Soft Autumn

A Comprehensive Guide

Soft Autumn is Autumn influenced by Summer. As such it takes the typical depth of colour and warmth from Autumn, but makes it much softer due to the Summer influence.

Soft Autumn is one of the three Autumn seasons and sits between Soft Summer and True Autumn on the seasonal flow chart.

Unlike Soft Summer, this sub-season is warm. However, both sub-seasons share some colours as they are sister palettes. They are both a blend of Summer and Autumn. And while Soft Summer leans more towards the Summer palette, Soft Autumn leans more towards the Autumn palette.

Characteristics

Please note: Do not worry too much if one characteristic of your appearance deviates from the below descriptions. You may still fall into this colour season if your overall appearance matches the profile.

The following images are examples of Soft Autumns. You may look different but still be a Soft Autumns.

You are a Soft Autumn if the dominant characteristic of your overall appearance is muted, and the secondary characteristic is warm – meaning warm colours suit you better than cooler ones.

When you look in the mirror the first thing you notice about your colouring is that your skin, eyes, and hair blend together giving you a soft appearance. Instead of clearly standing out, your features appear somewhat “greyed” out or toned down.

The contrast between your skin, eyes, and hair is low to medium. But the important thing is that your natural colours blend together rather than contrast. In addition, your features have mainly warm undertones.

The Features

I. Eyes

Soft Autumn eyes can be green, light hazel, or light brown. They tend to have a bit of grey to them, which gives them a muted appearance. You may also notice freckles on the iris and swirling erratic borders that are characteristic of Autumn eyes. Blue eyes that fall into this sub-season tend to be warm and also with a bit of grey in them. Darker ethnicities may also have a medium brown colour, but it must be muted.

II. Skin

The skin is either neutral, olive, or neutral-warm – meaning both gold and silver look good against it, but gold looks better. It can come in a range of tones: from fair to tan (I to IV on the Fitzpatrick scale) and may have a beige tint or appear light golden. Surrounded by vibrant colours the skin may seem dull and against true black, it may appear yellowish.

III. Hair

Soft Autumn hair ranges from strawberry blonde over golden blonde to medium golden brown. It may develop golden highlights when in the sun.

IV. Contrast

Depending on the hair/skin combination, the contrast between the features is low to medium. In the images below, you can see how the hair and eyes are darker against the skin but the contrast is not very strong. In fact, all of the features have a grey tint; there are no truly light and dark areas.

Soft Autumn vs Soft Summer

Containing the most muted and toned-down of the Autumn’s family’s colours, people who fall into the Soft Autumn category can easily be confused with Soft Summers. Both sub-seasons are very similar to each other and the distinctions are very subtle.

Both sub-seasons’ dominant characteristic is muted – but while Soft Summer is cool, Soft Autumn is warm. The latter’s colouring contains a high content of walnut and honey. Whereas Soft Summer’s colouring has a high content of grey and olive.

Subtype test

If you are unsure whether your appearance is warmer or cooler, there is an easy way to find out: In natural daylight and without make up, hold something grey to your face. If your eyes seem greyish (even if they are greenish or have brown blotches), then you are likely a Soft Summer; if they remain green, hazel, or olive, then you lean more towards Soft Autumn. Why is that?

As mentioned before, Soft Summer has a high content of grey pigments, which tones down the colours of their natural appearance. Soft Autumn colours contain more walnut, beige, and gold pigments and therefore the eyes cannot appear grey.

The Colour Palette

Soft Autumn is the season reminiscent of hazy days and gentle and earthy Autumn landscapes with intricate nuances in every object.

In terms of colours, the following images are representative of the delicate, warm colours that are part of the Soft Autumn colour palette:

The Palette

True to Soft Autumn’s dominant characteristic, its colours are muted and non-saturated. However, as part of the Autumn family, the overall effect of the Soft Autumn palette is rich, soft, and inviting. The best colours for this sub-season are gentle and neither too cool nor too warm. This means the palette lacks colours such as the oranges of True Autumn or the darker colours from the Dark Autumn palette. Instead, the palette includes gentler colours – such as khaki, buttermilk, and light peach.

Colour Dimensions

On the three dimensions of colour, Soft Summer has the following properties:

Hue

Thanks to this sub-season’s secondary characteristic, the colours lean towards the warm end of the scale but are not extremely warm. This means they contain more yellow than blue undertones. As a result, you will find fewer shades of blue (which is the coolest colour of all) on the palette. And you will only see warmer shades of blue – like turquoise, that have a tint of yellow. Instead, there are more yellows, greens, and warm browns that are naturally yellow-based.

Value

The colour palette is medium in value; meaning neither light nor dark colours dominate it. While there are, of course, lighter and darker colours, most of the colours fall somewhere in the middle of the value scale.

Chroma

Due to its dominant characteristic muted, this sub-season has the least tolerance for brightness. Consequently, its colours are low in chroma and not saturated at all. Rather, they appear soft and gentle.

Sister Palettes

Soft Autumn sits between Soft Summer and True Autumn on the seasonal flow chart. It falls at the Summer end of the Autumn palette, which is why the colours are softer, slightly lighter, and less warm than those of True Autumn.

Compared to Soft Summer, the colours are warmer, but otherwise similar – both are medium in value and muted. Summer’s effect on Soft Autumn is to cool the colours slightly.

Compared to the third Autumn sub-season Dark Autumn, the colours share the same neutral-warm hue, but are softer and considerably lighter.

As sister palettes, Soft Summer and True Autumn both share Soft Autumn’s characteristics of muted and warm, respectively. This means you can borrow some of their palettes’ colours as they are close enough to the Soft Autumn colour palette. On the Soft Summer palette, opt for the warmer colours – such as baby pink or ruby. Whereas on the True Autumn palette, choose the less rich colours – such as honey or moss.

Styling

Clothing

Even though technically you can combine any of the colours on your colour palette with each other, certain combinations will look much better than others:

The gentle warmth of the Soft Autumn colour palette is best reflected when you wear your colours in low- to medium-contrast combinations. This level of contrast will mirror the low/medium contrast that already exists in your natural appearance and complement it. This means that the colours you combine should resemble each other in hue or value.

You could, for example, opt for a monochromatic look and combine slightly different shades of one hue – such a light peach with a darker peach tone. Or you could combine neighbouring hues with the same level of value – such as a light blue with a light blue-green. A third option is to combine a lighter neutral with a darker accent colour, or a darker neutral with a lighter accent colour.

In addition to being muted, Soft Autumn is also warm-neutral. That means you can balance both warmer and cooler colours (even in the same outfit), but overall your best combinations will have a warmer quality to them.

Avoid combining colours that are highly contrasting, i.e. hues that sit opposite each other on the colour wheel – such as yellow and purple. Since your natural colouring is soft, you will disappear behind your outfit.

Due to your gentle colouring, dark colours are one of your worst options. As such, true black is not on your colour palette. Similarly, true white is too harsh and too cool for you.

To replace black, you have dark browns, dark greys, and gentle navy blues. The closest to black on your palette is a dusty warm dark grey. Your whites are yellowish to make them warmer and less harsh.

Colours to Avoid

Apart from white and black, avoid very dark colours – such as deep purples or blues, as they will make you disappear. On the some note, bright colours – such as intense oranges, will overpower you and may make you look clownish.

Patterns & Prints

If you are thinking of incorporating some patterns and prints into your wardrobe, consider the following:

The best patterns are those that only contain Soft Autumn colours – like in the first example below.

If a pattern contains some but not much colour from a disharmonious palette – like in the second example, you can also wear it.

The last example contains too much of a disharmonious colour (a Bright Winter green, which is bright and cool), so it’s best left alone.

Since your natural colouring is low- to medium-contrast, opt for patterns that reflect this natural level of contrast rather than ones which are too bold.

In the example below, both patterns are in Soft Autumn colours and wearable. However, the second pattern displays a higher contrast between the elements and is therefore less flattering.

Great patterns for Soft Autumn are natural and gentle – such as oval shapes, leaves, and wood structures. Since this sub-season borders on Summer, floral patterns also work, especially small flowers.

The elements of the pattern should be small and loosely arranged.

Avoid geometric patterns, ordered arrangements, and big elements – like in the first example. These don’t go well with your soft, gentle appearance.

Jewellery

The best metals for Soft Autumn are soft and muted – brushed, matte, satin, and hammered metals are great. Antiqued metals can work too, as long as they are not overly blackened and dark.

Since you are neutral-warm, silver, pewter, bronze, white gold, rose gold, and soft yellow gold all work on you, as long as they are muted enough. Most coppers are too orange – and therefore too rich for you, but you can opt for a pinkish copper.

Avoid bright and shiny metals and bling, as they will overwhelm the natural, subtle gentleness of your colouring and fade it into dullness.

Wood and other natural materials also make great jewellery for Autumns.

All yellow stones resembling amber will enhance the naturally warm notes of your colouring as well. One such stone is citrine.

Greenish, grassy stones will look especially great on green-eyed Soft Autumns. Make sure to choose gentle, soft shades.

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