True Winter

A Comprehensive Guide

A True Winter is easily spotted through their frosty appearance: the cool, brilliant skin and icy eyes that stand in contrast with their dark hair.

Like its natural appearance, this season’s colour palette contains cool, highly contrasting colours. Boldest scarlet, bright white, and true black – these colours all play at the extremes of light, dark, and bright.

True Winter is the original Winter season in the four seasons colour analysis and sits between Dark Winter and Bright Winter on the seasonal flow chart. Its opposite season is True Summer, and in contrast to the latter, True Winter’s appearance is brilliant and highly contrasted.

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

Characteristics

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 True Winters. You may look different but still be a True Winter.

You are a True Winter if the dominant characteristic of your overall appearance is cool, and the secondary characteristic is bright.

When you look in the mirror the first thing you notice about your colouring is its frosty coolness. There is no warm quality in any of your features and blue undertones dominate your skin, hair, and eyes.

In addition, your skin, eyes, and hair have a brilliant and clear appearance – there is no muddiness or softness in them. Overall, the contrast between your features is high.

The Features

I. Eyes

Eyes of this season are usually cool with blue undertones in them. They come in a wide variety of colours – grey, blue, blue-violet, icy hazel, dark grey, or cool dark brown (especially for darker ethnicities). Characteristic of the Winter eye, you may notice a border defining iris and possible spokes on the iris.

II. Skin

True Winter skin is nothing but cool. It has clear blue undertones and while silver flatters it, gold looks completely disharmonious against it. The skin is typically a shade of beige and can range from fair to tan (I to IV on the Fitzpatrick scale).

III. Hair

The hair is typically dark, ranging from dark ash brown to black. This sub-season's hair does not have any natural highlights and the hair is either neutral or ashy.

IV. Contrast

True Winter has a stark contrast between the features. There is also 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. The hair is very dark compared to the light skin and eyes.

True Winter vs True Summer

True Winter and True Summer share the same dominant characteristic – cool. The difference lies in their secondary characteristic – True Winter is bright and True Summer is muted.

True Summer is soft with a somewhat lower contrast between the features. It has a high content of grey pigments mixed into its colouring which tones down a True Summer's appearance.

True Winter colouring, on the other hand, contains blue, dark grey, and black-blue pigments. It has a very high contrast between the features and appears crisp. ​Because of this, True Winters can wear black, handle a lot of colour, and they look better in highly contrasting colours than True Summers do.

The Colour Palette

True Winter colours are what we visualise when we think of Winter colours. These colours all play at the extremes of light, dark, and bright. Such colours are most present in the moonless night sky and at the Earth’s poles.

In terms of colours, the following images are representative of the cool, contrasting colours that make up the True Winter colour palette:

The Palette

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True Winter is the original Winter season in the four seasons colour analysis and is therefore the most 'standard' Winter palette. Its colours are quite bright, somewhat dark, and have a clear blue undertone to match the cool skin.

This season falls at the very coolest, most bluish end of the wider Winter colour palette. The colours are cold and seem to be covered with frost.

The palette contains a broad range of colours, from icy pinks and blues to deep rose and navy. Even though the contrast between the colours is high, the very dark tones are greatly balanced with brighter and much lighter complementary and accent colours.

Colour Dimensions

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

Hue

True to this season’s dominant characteristic, the colours are very cool, meaning they contain blue undertones but no yellow undertones. So even if you choose yellow (which is the warmest colour of all), you will find only cool shades. In addition, there are very few yellow-based colours on the palette and more shades of blue and icy pinks, which are naturally cool-based.

Value

The palette ranges from the lightest light (true white) to the darkest dark (true black). Overall, the palette is on the darker side because bright blue – the undertone of this palette – is medium-dark.

Chroma

The colours are fairly high in chroma, meaning they are saturated, bright, and vibrant – in keeping with this season’s second characteristic.

Sister Palettes

True Winter sits between Dark Winter and Bright Winter on the seasonal flow chart. It is at the heart of the Winter palette, and the colours are brighter, cooler, and slightly lighter than those of Dark Winter.

With its opposite season True Summer, the colours share the same cool value, but are darker and brighter. Unlike True Summer, though, the colours are cleaner and mixed with blue and black. The contrast between them is much higher.

Compared to the third Winter sub-season, Bright Winter, the palette is cooler, slightly darker, and not quite as bright. This is because Bright Winter turns the saturation up to the maximum.

As sister palettes, Dark Winter and Bright Winter both share True Winter’s characteristics of cool and bright, respectively. This means you can borrow some of their palettes’ colours as they are close enough to the True Winter colour palette. On the Dark Winter palette, opt for the lighter shades such as gumdrop green or alaskan blue. And on the Bright Winter palette, choose the cooler and slightly less intense colours – such as blue iris and baltic.

Styling

Clothing

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 coolness and brightness of the True Winter colour palette is best reflected when you wear your colours in high-contrast combinations. This level of contrast will mirror the high contrast that exists in your natural appearance and intensify it. Contrast in value is particularly flattering on you.

You could, for example, mix a light neutral with a dark or bright accent colour. Or you could mix a darker neutral with a lighter or brighter accent colour.

You will also look okay in an all-dark or all-light look. However, in your case, contrast is always the better option.

Another thing to bear in mind is that even though your natural colour contrast is high, it is not as extreme as that of a Bright Winter. So pairing colours that sit opposite each other on the colour wheel – such as a bright yellow and a clear purple, may look overpowering on you. Instead, always opt for a neutral and an accent colour.

You have both true black and true white on your colour palette as well as a very dark navy and a deep brown.

And while an all-black outfit does work, generally speaking you will do much better by adding some contrast to your outfits. This is because your natural colouring also has a high contrast.

On that note, black and white is the classic True Winter combination and will look truly striking on you.

Colours to Avoid

Avoid golden and warm colours – such as golden browns and oranges, as they will clash with your absolute cool colouring.

Also stay away from soft colours – such as lavender or sky blue. Since these colours are not intense enough, they may make you look washed out. If you want to wear pastel colours, use the icy versions on your palette as accent colours and combine them with dark neutrals.

Wardrobe Building Essentials
Everything you need to build a True 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 True 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 True Autumn orange, which is warm and muted), 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 True Winter colours and wearable. However, the second pattern displays a higher contrast between the elements and is therefore more flattering.

Great patterns for True 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).

Jewellery

Since True Winter equals absolute coolness, your best metals are silver and platinum. Gold, on the other hand, is completely disharmonious with your appearance and best avoided.

Shiny metals usually go better with your sharp, clear colouring, as opposed to antiqued, matte or brushed metals.

Diamonds, rubies, and sapphires are great stone choices. Cold and bright stones are especially flattering for blue and grey eyes.

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