Discovering which colour group you fall into helps you work out what suits you, what makeup will flatter your skin tone, what shades to avoid and what hues will bring you to life. This can be applied not just to the things you wear but also the colours you surround yourself with in your bedroom and home.
Colour theory is a complex and detailed topic but when we talk about applying colour theory to fashion and to styling it is quite straight forward. There are four main colour groups when it comes to styling and these are broken up into the seasons – Summer, Spring. Autumn and Winter.
So, how do you discover what colour group you fall into and what exactly does that mean when it comes to the colour wheel…
Summer – Cool/Fair
Spring – Warm/Fair
Autumn – Warm/Dark
Winter – Cool/Dark
This is the simple way of understanding the colour groups but it becomes more detailed and there are varying tones and types under each category. For example, red heads often get confused because they are not particularly “dark” but still usually fit into Autumn because they are warm and have a level of depth to their colouring which most Springs don’t have.
Warm colours versus cool colours
Warm colours have a higher level of red, orange or yellow whereas cool colours have a higher level of blue, violet and green.
Colours all have varying depths and tones. They can be broken down into warm and cool depending on the level of blue undertone (cool) or red undertone (warm). That is not to say there are no cool reds or no warm blues, it all comes down to the shade, saturation and temperature.
Warm colours suit warm colouring – for example bronze and gold work on olive complexions whereas cooler coloured people look better in icey colours such as silver. It is about visual harmony and using colours which bounce off each other and blend well . A very cool coloured person would look washed out in a deep red because their colouring isn’t strong enough to compete with the depth of colour.
As a general guide, cool coloured people should stick to whites, soft greys, silver, pastels, blues and softer colours. Warmer coloured people should wear richer colours, such as burgundy, khaki, gunmetal grey, black and poppy colours.
Blacks, whites & grey
These colours are neutral, they suit everyone depending on the shade (and styling!). It comes down to selecting the tone, such as a bright white for a cooler person or more creamy beige for those with warmer undertones. This ties into the warm/cool colouring concept too. Black is the only shade exempt from this and suits almost everyone.
Clear, light & warm
Spring people have fair hair, a warm undertone and a low contrast between their eye, hair and skin colour. The colours which suit Spring people, as with all the seasons, are the colours you imagine when you think of this season – soft, colourful, pastels, pink, blue, orange and peach. A classic Spring is someone like Rachel McAdams.
Soft, light, cool
Summer's have very fair hair with a higher contrast between their skin and eye colour than Springs. They are pale with cool tones in their skin. They suit full bodied, bright colours such as well as lots of cool shades such as white, grey, silver and baby blue. Any shade of denim is perfect for Summers. A classic Summer is someone like Gwyneth Paltrow.
Soft, deep, warm
Autumns have warm undertones, olive skin, brown, red or dark blonde hair. Their colouring is very rich but soft and they suit copper, orange, gold and burgundy as well as contrasting colours such as khaki. A classic Autumn is Jessica Alba.
Clear, deep, cool
Winters have cool undertones with dark hair and dark eyes, they tend to have a high contrast between their skin tone and hair. Winters can carry deep, rich colours such as navy blue, jewel tones, gunmetal grey and black. A classic Winter is someone like Kim Kardashian.
Discovering your season can be incredibly helpful when it comes to clothing choices and once you understand the cool vs warm concept it all starts to make sense. One good way to work it out is stand in front of a mirror and hold colour swatches/fabrics beside your face – you will notice the difference between the colours which are for you and the ones which definitely aren't!. You should feel vibrant and lit up when you get the right one and flat or dull with the wrong one.
To discover more about colours, body shapes and how to dress head over to my styling services page here or keep an eye out for my next style advice blog "How To Take More Style Risks" coming soon x