Soft Summer

Soft Summer is smoky and mysterious, with a long-lost quality like an old postcard.

These are the vintage colours of duck eggs, sage and bluestone, of wild heathery moors, distant mountains and driftwood.



Soft Summer is cool-neutral, quite light and very low chroma.

It’s blending with Autumn adds a little warmth and earthiness, a touch of depth and a ton of softness.

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Soft Summer has to be the most enigmatic of the seasons.

The palette feels far-away and distant, imparting a mood of longing and fairytale places.

The Lady of the Lake embodies the spirit of Soft Summer.

A complete lack of saturation blurs and blends the colours; it can be hard to know where one ends and the next begins, making them seem perpetually out of reach.

That hazy, velvet quality is central to the palette where anything bright, sparkling, crisp or highly chromatic will instantly swallow the magic.

Neutrals include bone, mink, cocoa, cinder, charcoal and downy cygnet grey.

Accents can be found in rose taupe, silver eucalyptus, raisin, cassis, Mountbatten pink, heather and faded cerulean.

As a Summer season, blue is central to the palette but because of Autumn’s influence, there is a strong predominance of greens and teals.

Yellows are often greenish and present as dirty pastels, a little like dim headlights passing through fog.

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Both warm and cool metals look lovely on Soft Summer, just keep the shine right down.

Surfaces are better brushed, matte, satiny, braided, chalky or even raw and textured.

Sandblasted finishes are particularly good because they create soft shimmer.

Classic yellow gold is fine and best balanced with some coolness in the rest of your outfit.

Rose gold can look surprisingly lovely provided it is blush not peach in tone and dull rather than shiny.

Any cooler metals like silver, titanium, white gold or platinum are safe.

Traditional pewter, like Royal Selangor, was made for Soft Summers.

Cloudy and opaque stones are beautiful - like a crystal ball filled with smoke. Sea glass is amazing.

As with any high value season, pearls are perfect. Soft Summer’s can range from white, rose and silver into darker greys but avoid peach, cream or yellow versions.

Champagne diamonds have a high value brownish tone and are a stunning way to connect with the palette’s hint of warmth.

It can be hard to avoid faceted stones in prestige pieces but do try. Softer is always better for this season.

Try pebble diamonds or settings with many smaller stones to add texture and reduce shine.

Bling looks weird on Soft Summers. You can still wear chunky or expensive jewellery, just work within your palette for best results.



This season’s value level is lower than other Summers.

This means some darker colours are ok but don’t go all the way to black - opt for grey, charcoal and slate instead.

Frames in any colours or metallics befitting the palette will suit you.

Powdered finishes are particularly flattering.

Semi-transparent smoky or marbled effects look great.

Completely clear frames could be a bit too high value - give it a shot but you might look better with something a touch heavier.

Try eyewear with partial frames for a balance in value levels.

Avoid bright colours, shiny metals, chrome finishes or mirrored effects.


Wardrobe basics

Soft Summer has so many denims, you won’t know where to start. You’ve got jeans the easiest of any season.

Classic blue, grey and charcoal are everywhere.

This is the home of worn, faded, vintage, stone wash, acid wash, grainy, sandblasted and other textured effects.

If you prefer a more polished look, solid dye is ok if the colour is right.

If you’re not sure, keep the denim worked and avoid crisp, solid or very high value colours.

Grey is likely to be your easiest neutral in suiting but keep an eye out for your deeper teals, cassis burgundies, soft pine and taupes.

Belts, bags and other leather goods are easy to find in Soft Summer neutrals, particularly fog grey, cocoa, smoked silver and charcoal.

Suede is amazing. Don’t go near patent leather.

Natural or textured fabrics add depth and are very flattering - raw linen, cotton, wool, velvet, felt and lace are beautiful.

Offset a predominance of heavier tones in an outfit with some lights or matte metallics.

Mixing high and medium value colours creates interest and captures the combination of air and shadow that is such a trademark of this palette.



There are many Soft Summer versions of grey and brown plus a limited range of blonde.

Being a neutral season, hair can present as warmer or cooler but “ashy” is a good rule of thumb.

Blonde is highly unlikely to be as fair as Springs or Light Summers and unless you have it naturally, it can be tricky to find a harmonious colour that captures your unusual mix of highlights and lowlights.

Tones of red are almost certain not to flatter your predominantly cool base and are best left to other seasons.

Try out pink, violet or mushroom tones instead.

Watch you don’t go too dark with hair colour. Many Soft Summers have been mistaken for Winters in the past. Your version of dark isn’t necessarily the same as the next person’s.



Skin is velvety and richly luminous.

High shine or wet looks will sit on top your skin, failing to connect with your face, like you’ve been splashed with something.

Downy, shimmery and gentle matte finishes are much better.

Satiny blush or a touch of powdered highlighter is lovely.

A little contouring using sheer, cool browns may suit but be light handed or it will add thickness and become too heavy for your value level.

Be careful with bronzer - a little goes a long way and it won’t suit every Soft Summer - but don’t completely rule it out. Your dusky Autumn influence keeps the door to bronzer open just a little.

Soft Summer seems like it can go quite dark but that’s relative to the palette. Unfortunately black eye makeup won’t work for you at all.

Brown is better, and grey, navy, charcoal or taupe are definitely worth experimenting with.

Smoked, smudged or blended looks are incredible.

Build colour using your palette as inspiration - the teals, forest greens and heathery purples are terrific for dramatic eyes.

Dusty cocoa pinks, eggshell and driftwood grey make captivating eyeshadow neutrals.

Find your lip colours in the palette’s range of soft berry, earth rose, truffle and raisin tones.

You’ll look better with a lip stain rather than a gloss.


Loving the look

Soft Summer is the evocative palette of faraway imaginings and tales crafted from the mists of time.

These are enchanted colours cast in smoke and shadow.

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