Saturday, 18 August 2018

Over 50 Tall Gamine

Sometimes I reflect on everything I’ve worn over the course of my life.  Does that sound odd or unbelievable?  I have a good memory for things like that so while I don’t claim to remember every item of clothing I owned, I can actually come quite close to it.   This may partly be due to never having owned a lot at one time.  I can pretty much go by year, and find a mental catalog of what I wore each year.  I don’t find that an overly useful skill but it is somewhat interesting and perhaps it is more useful than I first realised.  It had never occurred to me to look back over all that I have tried and look for the commonalities in what was really successful, but once it did cross my mind I was astonished at how well it lined up with what I have carefully and intellectually arrived at.

I don’t feel so terribly inadequate for not intuitively understanding my own style since we all have different skills and talents in life.  This is not one of mine, despite my ability to put together a good outfit and  coordinate colours.  Perhaps one of the most interesting things is that what worked when I was younger still works now and my personality is relatively the same too so why would I dress for my age?  My age is not who I am.

Best ever hair….a blonde pixie

Best dresses and skirts…light weight, body skimming though not tight, slight movement, above knee

Best place for ornate detail…..near face

Best colours…..light

Best use of jewelry….minimal quantity, moderate size, ornate is fine

Best  use of makeup….light, fresh, dewy

Best necklines….collarbone and lower but no cleavage, rounded, flat collars, low boatneck

Best overall lines……streamlined, close to body but not tight, broken lines or elongation both fine, long over short is good, top length best to hit waist or hipbones, softened, rounded or curved lines especially near face, sharper lines and angles also work away from face

Best waistline…..empire, seaming that skims waist but no cinching, wide band at waist if dress has waistband, shift dresses in light fabric, drop waist

Best jeans/trousers….clean and simple, straight,  straight-cropped, skinny, slim boot cut

I keep the gamine look from being either to sharp or too sweet. The colours here are wrong for me and I would select different shoes and earrings but overall I love these outfits and I think they suit me.  


I keep the words crisp, clean, cropped in mind.  Gamine style has clean, streamlined, somewhat simple clothing and most gamines don't do well with a lot of jewelry, but one or two bolder pieces work well.  I have always found earrings are my best accessory.  Gamine style includes crisp detail in the clothing itself which helps to keep the look streamlined without being plain. 

There are rules associated with dressing appropriately for my age and my best looks comply with some and break others.  I have never felt like myself in anything overtly sexy, am not comfortable revealing a lot of flesh and even the shorter skirts that suit me are a bit difficult for me to accept if I am bare legged.  However I do suit a youthful look which I once thought I was supposed to outgrow and have now decided that is nonsense.  

My style ID has gamine and ingenue combined though I think of it as gamine influenced by ingenue.  I add ingenue touches, my colours are softer and sweeter but I can wear them in bold combinations,  I look terrible in most masculine tailoring but equally terrible in very romantic clothing.  I can't really pull off anything blatantly sexy or elegantly slouchy.    For me, glamour comes from playing with ethereal elements.

This dress is a good example of Gamine and Ingenue combined.  It's short and simple, a shift with relatively straight edges and a clean look yet it also has softened detail.  The yoke is a different colour which brings emphasis to that area and to the face.  The neckline is modest and rounded.  The scallop detail of the dress offers up more curved shapes and although it is three different colours they are soft and blended looking. Some fun earrings and shoes make the outfit simple and yet interesting. 

 One challenge I face is that being taller means such a dress probably does not give me enough coverage if it is already designed to be a mini.  On the other hand, if I just shop for regular clothes I will easily enough achieve the cropped lines I am looking for.  What a perfect way to no longer consider my height a problem.  Another new perspective I have is about my face.  I used to worry that a pixie cut made me look like a boy.  Well, it does and it doesn't but at least it's a rather pretty boy.  I also love the aspect of challenging convention both in being a tall gamine and in having a youthful style over the age of 50. 

Friday, 17 August 2018

What is Gamine Style?

Just what is gamine style?  There seems to be some consensus amongst various style gurus and reference books and I think that the original set of style identities most commonly known today, Natural, Dramatic, Classic, Romantic, Gamine and Ingenue, were identified and described by Harriet McJimsey in the early sixties though I am sure the terms were familiar and in use before then. 

A bit of confusion about what Gamine style is seems to come from mistaken correlations.  Audrey Hepburn looked Gamine and wore Gamine style outfits sometimes.  This leads to the idea that everything she wore was Gamine style.  The same kind of assumption happens with current celebrities who appear to be Gamine.  They do not always wear Gamine style and when they do it is also likely a blend with something else.  Classic and Romantic styles are popular blends with Gamine and are similar in that tailoring is a significant part of their appearance.  Ingenue style is also combined with Gamine and the two neutralise each other in a sense, as Gamine style is suggestive of a young boy and Ingenue is suggestive of a young and innocent girl.  Ingenues look sweet and innocent but Gamines look a bit mischievous.

So what is gamine style?  In a nutshell it is a style that has a degree of boyish charm despite still looking feminine.  It can verge on ingenue or it can be fully tomboy.  There are many ways of doing gamine style all with influences from other styles to make it distinct.  In closer to pure gamine form it uses cropped and crisp shapes, fitted close to the body, features crisp detail in the garments (buttons, collars, piping etc) often slightly oversized detail or in contrasting colours.  It is similar to classic style in that it features close to the body tailoring and a simplicity of line but different in that it is not generally subtle and elegant, but rather whimsical and suggesting  joie de vivre as associated with youthfulness or even immaturity.  Where classic style keeps all the lines of one outfit working in the same direction, gamine style uses multi-directional lines within one outfit.  Horizontal lines break up the look and are emphasised with contrast.

Tips for making a Gamine Style outfit:

use many directional lines in one outfit

use a mix of colour and pattern liberally

keep lines and edges crisp and clean

wear garments that are slim and close fitting though not tight

use proportions like long over short, cropped tops over high waisted trousers

wear two large and fun jewelry pieces

shoes should have some personality

wear garments with lots of crisp detail-  eg. piping, large buttons, yokes, contrasting pockets

Monday, 6 August 2018

Revisiting Style ID and Dressing for your Face

Recently I revisited Dressing Your Truth type 1 because basically it does actually work for me in a generalised way. I am also revisiting both Ingenue and Gamine in the Style ID system.  Of course this is largely a hobby.  I can guarantee no stylish outfits will be featured on this blog but I can say that much of what I currently wear has an Ingenue tilt.  I just instinctively choose it, so whatever that damned annoying person on the style forum thinks,  I happen to think there is some Ingenue in my face somewhere but I can't quite rule out Gamine.  

Part of the problem seems to be that  fixating on individual features rather than overall vibe can get people confused.  That does seem to be something people have trouble with and I have had that sort of difficulty myself.  It's easy to want a checklist and some criteria to measure against.   But we are talking about style identities which are mixtures, not pure types.  We are looking at an overall impression otherwise the the exercise for finding Style ID would be about working through a checklist.  Even though both David Kibbe and Carol Tuttle sometimes mention specific features associated with the style types they use in their systems, they both also caution that the overall impression is more important.

Romantic Ethereal Ingenue is a very feminine style, and tends to imply ultimate femininity and prettiness which can make women get a little competitive.  It stirs up the 'you couldn't possibly be that' and 'I have never seen someone who is pure femininity' comments.

This intimidated me and I was embarrassed to admit that I'd ever thought I might be that.  BUT I considered it again because it's not completely crazy.  I think the people who object are missing the point.  It's not about ultimate femininity and prettiness.  It's an overall effect, it's how your face looks next to certain lines and patterns and it's a combination of the whole.  An Ethereal looks otherwordly, an Ingenue like a beautiful child and a Romantic is sexy in a very soft and feminine way.  I don't see myself as any of those things in pure form.  I just know that when the design lines suited to each of them are somehow combined, it tends to suit me. 

Another thing that can cloud one's perspective is that Classic and Natural styles are the norm in western culture so most of us can picture ourselves in them as they are what we are used to seeing.  We may dress that way simply because it is expected or easily found in shops.  

I can't go full on Ingenue.  It would look a bit silly but not as silly as one might expect and I wore it easily enough as a child.  One point I remember reading was that if you have no Ingenue in you at all you probably looked just as wrong in Ingenue styles when you were a child as you do when an adult.  

I had a dress similar to this one in sky blue.  It was my favourite party dress as a little girl.

 I would not wear something like this now as I think it would look silly but I could be wrong.  This dress is an Ethereal Gamine Ingenue mix apparently.  If it were a blouse, I would wear it with jeans.

I can imagine wearing this dress though and it is also from the Ethereal Gamine Ingenue pin board.

As is this blouse which I can also imagine wearing.

 And this dress.

While I am attracted to some Gamine styles and people like me in a pixie cut, Gamine doesn't work for me in pure form.  I don't seem to pull off the busy horizontal lines, patterns or pointiness a Gamine can wear  and the pixie cut does need to be a very softened one.  

What works well from Ingenue style:
delicate, feminine, yoke detail, neckline detail, rounded and oval shapes, light colours, empire waists, floral motifs, above the knee hemlines

What works well from Ethereal style:
delicate detail, elongation, curved shapes, lightness, sheer fabrics, lace, embroidery, old-world styles, iridescence, long wavy hair

What works from Romantic style:
draping, slight ruffles, curved shapes, softness

What works well from Gamine style:
perkiness, youthfulness, layering, shorter skirts, pants, trim silhouettes, pixie cut

What works from Natural style:
faded jeans and leather sandals, long wavy hair

There is a common theme.  Obviously I am not going to go about in gowns all the time (or pretty much never) so this is a style I need to make work with jeans or more casual skirts and dresses. 

I definitely wear jeans and in summer I sometimes wear shorts and those things inherently belong to Natural style.  But that is my lifestyle and the cultural norm and also what is comfortable for me.  My body shape allows for it to work so there is no point in over-thinking that one.  If I do have a small dose of Natural or Gamine though that would likely explain why jeans work for me.  

Or maybe I have both...Natural Gamine Ingenue seems to work sometimes too and explains my attraction to the Mori Girl look.

Hello again, Boho Redux.    Not much changes.  I choose what I like and what I think suits me and retrospectively I look to see what sort of category it might fall into.  I think the appeal of that is to help me stay on track, a framework for understanding....

Because I have to think my way through just about everything.   

Ethereal Gamine Ingenue is looking like a possibility and all I have to say about that is...What Fun!

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Personal Style the Aspie Way: If you've seen one version of Aspie style, you've seen one version of Aspie style.

Sticking to my guns, as the saying goes, I know what I know about what suits me to wear in addition to what I am comfortable in.  While it is quite possible that an artist or stylish dresser could be working intuitively, just throwing things together until what results is pleasing, there are others who learn the rules before they deliberately break them and I tend to be more of that type.  I like to explore but I like a mixture of happy discovery and deliberate choice.  Adding personal style to art and to dressing is about knowing what you like, what pleases your own eye and knowing what pleases the eyes of humans in general is important only if that is what you wish to achieve. 

Because I tend to approach things intellectually, and must know the hows and whys of all the whats and wheres I could not just go with what instinct told me about how to dress myself nor trust my taste because it tended to be all over the place.  I like too many varied things and in order to find out which of all the millions of things I like the look of are also things I feel right wearing, I had to immerse myself.  I had to learn, study, examine, try, explore, consider, re-consider, compare and contrast.  I had to overcome my biases and a mental list of shoulds and should-nots, and I had to learn to trust myself.  I trust myself far more in art than I do in dressing myself although all of my experimenting has given some who know me the impression that I have great confidence.

When all of life outside of my own home feels like a performance, it's difficult to find the real me.  Who is she?  What does she like to wear?  What suits her and communicates who she is?  I didn't know these things even though I have been dressing myself with apparent confidence and style for most of my life.  What I had learned was how to make an outfit and how to imitate.  Mostly I imitated my mother, sometimes my peers though not as often.  I set out to look competent and mature and believed that certain types of clothing and colours had to be outgrown. 

There are a plethora of opinions about style and about what lines or colours or shapes suit different people.  Some of them are informed opinions, some of them have valuable things to teach us but they don't all.  There was much sorting that needed to be done, to separate the rubbish from the gems, and even when I knew certain opinions were less valid than others, I still found myself swayed by them.  Statements made by confident people who were actually stating preferences planted doubt in my mind.  Style gurus and beauty editors who think hair determines your best colours and strangers on the internet who looked at one photo and announced that what they believed to be true about my appearance and my best choices all confused me. 

You might think this is strange if you are someone with a strong sense of your own style and best colours, a strong sense of what works on you and makes you feel good.  I was too muddled and trying to achieve some vague goals.  I didn't want to stand out but what achieves that best, looking like everyone else or looking like my best self so that I don't stand out as a mistake? 

 I am picturing myself featured in a magazine article with my identity hidden by a black line across my eyes.  Fashion Don'ts!

 I need to be physically and emotionally comfortable in my clothing but what brings me those feelings isn't always aligned with what I think looks appealing.  And as I've written often, how to find a style for a casual life, one that isn't too sloppy but also isn't too fussy.  So,  I took a break from all the studying of style experts and decided to study myself.

I asked, what do I consistently wear?  What colours feel right  to me even if I think I am not supposed to wear them?  What did I wear in the past that got compliments and which I am now not wearing now because I think I should have outgrown it?  What has always worked for me and always gets compliments?  Where are my boundaries for comfort?

And after asking these questions I observed myself to look for the answers.

There was a big theme.  I was craving lightness.  It showed up when Minimalism piqued my interest, when I created a simple wardrobe of light, neutral colours (denim, cream and light camel) and when I discovered my love of yellow.   It showed up in that no matter what palette of colours I was trying out, I always wanted the lightest of them.   An attraction to some sort of youthful spark was also there.   It made itself known when I first considered Dressing Your Truth type 1 and when I played with the Style ID calculator and felt in my gut that something about Ingenue was right.  It has always shown up in my attraction to gamine style. 

But there are some popular opinions out there which swayed me. 

  • Beige is boring.
  • Neutrals are boring.
  • Pops of colour and brightness are good.
  • Light Seasons are always blonde.
  • Ingenue style is inappropriate for adult women.
  • You can't be gamine if you are tall.
  • Dressing Your Truth type 1 can look tacky and silly (my own opinion)

I lost track of the things I know.

  • Colour is relative to the context-on the right person no colour is boring, garish or childish
  • Many people state opinions like they are facts; that doesn't make them so
  • Any seasonal colour palette can have any hair and eye colour, although some are more typical
  • Style lines are relative to the context-on someone with a youthful vibe, youthful lines will work
  • I have always looked best with a low neckline but detail on the upper area of the garment-including sailor collars, peter-pan collars, a bit of ruffle or lace, yokes and empire waists
  • I have always looked best in simple patterns such as small polka dots and uncomplicated florals
In recent years I have learned that I suit
-analagous and monochromatic colour schemes and not much value contrast
-perky hair styles
-light, sheer makeup
-hemlines just above the knee
-light-medium weight fabric
-a bit of swishy movement
-light colours with warmth

Which is the Dressing Your Truth style which I can adapt to my personality and taste without deviating from the style essence?  Type 1

Which is the Style ID that works for me?  Ethereal Natural Ingenue and Ethereal Natural Classic both offer me options which I know work. One category might be better than the other but I don't need to worry about that.  I've got the general idea now.

Which is the seasonal colour palette that works entirely without modifying it or limiting myself to only some of the colours?  Light Spring from Sci ART or Spring from the original Color Me Beautiful 4 seasons.
Note: in my experiments with True Autumn and True Spring I was often purchasing Light Spring colours and telling myself they were the 'light end' of the other palettes.

Does my personal style term Boho Redux still work?  Sure.  It's mine to play with.

Do I still favour simplicity and a smaller wardrobe?  Yes.  For one thing, I haven't got the income or lifestyle to justify a large wardrobe.

Will I still use my cream, denim and light camel palette?  Yes indeed! And I want to add light warm grey.  I feel fantastic in those light neutrals.

Knowing what I like was never the problem.  Finding the right combination of what I like, what flatters me and what is both physically and psychologically comfortable was a great challenge but it felt important.  Explaining why generally comes down to comfort.  I needed comfort and had not quite achieved it.  Much of my life has been spent in costume for a role I was playing.  Once I was just being myself I didn't know how to dress her.  Now I do.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Revisiting Dressing Your Truth Type 1

I am playing with Dressing Your Truth again, mainly because when I am still frequently needing to retreat from the world.  My escape is to  play with colour palettes, personal colour analysis and style systems online.   Often it helps to put one system away for awhile so that I can come back to it with more mental clarity and see things I didn’t see before or see the same thing again and feel more certain about what I am seeing.   I am not as clueless about my personal style as I sometimes think I am though I do have difficulty seeing myself objectively.  I know what works but I don’t always trust that knowledge and in trying to put it together into some sort of cohesive whole I get a bit lost. 

Because I get lost or don’t always trust my own instincts I tend to ask others for input.  I have experimented with asking both strangers (online) and people who know me well.  I am not sure that this gets me any further ahead and one thing I have taken from all of the free and available Dressing Your Truth Information is that I need to get better at trusting myself.  Sure, I could make a mistake, but other people make mistakes in determining what works on me too.  Everyone’s biases get involved, and personal preferences can cloud accurate vision. Photographs aren’t always colour accurate so determining colour palette from photos is tricky.  I think it can be done but it will be dependant on how true to reality the photos are and even then there will be room for error. Many people figure out their best colours one colour at a time or come to a general realisation that they are looking for one or two specific qualities, such as cool and bright.  

I focused on colour more than on style mainly because colour is my passion but Dressing Your Truth combines colour and style, suggesting that the effect they give is inseparable, matched to energy and thus once you determine your own dominant energy, you know which styles and colours to wear.  I couldn’t make this work out for me for a long time for two reasons.  One was that I was getting my best colours wrong, and the other was that given the examples I saw of the four different styles matched to energy types, I couldn’t identify one type that I thought would look good on me.  Eventually I learned two things.  One was that I had not gotten my colours right until I landed on Light Spring, which happens to line up well with Dressing Your Truth Type One and the other was that all of the Dressing Your Truth Styles are guidelines and can be personlised, particularly by your secondary energy type.  Once I had worked all of this out, and had gotten past all of the over-thinking and seeing all of the types in myself and ruling out types because of one little thing, forgetting it was supposed to be an overall impression or big picture, I realised that I am a Type One/Two.  It took me a little while to decide if it was 2/1 or 1/2 and  there are aspects of my personality that seem Four-like, not much that is Three-like, though probably there a few things since according to the theory, we are all a combination of the types. 

With Dressing Your Truth I have to set aside a lot of the pseudoscientific talk of chakras and tapping stuff and acknowledge that Carol Tuttle is great at self marketing and doesn’t credit her sources, but I also have to admit that I like some aspects of it and am inclined to believe that there really is a desire there to combine a successful business with something that helps women.  Why not?  I’d do that too if I could so it’s easy enough for me to believe she has a dual motivation there and not to judge her negatively for it. 

I don’t know what to think about the whole energy concept and I am not sure Dressing Your Truth gets every woman into her best colours, but if I don’t think about it too much, and just simplify the idea down to some basics about myself I can reach some surprising clarity.  I am a Type 1/2 and the DYT colour palette for T1 works for me.  I didn’t think it would when I believed I was an Autumn and when I thought I might be a True Spring I thought I would still have to modify the palette, but now I am quite sure I am a Light Spring and essentially the T1 palette works for that.   I have observed that people who identify as T1 wear colours that come from the Light Spring, Bright Spring and Light Summer palettes in SciART.

Type 1 style presents some challenges for me.  It is youthful but it only need be childlike if that is what you enjoy. I am still convinced, after playing with the Style ID calculator that there is some room for Ingenue in my personal style even if I don’t want to make it dominant.  I don’t like statement necklaces and T1 outfits are nearly always styled with one, as are all Dressing Your Truth outfits.   Statement necklaces have been trendy for awhile  but I don’t have to wear one  and I can still be T1 not wearing one.  I do like scarves which are very T2 but that is my secondary.  T1 is light and T2 is soft and I like both of those aspects in my clothing and accessories.  A statement necklace is not light enough or soft enough for me.  That may be a bit extreme and not the way all T1/2 types will feel but it’s just fine for me.  I think that I need to interpret lightness as not many accessories.

Another challenge is that I am not highly drawn to cuteness although I am sometimes.   Perhaps I am just picky about it.  I don’t wear many prints and cute, animated ones usually don’t call to me but if it happened to be daisies or cats it might and I have to admit that my pyjamas have polka dots.  The images have to be drawn in a way that I like….did I mention that I am picky?  Maybe that is T2 attention to detail. 

If you watch a lot of DYT videos you might think that if you are not highly expressive and perky you are not a T1.  I did, but then I tend to take things too literally sometimes.  If you are considering T1 but think you are not extroverted, outgoing or playful enough, if you wouldn’t pump your fist in the air and shout whoot whoot,  don’t rule out T1.  It’s only one way of being T1.  I am bubbly, enthusiastic, light-hearted, love to sing and dance and laugh and joke with people.  I am often complimented for being so light and cheerful and positive though I am not the life of the party.  I may not even attend the party.   Being an Aspie may have made it more difficult to identify it, but I am still a type 1.

How I Know I am T1:  A description of the energy I exude, how I come across and appear to others

facial profiling:  circles and star points, rounded eyes, upwardly directed crows feet ( let’s call them smile lines ) and a twinkle in my eyes, few facial lines and they are very fine, freckles, rounded nose tip but it looks like a star point when I smile, heart-shaped mouth, cheesy grin with apple cheeks,  high forehead, face suits hair that has lift and movement- short and flippy but not stiff or highly textured
I also see some T2 in my face, ovals and softness.  My hands are more T2, being slightly long, slender and with oval nail beds.

movement:  bouncy walk, animated gestures and facial expressions when talking, voice goes up and down, don’t sit still well-always jumping up to do something I’ve just thought of, tend to giggle, can talk a mile a minute about all of the ideas in my head
I also tend to come across as very calm and ladylike when drawing on my T2 (which I tend to do in order to be more formal or ‘mature’ or in less familiar or comfortable situations)

For a long time I have been craving lightness in all aspects of my life.  In my personal appearance it has finally become obvious to me that I am best flattered by light colours, light textures, light makeup and  hair that suggests lightness and lift.  I am also flattered by a little sparkle despite not being drawn to it.  This need for lightness is also an aspect of having the Ethereal quality in style ID.  Seeing this in myself through two different systems helped to confirm for me that it is the right direction.

I have not used any of the Dressing Your Truth programme, though a couple of years ago I did sign up for the free videos that introduce all four types.  I didn’t purchase a particular type because I couldn’t figure out which was the right one.  Now that I know, I don’t feel a need to purchase a type guide.  It seems obvious to me how to use the information and I still prefer SciART colour palettes to the Dressing Your Truth colour guides.   In many ways I came at Dressing Your Truth backwards.  I didn’t recognise my type until I had learned things about myself from other systems, but now that I do recognise it I will happily use whatever information I can gather.   I just won’t be wearing a strawberry printed blouse any time soon.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

My Colour Happy Place is Light Spring

I love Aha moments and sudden connections that allow things to make sense.  I keep having such moments in my colour journey as I learn new things about my own colouring and the colours that suit me best.  It took some time to find out that my colour home is in the Spring category but when I began to explore it, specifically reading about and exploring  True Spring and Light Spring,  I encountered the statement "Light Spring women often arrive at their analysis believing they are Autumn."  I am not sure where I saw this, but it was on the blog of a colour analyst and it reminded me immediately of my own colour journey.  I have a theory about why this happens.

Light Spring is a neutral-warm category and within it some people have a very warm and golden appearance to their skin.  Online much of the colour information and the celebrity examples will lead you to believe that the light seasons, Spring and Summer, are blonde seasons, so if you have brown hair, light or medium and golden-looking skin and you know you suit warmer colours, it's not a big stretch to believing you are an Autumn.  I know this because I've been there.  People look at me and guess Autumn.  The light colours of the Autumn palette look okay.  So do the light and medium colours of True Spring.  They all look okay until I wear the colours of Light Spring and then it's impossible to wear anything else. 

 This is a sample of what some Light Spring colours look like, though not a complete palette.

And this is the Spring palette from Color Me Beautiful's four season system.  It's more similar to SciArt Light Spring,

I don't look light, I generally look medium, perhaps medium light.  I have fair skin, usually the second lightest foundation colour on offer in a line with a large range.  Often warm skin reads as slightly darker than cool skin, probably because a golden tone looks a bit like a suntan. The colours of Light Spring are light in comparison with other palettes but they still include a range of light to dark and on a Light Spring person they do not all look light just as the Bright Season colours do not overpower a Bright Season person like they would someone else.  Light Season colours might look insipid on someone who wears Dark or Bright colours best but not insipid on a Light Season person.  

You do not have to look light to wear a light season palette best although light season people tend to successfully pull off blonde hair.

But how many of those celebrity blondes are naturally blonde?  Most have light to medium brown hair.

The Dominant Trait Theory of Colour Anaylsis

The dominant trait theory of personal colour analysis is heavily pushed on the internet, sometimes due to the marketing ploy of selling simplicity and other times I think just due to ignorance.  It's a hit and miss system which works often enough, perhaps, to mislead people into thinking it's effective but it only takes a tiny bit of logic to realise it can't be.  How many natural blondes over thirty do you know?  There aren't many and yet we are told that the light season palettes are for people who are all light- light skin, light hair and light eyes.  This makes the reverse supposedly true, with darker hair, skin and eyes being the supposed sign of the darker seasons, Winter and Autumn.  In the dominant trait method all people of colour are assigned to the Autumn and Winter categories and all blondes are Springs or Summers.  People who are very medium are sometimes left out of the dominant trait explanations entirely and spend ages trying to decide if their mediumness is more light or more dark so that they can squeeze themselves into one of the two categories.

Sometimes I see a compromise, where the statement is this:  If you are light for your ethnicity then you are a spring or summer.

It's all rubbish according to the SciART method of personal colour analysis and I continue to be in agreement with that.  Skin is what most noticeably reacts to colour that is placed near it and reacts in complimentary or unflattering ways.  Hair and eyes are distractions though when you are trying to figure out your best colours without a draping process where hair is covered and skin reactions being observed.  In my experience my light-medium hair, which can look darker in photos often leads people to think I must be better in deeper colours.  The deeper colours make a connection with the hair and that's where the eye goes and yet what I kept seeing in deep and even medium deep colours is that my overall appearance looks heavy and dragged down, not rich and vibrant as it should if those colours were right.

When someone else tells you that a certain colour looks good on you, they are often connecting it with your hair. I have had people say to me 'that colour looks great with your hair' and sales people are particularly likely to do this.   

Like most people, I had lighter hair in childhood than I do now, so some people say that when applying the dominant trait method of colour analysis we should look to our childhood hair colour.  I have to admit that I might have ended up looking at the Spring palettes much sooner if I had used that strategy, but we shouldn't have to remember childhood hair colour.  If a colour flatters us it flatters us in adulthood with darker hair just as much as it did in childhood with lighter hair because it's the skin colour that matters, more specifically the undertones of the skin and how colour placed next to the skin harmonises or doesn't with the colours that are in the mix of your skintone.  Reflecting onto the skin and influencing its appearance, colours we wear can flatter, compete with or simply not relate to our faces, which effects our appearance of health as well as potentially making us simply pleasing to look at.  The human eye generally appreciates harmony.

Spring Palettes

As I play with Spring colours I am finding that both the True Spring and the Light Spring palettes seem quite good but while it doesn't seem that colours can get too warm for me, they can get too intense.  Some of the colours in True Spring are too much, and would require makeup to help me compete.  Bright spring is more hit and miss because many of the colours are just too saturated and too bright or dark to work well.   As I discover that a certain delicacy is required in colour for me, I am reminded of how for a long time I thought I needed softness in colour.  I am now convinced it's lightness.  Clear colours are better than muted ones and softness in colour is essentially a muting achieved with grey.  Clear, light and mostly warm, which is Light Spring, literally gives me a release of tension in my gut, a sigh of relief that I am not carrying the weight of heavier or stronger colour and probably why every winter I would retreat to the relief of camel/beige and grey.  These perfect for Light Spring neutrals brought me relief after wearing colours that were too heavy.

I'm not good at recognising or understanding my own emotions so this gut feeling has taken me awhile to understand.  I approach everything intellectually, looking for ways to measure and calculate and find the right answer.   This can be done with colour analysis but I think there is also quite likely something in our guts that can tell us when we are wearing a good colour.  It feels like home.   I don't have to live in beige and grey although I do really like them.  There are colours I can happily wear which are bright, light, warm and very cheerful.  They don't look pale on me because they match my own level of colouring.  They are light in comparison with other palettes and other complexions.  

Makeup Clues

While makeup isn't a definitive way to figure out your best colour palette it can be informative to discover what works for you and what doesn't. I was really struggling to make makeup work without looking really heavy and artificial on me. It was baffling because I could find colours that seemed quite good, corals and peaches and even quite orange lipsticks look like they should work but they were only sort of working.  It was so easy to get into drag queen or clown territory.  Cool colours sit on top of my face like icing on a cake.  Warm colours look like they should be good, but they were always too heavy.  Struggling to make Autumn colours look as good on me as they did on other Autumns lead me to try the Spring direction and it was a noticeable improvement but still I struggled with lipstick.  It looked heavy and I could only just lightly dab a bit on with my finger, blot it and make do with that approach.  It didn't seem right to me that I would have to wipe off 2/3 of makeup in order to make it work.  It dawned on me that I needed a very sheer and light application and that tinted lip balms and very sheer lip  tints were what worked best for me.  This is very much a sign of being a Light Season.  Makeup becomes too much very quickly.

Style Type Clues

And then there is the undeniable fact that my style identity points to a significant amount of the Ethereal Type and that my facial profiling for Dressing Your Truth points mostly to type one.  These are all consistent with the light, clear, sometimes sheer and delicate nature of the Light Spring palette including the type of makeup and texture of fabrics that work best.

I write about all of this simply because I have to in order to process it, and because it gives me pleasure to.  I hope it helps anyone who is also trying to figure out seasonal palettes and especially those who may be confused or mislead by the dominant trait theory.  You don't have to look like your palette.  You do not need to look light or dark or bright, you just need to find the colours that suit you.

Monday, 9 July 2018

There Are So Many Lost Poems

The thoughts are so abundant and complex and yet fleeting and they all seem important so I carry a notebook with me to write them down.  I should be more modern and use dictation.  That’s what Jim thinks I should do but I like writing.  It makes the ideas more solid.  The best ideas come when I cannot write, when I am driving or just about to fall asleep.  Sometimes in such a moment a complete poem composes itself in my head.  There are so many lost poems.

There are many unwritten stories too though I struggle with those.  I have many ideas that remain unfinished.  It is difficult to articulate them. 

I’ve never understood why people think I am very articulate.  It is something that has been said of me all my life and yet I know just how much I am not articulating.

I think that is why I like painting.  I can articulate in images and colours.  I wonder if those times when I stop painting are due to that sort of frozen state I get mentally.  A mental fatigue where I cannot figure out what I am thinking or feeling or seeing.  I am in survival mode.  I need recharging and restoring and sometimes I just need to hide from the world.  There is too much world and there is too much going on in my head so I cannot process it all.  I cannot be creative or articulate when my brain is whirring with all of the things I am supposed to do like pay a bill or make a meal and it feels as though I have forgotten how to do those things.  It feels as though my body is made of lead and I cannot possibly do those things.  But then I do something, maybe a trivial thing but something and I feel guilt.  If I can do this why can I not do that?  

I have not painted in about a month, after painting constantly for a month or two prior.  I cannot paint when stressed and yet not painting causes some stress.  It’s a difficult place to get out from but I will.  The desire is there but the body is not yet willing.  And there is some fear.  What if I have forgotten how?  The way back in is to not paint a thing, but a feeling.  Today I managed an hour of painting and this is what I got onto two small canvases.  It’s a start.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

What is Warm Blue and Should I Wear it?

I am endlessly fascinated with colour.  It is my favourite obsession and it supports my other  favourite obsessions, painting, personal colour analysis and gardening.  Colour expresses so much and I even use that when I retreat from colour.  When I am overwhelmed and I want soft, gentle feeling neutral colours, that is still very much an emotional response to colour.  The tendency to describe colour with the terms warm or cool is a complicated matter that relates to our perceptions and associations with the natural world, since of course colour doesn't have an actual temperature.  When we were in primary school we were probably taught that the blue-purple-green side of the colour wheel was the cool side and the re-orange-yellow side was the warm side.  The placement of pink seems to be generally on the warm side though that is debatable as pink is red with white added and white cools a colour.

Black, white or blue added to a colour takes it into a range that humans generally see as cool, while yellow, orange and usually red take a colour into a warmer range.  Interestingly, red can be neutral if it has equal amounts of yellow and blue added to it, otherwise yellow warms it by taking it in the orange direction and blue cools it by taking it into a more wine or cranberry kind of red.

Cooling down orange is only achieved slightly, by adding white or black and so orange is not a good colour for people who are purely cool in their own colouring or who are neutral but leaning very cool.  Yellow can be made to look cooler by the addition of blue so that it cools down the yellow but doesn't become green.  If you can imagine the yellow you are looking at tipping over into green then you are probably looking at a cool yellow.  Blue is made warmer by the addition of yellow and yet, maybe it isn't.

Many people perceive red as a warm colour and so the addition of red to a colour is also described as warming it up.  In the art world there is much debate over which is the warm blue, a violet-blue or a green-blue.  Again, warmth and coolness is a perception and not a fact.  In art it matters mainly because cool colours are said to receded and warm to advance, which is also a perception thing and not a fact but perception is what art is all about.  If you want something to look as though it is further away in a two dimensional rendering you must employ some visual tricks, one of which is to use colours the human eye preceives as receding.  In this case it is usually agreed that the yellowed blues recede and the blues with red added advance and thus people argue that yellowed blues (teal, aqua, turquoise, cyan, cerulean) are cool.  In the world of personal colour analysis those blues are referred to as warm.

Purple is also interesting in this regard because we generally consider the purples that lean red to be warm and the purples that lean blue to be cool as we perceive red to be warmer than blue.  I was puzzled then about how the purely warm seasons in colour analysis (True Autumn and True Spring) were usually assigned a very pure purple and even some bluish purples.  I also know from my own experience with purple that I am more flattered by a true purple than by a red-violet.

Here is why:  In this case it is a matter of complementary colours.  Someone who is a purely warm season has yellow/gold/orange predominantly in their skin undertone and the colours opposite those on the colour wheel are blue and purple.

For a True Spring the undertone is yellow, whose opposite is true purple but a bright blue (with yellow added but not enough to make green) is also a good colour because skin with a yellow undertone can also read as a bit orange.

For a True Autumn the undertone is gold which is yellow but browned/darkened and the complementary colour reflects that so bright blue is not in the True Autumn palette and the purple is slightly muted just as the golden complexion is.

It seems to be the case that this use of complementary colours doesn't work as well for those with cool skin tones and I wonder if that is because it's flattering to enhance yellow or golden tones but not quite desirable to enhance blue ones.  Enhancing the pink in a cool complexion is better.  A cool yellow works for some types of cool-toned people but it's so difficult to find the right yellow it's rare that a purely cool person will wear yellow effectively.  Cool skin also has pink undertones and the opposite on the colour wheel for pink is green (because the opposite of red is green)  Cool greens look great on people with cool undertones and enhancing any pink in the complexion tends to be seen as a sign of health.

According to those who colour analyse people, neutral skin tones are most common, though they still lean slightly warm or cool so an understanding of how this concept of warmth or coolness applies to colours is helpful for everyone.  In the 12 tones systems (all based on SciART)   there are eight neutral categories and four 'true' categories. Even if you don't like or understand the SciART system or any colour analysis system it can be helpful just to understand how colours we wear relate to the undertones of our skin.  If yellow is a difficult colour for you and orange practically impossible, you likely have a lot of coolness to your skintone and could be a Winter type.  If blue is difficult though not impossible you may be an Autumn type.  If yellow is one of your best colours you may be a Spring type and if you can wear any sort of blue easily you may be a Summer type.

Purple and Teal often work for everyone as they tend to have equal mixes of warm and cool colours.  

Friday, 29 June 2018

Playing With Spring Colours

Once I start collecting images I see how there are so many options for Spring colours. Just as with the season itself, green is abundant.  Here are some colours I would wear, and want to start wearing more of. Lately I am not finding them, or at least not in the styles and fabrics I want.  I don't have a lot of clothing and I like simplicity, with everything working together.  That's the beauty of drawing from one seasonal palette. 

I love the idea of a tomato red dress but not this style.

I often shy away from turquoise but this top is pretty and I love the deeper turquoise of the dress.

Spring colours are quite literally delicious and juicy.  I am madly in love with this yellow though have yet to find it in a garment I could wear.  I would settle for yellow shoes.

It takes a bit of practice to spot warm blue but turquoise, teal and purple are colours that work for everyone though there will be better and worse versions. It helps to know if you are looking for bright or muted, dark or light versions of them.  Spring purple is very true purple-not too blue or too red. 

 I've always thought this was a great colour combination.

 Spring colours are often found in food, especially fruit.

That pink is not likely to work well unless kept away from the face.  It's probably Bright Spring.

 And Vanilla ice cream, oh how I love it.

Some of the best examples of Spring colours come in flowers, but there is also gorgeous green foliage to consider.  The green of the leaves here is perfect.

When I had a garden it was well known that my favourite thing was what I called the sunset colours.  I collected plants with this colouring, especially roses and rhododendrons.

 Ranunculus, tulips and poppies come in these gorgeous colours too.

I've gotten very lazy with photo credits these days.  All images are found on Pinterest and if I've used your photo and you want me to remove it please message me.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Spring, Autumn or Just Warm?

Yes, I am still obsessed with personal colour. 

Colour Palette

My online colour analysis resulted in a category called Warm Autumn which kind of straddles the Autumn and Spring palettes used by the SciART system.  This result was very useful to me in the sense that I knew I was struggling to decide whether Autumn or Spring was better and it didn't seem to be a struggle commonly described.  There are a few obviously warm celebrities for whom there is no agreement about whether they are Spring or Autumn.  Marcia Cross is one of those and so is Beyonce.  For awhile I just settled on the idea of being warm-dominant and very medium, and knowing I can worry less about clarity or mutedness.  I thought I might be content with a colour diagnosis that was nicely open like this, but that was silly of me.  I know myself to be someone who loves precision.  I like the best, most accurate answer.  Maybe it's just that the same answer can be worded in more than one way and I have a preference for certain wording.

For awhile now I have played with colour fans from both SciART True Autumn and True Spring. (Different systems use different names and slightly different palettes but I am still a fan of the SciART)  I find that using these two palettes gives me a better sampling of possible warm colours and colour analysis is not as restrictive as many people believe because there are always a couple sister palettes one can dip into.

My Mum knows she looks best in cool, slightly greyed colours and I suspect she is a Soft Summer,  but she dips into True Summer and Dark Winter and those both make sense.  True Summer is still cool and slightly muted with grey, although it is fully cool whereas Soft Summer and Dark Winter are slightly warmed though not necessarily on a level where most of us would recognise that.  One clue is that they both have a small degree of taupes and browns in their palette whereas the pure cool seasons do not.   Mum's default colours are blues and berry tones and if she's not a Soft Summer she is probably Dark Winter.  My Dad is also probably Dark Winter and my brother looks like one of these categories as well.  Given this, it doesn't surprise me much that I assumed I was one of these too.  I imitated my mother in dress style and colours for most of my life.


Photography and computer monitors are often inaccurate with colour representation.  These can only be used to get an idea of a colour palette and samples of Spring often look a bit less saturated on the computer screen than they actually are.  True Spring doesn't have any true pink and what looks like pink in these images is very definitely coral on my Spring fan. Next to true pink it will look more orange but next to true orange it begins to look pink.  

It's not science but I do it anyway....playing with photos is mainly just an attempt to show here what I have found with the actual palette fans and my experiences with clothing.


 I can't get rid of the belief that I am actually a SciART True-Warm Spring who can wear some of True-Warm Autumn even though I was analysed as an Autumn category in a different colour system.   As good as the analyst is, and I do believe she is very good, analysing from photos is difficult because accuracy is difficult and because it's not going to give the same effect that draping does, where the face actually reacts to the colours.  I seem to be one of those people who looks more like a stereotypical Autumn than Spring but that doesn't make it so.  I can certainly just go with the idea that I am a Warm and play with all purely warm colours, not worrying much about whether they are clear or muted, but sticking to the lighter and medium ones.  In reality that's essentially what I do but I can get rather obsessed with finding the 'right' answer and I think that in terms of 12 season SciART analysis the right answer is Spring and not Autumn.

My Experiences Tell Me This:

Autumn colours can look a bit heavy and dull although the warmth in them looks good

I only look good in some ( maybe half ) of TA colours but all of TS colours

A portion of the Autumn palette is too dark and heavy for me-the lightest colours are best

Autumn makeup is too much/heavy for me

Autumn deal breaker colour is rich burgundy/maroon which is not stunning on me.

Spring deal breaker colour is warm bright blue which looks very good, better than burgundy.

Light Spring deal breaker colour is light golden khaki which is also quite good on me

Spring makeup is better on me than any other season, with Autumn second

Key Thing:
With the True Autumn palette there are colours I would wear and some I would never wear because they aren't good on me.   With the True Spring palette there are colours I would wear and some I would save for special situations because they are psychologically too intense for my comfort.   

Here I am with the Autumn colours.  In my opinion they look good but not as good as Spring.  A little bland perhaps.  They look more muted than I am.  I think one reason I use the lighter colours is that the mutedness isn't as obvious. The wine-pink colour isn't good on me and the darkest colours aren't either.  The teals are good but perhaps Spring teal is better.

Just for fun, I'm looking at Light Spring as a palette I might sometimes borrow from it and it is possibly just as good an option or better than Autumn. I wouldn't wear the pinks and seem to look a bit orange near them but everything else looks like a possibility.  As Autumn is a bit muted this is a bit light.  The colours might look a bit insipid on me but could perhaps be incorporated into a mix of colours where True Spring is predominant and near my face.

 And this is fun...Pick a blue.  Do you think I am equal to the True and Light Spring blues?  I do.  More exciting on me than the Autumn blues.

Conclusion:  I could do worse than to wear some Autumn colours, or Light Spring colours but in Sci/ART I am a True Warm Spring.

Lipstick Draping 

 I also tried the makeup route for testing season.  It's not as reliable as clothing but it can sometimes help. 

A woman I know on a Facebook Colour group is a Bright Spring who can borrow a lot from Bright Winter ( these seasons are also sometimes called Clear ).  Recently she tested some lipstick colours and shared photos, asking for feedback.  The Bright Spring colour was clearly better on her and looked like it belonged on her face while the Bright Winter colour was sitting on the surface. She pulled it off better by using blush that matched it but the Bright Spring lipstick didn't need any other makeup to make it look good. You can see from such a comparison how important brightness is for her but also that warm brightness is better.

Another challenge about testing your season with makeup is knowing whether or not you have correctly identified the season of the makeup in question.  There is overlap too since makeup interacts with our pigmentation in many cases so many colours can work for more than one seasonal palette if they are influenced by the underneath colour of you. Just google a lipstick colour and see how the different lips and various lighting it can make it look cooler or warmer, lighter or darker than it may look on you.  We also don't necessarily know to look for harmony when looking at makeup.  Some people are not aiming for harmony at all, but simply drama or a deliberately unnatural look such as black or grape-purple lips.

The pink-red-orange range of your best colour palette is where your best lipstick colours come from but the comparison needs to be made with lipstick swatched on white paper not your hand or arm or another person's and not the tube of colour.

I struggled with the lipstick method though because everything seemed wrong.  Autumn colours were too heavy and Spring colours too saturated and anything pale soon looked chalky.  Often colours were good and I could see that there was appropriate warmth but somehow it still looked wrong.  Too thick, too intensely pigmented, too heavy and I began to realise it was a formula issue so I only wore lipstick well blotted.  It was a better solution but still just didn't seem quite right.

It wasn't until I discovered the style ID blends that I realised I need a very light and sheer touch with makeup and that it was not a colour issue necessarily.   I look best in a lipstick that leans orange as it will read as coral pink on me but I need a very light and sheer application like a tinted balm.  Most people are seeking intense pigmentation in a lipstick but I am not.

Another clue that I am a Spring and not an Autumn is that Spring is clear, juicy, a bit translucent whereas Autumn is opaque, a bit velvety.   I need that translucence in makeup and perhaps even more so than some Springs because of my style ID.  Springs are more likely than Autumns to benefit from a sheer formula.

So I have  returned to something I had and didn't know was my best. 

Welcome back to Revlon Super Lustrous Rich Girl Red in the Shine formula which is a tinted lip balm.  It is astonishingly good on me as it is a warm tomato red that turns into a dark coral on my lips, not too dark, quite sheer and believable but still giving that polished look that lipstick gives.  When the shine wears away a stain remains though it does come off with eating and drinking. 

You might wonder why I persisted so intensely with lipstick if it just wasn't working for me.  There are two main reasons for that, I think.  One is that it was a problem to be solved.  The other is that I like how simple it is to swipe something on my lips and look polished if I am going out the door, and yet it's very easy to remove when I need to.  Most of my friends don't wear makeup and I don't on a daily basis either.  I wanted to be prepared and accomplished at creating the polished or professional or adult look if and when needed.  I also find that something on my lips gives me confidence.  Perhaps that comes from the influence of a former generation.  The adult women in my life when I was growing up tended to wear nothing but lipstick on their faces.  To me it was the symbol of being an adult female.

Do I need a symbol to tell me I am an adult female?  Perhaps not but don't we all do the things that make us feel right?

Over 50 Tall Gamine

Sometimes I reflect on everything I’ve worn over the course of my life.  Does that sound odd or unbelievable?  I have a good memory for t...