Every night before bed I try to read a few pages of my book to decompress, but in most cases I end up mindlessly scrolling through TikTok. My algorithm feeds me videos of animals, home renovations, the Montessori method (I’m never quite sure how I got there because I don’t have kids, but I digress) and videos random fashion. That’s how I dove into stylist and color expert Toks color analysis Mariana Marques of The curator of the outfit. Marques helps people figure out which colors look good on them through in-person and online consultations — and she often shares that process with her clients on social media.
Although this fashion practice is not new — Caroline Jacksonauthor of color me beautiful, introduced the idea of personal color analysis to mainstream fashion in the 80s – it is once again attracting the attention of a new audience: millennials and zoomers who consume Brands’ TikTok videos. (A seven second clip has 2.2 million views, and counting.) She started providing the service three years ago and noted that the concept is very popular in her native home of Brazil right now.
“The approach to thinking about [color analysis] has changed since the 80s,” Marques tells me. “In Brazil, for example, the two big companies specializing in this field – Imagine Studio and solved — [target] young and fashionable [people]. In the US, I think color analysis was related to image consultants [like the older generation]but now that is changing with social media.
“One thing I realized when I asked my clients why they wanted to do color analysis is that a lot of them have a change in their lives,” adds Marques. “They’ve lost a lot of weight, had young kids and are now starting to shop again, or they’re getting married… [Color analysis] gives them information on what looks good on them, so they can change their closets.
Truth be told, even though I work in fashion and wear what I want, I never understood Why colors like brown suit me better than, say, a neon green. If there was a science behind it I wanted to know, so I caught up with Marques while she was in New York to get my own personal color analysis. (She offers in person consulting services in NYC, LA and Miami – or you can book an appointment virtually).
“We test four things: lightness or darkness, color saturation [on you], temperature and contrast you have. After getting those four elements, we see the final color palette you have,” Marques tells me. The color palettes are categorized by seasons: winter, spring, summer and fall. And in these seasons, the shade ranges are further broken down into cool winter, clear winter, deep winter or mild summer, light summer and cool summer, etc.
Below, Marques explains what each of the four categories she tests mean:
“Refers to the degree of lightness or darkness of a color. It measures the relative degree of black or white mixed into a given hue. Adding white makes the color lighter (creates tints) and adding black makes it darker (creates tints).
“Refers to the purity or intensity of a given hue (color). One hundred percent saturation means there is no gray added to the hue. The color is completely pure. At the other extreme, a hue with 0% saturation appears as a medium gray. The more saturated a color is, the more vivid or luminous it appears. Desaturated colors, on the other hand, appear duller.
“The perceived warmth or coolness of a color. Warm being a yellow-based color and cold being blue-based colors.
For color analysis, when we say temperature, we look at the undertone of the skin. Skin tone and undertones are two different things. Your skin Your is the color you see first in the mirror – light, light, medium, dark, deep, or somewhere in between. Your skin tone can change depending on factors such as sun exposure. Your skin tone is the permanent underlying color that your complexion casts (i.e. warm, cool, or neutral).
“It’s the difference in color depth (light or dark) between your eyes, your hair and your skin. “It’s important because in personal coloring you work with the concept of harmony: the idea is to repeat the natural contrast that the person already has in their clothes and makeup.”
Now, we put a few of these categories to the test:
Soft (L) vs Shiny (R)
“Soft colors make your face look duller while bright colors make it look ‘healthier’. Your cheeks are rosy, your lips are pinker too. Bright colors brighten you up,” Marques says.
Hot (L) or cold (R)
“The heat makes your skin look yellow. Meanwhile, your teeth look whiter with the cool. Also this [cool color] lights you up,” Marques says. After 30 minutes of endless fabric swatches and going through the four main test categories, we determined my seasonal color palette: I’m a cool winter.
“Winter is a cooler, brighter and darker color palette,” Marques shares. “Cool winter would be mostly cool, medium to bright (no muted/muted colors), and medium to dark darkness (no bright colors). People with this color palette typically have medium contrast to high or dark-low contrast (dark skin, eyes and hair).Usually we don’t have people with light-low contrast (light skin, eyes and hair) who are winters.
The cold shades of winter:
Before I emptied my entire closet of clothes that didn’t fall into the winter cool category, however, I remembered that this test was less stringent “you can’t wear these colors at alland more of a guide to picking colors that work with my skin tone rather than taking it off or fighting it. a cool shade are better in silver. But that’s one area I won’t concede, so if I’m looking into gold balls – so be it!)
“You have a very contrasting side because your skin is fair and your hair is darker. Your eyes are also darker,” says Marques. “So to have the same contrast between your clothes and your face, you have to wear clothes high contrast. For example, darker floral prints on a light or black/white background, which is the highest contrast. Meanwhile, a monochromatic outfit was not the best combination for me because Marques deemed it low-contrast.
Marques shares that one way I can incorporate colors outside of my seasonal color palette, which I love, is to work the pieces down or into my accessories because they’re not next to my face. “If you want to wear lighter colors, you can try putting the lighter colors on the bottom and the darker ones on the top because remember that you only see the darker [color palette] was better [on you].”
Since I received my test results and uploaded the ColorApp – a digital way to easily pull off my cool winter palette when shopping – I took advice from Marques and tried to buy some pieces in these shade ranges. I feel more informed as a consumer, and as a result, it makes me less inclined to chase after seasonal style trends that might not be the best fit for me. And for that, I have Marques and my TikTok algorithm to thank.