I have a complicated history with color. Like many women, I’ve had my colors analyzed and been typed into a season. Several times, in fact. Today I’m sharing my thoughts on personal color analysis and why so many of us may love the concept but are less than thrilled with the results.
Most of us are familiar with Carol Jackson’s book, Color Me Beautiful which became a pop-culture phenomenon when it burst on the scene in 1974. She was far from the only person doing seasonal color palettes but her book was the most commercially successful. It slotted people into 4 categories (seasons) based on the intensity and undertone of their personal coloring.
It promised to make shopping easier because once we knew our “true colors” we could always dress in our most flattering colors. After the success of the book, she began selling color fans (fabric swatches by season) to use as a shopping companion, and trained consultants to advise women on what colors they should wear.
This system was helpful for many of us and disastrous for others. Many women were typed incorrectly plus the 4 season system was too general and limiting. It was later expanded to include 12 then 16 categories which were inclusive of more women, but still not foolproof.
Your personal coloring can now be typed as soft, light, muted, bright, deep, warm, cool, clear, fresh, calm, rich, crisp, bold, and on and on. You can be typed by Feng Shui element, your DNA and personality. The end goal is always to tell you what your most flattering colors are.
Here are my current thoughts on color typing:
If you want to be typed, find a very skilled pro. My friend Susan had her colors done recently by a team in London who sounds fantastic. I’d love to have them do mine.
We have great instincts about what colors do and don’t flatter us, so trust yours.
It’s smart and more cost-effective to build the backbone of your wardrobe in neutrals, but you don’t have to. If you want to use leopard print as your base, go for it.
If you’ve had your colors done and they don’t resonate with you, don’t limit yourself to wearing them.
If you feel great in a color, wear it.
I’ve had my colors done multiple times by fellow image consultants and always find my color fans extremely limiting. I also feel washed out in many of them. Most may be flattering on me but they don’t always send the message I want to project with my appearance. In broad terms, I have summer coloring.
It’s true that I am taking a hiatus from wearing black. But that has more to do with my own boredom and our gray weather than anything else. Although black is not one of my best colors, I will wear it when I want to feel a bit edgy, cosmopolitan, or project authority. I’ll wear white when I don’t want to commit. I’ll reach for beige when I want to dress quietly.
Do all these colors flatter me? No, but color can influence our thoughts and behavior so I will use it as a tool to affect my mood and the impression I give others.
My color training was based on the work of Suzanne Caygill who believed in the fundamental link between style, color, and a person’s personality. I was typed as an iridescent winter with her system. Then an iridescent summer.
I find the topic of personal color fascinating. Do you?
Thanks for reading ladies and remember to wear what makes you feel confident.