The “I Know What Looks Good On Me” Dream

These pictures belong in the archives of this site. They’re a record of the road I took once I had my colours analyzed.

I thought I was an Autumn of some sort. I told anyone who’d listen. Nobody disagreed. Who wants to get into an argument that has nothing in it for them? Who knew different if they never saw me dressed as Summer, Winter, and Spring?


Compliments can tell us the truth of how we are seen by others or what others think we want to hear, but we can’t tell which. We train everyone around us to treat us in a certain way to maintain the relationship on an even keel. Nobody wants to deal with rough waters. The purpose of compliments is to make you feel good or better, from people who care about your feelings more than your looks, even if you told them not to – except for children. I reward mine for straight up truth because it’s such a difficult thing to give.

P. said something brilliant about magazines – I love this woman.

I read them because they told me how I could be fixed up. I knew I had to be fixed up because they told me so and gave me tips on how to do it. It never crossed my mind that they were wrong and I was ok. I was too busy being too much of this and not enough of that and didn’t look at all like…..



The top one looks chubby and out of focus. The lower photo is wearing the same amount of makeup, weighs the same, and is 2 years older. Who owns her life and her choices? Who is in control? Who’s dulling herself down and playing it safe? Where is the impact? Which one made any impression? You answered these 5 questions within 2 seconds of reading them.

Within 4 seconds of meeting me, you’ve decided if I appear to be worth my fee. Based on what I look like, our whole relationship will be influenced by how my appearance feels in that 4 seconds. Internally, you hear, I’m not getting a good feeling here. How committed am I to this?, or, This person, this place, this activity, they make sense together. I’m open to seeing what happens. We want people to be receptive to us, and us to them, not closed down. Why not just get to the good stuff?

Which woman would garner more trust? more money? In the assault of information and imagery we live in, we are immune to the word empowered. But which woman is has stepped into and claimed her power?

May 2008 (I had my colours analyzed in April 2009)

Folks think I’m trying to decide their Seasons when we first meet. That’s the last thing I’m doing or any analyst should do. I used to, in the beginning. The client comes in, you visit, you think, You look like a Winter. Then the black drape goes on, and you think, Uh-oh. Problem. Not Winter. Am I going to be able to pull this all together? And you begin subtly shifting the facts, adjusting what you see, rearranging the priorities of the correct process, to suit a flawed theory that was based on nothing real – because nothing about colour is real until our eyes get context and comparison. What I am thinking about is, How can I fit into your life in ways that you don’t know about yet?

I spoke with a True Winter. She tried to pare what matters to her down to one word. Fairness. It impressed me so much that she knew herself with such clarity. The True Winters I know will go after hypocrisy like heat-seeking missiles and they pull no punches in pointing it out. They stick up for the underdog. They hate that it’s the popular kids with the good grades and the big money clothes and toys that are the worst bullies, not the kids with the tattoos who skip class and sneak a smoke at noon, and the teachers don’t see it.

I thought about my one word, about what matters to me above all else. Fame, money, and the mainstream don’t excite me. I think the word is excellence but I have to think on it some more. This is a very good exercise. Once you know it and dedicate yourself to never compromising that one thing about yourself, life opens up more.


me on the left with the blonde highlights that cost me money and time for more years than I want to think about

A Dark Winter is blonde right now. She’s sort of buying the idea of dark hair to go with her black-brown eyes but it’s a big leap after 20 years of yellow hair. You can’t out-argue Winter. They believe what their own eyes see. They’re as hard on themselves as they are on everyone else. Show them pictures of other Winters. They will live by the same rules that they apply to others. If she’d tell a friend that blonde isn’t the best choice, she’ll walk that talk herself.

Autumn seldom has far to move. She’s the one woman who usually has her main group figured out if she knows about Seasons at all. She tends not to carry one event or interaction into another. It’s hair, nothing more or less.


still too warm but better, more real, more knowable, more see-able

Spring is an optimist. They see it, it works, I get it., and they’re off and running. Every picture you get is cuter, happier, and prettier.

Once she sees herself in her own colours, Light Summer laughs and cries to release the relief. Her skin can breathe and relax and so does she. Her skin can go from dry and lined back to moist and plump just by changing her blouse! Adjustments are usually small, because blonde highlights and silvering hair are such a natural fit on this natural colouring. Hair may be too blonde and need some cooling off, or may be too golden blonde and need to be switched to beige blonde.


next to my (Dark Autumn) Dad, I appear to be not in focus, as if I’m not fully present or positioned further back than he is, because our visual system expects closer things to be clearer

True Summer’s strong sense of other people has her asking all her friends to be sure the result is right. She is very willing to believe what the eyes of others see. If you’ll drape anyone twice, it will be a True Summer. God, but she’s gorgeous once her hair silvers. The deep rose petal cheek and lip colours, the blue-green lake eyes, the dangling silver earrings, she’s the woman who runs the Children’s Hospital Charity Gala every year.

Dark Winter hair at 11 years old

The Soft Seasons’ most likely adjustment will be to cool the hair colour (it’s too tawny) or darken it (it’s too yellow). They’re usually close and they’ve worn every colour anyhow. The wrong hair colour is magnified though, because our visual system will take two adjacent colours that are close and make the differences between them seem bigger than they are. Masters at the subtlety that these Seasons excel in visually, the original whispers speak louder than words gestalt, this is an easy fix for them. What’s harder is shutting down their heads when someone tells them blonde was better (because they’re comparing her to the media-packaged ideal). Some may read this and see me as a better blonde. That’s OK, there’s no such thing as wrong taste.

I always get the feeling from this photo that my dog, Jesse, is more connected to my real colouring than my own clothing choices; colour analysis is so NOT about what you spend, it’s about what you choose among items that all cost the same

Do not wear makeup for the right reasons. If the makeup counter is scary, and believe me, the sales staff is often scary to me, then that’s the wrong reasons. Decline having your colours analyzed, but for the right reasons. If it feels too vain, you missed the boat a little. That’s not really the point. It’s about not placing inadvertent barriers or sending out wrong signals about who you are. When we have so little time to know one another, what matters is that we’re honest.

still finding my way, still not sure, which you can see instantly from my face; at times, my hair went too dark or it went too red; I couldn’t see myself well but I forced myself to try; between this and the one above, which is better? which woman is fully in the room? this is a very different eye colour from the first picture

The receptionist in Business XYZ office has blonde highlights, turquoise eyeliner. I can tell something doesn’t ring true but I have stuff to go do. I’m not sure who she truly is. Through the disguise, like me in candy lips or bubblegum perfume that would be in the way, though perfectly real and right on someone else, I can’t get a read on her. I’m not going to share anything about me if I can help it. I’m guarded and distracted. I adjust myself to not give anything away. The interaction is stunted and just gets the payment done so I can leave. My response to her is flat. We will not have been memorable to one another. Tomorrow, I won’t know her name. She’ll be, ‘the one who sits far from the door with the blue eye makeup’. I’ll be, “who? did she come in before lunch or after?”

Next time we meet, she has let her blue-gray hair come in and wears silver gray eyeliner. Whole different deal. I tell her that her hair is awesome, she asks after my kids, and I’m happy to share. The next day, I tell a client how great her hair is. My awareness of her is focused and friendly. We instantly move to a higher level. Communication is cleaner. Less stuff is taken personally because you get more reliable human data on how it’s intended.


Pat said the most meaningful thing anyone could have in response to the drape picture (previous post), You keep moving forward. For me, it’s that. Living to my highest potential, keeping my 80 year old self pleased with me. Pat and I are friends, we have sat in the same room together, and I really felt seen by her words. That feels good to humans. It’s very authentic and moving to be accepted for our truth, as we really are. Colour analysis puts you in touch with that possibility, with every person in your life.



27 thoughts on “The “I Know What Looks Good On Me” Dream”

  1. Another great article! Even if you only saw the photos you would “get it.”

  2. This really resonates for me. When I met Nikki, she was dressed very simply in grey (it was my PCA) but she looked so put together, confident and secure. I trusted her with my appearance, because she obviously knew what she was doing with hers.

    It’s the same at a make up counter – I wouldn’t let someone match me to foundation if they were wearing the wrong shade themselves.

    I look forward to seeing your students fly.

  3. This is a such an useful article. I wonder if it was easy for you to take in your Dark Winter colours. Didn’t you miss the warm colours some days? The last photo here is just wonderful. (Your dog is wonderful, also!! )

  4. Hi, I love all of your work. My one word is “patience”. It was very easy to choose. I believe I am a light summer.

  5. Thank you for sharing this – I agree with Holly Allen’s comment – it’s so useful to see the comparisons and a ‘real life’ journey. I love the last photo too. Despite the amazing landscape, the vivid blue top, and your doggie in the foreground, my gaze is instantly drawn to your face, and it looks clear, crisp, healthy and natural – just completely balanced – which is what we all want I think.

  6. I am new to CA and not yet had my colors done (pretty certain I’m either TA or DA) but let me tell you-I have learned SO much from your site already!!

    Initially, when I saw you in the warmer colors, I thought “oh, I like those colors!” with no regard to how it looked on you. Then I stopped and thought back to when I dyed my hair red.and when people saw me the only thing they ever noticed was RED HAIR. I was never complimented on my outfits or they way I looked in general. I was walking red hair, nothing more. While the red was more flattering to my skintone than my previous shade of black, it was too much attention. too loud perhaps? Not me.

    So, I look again. I see how the Winter colors sharpen your features. You look thinner, the skin less ruddy. The last photo is quite lovely :)

    I’m thinking that if we met in person, I would not have viewed the warmer colors in the same way. Looking at photos there are so many elements that can make a photo good or bad (lighting, scenery, pose, etc) that it’ can be hard to assess the energy of the person in the photo nearly as accurately as in real life interaction. I’ve certainly come across many people who wear colors I prefer and I say things like “I love that top!” but not “You look great today!”. Two different things entirely. I’m slowly learning the difference, great post!

  7. What strikes me most about these photos is that you don’t look “bad” in the other outfits and hair colours, you just look like everyone else, schlepping along in our casuals, being generally nice enough, not taking life too seriously and living up to all the other platitudes that help people cope with stress and boredom and all that stuff. Then in the “colour-corrected” photos, you look physically brighter, but also more incisive. Love the polka dot palette tops!

  8. Wow, your True Winter comments hit me like an arrow to the heart. How true! I recently found out I’m a TW and am figuring myself out. Thank you for your incredibly accurate insights.

  9. Love the picture with your father. His dark olive/grey shirt really suits his coloring. Did he get properly draped before you or was that just luck?

  10. Excellent observations. It’s interesting to see it as just what several of you said. I didn’t look bad. Nobody looks bad. I looked like everyone else, average. What I was is a bag of mixed signals all cancelling each other out. I often have women donate their makeup. I had a collection on the counter recently from a very generous woman, my daughter was looking at the swatches on paper and said, “It doesn’t make any sense.” On the other hand, imagine a makeup collection, hair colour, and an entire wardrobe that makes perfect sense, where every element is there for a reason of belonging. What happens is that the effect is additive, every level reinforces every other level, until the sum is bigger than any single part. Even those little adjustments that occur between two neighbour Season palettes make a gigantic difference in the final image. It seems as if the magic can only happen when the person and the additions are perfectly sync’d.
    The analyst’s job is to find the full scope of our inborn colours. If only half are found and worn, you express half of who you are, so you look blurred or diluted. If you then pile on more colours that are in opposition to your own, you neutralize what you had in Step 1, sending you further back from your full expressions. I find EVERY colour in your in its most true and accurate version…no, you have thousands of colours…I give you a platform of colours that are fully true and accurate and the tools to build on and add even more, as you get better and better at finding yourself in stores.

    Monica, I didn’t have my colours analyzed for 2 years after the photo was taken. My Dad was one of my first ‘clients’, gray cap and all. The shirt is a lucky coincidence. But I’ve read that coincidences are just patterns that are too big for us to recognize, and I do believe that we know our colouring though we don’t always express it on ourselves. We express it somewhere. Dad was pretty close and had been all his life, but certainly looks more creative, interesting, sharp, strong, and healthy these days. He quite likes it and notices it on others now. Very funny to hear how he sees it. I sincerely believe that every person should know their own colours from the time they’re 18.

    Patience is an excellent word. This is a fascinating exercise because these words we’re choosing are bigger than us. They describe a multidimensional (mental, moral, emotional, abstract) aspect of being alive on this planet, in tune with its larger energies, and as a human collective consciousness. It’s hard to choose. As usual, I’m super at knowing what I’m not, but to answer the single question, “What are you?” is as hard as “What do you want?” But so so essential. Without it, there is no clarity, and without that, no strong intention, and without that, nothing directed or co-creative happens.

    No, Inge, I don’t miss warm colours at all :) I love them on others, in my surroundings, in the environments where they belong. I’m working these days to bring more warmth into my palette, having moved quite far to the cool side, as we tend to in correcting a previous over-swing. And I’m medium to warmer as Dark Winter goes. I found Smashbox lipstick in Mulberry and Chanel Coco Vendome, very happy with both. Looking harder for red rusts and saturated coral clothes.

  11. I notice in the third photo wearing the yellow shirt and jean jacket, your facial features look very rounded and blunted like there is no clear distinction or definition at all. I have heard you talk about this many times, but it is nice to actually see what you have been speaking of.

    In the last photo and also in the one where you are wearing black and white, I see a clear air of confidence and a sense of comfort in your own skin that’s not quite present in the other photos. What a powerful testament to how wearing the right colors affects the subconscious and manifests itself outwardly without us even thinking about it.

  12. Thank you for this article, including the photos! Both photos of you with the dog are striking, but in different ways–the first is a lovely picture of a woman and dog in the sunlight, but the second is a beautiful picture of YOU and your dog.

    As for compliments, I remember one from a woman who commented on a pinky apricot turtleneck top I was wearing: “What a luscious color!” I thought it was a pretty color too, but I hated how it outshone me, and I gave that top away.

    I remember another compliment I received when I wore a pink blouse leaning toward rose but not too blue. A man who worked in my department looked at me and said, “Hey! You look good in that lipstick!” I wasn’t wearing any lipstick that morning. I still have that blouse.

    So I think compliments can be instructive, if they are focused as in those two I received. I remember them well because I was just discovering the Seasons (back when COLOR ME BEAUTIFUL was popular), and when I figured I was a Summer and started wearing cool pastels, people in my workplace did give me the feeling I looked better. If I ever have the opportunity for a draping, though, I’ll take it. Your articles are very persuasive!

  13. Excellent post, Christine. It’s neat to see your progression! Without a professional drape, I know I can’t be 100% sure, but by process of elimination I’ve really become “at peace” with Soft Autumn. I also just finished Kibbe’s excellent book and found myself in the Soft Natural description. It’s amazing to me how this lens (SA/SN) has allowed me to relax and at last, feel like myself! All confusion is gone and I really owe you for this clarity! Thank you for your wonderful sharing of your journey and your observations- I don’t feel like I can express to you adequately what it has meant to me. Thank you!

  14. I agree with Kirsten, I think that compliments can be really informative if we read between the lines. Once, as a Dark Winter, I was wearing a lime green trench coat to class – I’d place it squarely in Bright Winter. All day I kept getting comments. “Great coat!”. At the end of the day, I was sick of them. You couldn’t really miss it. It was like a nervous twitch everybody had, a response to something that was glaring at them down the hallway, noticeable long before I showed up. Other times, I’ve been wearing a simple blouse in one of my own Dark Winter reds and pearls or things like that, or have gotten the right haircut and the comments have been general things like “Are you wearing foundation? Your skin looks amazing..”. “Wow, you’ve been looking really… healthy or something lately!”. Its not something people can really pin down when you’re doing the right things, but it works!

  15. Christine, have you looked at Revlon Sienna Sparkle? It’s a warm-end lipgloss; you might enjoy it.

  16. Christine, you look so much healthier and alive in the Dark Winter colors!

    In your comment you said that you don’t miss warm colors, but, how did you feel when you learned that you were a DW? Did you feel anything toward the colors, or was the change in palette simply a logical step to looking better?

    Also, did other people have different expectations of you? In Dressing Your Truth, one of the things I’ve often heard is the benefit of dressing your movement. When dressing your movement, other people interpret you correctly and aren’t surprised or taken aback. To me color almost has a movement; did you notice whether strangers expected to meet a different personality type with the DW palette than the warm palettes?

  17. As I look at the pictures and think about your wonderful comments, it strikes me that the thing in the photo that’s hardest to see is ME.

    Jennifer, I was fine with DW. Nobody can deny what happens in the mirror. I don’t have any memory of the analysis, I was the first person during my training. But it was OK. What did I really know then? Nothing. In my family, there are 3 Trues and the other 2 are the same Neutral. Seemed quite normal to me then. We could have been 5 Bright Springs and I wouldn’t have thought it was odd. The makeup however…pink??… so sure I looked like a clown. My children saying “Holy cow, Mom, you look so much better.” Asked at lunch where I had my makeup done and it was minimal, just gloss and blush. I was sort of getting it. But I made myself. I knew what I’d seen and I expect a lot of myself. Besides, it’s just makeup. Nobody else really noticed at first, maybe because I was a pretty safe DW. Once more of the wardrobe began shifting over and my style changed, I went for a less natural makeup look, people didn’t really compare me to before so much. They took me seriously…I took myself more seriously? I certainly sit up straighter and have more authority. I think what you say is important, that others see who you are. Beyond looking like you’ve had a good night’s sleep when you haven’t, others feel safer with you when you step out of the crowd of look-alikes, because it’s easier to see you and so to know you.

    I did look at Sienna Sparkle, I wondered about DA/DW. Lovely colour.

  18. sorry, but you are never a winter!
    you look artifical in wintercolors. they overpower you.

  19. The dark winter colors really compliment you. They are beautiful. You have coloring like my mom. Funny enough, she has so many autumn colors in her wardrobe. When i see her in DW colors, however , i catch my breath. Gorgeousness!

  20. If someone is a Dark season (Autumn or Winter), then darkness should be her dominant feature. Unfortunately I can’t see that darkness/deepness in your natural coloring. Winter colors look just too harsh on you. I think there is something wrong in the analysis system or in the eye of an analyst. Let’s hope you will find you true colors in the future!

  21. I’m going to be brutally honest here. This is just my opinion, and of course what matters is how you want to look, but to my eye you look healthiest and most harmonious in the first and third pictures, though the final one is ok. The second, I hate to say, makes you look 10 years older (I thought you were, until I looked at the dates). There is no glow from within like you see in women in their correct colors. That is happening, if anywhere, in photo 3 where you’re surrounded by what look like SA colors.
    I don’t see impact in photo 2, I see a mask. I see someone who wants to appear tougher than she is, who is afraid to be herself.

  22. Brutal honesty is my favourite kind, Bianca. It is also the hardest to offer so I thank you. What can I or anyone say? The only way to solve it is for us to be in a room together and look at all the other choices, and then decide which is really best. I wonder if there’s a way for me to do a video around this, not because I need to prove my Seasons, doesn’t matter to me so much, but it would be fun and interesting. A good idea.

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