Color Me Beautiful

That little black dress may be essential to a girl’s wardrobe. It’s slimming, simple, and elegant. For decades women have been inspired by the simple black sheath Givenchy dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in the film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

The Brilliance of Color

While the brilliance of black had its share of appeal in cultural history, let’s not forget how popular color was to fashion. According to Time Magazine, the call for clothes of color skyrocketed between 1947 and 1970 due to family income doubling and consumer spending accounting for about two-thirds of the gross national product.

If you grew up watching 1970s shows like “That Girl” and “Mary Tyler Moore” you’d see how significant color was in fashion. Color was just as important as tight t-shirts, flared pants, sweaters, and knee-high boots. But just because color is in vogue, it doesn’t mean everything goes. Some colors, no matter how gorgeous you are, cannot be pulled off if you don’t have the right skin tone for that particular shade. A certain hue may make you look tired or washed out. But with the right color or colors, you’ll look phenomenal! That’s what Carole Jackson taught us in her 1981 color bible, Color Me Beautiful.

The seasonal color analysis was big in the 1980s with many authors writing books about it. But it was Jackson’s book that was the most successful.

From the Art and the Mind

Jackson developed her color theory expertise while taking painting classes and studying psychology at Stanford University. After graduating magna cum laude, she studied fashion and color theory at the Fashion Academy in California. And she completed course work for a master’s in education at the State University of New York. She also worked as an actress and model—so she knew the fashion industry.

Finding Your Perfect Fashion Palette

Jackson uses nature’s four seasons to help women decide the colors that look best. Her system takes into consideration eye color, skin tone, and hair color. Once you figure out if you’re a winter, spring, summer, or autumn, you’ll discover the perfect hues for not only your wardrobe but also your makeup, accessories, and hair color!

So, how do you figure out which palette is yours? You can analyze yourself in your wardrobe against a mirror. Be honest and ask yourself, “Do I feel pretty? Do I look my best? Am I often complimented when wearing this shade?”

Examine the color wheel. Autumns are usually freckled redheads with white skin. They look amazing in burnt orange or chocolate brown. A blue-eyed blonde would be spring and ideally sporting periwinkle, coral, or violet. Black or Asian women are winters. They look elegant in black and white and can also pull off ruby red and royal blue. Summer girls have light or medium-brown colored hair and blue or hazel eyes. Rose and plum shades are best on them.

Bear in mind, you must also take into consideration your color personality. Misinterpreting your colors can backfire. For example, if you’re a quiet type, a loud leopard print coat isn’t a good idea. But complementing your coloring with your body type and personality can truly make you shine. To do this, begin with your go-to color combo that best suits you and add a mere touch of color accent to make your outfit pop. For example, a winter may wear a neutral grey suit with a pop of pink color via a scarf.

While most women wear their colors well, there are factors to consider—hair color, depth of skin tone, and what colors look best near the face. If you have a favorite shade that doesn’t work for you, don’t despair, shoes are a great way to showcase color.

Jackson swears that by purchasing clothes only from your season’s palette that you’ll look terrific whether you’re in a t-shirt or ball gown. And that your wardrobe will be automatically coordinated. You’ll also learn how to declutter your closet and use accessories.

After penning Color Me Beautiful, Jackson became a retail success selling swatch packets, color-coordinated by season. Women could conveniently use colorful swatches while clothes shopping. Jackson also had a flourishing line of cosmetics. She is still going strong today with Carole Jackson Colors website where you can instantly determine which color you are:

What colors make you feel beautiful? Tell us in the comments below!


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