The Definitive Guide to Soft Summer: Explore the 12 Seasons

Soft Summer is cool and soft and shares characteristics with summer and autumn in the 12 season system of color analysis.

Soft Summer is a unique seasonal blend that marries the cool undertones of summer with the muted elegance of autumn. It’s part of the nuanced 12-season system of color analysis that helps individuals like you find their ideal hues.

Do you find that your features have a gentle coolness, without any one aspect stealing the show? Are you drawn to the trending soft colors that seem to enhance your natural beauty? Does the tranquil ambiance of a foggy sunrise over water captivate you?

If you’re nodding in agreement, you just might be a Soft Summer!

The is a comprehensive guide to soft summer in the 12 season system of color analysis. Keep reading to learn the physical characteristics, best makeup, a color palette, wardrobe staples for soft summer, and how to create your own custom palette.

The 12 Seasons of Color Analysis

Seasonal color analysis is a transformative approach that helps you discover which colors make you look and feel your best. By examining the undertones of your skin, eyes, and hair, this system categorizes you into one of the 12 distinct color families.

The result? A curated palette that enhances your natural beauty and instills a newfound sense of confidence.

In this system, six key color components serve as the guiding pillars: warm, cool, deep, light, soft, and bright. Within the cool spectrum, the Summer color family stands out for its generally light and muted tones.

The summer color family includes light summer, true/cool summer, and soft summer.

Today, we delve into the nuanced elegance of Soft Summer—a palette that masterfully balances cool and muted undertones.

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Soft Summer is Cool and Soft

Soft Summer is classified in the following ways: cool hue, medium value, muted chroma.

  • Cool hue – the undertone is always blue, but various overtones of beige or yellow may give a warmer or occasional olive appearance, causing confusion when determining the difference between soft autumn and soft summer.
  • Medium value – some soft summers may find their value is so dark as to almost be a deep winter. These individuals should stick with the deeper rich muted colors in the palette.
  • Muted chroma – this is the dominant defining characteristic of soft summer types. Brightness should be used to exclude soft summer as a final season result.

Soft Summer sits uniquely within the color spectrum with its cool blue undertones, often mixed with beige or yellow overtones to create a nuanced neutral appearance.

Unlike other summer seasons, Soft Summer is defined by its muted characteristics, especially in its chroma—a term referring to the level of saturation or contrast within the skin, eyes, and hair.

There is less contrast, and an overall grayed appearance.

Soft Summer enjoys one of the broadest ranges in terms of value, or lightness to darkness, in the Summer family. Although it spans from light to dark, the majority of Soft Summers usually fall in the medium-dark range, making it the darkest of the summer seasons.

The skin tone for Soft Summers varies but is typically creamy beige or ivory. For individuals of color, dark beige is common. Light-skinned Black women often fall within this season as well.

While cool blue, gray, or green eyes are most commonly associated with Soft Summer, this is not exhaustive. Eyes may also be brown and typically share a similar muted quality characterized by patterns like crypts or autumnal hues.

While hair color is a less essential feature in determining one’s seasonal palette, it often serves as a complementary trait in Soft Summers. You’ll commonly find medium to dark brown shades, although light and gray hair are equally prevalent. There will typically not be any warm highlights, and the hair may have a gray ashy quality.Cool, soft hair and eyes.

Soft Summer features exhibit a balanced depth due to the muted chroma quality, meaning a lack of stark contrast among the skin, eyes, and hair. This contributes to the subtle allure that defines this season.

One might suggest that the features of a soft summer are nondescript, but they come alive when wearing the proper colors for their season.

Makeup for the Soft Summer Woman

To truly accentuate the Soft Summer features, your makeup choices should align with the season’s cool and muted color palette. The goal is not just to beautify, but to harmonize with your natural tones.

The best makeup for soft summer.

Opt for light neutrals like icy pink, blush and dusky blue. For more dramatic moments choose rich charcoal and navy. To add a pop of unexpected color, go for accent shades like soft plum or warm teal.

Neutral cool shades are your best friends when it comes to cheek color. Opt for hues like sand, soft pink, or rose to emphasize a creamy, glowing complexion, fitting for the Soft Summer aesthetic.

Nude lips are a winner for soft summer, along with blush pink and mauve. For a bold lip choose rose, berry, or plum.

Stay clear of warm tones that clash with your natural coloring. This includes brown or fiery red lipsticks, warm shades like orange and yellow for your eyes, and bronze tones for the cheeks. Also, Soft Summers should steer away from overly dark lip colors, which can create an unwanted harsh contrast.

Inspiration: The Natural Beauty of Soft Summer

Soft Summer isn’t just a seasonal color type; it’s an aesthetic found in the natural world. This season’s color palette echoes the soothing hues found in misty mornings, tranquil oceans, and ethereal sunsets. It reminds us that beauty isn’t a man-made concept but one designed by the greatest Creator of all (Genesis 1:31).

Imagine a foggy dawn breaking over a tranquil ocean—the cool grays and muted blues encapsulate the essence of Soft Summer. The color spectrum of this season leans heavily on softer shades, such as grays, blues, purples, pinks, and understated reds.

Soft Summer Wears the Rainbow

Visual Inspirations

  • Ocean Views: Just as the soft summer palette shines its best in the backdrop of an ocean scene, picture an island volcano enveloped in a haze of pink and purple fog.
  • Mountain Scapes: A radiant pink sunset over a lavender mist and subdued mountain greens captures more cool and muted tones indicative of this season.
  • Wintry Waters: True to the season, multiple shades of blue represent Soft Summer. Think of a wintry lake scene offering not one, but four different shades of muted blue.

The natural world is filled with examples of Soft Summer’s muted and complex beauty, affirming that this color profile is not just a style choice but an inherent part of the world around us.

Soft Summer Color Palette

Soft Summer Palette

When curating a color palette for soft summer, begin with versatile neutrals before diving into a spectrum of hues.

Charcoal and denim serve as the softer alternatives to stark black, while a muted soft white takes the place of optic white. Elevate your neutral game with tones like sage, blush, and dove gray; these will be foundational colors for your soft summer wardrobe.

The reds in this palette lean towards cool tones like ruby and soft red, while orange is noticeably absent due to its inherent warmth. Your yellows should have a cool undertone—think shades like corn or chiffon. When it comes to greens, opt for those with a hint of blue and stick to the medium range. Blues offer a broad spectrum, allowing soft summers to enjoy everything from purple-blues to green-blues. To complete your palette, include purples with cool undertones.

There is usually a version of every color that can be worn by any season, but some may be more difficult to match and find. Cool pinks often become purple, many reds will be too warm, any yellow without green is also too warm. Purples are best that lean towards blue instead of red.

Be mindful of colors to steer clear from. As mentioned earlier, avoid stark blacks and whites as they create a jarring contrast. Additionally, skip bright, saturated hues, as these can overwhelm the soft summer complexion. For your go-to shades, medium pastels like rouge and steel blue hit the sweet spot.

Lastly, it’s important to be aware of the colors that are best avoided by the soft summer individual. While you may be tempted to dabble in shades from other seasonal palettes, caution is advised. Colors characteristic of bright spring, bright winter, and warm spring palettes tend to clash with the soft summer aesthetic. These hues are often too vivid, too warm, or simply too high-contrast, detracting from the harmonious look that soft summer aims to achieve.

soft summer best and worst colors

Choosing Prints for Soft Summer

Choosing the right prints can make or break your Soft Summer look. Your prints should not just match your color palette, but also your scale and contrast level to bring out the most flattering version of you. Here’s how to get it right:

  • Color Consistency: Ensure that less than 10% of the colors in your print fall outside your Soft Summer palette. This maintains a cohesive and harmonious appearance.
  • Scale: Opt for prints with a small to medium scale. Large, overpowering prints can overwhelm the Soft Summer’s balanced and tranquil aura.
  • Contrast Level: Stick with low-contrast prints. Soft Summer thrives on muted, blended looks, and a low-contrast print will serve to underline this.

By adhering to these guidelines, you’ll not only enhance your Soft Summer wardrobe but also feel more confident in your print choices. Check out our image gallery below for some curated samples that align with these principles.

soft summer prints

Wardrobe Essentials for Soft and Cool Coloring

No matter your style or personal aesthetic, there are a few items that every woman should have in their wardrobe.

The basics of any wardrobe should be neutrals, and you could certainly choose the same neutrals. Layering similar shades of the same color will create a rich luxe look.

For those that enjoy a more colorful look, the basics are still appropriate, but fun and funky accessories in the pink, green, purple, and blue families will add interest.

Frequently Asked Questions about Soft Summer

Is soft summer the same as deep summer?

Deep summer is a specialized version of soft summer. I don’t typically find much value in the 16 season system, with the exception of using deep summer. Some individuals are evenly split between soft summer and deep winter and need the definitive characteristics of deep summer: deep, medium chroma, and cool. If you think this applies to you, stick with the darkest colors of the soft summer palette, and borrow carefully from deep winter, avoiding brights and black/white.

How Do I Know If I’m a Soft Summer?

If you find that cool, muted colors complement your natural features, you might be a Soft Summer. Often, Soft Summers have a broad range in the medium to dark value spectrum, and their skin, eyes, and hair have a muted chroma. For a more accurate determination, a professional color analysis can provide valuable insights.

Can Soft Summer wear dark blue?

Blue is a great color in most variations for soft summer. With it’s cool base it matches easily with cool undertones. Feel free to wear all the shades of blue, from light blue to navy.

Can Soft Summer wear orange?

No, orange is a color best avoided by soft summer. Orange is one of the warmest colors and will overwhelm with both it’s brightness and warm hue. Stick with pink colors to replace the orange color family.

Can Soft Summer wear coral?

Coral is a version of both pink and orange, but is often too bright for soft summer. If you would like the same type of feel, try a warm soft pink like blush or peach.

Can Soft Summer wear burgundy?

Burgundy is going to be a personal choice color for soft summer types. For some women who lean a bit more warm it’s going to be a fantastic color and neutral option. For women who lean more cool, burgundy may have too much warmth. Experiment to see which you are.

Can I still wear black?

Of COURSE you can still wear black. I personally believe that black is a staple in any wardrobe. Any season can wear black, but some may find it is overwhelming. Black is likely to be much more harsh on soft summer than some other seasons. Black definitely isn’t your BEST color, and dee shades of gray will be most suitable. However, if you’re building a capsule wardrobe choosing black as a base may be easiest to find.

I hate these colors, could my season be wrong?

Yes absolutely, it could be true. But I want to challenge you, what is it that you hate? Is it the neutrals that you don’t like? Perhaps you don’t like gray? Refer back to my statements above about wearing black. Is it one of the color families, yellow or green perhaps? Don’t wear them! Just because a palette includes all these colors doesn’t mean you should wear them all. I dare you to look at your closet and see if you naturally gravitate to any of these colors. If the answer is no, and you still feel this is completely wrong, let me know! I can help!

How Do I Build a Soft Summer Capsule Wardrobe? Building a Soft Summer capsule wardrobe is a streamlined process when you focus on your season’s best colors. Start with your neutrals like charcoal, denim, and soft white, which will serve as the foundation of your wardrobe. Then, add in your main color and 2-3 accent colors from the Soft Summer palette. Colors like soft red, cool yellows like corn and chiffon, and muted greens and blues work wonderfully.

Here’s a simple guide to create a color palette include:

  1. Base Colors: Charcoal and Denim
  2. Dark Neutral: Dove Gray or Sage
  3. Light Neutral: Soft White or Blush
  4. Main Color: Choose one from soft red or a medium blue
  5. Accent Colors: Pick 2-3 from your palette, like soft purples, pinks, or muted greens.

Can I only wear these colors?

No way! You should wear what you love! If you want to wear bright coral, then go for it! You may find, however, that learning your season affects how other colors make you feel. If you feel confident rocking a color, then it’s yours to own. But if you don’t, feel free to leave it to the seasons that wear it well. If you’re looking to expand your palette, you can also consider sister seasons.

The following are sister seasons for soft summer:

Jellyfish Colors
Cool Summer
Natural Spring Colors
Soft Autumn

Soft Summer Colors for the Whole Year

When borrowing from other seasons, it’s helpful to consider those which share attributes.

Many women like to choose colors that help them feel in touch with the calendar season, like mustard in fall.

For Soft Summer, the following borrowing recommendations work across the whole year.

In Spring, borrow colors from light summer to embody the lightness and brightness of spring.

In Summer, stick with any colors in the three summer seasons.

In Fall, borrow some colors from soft autumn to get that warm pumpkin spice boots vibe.

In Winter, borrow carefully from deep winter and cool summer to get the icy clarity of the cold air.

soft summer year round colors

Action Steps for Embracing Your Soft Summer Palette

  1. Identify Your Colors: Start by familiarizing yourself with the Soft Summer color palette. Keep it handy on your phone or print it out for quick reference when shopping.
  2. Purge Your Closet: Remove items that are far from your Soft Summer colors or don’t make you feel good. Consider donating or reselling them.
  3. Invest in Neutrals: Buy wardrobe staples in your best neutral colors like charcoal, denim, and soft white. These will be the backbone of your wardrobe.
  4. Choose Your Best Colors: Pick 2-3 signature colors from your Soft Summer palette that you love the most. These will give your capsule wardrobe some variety.
  5. Plan Your Capsule: Following the 100 Piece Wardrobe Framework, build a capsule wardrobe around your neutrals and accent colors. Aim for versatility and cohesiveness.
  6. Shop Smart: When shopping for new items, always have your palette in mind. This will save you both time and money in the long run.
  7. Trial and Adjust: Don’t be afraid to experiment a bit. Wear your new colors and pay attention to the compliments you receive and how you feel in them. Make adjustments as needed.
  8. Seek Guidance: If you’re struggling to implement your Soft Summer palette, consider seeking professional help. A color analysis session can be a transformative experience.
  9. Celebrate You: Remember, God made you beautiful in your unique way. Embrace your Soft Summer attributes as a reflection of His creativity.

By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to simplifying your wardrobe while looking your best, feeling confident, and honoring your uniqueness.

Final Thoughts on Soft Summer

Navigating the Soft Summer palette is more than just a wardrobe update; it’s an avenue to discover colors that elevate your natural beauty and boost your confidence.

This comprehensive guide has armed you with knowledge about the shades that complement your complexion, the makeup options that enhance your features, and the principles for building a capsule wardrobe tailored to your Soft Summer attributes.

Are you a Soft Summer? Say hello in the comments!

Related Color Analysis Articles:

soft summer color palette

Soft Summer sits on the cusp of summer and autumn and is cool and soft.

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  1. I am a soft cool summer with salt and pepper hair the grey is soft and the dark brown is ashy and I have soft grey eyes

  2. Hi. I think I’m a soft summer but have previously been told just Summer and Autumn. Have ash/mouse hair which was very blonde as a toddler, and grey/green/blue eyes. All over pretty insipid really so hoping I can get some ideas from your site.

  3. I’m a soft summer and I hate it. I’ve always felt I have such a boring, bland complexion. I’m so envious of women with striking complexions while I am stuck with my ugly mousey colouring.

    1. Oh Lyndsey! I hate to hear this! Out of curiosity, have you tried some of the darker colors in the soft summer palette? Mulberry or forest green? Perhaps the darker shades will give you a contrast boost that makes you feel better!

    2. Oh noo soft summer is so beautiful, it looks expensive it’s really pretty, don’t hate it, I’m learning to like it just now

    3. My fiancé is a soft summer and he is so beautiful. He looks like an overcast day on the Oregon coast. dreamy, hazy…just gorgeous.

  4. Thankyou for this post! I’ve been “diagnosed” as autumn, but later found out the colors don’t match at all… my skin looks dead and tired when wearing mustard-yellow, olive green etc. However, I still think I am more warm than cool. So… soft/warm summer it is then, aguess 😀

  5. I always thought I was an autumn because of my brown green eyes and dark blonde hair but I’m soft summer! And I’m happy because most of these are my favorite. Actually, any color that suits me is my favorite 😎 btw can dark olive work for us? I kind of like that color but it’s warm green 🤔

    1. Hey Katarina!

      I would stick more with the sage type greens, which are slightly cooler than an olive. But a dark olive is a great choice for neutral in pieces that won’t be next to your face!

  6. I have tried so hard to figure out what I am. I can not even determine if I have warm or cool undertone. I believe the soft summer fits me best. My eyes are green gray. I have dark brown hair with some random red hair in it so it appears kind of red in the sun. I burn easy in the sun but can slowly tan some. Veins in wrist are blueish green. Thanks

    1. Sounds to me like you have a warm hair color and neutral skin tone. Hazel eyes can appear green or gray depending on what you wear. Hope this helps!

  7. hello I think that I am soft summer but also I like soft autumn color palette. I have blue-green eyes, i have soft brown hair ,but it depends on the light , my skin is soft color and my veins usually appear green. What to do if I want to wear darker colors or colors ? I don’t know if I am wrong but I think some light shades make people of summer look exhausted . I observed that some soft summer individuals look better in color that are theoretically worse for their colour palette , like how is that possible? Thank you very much

    1. Hey Angie,

      I have noticed that there are some individuals who fall between Deep Winter and Soft Summer, and often look best in the darker shades. For this reason I tentatively recognize a 13th season of Deep Summer. Technically they are summer because they lack the contrast of winter, but they have greater value than the average summer.

  8. I think soft/dark summer sounds like me. I have light cool skin with medium brown hair and do not tan. However, I have brite warmer hazel eyes- they look a lot like the “autumn” eyes from your chart. I gravitate towards medium to dark soft cool colors. please help!

  9. I did some on-line test and depending on the picture, I am a deep winter or a soft summer. My veins are both green and purple, my eyes are green ( a bit hazel and grey depending on the days). My skin is probably olive or neutral, and even though I try to buy the Yellow ones, expecting to get a more golden tone (foundation with rosy tones look awful on me). The mysterious thing to me is that I have always thought I was from a warm season, and that my skin was warm too but maybe I was mistaken…

      1. Dear Stacey,
        Thank you, in fact your first article already helped me a lot. Now I know that I am cool, not warm. Thanks! 🙂

  10. I was analyzed as Summer back in the 1980s and believe that I’m a Soft Summer in truth. My blue eyes shimmer green, gray or violet when I wear those colors and the soft summer pinks and roses are beautiful on me. Periwinkle has always been my favorite color but it’s hard to find. At 63 I’m designing 3 capsule wardrobes – one for mountain living, one for desert living, one for travel and can’t wait to get going in my Soft Summer palette.

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