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Frump Fighters, figuring out what colors look good on you is incredibly rewarding.
When you build a wardrobe color palette around what colors best suit you, you’ll find that not only do you look your best but your clothes also mix and match more easily.
Sounds great right?
Here’s where the frustration comes in: you need to figure out which color season FIRST.
And this, my friends, is not always easy.
I’ve lost track of the number of times someone has said to me, “But WHAT color season am I?!”
But in this series about seasonal color analysis I am trying to make it feel as easy as taking a free quiz.
Actually that’s exactly what we’re going to do.
I’ve made an incredible quiz just for you!🤩
It’s not just any quiz… it’s crafted especially for those that feel stuck and confused about their “cool” versus “warm” undertone.
It’s time to remove the mystery from this topic to help you discover your season (and best colors) once and for all. I hope you’re as excited as I am because we’re taking this color monster DOWN!
How Seasonal Color Analysis Works (Read Part 1 First!)
In Part 1 of this series, I covered how seasonal color analysis works by explaining the properties of color. If you haven’t already, READ THAT POST FIRST! And even if you already read it in the past, go back and read it again now before continuing with this post.
It will be worth your time so that your quiz results from this post make sense. Trust me, you’re going to have several light bulb moments!
So, Step 1, read: Part 1 – How Seasonal Color Analysis Works
How to Use Clues from Your Complexion to Narrow Down What Season You Are (with Free Quiz!)
You’ve read and understood Part 1 right?
Ok, good. Because I’m going to refer to terms that I explained in that post. Usually the most challenging part about seasonal color analysis is figuring out your skin’s undertone— whether you have warm undertones or cool undertones or somewhere in between (neutral).
The best way to determine your skin undertone is by draping colors on yourself in natural light and seeing how those colors look on you.
BUT you need to know what you’re looking for and this often just leaves people confused. Plus it can take a long time to find a bunch of different fabrics, draping, and taking pictures.
Using Clues in Your Complexion to Narrow Down to What Season You Are
I’ve discovered an easier way using clues to narrow down to your season within the 12 season color analysis system. And these clues are found not just in your skin color but also in your hair color and eye color! That’s how I designed the quiz to work. Did you know that:
- red hair and a sunburst pattern in your eyes are clues that you’re a spring person?
- symmetrical lines in your eyes without the sunburst indicate that you are a winter person?
- freckles indicate you are muted versus clear (summer person or autumn person)?
- gray overtones in your eye color ALSO indicate you are summer or autumn?
When you put together all the clues in all the categories of warm versus cool, clear versus muted and light versus dark, you end up with a MATRIX that narrows you down to a specific season!
I just think it’s incredible the way there are patterns you can trace in people EYES and HAIR that are usually found at the same time on a person.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Just wanted to drop you a note to tell you how much I loved the season color analysis and how helpful it has been! After I figured out mine I did my husband and four kids’ seasons! The breakdown of each season into three sub-seasons made it initially more confusing and complicated but in the end much more helpful and specific. It also helped explain why my husband and I could be the same overall season even though he is much darker complexion-wise. We went clothing shopping yesterday for some missing pieces in our wardrobe and knowing our color seasons made it easier to find flattering clothes quicker! Also, today my husband stopped by my in-laws house and was wearing one of his new shirts. His mom and sister both said, “That color looks really good on you.” Now my husband is really a believer, lol. – Julie
Be Prepared for Exceptions in the Complexion Patterns
I hate to muddle things a bit with exceptions… But let me warn you that sometimes you will have 75% of the clues in the quiz indicate that you are one season, and then one of the clues is off playing in another field. This happens!
I’ll show you a few examples from my own family. A Winter with Autumn-Clues in Eyes In this first example, my sister Roxana is a Winter with cool-toned/pink undertone skin and dark brown hair. But she has eyes that say “Autumn/Spring”: the warm sunburst in the center is a clue for Spring and the speckles (hard to see in this pic) are a clue for an Autumn person.
If she had only gone off her eyes to decide her season, she would probably have pegged herself as warm instead of cool. But that’s the neat thing about the quiz I designed… you are looking a myriad of clues so even “outliers” shouldn’t significantly affect your results. It’s still good to be aware it can happen though. What this means for Roxana is that when she knows she scores warm for eyes, she can probably pull off some warm colors like olive. No wonder she looks amazing in that camo dress of hers! It brings out her eyes!
A Summer with Autumn Speckles in Eyes In this next example, you can see that though my gorgeous mother-in-law is a Light Summer (cool-toned skin, ashen blonde hair), she’s got flecks in her eyes that are typical of Autumns!
This may due to the fact that Summer and Autumn seasons share the muted/soft trait. Since these seasons overlap in that characteristic, some of her traits (in this case her eyes) borrow from patterns/colors typical of the other season. This is true of every season and subseason, they have a “sister” season that share a characteristic. (I explain sister seasons below.)
A Summer with Red Streaks in Hair My aunt is a Summer with very pinky/cool-toned skin and light blue eyes BUT she has reddish tones in her hair (a very warm characteristic).
Her best colors are cool though because her skin’s undertone is cool. Skin undertone is always the most important trait to look at. How to troubleshoot conflicting clues
- Focus on your undertone. Getting your undertone right will ALWAYS matter the most because the most important division in colors in warm versus cool. Perhaps you have red in your hair (warm clue) but your skin is very pinky (cool-toned) and eyes have a glass like pattern. This means you are probably cool-toned despite the warm clue in your hair.
- Look for your dominant traits. The complexion features that stand out the most are the strongest and will be where your best colors lean. Do you have pinky-toned skin but blazing red hair? You are likely leaning warm because that hair don’t lie.
- Settle for one dominant season but add one or two additional seasons that you can borrow from. I’ll talk more about how you can borrow best colors from other seasons but basically if you have one part of you that is warm and the rest is cool, you can often look good in some warm tones that would make purely cool people look sickly.
Not everyone has conflicting clues though. I have practically 100% clues for being a Summer (my eyes are gray-blue with crackled glass pattern, my hair is brown with zero red, and my skin is cool). But just be aware that this could happen in your quiz results! However, I designed the quiz to make it easy to go back through your answers and spot the outliers. Side note: It’s pretty cool that we can’t ALL be put into neat little boxes. It just declares how we are unique and complex creations!
Finding Your Subseason in the 12 Season Color Analysis System
When you know your main season (the quiz gives you this) the hardest part is over.
The final step of finding your subseason is quite easy! What is a subseason?
There are 3 subseasons within each season.
Let’s say you got “Autumn” using the free quiz.
Within the 12 season system (my favorite!) you could be the subseason: Warm Autumn, Deep Autumn or Soft Autumn.
In general, Autumns look best in colors that are: Warm, Dark/Deep, and Muted/Soft.
Do you see Autumn on the bottom left of the graphic here?
It’s on the warm side, the muted corner, and the dark/deep bottom. To find your subseason, simply decide which feature is dominant. So continuing with our example of an Autumn, here are the three subseasons:
- Warm Autumns have red or golden brown hair and very peachy/golden skin tone.
- Soft Autumns have medium to dark hair and warm undertone; they also have low contrast and light but soft eyes.
- Deep Autumns have high contrast with dark eyes and hair.
Here is a list of the subseasons:
- Warm Spring
- Clear Spring
- Light Spring
- Warm Autumn
- Muted/Soft Autumn
- Dark/Deep Autumn
- Cool Summer
- Muted/Soft Summer
- Light Summer
- Cool Winter
- Clear Winter
- Dark/Deep Winter
For visuals, check out Cardigan Empire’s helpful charts. Knowing your subseason is helpful because the final set of color choices get really filtered down to the ones that truly look the best on you. For example, the wide pool of recommended autumn colors looks like this: Autumn colors filtered down to “Soft” ones for Soft Autumns looks like this: Basically, the colors are further narrowed down to focus on the dominant trait within the subseason.
How “Sister” Seasons Work in the 12 Season Color Analysis System
Do you remember how I explained the properties in color in Part 1 of this series? To review, they are:
- Hue – This gives us warm vs cool
- Value – This gives us light versus dark
- Chroma – this gives us muted versus clear
Each of the four seasons in color analysis are made up of a set of colors that display these properties.
- Warm hues: Spring & Autumn
- Cool hues: Summer & Winter
- Light value: Spring & Summer
- Dark value: Winter & Autumn
- Muted chroma: Summer & Autumn
- Clear chroma: Spring & Winter
Once you know your season from the four main ones, you can further narrow yourself down to a subseason. Each of the four seasons break down into 3 subseasons (see the list in the previous section). Here’s a chart that shows this relationship: Because sister seasons share a characteristic you can steal colors from your sister season and often look amazing! To find your sister season, look for the other subseason that shares the color value of your season.
- Example #1: Soft Summers can steal colors from the Soft Autumn category because they share the “Soft” value
- Example #2: Deep Winters can steal colors from the Deep Autumn category because they share the “Deep” value
- Example #3: Cool Summers can steal colors from the Cool Winters category because they share the “Cool” value
What is your sister season?
Additional Help for Women of Color
The quiz includes prompts that apply to women of all color, however if you’re still having trouble deciding between warm and cool you might find these additional articles helpful!
- Your Color Style: Deciding Between Muted or Bright as Woman of Color
- Chic Fashionista: Color Analysis Examples for People of Color
How to Find What Colors You Should Wear Based On Your Season Results
After you’ve taken the quiz and found your best season match, you’ll then want to explore what set of colors are recommended for you.
Using Online Color Recommendations
I love the helpful graphics that CardiganEmpire.com offers. On each main season page, you can scroll to locate your subseason and see which colors are recommended AND not recommended for you. Use these links to navigate to the main season (then scroll to your best subseason match):
- Summer colors on Cardigan Empire
- Winter colors on Cardigan Empire
- Spring colors on Cardigan Empire
- Autumn colors on Cardigan Empire
You can also simply search Pinterest for your season type and find some color displays!
Using an Understanding of Color Properties to Find Your Personal Colors
Remember, the colors that are recommended for each season are based on the color properties of the season.
So, if you’re a Soft Autumn you are Warm, Soft, and Deep. As I explained in How Seasonal Color Analysis Works, this is how properties of color intersect with seasonal properties:
- Warm = Colors on the yellow side of the wheel (yellows, greens, oranges, coral, peach, orange-reds)
- Cool = Colors on the blue side of the wheel (pinks, burgundy, blues, teal green, purples)
- Soft/Muted = Some gray mixed in to colors so that they look more “dusty”
- Bright/Clear = Colors at full saturation
- Light = Light colors
- Dark/Deep = Dark colors
I like using Canva.com (it’s FREE!) to play around with colors using their color picker. Watch how you can locate different hues (warm/cool), values (light/dark), and chromas (soft/bright) on a color picker like the one on Canva.com:
Using Canva.com, you can craft your very own cohesive color palette! Simply keep the color properties for your season in mind as you pick colors. So for this Summer color palette, I put together Cool, Soft/Muted, and Light colors because Summer is Cool, Soft/Muted, and Light.
Learn how to get access to my editable season color palette templates below!
Get access to over a dozen pre-designed seasonal color palettes for Canva
I have created several pre-designed wardrobe color palette schemes on Canva already.
This means they already have great structure with “mix and match” ability already guaranteed and “season approved” colors, but you can edit them on Canva to your heart’s content! You can access these color palettes for the four seasons by purchasing one of my outfit guides for moms (it comes with each one) or by purchasing just my Mom Wardrobe Refresh mini course (this is also already included with any outfit guide!).
Coming Soon: Digital Quiz with Picture Examples
I am creating a premium digital quiz that will includes picture examples for each question and do all the calculations in the background for you.
Sign up here to get a notice when the digital quiz is available!
And that wraps up this post about finding your exact season in the 12 Season Color Analysis system!
In my next post of the series I will go over how to plan a cohesive wardrobe color scheme for your capsule wardrobe so that everything mixes and matches.
Until then, get started by taking the quiz and tell us your results in the comments! Please also leave any questions you have in the comments.
Download and print your quiz to get started!