Matching The Swatch Book : Coral
April 3, 2010 by Christine Scaman
This is Part 2 of the post that answers a client’s question re: deciphering her blues and corals when shopping with her Colours Book.
Part 1 is at Matching The Swatch Book : Blue. Today is about True Summer corals. This would not apply to Soft Summers, who have very different colours. Light Summer may have an occasional similar swatch, but not a whole page.
Coral is one of the more difficult colors to predict in 12 Seasons Personal Colour Analysis. Any color, like turquoise or peach, that has an inherently warm AND cool component, is tougher to grasp confidently.
As we said in the Blue post, it’s often the colours in more distant, seemingly unrelated, Seasons that can be most similar. I looked for the most similar corals to True Summer’s.
They are not among the 3 Summers (except maybe the odd one in Light Summer). No coral in the Spring or Autumn palettes would confuse you if you had your Colours Book.
The corals of True Summer and Dark Winter are similar tones. Side by side, Dark Winter certainly has a dark brown element that takes away the rose-petal freshness of True Summer’s but they are quite close.
Wow, ay? So, how might you tell them apart?
1. True Summer is absolutely cool. You should be able to find no heat, no yellow, no brown. OK, but hard to do with coral, since it always seems a little warmish.
2. If it’s a cosmetic colour, don’t compare makeup colours on your arm or face. None of us can ever be objective enough about our face and arms get messy. Paint it on white paper to compare it to your Colours Book.
3. Does the item convey a feeling? True Summer should express cool, serene, fresh, feathery, and delicate. Choose a visual to help. Rose petals, watercolor, mist, water are True Summer. It should feel true to one of True Summer keywords : gentle.
For True Summer, it’s watermelon, not geranium. Soft plum, not deep eggplant. Soothing, not strong. The personal swatch book may feel hard to interpret, but when you see it in the entire piece of clothing, the colour is easier to figure out.
If you see a trace of sunshine, it’s wrong, it’s Spring. True Summer is absolutely cool.
Ask yourself “can I see black in the shadows?” . If yes, it’s Winter’s. And this is a good way to make a colr go one way or the other. If it’s a tissue or sheer fabric, wearing a white or dark tank underneath can pull it towards Winter or Summer very effectively.
4. Compare it to 2 items that you KNOW to be warm and cool. It will be easier to position yours accurately when you have a range with endpoints.
5. Consider the fabric. Colour is an emotional expression that is conveyed by weight, by combination, by style and stitching lines, as well as hue.
If you feel a heavy or somber presence, it’s probably off. Even when True Summer gets darker, the feeling is still graceful and fine. Winter colours look (and feel) aggressive on a True Summer.
If the colour feels like it would have to be velvet because the feeling is so solid, that is not True Summer. If it feels made of gauze or linen, it is right.
If the colour were curtains, the True Summer would let light through. Dark Winter is occlusive because of its degrees of saturation and darkness, both way higher than Summer.
6. What story is being told by the colour? What background does it create? a watercolour or an oil painting? a sheer or a tapestry?
7. In a swirl with Summer’s other colours, would it be dominant, or too aggressive, and overshadow all the more delicate colours?
All True Summer’s colours are very slightly faded. Spring has the odd similar swatch but it is distinctly more saturated, a clearer colour. In the graphic above, I could have softened (reduced the saturation, grayed) the Summer colours even more. As soon as Spring appears, the colours become rainbows to parrot plumage, but they’re clear, not dusty colours. True Summer is just the slightest bit washed out.
If you love the item and your instinct is that the colour is right, buy it if you can return it. Try it with the rest of your palette, in different lighting. Often, a colour that is extremely close can be made to work well because of what it’s combined with, since so much of Season harmony is conveyed by how your colours are worn together.
I believe these are the last stages before becoming completely colour confident. Don’t do it from memory, you’ll lose money. Always consult your Colours Book.
You’re still moving forward.