Introducing color analysis for women of color


Women really need another book about color analysis, telling them whether their skin, hair and eye color makes them an autumn or a spring?

They probably do if they're Asian, black or Hispanic.

"The four seasons system is mainly for Caucasian women," says Donna Fujii, author of the newly published "Color With Style" ($19.95, Books Nippan). "Blacks, Asians and Hispanics don't have variations in hair color like blond or red. Basically we are brunettes. We have different gradations of brown-tone eyes. We're different."

A third-generation San Franciscan, Ms. Fujii has been involved in color analysis and image consulting since the mid-'70s when the phrase, "What's your season?" started replacing "What's your sign?" as cocktail chatter.

"The first time I had my colors done was real exciting," Ms. Fujii recalls. "Then I decided to have it done again and again by several different color consultants.

"It was too mysterious and vague," says Ms. Fujii, who soon found herself designated as an autumn, winter, spring and summer.

Ms. Fujii kept researching and studying, finally switching from teaching high school students about home economics to teaching women about color analysis in 1978.

"We're so rich in the [San Francisco] Bay Area in multiethnic groups, [that] as I studied color analysis I was able to work with all different kinds of nationalities -- blacks, Asians and Hispanics," she says. "There's a huge variation among Asians, yet a lot of the four seasons color analysts type-cast Asians into autumn or winters, and often times some of those warm colors make the skin tone sallow."

From her original frustration and subsequent research, Ms. Fujii has developed her own color system, detailed in the book, with 25 different color palettes to accommodate different skin tones: nine for Asians, eight for Caucasians and four each for blacks and Hispanics.

The terms she uses for Caucasians are variations on the four-seasons concept, but more specific such as low-contrast winter and high-contrast winter. For other racial groups, she coined new terms such as starlight for Asians, golden for blacks and onyx for Hispanics.

Although having your colors done has been dismissed by some as a passing fad, Ms. Fujii says it's more important than ever.

"Today as consumers we're more conscious of clothes as a wardrobe investment," she says. "It doesn't cost any more to select colors that are great for you than ones that aren't. If you look terrific in your colors, you'll feel good about yourself."

Having the right colors also works in more subtle ways, such as packing for trips, says Ms. Fujii, speaking of her experience as she prepares for a monthlong trip to Japan where she is a consultant for Takashimaya Department Stores.

"For my trip I have a one suitcase of clothing, including shoes, cosmetics and handbags," she says. "I know it will be raining and it could be hot and humid but my clothes are appropriate for business, going out to dinner, going to something dressy and sightseeing. Every piece is a separate and they all coordinate . . .

"I call them relatives. When you're shopping, ask if you have relatives for this piece -- if not, re-evaluate if it's worth buying."

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