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. That’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. 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. 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
- 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 . 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; pure pigments, still happy, bright, and fun; 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 is 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? 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, you’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 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 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. 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. 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 doesn’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?” 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.
Today, it is my sincere pleasure to introduce you to Terry Wildfong. Four years ago, my family drove to Grand Rapids, Michigan, at Easter time, for me to be trained by Terry as a colour analyst. All five of us trooped into her home to be colour analyzed as part of my training. Though Terry doesn’t recall this, I remember her walking down the line looking at everyone’s colouring and quietly pronouncing, “We might have a couple of True Seasons here.” We had three.
With events in each of our lives, we disconnected for a few years. Last August, I bought a grey backdrop from her, which rekindled the conversation. We see each other often now as we select the colours of the drapes for our students. All of us can look back on our lives and mark certain great blessings that crossed our path. Terry is certainly among mine, and today, the dearest of friends. She is one of the kindest, most giving people that I have the privilege of having in my life. Terry also has the most intelligent, accurate, and discerning colour eye that I know.
Terry sees clients for colour analysis and trains students as colour analysts in the Sci\ART system. You can learn more about her services and contact her through her beautiful website at Your Natural Design.
I have always been interested in color. Looking back, I now see the progression of events that brought me to where I am today.
In 1983, I had my colors done by Color Me Beautiful and became very curious about the differences in seasons. Also, my love for working with makeup, lead me to join Mary Kay Cosmetics as a beauty consultant in 1993. During the next two years, I gained confidence in myself and honed my cosmetic application skills. I was then ready for the next obvious step and studied with Color Me a Season and became an analyst. Color analysis and cosmetics went hand-in-hand. I had the best of both worlds. I’d found my calling so to speak. Having the color knowledge, I started teaching my sister Mary Kay consultants about color, the differences in foundation colors, and how to achieve a natural look with the glamour products, and many other workshops.
In 2004, I found Kathryn Kalisz’s website at Sci\ART. After reading her book, “Understanding Your Color,” I realized that this was the piece that had been missing in the traditional four-seasonal color analysis approach. I was excited about learning something new. So I attended Sci\ART’s workshops, and worked with Kathryn during those visits. While there, she mentioned that she was overwhelmed with creating product and that she needed help teaching. I jumped at the chance and studied with her in 2006 and became her first certified instructor.
I had many happy years doing PCA appointments and teaching. Again, I had the best of both worlds. After Kathryn’s untimely death in 2010, I retired from the color business a year later. But it has left a large void in my life. I enjoyed meeting with clients and helping them understand and learn how to use their colors and teaching students the art of color analysis.
Recently, in working with my former student, Christine, I have a renewed excitement of the business. I now realize that I need to be a part of continuing Kathryn’s work and am meeting new clients and teaching new students.
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,
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. 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. 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 not coloured in the same way as objects, and that man-made objects are 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? 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 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 thought I was an Autumn of some sort. I told anyone who’d listen. Nobody disagreed. Who wants to get into an argument that has nothing in it for them? Who knew different if they never saw me dressed as Summer, Winter, and Spring?
Compliments can tell us the truth of how we are seen by others or what others think we want to hear, but we can’t tell which. We train everyone around us to treat us in a certain way to maintain the relationship on an even keel. Nobody wants to deal with rough waters. The purpose of compliments is to make you feel good or better, from people who care about your feelings more than your looks, even if you told them not to – except for children. I reward mine for straight up truth because it’s such a difficult thing to give.
P. said something brilliant about magazines – I love this woman.
I read them because they told me how I could be fixed up. I knew I had to be fixed up because they told me so and gave me tips on how to do it. It never crossed my mind that they were wrong and I was ok. I was too busy being too much of this and not enough of that and didn’t look at all like…..
The top one looks chubby and out of focus. The lower photo is wearing the same amount of makeup, weighs the same, and is 2 years older. Who owns her life and her choices? Who is in control? Who’s dulling herself down and playing it safe? Where is the impact? Which one made any impression? You answered these 5 questions within 2 seconds of reading them.
Within 4 seconds of meeting me, you’ve decided if I appear to be worth my fee. Based on what I look like, our whole relationship will be influenced by how my appearance feels in that 4 seconds. Internally, you hear, “I’m not getting a good feeling here. How committed am I to this?”, or, “This person, this place, this activity, they make sense together. I’m open to seeing what happens.” We want people to be receptive to us, and us to them, not closed down. Why not just get to the good stuff?
Which woman would garner more trust? more money? In the assault of information and imagery we live in, we are immune to the word empowered. But which woman is has stepped into and claimed her power?
Folks think I’m trying to decide their Seasons when we first meet. That’s the last thing I’m doing or any analyst should do. I used to, in the beginning. The client comes in, you visit, you think, “You look like a Winter.” Then the black drape goes on, and you think, “Uh-oh. Problem. Not Winter. Am I going to be able to pull this all together?” And you begin subtly shifting the facts, adjusting what you see, rearranging the priorities of the correct process, to suit a flawed theory that was based on nothing real – because nothing about colour is real until our eyes get context and comparison. What I am thinking about is, ‘How can I fit into your life in ways that you don’t know about yet?”
I spoke with a True Winter. She tried to pare what matters to her down to one word. Fairness. It impressed me so much that she knew herself with such clarity. The True Winters I know will go after hypocrisy like heat-seeking missiles and they pull no punches in pointing it out. They stick up for the underdog. They hate that it’s the popular kids with the good grades and the big money clothes and toys that are the worst bullies, not the kids with the tattoos who skip class and sneak a smoke at noon, and the teachers don’t see it.
I thought about my one word, about what matters to me above all else. Fame, money, and the mainstream don’t excite me. I think the word is excellence but I have to think on it some more. This is a very good exercise. Once you know it and dedicate yourself to never compromising that one thing about yourself, life opens up more.
me on the left with the blonde highlights that cost me money and time for more years than I want to think about
A Dark Winter is blonde right now. She’s sort of buying the idea of dark hair to go with her black-brown eyes but it’s a big leap after 20 years of yellow hair. You can’t out-argue Winter. They believe what their own eyes see. They’re as hard on themselves as they are on everyone else. Show them pictures of other Winters. They will live by the same rules that they apply to others. If she’d tell a friend that blonde isn’t the best choice, she’ll walk that talk herself.
Autumn seldom has far to move. She’s the one woman who usually has her main group figured out if she knows about Seasons at all. She tends not to carry one event or interaction into another. It’s hair, nothing more or less.
still too warm but better, more real, more knowable, more see-able
Spring is an optimist. They see it, it works, “I get it.”, and they’re off and running. Every picture you get is cuter, happier, and prettier.
Once she sees herself in her own colours, Light Summer laughs and cries to release the relief. Her skin can breathe and relax and so does she. Her skin can go from dry and lined back to moist and plump just by changing her blouse! Adjustments are usually small, because blonde highlights and silvering hair are such a natural fit on this natural colouring. Hair may be too blonde and need some cooling off, or may be too golden blonde and need to be switched to beige blonde.
next to my (Dark Autumn) Dad, I appear to be not in focus, as if I’m not fully present or positioned further back than he is, because our visual system expects closer things to be clearer
True Summer’s strong sense of other people has her asking all her friends to be sure the result is right. She is very willing to believe what the eyes of others see. If you’ll drape anyone twice, it will be a True Summer. God, but she’s gorgeous once her hair silvers. The deep rose petal cheek and lip colours, the blue-green lake eyes, the dangling silver earrings, she’s the woman who runs the Children’s Hospital Charity Gala every year.
The Soft Seasons’ most likely adjustment will be to cool the hair colour (it’s too tawny) or darken it (it’s too yellow). They’re usually close and they’ve worn every colour anyhow. The wrong hair colour is magnified though, because our visual system will take two adjacent colours that are close and make the differences between them seem bigger than they are. Masters at the subtlety that these Seasons excel in visually, the original whispers speak louder than words gestalt, this is an easy fix for them. What’s harder is shutting down their heads when someone tells them blonde was better (because they’re comparing her to the media-packaged ideal). Some may read this and see me as a better blonde. That’s OK, there’s no such thing as wrong taste.
I always get the feeling from this photo that my dog, Jesse, is more connected to my real colouring than my own clothing choices; colour analysis is so NOT about what you spend, it’s about what you choose among items that all cost the same
Don’t wear makeup for the right reasons. If the makeup counter is scary, and believe me, the sales staff is often scary to me, then that’s the wrong reasons. Decline having your colours analyzed, but for the right reasons. If it feels too vain, you missed the boat a little. That’s not really the point. It’s about not placing inadvertent barriers or sending out wrong signals about who you are. When we have so little time to know one another, what matters is that we’re honest.
still finding my way, still not sure, which you can see instantly from my face; at times, my hair went too dark or it went too red; I couldn’t see myself well but I forced myself to try; between this and the one above, which is better? which woman is fully in the room? this is a very different eye colour from the first picture
The receptionist in Business XYZ office has blonde highlights, turquoise eyeliner. I can tell something doesn’t ring true but I have stuff to go do. I’m not sure who she truly is. Through the disguise, like me in candy lips or bubblegum perfume that would be in the way, though perfectly real and right on someone else, I can’t get a read on her. I’m not going to share anything about me if I can help it. I’m guarded and distracted. I adjust myself to not give anything away. The interaction is stunted and just gets the payment done so I can leave. My response to her is flat. We will not have been memorable to one another. Tomorrow, I won’t know her name. She’ll be, ‘the one who sits far from the door with the blue eye makeup’. I’ll be, “who? did she come in before lunch or after?”
Next time we meet, she has let her blue-gray hair come in and wears silver gray eyeliner. Whole different deal. I tell her that her hair is awesome, she asks after my kids, and I’m happy to share. The next day, I tell a client how great her hair is. My awareness of her is focused and friendly. We instantly move to a higher level. Communication is cleaner. Less stuff is taken personally because you get more reliable human data on how it’s intended.
Pat said the most meaningful thing anyone could have in response to the drape picture (previous post), “You keep moving forward.” For me, it’s that. Living to my highest potential, keeping my 80 year old self pleased with me. Pat and I are friends, we have sat in the same room together, and I really felt seen by her words. That feels good to humans. It’s very authentic and moving to be accepted for our truth, as we really are. Colour analysis puts you in touch with that possibility, with every person in your life.
Much information can be found in previous posts, PCA Training Course Update and PCA Training Course Update 2. They are worth reading as they contain a lot of relevant and useful information that is not repeated here.
Below, the basic info.
You will learn the 12-Tone method developed by Sci\ART founder, Kathryn Kalisz, as taught to me by Sci\ART trainer, Terry Wildfong, who was certified personally by Kathryn Kalisz. I have added certain interpretations and explanations to better define my understanding and practice. The process itself has not changed from the one I learned four years ago.
The Training Guide will be in the form of an 8×10 twin-wire bound book. It is called Discerning Our Natural Colours. It will be mailed to you once the deposit is paid 6 weeks prior to the date the course begins.
At the moment, it is only available with the course, which is how it will probably stay (therefore only to my students.)
It is also still a manuscript. I’ll mail you the final book at my cost once it’s printed. For now, you’ll receive a pdf of the manuscript in a binder by mail.
Here is the cover.
The course will take place at the Comfort Inn, 1100 Richmond Av., Chatham, Ontario, Canada.
Please mention that you are coming for the colour analysis training course when you book your room.
Until December 31, 2013, the price is $3000 Canadian. Of that amount, $250 is required as a deposit. The amount must be paid in full before the course begins.
Course availability will go on a first-deposit-first-served basis, though I’m happy to hold a place for you unless someone else asks for it with a deposit, in which case, you’ll have first refusal. Money can be transferred at www.paypal.com to the account at firstname.lastname@example.org. You do not need a PayPal account. It will be easiest to navigate the site if I send you an invoice.
This amount does not include drapes or any other materials, food, or accommodation. It covers the Training Guide and the teaching only.
Should a circumstance in your life require a cancelation, I will refund 90% of the fee up, but only 80% of the fee in the 72 hours prior to the beginning date and time of the course. The deposit is not refunded.
Should a cancelation be required because of a circumstance in my life, I will refund 100% of the fee, as well as $150 of the deposit (the remaining $100 of the deposit will cover the Training Guide and shipping fees).
Should a cancelation occur because of weather and flight delays, I will refund 90% of the fee at any time and let you decide about the $150 of the deposit, in case you wish to take the course again in the future.
For all types of cancelation, I will hold the price of the course to whatever it was when the deposit was paid for one year, after which time, the price will be what is current.
Payments will move through the PayPal account at email@example.com.
Schedule and Activities
The precise scheduling will vary depending on availability of draping models. We will drape 8 people in total, of which 2 will be the students. I will do my best to ensure a variety of ages and colouring types, but I haven’t draped these people myself (in fact, I haven’t met many of them beforehand), so you won’t necessarily have seen a full set.
We will spend about 4 hours working with colour matching exercises in Munsell charts, the 12-Tone palettes, and textiles in solid colours and prints. These exercises will involve the practical use of hue, value, and chroma progressions and developing the skills to recognize, analyze, and feel harmony before it is applied to a human face.
We will also place cosmetics into their best Season. Please bring a sheet of paper with about 5 products of any sort except lip gloss swatched down one side of the page, leaving a good inch between colours. Swatch it heavily in an area about 1 inch square.
Our 3 days begin at 8.30 AM and end at 8.30 PM.
An 8×10 certificate of completion suitable for framing is included.
The HTML code to display a 12 Blueprints Certified banner on your website will be provided. More details about this below in the section “If You Are NOT Buying Drapes”. The banner will link back to this page when people click on it. It will look something like this:
This has been covered in the previous update articles. Nothing new to add except:
If you’re flying into Detroit or Toronto and taking the RobertQ Airbus to Chatham, consider only packing carry on luggage so you’re not waiting on your luggage while the bus is leaving.
If you are buying drapes,
Drapes will be available for sale to my and Terry Wildfong’s students only at this time. Eventually, if supply and demand are plentiful, I would be happy to supply the Sci\ART community.
They have been harmonized with the original Sci\ART palettes and those from True Colour Australia. Instruction on how the drape sets are structured and intended to work together will be provided. There are 6 colours in each of the 12 Test sets, compared to 3 in the original Sci\ART drapes.
The drapes are beautiful, interesting, amazing, and complex. Like your computer, they can do more than you can, or at least, more than I can. The colours have been selected to do a lot of thinking for you. You’ll understand how to use them with our training and will grow into all that they will tell you. Terry consulted with me on the colours. We knew the strengths of the Sci\ART drapes and where they could be stronger. We wanted to create colour choices that would be unambiguous, very plastic in terms of how you choose to use them, provide you with abundant comparisons within the same colour family, and never repeat a single drape in any set.
If possible, I will have a full set of drapes here when you train, which you may choose to use. If not, you will learn with mine, as I did with Terry’s, which were quite different from my own. The transition was seamless. Two months went by between training and having my own drapes, also a non-issue.
If you might want to buy a set of drapes while you’re here and take them home with you, or wish to purchase them within 2 weeks of training, 8 weeks notice minimum are required. I will advise you a week before if the drapes will be here for you, in which case you’ll want to transfer the payment on PayPal a week before arriving, around the same time as you pay the balance for the course.
If you want to see the drapes before you buy them, I will try my best to have a set here. If that’s not possible, I will certainly have fabric samples of all the colours. If you’re not bringing a computer to transfer the payment on PayPal, then bring a Visa or Mastercard. We can run the payment through an iPad with a Square (www.squareup.com).
Bring carry on luggage to take the drapes home. The Test Drape collection weighs 23 lbs./ 10 kg inside a medium sized backpack. It takes up about 17 inches square of space.
If you want to defer the purchase decision for the drapes until after the course, that’s perfectly fine. If there are sets available, they will be held for you and shipped with receipt of the full payment. If you’re undecided about the purchase, any available sets will be sold right away. If sets are not available at the time and you decide that you’d like to buy them, expect an 8 week wait between deciding to buy them and having them shipped. Not to worry, production will be continuous if demand is there.
The sets include 4 Key, 20 True Season 4-Test, 16 Red Test, and 72 12-Test for a total of 108 drapes.
The cost for the Test Drape Complete Collection of 108 drapes is Canadian $2929.00, which does include tax, but does not include shipping. Drapes are sold as complete sets only. This is of crucial importance, as they have been planned and tested to work together when compared to one another.
It helps to be aware of your country’s maximum import limit. Dividing the shipment into parcels below that limit keeps the paperwork simpler on your end.
Drapes measure 18 x 34 inches each.
Luxury Drapes will be available in time, as in approximately 2-3 months. Because the Test Drape sets are so generous in number, you’ll be well equipped to begin draping. Luxury Drapes are those drapes that are used after the Season is identified to show the client their beautiful colours in fabric and talk a bit about how to wear them. These are the drapes that bring the magic home. They have been called Final Drapes and Masterpiece Drapes at various times in the past. My sets, which you will see used during your training, include 15 fabrics per Tone. The sets that I hope to have ready by September 2013 will include 12 fabrics per Tone. Once they’re ready, I will post an article to introduce them.
I am happy to address any other questions by email or in person when we meet.
If you are NOT buying drapes,
You might reconsider taking this training course. The analysis system doesn’t work with other colour palettes, other colour analysis philosophies, or colour selections that have not been tested and measured to be extremely precise in accordance with how they will be used.
The option to sell the course and drapes together as a package is not my first choice, but in reality, that is how it should be for your clients to get what they will expect. What I work towards all the time is the creation a system that’s exact and consistent such that within the system, women are no longer being told they are various different Seasons. If you don’t use the drapes intended for this analysis system, you will get incorrect results, different results than your colleagues, and dissatisfied clients.
I would like to teach colour analysis to anyone who feels passionate about learning it, but I don’t want the training course’s reputation to be compromised by wrong results because an analyst is using colour palettes (drapes) inconsistent with the precision of the Sci\ART method and its calibrations. And vice versa…I can’t sell the drapes alone and hear about wrong results because they’re being used with another analysis system or method.
I’m open to how to handle this. Excepting anyone registered before June 30, 2013, my solution is to gladly offer the training, but not provide the 12 Blueprints Certified banner that you see above. Your name can be included in the 12 Blueprints Analyst Directory that will grow over time, with a note added to say that your drapes came from another, uncertified source.
The books of swatches by www.truecolour.com.au and www.indigotones.com are excellent. Both will be here for you to view.
Before you arrive, please send me, in a single email entitled The Facts:
1. Your street mailing address so I can send your course package.
2. Your name exactly as you want it on your certificate.
3. Your arrival and depart times in Chatham if you’re taking the Robert Q so I can pick up you, save you taxi $.
4. Which size of analyst coat is best? S-M or M-L ? Until November 1, 2013, this is included in the course price and yours to take home. I will try to have both sizes available, more certain if I know ahead of time.
5. Are you agreeable with an intro to your future fellow student? DON’T DISCUSS YOUR COLOUR HISTORY OR SEASON!!
Once you get home, please send me:
1. If you’re writing a press release for your local paper, or even if you’re not, I’d love to do a blog post introduction article for everyone I train and their new business. Since I can’t say what you want heard, it would be grand if you’d write it and send me a photo of you. We don’t have to do this if you prefer not, entirely up to you.
2. The URL for your website once you have it, to add to a 12 Blueprints Certified Analyst Directory. It will include the contact info you want posted, a link to your introduction article if we do one, and a link to your website.
3. And in the coming days or weeks, if you have time to write a few sentences by way of testimonial for a Course Testimonial page, I would surely appreciate it.
Additional Course Dates
I will happily insert more courses, entirely dependent on drape supply. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss this further.
As you leave your personal colour analysis, you have a gorgeous little booklet that contains 65 colours that harmonize to perfection with the colours in you.
You head straight for your favourite clothing store. Within 10 minutes of being there, you notice that matching those swatches to real clothes isn’t quite so straightforward. Is close enough good enough? It wasn’t when you were sitting in front of the analyst’s mirror.
The harder you try to match those swatches to clothing, the harder it all gets. Maybe there’s another way to go about this. Forget about the little swatches. Look at the entire palette all at once. That’s how you look to others, all your blues, reds, yellows, browns, whites, all churned together at once.
One of the greatest gifts in my life, one that humbles me because I feel I did nothing to earn it, is the woman who trained me. Four years later and I’m still learning so much from her. She is an amazing colour analyst. Terry took a break from PCA. She’ll soon be seeing colour appointments and training again (in Western Michigan). You’ll meet her in an upcoming post. She showed me this most excellent way of appointing a colour to its Tone or Season.
>> Fan the Colour Book all out.
>> Lay it on the fabric.
>> Better yet, look around the store or your closet for two items in similar colours. Even once you get practice at this, without a comparison, our visual system just hangs there, thinking, “So? I’m waiting for your next move here.” Give it a comparison, any comparison, and it gets (gets both in the senses of ‘to understand’ and ‘to fetch’) what you want. We have no idea what a colour is anywhere, in a fabric, in an eye, or in a person’s face, how cool, how dark, how anything, until we compare it to something. If you happened to compare the colours of a face to a calibrated colour ruler, why, now you have a Personal Colour Analysis worthy of the capitals.
All those salespeople who feel they have enough experience to match your foundation by eye, who can “just tell by looking at you”, are the last folks I’d purchase from. That’s not because I don’t trust them from a theoretical POV, even though I don’t. It’s because I’ve wasted more $$ on those cosmetic purchases than any other. They may be the North American Head of Training for Whatever, doesn’t matter. May have more experience but they have the same eyes as everybody else. I’d buy from the new person who would feel better if she tried a few to compare. The more experience a colour analyst has, the more they’ll insist that you have a seat in front of the mirror and watch some drapes change.
Let these random thoughts float through your head:
>> Do these two things belong together, even if the exact colour swatch isn’t there? Often, it won’t be. Why not? Because you have many blues. If the book included them all, there would be no space to show you your span of greens. Or reds.
>> Does the palette look like more than the fabric, as if the swatches are separating from the fabric, or the reverse, where the palette looks dull and easy to ignore on that fabric colour? They should bring out the best and the most in each other. The eye should feel rest and ease, aware of both palette and fabric equally and happily.
We’re looking at a True Autumn 12-Tone Colour Book (from www.truecolour.com.au) on Light Spring fabric. Even though neither the swatch nor fabric colours are exactly as they appear to an eye, you can see that the Autumn colours are rendering the fabric to might-as-well-not-even-be-there. Overpowering clothes do that to us. As you see, they are not bringing out the best in each other. The swatches are separate, pulling up off the fabric, not blending comfortably with it.
>> Look at the reds. Could you make some beautiful lipstick combinations?
These swatches come from the Light Spring book. Again, the fabric in the photo is far more grayed than it really is. Still, they belong. They feel good on the fabric. The lipsticks work, both warm and cool options. Did you feel yourself relax when your eyes moved from the upper photo to this one?
>> Find the oddest, most extreme colours for that Tone. Do they work well with the fabric colour or would you never wear them together? When the harmony is right, there are no unpleasant combinations.
>> Are the neutral beiges/whites/taupes/grays really enhanced or boring? Or changed in some way, like greeny?
These are Light Summer swatches on that Light Spring fabric. Me, I wouldn’t wear the mauve taupe with the yellow green fabric, and it’s way more yellow green in real life.
>> Look for the complementary colours to the fabric colour. The pairs should be downright exciting.
>> Make some colour schemes. Monochromatic, analogous, contrasting. It should be easy.
Light Summer swatches again on Light Spring fabric. Close but no bell ringing. Those greens aren’t great together. That’s not a monochromatic scheme that works.
Are you thinking, “There are no right or wrong answers here. How am I supposed to know if I got it right?” How very astute of you. In French, they say, “Les gouts et les couleurs, ca ne se discute pas.” It means, “There’s no accounting for tastes or colours. Let’s talk about something else. How about religion or politics?”
It means that you can’t be wrong. And from there, you will settle in and get better. If you know your Season and have a coordinated closet, practice seeing harmony there before taking it into stores.
Beauty and belonging are where your eye sees them. Do you know what a split complementary colour scheme is? It begins with the usual red-green, blue-orange, or purple-yellow pair and shifts one of them just a little on the colour wheel. Much more interesting, dimensional, and stimulating than the straight red-green formula.
From your colouring to your Munsell positions on the 3 colour scales to your Tone’s book of swatches, you create your very own piece of art.
Art is partly a formula. Without some feeling, individuality, or expression, it just stays a formula. That’s where you come in.
Another update. Maybe it will just be a stream of updates instead of a Grand Opening.
The first session of the course has taken place. From my perspective, it was all that I hoped it would be. I think that the student, now my friend and colleague, would agree but would not presume to speak for her. She has graciously agreed to speak with anyone who would like to know her impressions. After three days with me, she knows that I insist on brutal honesty instead of compliments and flattery, which just make me suspicious. She’ll tell you the truth because I asked her to. e-mail me and I’ll pass on her contact info. If you call, needless to say, be sure that it’s on your dime.
From the previous update:
The Training Guide info still applies. I’ve decided to have it bound into a book. More waiting. I’ll send you the manuscript and replace it at my cost with the finished book. It is wordy. So am I. It is written for left and right brain learners, which means that your reaction to large parts of it may be, “I have no idea what she’s talking about.” That’s a good open-minded starting point. You will have plenty of ideas by the time you leave and learn more each time you re-read it. If you’re a person who learns better by paring things down to bullet points without all the flowery words, you will be happier with a different trainer than me.
The Course Schedule still applies. We will spend about 4 hours working with colour matching exercises in Munsell charts, the 12-Tone palettes, textiles, and cosmetics. These exercises will involve the practical use of hue, value, and chroma progressions and developing the skills to recognize and feel harmony before they’re applied to a human face.
Certificate, same. I NEED TO KNOW your name exactly as you would like it to appear on your certificate at least 4 weeks before the course.
Lodging is still at the Comfort Inn on Richmond Avenue in Chatham, Ontario. When you book the hotel room, tell them that you’re coming for the PCA Training Course with me. Let’s work together to give future students the best rate and service possible.
Food when traveling is never easy. I’ll gladly take you to a grocery store to stock your room (fridge in it) with your preferences. You’ll need to arrive early enough the day before, between noon and 5 PM if possible. We won’t have time once the course starts. We’ll always have a kettle and access to tea and coffee. There are quick and easy restaurants within 5 minutes walk. My tired, hungry student ordered in a hot meal. Smart idea, comforting result.
Cost, same. The cost of the course is presently $3000. This does not include the drapes or any other supplies or equipment. The price can change at any time unless you have reserved a spot (the deposit need not have been paid but canceling without giving 2 months notice may mean a long delay before another spot opens up).
Change some $ at your bank to CDN currency for taxis. Merchants here often take US money but the exchange rate isn’t reliable. Your Visa can be used for most things including food but your ATM card may not be recognized. If you have extra US currency when you leave, I’m happy to buy it back at a 1:1 exchange for amounts under $50 when the exchange hovers at 90 cents to $1.10 for both currencies. Banks can change it more fairly probably.
The RobertQ airbus will bring you across the border, and into Chatham from Detroit or Toronto. The taxi ride from the Chatham drop-off to the hotel is expensive ($15). If you get into Chatham between 8 AM and 8 PM, I can meet you and bring you to the hotel 5 minutes away.
If you do need a taxi, when you get here to the Truck Stop of the Robt Q, taxi phone numbers: (dial all digits in Ontario; first numbers in SW ON are 519 unless otherwise indicated)
Chatham Radio Cabs: 519-351-1232
Courtesy Cab: 519-352-2300
Ace Taxi: 519-352-1000
Expect a modest farming town. We are on the edge of an industrial park. There are million dollar homes but not where we will be. Expect also lower prices, no traffic, no distractions, no temptations, and short distances. If you were hoping for shopping, shows, restaurants, or any other fanciness, you may be disappointed.
You need a valid passport for yourself and anyone you travel with.
If someone is traveling with you, they can come in the room with us and watch the analysis and they would be welcomed as draping models, or they should bring some reading. I have a magnificent hair stylist. I get Guided Facials from a woman who can plug into where my life is at that moment and what I need to hold in my thoughts and heart to feel and find the right path. Love her, love her product (www.nancykbrown.com). We have an awesome used bookstore. I buy 2/3 of my clothes at our Value Village.
I NEED TO KNOW the URL for your business website. There will be Directory of 12 Blueprints Analysts on my website. I’m not sure yet if it will be set up like the present Analyst Directory for Sci\ART analysts, or differently. Open to all ideas to make it nifty. We’ll cross-link our websites.
I will have a neutral gray analyst coat for you to wear. You can try on two sizes of those for sale. There are samples of neutral gray fabric in your course package if you prefer to purchase clothing or have some made. Caps, capes, and headscarves for clients are also available, or you can make your own. Be sure to get the colour right. It can’t tend pink, blue, yellow, or green. You should be able to see no colour in it at all.
I NEED TO KNOW whether you fit into a size US 6-12 (S-M) or US 12-18 (M-L).
Being able to say to every single person, “You are fine just the way you are. If you never change a thing, I would love you just as much.”
Releasing every single person from, “If you make yourself the way I want you to be, I’ll like you more.”
Until we get there, we can’t say the same thing to ourselves. Now we’re cut off ourselves off from being a happy human and a free one.
When the client leaves, they do not want to be anyone else and neither would you.
Happy and free humans.
This was a right brain digression. You can only live in one brain hemisphere for so long.
With your permission, I will introduce you to the person taking the course with you once the deposits are paid. Please don’t share your Season if you know it or your colour story. Each of you can pretend to be the client for the other.
We will drape a model or two before draping you. As my first student said so perfectly, “You should continue to do that. They will know what to look for, and they will be able to see themselves more objectively after having opportunity to encourage others to do so.”
We will drape both students (2 max per session), which means appearing without makeup for a half-day. I understand if you would prefer to schedule this when we’re not meeting clients, while others won’t care. I’ll need to schedule draping models around your own analyses. Please LMK if you have a preference, for instance one evening or first thing in the AM before we meet the public.
These private individuals have kindly given three hours of their time. They do appreciate that this is your training, not their draping.
They have been asked to discuss their real situations with you. Feel free to ask if you can take pictures for purposes of later study only, with absolutely no sharing of the photograph. Ask the question before the draping session begins. It is the models’ choice to agree or decline.
Should one of these photos ever make its way onto an online colour site or anywhere else but your private library, this privilege will be retracted for everyone, as will any personal or professional respect or support from me for the person who shared them.
No recording of the training or draping sessions is permitted, neither audio nor video.
You are free to use a digital camera to photograph equipment and set-up. Once I got home from my training, I couldn’t recall all the details of the lighting adjustments, the chair design, etc.
Intensity (Or How To Merit Distinction)
The student said, “You should probably warn them of how relentless this will be.”
She’s right. What a fantastic analyst she is now and will grow into.
We will work from 8.30 AM to 8 or 9 PM for 3 solid days. We will take a one hour break for lunch and supper. You may visit nearby restaurants, and they are not fancy, or have food in your room. There is a fridge in the hotel room at the Comfort Inn. Coffee and tea are available all day. For these 3 days, no time will be available for dining out or sightseeing. You will not need to rent a car.
You will be physically tired. You will be on your feet for hours on end, meeting strangers.
You will be emotionally drained. Among my intentions is to blow any leftover stereotypic ideas about how each Season looks to Kingdom Come, among the greatest gifts my trainer gave me.
You may or may not arrive figuring that you’ve read all the books on colour and the training is a formality – and you may have to accept that it isn’t so. You may be someone who takes a look at an arriving client and consciously or subconsciously decides what Season they look like. We’ll see how deadly and deeply wrong of a pattern that is.
If you thought they were a certain Season, we’ll work to disprove that one above all, for you and for them. Within a week of being back home, the folks online or the aunt who did colours in the 90s will get into their head with, “Oh, you just can’t be a Soft Autumn. That lipstick is too strong.” Your client will be able to say, “I know what I am and you’re wrong.”
And when we drape you and you get back home and the folks online get into your head…but they won’t. You’ll never listen to them again. If you do, I’ll revoke your certificate (just kidding) (half-serious). They don’t mean harm. The problem is that they have never seen a thorough analysis or enough real, regular, everyday people who have been correctly analyzed. They have an excuse. You won’t.
True story. On the phone, I once asked Kathryn Kalisz how she responds when asked what the Season of friends might be. She laughed, “I have no idea.” That’s the only correct answer. To know an amount of something, the choices are to guesstimate or to measure against something calibrated like a ruler. Suppose the amount in question is the hue, value, and chroma in a human being, which is the Tone, after all. Hard enough to judge one at a time in a paint chip, wait till you try to do all three at once in a face. You can guesstimate, but after enough apparent Soft Autumns leave you a Bright Winter, you’ll be laughing too. Or you can measure. The drapes are the ruler.
Am I relentless? Maybe. I hope your training is rigorous. If my name is on the certificate hanging on your wall, I want the public to know that your training was tight and meticulous. Sloppy is not how we will work. I’m not rude or harsh. You don’t need any special aptitudes. Success is 90% perspiration, right? All you need is love, passion, willingness to be wrong, and commitment to learn truth.
You can do this. Part of doing it with excellence, or even competence, is to know when you’re being careless. We’ll examine ourselves if we slip-slide into carelessness. If the public expects any human or machine to be 100% accurate all the time, they need to get over that unless they want to be righteously indignant all the time. I want you to be known for excellence. In your town, if someone wants a PCA, I want the word to be out, “Just get her to do it.”
As a colour analyst, you will notice that until you deconstruct everything your client believes she knows about colour and herself in colours, she can’t release wrong beliefs and the process can’t move forward. Everybody’s stuck. I’ll do the same to you. Until you can say, “I can accept any outcome. I do not know what is going to happen next.” you can’t be open to every possibility equally, 1/12 for each one.
We’ll learn to fight back when assumptions (“Her hair is so light, she can’t be a Dark Season.”) drive decisions. That’s when theories twist facts. If the facts are, “Her lips are good here, her skin there. But that can’t be, can it?” we’ll learn what to do and what to never do.
We will learn to never skip steps, figuring that you can anticipate a result – what if some of our previous facts were actually incorrect? You can’t know what you don’t know but you can learn to know when you don’t know. It will make you 1000 times more accurate in the end. The world of PCA is fraught with error because we look at what the person’s colouring should be or resembles or reminds us of. We ignore what it is until we are shown how to see.
You will be mentally drained. There is value to you in working through challenging situations with me while you’re here. I’ll set up logic roadblocks and you’ll learn how to navigate through them with me to help you. We’ll practice the algorithm in as many of its permutations as possible and put you in real life situations that we can work through together so you can be clear and correct once you get back home doing it alone.
You will leave convinced of how very dissimilar people of the same natural colouring group can be, in looks, personality, size, everything. Our genetic code doesn’t read our colour textbooks. A doctor will tell you that maybe, maybe two in ten cases of pancreatitis will present identically. Some will have 4 of the 20 symptoms in the books. Some will have 0. With experience, you develop an innate feeling for the disease but will misdiagnose cases that didn’t read the textbooks unless you remain aware of our human tendency to pigeonhole and then convince ourselves afterwards that we were right to do so.
We’ll see that personality is irrelevant and misleading to guiding a PCA. We don’t know anybody well enough, least of all ourselves, to pre-judge people. The character of the colours is one thing and it is relevant in terms of the language and responses with which they communicate to us. The character of the person is neither here nor there in helping find their Tone. Neither are the keywords in each Season chapter of RTNYC (blue book in right column on this page)
Together, we will learn to look at each new person, beyond outward appearance, and find the true colouring they hold. Help them imagine a different tomorrow. Imagining sparks excitement and possibility. This is a life of service to others in doing something that you love, and discovering that your own growth is wrapped up in the same package. It is only in helping others that we can help ourselves.
I am asked, “Do you only know beautiful people?”
Yes, I do. And so do you. I will show you how to discover that they are more beautiful than you or they ever dreamed possible.
We have two themes in this article. One is to assemble outfits that are ‘off-Season’. It’s easy to find clothing in our 12 Tone palettes at certain times of year and near impossible at other times. The second is to introduce a new style voice, since I wonder if my outfits are a little repetitive.
My daughter, Ally, has more style in her little finger than I’ll find in my whole life. She’s Kibbe-innocent but can see whether lines match people instantly. Today’s Polyvores are from her perspective. I asked her to keep in mind that she’s dressing women of all ages, to which she replied, “No woman of any age needs to wear granny clothes and I’m not picking those.” Fair enough.
Ally’s also here to break a few rules. In her charming 17 year old way, she asked, “Why does anyone have to do what you say?” Point taken. Nobody does. You’ll find colours and styles you might not normally see.
Light Summer in December
True Summer in October
Any one piece may not be perfect. But the whole thing together works. As S., the student who arrives this week for the training course, so aptly pointed out, the word ‘match’ isn’t always appropriate. I use it too often. Whether your clothes match the swatches in your palettes, whether your lipstick matches your red belt, whether your sweater matches your hair – it doesn’t really matter so much. They need not be identical colours. They need only look like they live in the same harmonic field relative to the the whole composition.
The idea is to use colour to create a vision that is cohesive. All the elements are working together and with you. Everything has a good reason for being there. That’s how we look at paintings, landscapes, and other people. We don’t dissect the saturation of their blouse. So the vest above is on the dark side. So the pink backpack could be pinker. In the big picture, I’m not sure it would make an important difference. The parts are finding enough in common to stay together. Not unlike marriage, or any other relationship.
True Autumn in April
Yes, it really is this cold here in April.
It strikes me that we’re still just making Polyvores. This may answer part of our purpose, which is, how to wear muted, warm colours when everyone else looks like an Easter basket.
The other part of the question is, where do I go to find my colours in April when the stores are full of coloured candy floss?
- shop wider; I’ve actually begun buying things I find on Polyvore. As eBay is the world’s biggest yard sale, Polyvore is the world’s biggest shopping mall right in my house.
- buy online, always risky, but many allow free returns.
- shop all year round for all year round; within 6 months of your PCA, once it’s caught up with you, or you with it, you will keep most of your choices for years, and you’ll spend more per item because you’ll know it looks right and will work with the rest of your closet
True Winter in September (or March)
Any of us who knows both her colours and her body line finds shopping nearly as easy as it used to be. There’s no one-stop-shop any longer. We buy Christmas outfits in July, we are always looking. Other than True Winter and Soft Autumn, I don’t really dedicated stores for colours. Even for those groups, you’ve only got their (limited) design lines to select from.
By request, the Bright Spring Dramatic Classic
Dramatic Classic, where pouffy becomes maternity or Jack Sparrow. A rounded edge is Peter Pan.
What’s interesting here is that the Bright Seasons tend to have a lot of sweetness in the personality. I’ve heard them called pushovers but that comes from someone who’s only working from a traditional, narrow, male-based definition. Power wears many hats. These people are not mean, abrupt, rude, or rough. As the Bright Spring is a Spring, she will take things to heart. You can’t throw words around that you don’t mean. Being with her is an exercise in being happier and more gentle.
Dramatic Classic is not sweet in the traditional sense either. If anything, it’s a little sharp. If you began with the absolute average woman, DC isn’t closer to being the average child. It’s closer to being the absolute average man.
The intersection of the two is that Bright Spring’s colours and DC’s lines are both very clean. No extras, no gadgets, no fuzzy, no fluff. If you drew the outline, the edges would be sharp, no question where one thing ends and the next begins. Nothing fades into anything else. Absence of blur effect, noise reduction up.
I gave Ally a few colour words – lively, clean, same or opposite colours, a little bit of Winter, and the shape words – sleek, expensive, close, upside-down triangle or straight lines, and then just asked her to dress me. She didn’t read the book because we get too rigid about rules and end up in costumes. Her job was to pull together an overall effect.
Black is small, shiny, on the bottom half, with other elements that warm up the overall look. If black is in the top half, it takes up small surface area, it’s opened up like lace or pointelle, or there’s lots of skin.
Every item need not be sunny, there’s Winter here. But each vignette should say bright, alive, warm, crisp.
Something delicate really looks good. Crispness near the face looks good, it need not be especially yellow. Bulk with angularity looks clunky or spiky. Fine, thin crispness is good, like icicles.
Smooth, geometric, shiny, new, expensive – all work with the pearls, in a chunkier setting. The pearls are fine because the edges are defined, as feathers would not be. Those long dangling earrings, some DC’s might disappear them, but on a Bright Spring DC, they’d be great. The sharpness offsets the small size.
Hearts are an inverted triangle shape, as are teardrops, both great on Spring and DC.
The whole earring that sprays up – unless you know different stores than me, you’d never wear earrings. Chunky smooth pieces that sit close to the ear and have a solid presence on the ear lobe are good.
Mixed metals are good here when they’re shiny.
No platforms on shoes. Frankensteinish.
I normally would never wear a bow, but the asymmetric position of it is good. I like the design on that sweater, interesting with the blouse. One of those excellent combinations that nobody could do like Bright Spring.
I hope that you go to the site and make these images bigger. There are some really nice things here.
I am Canadian. Summer is from May to September. In some parts of our country, we seem to have two Seasons, July and Winter.
V is a Dark Winter who lives in the Northern US. She spent some weeks in Florida in July. She made these observations:
I must’ve seen about a dozen women (ages 40 – 80) during that 3 week time frame who were wearing all-white outfits. These were just women who were out shopping, dining, whatever…not dressed up for anything special that would otherwise dictate wearing white.Some wore dresses, some wore loose tops with loose pants, etc.They all looked cool and appropriate. I didn’t have time to study what season they might have been. I simply thought they looked cool and refreshing.
V was attracted to the head-to-toe light colours but wondered if a dark person would look great in all white. My first thought was, wear the clothes. Why not? It’s just clothes. Enjoy the holiday by changing everything about how you normally live.
If I think of Jacqui Onassis in all white or white&navy, I pick the white and navy. If you take in the totality of any person, all white is never enough. In the totality of an appearance, there exists much more than just clothes, like eyes and hair. Maybe by wearing all white, our heads become a little more colourful, and that’s not bad. Little things can go a long way. Lipstick and mascara count. Throw on a great belt, a superb watch, a gorgeous head scarf, or important earrings. As ever, taste is always right, but to me, all white isn’t much more interesting than all black. Those outfits succeed based entirely on what’s added to them.
Light and Location
V. did some research and came up with this excellent article.
The author is on to something. Equatorial light is more direct (straight overhead) so more short (blue) wavelengths must reach there more often, possibly causing colours to appear cooler.
And then there are cultural differences, like if everyone around you is a blonde, how long do you stay brunette before you start feeling like an outsider? When we bring ourselves to a new place, do we change our apparel colours to suit the place, the light there, or the fashion there? What’s in the stores is different. We buy stuff when we travel that we’d never buy at home, but it just felt right for the place and the time as a way to recognize the many ways in which the new place influences us consciously and physiologically.
Dark Winter About Town in July
Any woman who knows her best colours will find some times of year easier to shop in than others. The next article will show some off-season collections. For today’s palette, buying dark saturated colour in May isn’t easy, it’s true. Like everything, you get better at it. You learn to buy your summer clothes in November. Colour analyzed women have the confidence to buy apparel whenever they find it. The colour will be just as good in six months as it is today.
Exciting Colour Combinations
I’ve had enough time living with my Dark Winter palette to now have a closet full of DW clothes. And the colors do all ‘go’ together, as one would expect. The question I have is…as so many of the DW colors are darker (and on the less-vibrant side, due to their ‘drop of chocolate’ or ‘slight film of soot’), when I pair 2 colors …for example a cobalt blue dress with a lightweight purple flyaway cardigan over it….to me, the color combination just looks “blah”. And I see this over and over with combining my DW clothes. The individual pieces are fine, but I can’t just easily mix and match. This is particularly obvious when I travel. I may have suitcase full of Dark Winter clothes but many of the combinations just don’t have much eye appeal. I’m obviously missing something that will add the ‘jazzy spark’. What am I missing?
I wondered about
1. Are the colours being worn truly saturated? This is something Winters have to grow into. As a Winter, colours are bold, strong, almost shocking. A person who doesn’t have the True Winter palette there for comparison might think many of your blues and greens are True Winter’s. These colours are so not blah that wearing too many at once can get parrotty.
2. Some women much more flamboyance and/or drama in their geometry or their preferences than others. They need styles of clothing that convey that. Design and style require that both colour and line to be right for the individual. Are the cuts too conservative/classic/careful for a person who needs more flair? All of those will come across as frumpy-ish if you are Yanger than the clothes, no matter what colour they are. Flamboyant people wear more colour all the time.
3. Clothes alone, like makeup alone or hair colour alone, don’t convey the whole image. Accessories add many layers of expression. When we buy ourselves a present, it’s often a cosmetic – affordable and fun. We own enough cosmetics and they’re repetitive. We should be buying accessories. On Winter, they also are bold, noticeable, with big presence. The hard metallic element is very much part of the image.
4. Your own taste. My suggestions can only take you so far. If they were complete and applied equally to all women, that would mean that there are 12 kinds of women. Study how other image systems put colour together. Your answers are not in any one of them but in the places where they all intersect.
Dark Winter Staying Cool
Dark colours are also very warm. Any suggestions on how to look good dressed as a Dark Winter and stay cool too?
My eye likes a Dark Season person (in the 12-Tone personal colour analysis system, that’s Dark Autumn and Dark Winter) to give an overall medium to very dark impression. Don’t forget that you are already a dark block all by yourself. We tend to look at outfits, like the all white top and pants, and forget the person they’re hanging on, the block that makes the biggest contribution of all. Picture outfits from the top of your head down, not your neck. That’s how they look to the rest of us.
Sheer or floaty textiles and lots of skin can cool even if it’s dark. I find black much more interesting in hot weather. Icy colours are an automatic fix here too. It’s Winter that gets close to white in their lightest-darkest range and takes advantage of these colours in hot weather. Summer folks may have more choice in the stores in July, but their pastels are quite far from white.
Our appearance doesn’t begin or end with clothes. It begins with the person and ends with the entire composition. Dark nail polish, jewelry, lipstick, or a purse isn’t hotter to wear but absolutely affects the whole picture. Jacquie O. was fine in her white pants, white headscarf, and white&navy tee, but it was the huge dark glasses that balanced the image. Those were what we identified her with most.
I can’t think of a website that gives real women better advice, usable and beautiful, than Imogen’s. I see she’s done some work on the site and now has an e-book that you could get free. Here, Imogen shows colours for different seasons.
Dark Winter on Vacation
What might we wear that’s more interesting than all white and still relaxed?
Every time I apply the 12 Tones of colours to a different medium, it’s like learning it all over again. Once you’ve learned to choose clothes, you figure makeup will be easy. Not so. It’s a whole new sorting experience. Students who come for the Analyst Training Course will bring a page of makeup swatches that we’ll classify to Season. We will also have a bag of fabrics and we’ll organize those. And they’ll think, “Does this ever get easier??” This is partly why I feel that those who are serious about their colours should own their swatches in more than one format.
Shopping in the Theoretical Universe
When one of the three colour dimensions (hue, value, chroma) changes in a colour, so do the other two. Maybe you’re looking at a green item and it seems a little less pure and more heathery than your swatches. You’re really not sure if it’s still in your Tone’s chroma range or not. Compare the item to your swatches based on something besides chroma.
Darkness level can be useful. If the Tone has definite upper value limits, like the Light Spring and True Spring (though really, they all do except the 3 Winters), this can exclude certain Bright Spring colours. The pastels of Summer have a fair bit of pigment, much more than the Winter icy light colours, so giving a light colour to Summer or Winter isn’t hard. The Winter ones are much closer to white.
Sometimes, the distinction isn’t so easy, especially between neighbour Neutral Seasons, meaning the 2 Softs, 2 Lights, 2 Darks, and 2 Brights. We have to go after what makes them most different. You have to get colour-specific because they’re too similar in terms of the 3 colour dimensions. Is one redder, greener, yellower, etc? Even with Trues and their 2 Neutral Seasons, it would be hard to distinguish True and Soft Summer by darkness. For some of the colours, the saturation difference doesn’t seem obvious, though it is there, because both are muted. True Summer is cooler, but ‘cooler’ is too generic. True Summer is bluer than Soft Summer. Even the blues are bluer.
Neighbouring Neutral Seasons are more accepting of one another’s colours without interfering with the overall harmony. They have the most important colour dimension in common – Light, Soft, Dark, or Brightness. They’re similar in value. The heat setting is close, one cooler, one warmer, which musn’t be discounted. One definitely looks better and one definitely looks worse, but there’s some willingness to compromise.
True cool Season palettes share no colours with their Neutral neighbours because the Neutrals contain a little heat, the one dimension where True cool Season skin won’t negotiate. There are definite detractions from appearance.
True warm Season palettes share no colours with their Neutral satellites because their Neutrals contain a little coolness, the one dimension where True warm Season skin won’t negotiate. The person doesn’t look as good in many little ways that, when added into a bigger picture, make a big difference.
So, why couldn’t the True cool Seasons share colours, like a True Spring wearing True Autumn colours, since they both respect the need for warmth? The theory seems sound enough – as long as the theory only recognizes this one single dimension, which isn’t how colour works. The result reminds me of one of Sherlock Holmes’ more famous quotes, from A Scandal in Bohemia,
It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly, one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.
Any two True Seasons have only one colour dimension in common: heat (Spring and Autumn), high saturation (Winter and Spring), coolness (Winter and Summer), low saturation (Summer and Autumn), lightness (Summer and Spring), and darkness (Autumn and Winter) . In an analysis, a person who looks good in Autumn and Summer is probably enjoying the softness of the colours. It’s the only thing the two Seasons share. The fact is that they differ in the other two. All three have to be bull’s eye perfect for ultimate harmony. True Seasons do not share colours no matter how dark blue the True Summer’s eyes are or how blonde the True Winter.
Winter colours on Summer people stick out. It’s hard to see anything else. Summer colours on Winter people are weak. Maybe a couple of each could slide by but the whole thing isn’t right. It fascinates me to no end how the Sci\ART drape colours that Kathryn Kalisz assembled are not always exactly to be found among her swatches. And yet, the harmony with the Tone is unmistakable. I think of True Autumn’s famous schoolbus yellow, beloved by many who have been draped with it. It’s not exactly in the True Autumn swatches. You might even think it’s in the Bright Spring group. Lay all the fabrics out together and you’ll see that the colour belongs with True Autumn.
So many of Conan Doyle’s character’s quotes apply to PCA. From The Sign of Four,
I never guess. It is a shocking habit,- destructive to the logical faculty.
Colour analysts do not guess. You know or you don’t. If you’re not absolutely sure, don’t call it. Say the truth, “I don’t know.” Fine, we’ll figure it out some other way, but don’t bring in a mistake that will carry through the rest of the analysis. People send me photos and I say, “I do not know.” When I was in medical school listening for heart murmurs, the students would say “I think I hear a murmur.” And the Scottish professor who had seen it all or the genius woman who led the surgical department, they replied, “Pick one. Either you hear it or you don’t. Commit.” Colour analysis is not guesswork. It takes some confidence. You have to know when to open-mindedly yet politely ignore the client the way a doctor does with rambling medical histories and pages of internet self-diagnosis. It’s not that the ramble contains no value or truth, it’s just that given the facts of the patient’s condition (or colouring) and the facts of symptoms and illness (or colour classification), some of their conclusions cannot be correct. In our training, we will cultivate the strength of your convictions.
And from so many of the stories, the most immortal quote of all, for the I-look-just-like-my-Soft-Autumn-sister who drapes to be a True Winter:
“… and when you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
The Neutral palettes will compromise on heat level as long as their important dimension is respected. Keep colour dark, and Dark Autumn skin says, “A trace cooler, a trace warmer, a trace more saturated, I’ll play along. Your total look won’t fall apart.” If colour goes light, Dark Autumn skin says, “Sister, get it right or you’re done like dinner.”
Keep colour light and Light Summer skin says,”Stick with the cooler of Light Spring’s colours and it won’t be a big deal. They’re all pretty light in the big picture of white to black. Yes, OK fine, Light Spring is a bit yellower, so don’t plant a big block of it right under your chin, but your harmony won’t self-destruct.” Once colour goes dark, Light Summer skin says “There will be no good choice. We won’t like anything we see in the mirror. You did pretty well in the True Summer drapes, arguably your closest runner-up, till they turned dark and we took a wrong turn.”
Back to the topic, choosing blue for True Spring. It’s kind of tricky because blue is inherently associated with coolness. Many have trouble with True Spring blue. I would guess that the difficulty arises between True and Bright Spring. The other Seasons’ blues are quite different. Is Bright Spring blue just bluer? Yes, partly, and as the amount of blue increases, so does the darkness. Other things change too. Red is arriving in Bright Spring. Yellow is moving out. Pigments are not being muted. They’re so pure, they’re almost synthetic. True Spring still looks from-nature, without the sense of the Brights’ “Whoa blue.”
By the time we add enough yellow to colours to create a True Spring group, the most yellowed colours of all, there’s not much blue or red among the swatches. They’ve turned into turquoise and coral. But True Spring does have some blue that harmonizes perfectly with the other colours. It’s very blue but not as blue as it could be (which would be closer to Bright Spring) and not very dark.
Bright Spring blues are not just more saturated than True Spring. They’re redder by the arrival of Winter (so purplish) or less yellow (so without a green or teal quality that True Spring’s darkest blue has) . When you compare them side by side, the individual colours in the palettes are not as similar as the whole palette appears to be. This is a hard call though, if you only look at one palette. So if there’s one palette where you get hung up, buy it. Make sure you know the difference. Learn to trust your eyes and your taste too. If the blue item doesn’t disrupt your beautiful harmony, then it will probably be just fine, especially if the colour block isn’t too big.
Shopping in The World As We Know It
Got all the talking out of my system. I’m scanning the Polyvore layouts looking for True Spring blue.
I want colour. As I look, I think ‘lots of blue, lots of blue’.
There should always be more colour than darkness to perceive in all of True Spring. More colour and a feeling of sunshine. Yellow sun shining down on blue would make it look a little green IF you compared the blue to a redder blue. It leans a little turquoise/teal, not red/violet, to harmonize with the rest of the composition, or palette.
Remember that colours on every monitor look different. We’ll think more about comparisons than absolute colours. I started this post about 10 times and kept changing everything till I only worked on it in the same two hour slot each day. Imagine how long that took.
1 looked pretty good, but too dark. It’s saturated, so must be Winter or Spring. Spring’s blues aren’t red. If anything, they’re greenish, presumably from all the yellow in them. Winter’s colours are redder. I’d put this in Bright Spring as their second-darkest blue.
2 is too hazy for True Spring. It’s too dark for Light Spring and a little too saturated (too much blue) for True Summer. It also has a green quality, meaning it must be heated with yellow or gold, which True Summer isn’t. It’s in between the warmer and cooler darkest blues of Light Summer.
3 is not saturated enough for a Spring. It’s also more pink-mauve. I’d put it in Light Summer.
4 is interesting. It’s reddish, making it look a little purple. Means Winter. Too light for Dark Winter. I’d see it between True and Bright, closer to Bright.
5 doesn’t have the slight greening of True Spring’s darkest blue. Looks to me like Bright Spring’s darkest blue. A true blue that is obviously no black.
6 is more saturated than 3 but not enough for True Spring. I see haziness. Must be Light Spring. Amazing how hard it is to gauge colour in different lighting, ay? And across different textiles.
7 is hard. Doesn’t seem red enough for True Winter. The saturation is very high, leaving the Brights and Dark Winter. It feels too saturated for Dark Winter. Not sure. Probably be alright for all 3 Winters. I’d need to see the item surrounded by gray under full spectrum lights to decide for sure.
8‘s shine is making it look lighter than it is. I could imagine Light Spring’s darkest blue. Looks like it could be bluer, like it’s not at full saturation. It’s not True Spring blues which lean to green, and not dark enough to be Bright Spring’s dark blues. Bright Spring dark blues are greenish or reddish. This is pinky, like Summer’s mauve undertone.
9 is heathered. It lives between Light Spring and Light Summer.
10 is a good contender. It could be Bright Spring too, better if it were a trace more violet. Bright Spring is a Neutral Season. Like all Neutral Seasons, they have warm and cool version of colours including blue. Bright Spring has a greener blue and a redder blue.
11 is nice, ay? makes me think of Japanese art, those blossoms on branches. The blue could be good for True Spring. The flowers that go to white and black moves the item into Bright Spring or Winter, but the blue doesn’t have the red-violet quality of Winter’s effect on blue.
12 has yellow and significant haze, so a Summer. It’s a sunny day, not a shady one, so Light Summer. But it’s too desaturated for Light Summer. Maybe it’s at the low end of that Tone. If we pretend the light on it is a little cooler, it would be True Summer.
13 has yellow and more pigment, still hazy. It feels better in Light Summer.
14 is a little too saturated for Light Summer, it could be Light Spring.
15 is yellowed too much for Light Summer, looks like Light Spring.
16 is very close to white. One of the Winters get that.
17 Well, gosh, Light Spring? It’s a little too red for Light Summer and a lot too red for Soft Autumn. Not dark enough for True Autumn. My gosh, are you feeling exhausted? In Light and True Spring, those orchid purples appear. But it’s dusty. Maybe Light Summer is better. I feel all tired out now. In the same way that there are lines of garments that make sense on nobody, I guess there are colours that are right in none of the 12 Tones. That colour is making me feel weird.
18 isn’t lots of blue. What I get first is dusty, then dark. Soft Summer. Thank you, goddess, easier one.
19 could be True Winter. It’s not at full max sat like 22 and it’s reddish. You’re not alone in finding this really hard and I have all 12 Colour Books.
20 True Spring, oh, please? Nope. Not greenish and a little too dusty. If I had to say, does it lean green or purple, I think, “Shoot (or a word with similar first sound), I don’t know.” I hold up the True Spring swatch book and the blouse turns pinkish. I see a marketing opportunity here. We could sell pieces of cool, neutral, and warm gray. You could hold your garment up to it and watch them change each other. This top looks like Light Spring.
21 is Soft Autumn, right? I’m not so sure. It’s a little too colourful and not dark enough. Amazing too how hard it is to judge one colour dimension when the other two aren’t constant, as in, how hard it is to tell which of two colours is lighter when their saturations are not the same. Soft Autumn is less saturated and more dark. Light Spring purple is more decided about itself, it’s is either bluer or redder. Light Summer? Yes, probably.
22 could be True Winter in the light areas, aggressively blued with definite black feelings. The saturation is so high that I think of a Bright Winter. Shopping in the real world is like searching for the lost world of Atlantis.
23 is True Summer. I pick up no heat, or hardly any. It goes a little darker than True Summer at the bottom and the top blue part is not quite as freshly cooled. Soft Summer would be fine here, though her blues are a touch warmer, and her lighter blue-gray is less blue. Whatever. We are going to have no clothes unless we cut ourselves a little slack.
24 could be True Spring quite well (or Light Spring). The aqua writing is too blue for True Spring (would be greener) and works better in Light Spring.
25 Stark white, high contrast stripes means there’s Winter in it. The blue is too blue for True Spring. The two Bright Seasons could manage this but they would want to add sunshine to the overall look. Too saturated for Dark Winter. Could be True Winter.
26 Light Spring. Groan. I have to believe this is getting easier. For True Spring, it would need a faint green tinge and no dusty quality. This has a red tinge. I know that because I held the True Spring book up to it and the item looked even redder. But I gotta say, it’s so close.
The other confusion might be with True Autumn, but there’s no problem here. True Autumn blue is redder (purpler, actually), duller, and darker. I figure the purple must come from making gold (Autumn) from the yellow primary, since gold is added to Autumn colours. Adding purple would mute and darken yellow. Then, adding gold (purpled yellow) to blue makes darker, muted, purply blue. True Spring’s darkest blue is not as dark as True Autumn’s, and it’s a little green (from all the yellow of Spring), not a little purple. Autumn mostly has teal and brick, what happened when all the gold was added to blue and red.
27 Enough fooling around or we’ll be here all night. 27 is good. I’m using 36 as my reference red-blue in this panel. 27 one leans green.
28 is one of those pieces that would keep me wondering why. Why does it look like a strapless dresss with an undershirt? That orange stripe would captivate my attention and I’d be stuck. Not everything has to make sense of course. Like my liking of yellow-beige stone with plum doors for a house. Just put it here randomly.
29 Bright Spring. Too light for True, and tending red. Plus, details are silver.
30 I can feel a tough one coming on. Too blue for True Autumn and Dark Autumn. Must be an Autumn, though, it feels muted and earthy. What’s too blue for Autumn and still muted? Summer is. This is too blue for Soft and True Summer. Wouldn’t be Light Summer, would it? It’s a trace dark, but as Sherlock says, once you’ve eliminated the probable… Honestly, it doesn’t feel altogether harmonizing with Light Summer’s freshness and it’s somewhat dark. How about Soft Autumn? It’s a little too blue, but it feels more belonging. Is that just the cut? If it were a sheer blouse or shiny taffeta, would I have an altogether different feeling? This textile reflects light in a way that mutes colour. One thing I hoped this post would illustrate: We post photos of ourselves in a Light Summer colour when we’re really in Soft Autumn. I get sent photos of a woman comparing Light Summer and Bright Winter, and the colours she’s wearing are off for both. Maybe by just a hair but it changes the whole skin reaction, just as it changes the perception of a garment. Photos and I don’t get along. My other point: sorting drape colours accurately is hell on wheels. Understandable why analysts have trouble agreeing.
31 is OK. A bit light and better by colour in Bright Spring. The lace is rough, which makes the saturation look lower, which would place it in True Spring.
32 Quite blue for a True Spring or True Autumn. Not enough chroma for the 3 Winters. Too saturated for a Summer blend. Dark Autumn?
33 Heart be still, it seems fine. Lots of blue, not too dark. Navy isn’t something I agonize over. I organize it in fairly dark and dusty (Summer, ease up on darkness for Lights), really dark and saturated (Winter), not dark and very blue (Spring, more dark for the Brights), and there are better choices (Autumn).
34 Thanks be to Jesus!!!, another good one.
35 is good. Lots of blue, not max blue, not too dark. How do I know it leans green? Because I’ve given myself a reference point, which is 36. In a store, do the same. Gather up a bunch of close colours. Your eye will sort them automatically.
36 is a red-blue. Would be True or Bright Winter. It on the darker side and not fully saturated, as True Winter is, but I can look at it again and think, “No, no, Christine, you ding-dong, the darkness is fine for Bright Winter. It just needs a trace more chroma.” Holy cow, who cares? There are 30 million worse blues you could wear.
37 Put the kettle on, dolls. It’s good.