Fashion Flashback: Seasonal Colour Analysis for Clothes and Skin Tone

None of us here at The Closet Feminist have the necessary lived experience to actually remember the seasonal colour analysis heyday of the late 1970s/early 1980s. However, the general awareness of having a colour palette suited to your skin tone, eyes, and hair colour generally grouped into a “season” (spring, summer, fall, winter) is there. In fact, this whole system came ‘rushing back’ to us when we spotted this piece by Fashion’s Style Panel on finding the best colour for your skin tone.

The basic premise of the once top-selling fashion books Color Me Beautiful, Color Me a Season, etc, is that a person can have an awareness of what colours look best on them in terms of clothes and even make-up. This trend even saw to parties where people spent time with swatches of fabric and pots of makeup figuring out what worked best for each other, usually with a company representative guide, much like a Tupperware party.

There are a few things about Carole Jackson’s revolution that have got us thinking today:

1. The awareness about what works for you is interesting. The whole program promises that finding the right colours for you and your wardrobe will work wonders enhancing what you’ve already got going on, regardless of age, race, size, etc.

2. Despite what the covers above would suggest, the seasonal colour programs do discuss what colours work best for women of colour.

3. A general rule of thumb for stylists and fashionist@s even today is remembering that not every trend will work for everyone. Colours come in and out of fashion as well, and it’s okay to say “no” to trendy palettes; fashion should work for women, women should not work for fashion.

4. Speaking of colour trends, if we take this theory and put it into practice, what ‘seasons’ would we see represented in stores? We could potentially further extend this to consider what skin tones mass retailers are catering to.

5. The idea of a seasonal colour analysis is a relatively cheap and accessible styling trick. You don’t need to buy anything new, you just go through your closet and pick out what works best. You don’t need a gadget, surgery, to lose weight, to get a haircut, etc. Nice.

6. It’s interesting to reflect on peoples’ inspiration for getting dressed. It’s not just magazines and what we see in TV, in this case, it’s a ‘season’, but other things like one’s horoscope works even today.


Finding the Best Colours for Your Skin Tone by the Fashion Style Panel

“What’s Your Season?” We Take the ‘Color Me Beautiful’ Challenge by the Lucky Magazine Staff



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2 thoughts on “Fashion Flashback: Seasonal Colour Analysis for Clothes and Skin Tone

  1. Many years ago my Mum had this book and I was fascinated. I had my “colours done” a year or so ago and it was amazing. I love the formulaic nature of the process and could actually see how it all worked. Now I carry swatches when I go shopping and it saves so much time and heartache. It also means my colours are usually sold in winter so I don’t get too upset when nothing works for me at other times of year. It was well worth it!

  2. I used this book to help select fabrics for the dress line that I started 2 years ago and try to steer my customers to THEIR colors. My company sells 3 styles of dresses that can be made up in any of 16 fabrics in 4 categories. If you take a minute to check out my website by clicking the Shop tab/Select Fabrics, you will notice that the 4 options per category pretty faithfully follow the Color Me Beautiful model. Interestingly, I’ve noticed that most women automatically choose the fabric that suits them best.

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