Wednesday, 6 July 2016
Return To Your Natural Colours- a Book Review
I enjoy looking at the website authored by Christine Scaman, https://12blueprints.com/ and because of this I decided to buy her book Return To Your Natural Colours ( you can buy it here ) In my own colour journey Christine Scaman's work has been helpful though not the only resource I used online. Hers is the first and so far only book about personal colour that I have bought.
A Review of Return to Your Natural Colours, by Christine Scaman
Personal colour analysis is based on the theory that we all have our own natural set of colours, the colours that we are in skin, hair and eyes, and that this means there are colours of clothing, makeup and accessories that will best suit the colours we naturally are. In the particular system used by Christine Scaman, the author of this book, only skin tone is used to determine your season and whatever hair and eye colour nature gave you is naturally right and perfect. There are no errors and there are both typical combinations and unexpected ones. In some systems there are no redheads with a cool season. In this one, it is a possibility.
It is crucial to understand that the colours we are and the colours we wear skew warmer or cooler depending on how much blue or yellow is used in them. The warmer seasons will have more yellow options and fewer blue ones, with the blues having a yellow tint that makes them more teal or turquoise. The cooler seasons will have more blue and few yellow options. There is a green for everyone but your best greens will be more blue or more yellow depending on your own colouring. There is no orange in the true cool seasons. Your best pinks and reds might be more blue-based or lean more towards rust or peach. It's possible you have some idea of which palette is best for you because humans are apparently better at detecting warmth and coolness than any other aspect of colour. Comparison often helps because we see things that way. Is this a muted colour? Muted compared to what? Is this a bright colour? Bright compared to what? Personal Colour Analysis provides you with a swatch of colours that are in your best palette. The way you use this palette is not only attempting exact matches but as a comparison tool. When the colours fanned out are held next to a garment in the store you can see if that garment is cool and muted or warm and saturated. I know that I am neutral enough that I can wear some warmer colours but I am neutral-cool so the cooler ones are better and some are too warm. It's difficult for me just to eyeball a particular green shirt in a store and know if it's too warm or if it's a warmth within the range that suits me. Practice helps. So does a colour swatch fan. That tricky colour olive green-just try googling it and see how many variations there are for that colour name. Some are much cooler and some much more yellow based. I cannot state that olive green is a colour I can wear well but I can state that some olive greens are.
My theory about olive green is that sometimes the name is used in reference to olive tree leaves which have a grey-green tone and sometimes in reference to a green olive itself which is more of a yellow green. Just think of how great it looks with that orange-red pimento.
Here I Attempt to Summarise:
The book is well priced and easy to read though perhaps best read in small doses as the prose gets a bit purple. It is organised into sections and subsections with chapters but no index.
You could potentially assess yourself with the help of this book and other sources, but that is not the view of the author, it is my view.
She lists some recommended resources at the back of the book as well as a glossary of terms used.
There are sample colour palettes which give you an idea of what each palette is like, though it's an approximation of colour due to printing limitations.
The book will make you feel good about your season and the qualities you share with it. this is helpful for those seasons that are sometimes erroneously deemed mousey. There is no such thing as mousey but a person with soft and muted colouring will not shine next to bright and bold colours, she will be dominated by then and thus she will look meek and mousey. There is nothing about her that needs fixing with hair colour and makeup, it is her colour palette that needs to change. She will glow softly in the right colours.
The seasons/palettes of the 12 Tones system include two purely cool palettes, two purely warm palettes (True) and eight palettes that are more or less neutral with four leaning cool and four leaning warm (Dark, Light, Bright, Soft)
True Winter, Dark Winter, Bright Winter
True Spring, LIght Spring, Bright Spring
True Summer, Light Summer, Soft Summer
True Autumn, Warm Autumn, Soft Autumn
In this system it is skin tone that matters and hair and eyes, although they will naturally work with your skin tone, are irrelevant to determining your season. Other systems will state, for instance, that there are no red heads in a cool season but not this system.
Draping is the only way to tell what your season is and this book does not intend to guide you to assessing yourself.
Although she asserts that draping is the only way to know your season, she also describes personality traits, shapes, and hair colours likely to be found.
There are no photos in the book of clients or celebrities because the author says this is of no help, but she does show clients on her blog/website. We are not served by trying to compare our own colouring to the colouring of someone else.
I particularly enjoyed the sections where she describes how each season enhances it's natural beauty and what detracts from it. This is where the advice is crossing over slightly into style as opposed to merely colour, on the theory that certain colours make sense with certain lines, textiles or accessories. Each season and its inherent colouring gives off a certain vibe that you are best to enhance and not fight or detract from.
Here I Attempt to Say What I LIked and What I Disliked:
I am torn between enjoying the flowery prose and getting bogged down in it. It's a matter of personal taste really and taste aside she writes well. Her ability to see and describe beauty in all of the seasonal palettes and moods is a gift to those who may feel theirs is nothing special or does not fit with current trends or tastes. I personally spent some time feeling as though I was supposed to make myself bolder, brighter and more visible by adorning myself accordingly and that if I didn't I was letting down the sisterhood. I came to realise that I am truest to myself when I wear the colours that are naturally mine, and that I am most drawn to those colours when I forget about what I think I am supposed to like and just go with what makes me feel good. The very definition of 'feel good' will vary and for me it is feeling peace and contentment whereas for others it might be feeling alive and vibrant. Christine makes it clear that these are all differences to celebrate and one is not better than another. I should add that only going by what colours I am drawn to does not instantly lead me to my best palette but it gets me close. I am drawn equally to Soft Summer and Soft Autumn but aware that since I lean cooler, the entire Soft Summer palette works for me but only half to 3/4 of the Soft Autumn palette does. I actually thought I could not be either of those palettes because I liked them. I didn't trust myself to choose objectively and thought I was derailed by bias. THAT is something this book and Christine Scaman's blog have helped me sort out.
The book is also potentially useful if you are interested in becoming a personal colour analyst yourself and want to know more about it or want to build a library of resources. I would love to do this but it's not feasible in a small town as it's a service most likely to be used by professional people.
What I dislike mainly is that I do want pictures of clients, I do want a more complete colour palette at the back and this book does not offer those. This is deliberate. On her website she states that this book could have been massive, much bigger and thus much more expensive so she had to make a decision about what to include and what not to include. I can see how that would be the case. Also, it was not her intention to write a guide to finding your own palette. It was her intention that the book will either encourage you to have a PCA done or that it will support what you are learning about your palette and yourself after having one done. It would be useful in that aspect if several people in one household with different seasonal palettes were to share the book.
There are two aspects of her philosophy with which I personally disagree. I am skeptical about attaching too much meaning to the seasonal colour palette as a guide to personality. There are other systems which do this too, but I need some harder evidence that physical appearance and personality are linked. I do think that physical appearance can influence how people treat you which can impact your developing personality. I am also not convinced that the only way to ever know your personal colours is to be draped in person by an expert. I believe that it is a good way, but not the only way for everyone. It's also not an option for everyone so many of us will rely on our own abilities. These abilities, I believe, vary in skill. Just as we now know that not everyone tastes a tomato in exactly the same way it seems to me it must be true that not everyone sees colours the same way. Not everyone has perfect pitch and can reproduce music just by holding the sound of that music in their minds. Neither is everyone completely tone deaf. I believe some people can hold a visual image of colour in their minds better than others can and thus while most people are not colour blind, some are better at mentally manipulating colour than others are. Christine claims not to be able to hold colours in her mind and thus she believes that drapes are the only way. That may be true for her and by all accounts she is very skilled with the drapes, but I don't accept that it is true for everyone.