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ARTICLES | The Science of Personal Dress | Color Analysis


Color Analysis – Flip-Over Phenomena

Flip-Over Phenomena is Actually “Simultaneous Contrast”

Two colors, side by side, interact with one another and change our perception accordingly—the effect of this interactionSimultaneous Contrast is called simultaneous contrast. Since we rarely see colors in isolation, simultaneous contrast affects our sense of the color that we see. (See Flip-over phenomena page 44 in Science of Personal Dress Complete Study  which shows how the eye will flip color over and exaggerate opposites instead of attracting likeNewtons Color Wheel colors.) Simultaneous contrast is most intense when the two colors are complementary.  Complementary colors are pairs of colors, diametrically opposite on a color circle as seen in Newton’s color circle; red and green, blue and orange, yellow and purple.

Artists have always explored the effects of juxtaposing complementary colors, even without understanding it in neurophysiologic terms. Our sensation is the most intense where two extremes are juxtaposed.  Christmas colors are bright because red and green are complementary.  Orange earth looks brilliant against blue skies, and costumes are more alive and dramatic utilizing complementary colors together. Artists know that if they put touches of a color’s complementary color next to it for accent, paintings spark and come alive. A touch of complementary color in a tie or scarf can heighten the look and add a dash of interest to the attire. This is something clothiers should know and can use to great benefit.


Question on Men and Race

Hello Irenee,

I really love your site on The Science of Dress. There is so much information its going to take some time to digest it all but I am super happy and grateful you have made it available. I believe this information should be taught in schools everywhere. I’m a fine arts student at Cal State East Bay and I have been interested in how color and design applies to the individual for some time. I’ve been around long enough to remember 80s when everyone was trying to find their season. It didn’t seem to really apply to me at the time but I could not dismiss it entirely. The picture was just incomplete. I’m glad there has been an expansion in the field to include men as well as different races.

QUESTION:  My skin is coppery brown (African American) and my hair is soft black (turning grey).  I look great in toned down versions of the spring pallet as well as some deeper autumn and winter colors (the more balanced ones). It’s a wide spectrum and sometimes I fight with going in too many directions at once.  I like your tip about balancing the look with the hair color.  My question is, would any dark neutral or basic stand in for my hair color or should it just be black? I sometimes struggle with too many dark colors or deep earthy colors dominating my look. I have a strong feel for autumn colors but they can get to be too muddy and heavy on me. Spring colors are fun to wear but they seem so frivolous that I worry about being taken serious. What’s your take on that?  Thank you for a great site.      Darren Chappell

 darren 4 darren 5 3h darren 2 2h darren 3

Because we spent a day together on your wardrobe, much was revealed on that occasion.  Notice the first photo lacks contrast making everything appear muddy.  The photo to the right with the light gray background sharpens the contrast so you really clearly see Darren.

 Notice we always used white for clear contrast whenever possible, and actually repeated the colorful warm red-based tones in your skintone for accent colors.  The reason you were after the Spring colors was your intuitive knowing that you needed “more” color and we settled you perfectly into the balanced clear colors in-between Winter Homebase and Spring (No.6 balanced) giving you some clear sophisticated colors; the “more” color you sensed you needed.  That automatically invited the balanced soft colors and even some less muddy earthy Autumn teals, peach tones and especially periwinkle (the Autumn “blue”.)

All the balanced icy and balanced soft colors saved the day and gave a contrasting lift to your skintone, and especially the red pinky copper accents as per examples above with the tie.

To answer your question about darks:  yes,  navy, hunter, plum, and very deep reds actually are Winter “dark” repeats.  If you do slide over into Autumn colors just back off into stark white for contrast around your face.  Salmon with that tie really worked (and I photo-shopped a lighter background that even made it better. Remember the recipe: When wearing an “outside” color wear 2 of your Homebase colors.

Since then, I want to mention that even though black is the most practical shoe and accessory repeat color, if you are wearing very light pants and shirt or sweater (like a  light  gray,) then you can use a medium-dark brown belt and casual shoe and it works like a beautiful skin match.

This is to help people understand that it is all an honoring of all the colors of the individual person. Just beautifully placed color so that it is like taking a brush and giving the painting touches of color to repeat the subject for enhancement without overdoing or understating.   We all thank you for sharing your photos.


Question about Color Analysis Tester: from Autumn Homebase, which direction to Winter?

QUESTION:  Dear Irenee; I have a question about the Training Color Tester and how to interpret the result, if your best colours most are nAnette photo blog3ineutral (no. 6/Clear) and 2.best are (no.2/Autumn.) Which season do I belong to then? Let say I am Bright Spring or a Deep Autumn, which colours should then suit me the most in the Color Tester?  Great material you have produced, it´s so accurate.  Looking forward to hear from you! Thanks. Best regards from Anette in Denmark    

Dear Anette, Thank you for sharing what many are wondering about because this is new to most.  Good for you, wanting to define your Homebase first so your vision is looking outward from a solid base.  Here is your situation.  Yes, you have an Autumn Homebase. That is important to start from but you have Winter influence, not Spring.  But you have forgotten your teal blue eyes which represent your Summer Influence.  You anette winter 3inhwould completely disregard your lovely light blue eyes if you go the wrong way from you Autumn Homebase past Spring to Winter.  You have to go to the other way past Summer to get to your Winter influence.  As you pass Summer you pick up a some light colors out of balanced-soft and summer to honor your light eye color.

The reason you are struggling is because you know you need more color than Autumn, however in the photo below that is a bit over the top Winter.    That is why I emphasize over again, go to page 227 in the Complete Study and sit under a tree and Inter-season Autumn to Winter x adding bal ltget your arsenal of TOOLS lined up.  Careful attention to characteristic traits will be helpful guides to establish a true Homebase.  The fact that you have a large Keysize will actually add poise and sophistication to your Autumn/Winter influence. And then, add your lighter feminine Summer touch in color and line for magic.

Everyone can see there is so much more to consider than just colors. The energy of each Homebase includes  vibrating movement of color, lines, and shapes all in coherence with the season (to be aesthetically consistent so that all the separate parts fit together and add up to a harmonious or credible whole.) This gives even greater possibility of expression for the individual.  Look for traits like a sparkly eye, magnetic glow to the skin, dark eyebrows, freckles, widow’s  peak, low contrast, high contrast, even light eyebrows, curly hair, thin skin.

Body Analysis: New Paradigm

bodies -women align Red lines   Early on we had a very sophisticated Inter-season color program, but one day a woman Irenee had previously analyzed came to her with a problem and asked, “Why is it I love this dress so much? You said it is the wrong color for me but I like it.” Irenee looked at her and said, “I don’t know. I like it too…let’s find out.” Somehow, this particular dress was so perfect for her body it went beyond colors. So, that one experience brought in a whole new dimension of color analysis…body analysis! You need right clothing lines for the right body.

Anyone with a background of The Science of Personal Dress study can see the correlation between lines of body and lines of clothing. Precise lines necessitate certain actions and restrictions―for example, a straight-line is innately masculine and functions differently than a feminine wavy-line. These functions are universal.masc-fem lines

We now see how consistently lines relate to dress. Moreover, lines further extend to how the whole body shape is actually “constructed.” In essence, lines basically have 4 geometric forms (oval, circle, square and triangle) which also correlate precisely to the  lines and patterns associated with the 4 seasons (winter, summer, autumn and spring.)Our bodies are created from these same basic geometric forms. This is why it is important to know your body shape and which clothing lines are most attractive and comfortable. You can’t fit a square into a round hole.sqyare hole Every body and clothing line detail is itemized, illustrated and listed in “The Science of Personal Dress Complete Study.”