Students Explore the role of color in fashion and beauty.


Color is complicated and fascinating. It’s a huge factor in fashion design, product development, merchandising, and marketing.  If you are of a certain age, you may remember Carole Jackson’s “Color Me Beautiful,” a system developed in the 1980’s that helped consumers find a color palette that best suited their unique combination of skin tone (warm or cool) eye color and hair color. Using those factors, clients were assigned a color palette that represented one of the four seasons (Spring, Summer, Winter and Fall) as a guide for what colors they should wear to optimize and complement their natural coloring.

Several updated more detailed color analysis systems have become wildly popular on sites like TikTok and YouTube.  Developing the skill to do color analysis is important to fashion students pursuing careers in design, styling, product development, merchandising and retail.

Siba Fashion Development & Merchandising students recently participated in a color analysis exercise presented by guest speaker Alice Sydow of “Style Your Glow.” Sydow is a certified Color Analyst, Stylist, and image consultant.

Sydow instantly connected with Siba students and what followed was an extremely informative, fun session on the most current and detailed color analysis method. The demonstration started with a brief explanation about color science and color psychology, and then one lucky fashion student volunteered for a personalized color analysis performed by Sydow, with input from the rest of the class.

Sydow’s analysis uses a 12 tonal system that provides more of a spectrum than the 1980’s four seasons approach. For example, one might be a Light Summer, True Summer, or Bright Summer rather than a just a Summer of the original Color Me Beautiful 4 tonal system.  An example of the 12 tonal system pictured below.

A simple starting point for color analysis is to determine whether the skin tone is warm or cool by comparing white and off-white fabric around the face, and then doing the same with gold and silver fabric.  Chances are, if gold and off-white look better on you, you are warm. If white and silver look better, you are cool. Sydow and the other students agreed that our volunteer’s skin tone was cool. Below are various color palettes in the 12 tonal system that were each draped around the volunteer’s face.

The students immediately noticed dramatic differences in the volunteer’s skin, hair, and eyes, depending upon the color palette placed around her face.  Below is a photo of a palette that was not the volunteer’s best, because the colors are too strong and deep for her coloring.

A much more flattering color palette is pictured below. All agreed that “Soft Summer” brought out the volunteer’s complexion, eye, lip, and hair color the best.  She seemed to sparkle!

Students learned a valuable new skill from the relatable, knowledgeable, engaging Ms. Sydow and had a blast in the process!  If you are interested in more information, check out Alice Sydow at @styleyourglow369 on Instagram and styleyourglow369 on TikTok.

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