I. Seasonal Characteristics
To understand the key differences between the two colour seasons, we have to first look at each one's colour dimensions:
And it's quickly becoming clear where the differences lie: While both seasons sit at the most muted end of the chroma scale, Soft Summer is cooler and Soft Autumn is warmer.
These differences are reflected in the two seasons' colour palettes: While Soft Summer's colours are cooler and more greyish than Soft Summer's (Summer is already a muted family), Soft Autumn's colours are warmer and earthier.
Soft Summer Colour Palette
Soft Autumn Colour Palette
II. Soft Summer vs Soft Autumn
Now that we know the difference in colour dimensions between Soft Summer and Soft Autumn, we can identify what makes someone a Soft Summer or a Soft Autumn.
Take a look at the following example: both of these women are clearly muted. Their colouring is very greyed out with very low saturation.
But the woman on the left is a Soft Summer because she has more grey pigments in her colouring. The latter, in contrast, has more walnut and brown pigments in her colouring, making her appear warmer.
Wardrobe Building Essentials
Everything you need to build a Soft Summer wardrobe.Explore Essentials
II.i The Drape Test
If you ever have any doubts about your season, the best thing to do is to select the most prominent colours of the palette you are testing and drape yourself in them (or use lipstick with the same colour aspects).
For our purposes, we will use Sarah Jessica Parker and Gigi Hadid as examples, and we will drape them in a few Soft Summer colours as well as Soft Autumn colours side-by-side, to see which ones work on them.
We can see already that the earthier Soft Autumn green doesn't really work on Sarah Jessica. It makes her appear yellowish. The cooler green looks much more harmonious and in tune with her natural colouring.
Now let's see how the same colours look on Gigi.
Gigi is the exact opposite! On her, the earthier green looks so much better than the cooler Soft Summer green, which doesn't sit so well with her.
To make sure that we are seeing is consistent, let's drape the two ladies in some more colours.
The pinks confirm our analysis. The warmer, slightly richer dusky pink is too much for Sarah Jessica. She looks amazing in the more muted Soft Summer pink.
Gigi, on the other hand, needs a richer colour than the Soft Summer pink. The Soft Autumn pink looks great on her.
And lastly, the browns make the difference really obvious. The earthier Autumn brown is too warm for Sarah Jessica. It gives her an unhealthy yellow tinge. But the more greyish brown looks fantastic.
The opposite is true for Gigi. While the Soft Summer brown is not immediately bad, the Soft Autumn brown gives her appearance more colour and brings her features out more.
Therefore, we can conclude that Sarah Jessica is a Soft Summer and Gigi is a Soft Autumn.
Wardrobe Building Essentials
Everything you need to build a Soft Autumn wardrobe.Explore Essentials
The Wardrobe Guide
Want to see learn how to build the perfect wardrobe around your colours? Check out the wardrobe guide.Learn More
II.ii The lipstick test
If you are still unsure whether you are Soft Summer or a Soft Autumn, try the lipstick test.
Both seasons look best in muted, nude lip colours, but Soft Summers look better in cooler, more pinkish tones and Soft Autumns look better in more earthy, brownish tones.
It's hard to find Sarah Jessica in anything other than her nude pink signature lip, but here she is in a warmer, browner colour. And it immediately becomes clear why she sticks to her signature style. The warmer colours just don't work her.
For Gigi, the opposite is true. She can comfortably wear brown lipstick without looking odd, but the more pinkish tones don't work well with her colouring.