Fashion Magazine

How to Pick the Undertone of a Colour

By Imogenl @ImogenLamport

Following on from my post the other day, here are some more examples of the differences between warm and cool undertones of colours.

When picking undertones, you want to look at what the color is made of, as if you were painting it, and think about what colours you’d mix together to create it.  If you’re adding yellow to a colour, you’re warming it up.  If it needs some blue, you’re cooling it down, though with purples, adding red warms it up, adding blue cools it down.  As you can see with the following pictures, whether the colours are lighter, darker, brighter or more muted, you can still have warm or cool undertones.

Light colours with white added are called tints

Colour Undertones - Tints


Colour Undertones – Tints by imogenl featuring pink tops

Dark colours with black added are called shades.

Colour Undertones - Shades


Colour Undertones – Shades by imogenl featuring a knit sweater

Greyed down, muted, smokey or dusky colours with gray added are called tones.

Colour Undertones - Tones


Colour Undertones – Tones by imogenl featuring a flutter sleeve top

Then there are the pure, bright colours which don’t have lots of black, white or gray added to them and keep their clarity.

Colour Undertones - Pure


Colour Undertones – Pure by imogenl featuring long sleeve tops

As you can see there are no cool oranges. Because orange is made from combining red and yellow, and you can’t add anything to cool it down (such as blue, but to add enough to cool it down, it becomes brown).

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