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Does your seasonal palette change as you grow older?

As we age, hair might go grey, and the natural contrast level in eyes, lips, skin and hair begins to decrease. But what does that mean for our seasonal palette of colours?

If you're twenty years on (whether you look it or not!) from your colour analysis, should you be wearing softer colours, brighter colours, or even a whole different palette of colours? This is a really common concern when it comes to seasonal colour analysis; because wouldn't it be awful to spend years building and perfecting a wardrobe only to discover one day that it actually doesn't work any more?

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But panic not. Your season does not change as you age. Skintone is determined by genetics, and your skintone, whether warm or cool, bright or soft, is something you are born with and will carry through your life. Even with the shifts in skin, hair and eyes as we age, each seasonal palette is broad enough to contain our best colours for a lifetime.

So we know that we're sticking within the same season, but that our skintone might shift within the Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter seasonal palettes. But if we don't change season, what does that shift mean for our best colours if the ones that worked a couple of decades ago just aren't feeling as good any more?

The key is in the seasonal sub-types. Within each of the four seasonal palettes are a number of sub-types, shifting slightly warmer, slightly cooler, slightly brighter or slightly softer while remaining firmly within the wider seasonal palette (you can read more about sub-types in this blog post). And when we age, we can sometimes shift into different sub-type within our seasonal palette.

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This means that someone who was originally analysed as a Jewel/True Winter might find that as they've grown older that they need the lighter and brighter Sprinter Winter palette, or perhaps a True/Paintbox Spring comes to need the additional warmth and softness of the Golden/Warm Spring colours.

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There is no hard and fast rule as to how you might shift within your palette, but the key, if you're feeling a little lacklustre in your colours, is to experiment with the whole of your palette and see whether there's a new part of it which feels even better than the old. You'll get a feel for the area of your palette that you are drawn to, but if you need a little extra support, a consultant can help you figure out your new wow colours.

But what if you've been analysed as a different palette?

There are several factors which can occasionally produce a client who has been analysed as two different seasons at different times. Different analysis systems contain slightly different parameters and slightly different palettes, so it is possible to analyse someone as two different seasons using two different systems, especially if they fall at an extreme end of their palette (read more here about seasonal sub types). Also, analysis techniques have improved over the past twenty or thirty years, and it's possible that an analyst working a couple of decades ago simply didn't have the precision drapes and ability to investigate those people whose colouring lies right at the edge of a seasonal palette. There is also simple human error to take into account, which is why we always suggest that anyone who feels uncomfortable with their analysis first approaches their analyst to discuss it.


Helen on Oct 24, 2020 3:15 PM

Hi, 26 years ago on a dark winter evening I was identified as jewel winter - I’ve loved the blues and pinks next to my face and the black skirts. Last October I was unemployed and went for a style analysis, and got told I was vibrant autumn. I still need the strong colours but if a warmer palette. I’m enjoying the turquoise and greens, have bought a coral jumper. But am finding it quite a challenge

jayne Q on May 31, 2020 4:10 PM

I was first assessed as an Autumn which | was partly happy with but also a bit surprised.

The analyst came back to me herself the following day and said I was in fact a dark Summer. The paler summer colours do make me looked washed out,

so its well worth having a check and second go at it if you don't feel right. 30 years later and the colours still hold true for me even though my brown hair is now grey with some blonde assistance.

SOPHIA JONES on May 31, 2020 2:44 AM

I end t form a rare Blue Autumn to a Soft Leafy Autumn fifteen years later. It’s less about Teal and chocolate nowadays and more about dove grey and soft coral. Happy days, spent with an Autumn child, a little Winter Jewel and one yet to be figured out - he’s a Spring I reckon ....

Heather on May 30, 2020 10:13 AM

Twenty or so years ago I was analysed as a bright Spring with Poppy Red and Chocolate Brown being my ultimate colours. Since then I let my hair grow out of a highlighted blonde colour to almost bright grey/white which I have been told is very flattering for my skin tone. I was convinced that I had changed seasons as the Chocolate just made me look flat and pallid! I had my analysis done again and found that I was still Spring but had shifted around to a Blue Spring. And wow, what a difference! I can wear all the blues, even those dusky blues found in the Summers including some other colours in the Spring spectrum that were not so good on me all those years ago.

Anne Haynes on May 30, 2020 9:05 AM

I was analysed as Spring but now that my hair is grey I look washed out in the lighter colours.Experimenting with richer colours helps together with bright accessories.

Hilary Henry on May 30, 2020 8:41 AM

With turquoise shades being flattering to all seasons and ages, it is disappointing that recently there are so few choices in turquoise. I am an autumn and find the current shades unappealing, especially the new blues. I have not bought for ages as there were few turquoise or teal choices.

Caroline Bradley on Apr 21, 2020 5:06 PM

I was originally analysed as Winter, then Autumn which I was happier with. Favourite colour is deep olive/khaki. Now that I am grey and my skin has gone cooler I am analysed as Cool/Deep which I am happy with. The problem is that to get some variety from my black, navy, silver wardrobe I have been sending for Winter colours (red, turquoise, fuschia, emerald) but finding I am not wearing them as they are too harsh for me. It is difficult to match colours on the website with my swatches. I'm thinking that the way forward is to go for clothes that are Wi/Su or Wi/Au.

Philippa Parris on Apr 06, 2020 5:00 PM

Can I change from a light spring to a light summer as I grow older?

Kettlewell Colours: The short answer - no! But have a read of this post for more info: https://www.kettlewellcolours.co.uk/blog/jo/does-your-seasonal-palette-change-as-you-age

Mrs S K Hilton on Feb 02, 2020 11:55 AM

im rather confused. i had an analysis in my thirties and told i was a clear winter. 7 years ago i had another and was told i was a soft summer. if you cant change season, what is going on?

Kettlewell Colours: The last paragraph of this post offers a few explanations for what might have happened

"There are several factors which can occasionally produce a client who has been analysed as two different seasons at different times. Different analysis systems contain slightly different parameters and slightly different palettes, so it is possible to analyse someone as two different seasons using two different systems, especially if they fall at an extreme end of their palette (read more about seasonal sub types). Also, analysis techniques have improved over the past twenty or thirty years, and it's possible that an analyst working a couple of decades ago simply didn't have the precision drapes and ability to investigate those people whose colouring lies right at the edge of a seasonal palette. There is also simple human error to take into account, which is why we always suggest that anyone who feels uncomfortable with their analysis first approaches their analyst to discuss it." Hope this helps .

Olwen on Jun 22, 2019 12:15 PM

I was first analysed over 20 years ago. I walked in, she looked at my amber eyes and said .... "Brown eyes mean Autumn! ". When she used the fabric swatches she had a nightmare finding colours which worked. Finally deciding on navy, purple, true red, and a turquoise shade - basically the universal ones! When I was redone two years ago, I found out that I am actually a Cool Summer! So, yes, colour analysis has moved on a great deal! If I doubt then great yourself to a new analysis :)

Helen H on Jun 22, 2019 10:23 AM

Another excellent blog which answers a much-asked question. I'm a BJW and still suit Raspberry, Cobalt, Purple etc. but am less likely to choose Black as a base colour these days. I've found Kettlewell's lovely Navy (or Bright Navy) much more flattering. My dark- haired younger self wouldn't have worn many icy shades but now Ice Lavender, Ice Yellow etc. look great with my silver hair.

It's refreshing to choose from a new area of the palette but I'm clearly still a (happy) Winter...

(So much more so since I discovered Kettlewell!)