In continuing with my Seasonal Color Analysis series, today I will be exploring the Spring color profile.
In Seasonal Color Theory, Spring refers to people who are ‘warm and bright’, meaning they have warm undertones and bright, clear coloring. As such, they are best suited by warm and bright colors that we would typically see in the Spring.
For this analysis, I’ll be focusing on four Spring Women: Tracee Ellis Ross, Kiki Layne, Charlize Theron, and Emma Stone.
Gold vs Silver Test
Springs have warm undertones, so in the metallic test, we expect that they will be suited by gold and look separate/ off in silver.
Let’s look at some examples:
Tracee Ellis Ross is warm toned. In the gold dress, she looks radiant and the dress melts into her. In the first silver jumpsuit (left), she looks drained of color. In the second silver jumpsuit (middle), her and the garment are completely separate from each other, it’s as if it’s sitting on top of her skin unlike the gold dress that looks like its growing out of her skin.
Kiki is definitely warm. In the gold dresses to the right, there is more harmony with her skin tone. I can actually pull the yellow of her undertones and the colors work together. Her skin is radiant.
In the silver dresses, she okay and her skin is still radiant but I see a greater level of separation between her and the dresses. It’s not as harmonious as the gold dresses.
Charlize Theron is also warm, you can see how separate she looks from the silver dresses, particularly the lighter, shorter dress. I feel like these pictures don’t capture it well, but she is more harmonious in the gold dresses- just think of her in those j’adore ads.
Emma stone is warm toned. With her very pale coloring, this might be surprising, but this silver/ gold comparison makes it clear. She looks separate from the silver dress and in it her complexion looks murky. In the gold dress, she looks clear and radiant. The warmer metallic is so much more harmonious with her.
The White vs Cream Test
True white leans more cool and cream is warm. So, we will expect people with warm undertones to be better suited and to look more harmonious in cream.
Tracee is warm toned and the cream dress to the right is harmonious and seems to melt into her skin. The white looks to the left are separate from her and brighter than her, so I see the dress first and then I see her.
Kiki looks great in white. Interestingly, I think the cooler tone whites capture her radiance more than the slightly warmer dress to the left.
Charlize clearly looks better in the white dresses to the left than she does in the warmer, buttery cream dress to the right. This is compounded by the fact that the white dresses are stylistically better and they suit her body more than the cream dress does.
In fact the entire cream look is unflattering on her because of the softness of the fabric, the dainty style of the dress, as well as her hair and makeup. All that said, please remember that we’re just comparing how the two dress colors look on her.
In the white she looks lively, luminous and beautiful. In the cream dress, her skin looks murky and almost reddish.
I thought this was very interesting so I looked again to confirm what I was seeing:
In these images, the white color makes me hyper aware of how warm her skin looks in comparison, but Charlize still looks better in the white dresses to the left. The contrast is more flattering to her.
In the warmer cream dress to the right, she just looks off. She looks too warm and it simply doesn’t flatter her.
Emma Stone looks great in white. She is more flattered by the clear, cooler tone than she is the warm, buttery soft yellow to the right (I couldn’t find a picture of her in a cream dress). In the white dresses, her skin is clear and luminous, but in the yellowy dress, she just looks off and her skin pulls reddish.
Spring: Warm + Bright
This is the wheel house of the Spring as warm and bright colors match perfectly with their undertones and coloring. We expect these women to look amazing in these colors.
Kiki looks great in these warm colors. She wears them well and her skin is glowing and beautiful.
Charlize looks great in these warm, bright colors. Her warmth harmonizes with that of the dresses and her hair and skin look great. The last look (right) is a bit off, but that’s just because her dark hair throws off her coloring.
Emma Stone looks amazing in these bright colors. Her skin looks so clear, bright, and luminous. The contrast with her pale skin is high but not unflattering. She looks great.
Nothing is more ‘warm and bright’ than yellow and Tracee was made to wear it. Her skin pops, she’s not overpowered by the color and she just looks amazing.
A few more examples of Tracee looking amazing in yellow. Even the more vivid shade in the middle does nothing to dim her glow. These bright, bold colors are so harmonious with her.
The Yellow/ Orange Test
Yellow and Orange are possibly the warmest colors, and they can certainly be the brightest. So a quick test to see if you’re a potential Spring is to see how you look in these colors. Do they make your skin pop or do they wash you out?
Flattered by Yellow/ Orange
These women look spectacular in yellow and orange. Their hair and skin is clear and radiant and it’s easy to keep our attention on their faces as the colors don’t overpower them.
Not flattered by Yellow/ Orange
These women do not look good in yellow and orange. These colors do not flatter them at all. Regina King, third from left, isn’t washed out by the color because of her depth of skin tone, but she looks separate from the orange dress. It looks like there’s a solid block of color just sitting on top of her and her face looks blotchy.
The other women look washed out and their skin looks unnatural and somehow unhealthy. Their paleness is highlighted in a way that’s not flattering.
Spring in Autumn (Warm + Muted)
In these colors, half the requirement for Springs is met, in that the colors are warm. However, they are also muted so we expect them to look okay but rather dull on the wearers.
Here we can see that Tracee looks better in the brighter green suit (right) as compared to the more dull one to the left. For her, as someone with warm and bright coloring, the brighter the better.
Tracee looks good in these more muted and warm tones ( probably because they aren’t too muted), but she doesn’t look nearly as vibrant as she does when she is in bright colors.
Here, in even more muted tones, she really starts to look dull. She lacks the radiance that she normally has when she’s correctly dressed in bright colors.
Kiki is not flattered by these warm and muted tones. She desperately needs bright color. She looks dull and the muted colors drag her down.
A similar thing happens to Charlize. She looks fine in these dresses, but not great. The muted tones pull away from her vibrancy and the entire look is just a bit dull as compared to her in warm and bright colors.
I think this has the most apparent effect of Emma. She looks completely drained of color in the warm, muted tomes and they just don’t flatter her at all. In the first two pictures in particular, her skin lacks it’s usual luminosity and her complexion looks murky.
I think it’s more important for her to be in a bright color than it is for it to be warm.
Spring in Winter (Cool + Bright)
In these colors, half the requirement for Springs is met, in that the colors are bright. However, they are also cool so we expect them to look radiant but separate from the wearers.
Interestingly, while Tracee looks separate from the cool, bright colors, she doesn’t look bad. Her skin look radiant, it just doesn’t have the warmth it normally has and the dresses don’t harmoniously blend into her skin as they would were the colors warm.
So, brightness is so important for her that it’s enough to carry a look. She looks better in these cool and bright colors than she did in the warm and muted colors.
Blue is cool color, but as I stated in my Fundamentals of Color Analysis post, every color can be made warmer or cooler depending on what is added to it. In these images, the blue gets warmer as we move from left to right. And, as expected, as this happens the separation between Tracee and the color lessens and she looks better in it. The blue of the suit to the right is the most harmonious color on her.
Kiki looks amazing in these bright colors but she is missing warmth. While her skin is beautiful and radiant, it has a bit of an ashy overlay to it, especially in the very cool blue middle look. I think she looks the more radiant and harmonious in the third look (right) and that also happens to be warmest of the cool colors.
A similar effect is true for Charlize. She looks good in these cool and bright colors. They are not her best, but like Tracee, she looks better in these colors than she did in the warm and muted colors. Her skin is clear and bright, although it lacks warmth.
Emma Stone is not flattered by these colors. On her, because of how light she is, the separation between her skin tone and the brightness of the color as well her warm undertones and the coolness of the colors is too stark and she looks overpowered by them.
This perhaps easiest too see in the middle image where the cool pink dress first grabs our attention and then we see her behind it. I see the same thing in the last image (right). The dress in the first image (left) is the most flattering on her, probably because it is lighter in shade which is more harmonious with her light coloring.
Spring in Summer (Cool + Muted)
We would expect these colors to be the least flattering on Springs because they are the complete opposite of their coloring.
Kiki looks dragged down by the colors. Her regular radiance is gone and the dresses are quite separate from her, especially the paler tones (left, right).
Tracee is not flattered by these colors. Her skin looks dull and their general mutedness robs her of her radiance.
These colors are by far the least flattering on Charlize. The dresses don’t so much look separate from her as there isn’t enough contrast between her skin tone and them. The lack of brightness in the colors robs her of radiance.
She looks washed out and her complexion looks murky. She has none of the warm glow that she has when she is in her correct warm and bright colors.
Interestingly, Emma Stone actually looks okay in these cool and muted colors, especially the lighter shades to the right. They are not her best, but she pulls them off. Because of how fair she is, they don’t wash her out in the same way that they would Charlize Theron, for example. I think the green shade of the first dress (left) complements her beautifully.
The Lipstick Test
Let’s first compared just the first two lipstick shades (left, middle):
I think Charlize looks good in both these lipstick shades. However, I think she looks more harmonious in the warmer red/orange shade to the left. I do think the color is a bit too saturated/ intense for her, but it suits her. Even with the lipstick, I perceive her face as a whole.
I also think the cool pink shade (middle) is too saturated/intense for her, but more than that, I think the coolness of the color is separate from her. When I look at her face, I first see the lipstick. So, it’s inharmonious with her coloring.
I think the third image (right) is the best for her as it is both warm in undertones and soft in intensity. So, overall, the warmer colors are better for her.
A note on color intensity:
Charlize is not suited to intense colors on her face. More subtle shades work better for her. This is interesting because one might think that what works best in clothing (bright and warm) would work best all around, but she proves otherwise. She can handle and look great in warm and bright clothing, but not makeup.
In these images, she looks much better in the more subtle lipstick shades to the right as compared to the more intense shades on the left.
Tracee looks so much more harmonious in the warm red/orange shade of lipstick to the left. She just looks complete and the color doesn’t pull away from her.
In the cool pink shade to the right, she looks separate from her lipstick. It doesn’t overpower her, I see both her and the lipstick, I just see them separately. The warmer color is better for her.
Similarly, Emma is better suited by the warmer coral/ peachy lipstick to the left. In that shade, she looks perfectly harmonious and nothing stands out.
In the cool pink shade to the right, she looks washed out and completely drained of color. The lipstick looks icy and separate from her. The warmer color is better for her.
This post has been an exploration of the Spring profile in Seasonal Color Theory. This is part of a series and you can read the other posts in this series here.
My takeaway, as always, is that even within the same category, there is no universal standard on what will look good on everyone who fall within it. Here, Emma Stone’s fairness and Kiki’s depth acted as a differentiating factors that sometimes had them as anomalies to how certain colors were expected to behave on people with Spring coloring.
So, even once you identify your color season (or find your body type) take the time to investigate what is true for you because we will all express differently.
Let me know if you have any thoughts on this analysis, I love to hear from you.