Between 1919 and 1933 Johannes Itten - Swiss painter and teacher at the Bauhaus University Germany- brought more clarity to the color analysis science. Itten was the first who observed that only certain colors would look good with certain skin or hair color on portraits. He created 4 different color pallets that he associated with 4 types of people and designated those types with the names of the 4 seasons. The creation of his 4 color pallets made it easier for his students to paint portraits.
Suzanne Caygill (1911-1994) a Californian color theorist took the research of Johannes Itten to the next level. She combined his “season theory” with Goethe’s “color psychology”. Suzanne developed a theory describing how human beings carry information about their personality and style in their own natural coloration, through the pigments in their skin, hair and eyes. In her theory she explained how personal traits relate to the color harmonies in nature. Her research became very popular and served as a solid foundation for many color professionals.
Based on Suzanne Caygill’s research, psychologist Carole Jackson formed her color analysis theory and wrote the book “Color Me Beautiful”. Her theory and book were very famous in the ’80s. Jackson utilized a seasonal color system less complicated than Caygill’s. Carole Jackson divided 1 type of personality per season whereas Caygill’s system described 16 different color personality types per season. Through her simplified harmonious color schemes she made it possible for the everyday woman to facilitate shopping for clothes, make-up and accessories.
How does it work?
As mentioned above, the 4 season color analysis by Carole Jackson is pretty straight forward. If you can figure out which your dominant characteristics are (warm versus cool and light versus dark), your “season” will automatically unfold. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? The best part is, it really IS that simple.
No need to read the whole book. You can easily do your own color analysis by following the easy steps below.
1. Define whether you are a COOL or a WARM type by examining your skin undertone.
Don’t know the difference between undertone/overtone?
The skin undertone is determined by different elements, namely hemoglobin, carotene and melanin. The composition of these 3 pigments is defined by genetics. This means that the composition will never change during a lifetime. Skin color (or skin overtone) can change due to a number of factors, such as exposure to sun, illness, blood pressure, etc.
Look beyond your skin’s color (overtone) to find the undertone that gives definition to your looks.
Here are 2 simple tests:
The vein test
By looking at the veins on your inner wrist, you can usually determine what undertone you have.
Green veins –> warm undertone
Blue veins –> cool undertone
If you can’t tell what color your veins have, try the gold/silver test.
The gold/silver test
For this test you will need one silver-colored and one gold-colored piece of fabric or paper. Place one hand on the silver-colored piece and the other hand on the gold-colored piece. Try also the inner side of your wrists or other body parts hardly exposed to the sun. You will notice that with the right color your skin color will blend in well with the color of the paper or the fabric and your skin will look even. With the wrong color your skin will look uneven and speckled.
- Skin looks even with silver –> cool undertone
- Skin looks even with gold –> warm undertone
2. Determine whether you are a LIGHT or a DARK type
Define the brightness (light or dark) of your eyes and your natural hair color.
Eyes and hair = DARK –> Winter
Eyes and hair = DARK –> Autumn
Finding your season is that easy ! It may be a bit tricky when you can have a mix of light and dark. In that case the most dominant character will determine your type. Keep reading and find your best matching colors.
Now comes the best part of the color analysis: discovering your personal matching color palette ! Scroll down and find out what should be in your closet from now on. Once you know your color palette, shopping for apparel, accessories and make-up will be a breeze !
COLOR PALETTE WINTER TYPE
Winter types should wear colors that are sharp and clear. White, black, navy blue, red and shocking pink all go well with winter complexions. For lighter colors, wear icy tones rather than pastels. Avoid subdued tones like beige, orange and gold.
Use a maximum of 3 colors for your outfit.
Dare to wear contrasting colors like black and white. You are the only type that looks good in black and pure white, use these colors!
For jewelry, silver is your color. Don’t exaggerate with jewelry and accessories.
COLOR PALETTE SUMMER TYPE
Summer types should choose pastels and soft neutrals with rose and blue undertones. Lavender, taupe, powder pink and powder blue suit summer types very well while black and orange do not.
Wear a lot of jewelry (silver), try different accessories.
For a relaxed and friendly look, choose pastels.
COLOR PALETTE AUTUMN TYPE
Fall types should select colors with golden undertones, like camel, beige, orange, gold and dark brown. Avoid colors with blue tones, like navy.
Use many colors, experiment with jewelry, be daring! The best color for your jewelry is gold.
To convey creativity, mix colors. Make sure to combine colors that match and complement each other well, such as green and red.
COLOR PALETTE SPRING TYPE
Spring types can wear warm colors like camel, peach, golden-yellow and golden brown. Avoid dark, dull colors. Do not wear black and white.
Don’t exaggerate with jewelry, wear gold (colors).
Light colors look best on you.
Wear reds for all of your personality traits. Blue-red conveys assertiveness. An orange-red would be worn by someone who is lively.
Tips for ALL types:
- Black makes you look slimmer but is only recommended for winter types, all the other types, choose other dark colors.
- To convey authority and power, wear your dark colors: black and navy blue. (Why do you think the police and other authorities are wearing navy blue or black uniforms?)
- Clear colors can be used to make your breasts look bigger.
- If you are a sales woman: do not use contrast, like black/white or blue/white, use harmonizing colors. The contrasts look too aggressive.
Experiment with these new findings. After you found your personal palette, try to analyze your friends and/or family and check if they are wearing their matching colors. If they are not, tell them about your new gained wisdom about color analysis, they will appreciate your advice !
Go to “trending colors for fall and winter 2013-2014“ to match your color palette with the latest trends. After having seen the new trending colors you probably want to know how these colors suit you. Take a glance at the “galleries” I have put together for each “season” and you will be pleasantly surprised how these new colors will make you look different and special.
Don’t forget to color your day !