Colour conundrum solved?

Hi, all! (Please ignore if colour talk is not of interest -- I blather on a bit here!) 

As many of you know, before I joined YLF, I had my colours analyzed according to the seasonal method. The verdict was true or cool summer, with some head scratching by the analyst, who switched out certain colours for some of bright spring's, and took away some of summer's softer hues. 

I wasn’t too worried about that. I’d gone into it without many expectations. I saw it as a staring point. A basis for some general guidelines as I rebuilt my wardrobe. Because I already knew, essentially, what worked for me and what didn’t.

I’d always looked my best in anything in the blue and fuchsia family, up to and including a true red. The analysis confirmed it. Fab!

Still, it was a puzzle.

Back then, my hair was (highlighted) dark blonde with some ashy or charcoal undertones. Eventually, my hair turned grey, and I was even lighter toned, all over. Sometimes I wondered if I might be a “light summer” who’d been mis-typed.

But I look like dishwater in most washed out pastels.

In fact, with silver hair, I look better in brighter versions of “my” colours. Also in pure white. And — a first — neon yellow. YES!! I’ve decided I actually look surprisingly good in the silly high-vis safety vest I wear to bike in!!

What to make of all this?

After Sal’s recent analysis, and during my recent illness, I started down the internet rabbit hole with this question, and quite by chance I came upon a colour analysis system that does not depend on seasons, is much simpler than many, and makes better intuitive sense to me.

The person who seems to have devised it is less poetic (and also less rigid) than some of the other colour analysts out there, but she is charmingly authentic, and more inclusive than many. She looks at real women, not celebrities. She analyses women of all races and various skin tones..She looks at women of different ages. And especially if you have grey hair, I think you might find her discussion interesting and possibly helpful.

She works using colour theory alone — looking at 3 key elements — a person’s chroma (bright vs soft), their contrast, and whether or not they are warm or cool. By her system, I type myself as “bright, cool, light” — and this makes SO much sense to me! “Light” here would mean mid-tone (for the most part) as opposed to pastels. “Bright” does not equal “winter’s” extreme brights, again, for the most part — but does include brighter, clearer versions of “summer’s” typical colours. And cool is self-explanatory — undertones should be on the cool to neutral side, not warm.

Is it going to change anything? No. I have already (mostly) been buying and wearing my best colours, though there are some I don't like as well and others I seldom see at retail in items that otherwise fit my style, so I don't tend to wear, which must be true of us all. But this gives me a clearer explanation of why some things work and some don’t. And it’s also encouraged me to continue to experiment with brights that I may not have tried.

I'd love to hear your thoughts about your own colour conundrums and solutions! 

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Angie replied 3 weeks ago

    Interesting! Thanks for posting!

    You can absolutely wear neon, Suz! It’s a coolish yellow :)

    Does that make me a: bright - warm - light?

    ETA: I think hair colour affects your palette more than expected. My own new dark blonde hair is surprisingly more versatile! Unexpected.

    I also only wear the colours that suit me that I like, IYKWIM! I’m emotional and intuitive about colours, I guess ;)

  • Runcarla replied 3 weeks ago

    Off to look at this.  I don’t know what I am vis a vis any colour typing system.  I’ve always balked at being lumped into autumn just because my hair was red!  I do think I need some help, though, in confirming best colours.

  • Suz replied 3 weeks ago

    Angie, I didn't really look all that closely at the other categories, but I'm guessing that would be right for you -- bright, warm, light. Which corresponds to the colours you naturally pick. Now, with your natural hair colour, you can wear a wider range, maybe, especially of the earthier tones in your overall palette. 

    I agree that hair colour is important -- as you say, colours always need to be seen in relation to each other. Our hair frames our face and eyes (however long or short it is) and its colours reflect onto (and off of) our skin. I do think than when we dye our hair it can sometimes (not always!!) quarrel with our skin tone. Sometimes the quarrel is a productive one, making for new options! And sometimes it results in a stalemate! 

  • Suz replied 3 weeks ago

    Carla, I think you'll find her discussion of greys really interesting -- she specifically mentions (somewhere!) the redheads that turn "champagne" rather than pure grey. I am guessing you are a light, for sure -- but I wouldn't want to hazard a guess on the other elements. You'll be a better judge. 

    I find this system less doctrinaire/ rigid and more fluid, and also both more intuitive and more in line with my own intuitions about what is important. 

    I remember feeling "boxed in" by descriptions of summer's calm and "serene" looks and personality. I would not consider myself hyper or anxious, but much of my own calm is hard-won, and in person I am quite lively (I think!) -- not aggressive (I hope!) but not at all the gentle, quiet type that summers are said to be. "Bright" encapsulates it much better. Of course you don't have to go along with the personality analyses to accept a colour I guess I was just reacting in a similar way to. you, to that feeling of being slotted. 

  • RobinF replied 3 weeks ago

    I need to check this out. I have never fit into any of the seasonal boxes. 

  • Ginger replied 3 weeks ago

    Suz! This is so interesting. A couple years ago I stumbled on a very similar concept that was also a light bulb moment for me:

    She calls it "seasons," but it's really color theory as well. Light vs. Deep, Warm vs. Cool, and Bright vs. Muted (Soft).

    Seasons are just particular mixes of the 3 elements, but they leave out possible combinations:

    • SPRING: Light, Warm and Bright
    • AUTUMN: Deep, Warm and Muted
    • SUMMER: Light, Cool and Muted
    • WINTER: Deep, Cool and Bright

    So your combination, Light, Cool, and Bright, is close to Winter and Spring but really is neither. Which is why neither season is a great fit for you on its own, though you sort of kind of work in some ways.

    The zinger for me is that she posits that these three elements are on a sliding scale.  It's not an either/or. A person can be truly middling, and therefore not feel right in either, say, Bright OR Muted. In those cases, the person may be in a Tonal family, not a season at all.

    And that's me! I've always felt the extremes don't suit.

    • Neither high contrast nor low contrast
    • Neither bright nor soft
    • More warm than cool
    So I feel most comfortable in the Warm tonal family, though still not at the extreme (skin tone is fairly pink/white, not really olive). I choose the mid-tones that can be strong or light, but not grayed (soft) and not too sharp. Blues and greens are my best and largest group of flattering colors, and they are usually in all color families. I prefer warm coral pinks to cool purple pinks. Anything gray - or beige! - is terrible, probably just as much because they're too soft. True jewel tones - except for emerald, and blue - are too strong for me. No royal purple, no fuchsia or magenta. True yellow, from butter to school bus, but not dijon mustard or chartreuse.

    Anyway, this is so exciting for you Suz. That light bulb moment is so fun. And it explains so much about your obvious preferences and flattering colors. I've never thought of you as a summer, despite your previous typing and light hair. Even the old books said a blonde winter was possible, and your love for fuchsia in particular points to that. Summer colors should be soft and even slightly grayed, not that clear.

  • Ginger replied 3 weeks ago

    Also an interesting point about red hair lightening to champagne. That makes quite a bit of sense. A general lightening, but still warm and not turning true gray, which is very cool.

    My hair has reddish tones in it (honey gold as a kid), too much to be comfortable with the soft, uniformly cool colors of summer. But I've also never been deep enough/contrast enough to go nicely into autumn. Which is another reason why the Tonal family conclusion is helpful for me. I don't need to be limited to "spring" or "autumn," nor to miss out on the other colors that aren't in either.

  • Suz replied 3 weeks ago

    Ginger, I remember now what you discovered and how useful it was for you, particularly when it came to sewing up your summer formula in the colours that work best on you. Your choices there showed how absolutely right you are about your best, most flattering colours. You have a really good sense of this.

    The sliding scale idea absolutely makes sense to me. I am not as "bright" as a true winter and winter's absolutely clear brights are mostly way too powerful for me -- you see only the colour -- but (most) muted or greyed out colours are too blah. I mean, I wear grey really well, and blue greys and lavendar, so that's not completely true -- but the colours are better softened with a bit of white vs. black, if that makes sense -- preserving their clarity. 

  • Dee replied 3 weeks ago

    I had my colours done way back in the 80s, and I’ve pretty much stuck to what was recommend to me at that time. It was an eye opening experience back then because I could really see the difference these colours made when I wore them.

    I just tried this system because  I like how simplified it appears to be with just the 3 categories to utilize and low and behold, the colours they recommended are practically the same as my 1980s consultation. I’m a soft, cool, medium. So I’m quite satisfied that my original colour palette has been serving me well all along, although I do favour certain colours more than others.
    ETA: i definitely noticed that many brights over power me and anything too dusty or pastel either washes me out or looks too dull. I'm just a happy medium I guess.

  • Style Fan replied 3 weeks ago

    I've been watching two women who have started a YouTube channel called' Color Class' go through different colour analysis systems. They covered this system.  
    I would be Light, Warm, and Soft. Although initially analyzed as a Spring colour, I preferred the Autumn colours. Spring browns were okay. Pastels are draining.
    With the 16 seasons, the Warm Autumn is perfect. Warm Autumn is Autumn flowing into Spring.

  • Sal replied 3 weeks ago

    Interesting Suz - I did some viewing on this system too - was it Jen Thurow?  I agree with your summation. 

    I always think you suit a degree of clarity and contrast in your looks, a bit of shine and sparkle. But you can lean all light (white or grey) or all dark (navy) with success. But I suspect that in a tonal navy look you would look even better with a silver necklace or bag, and in a tonal grey look that adding shine or a lipstick or a small amount of contrast will add to the look.  

    At the time I thought I was warm bright and somewhere between medium or light.... 

  • Angie replied 3 weeks ago

    Suz, you're dead right about certain earth tones working well with my new natural hair - (in the tan - toffee - cinnamon variety). Also, a larger range of reds - not just tomato red. And oranges look better than ever. And emerald greens with a yellow integrity too.

    (Lots of colours I'd wear on the bright-warm-low palette! Thank you). 

    To your point, I've seen dyed hair "quarrel with skin tone". It tends to be the extremes, to my eye. People dying their hair black, or bleaching it white when that is far from their natural colour. That said, it can work well too! The devil is in the details....

    Ginger's system identifies me as a SPRING, which is dead right.

    I also like the sliding scale Tonal Family Ginger refers to. While I don't typically slide towards the middle  - others like Dee do (and Ginger!), and it's great that they can use that tool to identify which colours look best. 

  • Angie replied 3 weeks ago

    I will also once again reiterate: 

    You have to see colours in relation to each other! They change and affect one another, which makes a difference. 

    Thanks for bringing that up too, Suz :) 

  • Suz replied 3 weeks ago

    Thanks for chiming in, everyone! It's amazing how many different systems there are out there! The cynical part of me wants to say, my goodness, people have really found a way to cash in on women's insecurities and self-doubts! My a more generous way to look at it is that no one wants to waste her money on clothes that won't flatter her, and we are endlessly interested in ourselves and that's okay (as long as we retain a lively interest and concern for others, too!) 

    Happy to know a few of you have seen this system at work as well. Sal, you are so right. If I wear tonal dark, i need shine or a pop of colour (and bright navy is always better near my face than ink, though I will wear darker. Light grey is a lovely neutral for me but much better with white or silver or red.  As for you -- your own analysis was consistent with your eventual typing. 

    Style Fan, you have gone into this in a serious way!  When I look at the 16 seasons, none of them fit -- all summers are described as needing soft and/or pastel and/or muted colours. It's fascinating! 

  • Suz replied 3 weeks ago

    Dee, that is amazing, but not surprising to me -- your self-analysis makes total sense to me. A happy medium! You do look great in mid-tones. What's interesting is that (like me) you also enjoy wearing higher contrast stripes. So sometimes something in us just needs/ wants more contrast than we "should" (theoretically) suit -- and somehow it works! 

  • Helena replied 3 weeks ago

    Yes! I love colour talk. This makes so much sense to me Suz! You are intuitively great with colour but it is nice to have a frame to put around it, the help with planning and decisions!

    In this system, I believe I am soft, cool and deep. So I can do higher value contrast but not necessarily higher colour contrast. There's not really a season that matches up to this perfectly I don't think.

  • Jaime replied 3 weeks ago

    So interesting Suz! And you can bet I will be diving into the links later on. So my favorite color analyst is Style Me Jenn and she recently did a series on the aspects of color theory (deep vs. light, cool vs. warm, bright vs. muted) that really made sense to me and fits with everything you have found. Although I do not generally think of myself as bright, I have concluded this is an important factor for me, particularly with my grey hair. 
    I hear you regarding the multiple ways women pick apart their appearance for analysis and your questioning whether it is exploitative. Well yes. I mean I don't know exactly, I do love to analyze and color and style are very accessible, but undeniably there is some heavy gender conditioning involved. More food for thought.

  • Suz replied 3 weeks ago

    Helena, that makes sense to me You definitely look great in value contrast. You also look fab in deep jewel tones, but your self-analysis is consistent with your natural disinclination to wear several deep colours at one time. One colour with your neutrals, or dark and light neutrals together make you happier and look great on you.   I agree, there is no seasonal analogue, for this, as for my type under this system. 

  • Suz replied 3 weeks ago

    Oooh, Jaime -- thank you! I will follow that link!

    Having met you, I would concur that brightness must be part of your profile. And, as you say, this becomes more obvious with grey hair. I found the discussion of the greys quite useful on the site I already linked to -- she shows different women and you can definitely see the difference, why some are "soft" and some she considers "bright." 

  • Style Fan replied 3 weeks ago

    Suz, you are right! I have gone deep into the colour analysis rabbit hole. Colour is one of my favourite style topics.

  • Star replied 3 weeks ago

    Suz I am going to check this out tonight.  Interesting!!  Thanks for posting.

  • Helena replied 3 weeks ago

    Suz that was a great analysis you just provided me; Ive got it screenshotted in my style file as you articulated it in such a helpful way! Your cheque for services rendered is in the mail! ;)

    I agree that some of this stuff can be borderline toxic ... When the messaging turns from "here's a tool to help you navigate the overwhelming choice out there, and look and feel great", to "if you don't follow this precise system you're going to look like a disaster and not honour your true self", I am OUT. Tools not rules, and the system should always "be on the side of the wearer" as Angie would say!

  • Olive Green replied 3 weeks ago

    I was surprised to find I was warm, muted, and mostly autumn colours. More tonal than contrasting in outfits, though I used to do very well in high contrast when younger. Everything seems to have softened as I age and the salt and pepper hair gets saltier. 
    Below a shot of the colour range I am enjoying. Especially useful if you are thrifting cotton and linen items and dying them to a specific spectrum. 

  • April replied 3 weeks ago

    Silver hair here off to read that link, for sure!

  • Kim M replied 3 weeks ago

    I'm always up for color discussions.  I'm going to look at the links you ladies have provided.  I went with Dressing Your Truth (not based on skin tone, but "energy type".  Sounds "woo, woo" doesn't it?-Ha!) 10 years ago and haven't looked back.  It puts me more in a traditional autumn pallet and in the 80s, I was classified as winter.  I have noticed since my hair has gone gray, I prefer more mid-tone vs. deeply saturated colors near my face.

    Suz, I recently bought two neon green shirts and one pink!  I'm not sure how well they suit me, but are sure fun statement pieces.  I got the idea from Trinny London, and, well, it seemed like a fun experiment. 

  • Suz replied 3 weeks ago

    Kim, I'm all for fun experimentation! Trinny is all about those brights. I do think they can add a bit of fun and say "notice me" instead of "ignore me" for those of us with grey hair. 

    I tried the "Dressing Your Truth" questionnaires and came up with Autumn energy for me -- which 100% does not work for my colouring! Oh well! :)  But I remember former Fabber Deborah from Australia did it and came out winter (as one would have expected) and it was perfect for her in every way -- worked with her personality and style and colouring. Courses for horses -- whatever works, I say! 

    April, Star, I'll be curious to hear what you discover! 

    Olive Green, those colours make sense with what I have seen and heard of your colouring and preferences, particularly the olive tones, (LOL) but also the orangey peachy tones. I think with greys, we either soften or brighten a bit. 

    Helena, no charge! :) Seriously -- you've known your best looks for some time. Carry on carrying on! 

  • Janet replied 3 weeks ago

    Interesting! I will check out that video later, as I do feel my palette has changed slightly with my natural hair. I think it’s very common for us to lose contrast as we get older, I and certainly see it in myself. I find myself adding a little back in, especially in my makeup (adding a little eye and brow definition helps, I think). My coloring always centered around being high-contrast — quite fair skin with dark hair — so this is new territory for me. I know I’m still “cool” toned but I’m not as sure of the other parameters as I once was.

    Bottom line though, I think the same colors I’ve always favored tend to remain my best — blues and greens especially. Certain reds. I have a weird love of orange and rust and work with them as well as I can even though they’re not my best. Neons and most pastels don’t work for me, and neither do warm earth tones — beiges and the like. Cooler ones like stone that verge more on grey can work nicely. And I still have a love of chocolate brown even though I rarely wear it.

  • Suz replied 3 weeks ago

    Janet, I'm betting that on this system, you'd be bright, cool, medium. I think there is a lot of brightness in your eyes. But I could be wrong...

    I agree, you still look best in the colours that have always suited you most. Same here -- though I can often choose brighter versions of my old favourites. 

    I can't really see you in those greeny yellowy tones (any more than I can see myself in most yellows) but most of the others look right. And there are even some rusty tones in there. It could be that you and I both skew very far to the cool side of our own palettes or that cool is the dominant characteristic for us both, with different levels of contrast/ brightness/ lightness. 

  • JAileen replied 3 weeks ago

    I’m glad you’re sorted out.  It seems you were already, looking smashing in your blues.

    I just can’t tell whether my coloring is warm or cool.  I asked this very question ten years ago:

    I still can’t tell.  My hair is mostly white, but not bright white.  If I use purple shampoo I can make it bright.  I think I must be right in the middle between warm and cool.  

  • Janet replied 3 weeks ago

    Suz, that palette looks quite right to me, except for perhaps, as you mention, the warmer yellow-greens.

    I am sometimes but rarely drawn to yellow, so it’s interesting to see a handful of yellow shades in that chart. I had a cotton butter-yellow jacket way back in the 80s that actually didn’t seem awful on me if I had a little tan. Funny aside, it was a gift from a boyfriend, and I just recently reconnected with him on social media, and he came to my art opening! Just friendly, of course, but it was fun to remember him and that jacket. I think it was by Mistral, if anyone remembers that company — they did sporty surfer and ski stuff. Edit: I think I found a pic online! I remember it being not quite that pale though.

    I think you’re right that we both skew a bit to the cooler side of our spectrums. But that yellow vest does look pretty darn good on you! I have a neon yellow shirt from a race I ran ten years ago, and it’s great high-vis, but the color is pretty dreadful on me! LOL

  • Suz replied 3 weeks ago

    JAileen -- you could well be a neutral -- and I think it is likely you are a "soft" rather than a "bright." The olives and sages look especially good on someone with that colouring and you wear those SO well. 

    You could test it a bit with some of your pinks. Are you more flattered by a salmon pink or a cooler pink? If you are neutral, you can probably wear both, but one will be better than the other. On me, it's obvious that a cooler pink looks better, though if you put me in a salmony pink it without comparing, it doesn't look hideous. 

    Janet, so cool about the ex-boyfriend. I can imagine you in that soft butter yellow, as long as it had clarity. ! I love yellows but have steered away from wearing them since I was a kid since anything mustardy looks worse than death on me. We do have gold/ yellow walls in our house, though! 

  • cat2 replied 3 weeks ago

    So glad you found a color system that makes sense to you.

  • Star replied 3 weeks ago

    I checked it out Suz and I am typing myself as a Cool-bright-medium.  There are three stories here for me. 
    Younger me was a natural very dark brunette (with auburn undertones), light blue/grey eyes and fair skin.  I felt that I was a Winter then and all cool colours worked for me, so did some other colours like certain yellows and reds (maybe Cool/bright Spring or Summer??),.  I could mostly where any colour except mustard, oatmeal, mango-ish yellow.  I looked better in bright white.
    Silver haired me needed contrast and saturated colour.  Even though I was so cool (skin, hair, eyes) all lights and no contrast did not look good.  Neither did pastels, which previously looked good with my dark hair (maybe only cool pastels looked good in both cases - lilac comes to mind).  Optic white did not look so good either.  Peach and Spring green looked awful.  
    Copper haired me (fading to peachy blonde) can still wear all of the above although creams now suit me for the first time ever.  Peach and spring green look good again.  So do earthy rusts, etc.
    Still not sure about my exact type but not sure that matters as I really know what works and what does not. If I remember correctly you had natural red in your blonde hair years ago (I had auburn in my natural dark hair)so now I think our palettes are very similar.  The only major difference I can tell is you look amazing in optic white and I do not, so there is some subtle differences.  I am not entirely cool as my hair was never blue-black, and while my skin is fair/pink it can tan to a goldy colour so there is an element of warm.  I think this is why the peachy copper hair is also working for me.    I must say that surprised me.  I never thought anything but cool Scandi blonde would match.  Just shows how complex each individual's colour combinations are!


  • Janet replied 3 weeks ago

    I watched the video while doing laundry (heheh) and it was interesting. I like some of this color analysis not to prescribe colors, but to help explain the whys of the enduring appeal of certain colors on me. I think I’ve always had good instincts in this department, but the analysis helps.

    I’m pretty sure I’m cool-deep-bright, although maybe a little more medium-deep with my greying hair, and my preferences lean perhaps a bit more muted than pure bright tones. It makes total sense to me when she explains how certain warmer colors that may not be the most universally flattering can be made more workable by softening or muting the color with white or black, rather than wearing the purest brightest version. It explains why bright orange can be hard for me to wear, but a rust version works better.

    Along the same lines, warmer shades like brown fall totally flat on me when they are light like beige and tan, but deepen them to a cocoa brown and they’re workable.

    Thanks for the link!

  • Suz replied 3 weeks ago

    Star, that is so interesting! As you say, your exact type doesn't matter so much as knowing what works -- and why. Your story suggests how individual we are, for sure, and also how dyeing our hair can alter the profile somewhat, and that gives us new options to play with. You have the information and now you can pick and choose, depending on where your hair is at, at any given time. 

    I was born a strawberry blonde! But quickly turned into a towhead (very light blonde) toddler, and then darkened with puberty to a mousy dark blonde (that I highlighted, of course). I can tan lightly too -- with sunscreen (I will burn without it). My skin tone is cool-neutral but my eyes and hair are (now) entirely cool. When I was blonde there was some warmth to my hair. But if it started turning brassy or was too yellow a blonde, my face would immediately look reddish and sick, which shows those cool undertones predominate. 

    I dyed my hair an auburn colour in my 30s for a while. Except for the speed at which it faded out, I loved it! It suited me, too. But I did change the colours I wore to a degree. I wore more chocolate brown, more purple, and more greens. I continued to wear my blues. My reds didn't work as well on me. In fact, red looked best on me in early childhood (around the age of 7) and now. In between, it was trickier to get right. I think that was due to the various dyes. 

    ,Janet yes -- I can see that -- deep maybe makes more sense, but verging toward medium now that those greys are softening the overall look. And you absolutely have great instincts! It's your artist's eye. It's quite intuitive for you, I think. It is intuitive also for me (though I'm not an artist) but I like the simple explanations and the recognition that just because one's colouring is on the lighter side, low contrast, and cool doesn't necessarily mean one is muted (which is what the seasonal systems all posit.) 

  • Star replied 3 weeks ago

    Suz I had yellow blonde hair for a while (not intentionally) and it was horrible!  It made my skin look ruddy and generally I looked ill too.

  • Staysfit replied 3 weeks ago

    It’s been a few years since I looked at Your Color Style.  One nice aspect of her palettes is you can pull out colors that don’t work and add those from another palette that do.  Based on what I could tell, I best fit light, cool, soft, however, she recommended that people with silver hair err towards bright.  I have both the soft and bright palettes and prefer the soft although I can also wear many of the brights. 

    The medium palette is mostly too dark however, I do think it would have worked better with my natural pre-grey hair color, light-medium ash brown.

  • Suz replied 3 weeks ago

    Staysfit, that sounds exactly like where I'd have typed you by this system -- in fact I thought of you often as I read and watched her videos. Light cool soft but with a few brighter tones thrown in, perhaps. I agree, medium would likely be too dark for you now with the silver hair. 

  • Suntiger replied 3 weeks ago

    Went down the rabbit hole yesterday, and decided on the warm medium to deep. But not sure I agree with cutting the warmer purple quarter out. If anything, I'd take out the coolest blues and purples.

    Medium to deep depends on where my hair is in the dye cycle. When the color is fresh, it's about an 8-8.5 on darkness scale, but it fades to lighter brown, plus I have greys. The darkest colors all round are definitely my comfort zone, and even true black (if not shiny) works well.

    My skin appears truly warm, and 5-6 darkness. I don't think I'm olive. My undertone (according to Prescriptives a kazillion years ago) is yellow orange. They were the first place I found foundation that actually matched my skin, so going with that!

    Brighter or more muted is trickier. She said dark= bright, though the very darkest colors looked similar (on my tiny screen) on both wheels. My eyes are hazel, which to me indicates more muted than green or blue eyes. I'm all round low- medium value contrast, depending on hair cycle. To me low contrast would seem muted, but Angie (when blonder) and Nuancedream are bright and low contrast.

    There was another system that had both grey and brown muted types. With that, if I'd be considered muted, I'd be a browned not greyed muted.

    So TL/DR warm medium- deep it is :)

  • Staysfit replied 3 weeks ago

    Suz, it’s interesting that you had strawberry blond hair at an earlier age, and I agree you rock that yellow.  I am a fan of citrus yellows that have some green mixed in.  My yellow is also much softer than yours and maybe closer to the color Janet picked. I think the blue in the next photo is fairly bright yet it is a pastel from the light summer palette. I include it to show that pastel does not have to mean washed out or faded. Also, I’m about to dive into a color type hole so feel free to pass if you’re not interested.

    Something Jen did clarify in an easier for me to understand way is the difference between soft and muted.  They are not the same, although I thought they were for a long time.  My coloring for example is more soft than bright.  I have pale/fair olive skin, which I think has caused a lot of confusion.  Apparently my coloring can appear muted to some people and slightly warm to others. I can have yellowish-green overtones especially in the summer. I also have rosacea.  I have understood these issues as reasons for being typed incorrectly in the past.  When color typing they need to consider all this and to look at undertone not overtone. 

    Jen explains there is a continuum of both softened and muted types.  I believe my skin is ever so slightly softened by tint (white added to color).  If one goes too far with tint, colors become icy and these no longer suit me.  I do not think of the tinted pastel colors I can wear as washed out because they tend to be brighter and perhaps more saturated than the colors in the other seasonal summer palettes.  They are closer in brightness to Spring colors. I can wear many Spring colors.  Muted means grey is added to the color. Other systems call this toned.  Other than my hair and eyes, I do not perceive myself as greyed and when I wear toned colors my skin loses vibrancy. 

    I see there are others here who are uncertain because of possible neutral features.  My understanding is fully neutral color types are extremely rare.  If you have very neutral coloring, I think it may be still be helpful to figure out if you are closer to neutral warm or neutral cool. I believe most people will have one that is slightly better than the other for even a slight reason.  Maybe cool tones make your lips or cheeks look pinker, or maybe warm do?  Maybe cool tones make circles under your eyes look darker.  It can be subtle. (In my case, my lips are a deeply pigmented cool pink in comparison to my fair olive skin).  Also, it may be more helpful to consider if you tinted or toned/ soft, muted or bright? Does this stand out more than your color temperature?  

    My skin is considered neutral (cool suits me slightly better because of my rosacea, and cool lips, and when colors get too warm I look jaundiced). Jen explains the grey hair situation very nicely, My hair is considered a neutral grey so hair is not helpful in deciphering whether I should be warm or cool.  If your hair is grey and it is obviously cool or warm this can help with selecting a color temperature.  My eyes are also neutral.  Every color stylist has told me they are grey. For a long time I wanted them to be green but I now understand they are not.  They change color depending upon what I am wearing. There is a darker blue-green (teal) ring around my iris but it can look either warm or cool depending on what I wear.  My irises can look turquoise, green, grey, or blue.  They also can look warm or cool in temperature depending on the color I wear.  Despite my strong neutral-ness, I do not consider myself a fully neutral person. Cool slightly tinted colors clearly work better for me than warm colors. Warm and cool toned colors can also work if they are light.  In my case it seems that lightness matters more than whether I am warm or cool, and maybe more than whether I am soft, bright or muted.  

    Placing myself into a color type has helped narrow the field of color options in a helpful way.  I stick within a palette and everything in my wardrobe can mix and match together.  I definitely stray, and when I do it’s often for a statement item or something like a dress that doesn’t need to coordinate with as many pieces. 

  • Suz replied 3 weeks ago

    Staysfit -- you look terrific in both that yellow and the more vivid blue. Interesting that the yellow is contrasted also with your grey top (and your hair, of course) -- I wonder if that adds to the flattering effect -- creating harmony? 

     I think you are correct that "light" might be the qualifier that makes the most difference in your own case, due to some neutrality in your features. And good reminder that "pastel" doesn't have to mean faded -- I tend to forget that, and in many colour palettes offered for "light" the makers apparently forget that, too -- and give only washed out or faded colours as opposed to the brights that "light summer" should also supposedly be able to wear.

    Maybe if I were to think of myself as a light summer moving toward true summer, I could fit more easily into the seasonal system, i.e. I need ALL the coolness, and SOME of light summer's brightness,. Coolness being the key qualifier for me. 

    Suntiger, warm-medium sounds right, from everything you describe, and also works with the clothes you have, particularly what you wear on top (so to speak) and your patterns, as well as your jewellery, which adds shine and dimension to your outfits. You can manage black in part because you typically pair it with other flattering tones. 

  • LaPed replied 3 weeks ago

    Love these thinky color convos!!

    I suspect any framework that reminds us that temperature (warm vs cool) is only one aspect of color is going to be super helpful to many. In my case, warm/cool never resonated because I don’t fall cleanly on one side or the other: blue eyes with gold flecks, fair skin that tans *and* freckles; dark brown hair that fades redder with sun exposure (growing it longer was an eye opener!) and is now shot through with silver-grey.

    Deep/dark is much more important, along with muted/soft — not bright or saturated. The worst photos ever taken of me were in watermelon, coral, aqua, cobalt… If I had to wear any of those colors now, I’d use them as an accent with a murkier color like charcoal or olive.

    I also find the low-contrast/high-contrast distinction useful. I benefit from high contrast in temperature (warm and cool together) and value (light and dark together). I almost always opt for muted over bright — lived-in over crisp —but that could be as much personality as complexion!

  • Zaeobi replied 3 weeks ago

    I like the idea of a sliding scale, especially since my hair & skin shades fluctuate a fair bit in the sun (& I'm sure many of us are perceived as much paler in the winter sun).

    My in-person seasonal colour analysis used the 12 seasons tonal system - I was told I was 'Dark Autumn' because Deep (not light) was my *primary* attribute, followed by Warm (not cool). It makes sense from the website you posted, since a primarily Deep can borrow from both Autumn & Winter palettes. I'm warm-adjacent lol, since I can still wear black (if it doesn't have too cool of an undertone).

    In fact, the one aspect I still struggle with is I'm not sure I fit neatly into either end of the Muted VS Bright continuum; I like wearing bright yellow & orange but can't pull off the neon highlighter versions like you can :) My hair is starting to go grey in the front now (finally! lol) so let's see what happens.

  • Suz replied 3 weeks ago

    Zaeobi, that's really interesting. I wonder if each of us has one primary (or dominant) characteristic that tends to "lead" -- for you, deep, for me, cool, for someone else maybe muted or bright? And those characteristics that are not as strong (for you warm vs. cool, bright vs. muted) offer the individual wiggle room (or confusion, depending on your point of view, LOL!). For me, recognizing/ acknowledging the level of brightness has been a light bulb (um, excuse the dumb pun) but cool is still dominant for sure. 

    What you say, LaPed, is also consistent with what Zaeobi said -- for you, "deep" is much more important than the other elements but you also like muted. I am thinking -- you do well in high contrast and "deep" *is* high contrast to your skin, obviating the need for a whole of lof contrast in the clothing itself (i.e. sharp contrasting patterns). So you can "mute" things (as per your preference) and still retain high contrast. 

  • Sal replied 3 weeks ago

    I think that is probably right too Zaeobi and Suz - I think most of us have some wriggle room.  

    My understanding is that in the seasonal analysis, as a Clear/Bright Spring I can wear all the colours in the Spring Palette but the clear ones are my very best.  Potentially I could lean into the Bright winter palette too.  That's probably because the brightness is my main characteristic, whereas warmth and depth are less important.

    Suz, I think you could probably lean into the cool winter colours, and potentially even some bright winter - that's where the method in your colour style is more flexible.

  • Suz replied 3 weeks ago

    Sal, that's interesting. Nice to know you can lean into the associated bright palettes if you like. 

    I think the bright winter colours, the purest, clearest ones overpower me. But I can lean into cool winter's blues, for sure. Oy, the complications if we really get fussed about it! ;) 

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