Sunday, 30 October 2016

Revisiting Return to Your Natural Colours by, Christine Scaman

Find Return To Your Natural Colours at 12 Blueprints
My blog ramblings reveal that I resonate most with types that combine some sort of softened drama with a natural vibe.   ( Soft Dramatic, Flamboyant Natural, Soft Natural and Ethereal in some systems are what resonate with me most. ) Essentially, boho for the tall girl but having to negotiate some curves in my body.  It got more and more complicated and multi-faceted which does have an entertainment value and provided me with lots of fodder for Pinterest boards but then I went back and re-read the Soft Autumn chapter in Christine Scaman's book.  Style gurus all agree that in some manner personal colouring and style lines need to work together.  Some styles seem to innately go with certain colour palettes and it makes sense to me that if your colour palette goes with the colour of you and your style goes with the palette then you will get a harmonious look.  John Kitchener, is noted for saying that colour trumps style in giving you a flattering look.  Getting your colours right has more impact than getting the lines right.  He also notes that we are all blends of types, some of us are blends in colour types and most of us are blends in style types.  This attitude towards blending is, I think, one of the most helpful.  I cannot quite squeeze myself fully in to most types on offer though I do think the creators of them intend some flexibility and just require you to purchase their services to help you tweak it personally.  It gets even more complicated when they try to incorporate personality.

The lines of the body and face must surely matter though and I think they do.  I think that certain lines suit certain colours and that is why they become part of an archetypal package.  You might be very unique ( although I would imagine a frustrated shopper ) if you were determined to wear boho style in primary brights.  You could certainly look artisic, creative and could employ flowing lines while using those colours, but the overall effect would not quite be boho because boho suggests and requires a certain earthiness with a touch of the romantic in appearance and thus indicates some degree of softness.   You would  come across as edgy and arty, I think, if you tried primary-bright boho.  You would certainly get close to tie-dye hippy or funky vintage psychedelia and at that point the terms we would use to describe your style and the general vibe you give off would not actually be boho.  When I thought I could not wear the earthy colours I was rather down about it. 

In Christine's book, where she writes using poetic language that only just manages to avoid  being purple prose. ( I read somewhere on her blog that she is quite aware of this tendency and family helped her edit to reduce that. )  She will definitely make you feel beautiful in whichever colours are yours and likely invoke some lovely images in your mind.

She begins by evoking the colours in terms of a seasonal setting, so for Soft Autumn she takes you to a Tuscan garden.  I'm thrilled already boarding the plane!

Exerpt from her book...

"Natural Setting

What better place to enjoy a glass of wine than a stone courtyard in a Tuscany garden?  Overlooking the vinyards and a nearby village we can pay tribute to the day.  A pergola dripping with climbing rose and jasmine anchors the informal plantings.  The air is dry and fragrant with the sweet coolness of pastel rose and the resinous warmth of rosemary.  Buried in the old brick of the wall, heard rather than seen for the creeping vine that enfolds it, is a fountain from which fresh water spills.

Sunflowers line the stone walls, breaking only for  a solid oak door-way.  Clay pots and urns and are grouped on the terrace,like women in deep discussion.  They contain tailing ivy, edible flowers, aromatic herbs and boxwood, all peacefully warmed by the welcome of the afternoon sun.  The olive grove to one side is woven with meandering paths, like tendrils of a girl's hair.  On the other side, the courtyard is surrounded by a sheltering row of trees, cypress, cedar, and yew.  Stone and wooden benches are placed under trees, foremost consideration is given to the meeting of family and friends."

This is delightfully evocative of a mood, of colours and even personality type if you want it to be.  It does feel quite right to me.  I am the sort who would happily be alone in my Tuscan Terrace garden most of the time but regularly welcome family and friends too.  I love the images of soft, weathered and earthy colours yet with a bit of greyness.  Soft Summer is muted with grey but Soft Autumn with an amber, or a warm grey.    I love the reference to old brick, clay pots, urns, herbs, late summer or early autumn sunshine, lower in the sky but still toasty.  We haven't got much orange here, it's more golden and pink-brown.  Verdigris and rust perhaps.  There are many colours but soft.  If Soft Summer colours are like variations of grey ( green-grey, blue-grey, greyed pink, misty mauve ) then Soft Autumn colours are variations of beige ( pink-beige, golden-beige, honey-beige in various versions are abundant.   There is a spectrum that stars with the neutral grey or beige and adds other colours little by little, giving a gradient effect as we go from beige, through many versions of pink-beige and beige-pink until we get to pinks we would call soft coral because they are slightly warm.  And so it goes with every colour being influenced by this amber light, the light of early Autumn.

Key words Christine Scaman gives in her section for Soft Autumn are:

Natural, sensuous, feminine, gently earthy, gently structured, soft, coppery, toasty, layered, strong, calm, graceful, warm, mellow, comfortable, golden, functional.

Already a sense of style is emerging without anyone labelling it something scary like Flamboyant Dramatic.

She writes of the shapes being influenced by Summer's oval and Autumn's square so that Soft Autumn is something somewhere in between.  Squoval?  An oval with slightly squared corners or a rectangle with rounded corners.    She writes of lines like the twisted fibres in rope, sheaths of hay, straight and yet soft, there is a sense of bending and yielding if needed.  Fabrics are light but not as floaty as Summer.  There is some weight and texture though not yet as dense as the tweed and cordury of Warm Autumn.  Natural fibres are what look and feel right, raw silk, linen and cotton, denim is good and so is light wool.  Clothing lines are straight-ish.  There is a flowing sense to them as they skim the body, not floaty but not structured.

Scarves are perfect to soften and add drape to an outfit, and I have always gravitated to scarves.  I prefer a jauntier cap to a floppy hat, and I wonder if that is the hint of boyish charm that seems to sneak in and play with the feminine side of Soft Autumn. 

 The green blouse that photographs grey is soft and relaxed, so is my scarf, and the earrings are bold and large ( larger than the look in the photo  as there are several hoops of silver and gold ).  Not shown are blue denim boot cut jeans and teal-blue granny boots.   It probably qualifies as Flamboyant Natural more than Soft Dramatic but it works for me whatever you call it.  It feels right and gets compliments of the "you look great" type rather than the "love your dress" type.

Soft Autumn is soft first and foremost and I had trouble reconciling this to the blatant glamour Kibbe required for a Soft Dramatic.  More like his Flamboyant Natural, I prefer fewer accessories, large earrings over necklaces and a bit of a nod to masculine elements, which read as tomboyish.  The Flamboyant Natural guidelines get a bit carried away with assuming one has broad shoulders and thus a very strong T shape is emphasised in clothing.  I do not have noticeably broad shoulders and shoulder pads are not currently en vogue.  Even if they were, with a larger bust and shorter neck they are unlikely to be my friend.  My taste and an instinct towards a casual style along with recognition of a soft and moderately curvy body type sends me looking to Kibbe's Soft Natural for a style home.  I draw on all three of these archtypes and their guidelines but essentially find the simplified version of that in the imagery for Soft Autumn.  There goes colour trumping body lines once again.  When I looked to the guides for body shape first it was confusing.  When I looked to the guides for Personal Colour Palette it made more sense.

In the picture above I am wearing four colours, though people who love bright colours or deep rich colours may not find that this immediately jumps out.  That's true.  It's not the same effect as wearing the three primary colours with black, for instance.  Or rich plum, mustard, green and brown, which I could do in very muted versions but not in those lovey rich, deep versions Natalia wears so well.  I have to 'do me' as they say and I am brown smoke.  It is my fantasy to add some more colourful cardigans to my stash.  I am imagining this outfit with a soft moss coloured cardigan perhaps.   Moss and mustard cardis are on my wish list!


  1. "I am brown smoke"! Love the Tuscan description. Who wouldn't want to be that season. That last shot is spectacular! Not only your colours, but your style as well...even your folded up body! And I adore that gold scarf...although on me it would be death.
    I've had a lovely orgy of catching up my reading of your posts. Thankyou.
    xo Jazzy Jack

    1. I appreciate your visiting and commenting so much, Jack and enjoy the connection we've made. That last outfit really feels like the epitome of 'me'and I am crazy in love with the gold scarf. I'm also getting better at adjusting my photos to reflect my true warmth of colouring. I didn't quite manage that here-tempted to redo this. xoxo


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