Light and True Spring: Landscapes and Neutrals

February 26, 2012 by  

Once again, in 2 parts. Sorry, I get going, I cannot get stopped. This post will be about the True Spring – a type of natural colouring in itself and an influence on 4 other types of colouring, or Seasons – and seeing what those neutral colours are in comparison with True Autumn, the most likely baffler. Part 2 will be about working neutrals into an office wardrobe. There, we’ll compare Light and True Spring to see the size of the heat, saturation, and darkness shifts between them.

The only ensemble in which I could abandon colour for all neutral tones on any Spring would be the Light Spring in a selection of creams and beiges. This monochromatic scheme leans on the Summer influence of that Season and it looks really good. The Bright Spring needs more contrast. The True Spring needs more colour. Colour is so in place and at home on Spring that we miss it when it’s not there. They absorb it into their body the way Summer does blue and Winter does contrast. Colour is as necessary at the office as on the beach.

One Light Spring said,

One thing that I struggle with a bit is integrating the neutrals and the colours of the light spring pallet. With light summer, the greys work beautifully with the brighter colours of the pallet but I find it hard to wear the browner neutrals with our colours. I tend to wear a colour (or two) with blue denim, a neutral (or two) with blue denim, a colour (or two) with cream or ivory, or two or more colours. I can’t seem to make the leap into mixing a wide range of my neutrals with the colours. As an aside are white jeans doable for light spring, should I only look for cream?

Before I forget, I’d go for ivory buff or light grey in jeans rather than white. The effect of white can be bit like black in that it gets bigger than it actually is if it’s not balanced. It can twinkle in places where most of us don’t have that outcome in mind.

We looked at Light Spring landscapes in Light Spring Looking Serious. The white needed to lighten that palette makes many colours appear milky. Not so in the misty Light Summer or the clear, pure True Spring.

The whole series of landscape articles came about as a way of seeing yourself the way the rest of us do and to objectify what you add to the picture. Which earrings belongs? Which lipgloss doesn’t? True Spring’s landscape… tulip fields? For sure, but watch the saturation. As beautiful as those are, they can be such a riot of red, orange, and yellow that the image screams COLOUR!!!!! instead of :) sunbeam hugs :)  True Spring is an easy, playful caress, not a blood pressure spike. True Spring is warm and yellow above all. Imagine the difference between the coral reef and the crayon box. Colour is not shocking, it’s freehand and sunny. Yellow light is radiating from every pixel of this picture. So would the person to look young, healthy, and tuned into their own frequency.

Photo: Auroqueiro

Spring generally does not care for suits, feeling too constrained physically and mentally.  They’re not sure where life will take them next, want to make the choice themselves (but may have to overcome wanting every choice), and will resist any restrictions on the possibilities. Even in a perfect tan suit, it can look bland and more mundane than the wearer. The opposite can be true too, where a Winter in their suit looks more imposing than the wearer is or wants to convey. Blazers are in right now. It’s a good time to create some inspired jacket/pants combinations. For situations where a full suit is needed, I would choose your navy over tan unless you find the tan suit that articulates enough light and interest to not look like menswear. Blue would look snappier.

Spring’s stereotype is to have their extroversion translated as effusiveness. Not quite. They have caution and shyness. They are not diving into waterfalls any more than anyone else. Spring is not giddy or superficial, though deep philosophical conversations may feel lacking in wit if they drag on. The extrovert functions best when surrounded by other people. Spring will be bored at a conference alone for a week in a strange city. Winter may feel oddly energized by the freedom from emotion that strangers allow, like they’re living a dream ..oh, wait, we’re not talking about me here. Spring is less likely to exercise alone at home than the introvert who thinks and decides inwardly and moves away from extended contact time with others.

Every Spring I know, all 5 types, has a pure and unaffected sweetness. When they smile, they can literally light up a room, so much so that it takes you by surprise. Attire that feels like this

Photo: Colin Broug

while superb on the right woman, looks bland, repetitive, dry, hard, and monotonous, that is to say, wooden, on Spring. There’s just not enough going on for a person who feels like this to look at

Photo: Ziepo

and maybe this

Photo: Topsoft

or even

Photo: cassie g

 

Spring, all five Seasons whose natural colouring has those attributes, has a necessary delicacy and lightness of touch. Like the mimosa, the leaves fold when touched. That anything so tender and sensitive could live in the first place, and more, share a beauty that seems other-worldly , even for a moment, this is the wonder of Spring.

Photo: juliaf

True Spring is emotional with feelings that run near the surface. They are also deeply spiritual, whatever their Creator or Source image happens to be. For a being so sensitive, to be brought face to face with the question we all ask, “What is my purpose?”, not knowing the answer or knowing where to turn can be very debilitating. True Spring takes life very much to heart and can be worn out by life’s complications, wondering why things can’t just be simple. You’d think everyone would want that but oddly no.

Bob Marley. Sun Is Shining, the Songs of Freedom, Island in The Sun, Is This Love, pick one.Why can’t it be enough for life to be happy, easy, and safe?

Barbara J. Winter: “When you come to the end of all the light you know, and it’s time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen: either you will be given something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly.”

Spring’s Neutral Colours

Let’s look at these colours, these greys, browns, beiges, taupes, and creams. Since any True or Light Spring who wants to look old and tired need only drape herself in black and/or white, I think of the darker blues as neutral colours too. Blue may have more colour signal than the other neutrals, but that’s on everybody else. Spring can wear a lot of colour before it approaches noticeability. Correction: Spring ought to wear a lot of colour. In some ways, colours are True Spring’s neutrals and it’s everyone else’s neutrals that Spring needs to plan.(Light and Bright Springs rely more on grey to be their neutral.) Because Trues share absolute warmth with True Autumn’s browns and greys, knowing you’re buying the right one can be hard.

Spring Neutrals             vs            Autumn Neutrals

peach brown apricot                        orange brown lion

clear beige sand                                brown beige cappucino

nearly greeny beiges                        nearly greeny greys

light and fresh  sunny                      heavy and thick earthy

stout beer is darkest                          coffee is darkest

blonde, Palomino, flax                     ochre, umber, sienna

bunny, chipmunk, house cats         bear, moose, wild cats, and often dog colours

yellow ivory, almonds                        antique ivory, old lace

wild chanterelles!!!                             cigars, light to dark

This Polyvore shows the True Spring (Left) and True Autumn (Right) browns and greys. Think about the diff between beige and camel.

Spring and Autumn neutral colours

 

Spring and Autumn neutral colours by christinems featuring boot cut pants

 

- across the top left: a range of Spring greys with a bluer one on the right end to show you a Summer grey – how do you do this in stores ? Like for any other colour, go around and gather a bunch of items in that colour family. Even if they’re close, they’ll help your mind see which are the yellower ones, which are greenish, etc.

- center top L and R, side by side, the black ballet flats pants are Spring while the coral top pants are Autumn; greeny yellows are more Spring while Autumn’s greened greys look like army Jeeps

- Autumn will go darker than Spring; Spring will look good and make better outfits in lighter pants than Autumn; Autumn’s light colours are darker and heavier

- orange browns, mustard, red browns are Autumns; peach, blush, and yellow browns are more likely to work for Spring ; those in the center with the blue top, I could see on either, they have a pinker quality than the Autumn ones to the right

Words won’t really help you shop. Here’s the easy way: own your Colour Book of swatches. Own the Book of the Season that causes the most confusion, like True Autumn, though you don’t really need to. In the case of browns and greys, there are not many overlaps or similar colours except maybe among the very lightest. Why certain colours go into each Season doesn’t matter. I don’t know either. You’d have to be expert at mixing paint to have devised all those precise tones. If you match the Book as closely as you can and think about the overall weight the colour of the entire item conveys, you will be fine. The difference between 85% and 100% isn’t that important. The rest of the outfit will create a beautiful finished look.

Comments

20 Responses to “Light and True Spring: Landscapes and Neutrals”

  1. Heidi on February 26th, 2012 9:10 am

    Wonderful post, Christine! It’s often very difficult to find advice for True Springs, and this post was so detailed and explained this season so well. Thank you!!

  2. Rachel Ramey on February 26th, 2012 3:19 pm

    That fairy picture does a fantastic job of illustrating neutral + color!

  3. Carrie on February 27th, 2012 1:34 am

    I didn’t understand the sentence about ‘True Autumn the most likely baffler’. Is that about a TA and what did you try to say?

  4. Katharine on February 27th, 2012 1:57 am

    Please, please PLEASE do an article on the bright spring neutrals too!! I LOVE my colors, but sometimes it would be nice to have options for days or occasions when a lot of color isn’t exactly appropriate. I see the neutrals in the swatchbook and I try to match them, but the grays and the grayish browns are difficult to differentiate from other seasons grays and grayish browns. Especially the grays. I also like how you said darker blues can be used as neutrals too, I’ve thought that myself. Thank you again for another awesome article, Christine. Your writing is truly inspired.

  5. Emma Peel on February 27th, 2012 6:17 am

    I enjoyed reading your post, Christine. It’s been challenging trying to find a wardrobe of True Spring neutrals for pants and skirts. I’ve avoided amber and brown, fearing the cross-over into True Autumn and the dark, heavy look I get in that palette. Likewise, I’ve avoided grey because yellow grey is so hard to find. I’ve been living in various shades of cream and ivory with the occasional sand. This has worked out very well, although your post has inspired me to expand my thinking a bit.

  6. Rachel Ramey on February 27th, 2012 10:32 am

    I am intrigued by David Zyla’s talk of neutrals, in conjunction with this seasonal analysis. He says we all have our own versions of “black,” “brown,” and “khaki,” but they aren’t necessarily black, brown, or khaki.

    I’m curious what a BSpr might wear for “brown,” since we don’t have any real browns. Purple, maybe?

  7. Margo on February 27th, 2012 3:35 pm

    Oh, I wear black pans most times, but sometimes dark brown or navy. But it was interesting to find information about TA neutrals even it still did answer my questions regarding color nuances between TA and DA. Thank you, Christine for this new post!

  8. Katharine on February 27th, 2012 6:30 pm

    I should mention I’ve also thought that greens and blues could be considered spring ‘neutrals’, along with grayish whites/browns. Because these are the colors of our natural world. The plants, the sky, the clouds and tree bark. The flower colors like yellow, pink and orange could be those pop’s of extra color that spring needs.

  9. Arienne on February 27th, 2012 8:10 pm

    Thank you Christine! Up until this point, I had been shopping for neutrals with the mindset of “as long as it’s a warm color, it’s OK.” This really shows the difference between the neutrals of the 2 warm seasons. I will be more selective from now on. Looks like the new handbag I just bought in orange-brown leather has to be returned!

  10. Anna on February 28th, 2012 6:33 am

    Thank you Christine for all the work you do! I’m still in the dark though. I got David Kibbe’s book from a charity shop and really can’t get past the shoulder pads! I’m meant to be a Bright Winter and after doing the test in David’s book turns out I’m most probably aither a Natural or a Soft Natural. How do you marry the two? I mean, he I’ve always thought I was some sort of dramatic because of my colouring and now… I just don’t know. He says the make up shouldn’t be very contrasting and yet with my colouring I don’t know how it can be done? I have pale skin, dark hair and quite vivid eyes. Perhaps I should ask a friend to do the test with me.

  11. Shirley on February 28th, 2012 10:21 am

    I get lots of use from my moss green pants, but struggle to find the right light camel–all I can find is a heavy looking warm khaki color.

  12. Claire Greenhill on February 29th, 2012 5:08 am

    Fantastic as always Christine, I look forward to part 2 :)

  13. Emma Peel on February 29th, 2012 7:03 am

    What are your thought about neutral shoes for True Springs? Are these good or are they more True Autumn?

    http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/45008?feat=506587-GN2&attrValue_0=Briar

  14. Melinda on March 1st, 2012 10:12 am

    Wonderful article Christine! I wonder sometimes if I walk a fine line between the True Spring and True Autumn personalities. Perhaps it is because I am drawn to the Spring personality. Those people are so much fun! Reading the comparisons on the colors and seeing the Polyvores though, really helps me see the colors as they are. The richness of the TA colors is something that I need in my wardrobe and this post helped so much to be able to see that. I will still be a little jealous of the light, fun, and care free feel of the Spring palette, but I LOVE the Autumn colors and embrace them whole heartedly.

    P.S. I was finally able to save up for that watch on the TA polyvore and I love it!

  15. Christine Scaman on March 1st, 2012 4:17 pm

    Carrie,
    I meant by baffler that it’s True Autumn’s browns and beiges that you’ll be staring at in the store, baffled by how to decide if they’re TA or TSp.

    Katharine,
    I’ll work on it. You’re so very right. B Sp’s neutral colours may be the hardest of all to be exact about. The solution is to wear Winter’s grays (composed of B&W only) and get on with the day. And blue, green, teal, all can work as neutrals on a Spring person, while on me (DW), they’d look very colourful. Also, wear a lot of the lighter colours, ivories and so on. You are a Spring after all…so, Rachel, I’d suggest B Sp’s brown is grey.

    Anna,
    Pretend you can’t see ‘shoulder pads’ and see ‘structured, defined, square shoulder’ instead. Every book needs a little adapting. Books like mine or Kib’s can get taken very literally but they’re not going to define every aspect of every reader. I agree that BW and N don’t seem an easy fit – except for one thing: black clothing comes in every style under the sun. Bright clothing isn’t always D in style, indeed very few clothes are truly D. In today’s casual clothing market, there’s lots of N stuff. The makeup part -well, you’re contrasting no matter what you do. His R/Max Ying model, Susan Slavin, she’s a W and very contrasting. He talks about watercolour makeup on Rs but hers just isn’t and couldn’t be. So adapt it. Make sure edges on eye makeup are smudged, not sharply defined. Keep lips on the light side instead of dark. As with colour, you have to live with it for a few months and let it settle inside you.

    Emma,
    Hey! Good call on the shoes. They may be a little more red and less yellow than TSp, but they don’t come across heavy at all. The white sole will be beige in no time. They look holiday and fun. If the style suits you and your eye finds they work with the outfit, I think they could be fine. They’re better than 90% of what you could have chosen.

    Melinda,
    Brilliant about the watch. When it works in womens’ real lives, that’s the best of all.

  16. Emma Peel on March 3rd, 2012 7:39 am

    Thanks for the reply, Christine. I’m so happy and relieved that the brown topsiders are OK for TSp. I love wearing them barefoot (of course) in late spring and all summer. They look super cute with khakis and polo shirts.

    I was also considering a pair in navy but none that I saw looks like TSp’s bright navy. I’m having a hard time finding that elusive color.

  17. Lindsay E. on March 3rd, 2012 12:51 pm

    It’s quite hard to find the “right” navy as stores too often seem to carry one navy only.

    Christine, would I be correct in thinking that even if the navy we manage to find isn’t the very “best” navy for our particular palette, it’s still better than black for that majority of us who are warned away from black? (personally, I’m Soft Autumn so I need that Marine Navy). I’ve wondered the same about shades of dark brown vs black – a sub-optimal brown still never being as heavy or harsh as black would be?

  18. Christine Scaman on March 5th, 2012 4:39 am

    I would agree, Lindsay, but some analysts may not, I’m not certain. Since navy and dark brown are darker colours, the T Sp has more latitude than the L Sp when they get it wrong. Having said that, the L Sp will wear muted blues and browns far better. So a True’s compromise can be a little darkness, a Light’s will be too much muting, and both are way the heck better than black.

  19. jkitten on March 10th, 2012 3:40 am

    Oh this helps so much!! Thank thank you for writing about true spring. I’ve been looking at all the articles for true spring and it helps so much :)

  20. jkitten on August 7th, 2012 1:22 am

    Hi Christine! So I was wondering is it possible to have a cool overtone but still have a warm undertone? Because I just started trying out foundation. And I wear the second to the lightest color and it actually has a pinky undertone/color, not yellow or orange. Most foundations were to warm/yellow/orange and to dark for me. The lightest foundation didn’t work for me because it was still yellow. And the women at the makeup store was wondering if we’d even find a foundation for me at first. So what does that say about me or any season for that matter? I’m confused I’m supposed to be a warm spring and yet I can’t seem to take any “warmth” in foundation without looking like I have a weird fake tan or just am mismatched. XD

    Thanks ^_^

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