I’m thrilled to introduce you to Rebecca Leclair, a friend and colleague as she shares her journey with color throughout her career and her more recent personal color analysis experience.
During my 30 year career in broadcast news, I was always conscious of “what not to wear” on television. No white--too stark. No black--too stark. No bright green--if I stood with the meteorologist in front of the “green screen”, my outfit would key out and the weather map would be superimposed over my dress. I knew not to wear polka dots or crazy patterns which could be distracting to the eye. Plus, I really wanted people to pay attention to what I was saying, not what I was wearing.
Early in my career, some TV consultant told me I was a “winter” and that I should avoid pastel colors and focus on jewel tones. I agreed with that advice since I thought I looked good in emerald green. I chose to wear suits because I wanted to be perceived as professional at all times. That often limited me because the most common colors for suits were navy, grey and black. Pretty boring. I once found a peach pastel suit and bought it just because it was not navy, grey or black. I didn’t care that it did not match my skin tone or my “orange-based” stage makeup. I simply picked it to increase the color count for the suits I hung in my closet.
As the TV news industry changed, so did the emphasis on women wearing suits. This actually made it harder on me. A new consultant came in and suggested dresses and blouses. However, I found myself simply picking clothes for the style and fit, not necessarily for the color. I needed lots of outfits so if the color did not look great on me, I would not be upset because I knew it would only be in the rotation a few times.
In 2017, I left my television job and started my own business. I worked from home, often wearing sweatpants, and had “plenty” of outfits to put on when meeting clients at coffee shops. I was back to just putting a black jacket over a blouse or dress. As long as I looked professional, I was good. Or so I thought.
Kerry Jones and I have known each other forever. We grew up in small neighboring towns. We both went to Syracuse University and thrived separately. Years passed, we each married, moved to starter homes on the same street and started families. Surprisingly we enrolled in the same Lamaze Birthing class and had our first babies within hours of each other in adjacent rooms at the hospital. A few years later we both moved to the same suburb. We would see each other occasionally but it wasn’t until I asked Kerry to do a presentation for an SU Alumni event that I considered “having my colors done”.
I never thought I needed her advice. I was a “Winter” and that had not changed in 30 years.
How wrong was I! During my personal session, we talked about how my hair had changed over the years and how I was using highlights to cover the grey and how I am no longer a true brunette. She asked about my make-up which I admit, is a mishmash of brands and left-overs from my television days when the goal was to cover blemishes completely and darken my skin tone so the lights would not “bleach” me out.
As Kerry “danced” around me with her test drapes, placing color after color around my neck, she explained the natural order of colors, hues and tones in the 12-season system. It made sense just listening to her but when she would put one color up against another, right under my chin, my skin, and my hair, it became obvious. I am not a Winter but a Bright Spring!
Initially, this revelation brought on a mini-panic. What would I do with all my “wrong season” clothing in my closet? How will I afford to replace my wardrobe? Do I need to throw out my make up and start new? Well, Kerry is the type of professional who “gets it.” She understands the time and money it takes to build a wardrobe. She also knows how much effort it takes to find the right colors. That’s why she created the swatch book you can carry in your purse or leave in your glove box. Whenever you have time to shop or go to the mall, it is right there to help you pick the right colors.
And it works! I am not going to waste any more money on Valentine red colored items. My swatch book tells me which colors of red are better for me. I can still buy emerald green items, but I love the new light-green sweater I found at Marshalls that matched the swatch AND fit me perfectly! I am replacing one item at a time and I have toned down the highlights in my hair and focused on darkening my roots as Kerry suggested. My daughter noticed the difference and said, “That looks more like you, Mom.”
It has been awhile since my personal color analysis and I still hear Kerry’s voice in my head, explaining how color, hues and tone all work together to create the right look. I love her low-key yet energetic approach to helping her clients understand the process. Despite being considered a world-renowned color analyst, Kerry is not satisfied unless she can convey her knowledge to others and help them come to their OWN determination. The “show and tell” session gives her the opportunity to share her expertise and gives the client a chance to confirm. I appreciate the time she took with me to prove to me I am far from a Winter and that I am ready to take on “Bright Spring” with gusto!
Television Journalist/Communication Consultanthttps://www.linkedin.com/in/rebecca-leclair-ba10bb8/
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