Are "Color Seasons" BS or Can They Actually Help You Dress Better?

"I'm a spring!"

Cheek, Hairstyle, Chin, Forehead, Eyebrow, Style, Jaw, Temple, Neck, Black hair,
(Image credit: Design by Katja Cho)

A long, long time ago (okay, fine, the '80s), you could go to a "color analyst" who would, in exchange for a few hundred bucks, drape fabric swatches on you, apply makeup, and assemble a palette of the shades that most flattered your skin, hair, and eyes. These tones would be organized by season, so when your friend Becky from aerobics inevitably asked, you could be like "I'm a spring!" and she would know that meant pastel pink made you look healthy and complemented your warm undertones.

These days, to anybody who wasn't born yet/old enough to have disposable income when shoulder pads roamed the earth, color seasons are little more than a jokey reference. But like the Myers Briggs Test or the Pottermore Sorting Hat, people just can't get enough of introspection-by-quiz.

On the one hand, Personal Color Analysis (PCA) is pretty much the phrenology of fashion in that its teachings are based on the same color wheel that hung in your grade-school art classroom. (It also doesn't help that most of current conversation surrounding PCA occurs on the sort of website that hasn't been updated since, well, having your colors done was a normal activity. And this one epic Reddit chain.) On the other hand, if you're averse to color and don't feel like throwing away your money on fluorescent yellow sweaters, a PCA session—complete with a neutral gray room and robe and full-spectrum lights—could be a good starting point. 

Now for the takeaway, to be read again after you've dug into the required reading below: 1) You can still wear whatever colors you want, even ones your chart says are totally wrong for you. 2) In fact, you are *encouraged* to wear whatever colors you want, because *that* is the best way to figure out what works best with your coloring. And 3) There are exceptions to every rule, so one day, when the sunlight's shining through the clouds just so and your skin's extra clear, fluoro yellow could very well end up being your shade.*

Above all, take the literature's recommendations like Amy Schumer said the Kardashians took their original faces—as a light suggestion. Because, in the end, *you* know yourself better than anyone else.

*This is highly theoretical. 

Further reading: 

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Truth is Beauty on Pinterest

Invent Your Image on Pinterest

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Chelsea Peng
Assistant Editor

Chelsea Peng is a writer and editor who was formerly the assistant editor at She's also worked for The Strategist and Refinery29, and is a graduate of Northwestern University. On her tombstone, she would like a GIF of herself that's better than the one that already exists on the Internet and a free fro-yo machine. Besides frozen dairy products, she's into pirates, carbs, Balzac, and snacking so hard she has to go lie down.