Spend some time checking out books and websites on color analysis, and you'll see that most sources don't allow for the possibility that Black women can be Springs. Certainly not Light Springs.
Well, we who make the websites and books have learned most of what we know from white authors.
And those authors didn't show women of color in their Spring examples. They told us Spring skin is fair or peachy.
But why should that be so?
Think about it.
The Spring palettes contain medium and dark browns. Why can't one of those colors be the tone of the skin?
Interestingly, Black color analysts have offered examples of Black Spring women for decades.
Jean Patton's 1991 book, Color to Color, has examples of Black women in every palette. The Light Spring woman featured in the book (not the woman on the cover) is undeniably Light Spring. It's worth buying the book for her picture alone - to permanently rid yourself of the mistaken belief that women of color are never Light Springs.
(The seasonal palettes included in the book are of good color quality and are easily matched to the 12 season system, though they don't use the same names.)
In her 1999 book, "Women of Color", Darlene Mathis also has great, full-color examples of Black Spring women.
I believe Alicia Keys is an example of a Black woman who is a Light Spring.
I mean, look at her in this picture, above. To my eye, she looks so much like herself in these delicate and warm colors.
I could rule out almost half of the seasons (Bright Spring, Dark Autumn, and all three Winters) if I could determine that Keys can't wear black.
And, in fact, it really looks wrong for her. The only part of her face I see it connecting to is her eyeliner, and of course that doesn't count. In my opinion, she's unpleasantly pale here.
The lippie, though, is great. And notice it's very light, very pink, and warmish.
This Dark Winter - looking lip is all wrong. Too dark, too intense.
This could be an Autumn yellow-orange, above. It, and the brown-orange lippie, look dull, not vibrant.
In the picture above, I think her lip is too cool (pinkish) for her face, but I like the overall lightness for her.
This warm brown eye, above, is very, very wrong.
The makeup above is great for her, I think. And it's light and peachy. (Except for the black mascara - it's slightly disconcerting. But pretty much everyone wears black mascara, even when they should be wearing grey or brown instead...)
Below, I like her cheek and lip. I find the Autumn-y brownish-orange in the coat too much for her skin, though.
The picture above is not the most reliable, because it's an editorial photo, but gosh, doesn't that look Light Spring to you?
What do you think? Are there other pics of Keys that you think reflect her coloring more accurately? Do you think these photos show a season other than Light Spring?
We women are frequently told that, once we are past a certain age, there are childlike things (like miniskirts and polka dots and bows) that we just can't pull off anymore.
But the truth is, some of us could never pull off these items. And some of us continue to look fabulous in them well into old age.
That's because childlike elements suit women with a lot of Gamine essence (youthful, masculine beauty) or a lot of Ingenue essence (youthful, feminine beauty). And there are plenty of older women who are strongly Ingenue, or Gamine, or both.
Betty White and Jane Goodall are two examples I use a lot, but also see Audrey Hepburn in her old age, Whoopi Goldberg, Debbie Allen, and Roseanne Barr. Some people never stop looking adorable.
One of my favorite things is seeing older women killing it in Gamine and Ingenue styles. It comes across as incredibly confident because it's obvious that these women really see themselves. They look in the mirror and know what they look like, and embrace it by coordinating their style choices with their natural geometry.
Don't let the fashion industry tell you what to think on this issue. Be guided by what you actually look like.
If you're strongly Ethereal, Natural, Dramatic, Romantic, and/or Classic, you'll probably want to avoid traditionally childlike fashions -- even if you're still a teen. (I'm an Ethereal Natural, and even as a child I wasn't flattered by polka dots or bows or cutesy patterns.)
But if you're strongly Gamine, you can feel confident in booties, funky eyeglass frames, tights, miniskirts, bright colors, playful jewelry, and everything else whimsical and funky. And if you're strongly Ingenue, don't hesitate to sport ringlets, tiny floral prints, peplums, ruffles, Mary Janes, babydoll silhouettes, and everything else girlish and sweet.
Not sure what your Style ID is? Figure it out yourself with the Style Identity Calculator, or invest in a Virtual Analysis.
In my part of the world, pools open Memorial Day weekend. I hope that gives many of you enough time to take advantage of the Swimwear Guides I am so psyched to offer now.
I hope to revolutionize the way women think about swimwear.
If you're familiar with my blog and my style system, you know that I propose that women look best when their dress for their faces, not for their bodies. As far as I know, no one else has made this realization, and I think it's really important to spread the word about this.
As women wanting to look our best, we are encouraged to obsess about the tiny details of our bodies. Are my shoulders the same width as my hips, or slightly wider? Am I an apple or a pear? Are my fingers delicate or just bony?
A lot of us have spent dozens or even hundreds of hours asking ourselves these questions.
When it comes to swimwear, the pressure to scrutinize our bodies so minutely is particularly intense.
I want you to know and believe that it is all utter bull.
If you have a Dramatic face, you'll look your best in a Dramatic suit -- even if the style websites are telling you to disguise your flat bust with ruffles, or choose a suit with a skirt to hide your thighs.
If you have a Romantic face, you'll look your best in a Romantic suit -- even if the style websites are telling you to avoid string bikinis, high-cut swimsuits, and side ties.
Here, see two beautifully busty women, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Kim Kardashian. One strikes a dissonant chord in a bust-emphasizing bikini, because her face is too childlike and sweet.
The other is amazing in a similar top, because of the mature, sexy elements in her face.
Here, see two women in a simple maillot -- Selena Gomez and Jamie Lee Curtis.
Both women have curvy bodies.
But on one woman, the minimalism and geometry of the suit is incongruous with her sexy, impish face. On the other woman, the suit is great -- the clean, stark lines echo the clean stark lines of her face.
I have a ton of Natural in my face, and simple, sporty bikini tank tops are great for me -- even though conventional fashion wisdom tells me I am supposed to inflate my nonexistent bust with ruffles or embellishment.
There's no point in creating for myself the illusion of a sexy bust, when a sexy bust is at odds with my face!
We're taught to zoom in on our bodies and focus on every tiny little detail of them.
But when you zoom out, our bodies are not that different.
And that's how other people look at your body: zoomed out. When you're in a bathing suit, NO ONE is noticing whether your shoulders are square or tapered.
What they are looking at -- what they are zooming in on and examining minutely -- is your face. That's how all of us look at faces, because the human brain is wired to do that.
And if your suit coordinates with your face, that's all people will notice.
I know this is a difficult idea to take in.
When we feel unsafe, we default to what we've always done -- and, for many of us, appearing in a swimsuit feels incredibly vulnerable.
Let me just suggest this:
Try on a suit that I am recommending for you.
Take a pic of yourself in the dressing room, and share it with the friend you know will give you honest feedback. (That's not all of your friends, bless them. Be judicious here. You want real honesty.)
Or just keep it on your phone, and come back to a week later, when you have fresh eyes.
I believe you'll see yourself looking more flattered by a bathing suit that you have been in a long time. Or you'll have a moment in which you realize why you always loved that one particular suit, despite it supposedly being wrong for your "body type."
Here's the first page of the guide for Natural-Classic-Ingenue.
Each guide comes with the following:
The are $11.99.
Try your Swimwear Guide here. Be sure to indicate in a comment to your order which Style Identity you'd like me to send you.
(And if you're not sure of your Style Identity, consider trying the affordable Style Identity Calculator, or investing in a Virtual Analysis.)
A woman for whom I recently did a virtual analysis offered to write a customer testimonial for me. Now that I'm in my 40s, one of my personal goals is to become more comfortable tooting my own horn. So here it is. :-)
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Why get a Style Analysis from Rachel? After all, can’t you just figure out this stuff yourself? I mean, it costs money, and all that. I can give you one great reason: Rachel’s gift is magical. Her style analysis is spot-on, objective, and exact. She nailed it.
Like most of us, I have been rather haphazard about my style choices. While I like to think of myself as a smart woman, I have a hard time filtering out the style and fashion noise that bombards us daily. Many of us find the process too difficult to navigate, so we opt out. Many just wear sweats and flip flops, unless heading to work. Others, like me, try and try again, spending countless dollars testing out theories and never quite getting it right. Both extremes can justify these choices with the idea that we are not going to be victims of consumerism, or that we can reinvent ourselves as the occasion demands. And many are satisfied with that.
I am not. Like most, I have a lot of demands on my time and money, so I want to make sure I maximize both. These days, at least, image is important, so making the most of that image without breaking the bank is, to my mind, a worthy goal.
I have educated myself about image matters, at least minimally. According to many media sources, I should, at my age, “know what works for me.” I’ve spent more than 50 years as a female marketing target in the United States, though. And I know I am not alone in being more confused about what works for me than ever. Let’s face it: we are constantly being told that we can control or create our image. We can even live virtually behind an avatar, if we choose. This image thing is NOT easy.
Meaningful style analysis was (and is) an elusive target. When I first started spending my own money on clothes, style analysis was limited to the passing reference to types in the back of the Color Me Beautiful books: Dramatic, Classic, Romantic, Natural, and for a small number of people, Ingenue. I never felt drawn to any of those pure types. Based on the offhand comments of family and friends about how small I am (5’4” on a good day, and very short waisted), or how I should look for my various life roles (work, wife, mom) I always distorted the self-test results away from the Dramatic looks that appealed to me. I am too short to pull those off, I would think. High fashion is not for women like me.
I persevered, though. I did not resort to sweats. I watched makeover shows. I bought fashion books. I pinned all the pins about face shape and how to put on makeup for my eye shape. I wore the Lilly Pulitzer dress that matched the pink dress my daughter loved. I wore the Land’s End quilted jacket all the moms were wearing. I developed a utilitarian basic work wardrobe that required no effort on hectic mornings. My image functioned, but it wasn’t great. And it wasn’t cheap.
Trying the latest fad, or buying clothes just for the right color, gets expensive. So does purging your wardrobe of clothes you love because they supposedly don’t work with your angular shoulders. Because, you see, I would focus on individual features of my image without having a vision for the whole.
But Rachel has hit on something the shows, books, blogs, and advice columns won’t tell you: there are parts of your image you can’t change. As she says, your combination of facial features and body parts, the curves and lines they create, give off an impression. Whether you like or accept them, it is good to know what they are.
When I started reading Rachel’s blog a few months ago, I tried to self analyze. I had never heard of the Kibbe types, so I read and looked on Pinterest. I read Rachel’s research on facial typing, and I realized that I probably did not have the discipline to apply this information to myself accurately.
I had never heard of Ethereal as a style type. Flowy clothes were always either Romantic or Natural, but the supernatural Ethereal look is distinct from the others. Gamine is similarly distinct from Ingenue as a youthful look and from the other masculine types. And it makes so much sense to have this symmetrical division from Dramatic on the masculine end to Ethereal on the feminine, with Classic in the middle.
My self analysis wasn’t trustworthy. Years of fashion industry static has made me doubt my eye and my instinct. What’s more, I sometime confuse my mischievous side with a visual style: in short, I saw myself in all of the types. I am small, so I could argue the Ingenue or Gamine essences, but I don’t like the fussiness they need. I am not symmetrical enough to be a Classic, but I do like proportion. I have some rounded features, so maybe there is some Romantic in there. I have some rather average features, and earth tones work for me, so maybe a Natural. Dramatic and Ethereal really appealed to me, but I could not see whether I was coming forward (Dramatic) or receding (Ethereal). And those can’t be right because I am short. I needed help. Enter Rachel.
For me, Rachel’s style analysis, like all truths, has set me free. I am a Dramatic Ethereal Classic (50% Dramatic!). I felt drawn to this type, but had talked myself out of it! Again, I had failed to see that my whole was greater than the sum of my parts. This type makes sense of all of my conflicting signals. I am no longer afraid of my dark coloring: it fits. I am no longer trying to soften the things about my appearance others find intimidating: the Ethereal elements in my style can do that for me without being cutesy, overly casual, or overly ornate (all things I have tried). The Classic part gives proportion to my shortness.
On Rachel’s recommendation, I am trying hairstyles some of the online experts would disapprove of, like no bangs on my long face. I am trying styles that are supposed to be wrong for me, like boatnecks for my broad shoulders. AND THEY ARE WORKING. I have gotten compliments from random co-workers for each of these small experiments. The people who have seen Rachel’s recommendations for me have unanimously approved.
Here is the best part: I am not afraid of growing into this image. I can look back and see that these elements have always been part of me, and knowing that, the future looks so much brighter! Is Style Analysis worth it? With Rachel it is. Thank you, Rachel, for helping me find myself!
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This customer's words made me so happy. More than anything, I want to help women feel authentically beautiful. If you're interested in a virtual analysis for yourself, book it today! :-) And keep in mind that many women do find success using the very affordable Style Identity Calculator on their own. :-)