Light And True Spring: Neutral Colours At The Office And CEs

The previous article was about settling into the mood. We looked at some landscapes to help us get the human face and all the emotions it evokes out of our decision-making. The brains of women especially go into an overdrive when we see faces (which is why advertisers make a point of using a face or at least a set of eyes in ads) that make it very hard to be completely impartial about colours to include or decline from the scene. It looks good, right, and real when the woman, her natural colouring, the colours she’s wearing, her own style, and the style she’s wearing, all point in the same direction.

We also decided on the neutral colours are that will be the spine of a work wardrobe. Spring looks so good in colour that wardrobe neutral (which is different from neutrality in heat level) was expanded from grey/beige/brown/taupe to include navy and your darker green, which are the suits I would choose. I would also add blush and pale peach to the light colour choices.

First thing: You Don’t Have To Be Perfect. (Or: Don’t Let What You Can’t Do (or Find At The Stores) Stop You From What You Can Do). We could have an ID bracelet : iLearn. iAdapt.

The face, the woman

Let’s bring in faces. Who are we dressing?

Kate Hudson and Scarlett Johansson may be Light Springs.

60 Minutes is the only TV I watch so I see Leslie a lot. I find her very beautiful in her expressions. She conducts an interview with curiosity and interest, not a fact finding mission. One of Spring great assets is their charm. Because Spring can look so young, age bestows a power and confidence that the young may not feel easy to own. Below is how a True Spring looks wearing Light Spring colours: better than many other choices but somehow not enough the balance her. She is more colour than what she’s wearing. Notice the Suzanne Somers-Joni Mitchell face proportions. True Spring was assembled to look best when they’re smiling. You see twinkling eyes, dimpled cheeks, beautiful teeth, the natural disposition is just to be happy.

Lesley Stahl
Lesley Stahl Pictures

Give her heat, anybody’s heat and it’s better because heat is the TMIT for True Spring. The eye colour is more faded than it needs to be but that’s just a little colour adjustment to bring them up to the level of the hair and lip intensity. I often feel that I would be happy to know her and be in her presence. Looking at these Spring faces, who wouldn’t?

Lesley Stahl
Lesley Stahl Pictures

Ivana – love her lipstick, dress, and necklace. A woman who knows what looks good on her never goes out of style. True Spring needs a lot of cosmetic colour for their magic to happen. Nobody can outdo them cream skin, lagoon eyes, clear apricot cheeks, and pure coral lip colours, all swirling around. Colours aren’t too blended because they aren’t on the natural face. Ivana’s lips, cheeks, and eyes are distinct. I have said that Ivanka, her daughter, may be a True Spring. She has some of her mother’s qualities, but her voice is deep and her manner blunt, more Autumnal. Who knows?

Ivana Trump
Ivana Trump Pictures

Office attire

By comparing the neighbour Seasons of Light Spring (the natural colouring made up of True Spring’s base palette, then cooled and hazed by a wash from Summer’s, so 2 True Season parents = Neutral Season) and True Spring (the natural colouring defined by pure, light, warm, yellow-based pigments), you can see the size of the visual heat shift. You can see darkness and saturation shifts as well when you look from one Polyvore to the next.

For the good of the group, Spring, wear more colour than anyone else. It’s a good rule, rather like always be the most sober person in the room. For the office, keep the number of juicy colours to one big block and one little one, which could be lipstick or earrings, a watch or scarf. Try keeping the very colorful items near you but not on you if you feel too much at first. A colourful jacket or sweater you can drape or carry, a clutch or wallet, a hair accessory on the back of your head, shoes, a laptop case, it all counts if it’s seen in your vicinity. Colour signals confidence, creativity, imagination, sensitivity, self-motivation, and an open-mind. If I am hiring, those are what I’m looking for because they are near impossible to teach, learn, or implant.

Use grasshopper green and goldfish orange. All of us, so often, the TMIT of our Season is what we are busiest suppressing and covering, the thing that makes us most special that we downplay. Being a toned down version of our TMIT makes us usual, average, and hidden. It seems we do it without thinking, and yet it’s the unique features that we love most about others, that define them, not the traits they share with the rest of us. If True Spring does wear mostly neutrals in clothes to work, make every accessory coloured within the limits of the boardroom. While that may look too fanciful on anyone else, on a Spring, it’s a woman who knows what suits her.

All-one-colour looks too quiet. Analogous colours are too gradual.  Spring jumps around more, facial expressions changing every few moments. The person looks like a lot of colour and is better balanced when dressed that way. Of course, nobody looks like a lot of colour right out of bed. Most humans look like variations of brown. We don’t sit at the Food Court and see the yellow-based people. If you stood everyone side-by-side, you’d see the yellow ones. Dressed in their best colours instead of the colours of pavement that are favored these days, suddenly everyone looks different and more like themselves.

For the Polyvores below, if you visit the site, you can zoom in and take a better look round.

True Spring

True Spring neutrals office

 

 

Light Spring

 

For both:

Be unexpected. A blue that has a trace of violet. A coloured shoe. Wear the coloured skirt or pant and neutral top or vice versa but wear colour. Keep the cut conservative and the size of the vivid block controlled.

Purple is so important on Spring, but like yellow and orange, can make textile or garments look less quality, so make these your most beautiful purchases.

The daisy print is saved because the centers are not yellow. The grownup version of kids’ items looks superb – hairbands, patterned tights, beads, all very workable in neutral colours.

Not tortoiseshell, which looks odd to me on everyone but the 3 Autumns. Coloured plastic better.

Avoid fabrics that mute or dull colour. Pick fabrics with a little shine in one element of the outfit. It’s pretty because you shine a little. Also, it adds the sensation of movement just by breathing, which keeps shifting the light play.

If the outfit is neutrals, make the accessories colourful and the makeup glowing, vibrant, alive. Neutral colours don’t belong on True Spring faces and nor do shy lips, which True will turn gray. Just to simulate the natural lip colour for a no-makeup look, it takes a lot of pigment. Neutral colours do belong on Light Spring faces – grey eyeshadows, softer blush, and apricot and beige lips.

Don’t wear darkest with darkest, especially Light Spring. The overall value effect is light for the Lights and medium for the True.

Wear green, excellent for those of us looking at you.

Liven up neutrals by finding them in prints. Coloured buttons are good.

Why all the solid colours in the collections? Because I don’t see prints I like. I was asked to do florals for the 12 Seasons. I’m sorry, it would take years. Wear them if you can find them. Prints are great on Spring.

Consider that neutrals are a bigger challenge for Spring to find than colour. To me, they always feel a little unexciting, as if they do not quite live up the potential of the person. Look at navy, your darker turquoise colours as pant, suit, and skirt colours. Widen the meaning of neutral colour. Some analysts consider your red among your neutrals.

Coloured coats, trenches, and jackets look good on you.

Keep the overall look relaxed. The dark suit looks stiff and heavy. Spring isn’t wrapped that tight.

Play to your strengths. What is it that Spring knocks our socks off with that nobody else can do? Yellow-green. It’s uncommon, it looks like the new leaves we wait for each year.

True Spring

Don’t match too much.

Wear lots of accessories. You know how children can wear a candy necklace, several bracelets, hair clips, and look fabulous. Spring has a lot of that.

Never dull down Spring in any of the 3 colour dimensions. A True Spring who compromises saturation or darkness level looks pale, floury, grey, with doughy bone structure and no angles in the face. True Spring is looking for warmth first, yes, but pure pigments and enough darkness really do matter too.

What about a print with white in it? What should come across is sun. Even a little white can look too crisp and drain you as the Bright Spring drapes did. The two turquoise tops in the upper left of the Polyvore – see how the one to its right has more warmth of a yellow type beaming out of it? The dots one on the left is cooler in the colour, and cooler still and sharper by the white, no primary sense of sunshine, looks more Bright to me.

True Spring goes darker than Light. Experiment with it. If you overshoot, it’s not a big deal. If a Light Spring overshoots, even far from the face, the whole picture is weighed down.

Beige yellow, butterball yellow, not cool yellow. The yolk in those Laura Secord Easter eggs. For zingy days, wear it with purplish blue and pretend you had no idea what purple and yellow do for each other.

I wouldn’t wear red, orange, purple pants to the office but would in a skirt with a cream or beige top. Consider more stuff at the store tomorrow than you did yesterday.

Wearing a busy coloured top? Make the bottom be one of the colours in the top rather than adding yet another colour element.

Mod looks great.

Orange can be a colour that preoccupies the eye, maybe just my eye, but it’s very at home on Spring.

The brown dress – too muted/orange/Autumn? Maybe it’s on the line. Wear it with the Spring orange cardi to pull it over to Spring.

I love blazers. Love them. You won’t wear your red lips to work, favoring nectarine, but wear your red blazer. It looks awesomely strong. Wear it on Casual Friday to stay office-worthy.

Light Spring

Much like True Spring but a lighter colour stamp, since the Season’s TMIT is that colours be light.

Bit more monochromatic than True Spring but still lots of colour. A pink blouse and a turquoise sweater look fine. Since the article is about neutrals, I used those more but go the colour way if you like. We will be very happy looking at you.

The cooler yellows are gorgeous as are the cooler pinks.

Build your wardrobe in the next few months, even buy your Christmas dress now. You’ll be happy in December.

Light Spring Looking Serious has a lot more information about this Season.

Accessories

We still need to superimpose the Polyvore below on top of those we just looked at. That’s how much the audience has to connect. We are like a 1000 piece puzzle to look at. So amazing when all the pieces fit, so obvious when one doesn’t, somehow our eye goes right to it. Imagine a black dot floating in those collections. You would see nothing else, you’d just stare at it moving around like some kind of hypnosis, like the railroad tracks effect of black mascara.

True Spring on the left, Light Spring on the right.

True and Light Spring office accessories

 

 

In 12 Season personal or seasonal colour analysis, True Spring looks

Yellower and warmer.The pink drop earrings for Light Spring are cooler pink and the metal less yellow. Belt buckles are yellower for True Spring.

Brighter, which can translate to bolder.

More pigmented or saturated (compare the green shoes – are they yellower on the Light side? Yes, but you’re always juggling heat/value/saturation at once and these are less saturated).

True Spring’s accessories can also take on more weight. That could be more solid (a heel), sturdy (fabric weight, a buckle), chunky (a belt), big (a stone), or wide (a strap). That bead on a wire effect in jewelry, it looks really excellent on Light Spring. Don’t be too literal or exclusive here, many pieces will work well in both Seasons.

—–

From the book RTYNC pictured in the column to the right:

Colour Equations Light Spring

One light, medium, or dark neutral colour + one light colour or one medium colour

One light to medium-dark neutral colour + one light colour + one medium colour

Two light to medium neutral colours + one light colour

One neutral colour + two colours

Use of complementary pairs in medium sized blocks or with quieter colours.

Overall light to medium darkness effect

——

Colour Equations True Spring

One light, medium, or dark neutral colour + two brighter colours of similar area

One large block light to medium-dark neutral colours + one small block medium-dark to dark neutral colour + one brighter or lighter colour

One light, medium, or dark neutral colour + one bright colour + two other colours in small areas

Two colours

Full use of complementary pairs

Overall light to medium-dark effect

—–

We are dressing to look like we inhabit our natural space, looking like we were meant to look when we stepped into this world. The glow and vitality of perfect health and eternal youth are Spring’s claim to fame.

 

—–

27 thoughts on “Light And True Spring: Neutral Colours At The Office And CEs”

  1. I love the fact that you have chosen more mature ladies as examples – Spring colours always seem so young to me. Bright, lively, energetic, full of pep. Seeing young women dressing in these colours is charming, even enchanting, but making the transition to maturity and then old age must be quite a challenge.

    My friend is facing exactly this. All her life she has been drawn to the bright, slightly ditsy, slightly hippy look. Florals, the odd frill. Charming mismatches, a clash or two… Now at 50+ those things are feeling too young and she is floundering a little, and moving very much into grey, particularly for work. It suits her (wonderfully!) but she also needs the bright touches which are so gorgeously enlivening.

    Thanks for the Polyvores on work outfits – I will draw them to her attention.

    Jo

  2. P.S. am I the only person who thinks that Ivana Trump’s foundation is WAY too pink?

    Jo

  3. This is another great article and great polyvores for clothing ideas (in my colors, of course :).

  4. Brilliant! Love it. This was exactly what I was hoping for and the Polyvores are REALLY good! I have bookmarked this page so when I am shopping I can flick back to it to keep my head in the right place. Love your examples of people who fits into Spring. And as always your insight is uncanny. Thank you so much, this was such a pleasure to read! Xx

  5. I’m so happy to see this and the previous post. I last commented on a dark autumn article, thinking I was possibly a dark autumn (probably a true autumn) and resisting. After a lot of feedback from friends and experimentation I figured out that I’m actually a dark eyed, dark haired true spring! That red orange color does all kinds of good things to me and so do buttery yellow, tangerine, and apricot. One of my better “autumn” pictures had my face resting very close to my son’s yellow-green shirt…a ha.

    I spent several weeks trying to convince myself that I was an autumn, despite the fact that personality-wise, I’m way more spring than autumn; despite noticing that the orange in my brown eyes is more beer bottle than brick; despite only loving the autumn shades of lipstick that were really, really bright (like bright orange Cover Girl Temptation); despite relating to the spring friend on the couch more than the lady working in the kitchen in your post on Autumn jewelry. A friend whose been watching me explore all of this pushed me to try spring after noticing that the spring palette “seems to elevate you upward, rather than ground you downward” like the autumn palette.

    Anyway, many thanks, Christine!

  6. Pleeeeeease do one like this for Bright Spring!

    Also, I’m curious why you only did Light and True Spring in your last two Spring articles.

  7. These are both great posts about Springs – thank you, Christine! Although I absolutely love the TSp colors by themselves and love them even more for the sunshine they impart on my complexion, it is indeed a challenge to find “grown up” colors in this palette. You have inspired me to try new color combinations; as you so succinctly put it, “Consider more stuff at the store tomorrow than you did yesterday.” Once again – Thank You!

  8. Christine, I would enjoy seeing the Colour Equations for these groups Thank you

  9. Lian,
    I’ll work on the B Sp. I’ve been meaning to do T Sp for awhile and just had a T Sp client so the look was in my head. I’ve also had many emails about neutral colours for L Sp. I combined the 2 into one article.

  10. Jo, Judging from Mr. Trump, we go back to what? the 70s? Before? Maybe all foundations were too pink back then? (I wonder who talked him into pinkish orange hair, though it works in some marvelous way).

  11. Christine, I have a question. Other than an official IRL draping, is there any way to know if yellowish skin color is a true Spring yellow or just a sallow overtone on a cool-undertoned person? I assume while wearing warm colors, one looks good and the other bad, but is there a definitive look or trait? And where does olive skin figure into all this? This is something that has had me confused since the early days of CMB, and even after my recent draping, I still don’t know how to differentiate. Thanks!

  12. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and ideas! As probably a True Spring this text was very helpful. I have mistaken myself for a long time as a Dark or Soft Autumn with dressing mainly in Neutrals (so easy!) and depriving myself from my true strength. Reading your texts I have learned to accept more colours in my wardrobe. I have kicked out all the blacks and started to experiment with colour. This feels so much better. I was afraid I might look like a clown or a parrot but… I cannot help but enjoying colours. Thanks a lot!

  13. Dear Christine,

    I just discovered a website/catalog that sells clothing by seasonal colors. It is called Kettlewell (www.kettlewellcolours.co.uk). They seem to be using the 4 season system. However, it would not be difficult to adapt to12 seasons. Unfortunately, they only sell in the UK and Europe. I can’t use them (drat), but many of your international fans may be able to benefit. The prices seem reasonable. Hope the information is useful to someone!

    Laura from the U.S.

  14. Do you think Goldie Hawn is a light spring or true spring? I could not tell which way you were leaning based on you comments.

    Thank you for the wonderful posts on springs. Very helpful and interesting!

  15. I tend to think of Goldie as True and Kate Hudson as Light but if that yellow hair of Goldie’s were pulled away, IDK what I’d think. Goldie also has a big, wide smile, can support the yellow hair, looks a bit like Cam Diaz, and has an out-there character – all more so than Kate, all of which make me think of True.

  16. Hello Christine,
    I love your blog and reading your descriptions of the seasons. I especially liked the two on Light Spring–which is the season I think I am. Have you ever thought of doing fragrances for the seasons? I think that would be very interesting.

  17. Spent a long time shop browsing today, and the spring/summer 2012 color trends are perfect for all Springs. I’m not a Spring, but for those who are, this seems to be THE year to stock up on Spring neutrals and work-appropriate clothes, which are normally hard to track down.

  18. I have thought of it but when we try it with our facebook group of women, we can’t seem to find any common tendencies. The sterotype is Summer floral, Winter orientals, etc., as with many stereotypes and Seasons, they don’t seem to hold true with real women. Good idea though.

  19. I completely agree. There’s loads of colour for Spring. Makeup too.

  20. Agree that Taylor Swifts colouring is warm, but google her pictures, I don’t think she can handle the contrast level and darkness of T Sp. Do you see her as a light version of warm spring? I always felt that all 12 seasons should come in two versions, a lighter version and one with full depth and contrast.

  21. Michelle – I know what you mean. Overall, she comes across more as a Light. And yes, many Seasons could have 2 versions. The Soft Seasons perhaps most of all.

  22. Hi Christine! :) Love the article! Its so awesome to know my season. I’ve always been obsessed with colors,but certain ones in particular. I now know its the True Spring palette I was/am chasing ^_^

    Okay so this is out of the blue but I really would like a great color analyst advice like yours.
    Out of these hair colors what do you suppose are the best hair colors for a true spring?
    A clear red,Strawberry blonde,golden blonde,or a brunette?
    I am naturally a strawberry blonde color. But I umm like to play with my hair color sometimes.
    Alot of people seem to like brunette,it has a rather nice snow white effect since I have such fair skin,but I don’t feel this is a good color for me. I think people like it for the wrong reasons.I do enjoy a red that is just a bit redder then my own hair color and about the same level of lightness,but I want to be sure I am not pushing the limits here. I’m sure wearing your proper colors only goes so far is I wear a bad hair color :)

    Thank you and thank you for your time :D

  23. J – I think you know more about your hair colour than I could. I have never seen anyone who looks better in a colour darker than their natural (though deeper can look great), but there’s always a first. Mostly, I think they look pale and tired. There’s no single best colour in any Season, and especially not the True Seasons where the variability can be huge. I think the blonde (as Uma Thurman) or the reds you describe sound good. What I find works best is the google celebs with similar colouring and look at the hair colours they’ve had and see what you like best. I’ve long ago stopped believing that we have any clue what we look like or what looks good on us.

  24. I agree that people don’t look good with a darker color to. That’s why I don’t agree with my hair looking better darker. Thank you I’ll check some celebrities. I think I decided I like my natural and if not that some extra red tint. Thanks ^__^

  25. Hi Christine I was wondering do true springs look better in blazers or cardigans? If I was faced between picking one or the other which would look more at home on me? I always sort of avoided blazers my entire life because I felt they were to stiff/rigid looking on me. I just want to be sure if it has to do with my season or just me :) And do the styles/types of clothes really matter or is it just texture,color,and patterns that matter?

    Thanks!

  26. It all matters, j. Which style suits you better has to do with your build, your body’s lines, how straight or curvy and so on. You can probably think of friends who would look too stiff in a suit and others who’d look great, even if both got their colours right. For me, texture and pattern is more connected to colour than style/cut of clothing.

  27. Alrighty thank you I’m not sure what it is them. I’m hourglass so I wouldn’t think I’d be drowned in a suit. But I am also a very thin person,with long skinny limbs so perhaps it is just my build and my personality. I’ll get a camel blazer for interviews :)

    Thanks again

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