(Series – Part 5 of 5)
For my 50th birthday back in 2013, I did something very out of character: I spent $300 on my appearance, on a personal colour analysis. Me, a jeans-and-t-shirt casual woman, intimidated by anything stronger than lipgloss.
And yet the decision felt simple, and the return on my investment profound. I share below what colour analysis brought me, while highlighting here the take-home message for those of us not in the blush of youth: in your colours, you are not invisible. You are radiant, fresh, riveting.
Struggles I thought were unsolvable
I can remember hearing about “seasons” back in the early 80s at university, but it never engaged me. Along with makeup and fashion or style in general, it just felt like it had nothing to do with me. And yet, I also remember getting ready to go out dancing, in the trendy look of men’s long shirts over black leggings — and realizing I should NEVER wear stark white. Funny that it didn’t occur to me to wonder why that was, when I saw friends that looked smashing in white. Or why all those 80s jewel-tones I loved on the rack were always somehow dissatisfying when I wore them. Looking back, I think I reached the unspoken conclusion that many of us do: it was me that was somehow the problem…
Amid years of clothing colours chosen essentially at random, there was a drift towards strong autumn colour palette thanks to my henna-red hair. I’d first tried henna in my late 20s, as an impulsive summer adventure – and it turned out I loved it, so I kept it. People often assumed it was my real colour – well, for the first few years anyway. And by then, it had become part of my identity.
First inklings of a better way
It surprised me when I began to question, in my 40s, whether the henna-red still looked good on me. The colour had lately seemed… too intense? I didn’t quite have the words, but it felt off. Until one day it was just time to stop colouring and see what my natural colour looked like. I found a forum of women wanting to do the same. Most of us worried about looking older or washed out, whether it was from silver sparkles, or like me, from having what the world called “mousy” hair. And what about the make up or clothing colours we wore (whether deliberate or random, ha), would those need to change?
It was then I discovered there was a Canadian guru of modern colour analysis: Christine Scaman of 12Blueprints. And she lived only 5 hours away!
I devoured everything Christine wrote. The 12-season system made so much sense to me: That colour harmony is very real and science-based. That it’s what we intuitively respond to in, say, the paintings of the masters. Or in the way the colours in a rainforest all belong, as do those in a desert, just not together in the same landscape. The “aha” realization for me was that colour harmony also applied to a person, and their clothing colours. After only a few weeks of reading, I made the leap to book a colour analysis session.
Why colour analysis was a revelation for me
- At the analysis, I absolutely SAW why I was a Soft Summer (a colour family based in cool Summer colours with a touch of campfire Autumn warmth), and not anything else. It wasn’t about any preference – it was about what made my skin glow and my eyes look like jewels.
- As I wrote in my post for St. Valentine’s Day, I was brought to tears when I saw how beautiful my own hair was next to my colours. I was able to let go of the toxic myth that I hadn’t even realized I had absorbed: that there are a few lucky elite who are truly beautiful, and the rest of us have our fleeting moments.
- I saw that there was lipstick that was magic on me, that looked belonging. Blush that melted into me, and lit up my eyes. It has felt deeply game-changing to have a compass in the world of makeup.
- Having a system for choosing clothing colours has made shopping so much simpler – and a system that is anchored to me, not some arbitrary fashion-industry standard. It turns out there are hundreds of colours in a season; my colour analysis made my world bigger, not smaller.
- And perhaps most of all: It’s impossible to be invisible in your colours, whatever your glorious age. The colour harmony is too compelling.
A toast to colour analysis for reclaiming your power.