We’ve Entered a New Season of Retro ‘80s Colour Analysis, But Why?

by Karly Rayner

The experience of “getting your colours done” might be as ‘80s as crimpers and Spandau Ballet, but the quest to find the perfect shade to make your skin shine is back with a vengeance. 

There’s much to be sceptical about with seasonal colour analysis, from hilarious images of permed women in power suits draping their victims in piles of multi-coloured scarves to the decidedly unfunny throwback of deeming every single person of colour a winter, but is there anything of value in this trend?



Bestowing you with the name of a season based on your skin tone and hair colour does seem undeniably woo woo, but the logic behind colour theory is pretty sound. We all have an outfit that we want to love, but makes us look like an anaemic pork chop and that one tatty jumper we can’t possibly throw away because the exact shade makes us look vibrant and alive. 

The real-life sorcery of colours transforming the way we perceive the shades around them translates perfectly to social media. I mean, just look at the infamous blue/black or white/gold dress of 2015. 


Pair this magical visual trickery with being able to make people’s complexions spring from sallow to glowing with one deft flick of a coloured scarf, and it’s easy to see why Tik Tok has been instrumental in the resurgence of seasonal colour analysis. 

@theoutfitcurator #coloranalysistok #coloranalysis #coloranalysistiktok #colorpalette ♬ Forever Young - Alphaville


Just look at how purple the woman in the video’s lips look in the “cool winter”, real proof that colours have the ability to transform you from a sickly Dickensian orphan to glowing, dewy nymph in the blink of an eye. 

When you combine this trickery with the interactive element of being able to bam your face into a psychedelic frame of colours to try some DIY colour analysis, it totally makes sense why suddenly everyone is talking about whether they are a spring, summer, autumn or winter again like it's 1984. 

@msfrizzleart There’s SO much to talk about here— should I make more color analysis content? #colorpalette #coloranalysis #colorseason #beauty #trend ♬ Chopin Nocturne No. 2 Piano Mono - moshimo sound design


The reason for the resurgence may be quite gimmicky, but is there any real value in seasonal colour analysis? 

In terms of sustainability and building a capsule wardrobe which will last decades, it’s certainly sensible to have a foundation of colours to build around to create a harmonious palette of clothes to mix and match. 

Freelance stylist Sarah Priest, who now offers clients seasonal colour analysis sessions online after gaining a following through Tik Tok, explained:

“I think it is super important for sustainable, slow fashion to know what colours actually look good on you.It can stop you from over-consuming and getting trapped in fast fashion and trends.”


Knowing which colours suit you and make you look your best can eliminate the hasty, regrettable purchases which are so bad for the planet and also help you thin out your current wardrobe to make it more functional and streamlined. 

For more immediate gratification, there is also a certain confidence-giving power in knowing you don’t have sallow skin which looks terrible in photos, you’re just a soft summer who has been wearing deep winter! 

Some of the more questionable aspects of seasonal colour analysis have also moved on, giving the concept more value to everyone. It’s finally  been acknowledged that people of colour can embody any season. Managing director of image consultancy Colour Me Beautiful, Veronique Henderson admitted the past mistakes of the company by telling the Guardian that:

“Any person of colour would be categorised as ‘winter’ whether they were Middle Eastern or Indian and I’m sorry but that just doesn’t work.” 


Image credit: The Concept Wardrobe 

To me, one of the beautiful things about seasonal colour analysis is that it’s not body centric - many of the ‘90s diet and fashion fads that followed were painfully focused on body type. Anyone of any size and shape can embrace their colours without being told they shouldn’t wear certain things because they are a “pear” or a “soft romantic.” 

But what about the fate of your current wardrobe? Thankfully, there is no need to be quite as rigid as the ‘80s colour puritans once encouraged. The rules of seasonal colour analysis have been deepened and updated over time — moving on from 4 seasons, to 42 possible palettes by introducing the subcategories of light, deep, warm, soft, clear and cool. 



And as someone who is probably some sort of Spring, but could not imagine even for a second giving up black (very much out of the colour range), the words of Chromology stylist, Gabriella Winters gave me hope when she told Glamour Magazine

"Everyone can wear black, but like everything, it's just a question of finding the right one." 



Popular posts

Make British Winter More Bearable by Embracing Seasonal Living
Make British Winter More Bearable by Embracing Seasonal Living
The ever-rotating wheel of the seasons profoundly connects us to nature and weaves our lived experience into the infinite tapestry of time, but also, winter sucks. ...
Move Over Resolutions, 2024 is All About Setting Intentions and Here's Why
Move Over Resolutions, 2024 is All About Setting Intentions and Here's Why
There is something staunch about the word resolution which I have never really taken to (read; compulsively rebelled against), but there is another way to set...
Nobody Likes a Fashion Braggart, Especially the British
Nobody Likes a Fashion Braggart, Especially the British
The shimmering mirage of contrasts and contradictions which make up UK style are a slippery fish to grasp, but suspicion and ridicule of anything excessively boastful...
What is Transeasonal Fashion and Why Does it Matter?
What is Transeasonal Fashion and Why Does it Matter?
When the last throes of summery sunshine beam through the reddening leaves of Autumn, we have entered the in-between realm of transeasonal fashion. Despite what fashion...