Reviving the Color Craze

June 14, 2012 Updated: June 18, 2012
Epoch Times Photo
Natalie Portman is a Deep Autumn. (Michael Buckner/Getty Images)

When shopping for clothes, do you know that some colors you wear enhance your looks while others wash you out?

Though color analysis was a practice that was very popular in the 1980s, there is a resurgence now that colors feature so prominently in today’s styles.

Color theory suggests that if you want to look your best, choosing shades that complement your natural coloring can create the perfect look.

When paired the right way, the colors of your palette can help you appear polished, vivacious, and even younger.

The Epoch Times interviewed Lora Alexander, expert color analyst, makeup artist, and owner of Pretty Your World, a website that provides color analysis tools and information that helps men and women find the most flattering colors for their natural tones.

Alexander credits her passion and inspiration from the book “Color Me Beautiful” by Carole Jackson. It sparked the color-crazed decade—better known as the ’80s.

Jackson divided colors into four different palettes: Summer, Winter, Autumn, and Spring.

The 4 Season Theory eventually grew into a 12 Season Theory, which further breaks down the color palettes into more specific categories: Deep, Light, Soft, Clear, Warm, and Cool.

To determine the appropriate palette, color analysts follow your natural skin tones, your eye color, and the various hues and highlights in your hair.

An Interview With Lora Alexander

The Epoch Times: Can you describe your personal style?
Lora Alexander: My style is one that is more classic and natural, I guess you would call it. I am not into the latest fads and styles. I have no idea what’s “in” right now. I like clothing that is classic and won’t go out of style in five minutes.

Epoch Times: How do you personalize your outfit or makeup?
Ms. Alexander: Well, because I know what my best colors are, I simply choose clothing and makeup in those colors. If they are not in style at the time, I wear it anyway.

Epoch Times: What services do you offer as a color stylist and consultant?
Ms. Alexander: Right now, I do everything virtually on my site. I offer color analysis packages where clients from all over the world send me clear photos of themselves, and I analyze their natural coloring and recommend a palette of colors for them to wear.

I also sell swatches that correspond to the “season” I determine them to be that they can take shopping with them. I also sell other image products like a virtual stylist program where they can enter their height and other physical characteristics and get an instant e-portfolio of recommended clothing and accessories for their body types.

In Dec 2008, I self-published a book called “Color Revival,” which talks about the 12-season color system.

Just last September, I launched my own makeup line that corresponds to the 12 seasons. And only a few months ago, I found a fabulous new skin care line to offer my clients.

This year, I plan to open a small shop to do in-person color analysis, makeup applications, and skin care. I’m also a licensed esthetician.

Epoch Times Photo
Gisele Bundchen is a Soft Autumn. (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Epoch Times: Have you always had a passion for colors and styling?
Ms. Alexander: Colors yes, styling no. I grew up really poor, so fashion was something that was a luxury way out of my reach.

But I was an artist from as far back as I can remember. I would draw women’s faces. Nothing made me happier than a fresh white sheet of paper and a brand new box of crayons. My mother sold Avon, and I loved playing around with all those samples she had.

Epoch Times: What advice can you give to the readers about how they can make the most of their looks with colors?
Ms. Alexander: Everyone is born with a natural set of colors—eyes, skin, and hair. Color analysis is just about finding the “theme” of your coloring and putting together a palette of colors that will harmonize with that coloring.

From my website and book, you can learn to self-analyze to figure out the best colors. (You can always get a professional opinion as well if you have a tough time figuring it out on your own.)

But know that once you start wearing your right colors, things will become so much easier. You will find that you don’t need to wear as much makeup, you will look more refreshed, younger, and more true to yourself. People will see the difference.

And you will save a ton of money since you will not buy anything that doesn’t flatter you anymore.

Epoch Times:Please tell The Epoch Times readers a little bit about your career as an image consultant and how it took off?

Epoch Times Photo
Megan Fox is a Clear Winter. (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Ms. Alexander: I became obsessed with color analysis in high school when I read the book “Color Me Beautiful” by Carole Jackson. I fit the Warm Autumn season perfectly, and it helped me understand why the pretty blue and pink pastels I loved so much did nothing for me. It changed my life. I instantly analyzed everyone I saw, whether they knew it or not. So essentially I have been analyzing people for over 25 years.

I came from a small town where there was very little economic opportunity, so being an image consultant was something I didn’t even know one could make a living from.

When Color Me Beautiful advanced from the four seasons to the new 12-season system, they offered a business opportunity where I became trained with them. However, at the time, representatives could only make money from the sales of the skincare and makeup, not from the color analysis, where I felt the real talent and value came from. I was not good at selling cosmetics at the time, so it didn’t take me too far.

Flash forward to about 15 years and after having quit a “real” job in the financial field, I wanted to start my own business. I found a web-hosting company that lets people create websites even if you knew nothing about HTML or web design (like me), and I chose the topic of color analysis. It grew from about 25 visits a month to about 30,000 visits a month. It’s really taken on a life of its own.

Epoch Times:Can you tell us your most memorable styling job and why?

Epoch Times Photo
Jennifer Aniston is a Soft Summer. (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Ms. Alexander: Well, when I was first starting out selling Color Me Beautiful products, I did a young woman in Chicago who had her older sister there to observe. The older sister was a huge disbeliever in color analysis, and I guess she wanted to be there so I wouldn’t try to sell her sister products she didn’t need. (No worries though, I was a lousy salesperson and never pushed products on people.)

This lady was kind of rude and made the process not fun, at least at the beginning. As she saw the process play out and saw how individual colors made such a big difference on her sister, she slowly came around and got very excited. I ended up doing a color analysis on her as well, and the whole thing turned into such a positive life-changing event.

Probably because I was so new and the woman was so resistant, that moment has remained clear in my mind. But since doing my online business for the last three years, I have gotten lots of positive feedback from clients saying similar things like how it changed their lives, how it made shopping fun again, how it simplified their lives.

Epoch Times: So far in your career, what are you most proud of?
Ms. Alexander: I’m proud of the fact that I built this business starting with just a small idea and I’ve seen how it has grown. I find it remarkable because I didn’t have a clue how e-commerce worked (didn’t even know what Google AdSense was). Again, I can’t take the credit for the success of the site, knowing it wouldn’t have happened without my web-hosting company. But aside from that, I have put a lot of heart and soul into the business and it is paying off.

Epoch Times: What inspires you personally as a stylist and consultant? Is there anyone who has been a big influence on you as a person and as a career woman?
Ms. Alexander: Well, as a makeup artist, I was in love with makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin’s work. To me, he was the Michelangelo of makeup. He could take anyone and make them look good. I want to be half as good as him.

Epoch Times Photo
Kate Hudson is a classic Light Spring. (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

It’s funny because as an artist, I would collect magazines clippings of photos that inspired me. I still have clippings from 30 years ago. I would notice the makeup on a woman and clip it out. Years later, when I had heard of Kevyn and saw examples of his work, I was amazed that he was the artist behind many of those old clippings I still had! Sadly, he died from a brain aneurism years go. But I still have every book he’s ever written, and I get much inspiration from them.

Epoch Times: How do you see your career evolving in the near future?
Ms. Alexander: As I stated, I plan on doing in-person services this year, though I will not abandon my virtual services for those who can’t access me in person.

I hope to offer training for those wanting to become color analysts and image consultants. And I hope to reach a global audience for my makeup and color services. Essentially I want color analysis to be as big as it was in its heyday of the ’80s.

For more of Lora Alexander’s celebrity examples, details, and tips on how to identify your own palette, go to:

The Epoch Times publishes in 35 countries and in 19 languages. Subscribe to our e-newsletter.