Dark Autumn Blonde, Part Four: DIYing a Zyla Palette

My views on color analysis have changed drastically over the past few months. I used to believe strongly that Sci\ART and Sci\ART-based systems were the absolute Truth when it comes to color analysis. Stuff based on energy or body colors, or even the 16-season system, rang false to me. I believed that the absolute best results possible could only be found in the accomplished hands of a trained Sci\ART analyst. I believed that anyone who did not go this route was doing themselves a disservice, that they would never unlock their true beauty.

But after spending a lot of time in the online color and style community, I’ve learned that Sci\ART is just one way of looking at it. Some people don’t like the look that the Sci\ART result gives. Some strongly prefer their Zyla or Beauty Valued or 16-color result, and their Sci\ART palette sits and gathers dust. Some get a draping result they don’t like or don’t agree with, and spend hundreds more dollars getting redraped or getting custom palettes in other systems.

As someone who hasn’t been draped, I’ve come to a place where I feel like getting draped isn’t something I need. I was reading a blog post by Light Marigold Spring today. This blogger has been draped in Sci\ART/12 Blueprints twice, has a Beauty Valued fan, had a Zyla consult, and has some other fans. Anyway, she made the point that it comes down to personal preference, and in the end, you just choose which approach and which result you like best. No one way of looking at coloring is more right than the other. No system is “more correct” than all the others.

My approach to my own colors has been haphazard at best, and would probably make a professional color analyst shudder. I’ve simply deduced, from trial and error, that some colors are really, really bad for me. Too light and bright I turn red. White makes me puffy and gives me a fuzzy beard. I need some darkness. These factors have led me to Dark Autumn.

Would I be draped Dark Autumn? Maybe, maybe not. But the very worst thing that happens to my skin in Dark Autumn is that the line between my chin and my neck fades a little, and if that’s the worst thing that happens to you in a season, you’re not doing too badly. I can look at my fan and pick out my body colors. It connects with me energetically–maybe Dressing Your Truth is on to something with colors and energy, rather than draping. I love the colors and feel like myself in them.

Another advantage to using a palette like this is that the colors all work together. So I can create a wardrobe where everything matches, and I don’t have to think about it. That was what kept me in black for the past ten years or so: I found color selection intimidating. Now I just look for the slightly burnt, rich, and slightly warm colors of Dark Autumn, and everything looks good together.

In the interest of minimalism, I got to thinking about capsule wardrobes and color. Zyla is a system where you get a series of colors to use in certain ways in order to achieve different aesthetic goals. I decided to take my Dark Autumn palette and use it to create a Zyla palette. As I mentioned, my body colors are found on the Dark Autumn palette, so pulling the correct colors was pretty easy. Of course, Zyla could potentially give me something totally different if I ever do see him. But I think this is a pretty good approximation. (I didn’t do metals or pastels because I don’t know how to choose them, and I feel like pastels are something I wouldn’t be able to use much anyway.)


The colors are not true to fan, obviously, but here is the list of what I used from the Classic True Colour International fan:
Essence: 1.1 FN
Romantic: 6.2 A
Dramatic: 4.9 A
Energy: 3.8 A
Tranquil: 2.5 A
1st Base: 5.10 FN
2nd Base: 3.5 FN
3rd Base: 2.3 A

Some of these colors, like my Energy color, are ones that I know are special on me. My Romantic is a great lipstick/blush color on me. I love the 2nd Base. And I managed to get these colors by following Zyla’s instructions, no cheating to get my favorites on there. (Although I think in my Dramatic “extension” I’ll give myself one of the purples!)

To me, my Dark Autumn palette is simply a way to make my life easier. I’m not seeking my absolute true beauty. Simply put, they seem to work and I like them, and that’s good enough for me.

12 Comments on Dark Autumn Blonde, Part Four: DIYing a Zyla Palette

  1. ruth
    June 19, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    Hey, good idea! I just had a go at this exercise using what I think is my palette – true autumn. What was very surprising was my energy and tranquil colours which I expected would be dark khaki and muted grey green were in fact maroon and a beigy gold colour.

    • stylesyntax
      June 19, 2015 at 8:26 pm

      How cool! I would love to see what you came up with.

      • ruth
        June 20, 2015 at 5:40 pm

        I found this was corroboration that I am correct to assess myself as TA (that is TA as it appears on my phone, I don’t have a fan but figure as long as I am working off one image on one device I will be consistent). I couldn’t find anything anywhere as close to my palm colour in DA or SA.

        • stylesyntax
          June 20, 2015 at 6:18 pm

          I also found it validating to see how easy it was to find my exact body colors on the DA fan. I took it as an indicator that it’s close to what a Beauty Valued palette or an actual Zyla palette would look like for me, though. You won’t necessarily find your body colors in your 12 Blueprints season. But this is good enough for me! 🙂

          I do recommend picking up a TA fan, though. The colors online are inaccurate and can give an incorrect impression. DA colors are more nuanced. LSu colors are much brighter. And so on. Plus, it’s hard to be sure that a clothing item you picked up is actually in your season unless you lay the swatch book on top of it. (Also, I sincerely believed I was a Light Spring up until I actually got the fan.)

  2. L Marie
    June 19, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    I’ve been thinking about narrowing my Beauty Valued palette so I have a tighter framework. At first I tried the Zyla approach, but now I’m thinking about just picking my favorites from that palette – because why not! I always end up buying them anyways!

    • stylesyntax
      June 19, 2015 at 8:24 pm

      Yeah, I think you can just choose your three neutral bases, your “red”, your “blue”, your “nude”, your “calm color”, and then just an extra favorite that you love wearing. This is just what I came up with being literal, but I might adjust it. I honestly love all the DA colors. What I’ll probably do is concentrate on my 1st and 2nd bases, and then consider the other colors in this palette for the special reasons Zyla lists, and buy things like tops in all the colors in the DA palette.

  3. nouveau
    June 22, 2015 at 5:54 am

    Over the past two years I’ve gone through the same color-analysis arc that you described. I too started out thinking Sci\ART was the absolute truth of personal coloring. I wanted to have a professional PCA, but don’t live anywhere near a Sci\ART analyst. So I bought my three most likely color fans and I’ve figured out my own best colors. (In Sci\ART terms, I’m Bright Spring, although I have customized that season a bit for myself.) The personal discovery journey I went on as I learned about personal color and how it works on me has been a fabulous education. And simultaneously, I was also doing my Kibbe journey. I am so glad I did both of these quests myself. I’ve gained a much deeper understanding of myself on many levels – and I don’t think I could have attained that if I’d just paid an analyst to tell me my season and style archetype. And now I wouldn’t want a professional analyst to do a PCA / PIA on me. I’m happy with what I’ve learned and discovered for myself.

    • stylesyntax
      June 22, 2015 at 10:54 pm

      Yup, my process has been almost EXACTLY the same, down to ordering three fans (although I ordered them individually and kept on trading and selling them, and ended up getting the Truth Is Beauty cards after my second fan). I’ve been able to figure out so much on my own that getting someone else’s advice would feel redundant–which is what I hope to help others do for themselves when I get my Workbook out 🙂

      • nouveau
        June 22, 2015 at 11:22 pm

        Looking forward to your Workbook! I’m always interested in learning new insights and perspectives in my lifelong style / personal expression journey! 🙂

        • stylesyntax
          June 22, 2015 at 11:33 pm

          Thanks! If it goes how I plan, I think it’ll add a new aspect to the color/style community.

  4. lux
    June 22, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    I love this post.:) I used to think about Sci\ART as the ONLY TRUE SYSTEM, however I was not able to find what season I am (lol) in this system. Now I think it just a system, not perfect, not for everyone. For some helpful but for others just misleading. The best system is this one, which works for you. 🙂

    • stylesyntax
      June 22, 2015 at 10:46 pm

      Exactly 🙂 No matter how much some push one system over another… the only real worth any system has is how well it works for YOU.


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