Sci\ART: Is the Bloom Off the Rose?

When I first discovered this style and color world, getting draped by a Sci\ART or 12 Blueprints analyst was seen a seen as the gold standard for seasonal analysis. There seemed to the perception that you will never been able to see your true beauty until it’s revealed by the drapes, which is still the position taken by said analysts.

Recently, however, I’ve noticed that there’s been some backlash. There are people who have had to be draped numerous times, despite the controlled and standardized process. Some people end up with “compromise” seasons, which usually seems to be Bright Winter for whatever reason. Some people get draped in Sci\ART, and then get custom palettes that are extremely different. I’ve seen who were draped Bright Winter get Soft Autumn-ish palettes from someone like Zyla, and then someone who wears Bright Winter colors beautifully in real life and gets a Bright Winter palette from Beauty Valued is draped Soft Summer.

Then there’s the issue of the lights. Full-spectrum lighting is supposed to replicate northern sunlight and be ideal for color-matching. Yet people have said that they felt like they were under stage lighting while being draped, and it had no relation to how they actually look in the lighting conditions that people live their lives in.

Another issue is that you’re paying to be put into a predetermined set of palettes. Some feel that they don’t fit well within one season at all. This last point came up recently when Christine Scaman’s prices were discussed. Right now, getting draped by her costs 734.50 CAD, or (as of today) 580.95 USD. Zyla’s price for the initial session, in comparison, costs $20 more, and you get a custom palette and style guidelines. Plus he has an Emmy and celebrity clients, and he goes on TV and hosts events–he’s definitely a man whose time in valuable.

Yet as someone who does a lot of freelance work myself, I think I have a little different take on this on most, as the consensus was pretty much outrage. As a freelancer, you charge what you think your time and services are worth, and what the market will support. Christine spends most of her time training new analysts and working on products like the makeup line and the luxury drapes. In fact, on her site, she says she only drapes clients immediately before and after a training course, so she doesn’t have many slots available. So I’d say she is fine with cutting her potential client base down to those who really want to be draped by her in particular and are willing to pay for it. Other analysts who pretty much exclusively drape clients can’t do that, because they need to have a full roster of clients to support themselves. So in and of itself, especially since most analysts seem to be sticking to the standard $350 range, this doesn’t really bother me.

But does that mean that I personally would pay $580.90 to be draped or, let’s be honest, even $350? Sometimes it surprises even me that I have never gone for any kind of analysis when I’ve spent so much time on all of this color and style stuff. Part of it is due to financial and logistical reasons, but the other part is that I’m so stubborn and have such a clear vision of myself that I no longer really want someone to tell me who or what I am. I’ve talked about it some in a prior post, but I have a feeling that the clearer the image of yourself is, and the happier you are with that image, the more likely you are to walk away unsatisfied.

I’m happy with Dark Autumn and the way I use that palette. I get positive feedback on the colors in clothing and on the makeup. My friends even tell me that it’s made them realize why this color nonsense I babble on about matters. I firmly believe that you can DIY your way to a palette that you’re satisfied with.

Will I ever have the “WOW” moment in front of the mirror and under the lights? At this point in time, it’s looking unlikely. I may one day invest in a Beauty Valued palette, but for now, I’m making use of what Kathryn Kalisz began in my own way, in a way that feels right to me.

23 Comments on Sci\ART: Is the Bloom Off the Rose?

  1. Nikki
    April 21, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    I think, for me, even if I had the time and money to get professionally draped or even see David Kibbe, I’m not sure I would get as much out of it as DIY. For me, this whole process is about working through my body issues, which is a journey. Yeah, right now, my BD is back in a huge way and I’m questioning EVERYTHING, but I feel that Kibbe and even color analysis (in that it helps me accept and enjoy my natural coloring rather wanting dyed hair, colored contacts, etc.) is giving me the tools to work through it in a healthier way. Getting professionally analyzed would probably result in me thinking, “Huh, so that’s what that was.” unless it caused a major break through in accepting myself in some way that is currently blocked, which is possible, since I have a massive aversion to N, which a lot of people keep bringing up as a possibility.

    Reply
  2. Jewel
    April 22, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    Thank you for this great post, Vanessa. And I echo you and Nikki that doing your own analysis is important for understanding and coming to terms with your inner and outer self.

    When I started my style & color journey, I too thought that the only way to truly know your colors and style was to have a Sci\Art color analysis and a Kibbe-based image analysis.

    But since I don’t live anywhere near those types of analysts, I decided to see what progress I could make on my own, with the goal of eventually having the professional sessions done someday.

    Now, about three years into my journey, I’ve deduced that I’m mostly Bright Spring, but with some tweaks. I include pure white, black, and olive as my neutrals, plus True Spring’s turquoise. I also avoid grays (an important BSp neutral in the official palette), the BSp blue-ish pinks, and the rust & mustard yellows that always seemed totally out of place in a BSp palette. I don’t know what color season an official Sci\Art analyst would give me, but since I’m very happy with my own custom tweaked palette, I no longer have any interest in a professional analysis.

    Similarly, I’m very happy with my own image analysis and no longer feel that I need a professional session to find my best lines, clothes, and accessories. I’ve DIY’ed my own IA as a Natural with some softness and a small dose of flamboyance. My style is also influenced by my Type 4-1 from Segerstrom. I don’t think anyone else could give me style guidelines that would work better for me than the ones I’ve developed for myself in my three-year evolution.

    But the most important thing I’ve gotten from all of this is the invaluable self-knowledge I’ve gained by doing it all myself. Instead of taking someone else’s word for my style and colors, I now have a deep inner knowledge and connection to what works for me and why. It’s taken me three years, but the result is a closet filled with clothes I love and wear, a new-found self confidence, and new understanding of my inner and outer self.

    And, Vanessa, your blog has been tremendously helpful on my journey. πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • stylesyntax
      April 25, 2016 at 6:27 pm

      I’m glad that it has been helpful for you πŸ™‚

      At the beginning of my journey, getting an analysis of my season and type was something I really wanted to do. But I have found the process itself invaluable, and am very glad that I wasn’t able to just go and have someone else tell me what I am.

      Reply
  3. Cory
    April 22, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    Mmm. I think this image stuff is really connected with a lot of women (maybe men, i don’t know) in a way that is very personal, very complex, very tied to how they feel about themselves and their value. Which makes sense, because so many women have been trained to believe that “attractive” is the single highest purpose of female bodies. So often when I’m poking around on the internet in the style areas, I’ll see someone espousing a style as magnificent and super sexy that I think looks fairly terrible. Including people whose business it about selling style advice to people! This all makes me think that we’re really bad at seeing ourselves “objectively”, but also that maybe objectivity is overrated. At the end of the day what matters is how a person feels about herself, right? But then you have to start letting go of the idea of an external authority who will give you a stamp of objective okayness that everyone else then has to agree with, which is uncomfortable for many of us.

    I plan on getting draped by someone trained by Christine Scaman quite soon, and I’m pretty enthused about it. I think the prices are actually pretty reasonable. Christine’s higher price is certainly high, but she seems to have a degree of mastery that makes this reasonable – I have zero issues with people charging what they’re worth, and I always think there’s more than a little bit of internalized misogyny at play with stuff like this: women find it difficult to justify spending hundreds of dollars “on themselves” (although many of us routinely spend hundreds of dollars over a year on clothes we don’t like) and IME are often quite triggered when female professionals in “soft” professions charge a lot. E.g. you always see this when people are talking about how much midwives and doulas cost… as though a highly-trained CNM should work for free because babies? I think we are often hauling around some pretty ingrained assumptions about the value of female labor. But I digress.

    I’ve noticed that there is a lot of, basically, cattiness and backbiting in the image and color realm on the internet. I stay way out of it. Zero interest, I’m just looking for a system that I don’t have to think about. But I’ve seen people leave super intense, super personal-emotional comments on things that just make me ?????? Demanding that other people validate you, I don’t know, that stuff never works. There’s so much prescriptive judginess around- including from people who’ve (self) typed as something and now feel very defensive and protective of the very specific vision they have of something. As though there are literally only 10 ways for female humans to dress or whatever. I feel pretty impatient about it and it keeps me from joining any facebook groups, who needs that kind of drama?

    Anyway, draping. For a long time I’d been pretty sure I was an Autumn of some kind who just couldn’t wear some colors well, but recently, I’ve suddenly realized that I am probably quite wrong- I’ll be interested to see what the analyst thinks and if my recent guess turns out to be in the ballpark.

    For me analysis is primarily valuable because I want a color professional to walk me through what certain colors and values do to me. I can see some of it myself (certain very cool reds make me ruddy, certain colors turn me sallow, other colors make my skin go super creamy like I’m wearing color correcter) but I lack the knowledge to piece together why and how it’s happening and what colors to buy or avoid to get the results I like. It isn’t that I doubt that someone can DIY this process, but for me, it’s just not worth the amount of time and energy I’d have to spend on it. I’m really happy to pay someone else to do it for me. Someone else’s calculation may be different, and that’s fine – I do not however believe that it means that the service being sold is invalid.

    I would probably never pay to go see David Kibbe. I definitely think he has a certain genius and some of his ideas are very useful to me, but the recentish images of people he’s made over look so unflattering to me, I think it’s likely that our personal aesthetics are very far apart, and so it would probably not be that helpful to me. It’s not really about the money, I would be open to paying someone whose aesthetic I really responded to.

    Reply
    • stylesyntax
      April 25, 2016 at 6:23 pm

      I run one of the two major Kibbe groups on Facebook–you have NO idea how dramatic it can get! There are times I’ve stayed up all night just trying to work things out.

      I also would never go see Kibbe, although I have seen some really nice before and afters–I simply accept that a full-out Metamorphosis isn’t what I really want, beyond what I’ve been able to do on my own, and if he gave something that is very different from what I want, I think I’d be unhappy.

      Good luck with your draping!

      Reply
  4. Jessica
    April 23, 2016 at 12:36 am

    Always something to think about with your posts. I have had two professional drapings with different results. The first one was in a room lit solely by supposedly full spectrum lights. I looked great in my draped season in those circumstances but the colors have proven to be fairly unflattering in the real world. The second draping, in a slightly different system, took place in front of some large windows with the addition of one light. I am much happier with the result. I don’t know why it didn’t dawn on me until I read your post that the lighting may have contributed.

    Reply
    • stylesyntax
      April 25, 2016 at 5:52 pm

      I have heard that from a lot of people. I understand why full-spectrum lights are used, but that’s not the light we’re ever seen in.

      Reply
  5. Sigrid
    April 23, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    I agree with you here! Christine Scaman is a great writer and also a great business woman (and I follow Cory’s thoughts on female labour). I also thought that a Sci\Art or 12 Blueprints analysis (those are not the same anymore) would somehow give some kind of magic insight or deep understanding – until I had a B12 analysis! The analyst was great; she did a very thorough job and litterary spent hours on the analysis, and I was very convinced that I saw what she saw. The draping was done in front of a window with artificial lighting on the sides. Since I have my natural hair colour, I had my hair down during the analysis. It was without make-up, and I use little make up most days anyway. And it turned out that I had a few tops in my closet in colours surprisingly similar to the colours in the swatch book. So of course I didn’t see “a face I’d never seen before” or got the feeling “I had no idea I could be so beautiful” (both quoted after memory from CS’s blog). I actually feel a little silly for believing so. I also came out pretty much where I expected, so no really surprices there either, despite CS’s claims that it’s impossible to figure out one’s season.

    I believe all systems have to tweaked and adapted anyway. Obviously, people don’t come in 12 (or whatever number the system use) sharply divided groups where everyone in each group suits the same. I’m also not sure that assessments re flattery, esthetics etc can be “scientific” or absolute. I think B12 is a good and helpful system, but I also think it has been very cleverly marketed in that it’s not worth the hype.

    Reply
    • Cory
      April 23, 2016 at 8:31 pm

      It’s a very good point that probably some people are already intuitively wearing many of their best colors, and so won’t see the big AHA teased by color analysis marketing. (Like any form of marketing, what companies use to sell their services is, IMO, often the most extreme possible outcome.)

      I also suspect that some color types have so many options in stores that even if they don’t know anything about color, just by the numbers they probably often wear things that already look pretty good.

      It reminds me of a conversation I had with someone about the value of visiting a real lingerie fitter to buy your bras. As a fairly busty person, it was life-changing for me and worth what you have to spend on bras at that kind of specialty shop. But it’s likely that if you’re an A/B/C cup with a common band size, you’re already fitted within an acceptable range of tolerance, and it wouldn’t do much more for you to visit a specialty fitter. You almost certainly wouldn’t get the “Wow, I look 20 pounds lighter and everything suddenly fits so much better!” result that many busty women (who are very often walking around in wildly wrong bra sizes) get.

      I take the “I never knew I could be this beautiful!” claims with a pretty large grain of salt. I don’t really see, in general, the massive before/after shifts in perceived beauty many people in the style and color communities claim to see. I think that color analysts, when they talk about these things, are often talking about very subtle differences in how light bounces off skin that many laypeople don’t necessarily pick up on. So for an expert, it might be very obvious, a very strong difference, for everyone else you might be dealing with 10-20% difference in all but that person’s absolute best colors, once you leave out all of the bad ones. I agree with you that it’s very unlikely that there are 12 sharply divided groups. It seems more likely to me that a person might have 3-5 really great colors and a bunch more that are pretty good, but to laypeople not that remarkable.

      Reply
    • stylesyntax
      April 25, 2016 at 6:28 pm

      Yes, there is a lot of hype, and a lot of “it’s impossible without a professional draping.” And over and over again, I’ve seen people who has shown that this is not true.

      Reply
  6. Posey
    May 23, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    Thank you for this post!

    I think that the whole idea that there is one right way to dress or that your color palette can be distilled to a relatively small selection of colors drove me crazy for a while. Shopping retail you will find that almost nothing will check every box.

    Now I see it as a guide and more like a journey–as long as I am headed in the right direction I can feel that I am paying enough attention to it—but not too much–and still live my life.

    Reply
    • stylesyntax
      May 24, 2016 at 10:40 am

      Yes, there is no one essential truth. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  7. Melina
    June 13, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    This is a really interesting discussion! I’ve been really into seasonal colour for a while now, and read probably every article there is on both 12Blueprints and Truth Is Beauty sites πŸ˜‰ And more or less believed the β€œit’s impossible without a professional draping” mantra, which I’ve thought unfortunate, as I could never justify such an expense as the analysts charge for a PCA… So I’m overjoyed to hear it is (or can be) actually possible to correctly analyze yourself πŸ™‚ Which I’ve kind of been doing, and via many, many detours have ended up in Bright Spring, though just lately I have been slightly hovering between that and Light Spring… Part of the reason is that, as Jewel writes above, some things do feel off in BSp – namely the mustard yellow and bright orange. Those I simply can’t wear, though everything else matches. But lately I’ve also discovered a newfound love for lighter colours, both in clothes and lipstick, they often seem to suit me more than many brighter colours actually, at least now in the summer, thus the LSp doubt… And I CAN wear light orange, the kind you had in your post about how to get started when testing Light Spring, though I’d rather call it (saturated) peach. πŸ™‚ But OTOH, I dressed mostly in black for years (before I got into Seasonal colour, and when I thought I was a Winter ;)), which imo is not a bad look for me at all, and based on that LSp sounds unlikely. I can’t have been so far off…? Well, I guess my journey continues… πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • stylesyntax
      June 13, 2016 at 4:34 pm

      Hmm well a lot of people wear black without realizing how it actually looks on them πŸ™‚ If you look best in lightness over brightness… Consider your Most Important Thing.

      Reply
      • Melina
        June 14, 2016 at 7:52 am

        Oh, I know that many do (wear black without realizing), but since I’ve been acquiring all that knowledge about Sci/Art that it’s possible (without actually training as an analyst ;)), I’ve tried to look at it objectively, and from all I see, black is really not doing anything bad to my appearance (if anything the contrary)… That’d point to BSp, I guess. But in Spring colours, I now prefer the lighter ones, or better, the not-so-bright ones. Though I guess that and my current preference for lighter lipsticks could be due to me being of low-to-medium contrast, so it makes sense that I’d prefer the lighter shades in the palette… Doesn’t explain the black though. This is so complicated! πŸ˜‰

        Reply
  8. Shawna
    June 21, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    I am a binge reader of your blog and got a bit behind so sorry for the reply on an older post-and I suspect I will do this on a few others.

    Putting my bragging hat on: I am really good with colour, I am fascinated by it and I am an artist so I work with it all the time. I found it easy enough to figure out my own colours and the system of looking to match the colours that are actually in our own bodies (as Zyla does) makes perfect sense to me. IN fact my favourite colours to wear are the colours of me. When I stray to the ones that just work with the colours of me I am less happy. I am quite clearly cool and soft but for awhile I could not determine which was more dominant. This was made tricky given that different colour systems offer slightly different palettes. So sometimes I seemed to be a Soft Summer and other times a True Summer. I am more drawn to the Soft Summer colours but I tend to favour softness and am thus also drawn to the Soft Autumn palette. I choose the softest colours of the True Summer types. So it must be soft, slightly muted or greyed but I aim for it to also be cool. The Light Summer palette is also too warm for me-too much coral, yellow and peach involved there. Winter colours are a bit too intense on me-either too bright or too dark, though the coolness works and I find some people don’t really see that they are overwhelming me. I’ve read most people mainly respond to cool/warm differences and often don’t see subtleties beyond that. I don’t know if an analyst would decided I am Soft Summer or True Summer but I strongly suspect they would go with one or the other so I would not pay to have it done.

    Reply
    • stylesyntax
      July 1, 2016 at 11:16 am

      It doesn’t make a difference whether the post you comment on is old or new–it comes to me in the exact same way πŸ™‚

      Reply
  9. Chiara
    July 27, 2016 at 11:09 am

    Great posts as always! I do think, with colour, it can depend where you start. I had no idea what it even looked like, for a colour to work, and had always been told that I had cool colouring (by hairdressers, makeup artists etc etc). I got to LSu on my own, but having an analysis by Amelia, I really understood what I was looking for. And no, I did not emerge like a butterfly above the LSpr drapes- but neither did they turn me blue, pink, pinched-featured or severe (oh those dark Autumn drapes- truly terrible on me!).

    Reply
  10. Melina
    July 27, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    Intriguingly, since my contemplation about a month and a half ago (see above), I’ve finally realized I’m actually very likely a Dark Autumn (or possibly Dark Winter, or hovering somewhere on the border of those two) πŸ˜‰ For sure, darkness truly is my TMIT (the Most Important Thing), although I was lead astray by so many things (e.g. the common idea that most women wear too much black and too dark colours, which I mistakenly thought applied to me, too)… So to think I was even considering LSp…! Oh well, you live and you learn πŸ˜‰
    What started me on the path was this article: http://www.bestdressed.us/blog/2014/12/29/the-brightness-of-dark-winter-or-how-dark-winter-can-appear-to-be-bright-spring, and after that I was taken further on it by ending up wearing a pumpkin orange top – perfection, to my huge surprise… Explains also how I thought many warm colours were totally wrong for me – the Spring version is, yes, but I need the Autumn version. And OTOH, peach & apricot *are* in the DA palette, too, colours that mistakenly lead me to confirm my perceived “springness”.

    Reply
  11. Tg
    August 27, 2016 at 12:13 am

    This is such a helpful discussion. Without singling out anyone, I have long been bothered by the exclusivity (unintended, I’m sure) which says, unless you can spend a fortune AND travel to get a specific type of draping, I’m sorry there is absolutely no way to have even a clue about your season. What nonsense! This excludes almost everyone in the world! I also agree that a tightly controlled environment is not reflective of reality. I even think photos can have some advantages that seeing a person live does not ( have you ever put an outfit together and then taken a selfie in order to work out what is missing?). Finally there is no calibration or drape that can correct the ultimate issue – somone is looking at you and giving you their opinion. Regardless how educated and practiced, that’s what it is. I have discovered my season through a combination of trial and error, research and online analysis and I couldn’t be happier with it! Each to his own, but I am quite sure there is more than one way to figure this stuff out.

    Reply
  12. Olga
    September 4, 2016 at 1:40 am

    It seems, (lighting) the best lamps- to do color analysis- have higher CRI. (but they are yellower than the ‘daylight’ lamps). The lamps they use can screw the colors too, (b/c if they hit the mirror, if they cross each other’s waves, etc “So, in passing from one material to another, light changes wavelength proportionally to the change of speed, so that the ratio v/L=fv/L=f remains constant. But does that mean that it changes color? That depends, how you define color! As color is usually defined via wavelength (i.e. visible light wavelengths in the range 300-700 nm), then indeed, color changes on the interface of two optical materials with different indexes of refraction (like air-glass, air-water, etc).”); if not balanced with counterpoint lights. It sounds like… very artistic tools, btw.

    Reply
  13. Kathryn
    July 20, 2018 at 7:43 pm

    I’m totally over the top to have found this blog. I’m doing the same thing over at seasideantiquarian.wordpress.com
    I had learned so much, and in the end I figured out what was most important myself. But I’m grateful for Sci\Art for setting me back on this journey. Christine Scaman was amazing for her dedication to thinking outside the box. However…I was not happy with their decision to follow Kibbe, and in fact, I actually came to a similar conclusion as you in the beginning when he threw out his straight up types, except that I think I finally understand better now why he did. I still think his system is a bit too slick.. I hope you will visit my site to compare notes. Thrilled that someone else is thinking for themselves, too.

    Reply
    • stylesyntax
      October 7, 2018 at 12:08 pm

      If you read my other posts, it’s clear that I am a huge Kibbe fan and his work is the work that is truly the foundation of how I see myself. What the 12 Blueprints analysts do is not Kibbe at all; it is a bastardization of his work that accomplishes the exact opposite of what he does.

      Reply

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