Don't Drape to Confirm

Note: as I have received some (frankly very bizarre and aggressive) messages about this post, let me be very clear: I have had this topic in my queue for at least two months now. I had kid-free time this afternoon to finish it. It is not about anyone or any few in particular. The examples used are simply examples. I am not saying analysts are perfect or that I am perfect. If you see yourself in it, that's cool, I see myself in it, too.


"I'm positive I'm purely Cool."

"I know I'm clear, so it's just a matter of whether I'm Bright Winter or Bright Spring."

"I can't imagine being anything other than a True Autumn."

Famous last words, folks.

If I could give one piece of advice to people seeking a Personal Color Analysis, it would be this: do not seek a draping to confirm what you think you already know.

Some of my clients walk in the door thinking they're one season (whether they tell me what that season is or not) and walk out the door knowing they're that season. A great many more of them walk in the door thinking they're one season (again, whether they tell me what that season is or not) and walk out the door gripping a brave new palette in their hands.

My intent is never to invalidate a clients' feelings about her own coloring. However: it is nearly impossible to be objective about ourselves. I couldn't attempt to drape myself, even with the training, even with the drapes, even knowing what I already am! We get too stuck in the details, in the ideas we've stitched together about ourselves throughout our lives. My mom wears this color and I don't want to look anything like my mom. I always get compliments in this color. Ooh, this color makes me look tan! I'd never wear this. I look different under these lights. They must be off. My husband loves me in this color. Everyone online told me I was *obviously* warm! Where is this going? I want out.

I polled a small group of my fellow analysts recently and asked them whether they were right or wrong about their season pre-draping, with a third option for "wrong but in the ballpark" for those who were correct about their parent season or dimension. Here's what happened:

Yes indeed, even a group of aspiring color analysts, color-savvy people by nature, were living in the wrong seasons, or otherwise guessed ourselves as the wrong seasons.

We'd tried lipstick draping and peering at macro photos of our eyes. We'd tried selecting the palette that resonated with us. We'd tried draping ourselves in random household fabrics and asking Facebook groups for opinions. We'd tried closing our eyes and pinning the tail on the season.

These are people who knew quite a lot about different color systems, who had backgrounds in painting, dyeing, fashion design, interior design, cosmetics. People who score 0 on the Farnsworth Munsell Hue Test.

And still, we were wrong.

It had nothing to do with us, and everything to do with us. It's just too hard to be objective. Throw in simultaneous contrast, afterimage, inconsistencies in lighting and photography and computer monitors, the fact that the same lipstick will look different on 10 women of the same season, and you have yourself a hot mess.

Don't drape to confirm. Drape to discover.