Introducing Colour Analyst Courtenay St. John Gibson (Massachusetts, Connecticut)

Every student brings many traits and qualities that I admire. Courtenay’s are difficult to single out because there are many. You meet a wonderfully pleasant, cheerful, civilized, considerate person. She is delightful to be with, and very relaxing, someone who can let you be you and find all the good.

The patience to let a conversation or situation unfold without jumping to conclusions is as essential a quality as one could find in a colour analyst. I have great respect for her ability to be content with what she knows at each step of the PCA process without needing to leap ahead.

 Her voice is quiet but her words are always worth hearing. Although training was some time ago, Courtenay is consistently committed to the highest standard of colour analysis, very much devoted to her clients, and to continuing education. With great instincts and having seen many clients since training,  Courtenay has become an excellent colour analyst. 

Courtenay St. John Gibson
Courtenay St. John Gibson

In the 1980s when Color Me Beautiful first appeared on the scene, I lived in a community where many younger women embraced Personal Color Analysis. Not only was I eager to have my colors done, I had my 6-yr old daughter analyzed as well. I was typed a Summer, largely because of my light brown hair, blue-green eyes and pink cheeks. My daughter’s consultation particularly interested me because, although she was, of course, adorable, her skin looked green and she had shadows under her eyes. She had no symptoms of allergy or illness and had tons of energy, though! She was an “Autumn with Summer influence”. This meant that khaki and dusty yellows were good for her – she did look wonderful in those colors. It was not surprising that she had looked so sickly before – little girl’s clothing in the 1980s was pink, lavender and blue.

Fast forward to 2010. As a grandmother, I was increasingly avoiding the face that looked back at me from store windows. The colors of my Summer palette just didn’t look good – and I personally liked them and dutifully sought them out! Like my daughter in the 1980s, I still had lots of energy, but found that my face looked harsh and drawn. Cranberry and steel blues did not enliven my skin. Was my hair color off? Something in my appearance was jarring and I couldn’t pinpoint what it was. I despaired that I was going to be a tired-looking older woman.

Not interested in plastic surgery or fillers, since it was the gray cast that I found so objectionable, I searched on the web for Color Analysis and found my way to the Sci\ART system. Instantly, I was fascinated. There were not only four seasons in this system, but twelve. I headed to Barnes and Noble to research other books on the 12-tone system to see if I could figure it out on my own. The colors I tried did not seem to make much of a difference, and trying to drape myself was ultimately frustrating!

Fortunately, I was able to locate a Sci\ART trained analyst who had a studio 5 hours away. I booked an appointment and hoped to discover a new physical identity!

The consultation proceeded rapidly; my analyst knew what to look for, and had no doubts that she was finding “It!” She announced that I was a Light Spring and showed me a Light Spring swatch book. I owned NONE of those colors! I could not even imagine what it would be like to wear them – surely, I would be a laughing stock of a mature woman, dressed as a jellybean.

Only one of us is a Light Spring!
Only one of us is a Light Spring!


My worst nightmare did not come to pass. As I started switching out my closet for my new Light Spring Colors, the compliments were rolling in. When I passed a store window, I no longer grimaced with disapproval. Other women around me took note, and wanted their own color transformations.

I quickly became interested in becoming an analyst myself. At the time, no one in the US was offering Sci\ART training.

In 2013, while visiting the 12Blueprints website, (which had become a regular haunt for me!), I saw that Christine Scaman would be offering a 12Blueprints Analyst Training Course based upon the Sci\Art system. I seized the opportunity, hoping to gradually ease into business over 5 years, as I developed more expertise in Personal Color Analysis and retired from my full-time teaching job. Christine’s training course was thorough and demanding. The visual scrutiny necessary to observe each nuance in skin tone that responded to shifts in the calibrated drapes required an attention to details that I would normally not have been visually aware of.

Responding to the information conveyed to the analyst and client in the draping sequence requires focus, discrimination and analysis – traits that have been part of me my whole life. In the past, my pursuits have been logical, scientific and mathematical: teaching college logic and linguistics, becoming a Registered Dietitian, and thirteen years as a 7th grade math teacher.

My hunger for the artistic has been an avocation until now. As a Personal Color Analyst, seeing the visual transformation that occurs for each client is thrilling. When their friends see their newfound radiance, they, in turn, show up in my studio!



Vitality – physical, intellectual and spiritual, is a quality that I value highly. Providing this service is fun and contributes to the vitality of my clients; they watch their inner energy come alive and find its expression in their outward appearance. My favorite clients are those who are over 70 years old because they are the most amazed by their own beauty. Many are receiving compliments for the first time in years!

My other passions are hiking and sharing adventures with my family. This year I will finish the last 40 miles of the Appalachian Trail, which I began in 1999 with my Mom. We both continue to work on our hiking goals together.

Family hiking trip to Lakes of the Clouds, Mt Washington, NH.


My studio, located in Williamstown, MA, has been open for three years. A second studio will be opening in Norwalk, CT early next year. Travel dates are planned for Charleston, SC, Traverse City, MI and Fairfield, IA.


To contact Studio St. John by email:

By phone: 413-884-3649

Website is under construction.





Enneastyle: What We (Really) Want Clothes To Say

Congruence between how we think we look, how we want to look, and how others react to how we look, is the only way that our self-expression can be successful.

The overlap will never be 100%, life would be too boring, but a lot of intersection would be a good sign that we are all processing a similar reality. Others would cooperate more in helping our life unfold as we hope. If we think we look employable while everyone else thinks, “Why in all the world would she wear that?”, we are not helping ourselves.



Heather* is an Autumn woman. It doesn’t matter which of the three Autumns since they and the rest of their outfit are equally unflattened by white for different reasons. Heather might still have worn that tight white skirt if she knew that others were wondering if she’s gained weight and ignoring her perfect sweater, or she might have made a different choice.

Not only is Heather worried about weight gain, she knows that white is not among her flattering colours. Why do you figure she bought the skirt?

Something must have mattered more than her colours.

Was it because her friend bought the same skirt on the same shopping trip, a BFF bonding moment? The lifelong friend is instinctively tuned into what others want to hear. Whatever that is, it subtly becomes her truth in that moment.

If she told Heather that the skirt looked great, then to her, it did. Had she been shown a picture of Heather as a stranger, she might have had another opinion. Had Heather known this about her friend, she might not have acted so quickly on her advice.

That wasn’t the reason.



Is it because Heather’s colour analyst forgot to observe and measure every feature of the face during the PCA, panicked, and jumped to the Season conclusion too soon? Unsure of the client’s colour ranges, she opts for calm colours as a safer bet while Heather knows herself to be another Season?

That happens.

Or would the analyst so abhor any garment for herself that felt showy or standing out that she would never do that to a client? A quiet appearance is the analyst’s way of doing unto others, her Golden Rule. It subtly becomes her truth and displaces the objective markers she learned during her training.

That happens too.

But those were not the reasons.



Her analysis result was correct. Heather had another need, one strong enough to rank higher than her colour palette when she is faced with shopping choices.

This condition defines her very survival: the need to be desirable. Not just to anybody and everybody. To one person.

This is no simple need. It be little but it be fierce. Given its own saferoom in Heather’s subconscious, the one that holds her last and biggest fear, the sign outside says: Open This Door Last.

Over the years, the room got thicker walls and a dead bolt. The most important thing is to keep it safe and satisfied, whatever it takes. If the beast breaks the chains, who knows what might happen? As always when we are out of balance, and we all are somewhere, we end up creating the very thing we fear.

The skirt was having an opposite effect. Instead of white, a soft denim blue or burgundy suede skirt would have had us swooning. In Heather’s eyes, those colours don’t make the point strongly enough. The significant other might miss it unless she amps it up a few notches. The white skirt is an overreaction to secure the essential relationship and feel safe.



Had I understood Heather in this way when we did her PCA, I would have framed my advice and images differently.

Having experienced Heather’s situation many times over the years and recently with the One Woman, Two Versions posts, I keep running into the gaps large and small between how we see ourselves and how others see us. This includes the big topic of other people’s filters. Why does one person see a woman’s makeup as too bright when another sees it as just right?

I care about what we communicate by appearance choices. I want my clients’ non-verbal language to be saying what they want to say, whatever that is. First, they need to gather words for what they want to say. My role is to act as a mirror that projects back to them what they are actually telling the world. The more neutral and non-reactive I can be, the more faithful the image they see.

Other people can make us better if we allow it. By creating a real reflection, with generosity, love, and listening in our hearts, we can help stuck energy flow again in one another. That doesn’t mean giving out advice to achieve what we want for our life, which is useless to them. We need to know what they want while helping them find balance in their blind spots. Heather’s white skirt is a place where her communication is being jammed. A better choice would let her energy trickle and rise again, she would be received as she intended, and the things she wants would move towards her.



Let’s meet two more magnificent women. All women are magnificent.

In my colour beginnings, I had a one-dimensional view of humans and their colours. Soon enough, I realized that although Sonia* and Carol* wear the same colours, they would do themselves and the rest of us no favours by wearing the same shapes.

Enter from the wings Rachel who explains a system where body shape and proportion are translated into effective clothing and consistently proves how well it works. I direct every client towards this service, since I am but an observer with casual knowledge and a lot of interest.

Sonia and Carol are now wearing beautiful clothing that they bought themselves. I think they look great. Only one of them does.

Sonia is happy. She trusts herself; she is re-learning her identity, calmly and joyfully aware that it takes months and years, not days and weeks. She has never been closer to living on her own terms.

Learning new things is the #1 best way to be in the moment, despite the fact that on this planet, using new muscles will hurt. Sonia is not backing down now. With every purchase, right or wrong, she enjoys that second of suspension when she is bigger, fuller, and richer, like that moment before we release a joyful breath. For the first time, her wardrobe feels like coasting instead of struggling.

Carol is bugged and doesn’t know why, which makes her more bugged. Her logical brain tells her the colours and lines are those of her physical body. She is spending 1/3 what she did  a year ago. She knows that her face, that once was lost in the same room as her previous cosmetics, is lovely. She is willing to learn, has stopped obsessing about an imaginary Finish line, and hears sincere positive feedback.

Still bugged. The clothing colours are not speaking with her true voice. She is a Winter who is drawn to Summer colours, or anything soft, like bees to nectar. Her appearance word choices are about blending in and belonging. Words around separation, visual or any other kind, give her heart palpitations. Winter colours feel so conspicuous.



In Sonia’s world, love and security happen by appearing. In a meeting, she needs to talk to feel that she is in the room. A challenge was learning that her rhinestone octopus earrings might be taking it too far for the office or the first meeting with the guy from e-Harmony, especially worn at the same time as the fishnets and the skirt with all the zippers going in different directions. It came as news to her that her point might be getting lost.

Carol wants the same love and security in the same world. To her, it arrives by not standing out, not being noticed, feeling calm and happy in the background. In a group, she would certainly ask a question and is passionate about what she cares about. She’s not shy. She is thinking. She is fine with her body, just doesn’t need attention or conversation around it.

I hear their different language around appearance. As the colour analyst, it is my job to interpret the palette so that they can recognize themselves. I must tailor my advice to where they find comfort and security in their appearance, but how?

Ever on the pulse of anything cool, clever, and good, Rachel introduces me to the Enneagram, and the Enneastyle book (look down the list on this page) . Seriously, if you are interested in self-perception regarding appearance, you really want to download this pdf whether you know your E type or not.

A free test can be found here along with options offering much more info for barely more money.

Many great books have been written. The Wisdom of the Enneagram was given to me by Naomi Eastman, our analyst in Vancouver. Excellent, excellent book. If you know any others that you found exceptional, please add them to the comments. I would love to read them.

From the Enneastyle booklet, from the Author’s note:

Just as in any facet of life, the whole of one’s personal presentation is far greater than the sum of its parts. For it is the integration of all aspects of the personality: body type, coloring, instincts, spiritual focus, energy, image, personal gifts and struggles that create the harmonic, balanced and complete whole. Just as we appreciate beauty in nature, we appreciate it when someone dresses and behaves in a manner that is congruent with their energy, archetype, passions, expressions, personality, features and body type.

Katherine Chernick Fauvre

Katherine Fauvre Consulting I Enneagram Explorations I Fauvre Research






For Enneastyle, Fauvre conducted a study across thousands of participants, using pictures, questionnaires, collages, and conversations with participants regarding their communication goals around appearance.

We can measure the body’s exteriors, its colours and lines, but as Fauvre said to me in an email, “internal and external harmony addresses what is innate”.  How do we measure, compare, and organize everyone’s interiors?

The booklet begins with an explanation of the Enneagram concept and description of the 9 types – basically 9 ways in which people perceive reality. The results are presented as each type’s Desire, Need, Fear, Avoidance (I avoid this type of look….) , Image Personality (keywords, I appear to…), Theme Statement (I am…), in the context of how they wish to look and communicate by appearance. Expressions that came up most often, type of language, similarities in images, and some ways in which the types measure their success, which I found very entertaining, are included.

Each of the 9 types divides into 3 Instincts:

The Self-Preservation person (“Me. I’m on my own. I must take care of myself.”).

The Social subtype (“Us. Me and my group. We can take on the world as long as we’re all together.”).

The One-to-One or Sexual Instinct (“You and me. I am only complete and safe if I can form an intimate relationship with you.”)

The quotes are my paraphrases.



If a person dresses to divert attention away from the body (for reasons that are explained in the booklet), attire that reveals the body will feel like exposure. I wonder how often a Bright Winter who wants any palette except Bright Winter is of this type. It would certainly explain a few things.

Knowing this, I could have helped her so much better than by saying, “Try it, you’ll get used to it.” I could have taken more time with matte colours, found resources for her neutral colours, and so on. Like our Autumn Heather in the white skirt, this Bright Winter is willing and wanting to compromise her own colours to meet a greater perceived survival need. My job is to help her do this as beautifully and effectively as possible, guiding her to the best choices without compromising either of our goals.

We look for ourselves in all kinds of systems. We would look like Venn diagrams, with many coincident areas (Summer, Cancer, E9, Classic, could all sound similar). Once you see how the 9 E types are settled around a circle, and how they correlate to the Gut/Heart/Mind, you would recognize similarities with the personality stereotypes in the 12 Season order with True Winter at 12 o’clock.

In a couple, he is an E3 and she is an E9. They realize that clothing communicates, that they need only learn fashion as it concerns their body, and both agree that they would like more glamour in their look. Something gets in the way. E3 is looking for the fast track and figures if he is brilliant at lots of other things, these little image details won’t really matter, will they? E9 knows that she will stop activity traffic in and out of her life to keep it simple. All this clothing information sounds complicated and potentially uncomfortable. In time, both will read some of the information, take some of the steps, and they will look somewhat better. On my end,  I won’t have to wonder if I could have done more. They just had other priorities.

Bet there are many Dark Autumn E5 men. E5 might be someone who breathes into their brain during Yin Yoga class, the idea of breathing into their lungs being a novel one. We would not discuss his wardrobe in terms of emotion. We would talk strategy and tactics.

A client is an E7. Many Gamine types probably are. Used to be that one negative word about her choices and the walls went up. In defense mode, we no longer heard each other. Today, I adjust my language to focus on a happy, busy future. She has learned that how her body is and how colours appear next to her are not good or bad. They just are. Statements about how she is shaped and coloured are not judgments, just facts. She can receive them while staying relaxed and curious to learn more.

As David Fauvre has said, “You’ll never see yourself the same way again.”



To know how a client wants to look, I must learn to ask the right questions.

I already ask, “What colours would you never wear?” The answer doesn’t matter, very few people have a correct sense of the possibilities, especially before the analysis. The answers range from, “I’d wear every colour, even neon, no problem.” to, “Just yellow. Also green. Well, not blue (now counting on fingers) or orange, and not brown.” My reason for asking is only to learn how permissive they will be around change.

A question I ask male clients is, “If you wore a white shirt and medium or dark gray pants, what would you add or adjust to feel comfortable?” The more clearly I know what you want from your appearance, the better I can help you find the right choices.

Working from hotels has had conveniences. The negatives have been the costs and need to decline so many requests when schedules don’t sync. I hope to begin seeing clients once again this fall in a dedicated studio. To focus on each person’s situation and save time on the day of the session, we will have a questionnaire to fill in one week before.

The questions so far are:

Besides knowing your colouring, why are you having a PCA?

If you have been thinking about it for some time, why did you contact me today?

If I could solve one appearance concern for you in the next 5 days, what would it be?

What is easy about any aspect of clothing, including fit, style, colour, a favourite print, a form of self-expression that feels right, or any other? What is difficult?

What words describe your desired appearance? Formal, comfort, glamour, functional, fitting in, standing out, or any other? Please bring images to your appointment if visual cues would be easier.

Do you know about the image analysis service at Best Dressed? Is that something you intend to pursue? If you know your image archetype (from Best Dressed and affiliates only please), it will be helpful if you share it.

Do you receive feedback that aligns or conflicts with what you believe to be true about your appearance?

Is cosmetic shopping confusing or easy, intimidating or under your control, frustrated by barely used items or fulfilled with items that are used regularly?

What would you like to know about makeup colour? How do you wear makeup, if ever, or how would you like to change how you wear it?

Are there any big purchases ahead?

What pleases and displeases you about your hair colour experience? If you would like it to change, how would that look?

If you care to share the information, what is your Enneagram type? If you know your Instinct, that will be helpful for us. Knowing your Tritype is not necessary for our purpose.

Independent of constraints about which colours or styles are available, what would you like more of in your wardrobe?

What would you like less represented in your wardrobe?

How do you not want to ever look? Can you give an example? For eg, a man might say, “I would never want to look showy.” When asked, showy means a dark suit, dark shirt, dark tie, and necklace. It does not include a tie with pink flowers, his favourite item of clothing.

What is your favourite piece of attire?

Is there something you would like to try but feel concerned about how it might look? Is there a colour that you often experiment with but have not found success?

During your appointment, is there an area where would you like us to focus our time? Choosing correct colour from the palette, more detailed cosmetic application, hair colour, creating complete outfits, or some other?

Have you anything else that you care to share, ask, or request at this time?


I would be appreciative of any suggestions for questions to add to the list. Think back to your PCA. What do you wish the analyst had known? What would the right questions have been, given what you know about yourself today?

My expertise is neither with Archetype or Enneagram. I don’t want people to feel that they have to write for an hour.  The idea is to allow enough time to get the thinking ball rolling about how clothing relates to themselves in ways that they might never have considered.

You can help me help you. As an E1, all I want is for all of us get better.



3 Medium Grays for 12 Seasons

I was asked to talk about gray since writing Choosing the Best Gray.  Wow, it’s been 7 years now!

We all reserve the right to get smarter as we get older, smarter even than we were last week. That 2011 post content still applies quite well. I have not much to add except for two points, neither of which are news to you but I’d emphasize them more:

  1. Summer has a version of green-gray. It is bluer than Autumn and Spring who have this type of gray as well.
  2. Winter gray can be red, and it will look red, not pink. It can also have a strong yellow component. When I compared Winter and Summer gray fabric, the Winter was actually yellower. Summer’s pastel yellow has less impact in the final colour.

Rather than talk about gray where everyone gets a different picture and usually far more extreme than we had in mind, the boards below show you where I am in my understanding of gray at this time.

Reading about gray only gets you so far. We can’t remember it and it’s harder to guess at than any colour including white. The shopping breakthrough is taking fabric to the store. I’m not a fan of textile swatches for learning a Season or working with the palette but with gray, a tough colour to harmonize, it is so easy to just compare the fabrics under the same lighting. Shopping is fast and effective.

The Neutrals Collections (NCs) are IMO the most useful resource I have to offer you once you know your Season. You can see a purse and a top harmonized with the fabrics on Instagram (linked at the bottom of the right column).

You might look at the colours below and think, “They’re the same.”  Not true. It’s just the monitors. With the fabric in hand, you’d say, “Oooooh. Gotcha.”

You might look at the colours below and think, “They’re so close. What diff can it possibly make?”  In a 1×1″ square, granted, they look very similar. Multiply that by 3000 or 7000 squares for pants or a coat and the differences, and reasons for the differences, become more evident.

Try to define the big picture differences of the 12-colour groupings with analogies that spring to your mind.

Autumn and Spring grays are quite green.  Autumn is like a beefed up, heavier version of Spring. Swatch by swatch if you compare the closest equivalents in the palette, Autumn is overall darker, more muted, and is less yellow and more red than Spring.

Winter gray doesn’t have an obvious colour really, though it has trends towards red, yellow, and blue. The yellow component is strong, Winter yellow being bright, and has more presence in the final colour. Summer’s yellow presence is barely felt in its grays. Winter and Summer gray can be similar until you try describing the difference between pussy willows and clouds compared to the various colours in steel wool. It’s in how the textile plays with light, Summer’s being feathery in feeling.

Generalizing about the grays of one Season versus another is confusing, theoretical, and nearly useless in stores. Honestly, buy your NC and get on with your life.

As a Dark Winter, I would wear any Winter gray in matte form except Bright Winter’s warm beige-tray. If the textile has sheen, I stay with Dark Winter. I do not buy any Summer, Spring, or Autumn grays, not even of related Seasons, for instance Soft Summer or Dark Autumn.  Scaled up to the size of pants, a coat, or a jacket, they do not interact well with Dark Winter ‘colour colours’.

If you have any questions or want to link items from stores in the comment section, I would be happy to answer or discuss them together.












Signature/STYLE: Top Layers for Indoor Wear

To celebrate the release of the colour and image archetype newsletter that Rachel Nachmias and I write together, we have 3! videos today.

Part 1

Issue #4 released.

Maximizing the various email displays and finding more sources for the garments.

Part 2

Featured article 2. Love them all, but I love Rachel’s  Where We Go Sideways and What To Do Instead approach to professional wear for our archetype. Until I know how I get in my own way, I can’t get out. When I do know, then it’s so easier.

About the sweater I’m wearing (yes, I know it’s too big, I like free-moving arms). Jungle prints are good on Autumn. Dark and hot, right?  I am a Dark Winter, therefore more cooled down than that. Nonetheless, the Autumn is important. This might be how Dark Winter does Jungle.

Part 3

Lining up, “I want to look competent, confident, relevant, and intelligent. Potent. With it.”

With being treated as competent, confident, relevant, and intelligent. Potent. With it.

Getting our perception of the truth and the world’s reaction to it to be on parallel lines, very close ones. No longer competing with ourselves.

In a moment of spatial confusion at the end, did I point to the left column? Oh, yes, she did.

The link is top right column (over there>) or here.


Introducing Colour Analyst Naomi Eastman (Vancouver)

My first experience with Naomi was of cheerful persistence, already a very good quality for a colour analyst. When the first attempt at a training course in Vancouver did not work out, Naomi solved every problem, making it so easy for me to offer the course from her studio. The location was so effective that West Coast courses are now held twice yearly from Naomi’s studio.

When she opened her front door, my experience of Naomi was of a warm, welcoming, informal person. She is adaptable and open-minded, which translates into being able to see your problem your way and provide a solution that will work for you in your world, as she did for the course location and I. She can communicate solutions in many ways to find the one that is do-able for you.

Here is what I especially respect about Naomi. She is as free as anyone I’ve met of what an outcome has to be. This translates into an analyst who has no preconceptions about what your Season has to be because you look a certain way. Of course, natural appearance and Season have to make sense together but these decisions come closer to the end of the analysis. At the beginning, an analyst needs to clear these notions out of her head.

The scientific method teaches us to begin with a hypothesis and then set about proving or disproving it. That doesn’t work in PCA because your hypothesis introduces your personal impressions. Your impressions might be partly true but you have no idea which part. Only the drapes can tell you that.

You are better off to start with nothing, no assumptions at all. The human mind usually reacts against this. It gets agitated when it doesn’t know before it can know. Naomi is the analyst who can naturally look at reality from different angles just to see what’s really there. She is a curious explorer gathering information. She fills a space with data without needing to organize it into patterns sooner than possible.

I am honoured today to introduce you to my friend and colleague, Naomi Eastman.



In Naomi’s words,

“What colors can you NOT wear?”, Christine Scaman asks me. It’s early on in the 12 Blueprints analyst training course and it’s my turn to be draped.

“Definitely orange, lime green and mustard yellow”, I immediately respond. I would have dismissed those colours on the clothing rack, based on my past (negative) experiences wearing them.

My draping confirmed that mustard yellow will never look good on me, but a clear butter yellow would. Having a yellow overtone had led me to believe that I could not wear any type of yellow. Hmm, how interesting. Surprisingly, the orange from the Luxury drape set does not make my skin look sallow. In fact, this particular orange may even elicit a few compliments, such as, “My, how your eyes sparkle in that color!” And there was another discovery. I do have my version of a “lime” green that is less yellow, but just as vibrant. Letting go of preconceived notions can bring you to a new place. A whole new world of colour has opened up endless possibilities for me!

Trial and Error

Throughout childhood and as a young adult, I dutifully wore whatever colours were provided by the clothing industry. I wore all colours – bright, muted, dark and light. However, I did determine that I could not wear colours that were too warm, and that autumn colors (mustard, olive, rust) were not good on me. Every once in a while, I would find a colour that everyone thought looked fantastic on me, but I could not determine what made the colour work so well. It was basically hit-and-miss when it came to finding colours that worked best for me.

When the 4 Season system became popular, I hoped it would provide the answer. I located an analyst and was analyzed as a Summer. Initially, I was happy to finally have some direction in my shopping experience. I tried to buy “my colours.” However, occasionally I “cheated” a bit with more saturated colours, and I never managed to give up black. In fact, a few years later, during my frazzled new mom period (when I felt like a zombie from lack of sleep), I simplified my wardrobe down to primarily black, as there would be no need to work at coordinating outfits. It was one less thing to think about in an already busy day.

As time passed (and I got more sleep), I missed wearing colour. Eventually, I came across a 12 season system. I was curious. I wondered if I would have a different result in this system. Would I finally find my “wow” colours? However, an in-person analysis and a subsequent on-line analysis both yielded the same result – Soft Summer. I craved brighter colours, but with a sigh, I resigned myself to Soft Summer’s muted palette. After all, a Summer season had now been confirmed by 3 different analysts, so I decided to give it a go. I shopped with my swatch book, scanning the stores for muted colours, and tried to substitute my black with grey although, I confess, I still occasionally cheated. When I look back at photos of me in Soft Summer clothing, I suppose I looked okay, but I felt drab.

Perhaps I was not using the full spectrum of my palette, I thought. Maybe I was choosing colours that were too “dusty” and I really belonged at the clearer end of the Soft Summer colour range. Was a less muted Soft Summer even possible? Or maybe I just needed more makeup and accessories. Or another hair colour and highlights?

Trying out the trendy nude lip look: “I can see now how the warm and muted tone of this nude lipstick does not go with my clear blue eyes, but at the time I could not pinpoint what was not working.”


Today, I know that colours support us energetically. You can feel the difference when you’re wearing your correct colour harmony. While wearing the Soft Summer palette, I had a feeling of ‘blah-ness’, a sort of tiredness and a lack of zest. Somehow, those colours were not enough for me. I needed something more, and I was determined to find the answer.

I began to research colour theory and colour analysis through books (lots of books), blogs, colour analysis systems, and I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge. I was fascinated by the world of colour and it became my passion. I had set out to find my best colours, and now I had a desire to help others do the same. “Someday, I will train to be an analyst”, I decided.

When I saw Christine’s blog post announcing her intention of coming to Vancouver to train those interested, I signed up immediately, thinking ‘here’s my opportunity’. The training was intense and so much fun. Christine is a gifted teacher and under her tutelage my eye for colour flourished.

A vital part of my training included over 20 case studies (full session drapings of volunteers) to put into practice all the technical aspects of personal colour analysis. The photos of each draping session and an in-depth write up of my observations were reviewed by and discussed with Christine. This internship period was a valuable exercise – each case study had its unique challenges that made for fascinating discussions and resulted in the fine tuning of the skills Christine had taught me.

The lighting is strange here because we were trying out makeup choices and the power went out! We used lights from our various devices to get at least one image of my draping.


You have to know what to look for.

I know now that I had been draped as Summer season in the past primarily because the other analysts had (mis)interpreted my light blue eyes as ‘pastel’ eyes, when they are actually transparent and ‘icy’. Christine is one of very few analysts able to bring everything (skin, hair, eyes) together correctly to determine that I was actually a Bright Winter. My training focused on developing my ability to correctly interpret the visual effects in the drapes. The methodology that 12 Blueprints analysts use to determine which drapes bring out the best in the clients is both reliable and accurate. You will be pleased with the thoroughness built into this system.

I went into training because of my passion for colour, but I underestimated how satisfying it is for me to actually meet you and help you to look your very best. The draping sessions are so interesting – every client is unique. As I go through your analysis, I explain each step of the process and the effects I’m seeing – breaking it down into clearly-defined visible reactions. You’ll not only see your most flattering colours, but also the colours that do not look good on you, which is equally important. I’ve learned (and personally experienced) that there is a color “sweet spot” for every one of us – one of the 12 Seasons whose hue, value and chroma are in alignment with your particular colouring. And now, thanks to the 12 Blueprints training, I have the privilege of helping you find this place.

My Studio

My studio is located in the Greater Vancouver area, 10 minutes from the US border. The studio has plenty of natural light. It is painted a neutral grey and is equipped with a specialized full-spectrum LED lighting system (used in the colour industry for accurate colour rendition across the entire spectrum), the 12 Blueprints drape set, and True Colour International colour books. I use the 12B product line for makeup application in your season.

Please visit my website at or email me at

Languages spoken: English, French, Italian.

I really look forward to meeting you.



Authenticity and The Perfect Lipstick

I write about Season through the eyes of a person who lives in the Northern Hemisphere in a temperate climate. The 4 Seasons proceed according to well-known formulas. Patterns have their place but as we know, in personal colour analysis (PCA), they can limit our vision.

What about all the people who see colour and time of year differently or live in a land without snow? In today’s post, Jennifer is our guest blogger from New Zealand. From her recent PCA, she found a new awareness of her own colours repeated in Nature. Jennifer first shares her colour journey, followed by a post that opens a beautiful window into geographic colour diversity from a place where summer and December happen together.

Thank you to Amelia Butler for the analysis that found Jennifer’s Season to be Light Summer.

I am honoured to introduce today’s author and share her colour story with you.

Jennifer’s Colour Story

Photo credit:


In my mid Thirties, around 1980, I would have been among the first women in New Zealand to get my colors “done”. Looking at Carole Jackson’s book, I picked my self as a Summer but paid to discover I was a Spring. There were 3 or 4 other women in the class and I was completely fascinated as I watched the process. Did not relate to the Spring Neutrals at all. Did not like them by my face. However I discovered a life long love affair with aqua, coral/peach pink, a soft yellow and cool green. And I began to occasionally to wear light coral pink lipstick. I was a health professional and found wearing my colours simplified the choices I needed to make. In fact as the years went by I got pretty stuck and often too busy and too lazy to wear makeup of any sort …the colours did the work, especially when I was in attendance at the duration of a longish labour in midwifery practice.

The science of colour typing moved forward and I became a spring going to summer and then a light spring. Now I found some neutrals I could wear near my face but only if I made some effort with makeup. Sometime in the middle of 2015, I flirted briefly with David Zyla’s book and while wandering round the internet came across a photo of Christine’s book and found her blog.  A new world of art and science opened up to me. I was so fascinated that I was tempted to travel to Canada to get my colours redone again. I was in love with the words “perfecting the skin”. In my late 60s by now those words really attracted my attention.

Christine gave me the contact details of Amelia Butler of True Colours International in Australia. I was reasonably certain I was still a light spring but slightly open to idea that [Amelia] might come up with another answer. I went to Sydney with a close friend and was so excited by being there that I only took in a few moments of the whole process. The world stopped as I saw myself looking completely beautiful in light summer white. No makeup and perfected skin. Wow!!!!! I did not need to wear the cap as Amelia could see my fine grey hair was natural. The other heart stopping moment was two of light summer’s darkest and possibly most dramatic colours one on each shoulder. A red and a lightish purple. Perfected skin ….is impossible to explain until you see it on yourself.

Followed 4 months of living and breathing my new season. I knew it was true in my mind but I had to learn to live it and trust what I was feeling, seeing, and experiencing. I checked out practically everything I owned in the interior of my house. As far as my clothes were concerned, not much had to be taken to the op shop. About a month later I put on a salmon/coral shirt that had passed the test with the light summer swatches. Too much yellow/orange undertone and out it went. My own eyes told me it was too far into light spring.

Over those 4 months, Christine’s book and my new swatches never left my side. I now have rimless glasses and receive compliments about my eyes, not my too bright eyeglass frames. The right coloured lipsticks,  Flowergirl and Come Dancing [from the Blueprints line] …..I feel naked without them. I discovered how lovely grey pearls can look perfecting the skin and drawing the gaze of others toward my eyes. If you are gray/blue eyed and a light summer go straight out and buy them.

December in New Zealand is the Light Summer month. I watched Hydrangea, Agapanthus, and Jacaranda come in to bloom. The days were at their longest and warm but not too hot, ranging between 23 and 24 degrees C. A smile hardly left my face as I looked around and saw the world as if for the first time.

Was I ever a light spring?


In the photo above, you can see Come Dancing lipstick and the new rimless glasses. In Jennifer’s words, “The photo does not do justice to those grey pearls….they pick up all the Light Summer colours and the lightest part of my iris. Every blue/grey eyed light summer should have at least a pair of grey pearl earrings.” And about her true hair colour compared to the picture, “My hair is not that colour… is actually lovely shade of grey but the sunlight coming through a sunfilter blind turned it blonde for this photo.”


Natural Setting for December Summer Holiday

Waiheke Island is situated in the Hauraki Gulf, a short ferry ride from New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland. Conde Nast voted Waiheke one of the 10 best islands to visit in the world and Lonely Planet gave Waiheke Island fifth best place to visit in 2016. A peaceful holiday in early-mid December is a magical time before schools break- up and the busy Christmas/holiday season arrives. Summer has truly started and the days are at their longest, encouraging the viewing of sea and sky in its various moods and colours from earliest dusk until full darkness in the evening. The sea at latitude 37 is a mixture of soft greens and blues at different times of the day

Growing close to the almost deserted beaches are huge mature New Zealand Christmas trees. The native pohutukawa is covered in glorious cherry red blossoms at this time of year and provides dappled shade on many beaches. We stop to pick up groceries at the small township of Oneroa. Casual, relaxed, and friendly, with just a touch of hippie chic left over from the decades before Waiheke’s charm was “discovered” by a legion of fans, local and international.



A short drive through the rolling hills covered in boutique vineyards, olive groves, and stands of protected forest. There are numerous walking tracks to be enjoyed with glorious 360 degree views. Turning off the road, there is a shady long drive with jacaranda trees in full soft violet blue bloom. The house we stay in is elevated above the beach. We can hear the waves lapping the shore as we step out of the car.




Around three sides of the house, a two-metre wide verandah shades us from the high summer sun, affording many opportunities eat outdoors. Fresh green grass is a joy to walk on with bare feet. The garden has a few herbs and some seasonal vegetables available. Mop head hydrangeas are at the peak of their flowering in various shades of blue, from light sky to the deepest blues with a touch of purple. As a small child these flowers showed off their mop heads far above mine and they always seemed huge if I picked just a few and put them in a vase….for a child the result was a representation of what summer was about.




A later arrival on the shores of New Zealand was the South African agapanthus. The genus to be found blooming right around the verandah carries its dark purple/blue flowers two metres above the ground for most of December and January.




There is the annual family controversy as to what will be eaten for Christmas dinner and once again the clear winner: Roast Chicken with Tarragon Dressing and fresh Cherries. Morning Coffee and Christmas cake each day on the verandah even if it pours with rain. The complete absence of technology leads to a slower, reflective, calming pace of life. Kayaking, swimming and bush walking for exercise. Sweat washed off in the outdoor shower. We listen to Baroque Christmas Carols, read, weather watch and most of all revel in the sheer natural beauty all around in every direction. Every sense is fully satisfied. The house is an open pavilion all day at this time of year.

Dress code: Day: loose cotton shirts, soft pink hibiscus flower tucked behind ear, bare feet and capri length gym pants. Evening: serious sartorial effort!…long loose caftans dressed up with silver hoop earrings, Bulgari Pour Femme perfume, and Come Dancing lipstick. Night attire: high thread count linen sheets.



Science, beauty, truth. Transformational results.