Colour Sharing

April 23, 2014 by · 1 Comment 

How do members of a Season borrow colours into their wardrobe successfully? All sorts of diagrams exist to assist people of certain colouring, or Season, in finding clothing colours that are not within their palette.

Examples you might see include,

- True Summer and True Winter – because they’re both very cool

- Dark Winter and Soft Summer, which have a similar relationship as Bright Winter and Light Summer – because all four begin with a cool palette and each pair adds the same amount of the same kind of warmth, Autumn gold and Spring yellow respectively

- Dark Autumn/Bright Spring and Light Spring/Soft Autumn – because if you map the Seasons in a progression around a circle, the same relationship exists between these pairs as the ones above. Both begin with a warm palette and add the same amount of the same type of coolness, Winter’s or Summer’s, respectively

stairway-on-the-beach-1-786532-m

Photo: elussich

 

These generalities are best applied only to certain colours. On the whole, I’m not sure how well they serve outside the theory. I don’t believe in second-best and runner-up Seasons. They don’t exist. Any Season could absorb various colours from various other Seasons quite nicely.

In the examples above, only the heat level is being factored in, placing too much emphasis on it. The other two dimensions matter will matter a lot when the medium-browns are put under the faces. Certain pinks might slide by though.

At least for Dark Winter/Soft Summer, the heat is the same type, Autumn’s. The third example is ignoring the very different kind of heat in Autumn and Spring colours. In many cases, the worst colours for one can be found in the other warm palette. A blue-eyed Dark Autumn can have some similarities with Bright Spring’s appearance, as can the green-gold eyed Bright Spring with Dark Autumn – if they read about them, but not if they wear them. Many of the colours can be weirdly unpleasant on the opposite person.

Even at a tiny level of Autumn, Spring warmth can look like an odd, greasy, abalone shell event on Soft Summer skin. Except the eyes. Eyes are always true. Soft Summer eyes just sit there in this iridescent face looking estranged. It’s as psychologically awkward as when I wear cat eye, glittery sunglasses, to which people react in most uncomfortable (and entertaining, if you like watching that sort of thing to illustrate a point, which I do) ways.

Photo: highland_s

Photo: highland_s

 

Why might broad guidelines only work for some colours but not all the colours? They make an assumption that every person inside a Season will react to every colour in the same way. Not true at all.

Three True Springs would have three different paths through the draping sequence. Not every drape in Test or Luxury is perfect on every person in that group. It is simply the best decision in a constellation of 10 – 15 observations.

To this day, about 300, maybe more, PCAs later, I still take time to write what I learned from each one. I had to see about 12, sometimes 25+ (Bright Winter for instance), of each Season to have trouble coming up with something new. For the Trues, I have seen about 6 of each, so each one is still quite new, not counting True Summer at 19. I will never stop learning from True Seasons.

Why shouldn’t every drape be our best drape? Because there is so much fluidity needed to perfectly repeat the millions of ways in which Nature painted all the people of any given Season. Because every instrument does not play an equal role in a symphony. A thousand reasons that this website has thought about, and many more that it hasn’t.

The natural order of colour

The world is full of concepts that have one meaning in theory and another in practice. As much as humans love to pigeonhole and predict, we live in a massively variable Universe. It might look random and messy. Humans devote large amounts of time to resisting this in favour of rules. We like the security of the restrictions and the ropes.

We understand that the Universe is neither messy or random. It’s infinitely organized, with complexity and levels far beyond anything our rules can capture. What we should be resisting are all the rules. They’re too simplified.

Photo: Ayla87

Photo: Ayla87

 

Amelia  Butler at True Colour Australia posted the series, Tonal Contentment vs Tonal Restlessness, in several parts, here to her blog at Colour and The Human Being. So comprehensively, Amelia takes us back to what the Sci\ART palettes were intended to be and reflects on their application today. Amelia makes many valid and useful points, covering a wide range of colour applications.

There can be much critiquing of PCA philosophy and method. What works for some won’t for others, the difference relating equally to the conscious and unconscious colour persuasions of the person as to their colouring. Some answers should be sought elsewhere.

The Sci\ART 12-Tone system really is the gold standard of human colour analysis, as Amelia says.  Once an analyst has worked with the system, there is not much traffic back the other way. Until an analyst, or anyone, has seen 10 or 20 PCAs, they barely scratch the surface of understanding it. I barely scratch that surface, in the same way that I barely understand how Nature is coloured, and am in awe of both. The more you know, the more you realize how little you know, right?

Perhaps, our Tone is more of an expression of our position and energy equivalence in the natural world. We are inextricably spun with wool from the same spinning wheel as all of Nature. Social conditioning pulls us in the opposite direction.  That’s fine. We live, work, dress, and learn our life lessons in societies. We are barely aware of imposing our social and psychological conditioning on our every decision.

Photo: bradimarte

Photo: bradimarte

 

The Natural world is not Fashion. They have so little meaning and purpose in common. Why did I use up energy trying to overlap them? It was exhausting, like forcing astronomy to be astrology. The harder I tried, the more I realized how different they are. There was no point. Now I’m coming out the other side.

I relax and let each fulfill its purpose. Nature isn’t right or wrong. It just is. We don’t talk about how tree leaves should be a different shade of green to fit the picture better. It is what it is. It follows a natural order. So do the Sci\ART palettes. If you’d like a fashion green sweater in your composition, wear it.

Today, the confidence of experience releases me from defending Kathryn’s colour system any more than I would any image Nature put together, though I used to when I was younger (as I will tell anyone who will listen, it’s because I rationalize and justify everything, including emotion and instinct, being an  Enneagram Type 1).

Enneagrams and watching Sherlock on BBC are my life right now. It might bore you if you knew me. I would try not to talk about it all the time, but then we’d talk about my other favourite topic, The Universe and Our Highest Potential, which brings us right back to E Type 1. How hard is it to hit the Escape key on ourselves? Quite. Ask anyone who’s had a PCA. The best way to approach having your colouring analyzed is as a stranger to yourself. The face in the mirror is a woman you don’t know. She’s just a person picked from a crowd. You have no idea about what she likes, what she’s been told, how she’s been hurt, or what makes her feel happiness. Nearly impossible to do.

Sometimes you have to go backwards to move forward. Like being inside an ascending tunnel, you think you’re repeating and repeating instead of climbing because the walls always look the same. But we do mature, part of which is repeating the same lessons at higher levels. These days, Kathryn’s colour system feels to me like a true witness to how colour is in our world. To my eyes, that is more than enough, and more than enough privilege to bring other people closer to their place in the scheme of it all to last me the rest of my days.

We can look better, shop better, be more true to ourselves, and still find a thousand personal self-expressions without creating any disruptions in the Universe.  But then, we Enneagram Type 1′s who read on this page (under Adaptive Behavioral Schema) learn that…

They have a highly developed and practiced intuition for when someone or something is doing what it is supposed to do. A being is good when it is fully itself and when it is fully doing what it is meant to do.

If you can’t begin with an agreement that Nature provides us with the most perfect colour harmonies inside and around ourselves, and that our dress looks best as a faithful extension of that, well now, it might be best to get other opinions for your clothing colour system. Actually, it’s a good idea to get many opinions on anything.

Photo: sarahjmoon

Photo: sarahjmoon

 

The colours of objects are tightly related to the unifying properties of the light shining on them. You can only get back the wavelengths that you put in. If you put in more reds and yellows and less blues, that’s what’s going to come back. If you put in no light, you get back no colours, like the picture above.

First was the Light, which changed in a regular and predictable way. Then came the objects that developed as they did because they needed something from all the particular Lights. The Lights determined not just how they look but what they are, which energy level they hold. If the Lights had been different, the objects and life forms would have been otherwise. And then evolved the human sense of sight, also customized so perfectly to all the Lights. There might have been other possible anatomies to allow sight, but this is the one that is. And so it was from the beginning, you know?

Finally, came colour analysis. I love it most when it remembers where it began, as the beautiful partnership with Nature’s designs that became possible. Some of the landscapes Rachel is pinning on her 12 Season boards are blowing away anything I could have imagined.  That Dark Winter locomotive image, what a vision Rachel has. The Sci\ART system captivated me 5 years ago and it does so today, tenfold. PCA systems should not be adapted to fashion, just as women’s bodies should not be. That’s a mess on too many levels and can’t hold up to real world use. Start with the way light is, the way sight is, and the way real bodies are made. Build the fashion thing on top of that.

Although it translates completely to fashion, you can step outside it at any time. This is not a limitation of the palette. The palette is an intrinsic center from which you can radiate in beautiful and important expansions of yourself. We gotta start somewhere to sort out some kind of relationship between us and the colour free-for-all at the mall. The Sci\ART system is the one that is most rational to me.

Photo: lilie

Photo: lilie

 

Nature is at once the most soothing and the most re-energizing environment there is. It is a relief from the disharmonies to all five senses to which we are subjected for most of the day. The relief in natural compositions somehow leads to those that also the most exciting.

Could they be even more exciting? Sure. Nature constantly steps outside the colour charts. And yet, every colour is able to dissolve into the image. Artists do it all the time. An addition of outsider of colour can be more happy and auspicious, more evocative, both stimulating and very belonging.

Which brings us back to our topic. How do we add colour flexibility that feels passionate and exciting, but still relevant to the wearer?

The colours we are made of are so beautifully unique to us.  How can we bring that individuality into our self-expression?

Colour Sharing

I think that when color analysts talk about sharing colors, they have to specify whether they are discussing a technical situation, such as a draping, where no amount of colour compromise can be tolerated, or whether they are discussing a shopping or retail situation, where some compromise will have to be acceptable and could even be good.

I also believe that which colours are best borrowed are decided one woman at a time, with her analyst, after a thorough draping. I hope that everyone knows of Terry’s articles outlining the steps in a proper PCA, the latest installment addresses clearing the skin, linked here.

Let me think of some situations:

1. From above, and very common, Dark Winter and Soft Summer. When they shop, Dark Winter could manage some darker Soft Summer clothes. Overall, they would do better shopping in True Summer and staying with medium to dark colours. Pastel lights are not welcomed by Dark Season skin.

A Soft Summer keeps her darkness dusty or her clothes weigh her down. Of all the Summers, Soft will wear Dark Winter colours best, but because the colours are all more intensely pigmented than she is, this person will give some of their power away to their clothing.

2. If an important dimension of colour (hue/value/chroma) is satisfied, certain colors are quite tolerable by more than one group. There are yellows, oranges, and reds that could be worn very well by True Autumn and True Spring. Orange is especially easy, including many browns, brown being dark orange. These colours are inherently warm. From above, True Summer and True Winter could share some pinks and purples, which might appear dark and strong on True Summer and medium on True Winter.

3. The person’s inherent colouring should be considered. A blue-eyed person will be able to wear blue from a few more neighbouring Seasons than a brown-eyed person might. Just coming close to repeating our own colouring is visually effective for connecting us to our clothing.

Even inside a Season, a Bright Spring with cider, amber, and clear orange in the hair and eyes could wear their intense dark yellow much better than a Bright Spring who has silver hair and blue eyes. For the aqua eyed Bright Spring, those yellows might never be more than an occasional stripe in a tie or the thread to sew on some buttons.

Sometimes, Dark Winter has the very same yellows in the eyes as a Dark Autumn, or close enough to be extremely interesting. No Dark Winter will really wear a big block of Anjou pear or chartreuse excitingly, but a small piece of it somewhere near the face can be most intriguing.

Photo: createsima

Photo: createsima

 

4. Exactly which colour is it were discussing? Blue might be easier to share among True and Light Summer than yellow, which less of a meet-you-halfway colour for very cool colourings. The 3 Springs could move yellow around quite easily. It almost dissolves into them, so naturally does it occur. It soaks into the picture and the colours around it adjust it the rest of the way.

You’d think red could move across the Bright and Dark Winter, where it is very successful, red being a core colour for Winter. It can work but not easily. Your best guess at the Season a red belongs in is probably decent. Red has strong identity in our eyes and is reactive against skin. Beige, coral, and turquoise are harder to guess and are less dictatorial next to skin.

Light Spring and Soft Autumn could move some yellows back and forth. The rest of the colours, not so much, not even the neutrals. Lay the opened Soft Autumn fan book on a Light Spring fabric. The neutrals, loosely translated as many of the complexion colours, might turn peculiarly greenish. That’s exactly what that fabric will do to the Light Spring face. Yes, both are warm-neutrals, but they do not appreciate one another’s type of heat or darkness level.

5. It depends where the coloring falls on the Season continuum. Our colouring doesn’t sit on a dot in a clock diagram. It spans a stretch halfway between the neighbours on each side. At least, that’s how it looks on a flat map. Really, it swirls around inside a spherical structure. In a Season, parts of it switch on and interconnect just like in a lit-up brain scan.

We are so used to flat images that we forget how very dimensional our world is. Energy isn’t a wave. Look at the wave end on. It’s a spiral. Hence, that purple snail shell logo at the top. Maybe one day, they’ll find that it’s actually a spiral inside a spiral, a double helix, a Universe at the center of every cell. Very appealing to think about. Don’t worry if you have no idea what I’m talking about. Trust me, you are not alone. I’m really quite medium and normal in person :) Really.

A warm Soft Summer and  many a cool Soft Summer could happily wear the cooler greens and blues of Soft Autumn. Their reds and yellows? Not so much. Neutral Seasons can wear some of the neighbour colours of close heat, but not all of them will do them favours.

Photo: tonygillo

Photo: tonygillo

 

6. If Dark Autumn and Bright Spring were to share, how would they do it? If we agree that the size of the color block is large and right under the face, it’s a bit challenging to figure out. They sure wouldn’t crossover in the light or medium darkness colors. There may be some dark forest greens that could work okay but not much more than that that I could see.

7. Where will the colour be worn? Gray and navy are very adaptable colours to begin with, and more so if you situate them in the lower half. If it’s footwear or sunglasses, the viewer implicitly factors in functionality and expects that they may be darker than a scarf would be.

8. Have confidence in your individuality. Enjoy it.  It’s the best part of this whole thing.

9. Where do you want your focal point to be today? Let the statement necklace or the violet purse own the day.

10. Get your lines right. This is quite major. Has anyone seen the pictures of Princess Kate that I pinned recently on the Shopping for Your Season and Style board? In the eyelet dress, colour correct, the image is clumsy. In the yellow dress, probably a Dark Winter yellow, she looks fantastic. The more bits and pieces of the whole are excellent, the more they draw in the rest.

You may remember the question from the reader who felt uncertain with learning that her colouring falls into the True Winter group, and how to reconcile it with the drama that is usually depicted for that group. As if ‘decadent glamour’ is the only kind of glamour or has only one interpretation. Pfff. Limited, limited.

Her question was a great one. Find it in the article, True Winter Sans Drama and A Gentle Dark Autumn. She recently visited Rachel to be draped, confirming True Winter, and for a PIA (Personal Image Analysis). As a Yang Natural, her version of glamour (and we all have one) is not Dynasty, which is the usual TW stereotype.

By expressing True Winter in certain textures and prints, the right cut of pants, belonging shapes and styles in jewelry, the True Winter palette has become a happy home. Snow leopard effects!? On a True Winter Natural woman? That’s so good, it shook up my world when I read it.

In her words,

So, I now finally feel like I know what to wear and what to look for and what to just ignore…it was difficult for me to figure out having a natural style along with TW, but now, I’m finally able to put it all together!

 

Photo: blary54

Photo: blary54

 

Like hair colour, sharing is a colour by colour, person by person, adaptation that a colour analyst can make for each client. All she needs to do is watch how their skin reacts to a variety of measured colours.

I send clients a nutshell digest of their draping experience, how their skin reacted to certain colours, addressing how they fall outside the majority of the written information for the Season, and any particular questions they had. The experience is just too big, too technical, too mentally stimulating, and too emotional to absorb it all and have it available 6 months later. It would be like hoping to recall every word the dentist said about all 32 of your teeth from your check-up last summer. For instance, I sent this little summary recently:

It is very common in all colouring at any age to find that the particular colour in the drapes for their Season is not necessarily their best version of that colour. This is especially so for Bright Winter. As testified by your eye colours, you are lighter and warmer than the average appearance and colour reactions in this group. Many persons of this colouring cannot wear the extremes of the palette till they have fully darkened with maturity, around the age of 30.

When Bright Winter colours were excellent, they were breathtakingly so, an effect no other Season could match in any colour. The usual caution exists for this Winter Season to avoid the blackest black, which will be especially relevant for you. Choose darkest charcoal instead, preferably with a slight sheen if the occasion permits. Dark navy did not have the darkening effect of black – it is common for people with Spring influence to be much more tolerant of ‘colour colours’ than of black (which gets too dark), white (which may be glowy unless right), and gray (which may lack the excitement of colour that you wear so natively).

You were easily able to wear the coolest positions in your Season and the warmest, as long as the colour were light to medium on a darkness scale. For these choices, always choose a Bright Winter colour. If the realities of shopping require some compromise, the darker Bright Spring colours might be the place to borrow.

 

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Hot Weather Colour for Dark Winter

April 2, 2014 by · 12 Comments 

The lighter and brighter colours for Dark Winter are presented today.

Why call the Season Dark? It’s a source of confusion because it so easily gives rise to misinterpretation, almost forcing the idea of a certain appearance.

I’m certainly guilty of using formulas in writing to try to come up with word pictures. Most industries have those “It looks like…”  and “Most…” analogies to help students understand and to share experience.

“Dramatic body types look like a statue.” (my invention)

“Most dogs with slipped discs that can still wag their tail will walk again.”

Yes, of course, some don’t. What’s a teacher to do? People want the learning from real life stories, pictures, and questions, but not theirs, even though theirs are far better than anything I can come up with. We find ourselves speaking in terms of bell curves. There will always be those who fall outside them.

What Really Matters: Do not let stereotypes, formulas, or “You look like a…” anywhere near the analysis process itself.

For the Dark Season colouring, the idea exists that the person has to look dark. Not so. I don’t. I could never get those belief systems to work when I tried to apply them to real people.

That they have to wear all dark colours. No. They could and look better than other types of colouring but who’s going to do that every day and be the best version of themselves? After a week of it, people will start ignoring your clothes for always being the same.

 

Light colours for DA, DW, and TW
Light colours for DA, DW, and TW by christinems featuring a semi sheer blouse

 

So why call them Dark?

It has to be called something. Dark, Bright, Light, etc, are historical terms in the PCA industry, dating back to I know not when or whom.

Should we change the word? No, I propose that we change the definition instead. Take the word Season. One could say that it’s outdated and not self-explanatory. Maybe, but it is recognizable in the natural world, short, spell-able, search-able, familiar, understandable (which does the public understand more correctly about a colour, ‘value’ or ‘darkness’?) and lots of other good things. We just need to take its meaning as ‘group of  natural colouring’. There won’t be one single perfect in every way terminology. Much more needs doing than re-inventing a wheel.

For Dark, Bright, etc., I make an argument in this way: I am of the belief that we cannot know which of the 3 dimensions of colour (light/dark, warm/cool, soft/bright) will matter the most on a person’s colouring merely by looking at them. There is no medium-medium-medium person. There will be 2 dimensions that are medium, or close, and 1 that will be more High/Low. Because we cannot judge the heat level or saturation of other people, we over-emphasize the importance of their darkness. Or else, we merge darkness level with saturation, since, when we imagine a saturated colour, we also tend to darken it. All persons must be draped, but even with excellent drapes, it can be difficult.

All of our faces are in perfect colour equilibrium by Nature. We see this perfectly tuned balance in every person and since nothing looks out of place, we assume that everything is medium. This is why folks are mystified when they’ve been analyzed as a Soft Summer and a Bright Winter. How could that be? Aren’t they opposites? Just because they lie opposite one another on a colour clock graphic doesn’t mean that they’re opposite. Those clocks are like a map.  Are Vancouver and Montreal opposite? Yes and no. Depends what the question is asking. Both cities are the same for being Canadian. Soft Summer and Bright Winter faces are the same for being as perfectly balanced as every face is.

Even speaking theoretically, they’re not opposite. In fact, they have some dimensions in opposition and some very similar when the colours are measured. Both are cool neutrals and both are medium-dark. That’s a big amount of similarity. Where they differ is saturation, the hardest one to judge. But you must know how to measure, and how to measure the 3 dimensions independently because that’s how they are set in our colouring. The 3 don’t go up or down together.

On a Dark Season, the High/Low is value of colour. On the Low value side, when a colour is darker, whether its warmth and brightness drift a little up and down doesn’t matter too much. The harmonic correlation remains quite agreeable as long as colour is dark. Value is the thing about them that is not medium.  In True Summer drapes, a Dark Winter can be truly weak until the colour becomes darker. Then the skin gets along. It finds a little muting that it likes, a trace of warmth (compared to True Winter) that feels right, and its beloved darkness. We see this again as we progress through the darkness levels of the Red Drapes. They never get too dark.

The opposite is true too. On the High value side, when a colour is light, it’s either right or the person is a washout.  It can be hard to read the lightest level of Red Drapes because the skin says, “Meh, meh, and meh.” since none of the colours belongs to Dark Winter in that set of drapes.  An analyst who knows how to read the Red Drapes, which are very different in their interpretation than the other drapes, gets along just fine.

Could a person be medium-high-high on the 3 colour scales? I’ve seen fabric would be close. Humans are not coloured with the same pigments as textiles so I don’t know if the same rules apply. Nature is a chemistry set of unlimited possibility and I’m certain that these people exist. I also do not  know if human pigment genetics must follow the rules of Munsell (or any) colour space, which are human constructs – but they’re human constructs about colour relationships where certain rules always apply. Blue does get darker as it gets more saturated.

Anyhow, I do know that in science and in PCA, how it looks is not data. If it were, the Earth would still be flat. We must measure something and know how to read our rulers.

 

Light colour for DW 1
Light colour for DW 1 by christinems featuring button down tops

 

 

A Dark Autumn asked,

I seem to always wear the colours from the light to center sections of  my fan. I don’t understand why the darkest of the Dark Autumn colors, especially the purples, seem to drain me.

 

Some suggestions:

If the dark colours being chosen are a bit too blue, which happens easily with purple, this will make shadows darker. We all have a native, normal shadow colour. If it’s distorted, as by making it too blue, the effect will not be flattering.

If the dark colours being chosen are less saturated than the lighter colours being worn, the darks might not be preferred, despite being a Dark Season. Depending on the person, Dark Autumn will not have the best quality of complexion in True Autumn saturation. With 2 dimensions (value and saturation) that can be on or off, the mix and match possibilities of what’s really the problem are bigger.

Lightness and clarity can appear to add some lift in many women, which is why so many of them get put into Spring. An untrained eye might see this and forget to take into account all the other factors.

Most of us tend to wear colours from the center of the fan. They’re easiest to be aware of. If your eyes are used to seeing you in these, they may have trouble making an objective assessment of darker colours.

If pre-PCA, you believed yourself to be a lighter Season, it may take time to become accustomed to the power of the darkness (no puns of any sort). Darkness resonates strongly here. It sends a special  message on this colouring more than any other. Amazing how long it takes to fully step into and claim our own power. We find all sorts of reasons why it shouldn’t be so.

 

Light Colour for DW 2
Light Colour for DW 2 by christinems featuring scoop neck tops

 

A Dark Winter asked,

I would love to see a post on using the cool, heavy, regal colors in a climate that’s melting with heat and humidity.

 

Dark Winter is like True Winter but a little warmer and duller, but not as much as if it were done in newsprint. To me, it looks more warmer than duller, but I’m no better at judging these little increments than anyone else.

There are a lot of neutrals in these Polyvores, because I like them on this colouring. I find them great in summer and to offset the ‘colour colours’, and far more interesting against summer backgrounds than winter backgrounds. The contrast between summertime and the “heavy and regal” is even more pronounced, which feels a little exciting.

Remember that we haven’t accessorized anything yet. Shoes, bags, jewelry can all add as much or as little colour as you like.

Many skirts and dresses. Colours and prints feel better here than in pants. I’m not a purple pants person, though anybody could be, especially a Gamine. White pants, ditto. Jacqueline Kennedy had white Capris that were good with her black T-shirt, huge glasses, and scarf.

The overall darkness level is up to you. My eyes prefer an overall medium to dark totality over an all light one. The coral dress in 4 below is as light as I’d go for an head to toe level (picture it on a B&W TV). The light pants and colour-blocked gray top in the bottom left of 4 is too light. The  model wears it well enough but I doubt that her native darkness level is that of Dark Winter. Nor do I think her inherent heat level is of the same type, level, or both, as Dark Winter.

When we train a colour analyst, the student learns to look at the image in the mirror in terms of 3 distinct dimensions. You could try this too. Don’t compare an person and their clothing and think in terms of Seasons. It’s way too convoluted. Think, “Would I adjust the darkness?”, “Does the warmth level feel like a match?”, and “How do I feel about the clarity?” as 3 separate questions.

The navy and dark brown in the 12-Tone palette are near black, fine colours but not a first choice in high humidity. I’m very partial to the dark tobacco colour as a neutral, even in hot weather, maybe because it’s jungly. Love it with yellow as the dress and the skort/tank set in 4 below.

 

Light Colour for DW3

Light Colour for DW3 by christinems featuring diane von furstenberg dresses

 

How much colour?

Up to you.

The blue/yellow/pink dress at the bottom left of 5 feels pretty good. I’m not sure it would be DW but it could be.

The strapless blue dress on the left side may be True Winter. Some Dark Winters are a little cooler. The graying and darkness of the skirt section help, compared to the entire dress being made of the bodice fabric.

At the center top of 5, the sleeveless top with tie might be Soft Summer. It’s dark enough, but dark and dusty, whereas a Winter is dark and saturated. Won’t matter. Dark Winter skin has a lot in common with Soft Summer. The contrast in the skort is Winter or close enough, and the top will balance Winter accessories. Some Dark Winters are a little softer.

 

Light Colour for DW 4
Light Colour for DW 4 by christinems featuring a blue strapless dress

 

For The Office

Below, a few work outfits. In warm climates, people can’t possibly wear all black to work to work, can they? If I lived in a warm place, I bet I’d wear more shine in fabric.

The flowered skirt is interesting. It shows how similar Dark Winter and True Summer are, but when an item goes to black, the True Summer person will lose energy. I pondered whether it was True Summer, in which case the black would be too strong next to the other colours, but I find it pretty well balanced. The black is in smaller areas – a nice way for the Darks and Brights to get black in their wardrobe without being overtaken by it.

 

Light Colour for DW 5
Light Colour for DW 5 by christinems featuring a peacock blouse

 

Articles 3, 4, and 5 for the PCA Client

March 30, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Many of you, and I hope everyone who reads here, have been following Terry Wildfong’s series of articles written to educate the PCA client. This series serves as a form of SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) Manual for the way in which Terry and I conduct and teach Personal Colour Analysis.

It’s interesting to me that after my training with Terry in April 2009, we didn’t meet, or even talk for that  matter, until August 2012. In that time, our methods and beliefs did not diverge at all. We may use different words to describe the same optical effects, but our draping protocol and interpretations remained nearly identical.

On Terry’s blog, linked here, you will find these recent topics:

Is The PCA Environment Important? (March 14/14)

How Long Should A PCA Result Take? (March 24/14)

Does The Test Drape Order Matter? (March 30/14)

 

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Introducing Colour Analyst Anette Henriksen

March 23, 2014 by · 15 Comments 

Today, it is my honour to introduce to you a very beautiful person. When we met last year, Anette already had a great knowledge of the history of colour analysis and many of the methods that have been used. With meticulous training and drapes of uncompromising accuracy, Anette will bring her intelligence and experience to the European client. You met Anette briefly in the article by Anne-Cathrine Riebnitzsky, Sharing A Colour Journey. To perform your colour analysis, you will find a woman of great compassion, kindness, practicality, and generosity. I love my time with her because she is openly committed to making the choices that bring joy into her life and to sharing that energy with others.

 

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In Anette’s own words,

In September 2013, I finally had the opportunity to travel to Canada to become certified by Christine as a 12 Blueprints Colour Consultant.

I have been interested in colour analysis for a long time. In 2009, I traveled to London U.K. to be certified as a Colour Me Beautiful (CMB) consultant. I thought it was the best colour system in Europe at that time,  the company is well known and has existed for a long time, so a safe choice for me and their drapes are beautiful colours.

After a while I started to feel, that something was not quite right for me. It was too difficult for me to work with the system, because I was missing a plan of action to go from A to B.

After seaching and reading all I could on the internet for answers, I ended up finding the Sci\ART 12 Tone system. I could not let go of that approach, as it seemed to make a lot of sense to me.

Turning to Christine for a second colour education was the best thing I could do. All my questions were answered and the right tools to get the most accurate results were given to me, which was my biggest concern in CMB.

The one thing that surprised me the most in all this and which I was not prepared for, was the fact that I was NOT a Bright Spring, which I had lived as in many years. I turned out to be a Dark Autumn in the 12 Tone System.

I am still struggling a little bit, but it is getting better every day and I am starting to see myself from a whole new perspective. Very odd, how easy it is to see others colouring, but not oneself, even after education ! Also very exciting and I have learned a lot about personal colouring and the beauty in yourself when your true colours are found. Even though I have lived as a Bright Spring, I now see that I actually had a lot of Dark Autumn clothes.

So why, do/did I have a hard time letting Bright Spring clothes go ? I think, it is because I want to stay young and fresh to look at (I am soon 50 years old) and my personality also feels very alive and optimistic. I do want people to “notice” me. I am not the kind of girl hiding behind my clothes, my car has always been bright red, and my home is full of bright colours. I think, that is mainly one of the reasons, why I wanted to be a Bright Spring.

Here are two photos. In the top one, I am wearing a Bright Spring blue jacket. In the second one, I wear a Dark Autumn colour.

 

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My own journey is the best example of why I love personal colour analysis. It can have a very strong influence in changing a person’s feeling about themselves for the better. People become more self-confident. I love to know that I can help them buy clothing and make-up more wisely. That is a really great thing.Why would we waste our hard earned money on something that is not our very best ?

My mission and hope for the people I drape are to help them discover the beauty they already contain. Every person can make this gorgeous aspect shine to their own advantage by using their best unique palette of colours.

An accurate colour analysis is as good and useful to a person as the struggle of a misjudged analysis is hard and difficult. I have seen this many times reading the colour groups on facebook. It makes me very sad.

I want to do whatever I can to find your true/correct homebase/season. I will not compromise on the time to get there together with you. If we have to use more than 2-3 hours to narrow down the right conclusion, we do.

Of course I can not promise you to be 100 % correct for the rest of my life doing this. Every human being can make mistakes (and they will), but I can assure you, that the Test and Luxury Drapes (I own both) from 12 Blueprints are calibrated and very accurate. This is very important, together with using Full Spectrum lighting, to get to the correct final result.

One thing I have learned over the years about colour analysis is that this is not always easy. Every human being is unique. But it can be life changing and that is the reason why I found this so compelling, exciting and fascinating. I knew that it had to be a part of my life !

 

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To share some of my background, for the last 14 years, I have had a professional career as a Medical Representative with a large drug and wellness company (Novartis Healthcare), visiting doctors with all kinds of medical products. Although this has been a lot of fun, I feel my time has come for new opportunities. I hope to be able to combine it with my colour business, where my real passions lies!

If you would like me to help you, we will work together as a team. I would be happy to invite you to my home in Bramming (Denmark), where I live with my husband (Steffen) and three children (Martin, Louise and Mette).

I have a nice colour studio in my home (in a separate room), where I will drape you. Over the years I have invested in a lot of colour equipment from all 12 big posters from True Colour Australia to differents kinds of colour wheels and colour palettes.

It may become an option for me to travel in Europa to bring you the method I have learned. It will depend on whether there is interest. I have begun a travel request file. If you would like for my business to visit your city, please send an email at the contact info below. Once there is enough interest, I will begin planning the visit.

If you want to, you can also travel by train or plane to see me and you can stay one night in our house, it is all up to you !

Yours sincerely,

Anette

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Contact info:

Anette Henriksen

Bøgely 29

6740 Bramming

Denmark

Phone: +45 75101347

Cell: + 45 27851125

Email: anettehenriksen@outlook.dk

Website: (coming soon)

 

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Spring and Autumn Natural

March 16, 2014 by · 9 Comments 

The great thing about writing is that it forces you to pin down your beliefs and your reasons for them.

Paraphrasing a reader’s question:

I was reading about Bright Springs on your website and I was wondering if you could help me get an outfit visual on what natural means. I understand earthy, but natural is still confusing to me.

You have used natural in this context: True Spring; no bold lines, the blocks are distinct by colour divisions. Not misty, earthy, heavy, bold, geometric. Instead, Spring is energetic, hippie, fun, busy, buoyant, and natural (where natural is not the same as earthy).

 

What did I mean about Autumn and Spring being natural in their energy? What do they have in common in that way?

Every Season has associations in Nature. Summer is how water feels, of high importance to water-based life forms like us. Even in the depth of winter, Nature is extravagant. Snow on a tree branch is so much to see and think about, but the number of colours is small to the point that even black and white are colours in this context. Because of Summer’s cool haze and Winter’s cold stillness, although natural, the feeling is less animated.

What the two warm Seasons have in common is heat. Warmly coloured people wear a lot of colour well, as does the planet in warmer locations. Complementary colours, that have the ability to energize one another when worn side by side, is effective on everyone. The warmer the colouring, the closer the blocks would approach equal size. A holly bush, good Winter visual, is much more green than red. The red becomes highly effective in that context.

Natural implies that it would be seen usually in the natural world. Natural effects feel more organic, like food and flowers. The end of summer harvest and the Island Paradise depict Nature as home, security, familiar, nurturing, nourishment, warmth, shelter, and support, in ways that diamonds and sapphires do not.

The Bright Seasons wouldn’t make up an entire landscape the way that True Autumn (October harvest) and True Spring (tropical beach) would. In helping these persons understand how to dress, there is no easy landscape or imagery to refer to. A Dark Autumn could Google ‘Moroccan design interiors’ to get the colour effect  (thank you to Rachel for the idea). A Light Spring could look up ‘pastel interior design’, ‘fairy landscapes’, or ‘spring flowers’ and recreate the entire scene. Googling ‘bright colour interior design’ is quite good for ideas but you’d use it selectively to make an overall look.

As the Polyvore below shows, the Bright Seasons are basically pure pigment. Search ‘design-seed.com’ on Polyvore. Lovely palettes. Beautiful, imaginative ideas to maximize the flexibility of your colour swatches.

 

Design seed palette images
Design seed palette images by christinems on Polyvore

 

Once Winter appears, colour effects become more synthetic, which feels modern. They feel more forced, cooperating less with what’s around them. The paradox of Winter is to be modern and permanent at once, like a diamond. When Winter overtakes Autumn, in the Dark Winter, the rustic element is pretty well gone. Many of the colours look like candy when worn by an Autumn-coloured person. When Winter is in larger proportion than Spring, in the Bright Winter, well, it gets complicated.

This may explain why this colouring is such confusion to people, and can be a challenging analysis. During our last training course, we met 5 Bright Winters -

  • the Snow White
  • the exotic Indian Princess
  • the I’ve-always-been-told-I’m-a-Summer-but-it-doesn’t-feel-right
  • the blonde-blue-eyed Winter
  • the magic elf

There are a thousand more. Sydney Crosby colouring, for instance, with green-gold eyes. They drape better in Winter but their heat level approaches Bright Spring.

Since I need digressions, I’ll repeat something I said on facebook:

Season isn’t just an issue of how light or dark we look, as you know. There are darker Light Springs and very fair Bright Winters.

How warm or cool, how saturated or heathered, another human might be are very hard or impossible to judge.

So we give their light – dark level too much emphasis when we guess. This is part of why folks have so much trouble wrapping their heads around a light haired BW.

The other reason is that people are still looking for those ‘clear eyes’ that are supposed to jump out at you. BW does have a clear eye, but we can’t pick them out of a crowd because we’re not that good at judging it and they don’t look any more unusual than any other human. If you put their eyes into another Season’s face, you’d pick it up instantly.

There are many, many BW people out there. It’s not rare.

The Bright Spring colouring exists but not quite as often, at least not where I live, though still more common than the True Season colouring. I imagine the colours are occasional even when you’re standing on the Equator. A feather, a beak, in an otherwise colour-quiet body. These colours are extreme, at the limits of what colour could do in a terrestrial life form.

Bright Spring is a little special. The high purity of such plentiful colour tips it nearer man-made or magic. It’s more fantastic, more HDR photography, colour enhancement, the rare, delicate, and exceptional. How do you put such Bright colours in a print? The result is wildly energized, beyond most habitats. Colour-blocking is not natural. In Bright Spring colours, small print elements appear pixilated, also not natural.

Spring and Autumn Natural

Spring is juicy, light, sunny, clear, shiny, wet, and floaty. We should distinguish shiny as in dewy and wet (Spring), shiny as in frosty, hard, and cold (Winter), shiny as pearlescent (Summer), and shiny as in hot and metallic (Autumn). Raindrops, hearts, daisies, stars, starfish, seahorses and all baby and/or magic animals, clover (especially 4-leaf clover), belong to Spring.

Earthy is perfectly at home on Autumn colouring. Earthy to me means muted+orange. Basically, dull+warm. I ask everyone who reads this to remember that no colour is dull under the face with which it harmonizes. Same as there is no such thing as dull/mousy hair unless it’s placed next to unharmonizing colour.

Autumn is earthy, heavier, thicker, rich, drier, 3D, dense colour.  In the orange sweater game below, the natural the other won’t wear is shown. Autumn keeps company with wicker, tortoiseshell, and fossil.

Lava lamps, fireworks, starbursts, and video games, are unpredictable, fun, and random. Like cartoons, Spring’s is a flatter (2D) effect.

A chess board, the regularity of the pattern, the solid figures, the serious and predictable rules, the 3D shapes and movements, feel Autumn.

Horseshoes could go either way, having both good luck charm and equestrian about them.

This is a game I enjoy. Where is the orange sweater better? [Hint: There are as many correct answers as there are tastes and preferences reading this.]

Some fabrics are muting, like wool and tweed, but that doesn’t automatically mean Autumn. Neither Spring nor Autumn are fully saturated. The orange sweater seems Autumn-ish because it’s wool-ish, but it’s also an orange-pineapple ice cream colour. It’s not so bad on the Spring side.

Would changing the wooden buttons to clear, shiny glass matter? Sure. The watch isn’t natural, but it does live in the world of fruit salad. Food is natural. Jello and LifeSavers are less natural, more Bright Spring (as this watch could be, since the numerals are white, not ivory).

Toggles, tassels, and buckles are usually Autumn territory. But really, they belong better as Yang-side symbols of Classic clothing style, prep styles and the fox hunt rather than the Yin-er dinner party. Everyone can adapt anything. Winter makes them platinum. Spring changes them to coloured plastic.

I have said that I do not believe in the existence of a group of natural colouring that blends Spring and Autumn’s colour properties. Nobody drapes equally in True Autumn and True Spring. In fact, the other Season is often the worst choice on these people. They prefer Summer (where Spring is grateful for the lightness) or Winter (where Autumn can make sense of the darkness).

Draping is a time for technical perfection. That is a long way from shopping. If shopping is rigid, you’ll get tired and give up on something too good to pass up. Same as if you stay too hard on your budget, diet, or exercise program, you’ll burst and do something that will have you regretting. Knowing what matters more and making the most of it keeps you making the very best choices in a sustainable purchasing system.

 

Spring and Autumn Effects
Spring and Autumn Effects by christinems featuring blue pants

 

Equal Energy Colour

Wearing Bright Season colours doesn’t mean that you’re a walking flag, just as the idea that Dark Season colouring wears only dark colours is not true. It means that of the 3 dimensions that every colour answers to (warm-cool, light-dark, muted-clear), the one thing about yours that isn’t medium is its purity of pigment.

Your colouring takes a Bright colour and makes it look normal, and you look normal in it. The other choice being, “It is a bit lifeless and you’re lifeless in it.”  A Dark person takes a dark colour and makes it look very normal with lots of colour and without getting shadowed by it. The other choice being “Is that black? Why, no, when it’s off your body, I can see that it’s quite purple. You’re changing it to look darker than it is. And it’s making you look like you’re standing in the shade. Weird.”

Energetically equal: You could lay the Bright Spring Colour Book on a Bright Spring item of clothing and have them be perfectly in balance, neither one dominating or disappearing. Therefore, they are in harmony.

The blue top could be True Spring, it’s not super intense blue, but the jump from light to dark in that outfit is more than you’d see on a True Spring. The white pants are too cool for True Spring. The overall darkness effect is still medium light, good on both True and Bright Spring, where True is a bit lighter.

 

Balancing Bright Spring
Balancing Bright Spring by christinems featuring j. crew pants

 

The items in the centre column can be inserted into Bright Spring outfits and the whole thing doesn’t fall apart.

Let’s put them into True Spring now.

 

Balancing True Spring
Balancing True Spring by christinems featuring shirts & tops

 

I don’t find the items balance so well. The top is too red and too blue. The jewelry is a little too bling. The clutch is hopeless.

Notice in True Spring that there are no bold lines. First, it’s harder to make a bold line when colours are gentle. Second, these colours won’t balance black, the boldest line of them all, in any quantity. The black just takes over. In small areas, Bright Spring can balance black quite easily.

That red leather jacket is interesting. I’m not sure where the real item would work. True Spring does have a red lollipop/fruit punch red. Leather tends to be heavy and thick on Spring, but in certain colours, such as light camel, it can work fine.

Who wears the dress?

Same exercise with dresses.

Animal prints are natural. But we can’t make assumptions about Season. Is the leopard print shiny gold better with the Autumn or Spring selection?  Is there one group where it seems too sparkly, separate, jingly, attention-getting, as Spring colour would on an Autumn person?

 

Spring and Autumn Colours
Spring and Autumn Colours by christinems featuring a cotton dress

 

Just because the print is floral and fun doesn’t mean it’s Spring. Humans colours can fill in many different lines, so can prints. When we see that orange flowered dress among items that seem very True Spring – does it belong?

Does it matter as long as it provides heat? It does. The person will look quite different, and distinctly better in one.

We can’t stare or think our way to this answer.  You talk yourself into one and then into the other one. How will we figure it out? By measuring it using comparison, of course!!

Unless you have wavelenth-calibrated eyeballs, and I’ve never met anyone like that, you have to compare it. Lie the swatch book on it and see what happens. Put the dress among your Personal Luxury Drape collection.

Force the extremes. Some  of the Autumn dresses below contain black (Dark Autumn), which Spring colour will bounce right off of.

 

Spring or Autumn Choices
Spring or Autumn Choices by christinems featuring an orange dress

 

Where do the flowered dress and leopard print go? Not any easier, is it? If the leopard print is Bright Spring, it will be fine with a little black. Ditto the orange dress if it’s Autumn.

 

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Sharing A Colour Journey

March 6, 2014 by · 31 Comments 

You are about to take a personal journey with Danish author, Anne-Cathrine Riebnitzsky. I know that many readers will find familiarity in her experiences and feelings. I am  very grateful to Anne-Cathrine for discussing personal colour analysis from the one side that matters most: the client’s.

I self diagnosed as a Winter in the 90ies after reading the book “Colour Me Beautiful.” I was 15 or 16. There were only four seasons then. My internal feeling was that I was a Winter. I was a bit sorry that the beautiful strong colours of Spring couldn’t be mine as well, but in my heart I never had any real doubts. A Winter I was.

I followed the idea of Winter to the best of my ability but gradually swayed in other colour directions too. The years passed and I thought less about colours.

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The mistake

One day probably about 5 years ago, I tried on a beige item and noticed how my skin was completely even. Most people who knew just a bit about colour would often comment on my “warm green eyes” and I had begun to suspect that perhaps I was an Autumn instead. The beige colour had me puzzled … now I did not know what I know today. I was unable to see the whole picture. And moreover it turned out that I am one difficult woman to analyse.

This beige colour became the beginning of a long journey hunting for my true season. Here I discovered how much had happened to the world of colour analysis since the 90ies. I discovered Christine’s wonderful blog and many other sites. I became quite absorbed with colours as a new hobby.

Lesson no. 1: Even and “perfect” skin is not the same as your face looking like the colour you are wearing. Believe me – you will be misled if you go down this road. Even and perfect skin is something entirely different. It is you glowing in a way you had not foreseen, and unless you are fortunate enough to already know your colours you may actually never have seen this face before no matter how often you stare in the mirror.

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The first analysis

I tried to analyse myself. That is really difficult to do. I finally flew to another European city to have an in person analysis. I was desperately hoping to be a Bright Spring. Those were the most beautiful colours to my eye at the time. Second would be Bright Winter. The worst would be Soft Summer because I couldn’t associate with the colours – though I actually owned numerous pieces that were soft.

The analyst was Sci/ART trained – this was the system that to my rather systematic mind made the most sense. There are multitudes of colours and many that suit us, but the whole measuring process is to my mind the key to opening the door of the vast house which is your season and which you will only feel at home in if you have in fact opened a house which is your house.

From the first four drapes it was clear that black and silver were best. There was no doubt I could wear black. This was something I had questioned myself, and I was glad to get this confirmed. We moved through the many drapes. I was difficult. Provoking a bad reaction to my skin is not easy. The warm drapes are the only ones were it is really easy to see. From there it is a slow game. We slowly exhausted the possibilities – almost all of them.

We actually ran out of time. But we agreed on Bright Spring – though one of the drapes was actually too strong and there was a reflection from the skin on my chin. I was happy with the result. And also quite aware that I had actually pushed for something which might not be the accurate truth. Unfortunately I had to fly back the next day and my analyst had an appointment so we were out of time.

Lesson no. 2: Make sure you have plenty of time for an analysis. Perhaps you are really easy. But perhaps you are not. It may take five hours. How long it takes is not important. Getting it right is important.

Lesson no. 3: Do not try to force your analyst or manipulate her. They are human beings too. Be accurate about this. Try to observe what really happens in the mirror – not what you would like to happen. Difficult, but necessary.

 

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Correction by shopping

It so happened that I wore the Bright Spring colours quite well – however eventually my mistake caught up with me, as I bought a turquoise blouse which was an exact match to the fan – but which also shone off from the skin under my chin. Exactly as the one drape had done in the test.

I was back to square one somehow.

Second analysis

I flew to another European city to have my second test. Also by a Sci/ART analyst. I told the analyst in advance of my previous history. She sat me down and looked at the first four drapes. I could still wear black and silver equally well.

Here is the hard part for you: If you were an analyst and a client walked in and said that she had discovered she wasn’t a Bright Spring after all, where would you go? What would you assume?

This analysis moved forward speedily. Very fast – faster than I could understand – I was a Soft Summer. The season whose colours felt most wrong for me. But I had promised myself not to try to sway any analyst ever again. I had promised my self that whatever the outcome I would try it, live with it, and do my best to accept it.

The worst part of this analysis was that I didn’t see nor understand what the decisions were based upon. I couldn’t in any way see how those drapes enhanced me. Only the last two drapes could I see. The pine green was actually intensifying my eyes like it is supposed to. The dark blue did something to my hair.

The whole thing took less than two hours including makeup. Off I was and the analyst went on to the numerous other clients at hand that day. I went outside into a park and sat down and cried. I know it sounds ridiculous and that this would probably not happen to you. You would have walked straight back and told her to redo the whole thing. Well, I didn’t. I flew home and lived in Soft Summer for 18 straight months. I hated the colours. The compliments stopped. I felt kind of depressed. But I am a diligent person. I am a perfectionist and I actually do not care what I have to put myself through once I have decided upon something.

It was incredibly difficult for me to make an outfit work – though it is supposed to be easy in this season where the underlying grey combine all the colours. It was a struggle for me. I had the palette lying open on my desk to try to get to know and like the colours. I could get myself to like the darker colours, but the light ones didn’t mean anything to me.

Lesson no. 4: You should not have to struggle so hard! Some may be surprised by their palette. But really – if you have tried living in a season and it still feels wrong, then there is probably something wrong. Colours are energy. If you live in the wrong house it is going to feel complicated hard and wrong and probably depressing. I am not with the people who say that this is not exact science. Well – in a way it is. Colours can be measured quite accurately. And you should look more than just “kind, relaxed, well” – you should look remarkable.

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Elea Blake makeup

I bought some of the make up for soft summer from Elea Blake – here I received the first confirmation, that Soft Summer might not be true after all. The darker choices in eye makeup were fine. But the skin make up was a puzzle. None of them worked. As in NONE. They all looked like something that had been smeared on top of my skin. They would not blend.

Knowing that Dark Winter and Soft Summer can sometimes share some colours I bought some small samples of DW makeup. Those worked a lot better. This new information rumbled in my mind.

Lesson no. 5: If you really are searching for your season and you truly cannot in anyway find the means to go and have a test, then see if you can narrow your options down. Write to Elea Blake and order the small samples of skin make-up. It could give you a good hint. I believe it is more accurate than lip draping. These products are very precisely composed. My personal belief is that at least 3 or 4 of the skin colours should suit you if you are in that particular season. I may be wrong, I am no expert – this is just my own personal experience.

Sitting next to a real Soft Summer

In the summer 2013, I participated in a congress for creative writers. I remember this moment distinctly. I was sitting next to a woman with silver hair and beautiful hazel eyes – quite like my own. She was the most stunning person in the room. We all looked at her from time to time. Never had any silver haired woman in her 50ies looked so beautiful. We were many young people – but none as beautiful as her. I knew she was a Soft Summer. She wore Soft Summer. She had never been analysed but she knew her colouring and she combined them in a way that could not possibly have made me look the least bit interesting. I remember the exquisite earrings in green and purple mother of pearl, her lilac blouse, the soft pink lip. That did it for me. I was no Soft Summer no matter how hard I tried.

On line analysis

During my whole journey I had two online tests where I sent a lot of photos – one said Bright Spring, one said True Summer bordering with Soft Summer. The latter was followed by a makeover done on a photo of my face. I strongly disliked the look of it. I had no idea who the woman on the photo was – I understand that the photo to begin with was me – but I couldn’t recognize the woman as me.

Today I look at the questionnaires that were designed to help those analysts make a decision. Well … let it suffice to say I cannot recommend it.

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Giving up

I gave up on the whole thing. I couldn’t work it out. It was a relief to put on a black T-shirt – both emotionally and physically. I believe most people actually can feel the effects of colours. Even hospitals use colours.

I went with what I felt, bought a Dark Winter fan and noticed a big improvement.

A small miracle

By chance I noticed that one of Christine’s newly trained analysts was a Dane. I had seen her name before and contacted her via Facebook. I warned her that I was difficult to test and that I didn’t know which way to go now. Except I probably was some kind of Winter. At least some kind of cool or cool-neutral season. Or perhaps I was something else. Probably not a warm.

We agreed on a date. Anette was eager yet admitted being a bit nervous since I would be one of her first real clients. She said I wouldn’t have to pay if we couldn’t figure it out – which was nice of her and took some pressure of, though admittedly by now my life had changed so much that the cost was less of a concern.

Third analysis 

Anette had blocked the whole day for just my analysis. She said she was looking forward to learn too.

The draping began. I was fortunate enough to not have any trace of colour in my hair (I have always found it difficult to strike anything that would look natural).

The first four drapes showed what I already knew. I could wear black and wear it remarkably well. Warm colours were not so good. I actually felt unwell wearing those colours. We made due note of what bad effects looked like in my face.

I have many different colours in my eyes. I have dark hair. I balance a lot of dark and cool colours. We moved forward slowly. I had explained that it was vital for me to understand and see with my own eyes what was a good drape and what was a bad drape. We got rid of the warm seasons quickly. The obvious ones. Then we moved on. Anette kept saying – well, this is not bad, but I believe you can look a lot better. This hope carried us on and on and on.

The biggest surprise for me was that beyond the true warm seasons, my worst colours were from Light Spring and Light Summer. There were a couple of turquoises there that were so harsh and strong and “unbelonging” on me that it took me by surprise.

So what about Soft Summer then? Well this is actually not my worst season. I completely understand that I could be put in that season though it is very far from what I really am.

Once we finally moved into the 3 Winters we knew we had it. My eyes cleared. I did not know that the white in my eyes actually can become really white. I had not seen this for so long I thought it had disappeared with age. The bit of my hair that was visible shone with a depth that was really becoming. Winter it was. We just didn’t know which one. It was very difficult. I span a lot of colours. I span a lot of coolness.

By comparing all the blues we finally discovered that it was not Dark winter. I became slightly fussy around the chin. So more colour then. More intensity. Though DWs reds were beautiful on me.

In the end we settled with True Winter, but not entirely sure. We decided I would have to come back another day. We were both exhausted. It had taken about 5 hours.

I drove home excited. After all this was actually still a huge success for me. I was now down to two beautiful seasons which I both really liked and which also made me look more stunning than I had seen in years.

Lesson no. 6: There is no such equations as “I look terrible in Soft Summer ergo I must be a Bright Winter.” You worst is not necessarily straight across the wheel of seasons. It could be only a few seasons away.

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Second visit – the final result

I lived in and with True Winter. Colours that are hard to find when shopping, so I didn’t find that much new stuff – but clear white was easy to find and really good. Black was good. I dyed some old faded jeans and some old dresses. I knew enough about material from reading Christine’s many articles and from intelligent people who comment those articles, to know that cotton and soft fluffy surfaces weren’t going to hit it right with a Winter – but the black jeans work well. I never really liked cotton much anyway – it is easy to wash, but there my interest stops. Cotton fades really fast compared to plastic, satin, silk and shiny leather.

Black mascara was good. Again I had really good help from the little samples from Elea Blake. Unfortunately I had only ordered True Winter – but still this helped. The samples of skin makeup and lipstick were a great help. I noticed that some of them turned me a little pale and “deadly grey” around my mouth. A sign that these colours might be a bit too cool. Anette wrote to say she had noticed a bit of quietness in the true winter drapes which she wasn’t sure was right. But then we had a few of the Bright Winter luxury drapes that we were not entirely sure about. Were they too much? Too warm? Anette and I wrote many emails back and forth.

Anette and I had not had time to get around to makeup during the draping session. For the next visit I decided to wear mascara and my usual eyeliner which is black. I know it may sound hard but black doesn’t look hard on me. It is the only colour that doesn’t turn the lower rim of my eyes red.

The makeup actually helped in this case. It also helped a lot that we were now down to two seasons – our eyes were fresh and ready. I was a Bright Winter as I had slowly come to suspect.

ACR7

 

There may be many more Brights out there who like me actually do not look too bad in colours that are not theirs. They just do not look as smashing as they would in their true colours. I think the reason is that Bright can take so much colour – and therefore you would have to be severely off on more than one dimension to look really bad. But I also think that these are the seasons who more often than not look a lot less beautiful than they could.

Looking back I now understand why evening gowns always have been so easy for me. 1. I would never go to a big party without makeup (and makeup greatly enhance winters). 2. Gowns are often in bright colours and often in shiny material which is a real winner on me.

I am still adjusting. I am still feeling the energy of this season. But I have come home. I got to see with my own eyes what my season really is. I understood what I saw. I love the colours. I also now know that there are colours out there in the world which are brighter than any human colouring – but 99% of the time I have to focus on getting the colours bright and clear enough. I have come home.

I remember how Bright Spring always made me feel a bit exhausted – like the energy was a bit too high for me. I felt a bit serious and stern in True Winter. Bright Winter is wonderful. It is enhancing, asking me to be what I am and to not shrink back in fear. Bright Winter is asking me to be bold, to be me, to be all of me – and in doing so allowing others to be all of who they are.

Sometimes I am wearing an outfit that is not quite enough. Not enough sharpness of colour, not enough contrast. It feels a bit boring, a bit like “come on you can hit the mark, so be your best” – so I make adjustments. It is not at all difficult for me to combine these colours. Not at all. It comes naturally. Black pants and a blouse in a strong colour – easy! Lipstick, black mascara – easy.

I use the advice from the article about the makeup for Winters. I don’t fade or remove anything till eyes, lips, and blush are all there. I do my shopping carefully. I make a list of what I need and I do not compromise – not in colours, not in lines. It is not that hard really. It just takes a bit more patience than what is natural for me – but the effort is well worth it.

——

A PCA Perspective on Matching Foundation

February 27, 2014 by · 10 Comments 

I’ve written about “How To Match Foundation” before, here.

I watched this video and and thought about how it might apply to PCA.

By far, this is the best foundation matching video I have seen. From a colour analyst’s perspective, I agree with so much of what Lisa says.

1. The skin on your entire body is united. Your genetics did not put a different melanin, carotene, or hemoglobin in your hands than your back. The overtones in the face or hands or feet may be different from the rest of the body, but the undertone will not be.

2. The skin contains many colors, reds, greens, blues, and yellows.

3. I fully agree with the importance of self-knowledge, but some types of self-knowledge are nearly impossible to access on your own. You can’t know your red blood cell level without measuring it. You can’t know which foundation matches your skin best without measuring it, meaning comparing several different shades together at the same time. Comparison is a form of measurement that delivers greater than and less than data.

As Lisa says, the apparent skin colour is different for different parts of the face and body. And yet, all of our skin is united in its undertone. Terry wrote about this recently in her article, “What Is Under My Overtone?”

You can’t know your undertone without measuring it. These things are part of our internal biology, extremely difficult to evaluate simply by external observation because they don’t sit on the surface.

Many women have concerns about facial skin texture, areas of uneven pigmentation, rosacea, suntans, and so on. They have asked whether any of these compromise the result of the colour analysis, or if we should be working from neck or chest skin that is more even. The answer is no if the analysis process is analyzing to your undertone, not your overtone.

Warning: BIG digression coming up. It fits into todays’ context and many others.

Photo: livinus

Photo: livinus

 

Defining Your PCA Service

In the last article, some folks heard arrogance from me at the idea that what we think we see is not real.

There is no judgment here. I am not pointing out wrong or right. I truly apologize if it sounded that way. If you spoke to me, you’d know that I’m not 100% sure that  my way is right. I’m always pulling back from that line because I have unanswered questions about PCA myself, Sci\ART system included. In life, there is no 100% wrong or 100% right. There is only lifelong growth. If you’re waiting for 100% locked down forever, you’ll wait a long time.

I do not want anyone to be uncomfortable. All I want is for your clients to be happy with you and my clients to be happy with me. The present situation, full of doubt and misunderstanding, is not good for any of us. Wouldn’t our industry be healthier if clients knew what they were getting and could just enjoy the results? The present situation is keeping us all stuck in the  80s. Feelings are being hurt and business  is not progressing. Someone is going to have get brave and talk openly and fairly. If we, analysts and clients both, don’t put our hands out to steady the wheel, all we’ll ever be is skidding around on black ice.

Every industry exists to serve the public. People have a  desire, a need, and a right to know what they’re buying. You don’t have to agree with how I do an analysis. The point is not to get the public quizzing analysts and making everyone bananas including themselves. The point is to have everyone define how they do things and why. The public can then make an informed choice. The analyst gets the right clients for what they offer. Expectations are satisfied or exceeded.

Isn’t this better than the way it is now, where Personal Colour Analysis implies that we’re doing the same thing and nobody’s ever happy and calm? Why wouldn’t an analyst want her clients to know how she can help them? Why would you, as an analyst, want your business lumped with mine in the public mind, when I cannot offer a client what you can? Businesses define themselves all the time without taking offence or hearing criticism. It’s normal, not harsh or unfair.

If I define my business, what I do and why I do it, it is not to say others are wrong. It is to create a space for everyone else to do the same thing. I get that the transition from  One-Exercise-For-All to Yoga/Intervals/Step/Weights/Pilates/Core/Running/Bosu/P90X  was frustrating, but I believe that someone has to lay out a path for each version can grow and improve, released from the constraints of the pack.

We could distinguish PCA services. They are totally different from beginning to end, though various mixtures have evolved to get the consumer really mixed up. There seem to be two broad categories.

Systems A to D have their colour palettes. The colours for each group are chosen for looking good and belonging together according to that person or company’s taste.

If draping is involved, which drape goes into which Season was decided because it looked right.

As well as judging swatches and drapes for Seasons because they look right, so is the client’s colouring observed on its own, by how it looks.  A – D observes the surface person, believing that, “You truly are what you look like you are today.”

This is one definition of PCA and its desired outcome. A – D have a good argument on side. After all, we are judged on how we appear to look. If you believe in this method, the clients who agree want to know so they can find you. They will be unhappy and confused with my approach, which involves measuring palettes, drapes, and clients by multiple comparisons at every step. On your web page, define what you do and why you believe in doing it that way. Since I don’t understand that way, I cannot do justice to your business. I’d be lucky to match a paint chip from a choice of 100 similar colours, never mind isolate it from a face.

Only you can market and promote your business. I am not tearing anyone down, I am simply defining my business. If my approach sounds flawed to you, I would be first to read about why. Teach me something. That’s what I really want. Convince me of how I could improve. I’ll send you a free book to express my gratitude.

Here’s how it all looks to me: Systems J – M say, “I’m not so sure. First of all, my colouring looks different in every outfit, hair colour, and room lighting. Second, I know that humans are not good at knowing what a colour is on its own, let alone when many colours are mixed together, like in a face or in skin. As soon as colours touch, they change. Thirdly, our colours just can’t be expressed in the top layers of skin, or not only there. It makes no sense. I mean, why is my face is different from my hand from my belly? I need to bark up another tree if I’m going to find the right foundation.”

J – M  then say, “Even if all my body parts were all the same colour, who knows the exact colours in skin? Look at ten people with their hair covered and their eyes closed and tell me the exact reds, greens, blues, and yellows in their skin tone.”

J – M stew some more and add, “One other thing. I think it all goes a bit deeper. The impression of our appearance is formed by many brain areas, not just a 2-dimensional top layer snapshot. Something else is going on here. Believe it or not, human surface skin is see-through to human eyes. Seems to me that that’s where the real information is.” While some human beings are better at eyeballing colours than others, and one does get better with practice, the fact is that in general, we are not consistently good at it. You have to compare them to something unless you’re able to literally measure their wavelength.

J – M say the surface is not enough information, it’s different for different body areas, and it is influenced by everything around it.  If you gauge foundation to the colour you think you see on the surface, even if you pick the right section of surface, you could easily get the colour incorrect. There has to be another way.

Services J  - M look through and beneath the surface at the undertone, thus removing the errors the overtone brings in. This group take the “You are not what you look like you are.” approach.

Well, anyone who has spent 10 minutes on an online colour site knows that the Sci\ART-based systems fit in with J – M but they don’t do things at all the same. Some don’t use the gray surrounding. There is lots of variability in how Better and Worse decisions are made. Some don’t use test drapes. Some take 30 minutes to know your Season, some take 1.5 hours. There is conflict about the meaning and appearance of harmony. Numerous Sci\ART- based analysts practice very close to how Systems A – D do things, by what looks right, with their own reasons for doing so. Not wrong, but different for sure. Too different to match.

None of this is a secret. It ain’t a perfect world. The public thinks we’re all doing the same thing because we stemmed from Sci\ART. This is not the case. It explains why I took down the Sci/ART Analyst Directory. I do not presume to speak for Australia, but in North America, the Sci\ART system has been re-interpreted so many times at this point that the name should go out of usage except historically. Let all analysts stand alone according to their practice, which they explain on their websites. Refer back to differences with me if you like, I’d be fine with it. Take down all the Sci\ART Certified banners. The public will stop expecting the same product. For my students, so that the public can expect the same product, the process isn’t up for negotiation. Discussion, sure. Do I think I can control everyone forever? No, just as Kathryn couldn’t. I can only separate myself from them in a public way.

Photo: sumeja

Photo: sumeja

 

Looking Is A Painting. Measuring Is An Analysis.

If we render what we see, that’s a beautiful painting. Change your clothes, hair colour, and the time of day, it’s a different beautiful painting.

I have nothing against beautiful paintings. A group of interesting colours that depict a version of me would be awesome. I would really love to have this. There are people who work in this way, with extraordinary taste and fascinating colour perception. I would love 1000 of these renditions. Each one is a version of how we are seen through the eyes of others. That stuff is absolute magic.

But that wasn’t why I had my colouring analyzed. I wanted to know what to buy every day for the me that’s always the same. Different question, different purpose and approach, different outcome. I wanted a functional wardrobe.

The consumer needs to identify what they want. It is their job to decide and to stick by their decision. Perhaps they could do their job better if they could understand that they are not investing in the same product. Both great products, but not equivalent. I know colour analysts who feel these are or should be comparable products. I disagree and advise the public to stop trying find a relationship between them. There isn’t one that will redeem the time you took to figure it out.

Here’s why I use my product: My issue with looking: I can’t get it to work every single day, with many outfits and  makeup that is always right on my face.

I meet greenish-gray-eyed Summers that were decorated far too warmly. Her hair is too orange, her clothes are too warm, so the skin turned yellower. It could all go together if we just give her yellower foundation and took time to blend, except that her clothes and eyes create combinations that are unappealing. Therein lies Problem #1, even if we can change our skin, we always wear our eye colour. The colours in eyes repeat the colours in skin, though skin has many more. They’re never different. Nature never colours anybody discordantly. Do your swatches look good with your eyes? Even True Winter and True Summer can easily have lots of yellow in the eyes, lots, but it will be that green-yellow match from their measured palette.

In too-warm clothes or foundation, she could think she has a healthy-looking tan. In reality, her eye colours have dulled and the lip outline erased. Feature definition is the biggest part of looking young (good article linked further down). It’s massively important to decisions others make about us. Me, I’d want an analyst who could talk about that, Sci\ART based or not. Problem #2: too warm colour flattens feature definition. This includes too-yellow foundation. Besides,  a healthy glow doesn’t come about from yellow foundation or a yellow overtone from too warm clothing (not discussing self-tanner on faces here). It comes from wearing clothing and blush that elevate the colour of our natural circulation and from correct use of bronzer.

I meet many brown-eyed, freckled Winter blends who have been observed into Autumn colours. Nobody would decorate a room combining Winter and Autumn colours. This is  not an attractive match. Our eye and clothing colours are seen together and there’s not a thing we can do about it (not discussing coloured contacts here), as is the undertone because human eyes can see through human surface skin. A Winter’s skin colours are not gorgeous next to Autumn cosmetics. A Winter using elephant gray and chocolate brown as the neutral backbone of her wardrobe is not making her best choices. The wardrobe won’t work with her makeup or jewelry. Problem #3: from you to your palette, there has to be a functional and appealing wardrobe of clothing and cosmetics if that is what you were investing in.

I believe that we are not what we appear to be in a million different ways. My purpose is to place you more organically and energetically into your colour palette, on the same wavelength as all of your clothes and makeup, in the colours that you really are as determined by calibrated measurement. Why use the word energetic? Because I believe humans feel energy as wavelength very well if they let themselves. Now the discussion is getting too deep. I direct you two articles back to Can True Beauty Be Diminished? if you feel like wading into the Universal Energy swamp. You can always find me there.

Big digression complete. We can all exhale.

Photo: michelini

Photo: michelini

 

4. The area of the face that Lisa matches to foundation makes sense to me. I like to use the lower jaw and drag it down onto the backside of the neck, for the same reasons as she does. I also test five or six different stripes side-by-side. With colour, comparison is the only way to tell what works and what doesn’t. I would insist on that and never buy foundation from a single test. I meet way more cool and cool-neutral people than warm or warm-neutral. The foundation range out there is way the opposite, not counting all the peachy coloured product that looks like real skin colour under department store light and like candy in daylight.

5. Wear a neutral gray and tie your hair to choose the colour. Deciding your Season or your foundation by looking requires the consultant to take what they think they see, and make more. If what they think they see is correct, great. Some cosmetic consultants are pretty darn good judges of true colouring.

If you went shopping as one of the many Dark Winters who look yellow because of their clothing or surroundings, the only thing that happens is that the error gets magnified. The consultant will make more of what you’re not. Could most makeup consultants explain how to correctly distinguish and identify undertone from overtone, or just define the terms?

6. As Lisa says, once you have a colour that unites the face and the neck, meaning the right foundation for your undertone, the entire face, neck, and chest will blend together. It is the very rare person who needs to adjust foundation to match the neck because they are so disparate in the overtones.

Begin by getting the heat level of any product correct. Heat level is determined by undertone. It is amazing what difference that alone will make.

After that, choose the darkness level, which is determined by under- and over-tone.

After that, be sure the heat type is correct for the skin. Most companies over-warm all their foundations, including those marked Cool. To complicate things further, they use Spring’s pigmentation to do so. Not easy to find a great Autumn foundation.

Imagine being a Caucasian Dark Winter – the difficulty of finding cool colour and Autumn type heat and Winter level lightness. Wearing wrong colour clothing to the appointment makes the job near impossible.

Photo: alba-neag

Photo: alba-neag

 

7. Often women come to a PCA appointment with correctors of various sorts. Once she is wearing her correct clothing colours, she has forgotten all about them. There is nothing that correctors would do or could do that foundation alone has not already done unless there is a particular issue like a birthmark, and even those are diminished greatly by wearing correct colours.

Watching Lisa work is hypnotic. The video on Marilyn’s makeup is great. You will also find this beautiful video for mature skin. Great place for new analysts to pick up some good ideas.

8. I talked above about the importance of defined features for looking younger. This article does a beautiful job of discussing it. Kathryn Kalisz wrote about it in her analyst guide. This is not new information for colour analysts that I dreamed up out of the blue. People say I invented things and changed Sci\ART-based colour analysis. No, I did not. If anything, Terry and I altered the original process the least of everyone, and remain unconvinced to do so. I did notice a few things independent of other things and described them with a new set of words. Maybe folks did not recognize them.

In your correct colours, features are most defined in colour and in shape. It really matters.

Defined in colour… Though they have a place, I am not a fan of nude lips on most types of coloring, particularly when hair or eye colors are intense, or the person is over 35 or 40. It doesn’t have nearly as much excitement on Lisa herself. Why pick the more exciting face? Because why pick the more boring face.

Defined in shape…How does feature definition look young? Because the opposite…think of an eroded statue, an eroded landscape. Signifies wear and tear.

Lately, I am wondering if maturing skin is an overtone change too. The surface layers appear grayer, possibly because we contain less water. In the undertone layers, we test mature women in every single Season, and I bet the very same Season as when they were younger. Many Darks, many Brights. For overtone practitioners, that surface grayness plus silvering hair is the reason they get put into Summer Seasons. Except their edges and colours disappear. No judgment here but I don’t see the visual as being so good. Eroded edges are fuzzy. Looks like blur. Side by side, which of these would look younger?

Photo: giulioplay

Photo: giulioplay

 

Stronger? Healthier? Newer? The focused ones or the others?

Photo: rosa02

Photo: rosa02

 

—–

Can True Beauty Be Diminished?

February 7, 2014 by · 14 Comments 

A reader wondered how I felt about this…

In a forum I’m in, PCA came up and someone brought up her view that any system that sets beauty into a good/bad binary is inherently flawed. She said that telling a woman she only looks good in certain colors or that wearing the wrong color will make her less beautiful is limiting, and that nothing can dull the light of a confident woman.

I have a lot of beliefs in common with the woman who said this. No doubt, she can explain her thoughts better than I can. I invite her to do so, in a comment, or by email. I would gladly add her words to the conversation here, anonymously if she prefers.

What I feel that she and I share is a question: We spend all our time resisting this and forcing that. Why can’t everything just be fine the way it is? Why can’t everybody just be perfect? Because, the fact is that they are.

Photo: adripoveda

Photo: adripoveda

 

Gorgeous 

When Rachel and I were finding a name for a project, the idea of Gorgeous & Fearless came up. A friend answered my request for feedback, saying, “First of all, not every woman is gorgeous and second, we all have fear.”

On the first point, I respectfully disagree with all my heart. Every woman is gorgeous. It doesn’t matter what she wears or how old she is. Unless you buy into how media defines beauty. Which I do not. For me, anything created by Nature is beautiful and perfect.

We all recognize that MediaBeauty needs some whistleblowing. That is not Beauty. A better definition can be found in John O’Donohue’s book, Beauty: The Invisible Embrace. Every woman is beautiful, as are every man and child, and equally so.

I ask my kids for feedback about an outfit. One of my daughters says, “…just my opinion, but then, I’m so masculine.”  She’s not right. No woman is ever masculine, unless you buy into traditional (old, boring, limited) definitions of masculine and feminine. Which I do not.

However, a woman can use colours and lines that are foreign to hers that cause her to appear less womanly, either beefier than she is or more frail. Obviously, the distinctions blur here, but the problem isn’t in looking like a very beautiful man if that’s your natural and real brand of feminitiy.

Just as we are the most authentic and genuine backdrop for our own hair colour, whatever it is. Forcing such things results in a sort of distortion that others feel. Or I think others feel it. I do but I sometimes wonder if, as a Winter Libra Classic, I got an overdose of balance tuning, as if I am thrilled by symmetry in a way that mostly those who work in neurology and plastic surgery can relate to. Also, dressage riders.

Photo: ddrccl

Photo: ddrccl

 

It makes me happy that my girls’ generation is growing up with Lady Gaga and all the revolutionary artists of this time. These people are willing to expose their identity, or create a new one, to turn conventional thinking on its end very quickly. They’ve always existed, but not in these numbers and no longer underground.

When we choose to change how we see, we change what we see. Or is it the other way round? It’s both ways. Gaga changes what we see.  She throws back rules about feminine and sexy and says, “Would appear those rules don’t apply to me.” And, as always when one person speaks up, half the audience stands up and says, “You know, they don’t apply to me either. I’m not different or alone. I’m the same as you.” Hence, her following.

The rest of us make the small, safe changes, just enough to survive in our minds. We keep it quiet in case we have to justify ourselves. We are too tired to fight. We figure raising our kids and keeping our homes matters more. We’re still stunned by what has been done to us over the previous 3,000 years, and thought just maybe, someone would notice out of kindness and decency. They won’t. They never had to learn how. Many women can’t find their voice yet today. Little ripples are fine if that’s what you can manage. You’ll feel better. Sometimes, though, a tsunami isn’t such a bad thing to shake up a tired and harmful status quo.

In The Magus, John Fowles says,

Men love war because it allows them to look serious. Because they imagine it is the one thing that stops women laughing at them. In it they can reduce women to the status of objects. That is the great distinction between the sexes. Men see objects, women see relationship between objects. Whether the objects love each other, need each other, match each other. It is an extra dimension of feeling we men are without and one that makes war abhorrent to all real women – and absurd. I will tell you what war is. War is a psychosis caused by an inability to see relationships. Our relationship with our fellow-men. Our relationship with our economic and historical situation. And above all our relationship to nothingness. To death.

Makes me wonder if this is why colour analysts are mostly women. Our minds feel relationships. And another reason. Anyone subscribe to National Geographic? The  February 2014 issue contains research from McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario) kinesiologist, Dr. Jennifer Heisz, that in looking at faces, women make more eye movements, fixate on individual features almost twice as many times as men, and scan far more frequently, generating a more vivid picture in our minds.

Photo: geloo

Photo: geloo

 

Gaga takes all the stuck thinking about what is feminine, sexual, right, wrong, belonging, identity, and throws it right back in our face. She can do much more to free my daughter’s mind than the blonde starlets, also successful by the zillionaire standard, that marketing compressed has into MediaSexy.

Gaga’s not a role model, she’s not trying to be. She says, “Whose culture is really sick? Let’s talk out loud about what’s going on.” All those starlets, many having had enhancement procedures by the time they’re 18. These are our society’s success stories? Schools that overlook all the kids in the classrooms dysfunctioning on pot because they sit nicely and quietly under the influence of THC. So what if it drops the boys’ testosterone and causes permanent changes in the brain within 4-5 years? Is being quiet and getting along really better?

Fearless

On the second point, yes, everyone has fear. Well sure we do, of things that will probably never happen. Not everyone is in Vogue, not everyone is In Style, not everyone is Allure-ing by their perfect-world implications. But we can aspire to what is best in them. As Rachel said, looking at couture elevates everyone. It broadens our idea of what’s possible, taking our idea of ‘normal’ to a higher place of creativity, freedom of expression, and imagination, exploring the boundaries of taste and forcing us to explore our own.

I have a love hate relationship with fashion and beauty. In a male power structure, women are the outsiders, kept there by the insecure bullies at the top. We’ve learned to survive and succeed by getting along or playing along. Why isn’t it good enough to just be who we are? But then, we women hand over money for creams we know won’t work, for clothes we can’t eat or walk in, like going back to binding our feet. We surrender our bodies and our money. It’s not the guys making us do that. They don’t know and don’t care.

Photo: ddrccl

Photo: ddrccl

 

Definition

To get clarity on big subjects that can be a fuzzy haze of what others think, we need to define it for ourselves. Is wealth really just piles of money to you? Probably not.

My definition of beauty is anything that could have happened by itself. Without force to make something happen or resistance to prevent it from happening. Something that just is in its own right, the way that Nature made it. There’s synchronicity in that and it feels good. Great makeup is taking the colours already in your face and adding more of them.

Would a lily-of-the-valley be as beautiful if the flower were orange? It might take some getting used to because it’s not what we’re accustomed to seeing. It feels a little insecure. If the color of the flower then gently shifted back to white, we’d feel ourselves relax. Tension eases in thinking about it. It would feel belonging, calm, settled, affirming, and right.

Beauty in apparel is extraneous beauty. The same sensibility applies: it could have happened by itself as a continuation of who the woman already is. Amplify what you already are. Repeat the lines and shapes already in your body.

If you were asked for your definitions of wealth and beauty, would you have an answer?

ESP

Philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said,

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”

There are forces that are bigger than us that we are part of. Our fingers and toes are antennae, like animal whiskers. Our five senses are receivers, not metaphorically, but quite literally, operating by the flow of charged particles. With Nature as our connection to those higher forces, using the sensors in our bodies, we can tap into these energies. It’s not hard. Everyone does it. We call them feelings.  I recognize the word I use as beauty as something that feels good to look at. The same feeling of consistency from all five senses, from extraneous beauty as from the natural world.

We are sensitive to many forms of energy and levels of vibration. Extending our senses, as Neil Harbisson does in the reality-rocking video below or linked here at TED, prepares us to interface with other energy forms. Yes, you could decorate a log cabin in Art Deco colours. You might be unfettered by traditional decorating rules and think that looks great. Neil Harbisson might tell you that sitting in the cabin feels like the grocery aisle.  The rest of us sense it as well, just using different equipment. Interesting how the sounds of people seem to be just a few notes. Think about this. Presumably, when he ‘saw’ these people, they were clothed. What if they’d been dressed in their own colours? Could each of us really be a single note?

 

 

True Stories

We do have to dress.  Appearance conflict does exist. Figuring we won’t be judged by our appearance is contrary to human evolution. Way back then, apperance was a survival decision based on energy recognition. Today, it’s energy recognition of a different sort.

The quote at the beginning above implies that no matter what we wear, we elicit the exact same feelings in a viewer. Here, we differ. You’ve seen my images in the article,  The “I Know What Looks Good On Me” Dream. We don’t feel the same or expect the same of those women. Would you hire them for the same jobs? She’s the same woman. Same degree of intelligence, competence, humour, kindness.  Would she attract the same man? Would he expect the same woman? We can be completely liberated from MediaBeauty and CultureBeauty and still feel that our response is different.

You sit across a table to interview three women. One is Kate Winslet in no makeup and a gray dress. The second Kate has copper hair with  blonde streaks, wears a bright orange cardigan, no-colour lip gloss, and designer black framed glasses with little pink rhinestones in the temples and bar of the frame. The third has rose coloured lips that match the flowers in her dress, a plum cardigan, dove and soft plum eyeshadow, and soft light brown hair held back on one side with a silver clip. Would your impression be of three equal women? If yes, then you have a great kindness and imagination, and more time than most peole conducting interviews.

It also suggests that you have voluntary control over primitive brain regions that make instantaneous, subconscious brain decisions. I believe this processing occurs too quickly and is embedded too deep to access. There is another meaning for beauty, the Hollywood kind. Elizabeth Taylor, Zoe Saldana, they have beauty that we process instinctively and also at a cultural and more conscious level. It has to do with taste, time, and geography. It’s rather a shame that we use the same word for these two meanings, because this models&celebrities beauty brings us back to Hollywood definitions – those ones that I don’t buy into, because they can be packaged, propagandized, and artificially measured by whatever the scale du jour happens to be.

Photo: dijones

Photo: dijones

 

Clothes tell our story. Who we are today, and who we are all the time. Wearing the book of someone else or of nobody, our story becomes of someone else or nobody. We could wear long gray dresses to equalize everyone, but is it likely to happen? We are beautiful without colour, as many of the images in this article, but colour makes us more miraculous and more children of our planet.

All energy, no matter its form, is a multiplier of itself. Beauty in others enhances our own whatever form that beauty takes. It doesn’t detract. A beautiful presence in a room doesn’t render others less beautiful, everyone becomes lovelier. When one person shows non-judgment and forgiveness, everyone becomes more that way.

Yes, all people are beautiful, but in multiplying that beauty, it becomes even more of the original, a heightened awareness of reality. Adding wavelengths that clash with our own diminishes our signal. We are less present. Though the woman is the same, beautiful simply in the fullness of being here, we have dimmed her radiance. Her energy drops like a weak winter sun. You can see this easily during a colour analysis. Ask any of my students. They have all seen it. In conflicting colour, our ability to feel her dulls. We lose some of her.

When we reach for something, we push it further away. When there is no struggle, our energy (vibration in New Age parlance) rises. Looking believable, which is simply fidelity to how we were made, contains less struggle. Our story to our own ears and others’ is about our clarity, our fulfilling presence, the abundance of our reality just as it is.

In our own colours, we are effortless. When there is no effort, there is neither resistance nor force, neither pushing or pulling. Now, we are free to move forward in our best alignment and purpose. We are true extensions of the Universe as it is a true extension of us.

 

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Introducing Colour Analyst Rachel Nachmias

January 29, 2014 by · 12 Comments 

Great stories and big achievements often begin as a series of small, synchronous events. In late November, I received an email from Rachel asking if she could take part in the training course beginning in about a week. She wanted to be in a course with another person. The course running that weekend came together at the last minute for Lisa whom you’ll meet briefly here and more another day, so there was a position still open. I don’t really buy into coincidence. I believe in opportunity and timing. I will follow anything that even slightly resembles a green GO light flashing in the sky. Of course, we figured it out. Rachel climbed out of a taxi on a Friday. She, Lisa, and I began three amazing days.

 Rachel has said that she’s been storing energy for years for this time to arrive. As a colour analyst, her eye is highly accurate. More importantly, she understands how to think and how to correct her thinking in the moment. Her insight into body line, style type, and applying the best of the fashion world as you embrace the simple joy of being who you really are, will literally astound you. I had seen some of the online discussion and yet, the in-person experience was unexpectedly powerful. I’m now working towards the image of Michelle Pfeiffer in Scarface. The image at the bottom will be reserved for the arsty among you ;)

You have met Rachel before in the article Growing Into Bright Winter. It is my honour to formally introduce her and her business to you today. You can find information about Rachel’s services (including Personal Colour Analysis (PCA) and Personal Image Analysis (PIA)), location, scheduling appointments, and contact information at her almost-complete but functional website, bestdressed.us. Read her first blog post, How True Colors Reveal True Features. These transformations never cease to amaze us.

 

 

From L to R, Lisa, me, Rachel.

from L to R, Lisa, me, Rachel

 

Before Rachel takes her turn, Lisa added a few words,

I met Rachel last fall, when I had the incredible luck to get her as my classmate at Christine’s training course. She is captivating the instant you meet her, and the thing about her is that everything you feel at that moment, and as you get to know her — that she positively sparkles, and is magnetic, astute, warm, totally adorable, fiercely smart, beautiful, and at peace inside — all of it IS authentically her. And she’s only 28….yes, one of those old souls who connect with people of all ages; I saw for myself her genuine rapport with teenagers, to women in their 70s.

It’s Christine who can speak with authority, and much more knowledge than I have, on Rachel’s truly remarkable eye for the nuances of colour (in fabric and in faces), and of course, on her unequalled insight into body lines, so I will leave that to our teacher. (Except to say, from personal experience, that being typed by Rachel is transformative – you feel deeply that you have been seen and understood). Let me finish by stating it in black and white: There is going to be a cult of Rachel.

(oh, and I did realize at that training weekend that I was witness to a meeting of titans, and the start of perhaps THE partnership of the 21st century, between Christine and Rachel – I am not exaggerating. But thats whole ‘nother story, ha…)

 

Rachel2

 

Rachel’s Own Story

I guess you could say that I’m a life-long style addict. My Barbie collection was nuts – but I didn’t really care about more Barbies, I wanted the clothes. At 17, I went off to study political science at Bryn Mawr College, but after two years there began to feel I was denying my creative urges and made the decision to apply to schools where I could study fashion design. My top choice, Parsons the New School for Design, accepted me and I enrolled immediately and earned my BFA there, in NYC’s amazing garment center. Since then, I’ve done a variety of creative work, including floral design, personal shopping and wardrobe assistance, freelance fashion design projects, and costume design for film and stage.

Given my history with clothes, it’s probably not shocking that people always noticed and appreciated how I dressed. Regardless, sometime in my late teens, it began to bug me that my style was kind of all over the map, and further, that the pieces I loved on the hanger didn’t always flatter me. I tried a lot of different methods to hone my personal style, but always ended up with a closet full of somewhat random items that I loved individually but didn’t work together, or necessarily on me. It might sound trivial, but as a design professional, I always felt embarrassed that I somehow hadn’t yet perfected and defined my own look. Then, one fateful day, a blogger I read routinely posted a link back to an old post from her archives on how to find the colors that work best for you. I remembered having seen some Color Me Beautiful books in the bookstore, but not having been able to figure out what season I was, and being afraid of getting stuck with colors I didn’t like, I put them down and forgot about them.

Rachel1

 

Now, for some reason, I was willing to try again. A quick google search got me started with two deep wells of information: the Yuku forums, and 12blueprints.com. Within a couple of weeks, I was drawing out the seasonal circle for friends and trying to sort out what season they might be. My personal journey to my colors is quite a story, but one that I will save for a post on my own blog. I knew I wanted to train and learn to do it properly from before my first draping, but due to the circumstances at the time, the path ended up being more meandering, in the best possible way, than I predicted at the start. Only when the moment was truly right, did the universe lead me to Christine’s training program, almost 2 years after a blog post set the chain of events in motion. All the time and energy I have spent learning and researching about every facet of color analysis and related style theories prepared me to fully embrace and understand Christine’s incredible, genius way of teaching.

I believe, from my own extensive personal experience, that knowing your perfect colors is the critical first step to having a signature personal style that flatters you and expresses who you truly are. It is my pleasure and privilege to share with each client, in roughly 3 hours, the amazing and uplifting insight that I searched for through a decade of fashion training and professional experience and finally found at my PCA. I’m not the kind of person who squeals very much, but I find myself grinning from ear to ear and making all manner of high-pitched noises every time a PCA concludes. Seeing the difference I’m able to make for the client before both of our very eyes makes this truly the best job in the world.

Rachel4

 

As a bit of a post-script, I want to just say a few words about my development of Personal Image Analysis, my own proprietary version of the style counterpoint to a PCA. I know many of you have followed my progress all the way and are waiting with baited breath for this service, and I am so deeply grateful for your enthusiasm and support. Because many women will travel to see me, I want to make my services in discerning a woman’s type and discussing all of her styling concerns available when my PCA studio opens in Philadelphia, currently slated for the weekend of February 22nd of this year. Online analysis will open in late March or early April to accompany an exciting information service that will be presented cooperatively by Christine and me. I look forward to the opportunity to be a part of your personal style and color journey!

 

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Personal Luxury Drapes

January 25, 2014 by · 5 Comments 

Numerous requests have arrived to offer the Luxury Drapes as single Season sets for clients who have enjoyed a 12 Season Sci\ART-based Personal Colour Analysis. I am very happy to do this.

Do you know which drapes I mean? Once we knew your Season with the Test Drapes (took about an hour, hour and a half? with me or Terry (my excellent trainer, always my teacher, we work as a team on the drape colour selections)), but before we removed the fabulous gray scarf that you wanted to take home and wear forever but I wouldn’t give you :),

we took a separate set of drapes out of another tub. These Luxury Drapes were heavy and kept slipping off. I began by reminding you “Don’t think of them as 15 turtlenecks.” We turned the pages and talked about how you wear your colours. Once your makeup was on and the scarf off, we looked at these drapes once again. In some cases, if we weren’t sure about your Season, we might have compared them with another set, choosing a blue and a blue, or comparing colours that were extremes for the two Seasons.

Photo: vtorous

Photo: vtorous

 

There’s great value in having an experienced colour analyst (two of us, in fact!) translate your swatches to their manifestation in fabric. Once you see how 15 of your colours are interpreted in various textiles, it’s far easier to extrapolate the other 40 to 50 colours in your colour palette.

The drapes will be the full 18″ x  34″ size that are in the analyst sets, grommetted, stamped, and tagged, exactly as the analysts are using.

Full sized drapes, rather than napkin-sized pieces or smaller squares, are my preference by far. You just gotta have enough colour. As with cosmetics, if the colour’s right, you can wear almost any amount of it. A small sample doesn’t challenge our colouring enough to show us that it will adopt or reject a colour. It won’t bring out all the possible good or enough surefire evidence that’s it not good. The large size allows you to reach the drape fully round your shoulders to get the most colour effect.

You are buying these fabrics to visualize harmony with your colours and features, and also to imagine a wardrobe and the interactions among its colours. The large size ensures that you have sufficient fabric to be the size of a piece of clothing to make outfits. The blocks will be big enough to demonstrate what equivalent energy means. More colour makes it far easier to decide whether a colour can take part in a relationship, or will be not enough or too much. When Terry and I are challenged with a certain colour’s Season, we lay out the Luxury Drapes with the mystery item in the chain. If it doesn’t belong, you can spot it right away.

Photo: nkzs

Photo: nkzs

 

You will enjoy watching the two-way energizing effect of true colour harmony. Lay your fanned out swatch book palette on the drape fabrics. Notice that each every colour is very vibrant, in focus, and the fabric underneath is also the most it can be. These two things bring out the best in each other. Understand this better by placing your swatch book on items in your house, furnishings or other clothing. Pay attention to the swatch colours and to the colour underneath. Begin with an item that you know is far from your own colours. Notice that the palette lacks the colour energy and vitality that it has on your drapes, or the opposite, that the palette is dominating the background colours, as if it were separating or sitting far above it.  What is happening to the palette is happening to your face. Every item you buy should cause every swatch of the palette to be as strong, and strengthened equally, as it is on your drapes.

Analysts already have white, yellow, green, blue, and red in the Test Drapes. The Luxury Drapes contain colours that we don’t test with (purple, for instance), beautiful versions of colours we do test with (more greens, reds, and so on), and more versions of colours that are spectacular on that particular colouring (turquoise and shine on Springs).

Test colours are somewhat proprietary and won’t be included. However, I do feel that you should have your white in your Personal Luxury Drapes. One colour will be substituted for white in these sets (unless you indicate otherwise). If there’s a certain colour that you’re having trouble with, say Summer yellow, I’m happy to substitute that as well.

Photo: yinney

Photo: yinney

 

At this time, I have a fairly large fabric inventory. Limiting myself to only 15 colours per set for the analysts can be a struggle. I want everyone to have every colour. You are welcome to request as many colours as I have (price below). You are also welcome to request certain types of colours (reds, level of shine, hair or cosmetic colours, neutrals, your black or alternative), if I have that material. Once a set has been purchased, adding to it in the future is too complicated to describe. Best to buy everything you might want the first time.

A personalized letter accompanies the purchase. It outlines the information held by the drapes and how to make use of them to guide your purchases, with situations that might arise for each Season. For example, the Neutral Season drapes will contain the warm and cool versions of most colours.

The precise fan colours are not necessarily represented and they don’t need to be. Maybe it’s better that they’re not, to give you a sense of the Season’s borders in colour space, often wider than what the literal interpretation of the swatch books suggests. Remember that you have a thousand colours that are not in those fans. The drapes can teach you to select any colour that can harmonize with your Season.

Drapes are the swatch books taken to the next level, as their physical representation. The swatches in the books are small, and although incredibly effective, the size places some limitations on your perception of the colour. If you looked at a swatch and I help up the corresponding garment or textile, you might say, “Oh, is that what that looks like?” Or maybe you wouldn’t but I do.

The PCA process moves in a line. It begins with the colour theories and charts that provide the building blocks for the palettes. From the palettes to the Test drapes, you have moved into physical expression, though still in the land of theory. From Test to Luxury drapes, you cross the bridge from theory to real world application, the simulation of a shopping experience. So roll your clothing, accessories, shoes, and jewelry around in your Luxury drapes before deciding which purchases to keep.

I am excited to make this vital aspect of a working colour analyst’s tool kit available for you. The more ways you see your colours, the better you understand, recognize, and use them. There’s nothing I want more.

Photo: Andreius

Photo: Andreius

 

To support the colour analysts, it is only right that they purchase the drapes at a lower cost than their clients.

Retail price for a set of 15 full sized drapes is CDN $465 ($31 per drape), therefore 15% more than for analysts.

For Canadians who live in HST-applicable provinces, the 13% HST is added for a total of CDN $525.45.

Drapes must ship from Canada. Residents of other countries do not pay the HST. I cannot say what duties or taxes are required in your country. They will be insured for $500.

Only one Season’s set will be sold to an individual.

Other colour analysis systems use different colour collections in their Seasons. I don’t want our palettes to create conflict in their clients’ process or practice. In your inquiry to me about the drapes, please mention which Sci\ART analyst you saw for your PCA. This purchase is not refundable so please be very certain that your Season is correct and you feel good with it.

If you would like to purchase your Personal Luxury Drapes, please email me at christine@12blueprints.com.

 

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