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| Colour Shopping Online: Light Summer

Colour Shopping Online: Light Summer

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For the technique of fanning out the palette to harmonize colours, credit goes to colour analyst and Sci\ART trainer, Terry Wildfong. The method works equally well with fabric, cosmetics, jewelry, and any other item. The palette stands in for the person of the same natural colouring, or Season.

Whether shopping online or in-person, the question I’m asking is, “Does this item share enough in its colour properties to look great on a person of this colouring and will they make their clothes look awesome?”

Or, “Will the person and their clothing be better for being together? Will they bring out the best one another?” 

In 12 Season colour analysis, Light Summer is the Summer group with a smaller influence from Spring colours. 

Light summer colour drapes

Readers had questions to discuss first.
  1. Do I use special lighting?
I do but you don’t need to. Daylight, ideally on a slightly overcast day, is fine.

I have 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 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. 

No person looks exactly like their pictures and no item arrived in the mail that was identical to the web image. Doesn’t mean we can’t shop online, we totally can. Sometimes, I wish I couldn’t. 

Compare the colour to as many other things in the image as possible, as we will see later in this post.

Colours may be irregular between thumbnails and larger image, or larger image and video. If it’s impossible to know what’s correct, take a chance on returning it or forget the 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 sharper and whiter the highlight, the more likely to move into Winter.

If the highlight is softer, 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 A by comparing it to Colour B. If Colour B is calibrated to a known standard, decisions can be made about Colour A, a.k.a. Colour Analysis.

A model in the picture 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. How can use the palette to the fullest?
Answer: By going beyond matching swatch to garment and making outfits with the other colours. 

Or, “Do the colour combinations work?”

The Pins section further down goes into more detail.

With the item on the screen, open the entire palette, look at it and the garment at the same time or look between the arms of the palette, staying mindful of it. Have 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.

With a real garment, you would lay the palette on the garment. The idea is to look at both at the same time and feel agreement, which is how we want others to feel when they look at us.

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.

Next, divide the palette into sections. 

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, the natural colours of our cheeks and lips, as well as the lipstick and blush colours. Could 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. This strip may also contain some of the more unique colours to that Season. Is the effect together pleasing or at least believable and belonging?

The yellows. 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 or become uneven?

Light summer violet and blue colours

This section was edited in Dec/2018 to add new pins and discussion. 

When you begin using your palette, look for garments that match palette swatches. If you could slide the garment colour into the palette without anybody noticing, that’s a good sign. 

Our clothing has to be flattering with every colour in us, which is how the viewer sees it, rather than only with  the colour in us that matches the swatch. Once you have a contender, hide the palette strip with the closest colour. Does it still work? Can you make many outfits or combinations with colours that look balanced and great together?

To see the pictures and text at once, it may be helpful to open the links below in a new window.

 light summer coral and blue fabrics

1.  Woman with coral dress, bow at waist and upswept hairstyle.

The link to the pin is here.

This is the only pin from the first edition of this post. I love this colour on Light Summer. 

The model’s eyes and makeup are dark and when I look at her, I forget the dress. If one thing is enhanced at the expense of the other, something is off.  In harmony, colours should look better for being together, including ours with our clothes’. The dress and the woman are not making one another better but neither are they a lot worse. They are just there. We can do better. 

The dress is softer than she is, meaning the colour has more visible gray. It looks soft or dusty, suggesting Summer. 

The fabric texture is good for Light Summer. It softens shine and they look super in it.

The colour looks more in-the-sun than in-the-shade, suggesting the Spring side of Summer. 

2.  Emerald green blouse at Lulu’s. 

The pin is here

The colour is great with the Summer-y jeans. Her eyes and lips are easy to see; they should never take a back seat to what we wear. 

Another good green is in the side-button tunic, pinned here.  The jeans are darker, but blue-green and dusty work well with Summer and they could be fine in a wardrobe. A man might wear a suit this colour, as men are often stamped with a little more colour intensity than women in the same Season. For a lower half colour, there’s plenty of colour agreement. If a woman had medium ash brown hair or wore cosmetics, this could be lovely. 

3. Men’s watermelon necktie.

The pin is here.

As dark, warm, and bright as the Season may get. There is softness here as visible gray, which you could imagine if you put a fire engine next to the tie.

Highlights and lowlights stay close together, great for Summer. 

As with any colour in any palette, more than one Season could wear it. What makes sense of a colour are the other colours around it, plus the person wearing it. These are what give colours a context, a reason, a story, a meaning. Light and Bright Spring might find a place for this item. The reds on the right side of the second image above may be at the edges of Light Summer and serve perfectly well in another Season.


light summer colours blue and coral

4. Modcloth light apricot blouse.

The pin is here.

Soft (Summer) and warm without being earthy (Autumn), the colour is likely to be found in a rainbow (Spring) than a tapestry (Autumn).

For larger blocks near the face, an upper lightness level near this looks great. There are lighter colours in the palette and I prefer them in combination with other colours in the upper half, which might be a print or even a small area, like jewelry. 

Light and soft are different. This is light and on the brighter side for a Light Summer. In being light and warm,  Light Spring would be fine also.

5. Pink power suit.

The pin is here.

As light as Light Summer would wear, the overall light look is great for the Light Seasons.

The blouse and accessories are sharp and could be exchanged for softer gray, such as pebble. A medium colour might ground the impression so it doesn’t look too powdery and floaty. A darker colour from the palette would raise the light to dark distance (contrast) and create a more formal effect, like a tuxedo done in colour.

The model’s natural hair colour and lips are beautiful for Light Summer, and nice with the suit. 

6. Dark green blouse, black lace skirt.

The pin is here.

The  model’s hair and eyes appear to contain black, as does the skirt. The blouse is holding its own. A True Winter could wear this colour well as a softer item of medium darkness.

As the saturated Summer, the blouse could also be one of Light Summer’s darkest, more intense options. 

7. Denim dress from Floryday.

The pin is here.

The colour has softness (you wouldn’t call it sapphire, and it’s more muted than the glasses, both Winter), and also some brightness as a little pop, rather than a faded blue.

The purse would fit better in a tapestry than a rainbow, so there is Autumn influence here. The dress is more colourful than the purse and could work for a Summer type, including True Summer and Light Spring.

8. Kate Spade earrings.

The link is here.

Just plain gorgeous, with a translucent lollipop effect, and moving through the cool-neutral-warm range of the Light Summer’s warmth.

Knowing our Season tells us where to start shopping (and where to stop!)

The next adventure is recognizing palette colours as apparel and answering the question, “What would that look like in stores?”  You may find more ideas in the 12 BLUEPRINTS Pinterest boards, linked here. 

5 Thoughts on Colour Shopping Online: Light Summer

  • "; ?> 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

    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

    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

    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

      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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