What it means to be ‘in focus’

The number one intended outcome of a personal colour analysis is to appear ‘in focus’. As an analyst it’s the thing I look for when I’m going through the final few drapes having decided upon a season. If, with the drapes and corresponding make-up my client doesn’t look ‘in focus’ then I’ve most definitely done something wrong. Thankfully that hasn’t happened yet! What exactly does it mean (and look like) to be ‘in focus’? Well, I shall be delighted to tell you. I will admit I’m completely obsessed with seeing the magic, post-analysis. Nothing pleases me more than to see someone looking radiant in their colours.

Colour analysis allows us to see you, and actually this can be quite intimidating for some. Not everyone wants to be seen so clearly. It means the focus isn’t your clothing or your make-up, it’s you, your eyes, the shape of your lips, the pleasing crisp line around your iris that stands out from the white backdrop of your eyes. We see your bone structure, the shape of your nose, the contrast of your hair against your skin. We don’t see blemishes; the right colours ‘clear’ your skin meaning it already looks as though you’re wearing the most natural foundation. Primarily, the focus is your eyes. Here are some brilliant (in my opinion) examples of people getting it right.

Maria is wearing Chanel Tisse Riviera eyeshadow palette

The focus is obvious here. The eye shadow is brilliantly applied. It’s not demanding or high contrast. I love how she’s applied the lilac in a sideways V at the edges of her eyes. What I also notice is just how clear and quiet her skin is. Christine Scaman of 12 Blueprints talks about Summers having quiet skin, and I think that’s a brilliant description. The skin is quiet and her features jump out as a result.

Maria wearing NARS Underworld eyeshadow
Maria wearing NARS Underworld eyeshadow

Even without lipstick the lips are perfectly defined. The line around her iris is so crisp. You see Maria, you don’t immediately notice her make-up or earrings, these are noticed afterwards when you study the photo more intently.

I’m always excited to see the Kettlewell Colours catalogue on my door mat. I love seeing the models, all of which are brilliantly ‘in focus’. Here are a few of my favourites.

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Can you guess which season belongs to each?

Post-analysis I notice hair colour too in a way I didn’t before. Hair that might once have been considered ‘too mousy’ comes to life when the owner wears their best colours.

What’s the opposite of being ‘in focus’? When the focus is on your clothes and your make-up, not you. There’s a decent chance you’ll look ill in the wrong colours, too. Thick black eyeliner appears to be popular at the moment but usually dominates the face. A bright fuchsia lip is also reasonably trendy still, but can look completely at odds on a face if the wearer isn’t cool and bright themselves. I recall Olivia Palermo at the Golden Globes in a fuchsia lip that didn’t work for her.

Olivia Palermo at the Golden Globe awards

Here is her looking much better. Perhaps she’s an Autumn? Shame about the black eyeliner.

Olivia Palermo looking good in rust

I never tire of seeing people ‘in focus’ (as the volume of photos in this post will attest to!). The harmony resonates inside me in a way that’s difficult to describe. I feel myself relax and smile and I’m captivated.

Rachel Weisz looking great in lime green

You would be forgiven for thinking that Rachel Weisz was probably a Winter with her dark hair and dark eyes but having seen her in Autumn’s gorgeous lime green I’m certain she’s an Autumn now.

Look at her in this Winter lippy – isn’t it jarring?

Rachel in a true red Winter lipstick
Rachel in a true red Winter lipstick

What’s worse is that I think her blusher could be warm and her lipstick cool. I find the photo above difficult to look at. A great example of someone who isn’t in focus, because the focus is firmly on their make-up.

One last photo and I promise I’m done!

A spring?
A spring?

This gorgeous redhead certainly looks ‘in focus’. Her make-up isn’t distracting, the focus is firmly on her eyes. Is she a Spring? A Winter? An Autumn? Impossible to say with any certainty. Regardless, instinctively, we know that this is right.

Thank you Maria for your photos 🙂

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