Can True Beauty Be Diminished?

A reader wondered how I felt about this…

In a forum I’m in, PCA came up and someone brought up her view that any system that sets beauty into a good/bad binary is inherently flawed. She said that telling a woman she only looks good in certain colors or that wearing the wrong color will make her less beautiful is limiting, and that nothing can dull the light of a confident woman.

I have a lot of beliefs in common with the woman who said this. No doubt, she can explain her thoughts better than I can. I invite her to do so, in a comment, or by email. I would gladly add her words to the conversation here, anonymously if she prefers.

What I feel that she and I share is a question: We spend all our time resisting this and forcing that. Why can’t everything just be fine the way it is? Why can’t everybody just be perfect? Because, the fact is that they are.

Photo: adripoveda
Photo: adripoveda



When Rachel and I were finding a name for a project, the idea of Gorgeous & Fearless came up. A friend answered my request for feedback, saying, “First of all, not every woman is gorgeous and second, we all have fear.”

On the first point, I respectfully disagree with all my heart. Every woman is gorgeous. It doesn’t matter what she wears or how old she is. Unless you buy into how media defines beauty. Which I do not. For me, anything created by Nature is beautiful and perfect.

We all recognize that MediaBeauty needs some whistleblowing. That is not Beauty. A better definition can be found in John O’Donohue’s book, Beauty: The Invisible Embrace. Every woman is beautiful, as are every man and child, and equally so.

I ask my kids for feedback about an outfit. One of my daughters says, “…just my opinion, but then, I’m so masculine.”  She’s not right. No woman is ever masculine, unless you buy into traditional (old, boring, limited) definitions of masculine and feminine. Which I do not.

However, a woman can use colours and lines that are foreign to hers that cause her to appear less womanly, either beefier than she is or more frail. Obviously, the distinctions blur here, but the problem isn’t in looking like a very beautiful man if that’s your natural and real brand of feminitiy.

Just as we are the most authentic and genuine backdrop for our own hair colour, whatever it is. Forcing such things results in a sort of distortion that others feel. Or I think others feel it. I do but I sometimes wonder if, as a Winter Libra Classic, I got an overdose of balance tuning, as if I am thrilled by symmetry in a way that mostly those who work in neurology and plastic surgery can relate to. Also, dressage riders.

Photo: ddrccl
Photo: ddrccl


It makes me happy that my girls’ generation is growing up with Lady Gaga and all the revolutionary artists of this time. These people are willing to expose their identity, or create a new one, to turn conventional thinking on its end very quickly. They’ve always existed, but not in these numbers and no longer underground.

When we choose to change how we see, we change what we see. Or is it the other way round? It’s both ways. Gaga changes what we see.  She throws back rules about feminine and sexy and says, “Would appear those rules don’t apply to me.” And, as always when one person speaks up, half the audience stands up and says, “You know, they don’t apply to me either. I’m not different or alone. I’m the same as you.” Hence, her following.

The rest of us make the small, safe changes, just enough to survive in our minds. We keep it quiet in case we have to justify ourselves. We are too tired to fight. We figure raising our kids and keeping our homes matters more. We’re still stunned by what has been done to us over the previous 3,000 years, and thought just maybe, someone would notice out of kindness and decency. They won’t. They never had to learn how. Many women can’t find their voice yet today. Little ripples are fine if that’s what you can manage. You’ll feel better. Sometimes, though, a tsunami isn’t such a bad thing to shake up a tired and harmful status quo.

In The Magus, John Fowles says,

Men love war because it allows them to look serious. Because they imagine it is the one thing that stops women laughing at them. In it they can reduce women to the status of objects. That is the great distinction between the sexes. Men see objects, women see relationship between objects. Whether the objects love each other, need each other, match each other. It is an extra dimension of feeling we men are without and one that makes war abhorrent to all real women – and absurd. I will tell you what war is. War is a psychosis caused by an inability to see relationships. Our relationship with our fellow-men. Our relationship with our economic and historical situation. And above all our relationship to nothingness. To death.

Makes me wonder if this is why colour analysts are mostly women. Our minds feel relationships. And another reason. Anyone subscribe to National Geographic? The  February 2014 issue contains research from McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario) kinesiologist, Dr. Jennifer Heisz, that in looking at faces, women make more eye movements, fixate on individual features almost twice as many times as men, and scan far more frequently, generating a more vivid picture in our minds.

Photo: geloo
Photo: geloo


Gaga takes all the stuck thinking about what is feminine, sexual, right, wrong, belonging, identity, and throws it right back in our face. She can do much more to free my daughter’s mind than the blonde starlets, also successful by the zillionaire standard, that marketing compressed has into MediaSexy.

Gaga’s not a role model, she’s not trying to be. She says, “Whose culture is really sick? Let’s talk out loud about what’s going on.” All those starlets, many having had enhancement procedures by the time they’re 18. These are our society’s success stories? Schools that overlook all the kids in the classrooms dysfunctioning on pot because they sit nicely and quietly under the influence of THC. So what if it drops the boys’ testosterone and causes permanent changes in the brain within 4-5 years? Is being quiet and getting along really better?


On the second point, yes, everyone has fear. Well sure we do, of things that will probably never happen. Not everyone is in Vogue, not everyone is In Style, not everyone is Allure-ing by their perfect-world implications. But we can aspire to what is best in them. As Rachel said, looking at couture elevates everyone. It broadens our idea of what’s possible, taking our idea of ‘normal’ to a higher place of creativity, freedom of expression, and imagination, exploring the boundaries of taste and forcing us to explore our own.

I have a love hate relationship with fashion and beauty. In a male power structure, women are the outsiders, kept there by the insecure bullies at the top. We’ve learned to survive and succeed by getting along or playing along. Why isn’t it good enough to just be who we are? But then, we women hand over money for creams we know won’t work, for clothes we can’t eat or walk in, like going back to binding our feet. We surrender our bodies and our money. It’s not the guys making us do that. They don’t know and don’t care.

Photo: ddrccl
Photo: ddrccl



To get clarity on big subjects that can be a fuzzy haze of what others think, we need to define it for ourselves. Is wealth really just piles of money to you? Probably not.

My definition of beauty is anything that could have happened by itself. Without force to make something happen or resistance to prevent it from happening. Something that just is in its own right, the way that Nature made it. There’s synchronicity in that and it feels good. Great makeup is taking the colours already in your face and adding more of them.

Would a lily-of-the-valley be as beautiful if the flower were orange? It might take some getting used to because it’s not what we’re accustomed to seeing. It feels a little insecure. If the color of the flower then gently shifted back to white, we’d feel ourselves relax. Tension eases in thinking about it. It would feel belonging, calm, settled, affirming, and right.

Beauty in apparel is extraneous beauty. The same sensibility applies: it could have happened by itself as a continuation of who the woman already is. Amplify what you already are. Repeat the lines and shapes already in your body.

If you were asked for your definitions of wealth and beauty, would you have an answer?


Philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said,

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”

There are forces that are bigger than us that we are part of. Our fingers and toes are antennae, like animal whiskers. Our five senses are receivers, not metaphorically, but quite literally, operating by the flow of charged particles. With Nature as our connection to those higher forces, using the sensors in our bodies, we can tap into these energies. It’s not hard. Everyone does it. We call them feelings.  I recognize the word I use as beauty as something that feels good to look at. The same feeling of consistency from all five senses, from extraneous beauty as from the natural world.

We are sensitive to many forms of energy and levels of vibration. Extending our senses, as Neil Harbisson does in the reality-rocking video below or linked here at TED, prepares us to interface with other energy forms. Yes, you could decorate a log cabin in Art Deco colours. You might be unfettered by traditional decorating rules and think that looks great. Neil Harbisson might tell you that sitting in the cabin feels like the grocery aisle.  The rest of us sense it as well, just using different equipment. Interesting how the sounds of people seem to be just a few notes. Think about this. Presumably, when he ‘saw’ these people, they were clothed. What if they’d been dressed in their own colours? Could each of us really be a single note?



True Stories

We do have to dress.  Appearance conflict does exist. Figuring we won’t be judged by our appearance is contrary to human evolution. Way back then, apperance was a survival decision based on energy recognition. Today, it’s energy recognition of a different sort.

The quote at the beginning above implies that no matter what we wear, we elicit the exact same feelings in a viewer. Here, we differ. You’ve seen my images in the article,  The “I Know What Looks Good On Me” Dream. We don’t feel the same or expect the same of those women. Would you hire them for the same jobs? She’s the same woman. Same degree of intelligence, competence, humour, kindness.  Would she attract the same man? Would he expect the same woman? We can be completely liberated from MediaBeauty and CultureBeauty and still feel that our response is different.

You sit across a table to interview three women. One is Kate Winslet in no makeup and a gray dress. The second Kate has copper hair with  blonde streaks, wears a bright orange cardigan, no-colour lip gloss, and designer black framed glasses with little pink rhinestones in the temples and bar of the frame. The third has rose coloured lips that match the flowers in her dress, a plum cardigan, dove and soft plum eyeshadow, and soft light brown hair held back on one side with a silver clip. Would your impression be of three equal women? If yes, then you have a great kindness and imagination, and more time than most peole conducting interviews.

It also suggests that you have voluntary control over primitive brain regions that make instantaneous, subconscious brain decisions. I believe this processing occurs too quickly and is embedded too deep to access. There is another meaning for beauty, the Hollywood kind. Elizabeth Taylor, Zoe Saldana, they have beauty that we process instinctively and also at a cultural and more conscious level. It has to do with taste, time, and geography. It’s rather a shame that we use the same word for these two meanings, because this models&celebrities beauty brings us back to Hollywood definitions – those ones that I don’t buy into, because they can be packaged, propagandized, and artificially measured by whatever the scale du jour happens to be.

Photo: dijones
Photo: dijones


Clothes tell our story. Who we are today, and who we are all the time. Wearing the book of someone else or of nobody, our story becomes of someone else or nobody. We could wear long gray dresses to equalize everyone, but is it likely to happen? We are beautiful without colour, as many of the images in this article, but colour makes us more miraculous and more children of our planet.

All energy, no matter its form, is a multiplier of itself. Beauty in others enhances our own whatever form that beauty takes. It doesn’t detract. A beautiful presence in a room doesn’t render others less beautiful, everyone becomes lovelier. When one person shows non-judgment and forgiveness, everyone becomes more that way.

Yes, all people are beautiful, but in multiplying that beauty, it becomes even more of the original, a heightened awareness of reality. Adding wavelengths that clash with our own diminishes our signal. We are less present. Though the woman is the same, beautiful simply in the fullness of being here, we have dimmed her radiance. Her energy drops like a weak winter sun. You can see this easily during a colour analysis. Ask any of my students. They have all seen it. In conflicting colour, our ability to feel her dulls. We lose some of her.

When we reach for something, we push it further away. When there is no struggle, our energy (vibration in New Age parlance) rises. Looking believable, which is simply fidelity to how we were made, contains less struggle. Our story to our own ears and others’ is about our clarity, our fulfilling presence, the abundance of our reality just as it is.

In our own colours, we are effortless. When there is no effort, there is neither resistance nor force, neither pushing or pulling. Now, we are free to move forward in our best alignment and purpose. We are true extensions of the Universe as it is a true extension of us.



14 thoughts on “Can True Beauty Be Diminished?”

  1. I think that many people who knock PCA don’t really understand it. They haven’t seen with their own eyes the miracle of someone wearing their true colors, versus how they look going against the grain of their true selves.

    Learning to accept ourselves, exactly who we are, takes living and learning. Most of us when we are younger especially, try to look like other people who we think look good. We may copy other women. Generally when we see another person who looks great, it is because that person is dressing and being their truth, is dressing in colors and shapes that are right for them, wearing make up that accentuates their features and coloring and their hair is their most flattering color, for them. We don’t realize that we can’t just take pieces and parts of other people’s look and wear it ourselves, and expect it to make us look great. Not unless that other person shares our coloring and shape and bone structure.

    I think some people don’t like PCA or the idea of it because they just don’t want to be told what to do. They think that they will be limited, they don’t like following rules. I think they think that they will be more themselves by just wearing whatever they want willy-nilly. They still believe that by buying a product or article of clothing they can look like anyone they choose, be something different. Or That it is possible for them to look like any one at all . But we are who we are and I believe only by embracing who we are and what we look like and going with it and making the most of it, can we be the most attractive.

    As a true summer for example, I can’t wear the clothes or make up that Kim Kardashian or Cher would wear and expect to look good. That look is too harsh and overpowering for me. Those colors would battle with who I am, and would hide what I have to offer. I still cringe that I wore black for so many years. Not everything looks good on everybody. In fact what looks good on each of us is quite particular . If I wear the warm tones that spring or summer women wear so well, I just look sick and jaundiced. In which case no, it doesn’t add to my confidence or beauty.

    I would wish for every person the opportunity to appreciate their own uniqueness, and the journey to find out what that is and how to enhance it is fun and rewarding. Pca is like a blueprint or roadmap that can guide you on your way. If I had never had my colors done, I would still be lost in the wilderness of retail. PCa helped me to appreciate and amplify my own look, and to find myself.

  2. While there are many important aspects in this article, allow me to point out that the novel The Magus did not publish until 1965 but was in fact written only a few years after WWII – in which many women participate heroicly to free Europe – as many of us have since participated in wars – I am one of them. Being a soldier is most certainly possible even for real women. Perhaps a detail – yet an important one.

  3. Perhaps my favorite article, and the last paragraph, perhaps my favorite. I think this is ultimately what we all seek in PCA, through PCA.

  4. I like the concept more that masculine/ feminine are factors inside a human being in varying proportions. Therefore war would be a masculine feature, in a man or woman- it’s a yin yang thing and not inviting judgement, although the balance of any political situation is open to such. The other point that struck me is confidence being the individual’s truth- whether it’s a bubbly dynamic truth or a quieter one. I saw a programme both disturbing and affirming, about obese young women who decided to embrace their Selves in rather questionable ways- but the change in their demeanour was palpable. Those employed by a ‘Large’ pole dancing club, had a loyal audience of men and women and earned good money which made them ‘grow!’ hugely in physical confidence. The world around them was including them in attractiveness. Just a little tweak of perception. Not that I’m advocating this for women , but we can learn from it. And colour confidence- surely it gifts you with health- is that what the pca establishes above all I wonder?

  5. Hi Christine.

    This is an interesting article that got me thinking (a lot). I accept your view that people like Lady Gaga can inspire others to explore their identity. I look around and don’t see much of this, in fact I see Lady Gaga clones- replicating the same outfits and make-up, and not inventing their own image for themselves.

    As someone who grew up in ‘alternative culture’ (various incarnations of Goth over the years) I know that there are mostly definitely rules. It may not look like it from a glance but they are there- as with any subculture- and I believe that it is the same way with the ‘Little Monsters’, no matter what slogans they may churn out about ‘being different’ and ‘having no rules’. I’ve heard it all before, I’ve lived through it.

    As for fear- it’s still there. I’ve asked the questions, to myself, ‘Am I wild enough looking?’ ‘Should I get another tattoo?’ ‘Will another piercing/ coloured hair/ theatrical outfit make me stand out?’ It’s a war of escalation in a crowd of peacocks- and everyone’s afraid to put down their arms.

    The criticisms levelled at mainstream fashion/media can be directed at any and every subculture, because they themselves, far from being a unique and all-embracing fellow-ship, are a microcosm of the society they detest. The tyranny of Hollywood standards of beauty is echoed again and again in various forms. It’s not brave to dye your hair pink or get cupcakes inked across your chest. The bravest thing that I’ve done in years and the thing that has taken the most courage and thought for me, has to be stepping out of my ‘armour’; removing my piercings and tattoos, growing out the hair dye and allowing the world to see the real me. It was terrifying.

    Since discovering and embracing colour and style analysis I have found a way to truly express myself that had never before been available to me. It feels like home. That is the real power of PCA.

  6. Jasmine

    You reply is extreamly well put and I agree 100% you. I have personally come across these viewpoints many times and yes, believed them myself at times (prior to PCA that is)

  7. Wonderful comments, truly.

    AC – you’re completely right, of course. Women have strength, heroism, and patriotism, as men do. Though I’m in no position to comment, I wonder if women participate in war for different reasons or motivations than men…more from a desire to create peace and equality? IDK if it is so or if I would just like to think it is. The soldier and the politician probably take different positions as well. I say this because my mother was a teenager in 1942 Budapest. The soldiers seemed caught up in political agendas. Perhaps the quote from The Magus was more primitive, even more so than its publication date.

    From Trish, Susan, and Jasmine’s words, I was reminded of this TED talk that had me simply glued to my chair for several minutes after it ended. Bring yourself…that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it, and so hard to do.

  8. Thank you AC and Trish, you said it better and with more grace than I ever could have.

  9. Trish- Now in my early 30s,. I spend most of my teens and 20s wearing goth/punk and going to underground clubs. The way you described it was exactly what lead me to PCA. It was starting to feel like a constant competition, as the older I got, the less time I wanted to devote to “putting on my face” everyday and oh yes, the “‘rules” about what goth is or isn’t, you are right, it isn’t much different than the pressures of media beauty!!
    Some might call it selling out, but I felt it was selling myself short by conforming to that image 100% of the time.

    Christine- I definitely don’t like being told what to do! I also get overwhelmed when there are too many choices! That when I default to black. Strange thing, knowing my colors make me feel like I have more options and creativity without the stress. I always hated shopping but now I love it.

  10. Christine, though I have no statistics to prove it I think you are right about the differences in motives – more so for the younger men. When older and fathers they become more altruistic too. Personal experience, but again no stats to prove it.
    Thank you for the wonderful video – best learning point I had that day :-)

  11. This is slightly off-topic, but I loved the video of Neil Harbisson and looked him up online. This comes after I read Terry’s blog piece on undertones and an older piece here on the same subject and foundations. He’s quoted as saying, and I presume this is based on him ‘hearing’ lots of people, “There are no white skins, and there are no black skins. Humans skins are of different shades of orange.” I’m a neutral-warm season (DA) but have found my best match in foundation is always from the red side, which in MAC is warm but more usually considered cool. That’s really confused me. Thinking of everyone as some degree of orange, some mix of red and yellow (hemoglobin and carotene) makes a lot of sense to me, and means it’s really kind of a free for all in terms of finding your best foundation match. And I just love the idea of everyone being orange!

  12. Gorgeous & Fearless, I really like it. I think your friend’s comments were interesting. But, they say more about her than they do about the words you chose.

    It is true that we are not all gorgeous in relation to Hollywood standards of decadently defined beauty, and it is also true that we are all of us fearful. But, it is not who I am at present that interests me, but who I may become.

    I would like to feel and appear gorgeous in my own skin, regardless of my lacking decadent, glamorous beauty; and I would like to be fearless. What is holding me back from feeling either gorgeous and fearless today I hope to release and change tomorrow. I want to be both gorgeous and fearless and if I can do it simultaneously, all the better!

    I love color analysis because it has given me a shot at both; both a sense of my own inner and outer beauty, but also the courage to push the limits of what one Summer may look like against another. I seek my own truth, my own beauty, like water on a parched earth is swallowed up.

    To me, the combination of the words Gorgeous & Fearless give both words new meaning to me. There is a confident independence, as well as a feeling of personal satisfaction and fulfillment about each when coupled, that they cannot express on their own. They add emphasis to each other in a very harmonious way; they relate to one another beautifully.

    Thank you for this article Christine. As always it is well said and beautifully truthful.

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