Seasonal Color Analysis has been around for decades and it’s time for you to take advantage of it. Have you ever wondered what colors look best on you? Do you look in the mirror and find that certain colors make you look tired? Are you fed up with your habit of making the wrong purchases? If the answer to all these questions is yes, then this article is for you. In this article you will learn:
- What a Seasonal Color Analysis is
- What the 4-Season Method consists of
- The history of Seasonal Color Analysis, plus the pros and cons
- The 12-Season Method
- What your season is
- What your seasonal colors are
- Which colors you should wear
Are you ready? It’s a 7-minute read. Let’s do this!
What is Seasonal Color Analysis?
This typology method was a huge success in the ’80s when the book “Color Me Beautiful” first came out. This skin-matching method started being used in the fashion and cosmetics industries, helping people discover the colors and tones that look best on them by evaluating their skin, eye and hair tones. It’s called Seasonal Color Analysis because it originally divided everyone up into four typologies inspired by which seasonal colors looked best on them.
The 4-Season Method
Take a moment and think about the colors of the seasons with the help of the images below. There’s a kind of color spectrum belonging to each season. For example, in fall the colors of the leaves that drop from trees inspire the seasonal colors. The leaves start out being vivid green, but when they get older, they take on orange, yellow and brown tones before dropping to the ground.
Each season has its own dominant colors. There is probably one set of colors that looks better on you depending on whether you have warmer or cooler skin tones. See the graph below to better understand the 4-Season Method. Maybe you’ll recognize which season you gravitate towards.
Now, what is your season?
Spring: light hair and eyes, warm undertone
Summer: light hair and eyes, cool undertone
Autumn: dark hair and eyes, warm undertone
Winter: dark hair and eyes, cool undertone.
Ugh, sounds like a lot to take in, right? No worries. This is supposed to be fun and I promise, if you’re patient you’ll find your season (or at least one set of colors that looks good on you).
Pay attention to the graphics below.
Identify your undertone
Cool: The veins on your underarms look more bluish. Your skin shows hints of pink undertones or you have very black skin.
Warm: The veins on your arms look more greenish. Your skin shows hints of yellow undertones or you have black skin with golden undertones.
Neutral: You have no obvious overtones of pink or of sallow looking skin.
Note: If your skin appears more ashen or gray, then you could have a natural olive tone. This isn’t as common as warm, cool, or neutral. But your skin may have a combination of undertones.
Cool: Hair is blond, brown, or black with blue, silver, violet and/or ash undertones. This also includes red violet or a blue-red variety colored hair.
Cool types look better with platinum and ash-colored hair dyes as well.
Warm: Hair can also be blond, brown or black but it tends to have gold, red, orange, or yellow undertones, like golden or peachy blondes, orangey reds, auburn or golden browns.
Cool: Deep brown or black-brown, gray-blue or dark blue, or hazel with white, gray or blue flecks
Warm: Golden brown, green, blue-green or turquoise, or hazel with gold or brown flecks.
Referring to the above, have you discovered which season you gravitate towards? If so, you’re lucky. But, it’s very probable that you haven’t found it yet. Keep reading to understand why.
Seasonal Color Analysis History: The Pros & Cons
This method was very popular in the ’80s but began fading away because the 4-Season Method was not very inclusive. Stylists from Color Me Beautiful took the method too seriously. A lot of people were left out and others didn’t agree with their stylists’ color “prescription” (and they were probably right). So, in the 2000s, the method was refined when a new category added another dimension: Chroma, which means the depth of color or contrast between the features.
The 12-Season Method
The 4-Season Method was refined with this new element added. It now became the 12-Season Method, which made it a bit more complicated but far more inclusive. It now included people with olive and mixed undertones and varying color contrasts.
Instead of 4, we now have 12 seasons: Light Spring, Warm Spring, Clear Spring, Light Summer, Clear Summer, Soft Summer, Soft Autumn, Warm Autumn, Deep Autumn, Cool Winter, Clear Winter, and Dark Winter.
By now, you have probably determined which season you are or are very close to it.
What is your seasonal color palette?
Below you’ll find an example for every season, made by me. This will help you get a better feeling of what colors may work well for you.
Warm wardrobe color palettes: Autumn & Spring
Cold wardrobe color palettes: Winter & Summer
If you’ve already found your season, that’s awesome, you can take ideas from the palettes I created and make your own. Another suggestion I have for you is to order a Season Color Swatch Fan from Amazon containing all the colors that match your season. With a personal color palette, you’ll never be confused again when shopping for new items for your wardrobe
Extra tip: Take an afternoon off and grab one or two seasonal color palettes that I prepared that you think will look best on you. Head to your favorite department store and try on all the different combos to see which colors you feel most confident in.
Important note: When the Seasonal Color Analysis is Not Helping
This is very important. As an ethical fashion and capsule wardrobe blogger, I am sharing my knowledge about this method to help you have fun with fashion and make more conscious buying decisions. Sometimes we buy items in trendy colors that don’t flatter us at all, just for them to end up at the back of the closet.
If you feel this method is restricting you from wearing colors you love, just let it go. You can still build a nice color palette for your wardrobe with colors you like. I will go more in-depth on how to build a personalized wardrobe color palette here.
I personally, love to get compliments for colors that I learned look best on me, so this method added wonders to my style. However, I also wear colors that don’t really flatter me if I feel like it, just because I adore them. If they don’t flatter my features, I will wear accessories, pants or shoes in those colors. This way they are far away from my face, et voila.
Which colors should you wear?
My advice is to wear the ones you feel confident in. However, if you have no idea what colors make you feel that way, choose the colors that look good with your skin tone. The Seasonal Color Analysis helps you find which colors flatter you and which don’t, by teaching you how to find colors that make you look happy and alive and not tired, sick or exhausted. That’s the advantage of using it.
The shortcut to figuring out your season is just knowing your undertone and ignoring your other features. And these are the colors:
The best colors for cool undertones are cool colors. Think sky blues, cobalt, frosty purples, emerald greens, light grassy tones, and anything pastel.
With warm undertones wear warmer colors like orange-reds and warm yellows. See the graphic below so you can get an idea.
Now that you know all about Seasonal Color Analysis from this detailed guide, you are ready to totally transform your style and gain confidence. This seasonal method helps you find far more colors that will flatter your features than colors just based on the shortcut of observing only whether you have cool or warm undertones. Half the population isn’t included on just one side. Like we’ve seen, there’s neutral and olive undertone as well.
I hope you enjoyed this article and that Seasonal Color Analysis helps you build a more conscious wardrobe with clothes you love and feel confident wearing. As Marie Kondo teaches, wear only what sparks joy, and what’s better than the colors we love?
Give it a try and let me know how you’re doing in the comments. You can also ask questions. I would love to help you choose your colors with Seasonal Color Analysis resources.