If you ask women who have had their colors done when they wish they’d known these colors, the majority will say at age 12 or 13. Some will say, “18…before college.” This second group of ladies wanted time to rebel, to follow trends, to be a little crazy. A few women will give a younger age. I’ve heard as young as 7. These women, sadly, were teased or bullied about their looks.
This is why I want to focus my work on young women: their lives will be richer for knowing their best colors (and best styles) at a time when, typically, self criticism sets in. Knowledge of our physical being is not superficial. It’s empowering. Knowledge of our physical being helps anchor us in who we really are. It helps us appreciate our own innate beauty and that of others. This story, from Discovery Girls, of an 11 year old taunted about her (stunning) hair ends on an up note. But I believe deep in my heart that the more teens (and tweens and grown ups, too) who understand color and style – as it relates to enhancing the natural beauty of each individual, the less bullying there will be and the greater appreciation there will be for different bodies and different coloring. Conventional beauty need not stay fixed!
When I was thirteen, I moved from San Francisco to a small city outside central London. My hair had turned from blonde and to what I felt was a mousy brown. My skin had spots. I had an accent different from my peers. I was adjusting to a new place, a new school and a new educational system. I would have LOVED to have known my colors then, to have had something of me outside of me – to see, to use, to admire.
In the same way that young children delight in making hand prints with paint on paper, seeing something of themselves made into art, people of all ages love to see THEIR colors. We are animals. We want to look good. Our (individual) colors reflect us and enhance us.
I attended private (British readers, that’s public to you) girls’ schools from age 11 to 18. The message I heard repeatedly was, “You can do things. You’re smart. Paying attention to your looks is superficial.” This made me feel bad for caring how I looked. And I didn’t want to look like a glamorous supermodel. I just knew that I didn’t look my best and it bothered me. I want to give teenage girls (or any girl that is younger and teased or bullied about her appearance) the tools and information needed to look their best, so they can feel great about how they look and get on with making the most of their lives!
(By the way, I highly recommend Discovery Girls magazine if you have a daughter age 8-11. Past articles I’ve loved have included: 1) how a typical cover is made for a women’s magazine including all the digital manipulation involved and 2) discussing online versus real life behavior, for example, a shy girl being more outgoing online or someone bullying in cyberspace when they would never do that in real life.)