Color Theory

"The Concept & Theory Behind the Seasonal Color Analysis"


Gaining basic knowledge in color theory gives you a better understanding of the concept behind the seasonal color analysis, and how a coloring is assessed.

Each person's coloring (hair, skin and eyes) will have a dominant characteristic which is a primary factor in deciding their seasonal group.

Basically, according to this color theory the quality of a color is based on:

  • HUE (Undertone: Warm or cool)
  • VALUE (Depth: Dark or light)
  • CHROMA (Clarity: Clear or Soft-muted)

Now let me tell you more about these 3 different qualities of a color in the color theory..

Color Theory: Hue/Undertone

It means what color an object is, eg. red, orange or green. Every hue will be either a predominant Warm or Cool. However some will have a combination of the two, which is described as neutral.

Undertone of a color



Color Theory: Value/Depth

This measures the lightness or darkness of a color. Typically light colors have tints of white added to it. Dark colors have some shade of black added to it.

Depth of a color



Color Theory: Chroma/Clarity

It means a color's clarity or saturation. A bright yellow is considered saturated and clear. Mustard on the other hand is more of a muted yellow.

Clarity of a color


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Putting it Together

So according to the color theory - from these 3 aspects of color we get 6 dominant characteristics:

Deep-dark, Light, Clear,
Soft-muted, Warm and Cool


These make up the seasonal color analysis, which are grouped into 4 pure groups based on the intensity of each group; which are Winter (strong and vivid), Autumn (strong but muted), Summer (delicate and light) and Spring (delicate but warm).

Together, they create this seasonal chart:

4 seasons of seasonal color analysis


See why we call this color system 'seasonal'? It shows the dominant quality/intensity of various colorings and how they flow with each other.

The point here is to find your coloring's intensity on this chart - based on the most dominant (obvious) characteristic of your coloring that you and other people notice first.


Are You Warm or Cool?

But it doesn't end at the 4 seasons and 6 coloring traits. The characteristics doubles (12 groups altogether) after determining your second characteristic - are you warm or cool?

For example, if your first dominant trait is Deep and dark, you need to find out if you're a cool or warm. So if you have a deep coloring that is more cool than warm, you're a Deep Winter. If you're a warmer type of deep you're a Deep Autumn.

This can be a tricky task because we tend to lack the objectivity when looking at ourselves in the mirror. But one tell-tale sign is your feelings towards color – do you favor cool or warm colors?

Gold or silver. Warm or cool

Usually, your feelings towards different types of colors is based on your positive and negative experiences with them:
  • You feel alive and healthy in a color or you feel blah or ok in a color
  • People have commented or given you positive reactions to a color you're wearing. Eg: "That's your color, for sure", "Wow", "You look amazing"
  • People might have asked you if you're tired or sick because you looked washed out

With me, before I discovered the seasonal color analysis, my close friends and past boyfriends would always give me a wow expression whenever I wore yellow, black, plum/purple, tomato red or warm beige.


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How Colors Affect Your Appearance

In the world of image & style you'll find 3 type of colors:

1. Colors that Look Fantastic On You

... making your skin, eyes and hair glow. You'll discover that you don't need a lot of makeup - a fabulous color reduces the imperfections such as dark eye circles, lines and discolorations - bringing out a healthy complexion.

It's almost like a mini face-lift. You'll appear bright and alert. And it doesn't matter if you have dark or light hair, dark or light eyes, dark or pale skin - the right colors bring out the beauty in whatever coloring you have.

2. Colors that Look Good on You - Neither Fabulous or Bad

... They don't look bad on you but aren't fantastic either. You'll notice it when you put on a color (let's say purple) and you can say that it looks good but it's not a complete 'wow'.

These are called universal colors which anyone can wear because they have a little bit of everything from each group of the seasonal color groups, such as being both cool and warm, and being neither deep or light.

Of course, there are several ways to make universal colors look more fabulous on you, but we'll get back to that further down this page.

Difference between a fabulous, good and ok color
From left to right: Same model wearing Camel (left), Lavender/mauve (center) and Periwinkle (right). What a difference it makes! Courtesy of Nimli

3. Colors that Look Bad/Wrong/OK

... making your hair, skin and eyes look off. The wrong colors will make you look drained (people might ask you if you're tired), and even highlight/create false impression of under-eye circles, make your teeth look yellowish, and a bunch of things that will make you want to hide in bed!

Your hair will look drab, your face will look gaunt and most often give the impression of discolorations such as 'fake' double-chin. Most likely, a 'bad' color for your coloring will dominate your look just sit there, 'fading' your face.

The chic fashionista Anna Villaruel says Best Trend is What Looks Good on You

Regardless of what colors are in right now there are some shades that look good on you and some that don't. I personally believe that the best 'color trend' is the one that looks fantastic on you. Of course, you're not limited to your own color palette - there are ways to adjust an ok or bad color so that it looks a bit right on you, but that's covered in the Seasonal Color Analysis FAQ's


The goal with the seasonal color analysis is to find the best colors for your coloring. And on this website you'll find a free color analysis based on the Color Me Beautiful-system which will determine what type of colors look terrific on you and what type of colors you should focus on when going shopping or just want to give a fabulous impression :-)

Shortcut banner to seasonal color analysis


Already know your season? Check out these color swatches:

Deluxe color swatches icon



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Mini lightbulbSome Last Words:

It's not uncommon to flow between two similar groups and be able to wear colors from both palettes! I'm mostly a Deep Autumn, but my dark brown eyes make it possible for me to wear some of the Deep Winter colors.

Hopefully the color theory presented here has given you a basic idea of how colors work in the seasonal color analysis :-)




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Related Content:

Guide to Fashion Costume Jewelry - How to Buy and Wear Jewelry Seasonal Coor Analysis for Women of Color Guide to the Current Fashion Trends Seasonal Color Analysis Frequently Asked Questions
Review of How to Stretch Your Style Envelope - How to Use Various Color Combos and Experiment with Proportions How to Analyze Your Coloring with the Seasonal Color Analysis System - How to Find Your Best Colors How to Style Your Face Shape



Go Back to Guide to Finding & Wearing Your Best Colors

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More Shopping & Chic Inspiration at the TCF Blog:
The Chic Fashionista's Latest Trends Picks - Chic Runway Looks and Must-have Trends and Trendessentials The Chic Fashionista's Chic Inspiration-blog - Outfit ideas, celeb style and trend styling tips The Chic Fashionista's Stylish Finds - Latest trends and shopping picks, sales & discounts, link round-ups and featured posts & blogs/sites Learn more about the fashion basics on how to look your best and dress stylish

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