Color consultant helps clients see their true hues
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Although winter is officially here, Ciara Krempley will be thinking of summer when she goes to her closet to choose an outfit.
At least in terms of color.
The 29-year-old Downtown resident discovered earlier this month that she falls into the “summer season” after a session with a local color consultant Megan Rockey.
“Your words to think about are blue, soft, smoky and rose,” Rockey instructed Krempley to consider when picking out clothes, accessories or makeup.
“Winter and summer are cool-based,” she continued from the studio in her Powell, Ohio home. “Winter is as if they left the dye extra long — like that fresh snow, green evergreen or red cardinal. Summer is as if you’re looking at those same colors through a frosted pane of glass.”
Krempley’s younger sister Kandis Sargeant, 28, turned out to be in the warmer, brighter “spring” category, just like their mother Nancy Sargeant.
Nancy Sargeant, of Tipp City, gifted her daughters a session with Rockey — who opened her House of Colour franchise (the only one in Columbus and one of four in the state) this summer — after being impressed with her own visit in October.
“There was this woman on our trip to Switzerland who always wore all these bright sweaters with lipstick and she looked great every time,” Nancy Sargeant said. “I thought, ‘What is going on?’ and I asked her. She told me she’d had her colors done.”
What a color consultant does
Rockey, 39 and a mother of two, left a career in marketing to pursue being a color consultant and stylist, because after going through her own House of Colour session in Akron, Ohio earlier this year she saw how beneficial it could be.
To determine one’s season, consultants, who attend regular trainings, drape dozens of colorful scarves over a client’s chest to see which hues make eyes brighten or faces glow versus those that might cause the skin to look jaundice or washed out.
“No. 1, this makes shopping so much easier,” said Rockey — a “winter season” person. “No. 2, most importantly, it shows you in your best light. If when you’re in your season and surrounding yourself with your colors, your face comes into focus and looks brighter.”
She likes to joke: “We all have to wear clothes so let’s pick the colors that are best for you.”
Color analysis for the purpose of fashion or makeup isn’t a new concept.
It was all the rage in the 1970s and ’80s when popular books like “Color Me a Season” and “Color Me Beautiful” were published. Makeup company Mary Kay used to offer a version of seasonal color consulting and House of Colour, itself, was founded in 1986 in the United Kingdom.
Franchises began popping up in the United States around 2010 and have steadily been increasing nationwide since.
Quizzes designed to help takers determine their season on their own abound online.
As for the resurgence in the practice — Rockey has already analyzed more than 60 clients — experts suggest that all the Zoom meetings people find themselves on could be playing a part as people might want to stand out virtually. Same goes for Instagram or YouTube.
‘Here to have fun’: Finding the right colors to bring joy to your appearance, outlook
Rockey said that many clients, who are generally women in their 30s to 60s, just want to do something joyful for themselves.
“We’re here to have fun,” Rockey said. “We know this isn’t brain surgery so enjoy yourselves … I had a teacher who took the day off to come in for some self-care.”
Earlier this year, Brigett Simmerman began to shed the pandemic weight she put on in 2020 and while she needed clothing that fit better, she also was looking for ways to simplify her closet.
In doing some online searches for “capsule wardrobe” — pieces that mix and match easily — she came across Rockey’s services.
“No way am I a fashionista — this is for everybody,” said Simmerman, 51, of Westerville, Ohio. “I thought this would allow me to buy fewer pieces and, that way, I wouldn’t have to put in a huge investment.”
It did cost her $225 for the two-hour session, which also included a short makeup tutorial, but Simmerman said it’s been worth it as it’s already saved her money.
For example, as she went through her closet after the session, she realized there was an expensive sweater she loved that she just never wore. Turns out the color wasn’t in her season.
Also, she recently purchased a gray blazer because it was on her color palette. (Clients are given a booklet containing all 36 of their preferred colors.)
She said the whole experience improved her outlook.
“I underestimated how emotional this can be for someone,” Simmerman said. “You’re looking and presenting your best self and that makes anyone feel confident.”
As Krempley sat in a chair in front of a mirror and large window, she grew excited to learn her season as Rockey draped scarves, comparing each color to the previous.
Once it was determined Krempley was a “summer,” Rockey had her apply appropriate lipstick and then helped her discover her “wow” colors — or hues that can be worn head to toe.
Throughout the analysis, Rockey also offered various fun tips.
Every person fits into one season that never changes, she said, and most people have a neutral color better than black, which technically falls only in winter.
Seasons can vary within a family while geographic areas often produce more of one type than another. Rockey said she sees the most “summers” in central Ohio but can have clients fit into all four seasons in any given week.
And don’t worry. Buckeye scarlet — a true red — falls in the middle and looks good on everyone.
“This was all way more advanced than I ever thought it would be,” Krempley said. “A lot of thought went into the process.”
She felt the fun exercise would help her narrow down choices when shopping and move out of her comfort zone.
Her mother, Nancy Sargeant, said she’s still trying to adjust to her “spring “classification, but she’s finding it easier to put together outfits based on her clear, warm, light palette.
And small changes haven’t gone unnoticed.
“People have recognized I’m wearing brighter colors,” said Sargeant, donning a geranium red sweater. “People will stop saying, ‘Oh I like that coat,’ and instead say, ‘You look good in that coat.’”
Rockey said it takes about a year to fully integrate a season into one’s life, which can also mean examining jewelry and hair color. (Their natural gray is one of their best hair colors.)
And it doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition and she definitely doesn’t recommend throwing away a bunch of clothes.
“If you have that favorite yellow sweater, wear it,” Rockey said. “Wear it with a winter lipstick or surround yourself with those winter colors.”
By Allison Ward
The Columbus Dispatch