Polish your style: how to determine your colours

how to determine your colours

This is a second post from a series that focus on improving and developing personal style – how to determine your colours.

Choosing clothing and makeup colours that go well together and suit you is an art and a science. There are even University courses in Colour Theory! However, we are busy women and don’t have time to study colour wheels so let’s focus on one theory today that is the most popular and easy to use. Its called  ‘Seasonal’ skin tone color matching.

The two most important practical implications for ‘Seasonal’ color analysis are:

1) by limiting wardrobe (and cosmetic) colour choices you will find it easier to coordinate your clothing, accessories and makeup and thus,  potentially you’ll be saving time, space and money!

2) by choosing colors that are harmonious to your skin tone, you’ll look even more beautiful and improve your personal style.

The theory: all colors are divided into four groups of harmonious colors which are said to match with the four seasons of the year. Your skin tone is the most important factor in determining the colors that look best on you. It may happen that you will be on the boarder of two seasons or you may change your type if, for example, you get a sun tan.

Cool colours – winter and summer and  Warm colours – spring and autumn.

warm colours, cold colours

The table below will help you to decide which season most accurately describes your complexion. Once you determine your season, you will have a personalized guideline for colours and shades that work best for you. Easy!


Best Colors Worst Colors
“Winter” is a cool tone. People with winter complexions have blue or pink/rosy undertones. Skin can be pale white, yellowish-olive, or dark. Those with the Winter color profile have a lot of depth to their coloring and a lot of contrast between their hair color, eye color and skin tone.Winter people have brown hair, with deeply colored eyes. Many Asians and African Americans fall into this category. People with white-blond hair may also be winters.Example:Katy Perry Winters should wear colors that are sharp, stark and clear. They look best in intense, rich colors, like white, black, navy blue, red, and hot pink.For lighter colors, wear bright white or icy pastels, such as cool blues, pinks and yellows. Avoid: dressing in earth tones and subdued colors like pastels, and beige, orange and gold.


Best Colors Worst Colors
“Summer” is also a cool tone and like winter complexions, have blue or pink undertones. Skin is pale and pink. Summers have a low level of contrast between their hair, eye color and skin tone.Summers often have blonds or brown hair with pale eyes. If you’re a trying to discriminate between winter and summer, winters are usually have brown hair and summers are mostly natural blonds.Example:Natalia Vodianova Summers should choose soft neutrals and pastels, as well as muted colors with cool undertones.Powder blue, dusty pink, mauve, rose-brown, lavender, plum, and pale yellow are all good color choices. Avoid:  intense, vivid hues because they will look harsh. Nor should Summers wear earth tones, black or orange.


Best Colors Worst Colors
Autumn is a warm tone and people with this complexion have golden undertones in their skin, like a pale peach, golden beige or golden brown.Many have brown or red hair, and golden brownHowever, golden blond and black hair coloring can also fall into this range.Autumns have a lot of depth to their coloring and skin tone. Rich golden, spicy, and earthy colors will accent their complexion.Example:Isla Fisher Autumns should select both muted and rich warm colors that are seen in autumn leaves and spice colors, such as camel, beige, olive, orange, gold, warm grays, and dark brown. Avoid:  clear, bright colors and black and white, which will make them look tired and faded. They should also avoid pastels and blue tones, which look cold against Autumns complexion and give a pale appearance.


Best Colors Worst Colors
Spring is also a warm tone. Spring complexions have golden undertones and are usually creamy white or peach. Springs have extremely light, ivory skin color. People of this coloring are usually natural golden blonds, auburn, or have strawberry blond red hair. Springs also have very clear, light blue and green colored eyes.Freckles and rosy cheeks are also characteristics of this group. If you can’t decide whether you are an autumn or a spring, remember springs tend to have pale eyes while autumns have dark eyes.Example: Nicole Kidman Springs can wear very pale, soft colors, such as peach, camel, golden yellow, golden brown, and aqua. They will also look good in ivory, bright greens, true reds, clear blues and coral. Avoid:  black and white, which are too contrasting. They should also stay away from dark, dull colors.


seasonal colour types examples

Hope this all makes sense and if you have any questions about personal colouring, feel free to email me or leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer it.



P.S. The first post from this series can be found here. In the next post we will be looking at how to identify and accentuate well your personal (physical) strengths. Don’t miss out – follow me on the links below & get notified!

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Comments 12


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  1. Catherine @ The Spring September 26, 2012

    Great post Maria! I’ve never thought about the ‘science’ behind this colour theory before… I’ve just noticed over the years what works best. I think I must be a summer… because bright strong colours do tend to look very harsh on me, while softer muted versions of those brights tend to flatter. It’s interesting what you’ve said about black, because I’ve noticed navy is usually much more flattering and now I see I was right! I suppose there are blacks for everyone, and I think the kinds of fabric you choose make a big difference. Natural silks and cottons always look a little bit softer and more flattering in any colour, in my opinion!

    Thanks again for a great post… you’ve got me looking at my wardrobe and re-evaluating a few things!

    x Catheirne

  2. Jasmine gala September 26, 2012

    I think I am Winter. I never would have put THAT season to my wardrobe haha. I love my bold reds, blues, greens and purples and I love pastel colours (lavender, baby blue and mint green). My colours sound more spring/summer to me :P

  3. A's Fashion Files September 26, 2012

    Love this! Such great advice!

  4. The Dainty Dolls House September 26, 2012

    This is great!! I think it’s important to find what suits you. And what shade of the colour suits you. Being mixed gives me the advantage of being inbetween and I can wear lots of colours, but some just don’t go at all, haha. Even when I tell someone, I always end up being gifted a colour that looks terrible on me. Great advice. xx

  5. Englishvers September 26, 2012

    Hello my lovely. I’m back from my blog-break;-)
    Yes. been travelling like mad indeed. Excellent post on colour theory. Warmly hope you are well. xx

  6. Mystery Case September 26, 2012

    Just in the process of updating my wardrobe, so a very timely post! Thanks xx

  7. caramellitsa September 27, 2012

    such a great post dear!!
    it is so interesting to read about the colours
    as for the hair colour my fav is definitely fall i love brown-red-ish tones :)
    kisses <3

  8. Tamsin Howse October 16, 2012

    It’s funny, I read these and I’d say I’m Autumn/Winter, where the colours directly contradict each other. Which makes sense really, as I can wear pretty much any colour!

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  10. Bek December 30, 2012

    I have the Colour Me Beautiful book that describes the same seasons. They overhauled their system and released a new book in 2010 which gives you more variations to choose from. I’m a mix between Winter and Summer. Cool tones baby!

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