• Joan Kosmachuk

The Unfolding of An Orchid Spring

Not all Springs are created equal, but I didn’t realize that until my recent Next Level Color and Style* journey with Cathy Williams and Joan Kosmachuk. For those of you that know me from the color and style community, this may sound strange to hear. So bear with me as I share my intimate tale of becoming a Spring.

I grew up on Doris Day and other “Spring” actresses in the 50s and 60s. They were bouncy, buoyant and the life of the party. I admired and appreciated their joie de vivre and sense of fun, knowing that could NEVER be me.

Although I had been tagged a Spring in the Caygill Color System in the past. I was never able to make the leap from Doris Day to Denise Lampron. How was that possible? The architecture of the Spring was never really defined for me in a way I could take in and embrace.

At a Spring event many years ago, I remember telling a woman I was a Spring. Her response: “Oh, I didn’t know Springs could have brown eyes.” The Spring designation seemed to always elude me. And, being an introvert didn’t help matters. I needed guidelines that I didn’t have or couldn’t find. Denise wasn’t bouncy. Denise wasn’t the life of the party. Then how could I be a Spring?

Fast-forward 50 years, as I sat in the sun-filled color lab of Seasonal Color Consultants. I was about to learn something that would change my relationship to color and style forever.

As part of the Next Level Style process , I had loaded numerous images into Dropbox for Joan and Cathy to “analyze.” Photos of my beloved scarves, cherished jewelry and creative wardrobe. Ruffled blouses, wide-legged lace palazzo pants, sheer shrugs, and vintage sandals — all in shades of glorious colors that I loved. I was so proud of the wardrobe I had cultivated that felt like the romantic woman I knew myself to be. Looking back, the drape I so enjoyed, the richness of the antique jewelry I was drawn to and the columns of black that I wore were anything but a Spring line-of-design!

Cathy’s color lab is a feast for the eyes — every color imaginable smiles back at you and engages your curiosity. Oh, will that one be mine? Will SHE show up on my palette? What if that gorgeous red lands with me? And that green, say it is so! I was almost overcome in the midst of such color beauty and energy. Cathy began with my skin tone. She took her time. I appreciated the diligence and focus. Immediately the “quality” of the fabric caught my eye. It was luminous. The related white Cathy and Joan chose was an opalescent seed pearl. The formal black was light, decorative and sheer. The metallics were a shimmering soft, pale gold. It reminded me of Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss.”

When Cathy and Joan completed my palette, my eyes gazed over a landscape of colors that danced in their own light. They were elegant, yet simple. I felt the soft, uplifted energy of these colors. There was aliveness to the colors. I could envision myself in these colors. Cathy and Joan explained how important it was for my colors to support me, not the other way around, which I had been doing for years. It was the combination of these fresh colors and the luminosity of the fabrics that converted me, convinced me, encouraged me and allowed me to embrace the Spring line of design. I was an Orchid Spring. Thank you.

Three weeks later, I was again in Cathy’s sun light color lab, this time for my Look Book session. What I learned that day made a remarkable difference in how I see and use my colors, along with the best approach to my style. The raw edges, handmade scarves, tunics, vests and wide leg pants seemed visually heavy for my slender frame and eclipsed my lightness of spirit that I was beginning to feel and acknowledge. Dull, flat, gray colors I “pushed away.” Bold, too bright colors didn’t work either. I saw how distinctly my skin tone wants to be honored with colors that are effortless; how my neck almost feels graceful without a necklace. That my feet can hold a colorful surprise as the eye moves down my body. That less is more and allows for my presence. That wearing 3 colors in one outfit is the style-right of this spring woman! A full suitcase emptied and three hours later, my “10” pieces were a handful. The rejects sleeping in a “to be donated” pile.

I always felt something was missing in my previous style, rich with fabrics, texture and accessories. All along it was I. My Spring self.

Playing with spring style and colors

And the big reveal was how this palette reflected my fresh wisdom. At 66, I am claiming my wisdom. And to have Cathy and Joan refer to my palette as Fresh Wisdom felt deeply honoring and acknowledging of my stage in life. To think of wisdom as fresh is a beautiful concept that will continue to inspire me.

Elevated Simplicity Increases My Presence

Admittedly, I am still drawn to non-Spring styles. Perhaps I will always be. The difference is that now when I put on something that is too visually heavy for me, I can feel myself disappear. My lightness leaves. So I re-focus, turn my attention to my beautiful, light, fresh Orchid Spring palette and reach for something that uplifts me. A Michael Stars shine tank in coral. A pair of teal dupioni silk pants. Sam Edelman Felicia Flats in animal print. Anthropologie peacock green cropped pants with a tender spring green tank top and colored sandals.

There is something special about people who don’t quite fit into the description, the box, and the stereotype. It means we have to dig a bit deeper to understand ourselves and harness the courage to be who we are and take a stand for that self-expression. It means I’m OK not looking like or being the Doris Day style spring.

Elevated simplicity is my new mantra. And when I look in the mirror I want to see myself and think FUN! It took me 10 years to find my Spring self. When the student is ready, the teachers will appear! I’m very grateful to Cathy and Joan.


*Denise participated in our Next Level Color & Style Service and a Look Book Session which are services I offer together with Cathy Williams, Seasonal Color Consultants.

This is an extensive and complete Color & Style Guide that includes A Color Consultation at Cathy's color lab, Your Style Manifesto, Your Body Signature Guide, Building Your Wardrobe Guide and a Pinterest Board created just for you. And a session to review your current wardrobe and/or new pieces you've purchased. Contact myself or Cathy Williams for more information.


Joan Kosmachuk

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