I read the most interesting article the other day, and I found it so inspiring that I wanted to write a little something in relation to the subject (click on this link: Olfactory Nudity - In the Mood for Nude)
The article talks about how different perfumes use the "nude" colour palette to convey their relation to a skin like scent - an exalted skin scent. I really loved that whole idea, and it made me want to look at it from a 12 seasons point of view. But just as you will not find a scent that smells exactly like skin, as it would only ever be a suggestion of skin, you cannot really find a colour that matches your exact skin colour perfectly, because your skin, like your hair and eyes, is many colours in one. That colour nude that we perceive our skin to be is the amalgam of colours that all harmonize to create an overall effect.
Furthermore, that overall effect ends up being completely different things from person to person - from the palest alabaster through to the darkest ebony, spanning all the range of peaches, beiges, and tawny hues that represent skin.
But the skin is an alive, breathing organ, constantly changing, and not in any way uniform. The illusion of uniformity is our downfall- we try to pin a living thing down to a dead one. To sum up a multitude with a singularity.
Of course, we love to wear a "nude" colour so as to mimic naked skin to produce an innocently sexy, sensual effect. But with the 12 seasonal palettes I have also learned that we all have a "nude" shade that may or may not seem like "nude"- nevertheless, it will be the next best thing (or should I say, a better thing?): a shade that both mimics and complements. A shade that suggests nude. That suggests nakedness. And in the art of seduction, suggestion is the most powerful tool. Your clothes could become a caricature of your skin if you try to match them too perfectly and you'd end up looking a bit like a dolly. But choose a seasonal "nude" and you'll find that your skin glows in a mysterious light- there will be a certain ambiguity there that is very, very sensual. You see, it's not the colour itself that means anything, it's the qualities inherent to it.
Choosing the wrong shade of "nude" can have disastrous effects. It can make you look ill and tired and anything but sexy! So what to do? Well, if you're a warm season, no problem- there will be some shade of beige or peach or tawny gold or even brown that will adequately mimic your skin for that sought after head-to-toe effect.
But what if you're a Cool season and your palette doesn't seem to contain an actual "nude" the way you're accustomed to seeing it? Well, let me tell you, it's better to choose a shade from your palette that looks like an aspect of nude, rather than to cheat and wear a colour that isn't in your palette, which can be very risky: unless you're incredibly advanced at recognizing colours that fit perfectly into the harmony of your palette, the chances of choosing the wrong tones are very, very high. Sure, by all means, pick a nude you like and wear it, but then you wouldn't be reading this if you weren't interested in truly understanding how to use all the amazing colours that you already have!
Wearing an aspect of nude will be a powerful thing! What do I mean by that?
Look, I know it sounds like I'm trying to make you compromise, but I can assure you that nothing could be further from the truth. I don't want you to compromise, not even slightly - why should you? But what is it that we're compromising here exactly? Wearing a colour that doesn't suit you is quite a compromise in my opinion, considering that you're spending your hard earned cash on something that won't make you look or feel anywhere near as gorgeous as you could, and should!
To illustrate what I'm trying to say here, let's take for example the Cool Winter palette:
Not a nude shade in sight. And yet! If you are the proud owner of such a dazzling complexion, why would you want to muddy it with some ubiquitous shade of beige, when you can instead bring forth the crystal clarity of your skin far more effectively with one of those icy pinks, or pale greys, or even pure white? Or hey, why not even the icy yellow?
Remember the story of Snow White? Skin as white as snow, hair as dark as ebony wood, lips as red as rose? Ok, so that's a bit of a caricature, but if you're a Cool Winter, your "nude" is going to be a more extreme colour, depending on the depth of your skin colour. Say you're very pale, you may decide to use the palest tones of pink or white, but if your skin is a deep chocolate brown- how about using the deepest inky purple, or the pure inky black instead? How's that for NUDE? Do you see what I'm driving at here? Suggest nudity. After all, we do not wear clothes to pretend that we're naked- we wear them to cover our nakedness, and if you want to suggest and mimic your naked skin, it is far better to mimic an aspect of that skin- in this case, the pure milky whiteness, or the vast purple depths, rather than wear some beige or brown colour that will not only detract from your natural, naked sensuality, but will DILUTE it. You don't really want to dilute your beauty, do you?
You see, the qualities, as in, the characteristics, of your natural colouring speak volumes about your "style" of nudity, and your beautiful naked skin radiates its very own kind of light and sensuality. Perfection and uniformity are two different things. A rainbow is refracted white light. What we see when we look at you is many colours refracted and then reconciled in our field of vision. The result is harmony.
Do you see what I mean? When you wear your correct colours, you are actually showing others how to see you. They will see YOU, and not only that, they will see the best you, the you that you want them most to see! That is seduction.
Let's have a look at another palette that is "missing" nude hues:
You might be surprised to find that your lovely, luminescent, light summer skin is closer to that pale taupey grey (third one down, far left) than to some kind of peach or beige, but then again, you might find that your skin is more evocative of one of those soft, wheaten golds, the ones that look like the spun gold version of beige. Or the pale pink hue, a blushing rose! You may find this notion strange, preposterous even, but give it a chance to settle: we are so used to looking for the obvious, but if we want to cultivate that "Je ne sais quoi", that mysterious pizazz, we need to be looking elsewhere than the mainstream! Think always of what you can equate your palettes colours to in the natural world: in this way you will see them for more than just the little square block on a silly page. And if your nude is the pearl grey of a doves wings, think of how romantic, how delicate, how angelic you will seem to others when you allow your version of nude, of nakedness to shine through!
Like I said previously, suggest nudity, and your seasonal nude might end up being a completely different animal to the socially accepted nude. After all, we've done it with black and white, so why not nude also? I am a Soft Summer, and when I look at my palette against my skin, it is surprising even to me that the so called nude shades don't seem to match MY nude as much as the grayish yellows, which is such an odd thing to even say out loud, because it's only when I look at the actual swatch on my arm that I can slightly accept the truth. But like I said, it's not about matching, it's about suggesting, and if I'm going to suggest my concept of nude, maybe I'll use a different colour altogether.
I know this post seems more like asking questions than providing any substantial answers, but if there is one thing that colour analysis has taught me to do, it is to always question the status quo, and look only for the truth, because ultimately, the truth is so much more perfect, with all it's inadequacies, than any sanitised uniformity, however appealing it may be at first. I don't want airbrushing, I want to see real, naked, nude skin, elsewise, it is impossible to see the person underneath :-)