Saturday, October 19, 2013

Why I stay loyal to the original CMB system

There are any number of seasonal color palettes out there.  Most of them are based on the original Color Me Beautiful system of warm/cool clear/muted colors.  The in thing now seems to be a 12 season system where you break the four seasons down into three additional seasons. 

The reason I always stick my nose into the air when people bring this up is not because I think that the original system was flawless, and it's not because I think that people don't have a narrower set of colors that they wear well, or even that some colors from different seasons will work for almost everyone. 


It's because the CMB system is a good place to start.  You start out with the warm vs. cool, muted vs. clear dichotomies, and then you can narrow things down.  I'm a Spring - a Spring with very strong, bright coloring.  The yellows and browns and softer colors in my CMB palette?  Forget them.  I don't even look that great in peach, it just sort of disappears on my skin.  (Makes a great substitute for nude in lingerie, it fades out that well).   I pick up a few colors from other palettes - forest green isn't supposed to be a Spring color, and I rock it.

When you start putting out narrower palettes for *everyone* to use, you compound the problems of the original CMB system.  And you stuff people into odd boxes - because your coloring does change slightly from season to season (with a tan) or with age (you're brighter when you're younger)  you could think that your entire season was changing, and it's not.  Your best colors evolve with time.  They can even change up a bit with your personality!

But your season is tied to your untanned skin tone.  The delicate translucent nature of Spring colors?  Those remain.  The strength of earth that comes through in Autumn's shades?  Always there.  The cold, cold, coldness of Winter?  In every one of her shades.  And even the most vibrant Summer has a softness in her best colors (yes, even Barbie pink).

So I can hop over to the DYT system and learn that my hair color is a good color... and sure, it is.  It's a great color for me to buy leather goods in!  Purses, belts, maybe a leather jacket... but I'm not going to buy a dress in dark brown!  I wash right out.  The "Bright Spring" I'm supposed to be tells me I can wear *black*.  I think not.  You've never had that deeply frightening experience, but it's bad. 

No.  Take CMB.  Start there.  Take DYT and inspire yourself with the colors in your own natural palette.  Look at the twelve color palettes and analyze yourself... but don't get too crazy.  Even I, who loves color passionately - even I don't try to wear all the colors all the time. 

Here's where I got with my "tight palette" - and no, I don't expect anyone's to match up, quite.  If I were blonde it would be different.  I made one for BFF, who looks like a Waterhouse mermaid - it's not the same, and we're both Springs with long dark hair (who are occasionally confused for one another).

That's why I'm a CMB snob, in the original.  Not because *everything* is good - but because it's less screwed up than you might think.


  1. I have no idea what my colors are honestly, but I just followed a few of your boards on Pinterest. I love some of those dresses you pinned!

    1. Thank you! The easiest way to get a start is to figure out a couple of colors that you always get compliments when wearing - without makeup. Another good way is to look at the colors in your wrist/underside of your arm. Warm? Cold? Then you can see if you look better in muted or clear colors - like burnt sienna vs. coral.

  2. Yes, I agree with you about the original. My colors have stayed true since I first did them in high school many, many years ago. I used to wear more lighter colors when I was younger and wear richer colors now that I'm older but they are still summer colors.

    1. And while my winter mom wears softer colors now, the real pastels of summer still look "eh" compared to her true winter shades.

      CMB in the original gives you space to shift around a bit.


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