Or: "The only way to find out what colors look good on you is to find out what colors look good on you."
I've been thinking about the different approaches to personal color analysis.
I don't mean the different methods, exactly, but rather the different chains of logic.
One way of thinking about it goes like this:
You have [X] physical characteristics;
your season is [Y], and [Z] colors will flatter you best.
IRL, this might sound something like
"You have dark hair and eyes. Your skin appears neutral-cool. Therefore, your season is Deep Winter, and deep, neutral-cool, moderately bright colors will flatter you best."
Or it could sound like
"You have a bluish-grey cracked-glass pattern in your eye, with a yellow flare around the pupil; therefore your season is Light Summer..." etc., etc.
"You have an overall soft, muted appearance, and your skin appears more cool than warm, therefore you are a Soft Summer...." etc., etc.
This method of analysis is the one you encounter most frequently on the web. It assumes that observable physical characteristics can predict what colors look good on someone.
The other main method you encounter goes like this:
Testing different colors on your skin has shown that [Z] colors flatter you;
therefore, your season is [Y]
(and you may have [X] physical characteristics, which tend to occur in this season).
IRL, this might sound something like
"Deep, neutral-cool, moderately bright colors flatter you best. Therefore, your season is Deep Winter.
(Oh, and incidentally, you may have dark hair and eyes, with skin that looks neutral-cool, because that's what many Deep Winters look like.)"
Kathryn Kalisz, the late founder of Sci\Art and author of Understanding Your Color, seems to have been the first person to broadly disseminate this second approach.
I subscribe to this second way of thinking about personal color analysis. Here are the three main reasons I believe it's more accurate:
Reason 1. It's only logical that different human beings, who come in an infinite variety of coloring combinations, might seem to resemble each other closely but actually respond differently to color because of subtle individual differences in skin undertone that an observer can't perceive.
In other words, two people with hair, eyes and skin that seem to be the same might still be flattered by different colors, because of small differences in their coloring that the viewer can't tell just by looking at them.
Reason 2. Identifying a season through experimentation -- by actually testing different colors on a person -- is more scientific than identifying a season based on what a person's coloring supposedly should predict.
In other words, it's all well and good to say that you should be flattered by a certain set of colors, but that's theoretical. Let's make it empirical by actually testing the colors.
Reason 3. With my own eyes, I've seen many, many real-life examples of people whose observable characteristics couldn't have predicted their seasons.
For example, some of my colleagues include
I also know a red-haired, brown-eyed Cool Summer; a pale, teal-eyed Deep Autumn; a Light Spring with dark hazel eyes; a brunette Light Spring; a Light Summer with a reddish beard; and a Soft Summer with dark brown hair and dark reddish-brown skin.
As Christine Scaman of 12 Blueprints has written many times:
Any season can have any hair color and any eye color.
Are there patterns, tendencies, general truths in personal coloring?
For example, Bright Winters tend to have striking, "jewel-like" eyes, dark hair, and an overall "clear" look.
But if you're wondering whether you are a Bright Winter, it doesn't help you to know that 40 or 60 or 80 percent of people with your same physical traits are Bright Winters.
The question still remains: are you?
Draping is the only way to know for sure.
Good online analysis, that only considers the effect of colors on your skin, is the next-best option. Its accuracy varies from analyst to analyst.
Here are some other methods for narrowing your season down to a few contenders. All of them consider the effect of colors on your skin - nothing else.
P.S. Kalisz's excellent book is still available by special order from Suzanna Greif. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. IMHO, this book is essential reading for anyone wanting a good understanding of the science of personal color.
P.P.S. Analysts trained by Kalisz's company, Sci\Art, use the 2nd method I describe in this post; you can see a directory of Sci\Art-trained analysts at Christine Scaman's website.
(Sci\Art is now called Spectrafiles, btw.)