Maybe I never was a "Summer" -- color season switch

October 12, 2018

I've been experimenting with a radically different look for me.

Just as the natural world has gone from summer to fall, I have been making the same transition, from Summer to Autumn.

Way back in the '80s (remember Color Me Beautiful?) someone told me I was a Summer.  So Summer I've been. Cool, dusty shades of pink, lavender, blue. Lots of soft grays, dove, rose. Soft, elegant, lovely. I loved it.

But did it love me? A couple things happened recently that made me wonder.

I was with some friends buying silk scarves last year when we were together in China. I held up a lovely soft pink scarf and turned to show my friends.

"That color does nothing for you," one remarked. I was taken aback. Pink is my favorite color! Reluctantly, I put the scarf back, feeling a little miffed. But I did file that bit of information away and wondered.

Then, on three -- three -- separate occasions this summer when I was in Sephora and MAC, salespeople mentioned my light olive or warm skin coloring.

What?! Summers (like Winters) have cool coloring.

But come to think of it, I do have a greenish cast to my veins and gold in my eyes, two indicators of a warm coloring. And my natural brown hair had reddish-gold highlights in it, not ashy highlights (a cooler coloring). Because I've always liked the Summer colors I think I just ignored these things.

Now I'm not saying you shouldn't wear what you love. But again, does it love you? I started testing colors against my skin and realized that the cooler Summer colors were washing me out.

After doing some research, I decided I might really be an Autumn, probably a Deep Autumn because of my gray hair. (Your season doesn't change when you go gray, but you may move to one or the other end of that season, introducing a little coolness. So I think I'm a True Autumn, but I'm trying out the Deep Autumn because it's a little cooler, closer to Winter. I'm going to that end of the Autumn spectrum rather than closer to Summer, a Soft Autumn, because that season includes lighter colors. I think the darker colors look better with the gray hair. Hope I haven't confused you!)

Anyway, what all this means is that I'm all of a sudden wearing all the colors I never thought I could wear. Rust, olive, and goldenrod. I never thought I'd see the day when I'd wear any shade of yellow! And red, another color I've never worn.

from Pinterest

I've even switched out my nude/pink lipsticks for red and raisin. Now that's a huge change.

And pulling out my old gold jewelry and wearing that rather than the silver I've worn for years and years.

I haven't spent a lot of money. I just went to Target and picked up some solid color tees in Autumn colors just to try them out. I wanted to test out this new season before investing too much in it. I picked up some warmer and darker lipstick from CVS.

I feel like I look more alive. And I've been getting compliments.

And do you remember my last post about how I'm tired of being "nice?"

Well, all of this color change kind of fits into this idea. Bear with me here.

Pink and pastels and soft colors (the Summer season colors) seem so "nice," don't they? Red and rust and olive and yellow seem a little stronger, a little more assertive. Food for thought, right?

Now, I don't mean to say that if you wear pink you're a pushover. Or that "Summers" are too "nice." I just mean that maybe if you're dressing in the wrong colors it can affect you in a negative way. Maybe all those pastels just didn't quite fit me not only because of my coloring but because they didn't fit my personality. They were maybe tamping me down, draining not only color but strength from me.

Hopefully, this doesn't sound too out there, but I really think color affects us. And it could work the other way too. If you're wearing dark, dark colors and have a naturally buoyant personality, you may wonder why you feel tired and sad. Maybe you should be wearing bright, happy colors.

The lesson here I think is don't be afraid to shake things up. To question what you've always done. To think outside the box and do something different. Just to see. You might be surprised.

Just for fun, wear a color you've never worn. Try a very different color lipstick. See what happens.

For me, I'm sure liking this new look.


And in super-happy news, I'm going to be a grandma (first time!) in January! Yay!


  1. Well, you and I are the in the same boat. When I went through the Color Me Beautiful thing back in the 80s-there were two "instructors". They could not decide if I was a spring or a fall and finally both agreed that I "might" be a fall but could also be a "spring" (which was the lighter palette of fall). I will say that every time I wear fall colors I get a lot of things like- You look really great today---or---(my favorite) Did you lose some weight? LOL I have very green eyes and light coloring but with a 'golden' cast to my skin. Like you I have love pink but don't believe it does anything for me.
    Luckily, I do like the fall colors.
    Have fun-dressing! xo Diana

  2. Now I thought that pink was the universal color and so looks great on everyone. I’d wear whatever floated my boat (and gets compliments). ☺️

  3. Yes, I sure remember the Color Me Beautiful thing of the 80s. I think it labeled me as a winter. However, I look and feel my best in that palette you have pictured right there - and even in my home I love those colors. Have fun with being comfortable in your own skin.
    Congratulations on becoming a Grandma in Jan!

  4. First, congratulations on becoming a Grandma! January is not far away. What you said about wearing the "wrong" colors makes sense. At the risk of sounding frivolous, I think feeling comfortable with how we look is important to our well-being.

  5. I clicked over to this as soon as I saw the title. I have had and continue to have confusion over which season I am! I know; wear what I like, etc., but I would love to have a good starting point so I can avoid purchasing things that I will end up not wearing. This past summer, I tried exactly what you did in that I bought several Ts to see which colors I'd like. (It helped a little .. I probably needed to branch out even more with my choices.) Please keep us posted; I'd love to see a pic or two. Congrats on the grandbaby! Does your daughter live nearby? We have a 3 year old and a 6 month old grandchild and they are delightful.

  6. Congratulations, I am so excited for you. These days I wear what I like and enjoy just been 'me'.

  7. Have you ever heard of dressing your truth.It goes along with color me beautiful but more for your personality style to find your true colors you should check it out.founder I believe is Carol Tuttle

  8. Oh, I'm so excited for you about becoming a grandma. I am looking forward to becoming one myself...but I can't express that very loudly, as I promised my daughter and son-in-law I wouldn't do that. They just had their 3rd anniversary, so I'm hoping they are thinking now is a good time to start a family!!

    I have always been fascinated by the Color Me Beautiful concept. I think I'm a winter, but not totally sure. I wish you had posted a photo of the new you. I would love to see your new look!


  9. I was diagnosed a spring and followed along even though those colors gave my skin a green cast. Ha! For simplicity my closet is now almost exclusively black, gray, beige and brown. aka boring

  10. I am super happy for you, Deborah! Becoming a grandmother is one of the most exciting things to ever take place in one's life. I couldn't wait to be one! Congratulations!

    Your post was so interesting and fun. Imagine going all this time thinking you were a summer! I have seen a few ladies around wearing the most horrible colours because I knew they had been read wrong. I am a Spring and I have always known I was so I've never had any trouble choosing colours. My skin has a golden tone and my eyes are green and sometimes, depending on what I'm wearing, they look blue. I love pink but it has to be the right shade of pink or it doesn't look all that good on me. I think turquoise is one of my best colours and it's probably one that almost everyone can wear, in varying shades of course.
    How exciting that you are wearing new colours and feeling more confident because of it. And I agree with Patti, we would like to see a picture of you wearing your new colours!


  11. Dearest Deborah,
    Guess we all go through different stages of color throughout our lives as we too change!
    It is IMPORTANT how you feel inside your clothes, if you fall in love with them or not.
    Not so much what others say, maybe a few honest opinions to heed.
    Sending you hugs,

  12. Oh, my goodness, yes, I well remember Color Me Beautiful. I went with it "hook like and sinker." I was definitely an Autumn. I was faithful to it for a while and then I fell by the wayside and just wore what made me feel good and I still do. I think we all pretty much know what colors are best for us. Now, you must show us a picture. :o)) Have a great Lord's Day!

  13. Congratulations on being a grandma!

    I confess that I have no idea what my season is. I tend to wear a lot of purple because it's my favourite colour. A few months ago, I saw this interesting guide on colours and logos:

  14. Hi Deborah, I too got swept up in the Colour Me Beautiful concept. The very pretty receptionist where I then worked was previously a beautician, and she told me about the concept and said she thought I was a winter. She helped me choose the right colours for a couple of years, and I found it really helpful, and the colours really brought me out of my shell. I love the winter colours, and was thrilled to know I looked good in red and black and pink (I had been wearing lots of dull colours). But I also loved the autumn colours. I do look rather drab in brown though, but found it interesting that brown and orange were my favourite colours as a child (seriously, I was obsessed with those two!!). Now that I'm completely grey, some winter colours kind of wash out my complexion, but for the most part I still feel best in my winter colours. Don't forget, you can still wear all those light colours you loved, but with warm undertones ... more peach than pink. Just as I can wear pink as long as it's a cool, icy pink. I'm glad you've found a change that suits you and makes you happier ;)
    Wendy x

  15. First of all, congratulations on being a exciting! Your life will be forever changed! According to the chart, I am considered a cool summer. I rarely wear pastels...almost never...and get most compliments when I wear jewel tones such as royal blue, magenta, teal green, deep purples, etc. I do wear red sometimes and I love fall color pallets. Gray and black are some of my most favorite colors to wear. So I guess I am all over the map (except for the pastels) and I guess I must be breaking a few "rules". I am in total agreement that you should wear what you love but it's also OK to take those compliments into! Great post, Deborah!

  16. Congrats on being a first time grandma!!! I love wearing black with white/gray hair. The funny thing, is, with long hair now, depending on how I turn my topknot, it's either gray/white or all brown! Natural hombre here.

  17. Congratulations on your impending grandmother status. It's the Best! I was categorized as a Winter and I've stuck with those colours for most of my adult life. They are the colours I like and that look good me. Now that I'm graying and my colouring is fading a little, I wonder if I should transition to softer shades. Not yet, I think. I'll just keep wearing what I love and what I feel good in.
    Lovely post, Deborah!

  18. I'm so glad you brought this up! I have the "Color Me Beautiful" book and I get a little confused each time I read it because I can fall in to all the seasons (except Winter) in some way or another. I thought I, too, was a summer but I really feel I'm a Fall because of my greenish-gold flecked eyes and red highlights in my hair and I tend to go to the Fall colors (greens, browns, etc.). So thank you for your post! : )

  19. Oooo! Congratulations on the new grandbaby on the way! That's so, so exciting!!!
    I think it's good to reevaluate how you want to look, and what your preferences are, every few years. We all change, and we must allow ourselves and our tastes to change, and not struggle against it. I look forward to seeing some of your new wardrobe adventures!

  20. I was classified as a winter, back in the early 1990s. On 2 separate consultations. Then I did a Colour course, and was a winter. I do have blue veins and I had blue black hair. I went to another colour stylist a couple of years ago, and she said that I was a soft autumn. ??? That my skin was definitely autumn, and apparently, I have warm brown eyes. The colours she recommended really depressed me.... So, I was telling a beautician friend that, and she told me that she also was trained in the colour system, and that I was a winter. It all drove me crazy and still does.

    On a happier note: being a grandparent is one of life's greatest rewards. xxxx

  21. You must be so excited about the new grandbaby! So much fun ahead for you all.

    I really enjoyed reading this post on a subject that I've truthfully ignored out of ignorance all these years, just hopping around from one color to the next. I guess the least I could do would be try on some colors from my closet and see whether I like some on me better than others as a start. It would be wonderful to be as excited about the revelations as you are.

  22. First of all....CONGRATULATIONS! Being a Grandmother is absolutely the best thing ever! But do get ready to spend some money, especially if it's a GIRL:) I love to go shopping with my granddaughter! And, yes, I remember well the COLOR thing that was so popular. I was termed a WINTER but I've always thought I was an AUTUMN. In fact, just a few min. ago I read someone's old blog post about this topic and was happy to see (at least from her standpoint) that I had been right about being an Autumn all along. I love, love autumn colors and I definitely look best in I do like wearing black! Pastels DO NOT like me whatsoever! Enjoy your new'll have to post pictures:)

  23. Congrats on becoming a grandparent soon! How exciting! :)

    It's interesting, I had my colors done a few years back and never really paid much attention to it before - but I do find when I stick to my 'colours' that I get more compliments on what I'm wearing. I think as you said you can dress how you like, but when you pick colours that work for your it's a real boost! :)

    Hope that you are having a nice weekend :) We went to our friends wedding yesterday so that was fun :)

    Away From The Blue Blog

  24. Firt things happy for your pending grandmotherhood (is that a word?) So Happy! I am still waiting to hear that news - some day:) Love all your info about color - I have never had mine read - but think I am a summer too. I love that your are stepping out of your color box - I too believe color greatly affects us. ♥

  25. Wearing the right colors really does make a difference. It also helps bring happiness! I am so happy to hear you are going to be a grandmother! What a blessing!

  26. Sweet, sweet friend. I squealed in excitement when I read that you're going to be a grandmother! How very wonderful, dear Deborah. I am ever so happy for you, your husband, and your family. I will be praying all goes well.

    This was a delightful post (as always). I so enjoyed your thoughts on changing colors and trying new things. I have found myself doing the same thing. I can't get enough gold jewelry when before I was strictly I don't even bother with silver. I am loving the mustard yellow color and before this year I truly didn't like it - HA! Anyway, I think it's good for us to step out and try new things, new colors, and new designs. Much love to you!

  27. I have two responses to this excellent post, Deborah. It could mean that you were misdiagnosed originally or that your skin tone has changed, which is entirely possible. As we age (sorry to even bring that up, but I know of what I speak), your skin thins out and the undertones sometimes come through more vibrantly than before. Your warm undertones could very well becoming dominant, which means that warmer, more vibrant autumn colors are more flattering.

    I spent many years doing color analyses on clients and you'd be surprised how many woman are wearing colors that don't really suit them just because they like them.

    Enjoy and explore your new color palette.

    Cheers, M-T

  28. Now you really have me thinking what my colors are. I do love the deep autumn colors as I am a brunette with olive toned skin and brown eyes. It’s nice that your friend was honest about the scarf, which opened a new color palette for you.


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