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Jun 6, 2012

Color Me Beautiful -- Friend or Foe?


If you've hung out here a while, you know I'm not really about rules.  That's in stark contrast to Michael, who grew up in a strict military family.  Which is not to say that Michael doesn't break rules -- he certainly does -- just that it's always more of a struggle for him.


About twenty-five years ago (yes, twenty-five) Michael's mother hired a Color Me Beautiful consultant to "do" the colors for the entire family.  (What Tupperware was to the Sixties, CMB was to the Eighties, I'd argue.)  And to this day, his parents and sisters adhere to it like fundamentalists to scripture.  Whenever Michael goes clothes shopping, he carries around his checkbook-sized vinyl-covered personalized color sample book.  And to make matters worse, he wants me to take it with me when I buy fabric for him!  Me being me, I resist, though by now I basically have it memorized.



You might be wondering if Michael's family looks any better than anyone else's as a result.  I'm not even going there.

Yesterday I decided it was time to start sewing again -- a project that would bring me immediate gratification, the only kind I'm interested in at the moment.  I'd been admiring the gorgeous linen prints for sale at Fabrics for Less on 39th Street (just a few doors down from Steinlauf & Stoller), and I decided that June was the perfect time to sew Michael a linen shirt -- and maybe something for myself as well.

I picked up two yards of this lovely linen border print  (I actually didn't realize it was a border print until I got it home).  It's wonderfully soft and drapey, especially after laundering.  It cost $5.99/yd for a 60" bolt.





Fortunately for me, it matches "his" turquoise perfectly, and the olive green is "his" as well.  (Oye vey.)





Michael wants a regular button-down men's shirt, so I'll probably use my TNT vintage pattern, Butterick 4712, or maybe not, we'll see.  This will be a short-sleeve shirt, so there might be enough for some drawstring shorts for me too!

I'm happy to be taking on what should be a fun and easy project and to his credit, Michael actually wears what I sew for him a lot more than I wear what I sew for myself, and since he always gets compliments, it's very gratifying.

Friends, what's your take on Color Me Beautiful?  When I asked him how his colors could possibly be the same after twenty-five years and a complete change of hair color (from dark brown to practically white), Michael claimed that your colors stay the same throughout your life.  Do you think this is true?  Doesn't a person's skin tone ever change and wouldn't this affect what colors flatter you?

In closing, how do you decide which colors work best for you, and if you're wearing something that isn't ideal, can't you just change your lipstick or eyeshadow to make it work?  (Or bronzer?)

Color Me Beautiful -- friend or foe?

84 comments:

  1. My mother tried to shoehorn me into a more stylish style while I was growing up, and this was the source book. In a fit of desperation she hired a consultant to do my colors, who to one look at me and started criticizing my skin, my age and my choice of future profession. Shortly thereafter I plunged into punk.

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    1. Punk a very acceptable fashion style (original of course), love it!

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  2. Interesting. I have to say I would love to have a colour analysis. I used to have a friend who would tell me I looked illuminous in mustard and certain lime greens (on account of my ruddy complexion, I love greens,she was right). Tried this DIY analysis online, but it totally confused me. Surely knowing what colours suit you best, must make clothes & fabric shopping far easier.

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  3. Hahaha - you totally took me back with this post Peter - thanks! My mom was really into CMB. I do think the premise is good, and I have stuck with my basics over the years (I am a "winter"). When I fall in love with a color that doesn't work well with my skin tone, I find a different way to use it. (Like the apple green silk charmeuse lining I plan to put inside a navy silk coat - with a crazy print piping accent). We are all designers, right? So rules are always made to be broken - but I like sticking to my best colors right around my face.

    Thanks for the memory this morning!

    Sew Maris

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  4. Oh Boy do I remember that book, and the craze!! It made such an impact, that I find myself going back to some of those rules! I never had my colors done, but I remember that book. I think it has some merit, but I wouldn't completely follow it to the letter.
    My oldest daughter has a pink undertone to her skin and looks like a dream in pastels, when my second daughter was born, and I put her sisters hand me downs on her, she looked like death! All those pretty pastels made her look washed out and ill. The minute I put jewel tones on her she looked amazing! So, I think you should kind of pay attention but not be so strict ;)

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  5. Well being a baby of the eighties, I probably wasn't aware of this, but I'm pretty certain it wasn't a craze in the UK. I find it very strange that anyone would trust a stranger to tell them what suits them. Surely colour like clothes style is a completly personal opinion. I'm keen on bright colours and quite like a little bit of clashing in an outfit because it makes me happy, I have no idea if this fits into my colour pallette.
    Having said that I think a change in hair colour is likely to change what colours you reach for. I know my mum started to wear a lot of blues when she stopped dyeing her hair, it does look gorgeous with her silvery white hair.

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  6. I just love colour, but am very aware of colours that make my skin tone look sallow - I love orange. but when i put it next to my face I look washed out. For me knowing which colours to wear was natural. and I do gravitate to the colours I look good in, and steer clear of those I don't. However. when I really must have a dress in orange ( like the one I'm planning at the moment. I will pair it with cerise or apply copious amounts of fake tan and blusher.

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  7. CMB doesn't work for everyone. My color combination isn't in the book because I have a Hispanic mother and a British Isles father. My skin tone is yellowish with a pink undertone. My eyes are a reddish brown and hair is light golden brown. You won't find that combination in any color book. But mostly the Autumns work very well for me and some of the Spring colors. I've looked at lots of color advice but never found any that had a broad enough description. It's probably a problem to many people who are multi racial.

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    1. You sound pretty similar to me, except I have blue-gray eyes (another color issue, if I were the eyeshadow-wearing type; not blue enough for blue shades, not gray enough for whatever is supposed to bring out gray) and my hair is probably lighter than yours (but still brown with red tones). I tend to stick to autumns, too. And I have a freakish ability to wear virtually any shade of green, no matter how sour or mossy.

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    2. I can wear any shade of sour and mossy green too, along with all the mustard yellows.

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  8. I bought the book back then and have to say it really helped me figure out why I looked worse in brown, beige, rust, and gold (all colors I used to wear often -- especially because they were "in" during the 70s when I was a teenager) as well as pastels. But I don't carry a color swatch around or anything like that -- just eyeball stuff to see whether it is cool or warm and hold it up to my face to get the effect. This saves me a lot of time and effort because I don't try on anything that is not in a good color for me. Also, almost all of my clothes coordinate without a lot of fussing around. So yes, friend.

    And no, wearing different makeup does not suffice to fix mismatches. My coloring is what it is.

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  9. I also had my colors done about 25 years ago. I went to a class and got a little case with my colors. I have it somewhere. I remember that I was to under no circumstances wear black. While black is not my best color it is just not practical to ban it from my wardrobe. I do sort of follow the range of colors I was given, to know where to start and what shades to gravitate to. I do recall that Micheal may be mistaken about changing types. You definately change over time and can't be guarenteed to be the same season after 25 years. I think it is a good idea to see what range of colors may work best for you, but as a guide, not a religion. Of course, I sort of feel that way about most things in life.

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  10. I think one's suitable colors are pretty much based on skin tone, which don't normally change all that much over the course of a lifetime. I have always looked best in quiet colors - greys, slate-y blues, navy, that sort of thing - punched up with reds and yellows and the very occasional kiss-my-ass pink shirt. The '70s were hell for me; you basically could not find quiet colors unless you went to Brooks, which is a wee bit expensive by my standards.

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  11. How on earth can your best colours stay identical throughout your life? I get that a yellow or pink undertone isn't going to change, but your hair and skin does change as you age. I like the concept and I can see how some colours work moreso than others, but there is also just feeling happy. I wouldn't care if green did look good on me, I still wouldn't wear it.

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    1. I'm with Sera - as you age, your skin becomes paler. Your hair changes. No way you can assume you won't need to shake up the palette you wear to get the best effect. And, who cares anyway - sometimes you need to wear bizarre (for you) colours just to keep life interesting.

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    2. 100% my opinion! LOL

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  12. I actually had my colors done while in college. It was a gift from my mother's friend. It has been enormously helpful in the subsequent years choosing colors that compliment my skin tone. I'm not mad

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  13. Had it done in the 80"s and it was all goofy...may have been the person. Had an artist do something similar and her advice has endured for many years. Yeah for art!!

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  14. I had my colours 'done' about 5 years ago (not CMB but similar), it was a gift from my husband because I detest clothes shopping and he wanted to encourage me to treat myself. I went with mixed feelings but the consultant I saw was brilliant, she looked at skin tone and eye/hair color, talked me through how a change in hair colour would impact. She showed me make up techniques and the impact of different accessories. I need to wear black sometimes even though it looks dreadful on me (very pale celtic complexion, smattering of freckles that are the closest I get to a tan!) but a splash of colour near my face saves it. I still dislike shopping ( which is why I'm trying to make my own clothes, fit is a whole other issue!) but it is much less stressful, I'm much more confident with colour, enough to break the rules, and am getting pretty bold with fabric choices. So, for me, a really positive, enabling experience :)

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  15. Color Me Beautiful is such a hilarious 80's cliche! I am a huge fan of rules myself, so if I had ever had my colors done, that info would probably have stuck with me to this day.

    But what I really want to say is that Michael is awfully good-natured in the way he allows you to expose his eccentricities in your blog. I hope you appreciate this.

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  16. Those of us with peach-y complexions are told that as we age, the undertones will become more yellowish. This has been true for me (at 48), and I have had to change lip, blush, and foundation colors. However, I have always been able to wear the same colors, and needed to avoid the same ones, too.

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  17. CMB was huge in the '80s. I had the book but I never had my colors "done", because I love and embrace all colors. If I recall correctly, I was supposed to wear what I call muddy colors, where I definitely had a preference for pastels and jewel tones.

    The craze was so big that some retailers labeled their clothes by the color season.

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  18. I've had a recent re-interest in this concept, though I've never had my colors "done". My main interest in color-analysis right now is that I seem to have a serious mish-mash of colors in my wardrobe, and by sticking closer to a palette of "best" colors, I'm hoping to have an easier time with combining pieces into outfits. Also, it helps me to pass over a "great deal" on thrifted fabric if it is a color that won't look good on me later.

    From what I've read, "best" colors can change over time, needing to go with softer tones as hair greys/lightens in particular. Also, a change in hair color can totally change what colors look good; by the same principle, there are some hair colors that will look better than others on various skin tones. Therefore, in the past when I colored my hair much darker, all the sudden I could wear red without looking completely lost under it; by the same token, trying to go blonder just made me look tired and sick. I would think that in theory, changing makeup colors should work the same way, but in my experience it just doesn't play out like that.

    Being the typical caucasion-type that was originally profiled in the '80's, the original 4 and updated 12 main color palettes were pretty easy for me to figure out for myself. For my 1/2 Latina daughter though, its not a good system. There just isn't much consistent information out there about how to color-match a pale olive-skinned, black eyed, mousy brown w/ natural blonde highlighted haired girl, and I'm not going to get a color consult unless its something she's interested in when she's older. I'm trying to go with the theory that she's young and uninfluenced by trends, so maybe the colors she gravitates towards in the fabric store are actually her best colors.

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  19. This post reminds me of "Life in Color" by Jesse Garza & Joe Lupo, a book you can use to find your best colors. (I am in no way affiliated with them. I just have the book.)

    They also have a more recent book that you could probably find at their website at
    visual-therapy.com

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  20. I've always liked the idea of knowing which colors will tend to look best on me (especially when buying expensive fabric or yarn), but I can't even tell if the veins on my wrists are blue or green and I look different in every mirror I check, depending on the light. I confuse myself.

    So, I pay attention to when my friends say "That color looks great on you!" And it's just silly not to wear black or white.

    Does Michael look best in his preferred colors? Does anyone look bad in turquoise?

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  21. I discovered "Dressing Your Truth" by Carol Tuttle. She has many free videos online to share her concept of energy profiling. One of her topics is about dressing in colors that fit the dominant energy you are projecting.
    After learning more about it, I purged all the heavy corporate correct black from my closet and have never looked back.

    In fact, this summer I have excitedly found certain shades or orange, yellow and green that I can add back into my mix. The bottom line is that I FEEL great in what I am wearing and I'm projecting my true animated, light, child-like qualities which I had been hiding before. Somewhere in the past I decided I needed to "grow up" which was a mistake. I was miserable and ....let's face it....there are enough people in the world determined to suck all the fun out of everything! My gift is to bring some sunshine back!

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  22. Oh, mh sister was into this, big time....

    there are newer systems out there that are more inclusive, so it might be fun to check those out.

    And how can one ditch white and/or black? When one has my coloring, that's how! I don't wear them next to my face (unless for exercise/working in the garden), because they make me look like death warmed over. I think this is true of many people and they don't want to acknowledge it or deal with it....

    have fun with the new shirts!

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  23. Oh my goodness! I have been obsessed with figuring out my colors in the last couple of months (well mainly over the winter when I was in Siberia and was fairly down with the lack of color there). I haven't been about to find this book anywhere- or a way to get my colors done. I've tried to do it myself on their website, but I can't really figure out where I fit exactly. I my hair color/skin complexion/eye color fit in different categories. I've decided to just say screw it and wear whatever colors I want and if it doesn't work out I just won't wear the color again. Maybe I should find a color me beautiful consultant... once i get my haircolor back to the correct range. :)

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  24. "I'm not even going there." - PRICELESS!!!

    Every few years the colors change in some fundamental way; they get deeper, metalic, muddier, pale with a grey cast, retro pastel, neon. Fabrics change, we change over time, and there are always surprises, if one dares to try on a color.

    I heard Charles Kleibacker's response to the "I can't wear black." crowd, he proffered, "Change your make-up." How difficult is that?

    CMB had some good points, but really was a Garanimals-like concept for adults.

    It's time to put down the color sample book, explore, and self-access what colors you prefer in the here and now.

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    1. I didn't see this one go through - so I wrote another one.

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  25. CMB was Garanimals for adults.

    Time to simply try things on, and see where you are at this point in time with the fabrics available. Since fabrics change every season, and we change, one's fashion sense can't help but be a moving target.

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  26. mari.hafenstein@att.netJune 6, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    I did have my colors done with a CMB consultant back in the day. It was spot on, but it wasn't something that I didn't inherently already know for myself. I just remember when I got married that the consultant kept insisting on a "candlelight/ivory" gown for me and I wanted white. I was the bride, I won. I think I can wear both.

    As for the reader question regarding turquoise. I remember the old church choir days and they told us that everyone looks good in turquoise, thus the selection for our gowns. And true to my rules oriented self, I picked out turquoise gowns for my bridesmaids all those years later because I figured it would look good on all my attendants.

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  27. I had my colors done,twice I think, in the mid to late 80s and it was decided I was a summer. I had always gotten compliments when I wore certain shades of pink, which matched up with the "summer" colors. I got rid of the book and the color swatches long ago - I don't have the patience for all that. But you can't unring a bell, as they say. I still do buy a lot of pinks, blues and purples - simply because my wardrobe is now based on having those colors.

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    1. I'm a summer too! (Or so Michael tells me...)

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    2. If you looked fantastic in dusty rose, that's a summer color.

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  28. I tend to just file those "you look great in that color" comments away in the back of my mind. (And I've made it one of my favorite compliments to pass on, too! People love to hear it, it's so much better than just plain "you look great.")
    I love bright colors and fortunately for me, they seem to work for me. Red, orange, turquoise, yes! But I own no yellow or purple at all. I know yellow makes me look ill, and for some reason I just don't gravitate to purple. ~ Kelly

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  29. Hehe.. that book looks familiar. When we had our colors done everybody was an autumn, except my mom, a winter. So - the positives are an easy to coordinate working wardrobe & having a good idea of what hair colors look good (red) and bad (platinum, black) before taking the plunge. Bad: boy those swatches are limiting, not not a guarantee you'll look good, unless you get somebody that will make you a custom book (with larger swatches, they were so small). I look terrible in golden yellows, despite what the book says.

    What I've come to realize is: Warm colors are good, greens are better. Hazy is good, medium or deep tones are better. Combine for more flattering choices. I look fine in black & deep magenta (not together) if the fabric texture is right. Also, the outfit better have medium contrast in it, or more, or I'll be invisible. I will never look anything but two days dead in royal blue.

    My brother (also an autumn) looks great in a whole range of golden, coppery and mustard colors, with minimal contrast in his outfit; a terrible look for me. (Not that he cares, he tends towards "what is clean" dressing.)

    I follow my own version of this when buying fabric & expensive clothes. When picking up a bargain thrifting or from free-cycle, I just stay away from clear blues & call it good enough.

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  30. Honestly, I would LOVE to have my colors done (but not by CMB). I had a good handle on what looked & felt good to me, but when I stopped dying my hair last year everything shifted (yeah, lots of things are shifting....let's not go there, 'k?) , and I'm still trying to figure out the "new me".

    Religiously sticking to a color system though? Nuh uh. Never. That pretty much goes with ANY system, in my world!

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    1. I have the same problem! Hair color now natural. I retired, what to wear?

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  31. I guess I was too young to really be aware of this craze or really understand it. But skin and hair changes throughout life (and seasonally with tans!). So, I wouldn't put much stock in it. Plus what we think looks good changes over time, too. Sometimes I'll try on a a color that I think doesn't look great on me and be pleasantly surprised.

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  32. I found CMB useful back in the day, and still have "the rules" in the back of my mind.

    I'm a winter, and the winter tones work on me. Summer tones most definitely do not.

    What I took away from the book was the types of colours that suited me--more intense/saturated and avoid the yellow undertones, gravitating toward bluish undertones. My colour vision is good enough to tell them apart before trying on.

    I also learned that every one can wear a given colour--it depends on the SHADE. There is white, and there is white. I wear bright white or whites with bluish undertones well. Creamy whites, not so much. Same with black. I generally looked good in black (usually a true black) but some blacks had undertones that made them less wearable for me.

    I had avoided browns and beiges for years as they looked like hell on me and my Mom dressed me in them as a kid. I learned that there are browns and beiges I CAN wear--they just weren't usually the shades that she'd been selecting.

    She also suggested--and I'ved used the advice--that colours that work in your wardrobe but may not be your "best" colours can be used, just not next to your face.

    And I agree with those that say changing the makeup does not help, although hair colour can play a role.

    That said, as I've aged my hair has gone from brown to mostly a silvery grey and my skin tone has faded a bit. I'm finding unrelieved black is now a bit harsh on me (although black and white or a very dark brown or grey are fine) as is blood red. Also, some of the olive-y greens and browns, in moderation, work on me.

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  33. Oh boy do I remember CMB! I was so into it in the 80's! But it's really useful to know what colors you can skip right over when shopping at Ross. Save a lot of time. If I want to wear a color that doesn't flatter me, I use it as home dec, or just not around my face.
    As I've gotten older, I can't wear the black that used to look so devastating on me when I was young. Now I look better in charcoal, subtle change but successful.
    If one tries on a color and immediately all the hair on the face shows up, not a good color choice. If the color makes the complexion look like Maid Marion, better. Just have to pay attention and use a good light.

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  34. I remember the craze in the 80s, but never really followed it-I always wore colors I liked regardless. What does it say about indoor vs outdoor lighting? Do the same color rule hold true?

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  35. Sorry, Peter, but I DO believe there are "right" and "wrong" colors. When I worked full-time, I had a long-sleeved wool dress in a blue-grey color (called "soldier blue") that I wore everytime I wanted an afternoon off. All morning, my boss would tell me, "You don't look so good, Marti, are you coming down with something?" Umm, yeah ---

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    1. Aunt Marti, you are certifiably diabolical!

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  36. I was working in an office setting during the 80's and a female co-worker suggested that I go see her color analyst. Obviously I needed help! It's been a mixed blessing. The biggest benefit is that I've been able to build a more coordinated wardrobe. The biggest drawback is that colors come and go in the fashion world. Nothing's more frustrating than wandering through store after store and never seeing a color that's right. I'm waiting for the big dark teal comeback!

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  37. I love CMB, but the above commenters who mentioned it not really working for ethnicities other than caucasian are on the money. A starting point only.

    As for colors changing - yes. You don't change seasons, but you change intensities. So, my mom who is a Winter and started out with dark brown hair and now has nearly silver hair and similarly lighter skin? She can now wear a lot of Summer colors that were too blah on her before, and has had to move some of the more intense Winter colors to accessory land. She's still a Winter, just a a much milder one.

    I'm a *bright* Spring, and if I don't wear the right colors, I look awful. Wear the good ones and I don't even bother with makeup.

    Use it as a starting point and go from there when you've gotten a good feel for yourself and what does and doesn't flatter.

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  38. I had my colors "done" back in the day, and I still recall two consultants arguing whether I was a Summer or a Spring. They both hated the chocolate-brown shirt I wore that day, which I was wearing not for its color but for the rather suggestive statement it boasted, so I refused to give it up. While the experience was a bit traumatic, learning what colors looked particularly good on me was helpful, and reinforced why I instinctively preferred some colors to others. My swatches are long-gone, but I still shop by color: if the color doesn't flatter me, I'm not buying it.

    As for Michael, he might be doing you a favor with his beloved swatches--at least you know if a fabric contains some of those colors, he'll wear it!

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  39. I had my colors done in the 80s, and I finally understood why I bought grey things but never wore them or felt comfortable when I finally did wear them. It really opened my eyes to color theory.

    I'm an autumn and frequently break the rules, I wear conservative suits for work and don't always have many choices. I try to use autumn accents, blouses or scarves when I can.

    I choose coral or orange over pink. I'm more selective about colors close to my face than pants. I choose brights like turquoise or lime green when I can't find autumn shades.

    My mom didn't wear make-up and it took me a long time to learn how to wear make-up. The CMB theory helped me select blush and eye shadow colors. It made me look so much better!

    Some people naturally have an eye for this, I didn't and it changed the way I dressed.

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  40. My mum bought that book and I read through it so many times! I think it's basically a sound idea, but it got carried to ridiculous extremes! I haven't looked at it for years, but I definitely remember aspects of it. I was a winter and wore a lot of red and colours like that and looked fabulous, but I'm pretty sure there was a section in there about how you can shift seasons as you get older, and I suspect that's happened to me to a degree. I don't think I'm quite a spring (I think that was the other cool colour?) but I can't pull off the really intense colours quite the way I used to. Skin tone changes as you get older (I have more red in it now) and of course white hair will make a difference too. I don't think I need a swatch book to know what colours look good though, it's generally quite obvious once you look out for it!

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  41. SeamsterEast@aol.comJune 6, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    A long time back I bought a "green" sport coat (what did I know, I was a 22 year old three months out of the Marines Corps?) for $35 (I remember the price) that was a showstopper. It was lighter than forest green and darker than kelly green.

    Other colors did little to nothing.

    I today live within an easy walk of Paul Stuart and Brooks Bros and I've NEVER seen a "green" sport coat at either place. Charcoal gray, gray, blue, light blue, dark blue, red, claret, burgundy etc but NO green of any sort. None.

    About an hour ago I washed a light green knit and a green/white stripe knit I bought a K-Mart (and spent ten minutes each sewing in new side seams for a "closer" fit). Those cheap, cheap, cheap K-Mart knit shirts draw second glances. My light weight knit sweaters from Brooks Bros -- one is a black/yellow/white -- at near 15x the price don't.

    WHY?? does green "work" but red/blue/yellow/ocra/purple/orange/peach don't?

    Human nature, I guess.

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  42. According to the seasonal theory or colors, I was an autumn. They were admittedly my best colors, so I could see the validity behind the theory, but AUTUMN! You were stuck with all the ugliest colors while everyone else got the pretty ones. Who wants to look great if you look like great dirt? I felt like a walking mud-woman in them. I cloncluded pretty quickly that I'd rather look bad in colors I liked.

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  43. Not sure what good it does to know one's colors when every season the stylists decide what palette will be shown and sold as fabrics and ready to wear. I hate shopping because what looks good on me is only sold once in a blue moon.

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  44. I don't know about colours staying the same your whole life. My haircolour has varied over the years. Now living in Australia, my skin is a bit more tanned then it was in the UK, so I doubt I would have exactly the same colours. Having said that yellow and yellow greens have never suited me and dusky pink is only wearable in the depth of winter and if I dye my hair brown, so maybe you do have a core set of colours that you can never ever under any circumstanzes wear :-)

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  45. I love the autumn colors but look putrid in them. When I wear any of the clear bright winter colors, people always comment. As my hair gets grayer, I think that those colors look even better. I don't think that people can tell you what to wear, but you should at least listen to their comments.

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  46. I cannot wear flourescent green or yellow (as last seen in the 80's). Magenta and some hot pinks give me a headache. Black can work if it is not a certain greyish purplish black that makes me look like death. Icy white does not work ever.
    Do I need to carry a swatch around to tell me all this? No.

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  47. You know, I actually did color consultation in the 80's. I do believe that people are born a season and that season provides a structure for their preferences and some basic personality traits. Of course, there are variations and even more so, deviations. However, like all things, there is no way to use something like that for all decisions. People change, and as they get older, they tend to lose color. But there are colors I look dreadful in and others I look (and feel) much better in. There are some cosmetic colors I look better in than in others, particularly in lipstick.

    The bottom line is that you should wear what you feel good in, and if that color is contradictory to your "color me beautiful" palette, then so be it! Trust your instincts because they are usually very correct.

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  48. I've never done the colour consultation, but I remember being fascinated by the books when I was young and had found them at the school library (weird I guess). I think I'm an autumn and for a long time I favoured warm colours.
    Now I dont care - The only colours I dont really wear is browns and coral, which makes me look deathly ill.

    I've found the biggest difference is what you wear close to your face. I really like red, but it clashes with my hair so I wear it on my lower half or as an accessory. As long as you keep "YOUR" colours near your face, the rest of your outfit is free to experiment.

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  49. To be honest, I had my colours done a while ago (cough) and just recently. The colours are a fun reminder and my colours have changed since they were first done. I've also got colours for when my hair colour goes totally white. That's when I stop colouring my hair, which will happen when hairdressers go out of business.
    But, I'll sew/wear any colour and sometimes I might cull my shopping selection based on my colour pallete.
    I do have some wonderful sewing friends who only buy fabric based on their colour pallete so if I find fabric in their colours I'll send them pics of fabrics that would really tempt them.
    So I've used colour palletes more for good than for evil.

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  50. I think the point with the changing hair color is that naturally it will not change to a color that is unflattering to one's coloring (what bottled color does is another matter). The color range from a good color analyst will show you the colors that are already in you. So when your hair starts turning gray, you may change which colors your wear, perhaps switching from the darker side to the lighter side of the range, but you're still picking from the same range of colors. Does that make sense?

    My favorite blog to read about this is www.12blueprints.com - excellent reading, with pictures to illustrate her point. NAYY

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  51. To fun -- I did the whole 'Color Be Beautiful' thing -- even had the book you are showing there! I stuck to my colors way back then, but gradually grew to spread my wings in the color world. I was graced a 'winter' probably still am in the bigger picture, went from almost black hair to white hair, but the skin color is the same -- extremely fair. Personally I am at the point that color is subjective to my mood :0 so the colors of my closet are far more a rainbow ;-)

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  52. In the past twenty-five years I've gone from being a platinum blonde to a dishwater blonde and, most recently, developed a silver streak right in the center that I'm quite fond of. All without a single dye job. Colors change over time; that said, it may well be that Michael has remained in the same range. If those colors make him happy, who is anyone else to ruin his enjoyment of them?

    I've never had my colors "done" and my attempts to figure them out for myself just left me muddled and confused. So what I've figured out over time is to wear what makes me happy. My husband may love beige for his own garments, but anything I bought for myself in that colorway, I never wore. Instead, I purchase the blues and greens and reds that lift my spirits. Because if I'm in something I love, I smile. And a genuine smile can make anyone look better dressed.

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  53. I wear colors I love and I don't worry about my complexion. I spend very little time looking in mirrors.

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  54. I've never had my colours done, but grew up with an almost entirely blue wardorbe thanks to my mother (the buyer) insisting that "blue goes with your eyes". As a teenager I suddenly realised there's more to the world than blue but was stuck in a blue rut - it was safe.

    Only now that I have started sewing have I actually started to branch into the colours I long admired: reds, oranges, greens. Do they suit me? I have no idea. Do I care? As long as I'm happy wearing it, then no. And my mother? Loves the colours I've been sewing in. HA!

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  55. I can't believe I'm saying this, but in my last year at university (2006), the Civil Engineering department paid for us all to 'have our colours done'! It was immensely popular, even amongst the 90% of the students who were men.

    I found it genuinely interesting and valuable - but that doesn't mean that I won't break the rules and enjoy whatever colours I like :-)

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  56. A couple of friends played around with the CMB books and their fabric stashes a few years ago. They sort of "did" their own colours, and mine. I was just coming out of a long period of wearing all black all the time, so for me it was great - all these new colours to try! For someone who already has a taste in colours, it might feel more confining. For me, CMB is a friend, and has helped me find my favourite colours.

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  57. I don't know too much about this but from a common sense view on it I would think your colors would change due to your skin tone eye etc which change in tone over the years. To give you an example someone who dyes there hair to another colour will find they will have to change there makeup to compliment it. That's my view and am sticking to it lol.

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  58. It's a partial truth, of sorts, at best. How can all people be categorised into four categories, or sub categories? And our skin changes as well as our hair over time. There are newer systems with 14-16 individual colour palettes that are more user friendly and the education behind them is more useful. How I know this is I was incorrectly coded as a 'winter' many years ago, and as the colours never suited my personality let alone my colouring, I've always ignored it. Were I someone who believed everything I was told I'd look like a mess!

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  59. I had my colours done in 1988 in Australia and have found it very useful. With brown hair and eyes and light olive skin, it was decreed I was an Autumn with some Winter, but on no account should I wear black or navy. I think it was right on the money, and I was pretty literal about the colours I wore to start, but over the years I relazed and I've eyeballed it. As I've aged, I definitely think my colouring has softened and I find myself wearing the more muted colours in the palette.

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  60. I had my colors done 30 years ago. Although some elements of this theory still work for me, a lot of them don't. For instance, although I still look best in colors having a bit of yellow in them (teal, tomato red, eggplant, burgundy), I now avoid earth tones which were strongly recommended to me at the time. I think they look muddy on my warm skin tone, and would rather "cool" my skin tone with bright clear tones.

    I've since read other books dealing with color, and I think that the concept of contrasting one's skin tone (warm tones to warm up pale or dull-looking skin, or cool tones to cool down a ruddy complexion) is a helpful one to keep in mind. This contrasts with the advice I received to always wear colors that are in "harmony" with my skin tone.

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  61. I had my colors done in the 80's and was deemed a summer. Over the years, I've simplified my color selection to simply stay in the cooler softer colors if possible. And it showed me that the only yellow for me is a soft butter yellow, not bright ones, and my browns should have a hint of pink, not rust. But I will not rule out trying colors from the "wrong" seasons depending on how much there is in the garment and where it will be worn. And I totally ignore the advice on jewelry - I'll wear gold if I want to.

    A quick test is to hold gold and silver fabric to your face. If gold makes you look best, stick in the warm colors, if you look better in silver, stick to the cool colors.

    All in all, it's saved me from purchases I'd end up not wearing. It also increases the chances of purchases working with things I already have. I still have the swatches, not sure about the book.

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  62. i've never had my colors done professionally and i have no idea what tye i am but i seem to have a natural feel for what looks good on me... maybe it's because i work as an illustrator? it's a very visual job (duh) and a large part of my work is figuring out color schemes and what looks good together.

    for myself I'm drawn to cooler, bold colors. I look horrible in anything pastel, yellow, orange or close to my skin tone. black is a bit too harsh for me but white is ok. I wear dark navy and dark grey instead of black, and the rest of my wardrobe is filled with blues, red (with a blue undertone, never orangey-red), greens and greys.

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  63. I'm so happy to see so many replies.
    I'm a summer and my husband is a spring. So many clashes when shopping for anything where color matters (paint, furniture, clothes, etc.)

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  64. I have dark brown black hair, pale skin and dark brown eyes. Being of Asian descent I was told that I would look good in warmer colours. It was only in my teens that I realised I was more of a winter and cooler jewel tones looked better ub me. Anything with more of a yellow tone made me look ill. I am thankful that I look good in black, white, red and some shades of navy. I have also found the cooler frets good as well. The colours I love that don't suit me go on the bottom eg: yellow, green, tan etc. Once I had my palette sorted (never had a consult) its been very easy to choose fabric and get dressed in the morning.

    Mel (Audreychrysalis)

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  65. I'm not quite sure if the Colour Me Beautiful concept is the exact same as the Colour Type one here in Germany, but I had that one explained to me in a rather believable way a while ago. The concept is based on the fact that there are two kinds of melanin/skin pigment: a dark black-brownish one and a yellow-reddish one, and the one you have doesn't change during life, it's genetic. So people with dark melanin are Summer/Winter ("cold", blue-tinged colours, Summer is more muted and Winter bright) and the reddish melanin makes you Spring or Fall (warm colours, darker for Fall and lighter for Spring). So I guess you might change between the dark and light type as you get older, but you will always be a cool or warm type, as it depends on the melanin...? :)

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  66. If you go to all the trouble of making your own clothes because you want to have something that fits you properly, reflects your personal taste - and makes you look "your best" all the time - well, wouldn't you take into account whether the color works for you as well?

    I've seen too many pictures on the internet of people who have sewn something that's beautifully made and stylish but in the wrong color for their skin tone.

    To me, if the color makes you look tired, washed out, sallow etc, then no matter how much you like it, it's pointless putting it on - especially close to your face. Use it as an accessory or have it lower down on your body, but be realistic about what works and doesn't work.

    A young person can get away with colors that do not suit them, but as they get older they'll find it will make them look older, tired and even ill. I remember a manager in her 50s at one company I worked in that stuck to a never-shifting wardrobe of black. She had a pale complexion, dark hair and wore red lipstick. Obviously her "uniform of black" made clothes shopping easy but while it would've looked striking when she was younger now it made her look old and tired. The unrelenting black was just too severe for her.

    (Here's a philosophical question - if I notice that someone's choice of clothing color doesn't suit them, am I being judgmental or am I just observing a plain fact?)

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  67. I'd say both: it's a fact insofar as you see it that way, and you have an opinion about it. Nothing wrong with that!

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  68. I did colour consulting as a professional for quite some time and always thought that consultants who gave those colour passports away and forgot to tell people HOW to work with it are kind of irresponsible. Even worse when people get examples like those you showed above because the green in it would never be in the same colour family as the blue below and the olive greens (three different families in one booklet)
    Anyway you are not supposed to hunt for the exact colour but to find colours that match. There are warm and cool colours and colours which are yellowish or blueish (makes for possible combinations). But this is way too difficult to explain in English and too long for the five minutes I have got. :-)

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  69. A couple years ago, I looked up what my Pantone birthday colour is, and it turned out to be a seafoam green, and my birth month colour was a dusty rose. Those quickly became two of my favourite colours, because I'd never even considered them before! I'd always been into saturated colours, not pastels.

    Things like Colour Me Beautiful can open your eyes to new possibilities :D

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  70. Color advise for Asians, African Americans as well as many more options for Caucasians is Color with Style by Donna Fujii. Fabulous!

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  71. I'm always a little late on the comments 'cause I check in infrequently (sorry!)

    Gosh I remember that 80's fad - "getting your colors done"...along with spiral perms and wearing way too much gaudy makeup.

    But geez Louise, all anyone has to do to know "their colors" is look in a mirror! I am an olive skinned, brown eyed brunette of Italian descent. I can see this in the mirror: I look like a ghoul in any kind of pastels, particularly light blue. I shine in jewel tones. I don't need to pay someone to tell me that!

    For anyone who is too colorblind to make their own assessment, the compliments you hear from others - "You look great in that color!" - should be all you need to know to make your palette. But somehow we all feel it is more official if we have paid money to have someone assess us and give us those little swatches. ;)

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  72. It's completely subjective.... The colour consultants I've been to have given different opinions.... Yet I look in good in certain colours from all over the spectrum. I believe that we know instinctively what looks good on us and what doesn't. At least I do. I get compliments when I wear what I want to, not what I'm "supposed to" according to CMB :-) weird, huh!

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  73. I got the book, had the professional analysis and I have to say on the whole I stick to it, the thing is it really explained very well all those clothes I bought but never wore because they were never quite right on the night.. right colour, wrong shade, It makes shopping for clothes so much easier, mustard yellow tobacco brown I walk right past without a glance, I know they will make me look tired and old, but violet, lavender, schiaparelli pink make me glow: why would I not want to know that? It makes me more adventurous with difficult to wear colours so long as they are in my shades because I know they will work. If you are buying something you want to know it will be worn not hanging forlorn in the cupboard..

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  74. I have the more recent books on the flow system - which is 16 types... so clear light soft etc. Sci Art is another system. All of them were worked out by artists -- so to me it useful in finding a home base but draping is more accurate that pictures as it pics up your skin. To me its not so much rules as finding a home base for most of your wardrobe -- without ignoring your aesthetic if it involves different colours..it not like they are the only colours you can wear!! The advice is they harmonise most and to wear at least near your face and they will go with each other.

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