Dear Fabulous Readers,

Ms. Specs is delighted about the interest in color-draping from last month’s question from “Sick of Sanitizing in Sacramento.” Here are some questions that followed:

My name is Daniel, and I am an optician at Lifetime Vision in Jamestown, N.D. I was curious which fabrics you were talking about that you used to find the patient’s skin tones. Would be interested to know more about it!
I read your article in the 20/20 October issue regarding obtaining a set of specially made fabrics to determine whether customers are cool or warm toned. I would be interested in one. Thank you. –Amy Miklas, Advanced Vision Care

Hello! I was just reading your article in the October edition of 20/20, and I love your idea of analyzing cool and warm face tones and face shape! I would love to learn more. I’d appreciate any information you’d be willing to share with me. Thank you so much for your help. –Desiree Macias

Dear Daniel, Amy and Desiree,

Thank you for your inquiry! Using colored fabric drapes to show clients the differences between color tones is a fast, effective way to showcase our expertise. Frame selection is an art and a science.

Determining color tone is an important part of this process. A “blast from the past,” “Color Me Beautiful” was all the rage in the 1980s. Clients would show us their color swatches and want frames that matched the color tones. Today, we can bring back this proven method and show our clients the difference color can make. It only takes a few minutes and greatly adds to the patient experience. The theory is: If our skin is yellow based, we will look best in warm tone colors. If our skin is blue based, we will look best in cool toned colors. This does not mean that those with yellow based skin tones cannot wear blue, or those with blue based skin tones cannot wear yellow. All colors come in a cool tone and warm tone version.

Ideally, a set of fabrics to demonstrate this would have the following: A warm tone red (orange red) and a blue tone red (fire engine red); a warm tone blue (matte blue) and a blue tone blue (cobalt blue); a warm tone pink (peach) and a blue tone pink (soft pastel); a warm tone white (off-white) and a blue tone white (true white). Of course, you could add others, but Ms. Specs has found that these main colors work well.

The science tells us that when we introduce the matching color tone on our skin, the tone will be absorbed, and the only reflected color will be our natural color tone, which is the most aesthetically pleasing. We will see an all-around smooth coloring of skin, slight pink in the lips and cheeks, and absence of shadowing. When we introduce the opposing color tone on our skin, the tone will not be absorbed, but reflected. This does not mean that we turn yellow or join Blue Man Group; it means that the all-around appearance of our skin will be off. Signs of this include shadowing, absence of color in lips and cheeks, and shininess.

For metals, warm toned skin looks best in matte metals, and cool toned skin looks best in shiny metals. When we follow this rule of thumb, we can wear both gold and silver regardless of skin tone. Ms. Specs invites you to add this fun process to your frame selection methods. It will make you stand above the rest!

To acquire these drapes, please contact the Professional Opticians of Florida at This is a nonprofit state association that promotes and protects the profession of opticianry.

See Well and Be Well,
Ms. Specs in the City
Laurie Pierce, ABOM

Do you have a question for Ms. Specs? Please send your question to [email protected], and we may feature it in a future column.