Saturday, July 12, 2014


I've been thinking about color theory a lot lately.  Between the Zyla system based on your skin/eye/hair colors and the (original only) Color Me Beautiful seasonal system, I think we find the land of truth.  Add in some personality and your overall brightness/contrast/blended portfolio - and color is nailed.

I really hate the various 12 season color analyses.  I think they're limited (get rid of many useful colors) and inaccurate.  What they reflect accurately though is that the original color schemes are very broad - too broad for most folks to look good in all the colors.

I like the Zyla system where you look at your body for your colors.  When I did that, the colors that I am naturally drawn to really popped out at me - and some of the "why do I bother" colors fell off my radar.

When you're looking at the colors that are your very best colors, all the colors should work together.  I pulled these things from my closet today - I made most of them, but over the course of over two years.  Notice how all the blues and the greens blend together, and the red and the peaches/pinks are so similar that you can hardly tell where one garment stops and another starts.

And that's how your real colors work - you can hardly see where the groups of colors change when they're all together.  All of *your* greens have about the same amount of yellow or blue in them... and the other color just gets a bit more intense (green is blue+yellow).  Like I wear greens from a just-a-bit blueish green and you add blue until you end up with a bright navy.  (Never a grey navy for me, although you can jump the other side of that rainbow and add a touch of purple to get midnight blue, which is nice).  So you ask me what color of pink I wear, I say, "warm pink" - and I do.  From a fairly light color all the way to geranium red (which is a clear warm red with a pink cast), warm pink is me.  Which warm pink?  Um.  Yes?  

I can wear blueish greens or clear greens that don't have a blue-green note - but I don't wear them near my face.  They harmonize with my colors but they aren't in my CMB season - and they don't look good on me.   Or at least they don't look as good on me as "my colors" do.  I'll use them as a neutral sometimes though - I find that a pine green looks wonderful as a skirt or in a print.  (Not surprising - pine green with all that pink and red and ivory is *very* floral, and flowers are my friends).  

Neutrals and the Zyla system are interesting.  For instance, he claims that the darkest color in your hair is a good second-base neutral for you.  For me, that's darkest brown.  Um.  No.  Brown browns me out - my skin looks muddy and I look boring in brown.  But that's how I roll for all the neutrals, excepting bright navy (which is honestly more of a color than the grey-navy or black-navy that we see as neutral).  But - when I look in my wardrobe, I find that I have purses and belts and shoes in that warm dark brown - and that they look awesome.  So what is more important - following something else or just giving a listen and seeing how true it is?  B!  (I've opened my eyes to perhaps someday owning a skirt or vest in that shade of brown - I think it might be nice.  But I still hate flat-brown-dye, so the perfect shade will probably be a long time in showing up.)  (All of the same commentary here goes for the golden-wheat tone that he calls my casual neutral, although it muddies me up less than dark brown and I am more likely to wear it as a jacket).

The various 12 season systems say that people who wear my extreme colors can wear black.  Not true!  I don't look good in black, even as an accessory.  It's far too harsh for my coloring, and I look out of balance.  It amps up my bright colors, where I prefer to ground them.  (I thought I could wear black away from my face until my MIL took a picture of me in my favorite green jade shirt and a black pair of pants.  Ugh.)  What color is "my black"?  Charcoal grey - and that's the darkest color that belongs on my body.  

So I know what my very best colors are (I have a pinboard for my colors)... but what about colors other than blue, green, pink, red and ivory?  Can anyone wear any color?  I think we can.  I think there is a shade of all the colors that looks at least okay on everyone - but I'd like to see us make a difference between our top tier colors and the second string.  Zyla helps you nail your top tier - CMB can help you find your second string colors.  Should you buy a blouse in the second string colors?  Err... maybe not.  But it would look nice in a print or an accessory.   (If I was a proponent of disposable clothing I'd say, "go for the blouse" but frankly I've gotten rid of too many second-string colored shirts to encourage you to buy one).

And then we start talking about how our personality affects the colors we choose.  I like my top tier - but I like them soft and grounded.  Romantic and natural, in other words!  I bring in pine green with my pink and red, which reads "rosebush" if anything does.  I wear my blues and greens together, which reads "water".  All my stuff is tied to the natural world, which is just how I like it.  I have an autumn friend who needs bright colors and high contrast to lift her spirits - fortunately her dark brown hair and denim-blue eyes lend themselves to this - she looks great in the colors of a fiery ocean sunset.  Orange and teal and brown.  

Your most fabulous colors are highly individual - but you can use systems set up for "just anyone" to get there.  Let us play!

1 comment:

  1. Are you familiar with Irenee Riter's videos on YouTube? You may enjoy them. She talks about wearing your hair color and how it modifies the appearance of other colors.

    I have decidedly cool coloring, but hair with warm highlights. Natural highlights, that is. Wearing my hair color can be jarring. It's great for shoes and handbags and the occasional item. My hair has some white coming in, and I expect that when it is mostly white it will make choosing colors easier.


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