Image consultant colour supplies:
Colour Analysis Supplies Information, Hints & Tips
I often gets questions about how to use colour analysis supplies and thought you might be interested to see some of the Q&A replies. I hope they help you too.
You might like to check out how to order individual drapes and / or a quantity of wallets, and you can access lists of the contents of all the swatch wallets and the drape sets on the Help page.
Selecting colours for drapes and colour swatches
We are unable to advise you on your selection of drape colours or colour swatches:
- We are unable to consider scans, images, or photos as we cannot guarantee that our computer equipment calibrates colour in exactly the same way as your equipment
- We are unable to consider names or descriptions of colours as there is no internationally-recognised list of colour names or descriptions
The only way to ensure correct colour matching
Is for you to invest in a Colour Fabric Catalogue which contains one swatch of each of all our colour fabrics.
We do NOT supply any products on a sale or return basis
We recommend you read our returns policy before placing an order.
Using your drapes
Colour Supplies Questions
Seasonal & Tonal Drapes
- I want to put my own drape pack together and select my own drapes. Can you help me decide which ones?
- The Tonal system – does this basically cover crossing over the seasons?
- Are the drapes the same universally or do they differ in color and number from one company to another?
- Are the fabrics basically dyed the same way/colors – is the colour wallet I get from you the same as any other colour company?
- Tonal drape symbols
- Do you sell large drapes? Do you provide test drapes?
- Which is best to buy – standard or large drapes?
- Should I buy both seasonal and tonal kits?
- Are neutral drapes already in the starter kits or do I buy them separately?
- I hope the silver and gold drapes are metallic rather than ordinary matte colours? I want to use them for jewellery analysis
Seasonal & Tonal Capes, Cover-up Capes, Head Scarf
- I am a make-up artist and looking at getting some color analysis tools. What can you suggest?
- What material is the cover-up cape made from?
Colour Analysis Wallets & Fabric Fans
- Kim, I know you think wallets are potentially ‘dangerous’ but how should I be using them?
- Which wallets are going to work with the drapes I already use?
- I am new to Tonal wallets. I thought there were just the 4 Seasonal ones.
- For me, seasonal swatches aren’t accurate enough. Would I be better off using tonal swatches?
- Can you provide the colour names for each of the wallets?
- Will you be supplying swatches to match CMB’s latest colour charts?
- Can I get the extended seasonal colours in a fan?
- Add-ons – what’s the difference between Bright/Light and Light/Bright?
- Colour names missing on some of the Seasonal Fans?
PSS personalised self-selection system
SEASONAL & TONAL DRAPES
Q. I have a question about the Tonal system. Does this basically cover crossing over the seasons?
I have just done a lady this morning and basically she only really suited Deep Winter, but liked Deep Autum colours too, but I tried to steer her away from the obvious yellow-based colours of rust, olive and ochre. So does your Deep tonal swatch cover just the Deep of Autumn and Winter? This would solve the dilemna of seeing that someone is patently Winter but because she loves SOME deep Autumn colours thinks she is Autumn, and consequently gets hair colour wrong and accessories etc! Arguments ensue!
Presumably likewise for the LIghts (Spring and Summer) Warm (Autumn and Spring) etc etc. I am just newly ‘certified’ so a bit wobbly still on discerning and when you get an awkward customer who insists on liking Autumn when she is patently Winter it is worrying! And of course I really wanted to split the Autumn and Winter swatch packs, and make up her individual pack. Can you undo fans and do this??? From Ethelreda.
Dear Ethelreda, The tonal system is for exactly as you say. In a nutshell, it’s there for people who don’t easily fall into the 4 seasons, or fall between them (which is the old ‘flow’ system of Winter -> Autumn, etc.).
- I am absolutely a Winter but none of the Deep, Bright or Cool tonal fans do anything for me on their own. The Deep and Bright wallets have warm colours in and I have the coolest skin on the planet so they’re as useful as a chocolate teapot to me. The Cool wallet is something I will melt delicately into when (and if) I decide to go silver grey – but not before.
- But my little Mum can wear both cool and warm colours just as long as they’re bright, so she is much happier with the Bright fan.
- If a lady is Deep and can wear both Autumn and Winter colours, then the Deep wallet is much more useful to her.
You can also make up your own wallets using the PSS system (personalised selection system). I personally think life is too short to sit making up wallets, when your client is never going to be able to find an exact match in the shops anyway. Your choice, of course. However, it will save you taking apart the fans you already have and being left with bits you can’t use! Hope that helps! I also recommend you read this about choosing the colours you want.
Q. Are the drapes the same universally or do they differ in color and number from one company to another? What I mean is are there always 60 drapes or do some companies make more or less?
Dear Ethelreda, Our chosen UK supplier manufactures over 170 different fabrics for the drapes, wallets, capes, etc. See our full list of drapes – You can choose individual drapes to meet your requirements in either standard or large size, or you could choose one of our drape sets – 60 seasonal or 90 tonal drapes. We have put these together to help those new to the business get started, without having to spend too much time with a pen and paper working out what they think they’re going to need. Again, the list of contents of each is available. Other companies may provide more in their starter packs; they may provide less. Every supplies or colour company is different.
Q. Are the fabrics basically dyed the same way so that if you are a Spring, is the colour wallet I get from you the same as any other colour company?
Dear Ethelreda, The manufacturers who supply our drapes, wallets, etc. also supply to many of the other colour companies. Each of these companies may use a different naming and numbering system, but they all use the same fabric. Some other colour companies produce their own drapes and wallets. You will need to check their product range as I cannot comment on those I haven’t seen.
Q. I don’t know what this symbol means in the tone clasification in each drape. Could you send me the corresponding meaning?
Example: Tone: LT/MT/ MT/LT C/LT
Dear Ethelreda, If you use only the tonal or directional system, then this means a Light/Muted, a Muted/Light, or a Cool/Light could wear this drape colour safely. If you use only the tonal dominants approach, then just take note of the first tonal notation only – in this case, Light. Here is a breakdown of all six tonal notations:
- LT = Light
- DK = Dark/Deep
- BT = Bright/Clear
- MT = Muted/Soft
- C = Cool
- W = Warm
More information about the notations on all drapes is available on the drapes page.
Q. Do you sell the large consultation drapes for draping over the client, as well as the test drapes for working out her season?
Dear Ethelreda, We supply two sizes of drapes:
- Standard 28 x 48cm (11 x 19 inches)
- Large 48 x 56cm (19 x 22 inches)
You can choose which is more appropriate for you to use for testing or otherwise! The men’s fabrics are available only in the standard drape size. Each drape is labelled with both Tonal and Seasonal directions.
A full list of drapes is available; you can choose individual drapes to meet your requirements in either size, or you could choose a set of 60 seasonal or 90 tonal drapes. We have put these together to help those new to the business get started, without having to spend too much time with a pen and paper working out what they think they’re going to need. Again, the list of contents of each is available.
In a nutshell, we don’t decide what you should use as test or comparison drapes; it’s your business and that’s entirely up to you. I train image consultants but give everyone a choice as to which drapes to use – each person is different and relates to colour differently. But I am always here to help so if you have some specific questions, just let me know.
Q. Which is best to buy – standard or large drapes?
Dear Ethelreda, Most image consultants, including me, use the standard size but it’s entirely up to you. We provide both sizes for you to make your own mind up – everyone is different. How much material do you want to drape around your clients?
- Standard 28 x 48cm (11 x 19 inches)
- Large 48 x 56cm (19 x 22 inches)
Q. Which starter drape kit or kits should I get? Which is the best for my money and should I buy both seasonal and tonal kits as I plan on doing them together?
Dear Ethelreda, Every single drape carries a label with both seasonal and tonal directions. Each of the two sets can be used for both seasonal and tonal draping.
You do not need both sets! We have simply selected 15 drapes for each of the 4 seasons in the Seasonal set that will allow you to conduct Spring vs. Autumn comparisons, Spring vs. Winter comparisons, and Spring vs. Summer comparisons easily (plus all the other permutations, of course). But you will just as easily be able to pick out comparison drapes to select or compare the correct tones as well. The same goes for the Tonal set, where we have selected 15 drapes for each of the 6 tones; it will be simple to compare Deep vs. Light, Cool vs. Warm, Bright vs. Muted. But you will just as easily be able to pick out seasonal comparison drapes if you want to. You do not need both sets!
- If you intend to work with the tonal method, then choose the tonal set
- If you intend to work with the seasonal method, then choose the seasonal set
- If you intend to work with both methods, then the choice is up to you – do you want 60 drapes or 90 drapes to choose from?
I suggest you check the contents of each set to help you make your mind up. This is your business; only you know what you will be happy to work with.
Q. What about the lightest and darkest neutrals for cool and warm and the universals and neutrals? Are they in the starter kits, or are they in a starter kit of their own, or do I buy them separately?
Dear Ethelreda, Each seasonal or tonal drape set includes a selection of both lightest and darkest neutrals. You need to check if the ones that are included meet your own requirements. You can print off a list of the contents of each set. You can then order any others that you need separately. There is no minimum order so if you only need one more, then just order one! Read more about neutrals in my tips section.
Q. I hope the silver and gold drapes are metallic rather than ordinary matte colours? I want to use them for jewellery analysis.
Dear Ethelreda, Yes, all four silver and gold drapes are metallic.
I use the Antique set (Antique Gold & Antique Silver) as I personally think the Bright Silver and Bright Gold are just too bright for draping. I would definitely recommend the Bright ones for demonstrations, though, especially if you want those at the back of the room to see the difference! I use the Antique set to show clients how to wear silver and gold jewellery and we also have a number of customers who use them to help sell their jewellery products. Plus I use the reverse to demonstrate pewter, as we don’t have a specific drape for that colour.
Q. I was just wondering what suggestions you might have for me as I am a make-up artist and I was looking at getting some color analysis tools. I can’t afford to spend too much at this point in time and would like your ideas on which ones would be best for me to purchase – the seasonal and tonal?
Dear Ethelreda, If you just want to differentiate between cool and warm skin tones, then why not take a look at the tonal capes Cool / Warm. I recommend these to most hairdressers and make-up artists like yourself as a starting point. Unless you are intending to inform (and charge) your client about which season she is then just stick to cool vs. warm for now. For anything beyond this, you really need some training or guidance from a professional training course.
Q. What is the fabric of your white cover-up cape?
Dear Ethelreda, The cover-up capes are made from sturdy cotton. The head scarf is made from thinner cotton to make it more flexible to fit different head sizes and shapes! Both are machine-washable.
SWATCH WALLETS AND FANS
Q. I know you think wallets are potentially ‘dangerous’ but how should I be using them?
Dear Ethelreda, Have you seen my video on how to show your clients how to use the wallets? Here’s some more information… about my contentious views on ‘dangerous’ wallets… (read next question and answer).
Q. I’m really not sure which wallets are going to work with the drapes I already use?
Dear Ethelreda, The drapes and wallets we provide are designed to work with every system and every other drape or wallet in the world. Please don’t get hung up on the drapes and wallets. The drapes are just theatre for the client and a prop for you to support your theory of whether she’s Warm or Cool, Light or Deep, Bright or Muted, or whether she’s a Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter.
As for the wallets, sometimes I think they should be banned as dangerous objects. Some clients totally misuse them, thinking they can wear absolutely every shade in the dratted thing (which no-one ever could!) and that they can only wear those 18 or 30 particular shades. Utter rubbish, of course – and it makes me wonder if we image consultants just aren’t doing our job properly (I think I’ve just answered that one…) Your client will never be able to find an exact match for any of the swatches (in any wallet anywhere in the world for that matter) unless she buys a few yards of fabric from our manufacturer, so why waste time honing it down to exactly which shade looks better?
Have you seen my video (above) on how to show your clients how to use the wallets? The drapes and wallets we provide are designed to work with every system and every other drape or wallet in the world. Give me some clues as to what you’re currently using and I’ll try to give you my best advice.
Q. When I had my colors done, I didn’t see the Tonal wallets and wasn’t sure what their role was. Could you tell me a little more about them? I thought there were just the 4 Seasonal ones.
Dear Ethelreda, The six tones are Cool, Warm, Light, Deep, Bright and Soft/muted. The concept is not completely different from the 4 seasons of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Both work together, or can be used separately, depending on how your brain works and what you feel comfortable with. The tonal approach is based on ‘what you see first’, but ultimately this method also leads you safely through to working out your client’s Seasonal direction. Every woman wants to be able to tell her friends whether she is an Autumn, a Spring, a Summer or a Winter. Based on her Tonal direction and using the example of a Spring lady, you will be able to give her more information than this – you will be telling her what sort of Spring she is – Warm Spring, Light Spring or Bright Spring.
Take a look at the tonal wallets and fans to help you visualise the differences. A colour analysis training course with us explains this in great detail. After that, you might decide to stick with the 4 seasons, you might prefer just to follow the tonal approach, or you may opt to combine both in your consultations. This is your business. You can decide for yourself.
Q. Having performed quite a few colour analyses lately, I’m finding that perhaps seasonal swatches aren’t quite accurate enough, and that I’d be better off using tonal swatches.
Dear Ethelreda, I can understand your concerns – seasonal alone just doesn’t help everyone. It’s spot on for me, but my poor Mum has struggled for years with a Winter wallet because she is really a Winter -> Spring (in the old flow system) so the Bright safe tonal wallet is like a breath of fresh air to her. Take a look at the full list of swatch wallets that we have for you to choose from.
Q. Can you send me the colour names for the fans?
Dear Ethelreda, I have been wanting to make these available on the website for some time so thanks for the reminder. I’ve listed all the colour names with the relevant drape numbers, and put all the wallets and fans that are available in one quick look-up list. You can also print off the list of contents of each wallet too.
Q. I’m sure you’ve seen the book ‘Colour me Confident’. Are you likely to be supplying swatches to match their colour charts?
Dear Ethelreda, We have absolutely no plans to change the wallets we supply to the general market; they are designed to work with any system, and have done so quite well for the past 20-something years.
You’ll need to sign up with the company if you want swatches to match their colour charts, and I’ll warn you that they only make them available to their own consultants. They use exactly the same fabrics for their drapes and wallets as appear in the ones we supply – our manufacturer supplies most of the companies in the UK – theirs are just numbered differently and their wallets are made to their own particular format. If you’re having problems with using your current drapes/wallets, let me know some specifics and I’ll try to help.
Q. Just a little confused, please advise. The system I work with is the extended season wallets – 48 colours. I really want to change to the colour fans (seems more practical). Do the fans come in extended colours too?
Dear Ethelreda, You have the choice of:
- ready-made Seasonal fans with 30 colours or
- ready-made Extended Seasonal wallets with 48 colours or
- you could use the Personalised Selection System (PSS) to make your own fans with as many colours as you need
Q. I’m a bit confused about ordering the add-ons to the safe tonal fans. What is the difference between Bright / Light and Light / Bright?
Dear Ethelreda, Take a look at our full colour photos and notes about the add-on tones – Bright / Light etc. are terms used in one particular tonal method for which all the tonal fans (both 18 and 45) plus the add-ons were devised in the early 1980s. The first tonal characteristic mentioned is the most dominant. Here’s an example:
- Bright / Light – means your client is Bright first, and Light second. This means that you could add this add-on tone to the Bright safe tonal fan for a client who is Bright first and also Light
- Light / Bright – means your client is Light first, and Bright second. This means that you could add this add-on tone to the Light safe tonal fan for a client who is primarily Light but also Bright
Personally, I do not teach this method at all. I follow and teach the method of always insisting on one of the two characteristics of a final seasonal diagnosis being either Warm or Cool. The specific tonal method mentioned here uses the terms you can see (Light / Muted, Muted / Light, Dark / Muted, Muted / Dark), and I find them utterly confusing and extremely difficult to explain to a client – but that’s just me! If you are wanting to work tonally only and want to give your clients more than 18 colours, then I can suggest two approaches:
- use the add-on tones to add to the safe 18 tonal fans
- use the 45 tonal fans which contain 45 colours which have already been put together for you
If you want to use the add-ons, I suggest you print off the lists of contents of each fan, add-on, etc. so that you can work out what the differences are and, more importantly, whether they will provide you with what you’re looking to give your client.
Q. I recently received my order of the Seasonal Fans and I noticed that only two of the seasons had the color names identifying the swatch. Is this the norm or have I received defective wallets? Thank you in advance!
Dear Ethelreda, For 30+ years, only the Tonal (45) fans had the names printed on the cards inside the fans. The colour suppliers decided recently to look at adding the names to all the cards for Ladies’ Seasonal Fans and, later, the Ladies’ Safe Tonal Fan (18). They began with Winter and Autumn Seasonal Fans to see if all the training companies they serve around the world were happy with this. After all, this is where the bulk of their income comes from!
Now they have approval, they have ordered cards with names on for the Spring and Summer versions and these will start to filter through in your order as they run out of the original stock. In the meantime, you can check the names they allocate to all the colour numbers by printing off the lists of swatch contents we have provided for you. Please note there is no internationally-recognised list of colour names or descriptions.
- The names in these lists are just the ones that our colour suppliers use and they are nothing more than the opinion of the lady who started that company 30 years ago.
- Some of them are not the names I would use myself!
- And, at the end of the day, if I hold up a fuchsia drape and my client says it’s emerald green, then it’s emerald green!
Q. I’m doing some colour training and would like to run an exercise where the delegates put colour swatches into categories such as bright, muted, warm, cool, dark etc. Do you have anything in your stock that might do the trick, that I could purchase please? I suppose I’m looking for about 50 in total.
Dear Ethelreda, Buying wallets will cost you a fortune so why don’t you take a look at the PSS system information where paper-backed swatches are sold in packets of 5 pieces of the same colour and match all of our drapes exactly. Then you could just order the colours you want, rather than buying complete wallets. If you need to check which drapes / PSS swatches we recommend for each of the six tones, you can download lists of contents for each of our tonal wallets. The only other way I can think of is to buy standard drapes and cut them up yourself to the size you want.
Q. Do you sell any style or make-up work books that a client receives after a style or make-up consultation?
Dear Ethelreda, The workbooks that we used to sell were not written by me. They were incredibly out of date (extremely Eighties!) and so we discontinued them in 2007.
MY PERSONAL TIPS FOR USING THE DRAPES
- Draping your client
- Displaying your drapes
- How many drapes do you need?
- Washing your drapes
- Gold and Silver
- ‘Armani’ colours (or are they neutrals?)
- Universal colours
1. Draping your client
All our drapes are rectangles of material, folded into 4. This allows for those consultants who wish to layer several smaller pieces of material together on one shoulder. And for those, like me, who prefer to open each drape out from shoulder to shoulder, just cut a neckline out with a pair of pinking shears – open the drape to 2 folds and cut a small triangle out from the folded edge. That way, several drapes layered one on top of the other sit easily around the client’s neck without bunching up. You will be left with little triangles of material from each drape and I have found those really useful over the years to cut up into even smaller pieces to give to clients when, perhaps, that particular shade isn’t in the wallet I have recommended and, yet, I think they would look gorgeous in it.
2. Displaying your drapes
If you keep the drapes folded neatly (and you are a more organised person than I could ever be!), then you can store them in the transparent drape cases – This is an ideal way to transport your drapes around if you offer a mobile service or if you are giving a talk.
You might prefer to display your drapes on a drape stand (spinner). Take a look at this one that is now available for UK delivery only. It’s chrome plated with a height-adjustable tier and has a circular central ring with 12 arms where you can hook your drapes. 60 drape clips (hooks) are included with the drape stand. At the checkout, you can remove the clips and purchase the stand only. Additional clips can be purchased separately in packs of 12.
However, I don’t recommend attempting to be mobile too often if you need to carry a spinner-full of drapes around with you. At one time, my neighbours became quite used to me running down the the hill after one or two errant drapes that had blown off in the wind. You will need some kind of cover to protect your precious drapes from the wind, rain, snow, etc. and you will also have to find some way of keeping the spinner upright in the car – I took to strapping the poor little thing into the passenger seat next to me. Be prepared to attract some funny looks from passers-by!
3. How many drapes do you need?
Quite why you would want to buy every drape that is available (around 170) is beyond me, although at one time in the dim and distant past, I must admit to having had around 180 myself! This was just a waste of money, and it made it virtually impossible to find the drape I wanted when I most needed it – a bit like having too many clothes stuffed into your wardrobe really!
My experience is that you will probably find yourself using around 35 to 45 of your favourites over and over again. Certain drapes will ‘do it for you’, though it may take some time to work out which ones! For instance, I automatically reach for gold and silver to help me confirm Warm vs. Cool; you might prefer to use cream and white, or pink and peach. With some clients, I like to try out the different nuances of red to help me with the 4 seasons, and with others, I can ‘see’ the difference between Bright and Muted with different shades of apricot, though sometimes a couple of my darkest greens seem to do the trick. But that’s just me… What works for you?
If you are starting out, you have no idea what’s going to work and what isn’t, so why not let our experts help you? Over 30 years’ of experience have gone into the drape sets which contain a carefully selected number of reds, yellows, blues, greens, purples, plus the lightest and darkest neutrals. The sets work and this allows you to start draping your clients with confidence, learning as you go. You can always add other drapes to your collection later on (see below).
4. Washing your drapes
You must wash the drapes separately or the colour will run.
5. Gold and Silver
We have two different Gold and Silver drape options:
- 302 Bright Silver and 301 Bright Gold
- 303 Antique Silver and 304 Antique Gold
Personally, I find the Bright versions exceedingly bright and would only use those in a group or seminar situation, when you want everyone in the room to be able to see the startling difference between cool and warm.
For around the face, I prefer the Antique versions and you can now buy an antique drape pack containing both the gold and silver versions. They are less strident and a touch calmer than the Bright ones. Even so, I still find myself reassuring my clients that unless they are about to audition for a role in a Star Trek film, I couldn’t really see anyone wearing that amount of gold or silver at any one time! I also find the back of either of the Antique drapes to be a useful substitute for pewter, as we don’t have a specific drape for that colour in our collection.
Gold and silver drapes are not included in either the 60 Seasonal or the 90 Tonal starter drape sets.
6. ‘Armani’ colours (or are they neutrals?)
These are the elegant, soft-muted colours that I use and recommend for those ladies who don’t need to wear much colour at all. Giorgio Armani was originally responsible for making these colours acceptable for men’s suits, and they work beautifully as neutrals (or whatever you want to call them) for a Soft/muted lady’s wardrobe:
|‘Armani’ colour||Suggested drape *||Alternative drape|
|Bronze||125 Medium Bronze|
|Moss||137 Moss Green||138 Olive Green|
|Green grey||139 Green Grey|
|Soft brown||123 Rose Brown|
- None of the above are included in either the 60 Seasonal or the 90 Tonal starter drape sets
- Full list of all drape numbers which can be purchased individually
- *You can now buy an Armani drape pack of the 4 suggested ‘Armani’ drape colours
7. Universal colours
These are the universal colour drapes that I personally use and recommend:
|Universal colour||Suggested drape||Alternative drape|
|White||110 Soft White|
|Ivory||113 Ivory||114 Oyster|
(a cool, light taupe)
|Pewter||I use the back of either
303 Antique Silver
or 304 Antique Gold
|Taupe||153 Cool Taupe
(rather like a darkish moleskin)
|124 Dark Taupe|
|Emerald Turquoise||52 Emerald Turquoise|
|Teal||63 Teal Blue|
|Muted Purple||39 Warm Purple||38 Muted Violet
(lighter than Warm Purple)
- 110, 114, 39, 52, 63 and 124 are already in the 60 Seasonal Starter drape set
- 110, 113, 114, 38, 39, 132, 52, 153 are already in the 90 Tonal Starter drape set
- Full list of all drape numbers which can be purchased individually
- If you have any good tips yourself that you’d like to share with others on this page, then please let me know
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