Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Real Beauty is Wild

"Define me and narrow me, you starve yourself of yourself.
Nail me down in a box of cold words, and that box will be your coffin"

"Personal Colour Analysis" (often referred to as the acronym "PCA") sounds so clinical to me, like some kind of diagnosis resulting from a sci-fi medical examination.  I guess that's a good thing if you're a sci-fi fan, but it doesn't sound very spiritual or glamorous to me.

One of the major pitfalls of the various forms of PCA is that the categories available often seem either incomplete, or too complicated to understand.  Different analysts over time have developed their own systems, or built upon/embellished existing systems so that ultimately, they can build a business model with a repeatable process that will allow anyone to fit into one of the categories that they have come up with.  Now, although some of us will fit neatly into one of those subdivisions, not all of us do.  And sometimes, we may fit neatly but still feel that something's missing.

The only solution for me was to start looking at things in a different way, and take a more philosophical approach.  To try and look at things from the inside out, rather than always the outside in.  I wanted to see what would happen if I looked at myself as perfect, rather than flawed, like I would look upon a beautiful animal, or a flower.  Without judgement.

The beauty that is Nature is a constant creation, a constant unfurling of wings and petals, and reaching out towards the light, the way trees and plants grow, reaching for the sun...  We as humans are no different, for we too seek light and water above all things, our very survival depends on it.  This is why I feel that colour is not only important to understand, it's essential!  Our lives have become so much more artificial, and aside from a lucky few, we live like caged animals, boxed up in our houses and offices, waiting for those holidays where we can get out into nature and soak up the sun, the colours, the flowers, the scents, the food and the people that make life actually worth living!

At first I thought that this whole colour analysis thing was about beauty of self, about choosing the right sweater or skirt to wear.  But the more I looked into this, the more I realised that in fact, it's a whole way of looking at the world, and appreciating what harmony actually means.  And the more people came to me asking me to help them with their colours, the more I realised that there are so many facets to "beauty" that the thing that really ties it all together is our endless variety.  Every single one of us is like a fresh, wild, unique representation of beauty in human form.  And yet we try so hard to clip our own wings, to restrain our inner animals, out of a kind of socially accepted fear that stops us from speaking our minds, and singing out loud, and expressing in our appearance the natural sensuality that we have inside of us.

Beyond the complexity of all our neat little categories, I still love the simplicity of the four seasons.  It has been tainted by the whole 80's "no-one could possibly fit into only one of four categories" sort of feel, and that's because so many have tried to define the parameters of where one season ends and another begins.  It has been made into a science, and a very fun and interesting one too.  But along the way, a bit of poetry has been lost.  I look at before and afters and sometimes they're really good, but most of the time, they seem contrived, because the person has not yet taken full ownership of their palette of possibilities.

But the whole point of discovering our colours in the first place was not so that we could be categorised, but rather, so that we could be liberated from the confines of our grey and black world of fear and anxiety regarding our own beauty (or perceived lack thereof).

The four seasons, in nature, are a splendid thing.  They mark the passing of time in that cyclical, natural way, illustrated in colour, scent and sound.  So whilst I am looking at someone when attempting to discover their season, it's always fundamentally one of the basic four that I'm looking for.  Simplicity is a wonderful thing.  I want to see how a persons beauty resonates, not just with their colours in that 2 dimensional way, but rather, in the mood they convey.  What landscape they evoke in me.  What flower, what scent, what terrain.  It ALWAYS comes back to nature.  This is the place where they themselves will feel most comfortable.  It's an intuitive process.  I always want to look at others as perfect, not flawed.  Our only flaws are the layers of self hatred and criticism that we have piled upon our own shoulders.  We need to shrug them off, and be more wild.

I may have discovered that I'm a "Soft Summer", but there are times you know, I get really tired of that label.  I am so much more than that.  I just want to revel and roll in the damp misty forest, the one with spanish moss hanging from the trees, and where sparkling fairies hang out.   But then I want to go down to the beach, and see myself reflected in the sea foam as the waves come lapping against the warm sandy shores.  There is no beginning or end to the beauty in the world around us, and so, to our own beauty.  It's only when we feel separate from the world that we feel ugly.  But beauty is wild and unrestrained by perfectionism.  Beauty is not self conscious.  That's the kind that I want.

So before you go over analyzing yourself in the mirror, and obsessing over which shade of maroon or coral matches your lips exactly, just remember to judge the item, and not yourself.  This is the first step, and truly, the most important one.  Think about what you love the most, and you will see that you are already it.

Revived and Revitalised

Dear Friends,

So, as mentioned in my previous post, I've been on a long hiatus from this blog.  It's funny because I would check the stats every once in a while and be utterly shocked and surprised that people were still reading it, like, every day! 

I would often look back on my colour analysis blogging days forlornly, and feel as though something had slipped from my grasp.  What happened to me?  Who was this person who used to write all that stuff?  Well, I admit, I allowed "the world at large" to get the better of me.  I allowed the colour analysis elitists to get the better of me.  What's worse, I allowed the staunch categorization of colour groups get the better of me.  I felt so boxed in I couldn't breathe.  

I mean, in retrospect, I somehow managed, by wading through the smalls scraps of information available to the public to figure out my own season (Soft Summer).  I started blogging because I wanted to inspire others to see their own wondrous beauty with their own eyes.  I must have succeeded because I had so many emails that I could hardly keep up with them all, and I analysed quite a few people online, some successfully, some, well, rather less so.  It dawned on me after a while that I couldn't keep going all by my self, as I spent more time answering emails and providing analysis than I did blogging.  It all got to be too much, and I just sort of imploded.

Then, the other day a received an email that was so wonderful and inspiring and full of love (Lisa, I'm looking at you!) that it kind of reignited something in me.  And I realised that even though I had thought the world of colour analysis truly behind me, I still have a lot to share - the things we love never really go away.  And that whatever we do and love and experience can be added onto our previous loves like layers of delicious cream onto the cake of life, hahaha!  I do love a metaphor...

Anyway, I'm not writing this to moan and complain about the unfairness of life, but rather, like the Frankenstein monster being brought back to life with charges of lightening, I find something stirring in me, something that is dying to be unleashed - a desire for freedom, for self expression, for sharing and loving life!
"Are you sure this is going to work Doctor?"

I cannot just pick up where I left off: there's been too much water under the bridge.  But in my past days of blogging I was held back by my self effacing perfectionism, wanting to do right by others, to be the best I could be, to say nothing until it was just right, and never upset anyone.  This, I have found, is both foolish and impossible.

So my plan now, going forward, is to just speak my mind a bit more.  To be less perfect, and not give a damn.  To say what I have to say, however incomplete.  You cannot have a great idea and "save it for later", you have to act on it there and then or the fire goes out.  This might mean a few really bad or boring posts as I try to gather my momentum, and I apologize in advance for this (oops, there I go again with being self effacing, hahaha!) but I can't keep a lid on things any longer.  I also feel like I want to actually talk about myself a bit more, because I have often been asked about my own colour journey and all that, but I could never quite get round to sharing it.

So yes, all good things up ahead, and please bear with me while I limber up, and get the creative juices flowing again, so to speak.

Love and blessings to all of you,

Sonia xxx

Monday, 24 August 2015

I just want you to be happy!

Hey everyone!

Ok, so I haven't posted in here for like, AGES!  Anyway, I have a lot of reasons, one of them being that I get a bit fed up and overwhelmed by the sense of elitism that I encounter within the world of colour analysis.  People are obsessed with being "right" and giving a "true" verdict on someone's colouring.  I've had people snidely contradicting my opinions, as if to say "I know better than you, so there!" more often than I'd like to count.

Then there's the fact that colour analysis is such a closed group, and when it comes to the 12 seasons, my goodness, it's like only a select chosen few who have paid tons of money to go on a course can tell you what your magical colours are.  Like they hold the secret to life and death or something.

Truth is, I started writing this blog to get away from all that, and yet somewhere down the line, I got a bit swept away in the midst of it all.  I saw professionals posting stuff on their website that was blatant plagiarism of material in this blog - I can tell you that it's a most disillusioning feeling when someone steals your ideas and doesn't even have the decency to credit you, when I'm not even making any money out of this!

So here's the thing: WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR SO CALLED "TRUE" COLOURS, YOUR HAPPINESS MATTERS.  It doesn't matter, ultimately, who is right, and who is wrong, what matters is that the colours you wear MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD!  I don't care if you're a Light Summer and you love to wear black, just because the colour police say you shouldn't doesn't mean they're right.

What's right, is that YOU FEEL GOOD.  That YOU FEEL BEAUTIFUL!

I mean let's get real: if you've been wearing black all your life and you're scared to death of colour, you owe it to yourself to live a little, and try out something a bit brighter, livelier and lighter.  Which is, well, any other colour than black, basically.  If the mere thought of that fills you with dread, then by all means, try and figure out your season.  Learn the rules.  THEN BREAK THE RULES.  Or follow them completely.  Have fun with it.  Do what you want.  Be a rebel.  Truth is, the more you look into it, the more you'll know where you sit on the colour spectrum.  You don't need a specialist to tell you, you just need to trust yourself a bit more.  Trust your gut feeling.  Noone can tell you what to wear.  Only you can decide that.

If you haven't already, check out Pinterest, or sign up to it.  There are LOADS of resources on there to help you find where you sit along the colour spectrum.  No go forth, and CONQUER!

Monday, 28 April 2014

Natural Glamour

To me, glamour is the ultimate mood lifter.  Whether I'm feeling a little down, or tired or ill, I can either mope around feeling sorry for myself, looking awful and bedraggled, or I can have a shower, do my hair, put on some makeup and some nice clothes and my whole outlook immediately shifts to become more positive and optimistic - more hopeful and less victimised, and that goes a long way towards my recovery!  I'm not suggesting it's a cure-all miracle potion, but if we at least feel more beautiful, it can make life's challenges a little easier to deal with!
Glamour may mean many different things to different people, and I guess there are levels of glamour, but to me, it is basically about feeling pulled together and trying to look your best in a manner that is befitting to the situation.  And nothing could make it more effortless than knowing your colours! 
I remember a time, before I knew that I was a Soft Summer, I used to live under the illusion that glamour was some artifice that I had to work hard for, something that was "other" than myself.  Of course, if you're constantly trying to correct your uneven skin as a result of wearing colours that don't really suit you, you're fighting a losing battle.  You start piling on the foundation, blusher, eye makeup, lipstick, until you look like a painted doll and hardly recognise yourself in the mirror!  As the day wears on, slowly but surely, all that makeup slides off your face, and you end up wondering why you look so unkempt when only a few hours ago you thought you had it down, looking all polished and perfected!  But when I wear my palette colours, even as the makeup wears off, I still look good, and sure, you still have to reapply your lipstick, but even if you didn't, it wouldn't matter so much, ha!
This suggests to me that really, there are two kinds of "glamour": a superficial, surface glamour, and a more integrated, natural glamour.  And it's quite easy to recognise which category a person falls into, because the surface glamour usually comes across as being a bit over the top, a bit fake,
like someone who's trying on a look but hasn't quite found themselves yet. 
The natural glamour comes out when you wear your palette colours, because all you're doing is coaxing forward what is already there, so your makeup and clothes are not competing with your natural beauty, they are enhancing it, perhaps, slightly exaggerating it, and that's what's so fun: because even if you are in full on glamour, as long as you're wearing your palette colours, people will still see your authentic self underneath it, they'll still recognise you as YOU.  A very glamorous you!  The kind of glamour that others would be inspired by, and would find kind of exciting.
And that's so much better, and more achievable than looking like a plastic dolly, or a person suffering an identity crisis.  There is no need to wear our insecurities like a badge of honour, they do us no favours.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Aspects of Nude

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:

Light Summer:
So let's say you're a Light Summer, and you really want to wear your best shade of nude.  Well, first of all, have a look at your skin and swatch the palette against it.  You will be surprised to find that some colours look almost like a metaphor of your skin - and the beauty of it is in the realisation that rather than a colour looking good because it is a blend of your colours, it looks good because of how it causes your colours to blend together - the harmonising effect.  This means that the shade you choose to represent your skin is more than just another shade of nude, rather, it's an EXALTED nude. 
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 :-)