The Misunderstood Season

True Summer hydrangea

During my almost 30-year career as a personal color analyst and doing colors in both the 4-season and 12-season systems, one thing remains consistent – the misunderstood season.

In the early 90s, before the internet and social media were the norm, my clients came from my talking with people and from referrals. Invariably, I would get clients who had their colors done before, even two or three times. I saw a pattern emerge when these clients said they had been put in Spring, Summer, Autumn and sometimes Winter. They were so confused. We still have this issue today.

Each season’s color requirements from the ‘80s and ‘90s relied heavily on stereotypes… Springs had blue eyes and golden hair; Winters had dark hair and brown or blue or green eyes; Summers were blonde with blue eyes, and Autumns were redheads.

This was a good place to start, but certainly wasn’t all-encompassing. Plus, at that time, color analysis was focused mainly on Caucasians.

A new perspective

Over time, especially with the 12-tone system, things changed. Thankfully, for the better. We now know that all hair colors can be in any of the 12 seasons, though they vary from season to season. For example, the natural red hair color of a Dark Winter will be different from the red of a Light Summer. We also know that skin colors can span seasons… brown, black, and yellow skin tones can also be found in most all the seasons.

So how could a person be told they were three seasons? I used to think it was because we only had 4 seasons to choose from which wasn’t specific enough. But, the most misunderstood season was, and still can be – True Summer.


True Summers can have blonde, red, brunette, and black hair. But wait, if you have either dark brown or black hair and/or skin, you must be Winter, right? 

yellow flowers - summerAnd if you have red hair, you must be Autumn or Spring, right?

Also, if you have warm overtones, you can’t be True Summer, right?

The answer to each of these questions is a definite NO.

I see many True Summers…


To Be Continued.

Terry Wildfong divides her time between California and Michigan. In addition to in-person Color Analysis, Terry is also an instructor for the Color Analyst training program. Please click the link buttons below for more information.
Terry Wildfong

3 thoughts on “The Misunderstood Season

  1. Monika says:

    I very agree, Terry. Being a redhead True Summer I know exactly what you´re talking about. I´ve been put in all Autumns and Springs types during decades, untill I finally recognized I was too cool for them. When I first applied TSu´s makeup (from 12blueprints), it was like a magic. For the first time the makeup didn´t sit on my skin, but melted seemlessly into my face. Since then I´ve been enjoying my rare beauty and am finally happy after decades!

  2. Mary says:

    I feel so validated by this! I have been obsessed with seasonal color analysis since the ‘80s but could never confidently find my place in a season until my SciArt analysis a few years ago revealed I am a True Summer. I am one of those people whose appearance defies the stereotypes for True Summer. There were always colors I just couldn’t wear in each seasonal palette I considered a possibility over the years (Light Spring, Light Summer, and Soft Autumn), yet I couldn’t conceive the possibility of being a True Summer! Interestingly enough, I have worn True Summer makeup colors throughout my life because they are the ones that enhance my appearance in a believable, natural way. I’m looking forward to the next installment of this post!

  3. Jennifer Connolly says:

    Thank you for this Terry!
    I was told I was a winter, spring, autumn, and summer over the years, so I was totally confused.
    I’m still learning what it means to be a true summer and am so grateful to have finally been properly typed.
    I thought summer meant soft summer but those colors washed me out. I’m still learning what true summer is and am so excited to be on the right path.

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