Dear Kathi,

I have often wondered about colors and what they mean in clothing. Is red always a power color or does it depend on my skin tone and hair color? How do I find my power color?

Can you please tell me what my power colors are? I have blond hair, blue eyes and am curious about which colors I should wear to project confidence and look my best.

Paula > Encinitas


Power colors are based on three factors: eyes, hair and skin. For instance, if you have a peachy skin tone, you are probably a ‘spring,’ based on the Color Me Beautiful analysis, which likens people’s coloring to the seasons. If your skin is more of a rosy pink, you are probably a ‘summer.’ Red definitely is not always a power color. It works best for ‘winter’ complexions.

You did leave out an important part of your description: your skin tone. Without knowing which applies to you, and to help other readers, I will answer this question for all combinations, using Carole Jackson’s Color Me Beautiful guidelines.

Dark solid colors are typically the most powerful. Once you find the color that best suits you, buy it in a dark solid color. Take note of comments you receive when you wear certain colors. If you frequently hear that you look great when you wear a certain top or jacket, this could be your power color. The color closest to your face is the one that gives you the most power.

A great color will make your eyes sparkle and your skin appear vibrant and healthy.

Spring palettes typically have golden blond hair and green eyes. They look best in clear, warm, crisp colors. Being the most delicate of all seasons, they need to avoid black, pure white and colors with blue undertones.

Springs should choose colors that are golden and warm. Aqua and turquoise are great colors for springs, as is deep milk chocolate brown.

Summer palettes often have blue skin undertones that might appear pink. Usually blond as children, their hair turns light or darker brown with ash overtones as they mature. Eyes are most often green, blue, aqua, gray or soft hazel.

Great power colors for summer tones are soft grayish navy and deep lavender. Colors to avoid are black, pure white and colors with yellow undertones.

Winter palettes are best in primary colors. A winter complexion will have clear white skin and very dark hair. Blue-black hair is typical of winters as is silver gray or salt and pepper. Their eyes are black-brown, hazel, green-gray or dark blue.

Winters look fabulous in clear colors with sharp contrasts. They are the only season that can wear pure white and look great. They should avoid gold, rust, peach and most browns. Wonderful power colors for winters are royal purple or blue, as well as emerald green.

Autumns normally have golden undertones in their skin, dark hair and golden brown or hazel eyes. A small few will have pale blue or teal eyes but this is uncommon. Their hair is most often touched with red or golden highlights, ranging from strawberry blonde to copper and auburn.

Terra cotta and deep oranges are definite autumn power colors. Autumns should avoid pinks, burgundies and purples. Instead, choose cranberry, golds and deep tomato reds.

There is a lot more to say about colors and power than this 500-word column allows. If your curiosity is peaked and you wish to read more, pick up a copy of Color Me Beautiful by Carole Jackson.

Thanks for writing and don’t hesitate to write with any other specific questions.

Please submit your questions to: [email protected]

San Diego Professional Organizer