How to figure out your best colours – finally!

Recently, as you may know, I hosted an afternoon tea for a group of my lovely Friday Bulletin subscribers. I had thought carefully about what to talk about and asked for their specific questions too. What became clear during the tea and from researching back through questions other readers had sent in was the confusion about colour and how to wear it. Some of my readers have had not one but in some cases up to three colour analysis sessions. And rather than the interest in colours and what to wear diminishing it is as in demand today as it was back in the 80s when colour analysis first became popular.

What was a little shocking though was that those women who have had more than one analysis had been told something different each time and rather than getting a better understanding they were more confused than ever. I feel really bad for those who have not only forked out more than once on an analysis that is wrong, but also all the clothes they have bought in the wrong colours too. So I’m hoping that this post might make it a little clearer for you. And if you do manage to work out which are your best colours you can download a tip sheet here. If not see the end of the post.

The theory behind colour analysis is that every colour has 3 characteristics to it; it’s depth i.e. how light or dark it is, its undertone meaning whether it is warm (has more yellow in it) or cool (has more blue in it) and its clarity, how bright or muted (it contains more grey) it is.

Understanding how to wear colour


We are also made up of these same characteristics, for example if you have very dark hair darker colours will suit you better, if your skin tone has more pink than peach you will be better in cooler colours with more blue in them and if you have bright jewel like eyes which contrast with your pale skin and dark hair you will be better in brighter colours. If we wear colours that have the same characteristics as us we will look healthier and have more harmony to our look.


There are several ways of doing colour analysis which originated with the four seasons; Spring being someone with Light, warm and bright colouring, Summer with light to medium, cool and soft colouring, Autumn with medium to dark, warm and soft colouring and Winter with dark, cool and bright colouring. The seasons were then broken down into more refined selections. So, for example an Autumn who had red hair would be categorised as a warm autumn, as opposed to a soft or deep autumn.

The problem is if you were confused with the 4 seasons and didn’t understand where you fitted, having 12 categories made it even worse!

So time to simplify. Using the “tonal” system of analysis you need to decide which of the three characteristics are most dominant in your look. What’s the first thing someone would notice about your colouring? That is your dominant characteristic.

Are you light blonde and fair skinned with a delicate complexion? If so you are LIGHT dominant.

Understanding Your best colours

Do you have dark hair and eyes and rich strong look? If so you are DEEP dominant.

Understanding Your best colours

Do you have red or strawberry blonde hair with golden or freckled skin? If so you are WARM dominant.

Understanding Your best colours

If your hair is grey or very light ash blonde and you have blue or grey eyes and a pink skin tone you are COOL dominant.

Understanding Your best colours

Do you have medium to dark brown hair and bright eyes with a pale skin? Then you are BRIGHT dominant.

Understanding Your best colours

Finally if none of the above describe you and you have soft brown, blue or green eyes with light brown or mousey blonde hair you are SOFT dominant.

Understanding Your best colours

We can all wear some “neutral” colours too and these are good for creating a foundation for a capsule wardrobe as they will work with all the other colours in your palette too. So if you have lots of different colours in your wardrobe and nothing to wear them with, buy a few neutrals and give your wardrobe a new lease of life.

Understanding how to wear colour

There are a few “universal” colours too that we can all wear, so if you wore any of the eight colours above you would be safe, but of course the accent colours in each dominant are what bring your wardrobe to life.

Without wishing to confuse things further the next step would be to determine your secondary and third characteristic. For example my dominant characteristic is Deep, my skin undertone is Warm and I look better in Bright colours.

However, this is just a guide and I firmly believe that your personality should be injected too. So if your dominant characteristic is soft but you are fun loving and outgoing you might want to include some brighter colours in your wardrobe too even if it is just a pair of shoes or a scarf.

If you are still confused and would like to understand not just your best colours but also how to wear them the Personalised Colour Dossier will give you the answers to those questions. It also includes which are your best makeup, glasses and jewellery colours and how to wear black (because most of us still want to).

You can also Click here to receive your free download of my wearing colour booklet too


  1. Andrea
    November 20, 2015 / 10:52 am

    Hi Maria,
    I was fortunate enough to attend your tea party and meet some lovely ladies, including yourself. Thank-you so much for pulling this all together in one post. It is very helpful and I’ve been reflecting on what we talked about.

    I was previously categorised as an Autumn – although the lady did struggle to place me. Both whether I was warm and cool and then as a warm whether I was Autumn or Spring. She settled on Autumn, saying I was a vibrant autumn. When I asked more about this she said it was because I was better in the brighter colours of the palette. I didn’t feel totally happy about the outcome and thought this was just because it was a change.

    From meeting me you’ve classed me as a Bright and first I didn’t see how any of this fitted together and was very confused.

    Having thought about it for a few days though I’m coming to the conclusion that I am more of a neutral, rather than particularly cool or warm – my wedding make-up artist has said this to me anyway – and that I look better in brighter colours. I certainly feel happier in brighter clothes!

    Rather than stick to just the brightest of the autumn colours I’m going to try a wider range of bright colours. I’m also going to play around with contrast and see how that goes for me. I’ll keep you posted!

    Thank-you for your help,

    • Maria
      November 23, 2015 / 12:05 pm

      Thank you for your comment Andrea. It was lovely to meet you too and I am glad that you found the tea and this article helpful. If you are still struggling get back in touch with me but I agree try some brighter colours that will work with your clear eyes.