Which is the Best Teal for Your Season?
What’s the best teal for you? Before we determine that, let’s talk a bit more about teal. According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of teal is “a dark greenish blue color.” People began using the name “teal” to define the color in 1917. It got its name from the greenish-blue color around the eye of the Teal – a freshwater duck.
Teal is such a fun color that more than a dozen professional sports teams use it for their uniform. It’s not surprising that teal is popular, because polls show that blue and green are Americans’ favorite colors. Teal, being in the middle of those two colors, means it makes everyone happy! Colors are often associated with meaning based on the feelings the color evokes. Teal is a color of peace, calm and tranquility as it combines the stability of blue with the optimism of green. When you wear it, you personify a feeling of reliability, dignity, and balance. If your best version happens to match your eye color, even better!
A question my clients often ask is, “Is teal a universal color?” The answer is both yes and no. Every season has at least one version of teal in it, but that version may not be what is commonly considered “teal.” Unfortunately, not everyone can wear the traditional version of teal and still shine. Plus, your best teal color is probably not the same as my best teal. What it truly comes down to is, which version of teal is right for you? The answer to that question is determined by your season. If you aren’t sure of your season, you might consider a personal color analysis
Teal By Seasonal Color Palette
It’s hard to take photographs that adequately show the variances in the teal color that looks best on each season, but believe me they exist! From the pictures, I think you can see that Autumn (far left) has the most teal while Soft Summer and Soft Autumn are the sub-seasons with the most versions of teal. I also think you can see that Winter has the deepest teal colors, Summers have the softest, Spring the brightest, and Autumn the warmest. Light Springs and Light Summers do not receive a true teal as the color is just too dark for their light coloring. Both of those seasons look great in blue-green, just a lighter version than teal.
We’ll start with Autumn, because Teal is often seen as a quintessential Autumn color. All Autumns have at least two versions of teal in their palette. Autumns receive a lot of teal in their palette, because they really don’t get much blue as it’s too cool for them. Autumns will do well in any version of teal, but their best version has slightly more green than blue in it. Soft Autumns look lovely in medium and soft teal, while True, Deep and warm Autumns all get darker versions. Warm Autumns also receive a light teal color, which is brighter than the rest of Autumns receive and that’s because they lean Spring.
- Soft Autumn: Teal Blue, Medium Teal Green, Medium Teal, Soft Blue Teal
- Warm Autumn: Light Teal, New Teal, Dark Teal
- True Autumn: New Teal, Dark Teal
- Deep/Dark Autumn: Teal, Blued Teal
As a darker, cooler season, Winters look best in a deep teal with slightly more blue in it than the Autumn teal. Dark Winters actually receive the same two teal colors in their palette as Dark Autumns. It makes sense that they wear the same color as they are both dark and neutral. Cool Winters receive the softest teal while True and Bright Winters receive the brightest. The best teal by Winter Sub-season:
- Deep/Dark Winter: Teal, Blued Teal
- Cool Winter: Cool Green
- True Winter: Bright Teal
- Clear/Bright Winter: Bright Teal
Since Spring tends to be a bit of a lighter season, there are less teal colors that are harmonious with Spring color palettes. Bright Spring receives the same bright teal color as Bright Winter. While warm and True Spring receive the Light Teal and Dark Teal of the True and Warm Autumns. They don’t receive the New Teal color of those seasons as that leans just a bit too warm for them. The Light Spring palette does not include a common teal color, because they are just too light for the depth of that color. However, when I complete custom color palettes for Light Springs, I often find that many look lovely in a light, bright teal. The best teal by Spring Sub-season:
- Clear/Bright Spring: Bright Teal
- True and Warm Spring: Light Teal, Dark Teal
- Light Spring: Pastel Blue-Green
Teal is a great color for Autumns, because they don’t receive much blue as a season. Likewise, teal is great for the Summer season because they don’t receive much green in their palette. Soft Summers, like Soft Autumns, shine when wearing teal so they receive the most versions and the exact same versions as Soft Autumn. Light Summer is the only Summer sub-season that doesn’t receive a true teal in their color palette. Like Light Springs; however, they often receive one in their custom palette. The best teal by Summer Sub-season:
- Light Summer: Medium Blue-Green
- True Summer: Cool Green, Medium Teal
- Cool Summer: Cool Green
- Soft Summer: Teal Blue, Medium Teal Green, Medium Teal, Soft Blue Teal
Making Teal Work For You
If all of that was confusing and you’re thinking that all the teals above look the same, check out this video where I show you several different versions of teal that I have in my closet. I actually do have teal garments in my closet that represent every season. That may seem weird given that I stated above that light seasons don’t get a real teal. There are two reasons that I have lots of teal in my closet. The first is that my blue eyes will read teal with the right version of teal, so it’s a pretty good color on me. The darker Winter versions aren’t great on me, nor the ones with a lot of green in them; however, I still keep them in my closet and wear them. Why? Along with bright navy, teal is my best dark color. When it turns cold and gray in the winter, a Light Spring/Light Summer has to make do, so teal is my go to! In the video below, I show you the differences between the teal colors in my closet.
If you’re wondering, “What colors go with teal?” No worries as teal is a relatively neutral color that looks great with so many colors. For interest try an analogous or complementary color scheme (see post on color schemes). Pairing teal with navy would be analogous while pairing it with coral would be complementary.
How do you feel about teal and what are your favorite color combinations? I’d love to hear in the comments.