Hot Weather Colour for Dark Winter

April 2, 2014 by · 8 Comments 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

So why call them Dark?

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

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 One could say that it’s outdated and not self-explanatory.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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

A Dark Autumn asked,

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

 

Some suggestions:

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

A Dark Winter asked,

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Light Colour for DW3

Light Colour for DW3 by christinems featuring diane von furstenberg dresses

 

How much colour?

Up to you.

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

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

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

 

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

 

For The Office

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

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

 

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

 

Spring and Autumn Natural

March 16, 2014 by · 9 Comments 

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

Paraphrasing a reader’s question:

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spring and Autumn Natural

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Equal Energy Colour

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

Let’s put them into True Spring now.

 

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

 

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

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

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

Who wears the dress?

Same exercise with dresses.

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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A PCA Perspective on Matching Foundation

February 27, 2014 by · 10 Comments 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: livinus

Photo: livinus

 

Defining Your PCA Service

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: sumeja

Photo: sumeja

 

Looking Is A Painting. Measuring Is An Analysis.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Big digression complete. We can all exhale.

Photo: michelini

Photo: michelini

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: alba-neag

Photo: alba-neag

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: giulioplay

Photo: giulioplay

 

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

Photo: rosa02

Photo: rosa02

 

—–

Personal Luxury Drapes

January 25, 2014 by · 5 Comments 

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

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

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

Photo: vtorous

Photo: vtorous

 

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

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

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

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

Photo: nkzs

Photo: nkzs

 

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

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

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

Photo: yinney

Photo: yinney

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: Andreius

Photo: Andreius

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

—–

Comparing Light and Bright Spring

January 14, 2014 by · 14 Comments 

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

Photo: Ayla87

Photo: Ayla87

 

and

 

Photo: Alfi007

Photo: Alfi007

 

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?

In general,

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 Light Spring
Mostly Light Spring by christinems featuring embroidered throw pillows

 

Mostly Bright Spring 

Mostly Bright Spring
Mostly Bright Spring by christinems featuring a glass vase

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)

 

Shopping for Bright Spring 2
Shopping for Bright Spring 2 by christinems featuring drop earrings

 

Shopping for Bright Spring
Shopping for Bright Spring by christinems featuring a black skirt

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.

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Finding Best Cosmetic Colours for Your Season

January 5, 2014 by · 9 Comments 

The article , Getting More From Your 12 Tone Swatch Book, talked about the most effective way that I know of matching the colours in your palette. (Edit – about the link not working, very sorry, I fixed it twice and it’s working on my machine but nobody else’s. Here is a new link. Also the link to paste into your browser: http://12blueprints.com/getting-more-from-your-12-tone-swatch-book/)

Terry discovered it. Together, I think we’ve made it into an absolute art form, still recognizing that there may yet be a better way.

Your palette or swatch book is a diagram of the colours in your body separated individually. It’s the board the artist dipped her paintbrush in when she filled in the lines of the sculpture of you. Which is a beautiful concept, IMO.

In the same way that, when I look at you, I don’t see only your eyes or only your mouth, neither do I see only your blues or only your reds. I see everything all at once. Your pinks are not stronger than your greens. When the swatch book is fanned out, no colour is more prominent or more vanishing. Our attention is divided equally.

Looking at a painting with a more prominent colour block – that colour grabs our attention and won’t let go; that block seems to get bigger in our awareness. Black is not slimming on everyone.

Great makeup elevates the composition of your face like it’s been there from the start. Each colour enhances the woman and the rest of the makeup. Wonderful blush intensifies eye colour. Lipstick clears dullness out of skin. Foundation alone should strengthen eye colour. Eyeshadow and lipstick are beautiful together.

When I see you wearing a blouse, I see all of you in that blouse, all the colours in you together with the blouse, hopefully bringing out the best and most in each other. I don’t see only your purples matching the purple of the blouse. Trying to match a blue blouse to one blue dot or square of the swatch book will make a less-than-best choice most of the time.

For one thing, our eyes are not that good at matching colours from single, small samples. Our brains are not good at all at recalling colour accurately. We think we’re good at both but the fact is, we’re not.

Besides, we have many more colours than what’s in those books. iPods came along so you didn’t have to carry around 30,000 CDs. Until we get you the iPod version of your palette, you need a way to figure out all those other colours that either didn’t fit into the swatch book for lack of space or would have looked too similar to other colours to tell apart.

Secondly, the Season concept is holistic. It’s all of you at the same time. Not the blues in this shirt on Tuesday and the reds in your lips on Saturday. All the colours in your swatch book are together for a reason. The Reason for the Season is You.

The reason is your DNA. Applying colour theory to the measurement of human colouring results in 65 connected colours, just as your blues and your reds are strongly united in you by genetic inheritance. What begins our genes and the pigments they code, carries through until we’re dressed and painted.  As the visual manifestation of our DNA, we send out energy signals that others translate as beauty and harmony.

When you match a blouse to your swatch book, match the whole swatch book. That’s how we’re going to be looking at you in the shirt. Lay the open book on the shirt. Does one drain energy? Are they even? The  matching article linked at the beginnning outlines the rest.

The lipstick below next to the swatch book. How does it feel? Because that’s exactly how it’s going to feel on the face that contains those colours.

Cosmetic match 1

 

Cosmetics, like clothes, should be matched to the entire palette. Our eyes can’t match single swatches to cosmetics accurately. Between any 2 or 3 Seasons, there may be colours that appear similar if viewed individually.

They’re not similar when comparing the entire Seasons. If I transplanted a peachy orange from a Bright Winter swatch book into a Light Spring book, where there are many peachy pinks, I guarantee you’d see it. It would be the only thing you’d see, in the Light Spring book and on the Light Spring face.

Matching makeup to the whole palette works for eyeliner, mascara, bronzer, anything. I think it’s easier than matching clothing. It’s not just me, student analysts pick it up very fast and can place any cosmetic colour within a single Season. In our last analyst training course, a student had swatched one of those “lipsticks that match every woman”. We found that it matched nobody.

Smear or draw a fairly thick application on white paper in about a 2×2 inch area. Use more than you’d ever apply to the face. If a colour is right, it will belong perfectly on the face.

Hold the swatch book alongside the makeup. Anchor the bottom page with one hand. With the other hand, flip through book slowly, opening it up enough that you can see all the swatches. Watch from the side.

Cosmetic match 2

 

Do the makeup and swatches have your attention equally?

Are you looking at one more? If  yes, you will be IRL too.

Go even slower when you come to the most similar shades. Do they belong together? Are they truly beautiful, surprisingly so, even inspiring somehow, making you want to pause and look a little longer?

In analyst training situations, we are learning to place a colour in one Season so that analysts can recommend beautiful makeup to their clients. As always always always in colour analysis, you never cancel one till you have a Better-than. Once you think you have the best choice, be sure you’ve compared it to its neighbour Seasons. A colour analyst is always comparing. As Terry has said, “Compare everything to everything.”

The matching images in this article are all with Bright Winter. To make your decisions, you’d have to try Bright Spring for sure. And then you’d say, “Fine, but I don’t own a Bright Spring swatch book.” You don’t really have to unless you’re a colour analyst. If you’re a Bright Winter woman, you only have to decide if you would wear this lipstick, not who would wear it better. I do believe that owning the swatch books for one’s neighbour Seasons can be very valuable, just to have something to compare with.

Whether the identical colour is there or not is irrelevant, as it is with matching clothing, as it is with my drapes. That’s paying attention to the wrong thing. Back up. Bird’s eye view. Telescope not microscope. How does the whole thing look as one composition?

Cosmetic Match 3

 

This is Cover Girl 415 Siren with a Bright Winter swatch book (original Sci/ART). Here’s my read of this colour for this type of natural colouring:

  • Feels fine. This woman (the swatch book) could wear this colour nicely.
  • The pigment purity is good. The lipstick doesn’t look faded or dingy on this face. The dots are not overwhelming the lipstick. Neither are the dots looking weaker, where the only thing we’d see is the lipstick on this face.
  • The lipstick is a bit warmer (yellower) than the dots but that’s not necessarily bad. The type of heat is consistent with this palette. It’s pretty good with the center red dot. I like the blues with this lipstick. (The colours in these photos have been adjusted slightly.)
  • I would like this lip colour with these colour elements in a print.

Rachel, a recent student whom you’ll meet formally very soon, noticed recently at this line of lipstick holds its colour and saturation when swatched extremely well. Many brands fade and become truly muted. Do they do that on a face? I’m not sure but I’d bet yes to some extent. Another thing to make note of when you swatch on paper, especially if you’re a high saturation Season, and especially a Bright where colour purity is paramount. Does the colour look the same in 3 hours as when you first drew it?

Notice the PinIt button in the lower photo. My new obsession. If anyone uses the button, please do LMK if it doesn’t work. I’m just figuring this out.

My excellent web support, Rick, is adding a detail showing latest Pins in the right sidebar.

If you have a look at the Seasons And Styles board, you can see items chosen  for their colouring and receive direction from Rachel about which sculptures (Style Types) wear the designs most beautifully. Feel free to ask questions. You can be as impressed with how very smart and knowledgeable Rachel is as I am.


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A Sharper Classic Soft Autumn

December 28, 2013 by · 4 Comments 

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.

Classic Soft Autumn 1
Classic Soft Autumn 1 by christinems featuring swarovski crystal jewelry

 

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.

 

 

Classic Soft Autumn 2
Classic Soft Autumn 2 by christinems featuring L.K.Bennett

 

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.

 

Classic Soft Autumn 3
Classic Soft Autumn 3 by christinems featuring turtleneck tops

 

The Line

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.

 

Classic Soft Autumn 4
Classic Soft Autumn 4 by christinems featuring platform sandals

 

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.

 

Classic Soft Autumn 5
Classic Soft Autumn 5 by christinems featuring ivanka trump pumps

 

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).

 

Classic Soft Autumn 6
Classic Soft Autumn 6 by christinems featuring Elie Tahari

 

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.

 

—–

 

2 Extremes of Bright Winter

November 15, 2013 by · 44 Comments 

1. When you can’t be anything else

In his very famous Stanford Commencement address of 2005, Steve Jobs says that your heart and intuition always know what’s best for you. I believe that to be 150% correct. That is, if you can connect with them before judgment arrives. Once judgment settles in, it’s over. No more right or truth can happen. We’re stalled in a character that has reverted to a less mature form.

I watch this video quite often for the reminders.

 

 

I began seeing Jennifer for facials two years ago. Before too long, a pattern emerged. Before starting the car, I’d sit in her driveway for 10 minutes writing down all the things she said about how to think (and not think) towards what I want my life to be like.

I’ll experiment with any advice, from Deepak Chopra to Alan Weiss. A woman I adore suggested a Vision Board, among my present projects. Fascinating to me that I wasn’t sure how to make one effectively, so send along your good resources. Experiments tend to work or not pretty fast.

From Visit 1 with Jen, I supervised my mindset according to her guidance and my life direction began to materialize faster. Presently, I’m reading The Power of Framing by Gail Fairhurst, in which she discusses priming the pump of our subconscious so that we can have rehearsed situations for our best reaction as they happen, not a day later. To describe in left-brain language what Jennifer’s guidance does, it would be that.

She listens to me talk for about 60 seconds, evaporates all the irrelevance, and extracts the highest calling. She can link me to my greatest good and the situation to its best outcome near immediately. If her words don’t make sense at the time, I wait 48 hours. Once it took 2 weeks to get the “So that’s what you meant.” light bulb moment.

Sometimes, we begin with a card reading (not Tarot or Zodiac) to give us something to talk around. The results of the four cards I choose are always freakishly related to one another and to new directions that are opening up or something I’m worried about. They might be a confirmation. They might feel uncomfortable and I start with the excuses, but I’ve learned that sooner I stop talking and start listening, sooner things arrive. She can get me out of my own way faster than anything I’ve ever encountered.

Jen1

 

As with colour, we sabotage ourselves in so many ways until someone who sees us clearly says,  ”This is your colouring. This heat, this darkness range, this softness.” Until the physio says, “Stop hiking your right shoulder and your left hip won’t hurt.” Until an intuitive person says, “Stop right there, that’s a judgment and I hear you apply it every time you bring up that situation”.

Jen taught me how to meditate. The usual ways were boring. I can pay attention to 2.5 breaths max. She said, “Try listening for the most far away noise you can hear.” That was fantastic. You know your eyes and brain relax when you look far away? This is exactly the same. It also creates a big, empty, open space between you and the place you’re listening in.

This is not the usual psychic “you have sorrow in your life” or “money is coming to you” reading. Jen’s readings are clearly “you gotta give something to get something and here’s what you gotta give.” When I leave, I have the jobs for the month. My jobs are the ways that I will hold and transform my thoughts. If I’m willing to do it, change is willing to come.

This isn’t only in person. She’ll do readings just by hearing you talk. She’s at Cloud 313. Below, she describes the difference between psychic and soul readings:

Regular psychic readings are more likely to tell you what is coming to you in the near future, which will be based on the vibrational energy & thoughts you have been sending out into the universe. Soul sessions/readings are geared more towards me tuning in to your soul, retrieving and interpreting information on the level of soul. When we “hear” the truth from our higher intuition it resonates perfectly with us on every level – we can instantly FEEL a change physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. We can use this information to begin to practice new ways of being, allowing us to be easily joyful, confident and loving in all our moments as we move forth towards our soul’s true purpose. Our soul does not require us to analyze our past, present or future meaning. We do not need to focus on our darkest secrets or fears.

 

She looks quite amazing, not a face you see often or a presence you feel often. You probably have no idea what personality she has. Well, she’s completely down-to-earth and very direct. She enjoys colour but feels most grounded wearing black (oddly, that’s when I feel most tethered – which is the same as grounded, come to think of it). Her house contains more shades of red than any other colour. No question, she had the priestess presence of Zyla’s Soft Winter. Winter that she is, she is completely and unquestioningly internally guided. She will wear black exclusively. That’s her way to be Bright Winter. It’s a success story.

Jen2

 

Jennifer had to be a Bright Winter. This mixture of faith and trust that normally resides naturally in children, people who have complete faith in magic because they see it all around them, takes a form in adult bodies. Material magic is in the Bright Season neck of the woods.

I expected her to feel all sorts of energy things during her PCA. No. She was a model for a colour analyst training course, probably the fastest student-directed PCA ever done. Jen flicked away all the other colours like pesky spirits trapped in a middle world to confuse humans. We all saw that every other choice was so far behind that we could barely recognize its presence. Even True Winter was, “Yeah, whatever, get that one off, put the other colour back.”

 

Variations on the Bright Winter Theme

I have said: “Add Spring’s wonderful humour to Winter’s formality in jewelry that sparkles, belts that are crayon-coloured and shiny, or imaginative hair accessories.”

Bright Winter colouring often reminds us of storybook characters, Snow White being the most familiar. That Katy Perry face, the child in a grown-up body, will follow that advice.

Nothing is for everyone.

Every woman expresses her colours in her own way.

She’s not always Sweet Queen. Sometimes she’s another type of queen. She might be the person that is bigger than life, big, strong, and flamboyant, a super heroine. She will wear the big, bold, bright colours in large areas easily. Pucci designs in prints. Platinum rings that look like silver lava. Shiny zippers and buckles make sense on her. They express a truth about her. They are a rational continuation of her energy. I think of Sci\ART Lauren Battistini of Color My Closet in Houston.

When the image is more mysterious, as the fortune-teller, she enjoys Winter’s ability to wear dark drama like no other colouring can. Try the dignified version in huge eyes and crystal clear-as-glass details (transparent buttons, lip gloss) to convey consummate clarity. These words, divine everlasting infinite immortal omniscient omnipotent. Wear a Zodiac medallion (eternity) on a violet (higher realms, highest Chakra) cord.

The character might be even darker, sensuous and mysterious. Morticia Addams has been suggested. Yes, like that. She was extreme, but still stunning, like a slinky and more dangerous Jessica Rabbit, pale as the most seductive apparition. Subtle, snaky wit and fierce loyalty describes most Winters I know. Morticia radiated power – perhaps that’s the part we’re not ready for.

It was she who said,

You have enslaved him. You have placed Fester under some strange sexual spell. I respect that.

and

Our credo: “Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc.” We gladly feast on those who would subdue us. Not just pretty words.

Winter is the gorgeous Goth, oxymoronic somehow. Some do it so well that their beauty is shocking, as deadly as Morticia. Friends and family may be uncomfortable because it’s just so believable, such a good extension of you, that you seem to be in costume when you’re not. They’re not sure what to think.

If you want to tone it down, wear the hair differently from Morticia, maybe in a sexy secret agent loose bun or a sporty teenager messy bun. Move the hair up, or add shorter, face-framing layers, or add bangs. Avoid black. Add sparkle here and there. Wear a very subtle complexion warming product like Givenchy Croisiere 1, Spring’s pale peach gold, adjusted to be invisible on your skin and set your makeup too. Wear peach-red gloss and blush, not blue-red.

Some folks don’t really remind of any character. I think of Nikki Bogardus of My Color Rx. And some don’t embody a story character but they certainly have some of those properties – a stunning and beautiful profile and impossibly long fingers that move like feathers, highly theatrical and romantic at once.

Jen is another expression of Bright Winter, quite beyond the naivete of Snow White. Design = Colour + Line. Fully half of a PCA session is concerned with the lines. This colouring can be painted into lines that are very adult, with a far-reaching wisdom, fully grown and ripe with experience, if you see where I’m going. Wear red. Wear velvet. Have a hairstyle that’s luscious. Where does supernatural meet sumptuous, as it does in Jennifer? Rhinestone. Black, but not industrial. Black, but not diesel black or office chair black, those are all Dark Winter.  How do we make black yummy? Beading. Shine. Swirl effects. Lace. Big hair. A darkly luscious Marilyn Monroe.

You understand that I get carried away with words, right? And the image gets bigger than life because it’s fun to see where things will go. Don’t picture a red velvet leotard and a push up bra. Just saying, there are way more kinds of great women in the world than Sweet&Sunny.

Step into your own power. You saw that happen in our mirror when we analyzed your colouring. In Sweet&Sunny or Soft&Dreamy colours, you were literally not there. We couldn’t see you. You were not in the room. Be who you came here to be.

You can convey these pictures with one tiny item. It takes barely anything for the viewer to make a connection. Mary Kay Crystalline eyeshadow highlight, pure as the driven snow, and a mouth-watering accessory, a shiny pomegranate juice wallet. Voila. Not a high wire act.

 

2. When you wish you were anything else

The tough love section. And please believe me when I tell you that I do love you. For every one of you who is feeling exposed, who is trying something new, who can’t find that hiding place when it was right there yesterday, I have nothing but love and respect for what you’re trying to do.

When your colouring was analyzed, your conscious and subconscious minds got a wake up call they didn’t see coming. I get it.  I was it.

CS1

 

I could have stayed there. Nothing bad would have happened. There is no pretty or ugly. There is no wrong or right. My face is not the same colour as my arms. You can see my Dad but my features are less focused. I know, you can see that for yourself.

Once we see a new way of thinking, we can choose to absorb it or reject it. Our call.  Walk away from it if your heart and intuition say N.O.W.A.Y.

I looked at the Winter makeup and saw a clown. I could see nothing else. And being a Winter, I’m always right. Just ask me. Others might be right but I’m more right. I got compliments the first day, but No, Sir, That Is Not Me.

On the other hand, winters are hard on themselves and they are smart. Winters are good at living at the rules they set for others. They can separate emotion from the problem or the job. So do the job. It’s a sweater. Buy it cheap. If you were the analyst back then and I had been your client, what would you have said to me? Try it for a month. I did. Took me 5 days and then it couldn’t come fast enough. 4 years later, it’s still coming and it will for you too.

You do not have to be perfect. I know, words lost on Winters.

While you’re separating things, separate colours from styles. Every body type, fashion preference, weight issue or non-issue, age, and comfort zone exists in every type of colouring.

 

A reader:

I was convinced I was a summer, maybe a soft summer.  I had been analyzed as a summer in the past, and advised never to wear gold jewelry.  I like foggy, misty colors.  Pretty much my entire wardrobe is muted blues, violets, & greens, plus black & gray, which I thought complemented my gray (once ash blonde) hair & blue eyes. I’m not arguing with [the] evaluation — I agreed with her that my complexion evened out and livened up with the BW drapes —  but I don’t like bright colors!  Especially red. Reds and pinks make me queasy.   Just looking at my BW color fan makes my head hurt. What to do?  How to embrace an identity of Bright Winter and supposedly present my best self, when the only thing from your BW wisdom that resonates with me is a fondness for tailored, glamorous, nearly formal clothing?

Me:

Part of this is my fault. In describing these colours as highly pure and energized so you could distinguish them on a scale of every possible colour including the other Winters, people heard NEON and felt like STROBE.

Textile colour exceeds human saturation. You’re picturing an extreme and you’ve painted it head to toe.

In What It Takes To Look Normal, we talked about how strawberry red doesn’t look bling on you, it just looks like medium red. I’m not sure how many more tips I can come up with.

The best advice really is to try it for a little while.

Reader:

“Well, you have to start. Do it for a month” is that in my case I’d have to throw out and replace just about everything I own —  and everyone seems to agree that BW is hard to shop for!

Me:

That’s a Winter’s world. Be perfect or do nothing. Why is perfect necessary? Can we put it on hold for a year?

Everyone who learned their colouring replaced everything they own over about 2 years. It’s important to NOT throw anything out. Those items will be how you evaluate progress and make comparisons.

And “everyone” will only be as accurate as “everyone” ever is, which is to say barely. If you listened to “everyone” about other things in your life, you’d know what you did when you were 16 and heard the “everyone” voice for the first time. Live your own experience. Make one move. Wear one sparkling bracelet with one charm on it that has meaning to you and gives you energy. Your little intention that you will open your heart.

There is definitely a bright winter stereotype of vaudeville costumes. I’ve had a role in perpetuating that, probably a big role. The irony is that this is the only coloring that doesn’t look like a silver bullet in these colors.

We’re saying to choose pure pigmentation, nothing more.  Dressing as The Flash isn’t the plan.

The colours looked brighter under the PCA lights. Those are seriously honest lights. They need to be. Same with O.R. lighting. The surgeon has to see the earliest signs of changes in colour of tissues. Some professions have brutal lighting but you wouldn’t want it any other way.

Regular lighting is indirect and bounces off all sorts of objects, which is why close enough is often good enough in foundation. Our brain adjusts a lot, like all the white we think we see that a painter would not paint white. We don’t need accuracy to survive so we didn’t evolve to see it on our own. To survive and reproduce, all evolution really cares about, we need to draw accurate information from our surroundings, which we do by being less absolute. We make correct approximations. Not good enough for a colour analyst.

If you love heathery colours, wear them. My teenagers get along splendidly well wearing what they like. If this is a good plan for you, PCA can save you money even here by suggesting you not buy anything too costly. The clearness of Bright Winter colouring will drain other colours, reducing them into a tired old item that’s been washed a lot. There is no way I know to make those colours interesting on you, if they get noticed at all. Put your cash someplace else.

Biggest part of helping someone is teaching them to help themselves.

Biggest part of helping yourself is answering this: What are you willing to do?

Let’s break it into steps. You decide if you’re willing.

 

Action Plans

1. Do nothing for a month. Not one thing. Let the whole PCA sit on the highest shelf in the pantry. Leave it there. If your Season grows legs and moves in the night or starts making chirping sounds and bugs you enough, doing something will become the path of least resistance. For now, your best decision is to stay where you are.

Action step: Give this (and your analyst) a chance. Change will be unsettling. The iChing said

“Before the beginning of great brilliance, there must be chaos.”

Deepak said something similar in the 7 Spiritual Laws of Success. I read one daily. Today, try #2 in the Law of Detachment.

 

2. Choices. You can choose to look for every reason why it won’t work. Dog trainers experience this day in, day out. My dog is different and not one of your 40 ideas will work. At the end of the day, the trainer’s hands are tied. Keep the dog you have. You made it be the way it is so part of you is already OK with that. Dogs and owners train each other, the dogs doing the massive majority of it.

Action step: Start small. Buy a wallet or nail polish. We still see it as part of you. Wear a sparkly something. I favour these at Macy’s. Simple, symmetrical, repeating, balanced, all good Winter words.

MCY

 

3. Don’t wear the makeup. Or any makeup. Half of women don’t and wouldn’t and don’t care.

Many women wouldn’t have a PCA at all simply because makeup is uncomfortable. Many wouldn’t be trained as analysts only because they’re uncertain about applying makeup on themselves, let alone others.  Sell who you are. Women will think, “Someone like me. I’ll be comfortable with her.”

Many who would bring so much to this career hold back. They worry that they don’t wear makeup and won’t fit into an image industry. Think there’s no market sector that doesn’t wear makeup and still wants to look great? Lord.

Action step: Do it as a group. If I’m writing an article, I’ve gathered from the many emails that the audience must be wide. Here’s another market sector to open up. The New Bright Winter Support Group. Many reading this have figured out this colouring. They could offer the most valuable kind of help. What did you do? How did you think about it? How long did it take to get comfortable? What’s still hard and how are you managing it? Of the advice out there, what do you just ignore? Do you have a vision you’re moving towards in your choices?

 

4. Two sessions. If you live near the analyst and you know makeup is a problem, ask ahead if you can split the visit in two parts. PCA first, makeup in 2 months. Every analyst should be offering some kind of progress visit after a few months. If you’re hitting the brakes as we get to the end of the analysis, the makeup will go in one ear and out the other. You’ll be processing a thousand things and wanting to get out of there. If you want to sit in your car and weep, you should be free to go do that.

But don’t turn yourself into a victim, ay? In your life, you’ve gotten lots of advice you didn’t take. This can be the same. Here’s a Bright Winter thing: emotional vulnerability on a giant scale. Spring’s emotion and sweet optimism mixed with Winter where everything happens on a grand scale, and drama soon becomes melodrama. The emotional vulnerability is laid out over and over only to have it shot down.  Hopelessness sets in. Rein all that back in. Get out of your life. Look down at yourself from a balcony.

Action step: Winter excels at big perspectives. Go there. “Instead of finding everything about my appearance that I don’t like, I guess I better find the things about me that I do like and notice those for a while. Have I being systematically brainwashing myself over the years? OK, so I can’t unlearn everything as fast as my PCA experience did, but I can take it slow and re-examine a lot of things.”

Energy flows along behind attention. Get conscious about where you’re putting yours because you are literally telling yourself the story of your life. From the balcony, what is the story of your life? “She is going to…”

 

5. Let’s try out some voices. See if you can recognize yours. There is no wrong or right.

 Christine was right when she said that it’s easy to see the changes. I understand her writing better now but I like my clothes and I’m going to keep them. Interesting experience but I probably won’t do much with it.

 

 I might try those colors but the people in my life won’t like me wearing them. When I told Christine that, she looked at me funny and said, “Who gives a shit?” but that’s just Christine and she’s kind of hard. She must have felt really strongly about this topic because it was the only time she swore.  She said, “Stop abdicating your power and decide for yourself how you wear your hair and what clothes you choose. Let someone else control the little things, and while you were distracted, poof!, they’re controlling your big things.” Whatever. Might work for her but I care what my husband thinks and I want to look good for him. Good thing her husband is a True Winter, they probably deserve each other, imagine living in that house.

 

Okie dokie, something is going to have to change. I could see that in Summer colors, I looked like I was being prepped for surgery. In Autumn colors, my skin and eyes reflected light like a farm pickup truck that hasn’t seen rain in a month. I had pea soup skin. The lighter Springs weren’t so bad, but I looked like a horse that has its winter coat. Puffed. No sleek planes and angles. Wider and duller. Am I really going to spend the next 40 years of my life in clothes that tell other people that I’m not really here because I’m nervous about the color of a sweater? My 90 year-old self would kick my butt around the block.

 

I know that to get anywhere in life, you have to know where you start. PCA gave me that. I got handed my Owner’s Manual, or a chapter of it. I get to decide where and how to drive the car.

Now I need to picture where I’m going. A start place and a going towards place. Two points define a line. I now understand the space from here to there. It know it will get clearer once I start because that’s how life always works.

Action step: Celebrate that you can wear black quite well. Do you know what others would give? I mightn’t advise that you wear a turtleneck of it. Black is a little rough on Bright Winter, even though you’re a Winter. A colour that’s too cold and dark will need adjusting and it’s hard to make sunlit black.

A colour that’s too cold, even if the saturation and darkness levels are Bright Winter, will cause blue shadows and need adjusting, even though you’re a Winter. Some of my drapes might do that if you’re a little warmer than they are, though both you and they reside under the Bright Winter umbrella. That’s a common happening in Bright Winter colouring, male and female. Every human can’t hope to be equally represented in every way when there are only 12 categories.

Let’s be real. Every Winter will have black pants while they’re trying to figure stuff out (if they didn’t before) and so they should. Their colours go well with black.

 

6. Start with colours you already like. Periwinkle and turquoise are usually easy.

Move towards purer pigmentation. That’s all it is. Go top to bottom.

 

Soft to Clear Purple
Soft to Clear Purple by christinems featuring Ralph Lauren Black Label

 

7. You like soft colours. You already like gray. Wear more. Rely heavily on neutral colours.

Action step: Little adjustments the next time you buy pants or decide which pants to keep.

The Winter lineup on the bottom.

Winter gray is made of black and white. Might look a touch blue or red.

Pink and purple gray are not so good. A red gray like the cords on the right side is better.

Blue gray is ok too if it’s close to white. Rainclouds and pigeon medium-blue-gray won’t be the best choice you can  make.

Winter white pants are good.

Trade soft blue for more blue, 3rd from left.

The top center pants are not bad at all. They’re just very dark. I like dark clean gray better than black but it’s very dependent on the person. Some Bright Winters have beige hair and wear black exceptionally well, no problems of any sort even in a turtleneck.

 

Soft and Clear Gray Pants
Soft and Clear Gray Pants by christinems featuring a navy trousers

 

8. Forget about contrast. Revisit it in a few months.

Action step: I’m going to build me an outfit on the internet.

Learn Polyvore. Learning your Season is much like learning software. You Google and YouTube about it. In the end, you figure it out by messing with it, getting some stuff wrong, remembering what worked, setting up new maps in your head till they are easy and automatic.

On the internet, it’s free. As many times as I need.

My pants are going to be gray. Already own those. I’m going to wear a light peach colored sweater. Peach is hardly ballistic. The wool will soften the look and the colours. I might go for mint too. Today, I give myself permission to buy anything I want. The only deal is, I can’t pick anything I would normally buy.

I’m going to wear a white blouse under it. Easy and pretty. I’m not even going to think about shiny fabric for a year.

Maybe it’s Christmas. I’m going to pin one sweet little Jingle Bell to my cardigan as a brooch. Maybe a sparkly angel. No other jewelry. Actually that doesn’t sound very hard.

Christine asked me to do her one favour. I can hear her voice. “Please, don’t buy a brown or black purse. Please. Anything else. Pick crystal gray. Doesn’t have to be fuchsia sequins. Just not functional.”

I hid the big colour inside a purse.  That allover purple purse, we’ll just put it up there in the corner, top shelf of the pantry.

Saw some jewelry I had to have.

If I saw this on another woman, I can admit that I wouldn’t brace myself.

 

Easing into Bright Winter
Easing into Bright Winter by christinems featuring charm jewelry

 

 

At first, I got many Soft Summer clients. I know what the lesson was. Learn from them to be a nicer version of yourself.

Lately, it’s Bright Winter. I still cannot figure out the lesson so we’ll be here for awhile.

—–

 

 

 

City Looks for The 3 Summers

November 6, 2013 by · 17 Comments 

Having just returned from a week in my native city (Montreal), I’m reminded of how much more grunge/tough-chic urban dwellers are compared to me. I live in the exact center of a clump of trees which grow in the exact center of 90 acres of corn.

The anonymity of city living may explain in part why all the grey and black. Perhaps also the multisensory assault and the need for some quiet somehow. Imagine if everyone were very colourful, or if they all had different coloured coats. It would be too much to take in. I don’t feel it in the small town where I live, but I sure love visiting cities. Montreal is a brilliant city with lots of character. Where you buy  a screwdriver is beyond me. It’s all restaurants and bars.

I’m a Dark Winter in colouring. If human colouring were divided into 12 groups, or Seasons, mine would come from the Winter palette of jewel tones. To that, you’d add a few drops of crude oil to darken, dull, and warm slightly. The dull black of crude oil is what happens when Autumn’s deep rich gold mixes with sapphire and ruby. Picture the difference between the matte Batman black (Dark Winter) and the bluer and shinier vinyl record (True Winter).

For Dark Winter colouring, industrial/combat looks almost fall together. Though this won’t apply to all body types, the functionality, simplicity, toughness, masculinity all ring pretty true. I’m not a fan of all black but here, you have white, darker than usual blush (eleablake Accomplished, MAC Fever, this is no rosy cheek look), lipstick, and a ring the colour of blood. The lipstick is sheerly dark because this a natural/young/minimal look (Merle Norman Stolen Kisses).

 

City Look Dark Winter
City Look Dark Winter by christinems featuring la mer jewelry

 

Muscle tends to be easy for the 3 Autumn types of colouring, who do a cargo/military version. And Heaven knows if there are great boots for them to choose from.

It seems hardest to put this together for Spring. The heavy use of neutral colours always feels too drab on Spring, on whom I find colour is a better neutral than the traditional gray range. Even in their own grays, the excitement isn’t quite there. I still can’t visualize a Spring version that makes sense. I struggle with the toughness as well for True and Bright. Still, it just takes some adjusting. More colour, less metal and leather.

What about a Summer? Overall, this colouring is great in neutral colours and monochromatics. Some Light Summers are surprisingly edgy and G.I. Jane. They know it too but in trying to express it in Winter colours, the whole thing can come off too butch. Below, some adaptations.

Soft Summer

Should be easy, she has the same relative darkness, dullness, and texture to True Summer as Dark Winter to True Winter.

She’ll do less distance between lightest and darkest, looks way better on Summer colouring.

Ombre and fade effects are nowhere better.

Wear the bracelets on the same hand.

Could do a mascara version of soft black for the boot.

Equestrian boot are too glamourous and Uggs make us walk too shuffly and mushy.

Denim is so ubiquitous that we barely register its colour unless it’s pretty saturated.

You can’t see the model in the Tshirt because she’s unlikely to be a Soft Summer so she’s disappearing.

Don’t buy the makeup on the Polyvore, I haven’t swatched any of it.

Anybody but especially the boy-body nerd > messenger bag.

 

City Look Soft Summer
City Look Soft Summer by christinems featuring beaded jewelry

 

 

True Summer

Amazing in her teals.

Those earrings are lakes.

The eyeshadow is matte.

Anybody but especially the field hockey player > backpack or hobo.

True Summer is such a clean-water Season, it’s hard to make it look messy.

 

City Look for True Summer
City Look for True Summer by christinems featuring a leather belt

 

Light Summer

Cate Blanchett on the other side of the subway platform. With this wicked good haircut. In this clothing, I’d stare shamelessly.

But without the high-class natural makeup. There’s something too wholesome or healthy about it. I kept peach out of the blush and lip.

Eyeliner is important and you need one that allows you to wear a lot without closing down the eye size. Our makeup should be as much as us, not more. And not less, personal taste depending of course.

I’m completely attracted to biker jackets. Engineer boots too.

Bracelets on the same hand. Warm and cool together are good on Neutral Seasons.

The belt is bubbles.

She has double piercings in her ears.

The Spring in her makes her great in tye-dye. I picked watercolours of galaxy earrings today.

The blue beanie, because marled wools look terrific, because blue disappears on Summers, like a non-colour so it doesn’t really add another colour block.

Purse too saturated? Yup. Coat too something else? Probably. As if a woman wearing this is going to pass up a great purse because it colours outside the lines. Where we do and don’t draw our lines makes us more interesting.

 

City Look Light Summer
City Look Light Summer by christinems featuring a knit hat

 

Personal Shopper + Colour Analyst = VALUE

Shopping takes hours of planning and thinking. Which I enjoy more than I can say but seldom have the time. I know you don’t believe this, but many people have way more money than time. I meet them all the time. I get links to Theory suits and Burberry trenches to advise about, shopping bags full of Cle De Peau makeup to sort through, and offers of all-expense paid travel if I’ll go analyze colouring and take on the shopping thereafter.

Believe this too. It’s not because I’m good at it. All I have is the ability to choose colours that flatter because I can  measure the person’s colouring, i.e.: I know their Season. That alone sets me apart from all the other stylists. I work from airport waiting lounges, Starbucks, shopping malls, wherever and whenever, with nothing but an iPad.

Sound like your path? Consider training as a colour analyst. Fashion advice without the ability to analyze colouring accurately will be like Hollywood, trendy and unpredictable. If you love shopping and can analyze colouring, you are a different commodity, higher in the value chain, even at the celebrity level.

 

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The Dress Spot

September 27, 2013 by · 15 Comments 

Picture this: a search engine for your colour palette!

I believe that we are most beautiful when we wear the colours we already are. Knowing the precise colours of our own pigmentation, all the reds, greens, blues, yellows, and so on, that we were painted with is what a Personal Colour Analysis provides. Wearing the hues of your very own colouring really does make your life better than if you wear the colours that I am, or some other person, or both of us at once. You look better and you feel better  to us when we look at you.

I want to solve the problems in PCA. One of them is that the user experience needs improving. Finding our colours in clothing should be far easier and faster than it is. No wonder so many people are stuck in black. It’s right there on all the racks. Locating one’s colours, let alone putting an outfit together, takes way, way too long.

If consumers had more available choice, they could make the colour decisions that they know are best for them. This would put some dollar pressure on the fashion industry to provide us with yet more of our colours. We would return less. We’d be happier. Win-win.

I’ve learned that giving a man or woman a swatch book containing their most exceptional colours and hoping they’ll find them at the mall or online is not enough. Part of the fix is education. Time is taken with clients, and even more time with students training to be colour analysts, to learn to harmonize solid and printed coloured fabrics to each Season. The public needs some teaching in how to do this.

The other part of the fix is making items easier to find. The Internet’s power is in its search capacities, most of which are free. The Internet should be working for you, not the other way around. The Internet itself should go around the web for you finding your accurate colours. That capacity to search is already in place.

I send clients newsletters containing items in their colours, with some discussion about why that garment would enhance them so well. This takes me hours and hours. If it’s May, I barely search for Dark Winter, it’s just so hard to find.

Enter Jeremy, the technology member of the team at The Dress Spot. When he got married two years ago, he couldn’t believe how hard it was for his fiancée to find slate blue bridesmaid dresses with capped sleeves. Right there with you, Jeremy. My friends and I are looking for 60 to 65 colours all the time.

He describes his passion as solving consumers’ issues with technology. The Dress Spot is dedicated to connecting your colours with real-world clothing quickly and accurately. Image analysis is used to determine an item’s true colour as exactly as possible. There are great filters for colours, design features, retailers, and price.

The colour filters are the most thrilling. Open the window linked above. See the colour fan at the upper left? Click it and watch it open up. Now click on one of the colour words across the top. This is about when I started getting excited and thinking “Finally. Finally.”

I picked a very bright green. No solid colour choices. I was offered 6 alternative choices! Looked at the choices, picked a Soft Autumn-looking brown. My choices were green-based, a colour which many Autumn browns contain, because the original colour was green. Found this dress. I mean, this is just lovely. Took me less than 5 seconds.

 Nordstrom_51b8cf900e9ed-1

The dress is here at Nordstrom.

 

The colours are as accurate as possible. Comparisons are easy. The site is free.

What about Polyvore – a great, great site that we know and use a lot? It’s so gigantic that it’s difficult to actually buy from, and not highly colour-selective. Since fashion is based on crowd direction, the beauty of that community is in the sets that members can create.

 

I asked Jeremy 4 Q:

1. The alternative choices were impressive. How does the software pick alternatives? Does it keep to a certain hue and give options along the saturation axis? In the alternatives, value seems to remain pretty constant.

Jeremy: It simply moves to a closest color in the HSL space that has a dense pocket of in-stock dresses.  So it will often keep the Value consistent and shift hues or lightness slightly.  Usually one or the other, not both.  I wouldn’t say it necessarily stays within the Season.

2. Once an item is sold out at the retailer, how does your site manage it?

J: We update our inventory twice a day to ensure that nothing is ever more than a few hours from live data.  Additionally, most dresses on our site are sold by larger retailers who don’t go in and out of stock with any volatility.  They’re pretty slow to go out of stock.  I’d estimate at least 98% of our inventory is current at all times.  We drop retailers who don’t update their inventory status frequently enough for our quality standard.

3. What about prints, of which I see a few, and solids?

J: Right now we support ‘multi-color’ vs. ‘solid’ (which you can toggle with the ‘multi-color’ checkbox under the other filters on the left).  Multi-color basically means anything that isn’t a solid color.  Things like stripe and specific pattern filters are new technology we’ll be rolling out in the next few months.

4. Wedding?

J: We have many formal dresses from Nordstrom et. al, but we’ll be adding Dessy (a leading bridesmaid dress manufacturer) next week and hopefully David’s Bridal soon (again, for their bridesmaid dresses).  Bridal gowns, on the other hand, will likely not be included for a while.  Bridal gown designers are particular about their dresses’ distribution and have strict agreements with their chosen distributors/retailers.  That industry is very non-digital.

 

My suggestion was professional wear. I asked Jeremy if he foresaw a site that could analyze the colours of a skirt, and suggest shoes and a blouse based only on the colour matching skill of the software, skills that this site appears to already have in place anyhow. He said, “Hmm. That’s interesting.” Good start, ay? :)

Here’s a question for you, dear readers: What’s your most frustrating part of finding clothing in your palette colours? If your brother were a coding genius on sabbatical, looking for something to do, with no limits on what he could design, what kind of colour shopping app would you ask him to build?

If you played with the site, what impressed you or didn’t work so well? If you had Jeremy’s job, what’s the first thing you’d do?

Someone might say, “Could my Season colours be coded in specifically and grouped together?” I agree! It is high time you had access to that. I am so happy to tell you that it’s in the works.

You are a hugely intelligent and creative group. Please do help to shape The Dress Spot into a tool kit that is expressive of how consumers like yourself, with exact knowledge of their own colouring, could benefit even better from the online clothing purchase experience.

 

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