How to really combine or wear the colors for your seasonal color type is something that is often skipped over or only briefly discussed in color analysis. In fact, it was barely even covered in the training I originally did. The main focus tends to be on finding your seasonal color type which is all well and good but for me personally, I felt like I was kind of left hanging and that my clients were also as far as how to best utilize all of the lovely colors we now had at our fingertips. I plan to remedy this so that moving forward no one is left not knowing how to use these tools.
How to Wear Any Color or Color Scheme You Want
If you have ever had the misconception that you can't wear certain colors or pull off a certain look because they are "not your season" let me tell you that this is not true. Color is not meant to be limiting. There seem to be these false ideas floating around that if you are a Spring you have to always dress like a Spring which translates to bright cheerful colors 24-7. Or that if you are a Summer you should only be wearing blue and pink and lots of pastels or that Autumns only wear earth tones and orange.
While these colors do exist and can be worn by these seasonal color types it does not mean that you have to or that you even should wear these stereotypical colors on a regular basis. If you like these colors then go for it. But if you want to be more creative and have more variety then just sticking to the typical look for your season can get very boring very quickly. I myself like to switch things up and dress according to the time of year or season that I am in.
I am a Winter color type but my favorite time of year is actually autumn. So, does this mean that I can't dress like an Autumn or have an autumny look when fall rolls around? No, it does not. If I am not an Autumn color type how do I do this? By wearing the warmest colors in my palette.
The key to wearing any color or color scheme you desire is actually to just observe the main colors in that color scheme and then find those colors in your palette. This may sound too simple but that is really all there is to it. You have the full range of colors from the color wheel at your disposal they just vary in value (lightness or darkness) and chroma (brightness or softness) depending on your seasonal color type.
How to Dress Like a Different Season
Are you a Winter that wants to have a Spring or Summer look? You can achieve this by wearing the lightest and brightest colors in your palette. Are you a Summer who prefers a dark dramatic or even gothic look? Wearing the darkest colors in your palette will give you this look.
Don't be fooled by the fact that these colors are not as dark as the colors from the Winter palette which is what normally comes to mind when one thinks of dark, dramatic, and gothic.
The darkest Summer colors will look deep and dramatic on you since they are the exact right value and chroma for your natural coloring. As I have said before and will continue to repeat - color is relative. For example, the colors that look super duper bright on a Spring actually look less bright on a Winter because they lack the depth that Winters need and naturally have. Again, this can all be observed in and is derived from nature.
Instead of telling yourself or thinking that you can't wear certain colors or dress a certain way because it's "not your season" the real questions are - what is my version of these colors? Are they dark or light? Bright or soft? Cool or warm? What is the mood of the color or color scheme (i.e. cool and calming, bright and cheerful, dramatic or passionate)? Another thing you can look at is texture. Is it shiny or matte? Rough or smooth? Hard or soft?
These are all things that a designer or stylist takes into consideration when putting together the perfect outfit. You too can learn to think along these lines. It's just a matter of knowing what to look for and putting it into practice. Before you realize it, it just becomes second nature. This is my goal and what most personal color analysts strive to communicate and teach their clients.
So, can you dress like a different seasonal color type? Yes! The trick is to just observe the qualities of the seasonal color type that you want to mimic and dress according to those principles using the colors in your seasonal color palette as I have pointed out above. Let's take a look at this outfit below... How can this color scheme work for any seasonal color type?
This outfit is comprised of classic colors from the Autumn palette, but what if you are a Summer and you want to wear this? First, let's determine the main colors in this look.
- Medium Orange
- Medium Golden Yellow
- Teal Blue
- Medium Neutral Brown
You can achieve a very similar look by wearing a jacket, belt, and boots in Apricot, a top in Corn Yellow, skirt in Teal Blue, and handbag in Brown Sand from the Summer palette as shown here...
See how easy that was? There are no limitations on color - period. Let's look at another example...
In the above photo, British actor Kit Harrington is wearing a plum purple sweater, soft black or charcoal jeans, and boots, and is carrying a brown leather bag. The brown bag is actually a Spring brown. A cherrywood color would have been a better choice for him.
The texture of the sweater is a little too matte as well which tones down the color a bit. Since Kit is a Winter overall this color combination looks fantastic on him even though it is not 100% perfect. That's okay it doesn't have to be.
But what if you are a different season? If you are a Spring, for example, you can put together a very similar outfit by wearing a sweater in Purple Tulip, Black jeans, and boots, with a golden brown leather bag from the Spring Palette as shown below.
Each season goes through a natural transition or arc where it starts out dark, gets lighter and brighter, then begins to fade and get deeper again as it transitions into the next season. These natural transitions are reflected in your color palette since each color was taken directly from nature.
You can follow these natural transitions by dressing according to the time of year if you want to. And I mean truly following the seasons not just wearing whatever color is the color of the year or what the fashion mags are saying are the current "in" colors. I am going to go into this in more detail below...
How to Dress for Spring and Summer
The colors found in springtime and summer tend to be light, bright, and cheerful. To really make the most of these seasons you will want to stick to the lightest and brightest colors in your palette no matter what your seasonal color type is. This means wearing your lightest neutrals, your pastels, and brightest colors. Your overall look should be that of a medium to light value.
As a general rule, you will want to avoid wearing dark colors during the warmer months because they will make you hotter. Black and other dark shades absorb light and heat while light colors reflect it. I learned this very quickly after moving from the West Coast to the Southeast.
Here in the South, it is hot and humid for 6-9 months out of the year so wearing anything dark during the day is a quick way to feel hot and miserable. These colors are okay for evening wear of course.
If you are a Winter or Summer and want to look like a Spring then the best way for you to do this is for you to wear the lightest and warmest neutrals and brightest and warmest colors in your palettes. The same goes for Autumns. You can also add some extra sparkle and shine if you want to since that is in keeping with the Spring-like look.
Best Light and Bright Colors for Winters
As you can see from this color scheme you can definitely get that bright cheerful look using the above colors from the Winter palette. Wear them in solids or prints and have fun mixing and matching different textures.
Best Warm and Bright Summer Colors
Give yourself the bright cheerful look you crave by choosing the brightest and warmest shades from the Summer color palette, as shown above. Especially if you wear these colors as floral prints, polka dots and/or stripes. A few cool and bright colors have been mixed in as well to help balance it all out.
Best Bright Colors for Autumns
Even an Autumn can look Spring-like or summery by wearing the brightest colors from their palette that are medium to light in value as shown above. Even though they are not as bright and light as the true Spring colors they will look bright and cheerful on an Autumn since they are the exact right color for them.
If an Autumn were to try and wear actual Spring colors they would appear too light and garishly bright and out of place. So, sticking with the colors from your actual palette is always best.
Best Summer Colors for Springs
If you are a Spring but want to dress like a Summer then you will want to choose the coolest colors in your palette that are medium to light in value like the ones shown above. This will give you the cooler softer look you want without deviating from your Spring palette.
Your Best Light Colors
Another great way to have a Spring or Summer look is to wear your pastels. These light colors are bright and soft and have an ethereal quality. They look especially striking if you have darker hair and/or eyes.
You can wear these colors any time of year but they are especially nice to wear during the warm months. They lend themselves to very soft, lighter more delicate fabrics for that airy look and feel.
Winter pastels are bright and icy. They contain more white than the Summer pastels which accounts for the higher chroma. Stick to the shades above for a lovely light and soft look. Choose light soft fabrics with a bit of sheen whenever possible. Airy cashmere is perfect for the colder months and really looks stunning in these shades.
The Spring pastels are light, soft, and warm shades like vanilla, pastel peach, and cherry blossom pink. For fabrics, choose light linen, soft airy cotton or silk-like materials and/or very soft knits. These colors can work very well in the wintertime as well especially if worn in super plush cozy textures.
Pastel colors are usually what comes to mind when one thinks of the summer season - cotton candy, ice cream, and faded sunsets. So, if you are a Summer color type you might as well take advantage of all the lovely pastels that you have in your color palette. They really do look gorgeous on you. Just know that you don't have to stick to these colors all of the time. :)
Yes, even Autumns have pastels and can wear light and soft looks if they want. Like Spring, the Autumn pastels are mostly warm but a bit deeper. Think soft warm whites, nude pinks, and peaches, light blues. Choose light soft fabrics and plush airy knits.
How to Dress for Autumn and Winter
Fall and winter are the darkest and coldest times of the year so naturally, we tend to mimic this by wearing darker colors and plush cozy textures. But, how do you get that warm fall look if you are not an Autumn or how do you get the deep dramatic jewel-tone look if you are not a Winter? By choosing your version of these colors and textures from your seasonal color palette! :)
Best Warm Colors for Winters
If you want to have that cozy warm Autumn look as a Winter you can get this by wearing the warmest colors in your palette. Choose your warmest neutrals such as Dark Chocolate, Cherrywood or a Bronzy Taupe.
Wear your warmest reds, yellows, greens, brilliant oranges, and deep slightly warm purples. Looks for tweed fabric, chunky cable knits, and plaid prints in your colors to help pull it all together.
Best Warm Colors for Springs
To get the perfect fall look as a Spring choose the warmest colors in your palette that are in the medium to deep range. Wear them in linen, twill, tweed, and corduroy fabrics, chunky knits, floral, and plaid prints.
Best Warm Colors for Summers
Even Summers can get the Autumn look by wearing their warmest colors. In fact, if you were to wear the colors shown above most people wouldn't even realize that you are not wearing true autumn colors. These medium to deep colors will give you that very warm look without you having to stray into the truly warm tones of Autumn.
If you want to get the bright jewel-toned look of a Winter even if this is not your season then you can do so by choosing the following colors from your palette...
Best Jewel-Toned Colors for Springs
Get the intense bright look of a Winter by wearing the deepest, brightest, and coolest colors from the Spring palette. Wear them in smooth, shiny and or sparkly textures just like a Winter would. Bold stripes, polka dots, and large floral prints are great patterns to help you pull off this look.
Best Jewel-Tones for Summers
Summers can do the same again by choosing a combination of the deepest and brightest colors from their palette and by utilizing the same prints and textures. A striped suit in Espresso and Soft White or True Blue and Periwinkle. Ripe Tomato and Sunflower Yellow in a bold print. A satin evening gown in Aquamarine, etc.
Autumn Jewel-Tone Colors
As an Autumn you too can pull off a Winter-like look by wearing Black, Marine Navy, the grays, and other deep and bright but cooler colors from your palette. These colors still have enough warmth in them to prevent them from looking too cool on you. Use these colors for evening wear and as the staples of your winter wardrobe. See, you don't have to wear warm earthy colors all year long. :)
You can also create a dark and dramatic look no matter your season again by choosing the darkest colors from your seasonal color palette.
Best Dark Colors for Winters
Are you a fan of the dark and dramatic? Get a beautiful deep gothic Victorian look using your darkest and coolest neutrals and deepest most intense colors like Pomegranate Red, Navy, Deep Forest Green, Black, Muted Deep Mauve, etc.
Best Dark Colors for Springs
Springs can also pull off a deep look by wearing the darkest and coolest colors from their palette. These colors are still warm enough so that they won't tone down your natural brilliance while still giving the dark intense look you want. Yes, even if you are a very light-haired and fair-skinned Spring you can still wear these colors and they will look fantastic on you!
Don't believe me? Just look at this photo of actress Jessica Chastain wearing a rhubarb red lipstick and clear navy dress...
She looks just as stunning as ever. These colors are in the Spring palette and therefore they totally work and don't wash out or tone down her naturally bright coloring despite being on the dark end of the spectrum. This is what I mean when I say "your version" of a color or color scheme.
Best Dark Colors for Summers
Summers are also not reserved to only wearing pastels or cool muted colors as I have already demonstrated earlier and they too can wear deep colors should they choose. The Summer palette contains some really gorgeous dark colors like Spruce, Grayed Navy, Beet Red, and Blackberry.
Again, even if you have really light blonde hair and fair skin there is no need for you to shy away from these colors if you want to wear them. Do it! They will look great on you.
Best Dark Colors for Autumns
Turn up the drama by wearing the deepest reds, greens, purples, and neutrals from the Autumn palette. Cranberry and Pewter or Forest Green and Oyster White are winning color combinations for you. Combine your warm greys for a monochromatic look. Just use your imagination and creativity.
Here is a photo of Irish actor Domhnall Gleeson looking very handsome in the Autumn marine navy. As you can see he looks great in this deep color even though he is a lighter Autumn, his coloring can take it.
Your natural coloring will always be in harmony with all of the colors contained within your season from the lightest to the darkest. There is always a combination of light and dark, warm and cool, bright and soft in varying degrees in nature just as they exist in you. :)
What are some of your favorite colors and color schemes? Leave me a comment below! If you have any questions or have a topic you would like me to cover don't hesitate to get in touch. I would love to hear from you. :)