scorecardI spent $130 to get my colors professionally analyzed last year. It's been one of the best (and worst) investments I've made.
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I spent $130 to get my colors professionally analyzed last year. It's been one of the best (and worst) investments I've made.

Paige DiFiore   

I spent $130 to get my colors professionally analyzed last year. It's been one of the best (and worst) investments I've made.
LifeThelife5 min read

  • Last year, I paid $130 to get my colors analyzed by a professional, who told me I'm an autumn.
  • The expert told me to avoid cool colors and silver, instead opting for gold and warm shades.

Last year, I got my colors professionally analyzed. It's been one of the best and worst things I've done for my self-esteem.

Leading up to the analysis, I'd become obsessed with the idea that each person has a "season" of colors that look best on them — winter, spring, summer, or autumn — based on their eye color, hair color, and skin tone.

$130 and multiple photos of myself in natural lighting without makeup later, the expert told me I was an autumn.

Based on my assessment, my power colors (shades I look best in) are navy, orange, violet, brown, and olive green. I was advised to avoid stark white and black — two colors, I was told, that only shine on winters — because I had warm undertones and looked best in gold jewelry. I was advised to skip silver jewelry and black, white, fuchsia, and cool-toned clothing. The recommendations extended to makeup, meaning I should be opting for warmer shades and not cool ones.

At first, a lot of this was unfortunate news, as I'd exclusively owned silver jewelry for my entire life and black was a staple color in my wardrobe. I felt like I'd been lying to myself and sabotaging myself for years.

In the months since, I've changed how I dress, accessorize, and do my makeup — for better and for worse.

I don't reach for or buy the same clothes and accessories anymore

Now, I limit myself when I shop for clothes, even if not always on purpose. My eyes zero in on anything that's chocolate brown, orange, or any other color in my "autumn" range.

I reach for things I know are in my season and sometimes don't let myself try things on if they're not. This is good news for my wallet, but it's definitely a habit I want to break because I still love wearing bright colors even if they're not my "power shades."

When I was shopping for my winter wardrobe, I ended up purchasing two orange sweaters and a cream one with olive and burgundy specks. I would never, ever have worn mustard-colored clothing before this analysis and now I own a few pieces of it.

It was exciting to branch out of my comfort zone, but there were a few times I found myself longingly looking at the black and light-blue options.

I haven't bought silver jewelry in a year, instead slowly adding gold pieces to my collection.

After the analysis, I made it very clear to my partner that my metal preference for engagement rings has entirely changed (I'm glad I figured out I'm warm-toned before it was too late — he's glad he bought the ring after I did my analysis). I love how my gold ring looks, and I think it looks way better than silver would have.

I'd like to say I still wear whatever I want, but my olive-green and orange sweaters are worn way more frequently than the fuschia and black ones, which are now at the bottom of my dresser.

But I feel like my brain has been rewired and I'm more insecure about things I wasn't before

The con of getting a color analysis is when I wear a color I "know" isn't best for me, I'm very aware of it.

And, because I have talked about this so much, so are some of my friends. Recently when I wore black, a friend of mine gasped in horror and (jokingly) exclaimed, "You're not wearing your colors!"

In a way, knowing and wearing my power colors feels like a secret hack to looking good — why would I wear anything else?

I don't feel comfortable wearing some pieces I used to love, especially if they're cool-toned. A lilac shirt I used to wear almost weekly is now shoved in the bottom of my drawer because each time I wear it I can't stop thinking about how it washes me out.

I recently put on an emerald-green sweater — a power color for "winters" — and just knew I'd never feel 100% in it. My olive-green tops have been getting so much more wear.

Now that I'm wedding planning, I'm also stressed at the prospect of building a "bridal wardrobe" and picking a wedding dress because as a "true" autumn I shine in rich, dense warm colors. Sadly, those don't overlap with bridal colors. White, ivory, blush, and cream supposedly wash me out.

Maybe it sounds ridiculous, but there's something about actively wearing something I know isn't doing me any favors that really brings out my most insecure teenage self who's easily influenced by others' opinions and advice.

During my middle school and high school years, I was insecure, especially about my weight. I almost exclusively wore black because magazines said it was slimming. I avoided horizontal stripes, too, because I read one article that said they can make you look bigger. I don't even know if either of those things is true, but I internalized them for years.

Stripes and I are in a good place now, but wearing black is now harder for me to do because I was told that it's not in my season.

On the bright side, I became more confident wearing different colors and have felt inspired to take fashion risks

After being pretty wrong about what colors I looked good in, I wondered what else I could pull off.

Finally, I had the confidence to wear gold hoop earrings and orange sweaters. I started trying out more fashions I'd long admired but had been scared of — halter dresses, square-necked bodysuits, cream-colored boots.

I even bought and fell in love with olive-green and brown leather pants. (Fine, old habits die hard. I also bought them in black.)

I've also improved my makeup game and cut out some decision fatigue

Buying makeup can feel super overwhelming when there are tons of blush, bronzer, and eye shadow options out there. Fortunately, I've found that knowing my season has cut back my decision fatigue when I'm trying to figure out which lipstick or blush to buy.

Since I was told your season can impact which makeup shades look best on you, I've begun buying (and falling in love with) coral, peachy blushes instead of cool-toned pinks. I've now ditched my cool-toned pink lipsticks in favor of warm pinky browns, and I've loved how much more natural they look on my face. Now, when I apply the cool colors they seem almost out of place and disjointed from my skin and hair.

I've leaned into gold, orange eyeshadows and finally left my silver ones behind. I think doing my makeup in autumn-friendly shades has made a huge difference for the better, making me look more glowy and warm.

Overall, getting my colors analyzed has made me more thoughtful about what I wear — but I still plan to grow and take risks

When I was at a recent bar crawl, I got tons of compliments on my bright-pink sweater that was definitely not in my autumn color palette. But I felt great in it and the people around me liked it, too. It felt like a small win.

I'm still working on prioritizing how clothes make me feel regardless of their season (and mine). At the end of the day, clothes should make you feel good. And now I know if I'm not feeling so sure about myself, throwing on gold earrings and an olive-green shirt will always give me a confidence boost.