If the Hue Fits, Wear It, Says Seasonal Color Analyst and Author Carole Jackson
The technique is outlined in Jackson's recent best-seller, Color Me Beautiful (Ballantine Books, $8.95). She begins by dividing people into four groups—Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring—based on skin, eye and hair color. For example, Summer types, such as the Princess of Wales, Cary Grant and Cheryl Tiegs, tend to have blue, green or hazel eyes and light brunet, dark ash brown or frosty blond hair. Their skin has blue undertones and usually their cheeks are visibly pink. These people look best in soft neutrals and pastels and should never wear black or pure white.
Autumns have skin with golden undertones and usually colorless cheeks. Their hair may be red, brunet or honey blond, their eyes brown or green. Ann-Margret, Robert Redford and Katharine Hepburn fall into this category. Warm reds and brown tones are their best hues—they are the only group that can wear bright orange—but pink and navy are verboten. And when their hair begins to turn gray, Jackson says, dye it!
The greatest number of people fall into the Winter group. Well-known Winters include Liz Taylor and Jackie Onassis, both of whom have the characteristic deep-colored eyes, very dark hair and fair skin. Blacks, Orientals and olive-skinned people also tend to be in this category. Jackson, herself a Winter, recommends sharp, vivid or icy colors for this bunch, who are the only ones who should wear black and pure white.
The most delicate-skinned types are the Springs, like Jimmy Carter and Sally Struthers. They have golden-toned hair and ivory skin with rosy cheeks and blue or green eyes. Their best shades are clear and warm, like turquoise and peach.
Can a person fall into more than one category? "No," insists the 39-year-old author. "Some are on the cusp, but they still look best in the colors of one season. Every person can wear almost any color," she adds. "It's the shade and intensity that count." For those living in Seattle, Dallas, Minneapolis, New York or Washington, D.C., there are Jackson-trained color analysts who charge an average of $45 for group sessions and $75 for private color consultations. Others can turn to Jackson's book, which comes complete with charts and checklists plus 30 optimal color shadings for each season. In it she advises readers first to think of the shades they've worn that have elicited the most compliments and then to evaluate their own coloring. If the correct season is still in doubt, Jackson's ultimate test is to swathe oneself in the hues of competing seasons before making the final determination.
The daughter of a surgeon and a newspaperwoman, Jackson grew up in Los Angeles. She earned a B.A. in French from Stanford University, but it was not until she took a few painting classes that she discovered her special knack. In fact, her only formal training in color analysis was a one-month course at the Fashion Academy in Costa Mesa, Calif., plus a stint learning color separation with a Washington, D.C. printing firm.
Twice divorced (her first husband was a Winter, the second a Summer) and the mother of two, Jackson doesn't claim to have originated her color concept; she concedes it was created some 60 years ago by artist Johannes Itten of Germany's legendary Bauhaus school. But she will take credit for helping popularize it. Her book has sold more than 300,000 copies.
What about the rainbow of "mistakes" hanging in one's closet, or a husband who insists his Spring wife wear black? "Don't throw everything out," says Jackson. "Just don't wear the wrong colors near your face. And if black turns your man on, wear it in the bedroom."