I had the pleasure of draping a delightful Autumn yesterday and, as a result, I’m feeling very inspired about the Autumn palette. What’s not to love when you find yourself describing the colours in terms of food and nature? Toffee, butterscotch, apple, coffee, chocolate and caramel. Cinnamon, cumin, olive and turmeric. Conker, peacock, kingfisher and pumpkin, greens in olive, grass, leaf. Such wonderful imagery.
One question that frequently pops up regardless of season is, what colour shoes should I wear if I can’t wear black? A very legitimate question which inspired a Pinterest board, the highlights of which I shall delight you with here.
You can’t go wrong with brown shoes. Brown is Autumn’s version of black. There is something very reassuring about leather shoes I think that really suits the Autumn palette. Pewter (assuming it’s bronze enough), camel, beige, rust, even teal are all great colours for shoes. Gold is fabulous for sandals, flip flops, ballet pumps and evening footwear. Brown is quite easy to find in boots. A pair of brown suede boots would surely be the perfect investment buy for any Autumn (just be sure to purchase them with some waterproofing suede spray).
What a fabulous teal cardigan. It would look great with a rust camisole underneath.
Autumns do have a navy in their palette but it is a warmer navy that can be tricky to find in the shops. As you can see, the navy denim jeans look great with the teal here, so I don’t think the navy need be completely spot on to work. Denim is a perfect fabric for Autumns.
How amazing is this rust dress?
The necklace they’ve picked out to wear with it is spot on too. I love how even the background colour is perfect. The model could well be an Autumn with those brown eyes.
These tan sandals would go very well with the dress. They would also work for a Spring.
Coral ballet pumps, so very pretty for the summer with a dress:
These would also work for Springs I think.
Rose gold is fabulous in jewellery. This rose gold ring with pink sapphires is heavenly.
Last of the highlights – a brushed gold star necklace. I had to include this because the texture on the star is just perfect.
According to studies done by A. J. Elliot et al (documented in his Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and his Journal of Experimental Social Psychology), red enhances women’s attractiveness to men, an effect that is apparently universal. This probably doesn’t come as any great surprise when you think about the colour and how it is used in marketing (Special K lady anyone?). It’s certainly a powerful colour, and often a colour that many veer away from for fear it might draw attention to them. Ironically it’s likely to be one of the most flattering colours you could own.
The wonderful thing about red is that every season has a shade that flatters them.
Spring has poppy red, a warm bright red that looks especially striking when worn as a lipstick with a top/dress in a similar colour.
Summer has a cool cherry red that’s a bit more pink and soft in comparison to Winter’s red. A Deep Summer would also look incredible in a deep claret red (burgundy).
Autumn’s red looks like burnt orange and red mixed together to form a warm muted red.
Autumn could also wear a softer version of Spring’s poppy red, which looks more red than the brick.
Winter’s red is cool, dramatic and uncompromising. A Winter can wear true primary red, scarlet, claret or crimson.
So, have I persuaded you yet? The Dress Spot is a brilliant website if you are looking for a dress in a particular colour. Perfect for finding your own Little Red Dress!
Autumn looks best in antiqued, warm earthy metals. Texture is important too. Brushed gold will look better than a light, bright yellow shiny gold (which will look better on a Spring).
Rose gold is beautiful too, and Morganite makes a stunning peachy alternative to a traditional diamond if you happen to be looking for an engagement ring. It is considerably cheaper too.
This coin necklace from Stella & Dot is also perfect. Note the satin finish and antique feel.
Peridot is a wonderful gemstone for Autumns.
Brass, especially if it is antiqued, is fabulous. Interestingly, Summers can also get away with antiqued brass as it isn’t as yellow as some of the warmer metals.
Copper is nothing short of perfection. No other season can handle such gorgeous rich warmth. The texture is stunning on this necklace too.
I have to confess I’ve been lusting after this beautiful vintage ring myself for a while but have resisted what with it being gold (and me being a Summer). I’m hoping I can convince my lovely Autumn friend she needs it 😉
Platinum and mirror shine rhodium-plating were made for Winters. Your typical platinum or white gold engagement ring (rhodium-plated of course) with a big sparkly diamond will look completely at home on the hand of a Winter.
Some Winters who lean warm might be able to handle gold but this is risky. Silver-coloured metals will always look wonderful, the shinier the better.
For Winters, diamonds truly are a girl’s best friend. As are most bright, cool, saturated gemstones 😉
With regards to gemstones, Winters truly are spoilt for choice. Most are cool and bright, such as tanzanite, emerald, ruby, sapphire and amethyst.
AAA tanzanite, which has the distinctive dark blue hue, is quite expensive so you might be better off going for a synthetic version. The lighter, more common lilac version is still pretty though, and reminiscent of your icy pastels.
There seems to be a lot of (very understandable) confusion around skin undertones and overtones. If you’ve had your colours analysed you’ll know that your undertone determines what season you are and yet your undertone is invisible. If you are an Autumn or Spring it can be said you have warm undertones; conversely if you are a Summer or Winter it can be said you have cool undertones. Colour analysis is not about overtones. If it were, women who wear the same foundation would be the same Season.
People often think undertone is skin colour – it’s not. Your undertone is invisible. Your overtone however, is not invisible. It’s the visible colour of your skin. When purchasing foundation both overtone and undertone are important. Some companies have finally cottoned on to undertones. Cosmetics companies who understand undertones and overtones are much more likely to have a foundation shade that matches your skin. Shopping for foundation becomes a lot easier. Your overtone might look yellow, or pink, brown or peachy. It might be described as sand, beige, ivory, biscuit or ebony. All common foundation names. Your undertone might be described by cosmetics companies as ‘pink’ or ‘rose’ if it is cool and ‘yellow’ or ‘golden’ if it is warm.
There is also such a thing as a false overtone. This is the colour your skin can appear to turn when you are wearing the wrong colour. When I wear khaki I look jaundiced. A Winter wearing the wrong colour might look ruddy in the face.
What influences your undertone? There is no definitive answer to this, but it is generally considered that the following are factors:
Oxygenated (red) or non-oxygenated (blue) blood vessels that run under the surface of the skin.
Melanin (which also influences hair and eye colour). The more melanin in the skin, the darker the skin tone.
Skin thickness. This varies by Season and influences how much colour shows through.
Carotene, which gives skin a yellow hue.
The only way to find out whether you have cool or warm undertones is by having your colours analysed in person. Some people offer online colour analysis where you send them a series of photos. I love the idea of it, but unfortunately it’s often inaccurate. It’s impossible to simply look at someone and tell what season they are (although I’m often asked to do this! 😉 ). During an in-person colour analysis session it’s important that you see the way the colours change your skin, in real time, in front of the mirror. Watching your skin react and your face change is all part of the (deeply exciting) process.
It’s quite unusual for me to venture an opinion on a celebrity’s season. However, I will make an exception for Birdy. She is getting it so, so right.
I watched a video of her on YouTube today and she is perfectly in focus, which is so rare for someone in the spotlight. I couldn’t tear my eyes away. I think she’s even wearing brown mascara, clever thing. I notice her eyes and the line around her iris. She often wears Autumn coloured clothes. She is utterly hypnotic. Her make-up is Autumn perfection.
Photos can be airbrushed easily enough if someone is wearing the wrong colour (the image still won’t look right though). Videos are much harder:
She does seem to be drawn to Autumn colours. Look at how rich her hair looks in this gorgeous rust jacket. Her skin glows. Her blusher is a warm coral and looks completely perfect on her skin. It brings to life her delicate cheekbones. No black fake eyelashes trying to steal the show.
I love how even on her first album she’s wearing a rust jumper and peach skirt. Only her black boots stand out as not quite fitting the picture. My attention is drawn down to them. It’s funny how black does that. Even in small quantities on the wrong person it’s so demanding.
I do sometimes see Birdy in black, and wearing black mascara too. Look how it is stealing the limelight here:
Let’s finish on a high though. Her single Wings is beautiful if you haven’t already heard it, and apart from her black trousers and boots, she’s Autumn perfection.
Colour analysis is not about limiting options, but about opening your eyes to all the colours you can wear. Sometimes, prior to a draping, a client will worry that the process will limit the colours they ‘should’ wear, but the opposite is always true; afterwards, they express surprise at the wide range of colours that look great on them. Before I had my colours done, I believed I couldn’t wear pink. Afterwards, I realised I had just been looking at the wrong pink! In fact, I had so many shades of pink that looked good on me, from a cool dusty rose which really seemed to bring my skin to life, to a raspberry pink which looked especially good if I wore it in both my lipstick and a scarf.
In our session, I will start by covering the basics of colour theory and answering any questions you might have. After our introductory chat, we will begin the draping itself. We will establish which season you fall into, and this can take anywhere from 45-90 minutes; I like to allow 2-3 hours for a draping as a minimum. Once we’ve ascertained your season, we’ll go through every drape I have for that season and fine tune. Whilst all colours in your season will look good on you, some will really make you shine and my favourite part of the process is finding the colours that are your very, very best.
After we’ve done this, and I’ve given you your new colour swatch, we can discuss make-up, hair colour, etc. I encourage clients to bring along their make-up or any clothes they might have questions about.
What you need to know before your draping
Your face will need to be free of make-up and fake tan.
If you’ve dyed or bleached your hair, I will ask that you wear my (very fetching) white head scarf during the draping.
If there isn’t enough natural light I won’t hazard a guess at your season (God forbid!). I’ll return another day or, if possible, find us another location.
You will need to be sat in front of a mirror so you can see what I see as I drape you. If you don’t have one, just let me know and I can bring mine.
I will bring make-up along with me for you to try (if you would like to) once we know your season.
If you usually wear glasses, please wear contact lenses if at all possible.
Come with an open mind. I absolutely understand that if you’ve been wearing black all your life you might feel uncomfortable at first being diagnosed as a Spring/Summer/Autumn. But, rest assured, you will receive compliments galore as you wear your new colours!
I’m always happy to drape children (and partners) but do bear in mind they need to be willing and able to sit for up to an hour.
We both need to be able to concentrate, so a space free of distractions for the session is important.
Bring a camera/smartphone if you want. I am more than happy to take pictures of you looking amazing in your best colours!
Once we are done, you will leave with a little swatch book that you can take shopping with you. (If you wear scarves, these are a great place to start!)
What does it cost? I charge £80 for a colour analysis session which includes the swatch book. If you are a considerable distance from me I may need to add on extra for petrol or travel costs. I do group discounts; the cost reduces to £70 each for two or more. Depending on the time of year I can typically fit no more than 3-4 sessions in a day.
Where will it take place? Wherever you like, although most clients prefer I come to them. I can come to your home or even your workplace just so long as we have a quiet room with excellent natural light. If you’d like to come to me this can be arranged too, just let me know.
How long will it take? Please allow at least 2-3 hours. I like for us to have plenty of time for chatting, questions and for playing with make-up afterwards.
What should I wear? Anything you like apart from hoodies or polo neck jumpers. You will be wearing a thick white cotton cape during the draping process, so be sure to factor that extra layer in.
Can I bring a friend? Yes! Absolutely. The more the merrier. It’ll be magical for them to watch.
Can you help me shop? Of course! If you’d like to hire me as a personal shopper just let me know and we can talk about costs, logistics etc.
Can you help me sort out my wardrobe? I would be delighted to! I offer a wardrobe review and decluttering service, just ask.
Is there a reason why I shouldn’t be analysed? If you are taking medication that changes the colour of your skin. If you feel unwell (we’ll reschedule). If you have a very deep tan, fake tan, or are sun burnt (we’ll need to wait until this has faded).
Will I need to throw away my entire wardrobe if I’ve been buying the wrong colours? No, not if you don’t want to! Some people have the motivation and means to do that, but generally speaking I recommend that clients go through their wardrobe and swatch their clothes. Compliant clothes go on the right, non-compliant on the left. As you wear out the clothes on the left, you can replace them with compliant ones. You don’t need to start big, either. Scarves, lipstick and nail varnish are a great way of introducing your new colours without breaking the bank.