by Anna Fraś (Poland)
Sitting across from Christine Scaman, I wondered where exactly her age could be seen. I am a little ashamed to admit that while waiting for the waitress, reading the menu and talking about matters that were of interest to us, I looked carefully at the face, hair, neck, and hands of my mentor. Among the many thoughts there was this one: you can’t see it. I know the age of Christine Scaman, my invaluable teacher of colour analysis. She is quite open about reaching her 60s.
A Look You Can’t Put Into Words
There is a scene in A Scandal in Belgravia (the first episode of the second series of the BBC production) when Sherlock Holmes looks at Irene Adler. And he has the impression of… having lost his detective skills. He quickly looks at Watson and – as always – notices a whole lot of details, as usual a bit embarrassing. But he can’t say anything about Irene. He sees a woman. Full stop.
I smile warmly comparing these two scenes, because, of course, Christine Scaman was wearing a simple blouse with navy blue and white stripes, not a “battle dress.” And I don’t have any detective ambitions. I am more interested in this situation when nothing can be said. What does it actually mean?
When There Are No Easy Answers, You Ask Differently
This detailed question about age is one of many, certainly not the first, not the most important one of those that fly through the head. The question about age is quite natural; it connects with the question: who is this person in relation to me? Who can they be? A guide, discussion partner, someone who asks or someone who answers? Whether someone is (significantly) older or younger than us remains a piece of basic, though not decisive information.
From the tone of the voice, from the content of the speech, from the wisdom and depth of reflection we can guess age, which, however, does not become at all the first topic and is a nosy question. Rather, it’s about the person’s life, experience, how many years of intense thinking about herself and the world that stand behind this unique meeting with someone who is just looking at us and talking to us. That’s how I felt sitting across from Christine at a metal restaurant table set on the pavement of a quiet street in Charlottetown, PEI. And I guess this deepened reflection, deepened attention and listening was partly due to the way she looked.
So What Does She Actually Look Like?
July 3 on Prince Edward Island does not have to be a hot day: there was a lot of light, a sunny day in a temperate coastal climate. Christine, not wearing sunglasses, sat back to the sun. I looked, squinting slightly, at her short, rather dark hair. Who can describe the colour of natural hair illuminated by the sun? Multi-coloured, multi-layered, interspersed with something that can be interpreted as silver threads or solar reflections. If I have to name the whole thing as simply as possible, I’ll hesitate to say medium brown.
Christine wears the simplest makeup every day. Foundation that looks like skin, eyeliner, lipstick. You may not notice it at all, if it wasn’t for the fact it’s so good. Quite dark lipstick does not suggest fascination with the appearance of a femme fatale or any trend. The colour is tasteful, elegant, in place. A very simple outfit. Dark blue and white vertical stripes on a shirt blouse. Earrings.
You can see her. The appearance does not strike the eyes, it does not stand out in a way that is somehow compelling to look. But once you’ve noticed her, it’s so good to come back and keep your eyes on this charming figure that belongs to a lively, strong, adult woman. Distinct dark blue eyes, clear lip contour, clearly defined head and cheeks. She is characteristic. But without being exaggerated.
Slim, petite, athletic compared to most people living in the world. Christine herself is as she should be. We both laugh at ourselves calling our frames “shortish,” but I wouldn’t wish her to be taller. Nothing is missing. However, the wrong colour can sometimes significantly reduce us, somehow shrink us. Especially when it dominates with darkness or brightness over our natural colours. The feeling is as if someone has suddenly shrunk, hunched, became slightly “dusty”, faded like a flower.
What People Look Like After a Colour Analysis
In the right colour, a person obtains their proper dimensions, takes up space in a concrete and meaningful way. Not exaggerated. The impression is as if someone straightened up, began to breathe deeply. And it works for everyone. My mother is five centimeters taller in the right scarf. Of course, this is an optical illusion, we always have the same height, but what it looks to others is another matter.
When my niece puts on her colours, a young interesting woman appears in the place of an adolescent fifteen, observing, thinking, reacting vivaciously to the world. Shapely, as if contoured cheeks. An honest, unusual smile. As if someone adjusted the picture. Or as if someone set the best focus on the camera. As if we were given well-made glasses.
Yes, I admit, the title is a bit confusing. Colour analysis alone does not change us. It only gives a tool to build our own appearance on our own terms, according to our own idea and… be successful. It’s like in childhood when we got crayons: the final image always depended on us. Here we get precisely defined ranges of colours that we may use. Painting and composing is our own work. My colour analysis teacher composes her appearance almost minimalistically. Everyone who knows her claims that she looks fabulous.
And it is true not only for a colour specialist. The appearance changes even on the first day after a colour analysis. Even if we only have a suitcase of clothes. We know the direction and it is possible to choose something better to present ourselves to the world. And from this time on, time works for us not against us. More and more elements are starting to work together. Our choices are becoming better and better. And our appearance does really age like wine: becoming more refined, tasteful, impactful.
Everyone Wearing Their Colours Makes an Impression:
- You can see them. Not some facts about them, e.g. age, occupation, etc. You can see their essence: individuality, taste, charm. Atmosphere. Vitality. A kind of intelligence and grace in this world that is theirs alone. Their strength and gentleness. Their potential. It is worth remembering that this refers to a man as well, so it’s also his unique aura and attractiveness.
- The eyes become the most visible part, the focus. This does not mean that other facial features disappear. On the contrary, there is harmony in this picture, so everything has its voice. The eyes are set in a three-dimensional face. Beautiful skin and the lip colour are distinct and meaningful. But nothing dominates the eyes. So nothing disturbs the view. And you can clearly see the person.
- This is someone from planet Earth. They are not a phantom. Not someone a bit smudged and crumpled. What’s more, they possess effortless elegance. As animals and plants and other phenomena on this planet possess. A cat, tulip, exotic beach, cloudy sky, winter sunset.
- I will say it again: you can see the person. So they don’t blend in with the crowd, wall, surroundings. They aren’t cloaked in invisibility. It is easy for them to make contact with a shop assistant, neighbour, colleague, the audience, boss. It’s easy to listen to them. It’s easy to see that they want to say something and how much it matters to them. It’s easy to talk to them.
- They are easy to remember. They are full of character. We do not recognise them by any detail (this is not about the effect of a lady in a stunning yellow dress, when we only remember the dress). We rather remember this person like a soldier who missed his girlfriend, although he couldn’t tell his mates the colour of her eyes. Anyway, does the word ‘blue’ describe the amazing colour of anyone’s eyes?
- They look like a million dollars. Like someone of undeniable value. On the mundane level, just like someone who is / can be the owner of a great car or a beautiful house with an interesting interior. None of us is created to look like a poor relative or someone miserable. On the contrary, although we may never have seen it, we have the dignity of a Roman empress, a determined knight, the charm of an elf, the wealth of the Greek goddess of abundance, the majesty of an eagle or the grace of silver bells.
- They look like someone who has talent, energy and their own beliefs. In other words: like a human being.
Without dressing up. Without pretending. Without aspiring to be someone else.
Be yourself means here: look like only you can.