Does your season change as you age?
How does your season change as you age? Do you become a different season when your hair goes grey? How about when your skin gets more translucent? Do you start life as one season then change as you grow up? This topic comes up a lot. In fact, I rarely get a client who doesn't ask about it in some form.
The short answer is no. The season you are born with is the one you'll have with you for life. The long answer is, well, longer. There are several issues that interact to occasionally produce a client who has been analysed as two different seasons at different times:
- Different colour analysis systems - every colour analysis system works under broadly similar ideas, but the specifics of each system are slightly different, so someone on the cusp of one season in one system might just fall into a different season under another system - I have seen Spring palettes that incorporate some colours that to my training are Autumn and Winter colours, Summer palettes that are broader or narrower than the ones I use, and so on. There are pros and cons to each type of analysis system, and some people like to try more than one analyst or system before truly committing to their palette. The thing to remember is that having palette of colours that makes you look and feel amazing and mixes and matches is the goal here, and a good analysis system will provide that.
- Improved analysis techniques - The fact is that analysis techniques have evolved over the years, so if you had your colours analysed twenty years ago, then had another analysis this year, it might be found that your initial analysis was incorrect because of the limitations of the process at the time of the original analysis. This doesn't mean that your season has changed, rather than the new systems are better at picking up people who are right on the edge of the season, and making sure they are in the right place. This can be difficult for clients to process, as your season can become a defining part of you, so if this happens to you, spend time with your consultant working out which garments from your 'old' wardrobe will still work and harmonise, and which ones shouldn't be there.
- Being analysed wrongly in the first place - of course, as well as changes in systems, it is possible that a first analysis was just plain incorrect. As before, this might have been down to limitations of the system at the time you were analysed, or simple consultant error. These errors are now vanishingly rare, as consultant training processes become more standardised, thorough and professional, but everyone is human and past and present consultants have been known to make a mistake. If you have any doubts about your own analysis, your first step should be to contact your own consultant. Ask them to walk you through the process again, maybe take a friend along to see if they 'see' the right result as well. Do what it takes to reassure yourself about your diagnosis - you have to live with it for a long time!
- Changing colour preferences (confidence/style changes) - sometimes we feel that as we age we need to leave certain (usually brighter and/or darker) colours behind us, and stick with a more limited palette. Think of the traditional 'old lady' colours - while fewer and fewer older people are sticking to them, the fact is that most of us turn to a narrower, less bold set of colours as we age. Again, I would encourage a visit to a consultant if you feel that you are narrowing your colour options. Go through, look at your palette, decide whether your abandonment of bolder colours is because they genuinely are harder to wear now, or whether actually society is telling you that you ought to be dressing a certain way, and you'd be much happier ignoring that particular bit of advice.
HOWEVER. Having said all of that, it is a fact that our skin tone does change as we age. But if it doesn't change season, then what does it do?
You will either have been told by your consultant, or come to your own conclusion, that a certain area of your palette looks best on you, whether it is the darkest colours, the brightest, the softest, the warmest. This means that you will fall into one particular 'type' of season (for a summary of the different types of season, have a look at these Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter blog posts). As we age, the one change that can start to happen is that the changing level of contrast in skintone, softening of hair colour, reduction in pigment throughout hair, eyes, lips and skin, can actually shift which part of a seasonal palette looks the best. So someone who was originally analysed as a jewel/true Winter might find that actually as they've got older that they need the even lighter and brighter Sprinter Winter palette, or perhaps a True/Paintbox Spring needs the additional warmth and slight softness of the Golden/Warm Spring colours. The only way to know for definite how your palette has shifted is to go through it again with your consultant, but many people can get a feel for the area of palette they are drawn to as they get older. Be sure you are looking at the most flattering colours though, not just losing confidence with your palette!