The 12 Colour Seasons

Soft Summer:
A Comprehensive Guide

Soft Summer is muted and cool.
The Soft Summer colour palette contains highly desaturated, greyed out colours that would make other colour seasons look washed out. But to a Soft Summer, they are adding understated elegance.

Contents

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Soft Summer Colour Wheel

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

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

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 Summer if the primary colour aspect of your overall appearance is muted, and the secondary aspect is cool – meaning cool colours suit you better than warmer ones.

When you look in the mirror the first thing you notice about your colouring is that your skin, eyes and hair all 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 cooler undertones, meaning silver flatters your skin more than gold.

Soft Summer Examples
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The Features

I. Eyes

Soft Summer Eye Colours

Soft Summer eyes can be grey, grey blue, grey green or grey hazel. A muted brown is common for darker ethnicities. Regardless of the colour, Soft Summer eyes are always softly greyed. Although they are clearer and less muddy than Soft Autumn eyes, they are by no means bright. Typical of the Summer eye, you may notice a crackled glass pattern on the iris.

II. Skin

Soft Summer Skin

Soft Summer skin is either neutral, olive or neutral-cool with ashy undertones and possibly a pink tinge. This means both silver and gold look good against the skin, but silver looks better. Skin tones range from fair to tan, but they are muted rather than vibrant. Soft Summers may also have freckles.

III. Hair

Soft Summer Hair Colours

Hair in this colour season ranges from medium ash blonde over light to medium ash brown. Because of the high concentration of grey pigments, Soft Summer hair is always muted and ashy, never saturated and bright. When exposed to the sun, it can develop ash blonde 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 Summer Contrast

Soft Summer vs Soft Autumn

Containing the most muted and toned-down of the Summer family’s colours, individuals who fall into the Soft Summer category may very easily be mistaken for Soft Autumns. 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 Summer vs Soft Autumn
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II. The Colour Palette

Soft Summer is the colour season reminiscent of misty days when the heat carries the fog through the air after a cool summer rain. And the arrival of autumn is not far away.

These colours are gentle and mysterious. They contain so many cold and warm tones that their collision gives rise to a surprisingly harmonious image. And like a chameleon, this colour season can show one side or another.

Soft Summer Colours

The Palette

Soft Summer Colour Palette
Bright Spring Colour Palette
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Soft Summer Colour Palette
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True to Soft Summer's primary colour aspect, the colours are muted and gentle to match the low to medium contrast level of this season’s natural colouring.

The colour palette includes desaturated, low-contrast and coolish colours. Most of the colours are greys and blue-based colours with a heavy focus on pinks, purples, blues and greens. The colours are not clear but complex and elusive, almost as if they consisted of many different colours.

Soft Summer sits on the border to Autumn. Summer is muted, cool and light. Autumn is also muted. So adding Autumn to Summer makes the Soft Summer palette even more faded. But Autumn also brings warmth, which adds a brownish element to the colours. Autumn also adds depth, and thus, Soft Summer colours are the darkest of the Summer family.

Colour Dimensions

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

Soft Summer Colour Dimensions

Hue

Thanks to Soft Summer’s secondary aspect, the colours lean towards the cool end of the scale but are not extremely cool. That means they contain more blue than yellow undertones. As a result, you will find fewer shades of yellow (which is the warmest colour of all). And you will only see cooler shades of yellow that have a tint of blue. Instead, there are more blues, pinks and greys, which are naturally blue-based and thus cool.

Value

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

Chroma

In line with this season’s primary colour aspect, Soft Summer has the least tolerance for brightness. Consequently, the colours have low chroma – meaning they are very desaturated, muted or simply greyed-out.

Sister Palettes

Soft Summer sits between True Summer and Soft Autumn on the seasonal flow chart. It falls at the Autumn end of the Summer palette. And the colours are more muted, warmer and ever so slightly darker than those of True Summer.

Compared to Soft Autumn, the colours are cooler and more greyish, but otherwise similar – both seasons are medium in value and muted.

Compared to the third Summer season Light Summer, the colours share the same neutral cool temperature but are more muted and darker.

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

If you lean more towards True Summer, opt for the more muted colours on the True Summer palette – such as Moonlite Mauve, Baby Lavender or Lichen Blue. Whereas if you lean more towards Soft Autumn, choose the cooler colours on the Soft Autumn palette – such as English Manor, Oceanwave or Dusk Blue.

Soft Summer Sister Palettes
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III. Styling

Neutrals

True black, which is a Winter colour, is very dark and therefore not flattering on a Soft Summer. Black near your face will make you look aged and unhealthy.

The closest you have to black are greyish dark browns, which are gentler and more muted. These are your dark neutrals.

True white, another Winter colour, is also too harsh for you since your colouring does not tolerate intensity. In its place, you have light greys, sand tones, and muted browns, which you can use as light neutrals.

Soft Summer Neutrals

Colours to Avoid

Since Soft Summer’s main colour aspects are desaturation and coolness, your worst colours are bright and warm.

Apart from white and black, other vibrant colours, such as intense pinks and blues, will clash with your natural softness and swallow you up.

Rich, warm colours, like orangey reds and earthy browns, are also not flattering on you since they will clash with your coolness.

Soft Summer Colours to Avoid

Colour Combinations

Technically, you can combine any of the colours on the Soft Summer 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 Summer’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 Summers generally wear well, you can combine neighbouring hues as long as they have the same value. For example, you could pair a lavender purple with a lighter blue. Another option is to mix a neutral with an accent colour of similar value, such as a light beige with a similarly light yellow.

Generally, pastel and greyed out colours combined in a monochromatic combination will look best on Soft Summers. 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 Summer Colour Combinations
Soft Summer Outfit Combos
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Soft Summer Wardrobe Palettes
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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 Summer 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 Spring orange, which is bright and warm). Avoid this pattern.

Soft Summer Patterns & Prints

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 Summer colours and wearable. However, the second pattern displays a very high contrast between the elements and is thus less flattering.

Soft Summer Patterns & Prints Contrast


Great patterns for Soft Summer are gentle and delicate – such as watercolour and floral textures, delicate floral drawings, and brush strokes. Natural, delicate elements – such as feathers, birds, and flowers are best.

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

Avoid ordered arrangements and big elements and stiff geometric patterns. These don’t go well with your soft, delicate appearance.

Soft Summer Patterns & Prints Elements

Metals & Accessories

Since Soft Summer flows into Autumn, you can wear both warm and cool metals. But silver is more flattering on you, and it is a more foolproof choice. When opting for gold, make sure to choose one that is not too orange, dark and rich. Rose gold works if it is on the pink side.

Metals are best gentle and muted – brushed, matte, satin and hammered metals are great options. Antiqued metals work as well as long as they are not too blackened. Avoid bright and shiny metals since they will overwhelm your gentle colouring.

Pearls are another great option. But look for ones with complex colouring; those in which different values are combined – from light to medium-dark. Snow-white pearls are more suitable for Winters.

Soft Summer Metals
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