“Wow, you’re really going for a look.” My husband gestured to my side of the closet and I followed his gaze toward the growing category of cream tops hanging in a row. Moving down the line, a collection of muted, sky blues and cotton candy pinks now hung in the place where burnt orange, forest green, black, and white once lived. And he’s right, I am going for a look. One that makes my eyes pop and my skin tone even. My closet reflects the journey I’ve been on for the last few months—to discover my “season” by exploring color analysis.
Featured image by Michelle Nash.
How Color Analysis Will Change the Way You Get Dressed
Not the most noble journey, I’ll admit. But I’m on a greater quest to diminish decision fatigue in my life and getting dressed (see also: going shopping) was wearing me out. Personally, I want to feel like myself in my clothes. This translates to silhouettes that reflect my style, fabrics that are comfortable and easy to move in, and colors that complement and enhance my skin tone. I’ve got those first two down. As for colors…
I’d heard the seemingly age-old, “I’m an autumn,” phrases thanks to the bestselling 1980s book Color Me Beautiful by Carole Jackson. But, like hot rollers, I assumed it was dated. However, when color analysis and “getting your colors done” began to pop up on my feed—along with the stunning before and afters that seemed to make people literally GLOW simply by swapping out a grey top for green—I sat to attention. (I also ordered a set of rollers this week but that’s for another story.)
Now, it needs to be said that a lot of this conversation around finding your best colors IS quite dated, in the way that the language was written mostly for white women. Thankfully, thanks to stylists like Cocoa Styling on YouTube, and one of my favorite Instagram color styling accounts, Curate Your Style, there are now more resources for women of color.
So, let’s address the big question: How do I figure out what season I am? The answer, at least for me, wasn’t that simple. I took quizzes and uploaded photos of my face to AI apps—but I still wasn’t sure. There are many professional color analysts who can help you determine your season and perhaps I’ll take that road in the future. But for now, I’m going the long way. And by that I mean, following a few Instagram accounts, thrifting colors in my season (I suspect I’m a Summer), and wearing them to see how I feel.
So, how do you find out your season? Let’s dig a little deeper.
The Four Color Seasons in Color Analysis
Before we dive into the seasons, what they mean, and which one you might be, remember that ultimately this is all in good fun. You can (and should!) wear any color that makes you feel good. As much as we love to sit within these “categories of being,” (it’s why we can’t resist a good quiz) the truth is that we’re nuanced creatures. If a color system ever makes you feel like you’re being put in a box, you have full permission to break that box down.
That said, we all know the feeling when we put something on and it just WORKS. Your eyes look brighter, your skin tone seems to even out, and dark circles disappear. You feel confident. When you know your colors, it makes shopping easier—and takes the guesswork out of getting dressed. That’s because what you’re wearing shares the same natural color dimensions of your hair, eyes, and skin. Your best colors will enhance your natural coloring, whereas others might make you appear pale or tired.
Of the four seasons, there are two over-arching types: warm (Springs and Autumns) and cool (Winters and Summers). If you’re in the warmer seasons, you’ll favor more yellow tones whereas cool seasons favor more blues.
What season are you?
If you’re trying to find out your season at home, there are three components that can help determine where you stand.
1. Discover your undertone
Start by looking at the veins on your wrist. Hold your wrist up to the light and check the color of your veins. If they look more blue, you’re probably cool-toned. If they lean greenish, you’re likely warm-toned. If you need a little help deciphering, I found the Neutone app to be helpful—and it’s free!
2. Consider contrast
Contrast (or value) considers the scale of lightness to darkness between your eyes, skin, and natural hair color. For example, you’re high contrast if your skin is fair, you’ve got jet-black hair, and cool-toned eyes. Alternatively, darker-toned skin against lighter hair and dark eyes indicates low contrast.
Understanding your contrast level helps you choose colors that create a harmonious balance with your natural features. High-contrast individuals tend to look best in bold, contrasting colors, while low-contrast individuals look more flattering in softer, tonal color combinations. Winters and Springs tend to be high contrast whereas Summers and Autumns are lower.
3. Look at chroma, or, softness vs. clarity
Depending on where you fall in the seasons, your natural features favor a softer hue vs. a brighter one for a more harmonious look. If you’re categorized as Summer or Autumn, you’ll typically have a softer overall appearance and are flattered by soft, tonal color combinations. Summers have cool undertones and often look best in soft, pastel shades, while Autumns have warm undertones and are flattered by rich, earthy, and muted colors.
Whereas, if you’re Winter or Spring, you’ll typically have more clarity and boldness in your overall appearance. Winters have cool undertones and look stunning in jewel-toned colors like royal blue and emerald green. Springs have warm undertones and shine in vibrant colors like bright orange and sunny yellow. Bold colors enhance your natural features and create a dynamic look.
Analyzing Each Season
While there aren’t any true “rules” to color analysis—again, you genuinely can wear whatever color you want—here are some general guides for each color season. We’re just going to cover the four main seasons here, but color analysts have broken them down even further by identifying 12 sub-types for a more thorough evaluation.
Springs have a high contrast with warm undertones. They often have light, warm-toned hair and fair to medium skin. Springs shine in vibrant and warm color combinations.
Celebrities in the Spring color season include Jessica Chastain, Emma Stone, Rihanna, Blake Lively, Kate Hudson, and Brittany Snow.
Vein Test: Start by examining the color of your wrist veins. Springs typically have veins that appear more blue or green. If your veins lean toward green, this suggests warm undertones, which may align with Spring if other characteristics match.
Eye and Hair Color: Springs usually have warm-toned eyes like hazel, light blue, green, or warm brown, and their natural hair colors can range from light to medium warm shades, such as strawberry blonde, golden blonde, or light to medium brown.
How Colors Make You Feel: Pay attention to how you feel when you wear different colors. Springs typically look their best in soft, warm, and vibrant colors like coral, peach, sunny yellow, and mint green. If these colors make your complexion appear more radiant and healthy, you might be a Spring.
Jewelry Metals: Springs often look better in warm metals like gold, brass, or copper. If you find that gold jewelry complements your skin tone more than silver, that’s another sign that you might be a Spring.
Summers typically have low contrast between their features. They often have light or ash-blonde hair, light skin, and cool-toned eyes. Summers look stunning in soft, pastel colors and muted shades that harmonize with their gentle contrast.
Celebrities in the Summer color season include Emily Blunt, Allison Williams, Barbara Palvin, Leona Lewis, Caitriona Balfe, Emilia Clarke, and Miranda Kerr.
Vein Test: Summers typically have bluish or purplish veins. If your veins appear more blue than green, this suggests you have cool undertones, aligning with the Summer season.
Eye and Hair Color: Summers often have light, cool-toned eyes (blue, green, or gray) and light to medium ash-brown or blonde hair.
How Colors Make You Feel: Pay attention to how you feel when you wear certain colors. Summers typically look best in soft, muted, and cool colors. If pastel shades and cool-toned colors like lavender, soft pink, and powder blue make your complexion appear more vibrant and healthy, you’re likely a Summer.
Jewelry Metals: Summers typically look better in silver or white gold due to their cool undertones. If silver jewelry enhances your skin tone more than gold, it’s another clue that you might be a Summer.
Autumns also have low contrast but with warm undertones. They often have warm hair colors, warm-toned eyes, and medium to dark skin. Autumns thrive in rich, earthy color combinations like deep rust and olive green.
Celebrities in the Autumn color season include Jennifer Lopez, Keira Knightley, Doja Cat, Elizabeth Olsen, Jessica Alba, Sofia Richie, and Beyonce.
Vein Test: If your veins appear more greenish, it suggests you have warm undertones, which align with the Autumn season.
Eye and Hair Color: Autumns often have warm, earthy tones in their natural eye and hair colors. This includes shades like deep brown, auburn, red, or warm blonde. If your natural eye and hair colors fall within these warm, earthy categories, it’s another sign of being an Autumn.
How Colors Make You Feel: Pay attention to how you feel when you wear certain colors. Autumns typically look best in warm, earthy, and rich colors like deep oranges, warm browns, olive greens, and mustard yellows. If these colors make your complexion appear more vibrant and healthy, you’re likely an Autumn.
Jewelry Metals: Autumns tend to look better in warm metals like gold and bronze due to their warm undertones. If gold jewelry enhances your skin tone more than silver, it’s another clue that you might be an Autumn.
Winters typically have high contrast between their features. They have dark hair, fair skin, and often, bright or deep eye colors. These individuals look striking in bold, high-contrast color combinations like pure white and black.
Celebrities in the Winter color season include Zooey Deschanel, Janelle Monáe, Alexis Bledel, Lucy Liu, Lupita Nyong’o, Viola Davis, and Selena Gomez.
Vein Test: Winters typically have bluish or purplish veins, indicating cool undertones. If your veins appear more blue than green, this suggests you have cool undertones, aligning with the Winter season.
Eye and Hair Color: Winters often have cool-toned eyes, such as deep blue, gray, or green, and cool-toned hair colors like jet black, deep brown, or ash blonde. If your natural eye and hair colors align with these cool tones, it’s a strong sign that you’re a Winter.
How Colors Make You Feel: Pay attention to how you feel when you wear certain colors. Winters typically look best in bold, high-contrast colors like deep jewel tones and pure white. If these colors make your complexion appear more vibrant and healthy, you’re likely a Winter.
Jewelry Metals: Experiment with silver and gold jewelry. Winters often look better in silver or white gold due to their cool undertones. If silver jewelry enhances your skin tone more than gold, it’s another clue that you might be a Winter.
Now, it’s time to play! If you think you might fall within a certain season, try wearing those colors and see how it feels. Switch out your jewelry and see how it looks against your skin tone. In my experience, color analysis takes time and testing to really understand. I never thought I’d purchase a muted purple set, but here we are. And I love it.
Finally, remember that while color analysis can be a helpful guide for choosing flattering colors, personal style and preferences also play a significant role. While color analysis offers valuable guidelines, you do you—embrace the colors that make you feel confident and beautiful, whether they align with your season or not.