Thursday, February 10, 2011

How Knowing Your Colors Can Help an Author, Even with Writing Characters

Sometimes I have gone shopping with friends to find a special outfit for an event. They want to look their best. They ask for my input on something that is important to them. I take that role seriously if someone asks me. Some of my best memories are shopping with my mother for school clothes and it brings a bit of warmth to me to remember that, so if I'm asked to help someone pick out clothes, I like to do that. I am not so good at shopping for myself. Maybe I keep expecting my mom to swoop in and find just the right cut and color for my clothes?

I have a past in art and know that certain colors convey certain "messages" to those who see them. For example, most of you have heard of the red "power" tie. Red is a bold color, but it can be blue red or orange red. It can be dark red, clear red or light red. Can you successfully wear red? Specialists in color theory say yes--if it's the right red. I like a cherry red, but usually only in accessories. It's not usually a color I choose for a sweater or sweatshirt--even though it's my alma mater's color--Cardinal Red! (Ball State University.)I also love an orange-red. Maybe my love of autumn.But when I do wear it, I feel empowered.

That's just one color example. Tell me the color you most likely will pick to wear in say, a blouse, sweater, sweatshirt? I do think that is a bit telling about you. Many times we're drawn to colors that do suit us. For example, as I type this, I'm wearing a periwinkle blue sweatshirt. I also have a purple sweatshirt that I never fail to get compliments on even though I bought it probably 20 years ago in Seattle! I adore another sweatshirt that is a yellow green moss color that I go to when I need comfort. (It's from Mackinac.) There are times that I will throw one outfit after another into a pile and it just seems so wasteful! If I can't decide what to wear, I pick black to appear neutral and fade into the wall. I wish to pick colors that just make me look slimmer and healthier. :)

Let's Look at Winters
According to Lora Alexander, winters are cool, dark, deep, clear. That means that you are looking at icy, deep(saturated) and cool (blue undertones) like fuchsia, icy pink, burgundy, magenta, pine green, royal blue, pure white, royal purple, true red, black, hot turquoise...can you see it?

N.J. Lindquist, an author and writing teacher, is someone I've known online for years. She always looks so put-together at events and on her web page, but I've never met her in person. When I look at her photos, to me, it seems obvious that she is a winter. Her writing even seems to go with her coloring and how she presents herself. (She writes novels--mystery.) I interviewed her on When I Was Just a Kid and you can see that here. Even her web site reflects her best colors and she just looks so polished. If you are a professional speaker, teacher, writer like she is, you can see how her audience will trust her in giving information or telling stories because she knows who she is.
Author N.J. Lindquist looks stunning in black--a color for winters
Another author friend (right here in Indiana) who is a winter is Colleen Coble. Colleen is CEO of the American Christian Fiction Writers and also writes award-winning romantic suspense and historical romantic mysteries for Thomas Nelson. She has a mentoring and warm personality, never meeting a stranger. Recently she lost some weight and while I never have seen her look frumpy but always polished, she really shines now with the health and vibrancy of feeling good. Her smile glows and she has a lot of confidence. Can you see how well winter colors would work on her?

Colleen Coble looks beautiful and brilliant in her winter's red

Finally, another author friend who also teaches at conferences, writes articles as well as books, and does editing is Candy Neely Arrington. Candy has leadership roles, as well as speaking and appearing on TV for her articles and books on dealing in the aftermath of suicide and also caring for your parents, and music performances. She always looks beautiful in her winter palette for her clothing.

Candy is bold and beautiful in her blue that sparkles on winters

You can see how wearing the right colors can enhance the message you are bringing. Even though each of these women are writers, they need to make public appearances often. They need to be perceived as approachable, but also authoritative in their field. Your accessories and earrings, even your shoes and purse can pull your look together--but what colors should you be wearing?

My good friend, Jude Urbanski, soon will have her website up, is publishing her first fiction book, is past treasurer of the Indiana Chapter of ACFW and is current president of the Indiana PEN Women. She is beautiful and she needs to wear the jewel colors of winter. Her figure is petite and beautiful, and she always has vibrant accessories. What do you think? I think she's a winter for sure.The yellow background may throw you off, but I do know her and she sparkles in jewel colors.

Are you a winter? Go to my poll and check what you think your season might be or check the links below first to determine your best colors. And be sure to stop by Lora Alexander's web site to take her quiz if you're not sure. If you still are not sure, you can always purchase Lora's book or hire her to do an evaluation that she offers for purchase on the site. (She has a couple options.) Lora breaks the four seasons into more refined palettes, making 12 seasons, which helps to narrow down your best colors, even within your season. She has Cool Winter, Clear Winter and Deep Winter.  I appreciate her art work (all the drawings are her own) to give you a better idea of the coloring of each season.

What's your favorite color to wear? What color that you wear gives you the most compliments or even gives you comments of "you look great!" What color do you wear that you always get an "are you feeling ok?"

One more comment for writers--if you are describing your heroine or hero in the story, be sure you look over the eye color/hair color and the signature color that person wears. Even if you put that character in a hideous color for her, it can be important to your story. Can you imagine any of these authors in mustard yellow? (I don't think so. And they'd probably tell you they wouldn't be caught in that color, too.)


N. J. Lindquist said...

Wow! Thanks so much Crystal for all the compliments. I saw my picture and did a double-take. Then I began blushing. :)

You're spot-on about my being a winter. I figured out my colors years and years ago from the book Color Me Beautiful. I love the autumn colors and used to wear them a lot. Now I just have them in my decor. I have only worn the winter colors for many years. And I try to fall somewhere between the classic and dramatic styles.

I've always loved clothes and so forth - probably comes from having a father who owned a small clothing store. I was helping there from the age of about 12. Did the windows, loved opening boxes of new stock, etc.

Now I watch the show What Not to Wear. I love seeing people become all they can be, whether outwardly or inwardly. It's absolutely true that knowing you look "good" (and it doesn't have to cost a lot of money) has a whole lot to do with your self-confidence.

Thanks again for the mention! :)

Unknown said...

This post caught my eye (sounds like a pun, but it's not) because I remember reading a novel back in junior high where the MC was learning about which color season she was, and I decided it'd be smart to learn that and wear flattering colors. I hardly make a clothing purchase without thinking about my season (which has changed since I was in junior high- thank you aging process). And there are a lot of books out there on how colors affect us. I hadn't thought to be so deliberate about my color choices in my writing.

New, colorful, food for thought.
Thank you!

And by the way, I'm not sure it's mustard yellow- maybe more of a lemon, but I just bought a beautiful bright and cozy yellow sweater. It made me think of spring in the middle of this long, snowy winter (actual, not colorful)and it doesn't look bad on me-- not my most flattering shade, but it makes me happy :).

Cara Putman said...

Great post. I'm pretty sure I'm a winter, but want to see which of her three break downs I fall into. Interesting!

Crystal Laine said...

N.J., I think it's interesting that you have 3 spring sons. They have one thing in common with you--CLEAR. So, is your 4th son a winter? I remember that about your father from your great When I Was Just a Kid interview!

D.L., all seasons have yellow, but it just depends on the undertone or the particular shade! But if it's the right yellow and you look good in it, then I think you should look for more in that color. I find that I always go back to old reliable colors which make me feel pretty.

Cara, I was thinking about that, too, as I was doing this series. Where would you fall in the three? Deep Winter, Clear Winter, Cool Winter? I think Clear Winter. I would love to know, though. You look amazing in some of the colors you've worn for your publicity photos and definitely have that "you are stunning" look! You just sparkle in clear, cool,winter colors.

Carrie said...

I think I'm a winter, but don't know which one! Winter's colors look best on me, and the brighter colors (red, yellow, orange, etc.) need a cool undertone for me to be able to wear them. Pastels tend to wash me out completely since my hair is quite ashy in color, and my eye color is hazel/blue -- they're blue, green, or gray depending on mood and colors worn. If they're green, and I'm wearing royal blue -- look out because I'm hot under the color about something!!
Please, pick me!

K said...

I have many black clothes and it's so frustrating because I can't wear them without looking pale and aged! The same with make-up: all you can see is the black eyeliner around the eyes...Winters are lucky under this perspective! =) Black is a color that can be matched with almost everything...

Crystal Laine said...

K- I think everyone wears black. You just need it in your wardrobe. Lora addresses this in her book. If black isn't your color, you can still wear it in pants and skirts, just put your colors near your face. Also, she said if you wear a top with a scoop neck that shows some of your skin, it will soften it. Don't wear a black turtleneck.

With Lora's swatches you get a description of the color on the back and it says whether the color is basic, core, etc. So the swatches that are core, you use for what was once your black color. That's good info, right there!

LeAnne Benfield Martin said...

I've known I'm a winter for years but now I know that I'm a cool winter. Makes a lot of sense to me. I like that she breaks the seasons down further. That's helpful.

I love turquoise, royal blue, bluish reds, purples, teal and pale pink. It's such a relief to know my colors b/c it helps me with shopping--I stay away from anything that doesn't fit those colors and save money by buying only what looks good on me. It also helps with putting outfits together and packing for vacation. Everything coordinates!

Fun posts, Cris.