"Dressed in my blank canvas, which in my case is black I headed to London to meet Nikki Bogardus, Color & Style Consultant from My Color Rx. As the spelling suggests, Nikki is based in America and so the opportunity to meet her needs to be planned in advance.
COLOR ME BACK
"To go through breast cancer treatments is to do just that – go through it. Get through it. And if you are lucky enough as I am to get through it alive it is enough for a while. But months after treatments and a good prognosis I was experiencing another side effect I hadn’t anticipated. I felt fragile and confused about how I look now. After nearly a year of watching myself go bald, seeing my skin and facial features change, loosing my eyebrows and my eye lashes, wearing scarves and wigs, I didn’t trust what I saw in the mirror any more. The color of my life had changed while I was busy surviving. The colors in my closet were basic black, off black and safe. Yet my soul longed for color. It was time to rejoice, to celebrate being alive. So why did I look so dead? I still couldn’t see me….the me who had had the guts to strike out on her own several times in her life, the me whose involvement in the arts had itself been a world of color and form and beauty, Things were pretty monochrome and flat.
Enter Nikki Bogardus. Nikki very wisely and thoughtfully avoids ever suggesting to anyone in the family that they should have her do their colors, especially an independent, usually confident, “I-can-look-in-the-mirror-and-do-it-myself-thank you” sister-in-law. But that was just it – I couldn’t do it myself. So after a few glasses of wine on Thanksgiving Day I found myself asking for her help.
I am not sure what I was expecting, but I never imagined how much fun it would be. And how enlightening, with the emphasis on light. I am still trying to figure out the magic she worked. All I know is, I am back. Back to the woman I was looking for in the mirror. I cynically thought I would be told what was best for me, what to do, and then I would be cajoled into fitting some mold like those poor women I have watched on the make-over TV shows. I often thought these women looked better before the make-over. Shame on me. Who was the one telling me I was too old now, too fragile, too tired, too timid? Not Nikki. That voice was no one but myself. Through her intuitive, sensitive, yet logical and scientific method she located the me who once again says “you go girl”. And I am eternally grateful.
I carry my little color palette that contains my Dark Autumn colors and I love seeing what actually matches the particular hues and color values of this palette. I do have a good eye, I learned, and now I see – I can really see what colors light me up and why - from clothes to make-up to hair. And I am not “gussied up” in the words of my dear departed mom. In fact, I am wearing less make-up now than I was before. Yet the colors of the make-up I do use are my natural colors. I look better. There is no other way to say it.
I still wear a lot of my black but now I use it as a background for the colorful scarves and jewelry I so love, and when I wear a sweater or a jacket in one of my colors it is a joy. It makes me happy. I have also ceremoniously chucked the short, monotone, boring wig I was wearing and now sport a couple of longer and edgier ones. Nikki helped bust me out of my own little prison!
The moment of truth came when I recently attended an event and got unsolicited feedback. “You look so healthy. Your trip to Florida must have been a real tonic.” (You have no idea.) “It’s so nice to see you with your color back. Who did your hair?” And in the restroom, from a total stranger: “I love your sweater. That’s a beautiful color. I noticed it in the other room.”
(a sweater, by the way, that I had stashed in a drawer and forgotten about - a lovely teal blue that matches my palette perfectly.) I heard myself saying to a friend “I’m back. I’m really back.”
Transformation and resurrection are words that evoke mystery and mythical changes. Ancient alchemists sought to transform base metals into gold. The Phoenix was a bird that rose back to life from its own ashes. Nikki’s magic helped bring me back from the hardest year of my life. I see again. And I see color."
Jeanne Bogardus. Sheboygan, WI
"Several years ago I had my first PCA done and, of the four seasons "summer" was mine. But really, I could not see myself in those cool, muted colours. Wasn't I more vibrant than that calm and collected dark grey that seemed to drain more than enhance my features?
Now I have had my second PCA, with Nikki. And I turned out to be a light spring. At first I was in denial and disbelief - Gosh, not spring! But when I glanced at my new colour palette I understood why I had stubbornly smuggled the red-orange dress into my wardrobe…..and the salmon-coloured stole!
I have had the most amazing time since finding out that I am a light spring. It made sense from the second you told me. However, there is more to this than just pretty colours, I feel like I finally found a missing part of myself.
Doing another PCA has been my best decision in a long time, and was well worth the trip from Austria to England. Looking into the mirror now, I see myself! Many thanks to the lovely Nikki and her magic drapes!"
- Andrea A., Vienna, Austria
My Sci Art Personal Colour Analysis
"Yesterday was the day for my colour analysis with Nikki Bogardus of My Color Rx. I was reasonably sure I wasn't one of the true seasons, and I was not-so-secretly dreading being one of the Autumns my mother dressed me as when I was a child - I'm pretty sure that's her season, and now I know it isn't mine.
I was comfortable with Nikki right from the start. She's a huge personality in a delicate and sparky package, but then I'm no shrinking violet either. Interestingly we seemed to mirror a lot of our body language - expansive, lots of arm movements. Not a very loud voice (to me, anyway) but a very clear voice - precise. It's not a voice you'd ever have to ask to repeat itself to hear what she said, and that's me too. She felt familiar, even down to the style of clothing - slim trousers, a clean shirt, a neat v-neck pullover.
You sit in a room with bright lights shining on your face, no makeup, and your hair and clothes covered in a grey cape and cap. You can see the physical effects of the colour on your face, and sometimes it is painful. We started with the True season drapes. Brown was terrible. Black was okay, although a little harsh. Silver was good, and gold wasn't completely awful either.
The reds come next to determine cool, warm or neutral. Neutral was the clear winner. We could take them quite bright and dark too...
Then the real work begins - comparing drapes against each other to zero in on the right season. Too dark dulled my skin, too soft made it grey, too light was insipid... but then we started moving towards better colours for me. No colour was too much in brightness. The shiniest sapphire blue looked comfortable...poppy red, bright violet, bright green, even icy yellow and peach - bring it.
After about an hour, we arrived at Bright Winter. It felt comfortable. It explains why I mute lipsticks; why colours that look pretty on other people look like nothing or muddy on me, and why a nude lip on me is literally corpse-like. I'd started suspecting I was a Bright just by a process of eliminating colours that don't work on me in lipsticks, and I bought a Bright Winter colour to try that seemed to work really well for me. I still didn't completely believe that I was a Bright until I saw it with my own eyes, because to me I look so 'medium'. As Nikki said when I remarked on this afterwards, Bright Winter is quite medium - it's neutral in hue and value (it's lighter than the other winters because of the spring influence.) The only axis it isn't medium on is chroma, or saturation; and my contrast - hair/eyes/skin is quite high. My eyes and hair are both brightly pigmented against a fairer skin.
I loved the reveal drapes. There wasn't a single one I wouldn't wear, although the icy peach and the greens scared me before Nikki draped them on me. My love of blue is explained - Bright Winter has a lot of gorgeous blues right through the turquoise to indigo spectrums. The Bright Winter silver drape is the colour of the evening dress that even my Autumn mother thought looked good on me for a sixth form dance.
If I could magically choose to be any season, it'd be Soft Summer. I love the gentle elegance of the colouring and the palette, and I like the idea of the soft but determined personality. It's testament to the process and to Nikki that I know that isn't home for me, and why I love my Bright Winter colours. I am a special snowflake ;)"
- Lydia, London, UK
"Boy, do I feel fantastic! I think I needed to let the "colors" sink in and not be so tired after my 8 hours in the car! It is so much harder to see by myself!!!!!!
I LOVE my colors! Do you know (of course you do!) that I already owned a lot of the colors already? OR, I had picked out fabrics or items of clothing (especially the GREEN that I wasn't sure about because I love the color), but was not certain about them because they had that drop or 2 of yellow? Now I can wear them with confidence!! I cannot wait to buy more lipstick as well.
Another story of the GREEN…I made a linen jacket in the very green that I wasn't so sure of yesterday in the chair (because I just like the color so much, I guess) and it is hanging in my closet 96% finished because I wasn't quite sure of the color on ME. Now it is a size 4 and doesn't fit right now but that is another story entirely, LOL! Then I found other fabrics, mostly silks and silk/cotton blends with a tiny drop or two of that yellow in it as well. When I hold my swatches up to it, I can see it. Others, well, without the yellow, they will have to go! I see the necessary yellow in the colors now! I am going to be relentless in my closet tossing.
I think you are a wonderful color consultant and I thank you so much for shining a light on my PCA! You know the best way to sell is by word of mouth! I was so excited I had to tell 2 friends and I think they were ready to drive to NJ to see you right then!
Thank you again for a day I won't ever forget! I put my fan on my bedside table last night."
"You had asked me to update on you on how I was doing with my light spring colors and so I'm taking a moment to do just that.
In short, I'm absolutely thrilled! :) As I told you at my analysis, I'd been living as a light summer for about a year, which obviously, was close, but just not quite right. When I flipped my thinking to mostly warm, a little cool, vs. mostly cool, a little warm - everything clicked into place. All of a sudden, I wasn't fighting against myself and my coloring and wondering what I was doing wrong. In the correct makeup and clothing colors, suddenly the natural warmth in my hair looked completely harmonious, not out of place. I could see how the makeup truly blended into my skin instead of sitting on top of it.
The thing that has been the most interesting to me is that I can see that I was denying some of my natural instincts about my coloring. I've always thought that I'd rather be more warm than cool, have always preferred my hair to be on the medium/lighter side rather than dark, and have always felt a certain admiration for celebrities who share my light spring coloring. But I assumed that all of those instincts probably weren't right. I think I read so many stories about people who were completely off in what tone they thought they were vs. what they actually were, that I assumed that it wasn't possible to have an inclination toward what was actually right! And I think there's also another more subtle " You can't have what you want" belief at play in me as well. I think the lesson that I see on the other side of this is that it's very difficult to know, on your own, which of your instincts are correct, and which are mixed up with your preferences or other baggage, and it's absolutely vital to have a trained analyst help you sort that out if you ever hope to have any peace about the whole matter.
It's been very helpful for me to keep "the most important thing" (lightness, in my case) in mind, when going through my wardrobe and making decisions about new purchases. I'm definitely still training my eye to choose colors that are light enough, but that's getting easier, and knowing that "too dark" is my primary reason to reject an item makes shopping much simpler. Additionally, I purchased the makeup items that you suggested for me and I can't say enough about the eyeliner and the eyebrow pencil. I've been looking for the perfect items in both of these categories for a long time and now that search is over. I also purchased the Indigo Tones palette, which has been a great way to get a better and slightly broader sense of the light spring palette.
Thank you again, Nikki, for what you do! I know that you are absolutely convinced of the value of color analysis, but I hope it's affirming to hear that it has been significantly encouraging and enlightening for me to understand and live in my true colors!"
"I just wanted to drop you a line to thank you again for yesterday. I apologize for mot mailing you sooner, I have been shamelessly shopping for my colors and purging all the black! Who knew I had so much? So many things are clicking into place for me, my wheels have been whirring nonstop remembering all the hints I have dropped myself along the way but could not decipher on my own. Last night I had to take my palette up to bed with me... something I did when I was a child when I wanted to hold a beloved toy just a few moments longer. I am the last person who expected to feel so moved, and yet, I do."
- Rachel Nachmias, Philadelphia, PA
"My sister and I went and had a fabulous time. We are identical twins and had both been analysed as springs in the 4 season system, but felt there was something missing. Nikki was really able to pinpoint where the 4 seasons failed us - and amazingly, we now have a slightly different seasons! The best though was the makeup - I feel like a new person. I can thoroughly recommend!"
- Chantal Markey, London, UK
"Thank you so much for my PCA on October 15th. It's been very busy since then, but I just wanted to let you know how I'm getting on as a newly discovered Bright Spring.
I have gone through my wardrobe, which was pretty depressing. There was so much 'sludge' in there. Lots of beige, khaki, soft muted tones and of course too much black. I've put it all in a bin liner in another room for my daughters to pick through. I have bought a few new clothes: a lovely bright pink top from LK Bennett http://www.lkbennett.com/clothing/tops/TJROSMUND693VISCOSE which is much brighter and shinier than it looks online, 2 merino fine knits from Gap in cobalt blue and orange, a cashmere sweater in a clear bright pink from Uniqlo, a pair of teal jeans from Oasis. Mixed in with the existing bright navy, cream and grey in my wardrobe they look really good.
I've sorted through my makeup and nail varnishes, again much to the delight of my daughters. I bought the Bare Minerals foundation you recommended and have discovered some brighter lipsticks at the bottom of the pile. My favourite is Mac Speak Louder and a Mac Plushglass gloss called Fulfilled. The blusher Nars Deepthroat is a good colour. I plucked my eyebrows a little more as you recommended and cut another good inch off the bottom of my hair.
I've only told my immediate family about my appointment but I'm receiving compliments already from my wider acquaintance. The makeup and clothing tweaks that I've made, while subtle, have made such a difference. My greying hair in particular looks so much better against the clearer colours of my Bright Spring palette."
- Lorraine Hagen, UK
"Every now and then, I look at old snap shots of me and cringe at my henna red hair as a student or the sharp dark suits I wore to work in the 80’s . I have always wanted to look good and consequently put a lot of effort into how I looked, so these poor choices were not due to lack of care, but rather looking outwards for direction on how I should look. Like all of us, I was readily influenced by fashion trends in the shops, magazines, friends and family who directed or encouraged me on what I should be wearing. After my visit to Nikki, it is obvious now why so much of my effort detracted, rather than enhanced, my look. Nikki’s aim is to uncover what has always been there, our natural beauty and colouring, which sometimes can be hidden underneath inappropriate hair dye or the wrong tones of makeup. Time spent with Nikki will not only result in you looking good but much more importantly, feeling good, as you become a more balanced and authentic you."
- Teresa Daniels, UK
"Thank you so much for such a great morning. I can honestly say I think it was the best present I have ever been given, and if I looked half as ‘right’ as you made my mum, Scilla look, I will be collecting compliments…
I had a happy but slightly confused time on Oxford Street by myself and came away with this dress (below) from the Coast sale for the wedding on Sat. In real life it is a good match. I’ll wear gold with it without a second thought!
Thank you so much – I feel that I am only at the start of discovering a new, more delicate side of myself. I’m even looking forward to wearing a yellow cashmere sweater one of these days."
- Flo Corran, Oxford, UK
"I wanted to drop you a quick e-mail saying we got home safe and that I completely enjoyed the draping experience. Thank you so MUCH for being in this profession and for showing me how good I can look, and feel, in my Light Spring colours. I am loving them, more and more, I took the colour palette out of my handbag a few times and just looked at it under the sunlight, shadows and then later rain clouds. Simon and I both laughed at this, he just had to as I kept giggling and projecting the prolonged excitement! I can't wait to start exploring the shops with my palette.
One thing that I'm going back to in my mind, is when I seem to have fleetingly registered you saying something about thinking about doing training in this system, but I didn't acknowledge it as I wasn't sure. Simon is also under same impression. If you did put these plans through, which I hope for you would be possible, I would be ecstatic over the potential opportunity to be part of this, to undergo the training! Please do let me know if and when you commence with this project, especially if the courses were available to attend in the UK :)
Again, thank you for opening an entire new world of sensual awareness for me. Pondering over and merely loving all those colours is one thing, but having a base now from where I could with empirical grounds start expanding my understanding of how colour works, is another. I feel now like I am part of it, this colour-relishing community, where being located within the colour spectrum "gives me the permission to enjoy my colours" as you quoted another one of your clients saying. And I "will" be experimenting with make-up - my curiosity and fulfillment after you gave my face a new definition has been rising by the hour, honestly."
- Natasa Klaric, UK
"I am in New Jersey today on a layover waiting to fly to London on Tuesday for Euroranch. We had an incredible day. I went to see a color consultant, Nikki Bogardus, who has a little service called My color Rx. I did this as part of my recent self-improvement commitment and figured it would just be a fun thing to do. A friend had gone to see her and said that the experience was “life changing” for her. Nikki's website says “she firmly believes that wearing our true colors can have a profound effect on self-esteem and confidence.” It sounded like my kind of girl. Remembering the ole days in the 80's when we did this kind of thing, I went with respect and an open mind but was not prepared for what happened in the process. She works by draping you with different tones of different colors and then seeing what happens to your face as the colors shift.
Orange made my lips go orange, a particular white made me look old by reflecting light in my wrinkles, and one gold color actually made me wince. “Don't look at the color,” she said, “look at what happens to your face.” I was stunned that some of the colors actually hurt me. How could this be, I kept thinking. Then she got to my “palette” which was light summer, and a very weird thing started to happen. All of a sudden, it was “me” looking back in the mirror. There I was, settled, balanced, and smiling. It was nice, very nice.
We often speak of how doing the food creates balance. And I have been learning how physical exercise can create balance in the body. I think this color stuff is just another layer. It takes what we spoke of in the color class another layer deeper. I think we intuitively know what colors we are drawn to. But, having another eye look at us does something different. I think it is about being willing to be seen, being willing to stand in our beauty and to have color enhance all the other stuff we are doing. I liked it, I am glad I went."
- Radiant Recovery newsletter written by Kathleen DesMaisons
"I felt comfortable with Nikki from the moment she opened the door. I loved her energy—vivacious, fun, lively, and kind. We talked a little bit about color theory and my journey and what I was there for. I told her I’d been dreaming of color and felt deeply drawn to finding out more about the energy of color. That since I started growing out my gray hair, I knew I needed to know more about color. That I was tired of buying clothes and finding out they were completely wrong.That I wanted to open up my creativity.
I also told Nikki I’d been looking at my family photos on the flight over, and there was such softness in my own little face, such light. I suppose, now I think of it, I was there to find her again, the little “me.”
I walked in thinking I was probably some kind of summer, but I was open, really. I think the palettes are all gorgeous, and they all look like they have their challenges, too. I’d have been shocked to be told I was dark, which should have told me something right there. Nikki was surprised to hear that I’d been draped (twice) as a winter, back in the good old 1980s.
It’s a very strange thing to sit in front of a window and full-spectrum lights, looking at yourself in the mirror for a couple of hours or so, with no makeup, your hair covered, waiting to see what shows up with each new drape. I was used to looking in the mirror at home and not really being able to tell what I was seeing. I look cool—no, wait, isn’t that kinda warm?—no, cool. And compared to what? Many times, all I would see is my insecurities, my many “alleged imperfections.” Beauty? Not me.
I sat there in the Westin in Dallas, and looked at me. I tried really hard not to look at the colors, but at the lines and planes and colors of my face. With Nikki’s encouragement and guidance, I started to be able to see myself. That in itself is a remarkable gift.
I watched what was going on with the dark marks, the wrinkles, the shadow under my chin, the rosy flush on my cheeks. Did I see one unified face, or a patchwork quilt of yellow and blue or pink, and whatever was being reflected under my chin? Did I look more alive, or did I look dead? By the end I was able to see an energetic difference more than anything else. In the right colors, it looked to me like the light was coming from within. A really remarkable experience.
Cool was better than warm. Neutral was better than cool. But which neutral? Dark drapes made me look dead. (Just lay me out on the slab.) Gorgeous, rich colors—not for me. The subtle colors of Soft Autumn and Summer made me look sick. Lightness brought me to life.
True Summer was not too bad. Light Spring was pretty good. Good-ish. Light Summer was awesomely beautiful. So beautiful that I was a little afraid to smile, at first. These light-hearted colors, for me? Are you kidding me? Even the light yellow (which was not the best one of the pack) looked better than it had any right to look.
Nikki went over to her copy of Christine Scaman’s Return to Your Natural Colours and read the personality description for Light Summer. I started to cry, just a little bit. It was me. Not like a generic horoscope that could be anybody. It was the me I know I am, and the one I haven’t always known how to value against the strong energy of the people around me. I don’t have the book yet myself, but it was something like the mixture of peaceful, calm energy, compassion, and a little spark of joy. The exact things I genuinely cherish in myself. The sparky part, especially, though very real, can get a little lost, if I surround myself with too much darkness.
I asked Nikki if she was sure I was a Light Summer. It seemed a little too easy. We’d been working a little over an hour and a half. Yep, she was sure. I felt really good about it, and quietly sparky.
Nikki looked through my makeup and, shall we say, went a different way. I spent years—years!—trying to cover up and then slap on some color on top of that. According to Nikki, I had nothing to cover up. I liked the routine she recommended. I am not a high maintenance girl, so five products in five minutes works for me. I looked at myself in pink—really pink!—lipstick, and I truly felt beautiful.
Then Nikki stood me up against the wall and took some snaps. Now, I hate photos of me. They never seem to catch the happy way I feel inside. But these were … actually good. Wow.
Then her next clients came in, a lovely mother and daughter, Leslie and Stephanie. I got to sit through Leslie’s draping and wish I could have stayed for Stephanie’s, too. It was so fascinating, and so transformative, I could hardly stand it.
As I waited for the shuttle to take me to the airport, I kept smiling and I was dancing a quiet little dance. Yippee! This was So. Much. Fun."
- Jeannie Johnson, Salt Lake City, UT
"I met Nikki feeling really confused about my colouring. I always felt drawn to spring colours but somehow felt I wasn't "springy" enough for them, especially after looking at celebrity examples online. I can see obvious spring qualities in my mother, who looks fabulous in turquoise and yellow green, but surely I wasn't as bright as that! I came to the misguided conclusion that I was some kind of soft, although muted colour didn't really feel right for me.
When I met Nikki I told her about my soft summer suspicions, she told me that she very much doubted this and that her first impression was clear, especially with "those eyes", which came as quite a shock! I confessed that I was really drawn to spring colours and, surprisingly, Nikki agreed that she also had suspicions I could be a spring, but we'd have to see what the drapes told us! As we went through the draping, Nikki and I both suspected light spring, but the magic wasn't happening. Then, some crazy bright colours went on - bright yellow green and orange.
For the first time in years, I felt like I could see my eyes, which were popping bright turquoise green! Nikki announced that I was a bright spring, something that I had hoped but never expected! I pulled a coral jacket I had just bought out if my bag and was thrilled to discover that the colour I loved, but thought I couldn't wear, was actually in my palette all along! Having a PCA has opened up a new world to me. I love all of the colours in my new bright spring palette. Thanks so much for the wonderful experience Nikki, I would truly recommend it to anyone."
- Kate Marsden, London, UK
"It’s been nearly a year since I had a draping with Nikki, and what a wonderful year it has been. I’ve started to write my testimonial many times but have had difficulty putting into words what the experience has meant to me. I had investigated color analysis for several years when I discovered and was so impressed by the Sci/Art system. It acknowledges that some of us have neither warm nor cool complexions. We’re neutral (and usually very frustrated at the cosmetic counters)! I live far from any certified Sci/Art analysts, so I was sure an in-person draping was not going to ever be possible for me. Instead, I trusted an online analyst who wasn’t certified in the Sci/Art technique. After the online draping and a result of Dark Autumn that never looked or felt right, I was feeling so disappointed. Friends encouraged me to not give up and recommended Nikki Bogardus (the color whisperer ;) ). Nikki’s willingness to travel and bring this system to areas throughout the US (and the UK) was a dream-come-true for me. She announced that she would be coming to the Midwest and just a few hours from my home, so I jumped at the chance to meet with her!
From the moment I met Nikki, I knew I was in the presence of a warm and genuine person who loved her work. Her energy and enthusiasm for the system (and the women and men she helps) was evident immediately. After getting to know each other a bit, she explained some of the science of color and the specifics of the color analysis I would be experiencing. She worked intensely and meticulously tested each drape. It was like watching an artist work, I felt, and I was mesmerized by the process. Despite the vulnerability I felt (I’ve never been one who enjoyed the spotlight), I just knew I could trust her completely. After the draping was completed and she announced that I was actually a Light Spring (a wonderful surprise), I was introduced to my beautiful new 12-tone palette. She then explained the best application techniques and products for me, as a Light Spring, and surprised me with a makeover in my new colors. Everything has worked perfectly.
These past months have been so much fun. Shopping trips have actually been satisfying rather than the frustrating experiences they had previously been for me. The positive responses I’ve received from family, friends and even complete strangers have been so reassuring and supportive. But truthfully, it’s what I see and feel for myself that is the most exciting and validating. This was one of the best gifts I’ve given myself, and I would encourage anyone to do the same for himself/herself. It truly is a gift.
Thank you so much, Nikki, for sharing your expertise and enthusiasm with me. I adore you and am forever grateful."
- PJ, Minnesota
"My draping with Nikki Bogardus and how I came to be a Bright Spring!
For one thing, I was really able to see how much of a difference it made doing a live draping vs. trying to guess myself or have someone else guess via a photo. I guessed Soft Autumn for me and it turned out I was the opposite!
We first discovered that the purely warm red test drape and also the brown (True Autumn) drape didn’t make my skin look good, which surprised us both because we thought I had a definite warm undertone (my skin has a yellow caste to it). Basically these drapes made the natural flush in my skin look like more pronounced red. Not nice! The neutral and cool red drapes on the other hand made my skin look calm and balanced.
As we progressed then through all the different drapes, generally they were OK but none were really “wow”. Nikki then said she noticed a clarity and brightness to me - that I had clear skin and also happened to have clear eyes (as with the sci\ART system, it’s the skin that determines the season but eyes & hair can be clues). Which then led to her to the shocking conclusion… “I think you might be a Bright Spring!” Sure enough we tried the BSp drapes and my skin looked radiant, healthy, balanced AND, as a plus, my eyes totally popped! We were amazed!
For more testing purposes, we tried the Bright Winter drapes to see if we could push it further, but those colours ended up being just that bit too deep and intense for me. Plus Nikki said that she noticed more of a lightness and delicacy to me that would fit Spring much more than Winter.
But then Nikki decided to test a completely different category of drapes: True Summer(!). Nikki thought I might be a True Summer because the cool red test drape worked so nicely on me. Now this was a pivotal point in the analysis because, although these drapes were lovely and cool, Nikki and I literally got to see how those softer, muted colours made my skin and eyes look a whole lot duller. It’s like they stole the life from my face! We contrasted the True Summer drapes with the Bright Spring and the vibrancy rushed back to my face - I actually saw the difference it made with my own eyes! The Bright Spring drapes made me look healthy, glowing and balanced and I couldn’t help but smile!
Nikki’s husband even popped in at one point so that she could get a second pair of eyes and he agreed that the Bright Spring colours were definitely much better than the Bright Winter or the True Summer.
I was so thrilled - I love all these clear, bright colours and have worn a lot of them most of my life!
Having a real life PCA was so worth it and I highly recommend it to everyone!! Nikki is so so good at what she does - you won’t regret it."
- Emily A. Brighton, UK
"After initially self diagnosing myself as a winter after reading the Colour Me Beautiful four seasons book in the eighties, I have been living as a winter ever since, with varying success. I was kind of doubting the whole system because at times I felt I did not fit very neatly into the winter season.
It was only after getting acquainted with the 12 tone Sci/ART system of Kathryn Kalisz that I realized that there is indeed more to it than those four original categories of CMB, and I started longing for a chance to have an in person draping myself, to see where I fit in. I started lurking on the Facebook page of Christine of 12 Blueprints, and eventually started taking part in the online communication there, and found a wealth of support and fun ladies, many of them struggling with the same issues I did.
So finally, I got to the point where I had secured an appointment with the famous Nikki Bogardus, in London!
Be still, my beating heart...
As preparation to the draping I had read as much as I could about the Sci/ART 12 tone colour system, and became more and more intrigued. It really is a most intelligent way of viewing colours. So, consequently, I had self diagnosed myself as a Dark Winter... but of course, not entirely certain, because I also had other options whirring in my head. Light Summer, perhaps? I had read that a lot of people go around thinking they are winters when they in fact are light summers. And, my personality is a strange mix of the austere, analytical, quiet dark winter, but with a bubbly side to me as well, could I be a Bright Spring? These and other thoughts have been whirring around in my head the last six months while I was pondering the possibilities, and lately, I have been frantically wallowing in my darkest winter colours, just in case they were to be shown wrong for me and I had to give them up! Childish? Me? Never!
But I digress. Back to the draping itself.
On meeting me, Nikki narrowed those bright eyes at me over the rim of her glasses and said: So, you think you are a Dark Winter, eh? Well, we'll see...(long, drawn out pause here, while I swallowed, and felt all the more confused).
So we started, and she pretty quickly had me pegged as a neutral skin tone, so it was no surprise that the drapes for all the true seasons all felt terribly wrong (spring and autumn) and vaguely wrong (winter and summer). And I kid you not, she went through ALL the drapes. All without creating the wow experience that I was longing for. We got to the point where she went through drape after drape and we were both going meh! or not too bad! ...but then finally, there was a set of drapes that suddenly changed all. I began seeing my eyes, and a certain radiance in my face, and I actually found myself in tears, it was that strong. I saw me. A feeling of coming home, if you wish. Or something close to that. And at that point I had lost all sense of which season we were looking at, so I was totally dazed and confused when Nikki proclaimed that the best colours for me were Dark Winter! Dark Winter after all! O joy!
I am still in awe of the whole process. It was so useful to see me in all the drapes, and particularly the ones that did NOT fit, because it made me all the more confident at arriving at the conclusion in the end.
So thank you Nikki, for a life changing experience. It truly is what you say, a life changing experience. And thank you for "giving me permission" to wear my favourite colours confidently.
And now I know why I always felt like a gypsy if I wear more than two colours. And I know now why the blackest black does not feel quite right, but the slightly browned or dulled black is good. And why the brightest colours don't really feel like me either. It is because they lacked those four drops of dark chocolate that are needed to create the Dark Winter palette. And I now have permission to wear the quiet, rich colours that I am drawn to, and I am going to learn to mix them with a little touch of icy light colours for contrast.
And I am going to learn more about who I am, and be confident in being who I am truthfully. For me, it is not about fashion. It is about identity. And thank you thank you for the sensible and fabulous make-up lesson at the end of the draping! Nikki, your work is outstanding.
And to anyone who is reading this wondering if you should spend the money and time to get a real life PCA, I say DO IT! To sit there, in real life, with Nikki talking you through the draping and showing you exactly why a colour is wrong, mediocre or wow, is priceless. Do. It. The only regret you will have is that you did not do it earlier in your life."
- Jorunn Hernes, Fitjar, Norway
"Although I had had a couple of online colour analyses, I wasn't getting that 'aha!' moment from my palette that I'd seen in others. I was in a haze of 'OK' colours, which didn't seem right, although I was comfortable with them (and I had a wardrobe full of them). So when I found out that Nikki would be in London in May, I decided that I needed a 'real life' PCA, so I could see the effect of the colours on my face. I took my friend, Kathryn (who I've known for about 10 years) with me, as an extra pair of eyes, as I suspect that I haven't really 'seen' myself clearly for several years, maybe more (and I know that as I've got older, I've avoided looking in the mirror more and more). Also, I have a 'milestone birthday' next year, and I wanted to greet it with a bit more style and enthusiasm than I had at the previous milestone.
Kats and I arrived at the venue for the appointment, and I was eagerly watching people going past to see if anyone was clutching a colour fan. No luck - the previous client had clearly run full-speed towards Oxford Street shops, waving her fan and laughing maniacally.
Nikki introduced herself and we started chatting, about how I'd got to the point of booking a PCA, about my hair colour (yes folks, it's all natural) etc. I was dressed in my usual casual uniform - beige and khaki - and when asked, I firmly stated that hot pink was not a colour for me. I may even have wrinkled my nose in distaste. Yeah, I should've known what was going to happen really. Then I donned the grey Headscarf and Cape (poncho?) of Truth and sat in front of the mirror. My natural instinct is to look at my face and see only negative things. My lined forehead, hooded eyes, shadows under my eyes etc. Nikki told me she wanted me to really look and see the changes for myself - she wasn't going to give me the answers.
Nikki asked Kats how she would describe my personality. There was a short silence. Followed by a slightly longer silence. I tried not to fidget. Tumbleweed went past the window (OK, I might have made that bit up). Then finally, Kats spoke: "Fun". Fun? After all that, just "fun"? OK, there are worse things she could've said, but still. I then thought about how I'd have described myself. I didn't see myself as a 'fun' person. I was expecting "reliable" or "opinionated". "Gobby", even. Hmmm... Nikki peered over the top of her glasses knowingly. And so it was time for the drapes.
I don't want to sound too big-headed, but none of the colours seemed really awful to me. It took me a while to see when colours did suit me though, as I was still so focused on the negative parts. It was only when Nikki pointed out that a couple of colours gave my skin a slight yellow tone that I started to see my face as a whole, rather than concentrating on the bits I don't like. Then it got easier to notice the subtle effects, and some colours looked OK, others looked that bit better. I didn't notice the undereye shadows so much, my eyes seemed bluer.
Then Nikki brought out some fantastically bright blues and greens. Stunning colours. Far too bright for mousey me, or so I thought. And then - kaBLAM! My eyes sparkled, I looked ten years younger. It was really amazing. I honestly would not have dreamed that these bright colours would have suited me. I was looking at my face and actually smiling, because what I saw was me again. What next? Bright green satin? POW! Bring it on! Lime green? Orange? Yes! Why the heck not?
Nikki's mini makeover of me was sooo quick and easy (at least, she made it seem that way), and I looked a gazillion times better. Honestly, I never thought I could look the way I did in those first photos - what a difference! And then Nikki tried another lipstick on me. We joked about the fact that all the colours that seemed to suit me were related to talking - indeed, I wore one called Chatterbox (although I've yet to find one called 'Gobby'). Bright pink, I mean really bright. And there I was, wearing it, and looking pretty good. Who would have thought it?
I could've spent all day chatting to Nikki, she is such an warm, lovely person (and she looks stunning too). She doesn't take any messing about, she is refreshingly honest, and so easy to talk to (so much so that we almost made her late for her next appointment!) and she was able to show me how I'd been 'hiding' myself away in muted, darker colours for years. But no more! I realised afterwards, going through old photos of me, that I have always loved brighter colours, but somewhere along the way, I stopped wearing them, in favour of muted, softer colours. I don't know how it happened, but I am determined to get my colour 'groove' back.
It has been an emotional journey - not so much the PCA itself, as I thoroughly enjoyed that, and found it fascinating. But afterwards, realising how I've almost neglected myself, and...well, 'let myself go' sounds too harsh, but I've definitely not liked how I look for some time. Nikki has put me firmly back on the right path. I have my colours, I got my hair cut shorter (as Nikki suggested) and it does suit me better. I have a little of my confidence back - there's no stopping me now!
So a massive thank you to Nikki (and Kats) for helping me to really look at myself clearly, and for discovering the Bright Springness in myself that was hidden under a layer of goodness-knows-what - I suppose there were always glimmers of Spring in the mix somewhere, I just didn't see them, or ignored them. And I have absolutely loved all the reactions to my new season from all my lovely FB friends too, even the outright disbelief and shock. Yes, I thought I'd be a soft/muted season too. :D
So if you have the chance to have a 'real life' PCA done, do it. It is such a great experience to see the difference the right colours make to how you look (and feel)."
- Helen Greenwood, The Netherlands
"I have tried to explain the process to a few people and they thought someone was covering me in window drapes, like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music! Seeing the photos makes me happy, it's so comforting to be surrounded by pretty colors. In my heart I really hoped to be a soft summer, so it was somewhat of a relief to not be a light summer (not that there's anything wrong with those colors, they simply didn't feel right for me). My favorite days are those that are overcast, so wearing those colors make me immeasurably happy and cozy.
The day of my PCA I sorted through my closet, getting rid of most of the black and assorted closet misfits I had accumulated. I say most of the black because I kept a leather jacket, some bottoms and shoes...otherwise I would have nothing to wear! I wish there was a swap meet for those who have recently undergone PCA's as I have a bag full of clothing that would look great on a winter. Once I removed most of the black I was left with a sea of gray, green and pinks... my colors had been there all along ! But I didn't know that I could wear them because I was clinging to black like a child clings to a security blanket. It's like I've given myself permission to wear these colors and I can be confident in my choices because I know they look good. As a result I've significantly pared down my wardrobe and I'm not afraid to spend more on quality pieces because I know I'll wear them. It's been a challenge to find clothing that fits me, my colors, and my style, which is likely part of the reason I ended up wearing so much black in the first place. I've had some luck at Polo Ralph Lauren this past weekend, but most of the colors I've seen are far too bright. Patience is indeed a virtue.
The 12-tone fan has been a HUGE help, I won't go shopping without it. I've had quite a few close calls with navy blues that were too blackened or fuchsias that were too bright. I showed my husband the fan and he was jealous that he doesn't have one of his own! Prior to my draping I would never shop for makeup because it never looked good on me, I'd never even purchased blush until this April. Now I truly look forward to getting dressed and getting ready for the day. I think my external appearance more closely matches how I feel, and the result is incredibly harmonious. I truly feel happier wearing my colors, and I look much more vibrant and alert with less effort. How is that possible? I've noticed a receptiveness of others as well, although that may be my new-found happiness and confidence shining through.
I wish I could have been draped sooner; it's truly an investment that pays off every time I purchase clothing, makeup, or home decor. The confidence that I've gained is immeasurable. I never thought I would enjoy shopping, much know what to buy and why it looks good. The "why" is so crucial, as it's easy to be swayed into liking a style and not a color. Pairing Sci/ART with Kibbe has given me all the tools I need to build a fully-functioning “capsule” wardrobe (I'm likely a Kibbe Soft Classic, although I'm not sure why I ignored my obvious softness for so long?). The process has been life-changing! I've long been enamored with the concept of a capsule wardrobe but I wondered how people created one. It looked as though they picked some colors, bought a few articles of clothing, and voila! Now I understand the process and I can apply it to myself. The same goes for the myth of the LBD, or the lists of 'X items every woman must own", when you've tried to abide by the rules of fashion and failed, it's hard to get up and play again. Now I know that those rules don't apply to me, I don't need a black dress or a white starched button-up....or anything in black or white. The process and following realizations have been profoundly liberating."
- Jennifer Beaudette, San Diego, CA
"I have had such a delightful journey over the past few weeks as I embrace my Bright Winter. I was able to locate a hair dresser with a specialization in color and she darkened my hair to a chestnut brown and it looked fabulous. However, it is lightening and so we will need to redo it shortly but I am optimistic that we will get the color right very soon. After ordering and receiving the Indigo swatches (along with your swatches) I went through my entire wardrobe and as you had suspected, many of the clothes I love are in the bright winter palate.
I am enjoying the opportunities to intentionally design an outfit with the contrasting colors and adding a pop of color - very new concept to me but works beautifully! I have been using your suggestions and the 12 Blueprint website for makeup suggestions and that has been most enjoyable for me to search for the best colors. My husband even noticed the makeup color changes and liked the brighter look! I am looking forward to seeing my parents and brothers this upcoming weekend for Mother's Day and see their reaction to the wonderful changes. Once I get the hair color correct, I will email you my picture.
Nikki, I think of you often when I am looking at my wardrobe and how to combine outfits or when I am searching for a lipstick color - you have had such a life-changing impact on me. You opened up the world of color to me and it has been a remarkable journey. I am especially grateful for this opportunity at this particular time as I recently moved to San Diego and am truly beginning a new chapter in my life and your color analysis has brought another delightful component to my new life. THANK YOU!!!"
- Kathy Munroe, San Diego, CA
"I would encourage anyone and everyone to have a PCA (personal colour analysis)....much better than PROZAC.....it should be available on prescription.
I had been analysed as a summer in a four season system in the UK. But while doing some research on the net I came across a 12-tone system that defined summer into LIGHT-TRUE-SOFT so of course I *needed* to know what summer I was. I then learnt that Nikki had been to London and was coming again WOO HOO! I was SO going to be there to find out. I had not been to London for years so was a little worried about that also.
But, I booked my appointment...then the worry set in...I had sent some pictures to Facebook for interested “colorista sisters” to try and guess my season and all the summers were guessed. Someone said true winter and a few people said autumn!! Oh no, horror! I hated autumn colours on me, I looked so ill.....
I travelled to London for my appointment...I need not have worried. I found the place very easily and Nikki was very welcoming and put me at my ease straight away by saying: “Oh, so you are the famous Janette!". Apparently my musings on Facebook were known worldwide!
Nikki said she wouldn't make me a summer just because I wanted to be one....she said we would have to wait and see what the drapes showed us and told us....so off we went....
She draped me in grey cape and scarf and I liked it. So did Nikki...so she said “I think you are OK, you are cool, but we will go through the whole process.” So, she worked her way through the drapes trying warm, neutral and cool and said “Ahhh, I see where this is going”….
We ended up with winter and summer ....and summer won. Then defining which summer.....Light was too light and bright and made me look paler; Soft was too muted and made me look dull; True was perfect, shadow under chin gone, eyes bright and shiny and very, very blue. Especially in the teal blue and green colours.
When you can see the effect of colour on your face and skin tone and what the wrong colour does in comparison, then you have to believe it....so True Summer it was.
Nikki then put on make-up for that season and re-draped me in the TSu drapes she had and showed me colour combinations and what to wear and to remember ‘coolness’ is the most important thing [TMIT] when shopping for clothes.
Being totally cool she said my second best was True Winter, but to be careful with the saturation of those colours....and my worst was autumn they made me look and feel ill!
I strongly urge people to have a PCA done because the best colours to wear on are the colours that are already in you.
Thanks Nikki for opening my eyes to my true colours.... TRUE SUMMER ......."
- Janette Morrison, Poole, Dorset
"Following my own analysis, I bribed and bullied my partner into having an appointment with Nikki on her next visit. He turns out to be a Bright Spring. This was delightfully unexpected because in the five years we have been together, I have never seen him wear anything other than black, navy, grey, royal blue and variations on the theme. Oh, except for that lovely purple silk shirt I bought him for Xmas (which happens to be almost on his palette). Peeking over his shoulder during the analysis was a wonderful experience. I got to see him become brighter, twinklier, healthier and more youthful in front of my eyes. He even became (even) better looking. The things those blues and turquoises did to him were beautiful. The light in his eyes brightened so that his face reflected his personality more than I have ever seen before.
I realise that I am being overly verbose, and you probably thing I am exaggerating, but I probably wouldn't believe it myself, if I hadn't watched it happen.
When we left the appointment we wandered down Oxford Street and bought him three shirts - bright sunshine yellow, bright blue and bright turquoise. He has since bought himself a bright purple shirt (I WISH I had been there in the shop to see him furtively matching the swatch!). Every time he walks into the room wearing one of those shirts, it is as if a light goes on - with the light coming from his face, not the clothing. These are colours that would overwhelm me into a blob of pasty discomfort. On him, they broaden his shoulders, square his jaw, freshen and energise. They make him look so well that he still looks human after a week of night shifts.
Something I said in my previous testimonial was that wearing my colours was unexpectedly comfortable, as if putting on colours that matched me allowed me to feel more relaxed. I can now say that living with someone who wears the right colours is also relaxing - just like watching a cat sunbathing in a garden is more comfortable than watching a cat curled in a concrete enclosure.
Once again, thanks Nikki"
- Joanne Aldridge, United Kingdom
"I absolutely LOVE my new 'proper' light summer colours (the light summer CMB ones are a bit 'off'!) and it's all now fallen into place, it was well worth the trip to London.
You'll be pleased to hear that since my last email to you I went for it and had all my hair chopped off last Saturday... and I love it!!! Thank you SO much, if I hadn't met with you I wouldn't have even considered it, not only have you transformed my colours to the right ones, you inspired me and gave me the confidence to wear my hair short. It's very hard to be objective about yourself, it's really refreshing to get an honest, unbiased opinion and I really appreciated it. People are saying it brings out my features and I can really carry it off."
- Lisa Hulbert, Banbury, Oxfordshire
"You analyzed me as Dark Winter. I just wanted to give you some feedback.
I went home and went through my wardrobe, and it was surprising to see that I already had a lot of the colours. Doing the analysis has however given me new insight on how I should combine them, and also has shown me some gaps I have in my wardrobe with regards to colour.
I have not been out to buy anything new – but I did take my toweling dressing gown which was beige (heavens knows why I originally chose it) and machine dyed it Dylon Burlesque Red. It has come out a gorgeous colour (the exact shade that is on the 6th fan from the top of our pouch and the darkest colour on the end. Not sure what to call it – but it’s like a dark plum / raisin. Wearing the dressing gown I feel so much better. Even at breakfast my skin seems to be glowing, and that’s with no make-up!
I am including the link for you – so you can share with other Dark Winters.
I also dyed a lime green T-shirt the Dylon Dark Green, and here I just used the hand-dye method. The next day I got so many compliments on the school run.
I also found this lovely forum on the web for ‘Dark Winters’. Here are lots of recommendations on make-up women have tried and those that work and those that don’t.
"I am wearing the right colour lipsticks now. After a couple of decades of buying colours I hoped suited me, with mixed results, I get it right now. Every day. And what is more, I only have four lipsticks - but they are absolutely perfect. The same with blusher and eyeshadow. It is so effortless, so relaxed. I no longer have any self consciousness about 'getting it right', because almost all the colours on my palette harmonise.
I've thrown out most of the clothes that are significantly outside my palette, purely because now that my eye is trained (firstly by Nikki during the Analysis, and secondly by living with the colour palette for a while), wearing clothes outside my own colours simply don't feel comfortable any more. I just don't identify with them. They look nice on other people, but now I am able to see why, and how, they won't work with me and my colouring. You know the feeling you get when you come home from work, kick off your work shoes and settle down in a comfy chair with a cup of tea? Well that is how I have found settling into my colours - like coming home.
Shopping is easier too. I just walk past 80% of the racks and only look at items that are in the right colours. And in a little over a month, three people have asked for Nikki's contact details, simply because they want what I now have. Thanks Nikki."
"Thank you for expanding my colors and making shopping more fun. When I have one of my colors on, people will often compliment me on how well I look. I have learned I can wear almost any color, but the shades for each season vary. I would encourage anyone to have a color analysis, it is not just for women."
- Marge Merkert, Voorhees, NJ
"Over the past month, I've been receiving a large number of comments from people I've come into contact with about my general appearance. This never happens. Ever. Some of the people are ones that see me everyday and know me well. Some are just casual acquaintances who haven't seen me in awhile.
Nikki, since you analyzed my colors and I received the color palette book, certain aspects of my life have been transformed. My wardrobe is no longer a thing of horror...its manageable, clean, organized, and very wearable. There are very few days where I go to select an outfit and can't find anything that appeals. I feel confident that what I pull out to wear is not going to get me ticketed by the fashion police.
Selecting makeup, accessories and clothing to purchase has always been a nightmare for me. My available time to shop is limited and I become overwhelmed and frustrated, and usually just give up. This past month I actually ventured into a clothing store (its literally been about 3 years since I've done this), scanned the department and was quickly able to scope out the racks with colors that were perfect for me. In and out with an ensemble purchase in less than 45 minutes. And I wasn't hyperventilating! Amazing.
Oh, and I FINALLY found blush, eye shadow and lip colors that look totally NATURAL and bring out my best features...my cheekbones and my eyes! Again, the process was so simple using the My Color RX palette."
- Rebecca Spika, Racine, WI