Top positive review
31 people found this helpful
Enjoyable, but needs more depth
on February 28, 2009
I know practically nothing about color. I love fashion and style and own several books regarding these topics, but very few of them address color, and if they do at all it's in passing. For someone with as rudimentary knowledge as I have, Life in Color has been a great help in understanding what suits me and why. The color type quiz is fun and easy, and the four types, Sun, Moon, Earth and Star, are pretty and inspiring; much more so than seasons if you ask me! The palettes are varied, and I particularly enjoy how the authors also went on to describe various iconic styletypes and hair and makeup options and how to blend them with your palette.
It's true that when they feature before and after pictures of women wearing the wrong colors versus wearing the correct ones that the "before" pictures are always without makeup and boring poses, while the "after" ones are done with flattering makeup and dynamic poses. However, this is true of every book I've ever seen that has before and after features, and as far as I'm able to tell the lighting hasn't been changed at all, which is really the most crucial element in photography. And the women still look pretty in the "before" ones, if you ask me. I'm certain they've been photoshopped, but it's only the cynic in me, not because it's overt. For all of the women the "right" colors certainly do look better on them than the "wrong" colors, with or without makeup and editing, and that's the real point.
However this book does have its flaws. Personally, I'm a little confused about their color typing. One of the authors classes himself as a Star (cool tones) when he looks warm toned to me. They claim that it's because the undertones have nothing to do with ethnicity, but then perhaps I'm bad at reading undertones. Either way, yellow-toned Bai Ling does not seem cool to me at all. I wonder if I'm missing something. I wish they would be more specific as to why they chose some celebrities as being cool-toned while others were warm. They do have a little blurb on how to classify yourself as either warm or cool, but I feel like they didn't apply it to some people correctly, or I don't understand it very well. One of their Asian models is showing off an "iconic Star outfit" in bright white and she looks fabulous, but she looks very warm-toned to me! And they themselves classify Gwen Stefani as a Star (and I agree), and optic white being a Star color, but they then later claim that she would look bad in white and it would wash her out (which I also agree with). So, not all the colors on your palette suit you?
I'd also like to know the difference between the warm-toned types (Sun, Earth) and the cool-toned types (Moon, Star). For both Sun and Moon the palettes are less saturated, whereas for Earth and Star they seem to be richer or clearer. I would like to know what it is about the different skin types that makes them suited to these different hues.
They tell you how to make sure your colors are the right ones for you, but the test is really subjective (hold up the color to your face and see if "your eyes pop, your skin glows, etc."). If it was that obvious, I wouldn't need a book on color! According to their test I'm a Sun who loves Moon/Star colors, but when I hold up colors from all of these palettes they look the same to me!
Overall though, I found this book really enjoyable. I pick it up all the time and the photography is really beautiful. They have a lot of good advice and a strong voice. Even if you don't agree with their color choices for your palette, they offer a lot of good ideas on how to wear colors that are "bad" on you, and some of the ideas are quite refreshing. This is a very pretty, unique addition to my fashion book addiction, and I would recommend the buy. In fact all this talking about it makes me want to go read it again...