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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Stronger? Healthier? Newer? The focused ones or the others?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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
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…)
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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 do feel very certain that the answer is correct and you feel good with it.
If you would like to purchase your Personal Luxury Drapes, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I appreciate every comment that has been offered on this site over the years. I also respect that those comments were made with intention to learn, but also with kindness, remembering that there is a human being on the other end.
A Place to Learn Together
By human being, I’m not referring to myself. I welcome all critique. Mostly, I want this to be a safe place to seek and find truth and the highest possible potential for me, you, and colour analysis. This site is also a record of my own growth as a colour analyst. I felt the need to remove all the videos from here and YouTube because I don’t recognize that person as me anymore.
However vulnerable in the moment, old patterns need to be seen for us to separate and leave them behind. We have to recognize mind chatter about colour analysis, as about all our beliefs. Our mind is driven to protect old beliefs that were acquired years ago when that was the best we had.
In what I’m about to say, I am not criticizing anyone. I am offering you a new strength. In trying to follow these new ideas, know that you are very supported by the many who have understood this now.
Kindness in the comments would encourage me to post more photos of how the Seasons of human colouring appear in the real world. Problem is, they end up on 100 Pinterest boards and a million other places over which I have no control. I know that you would love to see them and I would love to post them but I can’t protect the person’s privacy. If you have no concerns about where your photo ends up and have been correctly analyzed, send me your picture and I’ll be glad to post it (email@example.com).
Some have said that Hanka can’t be a True Winter (article A Blonde True Winter), or that I am not a Winter of any sort.
With every respect, how in the world could you know? The computer you’re reading this on denies you every single tool you need to evaluate, or even accurately see, human colouring.
You don’t have a grayed environment. You have a busy background that influences colours. You could be reading on your phone on the subway.
Instead of accurate lights, you have whatever lighting the time of day requires and the room you’re in offers. We have no idea what any person looks like till you see them in full spectrum lighting. Students remark on how surprisingly much faces changes just by switching from overhead room lighting to properly placed full spec lights.
You don’t have access to skin in the photos on this site. They’re wearing makeup. I’m happy to post photos of women with no makeup if you’d like to send me yours, email address above.
You don’t have drapes. Or anything else for the skin to react to. Of the many companies out there offering PCA services, I would have to hope that if we agree on one thing, it’s that the ‘analysis’ part of PCA refers to the evaluation of simultaneous contrast effects. That word, contrast? By definition, it means between two things.
You don’t even have the person! Ever met anyone who looks exactly like their photo? I haven’t.
Easy to forget about the water. Until something ripples it.
Be careful about the medium. It inserts itself so subtly that we don’t even know it. Media isn’t selling truth. It’s selling the medium. It’s selling itself. The newspaper isn’t selling the news, it’s selling newspapers. Five newspapers have 5 different versions of the news. Only 1 thing happened. People are only 1 Season. But the newspaper changed what happened and we forget that it took up the space between us and the real event.
The lights, the gray room, their purpose is to null the medium, to cancel it back to Zero Effect, so it can’t distort our perceptions in the ways it so very much does.
The Real Basis of PCA
There’s one other thing you might not have. A grasp of what real PCA is actually measuring: colours under the skin in the capillary layer where the blood travels. The so-called undertone layer.
That is where the truth of your colours is expressed and consistent, despite surface changes like suntans. At the level of circulation. That’s what the drapes are reacting to. We’re biologically adapted to see through skin and are hugely sensitive to tiny incremental changes.
Humans are gifted with the ability to see through human skin to some degree, as Dr. Mark Changizi has demonstrated and described in his book, The Vision Revolution (discussed in 12Blueprints article Different PCA Systems, Different Results). A photo or a monitor only gives you the surface. That’s the limit of what it’s capable of. Only real human eyes, connected to a human brain, looking at directly at another living human is capable of see-through vision, or Xray vision, as Dr. Changizi calls it.
That’s why gadgets that take photos of the surface are quite limited, unless I have mistakenly reduced their scope and they are in fact contacting the lower levels of skin. Now, if it’s just a surface photo, this would follow a very different practice of colour analysis than mine. Never mind how many times each step of the software altered the colours between the gadget, the computers, and your eyes. About 4 to 8 times. Kind of hopeless.
When I’m sent photos, I place no faith at all what they show me. I don’t say much because the medium has utterly clouded my analyst’s eyes. I wish women would stop sending me photos. Besides, I don’t believe I’m here to do it for you. I am here to ignite it in you, show you how to do it for yourself, and bring it to your communities.
Surface acquaintance may be why little machines that match foundation did not work for me. Foundation must match surface and undertone. Dark Winter surface skin can appear quite yellow. True Summer skin can tan quite golden, but when analyzed correctly with accurate drapes, the person remains a True Summer. We’ve proven this to ourselves in the training courses, depending on the models we had for that session. The foundation that matches them remains very cool unless they are quite tanned.
Amazing what cameras and computers can do.
But, listen, seriously, nothing against your skill. Maybe you’re a genius. IDK what you know and don’t know. You might be fabulous. How would I know how current you are or how many clients you’ve draped with excellent drapes?
I just know the medium is dangerous and pointless. You don’t have access to the lower layers of the skin. So you’re sunk. You have absolutely no accurate data from which to draw conclusions. All I’m saying.
Averages, Meanings, and Old Formulas
So what do you have? All you’re left with are the stereotypes and the patterns to fall back on. That’s all this medium can give you. It took away everything else. You’re forced to use averages. The old, wrong conclusions. You look dark so you must be a Dark Season. These walls need to come down for us all to move forward.
By the way, forget the words, OK? Dark, Light. It’s not about whether you look dark. Has nothing to do with it. There are dark, medium, and light looking people in each of the 12 groups. Sure, Steve Jobs dark is not likely a Light Summer, but Maggie Gyllenhal is entirely plausible.
When someone decides you look dark, they’re looking at your hair and eyes. The old, wrong patterns again. Do you really see Steve’s skin as much darker than Maggie’s? Did you even think about their skin? Dr. Changizi has shown that humans don’t register healthy skin of the same race as having hardly any colour – an evolutionary adaptation that allows us to be wildly sensitive to the slightest changes, and a brilliant one.
It’s not about whether you wear dark. Nothing to do with it. Everybody has light, dark, and medium colours in their native colouring and in their colour analysis swatch palettes. Hanka is a very normal darkness level for a True Winter, seen it numerous times. So is Kim Kardashian. And they go lighter than that. And they can have red hair. And yellow in the eyes. If you haven’t seen that being draped, how could you say if I’m right or not? What if I said that in the photo of Hanka linked above, the yellow hair colour is dulling her skin, lip, and eye pigmentation and from that photo, nobody has any idea what she looks like or what her native colours are?
The meaning of those words refers to how those kinds of colours react to your skin. That’s it. Let your analyst worry about the words. I need you to put your attention in the right place, which is learning to match your swatch book in stores.
Does anyone see their skin as very different? His teeth are cooler. Her eyes are darker. Wait, looking at wrong things, back to skin tone. Well…I just don’t know what to say. How much has to do with different ages? Between men and women?
We all play the guessing game. It’s fun and interesting. A colour analyst can recognize the mind chatter, that it’s just a reaction, and can clear it out when the analysis begins. She has been taught to recognize the far bigger picture.
We’re stuck in ruts so deep we don’t even know it. We need comparisons. Many different ones. Like training any muscle, we must give our lazy perceptions lots of different relationships, shock them, force them to adapt. If they’re right, they better be ready to prove it before I tell anyone they’re a Season.
12 possible outcomes, equal probability of each.
The guessing is done. The lights go on. The draping begins. You get your answer.
Great Q from readers,
1. Obviously Light and Bright Spring share the same parent Season, but I wondered how Summer/ Winter manifest their influence on the palettes and on the people?
The Light Spring palette contains a Summer touch, which alters the True Spring colours by doing what Summer does … it cools, softens, and lightens them.
Under the wave of Winter’s wand, Bright Spring is overall darker and goes to a much darker endpoint (the lightest to darkest range is very wide, getting close but not fully to pure white and black), and is strongly pigmented. Its heat level is the same as Light-Spring, meaning on the warm edge of neutral, where neutral is halfway between warm and cool.
I can see you there reading, thinking, “Yes, yes, I know all that. But how much does Summer cool, soften, and lighten True Spring?”
It’s impossible to describe verbally and is best understood by seeing it. You can see some pretty good approximations by searching ‘Season palettes’ on Pinterest, my new favourite hangout. I bring my iPad to bed. I’m like Harry Potter under the covers with his magic wand long after he should have been asleep. Scanning those pictures to add to the two boards, Shopping for Your Season&Style and RealWoman Sex appeal, is addictive. Social media, ay? Once you find the right one, it owns you. Rachel, whom you’ll meet formally soon, is to personal line and shape analysis what I have been to personal colour analysis. We contribute to each item pinned from both perspectives. Very cool information, very cool way to shop.
The blue book over on the right, RTYNC, contains 28-colour layouts (also pretty good approximations) of the 12 groups to give you a sense of the jump in the colour dimensions from one group to the next. It also contains a lot more verbal description and analogy if you learn better that way.
How does Summer manifest in a Light Spring person? Even harder to nail down. The person does not usually have sharpness, which might mean in features (Julie Andrews’ nose and teeth) or character. See the woman wearing the pink dress in Polyvore 4? Could look about like that, though happier expression.
But where’s the line? What would you call sharp? Is teasing sharp because Lights have that? They can certainly have pointed chins, eyes, and teeth.
2. How do Summer and Winter’s presence come across in Bright Spring people?
Summer tends to create a person who is more aware and concerned of how others think and feel, but not always. Summer has great decency. In Winter, there may be less concern with saying what others want to hear and more emphasis on fairness, and that is decent too.
We could say that Summer contributes a pleasant, well-mannered character. Sounds watered down. Light Spring is by no means dilute. The person may be very talkative or quite spunky (as opposed to determined, more Autumn), which come in with Spring. That said, a Summer can talk, oh boy, as they work through ideas. They have plenty strong intentions, especially when they feel honour (not quite the same as Winter’s pride) lays in the balance.
As they learn the draping process, students are shown how to deliberately seek out the effects of the 4 True Seasons’ colours in the client’s face. Later, as the drape colours become more specific and the presence of certain Seasons may be much smaller, they remember those effects from the coarser level and can come back now and apply them on a finer scale. In the story that follows, how would Winter and Summer manifest in a person on a much finer scale (since, in 12 Season PCA, Light and Bright Spring contain a small amount of Summer and Winter, respectively – how small? Different in everyone. Some Light Springs have a lot of Summer, some much more Spring.)
Summer and Winter visit their friend, Dara*. Dara is trying a new Style in her clothing choices. Her husband, Ted*, has a successful sign-making business and they just built a new house. Winter sees the house and Dara’s clothes. She thinks, “Yeah, it’s a nice house. I might try those kinds of curtains. I’m not so sure of my Style type. I think I have more Yin and need rounder lines and more decoration. I’m being too minimalistic.” Winter goes home. She thinks and thinks and searches and thinks and studies pictures and makes her mother look at a thousand images on her phone (which the mother thinks all look the same but no way is she about to say so). Next time you see her, she’s added a silver chain. Had to take off the earrings and bracelet though, they were too much. Her clothes are about the same. You ask about her visit to Dara, “Her house is very nice. What else can I say? It’s her house, got nothing to do with me. I was impressed with her new clothing styles. She’s right about herself. I’m evolving my own style.” And you sit there thinking, “Is this a trick question?”
Summer calls you the day after the visit. “Dara’s house is so beautiful. She looked great, she always does. I hope she’ll be very happy there. Didn’t you feel so sad for her? (Winter is thinking, “Is this a trick question?”) Deep down, she despises that house. (Summer’s eyes are all big and round and teary, and she puts lots of feeling behind her words, especially despises.) Dara doesn’t enjoy it, she wishes they were back in the old house. All she can feel is Ted’s business taking him away from her all the time to pay for it. I’m just baking her some banana bread for the kids and taking her out to lunch later today.”
How does Winter manifest in Bright Spring? They hold themselves a little apart. Their feeling about the world and their place in it is more controlled. When Summer and you have a conversation, she’s nodding. She can hear how you feel. Winter is moving very little, conserving emotional output. Summer is using her hands. She is out of herself , thinking about she relates to you. She sent you the testimonials you asked for within a week of getting home :). From Winter, you’ll be waiting. She got home, went back right into own her head, and will think of you in terms of how you relate to her.
3. I heard the palettes are similar – do you see Light Spring as a lighter version of Bright at all?
They’re similar but just lightening Bright Spring won’t get you Light. Maybe fading Bright might do so with some complement and lightening it with some white. Light Spring is creamy, which gives it a frosted glass haze or milky glow that Bright Spring absolutely wouldn’t have. The Bright Spring windshield is crystal clear and the pigment concentration is dialed way up.
It’s like the difference between
Both warm-neutral to warm. The Bright (bottom) has icy colours. Light (top) doesn’t approach white. Note that neither image represents the whole palette nor what is possible with it.
4. Could they theoretically borrow any colours (even though this isn’t the best option)?
I’m glad that you asked this good question. I feel that I often answer Q wearing one of two hats and how are people expected to know which is on when?
You know how you fan out any swatch book and no colour is more or less than any other? Your attention is equally divided when the fan is opened up. They have equal visual energy. If you moved one of those Light Spring flowers into the Bright Spring bouquet, even if the colours were all pinks, it would get a little lost. You’d ignore it more. If that were the blouse, worn with a Bright Spring skirt, you’d be looking at the skirt.
If you lifted the butterfly onto the Light bouquet, it would be hard to see anything else. As when a Light wears a Bright’s lipstick. When palettes have a lot in common, as Light and Bright Spring, some colours will work well enough but others will be too prominent. The pinks might be quite comfortable and belonging but the yellows will jump out at you.
Wearing the first hat: In a theory situation, as the question states, such as during the training course, the answer is no. We learn how to place any colour, clothing, cosmetic, or any person, into one Season. The Q is, “Which 1 of the 12?”
#2 hat is worn when advising a woman shopping. She is using the system in another way. The only question she needs to work out is, “Me or Not Me?”
Each application is equally important. First, we learn the rules of the road and the driving laws. As drivers, we take shortcuts with a subconscious sense of where and when. The woman who understands her colour palette can discern which shortcuts are safe and logical and which will be unsuccessful. She’ll have a few fender benders along the way but at least she’s behind the wheel of her own car, taking herself where she decides to go.
Say you’re the woman shopping. Working through the compromises of the retail world might open up 5 more questions,
- How close in colour is good enough? What kind of person am I on this subject?
- How fast do I need to buy this item?
- Am I spending $50 or $500?
- Are the lines of the item so exceptional for me that I’m not passing it up on a little colour issue that will make hardly any difference. You can see examples of this on the Shopping for Your Style and Season board at Pinterest. (the link at the bottom of the R column on this page may take you there, but the website is having a mini nervous breakdown about weekly till it’s upgraded. The link is here too.)
- Do I think the colour might be Light Spring and I know I’m a Bright but I think it looks great in this composition?
- Is this an item that really could fit well into several Seasons, even according to uptight analysts like Christine? When I look at the Shopping for Your Season and Style board at Pinterest, most items are good in two or more groups. She must be wearing #2 hat. (You’re so right. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter. PCA is a life-transforming tool, like a driver’s license or a computer. I want that for you. Being too rigid means missing too many fantastic clothes.) In both hats, jewelry and makeup are definitely mobile in most cases. Many clothes too, if they’re not right up under the face or are in small real estate. Not every element needs to be perfect for the whole thing to harmonize very nicely. In many paintings, prints, and ensembles, the other colours help create the belonging.
Mostly Light Spring
Mostly Bright Spring
5. Some of the warm pinks/apricots look similar – how do I know if I’m looking at Light or Bright Spring when choosing these colours?
You can think colour correctness to death and still get it wrong. I do. We all have to compare it to something. You can compare it to anything, a cosmetic, another item of clothing, a painting, a cushion.
Women who own their own Luxury Drapes (or a closet that is colour accurate) can place the item among the good colours and see if it holds its own, is more, or not enough. They’re full-sized drapes so it’s easy to see colours balance and energize. The article about those drapes is being moved to its own post, it will reappear soon.
Because these 2 colour groups share so much, to choose between them will require forcing the extreme that the other won’t tolerate. Light Spring’s muting will be Bright Spring biggest complaint, while Light Spring will ricochet back the other way when she sees the darkness of Bright. So compare to black. It’s dark and saturated. The booties on the bottom next to the perfume – the peach must be Winter influenced to be energetically equal to white and black. The yellow jacket, the same. There’s enough peach in the peach and yellow in the yellow to balance a lightness extreme (white) and a darkness and saturation one (black). These may be Bright Winter outfits because the white and black are not in Bright Spring colours, but they’re useful to judge the balance.
Some colours matter more than others. The peach coat (lower image) might be a little weak but it’s workable. Gray is good at becoming what’s around it. Jeans adapt pretty well if their darkness level is the same as the overall for that Season and they’re just blue. Red and green are less cooperative. Sometimes, it depends on the viewer. Some people are very sensitive to yellow. I am to orange. These colours are either right or not right, but there’s not much you can do about that.
How about the coral dress that appears in both layouts? Where is it energetically more even in the composition? Compare it to the bouquets as well. Is it perfect in either? Is it workable in one, both, or none?
Light Spring was looking all dreamy and holiday till I inserted that green purse. Is that item helping the nice feelings or is it taking over? Is everything around it washed out and falling back? That’s what a Light Spring woman looks like wearing Bright colours. She fades and drops – or, looks older and tired, like the Light Spring clothes next to the purse that look something that doesn’t feel good…. washed too many times…dirty…dull? The green looks aggressive plus it’s all you can see.
Shopping for Bright Spring (Looking Normal)
Neutral colours (beige, taupe) could be matched a little more closely for Spring where they can be a little blah, but they’re still versatile. Where Summer and Autumn wear these colours flexibly, and Summer and Winter can share some grays, Spring colouring wears colour colours more easily than beige and gray (IMO). Also, when we wear our neutrals, they tend to be in large block items. To excite the composition, neutrals with yellow, not muted orange (=earthy). The beige sweater in 4 (and the pants with the orange top in 3), I have no idea where it harmonizes but it works OK. Next to the very shiny necklace, the sweater isn’t looking dingy, clumsy, or chunky the way an green-beige or camel Autumn colour could on this woman. Both versions of the tights are great. Add colour somewhere!
Again, use black to judge belonging colours. Light Spring loses energy even faster than next to the green purse. Bright Spring gets close enough to black and the colours can balance black without losing ground. The woman in the pink dresss in 4 can hold her own with the earrings but you sense some conflict. Before reading this, you thought, “Why’d she put those earrings with that dress?” Because now you get to feel it. There were a million worse choices, but still, this is not settled. I could have wasted paragraphs.
Black is quite useful in the Bright Spring wardrobe:
- to crisp edges of colour blocks, as the earrings with the mint blouse in 4,
- to outline shapes in a thin black line, as in a print or colourblock, which gives a cartoon appearance that is so right on Gamine body shapes,
- to darken the overall effect selectively without dulling, cooling, or darkening the colour blocks themselves,
- to add Winter’s formality,
- to slim this woman who can balance black, as the mint top and black skirt in 4, the colours are getting along fine, the black is a little strong but it doesn’t appear visually larger
Shopping Search engines are hugely helpful. Polyvore is great. A Light Summer asked recently where to find pants. At sites like Polyvore and Shopstyle, the retail world opens at your feet and it’s uncommon to find items sold out. They are a fantastic way to find your white items online. You want jeans that are a little on the green side? As a Light Spring, the answer is, “Sure do!” Give me 15 minutes. I’ll find you 5 pairs.
6. What do Light Spring colours look like on Bright Spring?
Weak. The way the creamy peach flower from the top photo would look next to the oranges in the bottom photo.
7. What does a Light Spring woman look like in Bright Spring clothes?
Forgettable. What happens to the Light Spring bouquet when the butterfly lands on it. Tired, like she’s having the life sucked out of her. All her sunshine glowing peaches and cream radiance is gone. Between her feet and the top of her head, all you see is clothes.
8. If I find an item that is very saturated and in the medium value range, which Seasons could be likely contenders? I keep getting stuck with colours like hot pink – thinking they look good due to being bright, but on closer inspection often too cool on me and don’t harmonize with the fan…
Very saturated could include the 3 Winter palettes and Bright Spring. True Spring doesn’t have hot pink.
9.a) The person who looks very wintery with dark hair and pale skin. What are the signs that she’s Bright Spring?
There are none other than how her skin reacts to the drapes. The women in the Polyvores could all be Bright Springs. Or some kind of Summer or Winter.
9. b) Should she do anything different with colours or combinations?
She probably sits closer to the cool side of her Bright Spring colouring, near the Bright Winter pigmentation. She many find that the cooler colours in cosmetics work better.
She should still wear the entire Bright Spring palette as clothing and jewelry. Those colours are all in her if the drapes measured her as Bright Spring.
I don’t get caught up on the contrast thing too much, I think it’s built into the palettes. Some women of this colouring may feel quite contrasting and prefer wider distance between lightest and darkest colours in their outfits. This woman may look (and feel) more Winter and use more jewel tones, icy lights, neutral colours, formality in apparel, and boldness in cosmetic application.
Here’s what I think about that coral dress from the top Polyvores. It is not beautiful in the Bright Spring group. The peach coat may not be perfect, nor the yellow shirt on the L side, but they don’t detract. The dress is dull and detracting. In the Light Spring composition, it feels better but it’s a light sink. Light should bounce out of a Light Spring palette like sunbeams, like Creamsicles. It should feel fresh, light, and happy. This dress is not what an apricot tulip would feel like. If you cover it up, the rest of the group gets better, so it’s detracting here too. Still a lovely dress. Might be just the photo, might be an Autumn colour, this is what PCA from photos is like. No idea where this item would fit and would need to try it IRL to be sure.
Not entitling this Dramatic Classic because I don’t want to imply that I have any expertise in body line assessment and the fashion choices therefrom. But I have opinions, oh boy. Since I’m a Dramatic Classic myself, I would like your help in adjusting what I could do better before I spend money.
Recently, we showed some softer wardrobe choices for True Winter, for those who don’t feel that making coats out of Dalmatians quite describes them. In the same post, we saw choices for Dark Autumns who identify better with mink than shearling.
We talked about synonyms. For example, in the Light Seasons, light could mean not dark, and also not heavy, not complicated, not aggressive, and good-humoured. Softness as it applies to True Winter and Dark Autumn would not imply more graying of colour, since that contradicts the colour attributes of those groups to some degree. We looked for synonyms for softness that found the intersection between the word soft and its other possible meanings – perhaps velvety, creamy, rounded, flowing, smooth, supple, decorated, satiny. Soft has many other renditions, in soft tastes, scents, touch, sounds and music, and shape, form, and texture. Today, we’re going to look at all those to find expressions of sharpness.
Dressing for Sex Appeal and Wealth
This is not the same as Dressing for Sex and Money.
What Is and Is Not Sex Appeal
What does sex appeal look like? Or what looks like sex appeal? I don’t have to have sex or even want sex. The point is about telling the world that you’re fully engaged in life. Sexuality is part of life as a grown-up. The thought of broadcasting sexuality never enters my mind and doesn’t have to. Sex appeal comes across just by looking like me and for every woman when she looks like her real self. When I wear who I am, I am saying, “I trust my gifts.” That’s the seduction.
Everyone woman is extremely beautiful. She doesn’t have any choice. The switch flips to ON when the X’s line up. Female energy was drafted that way in tandem with female anatomy. I’m the guy in the room who never laughs at stand-up comedy, talk show humour, Elf, or any other funny person, Robin Williams only sometimes. If you can get past all the fu** during the movie, The Heat, I had tears running down my face. There’s a point to this story, which I’ll get to here, many digressions I can feel coming on. Sandra Bullock has an athletic Natural body shape, to which has been added lots of drama of a swashbuckling type, rather than a Nature walk type.
With neither she nor we being conscious of it, we see what happens to our perception of her (played out hilariously but accurately by the characters and script) in different clothes. When the story needed her to be boring, the wardrobe folks knew just what to do. Put that body in a suit. It never manages to look right. She looks awkward, just how the story needs her to be.
As when wearing someone else’s colours, there is no wrong or bad or ugly. Every woman overflows with beauty, sex appeal, and femininity. But there are better choices for those to come across. Sandra, gorgeous woman and a gorgeous suit, combine to create no excitement whatsoever. Something gut-busting happens to the suit and whaddaya know, she starts looking great. Eventually, she appears in battle gear. Now we get why the movie is called The Heat. We feel relieved, relaxed, and suddenly very interested in her. She’s available to us in every way. In the suit, her presence, drawing power, and magnetism came in around negative 20. The army gear was closest to her brand of sensuality. Wearing it, she looked most feminine.
However your colours and body type were intended to seduce is irrelevant. It goes on autopilot when you stay true to them. Bubble gum and cherries perfume can be fantastic on some women, and be confusing at best on another who could have been so much more elevated, expressed, and attractive simply by changing to a casbah patchouli event. A forest makes no sense smelling like apple pie, right? Projecting authenticity comes across as sex appeal, as “I’m in the game. I know what looks good on me.”, “If you throw me the ball, I’ll know what to do with it.” Which extends to, “I am capable. You can trust me with responsibility, decisions, and money.”
Confusing sex appeal with media-sexy has women of all ages giving it away, forcing it away. That’s not sex appeal, it’s despair, but many women compare themselves to it. Trust me, the pushiness has nothing to do with attraction. It’s capitalizing on assets. Men are built to know the difference.
All I’m saying is you’re lovely as you are. You are enough as you are. I’m a little disappointed if you still wear orange when you’re a Soft Summer. It’s not peaceful. I’m very OK with you wearing it if you know it doesn’t look good but you love wearing it anyhow. That’s peaceful in a different way.
Many women, especially the 18 to 30 group, cannot tune out ridiculous sexualizing of women. I’m not saying to ignore it, that’s hardly realistic. We all know it’s there. We all know that 90% of advertising involving women’s bodies is drastically altered. A mediator might say it can be there, it can matter, and you’re still enough, and what we can do about it to help you find a better peace.
How I find peace:
1. Meditate. My favourite is from Deepak Chopra. Listen to it with earpods if you can, now that is a trip. In meditation, you’ll find optimism. Joined with the forces that create worlds, how can you ever be alone?
We’re programmed for action. It’s intoxicating to to have 20 new Likes and 30 new emails to answer and a new diet and a new resolution and to be doing all the time. Sitting still is not intoxicating by exhilaration, it’s intoxication by nurturing. Like eating spinach. Except, we are programmed for instant gratification. Not the week after you ate the spicach, let alone 20 days or 20 years later.
Our brain is always in fight or flight. It always sees things it thinks it has to protect us from. As Dr. Changizi explains so fantastically well in The Vision Revolution, our brain has evolved brilliant ways of keeping us safe. The larger problem is that in fight or flight, the brain is incapable of learning. It can be a stressor with a toxicity of its own. Neuroscience tells us that the sustained stress actually shrinks the hippocampus (cognitive function, adaptation, learning). Like an over-protective parent, we need to find some freedom to spread our wings. The brain thing is rooted so far in that we’ll not dig clear of it. The only way is by quieting it. With stillness, maturity, and accountabiltiy, we can see clarity.
2. Move. Bloodflow is an important pat of neuroplasticity. Brain, body, spirit, what happens to one happens to all. And it puts a better frame around your life.
3. Laugh at it. Fear-based illusions, such as comparing to media-women, can’t stand up to being laughed at. They can’t find the toe hold they need to anchor in. I meet women and we’re divided in two camps. Those where media got into their head and those where it doesn’t. Doesn’t matter where we live, what we do, our age. Is the difference how much we need/want/care about the company of men? I don’t know but if I can help one woman be free of the you-are-not-good-enough chatter in her head, I want to be there. Read Caitlin Moran’s How To Be A Woman.
4. Make a space for what’s wrong about sexualizing women’s bodies in the pursuit of money. An important friend shared this link (Pinterest, Don’t Compare Yourself) with me. I sent it to my daughters, son, nieces, nephews, sister women instantly. Girls, boys, and young women and men need to talk openly about it. There is nothing wrong with us. Not one single thing. We. Are. Perfect. I. Am. Perfect. You. Are. Perfect. They just convinced us there were things that needed fixing to sell us stuff, and damn but we bought into it like crazy. If everyone woman I see is perfect in herself, how can that not apply to me as well?
Why It’s Good to Look Like Wealth
Not …Look Like Money. Different thing.
What looks like wealth? Similar discussion. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Certain bodies automatically make certain lines look richer. Sandra’s body will make a banker’s suit look cheaper than it is. Looking like wealth is not related our bank account, money per se, or equating success with money. They’re only loosely related in my book. Not about where we shop or comparison to others. Those backfire by setting up too many more-than and less-than relationships that block the multiple and powerful ways in which outside influences can help us.
It’s about wealth as synonymous with maximal happiness, because isn’t that what wealth is? That, in turn, is synonymous with success. Maximum happiness (success) is maximum peace. A particular style on a certain body conveys abundance, which speaks to creation, fulfillment, sharing, and enough. The connection and belonging says, “These two things are extensions of each other. They share something real.” To us the viewers, it feels peaceful to look at.
Wearing the same jacket everyone else is wearing says, “I follow. I obey. I am willing to negotiate myself, instead of celebrating myself, to accommodate a magazine, a friend, a man, a job.” Or maybe it says, “I am imposing this effort on myself to get something.” That sets up struggle, and in turn resistance, and winds up pushing what we want even further away. Not peaceful to be or to look at.
Telling the world (and yourself) that you live an enriched, independent, expanding, self-directed life will happen by choosing a different jacket. In the black T and cargo pants, we felt Sandra tell us about being unconstrained, unbridled, and without inhibitions. That’s the truth of her particular energy. It isn’t the truth of mine. When we find our own, we all express autonomy, individuality, liberty. A free human. Now that’s a beautiful thing.
When body and line, or body and colour, are the same, they connect. There were meant to be together like silver and moonlight, like forest sounds and forest smells. We like it. We want to engage. Tension flows away. We want to stay longer and keep the good feelings coming. Colour Analysis, like Line Analysis, is the Theory of Relativity. When it feels good, time goes by faster. You’ve discovered your brand of wealth. You are closer to your peace.
The Season – Your Natural Colours
In 12 Season personal colour analysis, Soft Autumn is the Neutral Season (meaning a group of natural colouring that is a blend of a warm and a cool source Season) that is mostly Autumn with some influence from Summer’s colour properties.
Autumn overall implies golden heat, muted colour, and darkness. Summer’s colours suggest blued coolness, muted colour again, and a lighter colour selection. Since both are muted, their combined Season is very soft, softer than either Autumn or Summer’s already soft starting place. As opposed to the type of softness we were seeking in the Softer True Winter article linked above (where soft did not mean muting of colour), here, soft really does mean muting or graying of colour. With soft colour (muted) and Summer’s presence (soft as in traditional ideas of femininity) in Soft Autumn, how do we create a wardrobe for a person with sharper lines?
We can’t do sharpness of colour, since muted colour is a prerequisite of Soft Autumn. We can’t do sharp as darkness either. Soft Autumn colours are very soft, quite warm, and medium light to medium dark. It’s the lightest Autumn. You can easily read without turning on a lamp. Because it’s on the sunny side of Autumn, the colours feel bathed in late afternoon light. Not candlelight, that’s Dark Autumn magic.
We need some other expression of sharpness, the same one that the body itself expresses. That’s when our clothes make sense, when their lines and colours are the same as the body they go on.
Dramatic Classic is familiar to us recently as one of the 13 Image Identities in David Kibbes’ 1987 book, Metamorphosis. The terms have been used in other style contexts and seem to have a similar meaning.
There are bodyline experts with the skill to join any of the 12 Season palettes with each of the 10 to 12 body types. Watching them work is quite fascinating. Their results are transforming, startlingly so. My worldview is jolted forward every time I see it happen. I am not one of those body type experts. I’ll defer to their greater knowledge every time.
My Polyvores are not textbook perfect. Someone you hire as a line expert is expected to adhere to the highest potential of knowledge and practice, as I do in a personal colour consultation. Here, I’m doing an adaptation. Fashion that doesn’t work in my life doesn’t work period. It’s here to do me the favour, not the other way around. Sure, the shoes below should be more pointed in the toe, but my feet will hurt the day his do.
Classic always seems to me very medium. Nothing is extreme or irregular, in body size or facial features. The lines and angles are on the sharp side of medium, like Jacqueline Onassis, as opposed to a person whose lines and angles are on the rounder side of medium, like Grace Kelly.
As with the 12 Seasons of natural colouring, there are very few averages in the real world. To know for sure, you should ask someone who understands the entire scope of the subject. I’m a Classic but I’m told my eyes are big in my face, though C types usually have features that are pretty even. I guess my big teeth even out my big eyes, though my lips don’t. I’m shorter than usual for a DC but my body parts are evenly distributed.
My taste is conventional. When I wear unique or creative items, I get “?????” looks. When I think I’m stretching the limits, my kids tell me I look plain – because they can compare me to the full range of how people look. I can only compare me to me, which is one more reason why self-colour-analysis and self-line-analysis tends not to work.
An interesting question: Are women good at picking out clothing for their body lines? I don’t know. If it’s like colour, they run 50% in terms of how many people have a sense of their colouring and how many of their best colours they could choose. I had absolutely no sense of body line, like zero. I’d wear whatever I saw around me. Life and shopping are so much better now. How I’m treated and how I treat myself are so much better. Like colour, you don’t have to be perfect. Being halfway better improves appearance by three quarters. If you would like to learn from someone who really dose understand how to make the very best of body line, follow the wild papillon at Polyvore. You’ll find clothing choices explained and many collections of Seasons and styles, including a few different Soft Autumns.
Interesting that no Polyvore collection comes together any faster than any other, even the Soft Classic Summers. We may feel that all this knowledge will make shopping truly impossible, but that’s not what happens. With a little practice, we get better at seeing ourselves and knowing our stores.
The Meeting Place
Where’s the meeting place of Soft Autumn’s colour language and a sharp classic line?
Autumn does Business Chic incredibly well. The drama part escalates the picture to High Stakes Executive. Makes me think of the projection of Ivanka Trump. She is not medium enough to be a classic, has some fullness in her features, and who knows what Season she is, but her professional clothing style is close to DC at times. Maybe Julianne Moore could be DC. The whole Bulova type brands, you know? Lord&Taylor has all sorts of nice Ivanka wear for classics, sharp and soft.
What might be an issue?
Autumn texture. Texture is too broken up. Ivanka is sleek, tight, clean, and organized, not earthy and natural. I also doubt she’s an Autumn. Julianne has much more texture (freckles, hair) and she may have some Autumn, though I doubt it’s as much as is often suggested. I believe in wearing what you are, so Julianne would add a little texture (snakeskin or metallic, not fluffy or chunky wool).
Animal prints could go either way depending on the item.
A suede belt? Probably too natural for a Classic. A suede skirt? Not sure so I tried it, picking the least adorned one I could find.
Leather jacket (leather pants should be worn by nobody, but then I’m a Classic)? I think so.
Plastic, because it’s really smooth? I don’t see it as natural enough for any Autumn.
Be careful with hair highlights. They can look random, which translates to a little messy and uncontrolled on a very organized and controlled woman and her wardrobe. This is a nice colour, though many Soft Autumns are significantly darker of hair colour. The hair style and the person seem a bit natural, but it’s a good colour without looking obviously processed or busy.
We can associate Summer with flowy fabric. Not all of them. Don’t apply the Season stereotype to anyone, about any aspect of colour, line, or shape. Soft drape won’t stand up on this body, it risks looking limp. Limp doesn’t express sex appeal and wealth.
How else can we interpret flow? From thesaurus.com,
- continuity: as in gradual colour transitions, great on Soft Seasons
- series: so maybe a monochromatic outfit, which can look expensive because it’s not irregular
- connections: as repetitions, very good on sharpened classics.
Summer circles? The person is way way more classic than they are dramatic. If the shape is sleek and a little sharp, could be fine. Clean and organized work for sure.
10 Rules of Dramatic Classic According to Me
I’m a DC Dark Winter. What I think applies to most sharp-side classics is:
1. Smooth, especially around the face. If it’s not, we’ll push each other further in opposite directions as opposite things do.I’ll look flat and 2D while the item looks like a bathmat.
2. No mess, all organizers welcome. Even ruching is an issue but a little low down on the side is ok. Scarves are complicated but a simple one that lies flat and is arranged a little dramatically could be good on a Summer blend. I doubt traditional lace will work, she’ll drain energy like a dripping tap, but there is a version of everything for every body. I just haven’t seen lace for all the body types yet. You can build natural looks wtih lower budgets. This look is harder because there’s nowhere to hide. Goodness knows, I still try every day.
3. Little or no explicit decoration. No ruffles, peplums, bows, lace, fuss. Even prettiness can start looking frumpish on this body when you’re not paying attention. No open toe shoes but sandals ok, slingbacks excellent.
4. Not cute or young. Cap sleeves, borders, a hint of bunny ears, kitten heels, they just look silly, not cute or young.
5. Nothing weird. It’s a medium and symmetrical body. How wide could the tolerance for weird be? Where would weird find a home? No pink briefcases, patchwork raincoats. Your Natural teenage daughter might say your clothes are plain, old, and boring when she sees pictures of them, just like she’ll say the colours are dull if she’s a Winter (she won’t recognize them as plain or dull when they’re on your body, under your face).
6. I never know why I feel so negative for crew necks since they’re so classic. Boat necks are worse on me, I think. The neck has to slice up or slice down, and slice narrow, to keep the voltage high, which is what I really want in this life. A crewneck might be OK if there were a collar necklace and the rest of the top were great or had a superb dramatic print. Cowlneck could work well on this colouring but I’d need to be shown how . Asymmetry or sharp pleats on one shoulder could make a crewneck better.
7. A certain amount of busy-ness in a print is fine but there’s limits. Damn straight I’m a good DC with helmet hair to prove it. Same with a purse, which should have plenty of organizers inside. If they’re on the outside, all those zippers and snaps look busy and messy and feel annoying and complicated.
8. About stripes: diagonal and vertical good, horizontal trickier, ok if thin and regular.
9. For purses: nothing squishy, fairly square, and not real big or real small. Picture the purse version of a banker suit. Now, we’re in low gear, giving it gas, and we’re towing.
10. No visible logos even if it says Armani, which is a super good DC brand and seldom (ever?) has visible logos. Hugo Boss is right up there too (Bloomingdales has some great items).
What I Don’t Know About Sharp Classic Autumn
1. Length of jackets. I think it’s tight as a cropped style at the waist or long just after the break of the hip but not further. This may depend on height. I’m not tall (5’4″).
2. Plaid is usually good on Autumn but I can’t quite imagine what it looks like for Summer + Classic + sharp.
3. Pearls on a Summer blend could be fine. This whole topic interests me a lot, how much the different Seasons actually could express the style stereotypes inside the style types, like their own dialects.
For instance, those equestrian boots in 6 – equestrian anything is automatic wealth of a classic sort. Ski anything is wealth of a dramatic and natural sort.
The link bracelets in 3 and 5. Links are good on Autumn. They can run a little biker on me. I know a DC Bright Winter, they’d be even more biker on her.
Natural elements are good on Autumn – the leaf necklace in 4. I don’t see it on Winters. This is almost astonishing to me. Like seeing it all in a new way. Paraphrasing from The Polar Express, “It doesn’t matter where the train is going. What matters is whether you decide to get on.” I’m on all the way to wherever the Destination is. I hope to see you there.
Is a sharp classic from the Summer colouring groups less sharp than a Winter? Kate Middleton seems to me a sharpish classic. Wearing those styles is when she looks great. I don’t see Diana’s big outward natural energy. Diana always looks big in photos, even thumbnails. Kate looks smaller despite her height, and more contained. I did wonder about a Natural energy but she has so much symmetry.
Symmetry feels formal, I would guess, which is where the Winter stereotype of “formal, ceremonial” must have come from since so many Winters have symmetric features. Most certainly, not all Winters have them. Asymmetry feels informal, which feels livelier (warmer?) and works so well on many Springs. Many Springs have that cheerleader/BFF feeling of Natural body types, but there are plenty of Classic, Romantic, and Gamine Springs. Anyhow, everyone will have a worthy opinion about Kate. Kate is softer than Mrs. Onassis, the image of DC. She wears that hairstyle well. Is it just because she’s young? Michelle Pfeiffer is quite sharp and she’d be a Summer. I really wonder how much Season would influence line within a given body type.
I would also like to know if women have different degrees or tolerances within a group, as they have with colour. Inside our 12 Seasons, we find our best individual expression. Body type must be the same, since we can’t divide all humanity in 10-13 groups within which the advice will apply to each person equally. Every woman expresses her Season her own way, even with the same body type. Like the 12 Seasons, it’s not so much a rigid gospel as a way of bringing some kind of measurable, teachable, reproducible objectivity to our native lines.
Body type analysis is a guide for my Light Summer Soft Natural sister to not default back to her True Autumn Gamine styles, for which we are all grateful. My Dark Autumn Gamine friend finds affirmation and confidence to wear her knit red dress with yellow footprints (I’m not making this up) in her small farm town. Suddenly people see, expect, and love her snapping wit, instead of expecting a TV Mom when she wears more conventional outfits and taking offence at a style of humour that was so big, it took them by surprise.
Back to the clothes, some of these outfits would work for Kate and some may be too masculine. She needs more decoration. Again, is it because she’s young? Softer in the range of DCs? Not Classic at all? Because we’re used to seeing her items that cost 10 times the amounts that I controlled above?
4. How much asymmetry? Not a lot but some is fine. To me, the softer Classic is much more symmetric than this one. I really like the neck and flat pleats of the pinkish dress in 4.
5. How much flare? Bootcut is ok if you can’t find straight leg. The coat up there in 6 is good in the top and in that it flares but doesn’t flounce in the skirt. Worn by a classic body, would it look like two styles fused into one garment? Not sure. Maybe better for a softer classic.
6. If you find black soles on boots – you gotta know when to fold ‘em. Soft Autumn has pretty good darkness and the contrast from boot to sole may increase the overall sharpness.
7. Gray is great on Summers and Autumns, and good at becoming what’s around it. I put in that jacket in the lower L of 6 because the style is good. The gray is too sharp though, better for Dark Autumn or Dark Winter. The color necklace is too soft, too colourful, and too irregular is my guess. It doesn’t belong. I was trying to use colours to take attention away from an imperfect gray. I don’t think this outfit would really work on a Soft Autumn but I wanted to try it. So many good things about Polyvore, the ultimate in comparison shopping and no-limit outfit trial runs.
8. Set 6 is where I experimented. The top R group is probably Soft Summer but I’d try it in a store. A cool Soft Autumn might wear the colours. Is the dress too irregular? IDK but I’d try it for that too; it’s smooth around the face.
How much saturation could Soft Autumn wear? That aqua dress just to the R of the numeral 6, I’d certainly lay the palette on it and see what happens.
The crystal pleat coppery skirt? Again, IDK if it would be wrong on DC, but I like it a lot. A line expert could probably tell you how to wear it.
What watches? There’s a lot of watches? The batteries ran out long ago. Don’t replace them, save money and buy perfume.
A couple of things on my mind lately.
First, body lines and how they matter as much as colour (or almost :)) in a final image.
I send out a newsletter to my clients containing items from the retail world that show the colours of that Season, with talk of how it beautifies that particular group of natural colouring. With every new issue, I worry that women will see it as an endorsement of every item for every person. I feel responsible when I see a tall, stiff body dressed in draping clothes that just look floppy and clingy. I’m thinking that I need a new format. Body line is taken into big consideration when I shop for me. So should it be when I shop for you.
Second thing bugging me a bit. I wrote RTYNC 2 years ago (blue book, right column). There, I began understanding the language of the 12 Seasons (Seasons means types of colouring that humans can be organized into), and how all five senses are invoked in our perception of colour. The problem became that folks tried to fit themselves into those categories instead relying more on a complete and thorough draping process. If you’re a dramatic, intense Light Spring, then you are.
I’d hear, “I was draped as a True Winter but I’m not dramatic, so should I wear Summer colours? Maybe I’m not a Winter?” If you’re a Winter dressing as Summer, you look weak. Many Summers can take a fair bit of saturation, beyond the swatch books probably, but they are not Winters and nor are Winters Summers.
Softer True Winter
I guess my question is, how in the world can one come to terms with feeling, being and acting more like an autumn, but being draped as a True Winter?? I don’t feel like the dramatic that I am supposed to be as a winter. I also have salt & pepper hair, so I feel like I am softer somehow and really wish there was a “soft winter” category. I do feel like with my graying hair, I have a softer look to me and am worried that I will look harsh with stronger make up. What can you suggest for someone like me? Is there anyway to wear softer winter colors without looking completely off? I do wish there were more examples of gray haired winters out there.
Or Google “gray hair women” and see the many fantastic Pinterest collections, like this one.
The minute I or anyone else writes something about the Seasons, it becomes a pigeonhole that gets propagated all over the place. If you find your whole person as you know her, or as anyone else knows her, inside a book, you’re among the rare.
The drama with True Winter is a typecast. I have never seen one where it’s absent, but it’s not obvious. Some are fiercely loyal, will take the car to drive their friend to Emerg if her brother takes sick, stay up all night with the family, and create lots of conflict when you suggest that someone needed that car to get to work. They live in a body like Pink’s and wear off-the-shoulder sweaters and leggings and carry gym bags instead of purses, though they have a penchant for chandelier earrings.
Some are intensely dedicated promoters, requesting that you mail them boxes of your business cards because they’re giving them out like candy. They’re 65 and not interested in theater of any sort, prefer practical clothes and a little gloss and blush only, but they know what they like and don’t mind saying what a person might not want to hear. Winter is very brave. This one has the body of TV Mom. The face looks casual and kind, though the eyes look at things with intensity. She wears pearls and traditional femininity; nice classic suits for the office, small dangle earrings. Black, white, and red together are too bold for her taste.
Some can be very harsh except about their own needs, extreme, and a little revenge oriented. They will do a Beyonce lemon juice fast for a week and eat a whole ice cream cake on Saturday. Their drama is to exaggerate their social behaviour with friends as much as the intensity of their alone time, feeling pulled apart without both. Outward drama is expressed as No Limit eyeliner one day, and no makeup the next. Not interested in jewelry, it’s confining and fussy. Tall, lean, not a single cuddly element, they’re in running shorts or skintight jeans and muscle tanks with a black leather jacket. Wouldn’t wear pink of any sort, might consider purple (which is a type of drama in itself).
Drama gets grouped with flamboyance, exaggeration, and excess, creating fashion synonyms and crossovers that weren’t intended and will only apply to a few people. The word drama can take many forms. For many True Winters, their drama is of distance and silence. The meaning is more about the tension of extremes and absolutes. The drama is the simplicity, rather than turmoil, tragedy, tension, and crisis. Those are more hot-blooded. There may be scenes but they’re quick. When it’s over, it’s over.
Many are not as dramatic looking as the Season has been made out to be. They are not very dark. True Winter is often very medium in appearance, average, regular, everyday faces. Once the drapes go on, their drama is in how absolute the skin’s reactions are to colour. For others, the drama will happen once everyone sees that strong fuchsia-violet lips and cheeks look completely at home and the face is suddenly not plain at all. It’s strong and clean. This is a hard face to describe because it won’t stand out at the mall. Liz Taylor, with the eye colour and delicacy in the face, was more likely a Bright Winter, a colouring that looks more exceptional out and about.
This is where the crossover into Autumn happens, especially in the old days. Dark eyes and hair, and you were a Winter. In both, words like strong, bold, practical, and determined, could apply, so personality quizzes got mixed up. Both can be passive-aggressive. Autumn usually has more compassion and less intensity, but not always. Too much history goes into shaping personality to figure out Season by character.
There is no Soft True Winter in the colour system that I practice. That just basically means True Summer. However, True Winter is not fully saturated. Next to Bright Winter, it looks quite soft, like True Summer in many colours. What this skin cares about more than saturation is coolness.
We need some clarity about the softness you’re looking for. Perhaps the colours are fine and we haven’t quite nailed down the problem yet. Softness can mean many things. In colour, it means dusty. That will set you back. Maybe you need True Winter colour with softer lines, textures, and prints – romance – Angora, cashmere, florals, swirls, and so on. Maybe you need to choose lighter colour and less darkness from the True Winter palette, especially once hair silvers. This is a lovely time to wear the icy lights. True Winter that’s not wearing those is not really being True Winter. They’re being a Dark Something.
Think of the drama more as colour minimalism, which your Autumn-y sensibility will appreciate. You already don’t buy pastels as a was-Autumn. You probably also like style simplicity without much decoration. That said, there are women of every Season who absolutely need high level adornment just to look normal, and so are there women who look better in sleek functionality in every Season.
With silver hair, I would think of wearing more grays than black. Aim for a lighter overall effect. Wear sheer cosmetics and the bold colours away from your face as purses and nail polish. Feel free to drop the saturation a bit but don’t wear pastels, whatever you do.
The floral cardi and pants are allover too dark. Add a light element near the face where it has more impact. Doesn’t have to be equal surface area, we still get it.
Keep distance between colours. Lights next to darks. Avoid too matchy (black shoes with berry dress feels better than all berry).
What feels safe?
Don’t make too many noises about looking great in black and white while out in public. Wear them a lot and add only one other colour. If you look at everyone else, you’ll see that this is plenty dramatic.
Wear lots of gray.
What feels unsafe?
Colour in general? Keep it small and away from the body, like a purse. We still see it as part of you.
Icy colour? Buy a pyjama.
Fuchsia? Buy the next closest colour that feels better.
Metallic and shine? Ditto colour in general (above) or bypass them altogether.
Avant-garde style? Wear traditional. If you like pearls, just be very sure they’re not creamy if they go anywhere near your teeth.
A Gentle Dark Autumn
Writing about this Season thus far has seen words like tribal, equestrian, military, strong, menswear, business. True for some body types.
Here are some more:
Delicious fire, Aztec Chocolate Truffle brown, dark cocoa dusting, melt in your mouth center,
Plush velvet curtain red, you crush it in your hands over and over because it pushes back, sumptuous feeling,
Teal satin, liquid metals dripping off curves, sensual looking,
Whites of liqueurs, Bailey’s Irish Cream,
Cognac and Benedictine yellows and browns, opulent, expensive, reserved for the few,
Dark, hot Espresso, the heart beats faster, involuntary,
Nothing you can do, once it takes hold of your senses, Dark Autumn stimulates,
Until you’re damp, you don’t know Dark Autumn, whose power lies in overwhelming arousal.
Are you panting?
In life, always move towards the heat. Maybe it’s a little scary, but this heat tastes yummy and it feels gooooood. Rich fudge syrup, liquid gold and bronze, the glorious heat of Autumn…
With a bite. Winter’s darkness is less comfy. Chartreuse gets noticed. Chili and diamonds are an uncommon match.
There is nothing dilute about our relationship with these colours. They are not a gentle caress. We love them with intention.
We are most afraid of our light.
You don’t have to be perfect.
A little Soft Autumn (ruffle blouse lower R) will do no harm. It’s still warm-neutral of the right kind of heat (Autumn’s). If people could get their heat level right, that alone makes a gigantic difference in appearance.
Below, not giving up your white pearls? Why should you? You have enough Winter to wear them. Just do the same thing as you do to black -warm it up with the other things you add. If the pearls are creamy, antique, or chocolate, even better.
Wear red (we feel red as warm).I know I’m pushing my luck with the mixed prints in the center. I pick clothes that would impress me all to pieces if they walked in the room.
The gray boot too cool and blue? Sure is. Wear it around the city for a few days, it’ll be fine. If you find a colour nearer to elephant or asphalt gray, excellent. The shoes the model is wearing are fine too.
These Polyvores are not body type specific. It’s not my specialty, and as with colour, even if you’re moderately closer to yourself, you are unbelievably better to look at. Compared to military or tribal, these fabrics drape more, lines are rounder, legs taper (softness and bootcut look odd together to me), and styles are more classic. Still Dark Autumn.
The point is that to create a beautiful, connected, rational, intelligent image with apparel, the lines take their shape from whatever yours are. Just like the colours.
Coming soon, by request, a more dramatic, yet still classic Soft Autumn. Autumn without texture? Summer without softness? Sure.
Still happening. Bright Winters are walking in the door with so much to teach us.
Too light for Bright Winter? too warm? too soft? Why isn’t it shocking? I like it. The pigments are clean. It doesn’t feel like a Light. The shocking part is only one interpretation. There are a million others.
Q: If I’m a Bright Winter, why does half the makeup look terrible on me?
Short A: That’s typical of all 8 Neutral Seasons. Nothing different going on.
Long A: Being a Neutral Season, meaning a blend of a warm and cool parent colour groups in your natural colouring, means that your palette contains warm and cool versions in most every colour family. That in turn is because that’s how the colours in your body are set up.
In a Neutral Season person, the native colours might be very fussy about lightness or darkness, or softness or clearness. The skin says, “You mess with one of those, I’m going to mess with you. ” On the warm to cool issue, the colours say, “A little warmer or cooler, no problem. I’m fine with as long as you don’t drive all over the road. A little right or left of center isn’t a problem. I have a different center line I have to stick to for you to be awesomely beautiful and defined in your clothing, hair, and makeup. A touch warmer or cooler? Fine. Do what you gotta do.”
That’s most people. Nothing is true in everybody. Some Neutral Seasons are as fussy about heat as a True Season is, or almost. Especially Bright Winter because the skin is Spring-delicate but the colour intensity is Winter-big. Touchy combination. The magnitude of Winter’s scale (when it cools, it cools fast and hard; when it darkens, you notice), plus the complexity and high responsiveness of this colouring, and the tolerances are more Yes or No – not unlike everything else Winter.
In clothing, I have never seen the Neutral Season woman who can’t wear her warm and cool colours very well, some more rigorously than others, of course, as we talked about in the previous article, Bright Winter Q and A. We all begin in our 12 Tone or Season palette and adapt it to our particular contrast level, body shape, age, taste, and so on.
That’s clothing we’re talking about. Neutral Seasons look boring if they stick to one edge of their palette, be it warm or cool, regardless of how close to their warm or cool neighbour their colouring sits in the 12 Season cycle. They are far more exciting and interesting if they dress all over their palette.
Cosmetics are different. It’s the rare Neutral Season woman who wears her warm and cool colours equally well in makeup. Most of us have a particular heat level within our palette that seems to work best. It’s less tightly defined with clothes. It is more tightly defined with colours we paint right on our face. The heat level for cosmetics isn’t always related to where our colouring is positioned in our Season or Tone, warmer or cooler, probably because cosmetics mix with skin pigments and are influenced by other aspects of skin chemistry. A bright Dark Winter could wear the same lipstick as a dark Bright Winter. Bite Quince is a great example.
Some Neutral Season colouring is unusual in its high sensitivy to heat level in clothing. Really, in any Season, the average appearances and rules about appearances don’t exist in the real world, certainly not among the Brights. There will always be those in any colouring than sit at the extremes of any parameter. Some Bright Winters tolerate dark colours well, but white not so well, where a little too cool is a lot too ghostly.
Is an analyst going to have 5 white drapes? No, of course not. Especially not white. It’s the hardest analysis colour to make decisions from and the most difficult colour to assign to only one Season’s drape set. How extreme can you make white to have it represent only 1 Season as Test Drapes must do? If the Test Drape white is not your perfect white, your analyst tells you what needs adjusting based on your analysis process, and you go to the store and find THAT white.
Makeup texture is crucially important in the Brights, again because of the big scale and volatile settings in all 3 colour dimensions. On all colouring whose appearance is young and angelic, sheer may be better than matte. On a more dramatic presence, an opaque texture is necessary to support a face that expresses power in the more traditional sense, to balance more imposing eyeliner and blush that in turn balance the architecture of the face.
Lips should balance eyes and hair for the whole head to look balanced. If hair colour or textures are strong and striking, as opposed to clear and gossamer, matte lips can make more sense, though it’s still brightness that really matters. On a strong, mature face with Winter level features – significant hair, arresting eyes, and notable clothing – an invisible mouth too close to skin colour, is, well, it’s old. This kind of face wears matte just fine and is too busy to reapply gloss every half hour.
Bright Winter? Clean pigment, not too warm, small yellow accents, ends very near black, red-toned gray in background (but not blue or mauve grays like pigeon or raincloud). That’s a stunning outfit. Only a Bright Winter could wear that pink in eyeshadow, blush, and gloss – but not every Bright Winter.
Q: In the last article about Bright Winter Q and A, do you think some people are in between Light Summer and Bright Winter in their Season position? Do they look pretty good in both palettes in clothing?
Short A: No. I think nobody is located between True Seasons. True Seasons don’t overlap. Colouring can be located between Neutral Seasons. Bright Winter and Light Summer share some colour properties but their clouds don’t overlap in colour space. Some great analysts might see this otherwise though. Don’t get locked down by my bossy delivery. That’s just how I talk.
Can they share clothes? Depends. Age, taste, safety, degree of fussiness about being perfect. Also how colour perceptive the audience will be.
Long A: Christie Brinkley could be between Reese and Julianna. No real reason for me pointing that out, just a similar kind of colouring and face. She might be neither Light Summer nor Bright Winter. Probably isn’t, in fact.
I said before that Winter is an extension of Summer. You know by now that I say things too broadly just to unstick something in your head that shouldn’t be there. For instance, when I said, “Any Season can have Any hair and eye colour.” It’s mostly true. You can have blue, green, or brown eyes in any Seasons. Now, it won’t be the same blue, green, or brown, but we can’t get into the details until the wrong generalization is out of your head space.
So Winter is more Summer in some ways. OTOH, Autumn and Spring are seriously different. Therefore they belong opposite a circle from each other, with Winter and Summer also opposite. Then the Neutrals can assume their correct positions, or oppositions. Then the heat levels can assume their correct positions, or oppositions.
There are colour analysis systems that go around a clock in the Spring, Winter, Summer, Autumn order. I don’t understand that. For me, I can make more sense of Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter. That makes the neighbours and the opposites more logical in my head. While I respect the work and vision of everyone in our industry because every one has added to our knowledge, placing warm next to warm is in contradiction with the physics of illumination. Warm and cool don’t move into each other, they move away from each other, I believe.
But there is NO Winter person who drapes equally in Summer colour, IMO. You’re one OR the other. When I say Winter is more Summer, I have no smudged line in my head. You’re still on one side or the other side.
To me, there is never a real life person who can’t be put solidly in one. Some great analysts disagree. If I’m the analyst today, a person is either Winter or Summer. There’s no blend. My students don’t leave here without proving this to themselves.
In a TEST situation, you’re either or.
My more specific point was that they can use Light Summer to grow into Bright Winter. In the store, you can wear Light Summer if Bright Winter is too much, and still look a million % better than all the other choices you could have made that day. In the totality of a Light Summer outfit, a Bright Winter item could be the only thing people see under PCA lights. Or vice versa. IRL is different. Our eyes adjust and adapt and compensate all the time.
Coming around to bright colour? Great. Keep a delicate feeling about it. Keep your lights close to white if you’re Winter. Could the flower be Bright Spring? Maybe, hard to tell from photos. If there’s real red, it’s feels closer to Winter. Shocking? Maybe in a cement room.
Q: I wore a perfect Bright Winter lip colour, not too warm or cool. It swatches just right. I took good pictures. All my friends said it was wrong for me. Now you tell me I’m a Bright Winter. How can I wear lipstick that everyone thinks is off?
Short A: They were too absolute, and about a different issue.
Long A: First, if the friends are online and have not been in a room with you, they don’t know because they can’t know. Ever met anyone who was exactly what you expected online? Ever seen a cosmetic that was?
Second, what do you look like? Young woman, young features, and opaque looks like Mom’s makeup. Often much of the palette of colours, in clothing too, is too powerful for young men and women to pull off. It will happen in time. The adult will surface. Eventually, the face will shift from Spring sweet to Winter regal, even though you’re still Bright Winter at 17.
It makes sense to give a hard face a hard lipstick. Give a soft or young face SHEER lipstick, NOT SOFT. Don’t reduce saturation or you’ll move the colour to someone else’s makeup bag. Reduce opacity. Two completely different concepts.
The friends knew they crashed but couldn’t tell into what. The issue was opaqueness, which does look like Mom’s Makeup. The viewer sees that and thinks, “Whoa. Back up. I have no idea where this gun will fire. I’m not getting close and not showing much of myself.” The friends felt that and said, “Can’t be your Season if the lipstick test fails.”
They were just wrong about what’s wrong. The GummiBear version of the exact same colour could be superb. High pigment density in a transparent application is how Bright makeup looks right. Makeup makes sense and belongs on a face when it reflects light in the same way that the skin reflects light (see Best Skin Finish articles, Winter, Summer, Spring, Autumn.)
Opacity and transparency are not ways of measuring colour but they most assuredly influence how we see and feel about it. Would you put house paint on a doll’s lips? Same colour in jellybean, does it feel better? On a Bright, too sheer is ChapStick. There has to be pigment density + pigment purity + transparency of application.
We can’t look at a photo and adjust one parameter of those three and know what it would do to the face, just as we can’t look at two colours of different colour dimension, say saturation, and guess the lighter and darker. Our eyes get mixed up when one thing changes, about the other things. It guesses wrong. Which is why a correct PCA has to find a way to tease the 3 colour dimensions apart and evaluate each one separately. That means exact drape colours and a logic process that sails around these storms, not into them.
Sheer also allows more movement on the warm-cool axis. Sheer makeup is good on anyone making adjustments because our own pigmentation shows through and brings it nearer to us. It’s instant, built-in, foolproof cosmetic colour customization.
There is always part of what looks right to people that’s just taste, same as any art form. And memory, intuition, emotion, and subconscious. We have little control over any of it but they influence our decision-making. Analysts fight their personal feelings about colours all the time to keep it purely objective, part of why a PCA system that measures something is so essential.
A nice picture to break up all the print. Ridiculous how much I can talk. Also lots of Bright Winter going on. Clarity, smoothness, high reflectivity, transparency, and some nice neutral colours for pants and a coat in the background.
Q: If I’m a Bright Winter, why do I look like a child when I wear the clothes? The colours shouldn’t wear me, should they?
Short A: You’ll grow into them and get used to them. It’s normal.
Long A: A young Bright Winter might feel the colours wear him until he’s 30, especially if he’s blonde and blue-eyed. If the family and friends have only seen the sunny rascal face, and that’s how he’s always been treated, and therefore how he sees himself when he looks in the mirror, how can anyone know that the power face is already the bigger part of him, and will get bigger with adulthood? When everyone has seen him as Dennis The Menace, how fast can the room adjust when Beckham on the GQ Cover stands up? Everyone has some catching up to do when Dennis walked in and Chris Pine will be leaving (hey, Pine looks like Hough, Witherspoon, and Brinkley too. Like they could be a family.)
How would you feel if she were your sister and your consciousness of her goes from this to this (scroll down to Out of the Desert), in an afternoon? (these are not necessarily Bright Winter; get the feeling and the lines, not the colours)
When those who always saw Lollipop Bouquet had to adjust to Candy Cane?
And what if Candy Cane suddenly became Grecian vase? Winter is a grown-up. Never underestimate the power, maturity, and seriousness inside even the youngest Winter. Many Winters seem floaty in various ways. Don’t be fooled. They’re not.
My eyes saw the person and, because the skin is quiet and the face is united, bounced immediately to the eyes. And couldn’t move away from the eyes without conscious effort. Perfect. The lips balance the hair and eyes so the whole head looks balanced. Barbie or bubblegum would not be better. I can’t even talk about rust. The face would not come across as it does with less lip. The image would be compromised compared to this one. The same could be said of more lip, especially in the angelic quality of the face. Burgundy would not be better, even her own sugarplum could be a lot. For now. If you’re not wondering what the lip colour in the photo is, you and I have a whole different opinion of beauty. And that’s perfectly OK and normal, probably everyone has different opinions about beauty. It’s YSL Glossy Stain #13.
More importantly, until you’re seen in real life in your true and native colours, nobody really knows what you look like.
Lines won’t assume their correct shape till we see them in their real colour and texture. We don’t know the true shape of a line till we see it in its true and real colour. Carol Tuttle of DYT really saw texture differences well, and closed the circle nicely by describing them and then applying them in apparel.
Under the PCA lights in a gray working environment, we cancel all the surrounding world’s noise, and there’s a lot of it. Then we find the right colours and textures. On every face, with every drape change, we answer questions about:
ONLY THEN do we look at the face and say, “So now. What shape is THAT?”
This is part of how body line assessments get confused. If we see a jaw or nose or facial line that’s fuzzy or distorted by incorrect colour, it makes it harder to find the Kibbe or Type or whatever archetype system we ascribe to. Especially in photos where nobody has spent any time with the real you, and where our eyes must make assumptions.
This is why correct colour analysis takes priority in choosing apparel. First, you know your colours for sure, then figure out your lines, and then your own unique expression.
L. is a recent student whose background is in science. Her work demands that she peel thinking patterns and decision-making processes back to the bone. Of the rigor of the PCA process, she said, and I paraphrase,
What sounds good and feels good might be right but it might not. We need to keep all options open and examine them. As humans, we have a vested interest in an outcome whether we admit it or not. Therefore a correct analysis of anything, colouring, a drug, a patient, requires that we solve a problem in many different ways before making a conclusion that will later support a structure. It’s a cumulative gathering and building of information to arrive at the best decision.
What’s the vested interest? Proving to ourselves that we’re right about what we thought we were right about. Ego’s favourite game.
What’s the structure that will need to be supported? You at the mall, at the makeup counter, in the hair colourist’s chair, in control of your appearance.
Just beautiful. Dark green is the neutral. Love colour as neutral on anyone with Spring. Baby peach is gorgeous on Brights. Faint heat in the center. Symmetric, repeating, balanced (Winter) and out-of-this-world.
To the previous article, Susan asked:
Q: Brights who ‘look’ light, bright and clear; do you mean they look so only in their colours?
A: Depends. Sometimes, wearing muted colour can dull them down substantially. What’s a Summer colour compared to a Winter one? Warmer and duller. And that’s exactly what a Summer white drape does to a Winter face, makes it yellower and fogged in, among other things.
On some Brights in muted colour, they seem to look more bright and not attached to their clothes in some way. Like the two elements are finding the place where they most differ and force it even wider.
Back to TMIT, another broad compromise to help us think about something in a new way. Dark people look good in dark colour. It’s pretty easy, even if it’s not perfect. Dark Winter can manage Dark Autumn or dark Soft and True Summer quite ok. Bright people look normal in bright colour, while the rest of us look a little absurd and taken over by our clothes.
That’s what the colours do to us.
All colour, every idea and any conflict, is a 2-way relationship. Walk around the belief and look at it from the back side. What do we do to the colour?
We could rephrase the above to say that Dark people can take a dark colour and make IT look normal and not so dark. My lipstick is very dark among the 40 choices in that brand. It doesn’t look black on me but it would on most people.
A Bright person can take a bright fabric and make it look normal, just blue, just pink, what’s the big deal? On the rest of us, it settles somewhere along the foolish-neon-toxic spectrum, and more so, the longer it sits on us.
We could say that a Bright person takes a clear colour and makes the clearness look less exaggerated. Maybe that’s the ultimate tolerance. The best belonging. “I’ll take what’s out there and extreme about you and bring it in here with me. We can bring out the best in both of us. Neither one bigger or more the way it would be on someone else. Neither of us lost or less. Instead, and only when we’re together, we are able to make each of us found and more.” Synergy. More than the sum of the parts. Synchrony between our native wavelength and that of what we add. Harmony. The magic word. The magic feeling that colour analyzed people feel and others see.
Many Bright Springs have requested a similar Q&A post. For me, these are not the Q that come up for that colouring. Are they for you? If yes, I’m happy to write about it. If these are not your exact concerns, what exactly do you want to know? What problem are you having? What doesn’t make sense? What are you just putting up with or having to work around all the time? Tell me the exact issue. If one person is wondering, be sure that thousands are.