Find the 12 Season E-Books (3rd. Ed.) under the E-Books tab below!

Jewel Tones for Light Summer

Today’s topic was inspired by a wonderful question I received from a client.

She had had her Personal Colour Analysis (PCA) around 10 years ago, a Light Summer.  Her colouring was similar to Princess Diana's around time of her marriage, with hair a shade lighter and blonder. 

The client's question: 

I’d like to know how to get more punch out of the Light Summer colours. Sometimes I feel that everything I own is pale in comparison to these lovely colours. I love the jewel tones of Winter and would like to have that impact and colour saturation, but I don't know how to get it with my colour range. I have the palette and the Neutrals fabric set.



 She knew that blue could be fairly bright and look great but wasn't sure how to apply this to other colours, especially the darker tones. I suggested that we add two items to the client's colour toolkit. 


Fabric Colours Set and Wallet Cards

Fabric Colours Sets are kits of 15 colours to help you visualize how the ink swatches in the palette look in fabric.


Shopping information


The client's first reaction with the fabric colours was,

"Wow, my colours are bright! Alone on a table, I would've said Winter, but when I compare to the Winter colours, I can see they’re not that. And they have plenty of the punch I was looking for."


The second item we added was a wallet card for True Winter. The wallet cards are shown below as the two small cards at the centre of the right side of the image. 



 Shopping information:


Her first reaction was,

"Well, I can see that these are totally off, even if there are a few that look similar."

For Light Summer, you might consider owning a Bright Winter wallet card as well. As the image shows, the palette are available in many sizes and formats along with the wallet cards.


Light Summer 1: Summer or Winter

 One of the most available ways to separate Summer from Winter may be with pure white and pitch black. You can usually find items in these colours in most stores at any time of year to compare, or you may own some already, even as a blanket, men's shirt, or tablecloth. I have an inexpensive black and white scarf that I bring shopping.


Shopping information


Let's say you're in a store with this pink T-shirt trying to decide if it's Light Summer. The pink doesn't seem intense but neither is it obviously soft or dusty. The white and gray items in the upper row represent Summer colours and white and black in the lower row represent Winter.

Look at the T-shirt and one of the other colours at the same time, the same way that others see us and our clothing. Take a few moments to register whether the sensation or reaction feels even, balanced, and agreeable, or rather tense, awkward, and off-balance.

Of the four combinations, my eyes feel most challenged with the black. It looks empty or aggressive with the pink. By comparison, the gray feels like relief. The gray doesn’t have to be perfectly Light Summer, since a Light Summer colour will still work with it better than with black.

Between the two whites, at first glance, the decision may be a little harder because we expect white to work better with Light Seasons. I feel more peaceful or pleased with the Summer white. The longer I look at the Winter white with the T-shirt, the more uncomfortable my eyes become, as if they want to shift to one or the other. Looking at both requires effort. I might guess that the T-shirt belongs with Summer.


Light Summer 2A: Summer or Winter   

 Light Summer is the most bright or saturated of the 3 Summers, and it makes sense that they might be close to Winter brightness levels. Actually, Light Summer is quite a bit softer than True and Bright Winter, which are the Winters with the similar colours. 

With any of the 12 seasons, I believe that everyone should wear every colour somehow. Not necessarily in the same area, the way they appear in the swatch book, and only one colour at a time with neutral colours if that feels better for you. Confining ourselves to the lights or the cools makes our impression seem incomplete, which adds up if these are the choice we make each day. Imagine the thousands of paintings that would be possible if each individual swatch in the palette were a tube of paint. Or puzzle pieces that magically fit together anyway you place them, which is basically what the palette is.

Here, we have some items and would like to decide if they’re Summer or Winter. I am not able to know which Season a colour (or person) belongs with simply by looking. Another example: some people could tell you three colours they look great in, but could they come up with 70? Some folks may be able to guess the Season of other people simply by looking some of the time, but could they do it every time?

With a system, the odds of getting it right every time for every colour and person are sky high.


 Shopping information


With these, items above, I'm not sure of their Season enough to spend money. They’re bright or dark, but too much so for Summer? Yellow seems bright but yellow always seems bright. The purse at the top has a pink lemonade quality that we see in Light Summer's darker cool reds, but are we sure enough to buy it?


Light Summer 2B: Summer or Winter

Here is a system.

Colours on the Summer side were chosen to be Light Summer, or perhaps near True Summer.

Below, we have the same items as the previous panel, along with a comparison system. Comparisons are easier when colours are similar in value (lightness or darkness level), as we have below. This reduces the number of variables so that we can compare brightness more directly between Winter and Summer. 



 Shopping information


The pink lemonade, or raspberry lemonade, bag at top is a small step beyond the darkness ceiling for the Light Summer palette. When colours are too close to call, try comparing with the other Summer colours, looking for balanced relationships in outfits. The Summer items lose colour energy next to the bag. When the colour works, every colour in the comparison looks as good or better. The client could see that the light pinks in her palette were fading next to this bag.  

In the second row, we have the warmer reds. Where would the handbag go? I don't think it's Winter because the red is about the same darkness level as the skirt on the Winter side, but it's less pigmented. The handbag is darker than the striped Summer T-shirt but it's still within the Light Summer darkness boundary. Outfits with the items on the Summer side can be imagine without difficulty. I agree with the client that examples of the darker reds in the Light Summer palette are not always easy to find but this handbag may be a good example.

In the third row with the blues, the shoe is dark enough for Winter, and even better because the sole is pure white, but I'd be comfortable with it for Summer too. First, the pinks is in the palette Second, the shoe may be at the darkness and brightness ceiling for Light Summer but not far beyond it. Third, if I imagine it with the other items in the Summer or Winter groups, it may fade a little next to the Winter colours, but not with the Summer ones. Shoes are small, they're worn far from the face, and there may be enough in common with Summer or Winter to be fine for both, depending on what Winter is wearing in the lower half. White would be easy, black more challenging. Summer could pair them with any palette colour.

Finally, we have yellow. There seems to be more pigment in the T-shirt than the blue sweater in the Summer row above, but Light Summer has several variations of yellow. The hat is more pigmented than the cardigan and has a lemony or acidic quality that can be a sign of Winter, and a gorgeous way for them to wear yellow. The T-shirt has a warmer or more buttery quality and I don't think that it belongs with Winter, but our question today is, Is it Light Summer? If the T-shirt in the upper half were worn with the blue of the sweater in the lower half, would our attention be equally divided? I think the T-shirt would be brighter. While it may not be Winter, I also don't think it's Light Summer and I probably would not buy this item.


 Light Summer 3: Light to medium

When our client explained that she often chooses pale colours, I asked if by pale, she meant light colour? She answered, maybe. Understandable depending on a person's associations with the words. Pale, like deep, are words with specific meanings depending on the application or context. Deep can mean dark in some PCA systems. I thought about what pale means to me and I came up with light and soft at the same time.

It happens with the Light seasons that the word light can be taken literally. Why wouldn’t it be? The word may be expected to mean very near white. Seems perfectly reasonable. Summer's light colours are pastels, which means more pigment and more gray, than Winter clear near-white icy colours.

If our client were buying foundation, the best match for her skin tone would probably be light medium beige, not ivory or alabaster that a Winter with light skin tones might wear. Winter white is snow. Summer whites are in the neighbourhood of whole milk or vanilla ice cream.



 Shopping information:


As a brighter Summer, the softly grayed quality in Light Summer isn't obvious. The colours above may be Light Summer and more importantly, the upper two rows are as light as colour would be in their colour families, like green or violet, not counting the neutral tones. The violet knit top in the lower row may be a little bright, which is quite OK. Light Summer has inherent brightness and can accommodate a little more very happily, particularly when the colour is light.

About the small pink coat on the right side: One Season that is easily confused with Light Summer is Soft Autumn. The overall look of the two palettes is quite different but if you isolate certain colours in the light pink and yellow families, they can look surprisingly alike. The coat appears too soft to belong with these blouses, and has an earthy quality that I don't see in Light Summer, suggesting it may belong with the Autumn groups.


Light Summer 4: Medium to dark

Here we're looking at medium to darker colours, and making combinations to see how well the colours can accept one another in relationships, which is what a wardrobe is all about.

Darker shades are about as dark as the palette would get for that colour family. I use terms like about as dark because I'm an 80-20 person. We live in a practical world where others see our entire presentation together and feel they get along. We look for meaning in what we see, not an exact fit into a chart. The writer, Stephen King, said that the first draft is you telling yourself the story and every draft after that is taking out the parts that are not the story. I see these items as part of the same story, except for one that we'll talk about in a moment.



Shopping information: 


The first T-shirt is made of a printed fabric and I find interesting, more geometric than the watercolours we normally associate with Summer, with lovely combinations between light and dark and the warmer and cooler reds. The pants are fine, an average Light Summer navy blue and excellent colour for jeans.

We have combinations that are made of light, medium, and dark colours, with the darker colour in the upper or lower half. For the most part, these average out to a medium darkness level, partly because every colour in the palette lies within a medium darkness range.

 Once again, we have a small item on the right hand side in the darker gray brown long-sleeve T-shirt. The palette is a guard rail for your colour edges, to keep you safe in darkness, brightness, and warmth. You may find a colour very much like that T-shirt in some terrific Light Summer palettes by different designers, and I don't disagree with them. In fact, I find them brilliant. My hesitation is in whether a client could take the colour palette into a store and come out with the right colour.

As the colours become darker, speaking for myself only, I think they become a little more challenging to harmonize with the palette. Some people may feel extremely capable at choosing darker colours, but if your reaction to them is more confusion than clarity, skip them. You'll be able to create thousands of fine and beautiful outfits within the narrower boundaries of the more traditional palettes. This particular colour may actually be beyond the darkness level of even those darker palettes and worn by a Light Summer person, it might look darker than it is and the person drained.


Light Summer 5: Handbags and brightness

Our theme for this image is, how bright it too bright? To be comfortable with how bright and how dark, on the path to finding that jewel tone effect in Light Summer, it's good to practice a few different scenarios, like rehearsing and deciding what feels right, and reacting emotionally or instinctively to whether some of the brighter colours may belong to Winter but could work perfectly well for a Light Summer. Because part of our reaction to colour is emotional, everyone may have a different answer and that's OK.


 Shopping information:


First row, foil finish backpack, with a darker bag in the centre, and definitely Winter over on the right. The backpack is medium blue with diffused highlights that do not go to a sharp white point, closer to brushed silver mixed with blue, and could be good for Summer. The bag in the middle is both darker and more pigmented and probably aligns better with Winter, but navy blue is neutral enough and blue in general is easy enough for Summer. It could make an interesting focal point but if the area were larger and near the face, it may not be the best choice.

Second row, snakeskin purse, wool sweater, and suede bag. Texture softens colour and these are traditional Autumn textiles. Do you find the texture of any of these compromises the brightness of the colour or does it give a hazy or fleecy look that works well for Summer? I'd choose the second, that in the right colours, the textures are consistent with Summer softness. 

Third, the yellows. Could you see these as Light Summer or are any of them too bright or have details that wouldn't work? I'd see them all in the 'close enough is good enough' category for various reasons. Whether they harmonize with the outfit or provide a colour pop, both options are good.

The first bag is a soft neutral yellow, not lemony or acidic, looks like a great Light Summer yellow. The bag in the middle is like the lightest Light Summer yellow, depending on the palette. The black edging is thin and outlines the bag, which gives it more presence. As apparel in a large area under the face, it might not be defining, but it's rational with the palette and may be fine worn in the lower half, like a summer skirt.

The clutch with the reptile pattern is getting more lemony, and may be on that line between pastel and icy. In a combination with the green sweater above, it might jump forward a little bit but as an accessory, it adds to the cuteness and an attention-getting quality. The black bar across the top is distracting, and purchasing this bag might come down to personal preference. For Light Summer, I probably wouldn't. For Winter, yes.

In the 4th row, the first one possibly my favourite Light Summer colour. We might call it strawberry sorbet. The bag is as coral as the one above it is yellow.The skirt and backpack are definitely brighter but there are colours like that in the palette, which gives them some rationality with palette colours. Any darker or brighter would be too much, but for certain occasions when a Summer would like to look a little more Winter, these could be options. I think they're exciting. Would I wear them to an interview for a job at a bank or in a large solid area right under my face? No, I would not.


Light Summer 6: Combinations and contrast

Part of what makes Winter impacting is contrast, meaning big distance between colours. Light to dark is the most traditional, called value contrast, with white and black as the most common example. Other types of contrast can be made with warm and cool or neutral and bright. For value contrast, Light Summer might combine vanilla ice cream and cinnamon brown, or carnation pink and navy blue.

Winter colours are so bright that more than two of them in the same visual field can be overwhelming. Winter also creates a bold or shocking impression that is not convincing on Summers and gives a sense of the clothes wearing the person. In Summer, watercolour flow between a few colours looks great, an effect that works less well for Winter.

 We had dark with dark combinations in panel 4 Here we have different kinds of contrast, playing at the edges of the palette to find the tipping point.



 Shopping information


The first combination is traditional. In the second one, does the red and white feel too contrasting for a Summer? It may be at the upper limit and the decision may depend on the individual. If skin tones are light, hair is silver, and they decline cosmetics, the effect may step in front of their own colours. For a young person or one with brightly coloured hair and eyes who loves cosmetics, this look may be more wearable. 

When I consider colours at the edge of a Season's brightness, my questions are the same, in the same order. First, is there a colour a lot like this in the palette? If yes, I lay the strip with the most similar colour on the item. Can the other colours in the strip maintain their brightness or do they become hard to see, as if they'd been puffed with flour? Since this red cardigan is an item is worn underneath the face, I wouldn't want that lightest colour to fade significantly.

We also have medium with dark and dark with light combinations in the top row. The pants in the dark with light combination are beyond the dark edge but the fabric is muting and is offset by the beautiful colour in the turtleneck and I know many Summers who could wear this easily, for example in a business situation or for a person with darker hair tones.

In the lower row, we have the peach pink cardigan and the blue gray suede pants. The sweater may be on the edge of pastel and icy and for a Light Summer with light skin tones and hair colour, it might look sharp under the face as the reflection move closer to white, or the person might and the cardigan may appear to blend into one another. 

 Second in the lower row is the combination of light with light. Contrast is lower but the overall effect is light medium, as we want for this Season, and both items are within the lightness boundary for their colour family. As long as you stay within the palette boundaries, light with light and dark with dark are fine.

The third one in the lower row is a combination of a print and a solid, nice choices. The final combination is a monochromatic look using different darkness levels of coral to add more movement within the look. 


Light Summer 7: Jewelry

These are all under the same light. What light? Daytime. What time of day? I live in E. Canada and this reminds me of mid-morning. Consistency of light is part of what makes a scene rational, or an outfit. I'm not a painter but I imagine that before putting brush to canvas, a painter decides on the direction and the colour of light. 

I see light yellow sunlight and moderate shading. These feel whimsical and joyful, like breezes and air currents. They have a light heart.The blue seashell pendant on the left side of the bar in the lower left corner is probably a Winter piece. (*In the video, I say that the turquoise earrings at the top of that group are under a shaded light, but seeing them on YouTube and this page, they may be fine for Light Summer.)



Shopping information


Light Summer is a Neutral Season, meaning neutral warmth between fully cool and warm. Silver, gold, and rose gold can work.

Silver is medium cool with no blue tones seen in the watch on the far left side of the line. Brushed or shiny silver and sparkly stones are all good. Gold is medium yellow in a light neutral colour. Shine is great, as in the turquoise ring at the center top. Metals and stones add colour energy that Spring loves.

The rose gold watch has pink tones, like the lightest neutral pink in the palette. The white and rose gold watch has softer whites with light rose gold, also a great combination in sunglasses. Pearls and shells are easy, materials that are also opaque like chalk, creating a diffused reflection soft light gray, perfect for Summer.

Variegated versions of one colour, like the red strand necklace, follow a monochromatic colour scheme with darkness variations. The coral and gold bracelet is another example of colour with metal, both enhancing the other in this item.

Crystals, in the flower petal earrings in the upper right, feature an original design for Spring with small scale twinkle.

The green earring just below is... a pineapple? Imaginative interpretation with colour may be the source of words like spontaneous that have been associated with Spring colours.


Light Summer 8: Coats (and more jewelry) 

A few more images with coats and jewelry, exploring higher contrast, like the watch with the silvery pebbles, transparency in the necklace at the lower right, and the combination of coral, gold, and white in the second watch.


Shopping information: 


I believe that you look perfect exactly the way you are and that you don't need to spend more money than you already do (possibly less) to look like the best version of yourself. We also need time to learn new skills. Nobody begins learning a new language with poetry. 

I hope this video was helpful to you in practical ways that you can use, and if it wasn't or something could've been added, I hope you'll share what that could be in the Comments section on YouTube.