Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Colour Analyse Yourself, Maybe

I very nearly had the opportunity to try a professional colour analysis although I have to admit I balked at the price and would have difficulty justifying it to myself.  I have no need to improve my image for the sake of a career and it's too late for the post-divorce help me catch another man strategy.  Additionally, I really believe that after much trial and error, and admittedly money spent on the wrong clothing, I have found my way into the best palette.  Having a professional analysis done would mainly be to satisfy my curiosity about the process, to simply enjoy the examination of colour and perhaps I would like the ego boost of finding out that I am correct in my final conclusion.  I'd probably bet the farm on it, but the reason for my confidence is that I have actually spent the past year trying out most of the palettes as well as studying as best I can with the limitations of the internet, just which colours and their variations belong in which palettes.

Some professional analysts say nobody can find their own palette accurately, but I suspect that isn't actually true.  I think the truth is simply that for many it's not easy and often it's because there is actually too much internet 'help'.  Some people guess their way in with more ease than others and some are probably happily living with their second best palette or achieving a hit and miss combination of best colours and second bests.  Whatever makes you happy and confident is probably good enough, though I am less inclined to accept 'good enough' and tend to want the best answer or the correct answer if one exists and then I need to know why.  So, I am a good candidate for Personal Colour Analysis and I am probably also a good candidate for becoming an analyst.  However, while I cannot easily justify spending close to five hundred dollars on analysis (it would involve travel for me as well which increases the cost) I also cannot justify training to be an analyst as I seriously doubt there is a market for it where I live.  The money invested in training and setting up a business would not be recouped.

There are analysts online who offer various forms of help in self-analysis as well as their services for in person, skype or photo determination of your best colour palette.  I have studied them all in detail and have my opinions on their quality and effectiveness.  I have also examined the versions that create more categories than the 12 created by the Sci/Art originator, Kathryn Kalisz.    While some people favour simplification of the system others favour complicating it and I am in agreement with the practitioners of Sci/Art that 12 categories works well, more is splitting hairs and fewer is over-simplifying and thus only getting you into the ballpark.

The best I can offer as help for those who are on the journey of trying to figure out their own colouring and best palette, is to describe what I did, what worked and most especially the mistakes I made.  I tried every seasonal palette to some degree, though some were more obviously wrong than others.  I worked in a progression from cool to warm, finding as I went that warmth was good and each time being surprised at how if a little was good, more was better.  Certain biases got in my way, as did trying to analyse myself in photos.  Online quizzes and the multitude of descriptors that supposedly explain what a person of each seasonal category looks like were also no help.  This latter is a mistaken idea, because while there are people who fit the standard look for each season, many if not most people do not.

Sci/Art says that it is skin only that matters, hair and eye colours are irrelevant in figuring out your season because skin is what changes according to colours placed next to it.  Skin glows and looks healthy in the best colours and when skin glows and looks healthy our eyes and hair also look their best.  If you want to colour your hair, knowing your season and best colours can help you make better hair colour decisions but it is erroneous to believe that certain hair colours always mean certain seasons or even that to be a warm season hair and eyes must also be warm and the same for cool seasons.  Humans come in greater variety than that.

Experts or systems that assign skin tone, hair and eye colours to the seasons will invariably leave out some possible combinations.  If they are honest they will indicate that any skin type/season can have any eye or hair colour and thus make impossible any attempt to slot yourself into a category by that method.  This is the method that ends up assigning all women of colour to one of the two dark seasons and all blondes to Spring or Summer.

I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what my eye colour is and is it warm or cool.  There are even sites that will show you eye patterns which supposedly relate to the different seasons.  They are fun perhaps, but not really helpful.

The method of knowing which colours are your best is to wear them and see.  You might do this painstakingly with individual colours, discovering which yellows, which greens, which reds suit you best, but the Sci/Art method has colours arranged into sets with the same properties so that they all work harmoniously together with you and with each other.

There are tonal systems, a little more vague, taking one colour property, such as warm or cool, bright or soft, light or dark, and offering you a larger set of these colours, essentially leaving the job of narrowing down your best from within them.  This method is taking the three properties of colour and applying only two to a person, identifying the dominant one and leaving it up to you to identify the second one through trial and error or to not identify it and to consider close enough to be all you need.  Perhaps it is. 

The variety of palettes shown online, and the fact that inconsistency in computer monitors will alter the colours we are perceiving, can add to the confusion.  Two different systems may use the same name for a palette but offer different colour selections.  I favour the Sci/Art system because I know how the colours are chosen and combined in palettes.  In the end it doesn't matter so much which system you choose, but you need to know that being determined a category in one system doesn't guarantee you are the same category in another system.

I have created Pinterest boards dedicated to collecting images of colours, usually represented in clothing, that fit various palettes.  The problem with doing this is that when we pin images found on Pinterest we are taking something that someone else has decided belongs in that category.  Just because someone else labelled a particular image Soft Summer does not mean they are correct.  I was mislead for some time because many images pinned as Soft Autumn are actually the softest, lightest colours of True Autumn in the Sci/Art system.  

There is a Sci/Art analyst in Vancouver but travelling to Vancouver is an expensive proposition for me and definitely not in my budget this year.  I spotted an announcement on Facebook that this analyst was considering a trip to Victoria and briefly I was excited.  However, she has changed her plans and I have reconsidered the expense of something I don't really need and have difficulty justifying.  It took me a long time and it did cost me money, but I figured out my own colouring and best colours to wear and I think anyone can. 

Figure out which is better, warmer or cooler by testing reds, ( blue-red and orange-red ) and silver and gold.  The harder it is to tell the more likely you are to be a neutral season.  Compare royal blue with teal if you think you are a darker season and peach with pink if you think you are a light season.  Make sure to do this in good, natural light. 

Test a variety of colours for your best saturation level and darkness level.  Don't believe those who say Bright season people look bright.  Some of them do but not all.  Some just look right in bright colours and clear chroma.

Trust your instincts but also be aware that your preferences might lead you astray.  I have a preference for soft and muted but the Soft Autumn palette is too muted for me and can look a bit drab. True Autumn is still muted but less so and fits with my own saturation level.  I didn't know this just looking at the colours but could see it when I wore them.  My need for some mutedness lead me to try Dark Winter colours too because they also have a muted quality.  So does True Summer.  Often there will be some palettes that are easy to rule out.  For me it was brights that were the worst, so Bright Winter and Bright Spring were never contenders for more than five minutes.  I recall briefly wondering if I could liven up my appearance with bright colours.  In general the effect is the opposite unless you are a bright season person.

Note:  You don't brighten someone up with bright colours or warm them up with warm hair dye and makeup although some people, including some beauty professionals think so. 

As much as I like to think my way through things, and I need to understand and intellectualise everything, you can't think your way into the best palette, you have to see it.  The thinking can come after when you try to understand WHY it is the best palette.

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