Matching The Swatch Book : Blue
March 21, 2010 by Christine Scaman
Jelena asked a question we can all learn from:
I need some suggestions for shopping with my [Personal Color Analysis Swatch Book]. Some of the colors in the True Summer book (especially the blues) seem quite saturated and (almost) bright. When shopping, I’m always wondering how I can tell the difference between a True Summer blue versus the Winter blue and even the Spring cobalt blue??
Another question is about the cool-ish coral. I found a lot of similar colors when out shopping, but it was difficult to tell if the colors were cool enough. The artificial store lighting complicates things as well. I noticed that some of the things that were perfect matches to my Book in the store were totally wrong once I took them home and saw what it looked like under natural lighting (and the same applies to make-up colors). Do you have any suggestions for making color matching easier?
What to try:
1. Pick a few items in the store of similar color to compare, rather than just 1 item. It’s by comparison that we understand color. I learned a lot about color and textiles at Value Village because they group 20 reds, blues, etc. together, so the differences become easily apparent.
2. If there are no similarly colored items (often stores work with just a few dye lots each season), hold it against a white item, or better a white and an off-white item.
3. Look in daylight. Jelena is very right about that. Even before your PCA, you probably find that you buy something only to find it wasn’t what you thought.
4. Be sure you can return things.
5. Assume the color of the item and the swatch are NOT a match until you can convince yourself they are. For True Summer, ask yourself:
“Do I see any heat (orange, tan brown, dark brown, gold, yellow) in the color”? go through them 1 by 1. I get in a hurry, or I want to believe it’s the right color, so I make myself slow down.
Every time I listen to a dog’s heartbeat, I assume there is an abnormality till I can convince myself it is normal. I use the same approach here.
6. Flip the concept and see if you can come at it the other way. Ask yourself “does it appear less intense than it COULD?” or “could I imagine a MORE saturated version of this color?”
Instead of “is this soft?”, ask “could it be MORE pigment-rich?”
If the color COULD be MORE intense, it’s probably a soft color.
Here are the 3 closest blue matches among True Summer, Winter, and Spring.
True Summer is not hard to pick out. It’s always some version of faded denim, even the darkest wash. True Summer is not necessarily obviously grayed; it is just relatively less saturated than Winter. True Summer is not dull or drab, and some of the colors have some strength to them.
When you see a highly saturated color, you usually know it. It is more common to see Winters walking around in color that is too soft because saturated color is hard to find and after a few washings, it’s softened.
Surprisingly, it’s Winter and Spring that are closest for this color. It makes sense for blue. Both are saturated Seasons. Blue is darkish at high saturation so this is one of Spring’s darker colours. The Spring is a bit yellower. On the 3 Colour Scales of Light/Dark, Warm/Cool, and Clear/Soft, we’re matching all 3 very closely.
My feeling here is that it’s too close to matter. The difference will come from the other elements of the outfit and how the person wears and combines the color.