Monday, January 26, 2015

A Pause from Sewing to Think about Colors

Have you ever had your colors read?  I did once back in highschool, and the only thing I remember is that she said that I would look horrible in orange. It was rather amusing since my hair likely was some shade of orange at the time.  Perhaps, she was commenting on my choice of a funky color rather than really what I would look good in or not.  On and off, I've been wanting to have my colors read, as when I try to read them myself, I tend to waffle between the different seasons.  If you have no idea what I am talking about-

Way back in 1978 Bernice Ketner wrote a book Color me a Season, which divided all colors into the four seasons- winter, spring, summer, and fall.  Winter and summer are considered cool seasons with summer being more muted than winter, whereas spring and fall are warm seasons with fall being more muted than spring.  Some point later- each season was split based on 'intensity'.  To learn more you can totally check out wikipedia and this blog.  Now, my issue is that when I take the tests I don't fit into a season easily.  Reading about other color theories, I have come up with two reasons- either I am neutral or I am olive with both cool and warm undertones.  I think my issue is that I have pink (cool) in my cheeks, but I tan (warm) quite easily, and my eyes are green with a blue outer ring and a yellow inner ring (both?).  

I decided to try out the theory that some colors wash you out, while others make you 'glow'.  I tried to be scientific about it, so that the only variable was the color of the fabric.  I took all these photos earlier today, when it was pitch black out.  Yay winter!  I used my Ott-lite as supplemental lighting, and a bright white back wall.  All the photos were taken on my Canon EOS7D, at ISO 400, with a shutter speed of 1/20 and an aperture of 5.  In photoshop, I cropped to the same size square (you can see I moved a tiny bit), then using the levels tool for highlights- I ran them to make the white background white.  Some of the colors aren't perfect (the hot pink reads red), but most of them are right on.

Here is the first round white versus off white:

The off white looks a little blown out by the exposure- not necessarily the color.  I do see some more pink in my cheeks in the off white one.  What do you think?  Can you tell a difference- if there is one beyond the off white being blown out?  Next is black:
I can't tell if it's any different than the other ones.  Hmm, carrying on.  On the left is a warm yellow, on the right is a warm orange, but in the middle is cool gold, can you really have a cool gold, but it looks cool next to the yellow right?  Or am I reading into this much?  Can you tell, that my photography minor was just a minor- I never took color theory.

Ha, so far what I have learned is that I'm crap at reading colors.  The middle one brings out the pink in my cheeks, but you know, I like the super 70s warm yellow on the left, it looks a lot better than I thought it would, yeah?

Now here is one that I can actually tell the difference- I tried a warm gray and a cool gray.  I'll let you guess which one looks better.

The warm gray on the left looks better against my skin, right?  Or am I being fooled by the slight smile?  Which is opposite of the above, where the cooler gold looked slightly better.  Interesting.  Now onto pinks.

I'm going to leave this one up to you guys!  I can't really tell the difference between the three.  Maybe the one to the far left is slightly better?  But none of them look washed out to me.  Urgh, moving on:

Browny, the one on the left is more a browny-olive, the right more a light brown.  Similar, but maybe the one on the olive looks a bit better? But maybe it's because it's similar to my eyes?  How about more obvious greens?

Cool is on the left, neutral is in the middle, super warm is on the right.  I think the neutral green looks best, but none look terrible.  I think maybe I was expecting a color to really make me look terrible.  Maybe it's because all these fabrics are from my stash, so I bought them thinking they would look good.

Here is an interesting one- both turquoise, the one on the left is much deeper, but muted, the one on the right is super bright and clear- I think the one on the right is a spring- which is the only Season that I can successfully rule out.  I don't like the one on the right.  Luckily it's a lining fabric, so it never has to be seen.

Now, here are some of my favorite colors- blue.  We go from light muted blue (summer I've been told), to a muted navy, to a true navy, to a bright blue (winter).  I hate to admit it, because I wear bright blue a lot, and love it, and feel great in it, the lighter blue looks better.  Do you agree?  The two navies look the same to me.  Here is the very last set- lavender.  I wear a decent amount of it, and it is one of my favorite colors as well.

The one in the middle is not my lavender- it is way too warm, and makes me look slightly lavender.  The warmer on the left makes me look warmer, and the one on the right makes me look rosier.  I would be fine wearing either of those.

So after all that- all I have learned is that I do not like bright pastel-y turquoise and muted warm lavender.  I like warmer gray, but cooler other colors.  There wasn't a whole lot of difference between most of the pictures.  I have a acquaintance here who actually is a trained color season reader, so I think I might go to her and have her do a legitimate reading.  Other than that- at least I can say that most fabrics I pick out look at least decent, right?  Anyway, let me know what you think, have you had your colors read, do you have a power color?  Do you have a legitimate season? There are people out there who do, I noticed a friend today is a textbook winter.  Anyway, back to sewing, until next time!


  1. Looks like you had fun. I like the light muted blue, the cool green and the warm grey on you, but I'm probably just being distracted by colours I like!

  2. You know, there is an EFM in Kyiv that consults on colors...