I’ve written about “How To Match Foundation” before, here.
I watched this video and and thought about how it might apply to PCA.
By far, this is the best foundation matching video I have seen. From a colour analyst’s perspective, I agree with so much of what Lisa says.
1. The skin on your entire body is united. Your genetics did not put a different melanin, carotene, or hemoglobin in your hands than your back. The overtones in the face or hands or feet may be different from the rest of the body, but the undertone will not be.
2. The skin contains many colors, reds, greens, blues, and yellows.
3. I fully agree with the importance of self-knowledge, but some types of self-knowledge are nearly impossible to access on your own. You can’t know your red blood cell level without measuring it. You can’t know which foundation matches your skin best without measuring it, meaning comparing several different shades together at the same time. Comparison is a form of measurement that delivers greater than and less than data.
As Lisa says, the apparent skin colour is different for different parts of the face and body. And yet, all of our skin is united in its undertone. Terry wrote about this recently in her article, “What Is Under My Overtone?”
You can’t know your undertone without measuring it. These things are part of our internal biology, extremely difficult to evaluate simply by external observation because they don’t sit on the surface.
Many women have concerns about facial skin texture, areas of uneven pigmentation, rosacea, suntans, and so on. They have asked whether any of these compromise the result of the colour analysis, or if we should be working from neck or chest skin that is more even. The answer is no if the analysis process is analyzing to your undertone, not your overtone.
Warning: BIG digression coming up. It fits into todays’ context and many others.
Defining Your PCA Service
In the last article, some folks heard arrogance from me at the idea that what we think we see is not real.
There is no judgment here. I am not pointing out wrong or right. I truly apologize if it sounded that way. If you spoke to me, you’d know that I’m not 100% sure that my way is right. I’m always pulling back from that line because I have unanswered questions about PCA myself, Sci\ART system included. In life, there is no 100% wrong or 100% right. There is only lifelong growth. If you’re waiting for 100% locked down forever, you’ll wait a long time.
I do not want anyone to be uncomfortable. All I want is for your clients to be happy with you and my clients to be happy with me. The present situation, full of doubt and misunderstanding, is not good for any of us. Wouldn’t our industry be healthier if clients knew what they were getting and could just enjoy the results? The present situation is keeping us all stuck in the 80s. Feelings are being hurt and business is not progressing. Someone is going to have get brave and talk openly and fairly. If we, analysts and clients both, don’t put our hands out to steady the wheel, all we’ll ever be is skidding around on black ice.
Every industry exists to serve the public. People have a desire, a need, and a right to know what they’re buying. You don’t have to agree with how I do an analysis. The point is not to get the public quizzing analysts and making everyone bananas including themselves. The point is to have everyone define how they do things and why. The public can then make an informed choice. The analyst gets the right clients for what they offer. Expectations are satisfied or exceeded.
Isn’t this better than the way it is now, where Personal Colour Analysis implies that we’re doing the same thing and nobody’s ever happy and calm? Why wouldn’t an analyst want her clients to know how she can help them? Why would you, as an analyst, want your business lumped with mine in the public mind, when I cannot offer a client what you can? Businesses define themselves all the time without taking offence or hearing criticism. It’s normal, not harsh or unfair.
If I define my business, what I do and why I do it, it is not to say others are wrong. It is to create a space for everyone else to do the same thing. I get that the transition from One-Exercise-For-All to Yoga/Intervals/Step/Weights/Pilates/Core/Running/Bosu/P90X was frustrating, but I believe that someone has to lay out a path for each version can grow and improve, released from the constraints of the pack.
We could distinguish PCA services. They are totally different from beginning to end, though various mixtures have evolved to get the consumer really mixed up. There seem to be two broad categories.
Systems A to D have their colour palettes. The colours for each group are chosen for looking good and belonging together according to that person or company’s taste.
If draping is involved, which drape goes into which Season was decided because it looked right.
As well as judging swatches and drapes for Seasons because they look right, so is the client’s colouring observed on its own, by how it looks. A – D observes the surface person, believing that, “You truly are what you look like you are today.”
This is one definition of PCA and its desired outcome. A – D have a good argument on side. After all, we are judged on how we appear to look. If you believe in this method, the clients who agree want to know so they can find you. They will be unhappy and confused with my approach, which involves measuring palettes, drapes, and clients by multiple comparisons at every step. On your web page, define what you do and why you believe in doing it that way. Since I don’t understand that way, I cannot do justice to your business. I’d be lucky to match a paint chip from a choice of 100 similar colours, never mind isolate it from a face.
Only you can market and promote your business. I am not tearing anyone down, I am simply defining my business. If my approach sounds flawed to you, I would be first to read about why. Teach me something. That’s what I really want. Convince me of how I could improve. I’ll send you a free book to express my gratitude.
Here’s how it all looks to me: Systems J – M say, “I’m not so sure. First of all, my colouring looks different in every outfit, hair colour, and room lighting. Second, I know that humans are not good at knowing what a colour is on its own, let alone when many colours are mixed together, like in a face or in skin. As soon as colours touch, they change. Thirdly, our colours just can’t be expressed in the top layers of skin, or not only there. It makes no sense. I mean, why is my face is different from my hand from my belly? I need to bark up another tree if I’m going to find the right foundation.”
J – M then say, “Even if all my body parts were all the same colour, who knows the exact colours in skin? Look at ten people with their hair covered and their eyes closed and tell me the exact reds, greens, blues, and yellows in their skin tone.”
J – M stew some more and add, “One other thing. I think it all goes a bit deeper. The impression of our appearance is formed by many brain areas, not just a 2-dimensional top layer snapshot. Something else is going on here. Believe it or not, human surface skin is see-through to human eyes. Seems to me that that’s where the real information is.” While some human beings are better at eyeballing colours than others, and one does get better with practice, the fact is that in general, we are not consistently good at it. You have to compare them to something unless you’re able to literally measure their wavelength.
J – M say the surface is not enough information, it’s different for different body areas, and it is influenced by everything around it. If you gauge foundation to the colour you think you see on the surface, even if you pick the right section of surface, you could easily get the colour incorrect. There has to be another way.
Services J - M look through and beneath the surface at the undertone, thus removing the errors the overtone brings in. This group take the “You are not what you look like you are.” approach.
Well, anyone who has spent 10 minutes on an online colour site knows that the Sci\ART-based systems fit in with J – M but they don’t do things at all the same. Some don’t use the gray surrounding. There is lots of variability in how Better and Worse decisions are made. Some don’t use test drapes. Some take 30 minutes to know your Season, some take 1.5 hours. There is conflict about the meaning and appearance of harmony. Numerous Sci\ART- based analysts practice very close to how Systems A – D do things, by what looks right, with their own reasons for doing so. Not wrong, but different for sure. Too different to match.
None of this is a secret. It ain’t a perfect world. The public thinks we’re all doing the same thing because we stemmed from Sci\ART. This is not the case. It explains why I took down the Sci/ART Analyst Directory. I do not presume to speak for Australia, but in North America, the Sci\ART system has been re-interpreted so many times at this point that the name should go out of usage except historically. Let all analysts stand alone according to their practice, which they explain on their websites. Refer back to differences with me if you like, I’d be fine with it. Take down all the Sci\ART Certified banners. The public will stop expecting the same product. For my students, so that the public can expect the same product, the process isn’t up for negotiation. Discussion, sure. Do I think I can control everyone forever? No, just as Kathryn couldn’t. I can only separate myself from them in a public way.
Looking Is A Painting. Measuring Is An Analysis.
If we render what we see, that’s a beautiful painting. Change your clothes, hair colour, and the time of day, it’s a different beautiful painting.
I have nothing against beautiful paintings. A group of interesting colours that depict a version of me would be awesome. I would really love to have this. There are people who work in this way, with extraordinary taste and fascinating colour perception. I would love 1000 of these renditions. Each one is a version of how we are seen through the eyes of others. That stuff is absolute magic.
But that wasn’t why I had my colouring analyzed. I wanted to know what to buy every day for the me that’s always the same. Different question, different purpose and approach, different outcome. I wanted a functional wardrobe.
The consumer needs to identify what they want. It is their job to decide and to stick by their decision. Perhaps they could do their job better if they could understand that they are not investing in the same product. Both great products, but not equivalent. I know colour analysts who feel these are or should be comparable products. I disagree and advise the public to stop trying find a relationship between them. There isn’t one that will redeem the time you took to figure it out.
Here’s why I use my product: My issue with looking: I can’t get it to work every single day, with many outfits and makeup that is always right on my face.
I meet greenish-gray-eyed Summers that were decorated far too warmly. Her hair is too orange, her clothes are too warm, so the skin turned yellower. It could all go together if we just give her yellower foundation and took time to blend, except that her clothes and eyes create combinations that are unappealing. Therein lies Problem #1, even if we can change our skin, we always wear our eye colour. The colours in eyes repeat the colours in skin, though skin has many more. They’re never different. Nature never colours anybody discordantly. Do your swatches look good with your eyes? Even True Winter and True Summer can easily have lots of yellow in the eyes, lots, but it will be that green-yellow match from their measured palette.
In too-warm clothes or foundation, she could think she has a healthy-looking tan. In reality, her eye colours have dulled and the lip outline erased. Feature definition is the biggest part of looking young (good article linked further down). It’s massively important to decisions others make about us. Me, I’d want an analyst who could talk about that, Sci\ART based or not. Problem #2: too warm colour flattens feature definition. This includes too-yellow foundation. Besides, a healthy glow doesn’t come about from yellow foundation or a yellow overtone from too warm clothing (not discussing self-tanner on faces here). It comes from wearing clothing and blush that elevate the colour of our natural circulation and from correct use of bronzer.
I meet many brown-eyed, freckled Winter blends who have been observed into Autumn colours. Nobody would decorate a room combining Winter and Autumn colours. This is not an attractive match. Our eye and clothing colours are seen together and there’s not a thing we can do about it (not discussing coloured contacts here), as is the undertone because human eyes can see through human surface skin. A Winter’s skin colours are not gorgeous next to Autumn cosmetics. A Winter using elephant gray and chocolate brown as the neutral backbone of her wardrobe is not making her best choices. The wardrobe won’t work with her makeup or jewelry. Problem #3: from you to your palette, there has to be a functional and appealing wardrobe of clothing and cosmetics if that is what you were investing in.
I believe that we are not what we appear to be in a million different ways. My purpose is to place you more organically and energetically into your colour palette, on the same wavelength as all of your clothes and makeup, in the colours that you really are as determined by calibrated measurement. Why use the word energetic? Because I believe humans feel energy as wavelength very well if they let themselves. Now the discussion is getting too deep. I direct you two articles back to Can True Beauty Be Diminished? if you feel like wading into the Universal Energy swamp. You can always find me there.
Big digression complete. We can all exhale.
4. The area of the face that Lisa matches to foundation makes sense to me. I like to use the lower jaw and drag it down onto the backside of the neck, for the same reasons as she does. I also test five or six different stripes side-by-side. With colour, comparison is the only way to tell what works and what doesn’t. I would insist on that and never buy foundation from a single test. I meet way more cool and cool-neutral people than warm or warm-neutral. The foundation range out there is way the opposite, not counting all the peachy coloured product that looks like real skin colour under department store light and like candy in daylight.
5. Wear a neutral gray and tie your hair to choose the colour. Deciding your Season or your foundation by looking requires the consultant to take what they think they see, and make more. If what they think they see is correct, great. Some cosmetic consultants are pretty darn good judges of true colouring.
If you went shopping as one of the many Dark Winters who look yellow because of their clothing or surroundings, the only thing that happens is that the error gets magnified. The consultant will make more of what you’re not. Could most makeup consultants explain how to correctly distinguish and identify undertone from overtone, or just define the terms?
6. As Lisa says, once you have a colour that unites the face and the neck, meaning the right foundation for your undertone, the entire face, neck, and chest will blend together. It is the very rare person who needs to adjust foundation to match the neck because they are so disparate in the overtones.
Begin by getting the heat level of any product correct. Heat level is determined by undertone. It is amazing what difference that alone will make.
After that, choose the darkness level, which is determined by under- and over-tone.
After that, be sure the heat type is correct for the skin. Most companies over-warm all their foundations, including those marked Cool. To complicate things further, they use Spring’s pigmentation to do so. Not easy to find a great Autumn foundation.
Imagine being a Caucasian Dark Winter – the difficulty of finding cool colour and Autumn type heat and Winter level lightness. Wearing wrong colour clothing to the appointment makes the job near impossible.
7. Often women come to a PCA appointment with correctors of various sorts. Once she is wearing her correct clothing colours, she has forgotten all about them. There is nothing that correctors would do or could do that foundation alone has not already done unless there is a particular issue like a birthmark, and even those are diminished greatly by wearing correct colours.
8. I talked above about the importance of defined features for looking younger. This article does a beautiful job of discussing it. Kathryn Kalisz wrote about it in her analyst guide. This is not new information for colour analysts that I dreamed up out of the blue. People say I invented things and changed Sci\ART-based colour analysis. No, I did not. If anything, Terry and I altered the original process the least of everyone, and remain unconvinced to do so. I did notice a few things independent of other things and described them with a new set of words. Maybe folks did not recognize them.
In your correct colours, features are most defined in colour and in shape. It really matters.
Defined in colour… Though they have a place, I am not a fan of nude lips on most types of coloring, particularly when hair or eye colors are intense, or the person is over 35 or 40. It doesn’t have nearly as much excitement on Lisa herself. Why pick the more exciting face? Because why pick the more boring face.
Defined in shape…How does feature definition look young? Because the opposite…think of an eroded statue, an eroded landscape. Signifies wear and tear.
Lately, I am wondering if maturing skin is an overtone change too. The surface layers appear grayer, possibly because we contain less water. In the undertone layers, we test mature women in every single Season, and I bet the very same Season as when they were younger. Many Darks, many Brights. For overtone practitioners, that surface grayness plus silvering hair is the reason they get put into Summer Seasons. Except their edges and colours disappear. No judgment here but I don’t see the visual as being so good. Eroded edges are fuzzy. Looks like blur. Side by side, which of these would look younger?
Stronger? Healthier? Newer? The focused ones or the others?
Numerous requests have arrived to offer the Luxury Drapes as single Season sets for clients who have enjoyed a 12 Season Sci\ART-based Personal Colour Analysis. I am very happy to do this.
Do you know which drapes I mean? Once we knew your Season with the Test Drapes (took about an hour, hour and a half? with me or Terry (my excellent trainer, always my teacher, we work as a team on the drape colour selections)), but before we removed the fabulous gray scarf that you wanted to take home and wear forever but I wouldn’t give you
we took a separate set of drapes out of another tub. These Luxury Drapes were heavy and kept slipping off. I began by reminding you “Don’t think of them as 15 turtlenecks.” We turned the pages and talked about how you wear your colours. Once your makeup was on and the scarf off, we looked at these drapes once again. In some cases, if we weren’t sure about your Season, we might have compared them with another set, choosing a blue and a blue, or comparing colours that were extremes for the two Seasons.
There’s great value in having an experienced colour analyst (two of us, in fact!) translate your swatches to their manifestation in fabric. Once you see how 15 of your colours are interpreted in various textiles, it’s far easier to extrapolate the other 40 to 50 colours in your colour palette.
The drapes will be the full 18″ x 34″ size that are in the analyst sets, grommetted, stamped, and tagged, exactly as the analysts are using.
Full sized drapes, rather than napkin-sized pieces or smaller squares, are my preference by far. You just gotta have enough colour. As with cosmetics, if the colour’s right, you can wear any amount of it. A small sample doesn’t challenge our colouring enough to show us that it will adopt or reject a colour. It won’t bring out all the possible good or enough surefire evidence that’s it not good. The large size allows you to reach the drape fully round your shoulders to get the most colour effect.
You are buying these fabrics to visualize harmony with your colours and features, and also to imagine a wardrobe and the interactions among its colours. The large size ensures that you have sufficient fabric to make outfits. The blocks will be big enough to demonstrate what equivalent energy means. More colour makes it far easier to decide whether a colour can take part in a relationship, or will be not enough or too much. When Terry and I are challenged with a certain colour’s Season, we lay out the Luxury Drapes with the mystery item in the chain. If it doesn’t belong, you can spot it right away.
You will enjoy watching the two-way energizing effect of true colour harmony. Lay your fanned out swatch book palette on the drape fabrics. Notice that each every colour is very vibrant, in focus, and the fabric underneath is also the most it can be. These two things bring out the best in each other. Understand this better by placing your swatch book on items in your house, furnishings or other clothing. Pay attention to the swatch colours and to the colour underneath. Begin with an item that you know is far from your own colours. Notice that the palette lacks the colour energy and vitality that it has on your drapes, or the opposite, that the palette is dominating the background colours, as if it were separating or sitting far above it. What is happening to the palette is happening to your face. Every item you buy should cause every swatch of the palette to be as strong, and strengthened equally, as it is on your drapes.
Analysts already have white, yellow, green, blue, and red in the Test Drapes. The Luxury Drapes contain colours that we don’t test with (purple, for instance), beautiful versions of colours we do test with (more greens, reds, and so on), and more versions of colours that are spectacular on that particular colouring (turquoise and shine on Springs).
Test colours are somewhat proprietary and won’t be included. However, I do feel that you should have your white in your Personal Luxury Drapes. One colour will be substituted for white in these sets (unless you indicate otherwise). If there’s a certain colour that you’re having trouble with, say Summer yellow, I’m happy to substitute that as well.
At this time, I have a fairly large fabric inventory. Limiting myself to only 15 colours per set for the analysts can be a struggle. I want everyone to have every colour. You are welcome to request as many colours as I have (price below). You are also welcome to request certain types of colours (reds, level of shine, hair or cosmetic colours, neutrals, your black or alternative), if I have that material. Once a set has been purchased, adding to it in the future is too complicated to describe. Best to buy everything you might want the first time.
A personalized letter accompanies the purchase. It outlines the information held by the drapes and how to make use of them to guide your purchases, with situations that might arise for each Season. For example, the Neutral Season drapes will contain the warm and cool versions of most colours.
The precise fan colours are not necessarily represented and they don’t need to be. Maybe it’s better that they’re not, to give you a sense of the Season’s borders in colour space, often wider than what the literal interpretation of the swatch books suggests. Remember that you have a thousand colours that are not in those fans. The drapes can teach you to select any colour that can harmonize with your Season.
I am excited to make this vital aspect of a working colour analyst’s tool kit available for you. The more ways you see your colours, the better you understand, recognize, and use them. There’s nothing I want more.
To support the colour analysts, it is only right that they purchase the drapes at a lower cost than their clients.
Retail price for a set of 15 full sized drapes is CDN $465 ($31 per drape), therefore 15% more than for analysts.
For Canadians, the 13% HST is added for a total of CDN $525.45.
Drapes must ship from Canada. Residents of other countries do not pay the HST. I cannot say what duties or taxes are required in your country.
Only one Season’s set will be sold to an individual.
Other colour analysis systems use different colour collections in their Seasons. I don’t want our palettes to create conflict in their clients’ process or practice. In your inquiry to me about the drapes, please mention which Sci\ART analyst you saw for your PCA. This purchase is not refundable so do feel very certain that the answer is correct and you feel good with it.
If you would like to purchase your Personal Luxury Drapes, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Great Q from readers,
1. Obviously Light and Bright Spring share the same parent Season, but I wondered how Summer/ Winter manifest their influence on the palettes and on the people?
The Light Spring palette contains a Summer touch, which alters the True Spring colours by doing what Summer does … it cools, softens, and lightens them.
Under the wave of Winter’s wand, Bright Spring is overall darker and goes to a much darker endpoint (the lightest to darkest range is very wide, getting close but not fully to pure white and black), and is strongly pigmented. Its heat level is the same as Light-Spring, meaning on the warm edge of neutral, where neutral is halfway between warm and cool.
I can see you there reading, thinking, “Yes, yes, I know all that. But how much does Summer cool, soften, and lighten True Spring?”
It’s impossible to describe verbally and is best understood by seeing it. You can see some pretty good approximations by searching ‘Season palettes’ on Pinterest, my new favourite hangout. I bring my iPad to bed. I’m like Harry Potter under the covers with his magic wand long after he should have been asleep. Scanning those pictures to add to the two boards, Shopping for Your Season&Style and RealWoman Sex appeal, is addictive. Social media, ay? Once you find the right one, it owns you. Rachel, whom you’ll meet formally soon, is to personal line and shape analysis what I have been to personal colour analysis. We contribute to each item pinned from both perspectives. Very cool information, very cool way to shop.
The blue book over on the right, RTYNC, contains 28-colour layouts (also pretty good approximations) of the 12 groups to give you a sense of the jump in the colour dimensions from one group to the next. It also contains a lot more verbal description and analogy if you learn better that way.
How does Summer manifest in a Light Spring person? Even harder to nail down. The person does not usually have sharpness, which might mean in features (Julie Andrews’ nose and teeth) or character. See the woman wearing the pink dress in Polyvore 4? Could look about like that, though happier expression.
But where’s the line? What would you call sharp? Is teasing sharp because Lights have that? They can certainly have pointed chins, eyes, and teeth.
2. How do Summer and Winter’s presence come across in Bright Spring people?
Summer tends to create a person who is more aware and concerned of how others think and feel, but not always. Summer has great decency. In Winter, there may be less concern with saying what others want to hear and more emphasis on fairness, and that is decent too.
We could say that Summer contributes a pleasant, well-mannered character. Sounds watered down. Light Spring is by no means dilute. The person may be very talkative or quite spunky (as opposed to determined, more Autumn), which come in with Spring. That said, a Summer can talk, oh boy, as they work through ideas. They have plenty strong intentions, especially when they feel honour (not quite the same as Winter’s pride) lays in the balance.
As they learn the draping process, students are shown how to deliberately seek out the effects of the 4 True Seasons’ colours in the client’s face. Later, as the drape colours become more specific and the presence of certain Seasons may be much smaller, they remember those effects from the coarser level and can come back now and apply them on a finer scale. In the story that follows, how would Winter and Summer manifest in a person on a much finer scale (since, in 12 Season PCA, Light and Bright Spring contain a small amount of Summer and Winter, respectively – how small? Different in everyone. Some Light Springs have a lot of Summer, some much more Spring.)
Summer and Winter visit their friend, Dara*. Dara is trying a new Style in her clothing choices. Her husband, Ted*, has a successful sign-making business and they just built a new house. Winter sees the house and Dara’s clothes. She thinks, “Yeah, it’s a nice house. I might try those kinds of curtains. I’m not so sure of my Style type. I think I have more Yin and need rounder lines and more decoration. I’m being too minimalistic.” Winter goes home. She thinks and thinks and searches and thinks and studies pictures and makes her mother look at a thousand images on her phone (which the mother thinks all look the same but no way is she about to say so). Next time you see her, she’s added a silver chain. Had to take off the earrings and bracelet though, they were too much. Her clothes are about the same. You ask about her visit to Dara, “Her house is very nice. What else can I say? It’s her house, got nothing to do with me. I was impressed with her new clothing styles. She’s right about herself. I’m evolving my own style.” And you sit there thinking, “Is this a trick question?”
Summer calls you the day after the visit. “Dara’s house is so beautiful. She looked great, she always does. I hope she’ll be very happy there. Didn’t you feel so sad for her? (Winter is thinking, “Is this a trick question?”) Deep down, she despises that house. (Summer’s eyes are all big and round and teary, and she puts lots of feeling behind her words, especially despises.) Dara doesn’t enjoy it, she wishes they were back in the old house. All she can feel is Ted’s business taking him away from her all the time to pay for it. I’m just baking her some banana bread for the kids and taking her out to lunch later today.”
How does Winter manifest in Bright Spring? They hold themselves a little apart. Their feeling about the world and their place in it is more controlled. When Summer and you have a conversation, she’s nodding. She can hear how you feel. Winter is moving very little, conserving emotional output. Summer is using her hands. She is out of herself , thinking about she relates to you. She sent you the testimonials you asked for within a week of getting home :). From Winter, you’ll be waiting. She got home, went back right into own her head, and will think of you in terms of how you relate to her.
3. I heard the palettes are similar – do you see Light Spring as a lighter version of Bright at all?
They’re similar but just lightening Bright Spring won’t get you Light. Maybe fading Bright might do so with some complement and lightening it with some white. Light Spring is creamy, which gives it a frosted glass haze or milky glow that Bright Spring absolutely wouldn’t have. The Bright Spring windshield is crystal clear and the pigment concentration is dialed way up.
It’s like the difference between
Both warm-neutral to warm. The Bright (bottom) has icy colours. Light (top) doesn’t approach white. Note that neither image represents the whole palette nor what is possible with it.
4. Could they theoretically borrow any colours (even though this isn’t the best option)?
I’m glad that you asked this good question. I feel that I often answer Q wearing one of two hats and how are people expected to know which is on when?
You know how you fan out any swatch book and no colour is more or less than any other? Your attention is equally divided when the fan is opened up. They have equal visual energy. If you moved one of those Light Spring flowers into the Bright Spring bouquet, even if the colours were all pinks, it would get a little lost. You’d ignore it more. If that were the blouse, worn with a Bright Spring skirt, you’d be looking at the skirt.
If you lifted the butterfly onto the Light bouquet, it would be hard to see anything else. As when a Light wears a Bright’s lipstick. When palettes have a lot in common, as Light and Bright Spring, some colours will work well enough but others will be too prominent. The pinks might be quite comfortable and belonging but the yellows will jump out at you.
Wearing the first hat: In a theory situation, as the question states, such as during the training course, the answer is no. We learn how to place any colour, clothing, cosmetic, or any person, into one Season. The Q is, “Which 1 of the 12?”
#2 hat is worn when advising a woman shopping. She is using the system in another way. The only question she needs to work out is, “Me or Not Me?”
Each application is equally important. First, we learn the rules of the road and the driving laws. As drivers, we take shortcuts with a subconscious sense of where and when. The woman who understands her colour palette can discern which shortcuts are safe and logical and which will be unsuccessful. She’ll have a few fender benders along the way but at least she’s behind the wheel of her own car, taking herself where she decides to go.
Say you’re the woman shopping. Working through the compromises of the retail world might open up 5 more questions,
- How close in colour is good enough? What kind of person am I on this subject?
- How fast do I need to buy this item?
- Am I spending $50 or $500?
- Are the lines of the item so exceptional for me that I’m not passing it up on a little colour issue that will make hardly any difference. You can see examples of this on the Shopping for Your Style and Season board at Pinterest. (the link at the bottom of the R column on this page may take you there, but the website is having a mini nervous breakdown about weekly till it’s upgraded. The link is here too.)
- Do I think the colour might be Light Spring and I know I’m a Bright but I think it looks great in this composition?
- Is this an item that really could fit well into several Seasons, even according to uptight analysts like Christine? When I look at the Shopping for Your Season and Style board at Pinterest, most items are good in two or more groups. She must be wearing #2 hat. (You’re so right. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter. PCA is a life-transforming tool, like a driver’s license or a computer. I want that for you. Being too rigid means missing too many fantastic clothes.) In both hats, jewelry and makeup are definitely mobile in most cases. Many clothes too, if they’re not right up under the face or are in small real estate. Not every element needs to be perfect for the whole thing to harmonize very nicely. In many paintings, prints, and ensembles, the other colours help create the belonging.
Mostly Light Spring
Mostly Bright Spring
5. Some of the warm pinks/apricots look similar – how do I know if I’m looking at Light or Bright Spring when choosing these colours?
You can think colour correctness to death and still get it wrong. I do. We all have to compare it to something. You can compare it to anything, a cosmetic, another item of clothing, a painting, a cushion.
Women who own their own Luxury Drapes (or a closet that is colour accurate) can place the item among the good colours and see if it holds its own, is more, or not enough. They’re full-sized drapes so it’s easy to see colours balance and energize. The article about those drapes is being moved to its own post, it will reappear soon.
Because these 2 colour groups share so much, to choose between them will require forcing the extreme that the other won’t tolerate. Light Spring’s muting will be Bright Spring biggest complaint, while Light Spring will ricochet back the other way when she sees the darkness of Bright. So compare to black. It’s dark and saturated. The booties on the bottom next to the perfume – the peach must be Winter influenced to be energetically equal to white and black. The yellow jacket, the same. There’s enough peach in the peach and yellow in the yellow to balance a lightness extreme (white) and a darkness and saturation one (black). These may be Bright Winter outfits because the white and black are not in Bright Spring colours, but they’re useful to judge the balance.
Some colours matter more than others. The peach coat (lower image) might be a little weak but it’s workable. Gray is good at becoming what’s around it. Jeans adapt pretty well if their darkness level is the same as the overall for that Season and they’re just blue. Red and green are less cooperative. Sometimes, it depends on the viewer. Some people are very sensitive to yellow. I am to orange. These colours are either right or not right, but there’s not much you can do about that.
How about the coral dress that appears in both layouts? Where is it energetically more even in the composition? Compare it to the bouquets as well. Is it perfect in either? Is it workable in one, both, or none?
Light Spring was looking all dreamy and holiday till I inserted that green purse. Is that item helping the nice feelings or is it taking over? Is everything around it washed out and falling back? That’s what a Light Spring woman looks like wearing Bright colours. She fades and drops – or, looks older and tired, like the Light Spring clothes next to the purse that look something that doesn’t feel good…. washed too many times…dirty…dull? The green looks aggressive plus it’s all you can see.
Shopping for Bright Spring (Looking Normal)
Neutral colours (beige, taupe) could be matched a little more closely for Spring where they can be a little blah, but they’re still versatile. Where Summer and Autumn wear these colours flexibly, and Summer and Winter can share some grays, Spring colouring wears colour colours more easily than beige and gray (IMO). Also, when we wear our neutrals, they tend to be in large block items. To excite the composition, neutrals with yellow, not muted orange (=earthy). The beige sweater in 4 (and the pants with the orange top in 3), I have no idea where it harmonizes but it works OK. Next to the very shiny necklace, the sweater isn’t looking dingy, clumsy, or chunky the way an green-beige or camel Autumn colour could on this woman. Both versions of the tights are great. Add colour somewhere!
Again, use black to judge belonging colours. Light Spring loses energy even faster than next to the green purse. Bright Spring gets close enough to black and the colours can balance black without losing ground. The woman in the pink dresss in 4 can hold her own with the earrings but you sense some conflict. Before reading this, you thought, “Why’d she put those earrings with that dress?” Because now you get to feel it. There were a million worse choices, but still, this is not settled. I could have wasted paragraphs.
Black is quite useful in the Bright Spring wardrobe:
- to crisp edges of colour blocks, as the earrings with the mint blouse in 4,
- to outline shapes in a thin black line, as in a print or colourblock, which gives a cartoon appearance that is so right on Gamine body shapes,
- to darken the overall effect selectively without dulling, cooling, or darkening the colour blocks themselves,
- to add Winter’s formality,
- to slim this woman who can balance black, as the mint top and black skirt in 4, the colours are getting along fine, the black is a little strong but it doesn’t appear visually larger
Shopping Search engines are hugely helpful. Polyvore is great. A Light Summer asked recently where to find pants. At sites like Polyvore and Shopstyle, the retail world opens at your feet and it’s uncommon to find items sold out. They are a fantastic way to find your white items online. You want jeans that are a little on the green side? As a Light Spring, the answer is, “Sure do!” Give me 15 minutes. I’ll find you 5 pairs.
6. What do Light Spring colours look like on Bright Spring?
Weak. The way the creamy peach flower from the top photo would look next to the oranges in the bottom photo.
7. What does a Light Spring woman look like in Bright Spring clothes?
Forgettable. What happens to the Light Spring bouquet when the butterfly lands on it. Tired, like she’s having the life sucked out of her. All her sunshine glowing peaches and cream radiance is gone. Between her feet and the top of her head, all you see is clothes.
8. If I find an item that is very saturated and in the medium value range, which Seasons could be likely contenders? I keep getting stuck with colours like hot pink – thinking they look good due to being bright, but on closer inspection often too cool on me and don’t harmonize with the fan…
Very saturated could include the 3 Winter palettes and Bright Spring. True Spring doesn’t have hot pink.
9.a) The person who looks very wintery with dark hair and pale skin. What are the signs that she’s Bright Spring?
There are none other than how her skin reacts to the drapes. The women in the Polyvores could all be Bright Springs. Or some kind of Summer or Winter.
9. b) Should she do anything different with colours or combinations?
She probably sits closer to the cool side of her Bright Spring colouring, near the Bright Winter pigmentation. She many find that the cooler colours in cosmetics work better.
She should still wear the entire Bright Spring palette as clothing and jewelry. Those colours are all in her if the drapes measured her as Bright Spring.
I don’t get caught up on the contrast thing too much, I think it’s built into the palettes. Some women of this colouring may feel quite contrasting and prefer wider distance between lightest and darkest colours in their outfits. This woman may look (and feel) more Winter and use more jewel tones, icy lights, neutral colours, formality in apparel, and boldness in cosmetic application.
Here’s what I think about that coral dress from the top Polyvores. It is not beautiful in the Bright Spring group. The peach coat may not be perfect, nor the yellow shirt on the L side, but they don’t detract. The dress is dull and detracting. In the Light Spring composition, it feels better but it’s a light sink. Light should bounce out of a Light Spring palette like sunbeams, like Creamsicles. It should feel fresh, light, and happy. This dress is not what an apricot tulip would feel like. If you cover it up, the rest of the group gets better, so it’s detracting here too. Still a lovely dress. Might be just the photo, might be an Autumn colour, this is what PCA from photos is like. No idea where this item would fit and would need to try it IRL to be sure.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Not entitling this Dramatic Classic because I don’t want to imply that I have any expertise in body line assessment and the fashion choices therefrom. But I have opinions, oh boy. Since I’m a Dramatic Classic myself, I would like your help in adjusting what I could do better before I spend money.
Recently, we showed some softer wardrobe choices for True Winter, for those who don’t feel that making coats out of Dalmatians quite describes them. In the same post, we saw choices for Dark Autumns who identify better with mink than shearling.
We talked about synonyms. For example, in the Light Seasons, light could mean not dark, and also not heavy, not complicated, not aggressive, and good-humoured. Softness as it applies to True Winter and Dark Autumn would not imply more graying of colour, since that contradicts the colour attributes of those groups to some degree. We looked for synonyms for softness that found the intersection between the word soft and its other possible meanings – perhaps velvety, creamy, rounded, flowing, smooth, supple, decorated, satiny. Soft has many other renditions, in soft tastes, scents, touch, sounds and music, and shape, form, and texture. Today, we’re going to look at all those to find expressions of sharpness.
Dressing for Sex Appeal and Wealth
This is not the same as Dressing for Sex and Money.
What Is and Is Not Sex Appeal
What does sex appeal look like? Or what looks like sex appeal? I don’t have to have sex or even want sex. The point is about telling the world that you’re fully engaged in life. Sexuality is part of life as a grown-up. The thought of broadcasting sexuality never enters my mind and doesn’t have to. Sex appeal comes across just by looking like me and for every woman when she looks like her real self. When I wear who I am, I am saying, “I trust my gifts.” That’s the seduction.
Everyone woman is extremely beautiful. She doesn’t have any choice. The switch flips to ON when the X’s line up. Female energy was drafted that way in tandem with female anatomy. I’m the guy in the room who never laughs at stand-up comedy, talk show humour, Elf, or any other funny person, Robin Williams only sometimes. If you can get past all the fu** during the movie, The Heat, I had tears running down my face. There’s a point to this story, which I’ll get to here, many digressions I can feel coming on. Sandra Bullock has an athletic Natural body shape, to which has been added lots of drama of a swashbuckling type, rather than a Nature walk type.
With neither she nor we being conscious of it, we see what happens to our perception of her (played out hilariously but accurately by the characters and script) in different clothes. When the story needed her to be boring, the wardrobe folks knew just what to do. Put that body in a suit. It never manages to look right. She looks awkward, just how the story needs her to be.
As when wearing someone else’s colours, there is no wrong or bad or ugly. Every woman overflows with beauty, sex appeal, and femininity. But there are better choices for those to come across. Sandra, gorgeous woman and a gorgeous suit, combine to create no excitement whatsoever. Something gut-busting happens to the suit and whaddaya know, she starts looking great. Eventually, she appears in battle gear. Now we get why the movie is called The Heat. We feel relieved, relaxed, and suddenly very interested in her. She’s available to us in every way. In the suit, her presence, drawing power, and magnetism came in around negative 20. The army gear was closest to her brand of sensuality. Wearing it, she looked most feminine.
However your colours and body type were intended to seduce is irrelevant. It goes on autopilot when you stay true to them. Bubble gum and cherries perfume can be fantastic on some women, and be confusing at best on another who could have been so much more elevated, expressed, and attractive simply by changing to a casbah patchouli event. A forest makes no sense smelling like apple pie, right? Projecting authenticity comes across as sex appeal, as “I’m in the game. I know what looks good on me.”, “If you throw me the ball, I’ll know what to do with it.” Which extends to, “I am capable. You can trust me with responsibility, decisions, and money.”
Confusing sex appeal with media-sexy has women of all ages giving it away, forcing it away. That’s not sex appeal, it’s despair, but many women compare themselves to it. Trust me, the pushiness has nothing to do with attraction. It’s capitalizing on assets. Men are built to know the difference.
All I’m saying is you’re lovely as you are. You are enough as you are. I’m a little disappointed if you still wear orange when you’re a Soft Summer. It’s not peaceful. I’m very OK with you wearing it if you know it doesn’t look good but you love wearing it anyhow. That’s peaceful in a different way.
Many women, especially the 18 to 30 group, cannot tune out ridiculous sexualizing of women. I’m not saying to ignore it, that’s hardly realistic. We all know it’s there. We all know that 90% of advertising involving women’s bodies is drastically altered. A mediator might say it can be there, it can matter, and you’re still enough, and what we can do about it to help you find a better peace.
How I find peace:
1. Meditate. My favourite is from Deepak Chopra. Listen to it with earpods if you can, now that is a trip. In meditation, you’ll find optimism. Joined with the forces that create worlds, how can you ever be alone?
We’re programmed for action. It’s intoxicating to to have 20 new Likes and 30 new emails to answer and a new diet and a new resolution and to be doing all the time. Sitting still is not intoxicating by exhilaration, it’s intoxication by nurturing. Like eating spinach. Except, we are programmed for instant gratification. Not the week after you ate the spicach, let alone 20 days or 20 years later.
Our brain is always in fight or flight. It always sees things it thinks it has to protect us from. As Dr. Changizi explains so fantastically well in The Vision Revolution, our brain has evolved brilliant ways of keeping us safe. The larger problem is that in fight or flight, the brain is incapable of learning. It can be a stressor with a toxicity of its own. Neuroscience tells us that the sustained stress actually shrinks the hippocampus (cognitive function, adaptation, learning). Like an over-protective parent, we need to find some freedom to spread our wings. The brain thing is rooted so far in that we’ll not dig clear of it. The only way is by quieting it. With stillness, maturity, and accountabiltiy, we can see clarity.
2. Move. Bloodflow is an important pat of neuroplasticity. Brain, body, spirit, what happens to one happens to all. And it puts a better frame around your life.
3. Laugh at it. Fear-based illusions, such as comparing to media-women, can’t stand up to being laughed at. They can’t find the toe hold they need to anchor in. I meet women and we’re divided in two camps. Those where media got into their head and those where it doesn’t. Doesn’t matter where we live, what we do, our age. Is the difference how much we need/want/care about the company of men? I don’t know but if I can help one woman be free of the you-are-not-good-enough chatter in her head, I want to be there. Read Caitlin Moran’s How To Be A Woman.
4. Make a space for what’s wrong about sexualizing women’s bodies in the pursuit of money. An important friend shared this link (Pinterest, Don’t Compare Yourself) with me. I sent it to my daughters, son, nieces, nephews, sister women instantly. Girls, boys, and young women and men need to talk openly about it. There is nothing wrong with us. Not one single thing. We. Are. Perfect. I. Am. Perfect. You. Are. Perfect. They just convinced us there were things that needed fixing to sell us stuff, and damn but we bought into it like crazy. If everyone woman I see is perfect in herself, how can that not apply to me as well?
Why It’s Good to Look Like Wealth
Not …Look Like Money. Different thing.
What looks like wealth? Similar discussion. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Certain bodies automatically make certain lines look richer. Sandra’s body will make a banker’s suit look cheaper than it is. Looking like wealth is not related our bank account, money per se, or equating success with money. They’re only loosely related in my book. Not about where we shop or comparison to others. Those backfire by setting up too many more-than and less-than relationships that block the multiple and powerful ways in which outside influences can help us.
It’s about wealth as synonymous with maximal happiness, because isn’t that what wealth is? That, in turn, is synonymous with success. Maximum happiness (success) is maximum peace. A particular style on a certain body conveys abundance, which speaks to creation, fulfillment, sharing, and enough. The connection and belonging says, “These two things are extensions of each other. They share something real.” To us the viewers, it feels peaceful to look at.
Wearing the same jacket everyone else is wearing says, “I follow. I obey. I am willing to negotiate myself, instead of celebrating myself, to accommodate a magazine, a friend, a man, a job.” Or maybe it says, “I am imposing this effort on myself to get something.” That sets up struggle, and in turn resistance, and winds up pushing what we want even further away. Not peaceful to be or to look at.
Telling the world (and yourself) that you live an enriched, independent, expanding, self-directed life will happen by choosing a different jacket. In the black T and cargo pants, we felt Sandra tell us about being unconstrained, unbridled, and without inhibitions. That’s the truth of her particular energy. It isn’t the truth of mine. When we find our own, we all express autonomy, individuality, liberty. A free human. Now that’s a beautiful thing.
When body and line, or body and colour, are the same, they connect. There were meant to be together like silver and moonlight, like forest sounds and forest smells. We like it. We want to engage. Tension flows away. We want to stay longer and keep the good feelings coming. Colour Analysis, like Line Analysis, is the Theory of Relativity. When it feels good, time goes by faster. You’ve discovered your brand of wealth. You are closer to your peace.
The Season – Your Natural Colours
In 12 Season personal colour analysis, Soft Autumn is the Neutral Season (meaning a group of natural colouring that is a blend of a warm and a cool source Season) that is mostly Autumn with some influence from Summer’s colour properties.
Autumn overall implies golden heat, muted colour, and darkness. Summer’s colours suggest blued coolness, muted colour again, and a lighter colour selection. Since both are muted, their combined Season is very soft, softer than either Autumn or Summer’s already soft starting place. As opposed to the type of softness we were seeking in the Softer True Winter article linked above (where soft did not mean muting of colour), here, soft really does mean muting or graying of colour. With soft colour (muted) and Summer’s presence (soft as in traditional ideas of femininity) in Soft Autumn, how do we create a wardrobe for a person with sharper lines?
We can’t do sharpness of colour, since muted colour is a prerequisite of Soft Autumn. We can’t do sharp as darkness either. Soft Autumn colours are very soft, quite warm, and medium light to medium dark. It’s the lightest Autumn. You can easily read without turning on a lamp. Because it’s on the sunny side of Autumn, the colours feel bathed in late afternoon light. Not candlelight, that’s Dark Autumn magic.
We need some other expression of sharpness, the same one that the body itself expresses. That’s when our clothes make sense, when their lines and colours are the same as the body they go on.
Dramatic Classic is familiar to us recently as one of the 13 Image Identities in David Kibbes’ 1987 book, Metamorphosis. The terms have been used in other style contexts and seem to have a similar meaning.
There are bodyline experts with the skill to join any of the 12 Season palettes with each of the 10 to 12 body types. Watching them work is quite fascinating. Their results are transforming, startlingly so. My worldview is jolted forward every time I see it happen. I am not one of those body type experts. I’ll defer to their greater knowledge every time.
My Polyvores are not textbook perfect. Someone you hire as a line expert is expected to adhere to the highest potential of knowledge and practice, as I do in a personal colour consultation. Here, I’m doing an adaptation. Fashion that doesn’t work in my life doesn’t work period. It’s here to do me the favour, not the other way around. Sure, the shoes below should be more pointed in the toe, but my feet will hurt the day his do.
Classic always seems to me very medium. Nothing is extreme or irregular, in body size or facial features. The lines and angles are on the sharp side of medium, like Jacqueline Onassis, as opposed to a person whose lines and angles are on the rounder side of medium, like Grace Kelly.
As with the 12 Seasons of natural colouring, there are very few averages in the real world. To know for sure, you should ask someone who understands the entire scope of the subject. I’m a Classic but I’m told my eyes are big in my face, though C types usually have features that are pretty even. I guess my big teeth even out my big eyes, though my lips don’t. I’m shorter than usual for a DC but my body parts are evenly distributed.
My taste is conventional. When I wear unique or creative items, I get “?????” looks. When I think I’m stretching the limits, my kids tell me I look plain – because they can compare me to the full range of how people look. I can only compare me to me, which is one more reason why self-colour-analysis and self-line-analysis tends not to work.
An interesting question: Are women good at picking out clothing for their body lines? I don’t know. If it’s like colour, they run 50% in terms of how many people have a sense of their colouring and how many of their best colours they could choose. I had absolutely no sense of body line, like zero. I’d wear whatever I saw around me. Life and shopping are so much better now. How I’m treated and how I treat myself are so much better. Like colour, you don’t have to be perfect. Being halfway better improves appearance by three quarters. If you would like to learn from someone who really dose understand how to make the very best of body line, follow the wild papillon at Polyvore. You’ll find clothing choices explained and many collections of Seasons and styles, including a few different Soft Autumns.
Interesting that no Polyvore collection comes together any faster than any other, even the Soft Classic Summers. We may feel that all this knowledge will make shopping truly impossible, but that’s not what happens. With a little practice, we get better at seeing ourselves and knowing our stores.
The Meeting Place
Where’s the meeting place of Soft Autumn’s colour language and a sharp classic line?
Autumn does Business Chic incredibly well. The drama part escalates the picture to High Stakes Executive. Makes me think of the projection of Ivanka Trump. She is not medium enough to be a classic, has some fullness in her features, and who knows what Season she is, but her professional clothing style is close to DC at times. Maybe Julianne Moore could be DC. The whole Bulova type brands, you know? Lord&Taylor has all sorts of nice Ivanka wear for classics, sharp and soft.
What might be an issue?
Autumn texture. Texture is too broken up. Ivanka is sleek, tight, clean, and organized, not earthy and natural. I also doubt she’s an Autumn. Julianne has much more texture (freckles, hair) and she may have some Autumn, though I doubt it’s as much as is often suggested. I believe in wearing what you are, so Julianne would add a little texture (snakeskin or metallic, not fluffy or chunky wool).
Animal prints could go either way depending on the item.
A suede belt? Probably too natural for a Classic. A suede skirt? Not sure so I tried it, picking the least adorned one I could find.
Leather jacket (leather pants should be worn by nobody, but then I’m a Classic)? I think so.
Plastic, because it’s really smooth? I don’t see it as natural enough for any Autumn.
Be careful with hair highlights. They can look random, which translates to a little messy and uncontrolled on a very organized and controlled woman and her wardrobe. This is a nice colour, though many Soft Autumns are significantly darker of hair colour. The hair style and the person seem a bit natural, but it’s a good colour without looking obviously processed or busy.
We can associate Summer with flowy fabric. Not all of them. Don’t apply the Season stereotype to anyone, about any aspect of colour, line, or shape. Soft drape won’t stand up on this body, it risks looking limp. Limp doesn’t express sex appeal and wealth.
How else can we interpret flow? From thesaurus.com,
- continuity: as in gradual colour transitions, great on Soft Seasons
- series: so maybe a monochromatic outfit, which can look expensive because it’s not irregular
- connections: as repetitions, very good on sharpened classics.
Summer circles? The person is way way more classic than they are dramatic. If the shape is sleek and a little sharp, could be fine. Clean and organized work for sure.
10 Rules of Dramatic Classic According to Me
I’m a DC Dark Winter. What I think applies to most sharp-side classics is:
1. Smooth, especially around the face. If it’s not, we’ll push each other further in opposite directions as opposite things do.I’ll look flat and 2D while the item looks like a bathmat.
2. No mess, all organizers welcome. Even ruching is an issue but a little low down on the side is ok. Scarves are complicated but a simple one that lies flat and is arranged a little dramatically could be good on a Summer blend. I doubt traditional lace will work, she’ll drain energy like a dripping tap, but there is a version of everything for every body. I just haven’t seen lace for all the body types yet. You can build natural looks wtih lower budgets. This look is harder because there’s nowhere to hide. Goodness knows, I still try every day.
3. Little or no explicit decoration. No ruffles, peplums, bows, lace, fuss. Even prettiness can start looking frumpish on this body when you’re not paying attention. No open toe shoes but sandals ok, slingbacks excellent.
4. Not cute or young. Cap sleeves, borders, a hint of bunny ears, kitten heels, they just look silly, not cute or young.
5. Nothing weird. It’s a medium and symmetrical body. How wide could the tolerance for weird be? Where would weird find a home? No pink briefcases, patchwork raincoats. Your Natural teenage daughter might say your clothes are plain, old, and boring when she sees pictures of them, just like she’ll say the colours are dull if she’s a Winter (she won’t recognize them as plain or dull when they’re on your body, under your face).
6. I never know why I feel so negative for crew necks since they’re so classic. Boat necks are worse on me, I think. The neck has to slice up or slice down, and slice narrow, to keep the voltage high, which is what I really want in this life. A crewneck might be OK if there were a collar necklace and the rest of the top were great or had a superb dramatic print. Cowlneck could work well on this colouring but I’d need to be shown how . Asymmetry or sharp pleats on one shoulder could make a crewneck better.
7. A certain amount of busy-ness in a print is fine but there’s limits. Damn straight I’m a good DC with helmet hair to prove it. Same with a purse, which should have plenty of organizers inside. If they’re on the outside, all those zippers and snaps look busy and messy and feel annoying and complicated.
8. About stripes: diagonal and vertical good, horizontal trickier, ok if thin and regular.
9. For purses: nothing squishy, fairly square, and not real big or real small. Picture the purse version of a banker suit. Now, we’re in low gear, giving it gas, and we’re towing.
10. No visible logos even if it says Armani, which is a super good DC brand and seldom (ever?) has visible logos. Hugo Boss is right up there too (Bloomingdales has some great items).
What I Don’t Know About Sharp Classic Autumn
1. Length of jackets. I think it’s tight as a cropped style at the waist or long just after the break of the hip but not further. This may depend on height. I’m not tall (5’4″).
2. Plaid is usually good on Autumn but I can’t quite imagine what it looks like for Summer + Classic + sharp.
3. Pearls on a Summer blend could be fine. This whole topic interests me a lot, how much the different Seasons actually could express the style stereotypes inside the style types, like their own dialects.
For instance, those equestrian boots in 6 – equestrian anything is automatic wealth of a classic sort. Ski anything is wealth of a dramatic and natural sort.
The link bracelets in 3 and 5. Links are good on Autumn. They can run a little biker on me. I know a DC Bright Winter, they’d be even more biker on her.
Natural elements are good on Autumn – the leaf necklace in 4. I don’t see it on Winters. This is almost astonishing to me. Like seeing it all in a new way. Paraphrasing from The Polar Express, “It doesn’t matter where the train is going. What matters is whether you decide to get on.” I’m on all the way to wherever the Destination is. I hope to see you there.
Is a sharp classic from the Summer colouring groups less sharp than a Winter? Kate Middleton seems to me a sharpish classic. Wearing those styles is when she looks great. I don’t see Diana’s big outward natural energy. Diana always looks big in photos, even thumbnails. Kate looks smaller despite her height, and more contained. I did wonder about a Natural energy but she has so much symmetry.
Symmetry feels formal, I would guess, which is where the Winter stereotype of “formal, ceremonial” must have come from since so many Winters have symmetric features. Most certainly, not all Winters have them. Asymmetry feels informal, which feels livelier (warmer?) and works so well on many Springs. Many Springs have that cheerleader/BFF feeling of Natural body types, but there are plenty of Classic, Romantic, and Gamine Springs. Anyhow, everyone will have a worthy opinion about Kate. Kate is softer than Mrs. Onassis, the image of DC. She wears that hairstyle well. Is it just because she’s young? Michelle Pfeiffer is quite sharp and she’d be a Summer. I really wonder how much Season would influence line within a given body type.
I would also like to know if women have different degrees or tolerances within a group, as they have with colour. Inside our 12 Seasons, we find our best individual expression. Body type must be the same, since we can’t divide all humanity in 10-13 groups within which the advice will apply to each person equally. Every woman expresses her Season her own way, even with the same body type. Like the 12 Seasons, it’s not so much a rigid gospel as a way of bringing some kind of measurable, teachable, reproducible objectivity to our native lines.
Body type analysis is a guide for my Light Summer Soft Natural sister to not default back to her True Autumn Gamine styles, for which we are all grateful. My Dark Autumn Gamine friend finds affirmation and confidence to wear her knit red dress with yellow footprints (I’m not making this up) in her small farm town. Suddenly people see, expect, and love her snapping wit, instead of expecting a TV Mom when she wears more conventional outfits and taking offence at a style of humour that was so big, it took them by surprise.
Back to the clothes, some of these outfits would work for Kate and some may be too masculine. She needs more decoration. Again, is it because she’s young? Softer in the range of DCs? Not Classic at all? Because we’re used to seeing her items that cost 10 times the amounts that I controlled above?
4. How much asymmetry? Not a lot but some is fine. To me, the softer Classic is much more symmetric than this one. I really like the neck and flat pleats of the pinkish dress in 4.
5. How much flare? Bootcut is ok if you can’t find straight leg. The coat up there in 6 is good in the top and in that it flares but doesn’t flounce in the skirt. Worn by a classic body, would it look like two styles fused into one garment? Not sure. Maybe better for a softer classic.
6. If you find black soles on boots – you gotta know when to fold ‘em. Soft Autumn has pretty good darkness and the contrast from boot to sole may increase the overall sharpness.
7. Gray is great on Summers and Autumns, and good at becoming what’s around it. I put in that jacket in the lower L of 6 because the style is good. The gray is too sharp though, better for Dark Autumn or Dark Winter. The color necklace is too soft, too colourful, and too irregular is my guess. It doesn’t belong. I was trying to use colours to take attention away from an imperfect gray. I don’t think this outfit would really work on a Soft Autumn but I wanted to try it. So many good things about Polyvore, the ultimate in comparison shopping and no-limit outfit trial runs.
8. Set 6 is where I experimented. The top R group is probably Soft Summer but I’d try it in a store. A cool Soft Autumn might wear the colours. Is the dress too irregular? IDK but I’d try it for that too; it’s smooth around the face.
How much saturation could Soft Autumn wear? That aqua dress just to the R of the numeral 6, I’d certainly lay the palette on it and see what happens.
The crystal pleat coppery skirt? Again, IDK if it would be wrong on DC, but I like it a lot. A line expert could probably tell you how to wear it.
What watches? There’s a lot of watches? The batteries ran out long ago. Don’t replace them, save money and buy perfume.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
“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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Â 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 fiancÃ©e 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.
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. Â So it will often keep the Value consistent and shift hues or lightness slightly. Â Usually one or the other, not both. Â 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. Â Additionally, most dresses on our site are sold by larger retailers who don’t go in and out of stock with any volatility. Â They’re pretty slow to go out of stock. Â I’d estimate at least 98% of our inventory is current at all times. Â 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). Â Multi-color basically means anything that isn’t a solid color. Â Things like stripe and specific pattern filters are new technology we’ll be rolling out in the next few months.
J: We have many formal dresses from Nordstrom et. al, but we’ll be adding Dessy (a leading bridesmaid dress manufacturer)Â next weekÂ and hopefully David’s Bridal soon (again, for their bridesmaid dresses). Â Bridal gowns, on the other hand, will likely not be included for a while. Â Bridal gown designers are particular about their dresses’ distribution and have strict agreements with their chosen distributors/retailers. Â 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.
Excellent Q from a reader:
I’m a Bright Winter and have always felt that I had cool undertones to my skin but also have some freckles which makes it less obvious. Â When Prescriptives Cosmetics was in business, I tested as having Blue Red undertones and I used their foundation with cool undertones for years. Â I recently decided to try Bare Minerals foundation. Â Two different people who sell this brand have tested me as a Neutral undertone. Â This could make sense since I’m a neutral season but I’ve always known myself to have cool undertones. I have a little bit of a tan right now. Â I’m not trying to tan, but I play tennis outside and despite my sunscreen I get a bit of color. Â Would it be possible for me to seem like I have neutral undertones in the summer when I have some tan and then seem to have cool undertones again the rest of the year when I don’t have a tan? Â I’m just wondering if I should wear a neutral foundation in the summer and a cool foundation the rest of the year.
Your undertone is fixed and determined by your genetics, and is shared by all your colouring including your tan. Your Season doesn’t change with a tan, though you might have different colour preferences, for the higher contrast with the lighter choices, for instance. Many Bright Winters can find black too severe or their coolest colours too shadowing, and a tan might change those tolerances enough to feel more comfortable.
When you’re tanned and look warmer, the undertone might seem warmer. Whatever undertone means, it doesn’t mean ‘overall feeling and effect’. This is one of those “It looks warmer and feels like it should be warmer, so therefore it is warmer.” conclusions that are not necessarily sound.
Even pure cool Seasons can tan very golden looking. They look more yellow, but when their colours are tested, it’s still the same cool yellow their genetics always produced. They may have more melanin, which contributes red, brown, blue, and/or black, depending on the type of melanin, but it’s the same colour of melanin that it always was.
PCA determines where your inborn colours sit on 3 scales. Every colour, every body part. (In illness too? IDK, I’ve never draped a Before/After and don’t know anyone who has).
The heat scale. Warm/cool/neutral? Neutral on the cooler side, the warmer side, or 49/51 between fully warm and fully cool?
The saturation scale. How concentrated were the pigments that you were painted with? Very, or were they a little more dilute?
On the darkness scale, you don’t have a setting so much as a range. Do your inborn colours go all the way from white to black? Only 1 of the 12 does, the True Winter. I’m a Winter but don’t reach fully to pure white. Mine is a tiny bit dirty white. A woman might hug chalk to pewter. If she wears black mascara, it’s railroad tracks because it’s outside what her natural colouring can balance. If she over-lightens her hair highlights, it will never look natural or real because only processing could achieve that much lightness in her body.
The hair of a yellow haired Light Summer can seem very yellow. She’ll go online and get told she’s a Spring of some sort. A clerk will give her warm foundation. Wrong. Unless they measure it, how could they know that the yellow in her body comes from Light Summer’s less saturated and subtly cooler palette, not Spring’s?
A salesperson has no way of measuring people’s settings on the 3 Colour Scales. Even the most experienced colour analysts canâ€™t eyeball the settings.
Depending on how the line of products they’re selling is coloured,
(do they have access to foundations warmed by Spring yellow and Autumn gold separately? as we know, warm can include yellow, beige, peach, orange, gold, brown, etc.)
(are those bottles labeled cool/warm/neutral really so, and in the same way that a colour analyst means it?)
(is there consistency in the cosmetics industry regarding pigments and terminology? if not, one company will call you warm, the other will say neutral)
(is the salesperson highly discriminating, nitpicky, rigorous, fussy, and particular? these are the people you want; I’ve been foundation-analyzed by the head of training for North America for a huge company within the last 6 months, the result was not good)
…a cosmetics salesperson could separate cool/neutral/undertone by matching foundation. The same foundation colour is the best match on the same Seasons in 3 in 5 women of the same race. It’s just not rock solid.
Foundation is a mixture of your heat level, darkness level, inherent saturation, plus surface pigments. As Dark Winters (my assumption), Mrs. Obama and I have the same heat level, darkness range, and saturation of inborn pigments. She has more melanin but it’s the same colour as mine if we test it. She has more melanin in the outer layer and wears different foundation.
Big Disclaimer: I made up all of the above. That’s only how it makes sense to me. I do not know what undertone is or where it is. Is it a layer by itself that you could isolate and dissect out of the skin? I doubt it. Is it simply the difference in people’s hemoglobin? IDK. Is it just a mixture of all the body’s pigments, if you poured equal amounts together in a bowl and stirred, bluer in Summers, redder in Winters?Â Does it even have a colour or is just a gray that’s cool, warm, or neutral? I don’t know and am not aware of the scientific testing that offers proof. This is one of my remaining Big Questions in PCA.
I am pretty certain that what a makeup company means by cool-neutral-warm is different from a colour analyst meaning. One story is probably part of the other one but they don’t fully overlap. We’re all using the same words to mean different things and consumers can’t sort out the facts. Therefore, the Q above would also be a good one to ask a cosmetic pigment expert.
I do not change the heat level of my foundation in summer. I do use a product that sits darker in my own darkness range. Both products are cool neutral on a heat scale.
The answer to the reader’s Q is one of those It Depends. Theoretically, she has a cool-neutral skin undertone and will always wear that choice in foundation. However, depending on where she finds the best foundation match, it might be labeled otherwise.
Remember. I invent answers to these questions till I can live with calmly.
Now that students are being trained, some are finding that their earlier PCAs were not correct.
I analyzed a woman, *Ruth*, Â 2-3 years ago as a Soft Summer. As a part of her training recently (with the excellent Terry Wildfong), she found that she is in fact a Dark Winter.
I have had students myself and found them to be a different Season than previously thought.
It’s awkward for everyone. What is the right path?
Moving through, not away from
My question today is:
As a community of analysts and clients, how will be handle this? It’s going to keep happening for a little while.
Achieving consistency between our analysts is our biggest challenge. (Whether the public finds complete consistency between the palette and their own colouring is another matter, one I worry about less.) Yet, never for an instant would I consider another method.
Can we allow our stumbles to happen openly and comfortably so we can all learn?
At first, of course, the ego takes a little beating. Not a big thing. It’s healthy, not just for me but for everyone who emails me and thinks I’m somehow special or gifted when all I do is write more than everyone else. I’m just more visible. Like models and other meteorites, the idea that anyone is near-perfect sets up a standard that is untrue and destructive for those who think they should live up to it.
If we’re afraid of being wrong, we’re lost. In school and society, we’re taught that we should avoid mistakes but I completely disagree. They’re how we learn. That discomfort feeling is called Experience. There’s no other way to get it. We all have been and will be wrong and should move towards that heat, and then through it. Running away keeps us stuck with our feet like tree roots. I love trees almost as much as oceans but they can’t walk on this Earth. Humans can.
I tell my own students that the best thing that can happen to them as colour analysts is to have been wrong about their Season a few times. Identifying with our clients is how we support them fully. Once we’ve shopped with our Colour Books, we feel what she’s up against.
The analyst’s growth
. First, I get separation from my business. If every mistake feels so personal, I can’t manage it and grow from it. I just get caught up in feeling bruised and sorry for myself. Humiliation is fine and useful, because it’s the light side on the road to humility, a very blessed way to live.
. Get clarity onÂ what I care about. Not my image. Really don’t care about that. I very sincerely care about the Kathryn Kalisz-founded system of Personal Colour Analysis as a fantastic and unparalleled resource for empowering consumers. I care deeply about making your business wildly successful, whatever your definition of successful is, and seeing you having trouble holding in the joy you feel from putting yourself on this path of Personal Colour Analyst, even if you will be wrong sometimes. A wrong analysis hasn’t compromised what I care about. Easy to calm down.
.Â Search for curiosity. What can I learn? Why might this have happened that could give the client and I even more insight into her colouring? The first analyst didn’t just pluck a Season out of the air like a random mosquito swimming by. Terry said,
I don’t wish to see an analyst being referred to as getting an analysis wrong. I see it as analysts can come to different results, plain and simple, by interpreting differently, which leads them down a different path. I analyzed my husband as a True Spring, andÂ he is a BrightÂ Winter. I came to the first result for several reasons, which I have now corrected in my perception. Was I totally wrong? No, he is blended with Spring. Was there a better result? Yes.
The client’s growth
. I ask myself, “What is their work and what is mine in this situation?”Â Before getting all reactive, we both have to think, “What can I do to make this situation work better for you?” We can have a talk. We can re-drape you. Do I give refunds? I’ve never been asked, my clients are so elegant. Would I? I guess I’d do what would calm the person and let them feel validated. I’m not in this for the money and I never make decisions based on money. This absolutely does not set a precedent for other analysts but if someone wanted their cash back, I guess I’d return it, knowing that the communication between us would end right there. The whole “I spend $200, I deserve…” “For $2000, the least I expect…”, we hear it all the time. It’s a 2-dimensional view of the world that wants $$ more than knowledge so we don’t belong together. As a client, I wouldn’t ask for a refund. Lord knows we’ve gotten some sketchy makeup applications and massages we didn’t love and didn’t ask for refunds. Everyone is doing their best. Nobody set out to cheat anyone. Maybe the client should have got better informed beforehand.
. Find gratitude. Ruth brings a very beautiful intelligence to our profession. Her first reaction was to look for something to be grateful for. That’s an impressive being who understands that there’s a bigger plan in motion towards a greater place, and who is able to quietly place her trust in it. I’m often amazed at the assembly of remarkable personalities contained within our group. Ruth belongs among us and is most welcome.
The Biology of Sight
This again. It defines how we see so there’s no getting away from it. Terry reminded us,
I believe there are two major reasons why analysts can have conflicting results. Both reasons are found in The New Munsell Student Color SetÂ under the heading of Observer Metamerism:
1.Â Â Â Â Â No two people see color exactly the same. This is something that can never be altered. There will never be a set of drapes or even training that can ensure the same visual perception will be had by two different analysts.
2.Â Â Â Â Â Our visual perception of a color changes, based on what color was last viewed. Just making up this example: If you are comparing Blue #1 for TW and Blue #5 for TSu, the reactions you see in the mirror are made on that comparison. If I have Blue #1 for TW and Blue #3 for TSu (all technically correct), the reactions I see will be based on that comparison. If Sharon has Blue #2 for TW and Blue #4 for TSu, again technically correct, she could come to a different result.
The closest way two analysts can hopefully come to the same conclusion is to have every test drape exactly the same, which Christine and I have talked about. But even if every drape we make for every set is the same, problem #1 above still exists.
Everything can always change for the better. The Sci\ART system is, in my view, unequaled in its approach, its working instruments (the drapes), and in its accuracy at demonstrating your natural, inborn colours. I know the strengths of the draping system and they are beyond substantial.
The drapes I have from 4 years ago are not without a few drawbacks that I’ve learned over time and today, can factor into an analysis. The True Autumn yellow is extremely saturated, for instance. A Bright Spring could wear it. Was there a reason it was placed in that Season? The person who can answer isn’t here to ask.
Soft Summer and Dark Winter’s red drape is exactly the same piece of fabric. And there are only 3 drapes to test the 12 Tones, and they are not the same colours. I didn’t know it back then. Nonetheless, I should have picked up from the beginning, back in the 4 Seasons, that on Ruth, True Winter was better than True Summer.
Other analysts have other issues. Some are not confident in finding a Light Summer. Some always question some other Season.
It’s this knowledge that went into the drapes that Terry and I offer our students. Â And they will improve. We continue to gather positive and negative data and re-assess. We’re working on standardizing colours even more rigorously and giving you increasingly accurate comparisons. If you bought them, you know that I’ll keep working with you and continue sending additions/replacements until I can’t improve them any more. Which I hope will never happen.
Changing Colouring with Time
Most of us have settled into our Season by age 17.
My True Winter daughter was settled by age 4, maybe sooner (I didn’t formally test her but the eyes were fully black).
Terry’s daughter changed from Soft Summer to Dark Winter in her 20s !!, with a pregnancy in those years.
We darken several times in life, in our teens and our 30s.
We change in our 50s…do our colours really muted or do we just look different, less water, thicker outer layer of keratin…
I don’t believe that most people change Seasons, they just become a new painting from the same paint box. But clearly, some people do move to a new group of natural colouring parameters at various lifestages. Colouring is unpredictable.
The potential of a system can’t be maximized until we acknowledge its weak spots. Until truth is brought into light, it can’t be examined and raised higher. We gotta talk about this stuff with an intent to learn the why and how.
We don’t want to still be giving women different Seasons 5 years from now. Every analyst does it and if I admit freely that I did, maybe others will speak more comfortably about why they feel it happened in their case. Â Then we can get to work as a collaborative, non-judgmental team to fix the causes and leave them behind us.
We can’t be in denial and defense. If we go around like The Human Landmine: An Undetonated Incendiary Device when the imperfections of our process or tools are brought up, everyone will clam up. In 5 years, we’ll be right where we are today. Still strong, still smart, still fragmented.
We need ways to refresh our training with one another. Not re-accreditation for practicing analysts, but organized meetings where we can learn from the fact that every one of us does things differently.
We all have different drape acrobatics. Some analysts move to the Luxury Drapes very early in the process. Some analysts begin with the Red Drapes, before the 4 Test (True Seasons) and 12 Test (12 Tones) drapes. Both certainly correct from my POV. I can’t think of any logistic problem. So why do I begin with 4T? Because my eyes just aren’t ready to interpret the Reds that soon with a new face.Â I wasn’t trained that way. It’s not what I’m used to.
Somehow, these meetings needs to happen. They will help us technically and remind us to be generous with all practicing colour analysts, Sci\ART based and otherwise.
What will potential clients think?
I felt I was able to explain this to my sister because she knows something about PCA; she understands that Dark Winter and Soft Summer can have similar qualities. (It’s not as if I had been draped a True Spring!) … My biggest concern is sharing this with the people in my life who know very little about PCA — people I’ve had to convince that there’s something to this — friends, acquaintances, people at church, business contacts. I’m telling you, I have been an evangelist about this and I have a lot of women (and a number of men) very excited to have a PCA. I am trying to think of a concise way to explain this to them — a way that won’t undermine the validity of Sci\ART PCAÂ or require me to pull out a color clock at dinner.
Communicate the enthusiasm, learning, upgrading, and increasing sense of fulfillment and freedom. If someone chooses to think, “If they can’t get this right the first time then there can’t be anything to it.”, it demonstrates a closed mentality about everything in their life and you might not need them to visit you. What most people want is integrity, honesty, your very best effort, and to be seen and heard.
Whenever we’re learning about ourselves, our physical selves, our spiritual selves, we move forward in steps. If one doctor helps you lot and opens your eyes to a new treatment method but you don’t find full recognition on the first visit, do you never see them again and close themselves to that modality, or try again and see if there’s a way to build higher? For me, it would be decided by my faith in the method and in the person.
If you position yourself to your community as having renewed faith in the method, even despite a correction, it sends a message that the method must be really strong in your eyes or you’d have abandoned it.
I would trust the person with perspective much more than the one proclaiming only success. No medical test is foolproof, not even those that come back Positive or Negative as opposed to the Ranges and Trends types. A doctor who doesn’t know the limitations of a test is useless at interpreting its findings. The No Fail Guarantee is an uneducated assumption that folks sophisticated in a subject released awhile back.
I know the problems and I’d never consider any other process of Personal Colour Analysis. My belief system gets stronger because I have run into problems, given attention and effort to their repair, and acquired a more deeply layered frame of reference, always with room to improve.
Live the conviction that in error, we become stronger, just as surely that in giving, we receive. Both paradoxes, both true.