Bright Winter

A Comprehensive Guide

Though the colours are uncommon in the natural world, Bright Winter is the sub-season with the highest level of contrast, that can pull off wild colour combinations that would overpower any other season.

Bright Winter is one of the three Winter seasons and sits between True Winter and Bright Spring on the seasonal flow chart.

Unlike Bright Spring, this sub-season is cool. However, both sub-seasons share some colours as they are sister palettes. They are both a blend of Spring and Winter, with Bright Spring leaning more towards the Spring palette and Bright Winter leaning more towards the Winter palette.

Wardrobe Building Essentials
Everything you need to build a Bright Winter wardrobe.


Please note: Do not worry too much if one characteristic of your appearance deviates from the below descriptions. You may still fall into this colour season if your overall appearance matches the profile.

The following images are examples of Bright Winters. You may look different but still be a Bright Winter.

You are a Bright Winter if the dominant characteristic of your overall appearance is bright, and the secondary characteristic is cool – meaning cool colours suit you better than warmer ones.

When you look in the mirror the first thing you notice about your colouring is that there is a very high contrast between your hair, skin, and eyes. Your features are clear and bright with no muddiness, giving you a crisp and clear appearance. Possibly, your eyes may be your most striking feature. Sparkling like jewels, they stand in contrast against the darker hair.

In addition, your skin, eyes, and hair have mainly cool undertones, which can be either blue or pink, or red if you are dark-skinned.

The Features

I. Eyes

Bright Winters often have strikingly bright, sparkling eyes – they are the first thing people notice. Eye colours range from bright blue to bright, pale hazel. They can also be rosy brown-black - especially on darker ethnicities. Regardless of the colour, they are always cool with blueish undertones. Typical of the Winter eye, you may see a border defining iris and possible spokes on the iris. There is also a high contrast between the iris and the whites of the eye.

II. Skin

The skin is either neutral or neutral-cool – meaning both silver and gold look good against it, but silver looks better. Skin tones range from fair all the way to deep (I to VI on the Fitzpatrick scale). Its appearance is clear and pale, and it often has a certain translucent quality to it. Darker skins have a glowing, almost glassy shine to them. Some Bright Winters also have freckles.

III. Hair

This sub-season's hair is quite dark in contrast to the lighter skin and eyes. It can range from medium brown to black, and can have either blue or ash undertones or simply be neutral.

IV. Contrast

Out of all the seasons, Bright Winter is the one with the highest contrast between skin, hair, and eyes. There is even a high contrast between the iris and whites of the eye. In the images below, you can see the big differences in shades between the features. While the hair is extremely dark, the eyes and skin are really light in contrast.

Bright Winter vs Bright Spring

Bright Winters can be mistaken for Bright Springs, as both sub-seasons have a very high contrast between the features and both can have sparkling, jewel-like eyes.

Both Bright Winter and Bright Spring have bright as their dominant characteristic. The distinguishing feature between them is their secondary characteristic – Bright Spring is warm, and Bright Winter is cool.

Bright Winter features have distinct blue, cool undertones, whereas Bright Spring has distinct warm, golden undertones.

The Colour Palette

Bright Winter is the season reminiscent of when the sun increasingly illuminates the snow-white expanses and the first bright flowers come out. The play of sunlight on cold winter landscapes creates a bright and sparkling image.

In terms of colours, the following images are representative of the vibrant, saturated colours that are part of the Bright Winter colour palette:

The Palette

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If anything, Bright Winter colours are extreme – extremely intense, light, dark, and vibrant. The Bright Winter colour palette comprises clear, cool, and jewel-like colours – such as emerald green, ruby red, amethyst, and sapphire blue.

Bright Winter is on the cusp between Winter and Spring. Its colours – like those of all Winters – are mainly cool, deep, and bright. Both Winter and Spring are bright seasons, so Bright Winter, as the combination of both, must be the brightest of all the seasons. Spring’s effect on the colours is slightly warming and lightening.

Colour Dimensions

On the three dimensions of colour, Bright Winter has the following properties:


Thanks to this sub-season’s secondary characteristic, the colours lean towards the cool end of the scale but are not extremely cool. As a result, you will find fewer shades of yellow (which is the warmest colour of all) on the palette. And you will only see cooler shades of yellow, which have a tint of blue. Instead, there are more blues, pinks, and purples that are naturally blue-based and therefore cool.


While the colours range from very light (bright white) to very dark (true black), the majority is medium in value, leaning slightly to the dark end because of the greater concentration of blue undertones.


In line with Bright Winter’s dominant characteristic, the colours are very high in chroma, meaning they are extremely saturated, bright, and vibrant.

Sister Palettes

Bright Winter sits between True Winter and Bright Spring on the seasonal flow chart. It falls at the Spring end of the Winter palette, which is why the colours are brighter, lighter, and warmer than those of True Winter.

Compared to Bright Spring the colours are similarly bright, but cooler, and slightly darker. Spring’s effect on Bright Winter is to bring some warmth to the palette and to lighten the colours somewhat.

Compared to the third Winter sub-season, Dark Winter, the colours share the same neutral-cool temperature, but are lighter and brighter.

As sister palettes, True Winter and Bright Spring both share Bright Winter’s characteristics of cool and clear, respectively. This means you can borrow some of their palettes’ colours as they are close enough to the Bright Winter colour palette. On the True Winter palette, opt for the brighter colours –  such as lemon verbena or palace blue. And on the Bright Spring palette, choose the cooler colours – such as marina or green jacket.



Even though technically you can combine any of the colours on your colour palette with each other, certain combinations will look much better than others:

The intensity of Bright Winter’s colour palette is best reflected when you wear your colours in high-contrast combinations. This level of contrast will mirror the high contrast that already exists in your natural appearance.

The obvious way to create contrast is to pair very light colours with very dark colours. But this may not be enough contrast for you. Even pairing black and white probably won’t be intense enough for your colouring.

You’ll look better if you create contrast by pairing dramatically different hues, i.e. those that sit opposite each other on the colour wheel. For instance, you could pair black with lemon yellow, or hot pink with teal to bring intensity into your outfit.

Black is part of the Winter palette, so you can wear it. However, Bright Winter black is slightly different to the inky black of True Winter. The difference is very subtle though, so much so that they are pretty much interchangeable.

True white is also on the colour palette. However – as mentioned before – black or white alone, or black and white, are not intense enough for your colouring. You will need to add a touch of a brighter colour to lift your outfit.

Colours to Avoid

Avoid rusty, warm shades – such as brick or sienna. These will clash with your naturally cooler appearance. Soft and pale earth tones – such as pale gold and terracotta, are also not great. They will make you look yellow and drained.

Wardrobe Building Essentials
Everything you need to build a Bright Winter wardrobe.

Patterns & Prints

If you are thinking of incorporating some patterns and prints into your wardrobe, consider the following:

The best patterns are those that only contain Bright Winter colours – like in the first example below.

If a pattern contains some but not much colour from a disharmonious palette – like in the second example, you can also wear it.

The last example contains too much of a disharmonious colour (a Soft Autumn brown, which is muted and warm), so it’s best left alone.

Since your natural colouring is high-contrast, opt for patterns that reflect this natural high level of contrast rather than ones which blend too much together.

In the example below, both patterns are in Bright Winter colours and wearable. However, the second pattern displays a higher contrast between the elements and is therefore more flattering.

Great patterns for Bright Winter are bold, highly contrasted, black and white, and neon coloured – in keeping with the bright, saturated colours on the palette.

Look for geometric patterns or round and rectangular shapes mixed together. Abstract prints are also great.

Natural floral patterns – like in the first example, are best avoided. If you want to wear floral patterns, opt for highly stylised flowers.

Also avoid small prints as well as anything faded or blended (watercolour prints).


Bright Winter features are clear and jewel-like. The matching jewellery is consequently shiny (not antiqued, matte, or brushed). Silver, platinum, white gold, and gold all work, as long as they are light and shiny, and not dark and muted.

Sapphires are great stones to bring out the cool brightness in your colouring.

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