I had the good fortune recently of draping someone who turned out to be a Winter. The clue was right at the start of the draping when I held up the silver metallic drape under her chin and her skin cleared instantly. It was stunning and dramatic. The white cape I put on her right at the start didn’t make her look ill. I’d met her on numerous occasions previously and she’d often be dressed in black. I had noticed that it didn’t drain her like it did me (a Deep Summer). I also noticed that her surroundings were decorated in Winter colours and the majority of the nail varnishes she owned were in Winter colours. I had also noticed on previous occasions her very cool skin and the contrast between her skin and hair. Despite all this I endeavoured not to jump to conclusions. It was no surprise when my client turned out to be a Dark Winter. The deeper, darkest cool colours looked best on her. That’s not to say the other colours within the Winter palette won’t prove to be useful, but the real wow moment came when deep fuschia, plum, ink, burgundy, deep red and dark emerald green were under her chin. Striking colours for a striking woman with a quiet steely confidence and cheekbones to die for.
I feel strongly that we sense what colours are in us, even if we can’t see them without a personal colour analysis. This client was no exception. After my own PCA I went home to discover my entire bedroom was decorated in compliant colours right down to my bedlinen (even though the contents of my wardrobe wasn’t so). A friend of mine who has yet to be analysed said to me, “I’m scared you’ll tell me I can’t wear [fuchsia] pink.” I’m pretty confident, given her love of that colour, that it’ll be one of her best (or something very very similar to it. A recent Autumn I draped loves burgundy. Rust, which is very similar, was one of her very best colours). Most people don’t know what colours make them look their very best, but they tend to know what makes them look really bad. Sometimes they think they know what colours they can’t wear. I say “think” because I didn’t think I could wear pink until I was shown the right shade.
I find that when we’re going through all the drapes of a particular season (once we’ve established what season is the right one) for some it feels as though we are splitting hairs. For others there is a much more profound difference and that was evident here. The brighter colours in the Winter palette were rather demanding, in fact surprisingly so, which made me doubt my diagnosis for a moment until I saw how the Summer drapes made her look as though she had a layer of dust on her face.
If you believe that personality and our own colouring are linked, then the Dark Winter is considered to be tenacious, honest and authoritative. A Dark Winter will favour logic and purpose. Industrious is another word you could use to describe them.
I see similarities between my own best colours (I’m a Summer who suits the deepest colours in the palette) and the Dark Winter palette. Depth and coolness in colour is important here, and there are overlaps. I was wearing a deep teal velvet coat that day and the colour did not go unnoticed by my client. I’m confident the coat would have looked fabulous on her too. Velvet is very good at increasing colour intensity which is important for a Dark Winter.
Winter is a high contrast season. Combining colours similar in value (e.g. monochromatic, not to be confused with monochrome) won’t give the same impact as colours that are vastly different. Winter’s icy pastels (as opposed to Summer’s softer pastels that remind me of a watercolour painting) combined with the almost-but-not-quite black of eggplant, spruce or dark garnet will look most stunning and create the visual impact Winter needs. High shine metals are perfect for Winter (reminiscent of the sharp gleam of ice). Rhodium mirror-shine plating (that is often used to give white gold its shine) was made for Winter.
The overall impression, when dressing, should be crisp, clean and sharp. Winter is not just cool (like Summer’s refreshing glade) but bitter, icy cold. Snow so white it looks blue. Even holly isn’t soft but sharp and the berries are shiny. Defined edges only serve to enhance the look when the colours are compliant. The look should be timeless, elegant, of a quiet luxury. Jeans, if worn should be blue/black, not stonewashed denim.
By way of comparison, a Winter who looks best in the brightest colours in their palette gives quite a different impression from the Dark Winter, as demonstrated brilliantly here:
A ‘Bright Winter’ is typically higher contrast to look at than other Winters.
I love this image, I couldn’t resist adding it here, at the end. It’s just Winter perfection. Possibly Bright Winter given the high level of contrast present between skin/eyes and skin/hair but could easily be Dark Winter too. Certainly the burgundy scarf is Dark Winter’s. Stunning.