Before we dive into the analysis, it's a good idea to understand exactly how seasonal color analysis works. If you are interested in the theory behind color analysis, please refer to this article.
Each seasonal color palette mimics the color aspects of an individual falling into that color season. What does that mean? You have a natural color palette, which is manifested in your skin, eyes and hair. The aim of color analysis is to identify this natural color palette and to match it to one of the twelve color seasons.
We do this by evaluating your natural coloring along three color dimensions:
The hue (or temperature) scale tells us how warm or cool a color is. The more yellow is added to a color, the warmer it becomes. The more blue is added to it, the cooler it becomes.
In other words, we need to ask: do you suit warm, neutral or cool colors? The answer will depend on whether your features have warm or cool undertones.
II. Value & Contrast
The value scale tells us how light or dark a color is. The more black is added to a color, the darker it becomes. The more white is added to it, the lighter it becomes.
Here we need to ask: do you suit light, medium or dark colors? The answer will depend on how high the contrast between your features is as well as how light or dark your individual features are.
* Your contrast level is not one of the three color aspects, but it is closely related to value and is a helpful additional metric.
The chroma scale depicts how bright/saturated/clear or muted/soft a color is. Clear colors are pure colors. The more grey is added to a pure color, the more muted it becomes.
The question here is: do you suit highly saturated colors or greyed-out ones? The answer will depend on how high the natural grey content of your coloring is.
The six color aspects
We need to find the setting of your natural coloring on each color dimension - these are your three color aspects.
One of the three aspects will turn out to be your primary color aspect - the most important factor of your coloring. That means your coloring will sit at one of the extreme ends of that color dimension.
Based on three color dimensions, your primary aspect will be one of the following six:
- warm or cool (hue)
- light or dark (value)
- muted or bright (chroma)
On this color dimension, you will need the most extreme version of a color. Even the medium/neutral level won’t look good on you. For example, if your primary aspect is warm, neutral and even neutral-warm colors won’t do anything for you. Only the warmest colors will flatter your appearance.
Your secondary color aspect significantly influences your coloring. On this dimension, your coloring will sit between one of the extreme ends and the midpoint of the spectrum.
Your secondary aspect can only be one of the following:
- neutral-warm or neutral-cool (hue)
- medium-muted or medium-bright (chroma)
On this dimension, you will clearly lean more towards one of the extreme ends of the spectrum, but the most extreme version of a color will be too much for you. For instance, if your secondary aspect is medium-bright, the most saturated and vibrant colors will swallow you up. Your best colors will be saturated (rather than muted), but they won’t be extremely bright and vibrant.
The third aspect doesn’t have much impact on your coloring. On this dimension, your coloring will be close to the neutral/medium midpoint of the spectrum.
Your third aspect will be either value or chroma, but it cannot be hue.
To sum up, what we are going to do is twofold:
(1) Identify the color settings of your natural coloring
(2) Match these settings to a color season with similar settings
This color season will contain those kinds of colors which are most similar to your own coloring and will therefore harmonise with you.
Bear in mind that although we will analyse each color dimension separately, in reality, they are interconnected.
Warm colors are inherently light, whereas cool colors are naturally dark. So if your natural coloring is warmer and lighter, it will also be brighter. But when you darken a warm color, it becomes more muted. So if you are warmer and darker, you are also automatically more muted.
Similarly, if your natural coloring is cooler and darker, it will also be brighter. Whereas if you lighten a cool color, it becomes more muted. So if you are cooler and lighter, you will automatically be more muted.
Keep this in mind when you are going through the analysis to avoid confusion.
warm + light → bright
cool + light → muted
warm + dark → muted
cool + dark → bright
The Wardrobe Guide
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A hue is a color family (orange, green, purple etc), and any hue can appear as a warm or a cool color (for instance, a warm mossy green vs a cool grass green). What we are really concerned with here is the hue’s undertones. The more yellow you add to a color, the warmer it becomes. The more blue you add to it, the cooler it gets.
That’s why colors with yellow undertones are warm colors, while colors with blue undertones are deemed cool colors. So a mossy green will contain a lot of yellow, whereas a grass green will contain a big portion of blue. More neutral colors have predominantly red undertones.
In other words, this aspect of your coloring determines whether you look better in warm, neutral or cool colors. And that will depend on whether your features have warm (yellow) undertones, cool (blue) undertones, or neutral (red) undertones.
The full undertone spectrum looks like this:
All of your facial features have the same undertones. But your skin may be the most difficult feature to analyse because the undertone is not freely visible. So we will discuss skin tones first.
Determine your skin undertone
Human skin comes in all kinds of shades ranging from fair to deep and all shades in-between. But whether your skin is light or dark is not relevant here. What is essential is whether it is warm or cool.
And that is because clothing colors in the wrong hue will visually highlight imperfections, emphasise shadows on your face and make your skin tone appear uneven.
Determining your skin undertone is thus a crucial exercise that will positively impact your wardrobe and your appearance. But how do you know whether you have warm or cool undertones?
The difference between undertone and overtone
You might have been struggling to determine your skin tone in the past. And the reason for that may be that you were paying too much attention to your overtone.
What exactly is an overtone? It’s the coloring of your outward appearance: the color of your skin, hair and eyes are all the result of the unique combination of melanin (black, blue, brown) and carotene (yellow, orange, red) levels.
You may have thought that you were warm because of the yellowness in your skin only to find out that warm colors make you look even more yellow. But with skin, what you see is not always what you get. And that is due to skin undertones.
Undertone refers to the underlying color of your skin tone. It can sit anywhere on the spectrum of cool (blue) through neutral (red) to warm (yellow).
You can imagine your skin tone like this: undertone + overtone = skin tone. The mixing of the undertone with the overtone can produce confusion. We need to therefore understand how undertones appear when mixed with different overtones. Let’s break this down.
The undertone of your skin sits somewhere on the hue scale. Warm undertones are yellow, cool ones are blue and neutral ones are red. Although green is also a neutral color, it is not one of the three primary colors. And no one has a green undertone - not to be confused with olive skin.
Skin overtone is the overlaying color of your skin or what it looks like outwardly. Overtones range from fair to deep and are mostly determined by your ethnicity. And if you are familiar with makeup foundations, you will know that manufacturers also like to split their product ranges into different overtones. Below are six overtones ranging from light to dark on the value scale.
Now if we combine skin undertones and overtones, we get actual skin tones. In other words, this is how the skin actually looks:
As you can see, the warmer skin tones look more yellow, the neutral ones more pink or reddish, and the cool ones appear more blueish.
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To find your undertone, you can simply compare your skin to this chart. If you are not be able to spot your skin tone straight away, don’t worry. There is a well-known test you can use to help you find your undertones.
This test is the popular metal test. It’s simple: Do you look better in gold or silver? If gold suits you, you have warm undertones. If silver looks good on you, your undertones are cool. And if both metals look fine on you, you have neutral undertones. This is a great way to determine your skin undertone - as long as you know what to look for.
How does the test work?
If you have very warm or very cool undertones, you will see a strongly negative reaction to either silver or gold.
If there is no strong reaction against either metal, your skin tone has neutral undertones. If one of the metals looks slightly better than the other one, your skin has either neutral-warm or neutral-cool undertones.
A reaction to gold or silver is caused by a clash of two undertones. Warm skin has clear yellow undertones. If you put something silver near it, the blue undertone of the silver will turn the skin a sickly green (because yellow + blue = green).
Similarly, if you put something gold near cool skin, the yellow gold will clash with the blue undertones of the skin. The result is again a sickly, greenish tinge.
A neutral skin tone will not have such a strong reaction because its undertone is red. In this case, yellow gold will mix with red to produce orange, and blue silver will mix with red to create purple. Both orange and purple form part of the hue scale and occur as natural skin undertones. Green, however, is not a skin undertone, which is why a green tinge causes the skin to look off.
You can see the effects in the following graphic, in which the three pure undertone hues were mixed with gold on the left and silver on the right:
The resulting colors all appear ‘healthy’ except for the third one in the first row and the first one in the third row. In these spots, yellow was mixed with silver and blue mixed with gold. In both cases, the result is a ‘sickly’ greenish color. That is why it is so important to wear colors with the right undertones.
I. Warm undertones
Warm skin has clear yellow undertones. Depending on the overtone, warm skin tones may look differently. But the yellow undertone is always visible:
How to spot warm undertones
Skin with very warm undertones does not tolerate silver and will have a strong reaction against the metal. Silver makes warm skin appear pale, ‘muddy’ and greenish (because yellow undertones + blue silver = green). But gold draws out the naturally present yellow undertones and creates a glowing skin tone.
II. Cool undertones
Cool skin has clear blue undertones. Depending on the overtone, cool skin tones may look differently. But the blue undertone is always visible:
How to spot cool undertones
Skin with cool undertones does not tolerate gold and will have a strong reaction against the metal. Gold makes cool skin appear weirdly yellowish or greenish (because blue undertones + yellow gold = green). But silver draws out the naturally present blue undertones and creates an even skin tone.
II. Neutral undertones
If your skin does not have a strong reaction to gold or silver, your skin undertone is closer to neutral. It may be neutral-warm, neutral-cool or pure neutral.
How to spot neutral undertones
Pure neutral skin has neither yellow nor blue undertones but red ones. Since red acts as a neutralising color, skin with neutral undertones does not have a reaction against either gold or silver. Both metals create an equally healthy, even skin tone.
Neutral-warm skin has orange undertones (because warm yellow + neutral red = orange). Again, this type of skin does not have a strong reaction against either gold or silver. However, since neutral-warm skin is warmer, gold will always be the more foolproof and more suitable choice. This is because gold emphasises the yellowish undertones of neutral-warm skin.
Neutral-cool skin has purple undertones (because cool blue + neutral red = purple). This type of skin does not have a strong reaction against either gold or silver either. However, since neutral-cool skin is still cooler rather than warmer, silver will always be the more foolproof and more suitable choice. This is because silver emphasises the blueish undertones of neutral-cool skin. Additionally, many individuals on the cooler side of the spectrum naturally struggle to wear gold, even if they have neutral-cool undertones.
The Wardrobe Guide
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Determine your hair undertone
While your skin tone is the most obvious physical feature to test, your hair may also give you helpful clues about your undertones.
In general, hair with warm undertones tends to appear as bright golden hues (even on darker hair), whereas ashy hair indicates cool undertones. The two extreme hair colors black and platinum blonde are typically cool.
Red hair can be either warm or cool. Strawberry blonde, copper and other bright orangey reds typically have warm undertones. But darker auburns and more blueish reds have cool undertones.
More neutral-colored hair has weakened versions of the hair colors shown above.
Determine your eye undertone
Just like skin and hair, eyes also have various undertones and may be able to give you additional clues.
Just like skin, warm eyes have yellow undertones. When mixed with the overlaying eye color (blue, green or brown), the resulting eye colors become turquoise blues, mossy greens and ochre browns.
Warm eyes will become highlighted when you hold something gold next to them because the gold will draw out the yellow undertones. As a general guideline, warmer eyes also tend to be brighter and lighter than cool eyes.
Eyes with cool undertones, on the other hand, have blue undertones. Pure black eyes are also cool. Often, cool eyes tend to appear less clear and more greyish. These eyes will pop if you hold something silver next to them because the silver will draw out the blue undertones.
More neutral-colored eyes are somewhere between these two extremes.
The Wardrobe Guide
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II. Value & Contrast
Value (or depth) describes how light or dark a color is. The more black is added to a color, the darker it becomes. The more white is added to a color, the lighter it gets.
A color that has been darkened by adding black is called a shade. And a color which has been lightened by adding white is referred to as tint. For instance, a dark navy blue is a shade of blue, whereas a light pastel blue is a tint of blue.
In other words, this aspect of your coloring looks at how light or dark your colors should be. And that will depend on how light or dark your overall coloring and that of your individual features is.
The full value spectrum looks like this:
Hand in hand with value goes the concept of contrast. Generally, contrast is the level of difference in value between two or more colors. For instance, black and white are highly contrasted because their values are as different as can be. Two medium greys, on the other hand, have low contrast because their values are very similar.
Another way to look at contrast is by seeing how far apart two colors are on the color wheel. Two hues which sit on opposite sides of the color wheel will have very high contrast. For example, yellow and purple are opposites, and as such, they are highly contrasted. And that is because yellow is light, but purple has a dark value.
The closer together colors are, the lower the level of contrast between them. Neighbouring hues, such as orange and red, have low contrast because they both have medium values.
Determine your value & contrast
The value of any color becomes apparent if you desaturate it (convert it into greyscale). For instance, below are the three primary colors fully saturated and completely desaturated:
We can see that yellow has a light value because it is the lightest hue on the color wheel. As the darkest hue on the color wheel, blue has a dark value. And red, the neutral hue, has a medium value.
To determine the value of your own coloring, you can do a similar thing: convert your photo into greyscale and examine where your overall coloring falls on the value scale. Then understand the composition of values in your photo. How many areas are light, medium and dark? This will give you your contrast level.
I. Light Value
Individuals with a light value have similarly light hair, skin and eyes. This creates a low contrast between the features.
How to spot a light value
An individual with a light value has no features that are dark or medium in value. All features are equally light. Consequently, there will be no medium or dark areas in a desaturated image of them. And all areas are similarly light, meaning the contrast between the features is low.
II. Dark Value
Individuals with a dark value have prominent dark hair and eyes, which stand in contrast to lighter skin. The contrast between the features is deemed high.
How to spot a dark value
Individuals with a dark value have dark hair and eyes paired with lighter skin. This does not mean that the skin has to be very light (though it can), it just needs to be lighter in relation to the dark features. This creates a high contrast between the features.
II. Medium Value
If you cannot clearly identify with a light or dark value, your appearance is closer to a medium value. Individuals with a medium value have either (1) overall mid-tones in hair, skin and eyes, or (2) light skin and eyes but dark hair, or (3) overall dark features. The contrast between the features is then either medium or high.
How to spot a medium value
Individuals with a medium value have neither prominent light nor prominent dark features. All features have a similar medium coloring. This creates an overall medium contrast between them.
There are two caveats to this, though. If you have light skin and eyes paired with dark hair (or non-prominent dark features as described above), you will also fall into this category. But in this case, the resulting contrast between your features is high rather than medium.
Similarly, if all of your features are very dark with very little difference in value between your hair, eyes and skin, you will also fall into this category. In this case, the contrast between your features is also deemed high because the dark features contrast with the whites of the eyes and the teeth.
This is very much a default category. If your features are neither light nor prominently dark, you will be at home here.
The Wardrobe Guide
Struggling to determine your value? Check out the full range of examples in the wardrobe guide.Learn More
Chroma describes how bright/clear or muted/soft a color is. Clear or bright colors are pure colors. These are fully saturated colors.
The more grey is added to a pure color, the more muted it becomes. Muted colors are therefore desaturated, greyed out colors, which are much less intense than their pure counterparts. They are also called tones. So a hot pink would be a pure color because it is fully saturated and vibrant. But a dusky rose would be a tone because it is soft.
In other words, this aspect of your coloring determines whether you look better in highly saturated, medium-saturated or desaturated colors. And that will depend on the amount of grey pigments present in your natural coloring.
A high content of grey pigments indicates a muted appearance, whereas the absence of grey pigments creates a bright appearance.
Determine your chroma
To determine your chroma, you can refer back to the principle mentioned in the beginning: if you are warm and light, you will also be bright. But if you are warm and dark, you are automatically muted.
Similarly, if you are cool and dark, you will automatically be bright. But if you are cool and light, you will also be muted.
This principle alone should help you decide your chroma level. But to be sure, let’s understand what it means to have high or low chroma.
I. High chroma (bright)
Individuals with high chroma have a bright appearance. Hair, skin and eyes are fully saturated. Features are vibrant and full of color. This type of coloring lacks grey pigments.
In addition, the high saturation creates a high contrast between the features.
How to spot high chroma
Individuals with high chroma cannot wear grey (or other fashion neutrals) on its own without becoming dulled and washed out. But they are able to wear highly saturated colors without disappearing behind them.
I. Low chroma (muted)
Individuals with low chroma have a muted appearance. Hair, skin and eyes have a desaturated, greyish or ashy quality. And there is little to no vibrancy in the features. This type of coloring contains a high amount of grey pigments.
In addition, the contrast between the features tends to be quite low due to the lack of saturation.
How to spot low chroma
Individuals with low chroma can wear grey (and other fashion neutrals) on its own without being washed out. To muted appearances, such understated colors add a graceful elegance. But individuals with low chroma are unable to wear highly saturated colors without being swallowed up by them.
I. Medium chroma
If you cannot clearly identify with high or low chroma, your coloring has medium chroma. It may be brighter or more muted, but it’s not at one of the two extreme ends. In this case, your best colors will be either slightly more saturated or slightly more muted based on your color season.
The Wardrobe Guide
Struggling to determine your chroma? Check out the full range of examples in the wardrobe guide.Learn More
Your Color Season
You should now have discovered your settings on the three color dimensions. Remember, one of the three dimensions will house your primary color aspect - the most important aspect of your natural coloring. This aspect will be paired with your secondary color aspect to form your color season. Let's go through each possible combination one by one.
Your primary color aspect is warm if the first thing that strikes you about your appearance is the obvious warmth radiating from your features and the complete lack of coolness. Your skin has an obvious yellow, golden or caramel undertone.
Contrast: The overall contrast level of your features is medium. No feature is extremely light or extremely dark compared to the rest.
Eyes: Light to medium brown, olive green, dark hazel, light hazel or warm blue (often with a yellowish rim around the pupil).
Hair: Usually neither very dark nor very light, has a medium intensity - light to medium golden blond through to medium brown, or strawberry blond or rich and warm red (copper).
Main aspect: The obvious warmth coming from your appearance. It could be either a radiant, warm glow or a more subdued warmth (depending on your secondary aspect), but there is an overall lack of coolness.
Deciding factor: Silver makes you look pale and pasty, but gold gives you a healthy glow.
Secondary aspect: bright or muted
A warm primary aspect can be paired with bright (True Spring) or muted (True Autumn) as secondary aspect. Both True Spring and True Autumn look off in silver and cool colors. But True Spring needs saturated, fresh colors with higher chroma to truly shine, whereas True Autumn looks amazing in rich, earthy colors which are more muted. Notice how Jessica's features are more contrasted, whereas Chrissy's blend more.
If you are unsure which season you are, try Jessica's orangey red lipstick for True Spring and Chrissy's brown lipstick for True Autumn. Browns are too earthy for True Springs.
Your primary color aspect is cool if the first thing that strikes you about your coloring is the total absence of warmth and the distinctive coolness coming from your features. Your skin has obvious blue or greyish undertones (with clear blue veins).
Contrast: The overall contrast level of your features is medium to high. You may have very dark hair in contrast to a lighter skin tone.
Hair: Ash blond through to black, all brown shades with no highlights, silver, grey/silver mix.
Eyes: Cool blue, grey blue, cool hazel, dark brown, charcoal grey, black.
Main aspect: The obvious coolness coming from your appearance combined with a higher contrast between hair and skin. This coolness can either be a frosted, icy vibe or a more gentle, subdued coolness (depending on your secondary characteristic).
Deciding factor: Gold makes you look yellowish and sickly, but silver makes you look healthy.
Secondary aspect: muted or bright
A cool primary aspect can be paired with muted (True Summer) or bright (True Winter) as secondary aspect. These two color seasons are both cool and look off in gold and other warm colors. But True Winter is more contrasted and intense than True Summer and requires colors with higher chroma. The latter is overwhelmed by the saturated colors of Winter and needs a gentler coolness with lower chroma.
If you are undecided between the two seasons, try Sonam's gentler pink lipstick for True Summer and Lucy's brighter pink for True Winter.
Your primary color aspect is light if the first thing that strikes you about your appearance is the absence of depth in your features.
Contrast: The contrast between your skin, hair, and eye colors is low - meaning that all features are similarly light.
Eyes: Light to medium blue or green and light hazel or light brown.
Hair: Very light - Light to medium ash or golden blonde, or soft/light auburn, or light to medium brown.
Main aspect: The lightness of the features' coloring (not to be confused with muted coloring: it's not greyed out but much more lively) and the lack of depth in the features.
Deciding factor: Very dark colors age you, but light, colorful tints make your appearance pop. Note that light colors in this analysis are not to be confused with muted colors, which are greyish. Those will make you look washed out.
Secondary aspect: warm or cool
The primary aspect light can be paired with warm (Light Spring) and cool (Light Summer). The two light seasons can be quite tricky to tell apart at first glance. Both are instantly aged if they put on anything that's dark. But they are easy to spot once they are dressed in either Spring or Summer colors.
If you can't decide between the two, try out Scarlett's orangey lipstick for Light Spring and Margot's cooler pink for Light Summer.
Your primary color aspect is dark if the first thing that strikes you about your appearance is the depth of your features. This aspect can either mean that all of your features are dark or your hair and eyes are dark compared to your light skin.
Contrast: The contrast between your skin, hair, and eye colors is high. Your dark hair and eyes stand in contrast to a lighter skin tone, or the whites of the eyes and teeth stand in contrast to dark skin, hair and eyes.
Eyes: Black, black-brown, red-brown, brown. If you have an eye color other than the ones stated, you are not dark.
Hair: Very dark - Black, black-brown, chestnut brown, dark auburn.
Main aspect: Overall dark features or prominent dark features in combination with a high contrast level.
Deciding factor: Very dark colors make your eyes and hair pop, and you can wear them comfortably without being overwhelmed. Light, colorful colors, on the other hand, pale and wash you out.
Secondary aspect: warm or cool
The primary aspect dark can be paired with warm (Dark Autumn) or cool (Dark Winter). Dark Autumns and Dark Winters both look elegant in dark, mysterious colors. They are generally quite easy to tell apart. Dark Autumns tend to have that golden, bronzy glow to them, whereas Dark Winters tend to look frostier.
If you are unsure though, try Olivia's dark red for Dark Autumn and Kelly's dark, purply lipstick for Dark Winter. Purple does not sit well with Dark Autumns.
Your primary color aspect is bright if the first thing that strikes you about your appearance is the clearness and saturation of your features. There is no greyness in your coloring and your features don't blend but contrast. They clearly stand out against each other.
Contrast: The overall contrast level of your features is high to very high. Your eyes may stand out against your skin and hair.
Eyes: May stand out against skin and hair - clear blue, turquoise blue or green, bright green, emerald, or sparkly amber/topaz, brown, dark brown, black. The whites are clearly defined.
Hair: Black, black-brown, medium to dark brown, bright golden blonde or red hair, very golden white-blond.
Main aspect: Your features are highly contrasted and saturated. They don't blend and there is no greyness about them.
Deciding factor: You can comfortably wear highly saturated colors without them stealing the show, but greyish, unsaturated colors make you look very bland.
Secondary aspect: warm or cool
The primary aspect bright can be paired with warm (Bright Spring) or cool (Bright Winter). The difference between Bright Spring and Bright Winter is the more frosted appearance of the latter. Both need highly saturated colors, but Bright Winter needs the slightly darker, even more intense colors of Winter, which are a bit too much for Bright Spring. Bright Springs look amazing in warmer, fresher and slightly lighter colors.
If you are unsure whether you are a Bright Spring or a Bright Winter, try Lupita's cooler pink lipstick for Bright Winter and Milla's warmer coral pink lipstick for Bright Spring.
Your primary color aspect is muted if the first thing that strikes you about your appearance is how 'greyed out' it is. You have a high content of grey pigments in your coloring. Instead of contrasting, your features are all very similar and blend into each other. You can at first appear to be light, but you have a richer look.
Contrast: The overall contrast level of your features is low to medium. Skin, hair, and eyes have a similarly low intensity. Features blend rather than contrast.
Eyes: Blend in with skin and hair - hazel, brown, grey-green, grey-blue.
Hair: Neither very light nor very dark - usually ashy. Golden or ash blond through to medium brown, strawberry blond through to soft auburn, medium to dark ash brown, light grey.
Main aspect: The lack of contrast in your features resulting in a blended appearance and the obvious greyness of your coloring.
Deciding factor: Saturated colors instantly draw attention away from you and onto themselves, but muted colors give you a sophisticated elegance. If muted colors make you look bland and washed out, this is not your primary color aspect.
Secondary aspect: cool or warm
The primary aspect muted can be paired with cool (Soft Summer) or warm (Soft Autumn). Just like the two light seasons, the two muted seasons can be hard to tell apart because both are very unsaturated, which makes colors appear similar. The difference between them is the higher content of grey pigments in Soft Summer vs the higher content of walnut and olive pigments in Soft Autumn.
How to tell the difference? Try Sarah Jessica's nude pink for Soft Summer and Gigi's nude brown for Soft Autumn. Soft Autumns can pull off earthier Autumn shades which would look off on Soft Summers.