The second video is also here on YouTube.
The correct quote, from Dr. Wayne Dyer:
When you change the way you see things, you things you see change.
And from one of my favourite personal growth writers, Benjamin Hardy:
When you change the way you see yourself, you change.
Appearance Goals and Alignment
I wanted to show you how I looked back in that video of the first edition of the book but couldn’t find it. Here is a photo from the same era, around 2012. This woman has coloured hair. The one in the video above has her own hair colour, which (in my perception) is not as red or pigmented as it appears.
An occasion to reflect on my appearance goals arose this week. We all know what we don’t want, but coming up with what we want asks more of us.
Pretty and sexy are in the eyes of every beholder. In my younger years, I’m sure that I wanted those things. Today, I find every woman equally pretty, and I see two kinds of beauty.
The first: closer to what media tells us pretty and sexy mean in the swamp of cultural rating with which women have always been afflicted.
The idea of pretty and sexy feels OK but I resist surrender (and even the language of surrender) to someone else’s satisfaction with how I look or don’t look. The whole idea of spending money to feel unsure, allowing decisions to be made externally so that someone else can decide when I’ve arrived, feels like an outdated fashion system in which women were told what to do, and going backwards in my own life to a time before PCA.
The second: in alignment with her true and highest self.
At almost 60 years old, I and women of my age have a lot of self-knowledge. We have much that we still want to be, but little that we have to prove to become that.
I do want to present the version of myself in which the exterior projects the most Hi Def picture of the interior. As we mature, the interior becomes fuller, stronger, layered, contextual, secure, and settled. The inner and the outer are both fluid and I want them to keep pace.
Of the woman in the video and the one in the picture, which one is getting bigger things done today? Who walks into a room and appears to have her beep together?
Now, some might feel the woman in the video is overdone and that her clothing and makeup are wearing her. The woman in the second video is wearing more lipstick than in the Part 1 video. Same woman. Same Season.
They may find that she was going for energetic and vibrant but ended up at inexpensive or bling. We perceive from the space we’re in, personally, culturally, and in many other ways.
In my late 40s, my pre-PCA goals were:
- To wear clothes that looked young or imaginative (but not too imaginative) and nice together.
Today in my appearance, I want to find the balance between appearing as I feel myself to be, and the vision that is at least 80% aligned with the average of what everyone else sees.
When the vision of what we want or how we would like to be seen is in the West, and the reality or the average of what everyone else sees is in the East, it’s hard to “manifest” the thing we wanted, meaning the way we wanted to be perceived.
Today, I want to look competent, effective, and healthy. Although I had not given it thought, in my pre-PCA 40s, I did look juvenile, inexpensive, and eccentric. Not only did I not achieve the desired outcome in the moment, but life didn’t seem to click in my favour.
For anything we desire, as clear as we may be about what that is, when the vision is over here and the outcome is over there, our energy is serving two masters. In being so divergent, no outcome is met. We remain where we are, spinning away. Alignment is one of the keys to progress, rather than my previous world of oscillation.
I want the inside to match the outside. Sounds so simple.
When the vision and the perception overlap by 80%, Christine no longer looks like a dialled down version of herself.
Even if I wanted to be the same at 60 as 40, which I don’t, life wouldn’t let me. It’s my job to find the lessons in the changes. Season does not change. Other things about us do, and so does the world around us, the personal appearance landscape, and many more lenses in our lives.
Captured in the quote by Adam Grant,
Be true to yourself, but not so much that your true self never evolves.
We are an individual who has many forms of personal self-expression. However, we cannot do everything by ourselves and need the balance of the mirror of others’ eyes and a structured system to find our place within an open ocean of possibilities. PCA is an instrument for bringing our vision and reality closer together in an afternoon.
Thank you to Floortje Mossou, our analyst in The Netherlands, for her advice on improving my eyeliner. I love it when someone tells me what isn’t working for me because it gives me a point of focus, and then they proceed to tell me what to try instead, which is like PCA (everyting is like PCA). Floortje is brilliant with makeup in a most tasteful yet modern way. She doesn’t know this yet but one day, when she comes to America again, maybe for an analyst meeting, I’m going to request a makeup tutorial with a willing subject, in which I’m the student. After, I’ll buy her any lunch she wants.
Now that I’ve gotten the deep musings out of my system, let’s go back to Evangeline’s questions.
Silver or gold are both fine for Neutral Seasons (the Softs, Darks, Lights, and Brights) and will continue to be with silver hair, whatever your Season.
Regardless of age and depending on the woman, my eyes may be distracted by high shine or frost in metals and makeup with Soft colouring. If this applies to you, keep those items further from the face or choose muted surfaces.
The elephant pendant group may be Soft Summer. Evangeline has blue-green eyes. She will look striking. We want to make decisions that work in our favour in the real world of getting dressed and presenting well.
The leather jacket may be too dark. The coral blouse may be True Autumn, it reads quite warm, an example of warmer than it is soft perhaps. Still, these are close to home. I could see them with a slightly deeper lipstick (thinking of Rum ‘n Raisin in the Blueprints line) on a woman with brown eyes.
The group in the lower L may feel disruptive to some while others appreciate the spontaneity. I might switch the hat to something less red and pigmented. Hats are like hair and jewelry near the face. They have more impact on our face because they are closer to it. The earrings have a nice colour and texture. Use the yellows and grays in your palette to match jewelry.
We left the last post mentioning darkness, often a catch point for the Soft Seasons and maybe for all of us. The Soft Seasons and the three Autumns (Soft, True, and Dark) include darkness as a important component of their colouring without great pigment intensity. Even Dark Autumn’s darker colours are not intensely pigmented in the inky way we find in Winter.
Darkness isn’t the same as pigment. Soft and dark are different but it’s easy to mix them up. We see colour poorly in the dark and to compound the limitations of our vision, there is less colour to work with when more wavelengths are absorbed and fewer are reflected back out.
Widen your awareness beyond the darkness and ask yourself,
How much colour can I actually see? Softness is like replacing some pigment with gray. If I began with a pot of paint in this level of darkness, how much pigment would be added to create this colour?
At whatever darkness level the colour is, is there more gray or more colour? If you feel it’s more gray, you may be in the Soft Seasons.
What is the ratio of pigment to gray?
Is the runway flat? Brighter colours pop forward. Light or dark shouldn’t matter. When you fan the palette out, if the light colours de-energize, the arms of the strip look shorter or as if you’re going downhill or they’re sinking into the fabric. Ideally, your attention is divided equally so the runway is flat.
The purple pants on the far R have visible gray. They seem fine with the warmth in the top.
The red purse and brown pants have less visible gray. They may be another Season, but they work within the composition.
Soft Summers often wear lime before learning their Season and I’m never certain why. I think it may be related to the tendency of many groups, and that one especially, to guesstimate themselves to be warmer than they are. Soft Autumn could have a lime type colour that might look like the cardigan above or a little softer.
Kathryn Kalisz, the founder of Sci\ART and designer of the colour palettes upon which our system is based, possessed an intimate understanding of colour chemistry and human psychology and vision, from which created harmonious palettes.
Every colour is not identical in its colour dimensions within a Season, since it begins with different chemical properties, but she could make it look as if that’s what happening (or so it seems to me today as I stand like an island in the sea of fabric that decorates my home). Under a global set of dimensions for each Season, the colours change their properties, keeping pace with one another, to arrive at unanimous agreement (harmony, synchrony) from apparently divergent parts.
For Kathryn Kalisz, genius is too small a word, and from me, respect, gratitude, and indebtedness are too words too small to convey my feelings for what she accomplished. Like a colour-analyzed appearance, it’s not magic. There is no magic, but rather application of profound knowledge. Your colour analyst can hand it to you in a booklet, but we should never forget what came before.
Evangeline enjoys dark colours for feeling present and supportive. Autumns often do and so they should. Soft Autumn especially can sometimes dress in an overall colour scheme that is on the light to medium side. Part of her job is to become familiar with the darker colours. We should all wear our entire palette, as Kathryn pre-configured it to be in harmony. Not only that, it is in synergy, meaning that the parts become more and better together than apart.
Season Your Way
Do you find the combinations too much or not enough, or you wouldn’t put those colours together? No wrong answers.
The purse beneath the title is that orange-gray that Autumns wear well. They have pinker grays too, Neutral Seasons often drift between greener and redder (cooler/warmer). Which bracelet do you prefer? My eyes like the top one. The other one, I can look at the bracelet or the outfit but not both at once.
Are the earrings in the top R jumping ahead because they’re very shiny, too red, too green, or the scale is too large? Depending on the colour, red and green can feel warm and combined with shine, the item could take over. Other folks’ opinions are valuable when asked the right question. “Are you looking at me or my earrings?” works quite well.
The gray purse with the sunglasses lineup is calling me slightly, in a not-so-good way. It seems too red. Do I just really notice red? I really notice orange. The same purse above in Darkness Variations felt better. We wear different items on different days.
The jeans are kind of pink. Soft Autumn is a little more green. But I’m fine with them, maybe because they barely fade to white. Super-faded, beyond gray to white, on Autumns, can look like part of the fabric or leg is missing. Autumn needs darkness. I like the jeans with the scarf pinks and periwinkles, they’re finding something in one another that looks creative.
Is the coral top with the jeans too bright? Too warm? IDK till I compare it with something. But Autumns wear coral and yellow well, I can see some gray in that colour, and the blouse was on a great sale.
Could I be a Dark Autumn?
Enjoying one’s appearance in dark colour, as Evangeline was finding, is almost more confirmation of Autumn, compared to Spring or Summer.
Winter colours certainly have darkness but it is so intense that on a Soft Season, it looks like a black hole. I pinned pictures of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge wearing a black hat to the Soft Summer board to show you what I mean. It’s like a light sink, an area of nothingness or empty space. Next door, she wears a blue hat that I find lovely. The style of the hat may be odd but she and the colour are not distorting one another. They look normal.
Dark Autumn would wear burnt orange, black purple, and chartreuse green, together at once, and look entirely normal. I didn’t predict that for Evangeline and she couldn’t imagine it for herself. We would see those colours before we see the woman.
Feeling well in some Dark Autumn colours makes great sense. Both are Autumn with similar warmth. In the light and medium colours, some of the blues, muted greens, and neutrals could be just fine. Items that feel expressive, exciting, and evocative could participate beautifully in the Soft wardrobe.
If the item seems dark in excess of the Soft Autumn collection or too spicy, it may be best left at the store. If the colour is too red or green, the temperature will feel disruptive in the Soft Autumn composition. We feel warmth from red and gold, which is why Dark Autumn seems so spicy. Dark Autumn is the simultaneous presence of gold and rust.
The trio of sunglasses, purse, and woman in the top L are too strong in some way for Soft Autumn. The blue in the purse and sunglasses is quite near one of their navy blues if it were faded back a bit. The leather jacket to the right of the blue handbag might be darker on a gray scale, and it also appears softer or dustier, with more visible gray. Disconnecting darkness from saturation is a good exercise.
The camel coat that is so great on Autumns could look like the one above. Soft Autumn has 10, 000 beiges, all of which are fairly quiet. For a light colour, camel can really take over (see Refs and Runways below, turtleneck top row centre, but I really notice orange).
To become a Dark Autumn, Evangeline would have had to darken and saturate, which people don’t do over time. She mentioned that she was receiving positive comments in Dark Autumn. Of the photos I saw, the colours she considered Dark Autumn were actually darker colour within Soft Autumn. The comments of others are a double-edged sword but in this case, I think they had it right.
Reference Pieces and Runways
If you shopped with the boots and purse on the L, you might find the items in the centre top row too red, while the R top row is a bit bright but manageable.
If the suit at the L is a reasonable reference point (I would have preferred redder but the suit didn’t present itself), the runway after that might be a bit bumpy. Items 3 and 5 seem pretty good, and the others advance and recede.
Depending on what they were combined with and the woman’s individual pigmentation, preferences, age, hair colour, or wearing or cosmetics, they could all be workable. The great thing about colour is that it doesn’t need to be perfect to be great. If you and what you wear are close enough, the similarities can find one another.
Hair Colour and Texture Variations
Hair changes our self-perception for certain. A block that was previously coloured in our composition has become a neutral. Still in perfect harmony, but creating a different sort of impact.
To Evangeline’s credit, she is raising the intensity of garments and cosmetics to keep the result exciting and vibrant, but as many women do, she may be looking too far from home for the answers. Stay within your Season as much as you did before silver hair.
In Evangeline’s perception, the silver hair seems very cool. Compared to the previous dye, which her self-image learned over years if not decades, it may be. To me, it looks like expensive gray suede.
Like all women, until a few inches of silver appear and the dye is removed, it’s hard to see that we could look quite different and that different is actually better. I have never ever seen the woman for whom the dye is more attractive than what I see the silver will be.
The silver hair looks wow next to the skin, and for Evangeline, it looks soft in the overall composition, understanding that hair colour is the least reliable indicator of Season. You could see pure white hair on True Summers and softer silver on Dark Winter. I wouldn’t worry the shade of gray and would fully trust that it is still perfectly in harmony with the skin and eyes.
Once hair becomes a neutral, cosmetics and attire may need to come up a notch inside the Season.
Match the hair, like the suit on the L side under the title. It looks connected and self-aware. The viewer is free to focus on gorgeous makeup and even more gorgeous eyes.
On other days, wear neutrals that don’t match the hair, like the blazer with the soft red blouse.
Wear red. In all its forms, red is exciting on everyone.
Whatever your style type, wear natural materials. A total Autumn thing, though many other style and image types wear it well too.
Wear prints, as the dress in the lower L. The woman’s pigmentation is very different from the dress, and we have to separate that from the garment. Bits of muted black are fine; it’s the blue pitch kind that you want to avoid.
Wear texture. Sheer, leather, faux fur, denim, quilting. Autumns look good.
Light jeans are an option, as the lower R, in this lighter Autumn.
Wear shoes and boots in the hair colour. I find it gives a bracketed, stable, reassuring, luxurious look.
You can do this your way. Don’t let anybody suggest that you can’t, including you. Colour belongs to all of us and is a gift of our world that we may accept.
With thanks to Susan for sharing the title image.