Seasonal sub-types-which colours are your very best?

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Our Bright Spring model wearing a True Red Silky Crew

This blog post is aimed at those who already know their seasonal palette (the group of colours that harmonises with your skin, hair and eye colour, and makes you feel amazing as well as look your best!). If you’re new to the concept of seasonal palettes, you’ll probably want to start with this post - How do I discover my best colours? - , and today’s article might feel like a lot of detail and information for you right now. Remember, though, that colour is a lifelong adventure, and as you explore your palette more and more you might want to revisit this article at a later date.


If you’ve had a colour analysis, taken our Colour Quiz, or simply reached your own conclusions, then you’ll know which of the four seasonal palettes - Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter - belongs to you. Once upon a time, being given a season name was as far as it went, and you simply figured out within that which colours you preferred and which ones you still didn’t particularly love. After all, a seasonal palette is still a quarter of the colours in the universe, which is an awful lot of colours!

However, as colour analysis has become more and more refined over the decades, we’ve discovered that each person fits not only into a seasonal palette, but also into a smaller, more specific category within that seasonal palette, which contains their very best colours.

There’s a good chance that if you’ve had an in person analysis, your own colour analyst told you which sub-type, within a season, you belong to, whether that was Pastel Summer, Golden Spring, Soft Autumn, or one of a dozen or more possible permutations. If you worked out your colours single handedly, then discovering your seasonal sub-type is more of a process of trial and error, exploring which colours you really love and feel your best in, although there are some characteristics of each seasonal sub-type which might help you on your way. You might, however, read about the sub-types and immediately identify which belongs to you, as it represents the colours you feel your best in.

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We’ve broken this explanation of each of the seasonal sub-types down into four sections - one for each seasonal palette - to make it easier to read, as there is an awful lot of information. As well as exploring your own sub-type, however, it can be fascinating to read the sub-types for all four seasons, and help you understand how the seasonal palettes relate to one another.

In terms of helping you shop for colour, understanding your seasonal sub-type also helps relate your season to your dominant Tonal Direction, which can help open up an entire new hidden part of your palette, helping you discover even more wow colours! We’ll tell you which filters to use on the ‘Shop by Colour’ page for your seasonal sub-type over the coming pages.

Before you dive in, do remember that although your sub-type can guide you towards your very best colours, this doesn’t mean that the rest of your palette is closed to you. The purpose of learning and exploring your sub-type is simply to show you the very best colours within your palette, not to stop you wearing three quarters of it. Your personal style, or logistics, mean that you will often want or need to wear clothes outside of your seasonal sub-type, and adding in those broader seasonal colours can bring more texture, interest and depth to your look than simply sticking tightly to half a dozen or so ‘best’ colours.

Brenda Harrison on Feb 22, 2023 9:51 AM

I’ve thought I was summer with some winter.

Judy Tromans on Feb 16, 2023 11:13 AM

Very useful article. Now I know why I prefer some of my winter colours to others!

Freda Morse on Feb 12, 2023 10:28 PM

I was found to be a Summer after a colour consutancy with a House of Colour analyst and am just reading The Little Book of Colour by Karen Haller and now the above blog. My best colours, described as 100% in my swatch book, are Cornflower, Rose, Jade, Smoked Grape and Amethyst which seem to place me in all the four summer categories and which leaves me confused as to how best to proceed in future colour assessments.

Kettlewell Colours: It might be worth having a look at your 1* at 100%, and 2* at 75% colours - those will also be excellent colours on you, and will give you information about where you sit. If that doesn't help, I'd be inclined to ask your HoC consultant for clarification - most will be able to assign you a sub-type after doing your analysis.

Clare on Feb 12, 2023 5:46 PM

I'm a deep / burnished winter and my best colours according to HOC are indigo, mole, pine, damson, burgundy, fuchsia, raspberry, royal blue, Chinese blue, lobelia, royal purple, most of which are not shown here for deep winters !!!??

Kettlewell Colours: Hi Clare, unfortunately it's not possible to show every colour for each of the seasonal sub-types in the space available on the blog - our goal is to give a flavour of the sub-type for you to explore further using our tonal filters or with your own consultant. We hope you're enjoying your gorgeous Burnished Winter colours!

Nancy on Feb 12, 2023 4:05 PM

How great to find this take on seasonal subtypes! I always knew I was a Summer who somehow gravitated to Winter shades, as long as they weren't too clear and bright. The updated 12 Season category of "Soft Summer" seemed like it might apply to me; but at the same time, I could look at any Soft Summer palette and easily see that it contained many light pinks and blues which would actually look quite blah on me. Deep Summer seems right, and how exciting to be able to shop by those colors!

Susan Trafford on Feb 11, 2023 6:56 PM

This is so helpful to I was struggling as to what type of autumn I am as I wear all the autumn colours well, not just the soft, deep or vibrant. Now I know I'm a true/leaf. Thank you so much.

Barbara on Feb 11, 2023 9:28 AM

This latest version of Jo's 'sub types' blog is brilliant. I know the extra information and guidance will be extremely useful and I will be saving this blog in my 'favourites' for future reference. Thank you.

Melissa on Feb 10, 2023 3:12 PM

I have heard it said more than once that Bright Springs are the most difficult to analyze because they are the most diverse in their coloring. As a Bright Spring myself, I agree completely. In fact, my HoC analyst spent 3 hours fine tuning my colors. Add in Kibbe body type and it was quite the journey to knowing with 100% certainty what color combinations work best for me and how to wear them. For example, color blocking is not as good on me as most Springs (body type) - column of color with accent colors in accessories and shoes is the best. It is why different analysts will sometime categorize Nichole Kidman as either True Spring, Warm Spring or Clear Spring! I get it! For me, Red Coral and Geranium Red over Poppy but Acid Yellow over Lemonade and Golden Yellow. Browns and Beiges absolutely no way (unless on the bottom, maybe) and yes to clear grey. Coral no, unless an accent and yes to papaya and terra cotta! No to pea green, yes to leaf! But when in doubt, I keep a headshot on my computer, taken in outdoor lighting. I will drag it over a color and then play around with accents and outfits. I call it the "paper doll method" of shopping online. ;). I have to agree with Color Analysts however - there is no substitution for being draped. It's a small investment that saves a load of time and money. I do not work for them - just my experience. (But with my love and interest in color theory and style, I probably should! Ha, ha!)

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