In January of 1980 Carole Jackson started the color analysis craze with the release of her best seller Color Me Beautiful. Jackson changed the way we viewed clothing and shopping. It was not just about wearing clothing that fit, but wearing clothing that flattered your body and your skin.
Today, color plays a major role in the fashion industry. Each year color authority Pantone announces the “color of the year.” But will that new “it” color look good against your skin? Yes – you just have to find the right shade to match your skin tone.
Chemistry 101: Skin tone is a combination of 3 basic pigments: melanin, hemoglobin and carotene. Melanin is the primary pigment that determines how dark a person’s skin will be. Beauty 101: Skin tone is classified based on the seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter.
Before I jump to the seasons, let’s talk a bit about our veins. Yes those visible lines protruding from your skin like a meandering river. If your skin has yellow-gold undertones and your veins appear greenish, then you have a “warm” tone (Spring or Autumn). If your skin is pale or dark or blue undertones your veins will appear blue. This represents a “cool” tone (Winter or Summer).
Another easy test to determine skin tone is to take 2 scarves. One pink and one orange. Place each one individually next to your face. If you notice the scarf first versus your face and your skin looks dull then that color is not right for you. Try the next one. If pink is your skin’s friend then you are Summer/Winter. If the orange made your face shine then shop for Spring or Autumn tones.
So which colors will complement your skin tone? Let’s take it season by season.
Flowers blooming, the air is warming, birds are singing and the best part, our wardrobe gets lighter! Store those bulky jackets and wool pants.
Spring Celebs include: Cameron Diaz, Kate Hudson, Nicole Kidman. Spring skin is usually very fair. Hair is blonde or auburn with light blue or green eyes. Warning: Watch out for dark colors such as black and shades that are muted – if you put the color next to your skin and your eyes do not sparkle or your skin looks dull, then stay away! Spring colors to shop for: gold or yellow toned pastels, ivory, peach, red, coral, golden brown, aqua and bright green.
The transitional season. Not only a beautiful time of year but a beautiful skin tone too. Fall foliage turns vibrant green leaves into a medley of rich golden, rust, red, and orange hues.
Autumn Celebs include: Jennifer Lopez, Lucy Liu, Julia Roberts, Angelina Jolie. Autumns share spring’s golden/orange tones but typically have darker hair and complexions thanks to the higher level of melanin in the skin. Style your body in beautiful exotic tones of earthy reds and oranges, deep greens, moss green, teal and plums. Gold accessories will make your skin sparkle, silver accessories tend to make your skin look drab. Instead of pure white, wear ivory and soft beiges.
When I think of summer, I imagine a palette ripe with pastel watercolors and an inviting bowl of seasonal fruits!
Summer celebs include: Emma Stone, Jennifer Anniston, Gwyneth Paltrow. Summer skin is pink beige or ivory. Eyes are blue or gray. Hair is light brown to blonde. Soak up the summer sun by wearing cool colors with blue tones such as soft pinks, light blues, dusty rose, pale greens, coral, light lemon and watermelon hues. Black and bright white typically looks too stark next to soft summer skin. If you must wear, pair with pastel accessories to soften your skin. As an alternative, select cool winter hues (see below!). Remember – the wrong color will make you appear aged or sallow.
I love to look at beautiful white blankets of snow through my window. The brightness startles my senses! Bundle up and get ready to jump in!
Winter Celebs include: Anne Hathaway, Halle Berry, Selena Gomez. When thinking of Winter, envision Snow White. Pale skin with shiny black hair. Winter colors are vivid, dark and bright. Shop for jewel tones like royal blues, royal purple, lemon yellow, fuchsia. White and black, yes black; no other season looks better in this commanding hue are shining stars on Winter skin. Icy tones like light blue and grey complete this palette. Steer clear of warm tones that can make Winter skin look washed out or pasty. Accessorize with silver!
Mother Nature understands there are always exceptions to the rules. If you find a shirt or sweater that empowers you but it falls under the wrong season, go for it. You can always incorporate your season with a fun accessory.
Take the season test and let us know your season.