All About Color – Part 2

Autumn – Spring – Summer – Winter (c) V. Wootton

A little history: The Seasons

The seed of color analysis was planted when German philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) realized the connections between different colors and created “color psychology”. But that was just a beginning, there was no mention yet of the connection and reaction between the color of clothes and skin tone.

Between 1919 and 1933, Johannes Itten (Swiss Impressionist painter and professor at the Bauhaus University in Germany) took things a step further when he concluded that portraits look better when certain colors were used in conjunction with specific hair and skin tones. He then created four different color palettes corresponding to the four seasons, each of which included four different complexions. These made it much easier for students to paint more attractive portraits.

California-based color theorist Suzanne Caygill (1911-1994) took the next step by combining Itten’s “season theory” with Goethe’s “color psychology”. Her own theory asserted that humans carry information about their personality and style in their natural coloration, and that through personal traits such as skin, hair, and eyes we can relate personal colors to those found in nature. This theory proved to be extremely popular and became the foundation for many color professionals.

Finally, psychologist Carole Jackson wrote the book “Color Me Beautiful”, which became wildly popular in the 1980’s. In it, she simplified Caygill’s seasonal system (which used sixteen different personalities per season), and reduced it to a single personality per color season. This made it vastly more straightforward for everyday women to shop for appropriate clothes, accessories, and makeup.

How to tell which season is yours

Complexion is probably the best way to tell your season type. Hair color and eye colors can be used for confirmation.

The colors are divided into cool and warm, Spring and Autumn colors are warm, while Summer and Winter colors are cool. The easiest way to determine whether you have a warm or cool complexion is to look at the veins on your wrists. If they have a greenish tinge, you have warm coloring, and cool if they look blue.

Pastel colors are best for Spring and Summer with their delicate coloring, but Autumn and Winter do well in richer, bolder hues.

If you are confused about what colors to wear, think of your favorite colors. What colors draw your attention? When I’m shopping for clothes, I only have to glance in the window of the store, and if I don’t see any orange, turquoise or other warm colors,  I know they have nothing for me. My coloring is Spring.

Disregarding current fashion trends, what colors do you feel you look good in, or receive compliments for?

The bottom line is that you feel comfortable, at your best.

Finding your season


Complexion: soft and warm pinks and rose tints, light beige
Hair: A range of light browns, reddish brown, warm blonde, warm grey
Eyes: Blue-green, blues, hazel, green, amber.

These are some of the best colors for Spring



Complexion: Cooler pinks
Hair: Platinum blonde, light brown, black, light grey
Eyes: Blue-grey, blue, blue green, violet,

These are some of the best colors for Summer



Complexion: Olive, warm Beige, Cafe au lait, warm Brown
Hair: Dark Brown, auburn, chestnut, warm brown, black, warm grey
Eyes: Hazel, brown, blue-green, green, amber,

These are some of the best colors for Autumn


Note: Autumn coloring also looks great with teal and turquoise.


Complexion: Pink, cool beige, mahogany brown, dark brown,
Hair: Ash brown, black, mahogany brown, iron grey
Eyes: Brown, grey, blue

These are some of the best colors for Winter


Next Week: Part 3-1  Decorating with Color


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