• Joan Kosmachuk

Style Profile... Cathy Williams, Seasonal Color Consultants

Cathy Williams is a veteran Seasonal Color Consultant in Soquel, CA with an amazing sense of personal style that is so inherently her it is hard for me to imagine she wasn't born looking just like she does now.

I wanted to interview her here on the blog so I could share with you how she came up with her unique signature style and how she pulls it off on a daily basis.

Cathy, how would you describe your signature style?

I feel my best when I’m wearing rich fabrics in a dramatic-romantic line. I love silk-velvet, cashmere, soft knits, smooth heavy silk, fabrics that drape. I love abundance-dressing; many necklaces at once, several pins at a time. I am a “more is more” kind of dresser. I also like putting many things together that might not necessarily “go,” but that together create something that goes beyond the sum of its parts. I am attracted to clothes that feel luscious to my fingertips.

What led you, initially, to explore this particular style for yourself?

I was originally typed a Jewel Toned Summer by Suzanne Caygill. I loved the colors but I really had no idea what that meant in terms of style.

When I met Lois Scott (Suzanne’s long time collaborator and my mentor), she explained that femininity was key for me: lace, beautiful details, regal looking clothing.

When I thought about it, I noticed that I love films that featured Victorian clothing and romantic wear. I love antiques and finely-carved dark wood, old castles, lots of intricate, curving design...suddenly it all clicked.

What do you draw on to inform your style?

I draw from lots of places. I am not a girl who likes to live in a box of someone else’s definitions. I have followed what I love. I swoon over velvets and damask. I love complex designs, like fine paisleys and prints that have so much going on in them that you cannot easily define what they are. I love transparent layers in deep colors. I love royalty-inspired clothing, like soft, dramatic sleeves and huge scarves draped over me.

Where do you find clothes and accessories to match your style?

Everywhere! Since I know my Colors and line, I can find things absolutely anywhere. I love vintage/consignment stores, as well as Macy’s, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus. I have even found wonderful, soft t-shirts at Target! I love Yoox for unusual shoes and special pieces. I tend to buy quality items that I will wear for a long time.

Are there any particular limitations to your personal style?

Casual dressing is a challenge. I have a tendency to over-dress (I did this even as a teenager). If I had my way, I’d be in velvet and jewels all day, every day. The problem is, I live in a casual town and live a casual life. I live with four dogs!

Additionally, I find that Summers, in general, can have a tendency to look old-fashioned in their clothing. It has been a challenge to honor my love of antiquity AND look modern at the same time.

How have you overcome those challenges?

To avoid looking like I stepped out of antiquity, I try to put things together in a new way. Today, for example, I am wearing deep mauve skinny jeans with a dark olive Eileen Fisher knit. I am wearing 2 scarves: a deep Eggplant faux fur scarf that has 3 cameos and 2 antique pins on it over a dark brown rabbit cowl. I am wearing 2 stacks of 3 rings apiece on my fingers, with 3 bracelets on my wrist. When I go out, I will pull on a velvet hat. I know, it sounds like a lot. But the thing is, it doesn’t look like a lot on me. It suits me perfectly.

I love ornamentation, so I’m always looking for ways to incorporate beautiful trims or jeweled beading to my casual clothing in unexpected ways. Putting together an outfit becomes a way to express my creativity. I’m enjoying it more and more.

I will often put one item of “dress up” caliber together with everyday wear. This kind of luxury is key for me.

I look for casual clothing that has velvet or lace or beautiful detailing. I wear my velvet coat with jeans and Uggs. I add fingerless lace or cashmere gloves when it’s chilly. Right now, in the stores, there are tons of beautiful sleeves. I am stocking up.

I also make sure my haircut is modern and fresh.

What advice would you give to others who are trying to develop a signature style?

Without reservation, I tell anyone who is trying to develop their personal signature style to consult with a Seasonal Color Analyst - and make sure it is someone who utilizes the Caygill Method. There are a lot of people out there who claim to offer this special art form, but they do not know it in its depths - and therefore, cannot provide an accurate or complete consultation. A consultation with a Caygill Analyst will do so much more than give you your “colors.” An expert consultant will be able to see deeply into your being and champion your truest and most unique expression through Color and Season, and then help you translate that further into your wardrobe through fabrics, textures and line-of-design. It is a remarkable experience - and one that will serve and delight you for your whole life long.


Joan Kosmachuk

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