3 Great Colours On The 12 Seasons Thumbnail

3 Great Colours On The 12 Seasons

3 Great Colours On The 12 Seasons

access_time 2011/10/8 account_circle chat_bubble_outline 72 Comments
These are the colours that my eyes like to look at best on the 12 groups of natural colouring, or Seasons in personal colour analysis vocabulary.

These images are ideas for ways to use your palette.They are not a shopping guide. The colour reproduction is only reliable for shopping in the colour palette you received from your analyst.


three great spring colours' title=

Light Spring

– very light yellow green

– clear blue, not purple enough to be periwinkle

– purple, which transforms Springs into someone you’ve never seen before

Adding a note that turquoises for any Spring blend is almost too easy, just like teals are no-brainers in any of the 5 Autumn blends.

True Spring

– the home of Jello colours

– every green is beautiful, but pure golden leaf green is a proclamation of life

– beige yellow, one of the hair tones, it affirms the delicate gentleness of the palette

– sunny orange red, sheer lips in this colour are beautiful

Bright Spring

– intense teal with slight sharpness from Winter’s arrival

– sharp mid-dark grey, sharper than pewter or gunmetal, more like titanium, with the amazing ability to ground the colours and somehow add energy to the look

– warm fuchsia (should be fairly yellow on your screen)


three great summer colours

Light Summer

– their marshmallow white

– violet-washed sky blue

– neutral red; this colour has a little darkness, like a cherry Popsicle; the warmer red is equally phenomenal

True Summer

– swimming pool blue, a happy colour as Ashley said so well, lovely and young on this skin

– rose petal

– stormy sea blue is very powerful, an essential in a business suit; add the whitecaps in jewelry, like filigree silver, to paint a picture

Soft Summer

– antique turquoise, try to find it in pearlescent, it is simply beautiful in fabric

– muted pine (the best eye colour intensifier on every single person, if this trick doesn’t work, I’ll doubt the Season)

– pale mauve, the mist of colour that this Season turns to visual magic


three great colours for Autumn

Soft Autumn

– neutral brown, fairly dark, and softened (compared to the saturation of, say, the lower row)

– willow green

– warm muted yellow, they glow in this colour

True Autumn

– chili pepper red

– their very green teal

– antique gold, as a sweater, a metallic thread, or a buckle

Dark Autumn

– blackened purple

– dark jungle green

– cherrywood brown, very defining colour


Three great colours for Winter

Dark Winter

– battleship grey

– smoky red

– iced violet

True Winter

– black and white is as good as black or white

– starry night sky

– icy pink

Bright Winter

– sugarplum

– clear sapphire, a bright blue-purple

– icy peach




72 Thoughts on 3 Great Colours On The 12 Seasons

  • déjà pseu

    Thank you for this! I’m a Soft Autumn, and have found a few wonderful brown tops and sweaters this fall from Eileen Fisher. The color Cobblestone is a fabulous lighter grey-brown for SA’s and Mussel is a soft dark brown that’s a wonderful black alternative. I’d love to find some things in that willow/avocado green, but it just doesn’t seem to be very available right now. it’s oranges, yellows, cranberries and purples everywhere right now.

  • Mary Steele Lawler

    This post is perfect for those getting acclimated to their colors, who want the shortest route to looking their best.
    For the coming cooler weather, a jacket or scarf in one of your season’s dynamite colors would have you looking sharp every time you walked out the door. Easy!

  • Fil

    ohhh, this is a great one — great to savor with a cup of coffee 🙂

    at the stores for Bright Spring:
    – intense teal: Lands’ End’s Moroccan Blue (suspected, not yet confirmed); Peruvian Collection’s Turquoise (as in their ruched scarf)

    – sharp. solid (not heathered) medium/dark gray: J. Crew’s Dark Pewter and Dark Charcoal; J.Jill’s Flagstone

    – blued-rose: Lands’ End’s Bright Fuschia (from this past Spring/Summer)

    Honorable mentions: bright aqua (LE’s Scuba Blue); light-bright lemon yellow (Eileen Fisher’s Citrus — not 100% sure I recall the color name); orange-red (J. Crew’s Cerise and Modern Red, LE’s Autumn Sunset–not yet confirmed); clear red (J. Crew’s Poppy Red or Vivid Poppy, cannot recall); medium-bright blue (LE’s Vista Blue); light-bright turquoise/aqua (LE’s Turquoise Sea from 2 Springs ago).

    Two intriguing colors that turned out to be great neutrals: a charcoaled forest green (E. Fisher’s Woodland and Peruvian Collection’s Black Forest, both not currently available, but they may come back :); and a charcoaled navy (J. Crew’s Shadow).

  • Fil

    Some of these match better to the 12-tone fan, some to the more recent SciART fan and even to the men’s fan, but all work beautifully.

  • Nicola

    When I saw this link on Facebook I clicked it. Before it loaded I had my three favorite colors to wear in mind (Soft Summer). Those are *spot on* in my opinion.

    It almost made me laugh out loud to read burgundy and pewter in the runners-up because those are exactly what I would have picked.

    The muted pine color as eye intensifier – CHECK! I worked at Starbucks for 4 and a half years before I knew my season. When I worked Drive-Thru (putting my face outside all day long) with no eye makeup on, I had people asking me if I wore contacts! They just thought my eyes were so intense and pretty, which never happened much outside of that experience.

    This post convinced me all over again.

  • Isabella

    What a great post. I will be emailing the link around!

    For TSps: I recently found a bright orange-red hoodie at Gap Body; also Joe Fresh had s/s Ts in an even brighter version of the color — great for gym / yoga-wear. North Face is a good place to look for the bright yellow greens if you need a fleece or a shell or something outdoorsy for your sand-between-the-toes lifestyle . . . ;-)) Anthropologie currently has a long sleeve T in a dark warm green that’s fab (brand is Pure & Good). That beige yellow is tough to find but I pretty much nailed it with a bargain Joe Fresh down vest at Superstore, for all you Canadians reading . . . .

  • Isabella

    PS If anyone can recommend a true, clear, pure orange-red lipstick I would be sooo greatful. Dior “Blazing Red” is almost there but I want more warmth.

  • Cathy

    This is “spot on” for me and it is so reassuring to be in agreement with your picks. I’m a True Summer and love your suggestion of adding the whitecaps in filigree silver. I got the silver connection and always wear it with this blue but the filigree is so much more in tune because of the movement and swirl. It is fun to visualize others in their perfect colors (assuming no hair dye is being used). If your new book has clues like this in your writings, it will be a master piece! I’m eagerly awaiting its arrival, and I know you must be too. Thank you again for the wonderful explanations.

  • Fil

    LE’s Moroccan Blue looking a bit DA… But the Teal color at the Peruvian Connection (see Camelot dress) is looking promissing for BSp…

  • Ellie meenk

    I really enjoyed this but I struggled because the colors didn’t look right on my laptop. Now on my iPhone they look great! Technology is amazing and at times frustrating. Your word descriptions did help, though 🙂

  • Emma Peel

    Thanks for writing this very helpful article. The True Spring and True Winter colors are spot on for my husband and me, respectively.

  • Emma Peel

    Uh oh, I meant to say, The True Winter and True Spring colors are spot on for my husband and me, respectively. He’s the TW, I’m the TSp.

  • Christine Scaman

    Hi, dear ladies,

    Thank you for all your helpful thoughts and comments. The shopping suggestions are appreciated by so many, me included.


    I’m so glad you posted your iPhone finding. I think a number of women will see these colours and think “Wait, that’s not right. They don’t match by Colour Book, is my Book wrong?”

    One Neutral Season woman asked that question and I said,

    1. How it looks in Photoshop when I make it (which is not how it looks in the Colour Book precisely), then how it changes when it’s saved for the web, and then again uploaded to the web, and then again on your and my monitor, even I look at the colours on the website and think “Wow, that’s not where I started.” It’s not intended to substitute for your Colour Book or to be a shopping aid. These graphics are there to help readers compare the Seasons to one another better. The internet and paper books cannot substitute for the subtleties that a human eye can discern. TA and DW reds are different when you compare the Books but it’s awful hard to get exact on a computer monitor or in a book.

    2. There are warm and cool versions of every colour in your fan as you know, and in DA too. DW’s warms and DA’s cools are really close. There may be crossovers in this blog post, again because if I fussed endlessly with accuracy, there would be no website at all.

    Shop with your Colour Book and nothing else. This website can illustrate certain concepts but will never have the same colour accuracy.


    Are you looking for True Spring? Merle Norman Popsicle or Persimmon? Dior Addict New Look?

  • Fil

    Soft Summers/Autumns: there is a color on the Lands’ End site (Fir Green) that looks very much like the Muted Dark Pine above, or SAu’s dark muted green (although only available in two items for women :(, but very pretty, I thought.

    BSp’s again: other sites that have a good, solid medium/dark gray: Eileen Fisher’s Charcoal and even Graphite (though a bit cool, still works); Peruvian Connection used to have a color called Magma, I so wish they would bring back…

    I general, I think the Peruvian Connection tends to have a fair number of Soft colors/Autumn colors.

  • Emma

    Isabella, I would check out Dior’s New Look (number 745). It is quite warm and matches the True Spring fan. You could also try Smashbox’s Photo Finish lipstick in Legendary, which matches the red-orange dot, and if you really want to go orange, take a look at YSL’s Le Orange lipstick.

  • Emma

    Isabella, also take a look at this Karla Sugar post, which I just ran across. A lot of the lip swatches she lists under warm reds look like they could work well (the Mac Brave Red looks a little cool to me, but the rest look quite warm).

  • Emma

    Ugh. Here is the link. http://karlasugar.net/2011/01/warm-cool-red-lipstick/

  • Melinda

    This is great inspiration for me today. I’m heading to the fabric store later this week and so those are some great TA colors for me to check out. Thank you!

  • Nynd

    Here’s the other thing – posts like this, which take a view across all seasons, are also useful in clarifying for us what our season is NOT. Because one thing that really helps, when you’re harmonising with that palette, is knowing where it is that other seasons go and where you do not.

    “Oooh, that’s a nice grey. It’s about the same depth as this one on my palette, but it’s faintly olive-green, faintly yellowed – so it’s spring’s, not a summer’s.” That sort of thing …

    Love the choices for SSu. (Oh, and Christine, I just bought a berry-pink paisley scarf, which has to be some sort of 180 degree turn, and it’s quite a tribute to the cumulative persuasiveness of your gentle handling, masterly understanding of colour psychology, and general example here on 12BP … )

  • Ellie Meenk

    Nynd, I agree that it really helps to see the differences between the seasons. It is so hard to simply visualize and know, when many of us have never seen the other color books. I agree it helps us avoid the wrong colors.

    Christine, you are so right. Technology messes with the delicate colors. I just loved your word pictures because in some ways they were a better way to “see” the colors 🙂 Also I think Apple products do color better than my PC.

    Great article.

    Are the other ladies here attracted to the dots in their season? I always like the lights (spring and summer) better than my own season. What can we do to fall in love with our own colors??

  • Nynd

    It took me a while – but you learn to love what clearly works. Sometimes it can take time to see that it IS working, and that can rate-limit things more. I think it’s like a lot of things: some people will fall in love at first sight and start their happily-ever-after right then and there, some will be intrigued/surprised/somewhat startled by their new gamut and need a bit more time to warm up, and some people won’t see anything there that they were either wanting or expecting, and will find that there’s a major reframe ahead before they start to feel at home. Sometimes even the best relationships start off inauspiciously .

    For me, the learning curve was more or less comprised of learning to see that however I “read” those colours, isolated on the page, the point was that they were right on *me*. It can be hard to get past individual connotations and cultural signifiers, to let go of the idea that looking bad in fire-engine red somehow diminishes your personal potency whereas looking fabulous in it obliges you to take up flamenco and fire-eating .

    As another wise analyst once said to me, colour is what it is, and it just *is*. It doesn’t care what we think of it. Much like cats, really …

  • Vicki

    Christine, I’m always amazed with your descriptions. Thank you for posting the colors you like with each season. I hope to come to some conclusion for my season. After numerous color analyses, I’ve been flip flopped between soft autumn and soft summer. I feel confident I’m one of the two, but which one is still uncertain, and I feel I don’t want to spend more money on another color analysis. These two seasons must be tricky! Could you name a blush and lip color for the two seasons that I can look at also. I have Clinique, Lauder, and Lancome at stores nearby. Also Revlon or Loreal at drugstores. I have been unable to find the Rimmel colors anywhere. Any insight I would greatly appreciate. Thanks again!

  • Kirsten

    It’s such a treat to see all these colors–each trio so suited to one of the twelve seasons. And yes, as Nynd points out, it helps to see so clearly what your season is not. I’m not in a position to get a professional color analysis, partly because I don’t live anywhere near where I could get one, but 12 Blueprints articles are so helpful to me in determining what colors are right for me. I’ve spent years making color mistakes, but gradually assembling a wardrobe of more flattering colors than I used to wear, and these articles help keep me on the right track.

    I do believe I’m a Light Summer, mainly because I get the most memorable compliments on my appearance when I’m wearing those colors. I’m delighted to see “violet-washed sky blue” listed for Light Summers. I have a blouse in that color and wore it out to dinner the other night. The woman who took my order surprised me by telling me how good I looked in that color. It’s little incidents like this that help confirm my season for me.

    I’m not sure I have Light Summer’s clear red–cherry Popsicle. I searched a long time for the right red for me. I now have a couple of short-sleeved tops in blue-toned reds–they are lighter and softer than pure red, but clear in the sense that they’re not at all grayed. They look redder than the color representing cherry Popsicle, but perhaps that’s not as blue as it looks here. I do look better in my light soft reds than in deeper or brighter reds.

    Soft white has been hardest for me to pin down, but the marshmallow image is VERY helpful. Many thanks.

  • Louise

    Hi Christine,

    Which is the pine green on the Soft Summer fan? Is it the darkest green on the strip with the yellows or the darkest on the strip with the dark greens/teals? I haven’t purchased anything in a dark green yet but I really should.

  • Ellen

    Quick tip for saving the colours in Photoshop, Christine: make sure that your palette is set to RGB (not CMYK), which is different than using the RGB sliders in the colour picker. You might do it already, but it should help it because CMYK is the printing setting, and uses a different algorithm to describe the colour. I don’t have Photoshop open now, but I think RGB will also have a hex code (six letters or numbers, the box will have a # in front of it) which is the web-safe description. You could get creative with a palette like this, too:

    But even so, it’s hard to tell how people’s monitors will display them! So the descriptions are, as always, great 🙂

    (and yet again I find myself saying “Both the TW and BW are divine,” and then a part of me LOVES the Spring colours… but maybe that’s because you made me hungry. Mmm, I have some packets of Jelly, aka Jello, at home…)

  • Fil

    Ellen, brilliant website, thanks!

  • AC

    Christine – I agree with the lovely ladies who have commented above – helpful and fun too seeing these put together. And as Nynd said I too find it very helpful to look at those, that I know are my worst.

    Two questions if you don’t mind:
    1. Have you in your experience seen some kind of trend when it comes to “worst colours”? Is there a tendency that Brights look awful in Autumn colours, the lights worst in the drapes of the Dark seasons etc? Can you stipulate that the non negotiable quality of your season (bright/muted, Light/dark warm/cool) determines the worst season?

    2. What is the difference between the intense teal for the Bright Spring and the teals of Autumn? There are a lot of teals out there … seems to be one of those colours that because it is made up of two colours blue and green, the variations are endless.

    Vicki – I am new to this game, but it sounds an awful lot like you’re on either the warm side of soft summer or the cool side of soft autumn. Perhaps you should own both books and think of yourself as bordering between the two – I borrow a bit from BW now and then, because I am on the cool side of BSp. Not all people are bulls eye in the middle of the season. 🙂

  • Denise


    What fun to see these all together! And inspiring to think that building a wardrobe can be neutrals + 3 basic colors to start. I’m curious about the soft autumn avocado or warm willow green. Were you referring to the yellow-green colors between the grays and the browns or the different yellow greenish color that is between the reddish colors and the blue greens?

    Thanks! Hope the book is coming along well. I’m looking forward to reading it.

  • Vicki

    I have thought of owning both SA and SSU. I find that I can wear warmer clothes colors if I don’t go “warm” on makeup colors and vice versa with cool clothes colors I have to warm up my makeup. It’s fustrating though. I want it to be more simple than that! I want to be one or the other. I’ve always thought I was just plain neutral! Now I realize there’s warm neutral and cool neutral! Everything has to be very low key on me…makeup and clothing colors. I have med. brown hair, green eyes with golden cluster, and neutral tone fair skin. Nothing jumps out. Bright colors overwhelm me, dark colors age me, really warm colors make me look jaundice, and really cool colors make me look pale. I know the right colors make you look healthy and younger, but zeroing in on the right colors can get expensive without something to guide you. I would really like to find the answer! I appreciate your opinion.

  • Vicki

    I forgot to ask also, if you’re caught between two seasons especially if one is warm the other cool, how do you choose makeup shades? That’s where I become the most frustrated. I like my makeup base color. I feel it’s an exact match. I always choose grey browns for my eye shadow. When it comes to choosing blush and lip colors, I feel unsure.

  • Denise


    I have similar questions – have been analyzed as both SA and SS (and several others as well, but that’s another story – mostly the softs being chameleon like, I think). I wonder if women in the middle of 2 seasons really have different color parameters. For example, if you used both fans but left out the warmest and coolest colors, you would be drawing the lines differently but would have a color space that is connected/makes sense.

    I’ve bought a few inexpensive tops and drugstore make up in SA and SS. Wear an outfit + makeup from 1 fan at a time. Doing that helped me decide that I think SA looks and feels better on me. (For a while I thought I couldn’t be a soft autumn because I kept looking for the makeup to create a popping effect and I just got softness and creaminess).

    Thanks for raising good questions. I’m looking forward to how Christine and others see this.

  • Nynd

    VIcki, I’m a SSu who went to PCA thinking she might be a SA – and I could have written most of what you have. It’s a fine line, but what I eventually saw was that there were little yellow shadows around the eyes and subtle facial blurring in the SA colours (soft olives, deep muted salmons, muted ochre-yellow-gold-mustards) which cleared in SSu’s taupes, burgundy, muted deep pine green and marine blues – and in the best colours, SSu seemed to virtually tauten the skin and apply a perfectly matched foundation.

    In retrospect, it’s so obvious, but I didn’t see it clearly until I’d seen myself in perfected colours from each side of the line, and what makes it harder, from the home-draping point of view is that many of these key colours I’ve cited have close false-friends in other seasons. (And just because a person has narrowed it down doesn’t always mean they’re one or the other, alas – there have been DW’s presenting as SA, and former SSu coming out as DA, for example. But that said, it sounds like you’ve been looking long and hard and that you’re pretty sure you’re muted rather than darkened, as the darks can often borrow darks from one another and you feel you struggle in these.)

    Good luck . If you’ve worked out you’re a soft neutral, you’re way ahead of random.

  • Vicki

    That’s very interesting! I really feel I’m soft from the former analyses I’ve had though. I do agree that there are colors that are so close but to the untrained eye can belong to a totally different season. That’s where it gets so tricky trying to decide at home, but I can’t have another professional analysis done. I was told by CMB that I ‘m a summer back when they did the 4 season analysis. It just didn’t seem right, so I had another analysis done by another professional that I can’t remember the company. They also said summer, but they were troubled by my eye color. Later on when CMB started the 12 season analysis I was told I’m a soft autumn. I recently had an online analysis done and was told I’m soft summer. I wonder how well that can be done with pictures that are sent online. It’s hard shopping for clothes and makeup because I’m so unsure. This website has given me understanding of the seasons. It’s awesome! I’m just having trouble fitting myself into a season.

  • Helen

    I’m a serious convert to actual draping rather than online analysis, as by all logic via online analysis I SHOULD be a soft autumn, and both analysts I’ve met said immediately on meeting me that I looked ‘soft’. But draping proved immediately and dramatically that soft autumn is one of the worst of all seasons for me, and what made the difference was light, bright colours I never would have touched as way too much for my colouring. There really is no substitute for someone showing you the difference in your skin in the right lighting and with the right coloured drapes if there’s a way to be analysed in person.

    Of course then you try two drapings because you’re interested in the different systems because Christine makes it fascinating to read about, and get two different answers and lose the plot totally, but that’s a whole other problem 😉

    • Christine Scaman


      I wonder if it looks better on your iPhone because I make the palettes on a Mac. Good Q, how do we fall in love with our own colours? As Nynd alludes to, I think it just comes from wearing them. It is amazing and more than a bit frustrating how much we come to love and rely on things only because we’re used to them. Changing that, like changing anything, just takes time and the commitment to not looking backwards anymore. Pretty soon, you may love the other Season’s colours, but you won’t have any feeling that they define you or share some identity with you. That’s how I think it happened for me, and I still love some colours but have no desire to clothe myself in them because they don’t tell the world what I have to say.


      You might try Revlon Berry Haute lips and LOreal Tender Rose C3-C4 blush for SSu.
      SA is tougher to nail down, women have big variability of preference in this group. Revlon Creme Rosy Glow blush and Blushing Nude lips are a good start point.

      Many women who are close between Seasons own both Books. It gives them fabulous guidance about setting limits. Everybody will be either warmer or cooler between 2 Neutrals, one will always be better, but sometimes it becomes a close call. These women can wear the cooler palette of the warmer Neutral Season and the warmer colours of the cooler Season – because part of what defines Sci\ART is precisely those Neutral Seasons who are given a warm and cool choice of every colour. Now, this works in makeup. IMO, I don’t think you can mix and match so well in attire. SSu is darker and cooler, SA seems somehow lighter and much warmer and oranger. I wouldn’t go out in eucalyptus pants and a harvest yellow sweater, but hey, as the French say, “Les gouts et les couleurs, on ne les discutent pas.” Denise and Vicki, did I answer your Q?


      I made that dot up there to match the drape because that’s where I see the eye effect. I would say it’s the last dot on the strip with the yellows. It’s not really teal or a very blue-green, more forest green.


      They’re done in RGB, but that’s a good thought. That palette you linked is wonderful…but somehow, the colours change when they’re displayed in different programs. It really is slightly painful at times.


      I make these in my head, not to match any particular dot, but I agree I was thinking of those greens between the grays and browns. What is interesting me a lot lately is that you could own 5 Colour Books with 60 colours in each and never repeat one colour and still have 5 very correct Books. As long as the H/S/V are right for the parameters of that Season, then the palette should be technically correct, shouldn’t it? Actually, what I’m trying to explore in my head is specifically what are the limitations of each Season? When does L Sp trip over into T Sp? Why does TA have barely any red blues? Once you add too much red, you’re making DA’s black orchid colours.
      Because I got my new order of Spectrafiles Books – bit different from the old Sci\ART, probably different from True Colour (which are most certainly absolutely perfect) – and yet, I couldn’t argue that the colours do not belong to the Seasons they’re put in. I’m actually going to keep one the DWs for me because it expands on the Sci\ART palette I already have from 2 years ago.


      Well said, if you’ve worked out at least that you’re Soft, you are indeed way ahead of random.

  • denise

    Well gee . . . . Now I’m rethinking my SA choice. The negatives Vikki and Nynd described do happen with SA for me, especially the skin yellowing. SSu clears the yellow but greys my skin. Both give me an out of focus look. I dug out all my color palettes from having been done differently, held them up to my face and compared how my face looks next to the whole palettes. To my eye, doing that, dark winter looks best – my face comes into focus and my skin looks a healthy-pink. (I’ve been draped already, several times with different results).

    I haven’t really lived in dark winter for any length of time because I’m not all that dark and the very darkest dots feel too strong next to my face. However, these colors seem to make my look best (and I love them). So, I’m on to experiment with DW for a while.

    Christine, you got at my question when you said that for neutrals one will be better than the other. I was wondering if there might be a middle ground between, say DW and DA that is truly neutral in hue.

    BTW I love the DW 3 best colors and the undertone. They are colors I’ve kept in my wardrobe consistently, even if they didn’t go with the palette I had been advised to wear.
    Maybe I should have believed you that any season can have any color hair and eyes! ! !

    Thanks for responding to all of us color-obsessed women. (My children say “Color-Me-Obsessed” about their mother!)

    • Christine Scaman

      If the Season is right, you won’t be grey, yellow, or undefined, not even a little. Well, maybe I shouldn’t be so quick. In the 100 or so I’ve done, I had a Bright Winter woman once who was too bland in Bright Spring, it didn’t make her darks their darkest and her lights their lightest, so it didn’t maximize her innate contrast level, but in BW, there was the slightest trace more shadowing. Still, BW was better to focus the face and define the features. But in the other 99%, no compromise was needed.

      With Neutral Seasons, as with a Neutral Season and its nearest True Season, one will always be best. Always. For a fully middle ground between 2 Neutral Seasons that is exactly halfway between warm and cool, you’re asking to create a 3rd palette. I bet you wouldn’t be able to tell it apart from many of the colours already offered in the 2 existing Neutrals. It would have no value that I can see. It wouldn’t suit the colouring of anybody who couldn’t be perfected with the existing palettes and would make shopping even more confusing. Many women in Neutral Seasons who lean one way or the other learn to adapt their purchases the right way if there’s no exact match to their swatches without the need for a whole other palette.

      DW sounds like it’s worth a try.

  • denise

    Thanks Christine,

    DW is the only season that doesn’t look yellow or grey or undefined to some extent. After 2 days of clothes and makeup in DW, I think WOW. My eyes become an incredibly bright emerald green. I might have a little more shadowing in the purple shadows under my eyes and around my nose, maybe not. Sometimes it looks like I do and sometimes not. Usually the colors that add yellow to my skin soften the purple places. But DW is way better in terms of my features looking defined, my face looking skinnier, and my overall skin color looking healthy and pretty. I’m still playing . . . .

    I see what you mean about more categories making it harder to distinguish between the colors. I already find the darkened reds of the two dark seasons hard to discern. Thanks for sharing your experience and knowledge – it’s very helpful.

  • Vicki

    I’m so confused! My tendency is to believe I’m on the cool side of neutral, but reading where someone who thought they were SA or SSU now believes they’re DW confuses me. I’ve been draped 4 times. My very first analysis was years ago, and I was told I was spring because of the golden cluster around my pupils!( I was glad to read that Christine said eye color does not determine the season) I had lived in summer colors so I was very surprised. A few weeks later I had an analysis by CMB and was told I was a summer, and that made me happy, but I couldn’t get the “spring” analysis out of my mind. I hated the colors. I once again had a color analysis by a salon person and was told I was a summer. Later on I had a color analysis by CMB after they changed to 12 seasons. I was told I was a soft autumn. I recently had an online analysis and was told I’m Soft Summer. I think I’ve always gone too far in either direction, like true summer wasn’t quite right. True autumn colors are really bad on me, I think. Christine, you said with the neutrals, the nearest true season will always look better. That makes sense!

  • denise


    My experience is hopefully atypical – and admittedly confusing. 4 sci-art trained analysts said I was soft autumn, bright winter, soft summer, and bright spring – in that order. Dark Autumn and Dark Winter were “runners up.” (Non sci art folks have said true winter and true summer) I just decided to make the best choice to my eye and dark winter came out the winner. I’m still liking how I look in the colors and getting the feel of the DW look, but I really like what I see when I do it. And it will take some getting used to. I may be a lighter version of DW who is therefore hard to pin down.

    One day, when I need to travel anywhere near Christine, I hope to contact her for the “definitive” experience! I wish you well sorting out your own coloring.

  • Amy

    This is just fantastic. Thanks for all the hard work put into to each article, Christine. I would love to see something similar for the best neutrals in each season.

    • Christine Scaman

      Now that’s a really good idea. I hadn’t thought of it. But you know, I think it would be next to impossible to do. The subtleties of the grays and tans…I don’t know if I could get them on a computer. I could try though, or give a general idea.

      I would say 90% of women need a few months to adjust to their best colours and learn to love them. I suppose some never do and just go back to wearing what they please. I would start with the colours you actually do like. I’d also make myself wear the palette for a month, puke or no puke. Your brain will put up a million and one sneaky little reasons why you should just stay where you are, and so will the brains of everyone you know.
      I was no different, I thought I looked like a clown. Told myself to get over it, told my voices to quiet down, went to Sephora, and made the change. Now I look back and wonder why I thought I knew what looked good on me when I didn’t have a clue. I didn’t do it all on the first day. I didn’t care when I didn’t get a single gushing or even weak compliment. I saw what I saw in the mirror. The rest is your mind playing games with you. Don’t let it win. Soft Autumn is so not puke. It’s the most sensual, warmest, kindest palette of all. It doesn’t take. It only gives.

  • Lindsay

    That’s an incredibly useful post, especially for those of us who are newly feeling our way after a recent analysis.

    I thought I was doing a pretty good job of accepting myself as a Soft Autumn since my analysis 3 weeks ago (I’d been dressing mostly as a Soft Summer but with lots of black and white). However, I obviously still have some way to go because I saw these 3 SA colours and said out loud “OMG those are the colours of puke” and looked longingly at the Dark Autumn suggestions! I’m feeling those colours to be drab and murky and not uplifting (I can do the brown accented with teal but the avocado and “harvest gold” seriously depress me). How best to deal with this?

  • Annette

    My experience with color analysis was quite different. Years ago when Color Beautiful first came out a sewing friend and I analyzed each other and we came up that I was a summer. Fast forward about 10 years and I had my colors done by someone trained to do color analysis and I was told I was an autumn with both winter and spring tendency about 55/45. I went with that analysis with some resistance. Because I sew I started sewing with warm colors and continued to fight it.
    Recently I retired and have decided to sew up my fabric stash, but I also decided to have my colors redone. And, guess what now I am a cool summer, back where I started. Using my swatches and comparing them to my stash fabrics I now know which fabrics to sew as garments and which to sew as home dec or as muslins/test garments. Yes, it is takings some getting use to, but I feel better about my choices and I know why I have gravitated to many of these colors over the years.
    Yes I definitely see myself in the summer colors and which look best

    • Christine Scaman

      I’m not sure that being able to write about colour makes me a better analyst. I respect my colleagues and the fact that PCA can be quite difficult. It’s hard to fully quality control the human aspect. Even if it were franchised, which could ensure that everyone has the same lighting and drapes and so on, opinions will vary. It’s happened to me. 4 different Sci\ART opinions is a bit intimidating, no doubt. We’d have a good time though, just slow and thorough and check the results in various ways.


      The Seasons you bring up as contenders seem opposite but this story is plausible. Bright Spring can certainly look like True Summer in the person. The actor, Brendan Fraser, comes to mind. The hair is lighter than Winter but dark and ash brown. The eyes can be, or seem to be, blue. The person, especially as they get older, may just feel downright safer in True Summer than B Sp colours. It’s unlikely a woman who is a 65 year old B Sp could objectively look at herself and realize she looks younger in BSp, but she does (if that’s her Season).

  • Lindsay


    I feel I should apologise for how rude my post sounded! but you know that reactions to colour are so often at a visceral level.

    I suspended disbelief the other day and went out, feeling as if I was disguised as a tree: chocolate suede boots, chocolate babycord trousers, dull olive green sweater, scarf in shades of muted darkish green; brick-pink lipstick (Bobbi Brown Uber Pink) and blusher approved by Nikki after my analysis, and olivey-taupe eyeshadow. I was stunned and delighted when the girlfriends I met for lunch were amazingly complimentary about my outfit and how young they thought I looked. I was really on a high; and it’s helped me hugely to trust that maybe these colours ARE right for me. I saw a snip of myself in a photo and it’s true, I seem to have a warm soft glow.

    I really need to keep in mind not to choose colours for their own sake, but for what they do for me. And in that context the most unlikely-seeming colour can be beautiful. I do want to be wary of a head to toe beige look though (so ageing, IMO, and joyless), and think I need to keep in mind to inject some depth of colour into each outfit – but the RIGHT colour.

    • Christine Scaman


      It’s very kind of you, though no apologies of any sort are necessary. Perhaps a good thing that Nikki has some experience under her belt 🙂

      I suppose we could look at any palette and find the negative – blood, clown, aggressive, somber, riotous, every person and thing balances its positives with its negatives. Indeed, though I keep the negatives out of the blog as much as possible so as not to offend, they are are important part of helping define the borders. The outfit of all beige is no more flattering or suggested on you than all black is on Winter. A True Summer might wear all one colour but she’d use variety of texture to add some detail, otherwise it’s just too monotone. There’s a True Autumn article coming on Friday. Much of it applies to you. Perhaps yet another way of seeing yourself as others do. No Autumn is ever joyless, in fact, I see the very opposite.

      Your girlfriends sound like wonderful and honest people. Often, family and friends are caught up in making the adjustment to the new you themselves and their objectivity isn’t much better than your own. They probably felt a measure of welcome relief at seeing you in gentler colour, perhaps a side of you that they sense is there and you will accept more as a great strength in time. UberPink is lovely, BTW.

  • Nynd

    *** TMI follows: sensitive noses and stomachs please to skip 😉 )

    For what it is worth, Lindsay, when I thought I was a soft autumn, I often thought to myself as how I’d never seen a colour in a nappy that I couldn’t wear …. oh, how I loved those colours, and still do. So utterly of the earth.

  • Kathryn


    I am totally with you on the cool/warm of the neutrality business. One’s colors are going to remain a unique blend of something that, however close, is still more on one side of the line or the other. That ratio of warm/cool is going to inform the proportions of every color that a woman can wear.

    After that, there is a margin of safety within that matrix that a woman can move around in and look wonderful. The eye will not detect anything amiss. So..I, too, own both SA and SS palettes. SS informs me of my best colors (and you are right–SS is surprisingly darker in some ways than SA). But I know about how far I can go into SA without looking like a witch.

    I own a brown that is technically on the SA side that looks fantastic on me. You can’t even tell until you put the print to the palette that it actually is SA (not an overlap of SS), because part of the color registers as neutral, but the middle of the print color is partially SA terra cotta mixed with brown. After comparing to the nearest SS shade, it took some weeks, but I realize the SS is still better. I didn’t have eyes to see it before. Nevertheless, the SA color is so close that it looks like I was born to it if you didn’t know any different. I just wear SS makeup and it’s still perfect!

    So, I don’t complicate matters anymore by telling myself that I’m some exotic blend. I’m not and neither is anyone else. We just have different parameters is all. And those warm/cool ratios remain static for us no matter what hue we are wearing. It may be 52% cool and 48% warm, but we’ll still be to one side or the other of neutral.

  • Nynd

    Kathryn, thanks so much for that – I can relate to so much of what you’ve just said.

    Christine, have been pondering this: “Indeed, though I keep the negatives out of the blog as much as possible so as not to offend, they are are important part of helping define the borders” and it occurs to me that the diagnostic paradigm of my day job is pathology-based, which might be why I find it easier to think in these terms sometimes – the vocational vocabulary and algorithim to which I’m habituated tends to operate on the dark side. But that’s just a half-formed thought.

  • Kim

    Christine, this website and your book have helped me so much with falling in love with my season Soft Summer so a huge thank you!

    Can I ask with the 3 Soft Summer colours above which numbers they represent on the Soft Summer 12 tone fan? I am keen to get the right colours in my mind and I know they’re sometimes not quite accurate on a monitor.

    Thanks so much 🙂

    • Christine Scaman

      Kim, I don’t have any of the 12 Tone fans (you mean the ones from True Colour AU, right?) so I’m sorry, I can’t answer the Q. Maybe another reader could help?

  • Melinda

    I know this is random, but I finally found a blouse in that chili pepper red recommended for TA’s, and the first time I wore it I got several compliments. Thank you so much for the recommendation!

  • jezseeca

    Christine, could you expand on the “blued rose” color for Bright Spring? I don’t trust my monitor. Is it similar to a fuchsia or raspberry color? Or is it more like a hot pink/ shocking pink? for some reason, when i think about the words “blued rose” together, i keep getting lavender or mauve in my head.

    As for the intense teal for B Sp, would you say the “retro jade” color of this season’s J.Crew is similar? here’s a link to a blog that features it: http://ivoryandolive.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/unnamed.jpg

    • Christine Scaman

      There are lighter and darker version, but I’d say it’s more hot pink. Blued rose could be the same as fuchsia really, just high saturation pink-red. About the coat, the nature of that textile is muting, but the colour is also not as intense or dark as what I had in mind. Maybe also not blue enough.

  • jezseeca

    thanks, it makes a lot of sense now to me.

  • jezseeca

    Christine, that “warm willow green” you mentioned for SA’s, would Sage Green fit that description? I’m picturing a greyed light green, not overly greyed, but definitely more greyed than yellowed. is that in the ballpark?

    • Christine Scaman

      You’d have to show me the green. I had in mind a light-medium cactus. In my head, sage is dusty, yes, but darker and bluer, could be good on both Softs.

  • Melissa Howard

    Christine, I’m fairly certain I’m a BW and I’m wondering if you can elaborate a little bit on what you meant by BW’s “mischievous eyebrows.” I don’t have dimples, but my eyebrows form a distinct point. Is that what you meant? Any chance you have a photo of BW’s “mischievous eyebrows”? Also, do you know of any brand names for the iced white gold gloss you said BW’s could wear over every lipstick? Thank you so much for writing such an informative and helpful blog!

    • Christine Scaman

      It is a Winter tendency to have strong brows, whether dark or thicker, to form a very strong frame for the eye, Melissa. That said, many Winters have pale brows as well. Since that article was written, I have seen many more clients and have a better understanding of the influence of body lines and shapes on appearance. Line and shape is very distinct from colour. Many Gamine men and women have pointed features. Many Springs in general can have impish brows that form a point. So much variation among humans. A gloss might be MAC Lustreglass in Instant Gold.

  • Melissa Howard

    Thank you, Christine, for responding to my question! It sounds like you are confirming the little bit of spring’s influence in bright winter coloring could account for my dark impish brows that form a point. And, I’m sure I’m a Soft Gamine, so it’s all coming together. I will look for the MAC Lustreglass. Thanks again!

  • Mary

    Thank you for this fun, informative post! I feel really intrigued about peach as a BW option in clothing and cosmetics. I’ve not ever tried it because in my mind it can be pastel or too blush/nude for me. I would love any makeup recommendations or clothing links you might have so I get a better sense of the saturation/finish, particularly in lipstick since all I can think of is frosty 80s lips and I know you’d never steer us in that direction! 🙂

    • Christine Scaman

      You’re right that peach is usually too warm or pastel for BW. There’s no peach lip that I know of. Since I do not know how to mix paint pigments for the Seasons, much of my understanding of the boundaries of the Seasons has come from finding the colours in fabric and watching the reactions of fabrics with faces. My present view of peach (been a long time since that post was written) is as an icy near-white or an almost-coral. I’ll try to pin some.

  • Helen

    Hi Christine, love you site and this post is really useful. For those of us without access to an analyst – and it goes without saying that nothing is a proxy for an analyst – and are trying to figure it out for ourselves, how indicative are these colors? In my case, I have it down to two seasons (maybe three, but most days, two!) and am seeing one of my most flattering colors in this post (the soft summer green, which I am very confident is my best eye-enhancing color – and I am very not confident about much with color). Appreciate your thoughts!

  • Mary

    Hi Christine, got a question for you. Do you still like and use Bite Balm in Claret (mentioned for DW, above) or do you now use something different? I’m looking for a couple recommendations in a few different price ranges, from high to low (drug store) and available in the U.S.

    Also, is this the kind of product you wear on top?

    I’m interested in a balm in particular, but would also like to know of any outstanding lip glosses (to wear as top coat) or lip liners (to shift color underneath) you might recommend to “brown colour without darkening it.”

    This would be to share with the DW Facebook group, FYI. A member has recommended Chanel Lip Gloss in the top coat “Caviar” (a grey black) to get some glossiness without sacrificing depth of color (in fact, deepening it), but it’s like a limited edition product, really kind of a lot and I’m looking for any and all alternatives you got. This would be for lip products that shift color in DW ways.

    Thank you!

    • Christine Scaman

      The Bite product in Claret was d/c some years ago, unless they brought it back. I wear it only to mute and warm lipsticks very slightly, but find it too warm and muted on its own. I don’t have a great gloss/balm rec actually, since I no longer shop for those products. Wait, I do like Burberry Oxblood (the semi-sheer, not the creme), which I wear on top or alone. To mute colour these days, I borrow a colour or gloss that a SSu could wear. Fly Away in the Blueprints line is a good lip glaze for this, but IDK any others. There would be thousands though.
      The DW undertone – with time, my sense of the meaning of this word has become broader and more flexible, probably true of everything about PCA. For DW, it hovers around mulberry but probably differs a touch for each woman. Claret or the colour here are certainly in the ballpark.

  • Mary

    Also, any new ideas for DW undertone?

    I feel like mine might be “red-orange-black” (the color you thought of for “How the 5 Autumns Add Orange” article rather than, like, red-purple like maybe the “claret” color featured for DW here. Do you think this is possible?

  • Mary

    Aloha Christine, thanks for your reply. Very good, important details to note about the Bite Claret lip product, and thank you for stating so. I’ve shared the information to the DW group, as mentioned.

    I believe the Burberry Oxblood “semi-sheer” product would be “Burberry Oxblood No. 214 Lip Mist,” right? And the “creme” I think may be “Burberry Oxblood No. 33 Lip Cover.”

    I found a comparison of the two here, if I may link: http://www.notsofrivolous.com/burberry-lip-cover-in-oxblood-no-33-review-comparison-swatches/

    The photo comparison occurs later in the post.

    I’d like to note that Temptalia can be seen wearing Burberry Oxblood Lip Mist here: http://www.temptalia.com/burberry-oxblood-gold-lip-mist-reviews-photos-swatches/

    Do you still see Temptalia as DW, Christine? If so I think her site is a wonderful resource and may refer to it in the future. I understand the uncertainty of computer monitors applies.

    I appreciate the recommendation for SSu lip glaze in “Fly Away” and note that Jorunn Hernes of Fargeporten.com carries it and has a visual, for those interested.

    Would there be a DW lip color or makeup product in your own line that is close to “mulberry”? I’m curious to know. I’ve heard of the idea of “toner” colors, like those you can kinda mix with anything. . . blush, eyeshadow, foundation, you name it. Would the “undertone” color (understanding your ideas have developed and possibly changed) be something usable/material like that?

    Just want to say it was greatly informative to think of the idea of “undertone” (despite the article being several years ago), as I have begun to see how my overall coloring in its distinction more clearly. I’ve written of mine being like “strawberry wine.” Other members like to see theirs as “port.” I think we like the wine association, Christine.

    • Christine Scaman

      The Burberry is 293 Kisses Sheer. I think Christine at Temptalia is probably a BW. Nothing in the Blueprints line that is my idea of mulberry. IDK any toner colours, but you probably are in the makeup stores more than I am these days, Mary. I don’t see any particular undertone colour as helping to adapt other colours, although certain ones could. I think of it more as a concept than an application. I’m very ok with the wine association 🙂

  • Jan McRobb

    Hello Christine, If you look up Soft Summer Palettes there will be a posting there from Forty Plus Fabulous; Comparing Jeweltone Summer w/Soft Summer palettes. Out of all that is out there, I would like to think that the images of the S/S colours are the most accurate; the last green on the yellow strip as discussed shows here really good. FPF has larger separate images of the fan(s). Your comment on this would lmk if I am on the right track. Regards,

    • Christine Scaman

      I’d be happy to look, Jan, but could you add a link in a new comment so I know we’re looking at the same thing? Before you take the time though, I’m not quite sure what your question is. If you’re asking whether the colours are accurate relative to the palettes that I use, which are the excellent palettes from the website, https://truecolour.com.au, I am not a believer in right and wrong palettes. I am a believer in many ways of being right and every PCA system and creator having their own vision, which adds to the whole of the interpretation of Soft Summer and the application of colour analysis. For clients who prefer a narrower colour structure in which to explore and derive security from clear boundaries and edges, it may be best to stay with the system that did their analysis when they create their wardrobe. Please ask again if I haven’t answered your exact question.

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