As you leave your personal colour analysis, you have a gorgeous little booklet that contains 65 colours that harmonize to perfection with the colours in you.
You head straight for your favourite clothing store. Within 10 minutes of being there, you notice that matching those swatches to real clothes isn’t quite so straightforward. Is close enough good enough? It wasn’t when you were sitting in front of the analyst’s mirror.
The harder you try to match those swatches to clothing, the harder it all gets. Maybe there’s another way to go about this. Forget about the little swatches. Look at the entire palette all at once. That’s how you look to others, all your blues, reds, yellows, browns, whites, all churned together at once.
My trainer in PCA, Terry Wildfong, came up with this excellent system:
>> Fan the palette all out.
>> Lay it on the fabric.
> Better yet, look around the store or your closet for two items in similar colours. Even once you get practice at this, without a comparison, our visual system hangs.
Give it a comparison, any comparison, and it gets (gets both in the senses of ‘to understand’ and ‘to fetch’) what you want. We have no idea what a colour is anywhere, in a fabric, in an eye, or in a person’s face, how cool, how dark, how anything, until we compare it to something.
>> Do these two things belong together, even if the exact colour swatch isn’t there? Often, it won’t be. Why not? Because you have many blues. If the book included them all, there would be no space to show you greens, reds, and so on.
>> Does the palette look like more than the fabric, as if the swatches are separating from the fabric, or the reverse, where the palette looks dull and easy to ignore on that fabric colour? They should bring out the best and the most in each other. The eye should feel rest and ease, aware of both palette and fabric equally and happily.
>> Look at the reds. Could you make some beautiful lipstick combinations?
>> Find the oddest, most extreme colours for that Season. Do they work well with the fabric colour or would you never wear them together? When the harmony is right, there are no unpleasant combinations.
>> Are the neutral beiges/whites/taupes/grays really enhanced or boring? Or changed in some way, like greenish.
>> Look for the complementary colours to the fabric colour. The pairs should be downright exciting.
> Make some colour schemes. Monochromatic, analogous, contrasting. It should be easy.
Art is partly formula. Without some feeling, individuality, or expression, it just stays a formula. That’s where you come in.