My Beauty Philosophy
A Story of Two Ways
Years ago I saw a short documentary on YouTube. It was about the ancient Japanese craft of carpentry. From a small piece of furniture to entire temples, the film showed how the craftsmen could make beautiful pieces without any nails, bolts or screws.
There is one moment in that documentary I’ll never forget. In one of the interviews, the old carpenter said: ‘There are only two ways. Two ways to do anything, in our human history. Against Nature. With Nature. You have to choose either one.’
I was in the middle of training as a colour analyst when I saw that documentary. Still having practice clients (training involves an intensive period of test clients before we are allowed to practice professionally), I spent a lot of time thinking about beauty. About the role it plays in society and a how it affects a person’s (often a woman’s) identity.
The wheels in my brain clicked into gear. This was exactly what I was doing! Colour analysis offered an alternative approach to beauty, one that was accessible to anybody and didn’t depend on having perfect skin. With Nature indeed.
It made me realise there are two ways towards looking good as well. One way is the one that’s most common to us, at least in the Western world.
It defines beauty as perfection. You need to have everything perfect, your skin, hair, makeup and clothes, and then you look good. But there’s a problem with that: while all of us know what perfect skin looks like, doesn’t necessarily make it possible to attain it. And what do perfect clothes look like? Is it trends, or having a style?
The issue with the idea of beauty as perfection is that’s fear-based. If you can’t make the grade, then you’re not beautiful. It divides the population into two groups: a small group, young and beautiful, those that are good enough, and those that aren’t – everybody else. It’s exclusive, in the literal sense of excluding people. It doesn’t make anybody feel safe, or trust their body. That’s why I call this fear-based beauty.
It’s against Nature.
Once, it did make me feel a little like a failure. Women, especially maybe young women, are somehow believe that it’s all achievable if you’re smart and hard-working enough. If you eat healthy enough, work out hard enough, practice makeup skills enough, wear sunscreen enough, you will make it. And that’s not true. No amount of working out or healthy food will give you a different body type or a different colouring. And winged eyeliner still looks awkward on my face, no matter my skill at makeup.
The carpenter made me see what I was really doing, what I was in the middle of already. Why I committed to training as a colour analyst. This beauty philosophy is about harmony.
Beauty defined as harmony takes a different approach. Instead of each element of your appearance having to be perfect in itself, it’s about each element belonging with all the others. This is possible to do for any woman, at any age. For every body type. It’s inclusive.
Plus it gives you a perspective, a roadmap. A colour palette gives you limited options to try, but all of them they are going to work for you. That’s so much easier than wading through a sea of trend colours and trying them on randomly. It’s reassuring and validating, even empowering. It’s with Nature.
Beauty, defined as perfection, is fear-based
Fast forward to now.
I’m still seeing colour clients, although less often as I’m in a remote location by Dutch standards. I’m in Den Helder, at the very north-most tip of the North Holland peninsula. It’s surrounded by sea on three sides, and although it never gets really cold, the winds sometimes gets so strong it can push you over.
North of here are the only the Wadden Islands and the Sea, before you’d arrive in Norway over 500 kilometres away. Even so, I am one hour from Amsterdam, so if any North-Americans read this and think “Remote. That’s cute”, you’re entitled ;). Daylight is very strong here because we’re so close to the sea, and it makes for great colour matching.
Alongside colour, as many of you know I have developed a system for body typing, Align style analysis, that upholds those same values. Align is based on the idea that everybody has a pattern of lines and shapes within their body. Repeating that pattern in clothes and accessories, hair and makeup will help you look balanced and proportional, which in turn looks beautiful and stylish.
Align helps making sense of the differences between yourself and other people. At some level, we are all alike. Everybody has two ears, two eyes and one nose. Yet if you compare the details, all of us are unique. Where are the crucial differences between you and what’s fashionable? The answer lies hidden in your body pattern.
And I am also in the process of developing Inspire, a programme where I help women find the wardrobe that serves them at any level of their life. It’s a perfect blend of utterly practical tools and a deep exploration of your authentic self. It includes a wardrobe building guide that’s focused to your needs and yet flexible for any lifestyle, and strategies for laser shopping. I teach about the best ways to have influence through your presence, and the five phases of style that all of us go through in our life.
Together, Colour, Align and Inspire make up the StyleScience suite. (I’m starting to sound like a tech company, lol).
I thought I went through them all my announcements in my previous post, but still have a couple things I forgot. So, here goes:
1. First of all, I am closing the Align waiting list for one-on-one appointments. I find I scarcely have enough time to keep up, so I am transitioning to group sessions only. Instead, I’ll open up a waiting list for the group version of Align, with even more content and support, which will probably run in end of Spring/early Summer. You can sign up for the waiting list via the button below.
2. The price for Align will go up towards 400 euro before Value Addded Tax (Dutch ex BTW). However, anybody who signs up for the waiting list in February using the button above will still be able to get it at the old price of 300 euro (which includes BTW/VAT/sales tax).
3. This Summer, I’ll be offering colour analysis in Turin, Italy, during the week of 6 to 12 July. I’ve had requests dotted around the Mediterranean in the past years, so if you are able to come to Northern Italy then this could be your chance! Let me know if you are interested by emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org. The minimum number of clients is seven, for me to make the trip worthwhile. If there are enough people, we’ll make definitive appointments.
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