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!
16 thoughts on “What Season Am I? (Using your own colour palette to find out!)”
I’ve been finding your refresh on this series so delightful and comforting. As I go more and more gray, I find myself not loving my usual array of blues. I’ve always loved wearing all the variations on indigo and ocean blues…but with my winter skin, pale eyes, and now pale hair, when I wear my blues, I feel like a sun-faded picture of myself. This idea of going back and redefining what my palette is based on my changing body is a nice reminder.
I”m curious to see how your palette develops!!!
That’s really interesting! I’ve never been able to nail down my season. My skin seems to be a little more cool tones, probably because my rosacea definitely throws it towards the pink side. But my hair and eyes have more warm undertones, and I know I love how I feel when I go redhead. (I need to find a dye that works for my current lifestyle again. Like super low maintenance, since I average one salon trip a year!) If I go with the colors that I’m most drawn to, though, it looks like every single tone that I put in my palette are in the Bright Winter one that you shared. Even my required orchestra black!
Now wonder you’ve sometimes ended up with fabric that isn’t quite right for you! That’s a lot of different directions to be pulled. If dressing like a bright winter makes you happy, then go for it! 😉
Ooh, just thinking – how do you feel about the “Soft Autumn Deep” palette above? It has lots of those brights from Dark Winter, but just a touch warmer and softer, which does maybe match what you like to wear?
Hmm… maybe? I do often like chocolatey browns and earthier greens, and have a mini capsule in the planning stage that heavily features brown and olive. I honestly think that a mix between the soft deep autumn and the bright winter would be my ideal, since I also love the turquoise and warmer plummy purples in the latter.
I am definitely a soft summer. The four shades of summer explains why I don’t look good on some of the summer colors I purchased.
I feel the same way! I thought since the colours I like look bright on me, they were full on bright colours… but actually they are definitely softer than “true” summer colours!
This is how I figured out generally what colors “suit” me, comparing palettes to my variety of greens and browns… soft autumn! Also I have the exact same problem of a very pink-red face and more neutral body, although I can generally find foundation pretty easily in drugstores.
Ahhh, the curse of a pink face, confusing us! Soft Autumn sounds lovely on you!
I’m a soft summer but I had to get some professional help (!) to figure it out. In the UK, one of the big colour typing companies has revised their system to have six top-level categories (light, deep, soft, clear, cool and warm) rather than just four, and I’m clearly in soft, but I didn’t fit neatly into any of the old four categories. There are also definitely some colours in the prescribed palette for my type that suit me better than others – I always look a bit green around the gills in anything burgundy – so I’m all in favour of narrowing it down to fewer colours as you’ve done. Now I just need to get around to that part!
I loved your post and, mainly, the way you finished it, making it clear that colors can only be colors. Beautiful!! I discovered that I am a medium contrast soft summer through a lot of research, using a lot of English content, using Google as a translator. I just discovered my palette and haven’t yet had a chance to try on my clothes. I’m thinking of buying a soft summer card to make life easier from now on. I notice that my make up colors have always been congruent!
Sorry if it’s not well written because I used the translator!
I use Google Translate all the time for work, and your English turned out beautifully! ❤ I hope you enjoy sewing and wearing your new colour palette!
Excellent post…some of us are betwixt and between seasons if we have a neutral skin tone so we have to take colours from two palettes. Another excellent way to decide which palette would be suitable is to use your favourite lipstick as a guide, as hair colour can be A frustration that takes you around a season loop.
I love this post thank you! I also have a neutral skin tone and it’s made it really difficult to figure out my season however I really want a clear answer (which I’ll probably never get 🥲). My veins are a mix of green, blue and purple. I’d say i lean towards warm in the summer with a tan but cool in the winter. My hair similar as the base colour is a somewhat ashy dark blonde however my natural highlights get very golden. My eyes are green, sometimes golden sometimes grey depending on light and surroundings (and probably what colours I’m wearing). I *think* I might be a light summer or soft autumn, however soft summer and light spring are also very suitable. I hope I can narrow it down to one or at least two with more research. I’d love to be professionally typed but at the same time wonder if it would work and wouldn’t know who to go to. Anyway thank you for your insight and suggestions!
Hi thank you for this approach on the subject. I recently had an online color analysis and it turned out awful. I hate ALL the colours that were suggested. So i asked if they could re-analyse and they did. First hey put me in the Soft autumn category, next they said Clear spring. Which i think is even worse.
I am totaly lost now. I think my hair is warm, my skin neutral and my eyes just super bright and intense but cool (blue-green with an dark turquoise ring around and a hazel sunburst)