How to Wear Green

Green paint on roller.

Green is a color that gets mixed responses from people. Most either love it or hate it. Like most colors, everyone has their personal feelings and emotional reactions to it.

One client told me she despises green because it makes her look sick. I can't remember her season, but she was probably a cool season wearing a warm shade of Green, as warm colors on cool seasons can indeed make them look sickly.

But there is a shade of Green for everyone. Like any color, it's all about the undertone, value, and chroma.

When most people think of Green, they usually think of it as a warm color. But like most colors, there is a very wide variety of greens, including cool greens.

Pouring green yellow and blue paint from cans.

Green is a combination of Blue (cool) and Yellow (warm).

If you add equal parts of Blue and Yellow (50/50), you get True Green. The color True Green is in almost all of my swatches as it is a balanced temperature, "not too warm or too cool," and should work for nearly all seasons.

Add just a touch more yellow to Green, and it becomes a warm green. A bit more blue makes it a cool green.

Band of green shades.

Here are some guidelines for each season when looking for the best shade of Green to wear.

Winters: Choose True Green or Cool, Clear Greens.

  • Emerald is a great Green for ALL Winters.
  • Deep Winters can wear both bright or dark Green, such as Emerald and Forest Green.
  • Toasted Winters who have a touch of warmth to them can often look good in Avocado or deep Olives, which is rare for a Winter. Smokey Soft Winters should avoid all warmth, so a deep aquamarine blue or cool turquoise will be great. It has the coolness you need but also some softness.

Autumns: Choose True Green or Warm, Muted Greens.

  • Autumns are lucky because most greens you will find shopping tend to be warmer than cooler.
  • Earthy, muted Greens like Moss, Olive, Avocado work for all Autumns. Just adjust the value to match yours. For example, light moss works for the lightest Soft Autumns; Pine Green works for the deepest Autumns.
  • The lighter soft autumns, particularly the Dusty Soft Autumn, can wear pale, muted greens like pea green or light moss. All-warm Autumns, like the Warm Autumns, Sunlit, and Toasted Autumns, may find those colors might wash them out. They need the warmest greens to come alive.
  • Lime is normally considered a Spring color, but Autumns can wear it in smaller doses for a pop of color.

Summers: Choose True Green or Cool, Muted Greens

  • All Summers should avoid anything too bright. Lime green is a particularly unflattering shade, especially if you are an all-cool Summer.
  • Aquamarine greens and teal greens will have a blue undertone that prevents it from being too warm.
  • Soft Summers that flow into a warm season, like Sunlit or Toasted Summers, do well with Blue Spruce and Grey-Greens.
  • Turquoise, depending on the shade, is a nice blue-green for Summers are most shades of aquamarine greens.

Springs: Choose True Green or Warm, Clear Greens

  • Choose warm Greens that are light and somewhat bright. Lime, Icy Green, and fresh Spring Green are good choices.
  • Springs are the lightest-value seasons, and anything dark and heavy, like Forest Green, will not harmonize well.
  • Some shimmer is great for all Springs. Clear Springs can handle the most shine. Clear Springs are probably the only season that can truly look good in Chartreuse and Neon Green.

To illustrate the differences in Geens further, I like to find examples from nature.

Using green items to show how to wear green for each season.

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