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| Colour Shopping Online: Light Summer

Colour Shopping Online: Light Summer

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For the technique of opening the palette to harmonize colours into Seasons, full credit goes to colour analyst and Sci\ART trainer, Terry Wildfong. The method works equally well with fabric, cosmetic, jewelry, and any other item that you want to place into the best colour environment, the one where the palette and the item will bring out the best in each other. The palette stands in for the person of the same natural colouring.

Items purchased online should be easy to return. Expectations of perfect accuracy from pictures on screens may be overreaching. If your preference or the purpose of the garment requires it to be perfectly in Season, shop in person.

The general question when I shop online is, “Does this item share enough in its colour properties to be worn extremely well by a person of this colouring, and will they allow the item to look excellent in return?”

Light summer colour drapes

Readers had some questions that we can talk about first.
  1. Do I use special lighting?
For harmonizing colours, I always work between 10AM and 4PM with indirect daylight (no sunlight) on the screen. I use a Macbook Pro that is about 3 years old. Some monitors add a definite colour cast that you’d want to be aware of and perhaps use a different device.

There is a full spectrum lamp on the screen. This is a 23W bulb with a 100W equivalency.  Full Spectrum Solutions in the USA is a good source, or many others, I would think.

The CRI is 96. The CRT is 5800K. A CRI over 5000 and a CRI over 90 are most important. Both numbers should be specified on the box. If only one is specified, don’t assume the other value will be correct; it probably won’t be. Colour is light. The wavelengths of light entering the object greatly influence those that will come back out.

White may be difficult to place in Seasons, IRL or online, because it reflects so many wavelengths including the lighting itself. Black is also challenging in that it reflects so few colours and they can be quite subtle.
  1. Does photography change colours?
Undoubtedly yes, with no average effect that could be expected from every image within the same store, or across different stores. 

The product that arrives in the mail may also be brighter or softer than the image. No photograph ever showed colour exactly as it appears in person. This post is about making the best of that reality to take advantage of online markets.

I begin with the image as it is presented, comparing the colour to as many other things in the image as possible, which we will see later in this post.

Colours may be irregular between thumbnails and larger image, or larger image and video. It’s impossible to know what’s correct and I move on to the next item.

Light summer colour fabric
  1. How does shine affect Season or images?
The colour of the highlight is dependent on the light source, often causing the item to appear lighter and warmer.

The smoothness of the shine may contain helpful clues. The smoother the shine, the whiter the highlight, the more likely to move into Winter.

If the highlight is grayish or similar in colour to the textile, the shine is more characteristic of Summer and Autumn-influenced colour.

4. How do you use colour clues in the model?

Everybody everywhere understands colour by comparing it to something.

A model is helpful. I try to establish relationships and rationality. If her shoes are clearly Autumn, discordant clothing is probably not Autumn. This goes beyond my taste to what humans generally agree on. Few people would pair whisky brown with candy pink or dusty grape.

Whether her hair is dyed or not doesn’t matter, it’s just a colour block. Same with lipstick, it’s just a colour block. Yellow hair is more likely Spring-side but many golds are redder and work better with Autumn. True red lips are probably Winter-influenced. I don’t get more specific than that.

The model is also good for general assumptions. If the model has black eyes and hair, we can be fairly comfortable that she belongs to one of the 5 groups with Winter-influence. I think in terms of more-than and less-than relationships than her Season. Is the blouse less than her hair or eyes?

Plants, furniture, shoes, brick walls, or any other comparison opportunity are useful.

If the item is pictured with nothing else in the image, I go to #5.

Light summer grey and green drapes
  1. Can I make outfits?
Some of our clients desire perfect Season accuracy for every purchase. Others are pleased when they can sidestep unflattering colour purchases, aiming for the general sense of their Season group. I fall in between, looking for colours that can form very good relationships with me and with my wardrobe, cosmetics, and hair colour. 

Holding the palette to the screen, I consider the palette as a whole first. The very moment that the palette is placed up in front of the screen, keep awareness of where your attention goes. Look for roughly equal attention between garment and palette. If you’re ignoring one, or if one feels too insistent, it might be a problem.

Be patient. It takes practice to sense where your attention is. Your subconscious mind knows. You just have to pull the information forward into your conscious awareness.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell for a moment. The chemistry of the retina might feel momentarily shaken up and our decision-making ability is temporarily suspended. Take 2-3 minutes before deciding. This is similar to putting on makeup, especially for Winters. The lipstick or eyeshadow seems like a lot at first. Instead of removing it, go do something that does not involve mirrors. When we return, we wonder what the issue was.

Spread the arms of the palettes far enough apart to see the garment colour between them. IRL, you would lay the palette on the garment. If you can focus on the palette, and then focus on the garment, and think, “This could work. I can see both at once and find the picture and sensation pleasing.”. 

Next, divide the palette into sections. Trying to evaluate an entire palette at once may be like trying to evaluate all the drape colours together at the same time, too much information to manage.

First, the neutrals. Are they staying the same? Does the white look fresh and clean? Do grays look about the same as they appeared away from the screen? Can a white shirt/gray pants outfit be easily assembled? If anything takes on a green, yellow, or red cast, so will the face. Could you image the neutral colours as eyeliner and eyeshadow with that garment?

Next, the reds. These are the native reds in cheeks and lips, and the lipstick and blush colours. Could you insert the garment colour into one of the strips and nobody would know the difference? Would you pair the colours in an outfit? Would you wear this blush under those eyes?

Green seems to have two choices in life, to be great or gross. Look at the green strip on its own. This strip may also contain some of the more unique colours to that Season. Is the effect together pleasing or at least believable?

The yellows. Consider each colour area separately. Has the lightest colour all but disappeared? Is the darkest colour somehow unpleasant? Does one of the middle colours suddenly look as if it doesn’t belong, as if the strip has broken up somehow?

Light summer violet and blue colours

Dec/18: This section is being edited with new pins to be added. 

 light summer coral and blue fabrics

3.  Woman with coral dress with bow at waist and upswept hairstyle.


The link to the pin is here.

I love this colour on Light Summer. My eyes are tuned to look for it.

I do not know her Season but her eyes and eye makeup contain darkness that is causing me to lose the dress. If one thing is enhanced at the expense of the other, something is off. The dress and the woman are not making one another better but neither are they a lot worse. They are just there.

Her head has become mostly eyes, which is taking the idea of eyes as the focal point too far. The idea is not to vanish half the face, or the person’s presence, or spend money on clothing for which the best thing you could say is, “It’s just there.”

Eyes need a face to be anchored in. The building blocks in the image of a person need to stack up: hair, eyes and upper half of face, lower half of face, upper half of body, lower half of body. That is the level-upon-level of positive reinforcement that PCA offers those who have their formula (Season).

The lipstick could be lovely on Light Summer but I’m losing it with these eyes.  A face, head, and person are visually balanced when hair, eyes, and lips have similar impact. (Silver and white hair have plenty of impact). These eyes override the face and garment. The eyeliner and the eyes are competing for my attention and I have trouble moving on.

Not sure about the shoe colour but the bow seems to work. It matches, which is fine although not necessarily what we look for. You could find a similar colour in four or five palettes that looks like it matches. Colour matching is not what PCA is.

No conclusions to be drawn from the hair colour.

The fabric texture is good for Light Summer. They look super in it.

4. Same woman as 3 with more lips and dress. 

>Close call but no.

The link to the pin is here.

This colour for Light Summer may be too heavy but if I were shopping, I’d try it. It may be different off the model. Something is making her skin greener than it probably is and the same may be happening to the dress.

It’s hard to make sense of it with the aquas and greens of the palette, which begin looking frivolous or childish when in truth, they are stunning and vibrant on a Light Summer. Greens are excellent for getting a sense of what could be rational together.

I added this pin to show another version of the previous woman. Although not claiming that this is perfect, and this dress might be Light Summer too, she seems to have more presence than in the previous dress. I can look at her eyes and be aware of what she is wearing. The eyes are supported in a solid face, not a blurred or fluffy-edged face. The lips are doing something. Her hair has richer pigmentation. If it takes darker colour for her to show up, maybe she is a darker Season than Light Summer.

I do not believe for a second that anybody wears only the dark colours in Light Summer, and is still a Light Summer. They might be darker-looking Light Summer compared to some imaginary average but they are the whole Season. The palettes are adjusted for that colouring’s colour ranges and we can mix and match fairly freely within ours. If Light Summer wants to wear her darker green and navy blue, go ahead. It could be great.

Kathryn Kalisz’s Sci\ART palettes are correct. Not rigid, but correct for all person of whatever race, age, or gender. If you can only wear half of one of the palettes to show up, I would be looking for another palette. Other PCA systems will beg to differ on this point and that’s perfectly OK. I welcome all new ideas and ways of seeing things.

light summer colours blue and coral

6. So-cute child’s dress with yellow bow at waist.

> Yes.

The link to the pin is here.

The colour is soft but gives no feeling of shade or smoke as Soft Summer would.

A faint peach or buttery quality appears in the bow and skirt which is great on Light Summer, in makeup also. Many in this Season wear the warmth beautifully, right up to the edge of Light Spring.

Looking through the strips of the palette, the colour works nicely. The darker choices are fine and the dress holds up to them. The lighter colours do not become weak. The palette has energy and the dress colour has energy.

Holding up the strip with the yellows, it makes great sense.

The bodice may be a bit cool but it does not have any significant brightness. Maybe it’s a bit lemony but True Summer will have difficulty with the warmth of the waistband. Light Summer will do fine with a bit of brightness.

The white is softened, not stark. The glitter is delicate.

The gray and muted silver of the model form are fine and balance well.

Light Summer could use this item to her advantage. Perhaps other Seasons could as well. The colour analyst may be required to place an item into a single Season. A Light Summer client only needs to know if an item could work in her favour or if she is better leaving it at the store.

5 Thoughts on Colour Shopping Online: Light Summer

  • inge avatar inge

    Many, many thanks for this post, it is illuminating even for non-light summers.

    And also, I very much like your top in the video, it suits you perfectly. And, are you sure that you are not related to Benjamin Button? 🙂

  • klhh avatar klhh

    I loved this post, Christine! I’m not a light summer, although I do love their palette…..but I learned so much from this. It helps to practice what we need to think about when deciding about whether something suits a particular season. Thank you and I’d love to see you do some of the other seasons as well.

  • Melina avatar Melina

    This is interesting – I passed this post by before, mainly due to the Light Summer tag (which I’m almost definitely not), but now I see these hints can actually be helpful to any season, especially the ‘colour clues in the model’ & ‘comparing to other things in the image’ parts!
    Although I myself mostly shop for clothes online on eBay, where the photo lighting & quality is *very* variable (and mostly no returns, but the prices are mostly so affordable that it doesn’t really matter), but most of the above mentioned issues do apply even there, and they are sure enough for avoiding the most unflattering purchases, if not perfect colour accuracy 🙂

  • PED avatar PED

    Hello Christine,
    Light summer here! I love your website and have learned much from you. Without corresponding images to this post, I am having a hard time understanding the concepts you describe. With so many images in that particular pinterest folder, I am not able to find the images you to which you are referring. I wonder if for future posts, you could provide a link directly to the images? Or embed them here?

    • Christine Scaman avatar Christine Scaman

      Great idea, PED, I should have thought of it. The links have been added. Please comment again if anything has not worked. Thanks!

      PS – the links are not opening in a new window for some reason, so you may have to right click to see if your computer will cooperate better.

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