Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Warm Fair Skintones

 Recently I watched a video in which a makeup artist said that the women with very fair, but warm complexions have the most difficult time getting the right foundation.  I can attest to this to some degree because I've always struggled with foundation.  Most companies assumed that very fair skin has a pink undertone, which seems a strange assumption to me but perhaps it's more typical.  I do not and pink toned foundation sits on my face like a mask.  Products are much better now and I've reached a stage in life where I rarely wear foundation though a dab of concealer is useful at times.  I find my best match wherever a very neutral bisque or ivory can be found.  L'Oreal True Match N1 is the colour that disappears into my skin.

Many colour consultants and online sources seem to assume that someone with autumn colouring will have a sort of golden glow.  I think this is simply enhanced by Hollywood's penchant for that so that all of the celebrities who are examples of Soft Autumn are usually wearing fake tans or loads of bronzer (or both)    They are also likely to dye their hair blonde.  So, although fair skinned brunettes who are Soft Autumn must exist, it's not easy to find them in celebrity examples.

I went searching.  It was hard.  This model below has beautiful pale skin but the golden glows abound elsewhere even if they remain light-medium in tone.



                                                         Fair skinned soft autumn

                                                           J Crew

I love this image.  I love the colours and the casual boho vibe, even though it would drive me nuts to wear all of those beads.  I love the unexpected combination of rust with pale aqua and soft mauve.   This model looks great in these colours and her skin is not golden-tanned.  I love the contrast between the darker brown hair and the fair skin and yet it is still soft.  The makeup is pretty and natural looking and I'd love to know what that lip colour is.

This may not be Soft Autumn but could actually even be deep autumn.  What I find useful about this photo though is that this skin, which is not overtly warm, looks good with these warm colours.  It's difficult to get examples of neutral or warm pale skin tones.

Drew looks great here, in neetral-warm tones.  That's the lipstick I've been chasing my whole life.

Molly Sims often looks very golden in photos but here she looks less so.  Still fair skinned and warm.


 It was hard work, but I persevered.

Very fair skinned but warm, suiting nude and blush tones, apricots and warm pinks best,  the stunning Emily Browning.  At first glance she does look sort of soft pink, but it's a warm pink. 

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Drew looking soft and golden.  Although blonde as a child, her natural hair colour now is a lovely rich brown.  Still she suits  some warm caramel tones.  I have seen pictures of her looking quite fair skinned, especially in the 90s with the grungy pale.


 Warm skin just doesn't always look the way you think it should.  Basically you know it's warm toned skin (or cool toned) based on how it reacts to the warm or cool drapes.

Here is an Autumn woman with fair and very pink looking skin.  Her eyes are like jewesl and her skin glows.


 This woman thought she had cool toned skin.  She thought she was a Winter because she did recognise the need for deep colour saturation.

Here she is being Wintery.  the difference is amazing even though you'd look at the Winter pallete and think, yeah these look like they match my skin.  The right colours for hair and clothing take years off her look and she just glows.


 She doesn't seem to be blogging anymore but I found these pictures on her blog.


The analyst who did her draping is also a fair and pink skinned Autumn. Dark Autumn, even!.


 Various DIY tests are suggested.  Some analysts offer hints and tips to find your type for yourself and others insist it can only be done with an in person draping by a trained analyst.  Colour me skeptical.  However, it's not easy and there is much room for error.  If I had the access to an analyst (and the money for the analysis plus the travel it would require)  I would consider doingit.


                                                                


                                              

 Another celebrity I've seen listed as a Soft Autumn is Melissa McCarthy.  Photos of her with very fair skin and very dark hair are most typical but this one seems to be showing colouring that's a little more natural.

 Minimal makeup, highlights and a definite golden look to her skin, I notice those silver looking earring look right so she must be fairly neutral in her colouring and can wear silver or gold.

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My skin tone looks something like this outdoors, too.  When I take photos indoors, attempting to get really strong light so that the colours show up properly and I don't get an exaggerated contrast of light and dark in my own colouring, it tends to cool and lighten my skin even more.  We usually see her looking more like this, fair skin, light pink makeup and darker hair for a more striking contrast.


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Who knows, with photography, lighting and makeup, it's difficult to know a celebrities real colouring but I find it difficult to know my own too.  In photos I look like pale-face Melissa and in the bathroom mirror (which has a large skylight for natural lighting) I look more like golden Melissa.

I couldn't resist adding this photo because I think this is stunning.  This woman has been draped as a Dark Autumn and her very fair skin does not look strikingly golden at all.  This is so stunning I want to be a Dark Autumn too.  As with Dark Winter though, the darker colours often seem to swallow me up.  Colours are right when they match your own depth of colouring.  Depth does not mean darkness, but is a less definable quality.  These colours do not compete with her. 


                                                   Pinterest- dead link


It's easier to find fair skinned Dark Autumns, perhaps because they really can't pull of blonde hair and spray tans.  The Soft Autumns can, though it may not truly be their best look.  Anyone who can get away with looking golden will do so in Hollywood Land.  This woman is not only fair she has a noticeable mauve-pink tone in her colouring.  And yet she looks amazing in the warm, rich colours.


Looking at her I now cannot imagine her in pink and yet wouldn't her blush tones guide you thinking her colouring is cool?  That rose-mauve lip looks fantastic and natural.  

Well, now I am wishing I were Dark Autumn I will go back to the top of the page and admire the Soft Autumn image, the category where I am more likely to fit.



Tuesday, 27 September 2016

I've Always Got The Blues

Blue has always been a safe colour for me.  It's a deep breath and long, slow exhale.  There are so many blues and it's difficult to find a shade of blue I don't like, but I do have my favourites.

No surprise, I like blue a bit muted.  Blue is a colour that is inherently cool, but it can be warmed up with additions of yellow until the point it reaches green.  That's why all teal colours are just a little bit warmer than pure blue, they have that element of yellow/green in the mix.

This grey-blue is a top favourite.  It's almost a blue teal but not quite.  It still reads as a grey-blue  and looks cool in isolation but next to purer blues it starts to look teal and that shows it's bit of warmth.

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Navy blue has always been the go to for me, the way black is for some.  Of course, navy is difficult to find in boots, shoes and handbags, so when I was wearing predominantly darker colours I defaulted to black for those.  Now that I am wearing softer and lighter colours, I like navy in small doses for it's grounding feel.  The best navy for me is not too dark and definitely reads as blue unlike those very dark navies that can look black.

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If I wanted a really stunning dress for a special event I would go for a cobalt or indigo blue.  I would try this ink blue instead of black for a formal event.


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Still, a dress in this softer blue really appeals to me.  I find this colour takes my breath away.

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Clearly my tastes lean towards muted, grey-blues.

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 If I were a princes, I might wear this blue gown.

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Blue is relaxing, but yet to me it has more of a get through the day energy than a relaxing one.  I feel most competent and confident in blues and teal.  But I don't turn to those colours when I want a warm and cosy feel.  I don't curl up with a blue blanket in front of a fireplace and with a mug of tea.  Blue is not the colour for that.  I love the blue wall here but a room like this would not relax me.  Calm but guarded is what this colour is to me, the emotion I feel behind the colour I so often choose to present myself in.  I could sleep alone in a room this colour but not have sex in one.

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  After I just said what I did about sleeping and sex, I realise my bedroom curtains are blue, but I have chosen a warm blue.


Ahhh French Blue.

                                                     Source unknown to me

A pinterest page full of images from the search 'French Blue' leaves me swooning.  I love it, but I feel a great deal of aloofness in it.  When warmed up with cream and old goSomeld and it feels less so.  Browns and wood tones really warm up blue as well and then they begin to feel relaxed an cosy.  I find this collage very appealing.


                                                 Pinterest-no further link                                              

  My feet hurt looking at these shoes, but the colour is beautiful so I'd just put them on a shelf to admire.

                                          
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This dress is offered in two blues and I love them both.


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And oh how I love a deep teal-blue.  If I have a power colour, it's teal blue.  Many people think of red as a power colour, but the colour that boosts my energy and confidence is this teal.

Dishes from Walmart?  In this, colour I'd hang them on my wall!


Speaking of blues called teal, if there is a blue I dislike it will be in a turquoise, aqua, teal range.  Colour names mean different things to different people and colours I normally dislike can look fantastic in the right context, so I say it cautiously;  The blues I dislike are usually aqua and have an opaque brightness.

Such as this knife and scissors set.  It is perhaps midway between blue and green, and it's quite saturated.  It really doesn't belong with the set of blues I've collected here and this colour would never harmonise with my person or my home, so perhaps that's why it makes me cringe.

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The product description calls this teal but I'd call it turquoise or aqua.  It literally changes my mood and not for the better, though as I said, that can be different given the right context.

Here's an example of what I mean.  For me, something bright and opaque rarely appeals. But as soon as aqua or turquoise is translucent or softly blended with other colours I love it.  I still wouldn't wear it, but I do find it beautiful.

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                                                          Now I'm swooning!


Denim blue is always a favourite, though having said that denim blues do vary.  It's tricky enough to get flattering jeans that fit well so also getting them in my preferred, slightly greyed and faded but mid-toned blue is a challenge.  Dark denim is considered classy and work appropriate but I don't want or need that.  Lately the options that aren't dark have been bleached, stained and ripped.  Some denim blue is lighter and brighter but faded indigo is my preference.

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Blue is such a safe and comfortable colour for me it could be among the last of the colours where I noticed which blues I wear better and which don't really do anything for me.  I used to assume all blues were good, but am lately getting better at discerning which to wear.  I instinctively stay away from brights and allow my liking for cobalt, ultramarine and royal blues to show up in my art instead of on my person.

Some time ago I wrote about my love of brown.  I particularly love brown and blue together.  I also recently wrote about yellow.  Blue and yellow is a classic complementary pairing, which I've always loved but not tried wearing.  It's easy to forget that any top worn with a pair of jeans is a pairing of one colour with blue.  The blue of the denim above would pair nicely with cream but I would love to try it with a soft golden wheat sort of yellow. 

I recall a tee shirt I once bought for my ex-husband that was a baseball style tee with a blue-grey body and soft dusty mustard sleeves.  I am forever searching so as to replicate this colour pairing for myself. 

Something like this but in adult size. 

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The soft gold and blue-grey in this image are perfect.

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Design Seeds images get a bit addictive.  Here's another.






Even in a seemingly benign colour as blue, there are shades that flatter my skin tone better than others, and I am learning to see that better.  Defaulting to navy or teal-blue is really easy for me and denim is a big part of my wardrobe, but in figuring out which blues are the most flattering to me in tops, I am currently playing with medium tones, a bit greyed or faded, and learning to see when blue is warmed up every so slightly by comparing it with other colours.

I could keep adding blue images but all good things must come to an end so here is my last favourite for now.  This soft, medium blue is very appealing.  I hope the next blue top I purchase is similar to this colour.

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Sunday, 25 September 2016

A Pre-quel or a Se-quel, either way it's more about Soft Autumn

Reasons for thinking I have warm skintone:

I am very fair but I can tan.  Or at least I did in my youth, and when I tan it is a golden brown and not a red-brown.

I look very yellow next to my ex-husband who looked very brown/red next to me, although we would both be considered fair to medium-fair complexions.

In some lighting I look more golden beige with tawny rose in blush and lip tones.

Reasons for thinking I have cool skintone:

Pink and blue look good on me.

My cheeks flush more pink looking than peach-but then I'm not sure I've ever seen anyone flushed peach naturally.  Or maybe I just don't know the difference between pale pink and pale peach.

In some lighting I look ivory skinned with mauve-pink lips.

Images Online that supported my considering Soft Autumn...

This woman was draped as a Soft Autumn in Sci/Art.  Looking at her I would have guessed Soft Summer.  She looks cool to me.  The hair and eyes certainly do though they aren't supposed to be taken into consideration in the Sci/Art system, which says any skin can have any hair and eyes and that whatever you have is right.  Other systems like to offer up stereotypes of hair and eye colours for different seasons.  If you follow the link you will see that this woman tried many hair colours and she does indeed look best with her natural colour.  Sure someone could convince her it's mousy, but it looks right.  See if you don't breathe a sigh of relief when you get to it.

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Here is another woman, draped as Soft Autumn, though I must say that those drapes look very bright to me.  Perhaps that is because they are vibrant on her.  I Doubt I would select any clothing in all of those colours, definitely not the bright green or pink.  These also do not have the russety warmth that you associate with autumn.

                                                   Source: Pinterest, dead link.

This woman is also draped a Soft Autumn.  I would look at her also and guess a cool season.   She is shown in her very best drapes and they differ slightly from the woman above but are all from the same palette.

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Given the pink tones in this womans skin I would have been mislead.  I doubt I am the only one but somewhere along the way I grasped that the main issue was a pink vs peach kind of process.  If you look good in pink you are cool and if you look good in peach (or coral or salmon) you are warm.  The differences seem to be a little more subtle in the muted palettes.

The woman in the middle does have a sort of golden looking skin colouring but the other two women look very neutral to me, making me wonder, as I am wondering in my own case, if it's necessary to choose between Soft Summer and Soft Autumn.  I would like to know what the deciding factors were.

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This woman wears Soft Summer drapes.  The differences between these and the drapes above seem quite subtle. 

This woman is also draped as Soft Summer. I might have predicted she was a Winter.  She definitely looks cool to me but it could be the hair and eyes misleading.  I don't think I can pull off a red lip like that, but do I think that because it's too dark, or have I been trying reds that are too cool.  This is the point where I again remember how much I love Revlon's Rum Raisin.

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Most celebrities who are typed as Soft Autumn have a noticeably golden look.  But then, the celebrity ideal is blonde and tan, so even  if they aren't that naturally they tend to enhance in that direction.

The stunning Rosie Huntington-Whitley is typed as a Soft Autumn.  While she often has a golden look I think it is enhanced.  She is fair skinned, with cool blue eyes and naturally light brown hair.  The mauve-pink of the lipstick is pretty and not the peach I would expect a Soft Autumn to wear.  She seems to have bronzer on and a warm toned blush.  I think the key to Soft Autumn might be warm pink and muted gold, rather than the bright gold and orange of True Autumn.  There are photos of her aplenty wearing a variety of colours to varying degrees of success but it's difficult to make this woman look bad.


With light brown hair and a golden suntan, this colouring looks more like my childhood colouring.  my hair was slightly redder but this tan colour is familiar.  I haven't seen it in a couple of decades.

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The experts cannot decide whether Angelina Jolie is Soft Summer of Soft Autumn.  She is sometimes typed as a Winter, particularly by those who tend to go with the brunette is Winter, blonde is Summer approach.  I think she definitely does look best in soft and muted colours, but it's a tough call whether warmer or cooler is best and photography and makeup tricks don't help in making that all.  She isn't as golden looking as Rosie but she isn't obviously cool either.

She looks amazing here in this warm muted green, and soft earthy makeup.

 
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Natasha McElhone is also typed as  Soft Autumn.  In this photo she looks lovely in some very cool and soft pinks and blues that I would have thought were Summer colours.  Perhaps the photo is manipulated.  In most photos I find of her she looks tanned and hair a bit brassy, and thus sort of golden all over, the Hollywood requirements.

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This image is usually cited as evidence for Natasha being a Soft Autumn.  The lighting is brassy but the colour seems to work and I note that the lip colour is a medium warm-red which also seems to work.






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I love the makeup colours here, though they eye is rather heavy for a daytime I.  the colours of lips and cheeks don't strike me as obviously warm or cool, but that sort of dusty brown-pink tone I love.  I got hung up on thinking Soft Autumns had to wear peach or coral, but pinks warmed with brown seem to be really good.

In trying to find photos of these Soft Autumn celebrities where they aren't suntanned is tricky but when I do find them I am beginning to get a sense of the peachy-golden fairness that typically makes the fair-skinned Soft Autumn.   

I am no longer convinced that someone with soft, muted colouring is limited to only the Soft Summer palette or the Soft Autumn palette, though some colours will be better than others.  I don't necessarily buy into these deal-breaker colours, whereby if you can't choose between Soft Summer and Soft Autumn you check to see if you are better in dusty rose or a dusty topaz yellow colour.  I suspect there are women who look great in both, or if one is marginally better I am not sure it matters.  

The Soft Autumn deal-breaker colour is something like this, though I do not know that this model is a Soft Autumn. The idea is that only a Soft Autumn looks amazing in this colour.  I am distracted by the fact that it looks a bit like she just wrapped herself in a bedsheet and went off to the party.

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I think that for the soft and muted people it's best to select from the whole range of soft and muted colours, with varying degrees of warmth or coolness, instead of accepting the warmth and coolness divisions created for the two separate palettes and limiting yourself to one of them.  In someone who's neutrality of colouring allows for warmth and coolness to be present, it just makes sense that the potential for a variety of very personalised palettes exists when drawing from both the Soft Autumn and Soft Summer selections. 



Other Soft Autumn celebrities are Giselle Bundchen, Drew Barrymore, The Olsen twins and Beyonce, Melissa McCarthy, Adele


These images are from Pinterest and a dead link.  The top one is a close up of a Soft Autumn swatch fan and the bottom one is a Soft Summer swatch fan. Not all the colours are visible but the differences seem quite subtle and I would wear colours from each.  I don't think the warm and cool differences are even enough to induce any apparent colour clashing when combining these colours.   The Soft Autumn colours seem to be slightly brighter though my favourites are the most muted of them, just as it is with the Soft Summer palette.  I'd never wear that bright pink in 5.3 or 6.3



Saturday, 24 September 2016

Finicky Findings of the Colour Journey


Semi-bedridden for over a month, I've had the opportunity to ponder many things, but it's no surprise that the first pondering I put on this blog is about colour.   I've got no doubts about being suited to the soft, muted colours but I find myself fixated on trying to decide if I am best as a neutral-cool or a  neutral-warm.  

The last time I posted the photo directly above, Steffi from Steff in Scotland commented that it looks to her as though I am definitely a soft.  My conclusion had been soft-cool but she didn't say that.  She said, definitely a soft and I took that to mean she was not certain it was  the soft-cool.

As you can see, different photos will skew warmer or cooler and that makes it tricky.  I am not actually trying to identify my palette based on photos, only using photos to help illustrate my thinking and experiences.  But the fact remains that I see myself in different lighting  and thus do not have a really strong grasp on whether or not my colouring is more warm or more cool.  I have come to believe my camera makes things a little cooler in general, as comparisons of a variety of photos I've taken with the real life objects would indicate.   I know I can look warmer in direct sunlight, where some golden colours in my skin tone show up and my hair can show reddish highlights. 

I am a person who strives to find the best answer and I will pour over all of the input until I feel satisfied.    If it were as simple as wearing which colours I like best, the two palettes above are my obvious choice.   Perhaps it is that simple.  

For some people, the right colours are really obvious.  I have paid too much attention to the input of others, I think, and been lead astray, but then again, I never thought about colours as being only a little bit warm or only a little bit cool.  Very rich, strong warm colours do nothing for me.  Neither do very strong cool colours but people tend to prefer them on me.  Given the choice between a royal blue and a deep mustard and anyone would tell me to go with the royal blue.  

We have a cultural bias towards stronger colours, seeing them as happier, more powerful, more vibrant and we have a cultural bias towards being vibrant and powerful.   So, extroverts in bold colours are what we admire and what many aspire to be.  I got caught in that trap too, that idea that it was no okay to be me.  

What is more powerful, I wonder, a woman dressed in a bold red, or a woman dressed in colours that flatter her and make her feel good?  It shouldn't be difficult to answer that.

Having said that, we all have our version of red.  We all have our own version of most colours with a few exceptions and the understanding I was missing for most of my life was that it was the qualities beyond warm and cool that could matter most.  

Some people are very obviously warm or cool, and that feature is the most dominant aspect of their colouring.  This makes it easy to divide people into colour palettes labelled for the four seasons, allowing for a light cool, a dark cool, a light warm, and a dark warm.  This works for  many people but not everyone.  So the seasonal colour palettes were divided some more, paying attention to other properties and we got 12  or sometimes 16 versions of colour palettes but they still all asked which a person was predominantly, cool or warm.  They all assume that is the most important feature of your colouring.  Then other qualities follow, such should your colours be  bold or muted, shaded with black or toned with white?  

I have been stuck under the assumption that I am more cool than warm, although fairly recently realised that I have some degree of warmth.  Others told me I was cool so I believed it.  It has never quite felt right, and yet it was never glaringly wrong either and although I am neutral I do think I lean a little cool, making royal blue a better choice than deep mustard even though neither is a good choice.   It's the choice between looking old and tired, or old, sick and tired.  

It was makeup that helped me realise I was not purely cool.  Cool toned makeup, even when it is pretty makeup, sort of sits on my face instead of looking like all the loveliness emanates from within me.  

I now believe I can wear warmer colours than I thought I could, because my dominant colour feature is not warmth or coolness but mutedness.  Yes, there will be colours that are too warm in that soft autumn palette but not many.  My own personal neutrality might be 60% cool and 40% warm.  If such a thing is measurable.  Although I've always though I was okay in nearly any pink, I think there are some pinks that are a bit too cool and my best pinks are always muted in some way, either with a brown or mauve and even some of the soft warm pinks that you might call salmon or peach are good, so long as they are very soft and muted.  I had ruled out peach by looking at a bright, highly pigmented peach only, not realising it was the saturation and not the warmth that was the problem.


The Seasonal system, claiming to be seeking the best possible palette for an individual, directs you to only one palette.  

I think that this works well for some people.   As I was mulling over my desire for this Soft Autumn Palette, I came across a site called Style Yourself Confident and on it the stylist presents a set of  four palettes that are seasonal, which are just the right thing for some people, and then six that she calls Tonal.

 With the Tonal palettes, she tells us that not every colour in the palette will be our best colour, and I think that is a significant difference compared to seasonal palettes where we are told that every colour in the palette will look great on is.  Whether or not we like the colour is another matter, though people usually do like colours that flatter them.  

In the Soft Summer palette there are no colours I dislike, though being very fond of the softest and most muted looking colours, even the Soft Summer palette has one or two colours that seem very bright to me so I tend to like them less.  It may be true that the Soft Summer colours are my very best, but I am heavily drawn to the Soft Autumn palette and don't see a need to rule it out.  I have not been draped professionally and I've tended to buy cool colours my whole life so many of those Soft Autumn colours are untested on me but I do know that some of them are good.  In past experiments with warmer colours, I will not have been paying attention to saturation and so may have reacted thinking oh this colour is too warm for me, when in fact it was too saturated, too deep or too bright. 

So the Tonal system offers up a palette that is basically the Soft Summer and Soft Autumn combined and then says I won't want to wear every one of these colours but can select easily from amongst them, knowing that the feature I am looking for in colour is mutedness and softness before anything else.  Within those guidelines there will be options that are brighter than others, warmer, or cooler, darker or light, and there is a version of every colour if you remember that colours are on a spectrum and so my version of red might be muted enough to seem more like dark pink or dark coral.  It will read as red on me because of the way it compliments my own natural colouring.

I first noticed this when playing with lipstick colours.  What reads as red on my lips is not always an obviously red lipstick.  Lipsticks from the red section are typically too heavily pigmented for me and I end up blotting them significantly.   I've always known that my best lipsticks had a bit of warmth to them, brown pinks are much better than true pinks and my favourite red is still the brown red of Revlon's Rum Raisin.   If I could find something that resembles it heavily blotted when applied straight from the tube I'd be very happy.  My lipstick experiences are telling me I am not predominantly cool, that there is some degree of warmth in my colouring, but I've never pulled off a lipstick that skews orange.  Heavily pigmented lipsticks in any colour don't really flatter me, as there is nothing else on my face that is heavily pigmented.  I've not really tried the peachier nudes though, always believing I needed to keep a good dose of pink in there.  I would like to experiment with some warmer pinks than I've yet tried.

Lesson from makeup:  I am not purely cool.  

I also want to experiment with some warmer toned clothing.  My mind goes back to the soft olive green winter coat I have and how I get so many compliments when wearing it.  It's one of those colours that is difficult to pin down as cool or warm but seems to be in the neutral-warm spectrum.  An accidental purchase of Soft Autumn instead of Soft Summer. 

I have often heard or read the rule that warm and cool colours should not be combined, but I am not so sure about that if a person is a combination of warm and cool herself.  The whole point is that we look best in the colours that are within us.

Pairing one solid coloured warm colour with one solid coloured cool colour, tends to look more like an accident than any deliberate colour mixing.  I found this graphic on a site explaining why we need to figure out if we are warm or cool.

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To my eye these colours do not clash and that is because they are all soft and muted.  I find harmony of chroma really significant and when colours look to me like the clash, it's usually because there is just no harmony to be found anywhere, not in temperature or chroma.  If the sample above showed all of these colours in a very bright version or a very deep version I still would not find them clashing.  

The secret to mixing warm and cool colours is to keep the chroma the same and to use more than two colours in the outfit so that the mix looks deliberate.  It might be monochromatic but using warm and cool, or it might have two larger swathes of colour with a smaller third colour in accessories.

According to Pamela at Style Yourself Confident, the colours of the seasonal palettes are very precise. 

Autumn colours are always warm, deep and soft
Winter colours are always cool, deep and bright
Spring colours are always light, warm and clear
Summer colours are always cool, light and soft


 When analysed in the eighties I was analysed as a Winter and I really think the woman had no clue what she was doing. She pronounced my brunette mother and myself Winters and my blonde friend and her blonde mother as Summers because we all looked better in bright pink than in bright orange but mum and I were 'darker' looking.

Knowing that this was in error, I then went to Summer, still believing that I was definitely cool in colouring.  It was certainly better, and you can see some degree of cool, soft and light in me, but it wasn't quite right because I am not purely cool.  I knew I wasn't overtly warm so where to go from there?  One ends up with a good enough palette but not feeling quite right.  

The 12 seasons were needed because many people are neutral, a mix of warm or cool on a sliding scale, add varying degrees of lightness or darkness and sub-seasons are born.  

The Tonal Family system is another way to address the people who don't fit exactly into the four seasons and I am beginning to think it a better way.  If warmth or coolness are not your dominant feature, then why focus only on a palette that is one or the other?

If you are deep in colouring and not obviously cool or warm, you are of the Deep Tonal Family and can explore a range of warm and cool colours that are deep in saturation.  They will come from the Winter and Autumn palettes.  Every possible deep colour will not be your best but you probably look just as good in some of the cool and deep ones as you do in the warm and deep ones.  Maybe it's not a 50-50 divide but why miss out on those colours?

Browsing different Soft Autumn palettes I came across this picture from the Style Yourself Confident site.  Featuring actress Susan Hampshire, it shows how she might conceivably select from all of the colours that surround her in this image, despite their being a mix of warm and cool.  The unifying feature is their soft and muted quality, a quality which you can also see in the woman herself.  To me, these colours don't look as soft and muted as the colours in the Soft Autumn and Soft Summer palettes I've used at the top of this post, but there is certainly some variety amongst the palettes of different systems and further to that there is the variation in colour one gets with photographs and computer screens.  They do mostly look appropriate relative to her though and colour characteristics are always a matter of comparison.



 Analysts of the 12 seasons type will say that if you know what to look for you will see that one aspect, warm or cool, is just a little better than the other.  I am questioning how much that little bit matters in this case.  I've even seen the Seasons Analysts acknowledge that yes, some women are so near the centre of the warm-cool divide that they can borrow from a sister palette.  They maintain that this is diminishing your opportunity to look your very best.  

So if Winter, Spring, Summer or Autumn don't work for you, and you just can't figure out which Seasonal Subtype you belong in  try the Tonal families, to see if Bright, Light, Deep, Muted, Cool or Warm are better categories.  Maybe some of us are trying to narrow it down too much.

As for me, well I am not questioning that I am muted/soft.  It is my comfort zone, my aesthetic preference and I believe it is truly consistent with my own colouring.  I can pull off deeper colours if I wear the makeup to go with them but look washed out without it.  In muted colours I look like I am wearing soft makeup even when I'm not.  I believe that if a colour palette is right, you will still look good in no  makeup and the appropriate coloured pyjamas.  I don't know if for me that is Soft Summer or Soft Autumn or if it is both of them and thus simply a Muted palette.  It's fun to try to figure it out, though I really do not need any clothing items at all.  Perhaps a tee shirt, pair of pyjamas or a scarf from the thrift shop is the best way to experiment for now.  I'm dying to go shopping for things I don't need!  But for now I am still in bed, still recovering.  It's going to be slow but there is progress.

If this post is excessively rambling even for me...blame the drugs.  I'm still on a high dose of morphine.