Saturday, January 28, 2012

Draping Day!

Day before my PCA, no makeup
This was the only day in recent history that I was thrilled to jump out of bed when the alarm went off. The winter weather and virus's going around my daughter's school didn't postpone my special day! Though the GPS got my Mom and I lost in Jersey (what's a trip to Jersey without getting a little lost?) we made it to Reveal Style Consultancy with one minute to spare.

I didn't come into this analysis expecting that I'd be a particular season. I just wanted the colors that were going to make me look my best, and help me build a cohesive wardrobe. I find all of the palettes exciting, and can spend hours looking at them. They each have their own beauty. In my next post, Ghosts of Colors Past, I'll show the clues pointing to Bright Spring as a strong possibility.  The recent 12 Blueprints article featured a young girl with similar coloring to mine - brown hair, hazel eyes and freckles. Christine Scaman called that face 'the dance of Dark Winter'. Was Dark Winter dancing on my face? Maybe. My wildcard was a light season - either Light Spring or Light Summer. It was so unlikely for this dark-haired, darkish-eyed brunette, but would explain why I wear light colors so much better than darker ones.

After introductions, Maytee Garza, my analyst, looked carefully at my eyes, and said 'very interesting'! When I told her the 12 Blueprints Facebook group guessed my season to be Dark Winter or Dark Autumn, she said she could definitely see that, but let's see what the drapes tell us. She noticed how 'cool' my blue-eyed blonde mother looked, and wondered if I might be cool too.

I won't go into elaborate detail about the draping process, as I'm sure most of you are familiar with it, and have read about it many times before. I also won't discuss how difficult it was to look at my 42-year-old face without makeup under full spectrum lighting! I'll bring you to the point in time when things became very interesting.

Lovely light pink (I'm wearing
Bright Spring reveal drapes in
all of the pictures)
At this point in the draping process, we had determined that I was not a true season, but neutral. Definitely not deep. My skin had softened by this point, no longer showing the degree of pallor, ruddiness, or shadowy nasal labial folds that the worst drapes had accentuated.

I told Maytee that I could not possibly be a soft, because those colors grey me. She said, "We'll see!" Maytee does not assume anything! Surprisingly, the soft drapes looked very nice. Even soft autumn.  When asked to guess my season, one of the Facebook coloristas had declared: "Soft autumn, just because someone had to say it, even if it's patently wrong." Patently wrong, or probably right?  The draping process continued, peppered with Maytee's comments of "Interesting!" and "I didn't expect that!"

Maytee asked if I liked to wear light colors. Yes, I do! I always had the feeling that I was a light person, but that my apparent darkness is just an illusion, a transparancy or smoke and mirrors effect. When you look close enough, the darkness dissipates. A genetic after-image donated from some distant ancestor.

Healthy-looking coral
Light spring brought out peachy, rosy tones in my face. My lips turned pink rather than blue. I looked healthy, younger and bright. Interesting yellow-amber tones appeared in my eye, and drape after drape looked wonderful. The drapes were so much better than the soft season drapes. I could not believe it: A dark-haired, dark-eyed gal that seems deep on face value - being considered for a light season! Light summer looked nice, but it did not have as much connection with my coloring. Maytee kept seeing the eyes, cheeks and neck as being separate entities in the face, rather than being a united whole.

Next, Maytee asked, "Did you ever think you were Spring?" I was smiling from ear to ear at this point. It felt like such incredible validation. The Bright Spring drapes also brought out a healthy appearance in my face. Every one of them looked and felt just right.

We went back and forth between the Bright Spring and Light Spring drapes several times, and it was hard to choose. They both looked great, and there was nothing that stood out as being significantly better. "You're hard!" Maytee said. We took a break to rest our eyes, and went through the Spring personality traits. I don't put a lot of stock in the personality traits. It feels like astrology to me, but it's fun enough to be the topic of a future post.

Feeling confident in my
favorite color!
Maytee tried a new tactic: to test the drapes that are two seasons away from True Spring in either direction. This may give us a clue as to which season was better. The Bright Winter drapes weren't bad. Maytee said that I could wear almost all of them, although they looked cartoony. Light Summer washed me out completely. My coloring was more in tune with a Bright season. The entire group of Bright Spring drapes were laid on my right shoulder, and Light Spring on my left. Bright Spring was more relevant - Bright Spring won! My skin is very light, but I can still take a lot of contrast. Though Maytee preferred me in color, black was also a good neutral - worn as a smaller block against a brighter color, or as a jacket or accessory.

I can't express how happy I am with my Bright Spring tone. Though people often think the palette is composed of neon or very strong color, there are several lighter colors, and many beautiful neutrals. It is possible to put together outfits that are professional, serious and elegant, as well as fun or sporty. There is so much variety within the palette that I don't think I will ever tire of using it.

Black as a smaller block,
with a bright color
I couldn't be more pleased with Maytee Garza's patience. She was not afraid to reassess several times, and went through many layers of testing. She looked at several drapes more than once, comparing them to different drapes, until she and I were both comfortable that Bright Spring was undeniably the correct season for me.
Only a Bright can pull off this

Everyone who is seriously interested in color analysis should find a local Sci\ART trained analyst. I gave up trying to figure it out on my own. There really is nothing to compare to a great draping. The drapes will reveal things about your appearance that you never thought were possible. It's like a trip to Mecca for Coloristas. Something that must be done once in your lifetime.

Friday, January 27, 2012

My Color Story and the Shirt that Started the Journey

This is the picture that changed the way I think about my wardrobe and myself forever. We recently went on a trip to Disney. I packed my usual brown, olive and  tan wardrobe. I actually am not that 'into' clothes. Most of my wardrobe is made up of gifts people give me, and things I find on the sale rack. I'll usually shop if I need something for a special occasion, picking up a few other things while I'm in the store. This shirt was an impulse buy. Something about it really pleased me, though I didn't know why.

When we downloaded our pictures from the trip, I was very disappointed with the way I looked. I seemed tired, drawn and a little sick. Except for this picture. I look healthy, happy and...bright! Could it be the color of the shirt? It may not be my best color, or my best picture, but something good was happening that I couldn't put my finger on.

'Color Me Beautiful' was practically my Bible in the 80's. I tortured my friends and family with unsolicited color advice. I spent time living as an autumn, then a winter, and finally forgot about color analysis altogether. Now I decided to find out which season bright coral fell into. Through online research, I learned that color analysis had evolved into 12 seasons. I discovered a wonderful community of color-minded people on Facebook. I read everything I could find on the subject. However, after looking at all of the palettes and trying some drapes at home, I was more confused than ever.

The insightful Christine ScamanCertified Sci\ART Analyst in Canada and owner of 12 Blueprints Color Analysis, saw a picture of me, and said that I could be a Bright. Most likely Bright Winter, but she told me not to discount Bright Spring.

A Process of Elimination

I started this journey as a failed winter. An awful autumn. A sickly summer. I arrived at Spring through a process of elimination. There was always the feeling that my coloring was different than that of my friends and family. Though a dark-haired, dark-eyed brunette, I was somehow more delicate, gentler, paler. Easily overwhelmed and oppressed by dark colors. Faded by colors that are too strong. Washed out by colors that are too weak. Colorless and ghostly-pale in too-warm color. Where did that leave me?

The evidence accumulates through years of bad pictures - burgundy lipstick, black and red plaid, those muted and dusty neutrals that gave me all the life of a dried-up leaf.  An intuition glimpsed from the rare good photo - a bright blue dress, a green sweater, a rose pink top. Did I just get a good night sleep the day of that photo? Was there something special about the lighting?

I read the descriptions of the Spring season, and initially dismissed them. Aren't springs all blondes or strawberry blondes? Their hair could never make it into the dark brunette range! And they all have those light 'bright' eyes!! But those colors...I love them. They could really look great on me!

The color palettes that seemed logical (is that word even associated with Spring?) just didn't work for me. A re-investigation of childhood pictures, where I could really see my natural hair color and makeup-free skin, guided me along. But looking at photos and asking people if I looked good in lipstick colors only helped to a point. I knew I that needed a PCA. I needed to get draped to finally solve this riddle!

Kindergarten Photo. Looking cute in Bright Spring colors.
The bright rust background is in the Bright Spring palette.