I’m totally fascinated by seasonal colour typology, but also find it baffling and not very intuitive. That’s why I like my own approach of starting with the colours you already like, instead of trying to categorize yourself into someone else’s system! That said, I thought I’d show you how I finally figured out my season, using my own colour palette as guide.
(All the images I’m using in this post are from http://inventyourimage.com/, except where noted.)
A quick overview of the seasonal colours, as I understand them:
- Summer and winter are cool – aka. pink or olive undertones to your skin, you prefer silver jewellery, your veins look blueish. Summers suit lighter cool colours, and winters suit darker cool colours.
- Spring and autumn are warm – aka. yellow undertones to your skin, you prefer gold jewellery, your veins looks greenish. Springs suit lighter warm colours and autumns suit darker warm colours.
- If you have more neutral skin, you are probably in one of the light/soft/dark/bright categories. In other words, you are on the border between the true seasons. For example, I suit soft grey-ed down versions of colours, so I’m either Soft Summer or Soft Autumn.
And what’s my season?
Soft Summer! As you can see in the image above (you might need to zoom in) Soft Summer is subdued and delicate, neutral skin, with soft cool, mid-toned colours. To me, that means I take bright colours, and add a bit of both black and white (aka. grey) to make them soft but not too pastel or too deep. While I think of myself as wearing bright colours, you’ll actually never see me in pure colours like primary red or grass green.
Why did it take me 7 years to figure this out? Well, I always thought that my skin is as cool as they come, because I have so much redness on my nose and chin. The thing is, my body is more neutral, I like wearing both gold and silver, and my favourite prints are a mix of warm and cool. I’ve decided that the fairness of my skin just lets all the redness shine through, and I should ignore it in my colour typology! (Not sure if you can tell, but I have trouble finding foundation fair enough. Usually the lightest colour isn’t light enough.)
Another perception that got in the way is my hair colour. I would have sworn that my adult hair colour is the ashiest of grey blonde… but when my hairdresser matched it to her colour chart, she said it was actually golden blonde!
Now that I’ve dyed my hair red, the new colour palette I made takes me one step around the seasonal colour wheel to Soft Autumn. It is still soft and muted, for neutral skin, with mid-tones soft colours, but this time the colours are a bit warm instead of a bit cool. Can you see the difference?
This is where I find it so useful to make your own colour palette first, and then seen where it places you in the seasons. Just looking at images of the 12 seasons, I was never able to figure out where I fall because there are too many colours for each seasons. Once I reduce it down to 5-10 colours I actually wear, I can see how they match up to a season.
One final tip for figuring your your season, if you happen to like lipstick!
The blog http://www.bestdressed.us/blog/ did a series of posts rounding up the best shades for each of the 12 seasons. When I look at the Soft Summer and Soft Autumn, I can see that yes, they perfectly match the 100 shades of dusty rose I wear in winter and the 100 shades of dusty coral I wear in summer! By contrast, the colours in seasons far from mine make me shudder:
I’ve tried wearing colours like that before, but they sit starkly on my face and all you see is “LIPSTICK” and not my skin or eyes looking their best. (Here’s a good post on how to use lipstick to find your season.)
Let’s go back to that first image, the seasons arranged in a circle. By now, you might be able to ballpark your own seasons a bit better. Ask yourself,
- Am I warm or cool?
- Do I suit true, bright, soft, light or dark colours?
From there, figure out a few seasons that might suit you, and do some more research! A search on Google or Pinterest will find a tons of resources. Compare the colour palettes to what you already know you like, including your own colour palette you’ve created, your lipstick collection, your existing wardrobe etc.
(Yes, that image adds in a fourth category for each season – just ignore that if you want!)
In the end, IT IS JUST COLOUR! Pick one or two seasonal variations that you think might suit you, and try them out. Pay attention to how you feel when you wear colours, and feel free to change your mind about which seasons you are at any point. Or equally valid, ignore all of this and wear all black every day if that is what makes you feel great. Colour palettes and seasons are only worthwhile if you find them fun and intriguing!
Do you know what season you are? How did you figure it out? If you have ever been professionally typed did it change the colours you wear for the better?
P.s. Traditionally colour typing has been focused on light skin tones and failed to prove examples of deep skin tones. Here are a few resources for those with darker skin, and I hope you’ll share more in the comments!
- Merriam Style did a video demonstrating how Lupita Nyong’o and a fair blonde woman suit the same best colours.
- I love how Jackie Aina talks about foundation colours, and seeing her swatch foundations and describe undertones really helps train my eye to deep dark skin tones.
- Renee from Miss Celie’s Pants and Jasika from Try Curious (1, 2, 3) have both been refining their wardrobe colour palettes and they look so good in their new shades!