Contrast For 12 Seasons

October 26, 2012 by  

Part 1



The video above is here at YouTube.


I need to refine something I said in Part 1. I’m grateful to anyone who steps forward and challenges me. Don’t worry about hurting my feelings, it’s next to impossible to do. I know you’re questioning my ideas, not me personally, so please do as Rachel did and respond honestly. We all learn something.


Rachel heard,

that  A) all colors in the palette should work equally well for anyone in any combination. This, in and of itself was easy to understand, but when combined with concept  B) if you don’t use the proper amount of contrast for your type (i.e. true winter is a high contrast type, so it needs high contrast combinations) you will be expressing less than your potential.

She responded, “Now, each one of these ideas works fine on its own, but when you put them together, I believe there is a contradiction going on.”


Good points, Rachel. I wasn’t clear in my thinking. How about this:

Part 2



Here at YouTube.


Rachel thought about it and asked,

Maybe what you meant was: stick with your type’s contrast level. If you are a season influenced by winter, that will be high. If you are a season influenced by summer, that will be low. Other seasons: medium. It works regardless of whether you are an exception to the seasonal stereotype. Have I got it now?



Yes, that’s what I meant – and that nobody needs to even think much about it except Winters.

I can’t think of any Season that couldn’t go to the highest extreme in their palette. Is it necessary to refine them? Only for the three Winters, not Bright Spring or Dark Autumn who also have some of Winter’s colour properties in them.

Also an important point: the size of the lightest and darkest doesn’t matter to establish the value contrast range. A band on a collar, a very shiny piece of platinum, a row of black navy buttons, white stitching…as long as the two extremes are present, the viewer will register them, the range is set, and the point is made. Adjust the size of the lightest and darkest blocks to the overall darkness level you want to achieve.

Would you sometimes need to heighten the contrast level offered by your Tone’s palette? I don’t think so. I don’t know of anyone within a Season who needs more contrast than their colours provide, regardless of the distance between hair and skin’s apparent darkness level. To do this, you have to lighten your lights, darken your darks, or both. We know that the 3 Colour Scales go up and down independent of each other (meaning you can have saturated colour that’s light or dark, warm or cool) but also that when you change one parameter, you influence the other two. To lighten your lights and/or darken your darks, what did you have to do? Add white? Yellow? Blue? In most cases, you’ll alter the colour right into one of the other 11 Tones and out of harmony with your natural colours.


Part 3

A few more questions from readers about True Winter.

Here at YouTube.


Who would wear very high value contrast (light to dark) and very high colour contrast (complementary colours, like the skirt and scarf mentioned earlier or similar shapes of nearly equal size)? A Bright Winter.

Like Dark Winter, she has a better white than True Winter’s so-white-it’s-blue. Retail reality probably means that she’ll just buy the TW white. She is the lightest of the 3 Winters and I find she is better in coal than the dark, dense pitch black of True and Dark Winter. The 3 Winters do go all the way to B&W but I see their pure unadulterated form best on True. Dark and Bright need to adulterate.

Important for me to be reminded that nothing applies to everybody. In our group on facebook, we talk about colour as it applies to different body types, even within the same Season. No two women will apply the same palette in the same way. Partly, that’s just taste. As the ladies pointed out, tapped in as they are to elegance and balance in body line as much as colour, (applying David Kibbe’s 13 Image Identities from his 1987 book, Metamorphosis), women of the same Season but different body line will combine from their palettes differently. As a Dramatic Classic Dark Winter, my colour contrasts are higher, with heavy use of neutral colours. A Theatrical Romantic Dark Winter might find that too stark and minimal. She would wear more colours together at once, using more of the mid-range colours together. She looks and moves in a more delicate and animated way than I do, and she looks right when  she repeats that energy in how she dresses, applies makeup, and chooses hairstyles.

Everybody adjusts everything in the way that’s right for them. It’s easy once you know how. One afternoon, you and I together. You will be amazed at the new tools in your toolbox.




14 Responses to “Contrast For 12 Seasons”

  1. Kathryn on October 26th, 2012 4:11 pm

    Oh, I love, love, love your explanations! I *think* I mostly agree with you, though I still need to get my mind around some things. I used to think that I needed a slightly higher contrast than others of my season, but I’ve since questioned that notion after trying other combinations. I have not yet tried wearing all-light seasonal colors, so I’m just not sure about those yet.

    However, I’ve had success wearing a greater contrast than my Soft Summer season generally allows, deepest color splattered all over an icy version of another SS color in a print. Still, it seemed an unexpected look–not a regular SS look somehow, and I may have gotten away with it because the predominant accent was in a darker version of one of my eye tones.

    I was about to argue with you about having all the colors of the palette in one’s body. There is one green and yellow leg of the SS fan I was about to ignore. It certainly doesn’t contain my signature colors (i.e., most obvious coloring). On the other hand, sometimes I think my wrist veins turn that shade of green sometimes (they are prominent and pop in and out with temperature changes, also changing colors). And even though the color isn’t directly in my eyes, sometimes the dominant colors run together and create the impression of it. So I suppose the colors are all there, even if in the most wispy, vestigial forms.

    The more I play with colors, the more convinced I am of the validity of the Sci/Art color system. I wanted so badly to shout out today how much I love my SS colors. Wearing them is like living in a minor key or playing only on the black keys of a piano. They are hard for me to keep in my head sometimes without help from the swatch, because when I think of red, well…. I think of “RED” that you can get your hands around. I could not think how to describe them except as “oblique.” They never come at you directly, but only sideways, so they are so very, very sophisticated. I feel most balanced wearing light/med or dark/med colors. Would med/med be boring? I don’t know.

  2. Rachel Ramey on October 26th, 2012 4:42 pm

    I have been wondering how much one’s *Kibbe* (or similar) type plays into the contrast levels.

    I have not been draped (haven’t yet been able to travel far enough for an official draping), but have determined with about 90%+ certainty that I’m a Bright Spring. I can wear the darkest and lightest values in that palette, and both warmth and coolness.

    But if I stick with color combinations that have high color contrast but stick in the middle of the value range, something is “off.”

    I have a high-Drama Kibbe type (I’m thinking SD most likely), and I’m wondering if there is just not sufficient *drama* in those mid-range tones for them to work well for me when there’s not something else there. The deepest colors convey drama by their sheer depth. The very lightest colors convey drama through their higher contrast with *me*. But the mid-range colors – when placed only beside other mid-range colors – are less dramatic.

    Just musing “out loud.”

  3. Rachel on October 26th, 2012 5:14 pm

    How exciting! Thank you for doing this. I really get what you’re saying now, and what a delight to see 3 more beautiful looks on a dark winter also! You are such a good representation of what color analysis can do for a person; absolutely stunning in every video!

  4. Snow on October 27th, 2012 4:19 am

    Thank you for the videos, Christine! I’m wondering though, if you could do one of those colour equations visuals for TW like those you’ve done for DW and BW among others? That would be absolutely awesome, and a fantastic complementary piece to the videos above.


  5. Heather on October 27th, 2012 4:45 am

    I agree Rachel! Christine you look beautiful and very convincing. It feels good to look at you and take in your wonderful colour harmony.

  6. Denise on October 27th, 2012 9:03 am

    So, bright winter needs to adulterate :) How do BW’s do this? Use coal rather than pitch black. Definitely better for me. Thanks for the confirmation.

    If using pitch black, I wear it with one of the warmer tones and/or a more yellowed-white (close to the pallete color) rather than stark white.

    Use complimentary colors and they can be 2 large blocks.

    What else should bright winters do?

    Thanks! Love the videos. How did you adulterate B & W in the video with the black jacket/white shirt?

  7. ksvjnr on October 27th, 2012 11:00 am

    Wow! Thank you for this wonderfull post. I knew I was a winter, but some how felt confused about being a bright winter. As black was a Color I just couldn’t wear on its own. Now I know coal is my black. And I’m 100% sure I’m a bright winter. Thank you for all your awesome information, it really tought me a lot and changed my life too…

  8. Rachel Ramey on October 27th, 2012 11:31 am

    I have to agree with what you said about hair color, too! That has baffled me in the past. As a Bright Spring, I’m awful in brown. But my hair is brown. But the individual HAIRS are not brown – they’re brown-black, coral, etc. (Yes, I actually have the coral from my palette IN MY HAIR! If you look at it with the sun shining through it, is is practically PINK.)

  9. Denise on October 27th, 2012 11:57 am

    The Irenee online site says that (what we would call) bright and dark winters should wear their hair color when wearing black and/or white (and the darkest brightest blue). Something about those 3 being the strongest colors in the palette.

    For me that works, my apparent hair color is the very dark black-brown on the swatches. Wearing this color with black and white gives me the feeling that black and white suit me better.

    Maybe bright winters really span coal to slightly-off-white? (Of course this is harder to do in the stores!) True black and true white have made me question bright winter for myself, but the other colors all work. Maybe I’ve gotten a little perfectionistic with my color-me-obsessed self :)

    Thanks for a very thought provoking article!

  10. Rose on October 27th, 2012 4:57 pm

    Hello, Christine

    I am a newly analyzed dark winter who has just discovered your site. It’s a terrific help. I really like all three looks of clothes and makeup in your videos, especially the makeup in the last one. Do you mind sharing what makeup you are wearing?

    You said that dark winter’s can wear two dark colors together. Should there be a light element somewhere in the outfit? FWIW the middle video clothes seem to have too much dark. I think you look better in the blue and in the dark and white.

    Thank you for publishing a web site to help the Sci Art colors make sense!

  11. Rose on October 27th, 2012 5:01 pm

    Hi Christine,

    I am a newly analyzed dark winter and I am finding your website so helpful! I love the looks of clothes and makeup in your videos, especially the last one. Do you mind sharing the brand of the jacket and skirt? And the makeup – it looks fabulous!!

    Thank you

  12. Rachel on October 29th, 2012 11:09 am

    Christine, not that you have ever said this, but as long as we’re on the subject of winters, I’d like to address something that has bothered me for a while. I’ve read in a couple of places (I don’t think it was you) that you can’t make dark winter look goth. I strongly disagree with that. You can make anyone look goth; dark winter might not look quite as disturbing and sickly as a light spring would in the same makeup and colors, but you could make a dark winter look ghastly, nonetheless. For instance, I absolutely believe if we dyed your beautiful brown hair raven black, you would not look your best. Add to that foundation a shade lighter than you usually wear, solid black eyeliner and shadow, and very saturated matte red lipstick, the color of wine, and we could make you look very unnatural and goth while still using all colors from the DW palette. This will probably seem like a silly thing to bring up, but I have read that a couple of times and it really bothered me because I believe it is somewhat misleading. It is almost as if the writer was saying (in my mind) that all dark winters, regardless of skin tone, will look fantastic with black hair, black eye makeup, and dark, saturated red lips. Apologies to all if I am nitpicking, but I just wanted to get that off my chest, and if you disagree, I’m more than happy to hear anyone out on it. Thanks.

  13. Christine Scaman on October 31st, 2012 5:31 am

    Thank you to all for taking the time to leave such valuable comments.

    Snow – I’ll work on that. Perhaps I’ll work it into The Best Skin Finish on Winter Skin article that will come along.

    The jacket is the exact colour of my hair, but by the time it goes through my webcam, YouTube, and then YouTube’s lighting fixes, it doesn’t look the same. I suppose I don’t either, therefore.

    Black is a colour that all 12 Tones adjust. To just say Winters Wear Black isn’t wrong, but it can be refined. So-black-it’s-blue type black is best on TW to my eye. It battles a little with DW and BW. Both can hold their own but the image isn’t settled and calm. BW can lighten the darkness by moving to coal, still cool, clean, and crisp. They could add shine, which lightens. They could wear black without the blue effect.

    Same with TW white on BW. I actually like it quite well, better than TW black. I think it’s the lightness. They balance it well and look very very clean and bracing, much of the language of the palette. But yes, a SO slightly yellowed white is fantastic.

    Fully agree, Rachel. I’ve seen it too. I’ve seen red-violet in the gray beard and hair of a True Winter man. I’ve seen teal in a gray haired Dark Autumn’s hair when she wears that drape. I was amazed the first time but now I expect it. Our vision learns and allows more and more. This is one of the reasons I love gray hair, because it can take on the colours around it. Also, on Winter, it removes a colour block so that the makeup and clothing is more fierce and striking than ever.

    Rose – thank you! As I said earlier, I fear that I dont’ really look the way I do in the videos :) This sounds almost inappropriate but I buy most clothes at Value Village (meaning that they’re probably not in stores anymore). The dark jacket is Anne Klein. The white shirt is just a white shirt, Smart Set $30. The blouse is Mexx from the Village and the blue top is Guess, also from the VV. I don’t know why they don’t have my photo on the wall. Makeup is always the same, never changes much, eyeliner is MAC Grey Utility, blush is Driven at, contour is Miss November at eleablake, eyeshadow highlight is Merle Norman Ice, eyeshadow is Bobbi Brown Rock and Mercier Coffee Ground. Lip is Lauder Woodland Berry.

    I like the 2 Darks in all dark. I find it serious and commanding, which the person usually is. I’d wear different colours on A and the same on W. Inserting a very light block on the W is never wrong, even if the surface area is small, like a shiny silver necklace.

    Rachel, for sure you’re right about the Goth. W will never look as near death as Sp, but they sure don’t look good – depending on one’s definition of good.

  14. Nichole Huntsman on November 16th, 2012 4:34 pm

    Just a little compliment…I love your hair in the Part 2 video. You look like a maven…feel like it fits your dynamic personality <3 Thanks for all your wonderful, creative thoughts on color and beauty.

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