Know thy colour, dressing your season 101

Many a friend has been out with me and has been amused when I suddenly dive into my purse searching and searching until – ‘Here it is’ – I produce this little booklet with a huge array of swatches in different colours… ‘What on EARTH is that?’ they exclaim.. and here I preach the gospel of colours…

Getting your colours ‘done’ was huge in the 1980′s, now not so much, but I was treated to a colour analysis at the tender age of 16 and have never looked back. AND as Spring/Summer 2011 is ALL about BRIGHT colours, this may be quite handy to some of you. So what is ‘getting your colours done’  all about? Have you ever worn something and someone has said ‘oh wow, that colour looks amazing on you?’ or some items you adore but when you put it makes you look so drab and lifeless? Well a lot of it has to do with it being your colour or not. If you wear the wrong colours you can look older, heavier, tired – and sometimes ill whereas when you wear the right colours you suddenly look healthier, younger, slimmer and brighter. A colour analysis divides people in to four categories:

1. Winter

2. Summer

3. Spring

4. Fall/Autumn

Your seasonal colour range will compliment the colouring of your  skin, hair and eyes.

Before I move onto what season is what colours, a word on colour. Attributes of colour include its:

  • HUE: the name of the colour 
  • TEMPERATURE: eg. warm, cool or even neutral. Warm colours are YELLOW based and cool colours are BLUE based. Neutral colours are pure colours – neither cool nor warm. 
  • VALUE: is the colour light, medium light, dark, medium-dark
  • INTENSITY: how clear or muted the colour appears

Your main seasonal colour has these attributes and so do clothing colours. Once you know your season, to determine if an item of clothing will suit you, you look for colours with attributes that most closely match your seasonal colours’ attributes. This helps if you don’t have your season swatch handy (that’s why i constantly keep mine in my purse!)

So here are the seasons:


These colours are cool (blue-based), clear and dark to light intensity. Think of a winter landscape. Here you’ll see colours such as white, black, navy and fushia. I am always jealous of  winter people as they get to look great in white and black! 

seasonal color analysis winter


Summer colours are also cool (blue-based) but they are muted and medium-light to medium-dark in value. The light colours are creamy pastel rather than icy. There are some really gorgeous summer colours – like the pastel blues and purples. 

seasonal color analysis summer


Spring colours are warm (yellow-based), clear and bright with medium to light intensity. Think of the bright clear colours of spring flowers. This is my season, I absolutely love the coral, apricoty colours but find it hard to put on the kelly green! seasonal color analysis spring


Autumn colours are warm, muted and medium light to medium-dark intensity. Think of rich burnt oranges, reds, golden yellows and sludgy greens. I am yet to find many autumn people but think their colour palette is fantastic! 

seasonal color analysis autumn

You can pay an image consultants heaps to use drapes and to figure out your season or you can easily work it out yourself – and with the help of a great friend. Using your wardrobe of clothes, a full length mirror and a well lighted (natural) room you can simply go through your closet and sort your clothes in to colour categories. For each colour category pile, choose an item and place it under your chin from shoulder to shoulder. Look in the mirror and see what the colour does for your skin, hair, eyes and facial appearance. 

Does it…


  • Throw shadows up onto your face? 
  • Make you look grey, yellow, orange, blue
  • Emphasise facial contours and lines? 
  • Emphasise dark circles under your eyes? 
  • Make your eyes and teeth look yellow or grey or dull? 
  • Make your skin or hair look flat, dull and lifeless? 
  • Dominate your face, so your eyes are dragged down towards the garment?


If it does any of the above put it into a “reject” pile OR Does it…

  • Light up your face (skin, hair and eyes)? 
  • Make your eyes sparkle?
  • Emphasise the color of your eyes?
  • Make you look healthy and vivacious?
  • Draw your eyes up towards your face?

If it does any of the above put it into an “accept” pile.
You’ll end up with a pile of clothes and from then you can figure out which season you fall into. 

How do I make the wrong colours work? A big issue is black and white or items of clothing you absolutely don’t want to part with. No need to throw them out. Make them work better for you instead, by minimising the amount of the wrong colour reflecting onto your face. It’s only colours above the waist that reflect onto your face. So it may be possible to make a shirt or dress work by wearing a jacket or cardigan in one of your colors. Or by adding a scarf or necklace in the right color. Or even by wearing the right colour make-up. 

So, readers, I encourage you to give this a go. It makes shopping so much more fun (if it isn’t fun enough already!) and it certainly helps you allow yourself to look better in what you’re wearing. Tired Momma’s like us can use any help we can get to look more alive don’t we?!

xxo, Simplystylishmom


Info and colours courtesy of



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15 thoughts on “Know thy colour, dressing your season 101

  1. Kindly contact me, I want to combine into corporate/individual seminars complete non verbal training, body language, face reading, voice, etc including dressing men and women according to their seasons, draping them etc…Amway once had an entire program like thism awesome. I need to know where I can attend a class, seminar and receive professional instruction on color, drape and patch materials. I would deeply appreciate your help in pointing me in the right direction.
    Captain Kent Peter Larsen, ATP (USMC) 919 273-6172

  2. Summer colors are cool,but are also muted with medium light to medium dark strength. Summers belong within the ” Cool Based ” palette with blue undertones. Summer skin tends to compare gently with their hair and eyes.

  3. Learn from your desktop: No need to travel distances to reach a classroom of hundreds and learn English.
    In addition, you’ll want a teacher who has taken the time to become certified. Because of this, it is imperative to determine first their difficulties and needs so that whatever materials a teacher purports to design should be in accordance with these needs.

    • Smoothreentry: yes I see what you mean. Don’t buy her clothes, there are so many things girls like better than clothes – I’d much prefer to buy my own clothes and have my husband gift me other things eg. pedicure, flowers, chocolate etc… much easier than him having to go through the difficult task of shopping for me!

  4. Pingback: Tricky Thursday – Dressing within your color palette. | Seeing Double

  5. Pingback: Plus Size Dresses UK: Factors to Consider when Shopping for One | Fashion Clothing Home

  6. Pingback: Know Your Season (How to Dress in Your Colors)

  7. Thanks for your marvelous posting! I really enjoyed reading it, you will be a great author.
    I will remember to bookmark your blog and may come back later in
    life. I want to encourage you continue your great work, have a nice evening!

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