What are YOUR Best Colors? The Ultimate Guide to 10 Color Seasons for Wardrobes
As an image consultant since 2012, the very first thing I always covered with my clients was color. After all, it’s the foundation for everything your wardrobe is built upon. Seriously, knowing your best clothing colors is a powerful thing!
You may have heard people say they’ve gotten their “colors done” by an image consultant or personal stylist. But what does that really mean? Read on to understand why knowing your best clothing colors absolutely ROCKS and sneak a peek at all of the color seasons. (Spoiler alert: there are more than just four!)
Table of Contents:
- What’s a color analysis?
- What makes up a color “season” or palette?
- The traditional “seasons” of clothing colors
- The complete list of 10 color palettes (with mini-palette samples!)
- How to find out your best clothing colors
What’s a color analysis?
The color analysis is by FAR my favorite part of a style consultation. The process of setting up my color drapes on the table, studying the client’s complexion, testing certain colors out under the client’s face (in front of a mirror), and choosing the best ones is really where the fun begins. It makes my day to see a client’s face light up when their best color palette (or “season”) is selected. And hearing post-appointment that knowing their colors has helped them put together outfits and shop for clothing with much more ease and joy is what makes being an image consultant, for me, really special.
What makes up a color “season” (or palette)?
You may notice on this site that I use the words “season” and “palette” interchangeably. They mean the same thing – a color season or palette is a collection of colors used as the basis for building a gorgeous wardrobe easily. There are typically not only various shades of colors from across the rainbow in a palette, but neutrals as well. (Read more about how color palettes are created and about finding your best colors here.)
Once I help style clients understand their most flattering colors, I encourage them to use this as a way to weed out anything that’s not in their palette. Not only does knowing your best clothing colors make shopping much faster (as you can quickly rule out many items and focus on the winners), but it also serves as the basis for a smart capsule wardrobe where you can mix and match to your heart’s content and know that virtually all the items in your closet are going to work beautifully together.
The traditional “seasons” of clothing colors
You may have heard of the four traditional color seasons:
This is a great starting point for understanding which season or palette might work best for you. However, not everyone fits neatly into one of those four seasons, which is why over time, image consultants have come up with a broader, more fine-tuned list. When I consult with clients, I use a list of 10 seasons (or palettes, as I prefer to call them, as their names deviate from the seasons) to find their best clothing colors. I’ll summarize them below and provide a mini-sample of each clothing color palette.
The complete list of 10 color palettes (with mini-palette samples!)
Here, you’ll learn some tidbits about each clothing color palette or season. In addition to imagery to help visually describe these palettes, I’ve also included a mini color palette sample for each. Note that each palette actually technically contains hundreds (maybe thousands?) of colors and that the ten I choose for each is just to give you a peek and a general understanding of what each palette looks like.
Ah, Spring. When we think of spring (the actual time of year), we think of greenery, fresh flowers, bunnies, and Easter eggs. The clothing color season of Spring also echoes this imagery.
With the Spring color palette, I tend to think about light, bright colors (pastels are a good way to put it) that convey warmth and sunshine.
Top Picks in Spring Colors:
It’s easy to get Summer clothing colors confused with the Spring palette – they’re both light and contain what I would say are more “delicate” colors. But the main difference between Spring and Summer is that Summer colors are much cooler. If you look very closely at these shades, you may notice that there’s a bit of a gray element to them.
I love to think about the ocean and swimming pools when I think about the Summer color palette. Denim also comes to mind as this palette contains many variations of what you see in washed-out or faded blue jeans.
Top Picks in Summer Colors:
I’ve always been a HUGE fan of the Autumn color palette. The rich, bold (yet soft) colors convey such a deep sense of calm and strength to me all at once.
The best way for me to describe Autumn colors is to think about the ways we celebrate during that time of year – pumpkins and spices immediately come to mind. I also love the dark forest greens of this palette as well as the other earthy tones it boasts.
Top Picks in Autumn Colors:
Winter palette colors are SO much fun! Think bright, vivid, clear hues that POP. Some folks also refer to these colors as “jewel tones,” but keep in mind that this palette includes neons, too. (Did I mention this palette is FUN?)
You’ll know a color falls into “Winter” territory if it’s the clearest, brightest version of a basic color. Winter colors are also very “cool” by their nature. (Hint: you’re not going to find many yellows and oranges in this palette – unless they’re neon!)
Top Picks in Winter Colors:
[We’ve covered the four traditional color palettes or seasons. Now what? Well, this is where we can fine-tune things a bit. From this point onward in our list, each palette is a blend of two other palettes. Pretty sneaky, sis…]
Light colors carry over from the Spring and Summer palettes. If you’re a “Light,” you can carry both warm and cool colors well, so long as they’re…well, light.
Top Picks in Light Colors:
Deep colors carry over from the Autumn and Winter palettes. If you’re a “Deep,” you can rock both warm and cool colors that have depth.
Top Picks in Deep Colors:
Bright colors carry over from the Spring and Winter palettes. During consultations, I look for folks with a lot of brightness in their eyes, complexion, hair, and teeth to classify them as a “Bright.”
Top Picks in Bright Colors:
Soft colors come from the Summer and Autumn palettes. These are toned-down shades that are earthy or washed-over that, to me, look beautiful, strong, and serene.
Top Picks in Soft/Muted Colors:
Warm colors are borrowed from the Spring and Autumn palettes. They make me feel nice and fuzzy inside. <3
Top Picks in Warm Colors:
Finally, Cool colors are borrowed from the Summer and Winter color seasons. I love the variety of blues, pinks, and purples you can get from this palette.
Top Picks in Cool Colors:
How to find out your best clothing colors
There are a few options for finding out your most flattering color season or palette, so you can then go forth and build that amazing capsule wardrobe you’ve been dreaming about. (Hello, efficiency – goodbye, clutter!)
First, be sure to visit the page “What colors look best on me?“ for a quick 3-step process for finding your best colors.
Next, sign up to get on the waitlist for my FREE color guide to get more details on each palette and how to determine which one is best for you. It comes complete with a capsule wardrobe checklist! Sign up here:
To get the most in-depth analysis of your best clothing colors possible, you can look for image consultants in your area to schedule an in-person, one-on-one appointment with you. This is typically done in your home, though some consultants have their own office space for this. (In the Charlottesville, Virginia area? Schedule with me here.)
No consultants where you are? Or maybe you’re more of the DIY type. In addition to getting my free guide, I’ll also keep you in the loop when my master course on color is available! This is where we’ll get into the nitty-gritty details of everything color that image consultants like me cover with clients during their one-on-one appointments. Be your own stylist, and conquer your closet once and for all – sign up below:
What do you think YOUR best clothing colors are? Which palette is your favorite? Comment with the palette name below – I’d love to know which is the most popular!