Color Theory: Warm Blue vs. Cool Blue
Color Theory

Color Theory: Warm Blue vs. Cool Blue

If you’re familiar at all with the color wheel, you’ve probably been told that blue is a cool color.

Not “cool”, as in, you look epic, rad, groovy, amazing… whatever you kids are saying these days. 😉

Cool. I like to think of cool colors as colors that lack warmth. They lack any hint of yellow. In fact, blue is on the complete opposite side of some pretty warm colors. Blue is a primary color. It’s a true color. You can’t get any cooler than blue. It’s right in the middle of the cool side of the color wheel.

Medium Color Wheel - Jen ThodenSo, does it make sense to say warm blue or cool blue?

If you have warm undertones, can you wear blue?

All hues of blues are going to be considered cool colors. All hues of blues are going to be wearable by someone with cool undertones.

But because blue is a primary color, I find that ANYONE can wear blue. Warm undertones or cool undertones, it doesn’t matter.

What DOES matter is the intensity and shade of the color. For example, you can wear blue but not a muted blue… you may look better in bright true blue. The color wheel to the left shows a set of colors with just a slight softening. A little bit of grey added. This is not the brightest of the color wheels. The blues in this color wheel may be too “Grey” for you.

You may look better in a “warmer” blue. Hmmmm.

In this color theory lesson, I show you the difference between warm blue and cool blue. What does it mean when you hear me say, “that blue is too cool for you” or “you should wear a true blue”?

Once you’ve had a chance to watch, I’d love to know:

  1. What hue of blue do you love to wear?
  2. Do you have cool undertones or warm undertones?

Leave a comment below with your answers.

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Have fun and wear what you love!

Jen Thoden

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  • Reply Tom January 23, 2017 at 12:03 am

    Dear Jen,
    I love your blog very much – I even downloaded your free E-book, because I find the whole topic very interesting and your new take on it. I myself are becoming an image consultant at the moment (but have to admit I learn the old system with 12 types). I’m living in Germany and I’m a man. So pretty unusual for a colour analyst I guess…haha 😀 Well, I particularly find it hard sometimes to distinguish even with more knowledge in color theory between cooler colors and warmer colors in the natural undertone of people. I tried to analyze some celebs via photos and tried to analyze myself (me a shaded autumn I would say at the moment). Not always very sure about my right colours still.
    I have a question concerning this posting here….You say blue is a primary color and as a reference color you use “true blue” ,but when I break it down – using a Color Picking tool in Photoshop, I noticed that this true blue still consists of two colours – Cyan and Magenta (CYMK-Color System) and is not a primary color after all, only CYAN would be the primary color of the body colors vs. the true blue of the light color system RGB – so what is right now? Is Cyan the actual blue? Because this would be the primary colour in painting to use to mix other secondary colours as true blue…Do you get, what I want to say? Or are you refering to the RGB Color Theory?

    But anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for you blog and website!
    And could I ask you for a favor thogh? Would you analyze more male clients? I’d be curious about what you’d say about them. I like to especially give male clients more tipps on outfit combination and their right colours.
    Thank you!
    Greetings ,

  • Reply Ing-Marie January 14, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    I just came to an insight.
    Maybe I should not call those colors soft,
    maybe should call them MILD and Warm.
    because I can absolutely not pull of soft cool greyish colors!!
    Then I will find them on the Bright wheel,
    in the light range, as you suggested
    in your analysis of my photo.

    Love the video by the way and wish
    you will make more like it SOON !!

  • Reply Sherry October 2, 2016 at 11:07 am

    Hi Jen: I loved this visual! I am warmer (Spring) and I love wearing Aqua, Navy and Periwinkle, sometimes Teal depending on the shade of it.

  • Reply Linda September 30, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    Hi Jen!
    Thank you for doing this! So helpful to have the visuals!
    I am cool undertones and look good in navy, bright navy, teal, aqua and many more!

  • Reply Shelly September 30, 2016 at 12:02 am

    I love all blues. Denim, teal, turquoise, deep periwinkle, and navy are favorites.
    My undertones are cool.
    Thanks for the videos.

  • Reply Patricia September 29, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    Hi Jen,

    I love these color theory sessions you are doing…..they are answering some questions I have had!


  • Reply Elin September 29, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    Totally warm. I can border sometimes and get away with some cool colors, but warm is the way for me to go.

    My blue are the kind with black added to them and then warmed up. I can really pull of a darker warm teal.

  • Reply Vicki September 29, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    Hey Jen, this was very interesting, as was your recent analysis of warm vs cool red.
    Q: What hue of blue do you love to wear?
    A: I love to wear teal, marine, or ocean. Now I know these are the warmer dark blues where black is added to the primary true blue. I adore wearing turquoise in the summer, when when my complexion might be a little more tan or bronzey. I recently added navy to my business wardrobe, and it’s a nice change from the usual black. I don’t wear any of the colors where white is added to the primary true blue.
    Q: Do you have cool undertones or warm undertones? Warm!

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