What are Clear and Soft Colours?
November 26, 2009 by Christine Scaman
Let’s say that every colour begins as grey. Drop by drop, you add a colour pigment. As you increase the amount of pigment, so do you increase the “saturation”. The colour is becoming more clear and intense. Finally, there is no grey left and what you have is a pure colour.
Understanding saturation in 12 Season Colour Analysis is key to using your colour analysis swatches correctly for selecting clothes AND makeup.
This might look like grey>dusty rose> watermelon> fuchsia. You see how the grey is being subtracted? We began with a soft, muted, dusty colour of low saturation and ended with a more pure, vivid, brilliant colour of high saturation. Another word for saturation is chroma.
A clear colour is pure. It is very far from grey. It is closer to full saturation.
Here is another comparison chart. The colours on the right are not becoming darker, or warmer, or cooler. They’re just clearer or brighter, relative to grey.
Playing with colour parameters
You could darken a colour without removing the gray : grey > heather mist > lilac > lavender > mauve. But now, you’re playing with a different aspect of colour, namely the lightness/darkness. The saturation is not changing so much. These are all soft, muted colours.
You could equally change 2 parameters of colour at once : Wedgewood blue>sky blue>sapphire. We are increasing darkness and increasing saturation at once.
Colour has a third parameter, that being warm/cool. Personal Colour Analysis is determing exactly where your colouring stands in terms of all 3 criteria.
True and Neutral Season colour saturation
Who needs to know? Pretty well everybody, actually. The Summer and Autumn seasons wear absolutely muted colours. Though Autumn’s are more golden-brown and Summer’s are more grey, both are duller than the truly pure Winter and Spring shades.
The True Seasons are absolutes insofar as the colour clarity or softness. Either the colours are clear or they’re not. For the 75% of you who are a Season blend, or a Neutral Season, your colours are softened or muted to a degree. The PCA tells you how much.
In fact, the True Seasons are absolute with respect to all 3 parameters of colour – warm vs. cool and light vs. dark, as well as bright/soft. Therein lies the problem with 4 Season Colour Analysis.
The Neutral Seasons are born with a personal colour palette that is warm/cool/light/dark/bright soft to some degree. It is in the particular combination of the degrees that you arrive at the 8 Neutral groups.
The saturation of grey
Can grey itself be more or less clear?It sure seems crisper and sharper in the Winter greys than in softer Summer greys.
Winter’s grey is pure. That means that it is made of black and white. That’s it.
Summer’s greys have blue in them. Spring’s have yellow, and Autumn’s have brown.
How about a pure vs. muted yellow? Daffodil vs. butterscotch.
Brown is a little complicated. Brown is a dark orange, but it’s also an important characteristic of the entire Autumn group. It is most certainly NOT a characteristic of the other Seasons, or at least, it takes a much different form.
It’s incredibly important to get it right because it is such a wardrobe neutral and cosmetic colour staple. The Mystery Of Brown is the topic of the next article.