Archive of ‘Color’ category

Dark Autumn Blonde, Part Three

Yesterday I received the first edition of Grace Morton’s The Arts of Costume and Personal Appearance in the mail. The second edition from 1955 is available online, complete and completely free thanks to Cornell University. The one I have is slightly different; for instance, in the clothing personality chapter, Morton uses “masculine” and “feminine,” and the revised, posthumous 1955 edition uses “yin” and “yang.” Regardless of which edition you read, it’s a book filled with dense information about everything we care about: style, line, movement, color… It’s definitely a book I recommend either downloading from the Cornell site or picking up cheaply on Amazon. A lot of it is antiquated, such as the section on how your personal appearance should make you “marriageable,” and the fact that there is no information on coloring for women of color. The information it does have, however, is incredibly helpful, and echoes of her work can be found in everyone who came after her.

(This book also solidified my view that McJimsey is the one who came up with the “types” as such. There are a few more books from this era I want to obtain, but so far, I haven’t really found anything that predates her that uses Dramatic, Classic, Romantic, etc.)

A lot of the masculine/feminine (yin/yang) stuff basically repeats what we already know from Northrup. I haven’t had a chance to read the whole thing, since, as I said above, the material in this book is pretty dense, but from what I have read, what has interested me the most is the information about color. She groups people by hair color, and then hair color subgroups.

Obviously what interested me most is the section that applies to me, the blondes. She says that the best colors for blondes are blue-greens and violets, of both the red-violet and blue-violet variety. I find this true, for the most part–these are easy colors for me to wear, the ones I can steal from most palettes.

But I also found some kind of recognition for the thing that confuses me the most about my coloring:


This is the first thing I’ve found that says that some blondes do better in medium-to-dark value colors. Conventional wisdom gives blondes light pink lipsticks and puts them in light blue dresses. Getting the Light Spring palette was life-changing moment for me; the sheer terribleness of the colors on me turned everything I had always been told about color in relation to myself on its head. I’d never seen myself look so red and unhealthy. It took me a long time to figure out what was missing. It turned out to be darkness.

Darkness, for me, is magical. Even colors on the Dark Autumn palette that fall on the brighter side of things are hard for me to wear. I love Dark Autumn yellow, but if I wear it by itself, I lose some jawline definition. When I put on a lipstick described as “warm, rusty brown,” it loses all brown and looks like a nice, rosy pinkish-red. I used to gravitate toward spring colors in makeup. Now I understand why I’d look at myself in the mirror and wipe off my lipstick before I left the house. I didn’t even wear lipstick on a regular basis before this year because I had no idea what colors worked for me.

I’m a blonde, but I happen to need darkness to come alive–which is something the color world has seemed to kind of forgotten since 1942. Certainly beauty magazines and makeup companies have. It’s always nice to get a little confirmation about what you see in the mirror and in yourself.

Why I Haven’t Gotten Draped Yet


I’ve had this blog for nearly a year, and I’ve been involved for the color and style community for even longer. And yet I still haven’t gotten draped, and I don’t have an appointment scheduled.

My main reason for this is primarily financial. Going to an analyst requires getting an appointment, arranging travel, and then dropping a sum of money that, while it is not a lot in the grand scheme of things, especially considering how much money it saves you in the long run, is still a fair amount of money to spend at one time. The scenario where I have the money and the timing has lined up to make an appointment just hasn’t happened yet.

But the further along I am in my color and the style journey, the more trepidation arises.

The name of the blog comes from the idea that we have our natural parameters of what will look good on us (the “syntax,” as it were). So I feel pretty stupid that I have a hard time dealing with finding out what my color parameters are. But I do.

My own experimentation in the color world has taken me from Light Spring to Dark Autumn. Dark Autumn colors seem to not have any ill effects on my skin, I like the colors, and they suit my style and personality. I don’t have any of the redness that comes with lighter colors, and I don’t have the white fuzzy beard that shows up when I wear white. Overall, I’m satisfied with the Dark Autumn color space and find that it works for me.

But there is always the question that I don’t really know that Dark Autumn is my season, and if you read this post by Cate Linden, you’ll probably come to the conclusion that, chances are, it is not my actual season.

I recognize this. I could easily end up being something entirely different. I know I’d end up looking better, if Dark Autumn is indeed the wrong season for me, but a new season would still take some getting used to. Like many people, I don’t really like Soft colors. I know that they are beautiful and more colorful than they are given credit for. But I still have a mental roadblock. If I were draped and given a Soft season, it would be difficult for me to adjust to (and combine with Flamboyant Gamine!).

I know I need to get over it, though. Except in the case of a misdrape, even though it may take some time to mentally adjust, people who have been draped see a huge improvement in how they look and feel. I know this! I blog about it! But I’m still really scared to get a result that I don’t want.

Perhaps some of this is the prescriptive nature of some people’s attitude toward seasons, that there is no room to cheat. I like this post by Lisa K. Ford, where she tells you how to make your season work for you, and how to cheat effectively if you have to. Which brings me to something I think we sometimes lose sight of: the whole point of this color analysis and style typing business is to make you feel better about yourself and look healthier and more stylish. It is, in short, meant to make you happy. The point is not to get a gold star for following the rules exactly.

And I’m sure I could take a season and find a way to fake what it is I love so much about Dark Autumn, like I suggest people do with their Kibbe type. I would find the level of darkness that reads dark on me and make it work. But still, I know that the process is not the easiest one.

Have you had similar feelings in regard to finding out your own season? How have you dealt with it?

Dark Autumn Blonde, Part Two


Since I wrote my last post, I have been experimenting with the Dark Autumn color space. I have amassed a collection of Dark Autumn lipsticks, some I already owned, some that were made possible by a killer sale on Lipstick Queen at my salon, and some I just splurged on. I also stumbled upon a sweater in the color I talked about in my last post, the draping card that looked really, really good with my skin.

Unfortunately, the beginning of spring is really the wrong time to begin exploring Dark Autumn. There is next to nothing in the stores, apart from what’s on the sale rack (where that sweater was). Now that I’ve received my fan, I’ll be able to go and seek out tops from the lighter side of the palette without fearing that I’ll mistakenly dip into another season. But of course, what I really want to find are pieces in Dark Autumn’s darks, the beautiful, better-than-black, yes-it’s-a-color-but-it’s-a-fashion-neutral colors.

If you are not familiar with the way True Colour swatch books are laid out, each swatch is labeled with either “A,” for “accent,” or “FN,” for “fashion neutral.” One of the interesting things about the DA swatch book is that so many of the colors are labeled “FN.” Coming from Bright Spring, where I felt like there weren’t very many, those extra darks that count as neutrals are very intriguing to me.

On the other hand, I feel like there is less variety in my makeup possibilities. The swatches in the photo above feel like a complete lipstick wardrobe to me. Any other lipsticks that I both like and fall into DA would feel like a repeat to me. Bright Spring, you have your pinks, your reds, your corals, maybe your oranges… But I may make discoveries yet. I eagerly await Cate Linden’s updated DA makeup post.

(And if you’re a DA and see a major gap, by all means, let me know!)

Also, DA is way brighter than people think it is. Just a little PSA. 🙂

Lastly, I’m not the biggest fan of Color Me Beautiful, but I was reading the men’s book today, and read some things that I had missed when I read the version for women:
1. CMB Autumns are more likely to sunburn than CMB Summers.
2. Ivory skin and ash blonde/dark golden blonde hair are all options for CMB autumns.
3. CMB Autumns can have turquoise eyes with a teal gray ring around the iris–which is exactly what I have.

So that’s interesting. Anyway, if you are a DA and have tips, please share.

Dark Autumn Blonde

Today I did the experiment I mentioned in this post. To review, I purchased Truth Is Beauty home draping cards for six season (Light Summer, Soft Summer, Soft Autumn, True Autumn, Dark Autumn, and True Spring) and took a picture of each season’s fan underneath my chin. But before I posted the pictures, I cropped the colors out, so all you saw was my face. Online color analysis has limitations no matter what, but I felt like this got rid of one of the major problems: people see what they want to see. If they like a color, that’ll influence their opinion. If they feel in their heart of hearts that you’re a Soft Summer, that’ll influence their opinion. This way, all they were looking at was the effect of the color on my skin, not the color itself.

When I posted the photos, the results came in quickly. The worst was Light Summer. The best was… Dark Autumn. And when I posted the individual colors of Dark Autumn (again not showing the color itself), the best color was this one:

The attractively named “Newt Green.” Definitely not a color you could imagine a Spring or Summer wearing.

I think this experiment was a successful one. People looked at what I wanted them to look at–skin effects–and not my hair and eye color. I’m not taking this to be the same as being draped Dark Autumn, but it’s enough to make me seriously consider it and want to experiment with it.

An Online Color Analysis Experiment

Recently, Christine Scaman wrote a post dealing with the comments she receives that she must be a summer. She handles this all much more graciously than I would, and even still, you can see people in the comments insisting she is a Light Summer. (!) If Christine can’t get it right in the eyes of the Internet, really, what hope do the rest of us have?

This brings up a major issue with asking people online for help in determining your season when they are not an analyst standing in front of you during your draping who is trained in the system you’re exploring. Analysts trained in Sci/Art or 12 Blueprints look at your skin during a draping. Your hair is covered. No one looks to see whether your eyes have spokes or an Aztec sun.

And yet people are used to the body-color way of doing things. They want to see what they perceive as “harmony” between your hair color and your most flattering clothes. We all do it, whether we’re aware of it or not. We have our own preferences that affect our judgment. Now, I have nothing against this way of doing things. I am open to the idea of a Caygill or Caygill-derived analysis after a 12 Blueprints analysis, because I think it may help me understand where my sweet spot within my 12 Blueprints season lies. I am fully aware of and in agreement with the fact that I’d probably end up a Spring in Caygill. But this does not mean I am a Sci/Art Spring, or that I should look at Light or Bright Spring again. In Light Spring, I’m pink. Bright Spring totally overpowers me. I simply need more depth than Light Spring and can’t balance Bright Spring. Yes, I’m blonde with very pale skin that is slightly warm. That does not mean that these are my only options.

Soon, I will be receiving color cards from Truth Is Beauty in the mail. I ordered True Spring, Light Summer, Soft Summer, and the three Autumns. When I use these cards to drape, I plan to post them without the card showing, with the focus just on my face. This way, I hope, I will get a response that looks just at my skin, not at my apparent lightness in relation to what I am draping with.

Looking at Autumn Again and Adjusting Makeup

Sometimes determining your colors can feel like going around in circles. I’m really no closer to figuring out my colors than I was when I started this blog. After playing some more with the fan, I think Bright Spring results in some graying. Bright lipsticks jump off my lips like translucent candy in photographs. I think that I need some clarity and brightness, but not as much as a Bright Spring, at least.

For fun, I took the Truth Is Beauty Seasonal Analysis Quiz today, and my results were surprising. Using the knowledge I’ve gained over the past couples of weeks, I end up with three possible results, depending on the things I’m not sure of:

1. If I consider black to be overwhelming (I think sometimes it overwhelms me in photographs because the white balance gets thrown off on my phone camera, but in real life I think it’s not the worst, but it makes my eyes gray): True Autumn.
2. If I think black is good, and that pumpkin is also a good color on me (I have just never tried this color): Dark Autumn.
3. If I do not think pumpkin is good, but black is: Dark Winter.

I actually wrote about looking Spring but potentially being Autumn, True Autumn in particular, way back in July. While I feel I’m in the same spot now (see what I mean about circling?), I do think I have some more knowledge at my disposal. I know some important things about myself. These things include being high contrast as far as natural blondes go and looking awesome in bronzer. Christine Scaman talks a lot about how key bronzing is to the autumn face in this blog post. I know for a fact that my most important step, even more so than foundation (okay, well, covering undereye circles too, but that’s part of my highlighting routine anyway) is highlighting and contouring/bronzing. It really defies all logic. I have the kind of skin that’s so pale I can’t even buy foundation at MAC. You know, the kind of person for whom beauty experts say bronzer will look just look like dirt on their skin. But me? Nope, I wear bronzer, and not even the peachy kind, and all I hear is how nice and healthy and glowing my skin looks.

One of the things that has turned me away from Autumns in the past is the brownish lipstick and blush looking like dirt on me. But a couple of months ago, Cate Linden, herself a very pale Dark Autumn, posted about her own DA makeup struggles. It has made me realize that makeup recommendations are definitely not one size fits all. As a non-typical DA (pink overtones, very pale skin), she has had some trouble figuring out the makeup angle. While we would have separate issues–I would say my overtone isn’t particularly pink, but it is very porcelain and clear as hers is–it seems that whatever season I do end up in, unless it’s one where I would basically fit the stereotype, which would be Light Summer, I am going to most likely have to deviate from the standard makeup to fit my own extreme coloring.


While we most often associate Dark Autumn with dark makeup looks with very dark, reddish-brown lip colors, there are other colors on the palette that seem like they would work as lipsticks that are not as dark, and clearer and not as brown. On a Dark Autumn who is as dark as the stereotype, these colors might be too light to work as lip colors. On someone whose starting point is much lighter, however, it may create the right contrast level with the rest of the face.

I am not saying I am Dark Autumn, of course. This is just how I would approach makeup if I did turn out to be one. (Look at how gorgeous the DA colors are! I would LOVE to be one.) Just like you address contrast level in your Kibbe according to your season (e.g., an SSu FG doing high contrast in the context of the low-contrast SSu palette), perhaps we also have to expect makeup to look normal on our face according to the coloring we have on our face already, while staying in harmony with our season’s palette overall.

Bright Spring Blonde

I finally received my Bright Spring fan, and while I haven’t really been able to go out and do a thorough try-on session in Bright Spring colors, what I have done so far seems promising. A t-shirt here, a few lipsticks there. So far, it seems to work pretty well. I know I said in a previous post that I felt like I couldn’t relate to other Bright Springs, but what I have discovered since is that there tends to be a lot of variation among Brights. Brights are tricky. They seem to usually look like something else. Tina covers this well in her post. I think I could very well be the second type she describes:

2) Those who really wear the darker colors quite well and have to use the lightest and darkest colors in combination to get the contrast they need (especially common in dark haired/dark skinned or dark haired/light complexioned Bright Springs.) Neon and almost neon colors on them are beautiful. They cannot go too bright.

Of course, I am blonde, but whatever. This is what seems to work on me. It could be a line influence, since FG is so high contrast.

I am still open to any type except Light Spring, since I saw how terrible it is. Getting every fan makes no sense, so I won’t have a definite answer until I get draped. But for now, I am going to play around in the Bright Spring color space and see what happens.

Dark Winter Blonde, Part Two

Since I found blogging about it while going through the process to be incredibly helpful during my Kibbe journey, I thought I’d do the same thing with my season.

Unlike with my Image Identity, I don’t expect to be able to DIY my color analysis. While the tone of my last blog post may have seemed like I had settled on Dark Winter, what it was really about was realizing that Dark Winter is actually a door that is open to me, and not one that is automatically locked shut just because I happen to have blonde hair, pale skin, and (seemingly) light eyes. (Plus I just love that palette!)

Getting the Light Spring fan and seeing just how bad it was a real turning point for me because I had always just assumed that I would be a Light season, and probably Light Spring, since I wear foundation with neutral/warm undertones and it never looks weird or mismatched on me. But as Cate Linden wrote on her post on the subject, it’s extremely difficult to see these things yourself, and it’s rare that a person will be correct about themselves, no matter how good their color sense is.

So what do I expect to gain from examining my colors myself? I hope to identify certain things that can tide me over, shopping/makeup-wise, until I can get draped. So far, I have learned things like I can wear colors that are much deeper and/or saturated than you would expect from someone with my skin tone, and they look normal on me, but sheer lipstick tends to be better, especially with no other makeup. Black may not be my BEST color, but I can balance it just fine, and having both lights/brights and darks is a good thing. Heat level does not seem as important for me as intensity. Dark Winter is still in the running, but Bright Spring and Bright Winter are likely contenders. I will probably stay in this area, clothes-wise, but I will not make any investment purchases until I have had a PCA.

So that is where I’m at right now. And thank you to everyone who commented on my last post; you guys were very helpful and had some great insights and advice.

Dark Winter Blonde


Several months ago, I wrote a couple of posts on “Banning Black from My Wardrobe” (part two is here. Over the next couple of months, I went back and forth on whether I was a Light Spring. Many told me that I just had to be some kind of Spring. I have blonde hair, blue-green eyes, and pale, almost-translucent skin with a warmth to it. Spring, right?

So I got my Light Spring fan in the mail. When I began color-matching things to the fan, I could immediately tell that it was not where I belonged. I could go darker. Many colors brought out gray shadows on my face that didn’t exist otherwise. I didn’t tick any of the boxes of how a Light Spring person reacts to colors; I just fit the stereotype.

So this inspired me to do more drapes. Everyone agreed that Light Spring was as terrible as I thought. Soft Summer was brought up, but most agreed that I was Bright Spring. Kelly green was good. Coral had something good about it, but the shade (fan-matched to Light Spring) was a little off. Some even thought black was my best.

I went to the Bright Spring group on Facebook, and like when I thought I was a Soft Natural, I felt like I really didn’t fit in. Like my experiences with clothes among the Soft Naturals, I felt like I was having a different experience with colors than the Bright Springs were having. I look great in bronzer and a smoky eye. Bright Spring lipsticks leap off my face as if the color was photoshopped on. Tina has a great post on signs you might be a Bright Spring, but none of her points applied to me.

A little voice in my head began making itself heard. It brought up the handful of non-stereotypical Dark Winters I’d seen, ones who didn’t look like Kim Kardashian and instead had similar skin tones to me. Some of them weren’t even brunettes. Cate Linden posted a beautiful picture of a little blonde girl that she had draped as Dark Winter.

Then I found this post by Rachel Nachmias, on Dark Winters who people think are Bright Springs. Every point she makes in the post could be taken from my Facebook thread where I posted my drapes. (I take draping shots with messy hair and no makeup, so I’m not posting them on the blog for posterity. I promise, though, that when I do finally get draped professionally, I will post those pictures.)

The only difference between me and the theoretical light Dark Winter in Rachel’s post is that I love dark colors. Nothing makes my heart sing more than a very dark purple, which, coincidentally, has been my most flattering drape to date. Dark circles that require two different kinds of concealer? Gone. Skin? Looks photoshopped. Face? Totally in focus.

Finding out about the possibility of me being Dark Winter makes me feel like I did when I came home to Flamboyant Gamine. All of the disparate parts about my natural appearance that weren’t making sense feel like they are suddenly coming together. I can wear very dark colors and turquoise and bright green and coral, and I am never going to try to get rid of black again. I am going to continue to experiment with Dark Winter, and let you know how it’s going.

Did your season surprise you? Do you fit the stereotype for a person of your season?

Seasonal Color Analysis and Makeup Complaints

I love makeup, and there are few things I like more than getting a really great new makeup palette. Since delving into seasonal color analysis, however, I now look at them with a more critical eye.

Take one I saw today. It’s the Stila Convertible Color Palette.

Looking at it, I just have to ask myself, “Who was this palette made for?” It’s autumn on top and spring on bottom, and I don’t think there’s a woman alive who can wear both halves of the palette equally well. Any woman who is going to buy this will quickly learn that one (or neither, I think, for summers and winters) half will look great, and the other will make her look like yesterday’s leftovers.

It would have made so much more sense to come out with two $25 palettes. If they had done that, that palette would have already started on its way to me from The only way I’d be able to justify purchasing the palette as is would be to split the cost with my autumn friend and then de-pot it and split it up.

Some want a “full wardrobe” of color that will “work for everyone” from a palette. But that is simply impossible, and really, then you end up with only a few select shades out of many in a palette that will actually work for you, and you’d get a better deal just buying the shades individually. I think palettes are much more successful when they focus around color as their unifying factor, rather than some theme like “flowers,” as in the case of the Stila palette above.

Take the Sephora + Pantone collaboration. I think it’s great because while yes, there are years where the chosen color will only look good on a few people. But if it’s a year when the color selected is in your palette, you have some great makeup options.

Here’s the Marsala collection eyeshadow palette.


The grays I’m not too sure about, but everything else will look so beautiful on autumn women, as will the rest of the collection.

This is the approach I wish all makeup brands would take. Group colors into groups that go together and maybe sell smaller palettes instead of trying to please everyone with one palette. We’d all get much better value for our money that way.

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