Do You Know Your Color Season?

Hey ladies! Have you ever had your colors done? Have you ever been draped? Are you fluent in color palettes or is this concept foreign to you? Do you struggle with which colors look best on you?

When I was a teenager, I found my mom's copy of the book Color Me Beautiful by Carole Jackson and became fascinated with the science of seasonal color analysis. In a nutshell, Jackson's theory delineates that everyone has a color season, based on the warmth or coolness of their skin tone. She argues that knowing your color season helps you to choose clothing and makeup, regardless of current trends, that best suit your complexion-- bringing out your natural beauty. This book was wildly popular in the 80's but the science of color theory can be traced back to Isaac Newton.

You may think the concept is a bunch of hooey, but I know from my own experience that there are colors that look absolutely horrid on me, causing people to ask me if I am ill, and other colors that garner compliment after compliment. It makes sense, I mean no one skin tone is the same and therefore not everyone will look good in the same colors.

Over the years, it's become a hobby of mine to mentally determine which season my friends are-- much in the same way I attempt to figure out everyone's Myers-Briggs personality type. I've gotten better at it and can honest-to-goodness figure out someone's season within seconds of meeting them. Please don't think I'm a creeper, but if I know you, I have probably already classified you as a particular season!

So, if this is unfamiliar to you or if you need a refresher, here is how you go about figuring out your color season.

1. Determine if you are a cool season (summer or winter) or warm season (spring or autumn).

Hands: Look at the back of your hands and make a fist. Do your knuckles have a yellowish cast or a blue/pink cast to them? Do your veins look blue or green? Chances are, if you are in the yellow/green camp, you are a warm season. If you are in the pink or blue camp, you are most likely a cool season.

Face: Look at your face without makeup. When you smile do you have a peachy glow (warm season) or a pink glow (cool season).

Hair: What about your natural hair color? Is it a cool brown or jet black or ash blonde? Then you are most likely a cool season. If your hair has a warm tone to it-- be it golden or strawberry blonde, red or auburn, or warm brown, then you are most likely a warm season.

Eyes: Finally, your eye color can also play a role in determining if you are a warm or cool season. If you have dark brown to black brown eyes, is there a warm or a cool cast to them? If your eyes are green are they a warm green or a cool green? If your eyes are blue are they more of an ice blue or a turquoise blue? Do you have flecks or rings of yellowy brown (hazel)? The presence of warmth in your eyes indicates a warm season, the presence of coolness indicates a cool season. Pretty straight forward.

If you are still unsure, go with the whichever category you fell into most-- cool or warm. If it's a tie, think of the colors that don't look good on you. Write them down and determine if they are largely cool or warm tones.

2. Determine which of the four seasons is yours. So, you have settled on being a warm or cool season, but which season, specifically describes your coloring? Typically if your natural hair color is lighter (blonde, light red or medium brown), you'd fall into the category of spring or summer. If you hair is dark brown, dark red, auburn or black and your eyebrows/eyelashes are dark, you are most likely an autumn or winter.

To drive things home, gather a mixture of warm and cool colored clothing in varying intensities and hold them up to your face. If you look best in warm, light colors you are most likely a spring. If you look best in warm, dark colors you are an autumn, if you look best in light cool tones, you are a summer and if you look best in dark/bold cool tones you are probably a winter.

Here is a simple quiz you can take to help determine your season.

Below I made breakdowns of each palette with some famous faces as examples.

Eyeshadow- Brousee by NarsNail Polish- Tomboy No More by Essie

If you are an autumn, it's best to avoid pastels, stark white and reds with a blue cast to them. Same goes for makeup. Steer clear of white or blue eyeshadows and pinky lipsticks as they will make you look sallow. If you want to wear blue, choose blues that have yellow in them, like teal. I'd like to point out Jenna Fischer in the line-up. In her role as Pam on The Office, she was often dressed in pastel pinks and blues-- especially at the beginning of the series. Do you remember how washed out and pale she looked? It's because she is an autumn and thrives in warm tones. Revel in the warm, dramatic palette of your season!

Blouse- Rhinestone Gal, Headband- Bando, Backpack- Herschel, Shorts- Uniqlo,
Sandals- Seychelles, Lipstick- Vegas Volt by Mac, Eyeshadow- Cream/Caramel by Nars,
Nail Polish- Geranium by Essie

If you are a spring, chances are your complexion is most likely fair. Don't wash yourself out with black, cool greys or stark white. Cream is a good alternative to white. Make sure to also pay attention to the shade of reds out there, choosing orange red over blue red. If you must wear darker colors, borrow colors from the autumn palette.

Earrings- Noonday Collection, Chambray Shirt- JCrew, Cluth- Kate Spade
Lipstick- Pink Nouveau by Mac, Nail Polish- Raspberry by Essie.

If you are a summer, try to avoid yellow, orange or warm beige. Instead, embrace the cool crispness of your season by choosing bright, blue-based tones. Make sure your makeup is made up of cool neutrals or pinks. If you must wear dark colors, borrow from winter's palette.

Dress- ModCloth, Necklace- Noonday Collection, Bag- Zara, Sandals- Toms
Lipstick- Russian Red by Mac, Eyeshadow- Mandchourie by Nars,

Winters can have a lot of fun being dramatic with their colors and fashion since their features are typically dark and strong. What ever you do, run away from mustard yellow, browns, oranges, beiges and muted, warm tones. You can pull off a strong, cool red lip and black liquid eyeliner, so rock it!

In conclusion, wearing the right season is largely about common sense. You know yourself best and chances are you already gravitate to colors that suit you, even if this is your first time exploring the concept. I am a spring and am forever drawn to fresh, bright, warm colors. Sticking to my color palette ensures most of my clothes and makeup match, taking the guess work of out shopping and getting ready. Since I know I look like death in black, I don't need to own black shoes or black bags to match black clothing. If I do choose to wear a color that is not in my palette, I try to throw on a scarf in my season to have a "good" color for me near my face.

I hope this made sense. Feel free to comment with questions or thoughts of your own. I have barely scratched the surface of color theory, so if you are interested in knowing more, check out this helpful resource.


  1. I'm glad I'm not the only person who figures out their friend's M.B. personality AND Seasonal Palette. Easy to read graphics and simple post, thanks!

  2. Hi, I really like your beautifully composed summary photos about the main seasonal palettes :)
    If you're interested to know more about this topic, I recommend to take a look at my blog (30somethingurbangirl.com). I share outfit ideas and many more exciting seasonal color related infos.

  3. Buenas tardes. Me encantò. Muchas gracias.

  4. I am doing a presentation for a homeless group, and it has been years since I have taught this info. So all my handouts out are out of date. I loved you season palettes, would it be possible for me to copy them to use for my presentation?
    I am doing this as a service, so there would be not financial gain. Thanks, Jana


Related Posts with Thumbnails