The Importance of Color Theory in Image Consulting

Color Theory

Color theory and its role in fashion have always been relevant, but seem to be rising in popularity these days. A person’s “season,” whether soft, light, cool, deep, clear or warm, defines what colors are ideal for them to wear. This method of finding a person’s most suitable color palette is undoubtedly interesting, yet there is also immense truth to many of these results.

As an image consultant, it is convenient to learn about the rules of color theory. Many of you have probably done so already. The beauty and utility of it all is that color theory does not have a singular application. Rather, it is the type of thing that you can find in a multitude of settings, from clothing dyes and accessorizing to interior design and beyond. Color theory is something that your clients will love to learn about as you explain your styling decisions to them.


The basics of color theory funnel down into contrasting and complementary colors. When considering a person’s image, the foundation of their personalized color palette is the color of their skin, eyes and hair. Through the analysis of these color tones, typically by color swatching and other techniques, an image consultant can determine the shades that enhance a person’s facial features and those that emphasize their personal style. Thereafter, it is easy for you to build lists of “good” and “bad” colors specific to your client.

This process offers a great way to develop a relationship with your clients, especially in the initial stages when you are first getting to know them. Colors are an easy concept for anyone to understand. As an image consultant, when you share the insights that you have about your client’s personal color palette, it is advice that they will be able to carry with them forever. All said and done, it can change their lives. While simple enough, color theory is an influential tool that can reinforce the trust you share with your clients.

Colors create a strong foundation not just for the personal relationship you build with your clients, but as a continual support of the logic behind the styling decisions you make for them. In a client wants to change their look, you can help them update their personal color palette to match a new hair color, for example. The same applies vice versa. If your client has a preference towards wearing or using certain colors, you can suggest the corresponding changes in their physical appearance to ensure that their image maintains its harmony.

With the skill of color theory under your belt, your work as an image consultant will never fall short of excellent. There is no doubt that utilizing color balance will guarantee that you build wardrobes and generate images for your clients that are adaptable to every situation.


Due to their nature, there are basic colors that cannot be missing in any wardrobe: white, black, blue and nude or beige colors. No matter the skin tone, hair or body shape, a white shirt and black pants will give everyone comfort, confidence and elegance in one piece. But, depending on the skin and hair hues, the best colors to wear are:

Warm skin

They are people who have skin with a golden tone or yellowish touches. It can also be spotted by hair color, which ranges from deep brown to dark blonde. In this case, the best colors to wear are orange, red and yellow, which are considered warm. The people with warm skin can also wear items in cool tones, such as olive green, turquoise and magenta. Avoid brown and beige colors in jackets or shirts, since these mimic the skin and make the person look dull. Instead, replace them for colors such as turquoise blue, green, yellow and salmon.

Cold skin

Those who belong to this group have certain bluish tones on the skin, especially where the veins show through. By looking at the hair, people with cold skin tend to have very dark or very light hair tones. For these people, the best colors to wear are cool hues like blue, sapphire, deep purple and lavender; or warm tones like bright pink and cherry. Whiter or lighter skins look great with colors such as black, gray, dark blue, beige, white, red, gold and silver. All primary colors complement well with cold skins.

Neutral skin

This group is made up of people who find it more difficult to determine whether they have warmer or colder skin. Their hair is normally a combination of blonde with brown strands or brown with mixed highlights. Some colors that look good on people with neutral skin are light peach, pastel pink, blue, jade green, red, white, shades of gray, navy and beige.


Once you find out if your clients’ skin is warm or cold, it is convenient to make another differentiation that will help you to further define the colors that best suit them and that will improve their style. For that, it is necessary to know a subdivision called ‘the four seasons’. People can be winter, summer, spring or fall.

If the skin is cold, the person will belong to the winter or summer subdivision.

  • Winter: The skin is white, cream, ash or olive; the hair is tan, gray dark brown, and the eyes are black, dark brown, blue (dark or ash) or green (dark or gray). The colors that suit them are cool and dark tones: black, navy blue, purple, red, bottle green or emerald and magenta. As well, light colors like white, yellow or gray. On the contrary, it is better that they avoid beiges, orange, military green or gold.
  • Summer: The skin is light; the eyes blue, gray or green; and the hair blond, ash, light or medium brown. The colors that best suit them are pastels like pale yellow, purple, violet, pale pink, mint green or silver. Also, neutral tones such as white or gray. Avoid earth and orange hues.

If the person is warm-skinned, they will be in the spring or fall subdivision.

  • Spring: The skin is light with a yellow base (vanilla, creams, delicate-looking skin); the eyes are also light (blue, green, amber, olive…); and the hair is light or golden blonde, copper or reddish blonde. The colors that suit them are golden yellow, salmon, vibrant blue, orange, caramel, gold, brown, ivory and lemon green. On the contrary, the colors to avoid are very dark and/or muted ones such as black, dark gray, ocher or dark blue.
  • Fall: The skin tone is ivory, cinnamon, tan, gold or they have freckles; the eyes are shades of brown or honey; and the hair is red, chocolate or copper blonde. The colors that look best are earth shades: orange, mustard, coral, yellow, terracotta, gold, camel, khaki or brown. Avoid pastel colors, gray, wine and bottle green.


In summer, it is necessary to take into account that the lightest skins can become neutral/intermediate and the brunettes can darken even more because of the tanning process. As a general rule, many colors suit intermediate skins (red, blue, white, black, green…); and for dark skin, tones that highlight it are white, yellow, fuchsia or green. A good trick is that, within the color palette that suits each person depending on the season, choose the most cheerful and radiant for your clients’ summer looks and create more muted and darker outfits for autumn and winter.

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