Monday, 11 June 2018

Using a Personal Colour Palette with a Blended Style ID

In Tonal colour analysis I am a Warm, which means I will be able to successfully wear many colours from both the Spring and Autumn palettes, though not all of them and I have to explore them to find out.   I analysed myself as True Autumn in a 12 season system after much time, effort and cash and then I had most of my conclusions confirmed by an online analysis.  Sometimes we are not a perfect fit into a palette and this is because our style ID has an impact on what kinds of colours and ways of wearing them suit us best.  Colour analysis often does not take this into consideration but I have figured it out for myself in a long, slow and painful way.

First, I found my best palette but I had some doubts
  • Summer palettes-light and feminine but cool or neutral-cool and I am warm
  • Winter palettes-too deep and cool and leaning dramatic
  • Light Spring-too pastel and cool ( neutral-warm palette is still too cool for me )
  • Bright Spring-too bright and cool (neutral-warm)
  • True Spring-almost good.  Warm enough but some of it too bright. Good if desaturated
  • True Autumn-almost good.  Warm enough but some of it too muted and too dark, too earthy
  • Soft Autumn-too muted and dark and slightly too cool (neutral-warm )
  • Deep Autumn-too dark, too bright, too cool (neutral-warm)
Then I found my style ID and I understood why I was having some struggles with my best palette. 

The palettes most in line with my style ID are the Summers and Light Spring.  I am not a Summer or a Light Spring but my True Autumn palette does have some light colours which can read as similar to the pastels of Spring and Summer.  Especially in the context of being worn by someone who is as warm and medium in value as they are.

So, I tweak my palette and I find my comfort zone as well as making it work well for my style ID.  I tend to like the lightest of the True Autumn colours and avoid making earth-tone combinations.  I love earth tones, but they don't flatter me because they read as heavy.  My style ID is significantly about lightness.  

I have really struggled with makeup in this regard too.  Colours that are supposed to be right for me don't quite look right.  They read as harmonising with my skin and yet something looks wrong, something which I identified as heaviness and it lead me to wonder if I am a Spring.  But Spring colours are too bright.  They are brighter than I am and can overpower me.  An Autumn is supposed to look great using bronzer and contouring but I don't.   Autumns are usually directed to lipstick colours that are bronzed reds and coppery oranges.  These look good next to my skin but not as lipstick.  They almost make me look goth.  But Spring pinks and corals are clownishly bright.  I can find good colours but my options seem to be so much more limited than other Autumns I know.  For awhile I thought I was not an Autumn because of this makeup problem but although I tried out Spring it wasn't really a good solution.  I was frustrated.  Then two things happend.

First, I got a colour analysis that made a little more sense.
Second, I discovered my style ID and arrived at the big picture.

 Playing with the Palette

The colours shown below are a range of what appears soft and also bright but overall they have a medium value.  The softest and lightest ones in my palette are closest to the Ethereal and Ingenue typical pastels.  On me they will read in a similar way to how pastels read on a Light Spring or Light Summer.  

The second photo shows more of the brighter aspect of my palette and I am not as comfortable in these.  I can imagine wearing the yellows in bright sunlight.  The red is stunning but feels very dramatic to me.  I would wear it for a special occasion.  The brights just don't feel like me and I think now that it is due to style ID because I know it isn't anything to do with what looks good against my skin.  This palette is a mix of True Autumn and True Spring, though has more Autumn influence.  In some ways playing with this palette and learning about my style ID has sent me back to the True Autumn palette with a new way of using it.

This is a True Autumn fan from True Colour International, not my photo but the same fan that I use.   I only use the lighter and medium colours, not the darkest options. The browns and greys are a bit muddy for me and I look better in Spring browns.  You can see how these colours can appear soft and warm and gentle.  The overall effect of the lighter colours is not the rusty, earthy look so often associated with Autumn which I love but which doesn't work well for me. 
There are different ways I can use my colours.  I like these combinations.

All browns and creams will give me a nice soft, neutral look.  I tend to love that effect.

All blues, greens and teals will seem watery.  Add browns and the overall look is earthy.

Peaches, yellows and oranges feel warm and sunny.

Teal with browns and creams  is also a favourite and beginning to repeat colours that are in me naturally.  If I wanted to wear a riot of colour without being overwhelmed, repeating my own natural colours would be a good idea.  I could add some gold and peach to the mix.

Makeup and Colour- the Aha Moment

No matter what palette I was using, I struggled with makeup.  It began to become clear that it was less an issue of finding the right colours and more about formula.  No matter what lipstick I used it looked too heavy, a bit wrong and could so easily look harsh or clownish.  Clearly I needed a very subtle and well blended makeup application and I often go without makeup anyhow. I could write pages and pages on this subject.  I did.  And then lucky for you I deleted it.  

The bottom line is that I need makeup to look like it's not there, in a lightweight, sheer, dabbed on with fingers and mostly wiped off again sort of way.  Instead of using makeup to enhance a grown up face I need it to replicate a fresh, childhood face with no makeup on, or something like those magazine ads for facial cleanser where the model is supposed to look like she is splashing water all over a face with the makeup just removed by this miraculous cleanser but we all know she is actually wearing some.  

No winged eye liner.... in fact no eye liner.  No lined lips or sculpted cheeks, no obviously done eyebrows either as they suit my face better when they are blending into it, no colours that aren't likely to have been put there by Mother Nature.

Archetype and Colour

 What suits you in terms of how you wear your colours is influenced by what style archetypes suit you.  The more drama you have in your type the more you will use bold colour combinations, even if your palette seems soft or muted overall.  If it's the right palette for you it isn't muted in comparison with you.  

It is crucial to remember that a personal colour palette is contextual for you so colours that would look too bright on one person or drab on one person will not look that way on the  people they are harmonised with.  This is why a Soft Autumn looks more amazing than anyone else in a monochromatic beige outfit.  On the rest of us the result is drab.  On the Soft Autumn it's pure elegance.

It is also the case that certain style IDs have certain colour associations and we don't all fall neatly into line with them.  It might make it easier if you do, since the makers of clothing seem to have some inclination towards this.  How often do you see a polka dotted blouse with a peter pan collar and puffed sleeves made in black with red polka dots?  Not as often as you see it made in a pastel colour.  This is definitely challenging and I won't pretend that shopping and looking great isn't easier for people whose best colours and style ID line up well.  My True Autumn palette lines up well with  IDs which are Natural and Classic but there are ways to work with such tricky pairings as a True Autumn palette and a Romantic, Ethereal Ingenue style ID.

My preference for subtle and gentle combinations fits with the Ethereal and Ingenue aspects of my style ID.  I gravitate towards it instinctively, knowing it just looks right.  The more I try to use contrast, boldness, brightness or darkness the more I end up looking hard and angry and tired or like a child. Admiring women who can use these effectively doesn't mean I should copy them.

The women I know who truly shine when their outfit has a lot going on, bright and bold colours, layers, textures, lots of jewelry, are women whose faces look absolutely perfect in the middle of all of that and instead of all that is going on distracting from their faces, it enhances them, frames them, makes us look and see who is there.  That's not an effect you get simply by styling someone that way.  You get that effect when you apply it to someone whose face demands it.  I can think of a few gorgeous blogging friends  to whom this applies and I am sure they know who they are!  They are dressing this way because they know it is right.  They know it works for them and looking like themselves makes them happy.  They might view or name they style ID differently from the categories I have explored in various systems, but they probably use words that are synonymous for a bit of drama and there is clearly drama in their style blend.

I, on the other hand, have no drama.  None.  Zero.  Zilch.

Let's Get Back to Talking About Me and Colour

I have two out of three style IDs in my blend which are essentially about soft and light colour.  The Ethereal and Ingenue aspects are the most obvious and easiest for me to see.  My instinct that soft, light colours selected from my best palette and which in the context of my own colouring will read somewhat like pastels seems to be an appropriate one.  

I have a strong preference for cream, gold, medium golden camel, light teal (my denim tends to read as a teal-leaning blue) and colours in the peach-salmon-coral range.  This is basically the warm version of white, pink, blue and silver, colours more likely to read as Ethereal.  Ingenue colours are soft, pastel, and more along the lines of pale yellow, pink, mint green and ivory.  I'm close.  I'm giving a similar impression but working it into my own best colour scheme.  

But I also have a dose of Romantic in my blend, and the colours associated with this style ID are richer and stronger.  This gives me room to go in that direction if I want to make my overall look more romantic and this is typically what I would do for something more formal.  This is when I might even call on the bright warm red that I can wear well but which normally feels a bit too intense for me. Or a rich burnt orange or one of those jewel-like greens.   I will be playing a role somewhat while wearing it, but that's what it's like for me at formal and public events anyhow.  I may as well have a colour to help me along.

Another way of looking at this is that since my Autumn version of the Ethereal and Ingenue colours are a little richer, by way of being warmer and a bit more sultry, this is also the addition of Romantic richness working it's way into my everyday look.

So that is how I see my personal colour palette interpreted for my style ID and also, working backwards, how I understand why I greatly favoured certain options from my palette over others.
I do like it when I can create a nice tidy conclusion.


  1. I love having my ethereal in the mix because it can take things softer. Mostly of course I suit dramatic colours. Jewel tones and dark colours work well. But the softer look comes through with the old icy tones and play well with my pale skin. Natural tends to be a style or fabrics rather than a colour for me.
    Currently I'm wearing a jewel green and black check wool shirt which is stunning on me.
    Your colours sound so relaxing. I'm enjoying spying on what you are pinning on Pinterest ;-)
    xo Jazzy Jack

    1. I love the look when Ethereal and Dramatic play together. EDN and EDC look amazing to me. Some other people I've encountered online who are also REI like me are leaning much more into the romantic. I am more Ethereal in body and Ethereal Ingenue in face. It's interesting to me how all these variations arise. I am enjoying your pins too and kind of wish Pinterest hadn't gotten rid of the 'like' options. I want to be able to say 'oh I like that!' when you pin something. Jewel green and black sounds wonderful! So glad you are getting some use out of this system. I do think it's helpful! xo


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