Seasonal color analysis: What is it and why is it sustainable?
Seasonal Color Analysis is a great tool to find the existing synergy between colors and our physical aspects. This article introduces the concept of Seasonal Color Analysis and its role in sustainability.
Words by Ivana Coletta
Seasonal Color Analysis
Seasonal Color Analysis is a tool that helps us find out the colors that harmonize with our natural eye, hair, and skin color. It is believed that wearing these colors makes our skin appear lighter, our eyes brighter and our smile whiter.
According to Seasonal Color Analysis, all stains can be divided into the undertone (cool or warm) and value (light or deep). These two sections belong to a bigger group called season, named after the four seasons of the year: spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Each color season comes with a color palette specifically designed to harmonize with your natural color.
The first step of a Seasonal Color Analysis is to identify your undertone. To determine if your skin is warm or cool, you can do the white paper test: grab a piece of white paper and hold it up to your face in bright daylight. If your skin looks pink by comparison, you're cool toned. If your face looks yellow by comparison, you're warm toned.
The second step of a Seasonal Color Analysis is to Identify your value: Now that you know your undertone, you can determine if it is naturally light or dark based on your hair and eye color. Combine this with your undertone, and you get 1 of 4 seasons.
Based on seasonal color analysis result: Summer
The cool seasons are winter and summer; the warm ones are spring and autumn. Each of them has a different undertone and values' intensity.
Winters are generally characterized by a cool undertone, dark hair and eyes, and high contrast.
Summers have a cool undertone, light eyes, and hair.
Autumns identify with a warm undertone, dark hair, and eyes.
Springs are classified with a warm undertone, light hair, and eyes.
Seasonal Color Analysis leaves out quite a few combinations, so it has been expanded:
Hue/ Undertone (warm or cool). Hue defines the color family of an object or what color it is - green, purple, orange, etc. Although it is not generally accepted, we perceive some colors as warmer and others as colder. This is often referred to as the temperature or undertone of color. It can be either warm, cool, or neutral.
We associate yellow, orange, and red with warmth, while violet, blue and green tend to be cool. This doesn't mean that all yellows are warm and all blues are cool.
Any color can have warm or cool undertones - think of an acid yellow (yellow mixed with green) and a tangerine yellow (yellow mixed with orange). The former has a more outstanding quality than the latter. In Seasonal Color Analysis, there's a general consensus that yellow is the warmest color and blue is the coolest. This is because warm skin tones tend to have yellow undertones, while cool skin tones have bluish undertones. Therefore, blue-based colors are considered cool - the more blue, the cooler the color. Yellow-based colors are warm. And warmer colors contain more yellow.
Based on seasonal color analysis result: Autumn
Value (light or dark). Value denotes the depth of a color or how light or dark it is. White was added to light colors, and they're called tones. Black was added to dark colors, and they're called shades.
Chroma (bright or muted). Chroma defines the saturation of a color, how bright (clear) or softened it is. Another way to understand chroma is to think of how "close to gray" a color is. Clear, bright colors are far from gray because they're highly saturated. The more saturation is taken away, the closer a color gets to gray and the more muted it becomes. When you add gray to a color, it becomes a tone.
When you combine these 3 categories, you get 12 categories. Your unique balance between them can help you determine the colors with similar properties and will theoretically fit you harmoniously.
Seasonal Color Analysis is not a new concept. However, our modern understanding of harmonious color stems from the 19th-century Impressionist painters' knowledge of the seasons. To accurately depict each season, they needed to understand the colors that reflected that season.
This means that nature changes colors throughout the seasons. Think of the colors of landscapes as they experience the four distinct seasons of spring, summer, autumn, and winter - the fresh tones of spring, the soft tones of summer, the earthy shades of autumn, and the icy tones of winter. The reflection of light in nature creates these color changes. Every time the sun changes its location, it bathes the world in a new light.
Since we humans are also part of the natural world, it's only logical that we apply these colors to ourselves. But it wasn't until the 1980s that using the four seasons for color choices became popular in fashion. And that was mainly due to Carole Jackson's successful book, Color Me Beautiful.
It's important to note that Seasonal Color Analysis doesn't assign colors to personality or body shape. Instead, it involves determining three aspects of your natural color scheme and matching them with clothing colors with similar elements.
Seasonal Color Analysis is terrific to help us feel better about what we wear and what we buy, but that doesn't mean you must completely change your wardrobe or makeup once you discover your season. Seasonal Color Analysis can be helpful when it comes to being sustainable, paying attention to what we buy, and cutting down on fast fashion. What I mean is, once you know what season you belong to, you can try to buy things that fit you well in terms of colors and tones, therefore limiting your purchasing to only flattering colors according to your Seasonal Color Analysis result. Remember that Seasonal Color Analysis is advice to help you feel better wearing colors in your palette, but you do not have to follow it all the time. If, for instance, you feel good wearing black and it is not in your palette, do it anyway! Just remember to shop responsibly and sustainably!