Options for When You Don’t Like Your Season

Many people seem to default to a 12-season system for color, regardless of what else they follow. I have long had my doubts about it, however. I see a lot of people being draped as wildly different seasons, even within the same system, or just feeling boxed in by their season, and like it is a little limited or boring. Yet it still seems to be the most popular option, with people exploring many options for style, and yet sticking to the 12-season philosophy for color. But if you’re feeling dissatisfied with it and you’re not sure what your other options are, these are the ones I would recommend. My recommendations should come as no surprise to people who read this blog regularly, but they are the ones I see people being happy with once they look outside of the 12-season philosophy.

1. Four seasons

This one is pretty obvious. If you know your fit in 12 seasons, you can look to the parent season and expand your options. It’s also much simpler to only look for two qualities of color, rather than three.

Pros: It’s simpler and has a fair amount of information and systems to choose from. You will be less limited than you are with 12 seasons.
Cons: Not every color in your palette will be your “best.” If you don’t really like your season to begin with, going to a broader version of it may not help. And if your 12-season analysis was incorrect, you will have to go through the whole process again.

2. David Zyla

I know many people who are very, very happy with their David Zyla palette. It’s more limited, but because the colors are so specific to you, it often doesn’t feel that way in practice. He can also put together palettes that are more diverse than a seasonal palette, yet feel cohesive and focused. If you know your season works, but it feels limiting, or not like “you,” this can be a great option. (My Zyla tip, from people I know who have seen him: Go to see him with a look that is as “you” as possible. If you wear makeup every day, don’t go in as a bare-faced blank canvas. Showing him who you are will help you get the most “you” result possible.)

Pros: It’s custom and personalized and reflects who you are. It can go places that you wouldn’t find in a pre-made season.
Cons: It’s not cheap, and it’s hard to DIY. If you don’t like the end result, you are out a fair amount of money.

3. Dressing Your Truth

As readers of this blog know, this is the option I have gone with, because it gives me things no other system would. This is a good option if you want a color system that is fairly simple and if you feel like where you end up from your coloring doesn’t really fit who you are, which was my experience.

Pros: There are a lot of resources and it’s less complex than some others. You can easily identify where a garment would go. It can give you colors that you wouldn’t get in any other system, since it doesn’t use your coloring to get to your energy type.
Cons: Some people feel like it’s too simple and can be limiting, since only one type gets gray, only one gets black, you get either gold or silver and not both, etc. (This has been difficult for me, since gold is more fashionable now than silver at the moment.) And if you don’t like the colors of your energy type, there’s not much you can do except not dress your truth.

These are the systems that I see people have the most success with, once they decide to abandon 12-season systems. I know there are others out there, but these are the only ones I personally recommend at this point in time.

Do you still use a 12-season system? Have you tried out other things? Let me know in the comments.

8 Comments on Options for When You Don’t Like Your Season

  1. Elizabeth Stewart
    January 2, 2020 at 10:29 am

    Having had very mixed, even contradictory, results with 12-spectrum analysis (three analysts typed me as three different seasons!), I now mostly stick to the warm modality. In practice, the closest match I’ve found to my own actual colouring and best choices is through the Ferial 16-type system. I am a Shaded Spring in that method, a type which does not exist anywhere else and which explains why I never had good results from 4- or 12-type analyses. When I need a darker neutral I dip into the Pure Autumn palettes from Ferial. I find that by owning these two palettes I have a huge choice and almost everything will look good. There’s a great warm type swatch palette you can get from the British Style Yourself Confident website, but I like having as wide a choice as possible. My family invariable tells me when I do get it wrong! Ultimately every analyst uses his or her own judgment, although Zyla seems the most objective. If I could afford it, I might go to him, but I don’t relate to his archetypes so it could be a huge waste of money. I would love to see how Kibbe would color-type me, but again, an awful lot of dosh to fly to New York, hotel charges, and so on, even without seeing the great man.

    • stylesyntax
      January 2, 2020 at 6:06 pm

      I don’t relate to his archetypes as they are in the book either, but what I have found from friends who have seen him is that they are very elastic. You will get your your version of the archetype, which may vary greatly from what is presented in the book or on his Pinterest. That’s why I gave up on DIY–I know that if I went to see him, he would find the perfect place for me and what my version of the archetype looks like, but as they are on paper, none of them are relevant to me. One of my friends puts it as that your Kibbe Image ID is the role you’d be cast in, and the Zyla archetype would be the film itself (period/visual style/etc.), so there is just a lot of variation of what your “character” in that movie would look like.

  2. Gitte
    January 2, 2020 at 11:39 am

    I have been typed as a “spring” by my mom since I was little. But because of my “colourless” grey-green-blue eyes I got shoved into soft autumn by some blogger. Then I got an actual analysis (when I was a naïve 16 year old) in colorbreeze: sunlti soft autumn. That analysist is quite strict about the hair-, eye- and skincolours belonging to certain seasons, I don’t look like the textbook example whatsoever so it didn’t make sense. Also, hot pink is one of my best colours, making my skin glow, but it was on the SSA “avoid” list. (????) Then…Merriamstyle’s artistic license system. C&R (lol, totally different), I think because she says all very pale people are cool and I am for sure very pale. But some warm shades look great on me, if they’re bright! I have concluded by now I am most likely a clear spring or warm spring in 12-season, spring in 4 season like my mom always said. turquoize, bright red, hot pink and lime green are about my best colours. Coral blush and icy peach highlighter is invisible on me.

    • stylesyntax
      January 2, 2020 at 6:03 pm

      I feel like my experience would have been similar to yours (I also am pale with blue/green/gray eyes) and that’s why I’ve never paid anyone for an analysis, haha. All pale people being cool is total nonsense to me! Just because we don’t have as much melanin doesn’t mean there isn’t variation in temperature. I haven’t looked into Merriam’s color system at all, but it sounds like I would have as many problems with it as I do her interpretation of Kibbe, haha.

      • gitte
        January 3, 2020 at 4:34 am

        I did make me realize bright shades look good on me though, which I think was untrue being earlier analyzed as a soft autumn. So that’s something!

        • stylesyntax
          January 3, 2020 at 4:54 am

          I guess it *is* a system based on coloring where I’d get the “winter” colors, so that’s something! I watched the video today.

  3. Alexandra
    January 6, 2020 at 10:37 am

    In my experience, took me a while to get into the 4-season system, then 12-season system, but after a lot of digging and draping I realized that none of them served me. I am quite pale, but warm at the same time, by the way. What I dislike about season systems is that they create categories, while there can be different variations of the warmth/coolness in each of them. It makes sense to me that I simply follow my own coloring when choosing makeup and clothing – I go for colors that are a tiny bit on the warm side, but can get away with neutrals too. I also experiment with makeup a lot, which is how I use all the subtle details to put everything together. For instance, I could wear almost neutral camel turtleneck, but add a slightly warm lipstick and it looks great. I am a very imaginative person and a visual thinker, so I intuitively feel the details I need to get the look I opt for.
    I’ve tried DYT and, as you mentioned in your post, found it too limiting. I like Carol Tuttle though! Her observations are often so interesting. I especially liked the way she described social skills of T4 – ‘you’re social – on your terms’ – loved it!
    Overall, I found that for me Kibbe’s suggestions were spot on and I successfully apply them when shopping.

  4. Chana
    January 7, 2020 at 2:11 pm

    I have been analyzed as 4-season Summer, Soft Autumn, and Light Spring. The Light Spring palette mostly works for me, and now I understand the parts that don’t work because of my Zyla DIY project. While I’m pale and have warm green eyes and skin with a yellow undertone, I have blue-pink lips, and I need that warm/cool contrast to look like myself. In the past I would try to “fix” the blueness with lipstick/gloss, and that never worked out well. Now I have narrowed down my color palette considerably: yellows and warm greens with cool pinks/reds, blues, and violets. I prefer a small palette. I might try looking at the Zyla winter and summer archetypes again and think about movies/books. I’m confident that I’m a DYT 4/1 energy, and I have found the energy profiling very helpful. Thinking about my energy may help with thinking about Zyla archetypes.


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