Soft Autumn

Soft Autumn is the season of dusty, gently bronzed earth tones.

These are tanned landscape colours, evoking deserts and savannahs, wheat fields and rustic sandstone villages, sepia photographs, clay pottery and lavender.



Soft Autumn is warm-neutral with a little low-value depth and a ton of softness.

The presence of Summer’s coolness adds a touch of cloudy greyness and compounds the mutedness of the palette.

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Low chroma softness imparts an old-world vintage charm to colours.

Where Soft Summer is airy and mysterious, Soft Autumn is earthy and comforting.

Soft Autumn’s quality of light is that lazy, diffused sunshine just before the full golden blaze of late afternoon.

Any brightness or starkness will crush these colours - so no black or white here. Replace with browned graphite and Irish linen.

Brown is central to the palette and brings Soft Autumns to life. It’s a very reliable colour, just keep it from getting to rich and chocolaty or too pale and powdery.

Many animals have mixes of Soft Autumn brown and grey in their fur - wild rabbits, kangaroos, fennec foxes and chipmunks - and provide charming inspiration.

Greys are browned or laced with eucalyptus and khaki.

Clay tones of umber, sienna, brick dust, faded terra cotta and peat serve as excellent neutrals.

Look to raw fibres with a warm grey cast like calico, cotton, washi paper, canvas and papyrus for lighter tones.

Accents include dried flower colours of antique turquoise, lichen, cadet blue, natural indigo, khaki and harvest gold.

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Being a warm-neutral season, both gold and silver will suit a Soft Autumn.

Keep your gold yellowed in colour, not orange. Dirty or antique versions are especially flattering, just don’t go super blackened.

Bronze and brass are great; copper is tricky. If you can find a muted, slightly cooler version, great.

Rose gold is lovely on Soft Autumns but it needs to be blushy not peachy, and contain some depth. If the colour is very shiny and twinkly, it’s better left to Light Spring.

Cooler metallics are fine but look best when balanced with warmth either in the piece itself or the rest of the outfit.

Pewter in particular captures an earthiness that suits this season.

Avoid bright, chromy, reflective or blingy jewellery. It just doesn’t work with Soft Autumn’s gentle smoulder.

Brushed, hammered, matte, tarnished, oxidised, satin, braided, raw and sandblasted surfaces are all better options.

Any stones in colours from the palette will suit but crystalline, faceted cuts present as harsh on this season.

Look for opaque, cloudy, rounded or natural finishes if you can. Some exceptions can be found in settings with many smaller stones that create texture.



Although there’s some level of lightness in Soft Autumn, the palette has more depth than you might think.

Glasses in very high value colours or metallics will appear a little flimsy on a Soft Autumn face.

Semi transparent, clear or “barely there” effects might sometimes work but be discerning.

Black is far too dark and will destroy the subtlety in your beauty. There are plenty of more flattering options if you want something simple and classic.

Any of the metallics listed above make great neutrals but respect the medium chroma dimension of the palette by avoiding high shine or mirrored finishes.

Khaki is an incredible neutral for Soft Autumn and common in sunglasses lenses. Warm taupe, brownish pink, gold and grey work as well.

Wooden frames look terrific. Keep plastic marbled or cloudy.

Tortoiseshell is a real Autumn go-to. Soft Autumn’s version is muted with a gently shadowed or dappled quality.


Wardrobe basics

This palette is one of the easiest to find in shops year round, from shoes to shirts, shorts to shearling.

Soft Autumn colours look like they’ve been through the wash a hundred times but when worn by the right person, are organic and gloriously sun-bleached.

This makes denim a breeze. Classic indigo is your dream blue but you are spoiled for choice with all your greys, khakis and charcoals as well.

Any worked or distressed looks are fantastic, especially if there’s a yellowed tone present.

Earthy browns are everywhere in shoes, belts, bags and accessories. Balance all that warmth with a touch of cool metallic hardware.

Avoid patent leather, its lacquered shine won’t connect with the palette’s dry dustiness.

Soft Autumns were born to wear suede.

Try out warm snakeskin or faded animal prints.

Vintage adventurer styles and shabby chic were made for Soft seasons.

This palette has a wide range of blushy, earth rose pinks to explore.

Soft Autumn neutrals are popular in suiting and corporate wear so you won’t have the same challenge as other seasons when building professional outfits.

Interestingly, because of this season’s subtle character, most of the colours in the palette switch easily between neutrals and accents.

Consider using dusty cedar, marsala, brick red, lavender, pistachio, tea rose and pink sandstone as the foundation of a corporate outfit if you want a change from the usual khaki and brown.



Soft Autumn hair is quite variable, with versions of most colours represented.

Be careful with blonde. If you’ve already got it naturally you’ll find it easier to carry but medium to light warm-ash browns are likely to be more convincing as a base.

Soft Autumn blonde presents as honey, rich flax or caramel, often quite toasted and on you, plenty light enough.

Try fairer colours in highlights rather than all-over so you still capture some of the darkness.

Leave the platinum, California golden girl and ashy versions to other seasons.

Don’t go too dark or cool - it will flatten your glow and wash you out.

Greys are diverse. Yours might be warm and powdery with depth like a dark blonde, or contain a browned or greened tone like tarnish.

Red is always browned; a light auburn or dark strawberry blonde. It has depth, unlike the very bright, coppery Spring versions.

This palette contain an interesting blend of deep and delicate so experiment with that combination of lowlights and highlights.



Lucky you, Soft Autumn makeup colours are among the most commonly produced.

Your skin will appreciate a tawny, matte glow so use a sheer sweep of bronzer.

A little light-handed contouring adds nice dimension if you are skilled with application.

Earth rose and grainy brick pinks make lovely cheek colours.

Skip black makeup entirely. It’s accessible but it just doesn’t love you. If black’s your only option, Soft Autumns look better with no mascara or eyeliner at all.

Black-brown is a reasonably common mascara colour. It might still be too dark for some fairer Soft Autumns but at the very least it’s definitely better than black. If you can find a medium brown, you’re made.

Diversity in liners is much easier and again, brown should be your go-to.

If the colour’s not too rich, soft tan eyeshadows are beautiful beyond compare.

Layer dusky espresso, muted copper, raw sienna, smoky bronze or sepia for a dramatic shadowy effect.

Faded khaki, light olive, lavender and teal add variety.

As eyeshadows, the palette’s pinks and rose golds are gorgeously feminine without being cloying.

Neutrals include ecru, desert sand, dusted hazel and golden beige.

Smudged or blended finishes are terrific.

Achieve a bold lip with your richer terra cottas, chalky ochres and banksia reds.

Brown-based lipsticks in muted tones of cinnamon, warm blush and gentle russett are great for everyday.

Avoid shiny, creamy or glossy looks; you’re better with matte or a little texture.

A touch of warm shimmer is lovely.


Loving your look

There’s a glorious ancient beauty to this palette like the crumbling walls of a long-lost city emerging from the desert.

Formed from dust and stone, nobody does earth goddess like a Soft Autumn.

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