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Is red a winter or summer color?

Red is a bold, energizing color that has been associated with both winter and summer styles. Though red is versatile enough to work for any season, there are some key considerations when determining if red is best suited for winter or summer.

Quick Answer

In general, red tends to be considered more of a winter color than a summer color. The bold intensity of red works well against darker winter colors like black, gray, and brown. Red also stands out against white, which is prevalent in winter with snow. The warmth of red can also offset winter’s cold temperatures. However, red can work for summer too, especially lighter reds paired with other bright, cheery colors.

Red as a Winter Color

Here are some reasons why red tends to work best as a winter color:

  • Rich, deep reds pair well with black, charcoal gray, and chocolate brown, which are staple winter colors.
  • Scarlet reds pop against white snowy landscapes and winter whites.
  • The warmth of red helps balance out the cold feeling of winter.
  • Darker reds like burgundy and maroon work well in winter combos.
  • Red is a staple color in holiday winter looks, like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and New Year’s Eve outfits.
  • Red adds a sense of vibrancy against gray winter days.

Overall, the bold, deep shades of red tend to stand out best against the darker neutrals and cooler tones prominent in winter color palettes.

How Red Works in Winter Outfits

Here are some examples of how red is commonly incorporated into winter outfits and looks:

  • A bright red coat or winter jacket
  • A red scarf or beanie
  • Deep red or maroon sweaters
  • A red dress paired with black tights and boots
  • A red purse or shoe that pops against gray and blue
  • Red lipstick or nail polish
  • Red earmuffs or gloves
  • Plaid prints with red accents
  • A little red dress for holiday parties

Even small red accessories can make a statement against neutral winter backdrops. Red injects visual interest and warmth to cold weather looks.

Red as a Summer Color

While red pops best in winter, it can also work for summer styles, especially when paired with the right colors:

  • Lighter reds complement other summer brights like yellow, pink, and turquoise.
  • Orange-reds, corals, and cherry reds evoke tropical sunsets and fruits.
  • Red shorts or skirts feel fun and flirty for summer.
  • Red sunglasses, swimsuits, or accents add summer flair.
  • Red with crisp whites or creams has an all-American summer vibe.
  • Nautical reds resonate for beach vacations and waterfront living.

Lighter, brighter reds tend to work best for summer instead of deeper, darker shades. Keeping red fresh and cheery helps it for warm weather.

How Red Works in Summer Outfits

Here are examples of red in summer outfits:

  • A red sundress or romper
  • A red bikini or one-piece swimsuit
  • Red shorts with a white tank top
  • A red skirt with a nautical striped shirt
  • Red sunglasses, hats, or flip flops
  • A red bag for the pool or beach
  • A red manicure or pedicure
  • Gingham prints with red accents
  • A red polo shirt with white pants or shorts

Red makes any summer outfit pop but works best when balanced with lighter brights and whites. Red shorts immediately make a summer statement.

Comparing Red in Winter vs Summer

Here is a table comparing how red typically works in winter versus summer:

Red in Winter Red in Summer
Deeper, darker reds like burgundy and crimson Brighter reds like cherry, coral, fire engine red
Paired with blacks, grays, browns Paired with lighter brights like yellow, pink, blue
Red coats, sweaters, accessories Red dresses, swimsuits, shorts, accents
Rich red helps warm up winter Bright red feels fun and summery

As the table illustrates, red can work in winter and summer but tends to take on different shades and pairings. Winter red is deeper while summer reds are brighter.


In summary, while red can be versatile across seasons, it tends to be considered more of a winter color than a summer color. The bold, intense nature of red lends itself well to winter palettes full of black, gray, brown, and white. Deep red shades also help add warmth and vibrancy during cold winters. Lighter reds can also work for summer when paired with other bright colors in dresses, swimsuits, or accessories. Red makes a statement any time of year but its striking and lively nature makes it particularly well-suited for chilly winter days and outfits.

So while red is eye-catching in any season, winter’s palettes and styles really allow the intensity of red to stand out. Red may be associated with warmth but its deep hues evoke the simmering coziness of a fireplace more than the bright heat of the summer sun. Red is winter’s spice that livens up stark, monochrome looks. Next time the temperatures dip and the snow starts falling, bring out your best red coat, scarf, or sweater to add a burst of energy to a gray day. Red keeps winter looks from feeling cold or flat. So don’t be afraid to see red during the winter – it is one of the best ways to add life when the landscapes turn white.