How Dark Winter Can Appear to be Bright Spring

Dec 29, 2014 | Dark Winter, Personal Color Analysis

Let me tell you a little story. For some of you it may be very familiar.

A woman whose interest in finding her best colors has been peaked joins a forum or a facebook group, or multiples of both. She’s hoping they can help her save a few pennies on a color analysis, or maybe she just lives pretty far away from an analyst and wants to see what she can accomplish on her own before one comes to town. Inevitably if she wants their help, the ladies in these groups tell her she’s going to need to post some pictures of herself, usually in a variety of colors. Here’s what they see:

My colleague Cate's Dark Winter client, A

My colleague Cate‘s Dark Winter client, A

My Dark Winter client, K

My Dark Winter client, K

My colleague Gabi's Dark Winter client, L

My colleague Gabi‘s Dark Winter client, L

My colleague Jorunn's Dark Winter client, SMy colleague Jorunn’s Dark Winter client, S

Thank you so much to the clients willing to share their pictures! Gorgeous women, all.

  • A woman who has a lighter hazel or darker blue-green eye color. She may have fairly light hair, often of the sort that sits right on the line between blonde and brown, but may tip in favor of the former. Sometimes, she might have red hair instead. It might be cooler looking (in which case she has typically considered it mousey), or a warmer looking, golden color. Her skin might range from very fair indeed to a light tan. The skin might have some apparent heat to it, but it might not.
  • A woman who looks decently convincing in black, but not totally.
  • A woman who obviously seems to need some darkness. Light, chalky pastels are possibly the worst thing she could do.
  • A woman who can be upstaged by some very intense colors. Put her in BW’s most vibrant, cherry reds for example, and definitely if that red happens to be a lipstick, and there’s something obviously not right there. Someone might come along and insist it’s too cool as well. It certainly might feel that way. Because of what she looks like, and also because black, pure white, and bright red seem too much for her, Winter is more or less ruled out.
  • Speaking of color temperature, this woman seems to need some heat. People are generally not agreed on how much, but most agree she is neutral. Silver and gold both seem to work. Sometimes, gold might even seem to be better. Because Winter seems too much, and Summer is draining and not good at all, it is presumed she must be warm neutral.
  • A woman next to whom rust and camel look like food or dirt. She may have come in liking and wearing these colors to begin with. She very quickly gets the “Honey, no.” from girls on the group. She may or may not keep trying to convince them otherwise. Still, Autumn lipsticks look really muddy.
  • A woman on whom, compared to the aforementioned rust and camel, coral and turquoise seem pretty effective. Her eyes brighten, her skin clears, she seems somewhat healthier.  She may tell them this is a Bright Spring trial, or they might tell her that based on what seem in the picture to be those colors. Lipsticks may look better than Autumn as well. Some will continue to argue that they are too bright, but compared to the Autumn ones, they might still look better, because after all it is true she need some brightness. Because Autumn is the comparison presented, and because hue effects are some of the ones most poorly represented in photos, no one notices that her face has turned yellow the minute she put the lipstick on.

So the group decides after extensive trials that this woman is a Bright Spring. Except she isn’t. They weren’t totally wrong though. Here’s what they missed:

  • Hue reactions. Unless it was very extreme, they really couldn’t tell how much heat was too much. It’s pretty hard, if not impossible in a photo to make much of that. They used other factors to rule out cool neutral, and her appearance was a major sticking point there. Basically, they thought she was so light looking that if she was cool or cool neutral she’d have to be a Summer, which did not end up working at all. If they could see that warm neutral was separating the pigments in her skin, they thought that was just her skin. Which it partially might have been, just not as much as they think. Or potentially not at all. (No, we are not putting you in extreme colors to “fix your problem skin”. You might not really have problem skin, or not half so much as you think. We just remove the simultaneous contrast effect making it look that way.)
  • Value reactions. They couldn’t tell that Bright Spring was too light to define her. They forgot to check and see if she had edges to her features and to her face, or more likely they didn’t know they were supposed to. Or, they could see that but they just assumed she was kind of a darker leaning one.
  • Chroma reactions. The major points of argument for her being Bright Spring were basically her appearance, and the fact that everyone could see that the brightness of that season over Dark Autumn helped her considerably. Surely it would have been impossible to notice the greasiness of her skin in Bright Spring in a photo, if anyone had been checking. And again, because they have already decided that Bright Winter is too Bright (true), and True Winter is too cool (true), and she can’t really be a Dark anyhow because she is too light looking (false), the group arrives at what seems to be the only logical conclusion.
  • This probably was not lost on those trying to help online, but it’s pretty hard to tell what looks good when colors in the photograph change with every shift of light, and on each persons different screen, etc, even as a trained analyst who knows what to look for. You really need to be in the room with the person, and in controlled lighting.
  • The possibility they were never looking at Bright Spring colors to begin with. That is still true if she eventually went out and bought the fan. She doesn’t know how to use it really, and even if she did it’s easy to make this mistake sometimes.

I hope what you are starting to see is how complex PCA truly is. Even if you followed all that perfectly, hopefully you begin to understand why we need to be together in the same room, in controlled lighting, looking at very calculated and specific drape comparisons in order to come to an accurate conclusion. And one of us should probably be a trained color analyst, who knows what to look for and how to know when a color is working or not, and if not, what might be wrong with it. (Oh, and, you can change a few minor things up here and have this same story with either Dark and with either Bright or True Spring)

Ok, so the story continues. This woman eventually senses something is not right, and she shows up at my door for a PCA. She’s pretty sure she’s wasting her money and she’s just going to be what everyone says, but she just wants to know for sure. When we reach the Dark Winter conclusion, her mind is blown. She’s seen it all happen of course, she knows exactly how we got there and can see with her own eyes that it does work. Sooner or later though, whether right away or after a week of looking through Dark Winter pinterest boards, she becomes upset. “How can my colors be so heavy, dark, and sad?” she asks me. The simplest answer, one that happens to be true, is that they aren’t. Of course everyone idea of what colors are depressing is different, but the main thing here is, when she asks this question, she inevitably thinks she has nothing but mulberry, aubergine, and blackened navy (not that there’s anything wrong with those colors!). She’s come to love the color she discovered in Bright Spring, and for good reason. Let me show you what I mean.

Often, this woman has walked into her analysis telling me how well she suits coral and turquoise. Quite so, she does. Coral and turquoise can be some of the most surprising and flattering colors in the Dark Winter pallet. While, for this woman, the draping will reveal that these colors really have to be gotten right (meaning that they need to be precisely in her season and not any other sort of coral or turquoise) the effect can be excellent. Add to that list teal, a color which is extremely flattering on any of the 5 Autumn blends, and hot pink, a color that all 3 winters have some version of, and you start to see why it can be easy to mistake a light looking DW for BSp and why it is simply untrue that one is all happy and bright and the other dark depression.

Please note that polyvores were created on my screen, using digital palette representations for harmony. Many of the actual items may be different seasons in reality, and the images of them may look very different on your screen. I hope that some of the general concepts will come through.

Dark Winter vs Bright Spring - Coral, Pink, and Turquoise

It is certainly true that the overall look and feel of the Dark Winter colors here as a group is deeper richer and yes *a bit* duller compared with the light, bright airy, feeling of the Bright Spring group. Usually, regardless of her feeling about Bright Spring’s light tangerines or palest aquas and yellow greens, she knows that those colors are not particularly flattering on her. Bright Spring on the other hand wears these colors very naturally as lightness and warmth at the same time her very much and her wheelhouse. What about the purse in the middle? Is it Bright Spring? Is it Dark Winter? Is it neither, perhaps? Does it really matter if this could be a logical part of either of these wardrobes? Especially of she loves it, probably not.

Worth mentioning, it’s totally okay to find another season more beautiful to look at than your own. What I see often is women who discount their own season without really knowing what it looks like, usually because of the name and/or what they see on Pinterest. Spend time with your pallete, see what you can make it do.

How about purple and blue? Many, many Dark Winters, as well as Bright Springs both love and look good in their blues and purples.  Many of them are not all that dissimilar, because of the inherent darkness of blue and purple. I’ve tried to expand these examples to include both the “Dark Winter would never” (the merlot dress in the corner) and “Bright Spring would never” (the light purple coat with the flowers) sides of the seasons. If someone didn’t particularly care for either of those extreme, I think they could easily work with the tones that are neither. But ideally the colors they did choose would harmonize to those other colors, whether or not they actually chose to wear them. That’s how we tested you, and how we know the difference between seasons when eyeballing it is hard to do.

Dark Winter vs Bright Spring - Blues and Purples

One more, though I could do several. Yellows and warmer greens. Though these colors are perhaps more readily associated with Bright Spring, Dark Winter is quite vibrant and exciting here, ranging to a very punchy icy acid green we use in analysis as a proof against Dark Autumn (who does not wear icy color well at all, or anything that close to white for that matter). Again notice how key it is that Dark Winter has a maximum darkness point which by far exceeds that of Bright Spring, and vice versa that Bright Spring can tolerate much more lightness, even near-pastels (which are kryptonite to the DW). Yet many, even most of the colors exist in a sort of overlapping midrange; the main apparent difference becomes heat level and a bit of saturation. Bright Spring would never wear the olive blouse. The amount of black in the two patterned dresses could get heavy on her. Dark Winter would never wear the light yellow purse, even as an accessory, or the dark yellow hat and scarf, especially next to the face. These are the extremes that  are often not pushed in testing the seasons at home (some of these colors are not that easy to find!).

Dark Winter vs Bright Spring - Yellows and Greens

I hope that this article has served to expand your notion of what Dark Winter can be, both colors and people, and also, perhaps most importantly, your understanding of PCA in general.

P.S. If you’ve had a PCA from me, or one of my 12 Blueprints/Your Natural Design trained colleagues, reach out to me if you’d like to be added to our new private Facebook group. It’s a great place to ask questions and share information.


  1. Thank you so much for this post Rachel… I feel like it’s been written just for me! I’m another of Gabi’s clients who was draped a DW, after having been draped a LSp, and having had a long-standing fondness for what I thought were Bright Spring colours. If I told anyone I were a BSp they wouldn’t doubt it, but DW…. . After completely accepting the results of the draping, I had a major case of doubt after some ‘friends’ online told me there was no way I could be a DW. After testing and re-testing everything myself, and pouring over my draping results pack, I couldn’t prove to myself that I wasn’t DW. It just works. The solution for me has been to stay well away from groups and anything written online about PCA. (I forgot I signed up for your emails!) Weirdly enough I had noticed the ‘brightness’ of DW myself after learning to harmonise the palettes rather than trying to match individual squares. I remember reading in the DW group someone commenting that their wardrobe was dark and depressing. As you’ve said already, I don’t know why it would be. I think of the palette as saturated or rich rather than dark.

    • I’m so happy it’s helped you, Heather! (And, sorry to pop up in your inbox unexpectedly! 😉 ) I totally support the groups intent and understand the need for feedback. But often there isn’t an underlying agreement about what their philosophy of color or style should be. It can be very confusing and frustrating. For this reason, we have formed our new group, with many analysts on deck to help, but also with space for our clients to learn, play, and grow into their seasons together.

  2. (Reposting my comment in the proper place)
    Wow. Thanks so much for writing this. It’s almost creepy, in fact. I got a Light Spring in the fan in the mail a few weeks ago, and that is what everyone had long assumed I was. I just looked Light Spring–light golden blonde hair, blue/green eyes, pale, almost translucent skin with some warmth to it. I got the fan and started matching colors, and they all made me look gray or ruddy. I also knew I could handle a lot more darkness, even when I was platinum blonde as a little kid.My favorite outfit was a dark aubergine sweater-and-leggings set. But coral and turquoise and bright green are great; people begin suggesting Bright Spring. Bright Spring lipstick looks like it’s photoshopped on my face, even when I sheer it out with some lip balm. I put on dark maroon, and people are shocked that it looks perfectly natural and balanced. Both the darkness and the brightness of Dark Winter make my little punk/goth heart sing. I’m still absolutely planning on getting draped as soon as it is possible, but this blog post has shed some light for me as to what could be the reason behind my seemingly mysterious home draping results.

    • Happy to hear my article has helped you to explore more possibilities. The main thing is to keep an open mind before having a PCA. Have fun trying things but take it all lightly 😉

  3. Absolutely great in-depth article. Quite informative. Dispelled many, many myths. Thank you.

  4. Sorry, but I´m not convinced. What I see in client A is soft summer deep. There is nothing deep about her. Just compare her to e.g. Salma Hayek or Anne Hathaway. The saturation level is completely different. Even that color is not that good on her. I can imagine more greyish shade of that color on her. Client S looks like bright winter (or perhaps cool summer). Client K looks like warm spring. Sorry but colors are (after all) physics. Means that they have some rules that don´t change. This seems to be completely messed up.

    • You have to pick your argument here. You can’t just claim to eyeball 4 women’s season from a photo (not actually how color science works) and then claim to be taking the scientific stance. You see, the reason we drape is because our color vision is not objective. It’s not meant to be, creatures who see objectively have poorer survivability than those whose vision system helps them see only what is useful. That’s why when we try to "match" a person to a palette, we fail as often as not. The best color minds on the planet are still not that great at that activity, since human visual systems are not equipped to do it. When we drape, we create a controlled environment in which to observe simultaneous contrast reactions of the skin (and yes the eyes too, and for experienced analysts, the hair if it is natural), which is itself a thing that exists only in perception and not in physical reality. Because most of the seasons contain most hues and all a range of value, we must use comparisons between known quantities (the drapes) and unknown (the client) to discover the scientific properties of their coloring. I could easily pull out colors from the dark season palettes, and if I asked you in the abstract you would see them as spring and summer (rather like the above ladies), while if I showed you them next to spring and summer palettes it would be abundantly clear why they are not that, since a proper comparison would make the differing qualities of color completely apparent.

      • Yes, I understand that there is a lot of relativity, but not 100%. Means that if you drape someone with naturally blond hair and light eyes as something dark, well, then I simply refuse to believe because light is not dark. As I understand the point of people´s coloring, we want to find colors that creates harmony with colors in our face. That means that they must have something similar. If someone should be harmonized by wearing dark and saturated colors then there must be at least one of these things in her face/hair. I understand that you can make mistake between similar seasons (soft summer/cool summer; warm autumn/deep autumn) when you can´t see what is dominant over what (more soft or cool?; more warm or deep?) but when I see nothing really dark nor saturated in their faces, then I don´t believe the results. This system was created to have certain logic and this approach erases it.

        • You are wildly oversimplifying what it means to be light or dark. It has to do with CONTRAST between the 3 features… and what makes the skin clear up. Not all blue or grey or green eyes are light. There is an entire range. The blonde woman up above has dark blue eyes. Perhaps you need to adjust your monitor’s settings or see an optician about colour blindness.

  5. Suuure… tmit in those woman is darkness. As it is in all others dw… or maybe it isn’t. There is a medium winter now. (Because the dw palette is kind of medium in value and saturation…) (and a medium to Light deep autumn as well… and a soft bright winter(spring) too)
    If you can’t see tmit, then it ISN’T tmit.

  6. I think this is me DW vs. BS that is, I have been struggling to identify my season for months and sadly professional draping is out of my price range. I’m very fair with almost translucent skin, blue veins and a reddish pink blush. I burn in the sun fairly easily, but I’m also lightly freckled and can tan. I’ve got med/dark auburn hair, and very dark almost black, brown eyes. I look like a dead person (literally like a zombie) in most camel/tans and avoid most pastels for similar reasons. Yellows, oranges, and reds are all tricky so I often stay away from them too. I look best in blues, greens, and dark pinks and can wear silver or gold jewelry but prefer silver. I’m almost certain I have cool skin and deep eyes but my warmer auburn hair and freckles throw me. Additionally I wear a lot of black but it can be a little overpowering on me, and I think that a dramatic red lip also overwhelms me which is why I question DW.

  7. So happy I came across this post! I think this might actually apply to me… I’m a self-diagnosed Bright Spring (professional draping is totally out of my budget, it’s not a question of saving "a few pennies"); it has seemed the best fit, based on, among other things, on this very same logic you so well described: "Because they have already decided that Bright Winter is too Bright (true), and True Winter is too cool (true), and she can’t really be a Dark anyhow because she is too light looking (false), the group arrives at what seems to be the only logical conclusion." 😉 (I am indeed light looking: dark blonde hair, green-grey eyes with brown flecks, light/medium warm skin.) And yes, coral and hot pink are very good for me… The need for saturated colour and good tolerance (often even preference) for black where also factors for me. Though there are admittedly some things in the BSp palette that have not seemed to fit at all for me – the orange, and the dark yellow, as in that hat and scarf above… That’s one reason I wasn’t totally 100% convinced about my "diagnosis". And the thing is, I did in fact dress up more or less like a DW for several years, before I got into seasonal colour analysis (or knw anything about it)! In fact a big part of my wardrobe is still black… (It seems the easiest colour to find affordable dresses in, among other things!) But have tried to get away from the black, due to the preceived Bright Springyness… Maybe I shouldn’t have bothered after all 😉 Though it’s not only the black in DW that matches – nearly everything else does.

    Just the white poses a question for me , as I simply can’t wear stark white… One (more) reason I ruled out any Winter. But above you say "because of what she looks like, and also because black, pure white, and bright red seem too much for her, Winter is more or less ruled out" – that would seem to say a DW doesn’t need to be able to wear pure white..?

    Also, I can’t wear such dark lipsticks that are usually recommended for DW’s, but the models in the photos above don’t seem to either, and this may also be due to being relatively light or medium in colouring..?

  8. I’d always thought myself to be an Autumn – a Dark Autumn, until a woman in a local shop showed me what I look like in very bright, vibrant colours. I don’t know what season I am, and can’t currently afford a PCA, but I do know that many of the colours I wear well ‘seem’ to be Bright Spring. However….draping at home is very hard. In my case, my skin looks very, very different depending upon the light, with huge differences in how my skin appears in full natural light compared to indoors – even stood right by a window in natural light. I have olive skin (by which I mean a nasty yellow-grey-green, not tanned – although I do tan deeply), which is at once both pale and strongly pigmented. Indoors, my skin tends to look pale and guite Goth; outdoors, my skin looks very strongly yellow-olive. I sometimes despair of ever finding colours that actually look good, especially as artificial lighting in shops and changing rooms throw things off even more. My sister is the absolutely stereotypical Dark Winter and wears DW colours beautifully, with a great natural eye for what suits her – even wearing "that green" (and she has less than no interest in colour analysis). We are not the same season, that is for sure, even if there are similarities in our colouring. Her colours make me look like a corpse. Some of my best colours are stinging red-oranges and orange-reds, bright golden yellow, violet purple, Kelly green and a sort of magenta-plum. Light lime is good. Hot pink – depends on the exact shade. Whether the colours belong best in BSpr, DA, or another palette entirely, I don’t know. Could I wear the lighter, more pastel pinks etc of Bright Spring? I don’t know: I probably wouldn’t know them if I fell over them.

  9. Wow… I just found out that this was my case, just the other way around. Every test out there had me analyzed as a deep winter, and this is what I believed for years, but something was telling me something was missing… until, on a whim, I bought a sweater whose color I can describe as "butterscotch", way away from my "authorized" colors. It was very surprising to hear people compliment me on how good the color looked on me. So it got me thinking… I’ve always had a hard time finding out whether I was definitely cool. My skin seems to be neutral-reddish (my veins are teal = greyish green and blue and my foundation color can be described as "bisque", which says a lot). I know that orange looks awful on me, and that made me rule out autumn and, with that, half of the deep color palette. I have black hair, dark, reddish-brown eyes, and "latte" skin. Since hot pink looks good on me and so does lime green, I must be a bright and if this golden sweater works too, there must be something warmer than winter in my coloring. I do believe that deep colors are good, but not on the autumn side. That’s how I came to realize I could have some spring in me, as long as I stick to the most saturated colors. So, in conclusion, I am bright and deep, with neutral undertones. Is there a color fan for that?

  10. I don’t think your examples are very good. Maybe it’s the lighting, but A looks softer; the rich green is slightly too saturated for her. K looks quite overwhelmed by the dark colors she’s wearing, and S looks sallow and completely wrong in those colors. L is the only one that’s really convincing.

  11. Korea, I believe it is absolutely possible, despite what you say, to be light looking and draped as a dark season or vice versa. Draped is the important word, as you simply cannot tell from an initial look of a person. I am a case in point, having been draped as a dark autumn ten years ago, I lived very successfully as this season, until it began to feel not right as I aged and my colouring changed a bit. I sent for Beauty is Truth drapes from website and came out bright spring, which could not really believe, as I felt I had gone soft autumn with age. Then saved up and got a real consultation, the stylist would not be drawn into comment until she had draped me and found me bright spring too. Said how surprised she was as I have fairly dark hair and eyes still, fair skin, thought a deep still perhaps or people usually soften with age, not go clearer, but I had! So, if you can’t afford draping in person, purchase drapes online as second best, but cover your hair and clothes with white and do in good light with care. Look at your face, not each colour, see what lights you up, no shadows, no reddening, no washing out, just what seems to make you glow from within.

  12. Saileth, you sound like a Bright Winter! Since you can do hot pink, lime and yellow, but not orange – that latter would rule out Bright Spring, it does have oranges. 🙂

    (In my own case, I’ve gone more or less a full circle from my post 9 months ago, first suspecting I could indeed be a DW, then, after trying some glowingly warm colours & seeing how great they were on me moved into Autumn, probably TA; and lately, for several various reasons thinking of Spring again… ;))

  13. I have medium dark brown hair, pale rosy skin but an olive undertone. My eyes are brown but with slight gold/green tinge that’s not noticeable in pictures, only in person, I look great in bri th the pink, electric blue, navy, black, emerald green, and all purples except pastel. I can pull off mustard yellow or pale yellow if i add highlights to my hair, but no oranges and red in all its shades makes me look sickly and drained! (Anything from tomato red, to bluensure red to burgundy) I have no idea what season I am, I seem to cool to be warm but none of the winters seem to fit and most of the autumn palette is too drab and summer is too wishy-washy on me. Some dark winter colors like pine abd burgundy are also unflattering, please help!

    • Bright pink*

  14. So, I realize that this article is talking about mis-draping as Bright Spring, but do you think the same thing could happen with Light Summer? I have never been draped, but I had determined myself to be Soft Summer. Then I sent some pictures with color cards to a lady on another site, and she thought Light Summer looked best. I just have my doubts because sometimes it just seems too light, and like I disappear.

  15. It’s been a long time coming but finally arriving at Dark Winter, I know I’ve found the proper seasonal match. It’s been hard because of my eyes, which are a pretty unusual cool green hazel with a hint of warmth, leaning light olive, with a very distinctive dark, green ring around my iris. There are no hazy borders in my eye color and the distribution of color is in starbursts.

    My eyes have been a point of confusion, as I can never tell if they could be classified as light hazel or dark hazel. Others say my eyes are light and crisp and although I know I have a neutral skin tone, multiple makeup counters clerks have decided I’m cool. However, I’ve found I wear so many of the Dark Autumn colors well, that it’s been very confusing to pin one or the other season down. For a while I even toyed with Bright Spring, as I found I could wear many of the greens and blues in that palette very well.

    However, it was looking back at a high school photo with no hair-color alterations, that really cleared things up for me. I have medium-dark brown hair with hints of gold and red but with an ash cast. The overall feeling of my hair is still very deep and bluish and my skin is porcelain. My eyes look shaded and deep. I’m in a costume that’s a dark berry pink dress with a black corset and I’m wearing dark cherry lipstick and I look like Snow White sitting in a sea of variations of warmth. The coolness is obvious compared to even other brunettes in the group. As my eye color isn’t blue or light, cool green and I still have a neutral skin tone rather than strictly cool, Dark Winter is my clear fit.

    Looking back at so many other photos, I see the same thing: The extreme contrast of fair skin with hints of shadows for features, only a hint of rosy cheeks and the dark hair that photographs mostly neutral. Also, those who had light ash-blonde highlights as children might feel they can never be so dark, even as their hair color has darkened over time. I was a brunette as a child but my hair would lighten in the sun and get both, almost platinum and gold highlights. But I think many Dark Winters had ash tones that deepened over time and it leaves them thinking they could never be dark enough to be a Winter because they’re thinking of all the cool, high contrast brunettes with light eyes they’d normally associate with the season

    . However, imagine features being drawn with dark charcoal rather than pen and ink and you’ll get a feel for the mood of DW.

  16. I actually had to come back because I was so sure, ready to go into a consultation already knowing what I thought I knew but in actuality, was wrong. After being draped, it appears I’m actually a Spring, Bright Spring even leaning warm. My hair was actually more golden than I realized and turning over my wrists, it appears that my veins look more teal than blue.

    I’m actually neutral, even leaning warm because my very fair skin with rosiness is actually more a peachiness than cool pink. As a teenager, a close friend of mine said I should wear coral blush and lipstick and I thought she was trying to sabotage my looks (lol) when we were going out because it sounded like something Magda from "There’s Something About Mary" would wear. But as it turns out, in Magda’s colors, I shine. Teal and lime eye-shadow, coral blush. Hot pink or warm red or orange lips. It looks great. I say this to encourage others to keep looking if you feel like you’ve hit a Season roadblock and give a Season you’d never expect to be, a chance.

    My eyes are definitely light but since my hair is not blonde, the contrast was noticeable and confusing to some makeup clerks. I was asked about the colors I thought I wore well from Winter and even the Dark autumn ones I thought I could pull off and it turns out, they were mostly the brightest colors of the palettes. When I thought about it, I had ignored my instinct for years to wear bright colors because I assumed bright and contrasting was always garish, regardless of coloring.

    But boy, was I wrong. There was a reason I always grabbed for lime green and flame orange, primary colors and bold contrasts, only to quickly put these clothes back because I assumed they were too much: It was like my mind was inherently telling me to follow my eye, not trends. Even in my other post, you can see I had a feeling about Bright Spring, like something kept telling me this was a harmonious palette for me. The dusky, dusty and heathered colors that looked so gentle and pretty on the racks wore the worst on me. My features looked shadowed because the dusty colors I had in my wardrobe were dragging down my look and sucking the life out of my face.

    I thought I was going to leave the consultation disproving the need to be draped by someone else but in fact, found the opposite to be true. This can be very hard to do on your own and the results of having someone else with an eye do it are worth it. I know this palette looks "right" on me, others notice how much better I look in it and in these colors, I FEEL beautiful. It also provides a weird sense of peace, where all these years I thought I just looked bad because I was just destined to look bad, when I’d just been wearing clothes that wore me. Get draped by a specialist. It really makes a difference.

  17. This is my story! I loved how you wrote it – it’s pretty much exactly what happened to me. I actually didn’t want to be a winter because true winter colors feel almost crayola bright on me. I know I can’t wear camel and rust and certainly not dusty summer colors. I’m neutral and my eyes are brown and gold. So I thought warm right? My mother is a summer and always dressed me as a summer so I knew already that those colors don’t work. My wardrobe is almost entirely black and I was tired of it – I was just about ready to go out with a bright spring swatch fan and redo the whole thing based on online advice when I decided to finally pay to get draped. And I was utterly surprised to find out that i’m a dark winter because I’m just not that dark or deep in coloring. But as soon as I saw the deep garnet reds and forest/emerald green I smiled – yes that’s it exactly!

  18. The polyvore images have disappeared.

  19. This is me! I was draped a Summer in 1985 because I was naturally dark blonde back then. The colors never looked right. Started exploring PCA again in 2016, and when I read this article, it clicked. You explained it perfectly! In my younger days I was pretty tawny after a summer in the sun, definitely some "heat" present, but autumn makeup looked like mud. I finally arranged to be draped by Cate Linden last spring, I am a dark winter. This article is PERFECT.

  20. I’m a male that had little interest in anything but black, dark brown, white, or charcoal. Deep navy or dark violet were the wild colors in my wardrobe (to be fair, I was in the Navy on active duty at the time, and had to maintain a meticulous haircut, meaning my natural light copper brown/deep strawberry blond hair showed up from the Elvis color I had been using for years). I was dragged by my cousin to Hall’s in Kansas City, where her roommate, who did personal shopping for high end male customers and celebrities quickly determined, with a few drapes and clothes off the rack where that lacked, that I was bright spring. That perhaps Just for Men black-brown helped me cheat into winter, and of course the black and navy excelled because they were also in bright spring under the new 12 seasons, but I should be wearing clear spring and if cheating, clear winter. She was not a fan of me in any brown except a pretty bright camel d(think spring suiting) or a dark chocolate brown.

    I cannot, since I have left Just for Men alone, say that clear spring entirely fits—but my family has an unusual sandy red hair color combined with hazel brown eyes (they’re green centered when slightly enlarged in photos) and I can get a tan, but usually have brown arms and pink face. I wear coral pink, coral orange, and rust very well, but not most yellow. The blues, violets, reds, and most of the greens, plus the neutrals of clear spring work, but many colors that should work are not outstanding. . . so while I was advised to stick to the tropical colors, I’m pulling back off some of them other than the middle greens and aquas.

  21. The opposite happened to me. I thought I was a dark winter, but after I went blonde, I realized with a shock that I’m a spring. Light clear orange is my best color. I compared my wrist to an acquaintance’s and her skin had a definite blue/pink tone and mine was light yellow. My family and my husband’s family all have definite golden skin, and by comparison I didn’t look yellow, so all those years I was mistaken into thinking that I had cooltone skin.

  22. Thank you. This is very helpful!
    The images don’t show up for me. This article would be even more helpful if I could see your examples.

Rachel Has Been Seen On


Rachel Has Been Seen On