8 May 2014

An experiment: fun with color analysis!

One thing I've always liked on vintage, especially 30's knitting patterns, that they tell you to 'choose a color to suit your complexion'. What does that really mean?
Every season has it's fashion colors but we all know that not all colors look flattering on us. Why would I wear white, beige or orange when it makes me look washed out?
Above I collected a couple of pictures where I'm wearing colors that I think flatter me. I especially love how the 'electric blue' and 'green-teal' look on me!
Definitely a good starting point. But why do these colors suit my complexion and others not?

what is color analysis:
"Color analysis is the process of determining the colors that best suit an individual's natural coloring. The most well-known is "seasonal" color analysis, which places individual coloring into four general categories: Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn. This system is used by image and color consultants worldwide."
The most successful book on seasonal color analysis for the general public was Carole Jackson's 'Color Me Beautiful' first published back in 1981.
"Whatever style or mood, you'll glow in your thirty special colors!"

Of course, since those years the system has been developed further and nowadays there are even more variations within the different 'seasons', like soft, light, cool, deep, clear, bright and muted...
Although you can have a professional color analysis done (and I might be doing that one day) playing around with Photoshop might be just as much fun as that!

first step:
To start with the color analysis look at yourself in the mirror.
What color is your skin, your eyes, and what is your natural hair color?
- my skin is pale and rosy
- my natural hair color is medium ash brown
- my eyes are (warm) green
The rosy pale, color and the ash colored hair are already clues to move in the 'cool seasons' direction.
Collecting pictures of yourself wearing colors that flatter you is handy as well.
There are certainly items in your wardrobe which flatter you and you often get complimented because that certain color suits you so well.

note on ethnic skin tones:
Be aware, just because you have an 'ethnic' skin or hair color, either african or asian, your undertones are not the same. Obviously you see the most variation in skin, hair, eye color in caucasian type people, but you can skip that step for sure.
For example, take a look at the beautiful Oscar winner actress Lupita Nyong'o.
She seems to look amazing in virtually any color! Like other African ladies she has brown skin, brown eyes and black hair. Autumn or Winter maybe?
I think along bright white, the radiant colors and jewel tones suit her best. She is definitely a 'Winter' type! Though she can pull off pastel, beige, golden and orange shades because of her deep dark skintone, somehow she looks less radiant to me when wearing those. Do you agree?
Upper row: looking radiant in what I think are her 'best' colors, lower row: looking 'washed out' in her 'less' colors:

want to wear your 'less' colors?
Sometimes, you'd just love to wear a certain color that is not one of your 'best' colors. Just because you love the look or because it's fashionable or because you need to keep with a dress code. No problem! The trick is to simply keep them away from your face and team them with one of your 'best' tones. You can wear a dress in your 'less' color in combination with a scarf (=close to your face) in your 'best' color.

warm or cool:
For the next steps your hair should be covered and your face should be make-up free. In the pictures I do wear lipstick, simply because this picture matches my real skintone best, and that is the most important thing.
When doing a professional color analysis your hair will be covered and while you sit in front of a mirror there will be different colored scarfs draped around your shoulders.

Let's start with a simple gold and silver background.
If the cool, silver background flatters your face you are a Summer or Winter type. If the warm, golden color flatters you you are a Spring or Autumn type.

I think it is obvious, gold is absolutely not my color. Blah! I can almost see brown 'patches' popping up, I seem to look sick...
The silver background is much more flattering. It brightens up my face, which has naturally a blue-ish/rose undertone. This looks more 'balanced' and calm to me:

Now I know I am a summer or winter type. If your eyes and hair are dark then you should be a winter type, if your eyes and hair are light you should be a summer type. I have green eyes and naturally middle-ash brown hair (currently dyed blond) so go figure... The best is to check both color palettes.

summer colors:
The summer type colors are not bad, but I'm not sure of the pale grey and beige colors around my face. I also know from experience that pastels don't look good on me at all.

Here with another Summer color chart:
I especially love the green tones in the last row. The beautiful blue of my Valerie jumper is the 2nd from the right in the 2nd row! The lavender color of my 50's scarf is the 4th from the left in the 2nd row:

winter colors:
The brighter winter colors look good, for the lighter colors the icy tones work well. Again, I don't like the look of the mid- and dark browns and the peachy/salmon color right above my face. One of the colors that makes me look 'washed out' the most is white:

The another color chart: Are the winter colors too bright for me, after all?...
There are a few colors I definitely don't like: the reddish-brown, the bright yellow, the warm red, I'm not sure of the grass-green...

the conclusion:
I am definitely more Summer than Winter. Probably, a mix of the summer and winter types works for me the best. Yes, those types exist too!
The emerald-green and turquoise, the bright red and fuchsia, the pale purple and lavender, the blues are all colors which suit me well:
  • cool colors
  • jewel-tones 
  • icy hues instead of pastels  
  • 'deep' hues of colors.
  • this goes for lipstick as well: icy rose, cool and deep red, fuchsia-pink, bright pink, lavender-rose are the best for me to use
  • silver accessories
What do you think?

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