David Kibbe’s book that amazes me more, the more I try to learn it, contains 13 Image Identities based on the shapes of your body and face. I stick with it because this is an image system I can get to work. Like colour, you can subdivide the groups to refine every individual individually if you want to, but even if you get your general category right, you are looking so much more like your real self. I’m amazed at his eye for what works on a body shape and how correct he was. Even about the smaller details, to get the most from this book requires hanging on his every word. Perhaps that’s why the artist stays hidden.
I can only hold four words in my head at a time and I repeat them over and over, the Shopping Mantras (SM). The details about shoulders and so on come later with the fine tuning. I still make mistakes like I did with colours, but it’s happening less, fast.
The Theatrical Romantic and Romantic
TR SM: intricate, delicate, sharp edges, tapered.
R SM: lush, flowing, circular, ornate.
The singer Adele is probably a Summer R, but I had the perfect True Spring Romantic model in Marilyn Monroe. Problem is, I don’t see the clothes on her very well. Not sure where I went wrong, maybe it’s all too Natural. Or maybe it’s fine for the real Marilyn that her family knew.
Important Note: About the Poly below, Deana brings up such a great point in the Comments below that I want to be sure everyone sees it. She noticed that the pink of the R dress on the right isn’t in her fan. She is right and her 12 Tone fan is right. The pink of the dress is not warm enough for True Spring. Even the blazer for TR with the green pants is just borderline warm enough, perhaps more of a Light Spring colour. True Spring is too yellow, causing their pinks to move into coral and nectarine. I can’t always find the item, the cut, the colour, kind of like a day at the mall, so I compromise and agree that a True Spring could do better.
Dramatic and Soft Dramatic
D SM : crisp, angular, tailored, long.
SD SM: bold, ornate, lavish, draped. Puts Jessica Rabbit in my head.
The D blue dress- it’s too fussy? I couldn’t find the column I wanted. This one seems long, lean, spare of colour and design. Could its length outweigh its delicacy and tip it further towards ultimate Yang, as happens in the proportions of SD bodies?
No, I get it now. The problem lies not in the degree of fuss but in the fabric: it’s not crisp enough so the angles that the folds generate are not sharp. On a D face and body that is all sharp angles, these round, flowing folds don’t match. Not just that, there are so many of them that the inequality gets even more emphasis. The halter style is better.
Who is that blue dress right for then? A FN would be my second guess. It fits the geometric, asymmetric, rounded edges, rectangle, suggested for FN, and of the “narrow and slinky” dress description. It’s still string bean and banana shaped, though I can certainly see it on Princess Di. Or is the dress right for no body?
The Dramatic Classic, Classic, and Soft Classic
DC SM: sleek, angular, geometric, straight. Bends are tight, but not necessarily acute angles. Not a circle and not a lightning bolt. I wonder if the yellow dress is too asymmetric but I’d wear it. Trimness is important, the teal shirt would have the side seams taken in so the width at the hem is less than across the shoulders.
C SM: smooth, slim, symmetric, moderate. I had to put in that purple trench to add interest to all the controlled and moderate. The woman who was my inspiration for many of the Allow Yourself To Be True Summer -themed articles is also a Classic. She longs to break out, tries shiny trenches and patchwork jackets. It’s good to know how to break your own rules harmlessly. There will be those days.
SC SM: unbroken, curved, symmetric, softened. Unbroken means smoothness both in lines and textures. Soft = supple, smooth, flat, silky, downy, round, decorative, whispered, gentle, sensitive, sentimental, sweet.
Lately, I really like shiny, pinky copper on True Spring (4th strip, first and second dots if you have a Sci\ART Book), like metallic apricot (as opposed to SA’s sueded apricot).
The DC ring is curvy but I’d wear it for the head of the Cobra shape that imparts the sharp leitmotif of the group. I was also trying to repeat similar shapes for all the C’s to keep the head to toe continuity Kibbe recommends. For C, I paid more attention to symmetry than colour continuity. For SC, I added more romance as softer lines. For DC, I used more colour repeats. Continuous smoothness of texture also supports the appearance of an unbroken line.
DC has a bigger hand, mine is quite square, and seems to need a menswear or bigger watch. SC is the dish soap commercial hand, the cheese sauce for the broccoli Velveeta hand, perfectly symmetric in length and width, rather than the small-and-wide of SC as roundness arrives.
N SM: slim, straight, eased, simple.
FN SM: vertical, horizontal, bold, blunted. Remove belt from colourful green dress and wear cool white belt low slung for the desired dropped waist.
SN SM: rounded, relaxed, shaped, creative.
The use of texture and separates seems a big difference between N and C, to bring the asymmetry of a more natural, less controlled world to the Ns.
The FN dress – too floaty? It does fit with “Free Spirit Chic” of FN. There are so many similarities in the ergonomics of the Sci\ART colour analysis and Kibbe body geometry systems. If you avoid what you shouldn’t wear, that’s you 90% better. As long as you pay attention to the Avoid: section, whatever’s left is probably quite decent. Since it’s not ornate, fussy, crisp, severe, or fitted, I figure it would be OK on Jessica Simpson.
Green cardi on N worn open neck with those nice beads that my eyes would get glued to.
Between SN and SC, the line is tricky for me. Both are the most fluid and smooth of their group. Poly 3B below shows my attempt to compare the 3 Classics and 3 Naturals.
For FN, I tried to go with strong horizontals and verticals with fancy stuff kept low on the body. Between C and SC, and N and SN is a transitional style that seems either could wear. Yes, the SN dress is a Soft Autumn colour, we can just pretend it’s juicy instead of earthy.
These are the clothes you lift off the rack and think they were misplaced from the kids’ section. They’re hip and clever, have lots of personality, are very chic in a small way, and you wish they made them for bigger bodies. You try them on just in case they look as snazzy as on the hanger, and in the dressing room, say to self in mirror “Your are no Paul McCartney. Must remove these in case there are cameras in here.”
This woman could wear red Capris to the office and look great. She’s the only one who can wear tight ankle length pants with a bold plaid print and just look better, while everyone else just looks funny-peculiar. Her Dark Autum rendition is among my dearest friends. I read the book. Now, can I dress her with vague images of go-go dresses, Carnaby Street, Parisian waiters, sailor outfits, and Madeline’s school uniform floating in my head?
Those are images are off though. This is small in size to give the sense of quick and clever, like squirrels, but not childish at all in design, not Peter Pan, Alice, or jelly beads. I’m feeling that it will take a miracle on the order of the loaves and fishes to figure this out, as if being told to find something without being told what it is.
G SM: small, crisp, skinny, outlined.
FN SM: short, sharp, fitted, extreme.
SG SM: detailed, crisp, rounded, fitted.
The pictures of the Asian women in FG and SG make a good contrast. The cream blouse on the SG is too floppy, I think. In fact, it’s probably the blouse on the model in the right that would be right, but I found none. The Gamines really need a seamstress.
A G could actually bring in some black (might have to to buy anything). Black evokes a rule-breaking approach to life that seems almost necessary.
Those FN shoes, you must admit they’re ‘irregular and chunky’.
Kathryn suggested FG as lines contradicting and intersecting in opposing directions. I thought that very clever and held on to it as I made choices.
All the detail would have to be added with accessories, because contrast and piping don’t appear in today’s mass-produced garments. Accessories would add asymmetry and sharpness. Unmatched was a buzzword I used when scanning so that every piece drew attention and didn’t blend overly well. I sensed a personal “you either love it or you hate it” polarity towards these items and outfits, perhaps the extreme Yang and Yin of the Gamines. If jewelry was staccato, it had to be almost obnoxiously so. By the time the outfit was pulled together from the items that matched the guidelines, I got the “OK , I get it already” reaction that I’m learning to expect from Kibbe. Really, I love this man’s vision.
Many a newly identified Soft Summer figures this is it. Forever.
It’s fine and everything but so, you know, safe. That’s Soft Summer with some good building blocks, but an overall effect that’s a little too generic light grey.Where’s the excitement? Where’s the fabulosity?
Many (all?) clothes need to hang on the right body to come into their own. Soft Summer colours are pearls when they find the right skin. This post in the hope that one day, women will secretly wish to be a Soft Summer and be thrilled when their colour analysis lets them claim the palette as their own. It comes from imagining how even the most casual outfit has such elegance of suggestion and impression. Much of what was said about Romantics in the previous two posts caused me to realize that I could equally well have been describing the colour effect of the Soft Seasons. Of course, Mr. Kibbe describes this in his book, where Yang colours are vivid, dark, and matte, while Yin colours are soft, bright, and glossy.
Our subconscious is the playground between what we understand and try to control and what we can’t. It speaks in the language of colour and shape, which translate to symbol and feeling. Thought is Yang and intuition is Yin (just IMO, not research). Thought could be subdivided into linear, directed thought (more Yang) and the deliberations of abstract thought that deliver information disconnected from time and space (more Yin). Soft Summer’s colours always create very strongly in me a nebulous, shimmery sensation of being in an unreal place, a manifestation of the abstract mind, the ultimate right brain landscape. Ghosts of shapes and whispered sounds seem to move into sight just above a watery surface then fade back under to another form, like apparitions. I have to apply effort to see anything else when these colours together are in front of my eyes. I always sense an incredible balance between intellect and emotion in this person too, as if they live in that mind space where Yin and Yang are very intertwined. Imagine a Soft Summer Romantic! Wow. Now there would be gifts you’d want to tap into.
Sometimes, women try out various colours in clothes or lipstick as they try to find their own colouring among them. They’ve read to use the extremes for this test, those colours no other natural colouring, or Season, would wear as well. For Soft Summer, they find that grayed mauve lipstick and a grayed pink cardigan and take photos or ask friends and family.
Unless the former lipstick colour was crimson, it could be that folks can’t make the adjustment that fast. Especially if you still have your old hair colour, which sends every colour perception about your face and cosmetics off to the four winds.
Soft Summer may have it the hardest because they keep hearing the word grey. When you’re not sure of the degrees, there’s a tendency to over-grey. As a short rest from Kibbe Seasons, now that simply Season Polys are a snap (or almost, Bright Spring Neutral Colours still experiencing delays), here are some Soft Summers Polys enjoying my vision of a colour palette whose peaceful beauty and gracious sophistication has no equals.
In 12 Season Personal Colour Analysis, Soft Summer describes the colours that combine to create a natural colouring that could look like Katie Holmes, Kate Middleton, or Angelina Jolie. Her basically Summer colouring mingled with a bit of Autumn’s light, so a Neutral Season. Various darkness levels, yes, but darkness level isn’t the TMIT for this group. It can slide up and down on the light/dark (Value) scale. What matters most about how they’re coloured and how they shop is that colour never gets very pure, bold, or saturated. It’s just a little hushed.
This is getting livelier.
Below, the incredible burgundy raisin of the palette, the elusive yellow, some good light to dark graduations that get a second look when done in snakeskin.
Still more colour, more saturation, more colour variety, keeping the flow by repeating versions of a colour rather than the copy colour. The scarf on the right has some olive beige, so fold it to hide that and wear it as a belt.
If music is the art of thinking with sounds, then our appearance can be the art of thinking with colours, in the shapes attuned to the music of our own geometry. I feel the new challenge coming on of creating all 13 Kibbe styles in one Season’s colours.
The outfit on the right was feeling metallic, in the cool stiff way of aluminum, but I liked it. The scarf is there to introduce the feeling of softness with folds and flowers and add many more colours in small blocks.
From Return To Your Natural Colours, the blue book near the top in the right margin, this section appears in every Season’s chapter. For you to see what lives in my imagination, it needs some illustrating.
- One light to medium-dark colour + one medium dark to dark colour
- One medium-dark colour + one dark colour
- One light to fairly dark neutral colour + one light to medium-dark colour
- One light to medium-dark neutral colour + one medium to dark neutral colour + one colour in smaller area
- One light to fairly dark neutral colour + one light to fairly dark colour + one smaller colour block comprising all three colours
- Monochromatic, analogous, or gentle complementary colour combinations.
- Overall medium to medium-dark effect
You see that it never gets very light or very dark. Complementary colours appear as reds with greens or blues with oranges as the 5th from left (where the orange is a very light beige made from a base of orange, dropping its value and saturation enough). The overall feeling is more cool than warm but not fully cool. You can sense there is heat here.
It’s bluebells in a drizzling rain, a lake in the Scottish Highlands, the coastline of British Columbia, a California winery when the fog rolls in. In Photoshop, the saturation doesn’t go over 35% when I make Soft Season colours. To give you perspective, Dark Winter’s are about 75% to 90%, True Winter’s are 83% to 93%, and Bright Winter’s run over 92% and most of the time over 98%.
For that last outfit on the R, I coloured the top and bottom blocks as analogous (green and blue are beside each other on the colour wheel). I imagined a colour halfway between the two for the handbag – because any colour that you could imagine as being between two of your colour analysis swatches is also most likely in your Season too. The scarf/neck detail is Soft Summer’s orange, bringing in a complementary effect.
As always, you own the Colour Book, you own the system. All the theory has been worked out for you. You mix them anyway you want to, your appearance is still a smooth even ride that others are happy to take.
Here is an actress I greatly admire. Although she was a beautiful Juliet Capulet opposite diCaprio’s Romeo, when I really took notice and have loved her since was in Stage Beauty.
I’ve also come to understand that we express more than colour. We express line, pattern, and motion. You can’t just wear your colours, though no others on Earth could flatter you better. If the style does not respect your lines, patterns, and movements, harmony continues to elude.
That Dramatic True Summer was very worryingly difficult, so I’m trying an easier combination today, the Soft Autumn Natural. It came back to me that colour felt worryingly difficult in the beginning too. Having a real woman in mind gave me an endpoint I could envision and taught me how the Seasons’ colours work together to make a picture. With each woman whose colours I analyzed, I could write the articles and start seeing the similarities. I’ll have to learn Kibbe that way too. By holding Claire in my head, the need for length past the hip in a jacket becomes clear.
Kibbe’s book is the only personal style book that I can get to work on me and others. Indulging my love of an adjective, it is comfortably organized, ergonomically specific, and reliably stratified. And reproducible! Using his system, five people should come up with the same style answer for a given person. Kibbe’s translation of a very abstract thought system is linear and logical.
I’m a beginner. I need to start with easy pictures and lists. If we set out discussing tempering chocolate, I will never produce a chocolate cake. If the idiosyncrasies of different analysts’ tastes come into the picture too early, I’ll get confused because I won’t be able to tell them apart from the basic truths that really do apply to me.
I also think his 13 types is complete and enough. It just takes time to figure out what he means by certain terms and descriptions and to get a sense of the relative differences between the groups. Like, what exactly is a straight skirt? Of the 3 types with small rounded facial bones, whose are the most small and round?
Soft Autumn Is
In 12 Season personal colour analysis, ‘Season’ describes a type of natural colouring. In a Soft Autumn, all the colours that make up the body, skin, hair, eyes, maybe veins, teeth, inner lips and cheeks, and internal organs for all I know, are:
- muted, soft, heathery, so slightly calmed by a murmur of grey
- warmed quite a lot, as every colour appears in a late afternoon sun on a day with a little overcast
- fairly light to medium dark, no extremes like black and white
Looking at the person, you see the colours all at once like when the swatch book is fanned out. The feeling is affectionate, safe, restrained, sensitive, mellow, supple, and sympathetic. Words like strident belong somewhere else.
Kibbe’s Natural Is : “Girl Next Door Chic”, “Losbter Party hostess”.
He also has a Flamboyant Natural – who’s the modern version of Carly Simon…Miley Cyrus could be FN. With her bigger body, broader facial bones, smaller eyes, I wonder also about Andie McDowell (not a Soft Autumn).
And there’s a Soft Natural category…the Olsen twins?
- soft and round edged geometric shapes ; slight oversize/unstructured
- earthy materials, slightly chunky
- outline relaxed, straight, narrow, loose, soft tailored
- textured fabrics; glitz at night
- detail minimal, simple neckline, open neck, soft shoulder
- mostly separates, mixing pattern texture colour
- color pizzazz, break the rules mix n match, neutrals with texture
- circle, swirl, ornate, sharp, severe, fiddly
- sheer, clingy, flimsy, restrictive
- cropped, monochromatic
SA N Separates
- relaxed straight lines? yes, pretty good
- bold and direct? I think so, enough anyway.
The hard part: keeping colour zippy and colour combinations energized. I even consulted Kobayashi’s Color, Image, Scale, best colour combinations ever, and didn’t have much luck getting pink beige into any snappy colour combinations without losing my Soft Autumn vibe.
Like: that it feels tight in style, not just colour. I don’t look at any item and think “Why in the world would that be there?” These could all live in one woman’s closet.
The Hair Style
I quite like chin length hair on Claire. If the bob were not severe, keeping to the idea of rounded edges that are a little fluffed, perhaps this?
The Hair Colour
Highlights, bleach, or any kind of processing that is obvious will feel forced instead of being true to the feeling of naturalness that an N emanates.
Though Hollywood advice to Soft Autumns appears to be that blonde is necessary, it is never the best choice for the skin, whether she’s an N or not. The natural colour is usually medium-dark warm-ash brown. Very medium in colour. If the texture is also without body or definition, the hair feels left behind once the woman is dressed and made up. Consider a colour that is one shade lighter and a fair bit warmer than the natural colour.
JLo Lite, like what’s at the ends of the hair. Golden Blonde before anyone would call it red.
Jennifer Lopez Pictures
SA N Makeup
Natural means the no-makeup look, which can still require a good bit of makeup to achieve. The movie makeup and hair artists in the poster at the top did a pretty good job.
Try these and let us know what you think:
Bronzer: Urban Decay Baked
Blush: Mercier Rose Bloom
Eyeliner: Urban Decay Stash
Eyeshadows: NARS Portobello, Key Largo, Blondie
Lipstick: Givenchy gloss Delectable Brown
Which brings up the interesting question of what a SA Dramatic would wear.
Other SA Kibbegories
C. had a lovely idea, comparisons. Katrina did just that with a SA Romantic and it’s brilliantly good.
Here is Jen’s Romantic Soft Autumn. We know with colour that two women of the same Season will interpret their palettes very differently in the items they choose to buy, how they colour their hair, or wear their makeup. The same applies to Kibbegories. We still retain every bit of our individuality. Our creativity is simply more focused and our visual voice is so much more beautifully coherent.
If you did a Polyvore of another Kibbegory, please post links in the Comments. We’d love to see it.
The previous article was about settling into the mood. We looked at some landscapes to help us get the human face and all the emotions it evokes out of our decision-making. The brains of women especially go into an overdrive when we see faces (which is why advertisers make a point of using a face or at least a set of eyes in ads) that make it very hard to be completely impartial about colours to include or decline from the scene. It looks good, right, and real when the woman, her natural colouring, the colours she’s wearing, her own style, and the style she’s wearing, all point in the same direction.
We also decided on the neutral colours are that will be the spine of a work wardrobe. Spring looks so good in colour that ‘neutral’ was expanded from grey/beige/brown/taupe to include navy and your darker green, which are the suits I’d choose. I’d also add blush and pale peach to the light colour choices.
First thing: You Don’t Have To Be Perfect. (Or: Don’t Let What You Can’t Do (or Find At The Stores) Stop You From What You Can Do). We could have an ID bracelet : iLearn. iAdapt.
The face, the woman
Let’s bring in faces. Who are we dressing?
Taylor Swift Pictures
Her new hairstyle (hippie looks excellent on Spring) and lighter makeup are beautiful. I always saw her as Light Spring but wonder if she might be True. This hair colour is too ash (ash being comparative, like all colour is – her hair isn’t ash brown but it is greyer and dustier than Goldie Hawn’s) and could be more brightly yellow and maybe a bit darker. That and the muting of the dress are causing her to lack bone definition. The face blends into neck. The center of the face is blurry. There’s the feeling that the whole is a bit anemic, of wanting to step in with a brush and add more colour. Then again, maybe it’s all lighting. She’s still so much better than she was.
Taylor wears a simple, young, natural style that suits her and looks like what she represents. All the signals point the same way. That feels secure to look at. We are given every reason to trust that she is who she appears to be. In a business setting, especially in sales and teaching, this matters a lot. People are much more open, both sharing and receiving, if they’re not expecting you to play a wild card.
60 Minutes is the only TV I watch so I see Leslie a lot. I find her very beautiful in her expressions. She conducts an interview with curiosity and interest, not a fact finding mission. One of Spring great assets is their charm. Because Spring can look so young, age bestows a power and confidence that the young may not feel easy to own. Below is how a True Spring looks wearing Light Spring colours: better than many other choices but somehow not enough the balance her. She is more colour than what she’s wearing. Notice the Suzanne Somers- type face proportions. True Spring was assembled to look best when they’re smiling. You see twinkling eyes, dimpled cheeks, beautiful teeth, the natural disposition is just to be happy.
Give her heat, anybody’s heat and it’s better because heat is the TMIT for True Spring. The eye colour is more faded than it needs to be but that’s just a little colour adjustment to bring them up to the level of the hair and lip intensity. I often feel that I’d be happy to know her and be in her presence. Looking at these Spring faces, who wouldn’t?
Ivana – love her lipstick, dress, and necklace. A woman who knows what looks good on her never goes out of style. Perhaps the blush is a little cooler than the lips, bah, she still looks great. True Spring needs a lot of cosmetic colour for their magic to happen. Nobody can outdo them cream skin, lagoon eyes, clear apricot cheeks, and pure coral lip colours, all swirling around. Colours aren’t too blended because they aren’t on the natural face. Ivana’s lips, cheeks, and eyes are distinct (I’d even define her brows more). I’ve said Ivanka, her daughter, may be a True Spring and she has some of her mother’s qualities, but her voice is deep and her manner blunt, more Autumnal. Who knows?
By comparing the neighbour Seasons of Light Spring (the natural colouring made up of True Spring’s base palette, then cooled and hazed by a wash from Summer’s, so 2 True Season parents = Neutral Season) and True Spring (the natural colouring defined by pure, light, warm, yellow-based pigments), you can see the size of the visual heat shift. You can see darkness and saturation shifts as well when you look from one Polyvore to the next.
For the good of the group, Spring, wear more colour than anyone else. It’s a good rule, rather like ‘always be the most sober person in the room’. For the office, keep the number of juicy colours to one big block and one little one, which could be lipstick or earrings, a watch or scarf. Try keeping the very colorful items near you but not on you if you feel too much at first. A colourful jacket or sweater you can drape or carry, a clutch or wallet, a hair accessory on the back of your head, shoes, a laptop case, it all counts if it’s seen in your vicinity. Colour signals confidence, creativity, imagination, sensitivity, and an open-mind. If I’m hiring, those and self-motivation are what I’m looking for because they’re near impossible to teach, learn, or implant.
Use grasshopper green and goldfish orange. All of us, so often, the TMIT of our Season is what we’re busiest suppressing and covering, the thing that makes us most special that we downplay. Being a toned down version of our TMIT makes us usual, average, and hidden. It seems we do it without thinking, and yet it’s the unique features that we love most about others, that define them, not the traits they share with the rest of us. If True Spring does wear mostly neutrals in clothes to work, make every accessory coloured within the limits of the boardroom. While that may look too fanciful on anyone else, on a Spring, it’s a woman who knows what suits her.
All-one-colour looks too quiet. Analogous colours are too gradual. Spring jumps around more, facial expressions changing every few moments. The person looks like a lot of colour and is better balanced when dressed that way. Of course, nobody looks like a lot of colour right out of bed. Most humans look like variations of brown. We don’t sit at the Food Court and see the yellow-based people. If you stood everyone side-by-side, you’d see the yellow ones. Dressed in their best colours instead of the colours of pavement that are favored these days, suddenly everyone looks different and more like themselves.
For the Polyvores below, if you visit the site, you can zoom in and take a better look round.
Be unexpected. A blue that has a trace of violet. A coloured shoe. Wear the coloured skirt or pant and neutral top or vice versa but wear colour. Keep the cut conservative and the size of the vivid block controlled.
Purple is so important on Spring, but like yellow and orange, can make textile or garments look less quality, so make these your most beautiful purchases.
The daisy print is saved because the centers aren’t yellow. The grownup version of kids’ items looks superb – hairbands, patterned tights, beads, all very workable in neutral colours.
Not tortoiseshell, which looks odd to me on everyone but the 3 Autumns. Coloured plastic better.
Avoid fabrics that mute or dull colour. Pick fabrics with a little shine in one element of the outfit. It’s pretty because you shine a little. Also, it adds the sensation of movement just by breathing, which keeps shifting the light play.
If the outfit is neutrals, make the accessories colourful and the makeup glowing, vibrant, alive. Neutral colours don’t belong on True Spring faces and nor do shy lips, which True will turn gray. Just to simulate the natural lip colour for a no-makeup look, it takes a lot of pigment. Neutral colours do belong on Light Spring faces – grey eyeshadows, softer blush, and apricot and beige lips.
Don’t wear darkest with darkest, especially Light Spring. The overall value effect is light for the Lights and medium for the True.
Wear green. It’s excellent for those of us looking at you.
Liven up neutrals by finding them in prints. Coloured buttons are good.
Why all the solid colours in the collections? Because I don’t see prints I like. I was asked to do florals for the 12 Seasons. I’m sorry, it would take years. Wear them if you can find them. Prints are great on Spring.
Consider that neutrals are a bigger challenge for Spring than colour and for True more than Light. Look at navy, your darker turquoise colours as pant, suit, and skirt colours. Widen the meaning of neutral colour. Some analysts consider your red among your neutrals.
Coloured coats, trenches, and jackets look good on you.
Keep the overall look relaxed. The dark suit looks stiff and heavy. Spring isn’t wrapped that tight.
Play to your strengths. What is it that Spring knocks our socks off with that nobody else can do? Yellow-green. It’s uncommon, it looks like the new leaves we wait for each year.
Don’t match too much.
Wear lots of accessories. You know how children can wear a candy necklace, several bracelets, hair clips, and look fabulous. Spring has a lot of that.
Never dull down Spring in any of the 3 colour dimensions. A True Spring who compromises saturation or darkness level looks pale, floury, grey, with doughy bone structure and no angles in the face. True Spring is looking for warmth first, yes, but pure pigments and enough darkness really do matter too.
What about a print with white in it? What should come across is sun. Even a little white can look too crisp and drain you as the Bright Spring drapes did. The two turquoise tops in the upper left of the Polyvore – see how the one to its right has more warmth of a yellow type beaming out of it? The dots one on the left is cooler in the colour, and cooler still and sharper by the white, no primary sense of sunshine, looks more Bright to me.
True Spring goes darker than Light. Experiment with it. If you overshoot, it’s not a big deal. If a Light Spring overshoots, even far from the face, the whole picture is weighed down.
Beige yellow, butterball yellow, not cool yellow. The yolk in those Laura Secord Easter eggs. For zingy days, wear it with purplish blue and pretend you had no idea what purple and yellow do for each other.
I wouldn’t wear red, orange, purple pants to the office but would in a skirt with a cream or beige top. Consider more stuff at the store tomorrow than you did yesterday.
Wearing a busy coloured top? Make the bottom be one of the colours in the top rather than adding yet another colour element.
Mod looks great.
Orange can be a colour that preoccupies the eye, maybe just my eye, but it’s very at home on Spring.
The brown dress – too muted/orange/Autumn? Maybe it’s on the line. Wear it with the Spring orange cardi to pull it over to Spring.
I love blazers. Love them. You won’t wear your red lips to work, favoring nectarine, but wear your red blazer. It looks awesomely strong. Wear it on Casual Friday to stay office-worthy.
Much like True Spring but a lighter colour stamp, since the Season’s TMIT is that colours be light.
Bit more monochromatic than True Spring but still lots of colour. A pink blouse and a turquoise sweater look fine. Since the article is about neutrals, I used those more but go the colour way if you like. We will be very happy looking at you.
The cooler yellows are gorgeous as are the cooler pinks.
Build your wardrobe in the next few months, even buy your Christmas dress now. You’ll be happy in December.
Light Spring Looking Serious has a lot more information about this Season.
We still need to superimpose the Polyvore below on top of those we just looked at. That’s how much the audience has to connect. We are like a 1000 piece puzzle to look at. So amazing when all the pieces fit, so obvious when one doesn’t, somehow our eye goes right to it. Imagine a black dot floating in those collections. You would see nothing else, you’d just stare at it moving around like some kind of hypnosis, like the railroad tracks effect of black mascara.
True Spring on the left, Light Spring on the right.
In 12 Season personal or seasonal colour analysis, True Spring looks
- Yellower and warmer.The pink drop earrings for Light Spring are cooler pink and the metal less yellow. Belt buckles are yellower for True Spring.
- Brighter, which can translate to bolder.
- More pigmented or saturated (compare the green shoes – are they yellower on the Light side? Yes, but you’re always juggling heat/value/saturation at once and these are less saturated).
True Spring’s accessories can also take on more weight. That could be more solid (a heel), sturdy (fabric weight, a buckle), chunky (a belt), big (a stone), or wide (a strap). That bead on a wire effect in jewelry, it looks really excellent on Light Spring. Don’t be too literal or exclusive here, many pieces will work well in both Seasons.
From the book RTYNC pictured in the column to the right:
Colour Equations Light Spring
One light, medium, or dark neutral colour + one light colour or one medium colour
One light to medium-dark neutral colour + one light colour + one medium colour
Two light to medium neutral colours + one light colour
One neutral colour + two colours
Use of complementary pairs in medium sized blocks or with quieter colours.
Overall light to medium darkness effect
Colour Equations True Spring
One light, medium, or dark neutral colour + two brighter colours of similar area
One large block light to medium-dark neutral colours + one small block medium-dark to dark neutral colour + one brighter or lighter colour
One light, medium, or dark neutral colour + one bright colour + two other colours in small areas
Full use of complementary pairs
Overall light to medium-dark effect
We are dressing to look like we inhabit our natural space, looking like we were meant to look when we stepped into this world. The glow and vitality of perfect health and eternal youth are Spring’s claim to fame.
In 2 parts because Dark Autumns are among the most fascinating persons on the planet. As you’ll see, I can talk about this Season for a long time. Today, the colours, the landscape, the person. Next, the clothes and the Colour Equations.
In 12 Season Personal Colour Analysis, the Dark Autumn Season holds those persons whose natural colouring is:
- Dark, the TMIT, but richly dark, luxuriantly, glowingly dark. We are given robust red wines, lustrous deep olives, and ornately reddened browns and purples. This is the aspect of colours that they are first and most. Darkness before heat.
- Neutral to warm. In this context, Neutral means colours that have both some coolness (blueness) and some warmth (gold), as opposed to lower-case-n-neutral that can mean flesh-toned makeup or gray/taupe clothing. Sophia Loren feels much more toasty than she does black. Black feels uninteresting and thoughtless next to the hot, spicy fire she embodies. Always plug in the comparison. There are no absolutes with colour. I once called Winter skin rubbery and Summer papery. Kathy needed a moment to get past that. If her Winter skin were compared to rubber OR paper, well, my Dark Winter skin is for sure not papery or any woven substance. Focus on each separately: how does Sophia feel next to black AND how does black make you feel help up next to Sophia?
- Barely muted, not enough to notice. Dark, thick taupes, as hippo grey, not pigeon. Balsamic vinegar and tomato paste are dusty compared to Turkish coffee and dragon blood (I meant oxblood but dragon blood was more fun to type). Dark Autumn is very colour concentrated. There is so little dusty here, it’s hardly noticeable unless you held up the colour next to the 99% pure Bright Season colours.
The Darkness (Is Not Black)
Dark Autumn means darkness releases the magic – heavy, hard, deep, strong darkness. It enriches the eye, attains the skin tone’s perfection, and infuses the appearance with a vital force that will set you back in your tracks. You unlock this mystery of Autumn’s blazing heat entwined with the coming Winter quiet with luminous, full, rich darks. Spring and Summer have darks that are without the density of oil paint. Dark Autumn colours are thick and meaty.
Colour may be settling with the approach of Winter’s cold but the octane level remains very high. Black’s feeling of weight is certainly here, yes, but its more distinct voice of deepest, most sacred sleep, of stark outlines and a spare sensibility, are not yet in reach. Black can feel a bit leaden on those who do not contain it by Nature’s hand. Keep Dark Autumn darks penetrable and interesting. Choose the almost-black purples, blues, browns, and greens. In daylight, you should see colour. Almost black colours often look metallic like that finish on cars, and it’s never the cheap cars.
Once a woman hears that she ‘can wear black’, she wears it with a vengeance. On Dark Autumn, it’s not great or very good or good. It’s acceptable in small blocks with a lot of heat added in. Solid black is forbidding. It’s a wall, a very boring wall unless you are primarily Winter because it has no translation on any other body. Two entities that can’t find a communication place are not intelligible to one another (thanks to Sharon for the great analogy). Black is still a foreign language on Dark Autumn’s body, though there are a few phrases to pull out in emergencies. To the viewer, the person and the black have no unifying element. They remain a little separate, the clothes from the person, as if there’s a blank space between them with nothing it it.
Black is their toughest temptation but it looks far colder, harder, and heavier than they do. Wearing it looks a bit disappointing relative to what could have been in rich, hot, bronzed reds and browns. Play up the heat and to look spectacular. If she can’t get with tribal, then do military, urban chic, or nerd chic, but don’t default to black. Do touches of black, in belts, shoes, a small part of a print. Avoid big, black blocks. And don’t do black with silver jewelry which is even colder. Even in pants, the near-blacks are leap years better than black. The viewer sees you from head to toe in one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand seconds. You register others in that time, at least to make a first impression. The deep maroon pants got noticed with more pleasure than one more black bottom half.
Autumn is too comfortable and knowable, familiar and natural, for black. Invited into a home for coffee and cake isn’t black. The midnight fire dance or glass of brandy contain some black, but with the firelight flickering, surfaces are so much more red and orange and green than black.
Black keeps the world a little farther away, which is about where Winter likes it. Black (and Winter) is involuted. Autumn is not primarily that way. Winter disengages from anything they don’t want to acknowledge or pay attention to. Like it’s not even there. Like all the stuff in the house that needs dusting. Autumn isn’t that way. They are engaged. They’re sanding furniture, baking and sharing, attending charity functions, going to obedience class with their Bernese Mountain Dog, starting projects in time for Christmas, showing up for a friend’s three wedding showers with a gift every time, always trying to figure a better way of doing something. And dusting.
Dark Autumn can balance the weight of black. Therefore, they will not appear to gain weight when wearing it. So, it’s not completely random on this person but next to such a powerful force, on a spirit this strong, black looks colourless. Almost lifeless in an onerous, inorganic way. Cold-blooded on a hot-blooded soul.
There is no pure white until Winter is firmly in place so that tendency it has to brighten everything (like a Dark Winter face but not a Dark Autumn face) won’t be seen during the draping. This face will appear greyer, without vitality, and more lined. Stay far from white. It’s an instant 10 years, a truly unattractive choice. Learn Summer’s pastels too so you never buy them accidentally. See that blue book way up at the very top right of the page? It can help you with this.
These are the darkest light colours of the 12 Seasons. Even they have darkness, a scorched quality. Colours appear slightly aged, in the way that paper can be sponged with tea or coffee to be antiqued. The lights are substantial colours that can drain out any other kind of skin, like the sturdy colours of grains, brown rice, quinoa, that overlay of brownness but not blackness.
The light colours are distinctly browned, like vinegars and preserves. Browned spiced peach, chamois, November grass, and dark willow. Winter’s blue is coming in, neutralizing Autumn gold to some extent. What should strike home is brown as a dark warm taupe overlay, as brown rose and brown coral. Think of the dried apple, peach, and fig, compared to the originals. Spring is raw, Soft Autumn is cooked, True Autumn is flambe, and DA is what’s in the pan when the flame subsides. Dark Autumn’s lights are the colour of the bread or the sauce that got left too long in the heat.
Light colours are either right on or way off. Because darkness is very forgiving (meaning colours are more likely to look gorgeous just by being dark), it follows that light colour is the opposite. This applies equally to clothing as hair. The Dark Seasons are the most awkward blondes (remembering that hair averages don’t exist in the Seasons) unless Nature gave them light coloured hair. Don’t let someone tell you that women need lighter hair as they get older. To the person looking at you, it feels uncomfortable to see light streaks because they are so very far from who you are inside that it can’t be counterfeited in. Up floats the question “What was so wrong with who you were that you felt you had to be everyone else? I liked you fine before. Now, you’re making me wonder. Plus, I feel kind of embarrassed and cramped and I don’t know why.”
Still big smoke coming off it. An overcooked type of heat, where a carbonized trace is cooling the colour’s original heat. Moroccan colours. Darker than Bollywood colours. Persian carpets, Aladdin colours.
The reds look browned, as bricks, russets, bittersweets. That almost burnt quality is important. Burnt oranges and reds make beautiful lip and blush colours. Red is almost automatically a warm colour in that even when it’s cool, its message is hot. These lip/blush shades are not hard to find, certainly not in makeup. Dior Rouge Blossom lipstick is a beauty, as are Clinique lip in Chianti and NARS pot gloss in Medea. Wear sheer, but wear your red-browns. Look at Chanel Glossimer 64 in Sunset Gold (toasted apricot), Revlon Lip Butter in Fig Jam (sheer brown), and Lancome Hotspell (sheer bronze). They look incredibly good.
Just cool enough for a diamond to form, the hardness Winter brings. Nothing is flimsy. Soft on someone else looks flimsy here.
Temperatures are dropping. The fire is dying down, only embers left. If this is the picture I chose for the coldness, imagine what the heat looks like! Greys provide a cooling effect, situating the Neutrality of the Season.
Winter can have a bigger influence on character than its minority role in this palette should account for. This person can be more cool and formal or more passionate and dynamic, but forcefulness is always there. Move towards that heat. It looks good. The distinguished professor and the head of state are as Dark Autumn as the painted warrior. Reserved and serious are worn extremely well too, but there is a sense of might, as mighty, as Madeline Albright, as Indira Gandhi.
Google Scan their Images. The power of this person is awesome. As they age, Dark Autumn women become more formidable every day. Don’t reduce that by being one more blonde. I’m never fond of purple/dark magenta/burgundy hair trendiness either, which are only distraction on a very focused person, though these colours are stunningly good in clothing. Claim the power in the faces above, those of Cleopatra and Melinda Gates. Rise up to being who you are. In the beginning, right colour can feel like a disguise. In no time, the colours will have convinced you of your truth when nobody else could.
Dark Autumn can tap an infinite pool of strength. It is not in Autumn’s nature to be entitled (it can be Winter’s, of being outside the rules). They don’t make special concessions for themselves, they just get on with the work. Few can match Dark Autumn for taking on the big roles and getting stuff done. They have Winter’s enormity of scale built-in so the huge task doesn’t daunt them for a second. They are the strongest people in the world because they are not self-indulgent. And they could care less if their husband dresses better than they do. Allow the drama of grey in hair, a strong testament to your Neutral Season colouring where the warm skin/cool hair play together so well, or choose the rich, dark browns you were blessed with in hair colour.
Cute lipstick looks gray, both makeup and skin. Blonde hair looks grey, both hair and skin. They look weak. A Dark Autumn must protect herself against trend at all costs.
The energy is still natural – though less than True or Soft Autumn, barely rustic or earthy anymore – which is why flesh-tones in makeup look better here than on a Winter face. Drama and the right costume can look very right too. Soft Autumn is pie crust, Autumn is whole wheat, and Dark Autumn is dark rye bread to dark walnut and mahogany wood, because among the feeling of its colours is hardness. By comparison, Spring is puff pastry and lots of sugar. Summer is petit fours. The Lights are meringue. Winter? I’m sure they have sweetness, .. I was asked what car a Soft Summer drives, it just came into my head, a Volvo wagon!…back to what is Winter’s sweetness…it’ll be hard and controversial, meaning many won’t like it …edible flowers? rosewater candy?….. flourless black chocolate torte with a raspberry coulis.
With maturity, and these colours are Spring’s matured, come deeper waters, more complex patterns, more density of substance. Spring’s candor and innocence are much more about simplicity. Winter’s isolation speaks of a different type of simplicity, one of extremes of the cleanest surface fused with a most elaborately difficult interior.
Autumn has a steady rhythm. You can always hear the faraway sound of a drum. In Soft Autumn, it’s hushed as if under Summer’s water. The Softs are the Seasons of natural elegance. Their unifying grey feels steady and calm, more than cool or warm. Autumn’s complexity exists in all three Autumns, so the combinations of their colours look better to me than any one alone (and in this, I’d include Soft Summer), as warm dull apricot or browned rose with warm pewter, limitless possibility. In those Seasons, layers work well to give sense of pattern (as texture, complexity, and creativity, like the handmade harvest display on the front porch), and depth, both of which have an inherent rhythmic progression.
In Autumn, we march to a steady beat from colour to colour to colour, feeling the connections, the reasons for being together. At Dark Autumn, words are more loaded, as luxury and control, almost ready for Winter’s power. Dark Autumn’s rhythm is insistent, unbridled, tribal. The greys look more like powder keg than soothing. Colours stand alone more, though layers still work quite well here, less well on Dark Winter. Autumn is questioning and curious. Winter is oblivious and listens to its own GPS. The Autumn outfit should feel stimulating and absorbing, like a pulse, moving from piece to piece. Winter is pulling away, its large empty voids depicted in stark and solitary use of colour and jewelry, and of course, black.
For Dark Autumn, it’s the tribal-as-in-undomesticated goddess, the wild horse. The untethered freedom. Your own hoofbeats pounding in your ears. The driving intention. The uncaring about reactions. Can we go back and emphasize the word wild. Native. Savage. Unchecked. Untamed. All it takes is one scarf, one bronzed lipstick, one leopard print-backed glove, and the viewer just felt it in their chest (but couldn’t say exactly what they felt).
Autumn is good at dressing what is. Once they see the system work, they move on. They tend not to be conflicted about what suits them and letting go of other colours and styles but they need to see it themselves. This is not the ‘what do you think?’ group. They have to think it. And with colour, of course, they have to see it. When they look away from their face in the mirror in the white drape, I know I’m golden. Until they do, they look at you like “Yeah, colour, whatever. Let’s go buy boots.”
For many Dark Autumns who feel better as neighbourly and unpretentious, well ok. Your True Autumn origin is strong and doesn’t often care for theater. The tolerance for it can be close to zero. Everyone looking at you is waiting for you to pull out a shot of excitement, but we’re all our own biggest obstacle. You’re not alone in that. We all could look instantly more magnificent if we could unleash our inner somebody. Figuring out who that is is a little hard, but even after knowing, getting her decked out and let loose is another animal altogether. For me, it’s the navy pinstripe suit with the iced violet or dark rose shirt. I own neither item, but in my own defense, I have been trying on suits. None of this is easy or automatic for anybody. If you believe one thing, make it “When one door closes,…” Knowing the colours that are in you puts your hand on the doorknob. Are you going to do something with it?
If tribal feels nuts, even that one necklace, you might try giving your Winter side bigger air time. Dark Autumn is equally superb in classy suits, jackets, borrowing from elite sports like horse (English better than Western depending on the item) and ski, jet set safari and archeological digs. Like Winters, you look better when you’re done up dressier than anyone around you than when you opt for the True Autumn associations of everyday twills, denim, corduroy, and chunky wools. Dark Autumn is that wickedly good Season that looks good classic and good fired up.
The music can be monastic hymn. But then there’s this…the serpent, the danger. Feel the tension? True Autumn was a cheerleading camp compared to this.
Slithering along, now more alone in the dark, the knot in your belly gets tighter, now just on Dark Winter’s doorstep:
We’ve set the scene, dimmed the lights. Next, we’ll think about clothes.
Keep in your mind who we’re putting these colours on. Next to a cross-section of the population, this person is pale. But let’s call it light, since pallor implies ill health. Sharon Stone, Meryl Streep, they will be overall lighter than most people you put beside them. Their darkest colour never gets very dark.
The Light Summer person is light to look at standing in front of a black wall. But not always. In their natural beige brown hair and eyebrow colour, they look more medium till you start putting colour next to or on their skin. Then you notice that the lightest blusher that would be invisible on most women has a huge effect. To balance and not overtake, their closet is light. Light needn’t mean a bowl of dinner mints. How does a rainbow dress to look interesting and impacting? First, see yourself through others’ eyes.
Nobody complains about looking at rainbows. They feel fresh, hopeful, soothing, and happy. Let yourself be who you are and get media perceptions about power out of your way. The clothing, weight loss, anti-aging, personal growth, and cosmetic industries can get you to buy more stuff if they can convince you there’s something wrong with you. It’s cheaper for them to make clone colours. Please believe me, there is nothing wrong with you. In your light colours, you are breathtaking. The sun shines out through the sky and water of your eye colour. That is such a special magic and few are capable of it.
I had a very beautiful, natural, easy Light Summer client. She arrived quite certain that she was a Winter and was going though the motions of a PCA just to confirm it (and come to find out, she had recently bought light blue and peach Capris just because.) Part of her Winter conviction came from seeing her facial structure as strong or intense, which it was, more in keeping with her ideas about Winter. When I think of Spring Summer blends, fragile doesn’t describe their bone structure – or anybody’s bone structure, for that matter. Meryl Streep (whom she greatly resembled), Sharon Stone, Joni Mitchell, Carmindy, Ivanka Trump (perhaps a stronger Spring), these faces express far more than daintiness. You’ll see many fine-boned faces among all Seasons. Media’s convenient typecast of power as dark, intense, and masculine is very far indeed from what power really is. It’s important to distinguish power from intimidation, the cheapest form of power. And like all things cheap, it is neither sustainable or enduring.
Light Summer is a Summer above all. She likes precision and dislikes clutter. Like True Summer, her personality is considerate, and to a lesser degree, can work the details all day and all night, and be uncompromising about getting them right. She is not really stubborn, just striving towards an idyllic vision that’s almost romantic, as in Utopian.
We often think of ‘feminine’ for True Summer, all lace and flounce, but that’s not quite the right adjective. Womanly is better. Moon goddess. Fertile (her version of earthy), giving, patient, complete (hence the circle symbol). She can be very sentimental though the first interaction may be quite formal. Relationships, wisdom, and intuition are nearer her heart than raw intellect, which on its own strikes her as unkind, one-dimensional, and too boringly linear, logical, and external.
Spring’s arrival brings the potential for a little more giddiness. She’s more cooperative, happy in the middle ground, and so easy to get along with. She loves a laugh and takes life less seriously. The sun is coming out. She has humour, self-directed humour, the single best entry ticket to self-knowledge. She doesn’t get all the way to the stronger Springs’ “If life’s not fun, what’s the point?” but she does think “Why can’t everyone just lighten up and get along? Why did God even make Dark Winters? They’re missing all the good stuff.”
She embodies the simplicity of just being pretty. A little cute but mostly pretty. A face like a doll. Christina Applegate. Light Summer is not tough or rugged, it’s tender. Not stern, it’s lenient. Not funky, but still informal. Life can get so complicated, but not here. This is the afternoon off, the nowhere-to-be day, the tell-your-troubles-to person.
Light Spring is creamy, Soft Summer is foggy, True Summer is cool and misty, Light Summer is sunny and barely misty (or do I mean myst?), like a Once Upon A Time land. The rainbow when the sun comes out. Flower petal showers. Trees always in leaf. The lightest dusting of sugar sprinkled all over, a Cotton Candyland (Light Spring is the Jellybean Candyland).
She wears the light taupe shoe well because her hair is light taupe. On this woman, it actually does elongate the leg.
She may carry a green purse and she’d probably even go about in green pants. Light, fresh, and fun.
Warmth? Cashmere. It comes in so many colours. Likewise, fleece. It floats.
Wash those white pants with your darks to soften the white a bit.
A serious colour? Add a girlie colour.
A lot of light? Add a darker colour in a small area. Sunglasses count. Cool frame, cool lens, light hardware.
The light colours aren’t that light. Winter’s are even lighter because they’re not pastels. Make big use of your medium range of colours to move away from the pale feeling.
Squint to blur the details and you see dappled light, the perfect light on Light Summer.
Could drift away like a thistle on a breeze.
The dress on the left, too dark? Maybe so slightly. Reminded me of bunches of grapes. Good colour flow. Wear a light shrug or Pashmina and a fun shoe. Carry a light purse. Impact without consequences.
Turquoise ruffled blouse too saturated? Maybe. Don’t care. Love the colour on this person and I see it on them just fine (rather than not seeing them in a too-much colour).
Those blue capris, that’s darker and more saturated than your navy. The pants will be what people see so the area will get bigger by proportion. The V-neck top to the right of the yellow dress is better. But, they work well enough. If you look at the whole picture, they don’t jump out.
The fun juicy accessory. Why not? So people see your Miu Miu pink coral clutch first (in the outfit along the R side.) So what. Wear your matching lipstick and carpe diem. Light Summer has that Spring fun element. True Spring is the Hawaiian luau. The luscious scent of the lei, the side to side sway of the hula dance, all about relaxed mood, hips, deliciousness, and fun. Light Summer might not get that unfastened but she’s Spring enough for the hair to come down.
I love when Neutral Seasons (those groups of natural colouring whose inborn pigments are neither 100% cool or 100% warm, but have in-between colouring on the heat scale) demonstrate both Seasons they’re composed of. Wearing cooler and warmer versions of their colours together, as a cool pink lipstick and a light gold lip gloss, is an example. It gives them dimensionality. I also love when they wear both esthetics together. A Soft Summer looks superb in lace (Summer grace) and denim (Autumn strength). A Soft Autumn is beautiful in a flowing scarf (Summer water/flow) and cowboy boots (Autumn leather/desert).
Light Summer’s elements are Summer (graceful, water, feminine) and Spring (sun, movement, sport, play). I love ballet effects (grace and sport) as wrap tops and skirts, ballet flats, scoop necks like leotards, or body-fitting fabric in pretty colours. I love prints a lot, that can show the dewdrops feeling and depict motion with the body’s movements. Outdoor combinations that repeat water and sun, as any kind of sun hat, floppy to baseball to gardening, are great. Small sparkly stones near or on another colour are beautiful, raindrops on roses, as beading on a cardi, better in a wave, or a necklace against a blouse, or an earring near a rose lip.
I was asked how a True Spring expresses two energetic states at once. I haven’t come up with anything because there is only the one energy. That seeming rivalry isn’t there. But there are many ways of depicting the sun and on a True Spring, there is almost no such thing as clutter. A yellow or turquoise Swatch, several beaded bracelets, a necklace of turquoise beads and another of different length with a cluster of small gold charms, all three at once, it just looks better and better. Keep sunshine and colour near the eyes at all times.
In the each Season chapter of the book, there’s section called Colour Equations. To help you see what was in my head when I put those together, and I appreciate that illustrating them is needed, I’ve pasted that section below:
One light, medium, or dark neutral colour + one light colour or one medium colour
One light to medium-dark neutral colour + one light colour + one medium colour
Two light to medium neutral colours + one other colour as a smaller block
More restrained use of complements as gentler colours or smaller areas
Use of analogous colour combinations, moving towards True Summer’s monochromatic designs
Overall light to medium darkness effect
I was seeing this:
Is it pale? Well, compared to what? Dusk? Yes. All the black in the stores? Sure. The person we’re putting it on? No.
Does it still feel too light? Add a darker block and keep it smaller. People will see it.
There’s a fair bit of colour variation but still continuity between colours, because that’s what this person looks like. Mixing up the colours even more than what’s shown looks really good. Keep a balance. The more colourful the look, the gentler the colours should be. This isn’t something to worry about if you have a Colour Book of swatches, the gentleness levels are built in.
My thanks to Natalie who pointed me to Alima Pure’s line of cosmetics. The eyeshadow and foundation selections are beautiful, with many choices for Neutral Seasons. Under Products, choose your category and when the page opens, click View Swatches. You’ll see the whole panel open up for comparisons with colour accuracy that appears very good. I can’t recommend particular colours, having never tested them, but if you have experience with this line, please do leave a comment.
If we’re dressing to repeat how we already look (and we are because it feels good to the viewer), the overall effect shouldn’t get darker than medium on a white to black scale. Big light blocks can look bridal or sterile, not right on a fun-in-a-quiet way, optimistic, and cheerful person. Getting too saturated or busy with colour means her clothes compete with her and win. If colours get too dark, her skin will be drained and grey (and it will follow, who needs grayer teeth?) Remember too that viewers have a lot more colours to process besides your clothes – there’s hair, makeup, eyes, and that big block of skin – that aren’t in the graphic above. They will thank you if everything matches.
How could I forget the music? From classical ballet origins in True Summer and then loosened up when Spring appeared. Spring brings magic and mysticism, freedom and imagination.
Proving that anybody can make fire:
Too hot for Light Summer? Maybe that’s Light Spring’s and we need something dreamier? A reader felt a connection with this very beautiful harp music.
Many people have no interest in their colours, but not just blandly so. They’re defensively so. They don’t mind being advice about other fashion guidelines but they do not want to be told there are certain colors that might not be best for them. Why colour? Because colour gets below the surface. Colour gets into the hard-wiring. There’s more at stake if you let someone in. Let’s spend some time in Dark Winter’s personal space.
Ellen Page is an example of a very commonly seen Dark Winter face. Autumn’s squaring of jaw is often present (True Winter’s is longer and narrower, like Cher) but the colouring is cooler and clearer than Dark Autumn. The trace of Autumn heat is surely here in the hair, eyes, and skin unless the person is quite close to True Winter.
Sure, she could be a Bright or any Season for that matter, but this face is the dance of Dark Winter to me. This is the very rare client that gets out of the car and I have to fight with myself not to push her into the one Season that’s fairly singing its own name. This is a far more difficult analysis, with much more second thinking, than with a person whose natural colouring group is less obvious.
And God love the girl for the natural hair and brows. She looks strong, young, healthy, and smart. The blue in the eye makeup isn’t blue enough to say BLUE EYE PAINT and it complements the orange tones in the eye. I think she looks simply great and you know how much it takes for me to say that. As women, we lose the sense of this being enough. We need to manipulate as if media’s solutions could make it better. Learning to see what is right in front of us as special is the PCA version of living in the moment.
I see this face over and over in Dark Winter. The size of Winter, fathomless and colossal as a galaxy, the space they need and demand, with the human warmth, the comfortable welcome, and the great generosity of Autumn. Tell me this is not (Sci\ART analyst) Maytee Garza‘s face.
Some Dark Winters have a longer face or softer colouring or lighter eyes, lots of variations. Some have a more gamine feel, like Victoria Beckham or Winona Ryder. We don’t do colour analysis based on these traits but every type of natural colouring repeats certain facial features a lot.
I talk about liking lips with colour more on Winters than the erased lip that mostly looks good on the almost-children in magazines. A young Winter is an exception. Even in her medium pinks and purples, there’s so much colour already that she can look like she’s dressing up as Mom. An icy lipgloss can really be great (Bobbi Brown Sugar Lilac – I’m pretty sure that’s the name. It looks more iced violet than grey in the tube.). Not pastel (more greyed, there’s tons of these frosty greyish pinks, don’t buy them). Not medium darkness, should go on very light. Icy is hard to find but it’s good. More age appropriate, conveys a coolness, and better at letting the beauty of the face speak for itself without cosmetic getting in the way, which is the best kind of beauty and the best use of cosmetics.
I tried to do a Polyvore. And failed. I couldn’t even get a single one together. I’ve seen what’s there too many times. Going to try something new. For those who have, or will have, my book, you’ll see a section in each of the Season chapters that describes how I see the colour palette being used to best effect. Dark Winter is the first chapter we talk about so let’s begin with it here.
For me, these colours have an austerity, perhaps because they are dark and cold. They feel serious. Soft effects (draping, smocking, cute collars, floppy bows and sleeves, unfinished edges) or busy details (wildly random prints, buttons and stuff for no reason like insets or logos, tons of ruching), styles that show a lot of skin (because sex and power are opposite currencies, the more of one, the less of the other. Dark Winter is the oldest soul Season and look better dressed more quietly, as the philosophers they so often are), clothes that seem too big (batwing and dolman sleeves, shapeless) – well, you can read the book but I don’t care for this on a Dark Winter. This person takes all that and makes it look unimportant, trite, and fussy. Peter Pan collars belong in Spring’s Neverland for a reason. On someone else, those styles can be flattering, slimming, and fabulous. On Dark Winter, it looks like those projects where your kids took your antique silver vase to school and brought it back with beads and macaroni glued all over it.
I’ve had Dark Winters see their palette and hear the way I see the colours interpreted on this person and feel un-represented. They wanted Bright Winter. They say “Oh, but I love colour!” Believe me, colour analysts are not trying to tell you not to wear colour. We are trying to help you avoid colours that make your face look oily, old, heavy, and unevenly pigmented. As pretty as a colour is, it won’t be so pretty after that happens. Wear YOUR colours any way YOU see them. Could you meet me halfway and say that Mrs. Obama might not be doing herself favours in frosted coral eyeshadow, peacock blue eyeliner, and hot fuchsia lips? Even one at a time, she is not that person, regardless of her position in the world.
I tried to keep the negatives out of the book, but with maturity comes an easier acceptance that every quality we have is in equal measure our flaw. We will excel and surpass at some things, which must be balanced by those places where we are weaker. This is a self-contained individual, not one who shares a lot of the internal stuff or leans on others easily. Some have incredible intensity, far more than the situation warrants, while some are much more passive. Once the cage is rattled, the fun times are over, because once they let go…Dark Winter draws a very clear line at anything that smells like B.S. Unlike the Summers, they will not necessarily keep your feelings safe. In colour, this translates as heavy, humorless, dark, unfriendly, morose, somber, and solemn. Don’t email me to say that this vision is grim and depressing. I’ll email back to say that your interpretation forgot the counterbalances that the hawk brings to the kingdom. Piercing focus, deep introspection, and the majestic, solitary stand-apart-ness that gets noticed first.
There is a core of stillness and hardness in Winter people. You can feel the steel rod down the center, and if tested, it will not bend, no matter how lightweight they seem on the surface. The palpable presence of that steel rod is the source of the strong vertical line element that I find works so well in the appearance of Dark Winter clothing. I think many of them sense this hard place too and translate it as “Earth”, that type of un-movable rock-solid center. For me, Earth energy (and I’m not an energy specialist) means secure comfortable homey regular everyday practical common-sense resilient considerate fair. That’s not Winter, that’s Autumn. Perhaps my misunderstanding, since analysts I respect enormously (Angela Wright in The Beginner’s Guide to Colour Psychology) attribute earth to Winter, where the world turns into itself, gathering power from the earth for the coming growing season, and the person of that colouring is similarly inwardly directed. I feel Winter’s need for big elbow room more strongly and feel an air association, as in space rather than breeze or wind.
At the center of Winter is a titanium wire – wait, this is Dark Winter, make that a tungsten cable. Its strength is not in Autumn’s sturdy squareness, but rather in its thin linearity. Winter is the conflict, even the contradiction, of everything and nothing, black and white, playing themselves out at the same time. Winter is the superstar who never feels good enough, who thinks herself a loser. In True Winter, where the polarities are most widely apart, the line between the two becomes thinnest, near invisible, just a fold in a force field. You can feel the hinge but you can’t see it, like the flip side that must always be, eternal and joined as matter and anti-matter.
From the book, the section is here:
- Black + white + a third colour block from the palette
- A medium-dark to very dark colour (or black) + a white or an icy colour
- A medium-dark to very dark colour (or black) + a brighter colour from the palette
- A neutral (grey, brown, or black) + one other colour + possible third colour in small area
- Two dark colours of the same or analogous colours
- Two colour maximum, where black, white, black-navy, black-brown, and neutrals count as colours. Third colour possible, as small area only, in an accent or accessory item.
- Overall medium-dark to dark effect
(Note: For the equations above, and those in the following Seasons, the terms light, medium, and dark signify the darkness level within the palette itself, not on a full white to black scale.)
From the top graphic:
Your hair and makeup are already a colour. When you look at others, you register every colour, meaning them plus their stuff. Chemical hair colour and makeup already add a lot of colour activity for the viewer’s eyes. Clothes and jewelry beyond that and the eye has nowhere to land, nowhere to focus, and nowhere to rest. Dark Winter looks good with a lot of still territory. Gray, white, black. Perhaps the lipstick in the tuxedo image (#1) is enough, imagining in the earrings, hair, and eye colour adding three more colours.
#2: We’re always needing big separation between lightest and darkest. And an overall dark look.
The red and navy (#3) – feel how much more energy there is just by adding the blue. That navy is so close to black but it feels a lot busier. Not wrong, might be great in your eye, just a different feel. Anything added would be white, gray, black.
When the lower block changes to black, it’s such a small thing, but the feeling for me is sharper, cleaner, calmer, and could accept another small block of colour better. With black (#4), as with white and gray, there’s a feeling of settling that is right, as life settles at night, as moving water settles to frozen ice. Contrast is always high. Winter is not a tone on tone look. Contrast can be high without sparks flying, as large blocks of purple and yellow could achieve, and more so if they’re very bright and clear purple and yellow.
I like a lot of red on Winters. Red is a big colour on Winter. When you get your red right, it becomes a neutral, like gray in your wardrobe. We wear a version of it in lipstick every day. I think Jennifer Butler said that everyone has their neutral red and I agree with her. We are conscious of the colour red in every other person, though not the same red. Dark Winter could wear Bobbi Brown’s Rum Raisin lipstick and cover it with her Sugar Lilac gloss (to clear and purple and lighten that lipstick a touch more) or White Brightening gloss and that would be very good. If you want lips that last till noon, put a good coating of Lauder Double Wear Ruby on, then another coat, then cover it MAC Fast Play which dulls and browns it that tiniest trace to accommodate the Autumn influence that lives here.
Complimentary colours together are very energizing and heated, so work better on the hotter Seasons. When the feeling is colder and stiller, the teal (blue) and brown (orange) in small areas bring in that mutually elevating effect without being revving the motor more than a dark and quiet group logically would. The lower block in #5 is black-brown. That’s your eyeliner, clean, red based, dark, Cover Girl Vivid Ruby. The teal could equally be a stone in an earring, a necklace, a clutch, a laptop case and can go much darker.
Two darks together are aferocity that Dark Winter does well. It’s become hard for me to discuss this character and separate myself, but they seem able to generate a strength of intention to be reckoned with. This isn’t a warm and fuzzy person at all. They’re business and move to the power position pretty fast. All black is kind of too mafia. Two dark but different colours works for me. The Dark Seasons do an overall dark look very well (#6). It’s their thing. For DW, I like when the colours are close if not the same, like a tuxedo, like a pinstripe suit, all those linear vertical elements. All black is, well, you know, never amazing.
I love grey a lot on all 8 Neutral Seasons. And T. Rex gray is right about perfect here. Pants, jackets, eyeshadow, socks, wristwatch bands, it’s all part of the final picture and it’s all getting noticed. Bobbi Brown’s Rock eyeshadow mixed with the darkest colour in Clinique’s Totally Neutral trio and you’re there. Make lighter versions for the lid and darker version to put above the crease.
From the second graphic:
As my friend and Sci\ART analyst, Mary Steele Lawler, from Mississippi, pointed out from her colour mixing courses: ” If one paints a warm bright color in a landscape background the painting will be distorted. This is a color fact, because in real life distance causes colors to cool down and become mellow while Bright and Warm make colors advance.” So, you get what she’s saying, that it would look like foreground-type colour plopped into the background for no good reason. The picture makes no sense. The viewer doesn’t get what they’re supposed to make of the whole thing or get past the question: “Why in the world did the artist do that? What can I be missing here?” That’s yellow highlights on a Soft Summer head whose natural pigmentation is of coolness and distance, so background colours.
Therefore, the coolness level has to be the same throughout the elements of a composition that are in the same plane for you not to look dizzy. Nobody understands the concept of colour consistency better than artists. Colour is just as disciplined as drawing. Until the vanishing point in drawing was understood, nothing looked anchored down. This is a set of rules artists don’t break if they want their work to look real. They don’t take liberties with the natural physics of colour behaviour either if they’re aiming for a believable work of art. Kalisz explained her PCA system by simply saying that it adhered to “how colour is”. She didn’t add or invent arbitrarily. She stuck to those rules that Nature put in place long before colour analysis came along.
#1 – somber, grave, looks good on these people, on this personality.
Since this is a Neutral Season (in 12 Season personal colour analysis, these are the 8 groups of natural colouring that are made up of blends of 2 True Seasons; their personal colour palettes contain just slightly warmish and just slightly coolish versions of every one of their most perfect colours), I set the saturation to pretty high. I stay on the halfway-to-cool side of a colour’s warm to cool spectrum. The dark cool olive and the cool yellow (#2) are the same at the same coolness and provide a high value (light/dark)contrast. Any added colour block is quiet. Picture a colour here, it’s too agitated.
In the next one (#3), I was aiming to show a print. Though the two greys are quiet, the print adds energy and so does a saturated cool coral pink, a variation of red, a colour to which humans are highly perceptive. The lower block is inert, or has no inertia, if you think of each element as having a momentum, a propulsive capacity to itself. Because each one of us is an energy field made up of light. Our appearance should have inertia, moving towards other people, our future, our goal. Isn’t that person just more fun and memorable than the static one (whose foreground colours are plopped in their background – does that look like you’re moving in reverse?) ? That lighter gray, I’d even take to cool light oatmeal or champagne, outside the swatches, but the Autumn blend makes those colours very convincing. If that’s what’s in the store but the pink is perfect, fine.
The purple and black (#4) is overall dark, where the purple energizes, warms, and dulls the black to the right extent (which is to say not a lot for DW). The clutch is meant to convey silver. Could be earrings, cuff, watch, necklace. Substantial diamonds are good because they add big presence without putting in another colour block.
#5 is there to remind that A. we can do a lot without black, that B. all teals are important colours on Autumns as turquoises are to the Spring blends, and that C. white is fine but not alone unless you’re very cool and near True Winter.
Dark Winter does say December to me.
To all of you and to those in your lives who remind you of how much there is in you to love,
I wish you the happiest holidays of all!
When I search Polyvore, I normally set the price less than 250 because that’s the world I live in. Not today. My apologies to all, especially the Springs and Summers, but there is no price limit here.
Today, I was looking for something I would notice the hot minute it walked in the door if the right woman wore it. The other requirement was that I’d feel comfortable in it, could eat, drink, and dance, wouldn’t be constantly hitching up or pulling down. You know how that goes.
Light Spring is across the bottom right. Pretend you don’t see the orange belt. Replace with gold, silver, violet, so on. Summer’s flowing water is here, making peace with the larger fraction of Spring’s livelier colour and unrivaled ability to sparkle. Is the sequined dress too browned? Could be, but I’m trading on the sequins delivering lighter colours in the highlights, making it Spring, and a colour that is not oranged, so the dress doesn’t convey earthy (Autumn).
True Spring takes up the left side. Notice how the colours are yellower and more activated than the Light. The styles are also more energized. Though this person is far more resort-relaxed than manic, she can easily dominate colours that are less vivacious. The whole effect then goes dull. Her makeup is equally way up there. Lip and cheek colours are noticeable and she looks alive like there’s no tomorrow. She’ll be up till dawn, the smile won’t leave her face all night, and she’ll do it all again the next night.
Bright Spring is shown in the top right. In 12 Season colour analysis, this colouring is a blend of Spring’s with Winter’s pigments. Its very ability to confuse makes it all the more flexible. This woman often looks very Winter, seeming cool and dark, and yet her natural colouring is far closer to Spring’s yellow light than to Winter’s red and dark blue. Because of that, she can cheat black in very nicely, though better in small blocks and not too near her face. The rest of the outfit should have Spring’s movement, whether in beading, ruffles, a play of light on fabric, like flapper styles. The elements of play and frivolity are so good on Spring, but toned here by Winter’s seriousness.
Light Summer is in the bottom left. A stronger water rippling effect than Light Spring. The feeling of being inside a cloud or a bouquet of flowers. As Summer arrives, Spring’s foot on the gas is letting up even more. Summer is appropriate always, though in Light Summer, daydreams are still about play. If Autumn’s around, daydreams are about the next job. Summer’s water has a sequence, a cascade, a fall, a flow, like the lines of a ripple or wave, like a ruffle, or even the colour wheel sequence of monochromatic colour schemes. Spring disorganizes, even though there’s only a little. In Light Summer, the dance feels like the wings and flight patterns of butterflies.
True Summer is in the top left. She will be classy, cool, and correct. She may have had a tray of Champagne but you’ll never know it. She won’t give away what she doesn’t choose to. She controls herself utterly (while Winter tries to control everybody). I think of streaming water, of composure, of modern femininity. Is the pink dress too red of a pink? Maybe but I’d still put it on her. The package works.
Soft Summer is on the right side…that navy dress, is that not greatness? I have sat and stared at that dress. Just knocks me over. The muted mauve-raisin-quid semper (Latin for what ever, now that you ask), that is the most interesting colour. I’m pretty sure its pinkness pulls it into Soft Summer but it sure borders Soft Autumn closely (and is a match for Dior Addict Londres lipstick). I love an interesting colour and I love it to pieces on the exact right person. A match made in absolute heaven for the eyes. Then the makeup that jives so right…you cannot stop looking and couldn’t repeat what was said when you spoke with her. Your sense of sight took over your whole brain.
Soft Autumn is on the left. I left the dress in the bottom left that is in Soft Summer too. That’s a fascinating colour, rather halfway between both palettes. I think it’s a little purpler than orange, but a Soft Autumn who is a bit darker or not too freckled and apricottish, and maybe even if she is, could look beautiful. All black parties are deathly. They’re like a boredom and a depression all rolled into one. All these beautifully coloured humans swarming around dressed like a cloud of black insects. Especially at a party! It’s a celebration. Even the Softs should shine a little. One day, we’ll have traveling PCA & A Party, a block of hotel rooms, too much wine, too much song…the admission ticket, no solid black. Don’t care if you’re a Winter. Digression done. As Summer leaves and Autumn comes in, fabric has more weight, more structure, still with the feminine grace of Summer.
True Autumn is in the top right. Words fail me with the red dress but that would be way too much red for many a TA. That could sure be your lipstick with the other two dresses. Is the skirt on the golden one too gathered? It’s very important when you read these ideas of mine to think about whether you feel it the same way and not just accept it. All I’m really trying to do is have you hear, smell, taste, link, and feel what these particular colours awaken in you. Connect your five senses together and trust that what they say to you is true. What I like about the gold dress is the overstitch pattern which reminded me of a quilt, an Autumny association. Jacquard says Autumn to me most of the time.
Dark Autumn, bottom right, like Bright Spring, can impersonate someone whose natural colouring contains black. If the area is small and the rest is hot and dark, what comes across is mostly hot and dark, which is just right. The dress in the center has lace. On a woman who is not really all that lacy, its effect is overridden by the solid dark bands. It’s interesting how a detail can make a feeling. A light grey cardigan could be Summer’s if it’s sheer or ruffled or has same colour buttons. It can be Winter’s if the buttons are more prominent and hard and shiny, like big diamonds studs. Here, those very ordered lines bring more structure than the lace softens down.
Yes, I know it’s 3/4 black. It is a colour that Winter’s style just looks right in. And, as every woman reading this knows all too well, choice is limited at any price point.
Bright Winter is the group on the right. There’s no stopping with dress-up looks for Bright Winter. Hopefully, she has an excuse to wear many dresses in the next three months, this is her time to shop and to shine. I was looking for intense sugarplum which I didn’t find (but did see yesterday in a fleece at Old Navy and I can guarantee it would cost less).
True Winter‘s dresses are in the top left. True Winter is so cold and clean that it has an edge that cuts. Without Spring’s delicate flirtiness and Autumn’s blunter touch seen in Dark Winter, True Winter is unadulterated biting cold. Associations of cut or bite: knife, sharp, snake, scrape (as in diamond edge). So why the flowers? To me, they were edgy and abstract.
Dark Winter is bottom left. I wasn’t sure about the dress with the roses, but there was something Spanish about it that I kept coming back to. Winter isn’t really a traditional floral type of woman but it’s interesting to see a style rendered in a way that makes it untraditional. The textile felt too heavy for a Bright. I’m also thinking about ‘matte glamour’, hardware, cannon black, gun grey, always the Winter edge but one dulled by Autumn here. Bright Winter is the laser relative to DW’s cannon. Dark Winter’s is the simplicity that can own a room full of more is more. A Bright could wear the gold leaf but I put it here because the gold seemed deeper and browner, rather than the BW’s titanium type of brightness. A braided rope belt is Autumn’s touch.
Such a pleasant and sensible personality. I adore these people. Like any relationship, those who live with them may have plenty to deal with, but true to Summer’s politeness, the rest of us have it easy. There is a great equilibrium in this person, equal opportunity analytical and emotional processors and completely adaptable to your personal preference.
Autumn’s determination is coming on board. Settled by Summer’s consideration for others, it feels more like stability. Ask a Winter what they think. Ask a Summer how they feel. This person gladly answers to both, easily exploring both worlds, allowing them to flow in and out of one another, calm and safe, without the need to erect or protect boundaries between them. This is Part 1 of why we analyze so many of them.
The darkest of the Summers, Soft Summer does not look like a light person. They look like Kate Middleton and Angelina Jolie, like Christy Turlington and Fergie. Their very mediumness makes it strangely easy to mistakenly place them in almost any Season. And that’s Part 2.
This is the group that feels dusky to me. Many appear to have a natural tan year round. Dark Winter is often called dusky but they have too much hardness and clarity for that. Think of Demi Moore, Cindy Crawford, Hilary Swank, or Sally Field compared to Ellen Pompeo where the hair to skin to eyes transitions are incredibly gradual or not even there.
How The World Feels
So very comfortable. Not mild exactly, that feeling is more in some of Light Spring’s colours. Just easy to be with. The Soft Seasons are surely the least demanding. These are the days when the heat and humidity of summer have passed recently enough to still feel them. Not too hot or too cold, too squinty light or too dark. The air is cool enough that clothes don’t stick and faces don’t shine. Our limbs move through downy silky air. Being outdoors is the relief it was intended to be. The easing that comes with simply being in our Nature home is denied in our lifestyle. Yet, the restoration is undeniable when we make time for it. We come from earth and are balanced and completed by intimacy with it. In Soft Summer, Nature is the shelter, support, and contentment of the bed of moss under the canopy of pine branches.
>> in clothing, the translation is in maintaining the mediumness; no piece should demand attention over any other, not eyeliner, not jewelry, not lipstick, not shoes. If you wear a light or a dark, balance it with a medium.
The mediumness on the heat scale (75% cool/25% warm) is factored into the personal colour swatches automatically. A no brainer for you. The genius of Kathryn Kalisz was to create these 8 Neutral Seasons with 60 specific and exclusive colours that are unrepeated in the other Seasons and harmonize exactly within each Season. You have to see these colour collections to appreciate how singular and extraordinary the palettes are and how special this system of PCA becomes as a result. In this and other aspects, it is unique, correct, and quite magnificent.
The clarity level isn’t medium, it’s way low. That doesn’t mean colourless, look at the photos and Polyvore below, it just means not as colourful as the others. When life assaults our senses from every angle to get noticed, what we feel here is gratitude and a place to relax. The choice of where we direct our attention is ours for a change. In a cloud, edges are shadowy, they vanish and reappear continuously. Lines can wave, surfaces can shimmer.
>> in a composition, an outfit, there’s an undercurrent of grey that unites the elements and provides the visual continuity. Prints blur from a distance like tricks of the light. No big transitions between colour elements exist so objects blend into one another so gradually, as hallucinations, being inside a dream, a watercolour mirage.
Peaceful because sounds are muffled, the air is velvety, and intrusive presence is always veiled. Secluded tranquility enfolds us as we are lulled into believing that the only company is the one we choose.
Relief in the stillness that cushions and absorbs. Like Soft Autumn, Soft Summer’s colours are all giving and no taking
>> in clothes and makeup, colour pops don’t belong here. Stay inside the palette and keep colour subliminally gradual. Soft Summer is never explicit.
See the deer? In a B&W photo, you’d miss it. The precise edges of Ellen Pompeo’s features would be very hard to identify too.
Notice the tree trunk colour, a good blued grey. There are some great pinks and greens here to provide the feeling of gentled strength. I know one reader at least will be thankful that the quantity of pink in this photo is so small because she couldn’t bear to wear more than this. She is very much a Soft Summer in her feelings about how pink she is, a colour many have the most trouble identifying with, far more so than True Summer, while Light Summer has no trouble at all.
In 12 Season Personal Colour Analysis, the Soft Summer comprises those whose natural colouring is
Quieted by the fog gray that settles over the True Summer swatches – this is the Most Important Thing. The Season is not muted, it’s MUTED+cool. Gotta see the grey, as opposed to True Summer where it’s COOL + muted. Look at the pictures until you can be consciously aware of the greying that flows through each element, joining it to every other as if by a barely visible web. Like the forest in the movie Avatar, every piece is connected by a grey neural net in our perception.
Cooler than warm and a little warmer than True Summer, but it doesn’t feel like warmth yet. It feels like dull. In How The 5 Springs Add Yellow, you saw that the heat isn’t that hot yet. What Autumn adds to the palettes it influences is really gold, but there’s so little of it still that the effect is more to cloak some brightness (add Autumn gold-orange to Summer blue and you get gray by the effect of complementary colour, right?)
Medium darkness, no black or white. They are jarring. You saw this photo in Soft Summer’s Best Hair Color. If you had to pick a highlight, would yellow really be the one that feels best? And that’s a soft yellow. Bleach that up a few notches and add a chemical glint and the result would not fall from the beautiful tree. By comparison, the taupe feels good. It feels like it belongs (because it does).
Soft Summer Clothing
If anyone ever needed proof that accomplished Season beauty is not about going out and buying anything made in your colours, Polyvore would have to be it. Pick a colour and look at the selection. Even if you ignore the utterly silly and the stuff a 5’11″, Size 2, 20-year old couldn’t look good in, there’s still too much that makes no sense. The image below is set up as little Soft Summer vignettes.
Other than a few greiges, there is a fair bit of colour. It happens to be a bit faded compared to the other Seasons.We’re not sure if it’s the lighting, but it feels as though less colour is really light than we expect for Summer. On a sunny day, some of the colours might be quite light, but not today. Like a rainy day, there is a sense of glad acceptance, of productivity, of dressing for a charity lunch at the museum or an afternoon symphony. I’m pretty sure she gets there in a brushed silver Camry.
There needs to be darkness somewhere, not a lot, just a touch. Very light isn’t what she looks like. Isn’t natural hair colour the best? If ever a Season should emanate cool un-complication, it is this one. The hair is too often called mousy and interfered with.
We’re trying to continue the flow between how you look and what you add to yourself. If you’re lighter, you’ll wear an overall lighter effect than a darker woman would. If your hair is dark and skin light, you’ll wear more lights with darks and not strive to incorporate a medium block. The overall palette remains the same, the one that made your skin the most perfect, that made you look youngest. In women over 30, I could almost do the whole analysis just across the eye band (the client and I divide her face into three horizontal bands when we evaluate the changing drapes), so much are age effects evident in wrong colour. We all lose objectivity within 4 feet of a mirror. Try taking some photos or video of yourself to see how widely separated your light/dark span appears to others. It’s better.
Reckoning the amount of warmth is hardish. See that red cardigan center just south of middle? See how it’s not really blued? It’s more fogged? Take berries, almost any sort, and fog them. Not sugar dusted, rather dust dusted, the colour of the object still coming through. Look for the layer of good old house dust.
Less eyelet and lace than True Summer, though she can wear bits of both, and a little more bulk. Still Summer sheer but a bit straighter though not yet sturdy. Still quite ladylike, though she doesn’t really emphasize that part of herself. Pearls and cameos certainly work, in the rosy, fleshy browns of the inside of red grapes. She is not heavy in texture. She does tasteful ruffle cascades beautifully. Some women are very feminine, others feel conspicuous in girlishness and want to get back to their hoodie and yoga pants or cargo shorts. She will almost always take the time to put in earrings.
Her song, being around her, can feel like this (sorry, couldn’t embed it). That slowed-down, soothing way she moves, the softness of the way she moves her mouth and the sounds she makes, those are very characteristic of Soft Seasons. Ever heard Jennifer Aniston interviewed? Lots of soft oo and mm sounds. Angelina Jolie is similar. She’s quiet, controlled, unhurried, loving but forthright. She is more reserved than Spring spunky. She’s exactly halfway between emotional and analytical.
More colours apart than True Summer, ie: less monochromatic. Not all over the map but introducing some variety absolutely works. The combinations in this Season are particularly amazing to me. Maybe they just sound amazing. Hold these colours together in your head till you see them clearly: antique turquoise with grey pearl ; dove grey and cocoa rose; sage and stormcloud blue ; pewter and softest rose. Feels good, doesn’t it? Always softness with strength. The two, together at once, in colour, texture, and design, are the very heart of Soft Summer.
She is Vivianne and Nimue, ruling priestess, Lady of the Lake, loving and seducing Merlin, and granting Arthur Excalibur. She is a moon goddess and the caretaker of Arthur’s dead body on its journey to Avalon. A Camry?? What am I talking about? She lives in a land of chivalrous knights and drifting mists. She drives a Phantom Silver Ghost, of course.
The taupes are tremendous and there are many. In everything from eyeliner to shoes, this is a neutral to be worn and worn. Entire outfits can be based on light dark variations, since any Summer does well in monochromatics.
People ask about maintaining best contrast in their Season. You know, the Colour Book does the thinking for you. If your best look is low contrast as here, the palette won’t give you black, white, or any extremes that are are outside your range in the first place. You’d have trouble setting up max contrast in Soft Summer if you tried. You do want colours to flow easily. That means that you can wear your darkest and your lightest, sure, but insert a medium darkness element to bridge the two ends and bring them closer.
Soft Summer fabric can be matte. The makeup should be. With artificial frosting, this complexion ends up going more muted (read, greyer) by comparions while the frost look hard and glittery. Fabric is also gorgeous with a soft sheen, lustrous like the inside of an oyster and the surface of the pearl within. Some gleam on the lips repeats this just right. As Autumn arrives, gently textured textile, like a light boucle works well, so a little more weave, a little more grain.
The greens are completely magically beautiful. For any Autumn, your teals are transformative, workhorses of your wardrobe. The greener colours can be underdone once Soft Summer is able to spot her teals. That light lustrous shirt, I love it a lot.
Seasonal Colour Analysis Makeup Colours
Kidney purple was a description I loved from a reader regarding the excellence of Dior Addict lipstick Londres. We have some brilliant shoppers, experts in their colours, among our readers. If they’d add their favorite cosmetic colours to the Comments, many women will be grateful, I as well. I would try NARS Tokyo Duo eyeshadow. MAC Syrup lipstick and eyeshadows MAC Shale, Yogurt, Aria are good. Their Malt is a great eyeshadow to reduce frost and saturation in other eyeshadows you may own. Lips? Clinique Voluptuous Violet, Lauder Soft Amethyst, Bobbi Brown Rose Petal, Cover Girl Honey Plum Glow, could all be good. The great red lip with a little more depth for evening? You might look at Mercier Dry Rose.
We’re after believable beauty, not the kind that obviously came from a bottle. Attention getting elements are not believable here. Whispered suggestions, uncertainty about what you heard and thought you heard, Soft Summer colours and shapes move in and out of your perception like ghosts of their original form.
There is no point in reading someone else’s lines when it’s so much easier and more real to play your own part. Heidi described it brilliantly as dialing in the tuning band on a radio to find your own frequency. Stay close to who you are and far from who they want (or tell) you to be.
To fill out the Dress For Your Landscape: True Summer, we had a request for a Polyvore. You know I can never just show a picture. There has to be words. And then too many words keep happening.
True Summer is particular. There are no scratches or smudges on her glasses. She keeps special cloths and fluids at home and office and purse and car. And watch her clean them or take off her nail polish. Like she’s in her own private hell. If Winter wants control, True Summer wants precision.
She’s helpful and tailored but not excessive, like a flight attendant. At all times, gun to her head, she is well behaved and ready to negotiate. In one word, and I know I’ll take some heat, the word I hold in my head when I search is ladylike. There it is, the word we all love to hate. 50% of readers would swear I just said prissy.
Not prissy, prude, prim, proper, whatever. OK, maybe a little bit proper. Therefore she has personal restraint enough for all for us. Etiquette does make the world a better place and if everyone had more of it, oh, how good that would be. For this woman, a tub of Haagen-Daz really does have 4 servings.
This is a challenging clothing style to find in our Lady Gaga world. Ballet flats are too sweet. This woman isn’t that. She takes life pretty seriously, not as competition but as a force for good. She won’t have the bag in the shape of a frog and probably not a pink or yellow one either.
True Summer is least harmonized by menswear influences. This is a rounded body with many curved lines that glides when it walks. Boxiness, straight lines, rigid designs, they are not nearly as good as swirls. I think this is where the constant searching and feeling of unrest stems from that women have about shopping. The clothing industry has all these gaps it could fill instead of making more of the same. Women know what’s out there isn’t right and can’t quite put their finger on why.
I tried to think in terms of outfits so there are groups within groups here.
Colours are a little muted. White white jeans will positively glisten next to the rest of the colours. They appear aggressive on a part of our body where that can send the wrong message unless that’s what you’re trying to do. Jeans in the very colour and texture of chalk would be perfect. No heat, no shine. Part of what holds the whole picture together is that little bit of greyness that hovers over it. No greyness and the item won’t fit under the umbrella so it sticks out there, getting wet, which looks neither strong or attractive. Pretend you can’t see the orange purse.
Some darkness is necessary. This person is usually quite medium in darkness, but some seem quite dark. The odd one has white blond hair, quite an effect next to the navy blue eyes, but there the eyes hold the dark.
Green is underdone because it’s hard to find. There are several. The prototype is clover, blued and a very smidgen dusted. Still a lot of colour. You know that background feeling of a grey fluff round the outer edges of a clover leaf? That’s very much the essence of True Summer, that gentle blurring of the overall effect. The moon is like that, a very effective grey- white glow on this Season.
I won’t say too much. Ask if you wonder what I was thinking.