After doing the seasons color analysis on myself, I learned that I am Warm and Muted, which makes me an Autumn. In this post, I go into detail about how I determined this (with plenty of pictures). This time, I’ll be discussing how to go about dressing for both your lines and your coloring.
My Coloring: Warm and Muted (Autumn)
As an Autumn, my overall coloring is rather muted, deep, earthy, and warm. I’m best complemented by colors that echo my naturally subdued coloring, and medium to high contrast level. I am overpowered by very bright colors and they leave me looking dull. On me, muted and warm colors appear vibrant because they harmonize with my skin which glows against them.
Let’s see me in some of my best colors. Notice how you perceive me and the outfits together, and it’s easy to keep your eyes on my face. The clothes don’t pull attention away from me, they compliment me.
Correct Coloring is More Important Than Correct Lines
Color is the first thing that your eye picks up when looking at a person’s outfit and it either registers as harmonious or not. Harmonious colors then lead to further analysis which picks up on incredible fit (or lack thereof). But if there is a color clash, that’s pretty much all the eye perceives. Let’s look at an example:
First, let’s take a moment to appreciate vintage Bey. And now let’s talk about it. There is quite a bit wrong here, and all those elements that work together to make this an unflattering look on her.
Above all, I think the use of color is the biggest offender. Beyonce is also an Autumn, which means her best coloring is warm and muted. This particular yellow is too cool for her. It has an ‘icy’ quality that is further accentuated by the silver metalware (gold would be better). The mesh fabric doesn’t quite match her skin tone, making the ornate detailing on the fabric stand out in an unflattering way against her skin. This fabric also feels too light for her, it doesn’t visually support her weight.
Her hair and makeup also add to this discoloration. The platinum blonde streaks are again too cool and severe against her skin, which is sadly also covered in makeup that is at least a shade too light (it was all the rage in the 90s) which gives her face a cool, greyish cast.
Almost every aspect of this ensemble looks separate from her, and my eye is drawn to every mistake I want to fix.
The funny thing is that the style of this dress isn’t terrible, especially for her body. However, the colors are so off that I don’t really even see the lines of the dress. I don’t see that it fits her well or even focus on her gorgeous (hello, it’s Beyonce!) body. I just see how bad it all looks.
Now, let’s see her in a similar cut dress in a warmer yellow that flatters her skin and warmer hair color (still blonde) that does the same thing.
Now, this looks like Beyonce. Her skin is glowing, her hair compliments her, and she looks radiant. Here, everything is just sitting right, there’s nothing I want to fix. I just want to look at her beautiful face. And even though most of it is covered (thanks to her overcoat and Jay-Z), I feel like I see more of her body that in the first dress. I see her more.
This dress is very similar in style to the first one, but it’s worlds apart in how it looks on her. The deeper and warmer yellow flatters her, and the heavier fabric supports her beautifully. The overall golden tint to the entire look (hair, skin, makeup) is harmonious with her warm coloring and the effect is beautiful.
How To Shop to Honor Both Your Body Type + Your Coloring
The trick is to make sure you honor your lines, your colors, and your fabrics. Let’s say you walk into a cute store and want to buy a dress. This is how I would go about it:
1. First, I would go to a rack and scan colors and pick out one in my palette, like terracotta for example.
2. Next, I’d pull it out and study the lines. If it’s a flowy wrap dress that’s perfect, if it’s a stiff bodycon dress, then that violates my mostly Natural lines and I’d put it back.
3. Then, I’d examine the fabric. This is not always made or break, but not all fabrics flatter all body types. As a Natural type, I’m best suited by natural fabrics that have some visual weight to them so, in this case, if the dress is in a linen fabric- then that’s a home run. If it’s a very delicate chiffon with a very delicate pattern on it, it would be too light for me and I’d probably pass. This idea of visual weight takes some practice, so try different things to get a better understanding of what works on you.
4. Lastly, I’d try it on. Nothing beats seeing a garment actually on you to see how it sits on your body. I almost always try things on and it’s saved me so much time (spent doing alterations to try and make something I should never have bought work), money, and frustration.
How To Handle Contrast With a Muted Coloring
Contrast coloring can be tricky when attempting to do it in the context of muted colors which, by definition, will be low chroma and thus low contrast. [I discuss contrast in more detail in this post.]
However, the same rules apply, you just have to make sure the brightest and darkest colors you incorporate into your outfit don’t go beyond the intensity that your coloring can allow. Doing this will be easier for certain body types than others.
Let’s Consider Soft Natural- A Low Contrast Type
Kibbe (Soft) Naturals are best suited by a color palette that harmonizes and has gentle contrast. So, a person with muted coloring who falls into this type will have an easier time honoring their colors. All they have to do is solidify their pallet and then only shop within those colors.
Let’s Consider Flamboyant Gamine- A High Contrast Type
Honoring a muted palette can be trickier for a Kibbe body type like Flamboyant Gamine which calls for high contrast as one of its best style elements. However, all you have to remember is that your contrast has to be less extreme.
Let’s consider a classic Flamboyant Gamine outfit: a contrasted turtleneck and trousers. On a Flamboyant Gamine with Cool + Bright coloring, a black and white ensemble (first option to the left) would be flattering, but on someone with Muted coloring, it would be much too harsh against their skin. They would be much more suited by a medium to high contrast and muted palette, like the two middle options (depending on whether they are warm or cool).
On them, these colors would be flattering and create the same effect as the black and white on someone with Cool + Bright coloring, without overpowering them. The last option to the right is for someone with warm coloring and very low contrast.
The point of this color analysis and typing is to figure out your best, most complementary palette. This includes your color ‘limits’ so that you know what colors don’t serve you so you can avoid them. With this knowledge, you can confidently play and create whatever stylistic effect you want while always looking harmonious.
I think the best clothes are those that communicate something of who we are. I think when we feel we look good, we show up better. I think that’s worth doing for ourselves and those who encounter us. I think tools like this can help us take another step on this great personal style journey. Well, it helped me and I hope it works for you too.
Let me know if it did as well as what your coloring is.