Season Colours in the Off-Season

We have two themes in this article. One is to assemble outfits that are off-Season. It’s easy to find clothing in our 12 Tone palettes at certain times of year and near impossible at other times. The second is to introduce a new style voice, since I wonder if my outfits are a little repetitive.

My daughter, Ally, has more style in her little finger than I’ll find in my whole life. She’s Kibbe-innocent but can see whether lines match people instantly. Today’s Polyvores are from her perspective. I asked her to keep in mind that she’s dressing women of all ages, to which she replied, No woman of any age needs to wear granny clothes and I’m not picking those. Fair enough.

Ally’s also here to break a few rules. In her charming 17 year old way, she asked, Why does anyone have to do what you say? Point taken. Nobody does. You’ll find colours and styles you might not normally see.

Light Summer in December


Light Summer in December



True Summer in October


True Summer in October


Any one piece may not be perfect. But the whole thing together works. As S., the student who arrives this week for the training course, so aptly pointed out, the word match isn’t always appropriate. I use it too often. Whether your clothes match the swatches in your palettes, whether your lipstick matches your red belt, whether your sweater matches your hair – it doesn’t really matter so much. They need not be identical colours. They need only look like they live in the same harmonic field relative to the the whole composition.

The idea is to use colour to create a vision that is cohesive. All the elements are working together and with you. Everything has a good reason for being there. That’s how we look at paintings, landscapes, and other people. We don’t dissect the saturation of their blouse. So the vest above is on the dark side. So the pink backpack could be pinker. In the big picture, I’m not sure it would make an important difference. The parts are finding enough in common to stay together. Not unlike marriage or any other relationship.

True Autumn in April

Yes, it really is this cold here in April.

It strikes me that we’re still just making Polyvores. This may answer part of our purpose, which is, how to wear muted, warm colours when everyone else looks like an Easter basket.

The other part of the question is, where do I go to find my colours in April when the stores are full of coloured candy floss?

Shop wider; I’ve actually begun buying things I find on Polyvore. As eBay is the world’s biggest yard sale, Polyvore is the world’s biggest shopping mall right in my house.

Buy online, always risky, but many allow free returns.

Shop all year round for all year round; within 6 months of your PCA, once it’s caught up with you, or you with it, you will keep most of your choices for years, and you’ll spend more per item because you’ll know it looks right and will work with the rest of your closet


True Autumn in April


True Winter in September (or March)


True Winter in September


Any of us who knows both her colours and her body line finds shopping nearly as easy as it used to be. There’s no one-stop-shop any longer. We buy Christmas outfits in July, we are always looking. Other than True Winter and Soft Autumn, I don’t really dedicated stores for colours. Even for those groups, you’ve only got their (limited) design lines to select from.


By request, the Bright Spring Dramatic Classic

Dramatic Classic, where pouffy becomes maternity or Jack Sparrow. A rounded edge is Peter Pan.

What’s interesting here is that the Bright Seasons tend to have a lot of sweetness in the personality. I’ve heard them called pushovers but that comes from someone who’s only working from a traditional, narrow, male-based definition. Power wears many hats. These people are not mean, abrupt, rude, or rough. As the Bright Spring is a Spring, she will take things to heart. You can’t throw words around that you don’t mean. Being with her is an exercise in being happier and more gentle.

Dramatic Classic is not sweet in the traditional sense either. If anything, it’s a little sharp. If you began with the absolute average woman, DC isn’t closer to being the average child. It’s closer to being the absolute average man.

The intersection of the two is that Bright Spring’s colours and DC’s lines are both very clean. No extras, no gadgets, no fuzzy, no fluff. If you drew the outline, the edges would be sharp, no question where one thing ends and the next begins. Nothing fades into anything else. Absence of blur effect, noise reduction up.

I gave Ally a few colour words – lively, clean, same or opposite colours, a little bit of Winter, and the shape words – sleek, expensive, close, upside-down triangle or straight lines, and then just asked her to dress me. She didn’t read the book because we get too rigid about rules and end up in costumes. Her job was to pull together an overall effect.

Black is small, shiny, on the bottom half, with other elements that warm up the overall look. If black is in the top half, it takes up small surface area, it’s opened up like lace or pointelle, or there’s lots of skin.

Every item need not be sunny, there’s Winter here. But each vignette should say bright, alive, warm, crisp.

Something delicate really looks good. Crispness near the face looks good, it need not be especially yellow. Bulk with angularity looks clunky or spiky. Fine, thin crispness is good, like icicles.

Smooth, geometric, shiny, new, expensive – all work with the pearls, in a chunkier setting. The pearls are fine because the edges are defined, as feathers would not be. Those long dangling earrings, some DC’s might disappear them, but on a Bright Spring DC, they’d be great. The sharpness offsets the small size.

Hearts are an inverted triangle shape, as are teardrops, both great on Spring and DC.

The whole earring that sprays up – unless you know different stores than me, you’d never wear earrings. Chunky smooth pieces that sit close to the ear and have a solid presence on the ear lobe are good.

Mixed metals are good here when they’re shiny.

No platforms on shoes. Frankensteinish.

I normally would never wear a bow, but the asymmetric position of it is good. I like the design on that sweater, interesting with the blouse. One of those excellent combinations that nobody could do like Bright Spring.



Bright Spring Dramatic Classic 1



Bright Spring Dramatic Classic 2



I hope that you go to the site and make these images bigger. There are some really nice things here.


17 thoughts on “Season Colours in the Off-Season”

  1. This is so much fun! I do think the light summer will be very chilly in December. The April outfits look warmer than the winter ones.

  2. What a charming post. Your daughter has great taste indeed and she sounds like a delightful person.

  3. Wow, I really appreciate the inclusion of Bright Spring dramatic classic. I admit to a tendency to buy work clothes in winter colors, because somehow clothes with the spare elegant lines I love seem to come in those colors. It’s good to be reminded that I can have clothes in the styles I like without fading myself color-wise.

  4. It’s always so interesting to read your articles, Christine! thank you!
    I remember the jewelry shown for dramatic true summer and compare it with this for DC Bright spring. And it seems that DC BS choice is even bolder and sharper than D TS… Is it season’s influence?

  5. Maybe, Ksenia. Or my overlaps and misunderstandings regarding how Kibbe himself intended it to look.

  6. So beautiful! I do believe i am another difficult combination to find in real-life clothes/accessories year-round: The Soft Autumn Soft Dramatic! I have a very small closet because of this. But– everything is very soft (fluid) and comfortable. still, it is a bit of a challenge to shop. i wish stores would give us accurate subtitles, like “J.Crew: Home of the Bright Spring Classics!” I think you are right when you said that Territory Ahead makes clothes in the Soft Autumn palette, but they don’t really work for Soft Dramatics. I do request a SA/Soft Dramatic collage if you ever feel like a mega-challenge! :)

  7. P.S. now that i think about it, my dog is the perfect incarnation of a Soft Autumn/Soft Dramatic: He’s a lovely Apricot Standard Poodle! :)

  8. P.P.S. well, shoot. i’m definitely in no position to make requests– i am already doubting my kibbe type and my color! now that’s i’ve just had my hair color changed to my natural color, i’m experimenting with True Spring and Soft Classic and getting much better results. Guess i better sift through your archives and start internalizing all your TS posts!

  9. jezseeca, it’s so funny that you call J Crew home of the Bright Spring Classics, because I’ve naturally gravitated toward getting a lot of my basic pieces there. It never occurred to me how much of that was driven by the fact that they almost always have clothes in colors I like, but now that you mention it, it makes complete sense.

  10. As a BSp exploring DC kibbe, I am grateful for theses polyvore examples. The next challenge I have will be dressing for 80-100F weather and still maintaining kibbe lines. We are already experiencing low 90 temps during the day in the Deep South. Would you consider a future post for how D’s and C’s do summer casual?

  11. Christine,
    Thank you for this article. I wonder if you would consider doing the Soft Classic Bright Spring as well? I find it hard to get the two to work in my head. The brightness of the palette seems anything but classic, unless I want to wear only the neutrals, and that’s a bit boring. The same goes for the makeup. Is it possible to incorporate all that brightness and color within a classic look without looking too playful/dramatic/flamboyant/gamine?

  12. Kristina,

    I wonder if C, D, or N comes across more from lines than from colours. I’m not a body line expert but it seems to me that any type can exist very comfortably and persuasively within any colour palette. Doing Bright Spring in C lines would remove the gamine and flamboyant elements automatically. I don’t find the DC collections above look particularly young or playful. The woman is still communicating who she is very effectively. The colour purity, or weightlessness, and T. said so well, of the Bright Seasons, can support any design line equally well. If some time frees up, I’ll work on B Sp SC, but those Polyvores take enormous amounts of it. Perhaps my daughter can be set to work. She’s very good at it.

    Summer casual, D and C. C should be fairly easy, more so if you lean towards SC, since we live in a draping fashion world…or maybe it just looks that way to me who seeks the opposite. I know these clothes exist. I’ll see if I can put a collection together. 80-100F? Here, it’s unrelenting cold. And I hear the UK is snowed in.

  13. Hello,

    I’ve been lurking and reading and hopefully learning! I was wondering though, why none of your winters ever seem to have blue eyes?
    As a dark haired dark-blue-eyed young lady I find it difficult to project myself into your teachings when there doesn’t seem to be anyone much like me to compare with.

  14. The article Emily Is A True Winter shows a blue-eyed Winter. There are many, it’s quite common. Liv Tyler, Alex Bledel might be blue eyed TW. When I show real people, I don’t plan the features. It’s really just who doesn’t mind having a photo posted. Also, I don’t see many TW. The True Seasons all together would be maybe 2 or 3 people in 10. Most folks belong to the Neutral Seasons.

  15. Christine, after perusing the latest issue of Signature Style (Sept. ’15), I feel an odd sense of validation that TSp YangC winter dresses may indeed be somewhat difficult to find in stores and online. :) That aside, the issue was very useful to see examples of Yang Classic lines, and I found myself pinning many of them. Any time you’d like to write about what a True Spring could wear to keep warm in the winter, I would love to hear your thoughts. The past several winters I have worn many light-weight layers and made due, but ideally I would like to feel warm and cozy in my TSp colors. Can the two go together?

  16. Rachel and I would love to find you more examples, but we have trouble with True and Light Spring colour selection in wintertime. Over hundreds of garments and many sites, the offering by retailers is limited. So it’s not an issue of what to wear, you can wear any colour in your palette. It’s an issue of where to find it. Your Q seems to be more about how to maintain those clean, streamlined edges in bulky type clothing though. There are textiles that are warm with a slim fit though – Merino wool, for instance. Layers are good, many jackets for YangC (not always easy in TSp colours but do-able). Straight-edge coats (Via Spiga, Guess). The usual stuff from Ralph Lauren, maybe a little formula but very dress-up-able with jewelry.

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