True Winter

Pure and graphic, True Winter is a season of bracing extremes.

This palette contains classic Christmas colours and shares the stark beauty of frosted holly, icy skies above polar landscapes, jade icebergs and the black and white the world becomes when it snows.



True Winter is extremely high contrast, completely cool, low value and very bright.

There’s no warm, neutral or yellow-based colours here whatsoever.

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The spiritual home of pure black and white, True Winter is a fascinating season.

In the natural world, these colours generally appear in places bestowed with deep cold because that’s what True Winter is - the heart of a frozen world.

Imagine a vast icebound vista doused in crystalline light from a low yellow-white sun, Arctic waves on a snowy beach, glaciers, icicles and snow capped mountain tops.

True Winter’s colours have vivid clarity and crisp edges, making them easily recognised over long distances and useful for heraldic or flag designs.

These are also the colours of precious stones and kings - emerald, jade, ruby and sapphire; Tyrian purple, royal blue and imperial red.

Pinks are diverse but the range of red is limited, with less variance than the Dark and Bright Winter palettes.

Fuchsia, orchid and dark violet are key colours.

Greys are formed from different mixes of pure black and white, sometimes with a drop of deep purple, creating a kind of steely taupe.

Aureolin, sulphur and cobalt yellow round out the palette.

Icy lights are an interesting feature of all Winter seasons.

Often mistaken for pastels, these colours are created by adding a drop or two of pure coloured pigment to white.

They are very bright and extremely static, lacking the soft powdered or watery quality of pastels.

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If it looks remotely warm, keep away at all costs.

Yellow gold, rose gold, anything bronzy, brassy or coppery - none of it connects with your glacial beauty.

Luckily silver, white gold, titanium, platinum and palladium are incredible.

Finishes need to gleam sleek and precise. High shine, polish and reflective surfaces are all terrific.

Shimmer is fine but it can be too soft and gentle on True Winters with the subtle effect tending to disappear.

Anything antique or rough-textured is too earthy and will look coarse.

Glitter is a hard, dense version of sparkle and looks regal and expensive on True Winters.

Precious stones in their classic colours are perfect - opt for angled or faceted cuts.

Swarovski crystal is spectacular.

Smooth porcelain and ceramic are True Winter materials and sometimes used to make jewellery.

If the piece is very polished and contains the right purity of colour, it should suit you.



Glasses for True Winters are easy - for a classic look, stick with cool toned metals and black.

Because of the palette’s high contrast, your face can take very light lights, all the way to white.

This doesn’t translate to high value however, so if you want frames in one of your lighter colours, make sure it reads as heavy on your face even if the frame is finer.

You need definition so avoid lightweight, barely there or rimless styles.

Some clear or transparent detailing can be ok in limited amounts but incorporate lots of darkness to avoid the frames looking insubstantial or flimsy.

Rhinestones or other blingy details add interest and dimension.


Wardrobe basics

The easiest True Winter blue denim is solid navy or very dark, almost purpled, indigo.

Beware of stitching in brown or yellow tones. Even a tiny amount of localised warmth will throw your look.

Ripped jeans are fine but avoid wear or fade as these effects look shabby on you.

Pure white should be so sharp and blinding it looks almost blue.

Look for the thickest, most opaque version of black available - jet, coal, raven, the most solid, glossy obsidian you can find.

Although black and white suit all Winters, only True Winter can wear them alone together and still look finished.

For a change, replace black with steely grey, blackened navy and deep violet, and white with icy lights or silver.

Try not to wear all-over black. If most of your outfit is dark, explore your accents or metallics to create that all-important contrast.

The classic tux was made for True Winters.

Patent leather is amazing.

True Winter has everyone’s go-to neutrals - black, white, navy and grey. They are so ubiquitous they have become commonplace and mundane.

But on a True Winter, the vast power of these colours becomes apparent.

Only this season can balance the astronomical dominance of black and white, which eat other palettes for breakfast.

In fact, unless you’ve seen these colours on a True Winter, you haven’t seen them at their best.



Embrace the luscious depth of your black-brown, natural grey, onyx or black hair.

It is very unlikely for a True Winter to be a blonde or redhead.

It’s best not to even go there, you won’t find any “real” colours in this range that will suit you.

100% cool, silvered platinum won’t look natural but makes a fabulous fashion colour. If you want to go light without compromising your season, give it a try.

Still love red? Consider undertones instead of all-over colour. Again, it won’t necessarily look natural but some very dark, very cool red and red-violet casts add interest and dimension whilst remaining true to the palette.

Other accent colours include deep blue, cool brown or silver pink.

When True Winters go grey, it is often steely or porcelain white and quite ageless.



Skin should be even, matte and opaque.

That means no contouring, bronzer, highlighter or illuminator.

Keep cheeks clear or opt for a purely cool fuschia blush. Even better if the colour is sheer and icy.

Your beauty is in defining eyes, brows and lips. Skin looks best when kept as a canvas for your other features.

Lucky you, black eye makeup is your go-to. Also explore blue-black, charcoal, dark violet or navy.

True Winter is very crisp so you may find some smudgy or smoked effects aren’t as good as precise ones. Experiment to find what suits you.

Hard sparkle is terrific. Don’t attempt to smoulder, shine or softly glow. You’re glittery like the stars.

Capture this night-sky look with high contrast makeup. Use both black and white eyeliner or try black mascara with a metallic silver shadow.

Groomed brows, black mascara and red lips creates a simple, elegant look.

Always consider adding some silver.

Orchid is your pink and it comes in a head-spinning array of shades from bubblegum to Barbie. It looks amazing on cheeks, lips and eyes.

Beware of browned, “nude” or soft, pale toned lipsticks. They are often advertised as suiting everyone but this look will erase your mouth, flattening your features. You’d be better without lip colour altogether.

Without makeup, some True Winters have a pinkish English rose look that seems delicate but don’t be fooled - you’re brighter and icier than that.

This face can take a lot more colour than a Summer and needs strong definition and impact to capture the season’s unique magic.


Loving your look

True Winter is the blinding white sun in an icy Arctic sky, the sharp menthol air, the elegant dance of Japanese cranes.

You are as hard, cool and beautiful as a diamond.

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