Is ONE Season Always The Best?

Good question, for our week of questions. #2a: Can someone, even in the 12 [Seasons], fit in-between a couple of Seasons, (e.g, between True and Bright Winter) or will they absolutely ONLY fit into one category?

Answer: Only ONE. I have never met anyone who isn’t most perfected by one palette alone. One group of colours has the ability to bring out a never-before-seen version of every person that no other group of colours can do so well. Based on 100 PCAs, that is a truth.


#2b: What does it mean to be on the warm or cool side of my Season?

During a draping, some people are No Contest better in their Season than any other. There’s no hesitation in making the choice of the best colour. I find this happens often with the True Seasons.

With other people, the call between the best Season and the 2nd runner-up is harder to decide. There might be flattering effects with both, though one will always be better. The person will fit into their Season but edge a little closer to whatever that 2nd runner-up was, cooler or warmer. I see this more often with Neutral Seasons. Why?

Seasons are a continuum of 3 colour qualities (light/dark, cool/warm, soft/clear) that continuously change as they progress along a circular road with 12 cities on it. On that road, every city’s climate is either warmer or cooler than those on either side. For those who bought my book, you’ll see that in The Season Circle diagram. Your colouring, your personal Season marker, can sit right in a city or anywhere along the road between two cities.

The Neutral Seasons are those 8 groups of natural colouring that contain some warmer and some cooler versions of their particular best colours. How much of both can vary. It’s not 50:50 or 75:25 or fixed among the members of any group.

You might have two Light Springs, persons whose colouring is found in the colours of the Spring group that is influenced by a little of what Summer does to colour.

One can be 80% Spring and 20% Summer, so they are warmer and run very close to the next Season on the warm side. They might wear some of that warmer neighbor’s colours successfully.

The other person might be 60% Spring and 40% Summer, so closer to the cool side. They’ll share cool colours better.

Both are most perfect in the Light Spring palette because that’s where the majority of their pigmentation is found. You’ll find people who are 51% of one Season and 49% of the neighbor.


#2c: If I’m close to my warm neighbour Season, can I wear their colours fairly well?

Sometimes yes. If you know you’re on the warm side, when you have to make colour compromises from your perfect Season in a store, opt to trend towards the side your colouring moves towards, that is a trace warmer.

How much warmer? Not a lot. There is a definite heat shift between any 2 neighbour Seasons but if you overstep it, you’ll turn your skin, eyes, and teeth yellow.

I talk a lot about The Most Important Thing (TMIT). It really helps me make good judgment calls. Some people fit into the Lights, Brights, Darks, or Softs, and tend towards the other neighbor in that same group. That means both Seasons share the same TMIT so they can borrow some of those other colours that comply with TMIT. For example:

A Light person does well in light colours, they’re very forgiving. Lightness is TMIT for both Light Summer and Light Spring. So a Light Summer might wear some of the other Light’s (Light Spring) lighter, cooler colours. Even better if she tends on the warmer side of the Light Summer anyhow.

A True Summer TMIT is coolness. If fairly dark or contrasting looking, she can wear sometimes wear some of True Winter light to medium colours because they are cool too. Many True Summers will be lost in the saturation of Winter, whether the icy lights or bold darks, but some can pull it off in a small surface area. The coolness shared by the two palettes will help create some unity with the rest of her True Summer clothes.

The draping will tell you how well she’s likely to work this. True Summer and True Winter are quite a ways apart, further in my mind that the Softs, Lights, Brights, and Darks are from each other. I think that’s one reason why Kalisz arranged them not to share or be neighbours (the other reason being, What for? Kalisz made 12 UNIQUE palettes which a shared Season between True Winter and True Summer would revoke. It would be a null Season.) The other attributes of Light, Bright, Dark, and Soft seem more reasonable as neighbours that could share some colours.

Short answer, IMO, the Softs, Lights, Brights, and Darks who are very close to the neighbour of that same type can borrow some colours, the warm ones if you’re on the warm side, the cool ones if you’re on the cool side. Lights will do better borrowing light colours, and Darks, the darker colours. It won’t always work. You need to be way over there, very near the neighbour you hope to borrow from. The last contest with that runner-up Season should have taken some careful observation. Don’t expect to be as beautiful as in your own palette because you’re borrowing from your second best Season. The heat difference alone may create more disharmony with the rest of the appearance than the item is really worth.



20 thoughts on “Is ONE Season Always The Best?”

  1. Envisioning the seasons as a flow chart makes a lot of this information fall into place. I’m fairly certain that I’m a Soft Summer that edges closer to True Summer than to Soft Autumn. I’m on the cooler side of Soft Summer, but True Summer’s somewhat crisper colors sometimes overwhelm me.

  2. @Anna, I am the exact counterpart to your comment.
    I am a Soft Summer that does pretty well in many Soft Autumn colors. It was a tough call between the two for my drapings, but it was the best colors of Soft Summer that really stood out on me. Soft Summer’s pine green and raspberry and ash – made me POP – eyes and skin – whereas Soft Autumn’s mustard, olive, and camel made me look tired and blurry. Still, the most neutral dusty pinks and soft whites and soft navies look great on me. True Summer is too cool for me and makes me look mousy. The flow chart concept is FASCINATING!!! And I can’t get enough.

  3. You stated everything quite well, IMO. I think this ability to flow often shows up in the “extra” non-palette colors that sometimes appear in hair and eyes. Usually one is better off wearing these extra colors as small, vestigial touches (unless they are VERY strong in the coloring) rather than flowing over to any great degree into the next season.

  4. Anna,
    You do look a very neutral Neutral, actually between 2 Neutral Seasons. Your description of the differences you saw in the 2 Seasons is exactly what I look for too. And it makes you a Soft Summer.

    I want to be really clear, ladies, that the flowchart concept is NOT the same as the idea of Seasons flowing towards one another. The flowchart is really just a logic tree. It looks rather like a genealogic family tree in my head. We begin the draping process and branch, and compare, and eliminate, which moves us along the correct path. This is a thinking algorithm where the branches say “IF this outcome, then proceed here, IF that outcome, then proceed there.” It looks like this: That’s how I move through a PCA session.

    BUT this is totally different from the concept of Seasons flowing together, I think perhaps that was originated by the very clever Doris Pooser from her time at Color Me Beautiful. Or perhaps she was the person who came up with the Dominants and Secondaries and someone else developed the flow idea. Not sure. My PCA process is not done with any sort of Season flow in mind, I don’t really believe in it, so that’s never what I’m referring to.

    Though we do seem to agree that 2 neighbour Seasons can be very close to each other and can make colour compromise when necessary towards that neighbour, where the choice is based in:

    A. upholding TMIT
    B. knowing if we live quite far over to the the warm or cool side

    IMO, once you get really good at choosing your colours and ignoring all the others, 90% of your choices will be right in your best Season. The need to compromise will become occasional.

  5. Hmmmm…… really enjoying this post right now. I was thinking about this and wondering for the last month why I can get away with wearing colors that to me seem more like TS. This explains it very well. The TS colors aren’t the best for me because they are just a little too bright, but they don’t look too bad either.

    I have a question then Christine. As a TA I do have to agree with the idea that I fit into the TA colors exactly, but I can also wear the SA colors just like I can with the TS colors. I suspect it is because my contrast is a little lower (my skin, hair, and eye color are all pretty even IMO) would that be a correct assumption? My sister who is also a TA seems to pull off the DA colors for the opposite reason that her contrast is high (her eyes are darker, as well as her hair, but her skin is actually a little lighter than mine). Maybe I am misunderstanding the seasonal flow though. I know that skin tone is the most important thing so perhaps my tone allows for different variations than hers and I was only thinking of the contrasts….. perhaps I answered my own question, but I would love to hear your thoughts.

    I do want to put in a disclaimer that I can wear every single color in the TA palette and look great where as if I wear colors that seem more TS they are a little bright and better in small quantities and if I wear SA colors I don’t have the nice glow that I do when wearing my correct colors. They just both still look okay where if I try to wear anything from any other season, the clash of those colors are very distinct.

    Thanks Christine!

  6. oh how helpful it would be for those who can borrow from other seasons to actually receive BOTH color palettes at the time of their PCA with the ones they can borrow from clearly marked.

  7. This is a fascinating topic. I am a bright spring, but I can wear some of light spring colour’s that are more darker and more saturated. The biggest difference I notice between the 2 seasons is that bright spring make my eyes sparkle. I suppose you can split the seasons into 3 again (if you were being extremely specific)? I like the analogy I read somewhere of your main season being the country you live in, and the ‘sister’ season being the one you visit sometimes for a holiday :-)

  8. Hey Christine,

    So I was looking at pictures of my sister and I, and I was wrong. Our skin tone is really close. I think that because of the contrast that her dark hair and dark eyes have, it makes her skin appear lighter to me. Gee whiz! I have no idea how analysts can see the differences the way they do. It’s amazing to me!

  9. Melinda,
    Maybe the TSpring colours (I’m guessing that must be what TS means, no Autumn wears True Summer well) are manageable either because True Spring is mostly warm, just like TA, and many textiles are either dyed a bit muted or have a tendency to mute colour by their texture. I find True Season people are the least able to compromise their palette successfully, probably because that skin’s pigments are so absolute. In SA, a TA woman looks cream-of-wheat. The vitality of the skin just goes away. Hm, did I answer the Q? or maybe you answered it in your next post :)

    Many women whose PCA shows them to be quite close to a certain neighbor simply buy both Books. Which colours might be shared is a simple question for your analyst. I do want to re-emphasize that part of the reason women want to share with other Seasons is because they’re still learning to be discriminating enough about their own palette. I get that it can be very tough in a mall to gauge colours, even from the best of Books. I know that the clothing industry just doesn’t give us enough choice of colours in enough styles. Still, do work on becoming more exclusive in favour of your palette only, not more sharing of a second best category.

  10. Thanks Christine for your comment. I did mean true spring, sorry about that! Interesting about the texture. I didn’t think about that, but it makes complete sense.

    I agree that staying within my season has been the best way to go, so I guess I did kind of answer my own question and with the help of your comments I understand it even better. Thank you!

    The more I think about it, the more I realize that the best colors I wear match my book. Why do I seem to fight a good thing? I can only guess that I want to see all sides of it so I can completely understand myself. Maybe I’m just settling in.

    I’m sure the more I learn, the more I will understand how to recognize the right colors…. in other words, keep the articles coming!

  11. Hi Christine,

    Thanks for clarifying that you don’t envision the seasons as flowing into eachother; I must have picked that idea up from another color analysis system. But do you agree that one can have a “second best” season to occasionally borrow from, that is not necessarily their dominant season’s sister (ie. Soft Summer-Autumn, Light Spring-Summer etc.)?

    I have the muted, medium haziness of Soft Summer, but not really its neutrality. I am quite cool-toned, and soft Autumn colors are passable, but make me look quite colorless. I look better in some TrSu and LiSu colors, if they are not too crisp or too light, respectively. Does that sound like it could work, or am I off-base? (You don’t have to answer about my case specifically, just about the concept of it.)

    I might be completely wrong, as I have self-analyzed myself as a SoSu. I’m don’t live near an analyst and would prefer to have an analysis done in person than online. I generally have a good eye for color, but who knows? I might be revealed as a Bright Spring or a Dark Winter in the future!

  12. Thank you, Christine, for further clarifying the Seasons. Big confusion for me since I self-identified myself as a Summer years ago: No question, in a four-season system, I’m a Summer. Yet that wasn’t the end for me. I found I don’t look so good in Summer’s darker colors–burgundy especially. So I investigated Doris Pooser’s system, but I didn’t seem to fit any of those types–Light more than the others, but I look rather peaked in Spring’s peachy pinks. Your explanation of how people of the same Season can vary in degrees of warmth and coolness helps me understand how I can be a Light Summer but not flattered by Light Spring colors.

  13. Have you ever encountered a client who wasn’t a perfect match to ANY palette?

    I don’t have any PCA analysts nearby (that I know of), but through much self-draping and asking of opinions, I have determined that I seem to require:

    neutral (neutral/cool, I think, but I’m not sure), med/high chroma, med value. But there isn’t such a season. The purely high chroma of the Bright seasons seems to be a bit TOO high, but low chroma definitely doesn’t work. A value change overwhelms me or washes me out.

  14. Rachel,
    One word. NO. Everybody is best defined or matched by one particular Sci\ART palette. These groups of colours DO make sense together, DO travel together in human genetics, because they are consistent and strictly adhere to particular colour qualities that every one of the colours in the palette shares.
    Hard to guess at your Season. Some folks just need to be draped, and sometimes it takes every drape I have. But I promise you, you do fit nicely into one of them.

  15. I’m re reading this article today very gratefully, having spent the morning finding out that if I stick faithfully to the swatch book, light springs will be spending this season in pink, turquoise and seafoam green, with no blues at all. (Except in night clothes and gingham school uniform frocks for under tens, and I’m not convinced I can pull that off in public!) I think blue is one of the hardest colours for the warmer/lighter seasons and compared to the swatches I can clearly see the black underneath it. Learning to shop in the real world – and I find myself muttering “never mind my kibbe style, I’d settle for anything in this colour” – is one of the hardest parts I think of settling into your season, and the TMIT is a real help.

  16. Since the early 1980s I have been a Spring, a Spring flowing to Summer then a light Spring. Just over a week ago I flew New Zealand to Australia to Amelia Butler and presto Sci /Art blew my mind I am a light summer and the slow careful way the draping was done made this very easy to accept..especially the darkest and light colours. I looked and was amazed at how good these colours looked on me
    When I got home It was easy to discard the few items of clothing that were too “Orange”. My favourite best colours are in Light Summer with the very subtle undertones that correctly complement my colouring. I have kept a tiny bunch of my light Spring swatches blue based greens, aquas and the Summer versions of corals (not to use shopping I might add)!. This is my happy place. I have never liked neutrals anyway so I wear them as handbags,shoes, skirts and trousers.
    The next step for me is to search out the “new colours” found in the light Summer swatches…..that is a big adventure I look forward to…then getting hold of 12 blueprints lipsticks and a blusher.

    I guess my plea is travel to get this work done and you will not regret the cost…in fact fewer clothes in your right colours is the best pro-age thing any women in her 60s or 70s could ever do. And stop wasting money colouring your hair

  17. I drape with the Light Spring palette and my sister drapes with the Deep Autumn palette. I don’t doubt the drapings, but we both were not experiencing the “magic”, so we went on a search/mission to figure it out. We both have the same neutral softness to us. We recently found some New Toned palettes that give just the right amount of softness and neutrality added in to our “best” palette in the 12 seasons. For me, it’s Toned Light Spring, for her it’s Toned Deep Autumn. These are our magic palettes! They didn’t exist in the 12 season system. or do they? and if so, where? Thanks!

  18. These adjustments don’t exist in the Sci\ART based palettes that I use. Various other systems have these subdivisions under different names. The reason that I’m not a believer is that the woman narrows herself down too much, for one thing. I see too many who become almost monotone in the tendency to repeat a too-narrow range of colours, that becomes narrower over the years. It’s an interesting point. For some, narrow ranges are very satisfying. For others, they feel confining and are part of why PCA is held in doubt by many folks. Either way, I am happy to hear that you’ve found a way to make it work for you. That’s the whole idea.
    That was the PC answer. Here is the real answer, or more of the real answer: Where are you going to Tone them to?
    With 12 Seasons,the colours are already pretty hard for people to tell apart. If you tone Spring, doesn’t take too long at all to be in Summer or Autumn. If you Tone Winter, esp Dark Winter, you’ll be into Summer before you know it. But you won’t know it, and you’ll be dressing as half Summer and half Winter.
    This is not at all saying that Spring can’t find usable colours in Autumn, and Summer and Winter can make certain colours work in each other’s palettes. The overall language and energy of the Season gets diluted if it’s overdone though.
    And I totally agree with you that a Season is a template in which to start, every woman learning over time how to best express her individual pigmentation within the group. With the Sci\ART palettes as Kathryn Kalisz designed them, there is not a whole lot of adjusting that I ever find necessary or helpful, except maybe Bright Winter.
    You bring up a very good and important question, one that the whole PCA industry is unclear about. My go-to reply when I am asked this is: Show me the colours. I find lots of systems that have all sorts of ideas about new ways to categorize colours and define Seasons. That’s fine, what I really care about are my colours, not the name of the group they’re in.

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