I find it more than a little surprising that i haven’t really spoken about color and fashion on this blog before. Color has always been something that i’ve had a great interest in, whether it be in the form of Crayola crayons or the four seasons that Color Me Beautiful espoused. As a child i assumed that i was a Summer, as my mother is, since we look so alike. I stopped liking the color pink when i was seven and loved sea foam green and light periwinkle around that time. I had chosen purple as my favorite color. When i was young my hair was very ash, a dishwater blonde, and nowhere near as light as my sister’s. As i hit puberty my hair changed to a more honey color that i greatly preferred. I always spent a lot of time in the sun, especially in the summer, so highlights were something i was blessed to have an abundance of.
My eyes are blue, though not the same blue as my mother’s. Her eyes change color, from blue to green or gray, depending on what she is wearing. My own eyes are a light turquoise with a hue that i generally call “hazel” around the iris. We discovered late in the elementary grades that i am an Autumn, which completely changed the colors i wore. I always remember wearing an aqua/mint green that i didn’t hate but didn’t really flatter me. Around sixth or seventh grade my wardrobe was introduced to turquoise, gold leaning towards mustard, and the most shocking but amazing find of rust. I never would have tried on anything in a rust color but now i see the color in my eyes and hair.
Blue eyes are rare for an Autumn but everyone in my family has blue eyes except one sister who has amazing yellow-green eyes that i’ve never seen anywhere else. My eyes used to be more vibrant but have changed slightly over the past few years. Sometimes i cannot even see the orange-green flecks in my eyes (they seem to have faded and muddied the blue rather than standing out), and my deep blue limbal ring has lightened, though it is still much darker than the blue of my iris, which has greyed somewhat.
As for my hair, i still think of myself as a blonde, my second sister calls it brown, but i think it’s actually more auburn than i ever expected or hoped as a child. My hair is strange, it grows out iridescent black-blonde and can seem dark ash blonde or more of a brown leaning towards rust. I used to dye my hair every 4-6 weeks, first auburn, later a copper or ginger color. I used henna a few times to redden my hair and would not be opposed to doing so in the future. But my hair has finally settled on being more rust than ash i think. I am grateful that i inherited at least some of my Grandad’s auburn as the ash and dishwater always felt wrong to me. The honey blonde of the summer i lifeguarded was glorious.
Colors are complicated. Not everyone sees them the same. Those pants i was wearing while i was skating? I used to call them green while everyone else in my family thought they were blue. The color i think of as turquoise and the color that most people call turquoise are not the same. To me that first color is blue while the second is green. They are nearly the same color but there is some indefinite, infinitesimal threshold between them seems miles apart to my brain. These thresholds drive me bonkers along with every bride who wants just the right color for their wedding decor. Both of these turquoises are cyan, and my version is actually sky blue, but to me it will probably always be turquoise. The other colors that drive me nuts are fuschia/magenta (is it pink or is it purple?) and salmon/coral/shrimp (is it pink or is it orange?). These opinions are entirely subjective and yet…i’m wrong and you’re right. d:
So why am i going on about color? What does any of this have to do with fashion and style? Well lets just start out with the revolutionary concept that there aren’t four seasons, there’s more like twelve or sixteen. I’ve known about this for a couple of years and i still don’t feel like i fit fully in only one season. When my hair is redder i would say i’m most like a True Autumn, but there’s something in my coloring that pulls me towards Soft Autumn or Summer and True Spring. I’m not dark enough of vibrant enough to completely fit in any of these, i am kind of my own thing. For instance, most pink lipsitcks and blushes are way too pink on me and most orange lipsticks and blushes are too bright and red-orange. But if you put me in neutrals such as beige they drag me down.
For example, some of my recent makeup purchases. I like Drew Barrymore a lot, she’s been one of my favorite actresses since Ever After, and she’s generally regarded as a Soft Autumn. I am drawn towards Soft Autumn but it’s too muted for me. I’m starting to buying more makeup in her new Flower line. My first purchase was a Coral Floral lip chubby that is too bright and pink on me. I have rosy cheeks and this emphasizes that in a bad way. A couple of days ago i bought a Apircot-a-lot lip/cheek chubby that matches my lips, is a perfect nude color for them, but looks orange on my cheek. I always want to wear makeup that brings out my inner beauty, that i wear rather than it wearing me. The funny thing is that when i bought the Apricot chubby i thought it looked like a close match to my Romantic color but when i put it on it’s a very subtle color that’s probably too orange. I keep saying that, that these colors that i’m drawn to for my Essence color or for my makeup are too orange. Maybe they aren’t too orange? But they don’t blend quite the way i see them on me in my head. I have been looking for coral lipgloss or lipstick that isn’t pink pink pink on me for a couple of years now. I’m starting to think that i need to look at apricot and peach instead. Or even shrimp. These are pinks, certainly, but to me they scream the orange side of the spectrum, probably in the order of orange > apricot > shrimp > peach > pink.
Wait, Romantic color, where did that come from? Well another new color theory out there is Zyla’s archetypes, which is basically that your best colors come from your own body’s colors. I’m fine with that, it makes sense to me. But he seems to think that your colors dictate what styles of clothes works best for you, too, and the choices all seem very flamboyant to me, so much so that i want to hide in his Mellow Autumn (which, like Soft Autumn, is too muted for me). My sister introduced me to Zyla about two years ago i think. At the time i was more concerned with style than colors since she had introduced me to the Kibbe Style system a year or two before that. Kibbe had his own archetypes (not that he used that word so far as i know), but his are based on body type and facial features rather then colors. In a way i feel like both of these systems is a bit too mystical. I look good in only these clothes because i have boyish hips and high cheekbones? I look good in only these clothes because i have blue eyes and blonde/brown/reddish hair? /scoff
Still, realizing that i am a Soft Natural rather than a Classic or Dramatic really changed things for me in what i look for when i’m shopping. It gave me guidance. Similarly, i’m trying to figure out where i fit in Zyla’s system, which archetype i am, in the hopes that it will help me develop my sense of style further, or at least tell me what colors i look best in and when to wear then (Zyla spends a lot of time on the when to wear what color concept i think). I have approached all of this with a DIY mentality though. I’m trying to figure it out on my own rather than getting my sister’s help when she visits next summer. I don’t spend all of my time on it, but i am thinking on it when i go shopping. So let’s just say that i’m looking for Soft Natural tri gear and leave it at that (not really xD).
At the moment my Essence color is giving me a lot of trouble. Your Essence color is the color that blends the colors in your hand. Which, like my cheeks, tend to be rosy. Let me just start out by saying that at first the idea of wearing this color in public freaked me out. I am a pretty modest person, i’m all about layers to make sure my belly and breasts are fully covered. So wearing my Essence color… it’s basically the same color as my skin, right? Won’t i feel naked? It is basically like wearing your version of nude. But Karen Gillan, Charlotte Russe scarves, and these wedding dresses are helping me get over that.
Ultimately, i am all about educating myself, never stop learning, and all that. But no system is ever going to dictate to me that i have to wear this and never that. Uh-uh. No way. I am too much of a free spirit for that. I’m a nerd, i wear t-shirts to express that. I’m an American, i wear blue jeans to express that. I have blue eyes, and blues are Autumn colors but they do bring out my eyes. Oh, and i have to wear blue and khaki to work. If it were up to me, i would never wear khaki ever again. Unless i could find some stylish hiking shorts or something like that, something that appeals to the Natural part of me and has nothing to do with dresscode and everything to do with going on safari or visiting a savannah. The wannabe world traveler who longs to dress as if she was from two hundred, two thousand, whatever odd years ago in whatever historical period. See, i’m all about saying “i really don’t care what’s in fashion so much as this makes me feel and look amazing.” Yep, that’s me. I’m a trendsetter of sorts.