With the powder/wax duo palettes, both powder and wax can be purchased separately as refill pans.

Brow Powder INGREDIENTS: Talc, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Mica, Zinc Stearate, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Boron Nitride, Phenoxyethanol, Silica. May contain (+/-): CI 77163, CI 77266, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499, CI 77742, CI 77891.

Brow Wax INGREDIENTS: Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Microcrystalline Wax, Caprylic/Capric Tryglyceride, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Cera Alba, Boron Nitride, Euphoria Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Ozokerite Wax, Silica, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Octyldodecanol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Isopropyl Myristate, Lauroyl Lysine, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Sorbic Acid. May contain (+/-): CI 77891, CI 77019, CI 77492, CI 77491, CI 77499.



Digital Self Forward: Improve Your e-Dating Pictures

Thank you to my business consultant, Gary Ralston, for suggesting the name for this series of posts. To tell you the many ways in which Gary improves my life would take a long, long time. Sanity, clarity, vision, relationships, processes, graphics and numbers, getting better on a bigger scale. We have worked together for 6 months that I would not have believed if I had not lived them.

Two posts about improving appearance can be found on Linked In. The first post was written with analyst Shahna McNally in Edmonton, AB (and check the left column for upcoming Calgary dates), with suggestions for the RIGHT first impression. The second post is entitled, Digital Self Forward: Improving Your Profile Image. 

Click Post Picture

Think about the first time you were going to post your photo online. You look through your pictures. Two or three are decent. They might fall short of being exact images of you today unless you’re a selfie expert, but you figure they will get the job done. Think again.

Today, your digital representation is the stand-in for the real you in more and more interactions. The virtual world is already merging with ours.It’s not just coming. It’s here. Have you seen the kids running around holding their phones in front of them? They’re playing Pokemon GO.

Now you want to enter the scary world of finding a mate. Maybe someone told you that more couples meet online than any other way. It’s true, as Peter Diamonds puts numbers to the next sexual revolution, here at Linked In.

It makes no difference if we feel that it’s socially respectable or not – including the statistics about pornography. It is happening. The motivation is to be desirable. I wish many of the criteria in this Huff Post article  about online dating pictures were not true. While I believe that nobody should be allowed to touch everything they see, the world is not as it should be.

FreeImages.com/yamis : http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/yami5463-40494)
FreeImages.com/yamis : http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/yami5463-40494


The Real Me

Wouldn’t it be great to voice over your pictures while others are scanning them? To be able to say, “That’s not really who I am!!” Nobody wants a simple picture to be the reason that Mr. or Ms. Right dismisses them.

Imagine being able to hear their thought processes when they view our pictures. Maybe folks believe that others won’t make snap decisions from a picture. As comforting as it might be, it is not the truth.  If faces told us nothing, profiles with pictures wouldn’t get 9x more communication, from this eHarmony (eH) post on their most successful dating photos.

A whole conversation happens in the viewer’s mind. Some pictures will get ignored over and over, others visited over and over.  The pictures that get written off didn’t feel good to look at. We tell ourselves that we rejected a person because we felt no connection. While partly true, if the person had posted a different image, we probably would have made different decisions about letting them into our lives.

FreeImages.com/bjearwicke http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/bjearwicke-46112 (Ben Earwicker Garrison Photography, Boise, ID)
FreeImages.com/bjearwicke (Ben Earwicker Garrison Photography, Boise, ID)


Now imagine how your parent feels as they join this world. For Dad, dating again is daunting enough. Now, he has to re-learn it on a computer that doesn’t care about his great social skills or the sense of humour that worked for 30 years. Could we put some lucky charms in his pocket? You bet we can.

Of course it’s unfair. Both poster and viewer become victims of wrong beliefs about another person. The control is only in Dad’s hands before he clicks the Post button, when appearance choices were made.

Personal colour analysis (PCA) puts you out in front of the competition. A recent client used the world astonished to describe her peer group’s reaction to her PCA photos. This is when we get to see what our appearance is capable of – and what Dad’s is still capable of. My first client was my then-87-year old Dad. Big improvement.

Anyone Advice

Harmony and presence are fine for professional pictures. In the wild world of finding a mate, appearance should be so elevated and interesting that it creates some tension. Excitement and possibility should be palpable.

Nobody is suggesting that we look like a wild card. We can look like a better version of ourselves than we would create left to our own appearance devices.

Don’t we already know our colours? Maybe when we were 10, before the deafening noise of media, especially post-internet media, got its hooks in our heads. More men might have a closer general idea, though they are mostly dressing somewhere between boring and safe. Women usually have a room done in their own colours, or a husband, or a bag of clothes they can’t throw out, but the whole picture is far from together, speaking for me and every single woman I have ever met, client or not.

1-Put a mouth on your face. Lip eraser is not sexier. Who do you know looks better with no lips? Thinking it’s easier to buy nude lips is wishful thinking. If you’re buying by guessing, odds are that you’re wearing someone else’s skin tone painted on yours.

Are beige lips even modern? It’s a magazine look for young people with the high feature definition of youth, and it is becoming outdated.

“Wear your flesh tone.” is useless advice unless you are informed about what that is. For some faces, brown is their flesh tone. For others, it may be mulberry or coral.

Solution: Choose a sheer lip colour in a pink, red, burgundy, or purple that looks belonging on your face, using reds in successful clothing as a guide. Try to roughly match the intensity of your eyes and hair.

2-Notice the background. It will have a strong influence on how well you are defined and focused, extending subliminally to character as pictures always do.  Blending into the background gives the impression of weakness, poor stamina, and ‘one of the crowd’.

If I could be heard by the hair colour industry, I would ask, “Why do none of you ever ask to see clients’ colour palettes for clothing?” Some clients might actually have one.

Solution: To photographers, I ask the same question. Surround the person with the colours in their natural pigmentation. Don’t overthink backdrops, complements, and colour schemes. They are handed to you when the client gives you their palette. If you’re the subject, bring your palette and have some say in the choice of backdrop. A photographer who has had a PCA would be valuable. If the background is an outdoor setting, have colours that you might be flattered by in clothing.

3-Wear red or pink. Nothing come close for expressing desirability. The right red/pink/purple say all the great things about a person. The wrong ones look like baby clothes or aggression.

Solution: Choose a version that feels good, neither flat nor conspicuous. Wear a small area if you like, the effect will still be noticed like we see lipstick instantly. Look at your own photo and decide if the colour wears you or looks candy. Without telling them your answers, ask somebody else, preferably a teenager who has been reassured that you want truth not comfort. Take some pictures and objectively ask yourself, “If I saw this person on the bus, would I even notice the red? Is it taking over? Would I be thinking that they should get home ASAP and change? How do I react?”

Most appearance advice out there is Anyone Advice. It has to be. What would apply equally to everyone? When we try to work with it, the effect is satisfying for about a month. Then we either go back to who we were and hope for the best, or we decide to get this figured out once and for all.

FreeImages.com/Lioness65: http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/Lioness65-34158
FreeImages.com/Lioness65: http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/Lioness65-34158


Accurate Advice

To have access to it, you need a Key Tool: your personal colour palette.

PCA is among the elite 5 instruments to discover true personal identity. The result is to give people the right way to focus on you. Nothing works as well to energize appearance, IRL or avatar.

To put that palette in your hands, you need a colour analysis. There is no other way that works. Choose a real, modern testing system, the same as you would use for any other information you could trust.

Guessing at your best colours by looking at you is like guessing what’s going on under the hood of your car by staring at the stationary vehicle. Pete’s sake, turn the key! Look under the surface where the answer is. Colour is the same. Make the reactions happen in real time, ask the right questions, and know how to answer them.

PCA from photographs? The odds are so low of coming to the right answer that if I were in your shoes, I would save my money. Cameras do not see, adjust, or interpret what human eyes and brains do. Students send me comparison pictures in highly controlled and calibrated surroundings and I still would not claim Season for certain. It is not because I can’t read a drape. Cameras, monitors, too many variables.

1-Know your white. In the picture, the influence on your teeth, hair, skin, and white of the eye is huge.

Black and white are always talked about. They matter that much to what the rest of us see. A too-bright white can make skin look like a layer of chalky white sunscreen if anybody is looking at the face at all. Most of their time is spent staring at the white as the body part wearing it gets bigger and wider.

Men in too-white shirts and ties…No, it does not look clean and sharp. It looks like you closed your eyes, got puffed in the face with flour, and opened your eyes back up.

Silvery hair looks dishwatery in the wrong white or gorgeous and glistening in the right white.

Solution: If you don’t know your white, don’t wear white. Or get a PCA and know.

2-No. Blur. The features have to be in focus. When most everyone else’s face is fuzzy, you want yours on a Hi Def screen. The wide, flat face of a child happens automatically when colours conflict. A slim, defined adult face is automatic when colours harmonize. Why choose the robber with a nylon pulled over his face look?

Solution: Wear the colours that you are. Aim to look at the photo and have your gaze bounce from the big picture right to the eyes, especially if you’re hoping to attract a woman.

3-The focal point is the eyes. Always. It should be physically harder for the viewer to look away from the eyes than to keep looking into them. Even if the background is the Grand Canyon, the focal point is the eyes. In room décor, it might be a pillow or a couch or a painting. In human décor, it is always the eyes.

The eH staff discusses the importance of eyes in this post. A good PCA will perfect the eyes in several ways. If the analyst doesn’t know how to talk about eyes, they won’t be able to do it. Find another analyst.

FreeImages.com/deboer: http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/deboer-48224


In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell examines how certain people come to be extraordinarily successful. He decides that it was not all up to them.

Neither is e-dating or any system that operates based on decisions made about you when you’re not present. When a picture stands in for you, the only control is in the Before filters.

When society ignores certain aspects of us, we ignore them too. PCA is a chance for you to try on different versions of ourselves. Winter and Spring coloured people need to wear those colours to pull them up to normal. In the softer coloured clothes, they look like a washout, possibly the only side of themselves that they have ever seen.

Every person’s appearance holds incredible gifts. Get a PCA and discover yours. As Outliers describes over and over in Gladwell’s engaging storytelling style, nobody succeeds on their own.




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.





Signature/STYLE: Blouses for Cooler Days

Today we have a quick post to inform you that the latest issue of the Signature/STYLE newsletter was released earlier this week.

 Where was mine?

Software is software. It has moments. If you did not receive your issue, email me (christine@12blueprints.com). The problem will be fixed.

Please Please mention the order number and/or date of purchase and your Season/IA category when you email us with questions. (IA = Image Archetype)

You couldn’t know this but I am unable to search them by name or email address and I don’t always remember your Season/IA category, even if you are my client and you told me the result of the PIA (Personal Image Analysis) you had since we met.

I have to search through almost a thousand subscriptions if I am not given anything but a name to go by. OK, I have other methods but you can help me so much by giving me that info mentioned above.


 What newsletter?

For those new to what Signature/STYLE does for you:

Colour analysts and our clients talk so much about colour here and on many social sites.

Almost every time colour is mentioned, so is image archetype. Both are necessary to create your most flattering presentation. Rachel at bestdressed.us is the hub for image analysis and co-writes the newsletter with me.

All these amazing conversations bypass you if you don’t know where you fit into the categories. You solve that by having a PCA and PIA (Personal Image and Colour Analyses).

What if you do know? Shopping gets way easier way faster but there is so much information. Clients ask, “I totally get that this makes sense. Can you show me what regular clothes look like, off the runway and the magazines, so I can start recognizing the clothes I should be buying?”

Signature/STYLE answers those questions and takes you right to the purchase page. You can find more information at the top of the right column.

Educated as you will become, you will never wonder if the woman behind you in line at the checkout is thinking, “NO!!!! Please no!! Don’t buy that!!” She will be thinking, “What rack did she find that on?”

She gets that it’s gorgeous but if she doesn’t know about Season/IA, she might not get that it became more gorgeous by being next to you. Pay it forward. When the student is ready, the teacher appears. Be the teacher that she was meant to meet in that moment. You could be “this woman I met at a store, she changed my life.”

Which all makes me think that I should do a Please No Colours post for the 12!

 Blouses for Cooler Days

This issue is about blouses, usually long-sleeved but not always. The Feature addresses flattering necklines for face shape, or actually upper body shape, an amazing topic in its own right.

To build the 20 issues, we go shopping as you. Is there ever a time of year when shopping is harder for Light Seasons?

We feel it too. We searched many, many sites to find the hundreds of blouses you will see. We also discuss ways of using other Seasons’ colours to your advantage. Many colours can act perfectly well in other wardrobes even though the entire palette might not be your best choice.

What about being an Autumn and/or Winter blend in colouring? On top of that, make the person a Natural or Classic archetype. Easy right?

We wish. In some kind of reverse way, shopping successfully is just as hard when there is a glut of choice. The stores are overloaded with these clothes and many of them are truly schlumpy.

These extreme situations are like the world that was, where humans had to work to eat, and the world that is (in many places) where humans have to expend effort to not eat. Neither is the direct path to a happy healthy human.

How many Winters do I know, especially people of darker skin colour, who understand that they wear black well but are stumped to come up with one colour-colour that they are sure is fabulous for them? Many many.

Winters wade through the mountains of black. The Naturals get buried under the bins of baggy stuff that flatters nobody. And the Lights wonder where to buy anything to wear.

Or, another option: Let us pick out items as we say to you, “Look at this one over here. It’s worth your time and money.”



Remember that you are not committed to the retailer where the item was sourced. Type the item name into Google or Shopstyle and you may well find it elsewhere, especially for department store items. In Canada, look at The Bay.

Why can’t I be more sure about which Seasons wear black items? Because cameras don’t filter red in the same way, making black sometimes look warmer or redder than it is. As with cosmetics, the final decision has to be with the informed consumer but we include guidelines to help you make the right choice.

Frequent Reader Q

  1. Will you do a pants issue?

We sure have discussed it. The challenge is more with Rachel than with my job of assigning colours to Season. The concern, I believe, lies with how many factors go into well-fitting pants besides the general style guidelines for the IA. As with items like bathing suits and eyeglass frames, there is too much body variability. The topic is better addressed at the time of your IA than trying to give a lot of average information that would only apply to very few women (who would not know who they were!)

2. Is there value for me if I don’t live in the US or have easy access to those stores?

We use primarily US-based stores, with some Phase Eight, a fair bit of ASOS, so some items from the UK. In a way Canadians have the same problem as AUs and many other countries with availability. Add to that the rather fierce US exchange rate at present and the difficulty with returns.

For many, even US citizens who want to learn rather than buy, the newsletter is a virtual blackboard. Wherever and whenever you shop, you know to buy this shape, this colour, not those ones. In each issue, every Season/IA has a lot of access to the others’ to learn by comparison.

3. I know my Season, or I know my main Season. But IDK my IA. How do I know which to sign up for?

IA is half the puzzle, no two ways about it. The service is very efficiently provided online. Contact Rachel at Best Dressed or browse the website for more information.

Know too that getting your colours right is huge in improving appearance. That alone can transform your presentation, and I do mean transform. You may be perfectly content in your present clothing style for all sorts of reasons and never have an IA. You might be a one-step-at-a-time person, which makes a lot of sense actually. Getting too much information at once can be even more challenging unless you are already into clothing colour and style, in which case you’re going to love it.

Besides the woman who wants to know today and the one who loves exploring fashion, one other woman is grateful to have her IA sooner than later: the one who has never felt that any clothing style suits her. She tries item after item, look after look, and nothing makes her feel good. Often, she finds out she is of a Romantic or Dramatic body type. Of course all the Classic and Natural clothing looks and feels depressing. When she does learn how to dress her very normal and perfect self, the curtain falls back. The curtains of year and years of not feeling seen. You can her celebrating inside, saying to herself, “You mean, it’s OK??? It’s OK to be me??”  Beautiful moment, I can tell you. I’m a Classic and it was a beautiful moment.

If you need more information, great. Have a look at What Is An Image Archetype? on Rachel’s blog.  Look also at her IA boards on Pinterest (there are 80 boards here, look for those that look like YinClassic or YangNatural, like that). Remember they’re stylized images. Don’t expect to recognize yourself right away. The newsletter is regular clothes. But see if you could find yourself from an exaggerated perspective, since showing you all sorts of medium images would make it much harder to choose. You can always pick the closest to subscribe and switch categories if you have an IA or PCA in the future.

Subscribing for 2016-17

If anyone would like a quick overview of how purchasing works, this is copied from the 2016-17 Re-subscription issue that went out to previous and current subscribers in early September:

July 31, 2016 marked the end of year 2 of the Signature/STYLE newsletter, each year comprising four issues. Year 3 began on August 1, 2016, with the first issue anticipated in September.

As you subscribe, you will see four items in the option menu for the product you place in the cart.

The first is the subscription for the coming year. It will appear as Current, as it did last year. Your choice will appear as Season/Archetype/Current  (so Autumn/Romantic/Current) among the 20 possible combinations. The price is US$43.99.

The other items include Year 1 back issues (14-15) and Year 2 Back Issues (15-16), priced at US$19.99 each.

New this year for first time subscribers is a bundle including all three products (Current year plus Back Issues from Years 1 and 2) costing US$74.99 (US$83.97 at regular prices).





Colour Analyst Meeting Photos Toronto 2016

Meeting colleagues has so much value beyond staying up late for talking, shopping, and eating. Meeting family members is one of the best parts.

For me, the very best part is seeing what I love through another person’s eyes.

Meet some of the analysts, several of whom you will soon meet again as they launch their businesses. Doesn’t seeing groups of people tell you so much about each of them? I could stare at these photos for hours and always notice something new.

Here is everyone behaving themselves properly:

analysts1From L, back row: Lisa Kelly from Ottawa, Elaine DeFehr from Winnipeg, Monica Jones from Haida Gwai (formerly Queen Charlotte Islands in B.C.), Naomi Eastman from Vancouver, Katherine Schlagal from Texas, Andrea Martincic from Phoenix. 

From L, front row: Jennifer Ballard from Oregon, Christine Scaman from Ontario, and Courtenay Gibson from MA and CT. 


And then how most of us look most of the time,



The perspective of the model and person draping,


In the back with her hand on her cheek, you see a future analyst whom you will meet early in the New Year. Missing is Elaine DeFehr to whom we extend our thanks for diligently recording our time together with many lovely photographs.


To everyone who was there this year and who will join us in the future, I share the #1 song on my playlist right now. Beautiful place, beautiful people, and a hauntingly gorgeous voice to remind us of the capacity of the human spirit to be there for each other, as we felt at this meeting – and that dreams really do come true.




New Location: London Ontario

Introducing a new location for 12 Blueprints personal colour analysis (PCA) in the lovely (easy!) city of London, Ontario.

The studio is an hour’s drive closer to Toronto (and further from Detroit) than the previous location. It feels like a week’s drive closer.

I am no longer setting up in hotel meeting rooms. That means that the price can come down (see the PCA FAQs page for info).  It also means that appointments can be booked for any day that suits our schedules, including holidays and weekends.

The training course to become a colour analyst happens in this location as well.

October is already booked up. Emailing me (christine@12blueprints.com) with 4-6 weeks notice is a good timeline.

A picture of the studio:



Thank you for the comments and suggestions regarding the last post and others. I noted them for future posts.  I apologize for my delayed response time. Moving, you know? Always excitement and ordeal in equal measure.

I am mostly settled in now, having calmed down after the IKEA assembly sessions, and things are back on an even keel.

Please email me with any questions or if I missed your question in the comments.


True Spring Greens and Periwinkle

True Spring Greens

I was divided between the featured picture above the title and this one. Such nice, clear, natural greens. True Spring is really a gentle Season, gentle with sunshine and warmth.  The picture was taken in late May. It’s hard to find these greens in Canada in September.

Clear Greens 1

One day recently, I was thinking about how much I’d like to go back to basics with topics for this website. Out of the blue comes this email from a reader with a perfect idea.

As a true spring (probably, that is) I like wearing green. But I wonder if there are greens that I should stay away from. What about sea green, other blueish greens, emerald green and olive green?  What about periwinkle, purple, and lilac?

Today, less words, more pictures.

The usual disclaimer: These images may help you adjust your eyes to what to look for (and ignore) in stores. I am not able to colour analyze people from pictures. It’s awful hard to colour harmonize clothing or makeup too. In stores, it looks about like this.

If you have any Back to Basics requests, I’d be happy to hear them.


 Yellow Green

Not requested but an important colour for True Spring.

No darker than the purse or the couch.

These have a definite upper darkness limit.

The mirror frame seems muted but the plastic shiny material has some things that could work with the palette.


True Spring Yellow Green





Is not really olive but they are olive-like and would act that way as wardrobe neutrals.

True Spring colouring is not flattered by khaki in the sense of camo, canvas, or cargo. Even for Natural archetypes, the garment should not read utility, heavy, or burlap.

On the other hand, sport, party, costume, and even practical are just fine. Lightweight fabric (nylon), sheen or shine, fabric with a little crinkle (taffeta) all help.

Not one of these might be True Spring if we had the real garment in front of us, but they could interact happily in a True spring wardrobe. My top pick is the vest under the word Olive, aqua zipper and all.


True Spring Olive





Depends on what you call emerald. You knew I was going to say that. Clear medium green with a blue tinge comes to my mind. Some see it as yellower so I added a couple of those.


True Spring Emerald




Light Green

Some might tip into neighbor Seasons. The important thing is that they can still work with True Spring.


True Spring Light Green




Medium Green


True Spring Medium Green




Darker Green

Plenty dark enough.


True Spring Dark Green




Blue Green

Sea green might be in here.

Vest dark enough, maybe even too dark.


True Spring Blue Green






True Spring Prints




Almost True Spring

In the close enough might be good enough group, depending on the woman doing the wearing and how much it matters to her.

And would it matter a lot to most viewers? No. These colours share a lot with True Spring.

Almost True Spring




Too far from True Spring

Intersting how bright the green wrap T-shirt looks here compared to how muted in the Almost True Spring panel above.

Some might work for some. Close enough that I had to really look and decide a position. If you’re thinking, “That one looks great to me.”, then it probably is. How big is your ballpark?


Too Far from True Spring





Is not lilac.

The sandal and wallet a bit dark. I wouldn’t put the colour under the chin but as accessories, there is room to move and keep the wardrobe, the woman, and the viewer happy.


True Spring Periwinkle





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.












Science, beauty, truth. Transformational results.