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Dressing For Your Colour Season

You may be familiar with this situation – you’ve taken a chance and bought a garment in a colour you don’t usually go for. It looked beautiful on the hanger. It fits just right. But when you try it on, something’s not quite right. You like the colour, but it just might not be your colour. 

A way to save disappointment (and money) is to discover your recommended colour palette. Often, the colours we are naturally drawn to tend to be the ones that flatter us; however, sometimes, we could all use a little help. Your ‘Colour Season’ establishes the colours that work in harmony with you. While there are no hard and fast rules in fashion, this theory works as a guide for understanding how to work with the shades that make you look and feel great. 

What Is My Season?

Seasonal Colour Analysis suggests that all colours can be categorised into four seasons; Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Determining your season all depends on:

  • Hue – the undertone of your skin and the colour of your hair and eyes
  • Value – how light or dark your overall colouring is

Hue defines the temperature of a colour. If your skin’s underlying hues contain yellow, peach or gold, you will likely have warm undertones. Cool undertones contain hints of pink, blue and green for olive skin. A mix of both can be found in neutral undertones. The temperature of your colouration will align with the general hues that flatter you. A simple test is to look in the mirror whilst holding a piece of white paper against your face. Compared to the white paper, your skin may appear more pink or yellow depending on your undertones. 

Your value is determined by lightness and darkness (or deepness). Identifying whether you suit light or dark colours will depend on the contrast between your facial features. For example, if you have fair skin, dark eyes and dark hair, you have high contrast. If your skin, eyes and hair are all medium, you have low contrast. 

These variables can then be sorted into the aforementioned Seasons:

  • Spring – warm and light
  • Summer – cool and light
  • Autumn – warm and deep
  • Winter – cool and deep

This theory does not work for everyone, which is why Chroma also must be taken into account. Chroma is a measure of saturation:

  • High Chroma – rich and clear
  • Low Chroma – dull and muted

Understandably, this is a lot to take in, and the many varying factors may initially seem confusing. However, if you take the time to pinpoint which descriptives apply to you, it will all begin to make sense. Combining your hue, value, and chroma will result in a colour palette such as “clear winter”, “soft summer”, or “warm spring”.

If you’re not entirely sure where to start, there are online resources such as flow charts and quizzes that will help you determine your colour season. 

Colour Theory In Practice

Understanding the best colour palette for you will enable you to create effortlessly chic outfits from the most simple components. For example, a simple cotton summer dress paired with a light Cashmere cardigan is transformed from basic to graceful, all by considering colour compatibility. 

Suppose you’ve decided to build a wardrobe that embraces your colour season. First, choose a set of basic, neutral, interchangeable items – t-shirts, knitwear, jeans, etc. These neutral colours will provide the core building blocks of your outfit whilst working alongside any bolder colours. Next, select your statement items such as shoes, jackets and dresses in your favourite main colours. Accessories like hats, scarves and belts will provide the opportunity for pops of accent colour.

Your wardrobe isn’t the only thing that can be improved by using a complementary colour palette. Shopping for makeup will be instantly more straightforward. Most manufacturers will categorise their foundation and concealer shades into warm and cool tones. Once you have worked out the temperature of your skin’s undertones, you’re already one step ahead. 

Remember, colour theory is just that – a theory. Consider it a set of guidelines rather than unwavering truth. If you feel great in colours that are not typically part of your palette, who’s stopping you? Nothing should dampen your creative self-expression, which is the fundamental essence of fashion.