My Color Journey Chapter Two: The Ecstasy and The Agony

Feb 12, 2014 | Personal Color Analysis


I fully expected David Kibbe to see me as a Winter, but was not entirely surprised when I arrived at his studio and saw bags of makeup labeled “Autumn” next to a card with my name on it. After all, my previous analysis had pointed to warm colors, and I knew he would see me as a dark season, as I would be by the rules laid out in the CMB books. He did show me his Spring colors (which were mostly quite pastel) compared to his Autumn colors (which were mostly quite saturated), and it was true, the Spring colors did not look good. Even then, I convinced myself that David’s Spring colors were just too chalky for me, that I did better in the juicier colors of the LSp fan.

599128_810172625747_257154898_nWhen my friends from the color and style groups saw me in the dresses and makeup David Kibbe chose for me, they told me the palette looked really great on me. I decided to just use the makeup I’d purchased and wear the clearer colors from David’s Autumn palette for a while. I convinced myself it was just a little difference in semantics as I was just a “darker light spring” who could handle more darkness, and some unexpected colors like Aubergine. Still, the whole thing didn’t sit right with me. I wasn’t really using either my LSp fan or my Kibbe Autumn fan to make decisions, and it started to feel like I was choosing anything remotely warm and bright looking rather arbitrarily. I heard that John Kitchener, a Caygill style analyst who worked from body colors was coming to DC from California that May, a 2 hour train ride from where I live. The women on the groups who had seen him were incredibly dedicated to him and loved their results. I had begun to think I was more complicated than just being a season or a blend of two seasons and wanted to see what his idea of percentages of each of the four basic color harmonies could do for me.

905747_10100549693506984_1564827721_o (1)When my the day of my appointment rolled around, and after a few travel snafus I arrived at the friend’s home in which John was doing his appointments in DC, one of the first things that struck me was the relatively dim lighting of the room in which the analysis would be conducted. I had, however, been instructed to wear a neutral top and was situated in front of a neutral backdrop across from him. From the first swatches he put down, a series of reds and pinks called “Romantic” colors, I could tell where he was going and became quite nervous. Each swatch he was considering was picked up, held to my face, and then either affixed to the page or put back in the drawer. He tested many I thought would be good, and rejected them. My dear friend who drove me to the appointment and observed the whole thing tells me that he appeared quite intimidated by me, probably because I said mostly nothing throughout, just waited to see what he was going to do. In the end, he pronounced me 70% Striking Contrast (Winter) and 15% each Lively Bright (Spring) and Subtle Blended (Summer). I would describe the palette in my terms as a mix of all three winters and soft and true summer, with the majority of the palette being Dark Winter and Soft Summer.

581172_321648347966113_715432867_nKnowing what I know now, many of the colors in the palette would work for me, though probably more than half would not (which, to be fair, it’s massive and includes colors with a wide variety of properties). I was convinced the palette was both too cool and too muted for me. I had already accepted that a fair bit more darkness than my Sci/Art analysis indicated would work for me, but everyone had seen me as warm thus far and felt too much softness did not work for me. My illusions of any consistency in how various analysts saw me thus far finally broke down. I rejected my Kitchener palette for the most part, stating publicly that I felt everyone makes mistakes and that possibly the travel scenario, working in a different space, had put John out of sorts. As with the Kibbe scenario, the people I spoke to online tended to feel that the analysis was correct and that my problem was “resistance”, though some trusted my judgement. And as in every case, I did not understand his method truly or ask him enough questions about it, either before or after. I will say this for my friends online – again and again the conversation came back to Sci/Art and I was asked if I was SURE I couldn’t be a Bright. The intensity of Nikki’s reaction to that sapphire drape was burned into my mind and I remained convinced that the Sci/Art method had nothing better to offer me than Light Spring.

581683_145926268927949_694803791_nMere days after returning from my appointment with John, I scheduled an appointment with David Zyla. I was feeling incredibly conflicted and even though part of me didn’t want to throw any more money at the problem, I felt compelled to seek another opinion. Many of us had been discussing his book for months or years, but only very recently had three women from the group been to see him for appointments, and opened the door for that as a possibility. Each of the three had also seen John Kitchener, and each came back from David Zyla with a palette that they felt was a refined and highly condensed version of their Kitchener palette, which made sense as they are both analysts that work in a style inspired by Suzanne Caygill. The word was that David Zyla was an incredibly intuitive person with a very refined eye for color. I felt that surely he would know if John Kitchener had made an error, and even if he hadn’t, that David would give me a more workable version of the winter palette I received from Kitchener. Further, I decided not to tell anyone I was going – after the reaction from the online community to my issues with my Kitchener appointment, I wanted to be allowed to say nothing of my Zyla appointment publicly if I didn’t want to.

photoAt this point it probably goes without saying, but I arrived at my appointment in Gramercy, NYC with enormous trepidation. I had no idea what was going to happen, and just felt like I was stepping back on the merry-go-round. I wore the same neutral outfit I had worn to see Kitchener, terrified I might do something to influence the result of the analysis. As soon as he started to put paint chips down, however, I relaxed. The colors were looking eerily similar to the one I had made for myself using his book, and to what I had expected to receive from John Kitchener. I was not surprised at all when, once he had all the cards filled in, he pronounced me to be a Spring, though admittedly I felt the “archetype” choice, Buoyant Spring, was a bit odd for me. Having interviewed him online about his process, I did not ask him about his again, and assumed his previous answers regarding his experience, excellent eye and intuition guiding his decisions pertained to me as well. Having got loads of validation for why I felt so determined that my Kitchener palette had been a mistake, I was finally, for a time, happy with my palette. I gladly showed it off to the ladies online, and at first went out and bought a few items in those colors. As I was coming into the part of the summer where I spend much of my time at the beach, I have to say, I spent a couple months not thinking about the palette very hard, which was a welcome relief.


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  1. Thank you so much for writing! I totally relate. I can’t wait to read the continuation. Thanks, beautiful Rachel!

    • My pleasure, lovely Stephanie!

  2. I’ve been wanting to hear your story for quite awhile. Thanks for writing it up.

    • Happy to share! Thanks for reading!

  3. You look so sad and disappointed with your John Kitchener palette 🙁 I’m glad there’s a happy ending to this story:)

    • The person who took that photo is a saint for dealing with me that day! 😛 I certainly did my fair share of wailing… though if I hadn’t I’m not sure I would have kept seeking, and I’m so very glad I did!

  4. Thanks for sharing this part of your journey. Can’t wait for the next installment.

  5. Some I-won’t-stop-untill-be-a-certified/analized/verified-BW-or-similar persons are more lucky…

  6. Hi! May I ask what style ID you got from Kibbe? And Kitchener! Thank you.

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