It’s important for stylish management to know if your skin tone is cool or warm; take the two tests below to find out if your skin tone is cool or warm.
Great styling is not just knowing your body shape; how colour reacts to your skin tone can really have an impact on how you feel, how other see you. In my experience other people tend to be more vocal if the colour doesn’t suit you than if you are wearing something that perhaps doesn’t suit your body shape.
People react to colour in many ways; for some people it is very important to them to a) wear colour and b) wear whatever colour they like – and that’s absolutely fine. However, if your personal style mission is to wear colours that love you, compliment you and you want them the colours to enhance and radiate your natural glow – then you need at the very minimum to know; if your skin tone has undertones that are either cool or warm.
Colour analysis and tonal analysis is quite complicated; and if you are completely new to this theory of styling it can be a minefield. If you are fascinated to explore it at a much deeper level, then you need to book in with a colour analysis expert.
Do your research and compare several stylists in your local area, avoid having this done virtually, it’s important to get it right, first time. Ask them which colour theory they have learnt, how long they have been doing it, get them to explain some of the theory before you book in. Once you have gathered your info, select who you think is the right person for you, who you will engage with best and also has a good experience of the theories.
Avoid going tonal on your first consultation – it’s way too much to take in, and you really need to start with your basics! Remember great personal style is a journey not a race!
In this blogpost, I will break down what my Warm, Dark, Autumn traits mean and how I use the very basic of colour theory to manage my accessories like jewellery, scarves and handbags and my basic clothes like t-shirts and base clothes I have for layering.
My opinion, as a qualified stylist, is that you should know and understand what you should be wearing as your own personal style ‘rules’ and try and adhere to them 70-80% of the time – as for the rest of it, wear what you like! Trying to stick religiously to any rule book will make you unhappy! Trust me, I’ve been there.
WHAT DOES AUTUMN MEAN?
Most colour analysis theories break you typically into four seasons; Spring, Summer, Autumn & Winter.
Spring and Autumn are paired together under the ‘warm’ flag and Summer is paired with Winter under the ‘cool’ flag. Spring generally have brighter and lighter colours in the spectrum and Autumn more muted and darker colours. For Summer and Winter is swings the other way round; Summers are muted but still light and Winter offers dark but much brighter colours in their spectrum, think jewel tones. The seasons are relatable to what Mother Nature has done in nature.
So for Autumn (like me) browns, greens, oranges and mustard yellow are in my palette – like you typically see in Autumn time.
WHAT DOES DARK MEAN?
If 50 ladies stood in a room together representing one of these seasons, we would not all look the same.
Taking Autumn again as an example; if you were then to rank us from light (blonde, light eyebrows, light coloured eyes) to then dark – I would be towards the most darkest.
My natural hair colour (at the roots) is dark brown and I have very dark chocolate eyes. This then means within my Autumn palette I will fair better wearing the more darker, richer tones that the Autumn palette offers; so the deepest, darkest of brown would glow on me and probably not look so great on my lighter toned Autumn sister at the other end of the scale.
This ‘dark’ makes me very happy – it means I can typically wear any warm leopard print fabric I love – and whilst leopard print is now considered a neutral – wearing it in the right colour is a must or it can look awful and dare I say ‘cheap’ even if the actual garment is not.
WHAT DOES WARM MEAN?
When I chat to people about colour theory it’s quite interesting to hear how people self-diagnose themselves with no concept of the theory behind it. I often hear ‘I tan well, so I must be a warm‘ well ladies, that’s not true, typically red-haired ladies do not cope well in the sunlight at all and yet you tend to find them to be Springs, which is the warm undertone.
Another misunderstanding of the theory is people actually look at the colour of your skin, so again assuming African or West Indian ladies to be Winters and say Swedish ladies to all be Summers – again NOT TRUE! It is not about the colour of your skin, but the undertones of your skin.
I have two ways you can test this for yourself (or with a little help of someone in your house) if you need a second opinion. But trust me, if you are honest with yourself, you will see it for yourself.
COOL OR WARM: The Gold vs. Silver test
This is the test I do in my head whenever I meet a person – you can pretty much see instantly with either their wedding band or their watch if it suits them. I have to say this test is easier on a man; I think it’s because their wedding bands are usually much thicker and they also generally wear watches with straps that are in metal.
Dainty jewellery is not the best items to use to complete this test; opt for chunky bangles, necklaces or earrings in icy silver or warm gold. Pick the most silvers of silver and the most yellowest of golds and then stand by a window in natural daylight – Which looks best on you? What glows against your skin or what drains you?
Answer: If silver is your friend, then you are cool and if the yellowest of gold makes you glow then you are warm.
Bonus tip: I don’t know why but people seem to think Rose Gold is a warm colour. Rose is pink, and pink has blue undertones…. this is cool. I can’t wear rose gold – it looks terrible on me, in fact silver looks better on me than rose.
COOL OR WARM: The White vs. Cream Test
If you can’t work it out with your jewellery, then try this…
To to this test, don’t have any make up on, hide any dyed hair under hair towel and be in good natural light . Try and avoid any tanning products leading up to this – be as natural as you can!
Try on the a stark icy white t-shirt (if you don’t own one then put on your husband’s) and then try on a cream top (it’s highly unlikely you have one in a t-shirt) – Which top puts dark circles under your eyes? Does one zap all the colour from your face and your reaction would be ADD LOTS OF FOUNDATION? or maybe does one make your skin all yellowy and not a healthy-bright glow?
Answer: If you believe the icy stark white suits you better than cream, then you are a cool tone. If the cream top is not making your skin all yellowy and actually warms up your face then you are a warm tone.
HOW DOES THIS IMPACT MY WARDROBE?
If you are confident with your findings, you can start to make significant changes to anything new that you buy from now on.
Avoid throwing out/selling off items you now believe don’t work for you. There are ways you can manage them out of your wardrobe and there are ways you can continue wearing them to get your value-for-money until you replace them next.
Keep following in 2021 as we explore how you can start to move your wardrobe management on so it starts to reflect your personality, compliments your natural colourings and transforms over time to become the fully-operational support system to you, so that you can get on with being the woman you want to be everyday with no effort at all…. stylishly.
All these super photos of Lizzi within HOW TO WORK OUT IF YOUR SKIN TONE IS COOL OR WARM blogpost are by Photographer Sarah Rider