Thursday, 21 July 2016

The Quest for Rest

I frequently get caught up in the trap of trying to be all things to everyone.  It's a lesson I have to re-learn over and over as I go through life because two competing aspects of my nature fight each other.  Yes, it is exhausting but nothing has helped me cope with this more than learning through the  Myers Briggs typology that I am an INFJ.  I actually learned this years ago but didn't know what to do with it.  I learned it before the internet existed and I could study it.  Controversial and instantly dismissed by some, the Myers Briggs typology does not tell you everything about your personality, but it does describe your cognitive style which has a significant contribution to who you are, what you think and do, and it is particularly appealing to those of us who are a little bit atypical.  There is good information and misinformation about Myers Briggs types on the internet.  There are things meant only for entertainment purposes and should be taken with a large grain of salt.

I seek to connect with people, to help, to be of service, to interact regularly, and in most situations I can mimic the behaviour of an extrovert.  I will do this because connecting with people is something I value highly.

But I am also very much an introvert, probably somewhere on the HSP (highly sensitive person) spectrum and I live with a chronic illness that is fatiguing.  I put myself out there, and then I withdraw.  I make too many friends and then cannot cope with what I expect myself to give them, so I panic and run away.

For what is probably close to 90% of the time, I want quiet, solitude, serenity and rest.  I am not by any means a lazy person.  I have a very active mind and a desire to be active doing many things, thought most of them are solitary.  I forget to give to myself at the same level that I give to others and then suddenly realise that I have to and spend months in rehab mode. 

I seek softness in my life the way a moth seeks a light.  Although I have tried to make it otherwise, following my typical pattern of attempting to be bold and brash and strong in a visible way, to prove I am not dull, meek, or a pushover.  Although sometimes I am a pushover.  If I have decided you are worth it, I will bend over backwards to accommodate you at the cost of my own needs.  I will lose myself and not realise it until I am literally floundering and panicking.

Finding my way back to wearing the right colours, soft and muted, de-saturated, and soft feeling clothing is amazingly empowering.  As empowering as understanding all that I have come to understand about what it means to be an INFJ.  My passion for neutral tones, which has developed intensely over the past few years, was not so much a need for no colour as the first signal I had to decrease the saturation. Turn down the volume.  Is there anything more instantly relaxing for me than cuddling a soft taupe and grey kitten? 

I am currently highly withdrawn. My partner, son and parents are my world and I haven't got time or energy for more than that.  I make a brief appearance on Facebook once in awhile, an effort to indicate that I am still alive. I still struggle with guilt about that but am improving.  I ask myself, why the guilt?  Do I think so many people are so invested in my attention that if I withdraw it they suffer?  No, I don't actually think that, but I do need to remind myself that I don't. 

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Living In Soft So Far

 Rambling Preamble
We all have our biases and individual perceptions about colour.  I am attracted to soft and muted colours, both the warm ones and the cool ones, and have always said I like colours that are slightly dirty looking.  My mother, likes only the obviously cool muted colours and would choose a purely cool but more saturated colour before she would choose a muted warm one.  She has an aversion to orange and most yellows and it's a reasonable instinct as those colours really do not suit her.  Although our colouring looks similar, I think it's possible that she is a Cool True Summer or that I am a more neutral version of Soft Summer whereas she is a very cool version of it.  She might be that newer  (and in some cases unacknowledged) category Deep Winter Soft.  She has always pulled off a darker lipstick than I can.  My son, I strongly suspect is a Soft Autumn. I pointed out a swatch of fabric to Mum recently,  I think it was a curtain or a table cloth, that was a lovely muted salmon colour.  I said to her that D could wear that colour and her response was a bit of a shudder.  Ugh.  I had to laugh.  On me the colour would look slightly off.  The seasonal palettes that are on either side of Soft Summer- True Summer and Soft Autumn-both have colours that are my second best, though there are more of them in the Soft Autumn palette because soft and muted is my most dominant feature, more so than cool.  I am cool neutral and can take a little bit of warmth.

My home is decorated in something closer to the Soft Autumn palette except my bedroom, which skews a little cooler in colouring though is still soft and muted.  I buy non-clothing items in Soft Autumn colours often and will likely dip into that palette for clothing as much as I think I can.  It can be tricky to mix purely warm and cool colours but it's easier when they are a bit more neutral and if they share another quality such as mutedness. 

 While I can wear the softest of the Cool Summer colours, I seem to be able to wear the coolest of the Soft Autumn colours and those are en even better option.  I have purchased two Soft Summer colour fans, and so far one has arrived.  I took it into my closet and made some comparisons and found most of what I have is Soft Summer, as I was beginning to instinctively choose it.  The point is not necessarily to match the clothing to the colour fans exactly nor is it to only wear the 60 or so colours you are given in a fan.  The fan is a guideline.  My Soft Summer fan points me towards cool-neutral and muted.  Comparisons are always necessary and not only do our personal biases get in the way of determining the warmth, coolness or saturation of a colour, so do the other colours we see it near.   This is what makes personal colouring important.  If I am soft and muted I will look insipid nest to a highly saturated colour.  So will my Soft Summer fan when placed next to more saturated colours.   A brightly coloured or deeply coloured person needs to wear colours that have equal brightness of depth.  But how do you tell?  Generally you tell by looking at colours side by side because these qualities can be relative.  Cool Summer and Light Summer are less saturated than Cool Winter and Bright Winter even though they are all cool colours.  

I think that I've already written about the various reasons why I could not sort out my own best colours.  There were several psychological obstacles but seeing ourselves clearly is often harder than seeing others clearly.  How often am I looking at myself?  Not often.  I like guessing other people's best seasons, but I don't do it by looking at their own colouring, which can be very deceptive, so much as by looking at which colours flatter and which don't and what the commonalities are.   I don't get the opportunity to observe myself in this way.

Thoughts on Soft Summer Swatches
The first of my Soft Summer palettes is from Unique To You and I like it because they are laminated fabric swatches on a ring which I can remove and play with.    And I cannot stop playing with them!

I tested them against some of my clothing and took photos but as always, colour accuracy is not perfect in a photo.  Comparing the same colour family is one method, and placing the entire colour fan on a garment to see if it looks like it belongs is another.  I also did with my scarves but have no photos.  It was interesting to find that the two scarves I felt uncertain about and tended not to wear were not a good fit with the palette.

The blue and green are perfect, the rose is more muted in reality than it looks in the photo. The exact shade isn't in this palette sample (though I have seen it in other brands) but I feel that it suits the palette ( especially in reality and not the photo).

I'm doing okay selecting blues.  Denim blues are in my palette and I definitely wear a lot of denim-usually a mid tone.  I don't like super dark or super faded.

I tested my whites (a sweater, a blouse and a tee shirt) and the sweater and blouse were suitable off white but the tee shirt is quite a bright, clean white, not in my palette.  Although the off whites might look dirty next to a pure white, they do not look dirty on me.  They look like white on me because they are the same kind of white you find (eyeballs and teeth) in my own colouring.

More than anything I just like spreading the colour swatches around and making colour groups.  It's like being in Kindergarten all over again! 

I separate the colours into colour families, I put all the dark, the lights and the mediums together, I made a mini palette of only neutrals, and I sometimes play around making colour combinations.  I'm mad about the yellow of this palette but it's a yellow I rarely see in stores.  It's a soft buttery yellow.  Delicious!

Sort of Digression but Mainly Still on Topic
My camera bleaches out yellow-which is one of the reasons I saw myself as purely cool. I cannot get a photo of this colour, which is quite frustrating as I am infatuated.  I want to show you all of the colour groups I make but there is no point.  Not because you will think I am insane, but because I cannot get photographic colour accuracy.

So I have borrowed a photo from Pinterest and Instagram.  This lovely woman is a Soft Summer and is wearing some of the drapes from her colour analysis.  On her the colours do not look dull.  See that pretty soft yellow?  Sigh.  Even in this photo it's a bit paler looking than my swatch but the difference is subtle and I am obsessed with it.


You would even look at that palette  and think some of those colours are bright.  They are.  They are brights for a Soft Summer.  But looking at this you might go away saying, okay this woman can wear hot pink and yet, you could easily select the wrong hot pink for her in the store, without a comparison to find the muted and soft version.  Some will overwhelm her, some will be too cool or too warm.  She won't look terrible in them but she may need more makeup or people may compliment her dress instead of her.

Back to Swatches
I've indicated that there will be some difference between the two palettes I've ordered, both called Soft Summer. 

 I have this one from Unique To You This picture is from their website and it's reasonably accurate. 

 And I have ordered this one from True Colour International in Australia.   It shows a wider range of pinks and some deeper yellows which almost seem a bit too much to me.   The fan above has a large quantity of blues and greens.  This fan below also seems to show some lighter versions of the colours which might be helpful.  The Soft Summer tones tend to be very medium in value and the Unique To You Fan has an overall medium feel to it.  The True Colour International fan appears to show more range from light to dark and I like the paint swatch style arrangement of colours.

There are definitely differences between companies though I am sticking to companies that claim to be using the Sci-Art colouring.  That allows for consistency.  A palette does not contain every possible colour you could wear or it would be unwieldy.  It's a sample, a range, and what each company chooses to include will vary.  Having more than one palette fan allows a bit more opportunity to learn all of the colour options.  Some fans are more manageable than others too, in terms of carrying in your purse when you go shopping.  The fan yet to arrive is the one I expect to be my portable fan.  The colours cannot be separated and moved around but are easily arranged for holding up to garments in the store.  The fan I have know, with the removable individual colour swatches would allow me to take just one colour with me if I wanted to match it.  I might do this if shopping specifically for something in red, off white, or the dark charcoal-navy colour that is my black.  They can also be good for finding makeup colours. 

I know, when shopping, that what I am looking for are cool-neutral ( maybe just a tiny bit warm) muted colours with low saturation.  Knowing that and finding that are not always the same thing.  The purpose of the fans is to make that easier.  Also, they give me colour swatches to play with and admire and I am someone who is happy doing that. 

General Interest:

One drawback to the laminated swatches is that the plastic can cause a glare or reflection making it difficult to read the colour.  I find myself angling it around in the light to get a better sense of it and photographing it accurately is a challenge.  This windowsill is the best light I could get.

The blues and greens really blend into each other, many of them seeming somewhere in the teal range.  Many of the blues are dark and greyed, sort of like denim or dusky navy and unless held in bright light, it is difficult to see how they differ. 

The two darkest colours are a wine and a grape-purple. The camera is cooling down the pinks a little and in reality there slightly more of a brown tint to them though they are not

I'm in love with these super pale neutrals.  The palest of them are being a bit bleached out in this photo.

Darker browns are either grey-brown, taupe or a pink/mauve brown.

This is a selection of what appear to me to be the brightest colours of the set.

I don't love the silver and gold samples provided but I get the point.  I can wear both, though silver is usually better and both are best antiqued.  Gold is especially best if antiqued or matte and not too yellow and the attempt to show that is with a black and gold speckled fabric swatch I find quite unappealing.  Rose gold isn't included though it is often recommended for Soft Summer as well.

Pros and Cons to this Swatch Set in Summary:


*Easy to  manipulate and play with-every individual colour could be carried separately
*Stay clean and protected
*Inexpensive compared to other swatches available to me
*I received it in the mail promptly


*The plastic coating is problematic for perceiving colour
*Many samples provided are so similar it seems other options could have been included instead
* If I play with them too much I will wear out the holes in the plastic where the ring is inserted-of course that will be my fault.  I usually leave them off the ring.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Return To Your Natural Colours- a Book Review

 I enjoy looking at the website authored by Christine Scaman, and because of this I decided to buy her book Return To Your Natural Colours ( you can buy it here )  In my own colour journey Christine Scaman's work has been helpful though not the only resource I used online.  Hers is the first and so far only book about personal colour that I have bought.

A Review of Return to Your Natural Colours, by Christine Scaman

 Personal colour analysis is based on the theory that we all have our own natural set of colours, the colours that we are in skin, hair and eyes, and that this means there are colours of clothing, makeup and accessories that will best suit the colours we  naturally are.  In the particular system used by Christine Scaman, the author of this book, only skin tone is used to determine your season and whatever hair and eye colour nature gave you is naturally right and perfect.  There are no errors and there are both typical combinations and unexpected ones.  In some systems there are no redheads with a cool season.  In this one, it is a possibility.

 It is crucial to understand that the colours we are and the colours we wear skew warmer or cooler depending on how much blue or yellow is used in them.   The warmer seasons will have more yellow options and fewer blue ones, with the blues having a yellow tint that makes them more teal or turquoise.  The cooler seasons will have more blue and few yellow options.  There is a green for everyone but your best greens will be more blue or more yellow depending on your own colouring.  There is no orange in the true cool seasons.  Your best pinks and reds might be more blue-based or lean more towards rust or peach.  It's possible you have some idea of which palette is best for you because humans are apparently better at detecting warmth and coolness than any other aspect of colour.  Comparison often helps because we see things that way.  Is this a muted colour?  Muted compared to what?  Is this a bright colour?  Bright compared to what?  Personal Colour Analysis provides you with a swatch of colours that are in your best palette.  The way you use this palette is not only attempting exact matches but as a comparison tool.  When the colours fanned out are held next to a garment in the store you can see if that garment is cool and muted or warm and saturated.  I know that I am neutral enough that I can wear some warmer colours but I am neutral-cool so the cooler ones are better and some are too warm.  It's difficult for me just to eyeball a particular green shirt in a store and know if it's too warm or if it's a warmth within the range that suits me.  Practice helps.  So does a colour swatch fan.  That tricky colour olive green-just try googling it and see how many variations there are for that colour name.  Some are much cooler and some much more yellow based.  I cannot state that olive green is a colour I can wear well but I can state that some olive greens are.

My theory about olive green is that sometimes the name is used in reference to olive tree leaves which have a grey-green tone and sometimes in reference to a green olive itself which is more of a yellow green.  Just think of how great it looks with that orange-red pimento.

Here I Attempt to Summarise:

The book is well priced and easy to read though perhaps best read in small doses as the prose gets a bit purple. It is organised into sections and subsections with chapters but no index.

You could potentially assess yourself with the help of this book and other sources, but that is not the view of the author, it is my view.

She lists some recommended resources at the back of the book as well as a glossary of terms used. 

There are sample colour palettes which give you an idea of what each palette is like, though it's an approximation of colour due to printing limitations.  

The book will make you feel good about your season and the qualities you share with it.  this is helpful for those seasons that are sometimes erroneously deemed mousey.  There is no such thing as mousey but a person with soft and muted colouring will not shine next to bright and bold colours, she will be dominated by then and thus she will look meek and mousey.  There is nothing about her that needs fixing with hair colour and makeup, it is her colour palette that needs to change.  She will glow softly in the right colours.

The seasons/palettes of the 12 Tones system include two purely cool palettes, two purely warm palettes (True) and eight palettes that are more or less neutral with four leaning cool and four leaning warm (Dark, Light, Bright, Soft)

True Winter, Dark Winter, Bright Winter
True Spring, LIght Spring, Bright Spring
True Summer, Light Summer, Soft Summer
True Autumn, Warm Autumn, Soft Autumn

In this system it is skin tone that matters and hair and eyes, although they will naturally work with your skin tone, are irrelevant to determining your season.  Other systems will state, for instance, that there are no red heads in a cool season but not this system.

Draping is the only way to tell what your season is and this book does not intend to guide you to assessing yourself.

Although she asserts that draping is the only way to know your season, she also describes personality traits, shapes, and hair colours likely to be found. 

There are no photos in the book of clients or celebrities because the author says this is of no help, but she does show clients on her blog/website.  We are not served by trying to compare our own colouring to the colouring of someone else.

I particularly enjoyed the sections where she describes how each season enhances it's natural beauty and what detracts from it.  This is where the advice is crossing over slightly into  style as opposed to merely colour, on the theory that  certain colours make sense with certain lines, textiles or accessories.  Each season and its inherent colouring gives off a certain vibe that you are best to enhance and not fight or detract from.  

Here I Attempt to Say What I LIked and What I Disliked:

I am torn between enjoying the flowery prose and getting bogged down in it.  It's a matter of personal taste really and taste aside she writes well.  Her ability to see and describe beauty in all of the seasonal palettes and moods is a gift to those who may feel theirs is nothing special or does not fit with current trends or tastes.  I personally spent some time feeling as though I was supposed to make myself bolder, brighter and more visible by adorning myself accordingly and that if I didn't I was letting down the sisterhood.  I came to realise that I am truest to myself when I wear the colours that are naturally mine, and that I am most drawn to those colours when I forget about what I think I am supposed to like and just go with what makes me feel good.  The very definition of 'feel good' will vary and for me it is feeling peace and contentment whereas for others it might be feeling alive and vibrant.  Christine makes it clear that these are all differences to celebrate and one is not better than another.  I should add that only going by what colours I am drawn to does not instantly lead me to my best palette but it gets me close.  I am drawn equally to Soft Summer and Soft Autumn but aware that since I lean cooler, the entire Soft Summer palette works for me but only half to 3/4 of the Soft Autumn palette does.    I actually thought I could not be either of those palettes because I liked them.  I didn't trust myself to choose objectively and thought I was derailed by bias.  THAT is something this book and Christine Scaman's blog have helped me sort out. 

The book is also potentially useful if you are interested in becoming a personal colour analyst yourself and want to know more about it or want to build a library of resources.  I would love to do this but it's not feasible in a small town as it's a service most likely to be used by professional people.

What I dislike mainly is that I do want pictures of clients, I do want a more complete colour palette at the back and this book does not offer those.  This is deliberate.  On her website she states that this book could have been massive, much bigger and thus much more expensive so she had to make a decision about what to include and what not to include.  I can see how that would be the case.  Also, it was not her intention to write a guide to finding your own palette.  It was her intention that the book will either encourage you to have a PCA done or that it will support what you are learning about your palette and yourself after having one done.  It would be useful in that aspect if several people in one household with different seasonal palettes were to share the book. 

There are two aspects of her philosophy with which I personally disagree.  I am skeptical about attaching too much meaning to the seasonal colour palette as a guide to personality.  There are other systems which do this too, but I need some harder evidence that physical appearance and personality are linked.  I do think that physical appearance can influence how people treat you which can impact your developing personality.  I am also not convinced that the only way to ever know your personal colours is to be draped in person by an expert.  I believe that it is a good way, but not the only way for everyone.  It's also not an option for everyone so many of us will rely on our own abilities.  These abilities, I believe, vary in skill.  Just as we now know that not everyone tastes a tomato in exactly the same way it seems to me it must be true that not everyone sees colours the same way.  Not everyone has perfect pitch and can reproduce music just by holding the sound of that music in their minds. Neither is everyone completely tone deaf.  I believe some people can hold a visual image of colour in their minds better than others can and thus while most people are not colour blind, some are better at mentally manipulating colour than others are.  Christine claims not to be able to hold colours in her mind and thus she believes that drapes are the only way.  That may be true for her and by all accounts she is very skilled with the drapes, but I don't accept that it is true for everyone.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Personal Colours Update

Think, think, think, it's not Winne The Pooh you are eavesdropping on it's me.

There are a few problems with wearing the True Summer palette that I haven't been able to escape so they've been rattling around in my brain like dried peas in a whistle.  I've found my colouring difficult to pin down because sometimes I look very cool, and while I do lean towards cool I often have a reddish tint to my hair and always have, though my hair is getting darker and ashier as I age.  My skin is cool-neutral and my eyes are cool though they contain a taupe colour that while a cool taupe still warms them up a little bit as opposed to pure grey or blue.   I have always been drawn to soft, warm colours though they never looked quite right on me if they were very warm and yet, at least some of them also do not look terrible.  They may, in fact, be better than bright cool colours.  The signs are pointing to my not being purely cool after all,  although I can sometimes photograph that way.  In looking at many photos indoors and out, to get a sense of what I most typically look like, I am more neutral than predominantly cool.  Although my photo experiment lead me to conclude I was a Cool Summer I have changed my mind based on real world experiences and in looking at a range of photos.

I will attempt to succinctly explain why.


Although I've always had difficulty with yellow I have discovered a yellow that is good.  It's not easy to find in the shops so I may not have it in my wardrobe any time soon but I have it in an old sheet which I've kept because it's the yellow I love.  On  a whim I wrapped myself in it and it looks good!

 I want to say it's butter yellow but that depends on which brand you buy.  I hate to say it's margarine yellow but it might be.

As usual, I am frustrated by the inability to accurately capture the colour in a photo so you will just have to trust me, I am wearing it well though no plans anytime soon to wear a bed sheet outdoors.


Then there is the fact that I've received compliments in a warmer pink shade than I thought would work for me, again suggesting that there is a subtle warmth in my colouring. 

The True or Cool Summer palette is often pretty looking on me but you see the clothing before you see me.  It's the difference between saying "oh that's a pretty top" and "you look great".  I've learned that one of the ways to see this difference (because we all have lots of colours that look second best, good enough, and nobody would say oh that isn't doing anything for you) is to see if the clothing blends with you and looks like part of you, or rather if it makes your head/face recede.  That's when you get the effect of seeing the clothing first, then the person.  The more saturated the colour, the more I get that effect.

 If it's softened a little, very slightly more mauve or rose pink, a touch of brown in it instead of a bublegum pink, then it harmonises with me and looks like it belongs on me.  There are few if no pinks I look terrible in, but it's a matter of finding which ones are best.   The lipstick recommendations should have tipped me off to this sooner-I look best in the Soft Summer colours and most of the True Summer coloured lipsticks are a bit too much on my face.


Another small incident that made me reconsider the True/Cool Summer palette was not only my favourite pink tee shirt but my favourite green one.  I compared it to  True Summer  greens and it was not quite as pure and cool, and I realised it was a Soft Summer green and not a True Summer Green.  I had been drawn to it for it's softness.  Although I find the True Summer colours very pretty they still feel a bit bright to me despite their being less saturated than Winter colours.  I told myself I was choosing the lighter colours of that palette but really I was choosing Soft Summer colours.

Here is my favourite green tee shirt draped against my face.  Forget that; the image refuses to be uploaded to Blogger.  Trust me, I look amazing.

And here is a darker version of green in a favourite teal-green blouse.  It is also in the Soft Summer palette.  The Soft Summer palette darks that feels right to me and I have otherwise been shunning darks.  The 'darker' versions of colour on the True Summer palette are too  saturated.  I feel like I am wearing a candy store even with the darker colours.

Speaking of candy, in addition to feeling squeamish in bubblegum pink, I've never been fond of mint green and yet as a True Summer I should be able to wear it.

This lovely collage from here features the candy colours I just don't feel right in.

This mint is too saturated, too intense for me.  But this silvered or greyed mint found here looks like it could be a soft summer version of mint green -more of a silver sage-and I would definitely wear that.

Another green incident that made me keep questioning my palette is a winter parka I have in a rather odd green that is not quite warm and not quite cool.  It changes somewhat with the lighting actually and it's a somewhat drab colour and yet I consistently get complimented when I'm wearing it.

 Receding Head Syndrome-you don't want it

This beautiful scarf was a gift from Joni and the mossy green in it goes well with that parka (which I've just called 'odd' but I do really like it)  It also goes perfectly with me, the ivory matching the 'whites' of my eyes, the blue-grey picks up the blue-grey in my eyes.  Neither my head nor the scarf come forward at you, but look balanced, I think, and you notice my face.  I think the scarf is more in line with the Soft Autumn palette but that's a palette a Soft Summer is likely able to dip into.  The fact that this Soft Autumn scarf works for me is another indication of my not being a True/Cool summer.

What do you notice first here, my face or the colour of my shirt? I think the pink and the mauve-pink are better than the lavender and the mauve-pink is the most harmonising. I feel good in it, whereas the other pink shirt I wear to sleep in because I don't feel quite right in it.  It feels too bright though I think that is more about my personal taste. The lavender is okay but possibly it stands away from me a little bit and I think it's just a bit too saturated and not muted enough to be best. 

Point of Note:  Just because my colouring is muted and blended doesn't mean everyone will look as muted/soft/blended as I do in their best colours.  Looking muted, soft and blended is what suits me best.  If your colouring is deep, clear or saturated you will look harmonious in colours that also are.

You might think I am being too picky and for goodness' sake, most pinks, blues and purples are good enough.  I am being picky.   It matters to me and interests me because I feel out of balance when I don't wear colours that visually harmonise with me.  I think this is probably akin to people with stronger colouring feeling blah in muted colours and the pervasive fear of beige.


I don't usually wear beige, though I do wear taupe and now that I have said I don't wear beige I did buy a tee shirt that probably qualifies as beige.  I don't look horrible in it.  It's not a wow colour but it is a harmonising colour and it's still a beige that skews cool.   Pink-beige also works for me.  Essentially they are my versions of wearing nude but if I use them I use them along with other colours and accessories.  That is, unless nobody but the cat will see me.  Still, here I think that while you won't say "wow that's a great shirt", you will see my face.

                                 I seem to be attempting a fierce face but it's just squinting into bright light.


Soft Summer colours are what I have instinctively bought in makeup because I prefer a natural look. I want me but better, not to change my colouring.  Even back when I was misdiagnosed as a Winter I tried to argue with the analyst that my best lipstick shade was a mauve-rose.  (My mother told me I was being rude and clearly I've never forgiven her.)  True Summer colours are pretty and sort of suit me but they sit on my face and could look clownish if I didn't use the bare minimum and blend blend blend!   They are too blue, whereas the Soft Summer pinks have a brown tone that warms them up a little without them actually looking warm.  One sign that you've got the right palette in your makeup is that it's really difficult to put on too much.

There was time, back in the winter I think, when I experimented with a red lip.  It never really felt right but the closest that did was a red that was slightly warm, not a blue red.  I was briefly fond of Revlon's Rum Raisin and it almost worked.  It was the nearly the right kind of red (Although bit skewed to Soft Autumn more than Soft Summer, something about my natural lip colour tempered that) but it turned out to be much too saturated.  I tried wearing it very blotted but eventually gave up on it.   A mauve-pink applied straight from the tube tends to read as a red lip on me.

I tend to paint my toenails in colours like this mauve-pink, a long-time favourite.

                                             Demure Vixen-found on

Working My Way to a Conclusion

I read an article on finding your colour palette that said if you've got the right palette every colour in the palette will suit you.  It might not be your favourite and there will be some within the palette that are your very best while others are supporting players but it's not your palette if you say "I wear all of the colours except the Xs because they don't look good on me."  I found I was doing this with the True Summer colours, cherry picking just a few as the ones that I would use.  As I began to find words for how I was tweaking this palette I realised I was tweaking it into a Soft Summer palette and I had instinctively bought Soft Summer colours even though I thought I was trying to select True Summer ones. 

The Soft Summer palette is honestly my favourite of them all, but I was afraid to let that sway me.  Since I am attracted to many colours from all of the palettes I didn't trust my sense of "Oh I like that" to be accurate for what suited me.  And perhaps I was right not to trust that until recently, as I became better at seeing myself.  Previously I thought that while Soft Summer was my favourite, what suited me best was the True Summer and that I could learn to love that because it would make me look good.  I've had a difficult time seeing myself clearly but persistence is getting me there.  I am mostly cool, a little bit neutral, soft and muted.

Not everyone will agree with me as we all bring our biases to colour assessments.  For some people it's nearly impossible to get past their liking for or dislike of a colour and see how it works for the person wearing it.   Some people have very specific taste which happens to match their appearance, essentially getting lucky in finding and wearing their best colours without really trying.  While my own taste should have gotten me into the right ballpark sooner (I had to drag out an old metaphor eventually) I was too influenced by the opinions of others and went astray.

Opinions that Sidetracked Me:

*A colour consultant deciding I was a Winter Season, thus for years I tried to work with that

*Being typed a Winter made me certain I must be very cool in colouring

*The general attitude among many that soft colours are boring ( As though I owe it to    anyone not to be boring!)

*The general belief that brighter colours are happier and perk up one's appearance

Here is my best attempt at natural light and a white top for neutrality and some red dents left by my glasses at the sides of my nose.   I would wear some of the colours from the True Summer palette, but I would wear ALL of the colours from the Soft Summer one and the colours I own now are in line with the Soft Summer palette.

And here is a comparison of Soft Summer and Soft Autumn.  I think it shows that Soft Autumn wouldn't be awful but that Soft Summer is better overall being slightly cooler.  I'd probably wear just as many colours from the Soft Autumn palette as I would from True Summer, or more.

Soft Summer  and Soft Autumn palette shown above found on PInterest via here

True Summer palette shown above found on PInterest via here

A Note on Personal Colour Authorities
There are differences among the palettes offered by different companies though the basic principles are the same.  Some Soft Summer palettes seem a little warmer than the one shown above and photographs and computer screens will also affect the way they look.  I have taken this into consideration in all my research.  Due to my love of and interest in colour theories I've ordered a book by a highly respected personal colour analyst Christine Scaman who uses a system  based on a scientific understanding of colour mixing and you will see it refered to as Sci/Art or 12 Tones.
Christine's blog is called   12 Blueprints.  I've ordered her book called Return to Your Natural Colours and expect to review it on my blog eventually.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Epiphanies of Late

My mind works in epiphanies. Aha moments are frequent.  Little discoveries and realisations excite me and I am quite open to improving on them or changing them since that only leads to yet another 'Aha!'  For years I felt a bit as though I must be a very dull person, as I am not a thrill seeker but....while I am not much of a physical thrill seeker I am a mental thrill seeker.


I am very much NOT in my own body.  If anyone needs yoga, I do.  I live in my head and this is partly, or perhaps entirely, why I have accidents.  Usually they are minor.  I trip over things, bump into things, walk into the door frame as I seemingly have no concept of how to allow for my physical self to pass through spaces.  Recently I fell down the stairs.  In trying to figure out how this happened, I can only say I was not in my body at the time and thus I somehow missed the last three steps.  The resulting pain and my bruised, swollen, sprained ankles are currently reminding me of the body I tend to ignore.

I tend to mainly share self discovery on this blog.  Sometimes I worry that it misrepresents me as a self absorbed navel gazer.  But sharing my thoughts about other people isn't appropriate and I do experience the world in a self-centred sort of way as we all do.  I experience it as me, with my senses, my thoughts, my interpretations and quite often my discoveries are about how I am functioning in this world.  Those are the ones I write about here.  Because I am willing to share personal things, to talk about my feelings and to explore them verbally or in writing, people often assume that I am an open book.  In some ways I am, but I am a book that is open only to the pages I chose to show you.  No matter how much I reveal, much more is hidden.  It had not occurred to me until fairly recently that some people would not know this.  I assumed it was a given but I suppose that for people who are a totally open book, my unreadable pages are not an assumption and for people who are closed books, the fact that I show any pages at all is unrelatable.

Although my interests are strongly attached to philosophy and psychology, I usually stick to personal image topics-style, clothing, colours, home decor.  I cannot imagine giving advice or considering myself an expert on anything so I prefer to share information that I have gathered or describe what has worked for me.   I could study a subject in depth for ten years and I would not consider myself an expert.  Perhaps I never would as I am always so aware of what I do not know.   I always see the 'what ifs..?' or the 'yeah, but this..' that makes every pithy statement on life interesting but ultimately unsatisfying. 

The entry is so full of the word "I" that it's cringe inducing.  In fact I very carefully typed that sentence so that it did not say "I am cringing".  Seeing everything not as a fact or a given, but as just the way "I see it" makes essay writing a challenge.  The standard format is to write all your opinions as an assumption.  The statements should say "It is the case" not "I think it is so" and that is hugely difficult for me. 

And thus I think that my I-focus is not as self centred as it may at first seem, but rather a result of my awareness that I am but one small spec of dust in the giant dust bunny living my life, making my observations, having my epiphanies and sometimes writing about them here. 

 Less Deep Epiphany:

If the internet is to be believed, everyone is trying to figure out how to look effortlessly chic.  I doubt that, but still I have come to some conclusions (they may be temporary conclusions) about how to achieve effortless chic.  There are essentially two methods.

Method One:  The best method for most of us normal people.

Have deliberate hair and an anything goes attitude about your clothing.  Grooming is paramount.  Get a good haircut, something that looks intentional, flatters you but isn't time consuming or something that could get totally ruined in the rain.  Use makeup that flatters and isn't obvious, but chose one of the following:  a bold lip, exotic eyes, or one statement accessory.  Wear anything you like so long as it is clean.  Be confident that you look great.

Method Two:  For models and the people who look like them.

Wear something expensive but simple looking, a bit shapeless but that's okay because you haven't got any body parts that get in the way and ruin the simple, clean lines.  Use bold colours, geometric shapes, deliberately very stiff or very fluid clothing.  Go for something slightly ugly like a drab colour or unflattering silhouette.   Wear things that don't make sense like a giant blanket scarf with open toed sandals in winter.  Keep your hair deliberately messy and unkempt, consider a bad haircut, no makeup at all and if you don't smoke take it up immediately.  Be thin-that goes without saying, but I'm saying it.  It's more important than being tall, young or pretty but if you can be those things too, be those

If you are not aiming for Effortlessly Chic:

You  want to look like you made an effort because you did and you look awesome.
You  want to look like you made no effort at all because you didn't and you don't give a feck.

If this is right for you then do that.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

What Would You Expect?

I've realised I'm a minimalist with useful stuff and less so with the pretty stuff.  Applying the question, 'Is this something I find to be useful or beautiful?' is relatively easy and has helped me to declutter so much I may have gotten rid of half of what I had.  I didn't really count or measure but it has been a somewhat embarrassing amount.  There is at least one charity shop in town which might currently be entirely stocked by me.  I've still got clothing set aside to sell but it's not the right season so I"m storing it.  I find that I can't  wait to get rid of it, though haven't yet let go of the possibility of making money from it. There are definitely still things I could get rid of, things I am keeping just in case or for sentimental reasons and yet they are hidden away in a cupboard.  I have a set of pots and pans that probably includes one or two more pots than I actually need but I can't bear to break up a matching set.  It has never been my goal to be a minimalist and to assert that I only have X number of things or only exactly what I use every day or anything like that.  I will probably always have more than I need, but it is my goal not to have much more.  It is my goal to simplify and to continue to simplify.

On the other hand, I have allowed myself possessions whose function is purely decorative and I have so many of them my decor is in no way minimalist.  It is, and probably always will be more of an eclectic/bohemian/librarian/hippie looking sort of home.  I like a home that tells you who lives there and I am not a minimalist.  Minimalist principles are a tool I use to guide my life in a direction that is comfortable for me because it is simplified.  Most of my decor is not precious nor even sentimental, I simply like it.  If I grow tired of something I generally have no difficulty giving it away.  I have five hundred books after carefully culling.  I have 45 house plants, candles beyond what I'd need in a power failure, bits of pottery and bits of nature all over the place.  I don't find bare surfaces appealing.  I like the texture of some textiles and personal items around and I have my own sense of what is too much and what is not enough.

Imaginary guest (a rude one):  "Why is that pewter cup sitting on your hearth there beside all those rocks?"

Me:  "Because I really like it."

Guest:  "Is it an antique?"

Me:  "I dunno.  I doubt it. maybe vintage."

Guest: "Why is it on the hearth?"

Me:  "Because I put it there and left it there and found I liked seeing it there."

Guest:  "And what are all the rocks for?"

Me:  "They are not for anything.  I just like them, but I agree I might have too many.  Their abundance causes me no distress."*

Yeah, I really talk like that sometimes.  That's what you'd expect from someone whose home looks like mine.  I think.

Friday, 3 June 2016

The Life Changing Magic of Doing What Works Best for You

Let's face it, the minimalist aesthetic can look beautiful if your home is architecturally beautiful but if it isn't then a minimalist home just looks like student digs or a temporary living space.  For some people minimal homes are peaceful and relaxing but to me they are devoid of personality, seem incomplete, characterless and transient.  Anything beyond the basic needs (and even then defining basic needs is a challenge given various levels of privilege) is what tells the story of who the inhabitants of that home are.  Whether its art, craft, inherited treasures, bits and pieces brought indoors from outside, books that display interests, a few signs of living life scattered about, these are the things that to me indicate a home and not just a place to sleep at night.  For some people, a place to sleep at night, eat breakfast and hang their hat might all that is wanted or desired, especially if life is almost entirely about being away from home.  These people are often extroverts.

The minimalist movement gurus, especially the younger, often childless couples or single males, seems to promote this kind of life.  Do things, go places, see people, travel, get immersed in culture or nature.  Just don't stay home.

Another movement is the Kinfolk homesteading type where the ideal is more about staying home and growing all your own vegetables and preserving things in jars to also display attractively in your pantry.  Have people over often and serve attractive home cooked meals.  Wear simple linen clothing.  Dreadlocks are good, as are ugly sandals.  I confess I could become this stereotype more readily than the previous one as I am more likely to be a homebody.

I like nature and culture and travel but getting out and doing is tiring and I don't have much energy or stamina.  I like cooking and feeding friends and family and comfortable at home social gatherings, growing my own food and making jam but again, that also takes energy I don't have.

However, I do spend most of my time at home.  And for me the perfect environment has a moderate amount of tidy clutter.  No minimalist mantra of current times is as perfect, in my mind, as the words of William Morris, who is reported to have said "Have nothing in your house that you do not believe to be beautiful or find useful."  It's the inclusion of things of beauty that minimalists seem to leave out.  Or else their idea of beauty is empty table tops and blank walls.  Too much blankness makes me restless.  I don't know where I am as there are no visual clues.  At the same time, disorganised mess, objects with no home, unattractive things left out in the open and too much visual clutter also make me agitated.

Some people talk about practical minimalism or refer to a minimalist lifestyle as a journey and not a destination.  If I cared to I could join that camp.  My aim is to live only with things I truly want and need and for what is visible to be visually appealing to me.  Storage spaces full of stuff that I never use seem pointless and burdensome so I attempt to clear out that kind of clutter.  I have no number goal, no dogma about what appliances I should live without in order to be a minimalist, no desire for my home to look like I haven't gotten around to buying furniture for it yet.  I spent several years without a microwave by choice and didn't miss it.  At this point in my life I find one very useful.  A house is not a home if it isn't full of plants and books.  To me there is beauty and joy in those even if there isn't regular use.  Although I have not read her book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I believe that Marie Kondo has a similar approach to choosing what possessions to live with.  The mantra attributed to her is 'does this item spark joy' but I think that is the question to be asked once past the first question: do I use this and need this? The focus seems often to be on sparking joy though I cannot think she is unaware that a dinner plate doesn't spark joy but is typically very useful. 

Ms Kondo's approach, while associated somewhat with the minimalist movement, is more about  simplifying.  For some people this is what a minimalist journey is also about.   Reducing the unneccessary possessions, activities, people, thoughts and square footage of your home are all part of the simplifying journey aspiring minimalists focus on, but the goal is to not have to focus on these things so your focus can be on what you value most.  It's reasonable to assume that the journey towards this goal might at first require more focus on the stuff as you begin to eliminate it then will eventually be required.

For me, my goal is to live a comfortable and simple life with time and energy to focus on what I value most.  I experience stress and anxiety from mess and from an accumulation of items that do not prove their usefulness nor seem to me beautiful.  It may require regular reevaluation to determine if any given item continues to meet those requirements but it's true that the fewer possessions one has the less time need be devoted to that.  I won't be getting rid of my books, plants or candles, the beach stones, decorative plates or sofa cushions any time soon.  I like a bit of layered texture in my home and I have no need to feel unfettered and ready to toss my five belongings into a backpack and travel the world.  By the definition of some I am pursuing a minimalist journey and by others I am not.  It doesn't matter what it's called; it only matters that it works for me.