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Finding Your Color Type

By Lynne Rominger

For me, it's not orange. I look horrible in orange. I can't even wear a scarf with specks of orange or I look sickly. But put me in navy or salmon or even black and I look lovely. It's pretty simple, really. Color can either clash or match. Look at furniture. Ever wonder how the interior designer knows to throw gold pillows on a purple couch? Well, interior designers are taught what colors complement each other. In the case of wearing different colors, the same proves true: Your natural coloring either meshes with the hues in your closet and makeup palette or not. Have you ever bought an incredible jacket in a wonderful color but looked hideous in it because the color was all wrong?

A Woman for All Seasons    to top

You've probably heard the buzzwords of color analysis already: winter, summer, spring, and autumn. I remember approaching the cosmetics counter when only a teenager and feeling perplexed when the salesgirl exclaimed, "Oh, you are soooo an, no, you're a winter!" In defense of the season-happy sales representative, she was right. Depending upon your coloring, the palettes of the seasons define color analysis. Your first step, therefore, is to determine the season in which you fall. (No pun intended.) You begin this process by categorizing yourself under one of six color characteristics:

  • Strong and Rich Generally speaking, "Strong and Rich" people have dark hair and a rich eye color, either brown, hazel, or even green. Your skin coloring may be either dark or fair.
  • Light and Fair these people appear delicate, fair-haired and light-eyed. If you are "Light and Fair" you probably have blue or blue-gray eyes.
  • Warm and Golden If you possess an abundance of freckles and your hair contains reds, golds, and/or natural golden highlights, you fall under this category.
  • Cool and Rosy Often women in this category possess gray hair and their skin contains pink undertones or may be a pinky beige.
  • Soft and Muted Women within this category may see themselves as "plain," without any distinct coloring. Neutral is how these women describe themselves. Their hair color is often medium brown.
  • Clear and Bright Jewel-like eyes in myriad colors, fair skin and dark hair are the trademarks of a "Clear and Bright" woman. If your coloring contrasts with your hair, you may fit this description.

Now, how do you see yourself? Is your coloring strong and rich? Do you showcase a light and fair hue? Would friends say your coloring is warm and golden? Look closely and then honestly categorize yourself as best you can. Just for fun, we'll use my friend, Liz Allen, as an example. A playwright in San Antonio Texas, Liz will soon appear on a television program to give an interview about her recent production. She needs to look great on camera and find the perfect colors of clothing and makeup to accomplish a polished on-camera persona. Liz's coloring falls within the "Strong and Rich" category. As a dark-haired, dark-eyed, porcelain-skinned woman, the contrast of the dark and light proves quite strong and rich. So now what?

Once you determine your key characteristic, you can find your season. Depending upon the key characteristic, you will be one of two seasons:

  • Strong and Rich hues are either Deep Autumns or Deep Winters.
  • Light and Fair coloring falls under either Light Spring or Light Summer.
  • Warm and Golden complexions are considered a Warm Spring or Warm Autumn.
  • Cool and Rosy women are either a Cool Summer or a Cool Winter.
  • Soft and Muted fall under Soft Summer or Soft Autumn.
  • And finally, Clear and Bright women are best suited to Clear Spring or Clear Winter palettes.

The Colors of the Rainbow     to top

In order to find out which of the two seasons best suits you, you will need to perform a color draping test.

Colorful World
When you compare two colors draped on you, one right after the other, to determine which color looks better and makes you look most vibrant, you have performed a color draping test. Color draping is often used to seek which palettes under one's key characteristic look best.

But you can't perform a color draping test unless you know the colors in each of your seasons. Here are some examples of the various colors under each of the twelve seasonal palettes so you can perform a drape test:

  • Light Summer: light gray, gray blue, rose brown, rose, beige, powder pink, rose, salmon, light yellow, aqua, teal, light navy, lavender
  • Cool Summer: pewter, charcoal, taupe, icy pink, blue red, spruce, plum, sky blue, navy
  • Soft Summer: medium gray, stone, dusty rose, raspberry, burgundy, mint, turquoise, periwinkle, purple
  • Soft Autumn: mahogany, camel, khaki, peach, rust, jade, bronze, olive, light navy, purple
  • Warm Autumn: golden brown, cream, coffee brown, pewter, salmon, pumpkin, buff, yellow gold, olive, teal, purple
  • Deep Autumn: black, cream, deep peach, true red, moss, bronze, emerald green, Chinese blue, pine, purple
  • Deep Winter: black, charcoal, pure white, icy gray, tomato red, mint, olive, clear teal, bright periwinkle, true blue, navy
  • Cool Winter: icy gray, medium gray, taupe, rose pink, hot pink, blue red, raspberry, icy blue, lemon yellow, pine, medium blue, bright periwinkle, plum
  • Clear Winter: charcoal, black, pewter, taupe, icy blue, icy pink, clear red, icy yellow, hot turquoise, violet, royal blue
  • Clear Spring: navy, charcoal, stone, light clear gold, pastel yellow-green, clear teal, periwinkle, pastel pink, red, deep rose
  • Warm Spring: camel, golden brown, cream, peach, terracotta, pumpkin, buff, yellow green, moss, aqua, jade, deep periwinkle
  • Light Spring: khaki, light gray, blue charcoal, taupe, coral, pink, watermelon, light moss, buff, powder blue, light navy
  • Now, preferably without makeup, test which colors from each of your two seasons make you look the best. A pattern should arise for which one season comes out the winner. Liz, for instance, falls under both "Deep Autumn" and "Deep Winter." After the draping test, "Deep Winter" emerged as the best palette for her to use.

    These simple steps should help you to determine your best colors. For a complete analysis, look in your phone book under color analysis or search online for a professional analyst or image consultant in your area. Then follow the rainbow to a more beautiful you!

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