Saturday, August 2, 2014

My Color Journey Continues - with David Zyla!

The book: Color Your Style by David Zyla

I have a lot to say about this, so I'll split it up into three posts. In this one, I'll explain a bit about who David Zyla is and what he does. I'll also talk about my consultation with him, what it was like. And, hopefully, help you decide if this is something you'd want to pursue for yourself. In subsequent posts, I'll go into minute detail with my Zyla results, and compare them with my Sci/Art results.

So, as I blogged about earlier, I had a Personal Color Analysis done in the Sci/Art system. I loved the experience, and was actually quite happy with the results. But still. It's only color. So what about style? What kinds of clothes will flatter me best? Sure, I've read fashion blogs, but no one really has my exact figure, and it's hard to self-analyze to put myself into a category. Some people have great success figuring out their Kibbe style, but while I dabbled around in that, I never felt that confident that I had chosen correctly.

And then I found out about David Zyla. His system is entirely different from both Sci/Art and Kibbe. In his book, he describes his entire system. The basic idea is that everyone has a personal palette of colors, drawn from their own coloring. You can use these colors to your benefit if you know which colors to use and in which situations. For example, you might wear your Romance color (the color you blush) on a date, your Energy color (drawn from the darkest color of your iris, but not the ring) for a pick-me-up, or your Tranquil color (drawn from the lightest part of your iris) for relaxation. Additionally, every woman is one of 24 archetypes. He divides these into four seasons (which don't necessarily correlate with Sci/Art's or any other systems out there), six types within each. These archetypes not only define your style, but your personality as well.

I started by reading the book. It was really interesting, and I did "Zyla" myself according to the instructions in the book. But then, I found out that the man himself was coming right to the city I live in. While a two-hour consultation with him is quite expensive (he styles the stars after all - he works in show business and has won an Emmy for his work), the fact that I wouldn't have to travel made the idea irresistible.

Fast-forward to the day of my consultation. It was a real pleasure to meet David Zyla himself, he is personable and friendly and I could have chatted the day away with him! We spent the first hour or so sitting by a window (he needs the good light), where he had a bunch of color wheels - paint chips, like you find at the hardware/paint store. While he busily cut chips and held them up to me (from a few feet away), pasting the best ones and discarding the others, we chatted about nothing really related to anything. Our families, travel, restaurants, TV, you name it. I think he was using this time to get a feel for my personality. But he certainly didn't quiz me on anything that might be pertinent to his system.

Then, once he had completed his "Karen collage" (my term), he presented it to me along with my archetype and detailed style recommendations. He allowed me to record this last part (over an hour), and I'm glad I did. Because while I furiously scribbled down nine pages of notes as he talked, upon listening to my recording later I found I had missed a few things. I'm also glad I had come prepared with questions (five typed pages' worth) because I got a lot more detail than I might have gotten otherwise. One question I asked him repeatedly was, "Where can I find this?" I got names of specific designers, websites, and stores that he might not have otherwise suggested.

This was all incredibly fun, and it gave me some fabulous ideas for shopping in the future. So did I "Zyla" myself correctly? No, and I'm not really sure anyone can, because Zyla's eyes see beyond the literal. For example: your Second Base color (intended to be used as a neutral, where one might wear brown) is taken from the darkest part of your hair. I chose Espresso Brown for my Second Base, because that's what color it is! David, however, chose a Red Plum/Aubergine. Third Base is based on the lightest part of your hair and is intended to be used as your casual neutral, like khaki. I chose Silver, but David chose a pale Sage Green. I assure you, my hair is not purple or green in any way! And he didn't say it was. But that's how he translated the idea of my hair. I can't do that myself, no one can, at least not exactly the way Zyla would do it!

As for archetype, you use your colors to get you partway there but ultimately you just pick one. David did not select the same one I did (though it was in the same season).

So, is it worth buying the book (or checking it out from the library) and figuring out your own archetype if it's not going to be "right?" Well, why not. It could be fun, and it could give you some self awareness and some ideas for dressing better. And if you try on your archetype and it really doesn't fit you, then move on.

I can't say that seeing Zyla himself is something that every woman needs to do. The book suffices for many. (And of course, there are plenty of women who have zero interest in this sort of thing! I am speaking to my fellow color nerds here.) Additionally, there is a treasure trove of websites, Facebook groups, and Pinterest boards devoted to his ideas. But I thoroughly enjoyed my experience and I have every intention of living my archetype and my palette and seeing how it goes! Now, to go shopping...


  1. Fascinating. I am reading the book and having a go right now. the darkest part of the iris and the ring around it look a very similar colour to me a dark storm blue grey. They are supposed to be different colours though. I think its tough to do for yourself.

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Ruthie! I agree it's tough to do for yourself, at least, the way David would do it. He has an artist's eye and sees things I wouldn't. Still, it's fun to try it, what's the harm, and you may find some fabulous new colors that suit you beautifully. :)

  2. If you don't mind my asking, how much was the 2 hour consult? I'm considering having one when he comes do my city, but I would probably have to save up!