If my own experience is any indication, you're probably feeling excited, relieved, and maybe a little terrified right now.
Before you do anything else, sign into Pinterest and look at pin boards for your season. While looking at outfit collages and cosmetics seems more practical, I actually prefer looking at curated "mood boards" because I find them more evocative and memorable. For example, Edward Henry Potthast's At the Seashore calls, "Light Summer!" Monet's The Hunt whispers "Soft Autumn. Soft Autumn." You'll find a plate of luscious grapefruit for True Spring, a Victorian crowned pigeon for Dark Winter. It's easier to fix these scenes in your mind than an isolated lipstick color. While you look at Pinterest, spread out your fan next to you. Make the connection between the colors on your palette and the landscapes, rooms, paintings, outfits, foods that are evocative of the season. Take in the palette as a whole.
What if I'm unhappy with my colors? It happens. I had a client recently who suspected Soft Summer for herself, and sure enough, she was a Soft Summer. While she realized that the Soft Summer colors were best on her, she wanted to be surprised, and was a bit disappointed as a result. But every palette has romance, delicacy, strength, mystique. When the person is in harmony with the colors, everything falls into place. Soft Summer, for example, often seems to be the black sheep of the PCA community. The colors are derided as faded and boring. But on a Soft Summer, they're anything but. They're bold and striking and romantic and pretty. The person raises up the colors, and the colors raise up the person. It's a thing to behold. I draped a Bright Winter earlier in the week who made those luscious Light Summer pastels look dirty. So if you dislike your palette, give it time.
Next, you'll want to swatch your wardrobe. Don't overthink it. Take everything out of your closet and start swatching. Spread your palette into a circle so that there's space between each strip and flop the palette onto a blouse or pants. Think of the palette as your face. The colors on your fan and the clothing you're swatching should look like part of the same entity.
Put obvious fails in a trash bag and plan to sell, donate, or swap with friends within a week. You want those items out of your closet now and out of your house soon. At best, they'll be complicating your wardrobe decisions every morning. At worst, you'll find yourself wearing them again. Clear winners go back in the closet. How strict you are with the "Eh, these are okay" items depends on you. If your closet looks pretty bare, you may want to work with these items for now and compensate with makeup or a PaletteWin scarf. If you have plenty of great stuff already, or plan to undertake a large shopping trip, let them go.
- Christine Scaman on how to swatch clothing
Tackle your cosmetics. The right makeup makes a huge difference and can radically alter the shape of your face. Not to mention the color, of course. You can either swatch items on a piece of paper and hold the fan alongside, or hold the actual cosmetics alongside the swatch book and flip through. I often do both. Of course, nothing replaces trying them out, since everyone wears makeup differently, even within the same season. Toss or swap anything in your collection that's too warm, too cool, too light, too dark, too muted, too bright (you get the picture), not to mention items that are past their prime. Look at your foundation, too. Personally, I found myself with a tube of mascara after this step. Yikes.
- Christine Scaman on how to swatch makeup for your season
Go shopping. You don't even have to buy anything. Just swatch everything that looks like it might work. Depending on your season and the time of year, there's a good chance most things won't. That's okay. If you're in doubt, leave it at the store. In the beginning, bring a makeup list with you when you shop for cosmetics. You're still learning the parameters of your colors, and it'll be less overwhelming if you start with an established list. I love going to Sephora for makeup because I can try before I buy, and their return policy is generous. Failing that, most drugstores will accept returns on opened cosmetics with a receipt. Don't be embarrassed to return stuff--it's no big deal.
Swatch everything. Just because. Over time you'll get a great feel for your particular color space. I still shop with my swatchbook, of course, but I've also gotten very good at identifying my colors in the wild. You will, too.
Ask your analyst if you're struggling. If something feels off, or you're just having a hard time grasping your palette, I can guarantee that your analyst will be happy to help.