The 12 Colour Seasons

Soft Autumn:
A Comprehensive Guide

Soft Autumn is muted and warm.
This colour season draws on the typical depth of colour and warmth of Autumn. But the Summer influence makes this season much gentler.

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Soft Autumn Colour Wheel

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 season is warm. However, both sister seasons are a blend of Summer and Autumn. And while Soft Summer leans more towards the Summer palette, Soft Autumn leans more towards the Autumn palette.

I. 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.

You are a Soft Autumn if the primary colour aspect of your overall appearance is muted, and the secondary aspect 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 into one another. Instead of bright and vibrant, your features appear somewhat “greyed out” or toned down. This gives you a soft, muted appearance.

The contrast between your skin, eyes and hair is low to medium. But the important thing is that your colouring blends and is not intense. In addition, your colouring has warmer undertones, meaning gold flatters your skin more than silver.

Soft Autumn Examples
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The Features

I. Eyes

Soft Autumn Eye Colours

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 in this colour season tend to be warm and with some grey in them. Darker ethnicities may also have a medium brown colour, but it must be soft, not bright.

II. Skin

Soft Autumn Skin

The skin is either neutral 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 and often has a hint of sand or yellow. Surrounded by vibrant colours, the skin may appear dull. And against true black, it may appear yellowish.

III. Hair

Soft Autumn Hair Colours

Soft Autumn hair ranges from strawberry blonde over golden blonde to medium golden brown. The hair may appear slightly ashy because it's muted. But when exposed to the sun, it may develop golden highlights.

IV. Contrast

Depending on the hair/skin combination, the contrast level between the features is low to medium. In the images below, you can see how the hair is darker compared to the skin, but the contrast is still quite weak. There are also no truly light or dark areas in the image. The colouring remains around a medium value.

Soft Autumn Contrast

Soft Autumn vs Soft Summer

Containing the most muted and toned-down of the Summer family’s colours, individuals who fall into the Soft Autumn category may very easily be mistaken for Soft Summers. Both colour seasons are very similar, and the distinctions are subtle.

Both seasons’ primary colour aspect is muted – but while Soft Autumn is warm, Soft Summer is cool. The latter’s colouring contains more gentle, muted tones with a high content of grey and olive, whereas Soft Autumn’s colouring has more walnut and honey pigments.

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 makeup, 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.

Soft Autumn vs Soft Summer
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II. The Colour Palette

Soft Autumn is the colour season reminiscent of hazy days. The last summer sun rays touch the earth and create gentle, earthy Autumn landscapes with intricate nuances.

These colours are delicate and mysterious. They are the colours of nuts and seeds and the first fields ready to harvest.

Soft Autumn Colours

The Palette

Soft Autumn Colour Palette
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Soft Autumn Colour Palette
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Soft Autumn combines low chroma with warmth. Thus, the Soft Autumn colour palette is the original Autumn palette with some of the intensity removed.

True to Soft Autumn’s primary colour aspect, the colours are muted and desaturated. There is little contrast between the colours. However, as part of the Autumn family and due to the gentle warmth in the colours, the overall effect of the Soft Autumn palette is rich, soft and inviting.

The best colours for this 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 more gentle colours, such as olive greens and delicate reds and pinks.

Colour Dimensions

On the three dimensions of colour, Soft Autumn has the following settings:

Soft Autumn Colour Dimensions

Hue

Thanks to this season’s secondary aspect, the colours lean towards the warm end of the scale but are not very warm. This means they contain more yellow than blue undertones. Consequently, 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 lighter and darker colours, most of the colours cluster around the middle of the value scale.

Chroma

Due to its primary colour aspect, this Soft Autumn has the least tolerance for brightness. Consequently, its colours are low in chroma and are not saturated at all.

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. Consequently, 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 and make them softer.

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

As sister palettes, Soft Summer and True Autumn both share Soft Autumn’s aspects of muted and warm, respectively. Depending on where you fall on the Soft Autumn spectrum, you can borrow some colours from your sister palettes since they are close enough to the Soft Autumn colour palette.

If you lean more towards Soft Summer, opt for the warmer colours on the Soft Summer palette – such as Powder Pink, Garnet Rose and Oxblood Red. Whereas if you lean more towards True Autumn, choose the more muted colours on the Soft Autumn palette – such as Golden Apricot, Muskmelon and Fern.

Soft Autumn Sister Palettes
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III. Styling

Neutrals

Due to your gentle colouring, dark colours are one of your worst options. Hence, true black (a Winter colour) is not on your colour palette. Black near your face will make you look aged and unhealthy. To replace black, you have dark browns, dark greys and dark greens. The closest to black on the palette is a dusty warm dark grey.

Similarly, true white (another Winter colour) is too harsh and too cool for you. Your light neutrals are yellowish to make them warmer and less harsh. They include a yellowish off-white, beiges and sand colours.

Soft Autumn Neutrals

Colours to Avoid

Since Soft Autumn’s main colour aspects are low chroma and warmth, your worst colours are bright and cool.

Vibrant colours, such as intense oranges, will overpower you and may even make you look clownish.

Dark colours, such as deep purples and blues, will make you disappear.

And very cool colours, like black, white and blueish greys, will clash with your warm appearance.

Soft Autumn Colours to Avoid

Colour Combinations

Technically, you can combine any of the colours on the Soft Autumn palette with each other. But certain combinations will look much better than others. Those are the combinations that repeat the level of contrast that is naturally present in your appearance.

Soft Autumn's natural appearance blends rather than contrasts. This season does not tolerate a lot of contrast. Therefore, your best colour combinations are those that complement each other.

The best way to achieve this is through monochromatic colour combinations. You can pair slightly different shades of the same hue, such as a lighter green with a darker one.

While hue contrast is not something Soft Autumn generally wear well, you can combine neighbouring hues as long as they have the same value. For example, you could pair a medium blue with a medium green. Another option is to mix a neutral with an accent of similar value, such as a medium brown with a similarly medium red.

Generally, monochromatic colour combinations will look best on Soft Autumns. This might make other seasons look washed out, but on a Soft Summer, it is nothing but flattering.

Avoid pairing highly contrasting colours, especially those that sit opposite each other on the colour wheel, such as blue and orange. These combinations will swallow up your delicate appearance and make you disappear behind them.

Soft Autumn Colour Combinations
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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). Avoid this pattern.

Soft Autumn Patterns & Pints

Since your natural colouring has low contrast, opt for patterns that reflect this natural contrast level 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 very high contrast between the elements and is thus less flattering.

Soft Autumn Patterns & Prints Contrast


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.

Soft Autumn Patterns & Prints Elements

Metals & Accessories

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

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

Since Soft Autumn is 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.

Wood and other natural materials also make great accessories for Autumns. Yellow stones resembling amber will enhance the naturally warm notes of your colouring as well. One such stone is citrine. Greenish, grassy stones are also an option.

Soft Autumn Metals
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