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It's Never Too Late

First off, logistics. Just before I posted my last piece, I had to update my Blog site. When I did, the COMMENTS section disappeared. After instruction from techies, I managed to get it re-installed on my Blog page.

Please include your comments, if you feel so moved. I love reading them and learning how my pieces affect you. Otherwise, I feel that I'm pitching my thoughts into a void. And if you know any Color Lovers, please pass my blog on to them.

Barbara Clare radiates the rainbow. Photo by Ken Peterson

Recently, I did a Wardrobe Color session with a woman named Willoughby Parks. "That's a name destined for a fascinating fictional character," I thought, when she introduced herself to me on the phone. Further into our conversation she revealed a surprising bit of information.

Willoughby is 80-years-old. Yep, that's right. She wants to make her later years count. Getting her wardrobe colors right is a big part of that equation.

Being unaware of 'her colors' had been a significant missing piece in her life. Willoughby knew that if she became wise to what colors resonate best with her coloring, she could better express who she truly is. And in so doing, she would feel more connected to her most authentic self.

Willoughby 'Willow' Parks BEFORE. Photo by Barbara Clare

I, of course, was thrilled by her spirit. I couldn't wait to meet her.

On a beautiful, sunny, autumn day, Willoughby arrived at our place bursting with energy and excitement for her color session. She couldn't wait to discover her colors. To be COVID safe, we both wore masks and did the consult outside on my bluestone patio.

Once we were seated, Willoughby told me that she had had her colors done over the years, but had received conflicting opinions about what they were. One colorist determined that she was a SPRING, another deemed her a SUMMER. Understandably, she's been confused about what colors best suit her.

I explained to Willoughby that the Color Clock System that I use is not based on seasons, since seasonal colors are not universally the same. Rather, the Color Clock System is based on the light of day - morning light, noon light and afternoon light - which is consistent throughout the world.

Willoughby showed up in a hot pink tunic top, black capris and black flats. Hot pink is a festive, invigorating color, but as she soon discovered, it is not one of 'her colors.' As we went through the colors, it became readily apparent that Willoughby was enhanced by muted tones, not hot ones. Black on her looked ok, but not fab. A more harmonious choice would have been navy, walnut brown or deep teal.

Willoughby told me that she had lived in Los Angeles for twelve years. While living there, she admired how Latinas dressed. She loved the vibrant colors they wore and their feminine flair. Wanting that look for herself, she attempted to imitate their style.

Willoughby's reach for the Latina look reminded me of the desire so many women have to have hair unlike their own. Women who have curly hair want straight hair and vice versa. We want what we don't have, while not celebrating what we do have.

The bold colors gracing Latina women looked terrific on them, but they would never look terrific on Willoughby. Her hair, her skin, and her eyes all called for a softer look.

Willoughby began our session saying "I can't see what looks good on me. Why can't I see what looks good on me?" I replied, "Because how many people actually sit down and look at multiple color swatches next to their face?" Nobody.

Even those who get their wardrobe colors done by a color professional often aren't seeing the colors that are placed against their face. The color consultant looks at them and determines what colors are 'your colors' and sends you home with them. With no investment in the process, what do you do with those colors? You stuff the colors in a drawer and forget about them.

However, when I do wardrobe color sessions, I include my clients in the selection process. I sit them in front of a mirror. Then I stand behind them, fandeck in hand. We look at the colors TOGETHER and determine TOGETHER what colors work best for them.

By the middle of our session, Willoughby was actually seeing what colors looked best on her. She was ecstatic. AHA. She got it.

As she departed, I noticed a new confident spring in her walk. She turned to me and said, "From now on, I will be known as 'Willow'."

Willow wrote me immediately to express how our color session has transformed her life:

I'm going to invite all my neighbors over to take what they like of my wrong-colored clothes. Right now I'm in the process of checking each item with the color fan. It's fun, freeing, and a bit horrifying when I realize how I've been wearing unbecoming colors all my life. Yikes! But it's never too late and I feel freer and happier already.
...I am very grateful for what I learned and to be wearing becoming colors. It has already made a difference in my confidence. Thank you again!

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