, just with the warmer colours of your palette so they don’t seem like outsiders.
How about the choice above, linked here, also at Roots Canada?
4. Â I’m having trouble seeing myself as a high contrast person. Â Is this something that I take on faith as revealed by the drapes or can you help me to recognize this in myself?
No. 1: If we define contrast as distance between lightest light and darkest dark, then you’re a medium to medium-high contrast person. You don’t go to white or black. Â That’s value contrast. Now, your eyes are extremely intense in your face, giving a sense of a pretty wide span from light to dark, as you have, but not maximum.
Position white and black in your head. Now put a dot at a darkness level around medium. That’s the overall darkness effect you’re aiming for. You’ll achieve it using a span from yellowed-white to coal. Clearly, light and medium colours will be necessary, and the more dark you use, the more light you balance it with.
Above, Â medium value contrast, yellows with blues, sharp line distinctions in the foreground. Bright, sunny, warm. With every bit of black that’s inserted, the whole thing dies a little. Save it for tiny bits just to sharpen the edges and bring focus.
No. 2: There’s also colour contrast, distance apart on the colour wheel between two colours. You are colourful to look at. Your natural pigments are quite far apart (yellow hair with blue eyes, on some, we see light skin with golden brown eyes), which is why I find complementary colours so good to look at on warm Seasons. They are a logical extension of the natural appearance.
Medium value, sharp edges, a trace of black, neutrals with colours, the pants and T-shirt, the blouse and the earring.
No. 3: I like to see very sharp, clean edges between colour blocks on Brights because that’s what you look like, not all fluffy and blended and soft. That’s not contrast per se, but sharp divisions look more contrasting (is there line contrast?), it’s just a way that clear colours look good. You are moderately sharp to look at (bone structure, eye intensity, haircut is not feathery). Clean edges are a logical extension of the natural appearance. If you follow the guidelines you are made of, your clothes become yours for a reason. They seem connected with you.
This is Bright Â Winter – simpler, symmetric, darker, colder, with only a faint warmth. Black is half or less of the whole or the whole thing dies a little. Black sucks in light in itself and steals it from everything around it – almost shameful with the purity of the Bright Season colours, and a delicate balance even for Bright Winter because the light is faint and will lose the fight with a black wall.
You really can mix and match quite freely in your Colour Book, aiming for an overall darkness effect that’s about medium (there! a medium thing about Bright Spring). Allover light or dark isn’t so good. You are not monotone to look at. Inserting a colour somewhere is always necessary. Inserting a big colour block plus another one is even better.
Whether it’s lightest with darkest or medium with medium doesn’t matter too much. Your Colour Book duplicates your inherent lightest to darkest range exactly so you’re safe moving around in it. If I were to do the Colour Equations again, I’d lighten Bright Spring up even more, with bright blue, stone, Â or white pants. The only groups that Â make any sense to me in white pants (their white) are the Brights. True Winter, it would depend on how it was done.
In the client’s document, I changed two paragraphs to read this way:
This is Spring-like colour worn in a Winterâ€™s way â€“ meaning that you will wear your bright, clear, warm colors best, but using 2 or 3 different colours at once, and with moderate contrast, not as high as a real Winter would wear. Contrast defines how much distance exists between the lights and darks.Â High contrast implies that you wear the lightest lights and the darkest darks together. You are fine in these combinations, and equally good when combining your midtones.
With colour this bright, especially if the line between the colour elements is very crisp, they will look contrasting. They will not be like a watercolour swirl, which creates the problem of grayed colours when complements combine, quite opposite to the properties of the colours you are made of. You probably have medium-high extremes of lightness and darkness in your skin/hair/eyes, so you would repeat that in clothing and makeup to look balanced. Your palette does the thinking for you in this regard in that it comes close but not all the way to black and white.
5. Â You didn’t mention pearls as a choice for Bright Spring – I have a simple strand – will it work?
Anything will work. Like diamonds on a Soft Season, it’s not a natural fit but that doesn’t matter. Wear them anyhow if you love them. This is how you make your Season yours, your personal brand of dissidence that lets us know you better. It has to work for you, not the other way round. I know a Light Summer woman, the epitome of gentle grace, who wears the most beautiful, large rounded oval, slightly dangly, super sparkly, aquamarine earrings. It’s brilliant. It says to me “I love my life so much that I can’t hold it all in.”
No matter what we do, as gardeners, cooks, doctors, Seasons, we learn the discipline, we figure out the shortcuts and what we can get away with. Then, we decide how we’re going to break the rules or mould them to suit what we bring to the game. That’s just life lived with complete freedom of expression.
6. Â I have a sweater in yarn that combines several bright colours, alternating the colourful yarn with stripes in a dark / neutral colour. Would it be more flattering to stick to a solid colour?
Brights look great with many colours at once, just not blended together (blending colours causes either a watercolour effect, or the graying of mixing complementaries that makes the muted colours of Autumn and Summer). Side by side complementary colours or with a neutral colours, both are terrific on you. Stripes give energy.
There is a taste factor. You might like your colours blended together and that’s not wrong, just not what my eye prefers because it’s hard to maintain the high purity of each pigment. Â Be careful that the yarn isn’t comfy/chunky/heavy looking, especially if you’re working in neutral colours. It risks getting too homemade looking in that Autumn homespun way. Pick something young, Angora, sparkly, smooth. It should not look back-to-the-land. It should look brand new. Fun colours are always better on you, since colour is like your neutral.
A blue-eyed Bright Spring is very colourful to look at.
Your hair, eyes, and skin come together like this. You are beyond just colourful. You are coloured in complementary colours (blue eyes, yellow hair). That’s an extreme, or a type of contrast. So is light, warm hair on top, dark, cooler hair beneath, another type of contrast. The warm-cool in the colouring at once is true of all Neutral Seasons, but quite bright and alive here. To the viewer, it feels energetic and young.
On Bright Seasons, colours seem more at home than neutral grays and browns. Colours become your neutrals. Every Season has its extremes and only that type of colouring is completely at home and at ease in them. As Susan said so well, black is dressy, but only on True Winter is it casual wear. That’s what ‘at home’ means. It is that easy that it becomes your anytime, anywhere, the one thing you don’t plan around, where you can hide and relax. Having said that, nobody is at their best in head to toe black. Nobody.
Black is only thought to be dressy. Usually, it’s detracting. It can make textile look more expensive, yes. It is easier for marketers to sell us a ton of one thing than have to keep changing production lines, yes. The Dark Winter wears it well enough since it’s dark, but it begins to transform into the solid wall that it is on everyone but True Winter, so they warm it up. Walls are not entirely foreign to Dark Winter’s energy.
On Bright Winter, there are no walls, there is excitement. They are better in white than black, and a so-slightly yellowed white. Black shouldn’t be more than half the overall look. Thankfully, both Chantal and Rita knew to avoid it. As Bright Springs, a thin stripe of it here and there is fine but not more than that or it does what it always does – makes the colours dead. It sucks in all the light around it, which is an absolute shame for Bright Spring, the clearest, brightest colours that exist. The overall effect is gasping for sunshine.
7. Â I was very surprised to read that Spring is strongly associated with triangles and diamond shapes. Â I feel more drawn to squares in fabric (linen plaids, cotton madras, cotton checkerboard print) and rounded shapes in jewelry (beads, hoops, circles). Â Any comments?
Your preference. Those shapes are what I feel. Some see triangles as a Winter shape. Squares express more practical, natural, durable, serious, productive energy – maybe truer to how you have seen yourself for the last 20 or 40 years. Could be that the next 20 will be a little different.
Four years after my PCA, I was able to pull in the drama of Winter and could tell where the Enough line was. I couldn’t have done it 3 and 1/2 years ago. It cannot be assimilated in a week, a month, or a year. But you do continue to move closer to your center, hear your guides more clearly, and choose what is and is not the real you.
8. I’m having trouble thinking in terms of adding fun to my clothing. Â Suggestions of nylon, satin, trims, ruffles!! sound very girly, not a look I’ve ever worn or feel very comfortable with – any suggestions as to how I can approach this?
Bright Winter and Bright Spring read the style suggestions and see this
All I’m saying is that you’re not this. She is beautiful on someone else.
Start with the colours. Only the colours. Stay inside the lines you are comfortable with today. Pretty soon, they will loosen up and you’ll find some extra breathing space inside them. Â You might try yoga clothes instead of gardening clothes, as an example. The clothes at Lululemon, Athleta, Title Nine, MEC are often superb on Bright Spring and way better than rugged wear.
There is no need to ever get fancier than that. Nylon is a windbreaker. Satin might be a scarf. Forget trim and ruffles, and glitter. Not everybody does everything. The point is to get energy, as movement and saturated colour, into your look. Workout clothes give you that.
9. My biggest challenge is with the repeated descriptions of Bright Spring asÂ light, delicate, charming, and adorable. When I read these descriptions it starts to feel like maybe I’m not really a Bright Spring after all. Â Could we have made a mistake?
The most aggressive woman I know sees herself as nurturing. It shocked her beyond belief to learn that in the character assessment at work, every single person pulled out the Highly Competitive card. A very controlling Soft Autumn. Bit odd. And yet, she is absolutely nurturing.
A True Summer of very classic proportions, in fact quite straight in the hip, sees herself as extremely curvy. In her view, she is aggressive, masculine, direct, bold, a walking firecracker. Yes, well, I could go with endlessly seeking. She has no risk aversion though, which is not really a Summer thing.
We get mixed up about ourselves. More important, we are hugely complex. There are only 12 Season groups. Just playing the numbers, factor in 100 personality traits at high, medium, and low levels, parenting, environment, birth order, experience – you wouldn’t have 12 possible combinations, you’d have 12, 000, 000. Still more important, the 12 groups are not organized around character, they’re organized around colour.
Could I have made a mistake? Sure. Anyone can, anytime. But I don’t think I did. We’ll drape you again if you want. Free. Just bring someone with you. I don’t talk much the second time unless I think I got it wrong.
You have a great deal of Winter in your character. You are certainly curious, analytical, and interested. You have the youthful appearance/hairstyle/feature shape associated with childhood, so there would be great continuity if you wore that but you don’t have to. You may find some of that a year from now. You may prefer to express more distance and reserve and less party, just as you are.
Don’t struggle or try to chase it, you’ll just push it further away, like chasing money. Try not to overthink it or you’ll extinguish all your abilities to feel it. Leave it there and explore stepping around your borderlines in ways that feel good. Release any effort at trying to control it. Trust that it will happen, don’t feel that you need to know how. Your mind took it in when your eyes did – remember how that happened during our PCA session? We were learning it together just by seeing it happening. A few words at the beginning and then we could feel it.
10. If it sounds like my thoughts and feelings are whirling around – they are!
They’re supposed to. In our short time together, we had to pull apart everything you thought you knew about your colouring, right back to absolute zero, to the point where you could say, “I do not know what is going to happen next.” Then, we built it all back up again with the blocks lined up correctly. It is a lot to take in.
To learn, you have to unlearn. What we think we know pretty well is usually where we are weakest.
To learn truth, you must surrender what you believe to be truth. Ask anyone who’s had a PCA. You get enough proof to get rid of a lot of stuff fast and make space for the real and the right. It’s a shock to the system.
To gain control, we must first surrender control. Control is only an illusion. Trying to get it is what keeps us tired.
To gain power, we must surrender power.
To empower ourselves with new truths is bound to evoke resistance. We will come up against it every single day. In detaching and deciding, we become free and open thinkers.
I know that I overwhelm you with information during and after a session with me. Everyone learns differently and I don’t know what will click with you. I want you to leave a different person than the one who walked in, on every level, not just your lipstick choice. These reflections, the expansion, the open-ness, the wonder and the wondering, they will carry over into every aspect of your life.
Begin with the colours, bringing them closer to your body as nail polish or a beach towel. To the viewer, they still look like part of your energy field. In time, less serviceable items may be easier to replace with brighter combinations or prints that feel too risky today.
Keep asking me questions. I need it to know where you could use some help. Helping you in real and tangible ways is what I am here to do.
And remember the whole point of your personal renovation (Chantal’s excellent words):
Add Joy to the Journey, to every little glimmer, every success, every little deeper understanding.
In any change you want to effect, three questions matter:
1. What do I want?
2. Where am I now?
3. What am I willing to do to get what I want?
What Do I Want
Very hard question. Most of us are schooled in what we don’t want. You might want to develop the full edge and potential of your appearance. If your idea of great makeup is to take what’s already there and make more of it, as mine is, Winter’s best makeup might have your redefining your position. The colours in the face are a lot and now we’re going to add a lot more. Adding just a little more doesn’t move Winter very far from the start point, or nowhere close to the max point, but maybe you just want to know a nice eyeliner and gloss and that’s all. There is no right or wrong answer.
There is nothing wrong with being a Winter without makeup. The important thing is to channel what you do towards the outcome that you want. Too often, we’ve never identified either what we want or what we do to help or hinder that. If you’re a Winter, the time has come. No face is more altered with makeup. As in life, the good and bad are equal. As in all things Winter, they are also simultaneously at both outer limits. Other types of colouring tend to look more similar with and without makeup, which is a definite good thing. But it’s the Winters who can go miles from where they started, and that’s good too.
I like a lot of colour on Winter, a lot of makeup, a lot of drama. The face is that way already. I want every woman to be all they could be. Would our 80-year-old selves excuse us for having been less than that? Would our reasons have been good enough? Hint: no excuse or decision based on fear or negativity is ever good enough.
This is good.
I know it’s hard. This is the group whose language is power, a currency that women have been un-trained to deal in by every force in their lives. Power is not second nature to us.
Where Am I Now
Even harder question. Unpacking our own luggage and seeing what’s really in there can be scary, especially if the zipper has been jammed for awhile. Lots of people can’t admit their height and weight and those are facts. As the oft-heard quote states, “Reality is an acquired taste.” And slowly acquired at that.
All those Winters from the 80s, which seem to have been in the majority, are very seldom Winters, which is fine because they’re usually wearing Summer colours. The real Winters are buried among every other type of colouring. Their road back is a longer one for the Tone you might think would be the easiest to analyze and dress. They don’t see it coming unless they are very dark of hair and eye to begin with.
Once, I’d love the Winter to walk in who is overdone in her Winterness. The young ones are, even without makeup. They’re bringing it. More eyeliner (that we remove), thigh high boots (brown, but they’re trying to be bigger and it’s good), cape flying, doing something luscious with the hair, more ME-ME-ME. In our fifties, we women have toned ourselves so far down that we can lose our discernment of what is just normal and right.
Especially in our later years, when our faces finally carry all the power that took 50 years to build, isn’t it time to stop being so careful? I get that not everyone wants to present a heavily made up, dramatic face, but it’s not even about drama in makeup. There is so much caution to shake off. Drama and glamour haven’t been added for a long time and yet, this is where they are most at home, most normal.
Personal Colour Analysis is a gateway to Here’s Who You Are.
What’s In A Winter Face: both extremes at the same time.
To be more specific:
1.Â Contrast. You saw this coming. It means that there is a lot of distance between everything and everything else, such as:
Features from skin. Â The skin is very even, smooth, and quiet. Insert into that landscape a mouth, cheeks, eyes, and eyebrows whose colours create a big and sudden jump from the background. That Shiseido banner up above.
Light – dark levels of contiguous colours. Eyeliner is dark (it contains more black than any other group). The eyeshadow next to it, the lid colour, is a fair bit lighter (lid colour is medium on the other groups). The next band, the eyeshadow contour, is quite dark by comparison (more about that later). The eyeshadow highlight is icy light, nearly white (not the case for pastel on Summers and creamy on Warms).Â The brow is quite dark (but not darkened more than Nature designed on anyone), very sharply defined, and dramatized extra (crisp, arched, lengthened, whatever works on that face, which is simply to see what’s there and make more of it).Â For sure, any particular face might need these adjusted a little, but this is the generic look.
Textures, ultra matte to ultra shine. Quiet skin. No special effects. Snow White’s face isn’t contoured (which sets up lowlights for Autumn), dewy (sets up highlights, best on Spring), or cottony (sets up fluffy, just right on a dreamy Summer). On a Winter face or a winter landscape, those look muddy, busy, and trivial, a million miles from Winter. You want foundation whose coverage is opaque enough to make a very even blanket. Powder the whole face evenly.Â Add lots of eyes, lots of mouth, more blush or less (both can be good). Done.
The Best Skin Finish on Winter Colouring is: Even.
2. Drama. It’s like a deficiency when drama is left out of a Winter eye design. Not wrong. There is no wrong, no answer that works across the board, even within a Season. Winters I’ve seen, they not only balance drama, they are enhanced further with it. It doesn’t look even dramatic, exciting, stimulating, theatrical, or otherwise extraordinary. It looks normal.
Would the image above make sense with a soft and gentle eye colour or shape (expression)? Winter’s is not a gradual, blended, or soft face.
When Summers buy cosmetics, look for products that have a gentle application. Remember when we applied your makeup and we divided the foundation with moisturizer, as I do on every Summer and Spring, because heavy and matte products look like a mask on your delicate skin texture and softened colouring? The same principle applies to all your cosmetics. Having said that, we also showed you that when a colour is correct, you can apply almost any amount of it and it just blends believably into the skin. That’s true, but these are two different ideas. Summer begins with a product that swatches like a watercolour. Winter is looking for oil paint.
3. Keep the number of cosmetic colours low. 1 is good. Colour is subtracted from winter landscapes. Many steely dark grays, many icy grays or icy colours (means nearly white). Very little colour activity. And suddenly, a deeply flushed cheek. A red or purple mouth. The colours in the face are shocking enough on a still and quiet energy.
Remember how on Lights, dark colour takes over? On Winters, it’s colour itself that becomes too much too quickly.
Would this be more effective if we added a buttercup, a bluejay, and a lilac? No, the red would lose its voltage. There are thousands of these photos out there because they make sense to humans by reinforcing something we already know and recognize.
4. Intensity. Don’t leave any features behind. Enhance each one to the same degree. Thou Shalt Not Be Wimpy. Apply a lot of colour to each feature and don’t blot any off till the whole face is done. Each part looks like too much on its own but it all works together when all the pieces are in place. Blend nothing till every part is done or you’ll overblend that feature back into cautious and unbalance the face.
Thou Shalt Not Be Wimpy applies equally to concealer as lipstick. The blues and purples in the skin are so saturated that a sheer concealer won’t hide them nearly as well as a product with good opacity. My favorite is Arbonne for that reason, plus it stays where it’s applied, it lasts amazingly well all day, and it dries fast so I can apply foundation over it immediately without overly diluting it or smearing it everywhere. I am very fussy about where concealer goes but I use a lot of it. For reference, I wear Arbonne Medium.
What Are You Willing To Do
Look very different to yourself? Exchanging a plaid duffel coat for a black and white herringbone is a step. Wearing bigger jewelry than all your friends? Be the only one of the girls to wear a fuchsia red mouth?
Draw a lot more attention to yourself? Stand out and apart? As many have discovered, getting noticed for being different isn’t easy, even is it’s a good different.
Wear your real true This Is Who I Am hair colour?
No right or wrong, just questions. Everything looks easy from the outside. Try it, you may find it takes some effort. What are the conditions on what you’re willing to do?
Would you wear twice as much makeup as you wear today? Most Winter women accept the eye makeup fairly easily. Lips can always be sheer. Winter’s sheer is Spring’s “Oh, dear Lord, too much, wipe it off, start again.â€ Winters, pick sheers with a lot of colour or save your money and buy Chapstick. Where you hear the brakes screech is with the blush. They feel like clowns for a week. What everyone else sees is a pulled-together face. Not in how much, which you can decide, but in how red. Blood on snow, right?
The Nature of Reflected Light
The Spring, Summer, and Autumn articles Â preceding this one are linked in their names. The idea is that our natural colours have a way of reflecting light. Beyond just the colours of the reflected light, the wavelengths have properties that reach our other senses, as texture for instance. In Chinese medicine, our fingers are entry and exit points for energy. Of course. How could they not be? They touch everything. They’re up and down-loading who we are all the time. Each of our sense organs is doing the same. Each of the 12 Tone colour collections speaks a certain language, is evocative of certain emotions, reminds of certain landscapes, and makes sense if consistent in colour and touch and sound and scent and taste. It’s all happening at once. The knee bone is connected to the neck bone.
Summer’s soft, gentle, serene, muted colours don’t make sense in leather pants. Skin with that colouring has reflective properties truer to the surface of an opal, not a mirror or an elephant’s hide. Soft Autumn skin reflects light like felt and its colours are more beautiful in that texture than done up in Mr. Freezies. Do colours bounce light in certain ways that tell us texture? Or is it that skin painted in certain colours also carries other qualities that bounce light in a way that impresses texture?
The True Winter surface is smooth and hard. Dark Winter is smoother than Dark Autumn but not 100% smooth; it’s also thick, and not quite as hard as True Winter. Bright Winter is very smooth, shinier, and semitransparent – Dr. Sheldon Cooper, as opposed to Autumn’s Magnum P. I. Though some will cringe, I’m still going with rubbery for Winter skin by comparison with the other Seasons.
So far, we’ve said:
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
Dark Winter: Vinyl
If we start at Dark Autumn and move along to its cooler side, we arrive next at Dark Winter. These are both Neutral Seasons. Dark Winter has more in common with the True Season parent of True Winter, but does share the most important dimension of colour, darkness, with the Neutral it’s paired with and whose descriptor it shares, that is, Dark Autumn.
We begin with Autumn’s canvas, which is strong and textured. As Winter settles in, the skin texture smooths out. Dark Autumn’s leather is transitioning.
Dark Winter skin throws light back like vinyl.
Not just record vinyl, but inflatable products, dominatrix gear, and tarps. Maybe even a car. Industrial, tough, shiny, smooth, waterproof, and useful. Good Dark Winter words. Not bad words for their jewelry and belts either. Dark Winter takes Dark Autumn’s gypsy/Rustic Opulent and shifts it to gladiator. A sweater in black or dark grey metallic looks like chain mail. Stud, armor, and heavy link effects are a natural fit here, scary elsewhere.
Dark Winter is mysterious. It’s Christmas Eve, the dark jewel-toned ornaments, the fireplace, the night, the lights in the windows. Very nice, but there’s something bigger going on. The feeling of waiting for something. Waiting for the reason behind the pretty. Deeper, even darker. Sinister.
Nude lips on Winter looks tired and old. Dead lips, a good friend calls it. My new favourite lipstick is Shiseido RD 305. It is just pink enough to not be red-lips. It is beautifully saturated with the touch of brown that Autumn adds to make your colours less cold and more natural than True Winter. That brown is essential to create the encompassing harmony that only a colour analyzed appearance can give. You are coloured with a little of that brown, where brown is dark orange, and your hair, skin, and eyes have some gold-amber-orange tones. If your skin is light to medium, this colour may be your best natural lip.Â It’s not dark, often the case with Dark Season lip colours. It’s fresh daytime believable natural lip colour. Not ready for it yet? Top it with clear gloss.
Bronzer can play a tiny part because Autumn has left behind the slightest texture or roughness. Contour carefully, with powder that has enough red to disappear into the skin (eleablake‘s Miss November is great). Follow the 3 shape at the sides of the face and down the sides of the nose bridge, using a small amount, more to carve more geometric drama into the face than to warm it up.
Soft Summer’s darker foundation trick to contour is too wishy-washy here. More colour is required to be noticeable and achieve the outcome. It’s not a bad option as you learn or if you want a very subtle effect, just be sure the darker powder is as cool as your foundation or you’ll look yellow. It takes a lot of colour to make any difference on the intensity of this inherent colouring. A few shades of beige this way or that will make less difference on Winter skin. Carefulness is plain pointless.
Darkness works. Smoke is natural, like the Autumn muting in the skin. Smoked eyes make sense. The lighter lid eyeshadow can equally well be fairly dark. Any Season can do smoked eyes, but it’s most at home on the Darks. Even the other two Winters are best to exercise caution in darkness so it doesn’t look heavy. They look better in clean and silvery.
True Winter: Ceramic
Even smoother and even harder.
True Winter: ceramic. Like a white sink. Impenetrable, tough, and enduring.
Clean. Picture the makeup colours from your palette painted right on that white sink. Dark eyes, red-violet cheeks, red-violet lips. No fuss, no frills. Not smoked (Dark Winter) or clear, as in translucent (Bright Winter). Can you tell this before they’re draped, by looking at them? Absolutely not. True Winter is always the draping surprise for me, even more so than Bright Spring.
For True Winter, that very quiet blanket of skin without a lot of cheek colour, or with an icy light cheek, is excellent, like the picture at the top. For Bright and Dark, colour on the cheek is better, I find. It adds to Bright’s liveliness and Dark’s intensity.
Eyeliner is dark. Eyeshadow is quite light and silvered. Under brow highlight is near white or some icy (near white) colour. Contour and back corner eyeshadow is quite dark. Darkening the outer back corner of eyes looks good as a way of adding drama. Use a dark gray/black eyeshadow. Go over the eyeliner to fill in holes. Drag the dark shadow out past the crease. Turn around and start pulling in inward above the crease, not in the crease. This enlarges the apparent size of the eye and recedes the skin above the crease that can close in. On eyes where the upper half of the lid is smaller than the lower half, the crease is shallow, or the eye prominent, you would omit this effect. Deposit some dark shadow at the outer lid corner.
Other Seasons will use a darker shadow that isn’t much darker than the lid colour or skip the effect altogether. On a Light Season, where dark colour takes off, the eyeshadow contour can just be the medium lid colour packed on a bit more heavily. On a Soft Season, the liner, lid, and contour are quite close in darkness level, as in medium, with contour only slightly darker. They distinguish their roles by being of different colours in similar darkness levels, rather than Winter’s variations on one colour (gray) in extremes of darkness levels. On a Winter, light means really light and dark means really dark. You are it already. So be it, as P. said so cleverly.
I do not know how bronzer can improve this face but I’m willing to see it if anyone has good products or ideas. You wouldn’t want to dull that spectacular opposition of The Purity and The Darkness that only this colouring incarnates.
Winter’s sheer is Spring’s almost-opaque. The best Winter gloss I can think of comes from Lora Alexander at Pretty Your World. The texture, finish, and amount of colour are excellent, with good clarity. Glama and Hot Lips lip colours and Fast Track blush are great (I own them). From this compare page of the Cool Winter selections, Diva looks super good too.
Though True Winter is very red-based and looks great in blue-based red apparel, I find their most natural fit for blush and lipstick is somewhere in the pink-fuchsia-purple spectrum. That may be because true red lips are like true black eyeliner, somehow harder and more dramatic than human faces really are. Dark Winter’s burnt rose red and Bright Winter’s strawberry or pink red alleviate the pure redness. True Winter does the same by using violet, meaning clear purpled pinks. Arbonne’s Raisin gloss is a very impressive purple. Lauder’s Raspberry Pop is good but gentler, as is Merle Norman’s Raspberry on Ice.
Bright Winter: Silicone
How about Bright Winter? That amazing special blend of innocence with a dark, brittle edge. The geisha could span the Bright Seasons. Once the delicacy feels almost too rare to conceive on this Earth, the hummingbird, a membrane-thin gold foil, we’re into Bright Spring.
Spring has a hand in Bright Winter. Therefore, we need a sugar coating, shiny, fun, and ornamental. Pink frosting on lids, cheeks, and lips, lilac highlights, more play (more colours at once), more theater (cat eye, a few false lashes, fine winged brows, bright lips, hats with veils, cloche hats with beautiful ornaments, because hats and earrings are face accessories). Below, the haircut, the dress print and line, all awesome.
Definitely a lighter palette than the other Winters.
The skin’s reflectance had me searching for an analogy. Fine china with that near-transparent edge? Thinking, thinking,…mostly Winter, therefore rubbery and even, but a little softer with a transparency in the outermost layer… oh, you’re going to love this, jellyfish! Not good? Soft boiled egg? Maybe. Yes.
But jellyfish is so good. Stay with me here.
The flamenco dancer.
Heavenly and magical.
You see where I’m going?
How do we translate this to makeup? You don’t have to do a lot, you have this smooth and rubbery (all Winters) clarity (Brights) already. Clear silicone skin. Increase it with Â intensely coloured products, pigments so pure, you would swear they’re transparent. Brush powders with the slightest finest shimmer effect on all exposed skin. Don’t stop at the jawline. It’s a sprinkling of fairy dust, that sugar topping, an overall crystalline effect.
Bronzer? A little icy gold uplight, sure. Baby peach, always good on Brights. Very little.Â We feel no bronzer per se here:
Chanel Glossimer in Jalousie is nice.Â Bagatelle is a light, pretty peach, Clarins Crystal Violet and Revlon Lip Butter in Raspberry Pie could be shared with True Winter. Stila Lipglaze Raspberry Crush is very good.
Recap: The skin is calm and even in colour and texture. By using strong lines, bold colours, intense pigment deposits, and big distance between light and dark, both adjacent and separate, we create very clear feature definition. There is no question about where one ends and the other begins.
For Summer, we said:Â 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.
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.