Today’s client arrives for her colour consultation.
Meet *Fiona. She is Caucasian with a medium skin tone, shoulder-length straight silver hair, and eyes that might be blue, green or gray. The eye colour is hard to tell from a social distance because it is nearer to the skin colour than the hair is, the eyes are smaller in size, and she wears tortoiseshell eyeglasses.
Her colouring might remind you a bit of this, but with a lot more silver and white and only strands of strawberry gold.
She wears a grey blouse, white belted cardigan, and dark navy pants.
I am asked if I can tell Season by looking at people. No, but like most folks with a few years under their belt, I can’t turn it off either. Between Fiona’s colouring and today’s attire was a step too high and wide, meaning that it took effort to look at both at the same time.
Put two colours (or shapes) side-by-side and they may not look the same as the originals. Butterscotch colours (in clothing or hair) might give a woman hot-flash-face. On the same woman, white pants may look glow-in-the-dark. Ultra-sheer watermelon gloss may become clear and colourless and berry gloss turn into purple plastic, all of which happened with Fiona. In trying to arrange her appearance, she feels like a boat with too many sails up and wind coming from all directions.
Today’s clothing colour are giving Fiona blanched, dry skin, and apparel that looks limp and without energy. This may be coming from Fiona or the eyeglasses or the curtain next to her chair. I forget early impressions once we move into the colour studio.
Why didn’t anyone tell me?”
The video below is also here on YouTube.
The article about the Dunning-Kruger effect is here at CBC Radio.
I believe in setting measures for success. Without them, how do you know when you’re there, what needs more work, and when to start on the next project?
In a business contract, success is defined, and the endpoint is finite. Appearance, on the other hand, evolves over time.
> Five colour analysts using the same instruments (hardware = drapes) and the same process (software = the 12 BLUEPRINTS adaptation of the Sci\ART system), independent of geographic location, would arrive at the same Season for the same client.
For the Colour Analyst training course (under the Training tab on this site), my measure is this, till I come up with a better one:
For a Colour Analysis client, my goalposts look like this:
> Personal self-expression.
> Self-sufficiency in selecting all forms of attire.
> Strategies for evaluating colour objectively, on or off your body.
> Make different choices in the same stores going forward.
> Have a unified approach in directing the people who participate in your appearance (cosmetic counter staff, colourists, clothing sales staff)
> Know your definition of simple-beautiful-belonging makeup, with the option of adding the cosmetic impact you desire.
> Have insights for when and how to act on the responses of others, from merely well-meaning to comments with essential value.
> Achieve predictability in appearance. Get off the hit-and-miss rollercoaster. Look great every day.
> Have a process for deciding which items to keep. You already own clothes or makeup that are perfectly good, but as a reader said, wearing them with incompatible partners blocks the good points of both.
> Think in terms of appearance solutions and possibilities, instead of problems, using your own colour reality.
Every story has a beginning.
Once upon a time, there was a woman called Fiona. She had questions and problems related to wardrobe and presentation.
- I’m not sure about my hair colour. It’s my natural colour and I don’t love it or hate it. Should I be doing something different?
- Ditto eyeglasses. Do they go with my hair or not? Why can’t I tell? (Hang in there, Fiona, you will soon.)
- Makeup is nothing but complicated. I’ve had plenty of consultations and never once thought I looked good even if others said I did. I keep it at a distance.
- I couldn’t say two sentences about my neutral colours and feel extremely unsure about choosing them.
Fiona has identified the root problem:
“I don’t know how to know.”
Additional goals surfaced with a little more conversation:
- I was analyzed as a Summer 20 years ago. I find the Season concept compelling and wonder if I’m still the same.
- I want to wear what looks good. It’s obvious on others how much difference colour makes.
- I’m tall. It’s hard to find clothes.
- I’m a consultant myself. I work from home and want versatile outfits for meeting clients, possibly a little makeup for video calls, and outdoor wear to walk my dogs in the park where I often run into clients.
The answer to every question could be distilled as follows:
- A way to think about colour in relation to herself,
- Which can be applied to any form of apparel
- And any aspect of appearance including cosmetics, hair colour, and accessories,
- And includes written and visual information resources,
- Along with access to a network of trusted professionals to answer questions related to height and style.
The client side of our ‘contract’ might read as:
- I will be open-minded.
- I will make the effort to see myself as a stranger might.
- I will give myself patience and time and be thrilled with every great purchase.
- I will maintain a spirit of learning and curiosity in a new space.
- I will support myself by cooperating with the beautiful colours in me.
- I will accept compromise on my terms as necessary in retail environments.
- I will avoid comparisons with others and trends and gladly settle for being me.
Have you heard Bruce Springsteen’s Western Stars album?
The track, The Wayfarer, starts all random and Rawhide. Rambling along, you know something’s coming. And then the violins come up and you’re hooked. The tumbleweed is blowing, and Fiona and I are wayfarers on our way, leaving the same old story, going round and round, town to town, this hair that hair these glasses those glasses…
How about this one?
I love that you can hear each instrument section so well. Is it not thrilling what humans can do together that we could not do apart?
OK, let’s see how Fiona and I are doing.
The video below is also here at YouTube.
Look Your Normal is here at Chrysalis Colour.
In the video, I describe mixing colours 2,3, and 4 to create a perfect allover lid colour. Sorry, I meant to say 2,3, and 5. The green in the #4 position was used to create the eyeliner effect, using a different colour rather than a darker colour or needing another product.
No change needed
> Fiona’s hair colour is already creamy silver perfection. She wonders if she should be colouring her hair. Nobody should be colouring their hair unless they want to. Fiona ‘s colour is striking and frames her face by being different from her skin and yet perfectly harmonious, which is even more beautiful. Wearing the right colours in the top half, including the right-white blouse, is key to hair that looks sparkling, clean, and exciting. All hair colour seems flat and dingy next to non-harmonious clothing, one reason why women turn to chemical colour. The fix is easier than that.
> Foundation? Unnecessary. In her colours, the skin pigmentation was even and smooth. No concealer needed either, the skin colours in the eye area were even with the rest of the face.
> Fiona and I discussed The Real vs. the Ideal. The nut-brown pants she was wearing were an item to keep for making colour combinations. Whether Spring or Autumn, they were warm, medium in darkness, and fairly pigmented, rather than obviously muted. That’s enough to keep True Spring happy, plus the colour was very near the strawberry ginger tones in the hair.
> The eyeglass frames will remain the same for now. They are near enough to True Spring’s honey and brown tones, are medium dark and in balance with the face, are relatively new, and she is considering Laser eye surgery. She understands that they may not be ideal and already has ideas if and when there’s a next pair.
> When there’s too much choice, trends seem like an easy, modern solution. In fact, they generally flatter a small segment of the population, unlikely to be a woman of True Spring colouring who is also tall. For any Spring-coloured person, matte lipstick, for example, is a thousand times better with gloss over top, or replaced with gloss alone.
> Another trend to ditch: black and white. Black is cool and dark and True Spring is warm and light. That’s 2 out of 3 colour dimensions that are incompatible, too many to find common ground. In being light, white is marginally better, but the margin is narrow and vanilla, ivory, cream, almond, or golden sand, are better by a mile. White is fine in small spaces away from the face, say the soles of shoes or stitching on jeans, as examples of places to compromise for items that are otherwise good.
> To survive in the retail world, brighter colours and more pigmented neutrals from True Autumn's palette can make great partners in outfits. They share the very important quality of warmth. If you let reality stop you, you won’t leave the house. Work with it and life gets better. We practiced some exercises for Fiona to recognize colour success and close enough when she sees them. A little bit of cowboy colours for neutrals can slide in unnoticed. Be careful that beige, brown, and khaki are not too red, which may make the rest of the outfit and Fiona look overpowered and sunburned.
> When you shop online, shop by colour. Say you’re looking at blouses. Search all the greens together, then all the blues, and so on. The tableau of same-colour-family comparisons is useful to pick out the brighter, juicier colours.
> Stay inside True Spring’s darkness range for sharply pointed geometrics in clothing, prints and cosmetic colours. This is a colouring in which colour transitions are smooth, not sharp, and what we add should be the same.
> I could write a book about neutral colours alone, and still neither Fiona nor you reading this would picture the same colours. The Neutrals Sets (under the Shop tab on this website) are a solid time investment.
> About being tall. In the early stages of optimizing how we look by wearing what we are, the boundaries between colour and style may be confusing. I connected Fiona with the style and line analysts in our community. She followed up on the suggestion and now knows how to think about her styles and colours independently.
> Fiona is on her way home to make a pot of tea and sit down with her computer. Productive shopping begins with knowing what to look for. Type True Spring into the Pinterest search box and spend time with the many panels of garments in True Spring or True Spring compatible colours. In the 12 Blueprints boards, I pin items from current retail to show you how the Seasons' colours would look so you can make a beeline when you get to the shop. I don’t visit the stores to confirm the Season and Fiona doesn’t need me to; she knows what to do when she gets there.