The Definitive Guide to Deep Winter: Explore the 12 Seasons

Deep Winter is a captivating blend of cool and dark tones, often sharing characteristics with both Winter and Autumn in the 12-season system of color analysis.

Do you have features that are profoundly dark with cool undertones? Are you naturally attracted to rich shades like plum, navy blue, and forest green? Do you feel connected to the colors seen in a winter landscape during the nighttime?

If these descriptions resonate with you, you could very well be a Deep Winter!

This comprehensive guide dives deep into the world of Deep Winter within the 12-season color analysis framework. Stay with us as we explore the defining physical characteristics, the best makeup choices, the ideal Deep Winter color palette, must-have wardrobe staples, and even how to create a custom color palette tailored just for you

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The 12 Seasons of Color Analysis

Seasonal color analysis is an invaluable tool that focuses on evaluating the skin, eyes, and hair to place individuals into one of twelve distinct color families. This method is grounded in six primary color components: warm, cool, deep, light, soft, and bright. The purpose is to help you find colors that harmonize with your natural tones, elevating not just your look but your confidence as well.

The Winter color family is inherently cool and is subdivided into three distinct categories: deep winter, true/cool winter, and clear winter.

Understanding which ‘Winter’ category you fall into can significantly influence your wardrobe choices and overall aesthetic. Today, we will delve into the enigmatic allure of Deep Winter, explaining its unique characteristics and providing guidance on how to best embrace this particular palette.

radiantly dressed facebook group

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Deep Winter is Cool and Dark

Deep Winter is distinctly categorized by three main attributes: cool hue, dark value, neutral chroma.

  • Cool hue – the undertone is always blue, but various overtones of beige or yellow may give a warmer or occasional olive appearance, causing confusion when determining the difference between deep winter and deep autumn.
  • Dark value – the value of deep winter is overwhelming dark. Is is the color attribute that must be addressed first, even over hue.
  • Neutral-bright chroma – the chroma is typically neutral leaning bright. Individual deep winters will have varying degrees of chroma, some closer to a muted autumn, while others are more similar to a clear winter.
deep winter color attributes

What sets Deep Winter apart from other Winter subcategories is the primary focus on its dark value. While the cool undertone is undeniably present, the features are predominantly dark.

The skin tone can range from a light beige to deep cocoa. Eyes are most commonly brown or dark gray, but you’ll also find varying shades of deep blue. Eye patterns are often linked to specific color seasons, offering another layer of nuance to your color analysis.

Hair is typically in the brown or black color family and is exceptionally dark. For those with gray hair, it often turns a radiant silver, creating a higher degree of contrast between hair and skin tones.

Deep Winter eyes and hair.

Feature depth is consistent—dark on dark on dark—but high contrast can also occur, especially with lighter skin against dark hair and eyes. While Deep Winter shares similarities with Deep Autumn, it truly shines in cool-toned, rich, dark colors.

Makeup for the Deep Winter Woman

To truly enhance the features of a Deep Winter complexion, your makeup choices should echo the cool and dark tones that define this category.

The best makeup for deep winter.

When it comes to eye makeup, dark neutrals like mauve, gold, pewter, and charcoal work well. For an added pop, consider accent colors like eggplant, forest, and espresso.

Moving on to cheek makeup, bold and cool shades are your go-to. Deep pink, coral, and rosewood are perfect choices for bringing out a dramatic glow that is characteristic of Deep Winter.

Lip color is another area where Deep Winter women can make a statement. Light or nude lip shades should be avoided entirely. For a more natural look rose and sangria are excellent choices, while raspberry and mulberry offer a bolder appearance. If you’re going for a sexy red lip, crimson and deep red are your allies.

However, there are some colors to avoid. Warm tones like orange or caramel for lips and pastel eyeshadows can detract from the Deep Winter aesthetic. Similarly, light lip colors and sandy shades for the cheeks should generally be avoided

Visual Inspirations for Deep Winter

Deep Winter draws its captivating allure from bold, dark colors reminiscent of a nighttime snow scene. Predominantly in the cool color family, the Deep Winter palette is rich in blues, purples, and greens. While a traditional 6-color rainbow showcases a balanced spectrum, the Deep Winter version skews cooler and much darker, capturing the essence of this unique palette.

Deep Winter wears the rainbow.

Imagine a snowy landscape bathed in the light of a silvery moon, with frosted trees standing tall. These serene scenes encapsulate the cool blues and purples that define Deep Winter.

If you’re looking for food-inspired hues, consider the rich colors of aubergine, ripe figs, and blackberries. These fruits capture the spectrum of Deep Winter as it verges into the Deep Autumn category. In the animal kingdom, the snowy owl stands as a majestic representation of the deep neutrals found in this season.

For a festive twist, visualize a deep pink Christmas ornament twinkling against a backdrop of holiday lights. This playful imagery perfectly demonstrates the range of pinks that harmonize with the Deep Winter palette.

Deep Winter Color Palette

Deep Winter color palette.

When curating a color palette for Deep Winter, the journey begins with a strong foundation of neutrals. Black and white naturally command attention in winter palettes, complemented by varying shades of deep gray and luminous silver. To add a touch of color without losing that neutral vibe, consider staples like midnight navy, olive, and espresso.

Moving into the realm of colors, a variety of deep reds and bold dark pinks stand out as excellent choices. In the yellow family, tones like mustard and honey work best. Greens range from oceanic shades to deeper forest greens, while the most flattering blues and purples are those of the deepest hues.

It’s worth noting that while each season has its color adaptations, some shades may prove challenging for Deep Winter. Warm reds, for example, often transform into burgundies, while some pinks may appear too orange for this palette. Pure yellows are typically too light, and purples that lean more toward blue are preferable over those with red undertones.

Lastly, there are hues that should be sidestepped altogether. Warm colors like orange and lime green tend to clash with Deep Winter’s unique complexion. Light pastels are generally not a match, whereas deep, bold colors like wine and royal purple often emerge as champions in a Deep Winter wardrobe.

Best and Worst Colors for Deep Autumn

Wardrobe Essentials for Deep and Cool Coloring

No matter your style or personal aesthetic, there are a few items that every woman should have in their wardrobe.

The basics of any wardrobe should be neutrals, and you could certainly choose the same neutrals. Layering similar shades of the same color will create a rich luxe look.

For those that enjoy a more colorful look, the basics are still appropriate, but fun and funky accessories in the blue, purple, green, and red color families will add interest.

Deep Winter Colors for the Whole Year

When venturing outside the Deep Winter palette, it’s advantageous to select from seasons that share similar characteristics. This approach allows you to resonate with the broader seasonal cycles—think embracing mustard hues in autumn—while still honoring your unique color profile.

For Deep Winter, the following borrowing recommendations work across the whole year.

In Spring, borrow colors from clear winter to embrace the brightness of spring.

In Summer, borrow carefully from cool winter to feel the freshness of the summer breeze

In Fall, have fun borrowing from your sister season Deep Autumn to get those perfect fall vibes.

In Winter, stick with any colors in the three winter seasons.

Year Round Colors for Deep Winter

Choosing Prints for Deep Winter

When incorporating prints into a Deep Winter wardrobe, there are specific guidelines that make all the difference. In this section, we’ll unpack three key elements—color consistency, scale, and contrast level—that you should consider when selecting prints that are true to the Deep Winter aesthetic.

  • Color Consistency – The majority of colors in your prints should align with the deep, dark tones characteristic of the Deep Winter palette. Aim to have at least 90% of the colors in your print fall within this range. Deviating too far from these core colors can dilute the palette’s natural impact.
  • Scale – Scale is another critical factor. Deep Winter thrives on bolder, larger prints that echo its inherent depth and richness. Small, micro-prints tend to get lost and don’t fully showcase the vivid, striking colors that are quintessential for Deep Winter.
  • Contrast Level – While the overarching theme for Deep Winter is ‘dark,’ introducing pops of cool, bright colors can have a stunning effect. These vibrant accents serve to highlight and elevate the whole look, adding an extra layer of dimension without overwhelming the palette.

By adhering to these guidelines, you’ll find prints that not only complement but truly enhance the Deep Winter aesthetic.

deep winter prints

Action Steps for Embracing Your Deep Winter Palette

  1. Identify Your Colors: Start by getting familiar with your Deep Winter color palette. Keep this palette easily accessible—either on your phone or printed out—for quick consultations while shopping.
  2. Purge Your Closet: Remove items that don’t align with your Deep Winter colors or don’t make you feel your best. Think about donating or reselling these pieces.
  3. Invest in Neutrals: Focus on key wardrobe staples in your best neutral colors, like black, deep grays, and midnight navy. These will serve as the foundation of your wardrobe.
  4. Choose Your Best Colors: Select 2-3 signature colors from your Deep Winter palette that resonate with you. Incorporate these to add variety to your capsule wardrobe.
  5. Plan Your Capsule: Following the 100 piece wardrobe framework, build a capsule wardrobe that centers on your chosen neutrals and accent colors. Aim for pieces that are versatile and cohesive.
  6. Shop Smart: When adding new items to your wardrobe, always keep your Deep Winter palette in mind. This not only simplifies shopping but also saves you time and money.
  7. Trial and Adjust: Experiment and see how your new colors work for you. Notice the compliments you get and how you feel in these colors, and make any necessary adjustments.
  8. Seek Guidance: If you find it challenging to fully embrace your Deep Winter colors, consider seeking expert advice. A color analysis session can be a transformative experience.
  9. Celebrate You: Remember, you are wonderfully made by God. Embrace your Deep Winter attributes as a manifestation of His creative work.

Frequently Asked Questions about Deep Winter

Is deep winter the same as dark winter?

Yes! They are used interchangeable and deep and dark winter are the same sub-season. In the 16 season systems these may be called burnished winter or sultry winter. Deep Winters can sometimes be confused with Deep Summer in the 16 season system.

How does hair color affect my Deep Winter palette?
Hair color itself has minimal impact on determining your seasonal palette, which is mostly based on how your skin reacts to color. However, hair color can help ascertain your level of contrast, which is useful for wardrobe planning.

Can Deep Winter wear Gold?

The answer to this depends on your personal hue attribute, aka whether your are cool or neutral. Since Deep Winter sits next to a warm season, many of these types can wear gold. Rose Gold may be a perfect middle ground.

Can Deep Winter wear Beige?

Beige is a classic neutral and works well with other neutrals. For the Deep Winter, beige may be a color that is kept away from the face. It is likely too light and warm.

Can Deep Winter wear Orange?

Orange is a color best suited to the warm seasons. Orange on a deep winter is likely to create a yellow cast to the skin and look unflattering.

Can Deep Winter wear White?

Absolutely! As a high contrast season with a mostly cool undertone, white is perfect. However, depending on depth, deep winter may find off white, cream, or alabaster more congruent.

Can Deep Winter wear Yellow?

Pure yellow is in the big 4 winter season, so deep winter can play with this color. Leaning into deep autumn, the deep winter may find that warmer yellows like honey are a good fit. Every season has a perfect yellow, you just have to find yours!

Can Deep Winter wear Olive?

Olive is another great “color” neutral and works well for deep winter. Choose an olive that is dark and neutral, rather than one that is muted and murky.

Can Deep Winter wear Coral?

Coral is classified as a warm pink, and many deep winter types can wear this color. It will depend on your personal attributes, particularly hue and chroma as to whether true coral works.

Can I still wear black?

Of COURSE you can still wear black. I personally believe that black is a staple in any wardrobe. Fortunately black is a powerhouse for deep winter and this color makes a great base for a capsule wardrobe.

I hate these colors, could my season be wrong?

Yes absolutely, it could be true. But I want to challenge you, what is it that you hate? Is it the neutrals that you don’t like? Perhaps you don’t like gray? Is it one of the color families, yellow or green perhaps? Don’t wear them! Just because a palette includes all these colors doesn’t mean you should wear them all. I dare you to look at your closet and see if you naturally gravitate to any of these colors. If the answer is no, and you still feel this is completely wrong, let me know! I can help!

How Do I Build a Deep Winter Capsule Wardrobe?

Building a Deep Winter capsule wardrobe is straightforward when you zero in on your season’s top colors. Start with neutrals like black and charcoal, which will be your wardrobe’s cornerstone. Then incorporate your main color and 2-3 accent colors from the Deep Winter palette. Bold reds, icy silvers, and deep blues can be excellent choices.

Here’s a simple guide to create your color palette:

  • Base Colors: Black and Charcoal
  • Dark Neutral: Midnight Navy or Olive
  • Light Neutral: Lightest Silver or Off-white
  • Main Color: Choose one like deep red or dark pink
  • Accent Colors: Select 2-3 from your palette, such as deep blues and purples.

Can I only wear these colors?

No way! You should wear what you love! If you want to wear blush pink, then go for it! You may find, however, that learning your season affects how other colors make you feel. If you feel confident rocking a color, then it’s yours to own. But if you don’t, feel free to leave it to the seasons that wear it well. If you’re looking to expand your palette, you can also consider sister seasons.

The following are sister seasons for deep winter:

Icy aurora colors.


Final Thoughts on Deep Winter

Deep Winter is characterized by bold, rich colors and high contrast levels. Focusing on a base of dark neutrals—such as black, charcoal, and midnight navy—allows you to introduce vibrant accent colors like deep reds, purples, and blues. By selecting prints with the same attention to color depth and contrast, you can further enhance your natural coloring.

When done correctly, your wardrobe choices can elevate your look, boost your confidence, and simplify your life.

Are you a Deep Winter? If so, say hello in the comments!

Related Color Analysis Articles:

deep winter colors

Deep Winter sits on the cusp of winter and autumn and is cool and dark.

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  1. These are all the colors I love and have in my wardrobe. I guess that’s more confirmation that I am definitely a deep winter. I do wear some mid-range colors too, but all cool versions. Thanks for this series, I’m going to read the rest.

      1. my son is getting married in September and the bride has chosen terracotta as her color. I’m not a fan of the color and wondered as a deep winter can I even pull it off

        1. Hi Crystal, sorry for the late response. Have you been asked to wear Terracotta or just something close? Terracotta is typically an autumn color, but you could search for a rosy persimmon color instead. Also, as MOTG a beautiful burgundy would be stunning and coordinate with the terracotta! Congrats, mama!

      2. So true! I am fairly certain I’m a deep winter, although my skin seems paler and more peachy/warm than most dark winter examples I’ve seen, but not golden enough or deep enough to fully fit dark autumn either. My hair used to be lighter and warmer than the dark cool brown that it is turning into as I get older. My eyes are dark and neutral brown. However, I look great in most colors from both deep autumn and deep winter. The only exceptions are that I look sickly in any kind of orange from dark autumn, and true white and true black from winter wash me out unless I pile on makeup.

      3. oh gosh I got distracted and didn’t even say the original point of my first comment. I was going to say that even before I knew what color season(s) I fit into, I gravitated to deep winter-y dark greens, fuchsias and blues or deep autumn’s olives and yellows because I got so many compliments when I wore them.

  2. I am looking forward to planning my wardrobe based on this exciting color palette. For years I wore the bright colors of the self-diagnosed Carol Jackson Winter palette-colors like true red, hot turquoise, icy yellow, etc. Most of that basic palette looked fine (not the icy colors so much), but I really didn’t like some of them. And I easily tired of the bright colors. So, I branched out and wore colors that really looked awful on me.
    I am confident that I am a deep winter with gray-ringed, brown eyes that deepened even more when I colored my naturally brown hair dark ash brown. I have fair skin; Physicians Formula C1 disappears on my face. And most importantly, I love the deep winter palette!
    Your article, which I intend to read more thoroughly when I have time, is very inspiring. I love the winter photography to illustrate the deep winter palette! Thank you for writing it and for offering the free download!

  3. Hello! this is very interesting, I didn’t know about it, but a friend told me about. Curious that I love burgundy and navy, strong colors. Thanks for sharing. It is ok to wear brown shoes? like very dark once in a while? as it is a neutral color. Thanks again it is really helpful to know this so we can combine the colors and easy, we don’t have to wear all the colors.

    1. Hi Valeria! Almost all the seasons have a brown they can wear, so of course you can still wear it! Dark espresso is a great neutral for deep winter! Cognac can also be stunning and mixes well with black! Glad you found this helpful!!!

  4. So I did DNA style which is an app that told me I am a deep winter based on their analysis through my picture in natural light. I love these color palettes and people have told me these colors look good on me but I’ve also heard people say orange looks good on me too which really isn’t in here I gravitate towards more dark colors and find that I don’t look as nice in soft pastel color than I do in these bold but vibrant cobalt blues, purples, and greens. I remember trying on a cream dress and a white dress I bought for a family photo shoot I notice how the cream dress didn’t make me look as vibrant and the pure white dress and how I’m often drawn to silver jewelry but often find Gold annoying or hard on my eyes.

    I had a question about their sister palettes for winter which is deep autumn, so we are allowed to wear those colors as well and look just as good is is it just an alternative if we don’t want to wear deep winter palettes.

    And another thing I have so many black outfits it makes no sense 😂 black is definitely my go to color in almost every occasion that or white.

    1. Hey Shania!

      I also love black. It’s my favorite haha! As a deep winter, you can borrow from deep autumn. Just be mindful if any colors make you feel off. It seems like you have good instincts for that, so enjoy the bonus colors!

  5. The only color I question is the coral shade in the ‘Deep Winter Colors for the Whole Year’, as a color to wear for summer. To me it’s too orange or peach and I don’t see a Deep Winter pulling it off unless they have a tan (and even then, I don’t know). Otherwise, every other color swatch is spot on. I love this page!

    1. Hey Michelle!

      Coral is one of the better colors in the Clear Winter Palette, and most winters can dip their toes through the whole season. A lot of Deep Winters tell me they struggle in spring/summer to lighten up the feel of their wardrobe when darker colors are their best. Using the tints of best colors is a way to get that summer feeling without wearing pastels. For a deep winter, lightening the palette depends on whether each person is a bit more muted or a bit more bright, since DW falls in the middle. Some like to borrow from Clear Winter, and others Soft Summer since the qualities vary. Hope this explains some of the reasoning behind coral!

      1. Thank you for the explanation! I will definitely play with the Clear Winter and Soft Summer palettes for the warmer weather as I too struggle a lot with lightening my wardrobe. And I’m going to try out coral.

  6. looking at the pallet I’m seeing colours I like, colours I’d like to wear, seems my intuition is right 🙂 note, this is a general guide and you probably should not try to follow it strictly, even if i like the colours i’d use them as a guide line and won’t be upset if something requires a bit of tweaking we are not copies of each other, after all. the 12 seasons are fun but area a starting point to think about not a lock on your options

  7. I get so confused because I feel I have warmer tones- skin that burns and freckles the first few beach days of the year but turns into a tan the next day and deepens to a golden brown, medium/dark brown hair with reddish highlights, warm hazel/brown eyes… BUT I look best in black and jewel tones but oranges and muted rusty or olive colors look awful! Pastels look terrible too!! Blonde hair washes me out. Contrast makes my eyes pop. What I’m trying to figure out now is what tone of red hair color would look best on me, copper or more burgundy? Another example is nail color- classic red is very harsh and makes my skin look pale and pink whereas darker blood red with brown makes my skin glow golden. I’m Portuguese and Irish so I guess that’s why it’s confusing. What to think?

    1. Hey Sara!

      So the skin you’re describing is most commonly seen in one of the winter crossover seasons of clear or deep. As far as red hair in a cool season, any color in the palette should also look good for hair. So burgundy is better for a deep winter than copper.

    2. I’m definitely a Deep Winter (Japanese, very light skin, black hair, black eyes) and I love almost all of these colours but I’ve heard some people say I look great in blue and purple pastels too (purple is my favourite colour and I love all of its shades). I’m confused because they are considered to be among the worst for Deep Winter.

      1. Hey Kathelyn,

        Winter’s can weary icy tones, which is a bit different than pastel. It can be difficult to find the right ones, but cool bright light colors will work. Pastels are typically soft and white based. So it’s definitely possible for those colors to look great, if they are bright rather than cool!

        1. I love this article, very helpful. I just got draped and am learning more about my colors. Most of my king time favorites are deep winter. Do you have resources and /or services for additional help with fashion and makeup?

          1. Hey Robin, thanks for asking!

            There is a deep winter guide with more color advice. If you’re on the email list I also offer workshops occasionally and a full style course. That’s the best way to stay updated when things become available.

  8. I always knew that I´m a winter, I just couldn´t stand that super intens blue or red. Turns out I don`t have to. I`m a deep winter and can wear my black-navy, black-grey or black-plum outfit combos with an occasional pop of white in it and look absolutley great in it.
    I didn´t know that olive is also a neutral for me. Maybe I give it a closer look next time I´m shopping.

  9. Thanks for the fun guide to read…I especially liked the article on eye color because that helped me to determine that I am a deep winter rather than a deep Autumn. My skin is light medium olive but I tan so I am not that light in the summer months…..but honestly light olive clothes look terrible on me, as do light blue grays and pastels(I look sick). I don’t have a lot of color in my face and I can appear rather gray. I think navy is my best color; softer than black by my face – Now my black hair has turned white so I think I am even more of a winter than I was! I have never had any colors for summer except blues so I just stay with the regular black and white like many on this post, and navy and whites. I am going to try some more color in my wardrobe….I just don’t like wearing bright colors that much. My sister who was a cool summer wore her beautiful pinks and blues all year when her hair turned white. Her skin was rosy. You have your work cut out for you with all the different mixtures of skin tones and I can’t believe that 23 and Me does color analysis (some algorithm they must have with ethnic traits I guess). BTW I had three color analysis done in the past: all different: one clear Winter, one just Winter, and one Fall. I think it’s the eyes that make the difference: blocks of brown sitting in my brown pupil and charcoal rings around the outside, don’t see any starburst type patterns. Sorry for the very long note but maybe this will help some other person! And, I just bought a camel coat; think I’ll return it and just go back to my black. !!

  10. It’s actually a myth that babies are all born with blue eyes. That’s only true for about 1 in 5 babies, and it generally applies to white babies.

    1. I was taught that any color in your palette is great for hair color 🙂 For the deep winter that would include black, espresso, grays/white, or dark colors like burgundy/plum if you’re looking for something different. Having said that, I have typed deep winters whose hair has turned caramel with age, so don’t rule out natural processes.

      1. I am defiantly a deep winter and had dyed my hair an ash blond oops not a good idea it really clashed with my light skin and looked kind of like wool, I dyed it back dark I went for a medium-dark down and it looks so much better I also feel a lot sexier.

        On a side note, I have had my hair a burgundy before and it looks amazing! I only changed it because I am me and I get board

        1. So i believe i am a deep winter even though i have pale (ivory) skin, even lighter than the Penelope Cruz pic on the far right, black brown hair, brown eyes. The cool/true winter palette colors don’t look good on me and i don’t like any of them because they are bright and i look best in dark/deep colors. I tend to look good in somewhat lighter blues (as long as they aren’t bright like royal blue) but that’s about it.

          I do have a question regarding lipstick color choices. i know to avoid nude, as the post says, bc i look too washed out/pale… but i prefer rose “your lips but better shades”

          i know deep winter is supposed to get deep with berry, raspberry, dark reds, etc, but I do not like wearing dark lipsticks due to my pale skin. i feel like ronald mcdonald in red or dark lipsticks and it’s hard to find ANY lip color that isn’t too dark for me, to be honest. i know deep winters typically have medium to dark skin, so it makes sense for these lip colors to work for them. Do you have any specific color recommendations for a pale skin deep winter who doesn’t want to wear DARK lipstick?

  11. Can deep winters wear neon colors? If so, which ones? I’m a light-medium skin tone neutral/slightly warm olive undertone. I find it hard to figure out what to wear but I do know navy blue looks good as well as royal blue.

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