Recently, Amelia at True Colour AU posted an article entitled PCA Myth Busters – ‘Perfecting the Skin’ (Part 2) and ‘Any Hair/Eye/Skin Colour Can Be Found in Any Tone’ (Part 1), a myth for which I surely take responsibility, maybe full responsibility, for perpetuating. Actually, I recognize a lot of those myths
More Myth Busting Please
I am only grateful when someone teaches me something, changes my way of thinking, or points out where my words have been misleading or confusing. As in everything she writes, Amelia is 100% correct. She is always very gracious in disarming and dismantling my various discrepancies. I feel a bit regretful that Amelia has to keep defusing the bombs but I sure do recognize and appreciate her patience and willingness to teach us all on her website. We badly need precision in this game. And to keep asking questions at the leading edge of understanding ourselves. And to be grateful to be part of a movement that respectfully improves people’s lives by guiding and supporting them towards choice and truth.
Digression: About the TMIT thing, for those wondering where it came from (I see a response at TCA to a reader question about it) – I made it up all by myself . Readers saw it in the article ”The Most Important Thing (TMIT)”. Besides precision, the other thing we could use in this game is a means of remembering and applying the fact that colour is comparative. Forcing it to be absolute is trying to outsmart the system to make it easier. That won’t work well. The Light Season woman might think “Hey, if black on my body makes those areas look bigger, would a black bikini top make my chest look bigger?” Nope. It boomerangs to accentuate the smallness.
I have said that the longer two things (colours, shapes) stay together, the more they emphasize their differences and look even more unbelonging, unbalancing, and unbecoming. They push each other even further in opposite directions. A woman in a drape colour that is not congruent with her inborn colouring looks more blemished, shadowed, and ill, the longer you look at her. Slinky fabric on a straight body just looks wilted and limp. I found a very cool page that helps illustrate how our we alter the things we look at.
Our nervous system, all five senses, work by making comparisons. Bark doesn’t feel as rough if you wear clothes made of burlap. It feels so much rougher if you live in a satin lined cocoon. A room seems warmer and bigger if you come in from a cold cave. The brain generates visual images largely by comparison too. We never see what’s really there, interesting on a whole new set of levels. A nightlight is plenty bright at midnight. To get your new foundation right, bring your old one so the cosmetician can make a comparison. And in colour analysis, we’re always comparing 3 properties of colour. I didn’t call it TOIT, The Only Important Thing, or The One Important Thing, right?
The Endpoint IS Harmony
For me to say that the endpoint of a colour analysis is evenly coloured skin was a poor choice of words because it could be evenly grayed, like a ghost, or evenly pasty, evenly red, etc. Every face needs some shadows for topography and definition. Otherwise, it’s a moon face, it’s blurry, flattish, and fattish. A pencil sketch of a face contains many shades of grey. A colour sketch of a face contains many colours. If there’s no 3D geometry because there are no shadows of any sort, the face and neck appear to occupy the same plane, like there’s no chin or a double chin. On the crosswise axis, if there are no shadows, the nose looks blurred into the face without a defined shape of its own.
I am after a clear, tight, smooth skin that has little (but not zero unless you’re under 14) use for concealer. Sharpness and contrast levels are perfect, noise reduced, great and appropriate colour intensity, and lip colour is pink without being grayed, yellowed, or blued (because when they’re subtle, those effects are easier to see in the lip than the skin, but they happen to the entire face. What happens to part of the face happens to the whole face, but certain features show certain effects better – like if edge of iris blurry, then whole face blurry.) The other extreme, too much colour activity with reds that are too red, shadows too dark, and light areas too oily and shiny, is not good either. The face looks too activated instead of calm.
I avoided use of ‘harmony’ to describe the desired effect of PCA because it has many interpretations, as many as there are analysts. It seems abstract, even though it’s not. It’s qualitative, not quantitative, at least in the beginning of seeing this – and I am remembering that Amelia said endpoint and I’m still at the beginning of an analysis, so we’re still in perfect agreement. To explain to the woman staring at her face in the mirror what to look for, I begin by defining the reasons for my choices based on measurable parameters as darker/lighter, yes/no, yellower/clearer, greyer/pinker because she can tune into these almost immediately. For readers, would you have understood better if I’d written “You see more harmony.” or “Eye colour looks more intense.”?
Harmony can be recognized once you’ve connected the seeing and the feeling of it a few times, but how do you explain it? Like nausea or passion, it is beyond the divisive nature of words. A spoken language is separating. Almost isolating. Word A means this. Word B means that. Draping decisions are necessarily exclusive – it’s this one or that one based on certain findings. For a new analyst, the distinction matters. She might see simultaneous good and bad effects when comparing two drapes or two sets of drapes – how to know which one gets precedence? Harmony is inclusive. It speaks of wholeness and unity. Colour measurement appeals to our rational mind. Because colour is visual, it also invokes the image-based mind that deals in emotion, imagination, art, and intuition. Hard stuff to find words for.
Harmony can seem obvious when two things are far apart, like these gentlemen. And not just with colour. Could Placido straighten or highlight his hair and look better? Could he do either without you knowing it? Would harmony be disrupted if Denver had been born with Domingo’s voice? When two things are closer together, it can be a harder call. (Does anyone know what that language is in the subtitles? The characters are very pretty.)
To begin by thinking your way to it and eventually feeling your way into it, maybe that’s what experience is. It surpasses conscious thought in favour of just being. Some things are not this way. You don’t think your way to sleep, you release to it, but sleep is not new to our nervous system. Not so with colour. The client is being asked to see something she’s never seen before on the most vulnerable canvas of them all, the most invested real estate on her body – her own face.
Plus, we are exploring current reality in a big way, a place most of us hold only briefly each day. A colour analysis asks us to live in the moment for 2 to 3 sustained hours. Fatigue and sensory overload, plus info overload if I’m the one doing the analysis ( once again), can set in. For one woman, by the final decisions, she’s worn out and finds the subjective easier to see. In another case, she has gained enough experience during the draping and can see and feel the best harmony in the final choices. In either case, what I’m after is exactly what Amelia says, ultimate visual harmony.
To any of our senses, harmony describes the linking between a stimulus that presents as a single, continuous whole and the agreeable feelings that arise in our minds, a flawless satisfaction. This is what others have sensed when they say we are glowing or look great. When we get concurring data from our senses, we feel good, reassured, and relaxed. The world is working right. When we don’t, that’s called motion sickness and many other forms of sensory conflict. That’s the Bright Winter woman wearing True Summer colours.
Let me see if I can do a better job of describing harmony for you – at least, what my eyes see.
Harmony means that the whole person and what they are wearing vibrate together because they emanate the same wavelength of colour between their natural colouring and what they’ve added to themselves. Energy in synchrony.
The item/colour is part of the person, not separate. If you merged the colour and the person into one image, there would be no division lines.
These bring out the best in each other. The longer you look, the more good things you see, feel, and associate, and the more pleased you feel.
The clothes, makeup, and hair colour look like extensions of the person. You can find them in each other.
Is there perfectly uninterrupted visual flow between the face and the colours it’s wearing? Can your eyes move from the face to the colour and back and never feel effort?
They look rational and logical together. If you’ve ever seen lettuce green on a Dark Autumn, it looks zany and cartoonish. Dark army green on a Light Spring looks like they’re in hospital.
Like a migration back to yourself, like a homing pigeon, you’re coming back to a place you knew and probably held somewhere, even if by a thread. Does the colour look native to your face?
Does the colour look like a natural extension of the head? In wrong colour, between the colour and the person is a disconnect, they seem disjointed. We want to keep complete integrity between who we are and what we add to enhance ourselves.
When the colours we wear are not in accord with our own, they push each other further in opposing directions. That sensation of being pulled apart cannot compare with the peace of being at one with the things you have added to the image of you. Others feel it perhaps more strongly because they can see us. That ‘not good’ feeling is disharmony.
Continuity <> Interruption = Relief <> Tension. Pleasure <> Processing. Ease <> Work. Nobody likes tension, processing, or work so they’ll feel resistance and look away. On the other hand, with a blue-eyed True Spring in her turquoise drape, it’s hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. Like a language, every element interacts with every other in a relationship. You have no sense of where each word ends and the other begins. Insert a random foreign word in a sentence and it loses its meaning, its flow, its imagery, and the logical and beautiful sound of the words together. At best, it’s a distraction that needs dealing with.
Do you wear readers with strength about 1.25? In wrong colours, you look to us the way the world looks to you before putting on those glasses. Before you put your contacts in for the day, do you feel like you’re not quite part of the world? Once you can focus, you feel more present. That’s how wearing right colour looks – the person is fully present at full power. They are fully engaged and available for us to engage with them, not like a photo where you’re so far from the lens that nobody’s even sure it’s you in the picture. In wrong colour, it’s like an out of focus photograph, like the object isn’t quite there. Once the focus is corrected, you feel as if the object has advanced to be in the room. You can appreciate it fully, where before, some aspects of it were neutralized, canceled, limited, or held back.
Is the colour so demanding that it takes effort to keep your gaze on the face, or so underwhelming as to be insignificant in your awareness, like Johnny Depp in a pale beige shirt and pants? Now we’re getting away from harmony a bit, into what I think of as colour balance, but it’s really all going into the same pocket.
To paraphrase what a child said so beautifully to a recently analyzed friend: “I really like your outfit. Everything matches you.”
Part of the reason that I love talking to my friend, Darren, is that he can be objective about the value and pitfalls of conventional wisdom. He applies his unique persona (we all have one) and his imagination to stretch the borders. Exploring the new edge is when the ride is really fun, like discovering new rooms in an already fantastic house.
… sometimes I find pleasure in discord, when things seem to clash but in a good way. Not everyone likes the offbeat but sometimes I find it awakens me and makes me see things different. Like for example the color blocking trend often clashes unlikely colors…
On a different note, but very apt, Darren also said:
I suppose no system is foolproof but I do like that your system allows the client to see themselves draped in the colors especially in comparison with other colors. What is your experience though when a client insists that even though they look good in say, Soft Summer colors, that their personality will not allow for such quiet, softness? Or the Deep Autumn who just loves, loves, loves Light Spring colors and can’t imagine ever feeling comfortable in anything Autumn?
My answer: keep personality out of it if you want to look great. We don’t really know our personality and it’s probably more congruent with our appearance than we’re prepared to admit. We adjust our character in a thousand ways in every situation. We don’t know ourselves. Other issues come into it. A Dramatic Classic and a Flamboyant Gamine (from David Kibbe’s book, Metamorphosis (Atheneum, Macmillan, 1987)) will have different characters, both Dark Winters. An Autumn who sees herself as something besides some type of Natural – not saying you are or not, just that it’s very hard to self-know if you don’t have a measuring tool and you may go a long way down the path of who you imagine yourself to be. Do colour by sight.
I recently analyzed a Dark Autumn. Julia Roberts gets out of the car. Tall, angular, dramatic, full features, a face that could light a fire with its power and beauty, and still be your BFF. Could she see herself that way? Does the real Julia? We would all need a little practice to live up to her Flamboyant Natural larger-than-life magnificence. Was living life as a Romantic Soft Autumn easier? Our Julia has brilliance she cannot see. She will make the colour and style adjustments with ease. She already has. On seeing her Season, she asked “What if my character isn’t bold, striking, or dramatic?” Her appearance sure is, but she had a point. She feels graceful and feminine. Where is the connection with eggplant and turmeric?
We are all a bit of everything. We all have grace and femininity, but hers wasn’t heavenly or exquisite predominantly. What came across was splendid and strong, even in her character. Over time, she may have taught herself to soften and suppress her edges (and her edginess) in character as well as clothing. These became the new normal, the new me.
Do what Darren said:
You go home and sort it out. It’s complicated, no doubt, but growth-worthy too.
And she wrote recently to tell me that outspokenness seems to be creeping into (back into?) her conversation.
Colour analysts have the best job in the world.
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.
Before we begin, I’d like to recognize a friend and colleague whose work I hold in the highest esteem. Lauren Battistini of Color My Closet is the Sci\ART analyst who performed Susan’s colour analysis in Houston, TX, about three weeks ago.
I’m a person who believes that our passage through this existence is just one in a chain of energy forms that we will know. The purpose of this one is to gather as many spiritual riches as possible, to weave the thickest, fullest, strongest tapestry we can in the time we have, to fill up that bank account as much as possible for the next part of the trip. It is simply amazing to see someone make a huge deposit. Susan’s PCA was one of a chain of events set into motion a few years ago, that has continued to build on itself.
So, we arrived. And because we were late, we did not waste any time jumping into it. Lauren asked me about my previous PCA experiences. I told her, and she said, “Well, I think you might be some kind of winter, but whenever I start a PCA, I throw everything I expect out the window and start like I don’t know anything about what season you might be.” Good advice for many endeavors, I would say.
The warm drape was obvious – I was NOT warm. No big surprise there. Then the neutral drape. Hmmm, not as good as I expected, but then, we started with the lightest colors, so difficult to tell. Then the lighter cool drape. I tried to be open-minded from the start and give the cool drapes a chance. Hmmm, not bad.
There were four sets of test drapes for warm, neutral and cool, and cool won out every time. By the time we got to the deepest cool, a beautiful purple, I couldn’t deny the clearing of the skin, it looked so smooth and even. Though I (and I’m sure Lauren, too) was pretty sure of the outcome by then, she still ran me through all the paces of each season, showing me how BAD the autumn drapes were, even compared to spring drapes, and how BAD the summer drapes were compared to true winter. It really wasn’t much of a contest, but I’m really, really glad I got to see the evidence with my own eyes.
After the draping, we got out my makeup. Lauren went through all the colors, and finally decided on the brightest fuschia lipstick I owned, Revlon wild orchid, for my lipstick. Bobbi Brown pale pink (not really pale, actually, quite hot in my opinion) would be the cheek color, and we used hardly any eye makeup at all, partly in the interest of time. Still wearing the grey gown, I looked at myself in the mirror. Was that me? Did we get it right? But I knew we had. I had seen it with my own eyes.
Then Lauren began draping me again with the true winter drapes and the makeup. And I’ll admit, I looked into the mirror with that lovely pine green drape and the tears came, unbidden as always, and with some measure of surprise. What was this? Why was I crying? Was it the relief of finally knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt? Or was it that as I looked in the mirror, I looked different, and as I have said before, different just looked too different to be good? After the emotional moment passed, I looked again and thought, “Who IS that woman? Is that really me?”
Well, of course it was me. I knew that. My bottom hadn’t budged from the draping chair, even when Lauren graciously offered me a water and bathroom break. No thank you, I’m good, I replied. Keep going. This is fascinating. Besides, I’d waited a long time for this experience. No breaks needed, please.
But still that face … that reflection, did not seem mine. Pale skin, practically glittering eyes, deep pink lips … that reflection possessed a combination of delicacy and radiance I certainly wasn’t familiar with. Very high contrast. Striking I could deal with, and often felt on some occasions. But delicate? Radiant? I was reminded for a moment of the makeup colors used in films to depict geisha girls, only this reflection possessed an energy and strength more vibrant than any Oriental stillness.
I couldn’t decide … was it the eyes that surprised me? Or the pale skin? Or the vivid lip color? I decided it was the eyes more than anything. I had on so very little eye makeup that my eyes felt vulnerable, center stage, almost. And even as I write this, I am reminded of a winter trait I read that true winters don’t mind being seen except when they don’t want to be . Very accurate, that one.
So it was the eyes that threw me, as they had others in analyzing me. Those eyes that had learned to be sensitive as a child, to read the signs around me, and act accordingly. I learned to play it safe, because being good, fitting in, being perfect = being safe (maybe). I became, underneath all that poise, the anxious child who learned early on at the appearance of negative emotion to “fall back on her safe but limited repertoire. [I] did not take chances ….and turned my back on the unknown” (Martin Seligman, Authentic Happiness).
I won’t go into my history here of how these dynamics played out in later life, as daughter, wife and mother. It is interesting to me, however, to notice the times in my life I lived and felt in harmony with my TW colors vs. the times that I didn’t. Many women have written eloquently here of those stories. They are worth reading! But suffice it to say, looking back I do notice a pattern of how color mirrored my perceived expectations of how I should act and be.
And now, here I was, face to face with a woman I knew, but not in her fullness. I come from a long line of strong women, but their strength is more in what they endured and not necessarily in the strength to be their authentic selves in a consistent manner. My mother was fortunate enough to enjoy that kind of freedom in her later years. I am so proud of her for that.
I realize that sometimes we get so busy and on auto-pilot that we become vulnerable to outside expectations. We forget the power of choice is still within us. We forget the lives of intention we dreamed about as young women. We just get on that treadmill and go. (Or maybe this is just a true winter thing?)
I left my draping feeling freed yet vulnerable at the same time. I think one reason I subconsciously wanted to be DW was I felt the autumn colors would ground and empower me, as well as make me more approachable with their warmth.
I wrote to Christine that evening: Way back when we were making collages with the Style Statement book, someone mentioned the phrase ‘vulnerable strength’ in regards to mine. At the time, I was struck by the phrase but didn’t want to own it. After seeing the drapes on me today, I realize my vulnerability, that delicacy, is one of my strengths, when I allow it to be. But it is also what I have most feared … I still can’t believe that kind of delicacy can balance those strong true winter colors, but it does … there was NO denying the drapes.
Christine replied: But ultimate vulnerability and ultimate strength DEFINES True Winter. The most extreme opposites must exist at once. That’s the contrast that the colours speak of. It must have been a beautiful experience for you and a big leap towards making peace with yourself, what we’re all trying to do.
Well, I would be lying if I said I am ‘already’ totally at peace with myself and my true winter colors. In clothing, I think TW is easier for me to embrace than in the makeup, perhaps because I have always loved makeup and enjoyed using it to achieve a certain ‘look.’ I’m sure I’m not alone in this … it is the mindset, the foundation, that cosmetic sales are built on.
A template, or model, is usually helpful, at least when one is trying to visualize a season IRL. And I found one in the most unlikely of places … Christine’s mention of Elizabeth Taylor as a possible true winter. That example just clicked with me, which is odd because my husband and others are constantly telling me I look like Sela Ward, but even DH admits Sela has a hardness about her when compared to me. He says my demeanor and expressions are more like the French actress, Marion Cottilard, whom our own Rachel feels might be TW.
So, why Elizabeth? I look nothing like her, I am built very little like her, but I found in her the epitomy of extremes that define TW. If you look closely at her acting and the roles she chose, there exists the ultimate in vulnerability, and strength, and oh my goodness, the range of emotion that woman could access and display! And it was in being true to that range of emotion that she was always herself. She was vivid, radiant, even striking at times, but also, undeniably human, so she felt just a bit more accessible to us in her films than she would have otherwise. We trusted her because she was Elizabeth, always.
So, I ask the question again, Why did I cry, beyond the relief of finally KNOWING after a year and a half of WONDERING? I understand and live every day the notion that winters are about control, and oh, the relief and elation of knowing moved me. But I also felt a LOSS of control as I viewed myself, at least initially.
I knew, even before I walked into that room, that I would have a choice to make. I could fight the results, or surrender. And I had already made the choice to accept whatever the outcome might be. On reflection, I think I cried at the sheer beauty (and relative newness, at least for me) of the experience of surrendering to what was. I’ve lived long enough to know that it is only through accepting and validating what is that we can move on to what can become.
I’m not sure how this newfound sensibility of BEING true winter will impact my life with myself, my husband, my children, and others around me. I’m done with being something I’m not, whether consciously, or by habit, or to remain safe. No one really liked me that way, anyway. What’s that lovely Dr. Suess quote? “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter won’t mind.”
So, as I review the pictures of myself and remember what the drapes told me, I ask, “Is all that delicacy and strength and vitality and radiance mine?” You betcha. And nothing can change that. Not to be overly dramatic – but I am a true winter after all, so here goes — it’s a part of me no one can take away. I’m feeling less than myself? I’ve got my colors to remind me who I am. Someone is messing with me? Yip, colors still there. Struggling with a problem? My colors are there to remind me of how to access my strength and creative, even joyful, solutions. We all need that tangible reminder sometimes, of the energy that is ours, that energy that is part of our unique offering to the world.
In his book, Authentic Happiness, Martin Seligman wrote: In a commencement address to a Canadian girls’ school, Robertson Davies asked, “As you come up to accept your diploma, what is the word in your heart? Is it no, or is it yes? The last twenty years of my work are summed up by this question. I believe there is a word in your heart, and that this is not a sentimental fiction. I don’t really know where this word comes from, but one of my guesses is that it forms drop by drop from the words we hear from our parents. If your child hears an angry “no” at every turn, when she approaches a new situation she will be anticipating a “no,” with all the associated freezing and lack of mastery. If your child hears an abundance of “yes,” as e.e. cummings sings:
yes is a world
& in this world of
So, given all this, I choose to say yes to my colors. I say ‘yes’ to those extremes of feeling vulnerable, and being strong, and all the places in between, because it is only through acknowledging my vulnerability that I can develop compassion for myself and others, which compassion I believe to be the root of all strength. I say ‘yes’ because I CAN – yes to playful and serious, soft and strong, wise and confused, sassy and kind. I say yes to these things because they are ALL me and because the choice is mine, radiant little control freak that I am . The choice really was mine all along, but PCA provided me with an undeniable experience of seeing how I could live with more intention vs. living in the shadow of my and other’s perceived expectations. I think PCA helped me to let go of living in that shadow because my PCA so didn’t turn out how I expected. But what did materialize was even better …
I warmly thank Maytee Garza of Reveal Style Consultancy in New Jersey for performing the PCAs for both of the women you will meet in these articles. Maytee’s work upholds the highest standard of colour accuracy, from which we all benefit. Also a thank you to both Emmas for permission to use the photos.
The picture of another person won’t help you find your Season. The variability in human colouring is too wide and the common key, hidden. But pictures are wonderful to help you visualize the Season’s special radiance and right colour’s ability to transport a face to a new, other place.
After two years of waiting to see this Season, my last two clients were True Springs. One was a 12 year old girl, choosing her colours nearly perfectly with the well-tuned colour pitch that children have, the second a 50 year old woman of Icelandic descent. Though I still learn from every PCA, True Spring skin was quite special.
Here is our first Emma. (Her eye close-up is the True Spring eye 3 in the Our Eye Album: Spring article.)
The first drapes we compare, of the 10 to 20 sets we will go through, are a set of 4, representing each of the True Seasons. I spend a fair time at the beginning of a client’s session deciding which True Season(s) I’m looking at, and which I can forget about. I’m also teaching our eyes what this particular face does in the presence of wrong colour, because they’re all different.
Usually, True Season skin is different from the outset, in that only one True Season drape of the four seems to flatter, instead of two, or maybe three, with the Neutral Seasons. The skin tone’s perfection demands absolute colour heat or coolness and it does not compromise, even at the earliest stage of the draping.
Describing my Icelandic lady’s draping: Weirdly, both Spring and Autumn seemed ok. I even had trouble deciding between them, which happens very rarely. Spring’s drape made the skin brighter and more evenly coloured for sure, nearer to the face that’s already wearing perfect foundation and concealer, the result we’re striving towards. The difference just wasn’t as obvious as it usually is. On all the Spring blends of my previous experience, Autumn’s drape was very wrong. Not so here.
Spring was better, but why the difficulty deciding that? Because I’d forgotten the What’s Most Important rule. For True Spring and True Autumn, heat is most important in colour. Saturation, not so much. Lightness/darkness, a little more, a little less, fairly forgiving. When heat in colour is at the max, good things happen, whichever kind of heat it is. By that, I mean that Spring and Autumn have very different heat. Hold in your mind a buttercup (Spring) and a rusty nail (Autumn). Very different look, feel, aura, everything. Spring’s yellow, Autumn’s gold (darker, richer, greyer) both seemed far better than the pure cool choices.
True Winter and True Summer, I was very sure about…hopeless, ghostly, tired. Like Bright Spring, True Spring looks a bit dead in True Summer pastels. It’s dramatic. Why? Because now two colour dimensions are off. True Summer is max cool and pretty muted. True Spring is max warm and pretty clear. Many Springs are wearing Summer colours because they feel safer and buying pure colour is not easy to do, especially pure and light and yellow colour. In Summer colour, they age themselves tremendously.
Once the drape colours became more specific, it was easy to choose between Spring and Autumn. For me, the next revelation came when I realized that this was the first time I was seeing a person not becoming yellow in True Spring’s drapes. You can see that Emma doesn’t look yellow, and believe me, in True Spring’s test drapes, everyone else does. I’d seen the easing of lines and luminous eye that a Spring blend will have, but I had to ignore the yellowing of the skin, teeth, and white of eye. In True Spring drapes, the skin colour is suffused with vitality and life, while it is bland and pale in the Spring Neutral Season drapes. In right colour, especially the bright clear orange-red, you can watch a bloom rush up into the cheeks and the shadows go away.
This skin takes a lot of colour, and noticeably yellow colour, to come fully alive. Cosmetic colour cannot be wishy-washy, not dusty (looks dead), not earthy (looks like a rug), and not creamy (cream-of-wheat face). This colouring is strong. It will fade Light Spring’s beige-pink lipsticks to make them paler, even greyish (because remember, Light Spring’s colours are a touch greyish from their Summer bit).
The misty sunbeams of Light Spring are not here. This is tropical colour. The lagoon, the Bird of Paradise, fruit punch, Kool-Aid colours, full on yellowed heat. True Spring’s pure, golded, ripe, fresh colour will be hard to come by in the earthy, flesh-toned world of the cosmetics counter. Not impossible, but it will take an empowered woman with a mind released from marketing chatter to make these choices. And like everything in life, it will take a few overshoots and undershoots to perfect. Nobody got anything right the first time. Your best makeup and hair colour are on the other side of your mistakes, not on this side.
We’re putting makeup on Cameron Diaz and Robert Redford here. Could be Amanda Seyfried and Wayne Gretzky, they’re pretty yellow, but not as yellow. They’re probably Light Springs. As you see from the photos, not every True Spring looks obviously yellow. The majority don’t. But the colours that work on Ms. Diaz have a good chance of looking glorious on all True Springs.
PCA is not about what you look like, it’s about how your skin reacts to colour, right? Ms. Diaz is the stereotype for the Season, our prototype to try and transfer data from. None of us can really picture anything on ourselves. It works better to visualize on someone whose skin acts like ours, someone in our Season. If you’re not sure about a colour, think of who you’d put it on – Diaz or Lindsay Lohan.
Most of the time, a Season’s makeup colour will be believable and attractive on every face of that natural colouring because the colours are chosen to be the same as those already in the face. That’s the whole point of 12 Season personal colour analysis. These are the colours that could have just happened by themselves. Every woman makes her darkness adjustment depending on intensity of hair and eye colour, rest of the makeup, comfort level, age, occasion, and complexion, but the colours always come from that Season’s palette.
- MAC Duck and Uniform (a green)
- Clinique Roast Coffee (darker) and Brown Sugar
- ELauder Bronze
- Grey is brilliant in makeup but can be hard to understand and to find the one you want. If we ignore the dark, sharp, and blue greys and look for medium colours (since sunny grey will take some searching), ELauder Graphite may be good. Many eyebrow pencils are greyed and Lancome Sable is a nice, soft one.
- True Spring can carry a lot of colour without looking parrotty, and navy eyeliner may work well. Clinique Navy is great, a bright, true navy. No dark colour should ever be so dark that it appears to hold black. Light is supposed to come out of the Spring palettes, not be absorbed into it. The more saturated, darker Deep Cobalt is for Bright Spring.
- looking mostly for yellows, peaches, the colours of Rice Krispies and parchment. Colours for Charlize Theron, not JLopez. Not red or orange browns, but yellow and peachy, all the way to dark peach.
- ELauder Sandbar Beige, Riviera Rose, Wild Sable, and Cafe Au Lait, Ivory Lace, and Buttercream Double Wear. The Stay Bronze pot could be a good liner, but this stuff dries almost instantly and doesn’t move without more eyelid pulling than I want.
- MAC Cork.
- EArden Vanilla, Teak, and Wheat.
- Lancome Positive and Chic.
- Grey? nothing I loved. Grey is inherently cool, and I see it as liner better than shadow. MAC Omega was decent but I don’t think I’d buy it.
- clear, candy, lollipop, warmer than Barbie pink. No greyness (smear it on paper towel and wait 30 min. to check). Gladiola, not sweet potato.
- Shiseido RD 103, PK 304 (very nice).
- MAC Fleur Power.
- Lancome Rose Mystique is a lovely red in lisptick and gloss, may go on too blue for some. Revlon Love That Pink is good too.
- Lancome Jeweled Pink.
- Maybelline Color Sensational Hi Shine Coral Luster.
- L’Oreal Always Apricot and Charismatic Coral.
- Tarte Lipsheer Thursday
- Merle Norman Popsicle, Persimmon, SunKissed
- MAC Crosswires and Sheen Supreme Made To Order; See Sheer is a possible, similar but toned down from the discontinued Viva Glam Cyndi (and from the opinions of True Springs, too muted and brown – try MAC Ravishing instead)
- Clinique Rose Toffee (sheer), Ambrosia (more golden orange), Sugared Grapefruit (light)
- medium to dark brown.
Important Heads Up
I haven’t applied the makeup above to any True Spring faces. I just went shopping with the swatch book. Don’t buy anything without trying it.
If you want colours from an artist who has test-driven the colours, be aware of Darin Wright’s fantastic products, custom-coloured for all twelve Seasons at eleablake.com. For tough to find Seasons like True Spring, this is one-stop successful makeup. The eyeshadows for True Spring look shockingly beautiful from the website.
In Part 2, the hair, the person, the look, and and our second Emma.
Use of Images
The images contained in this article are of private individuals, not celebrities. I consider the permission for me to use them as a privilege. It is my intention to protect these women’s privacy and generosity. If you use any of the photos without permission, I will seek legal counsel. I do not want to have to reduce the beauty and detail of the photographs with watermarks.
This is a learning site. Please do use my words with credit back to the web page you copied and pasted them from. If you mix up my meaning and get the message wrong, feel free to omit any reference back to me.
Kathryn Kalisz’s Sci\ART 12 Tone system revolutionized personal colour analysis in many ways. By conforming only with how light and colour behave in Nature (instead of restructuring), by creating 8 Neutral Seasons (whose colours were exclusive to each), and by insisting on a level of colour accuracy not previously attained, a new standard was set. She also shook up the status quo by ignoring, even denying, the entrenched beliefs and the stereotypes. Hair and eye colour are variable in every Season and will mislead if allowed into the Season decision. Season can only be known with certainty by observing the skin’s reaction to specific colours placed adjacent to it.
Hanka Kralikova is a newer member of the Sci\ART family of colour analysts. I’d like to introduce her to you by letting you read her story, in her words. Even colour analysts have to climb the wall of who they think they are and who they’ve been told they are, to meet themselves as they really are. We have also stared dumbfounded as the evidence that comes from our own colouring, that has always been there to be unveiled and understood, becomes less and less deniable. For an analyst, I think it’s extremely important to have personally lived this experience. I expect that many readers will recognize Hanka’s journey.
Hanka is opening a studio in Prague. Should you wish to have a consultation, she can help you with accommodations, another reason to visit this most beautiful city. You can email at firstname.lastname@example.org. A website is in the works.
Here are older photos to show my natural colouring.
I have been a freelance make-up artist for several years and became a certified Image Consultant last year. I realized that I needed to get the colours right as they are the core for everything. I first tried colour analysis as a client about ten years ago – not the best experience. The analyst told me I was a warm Season and since I am blonde and blue-eyed, I must be Spring. Full stop. I bought some make-up for Spring, used it several times, did not like it, and left it at the bottom of my cosmetic drawer. I decided colour analysis was good for nothing.
Couple of years later, during my make-up artist course, we also talked about colours. The tutor even analyzed us. This time it was different – they were already using the 12 Season analysis system. The only problem was – someone translated it from English and misinterpreted bright as shiny. Again, I was blonde, there were no standardized drapes (everybody trying to do analysis picked their own or bought them from someone who did so), no proper lighting, no neutral surrounding. So the result was: I am light and more cool than warm but True Summer colours are too muted for me – I am probably Light Summer.
Next time at a style course I was told (without any draping at all) that I was Light with no predominant warmth or coolness. I could choose if I wanted to be Light Spring or Light Summer. I tried both since each had something that worked. I liked the brightness of the Spring and coolness of the Summer but never was able to find a good lipstick for myself. I should have realized by then – cool and bright are quite good indications, but first I was blonde and second, hardly anybody can be objective about themselves. I always thought about myself as kind of wishy-washy, light and quite soft looking.
At the end of 2009 I was searching the Internet for some information on colour analysis, convinced there must be some system that could tell me exactly who I am. I really mean that. Knowing my colours really helped to better understand and accept my personality. I found it. It was called Sci\ART, it was based on real science (both my parents are physicists so I must have some science somewhere in my genes) and it made sense. I bought the book Understanding Your Colour and received it with a personal note from Kathryn. I loved the book and at the beginning of 2010, I put the money together to go to States and learn it. Unfortunately I was too late. Kathryn was not there anymore. I had never met her but still I felt as I had lost a friend.
I struggled with colours for another year when I gave it another try. I searched the Internet again and found several people who were Sci\ART certified trainers. I was lucky that one of them, Terry Wildfong, had been thinking about retiring and she was looking for someone to train who could then buy the business from her. We exchanged several e-mails and in the end of March, I was in Grand Rapids waiting for my life to change. And it did.
At the end of the first day of my training after we went through all the theory, Terry did my draping and showed me how to perform the analysis. I was expecting her to confirm I was Light, finally decide between one of the two Light Seasons, hoping that the Sci\ART ‘scientific’ palettes would have the right colours for me. I had my hair and clothes covered with grey so I could see just the face. The draping began. Terry did not need to say much. The first test drapes showed I was cool – there might be a little warmth but not much (“so, I will most probably be Light Summer”, I was thinking to myself). But then came the shock. We compared different Seasons drapes in between each other and I could see which ones were better but still was not able (or did not want to) to put it together. I looked great in brighter colours – I had never realized how bright my eyes were – and much better in cool colours then in warm ones. Black was not bad at all, crisp white looked perfect. Still, my brain was not willing to accept it. Then Terry said “So, do you know which Season you are?”
I went through all the results one more time – cool and quite bright, I can handle quite dark colours, I look great in icy pastels, there might be a little bit of warmth but not enough to make me a Neutral Season. No, it cannot be – but what else? Can I be a True Winter? Terry agreed. I was in shock. “It is not possible, I am LIGHT. How can I be WINTER?” Terry put some winter make-up on me and we went through “Ooh and Ah” session with a set of luxury drapes. I have never looked so good in my whole life. Thank you, Terry.
What was I going to do with my wardrobe full of pastels, those coral T-shirts, and a jacket I bought only recently? My head was swirling around when I was leaving that day. I slept very poorly that night. When I woke up the following morning, first thing I did was hold up my new True Winter palette next to my face and looked in the mirror. “Ok, I am True Winter, then. Let’s start new life.” That day I was analyzing people Terry had scheduled for me. I was very happy that I learned my lesson the day before. Some people can be very obvious – the moment you see them you know what Season they are and the draping just confirms it. With others you get surprised. I do not try to guess anymore, I wait for the drapes to tell me.
Instead of lunch I went shopping. I bought a pair of black jeans, white T-shirt, black tunic, bright blue, white and black dress with geometric pattern, and a bright pink lip gloss. It felt great. I had not worn black for ages and I fell in love with the deep berry lip gloss I never dared look at before. When I got back to Prague I spent a day sorting my clothes and found out one interesting thing. There were some pieces, mostly impulsive buys, which were spot on or very close to my Winter palette, mostly in purple, my favorite colour. I also had some brighter blue T-shirts and tank tops, one pink sweatshirt, and a dark chocolate jacket and suit. The jeans could stay, too. In the end I got rid off of some clothes, mainly in coral and some soft colours that I never wore. I could wear and combine what was left easily.
I still want to add some black and white, new for me, and also some other colours. I never go shopping without my True Winter palette anymore. I do not bother looking at things that are not in my colours. And above all I get compliments on how well I look even from people I would never expect to notice such things And one more thing – I have started to experiment with my hair colour (naturally mousy medium blond somewhere between 7 and 8). I got rid of the highlights and tried something a bit darker than my natural colour. It is still not perfect but I am getting there. I have got several comments that my eyes are looking brighter with the darker hair so I think I am heading in the right direction. BTW I had always thought my eyes were dull.
Here are the ‘dull’ eyes, dearest readers. They contain stars.
And since this amount of cuteness would brighten any day, here is the child’s colouring.
Don’t let your left brain see patterns it is convinced that it recognizes, and proceed to dictate to you what they mean. Left brains try to do that, but they’re best relegated to data processing. Data assimilation is better done by the right side. Your eyes see snow and your left brain tells you that you are seeing white. Your right brain sees what really is, that snow is affected by the colours around it, including that of the light, and can be blue powder, a violet cloud, a sparkling yellow carpet. Patterns led to confusion and lack of trust in colour analysis, but they sure are hard to resist, even when you’re aware of their ambush. Approach every person as though they could be any of the 12 Seasons.
If you have questions or comments for Hanka, please add them to the Comments. She’ll be checking in here and on Facebook.
We talked last time about how Light Summer conveys a professional, adult image with a palette that can feel like rainbows and fairy tales.
Light Spring (of the 12 Seasons, this Neutral Season is mostly Spring with a little Summer) is in the same boat. Although creamier and less misty blue, you would use Light Spring’s palette to paint the Fountain of Youth. How we dress, how our faces and bodies look, it’s just the light we give off. Light Spring’s is the creamy green, pink, and white light of a tree in bloom (not just one little flower, as has been suggested ; this is the whole glowing magnificent tree, radiating a clear, young, vital light).
I could suggest that you to aim to project this light when you choose what to buy, but it doesn’t help much at a mall.
Let’s call this beautiful woman Lynn. Light is not the first thing you’d say when you look at Lynn’s face or her overall apperance. She knows from a Sci\ART personal colour analysis that the Light Spring palette created the most perfected skin she could achieve – but skin is difficult to illustrate, so we get caught talking about hair and eyes, though we know neither has a definitive place in deciding Season. This hair colour is a bit darker than her natural colour, but not by much. Lynn’s eye colour is not dark or intense, rather similar to the soft green leaves behind her. There is a great misconception that the Light Seasons are all blue-eyed blondes. Rachel addressed this topic better than anyone in her article on revising our idea of Spring and Summer.
Notice the perfection of the earrings, dress, sweater, both in style and colour. These people look younger than anyone else, for longer, a marvelous gift. But they don’t necessarily want others to think Barbie, Tinkerbell, cupcake, candy heart, Mother’s Day Cake, or anything else with a pediatric drift, when they assemble an outfit. This can be challenging with a palette that is sunny and delicate to the point of enchantment.
Light bounces everywhere, though not full on squinty light. The overall feeling is distinctly warmer than Light Summer’s, but lightness of colour is shared as the most important aspect of perfecting skin tone. Every item need not be perfect, is not in the collection below, and will not be in stores. The overall impression pulls single items into a cohesive Light Spring feeling.
Don’t get too playful. Though a coloured bag or jacket is so good on Springs, the brighter the colour, the plainer the style, at least for professional impressions.
Make big use of neutrals, and remember that they are luminous too.
The green blouse would be better with ivory than white, but the overall feeling is light. The pants with the yellow blouses are not part of the collection. Pants are very light neutral. Most khakis and chinos are too orange, heavy, and/or yellow-brown for Light Spring. Light beige pants are quite fine, but camel can look almost like furniture, bulky and solid on this airy lightness. It just put friction into the system that doesn’t feel good. Notice in the set above that you can feel some restraint still where heat is concerned.
In response to the Light Summer Looking Serious post, a valid point was raised that I want to share. Why does the Light Summer coat look so light (from the previous post), and this suit so much darker? Is there a difference in how dark the two Light Seasons can get? Great questions.
In my head, they went to about the same level of darkness, or not enough that it would matter in stores, though Light Spring would be the lighter of the two, with the main difference in side-by-side swatches being that Light Spring is yellower and a touch clearer (less grey). That was true of the pre-2010 books I still have. When I looked at my post 2010 swatch books (no idea when in 2010 they were made, if they were old stock or new formulas), Light Spring is definitely the lighter palette of the more recent books. A sincere thanks to the woman who pointed this out.
Sci\ART analyst Maytee Garza has posted all 12 Tone palettes on her Shutterfly page, along with photos of people in each Season. It’s a gorgeous page, one you will want to bookmark. Light Summer’s value limit is darker. The Light Spring palette looks the same as my post (not a typo) 2010 books. To look at the two, Light Spring’s look a bit hazier (as in misty,rather than grey), though those are the clearer, less muted colours. My explanation: as they lose Summer’s greyness and take on more of Spring’s yellow light, they become creamy. The purer the yellow, increasing as we move into Spring, the lighter the colour. Muted means closer to grey, a Summer characteristic. If True Summer is skim milk and True Spring is real cream, Light Summer is still only about 1%, whereas Light Spring is what? half ‘n half, not as heavy as whipping cream.
Light Spring colours must be tints, with more white added to them, or that’s how it seems, though I am no colour mixing expert. There may also be a photographic factor here, since the Light Spring swatches are the clearer (less grey) ones to look at IRL, perhaps a bit like the effect of being photographed while wearing sunscreen. In thinking of how to describe the difference, overexposed came to mind.
These articles are not intended to show the colour extremes. Only the swatch books can do that. These sets are more trying to communicate an overall feeling and simulate a real shopping experience. The coat in the Light Summer post was among their mid-darkness level browns. Is the coat above too dark for Light Spring? You may feel that it certainly is. To me, it is OK, though they would not go even one degree darker. I left it there for the illustration.
Is the colour too something-not-right, better suited to an Autumn? A Soft Autumn could probably wear it, though I don’t see a lot of orange in the colour, it seems more a Spring yellow-brown on this screen.
The issue for me is whether a Light Season would wear the jacket and pants together or if the overall look would be too heavy and somber. I still think it would work with a light blouse, but some of the very fair women may feel otherwise. Every woman will have to make a darkness adjustment within her palette, based on the darkness of her natural colouring and her own preference, how much makeup she likes, etc. The model wearing the suit is holding her own in it. The model in the photo to her left probably could as well.
How could I, I forgot handbags for the Lights?!
Interchangeable for the Light Seasons. Not too much hardware, which looks heavy. Light means light by every connotation of the word.
Light purses get dirty, I know, but I still prefer the look with this woman, clothes, and makeup.
The right column, 2nd from top, though a nice colour, may feel too clunky and heavy. May also depend on the size of the woman carrying it. Purses look good when they kind of match our body shape. Rounded with rounded, boxy with boxy, big and little with big and little.
No brown bags, which feel too weighed down and utility for Spring, especially Light Spring, even in a workplace look. I apologize to anyone with brown purses and respect, indeed welcome, your right to disagree with me as long as you tell me why so I learn something. Left column, 2nd from top, is also a bit heavy, but if something qualifies as cute, it’s probably Spring.
Middle column bottom, the blush pink may not be for the day you chair the meeting, but great for the business lunch the meeting-after-the-meeting. I believe we should find a way to wear our undertone colour every day. Others get that something is going on that their eyes are not often given.
Once again, I set prices at 100 for most items, double what I spend on anything, because beauty is not about how much money you go through.
In 12 Season Personal Colour Analysis, the Light Seasons are the Neutral Season blends of True Spring and True Summer. These people are often not as light to look at as you’d expect, certainly not blue-eyed blondes by necessity. Colour Analysis is not about what you look like. It is about what the colours that make your skin the most perfect have in common.
What’s not to like about the Light Spring and Light Summer? Agreeable in every way, reminding of sunshine, mild weather, pleasant temperatures, and easiness.What if you want to express the serious contender side of yourself, and not a dally in a rowboat?
You can dress like the boss, but he/she probably has no idea what to wear either. Two shades lighter than the men in that business seems reasonable. Can color be used to make women less threatening in male dominated workplaces? Or be seen more as equals?
When you want to be heard, it’s easy to forget that whispers work better. They clear the air like an early morning rain in a world where everyone seems to be yelling. A beautiful, natural face like the one below relaxes everyone around them. They ease the tension in a room just by being there. Light Summer personifies the breath of fresh air like no other.
When we look at the colour palettes fanned out for any Season, our eye tends to be drawn to the colours. If you planted an acre garden and it contained a single bloom, your eye would be drawn to that spot of colour. We have to make a conscious effort to notice all the other colours, meaning the neutrals. They’re the spine of the whole wardrobe, the items that the real colours are added to. Use them a lot. You don’t need an item in everyone of your greens, but owning each of the greys is a good investment. For Light Summer, they are the colour of breath, shade, and shadows.
Monochromatic (all one colour) and analogous (neighbour colours on the colour wheel) colour schemes look organized and work very well on Summers and their blends, though Spring will use more colour difference and brightness in their prints and combinations. Pair a blue-grey with a blue, or a lilac-grey with a colour from the pink-violet family. This quiets the colour but introduces the friendliness, creativity, and confidence that colour does, and is very appropriate at work.
Avoid child like details, like pintucks, gathers, bows, or dots, unless the colour is quite serious and the effect is low key. These can look great on any Spring blend, but we’re trying to look less pediatric. Smocked blouses or hippie/tie-dye tunics can look as fine as peasant and folk styles on Autumn, but best worn on days off.
Keep in mind the most essential aspect of your colouring: it never gets darker than medium, so your clothes don’t either. There is always a light block somewhere to give an overall light feeling, because that’s how looking at you feels. Get too dark and your clothes take over your face, your body, your size, your presence. You have room to move with warmth and coolness, and with mutedness or clearness, because as long as colour stays light, it is very forgiving to your skin tone’s perfection.
Light Summer is gentle colour, misty light, an early sun, and an airiness that’s still cooler than it is warm. Silver and gold would both be fine in the photo above, but silver feels more at home. There is no stark white (I know the boat is white, but that’s your left brain telling you so; if you were to paint this picture, the sky and boat are grey, and silvery grey at that). And black? Put one black spot anywhere here and your eye would see nothing else.
I set the max price at 100 for most items. Your workplace may be more glam than mine, so you may see this as a casual look.
I liked the cardi because it reminds me of how planet Earth looks from outer space, a water planet, all swirling greens, blues, and whites.
Nothing gets very dark. There would be more white tops but they publish with odd reflections.
The blue jacket on the left – too muted? Maybe. It could be sunnier, but sometimes you’ll love something that will be close enough, or you won’t be able to find the perfect thing with the time and money you own. It all has to work in the real world. Light Summer is Summer above all. Denim blues are all pretty good.
The silver watch too chunky? Better suited to a Winter? Maybe, but I like a big watch. The strap is a brushed silver and the stones, numbers, and details set in the face are small. It balances well enough.
As ever, I’m more interested in what you don’t agree with because it helps me learn. I never take anything personally, trust me.
Next post will be Light Spring.
The colour of bridal satin is as important (more important!) than the style.
The yellowing effect of ivory on Summer skin…
The drained, tired skin of an Autumn in soft white…
The disappearing Summer bride in Winter’s aggressive, hard, cold, frosty, sharp white…
Know your perfect white with a Personal Colour Analysis. Achieve your skin tone perfection on this of all days. Your wedding gift to yourself.
Have your Colour Analyst send 3 e-mails.
One to your dress shop, so they can choose the perfect color and style.
One to your makeup artist. If she works with a PCA, there is a cosmetic colour palette and particular radiance in her head instantly.
One to your florist. If he understands PCA, he makes a composition, knowing the flowers to use and not use.
Your jeweler, your hair colorist, everyone needs to know. When the team works together, you become extraordinary.
Are you getting warm? I am.
We look at the colours of satin for the 4 True Seasons. In correct Seasonal Colour Analysis, there are 12 personal palettes. The other 8 are Neutral Seasons, or blends of the 4 Trues.
(I do not own the Sci\ART Bridal Drapes Set of 12.)
Did I say grey when I should have said white? Yup.
Did I say Summer when I should have said Spring? Yes again.
I was trying to be animated, you see…
You may want to skip this post. There will be no concrete answer at the end. It will be a thought repository for my ramblings till someone helps me understand this. If you can’t stand the nitpickiness, I’ll understand entirely.
I realize that I’ve been referring to “undertones”, as in the Eyeglass Frames videos too randomly. I said that the dusty plum of the Soft Summer frames was essentially the undertone of that skin.
Traditionally, undertones are thought to be either cool, neutral, or warm, not coloured.
Overtones are the outside colour of the skin, like the names of foundation, porcelain, bisque, buff, natural, warm beige, etc. Light/medium/deep also refers to overtones. The overtone must be in the top epidermal layer, presumably the relative melanin/hemoglobin/carotene amounts.
You can get any combination of undertone and overtone. So warm undertone + ivory overtone, or cool undertone + ebony overtone, etc. Porcelain and ebony overtones can share the same cool undertone.
Worth noting too is that you can have a false overtone. The red flush in the skin of women with too-yellow hair, or the yellow overtone in the cool dark Seasons when they wear too-warm colour, these are just effects created by bad colour.
Where is the undertone and what exactly is this colour that we are calling cool-neutral-warm? I mean, cool what? Cool grey? Cool blue? A cool colour that varies by Season, but is of the cool classification?
I looked for input from respected sources.
1. Bernice Kentner of Color Me A Season, always ahead of her time, describes undertone as a real colour, a combination of 4 variables. From her book, The Magnificent Eye, she describes undertone as the result of an equation made up of 4 variables:
. the thickness of the skin which varies by Season and determines which colours show through
. the yellow-brown colour of all skin, beneath the top layer
. the meshwork of oxygenated (red) and non-oxygenated (blue) blood vessels beneath the skin
. the velocity of blood flow in those vessels; so Autumn’s faster blood flow shows more red of arterial blood
I don’t know about the blood flow velocity. I would think that ultrasound would have detected those differences among people. If she means how fast the capillary beds are cleared, well, I don’t know.
I absolutely agree with her that Seasonal Colour Analysis is not about overtones. If it were, women who wear the same foundation would be of the same Season. If it were, yellow skin would wear warm foundation, but it often does not (or should not).
2. Lauren Battistini at Color My Closet makes the fundamentally important point in this post, that undertone refers to how skin reacts to color. If your skin is most perfected by cool colours, then your skin’s undertone is cool. Not certain if I can extrapolate Lauren’s words this far, but maybe this means that undertone is not a real colour at all, and isn’t located anywhere in the skin’s biological layers. It is a reactionary term.
Personal Colour Analysis is about identifying the precise degree of darkness, warmth, and saturation in the colours of your body, and so in the colours that perfect your skin when you wear them. It has nothing to do with overtone really. We’re looking for the skin’s reactions, or undertones.
In the Comments, Lauren says that each Season has a “core color”, using the example that Autumn is orange. Each Season does have a signature or core colour (Winter=red, Summer=blue, Spring=yellow), but that is not quite the same concept as skin colour, though there’s some overlap.
3. Imogen Lamport at Inside Out Style Blog writes an excellent blog with practical real-world advice. In this post on skin tone and makeup, a client writes in with a question. Imogen offers several examples from her experience as a colour analyst.
If I understand this right,
Now you may be more obvious and have a warm yellow or goldish undertone and overtone and therefore warm colouring, or you may have a pinkish undertone and overtone and be cool.
…means the pure Seasons are those where overtone and undertone accord. She cites examples where the two may conflict – but I’m still confused.
4. Beauty School Blog is written by makeup artist, Jen. I find it a fresh take on makeup blogs, with good lessons, a genuine voice, and a wider spectrum of topics. I found this article very thorough. But I’m still confused. If the undertone is a real colour, then which colour is it exactly, and where is it?
5. The colours of melanin. This, at Dead Dog Cafe, doesn’t fully attack the topic but does implicate different forms of melanin.
Pheomelanin, yellow to red-brown (ie: orange) : small quantity + blue vessels > green or sallow of some cool Seasons.
” ” ” : large intensity + blue vessels > warm gold of Autumns and Springs
Eumelanin is the black/brown pigment of non-Europeans.
6. The 12B concept of undertones. The pictures posted along this article show how undertones appear in my head. There is no scientific testing here, only what I see when I look at this skin. (Dark Autumn could be redder. Bright Winter could be lighter and yellower. Light Summer, I couldn’t decide. Close enough to make the point.)
What use is it?
Foundation is matched to undertone (cool/neutral/warm) AND overtone (ivory to ebony). These images don’t help with that.
But these are your fundamental lip and blush colours. These are your from-within, most intrinsic colours. Using them for eyeglass frames, ties, scarves, and accessories looks good, though the viewer would never know why.
Am I way off? Have I over-simplified or over-complicated?
I’d surely love to hear your opinions. This feels like a linchpin in my understanding of skin and colour. It’s really just a theoretical point, but I think about it.
If you read here often, you know I’m a big proponent of looking like your real self.
There is nothing demanding a reaction , nothing saying “HEY!! Look at ME ME ME!”.
You met Joce in Jocelyn Is A Bright Winter. You saw her with more makeup than she normally wears and her hair pulled back.
How does knowing that she is a Bright Winter, from her Colour Analysis, guide us in choosing hair colour?
- No red if it’s not natural in your hair. It is terribly hard to get a real looking red from a bottle. This applies to every Season, except perhaps some Autumns where copper and auburn can be more forgiving. Shimmer, NEVER stripes.
- No heat from orange, copper, chestnut, mahogany, rust, or auburn. Those colours made her skin muddy, so why would we put them in her hat?
- Respect the natural colour. I would describe it as medium brown. Medium dark, medium warm. A colorist’s dream.
- Be very, very careful messing with the natural colour. Winter has this clear skin possibility that is unequalled in its force, but yellow smashes it to smithereens.
- This Season means that Winter is blended with a trace of Spring. If you look at the personal colour palette for the Season, there is a hint of yellow sunshine. You might not even notice it unless you were holding True Winter’s purely cool palette next to it. So don’t go putting buttercup chunks in here. We are still working predominantly in Winter’s dark realm. This feels like when the days get longer at the end of February. It is still a dark, cold, frozen time, but the sun is starting to hold a degree more warmth. Like the world feels right now, in fact.
It is a testament to Joce’s colorist that she pulled off this colour. I have never, even in a magazine, seen such a correct transformation back to natural hair colour. The half-blonde is gone. The natural colour will grow back invisibly. I still stare at it everyday. Nobody could have achieved a more flattering shade.
When it is right, hair colour can absolutely clear and perfect skin tone, just like the right drapes can.
Below are Jocelyn’s Before and After hair colour pictures. You can see how the yellow in the hair clouds the face with yellow and dulls the overall sharpness of the effect. Even the lips and whites of the eyes are too yellow. The gorgeous girl is drowned out by that yellow hair that far too many women have. The hair colour is fine in itself, but what’s the point if it’s not pretty on you? There are way more NON-blondes out there than the number of women forcing this hair colour.
Jocelyn’s hair color correction is so beautiful that it’s hard to stop looking. It harmonizes effortlessly with who she is. This is Jocelyn every day, no makeup. Fresh, young, natural, unbelievably right. Power in the best way, the subliminal way.
I’m sure that if we asked her, Joce would tell us that she feels so much more relaxed and sure of herself, finally communicating precisely what it feels like to be Jocelyn.