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Two tips to tell warm from cool when shopping

Feb 3, 2022 · Colour Theory

There are only two skin undertones - warm and cool. Knowing if you’re warm or cool is key to getting your wardrobe working for you. But how do you identify warm and cool when you’re shopping?

First, some quick basics so that the tips make sense! The colour wheel can be divided into warm and cool. Warm colours are red, orange and yellow and Cool colours are green, blue and violet. Simple, yes? But what about when you’re looking for a cool red, or a warm blue? Do they even exist?!

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1. Use the SOS colour cards to compare against the material

The little warm and cool colour swatches that you receive with a SOS clothing purchase are so useful. They can help you work out your skin undertone, and then you can use them when you’re shopping.

 Use the colour cards by holding them up to an item of clothing and you should get a sense of whether the colour is cool or warm. For some people, seeing a colour by itself makes it more difficult. So if you compare a colour to the warm swatch, that helps immensely. To double-check, also compare it with the cool colours, to make it really obvious. 

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 2. Use what you know about the colour wheel

When you don’t have your cards as a tool, use the knowledge you’ve learnt! Think about the colour wheel and use that to identify tones in the colours.

Here are some handy pointers:

  • A blue is warm if it has yellow in it. Look for turquoise blues
  • A blue is cool if it has violet in it. Look for true navy and pure blues
  • A green is warm if it has yellow in it. Look for lime greens or yellow greens
  • A green is cool if it has blue in it. Look for emerald greens and teals
  • A purple is warm if it has a red tone to it. Look for purples with more red than blue
  • A purple is cool if it has a strong blue base. Look for purples with a blue tones
  • Orange can never be cool - sorry! This is because it has warm colours on either side in the colour wheel so we can’t get a cool tone.

 Happy shopping!