A Matter of Tone

My wedding dress vision before my bridal dress consultation. Dress by David’s Bridal.

I have been preoccupied lately with finding my colors, looking for my season, and identifying my skin tone. It’s a part of the impeding nuptial frenzy for me, and really started with dress shopping a week after my engagement. The bridal stylist suggested ivory for me when I really wanted soft white.

Then came make-up considerations. I generally don’t wear cosmetics, but it’s my special day. However, a make-up artist is out of the question for me – I can’t afford it with the $5800 I allotted for myself. Besides, wanting to look your best for your wedding day will make most women second guess themselves and what styles work for them. (I don’t think men are excluded from this, but black tie dress puts the kibosh on many fashion and beauty options for the poor dears.)

At this point, I was stymied. I was searching for a dress appropriate for a courthouse ceremony, which had left me feeling defeated and ugly (the bridal appointment reinforced that). I was clueless about cosmetics, and terrified of attempting my own face on the big day, lest I look like the Joker with a hangover in my precious photos. So I did what I do best: research.

Since my mother shrieked at me once about wearing white, saying I “think I look good in white but really don’t,” after she dabbled in “Color Me Beautiful” and the bridal stylist steered me toward ivory, I decided discovering my season would be the ideal place to start. Besides, fictional Bridget Jones’s mother was always after her to get her colors done to boost her self esteem. I discovered during the course of my research that it’s a very British thing to do. I like British things, so why not?

The author’s wrist. The photo doesn’t do the color confusion justice. Are those veins blue? Purple? Green? Alien?

I began by borrowing Color Me a Season, available for free with Kindle Unlimited. It starts, like almost everything on fashion and beauty color analysis, by determining if you’re a cool or warm tone. For some people, it’s easy. Just look at your veins: blue means you’re cool and green means you’re warm. Mine were blue and green. Teal? Which precise point on the inside wrist was I supposed to be looking at? If you can’t decipher your vein hue, do the silver/gold test. Which blends and looks better? I couldn’t tell, although I leaned toward silver. Was that after years of reinforcement and training my eye to prefer silver? I have a couple of pieces of gold toned jewelry, and it looks nice on me. I just avoid purchasing it unless the piece is particularly pretty otherwise.

Once again, I was stumped. I skimmed two more books on seasonal color analysis, then took to Google. Google told me that there were three undertones to skin: cool, warm, and neutral. A revelation! I might be a neutral! A couple of quizzes later, I was convinced of it. The Bustle questionnaire was straightforward and complimentary, and full of information. Popsugar’s quiz gave percentages of warm and cool, but ultimately classified me as cool.

It explained so much. It now made sense, the conflicting opinions on white versus ivory, gold or silver, and why I received compliments on shirts in various seasonal color palettes.

People with neutral undertones are truly lucky once they embrace it. Their wardrobe palettes are more flexible and they have more choices in cosmetics. The options are open, but that can be overwhelming by itself.

So that left me with a new take on the same problem: how do I figure my season from here?

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