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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Seasonal Color Analysis - Old Fashioned Fad or Timeless Beauty Enhancer?

Finding out your color "season" came into the public conciousness around 1980 when Carole Jackson published her book 'Color Me Beautiful'. Her book was #1 on the New York Times best seller list for 11 consecutive years. Because of that, a lot of people thought that Carole Jackson invented color analysis. But she would be the first to admit that wasn't the case. She in fact was the messenger. Someone who discovered a pretty exciting idea and thought it would be great if it were public knowledge so everyone could take advantage of it.

The truth is I own books about personal color theory that date back to 1928. I have personal color palettes that were produced in 1960. In fact, Suzanne Caygill, considered the mother of the 'Seasonal' color language was creating personal color palettes as early as 1942.

The seasonal color theory as most people understood it in the 80's was that everyone on earth fell into one of four seasonal types and that type would remain flattering for their entire life.

I liken that to telling people that they will fall into one of four sizes. Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large and that this will be the case for the rest of their lives. Don't get me wrong. I believe in the basic principles of seasonal color theory. I also understand the rationale of using seasonal names for these four very general categories. The colors of Autumn more than any of the other types do certainly conjure up a mental picture of fall foliage. But I believe that those who have been 'professionally' color typed or self typed into one of only four general color harmonies are missing out on so much and that is sad. They are often working with incomplete or inacurate information.

Many people were color typed during a time when color authors and consultants who talked about personal coloring knew just enough to be dangerous. I was one of them. I read a book about color and thought I had it all figured out. Then I went to a "professional" color consultant just to be sure and was typed as an Autumn. I was thrilled. I wore Autumn colored clothing and Autumn colored makeup and suddenly, just because I was color coordinated, I thought I looked better than ever before. Then I decided I wanted to make color consulting my career and I packed my bags and headed to California to attend the same training that author Carole Jackson had taken and I was promptly typed as a Winter! I was traumatized. I'd been living a lie.

In susequent years, I went to multiple professional color consultants and was told I was a Summer, a Winter, an Autumn, and yes.....a Spring. Why was that? In large part, because I didn't really fit into any of those generic seasonal groups. Winter was too sharp. Summer was too dull. Spring was too bright and Autumn was too warm. So it stands to reason that if well trained consultants had a larger range of color groups to choose from, an accurate analysis might have been possible.

Color analysis is not as popular today as it was back in the 80's when most color consultants didn't really have a great handle on what they were doing (myself included). But the principles of personal color theory are very valid. A good color analysis is so very worthwhile. People who discover their ideal color palette have an ace in their pocket. They know how to choose and wear colors that show them in the most flattering light. They have wardrobes that coordinate easily. They tend to look healthier, more rested, more clear skinned and radiant than those who pay no attention to the colors they wear....or wear whatever the newest fashion colors are whether they suit them or not.

If you had a seasonal color analysis at one point in your life, do consider getting another updated one. Even if the colors you were given 20 years ago were right , they may well not be as right for you now. Our palette often does change somewhat with age.

There are fewer professional color consultants today but they are worth seeking out. They are worth traveling to. They are worth their fees. They have invested in training and are usually passionate about color. They are color specialists who can teach you how to take advantage of one of life's most dependable beauty enhancers. They will give you color swatches to take with you when you shop. (make sure they do - if they don't they are not color analysis specialists). Don't be concerned if they don't use the 'Seasons' as their color system. If you go to five different color consultants using five different color 'systems', you should get colors that look essentially the same from all of them....if they are analyzing you correctly. And for the cost of perhaps two trips to the hair salon, you will walk away with a secret weapon to help you look great for a lot longer than those hair cuts will last.

The Essential Colors system has 16 different color harmonies. One of them is right for you. Find a consultant near you or train to become an Essential Colors certified professional color consultant. http://www.essentialcolors.com/

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