Archive of ‘Personal’ category

Dark Autumn Blonde, Part Eight: Clearing Up Misconceptions

The names of the seasons can sometimes lead people in the wrong direction. The two seasons where I think this comes into play the most is the two “dark” seasons. It was difficult for me to claim Dark Autumn for myself without a lot of support from the online community–I felt kind of crazy, being as as light-to-look-at as I am and claiming this rich, dark season.

This is what people think Dark Autumn looks like:

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But it can absolutely look like this.

I wouldn’t fit into the first image, and who knows if these women are even Dark Autumns at all. Out of the women and men I’ve seen who have gone to analysts and come back as Dark Autumns, you’ll find everyone from natural blondes to the darkest brunettes.

I do think that with the Light seasons, they do tend to look more like you imagine. The light-to-dark range in these palettes isn’t very dark, and you need to have a person who truly cannot handle a wide range of depth–this is especially true with Light Spring.

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You can see how wide the range is for Dark Autumn and Dark Winter in comparison:

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(These palettes are the Invent Your Image palettes.)

I was reminded by this the other day, when Color Harmony posted a blog post breaking down the Dark Autumn palette into groups–groups of color and then light/soft/dark/bright. (Blog post is in Russian, but you can run it through Google Translate.) Many seem to think that the only way the Dark Autumn palette can look in clothes is like this image from Sabira’s blog post, representing the dark colors in DA:

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But this set is no less Dark Autumn than the one above:

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What Dark Autumn colors seem to have in common to me, and what I can see in myself, despite my apparent lightness, is that it is like all of the colors just have a touch of Burnt Umber in them. The colors can be bright or even light, but there is always that touch of brown. When I got my prescription sunglasses with dark brown lenses this summer, my first thought was, “Whoa, the entire world is Dark Autumn when I look through these.”

The names of the seasons are just that, names, helpful ways to categorize the seasons. Sure, Dark Autumn and Dark Winter go deeper than other seasons. But that doesn’t mean that’s the only trick they have up their sleeves. (For a look at Dark Winter through new eyes, check out Rachel’s blog post on Dark Winter’s brightness.)

Dark Autumn Blonde, Part Seven: Revisiting My “Zyla” Colors

A while back, I created a DIY Zyla palette for myself using the instructions in his book. Instead of using paint chips, I used my Dark Autumn palette, since I was already using that to guide my wardrobe. I found it easy to find my literal body colors on the palette, and my result looks like this, approximately (since the colors don’t render properly on the screen):

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While I find that the top row is perfect as it is, the bottom row was giving me some trouble. I would never wear the Third Base. The Tranquil didn’t connect with me one way or the other. The Second Base is the only one I really liked.

I asked for feedback on my possible Archetype in the Zyla group. There was a general consensus that my most likely type was Gamine Autumn, with Mellow as the runner up. With the help of some very educated Zyla eyes, I realized that the ring around my iris connected more with dark gray, rather than the petrol blue I had assumed would work. I thought more about the colors in Dark Autumn I’ve been drawn to since I claimed it as my season.

Zyla palettes are rarely literal. Zyla is not looking for exact matches, per se, but evocative colors, I think. So he’ll give people a purple base, even though they don’t really have purple hair or eyes. With that in mind, I thought about how colors function on me, and came up with this.

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Essence: 1.1 FN (unchanged)
Romantic: 2.8 A, 2.7 A, 6.2 A
Dramatic: 4.9 A, 4.8 A, 4.7 A, 4.6 A
Energy: 3.9 A, 2.8 A, 3.7 A
Tranquil: 5.3 A, 5.2 A, 5.1 A
First Base: 3.3 FN, 3.2 FN, 3.1 FN
Second Base: 6.10 FN, 6.9 A, 6.7 A
Third Base: 7.8 A, 7.7 A, 7.6 A

(Numbers correspond to the True Colour International Dark Autumn Classic fan)

These are the DA colors that have resonated with me the most, and the ones that have made their way into my wardrobe already. My favorite casual outfit this year has been a cropped sweatshirt in my lightest/brightest tranquil over a tunic tank top in my darkest 1st base with some lighter 1st base shades thrown in with jeans in the middle Second Base color. Yellow and purple may sound a bit garish, but I don’t think it reads that way on me at all–a good case for deep purple being a neutral for me.

I did have to sacrifice the base color I liked, but it can still act as an alternate. In this new version, with the addition of yellow and purple, I can see myself. It feels more like me. If you are going with a limited palette for wardrobe planning, it has to speak to you. If you’re looking to do the same with your own 12-season palette, I recommend starting with what you already own and love, and see if these colors don’t somehow fit into a framework like Zyla’s.

Dark Autumn Blonde, Part Six: Looking at Soft Autumn

In response to a fairly recent post, I got a comment telling me check out seasons called Deep Autumn Soft and Soft Autumn Deep, which I believe are part of the 16-season system, a system used by Lora Alexander at Pretty Your World.

This system, despite having similar-sounding names, is an entirely different animal from the Sci\ART-based systems. For one, draping is not required. Season can be discerned through the harmony of body colors–eye color and hair color are definitely considered. This is the issue I’ve had with people annoying me by insisting that I’m summer that I wrote about in my last post in this series.

So anyway, I knew that I would not be either of these seasons anyway, because I would be far too light to qualify. But it did plant a little seed of doubt about Soft Autumn in my mind. Could I be Soft Autumn? It would seem more logical, sure. Right as I was pondering this, a Russian-language blog on color and style did a post breaking down the different colors in Soft Autumn. (You don’t need to know Russian or even use Google Translate to understand what I’m talking about in regard to this post, since the visuals accompanying the text make it pretty clear). The lights, neutrals, darks, and brights of Soft Autumn have been separated. This gives me a very different impression of what Soft Autumn looks like than what I normally think of it looking like, which is this:

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Compared to other palettes, it has always seemed a bit dull to me. All of the colors seem watered down and a sort of murky green or coral. But it’s true that in order to appreciate a palette, you have to see the colors. You have to see them in a context other than square boxes of color lined up to represent a seasonal palette. You need to see the clothes. And in Color Harmony’s interpretations, the dark and the bright Soft Autumn colors look pretty good to me. They look like things I could wear easily.

But the neutrals and the lights… This is where it falls apart. My winter jacket, for instance, is a Soft Autumn olive green. Does it have awful effects on my skin? No. But does it do anything special for me? No again. Out of curiosity, I decided to how I’d do in a lighter Soft Autumn color. I have a coral towel that seems to be SA’s coral. So I draped myself with it, and immediately noticed redness around my nose. I do have some, but when I put on a Dark Autumn color, it’s not noticeable. In fact, in Dark Autumn, I usually just put on lipstick and don’t bother with anything else. I also saw some reflection around the sides of my face that I didn’t like. While seeing the Soft Autumn colors together like they are in the blog made it seem more logical as an option for me, somehow, real life showed me otherwise.

Sometimes you need doubt to really confirm something for yourself. And while I might see what happens if I swipe a few of SA’s brightest and darkest colors, I have again come to conclusion that DA is where I belong.

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.)

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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.

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:

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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.

Using Zyla to Customize Your Kibbe Type

Flamboyant Gamine is a type usually represented in colors from the Bright color palettes and True Winter. A lot of black and white, graphic geometric prints, and so on. This works with the idea of Flamboyant Gamine as funky, colorful, and offbeat.

But of course, being a Bright season or a True Winter are not prerequisites for being a Flamboyant Gamine. While my self-designation of Dark Autumn hasn’t been confirmed, I know that I am not in the Brights or True Winter.

This is not what I have to work with.

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This is closer to what I am. Texture. Leopard-print fur.

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But still, I often try to make the other vibe work for me, basically taking what you’d give a Winter or a Spring and trying to find it in DA colors. It works, because I’m a Flamboyant Gamine and the shapes work, but it’s still not what I want it to be.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about what archetype Zyla would give me if I did see him. I don’t talk about Zyla very much on here. This is because Zyla’s system is one that is truly about a single person’s vision and the results are hard to DIY.

The types in the book are so specific that it’s hard to see yourself in them. You see yourself in none of them and all of them at the same time, kind of like horoscopes. I have often felt that in the descriptions, there’s really no room for me.

I was discussing Zyla in the Flamboyant Gamine group a while back, and Gamine Autumn was suggested for me. Of course. I had discounted Gamine Autumn before, because it seemed to be relatively Soft Natural-looking on Pinterest. But as we all know, Pinterest is one of the greatest hindrances out there to really discovering a type, since it locks you into someone else’s perception of what a type looks like.

When I read the reports of people who have been typed Gamine Autumn, a lot of things clicked for me. Lots of texture. Brushed metals. Prints from nature. And he said something very important in all of the Gamine Autumn reports I read:

You are not a Mondrian.

Whoa.

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Not everything would work for me personally. But a lot of what he said resonated. And when I went back and looked, the things that resonated could be found in the Flamboyant Gamine recommendations as well. They just get ignored, often in favor of things actually found in the Gamine recommendations. But that’s a story for another time.

I realized that I don’t need to find an autumn version of a chevron print. My Autumn influence causes me to look toward nature: my beloved animal prints and perhaps a splashy botanical. Blanche Deveraux’s bedroom decor, which is originally from the Beverly Hills Hotel, would be perfect for me.

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So while I don’t think I’m going to make it to see Zyla anytime soon, and I don’t know for sure that he’d give me Gamine Autumn, the information he has still helped me figure out how to make Flamboyant Gamine my own, and I’m excited to explore and develop it further.

This segues into another big announcement of mine. In addition to launching styling services and working on my ultimate guide to Kibbe types, I’m also writing a workbook. This workbook will help you to DIY the customization of your Kibbe type. Using a system as a springboard to creating a personal style is really what this site is all about, so I’m very excited about it.

I also finally launched my Facebook page today. So go and check it out. 🙂

Does Weight Gain Make You More Yin?

This is a question that occasionally comes up among people exploring Kibbe. My answer to this, as it is for so many things involving Kibbe, is yes and no.

It makes you more yin in that you are more likely to get more yin points on the Kibbe quiz. Your arms are thicker; you’re more likely to have volume on your face. But although your test results might show something different, in reality, if you are a yang type, you actually probably become even more yang. The quiz is not calibrated to reflect the types at different weights. The physical descriptions include a section on how each type gains weight, but it can be hard to see past the physical description for the non-overweight versions of types. (Here are the weight gain descriptions.)

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This is a picture of Edie Sedgwick at a heavier weight than the one that she was when she was famous.

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Does she look more yang in the photos where she is skinny? Sure. We see a sinewy, curveless figure. But I like the photo of Edie with the dark hair and heavier weight because I can see myself in it, and I see how the extra yin we see is an illusion. My arms now are a similar shape, and don’t have the length commonly associated with Flamboyant Gamine. In fact, that is why I spent so much time considering Soft Gamine. I am soft. But I am not yin-dominant.

I actually follow the Flamboyant Gamine weight gain pattern perfectly: “Body tends to become stocky and square. Excess weight usually collects from the waist down, rarely above. Arms and legs tend to become thick, as does the waist and hip area. Face may become very puffy and fleshy.”

My ribcage has remained pretty much the same, but my limbs and hip area have gotten decidedly thicker–and more and more square. I came to Kibbe because of weight gain. I used to be very skinny and didn’t even understand what a “problem area” was, because everything looked good on me. But with weight gain, I no longer knew how to dress myself without hating what I saw in the mirror. In the Flamboyant Gamine recommendations, my problem areas were no longer a problem. Breaking the line in the right place emphasizes the nice shape my upper torso still has and and breaks up the boxiness of my bottom half. I see the magic that knowing your Kibbe type can do–which is why I can only shake my head when people try to dismiss the recommendations as being “too 80s.” Some details need to be tweaked, and we have to make allowances for the wonders of spandex, but the basic outline of how your type should dress has not changed. What flatters your body hasn’t changed.

I asked some other Flamboyant Gamines what they thought, and the consensus seems to be that when skinny, an FG can borrow more from straight Gamine, and maybe even some from Soft Gamine. But with weight gain, you’re better off sticking strictly to the Flamboyant Gamine recommendations and not wandering off. I don’t know how it works in other types, but I wager that the results would be the same.

So in my case, I have found that while weight gain may make me seem more yin at first glance, it has actually emphasized the yang qualities of my shape, and has made sticking to my yang FG recommendations far more important.

Have you gone through a similar experience with weight gain and Kibbe?

Being Honest with Yourself

The great thing about knowing your Image Identity and your season is that it makes selecting clothes so much simpler. You know what lines will be flattering, and you know what colors will work. Everything more or less goes together, and dressing is easy and you always look fabulous.

At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work. But there’s a human element, too. What if you’re a “dressed up” Identity, like Soft Dramatic or Theatrical Romantic, and you’re a stay-at-home mom with four kids under ten? The dramatic looks shown on Pinterest, complete with five-inch heels, aren’t exactly practical or applicable for your everyday life. You could very well go out and buy outfits that look fabulous on you… and then they sit in your closet while you wear yoga pants every day because you really don’t wear stuff like that in your day-to-day life.

I know that I, personally, struggle with resisting to urge to buy another pair of ankle boots with heels too high for me to walk in or wear for long periods of time. I take public transport and walk long distances, often on uneven sidewalks, mud, and cobblestones. I need shoes I can walk in for two miles, not 200 feet. And yet there they sit in my closet, taunting me.

This dichotomy of loving the way something looks vs. something actually working in my real life was made abundantly clear to me recently by my hair. I love playing with makeup. I hate styling my hair. My hair is moderately wavy, but I still can’t blow dry it straight to save my life.

So naturally, I cut my hair like this.

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It required a full blowout every time I washed my hair, and I had to get to my bangs FAST, or it was a disaster. I’ve been going to my hairstylist for twelve years, and she tried to warn me. But I didn’t listen.

I spent a month in Florida soon after I got it cut, and the humidity there turned my waves into full-blown curls. Even a straightening iron couldn’t save me. I ended up straightening my bangs several times a day as best I could, and putting the rest into a ponytail. Someone more dedicated and better with hair probably could have found a way to make it work. But I’m not one of those people.

I realized that what I require from a hairstyle is two things:
1) Something that works with my natural hair texture
2) Something where the maximum amount of styling required is putting in some styling goo and mussing it around.

So I went back to my stylist and gave her this picture. Wham. I no longer need a blowdryer, and my waviness is an asset, rather than something I have to struggle against.

Lesson learned. High-maintenance hairstyles just don’t work for me, even when they look great with my FlamGam bone structure.

What are the things that, while they work for you aesthetically, just don’t work in your daily life?

Dark Autumn Blonde, Part Two

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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:
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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.

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