Matching The Swatch Book : Light Grey

March 13, 2010 by  

Once we isolate your place or Season in Personal Color Analysis, the next step is to look at the swatches in your Colors Book, and those of your warmer and cooler neighbors.

When we’re dealing with 12 Seasons, each with a palette of 60 unique colors, there will be some colors that are very close. Surprisingly, the difficulty is not usually between your Season and your immediate neighbors. More often, the catch will be with a more distant Season.

2 examples:

1. The excellent example of this jacket at Ann Taylor came up on the Facebook page. I took a quick look and thought “light, clear, cool = Light Summer”. An astute reader pointed out that the grey is so light that it should qualify as icy, and so a Winter color. She is completely right.

True Summer greys are easy to pick out because they’re blueish or pinkish.

Light Summer presented a learning moment, nothing I love more to deepen and sharpen our understanding.

Light Summer and True Winter are both cool Seasons. When a color, light grey in this case, is cool AND very light, AND clear, as the Spring element brings to True Summer’s dusty shades to produce the Light Summer palette… well, when does it become Winter’s icy grey?

Summer colors are pastels, which means they are not so extremely light as icy colors. (see Icy Colours And Pastels) A pastel, by definition, has more pigment and is softened with gray. This applies also to gray itself.

Light Summer left, True Winter right.

The picture above shows the closest matches from the 2 Seasons’ Colors Books. Light Summer is yellower, or less absolutely crisp and cool, but it’s subtle. Light Summer also has more pigment, more “color”.

If any of you see the faintest blue tone to the Light Summer grey, you’d be right. This is a leftover from the True Summer greys which has been partially extracted by Spring’s color clarity. Winter’s greys are made of black and white only.

Notice too that the lightest grey in the True Winter Book, basically the color of the jacket, has no similar value (or lightness) in the Light Summer. Winter’s icy colors are even lighter than the lightest colors in a Light Season.

2. The Trace of Autumn’s Brown in Soft Summer and Dark Winter could be confusing because both Seasons have a similar relative position in the order.

For these 2 Seasons, both are one Season away from a pure, cool Season (True Summer and True Winter, respectively).

Both are removed from that True Season in the same direction, meaning both blend with Autumn.

In fact, there are no similar colours in the 2 Colour Swatch Books.  I’m not even putting a picture here because not one of the 60 tones is close. Soft Summer’s very low saturation and Dark Winter’s much higher saturation make the choice clear.

The lesson

Shop with your Book. Never think you’ll remember a color correctly or be able to judge it accurately.

Don’t feel overwhelmed, thinking you have to keep 12 Seasons’ worth of colors in your head. I don’t, but I never buy before checking my Book. I still put a lot of things back.


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