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Soft Autumn: The Ultimate Guide

Soft Autumn: The Ultimate Guide

Soft Autumn: Soft And Muted

Have you ever followed a youtube makeup tutorial and looked at the mirror with dismay as the hour spent carefully contouring and accomodating your hooded eyes were all for naut? You couldn’t put your finger on it, but it just looked… off. 

Or maybe you eagerly opened your latest online shopping purchase only to find it’s making you look a bit like death. You can see in the image below that my skin tone leans cool, and while I do have contrast, I am not bright. Therefore, a bright warm-toned orange is really making me look a bit sallow and tired (or more tired than I actually was).

gabrielle arruda in the wrong seasonal color, wearing bright orange sweater that is way too warm for her cool toned skin
no. (this is a BAD color on me)

Well, seasonal color analysis is a great way to prevent these color missteps. 

Let’s be honest, our visual representation to the world is crafted laregly by our clothes and appearance. It’s not shallow to want to craft these highly impactful elements of our lives, and in fact, can help you immensely communicate and achieve your goals. 

Now, if you’ve landed on Soft Autumn, or have maybe fallen down a rabbit hole of exploring all the 12 color seasons, then this article will be your ultimate guide to the Soft Autumn color palette. 

Please note: There are many different color theories out there and some systems have more or less options. They also go by different names at times. Soft Autumn is is sometimes referred to as Soft Autumn Light or Tinted Autumn (although there are slight variations). I have based this information on the 12 seasonal color palettes (not the 16), so for the sake of cohesion I will only be referring to it as Soft Autumn. 

Let’s go over some color basics to make sure you are looking at the correct season. 

Are you warm or cool? 

Honing your seasonal color can be a process in training your eye. And one of the first tasks you will need to evalute is whether you are warm or cool. 

desert image (warm) versus arctic image (cool)

Look at the two images above. The dessert landscape evokes a completely warm sensibility whereas the artic image is most definitely cool.

Now, if only our faces were as easy to decipher. Well, as your train your eyes to see colors more concisely, you will get there.

There are many ways to begin to determine this but the most beginner friendly ones are the following: 

Gold or Silver Jewelry:  It may be subtle but gold jewelry will usually look best on warm-toned people, and silver will shine on cool-toned people.

gold or silver jewelry on arm to see which one shines

Veins: Take a look at the veins in your wrist. If they appear green, then you are most likely warm. If they appear blue, then you are cool. This can be helpful if your veins are clearly one color, but don’t use it as a singular definitive factor.

vein test for determining skin undertone, wrist with arrow pointing to veins

If you can’t tell or it’s a mix of both, here’s a quick litmus test: 

Do you tan or burn?  If you burn, you are most likely cool. If you tan, you are warm. 

Pink/Orange Test: This is especially helpful.

Drape fabric (next to your face) that is true orange and hot pink. Now, these colors are strong, so take that into consideration. But generally, there should be a clear winner in terms of which color works. If you the orange suits you, you are warm. If the pink looks better you are cool, and should go back to this article. 

pink orange test for seasonal color analysis example on gabrielle arruda

Now, even if you haven’t trained your eye yet, this color test/draping will help. Both of these photos were taken with no makeup, natural light, and with the same camera settings. You can see that the orange makes my skin look blotchy and highlights a red patchiness on my nose and cheeks. Whereas the pink makes my skin look clear and bright. I am cool-toned.

If you are in fact a Soft Autumn you will most likely have these answers: gold jewelry looks best on you, greenish colored veins, you can tan, and orange suits you best. 

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What is a Soft Autumn? 

soft autumn on the seasonal color analysis in between soft summer and true autumn

The Soft Autumn Color palette is within the Autumn Season but sits between the True Autumn and the Soft Summer. Whereas soft summer leans cool, the Soft Autumn will be warm-based (hence the previous section). 

soft autumn (warm) versus soft summer (cool)

So your color palette will be composed of warm and muted colors. 

In terms of contrast, the Soft Autumn has moderate to low contrast. Your hair, eyes, and skin will blend into each other. To see this more clearly, you can take a well lit photo and turn it to grayscale. As you can see below there is little contrast in the left photo, while the right image has stark contrast between their features. 

contrast seasonal color palette
soft autumn grayscale photo showing low to moderate contrast between features

If you’re confused about terms like muted/bright and contrast, this video can help clarify it.

soft muted faces versus clear bright face

Soft Autumn Color Characteristics

soft autumn color characteristics

Hue: Warm 

Value: Light/Medium

Chroma: soft/muted

Soft Autumn Coloring

Here is a general overview of the Soft Autumn features. However, please note that one characteristic deviating from this list will not eliminate Soft Autumn as your season. It is more about the entire holistic view of your traits and colors. 

Soft Autumn Skin Tone 

soft autumn skin tones- light beiges to light brown all warm tones

The Soft Autumn usually has neutral or neutral-warm skin tones. When we did the silver/gold test above, gold will most likely be your better metal. Now, if you have a more neutral leaning skin tone, then you may look good in both silver and gold. So don’t let one test derail you. 

  • Warm Ivory
  • Rosey Beige 
  • Pale Tan
  • Medium
  • Tan
  • Almond (warm)

Soft Autumn Eye Colors

soft autumn eye color examples

Remember that soft autumn is basically a true autumn that has had their colors de-saturated a bit, so they will have a more toned down look. 

  • Soft Blue
  • Soft Blue-Green
  • Hazel
  • Soft Amber/Topaz
  • Light to Medium Brown 

The eye color is not the only determing factor in seasonal color analysis. Many analysts believe that the shapes created within your eye can also guide you towards your exact season. 

Autumns in general tend to have warmer rust, orange, and brown shades, or warmer blue/green shades. The iris pattern most commonly associated with Autumns is called the “Aztec Sun”. It creates a sun like shape of mixed warm colors that essentially have “separate rings”.

Soft Autumn Hair Colors 

soft autumn hair colors, blond, brown, strawberry blonde all warm toned
  • Golden Blonde 
  • Light Golden Brown
  • Medium Brown
  • Strawberry Blonde 
  • “Mousy” Brown ( I reject this terminology, but it’s what many color analysts use to refer to this specific shade of brown) 

Look for golden or warm highlights. It’s important to note that you need to look at any naturally occuring highlights and hair colorings, not any died, bleached, or bayalaged sections of your hair. 

Now, you’ve confirmed you have muted colorings, but could you possibly be a soft summer?

Soft Autumn Versus Soft Summer 

soft autumn (warm) versus soft summer (cool)

So it is important before diving headfirst into all the facial colorings, to firmly determine whether you are warm or cool. 

While Soft Autumn and Soft Summer are both muted coloring palettes, the Soft Autumn is warm. This means the color palette will have warm undertones whereas the Soft Summer will lean towards cooler based colors. 

Soft Summers will go for soft fuschia (cool), where Soft Autumns will go for salmon pinks (warm). 

Comparing colors (color draping) close to your face can help you determine this if the tests above were not clear. 

Soft Autumn Celebrities with Palettes

Now that you’ve determined your season, let’s look at some examples of people with coloring similar to yours. 

  • Gigi Hadid
  • Giselle Bundcheon 
  • Drew Barrymore
  • Toni Colette
  • Mischa Barton
  • Devon Aoki 
  • Adele
  • Rihanna (suspected) 
  • Storm Reid
  • Kirby Griffin 
gisele bundcheon soft autumn in light mauve
while the shine is a bit much for the Soft Autumn, the warm pink helps Giselle glow
toni collette soft autumn in salmon pink dress palette
With an even more warm salmon pink, this dress shines on Toni Collette
gigi hadid soft autumn palette in cream dress
Gigi looks amazing in this soft warm cream dress
mischa barton soft autumn color palette dress green
Notes of this dress are a touch cool, but the muted/warm overall palette looks great on Mischa Barton
devon aoki in warm purple dress soft autumn
The correct warm/muted purple can look amazing on a Soft Autumn.
Soft Autumns can go for deeper hues (as long as they aren’t too pigmented). Storm Reid looks amazing in the muted deep shade of teal.

Soft Autumn Color Palette 

The Soft Autumn needs colors that reflect their muted warmth, so they opt for more de-saturated warm colors. They tend to be overwhelmed by vibrant hues like pure emerald and would look much better in a moss or olive green. 

Dark colors also tend to overwhelm your muted delicate blend. Especially high chroma dark colors like pure black or navy. But muted dark shades like aubergene or mahogany work as long as they don’t have too much pigment. 

gisele in the right color for her season- warm, muted pink versus in black which overwhelms her coloring

You can see in the above photo the warmer, muted pink makes Giselle look like she’s glowing whereas the harsh black makes her look washed out and sallow. The same thing happened to me when I wore the bright orange in the first photo.

Soft Autumns tend to do best in soft, rich, warm, and inviting shades. You want colors that make you look more alive and not drain the warm tones from your face. 

Here are the best colors for a Soft Autumn:

  • light milk chocolate
  • antique gold
  • butterscotch
  • dusty turquoise
  • moss
  • olive green
  • warm pastel pink 
  • baked clay
  • teal
  • rich spruce green
  • antique rose
  • rich warm grey (almost brown) 
  • mahogany
  • coffee brown 
  • camel
  • stone,
  • light navy,
  • deep periwinkle
  • aubergine 
  • mint
  • salmon
  • light pink
  • rust
  • warm off-whites
  • sand

Soft Autumn Color Palette 

soft autumn full palette

Soft Autumn Neutral Colors

soft autumn neutrals, warm muted tans, greens, grays, light muted navy, and aubergene

The Soft Autumn needs to take special care when choosing their neutrals because the traditional black, navy, and gray wash them out. 

Opt for light tans, beiges, and taupes or dark warm browns for neutrals if you can. 

You can also try swapping in a warm pewter for any traditional gray pieces. 

Colors to Avoid as a Soft Autumn

worst colors for soft autumn- neons/brights

Soft Autumns have a delicate beauty to them and any stark colors or extremely vibrant colors will drain this quality. 

Stay away from stark white, black, and any jewel tones like emerald or sapphire. 

You also want to avoid anything with a blue undertone as well as anything that is more pastel. 

Pale pinks can look good on you as long as they are not too cool-toned and have some warmth to them. 

A good rule of thumb is to stay away from anything that makes you look drained, sallow, or washes you out. This would include all high chroma, cool-toned colors. 

Soft Autumn Business Color Palette

Here are some neutrals and acccents that work well for a corporate or business casual wardrobe. Depending on your office style expectations, the neutral color palette may be more appropriate, however.

soft autumn business color palette

Soft Autumn Color Combinations

Because you have a lot of soft tonal colors in your palette outfits that are monochrome, tonal, or analogous look amazing on you. They tend to match your moderate contrast and don’t distract from your delicate blend. 

If you want slightly more color differentiation in your outfit I would opt for colors with the same hue intensity. So you pair a medium hue muted pink with a medium hue muted orange. 

Complimentary colors (even within your palette) will create a bit too much juxtaposition in your look and draw the eye away from your beautiful gentle aesthetic.  But they can be accomplished depending on your style goals (you’ll see some examples below).

If you need a more business professional outfit or want to opt for an outfit with a bit more contrast you can try a lighter neutral paired with a darker accent within your color palette. 

soft autumn color combinations

How to Use the Soft Autumn Palette

Now that you know what colors work best for you, let’s talk about how to use them. 

The best way to start is by finding a color palette that you love and starting with that. 

You can also look for pieces in your wardrobe that you know work well with your coloring and build from there. 

Once you have a good foundation, you can start to experiment with different ways to style your looks. 

Soft Autumn Outfit IDeas 

Now, your best outfits will come from learning your body types, proportions, and overall personal style. However, here are some outfit combinations and ideas just to get your creative juices flowing. 

  • Pair a light milk chocolate top with an warm ivory skirt and nude heels for a warm and inviting look. 
  • Try a muted spruce green blouse with a pair of light jeans and nude pumps for a casual yet stylish outfit. 
  • Wear a warm stone-colored dress with aubergine heels and a light warm ivory clutch for a feminine and glamourous look. 
  • Rock a warm pastel pink blouse with a pair of dark denim jeans and nude flats for a romantic and soft look.
  • Style a (muted) rust-colored sweater with camel-colored pants and brown boots for a cozy and chic outfit.

Here are a few more ideas with the items linked below each images.

Soft Autumn Jewelry and Metals

soft autumn metals and stone examples

When it comes to jewelry and metals, the best bet for a Soft Autumn is going to be soft and muted (are you surprised?😉). 

Brushed metals, matte metals, antique metals, and textured metals (like hammering) are great. They cut down on the overwhelming shine and tend not too overpower your coloring. 

Rose golds, soft yellow golds, matte silvers, pewters, and bronze can all work for the Soft Autumn. Copper (while it is warm) usually has too much orange in it for it to work. 

Cream and pink pearls also look fantastic, as well as any natural elements. 

For stones, you can try smokey quartzes, light/soft turquoise, light corals, jaspers, and soft jade. Opt for rounded stones over faceted stones to create a softer appearance and less shine and contrast. 

Soft Autumn Prints 

Choosing prints for your wardrobe can trip anyone up because you can’t always find a print that includes only your season’s colors. So here are some tips to help you navigate this hurdle. 

Because Soft Autumns have low to moderate contrast you want that to be reflected in your prints as well. Depending on how much contrast you specifically have, you may be able to handle a slightly more moderate contrast print. 

You also want to pay attention to how much of an impact a “wrong” color has within the print. You can see an example below. 

soft autumn prints next to face

The first print is a low contrast print with all colors from the Soft Autumn Palette. The second print has that same Soft Autumn flower but has a deep and rich cool green within the leaves creating a high contrast print that is too contrasted for the Soft Autumn. However, in a pinch, a Soft Autumn might be able to make it work since the leaves are not the largest design element. Whereas in the third image, that same green is a background color, this print would drown out a Soft Autumn.

comparison of a light soft autumn print versus a heavy soft autumn print

Contrast and the overall aesthetic weight of a print are important, as well. If we look at the two prints above, while they are both within the SA palette, the second print has a very dark quality to it overall. This will most likely overwhelm the Soft Autumns delicateness. 

So keep in mind the overall contrast of the print, the impact of a color outside your palette, and the overall effect of the print. You usually have more flexibility if the color outside your palette is a neutral, in a sister color palette, or is a smaller design feature.

Soft Autumn Print Ideas

soft autumn print ideas

Soft autumns look amazing in the following styles of prints 

  • low contrast prints 
  • loosely arranged prints
  • natural elements (flowers, woods, leaves, etc)
  • soft shapes 
  • smaller arrangements 

Soft Autumn Makeup 

As a Soft Autumn, you want to focus on creating looks that are gentle, romantic, and natural. 

Your makeup should enhance your features without being too harsh or overly done. This includes your eye makeup which many of us lean automatically towards black mascara or eyeliner, and that will overpower the Soft Autumn. 

Soft Autumn Foundations 

soft autumn foundation colors

The key to finding a Soft Autumn foundation is to get it properly matched to your skintone. Here is a great video to explore that.

Ultimately you are neutral or neutral warm so you will want a foundation that has those undertones and matches your specific balance. 

Because you have muted tones to your appearance choosing the texture of your foundation and concealer is important as well. Opting for a satin finish is usually best. Overly dewy or matte foundations can overpower your delicate muted look. However, this also comes down to personal preference for the aesthetic of your makeup. 

Soft Autumn Blush & Bronzer 

soft autumn blush and bronzers

Traditionally, bronzer is a great addition to the Autumn makeup palette. But the Soft Autumn has a very delicate balance of muted tones, so anything overly shimmery or pigmented can detract from you beauty. 

If you are set on using a bronzer over blush opt for a peachier shade with not a lot of shimmer, or a muted light tan shade. 

Blushes are great on the Soft Autumn and can range anywhere from peach, cinnamon, salmon, light mauve, vintage rose, and dusty deep mauve (for darker skin tones). I think it best to try these shades on in person because if you are an fairer Soft Autumn, you may need to experiment with whether a tan pink or peach looks more fitting. 

Blushes (or bronzers) should seamlessly blend with your complexion. You are low to moderate contrast so you don’t want anything that disrupts this and creates a stark contrast.

Soft Autumn Lipsticks

soft autumn lipstick shades

Lipsticks can really make or break your Soft Autumn makeup, but luckily nowadays there are so many lipsticks to choose from you really just need to focus on finding your shades and availability shouldn’t be an issue. 

Matte or satin finishes are the most seamless for the Soft Autumn. And you will want to look for muted shades with golden bases.

Lipstick Shades: 

  • Rose Gold
  • Deep Blush
  • Terracotta
  • Tan Pink
  • Brick Red
  • Spiced Peach
  • Mahogany

Here are some options I liked (but again, best to try these on in the store if you are unsure). Also, sometimes the link doesn’t pinpoint the exact shade, so be sure the name matches!

Soft Autumn Eyeliner and Mascara

soft autumn eyeliner and mascara colors

We often, no matter our season, all seem to grab the blackest of black eyeliner and mascara. And for Soft Autumns this should be remedied! 

Soft Autumns don’t do well with stark pigments like pure black. 

For eyeliner opt for browns, warm greys, and even muted green tones. This will draw out the warmness in your eyes. 

For mascara, brown, darker taupes, and warmer gray shades can be used. Remember moderate to low contrast is ideal for your makeup. It needs to blend with your coloring and not create an overwhelming focal point. 

A lot of brown eyeliners and mascaras have too much richness in them for the Soft Autumn so make sure the brown you choose is more muted. 

Soft Autumn Eyeshadows

Depending on the look you are going for, Soft Autumns have a wide range of eyeshadows to choose from. Opt for muted, warm shades first and foremost. In terms of texture, you’ll want to generally stay away from high glitter shades or high shine.

soft autumn eyeshadow colors

Soft Autumn Nail Polishes

Really you can choose any colors from your palette for nail polishes, although different shades will give you a different look. 

Here are some options to get you started:

Knowing your color season is, in my opinion, a very useful tool in your style toolbox. It allows you to stop spending money on pieces that you look back on and think “why do I look like death warmed over in that piece?!”. And it helps you craft the most functional, inspiring, and authentic wardrobe. 

It helps you find strength through style. 

I hope you’ve found the beauty in your soft delicate coloring, and can go be the best version of yourself. 

Keep glowing, soft autumns.

Be sure to pin the image below for each access to this ultimate guide!

soft autumn ultimate guide


Tuesday 10th of May 2022

Wow this is so helpful. This is embarrassing but I had my colors done 3 times. Just didnt seem right. None of them identified me as soft muted autumn. Other Autumns and True Spring they said. I love my muted color palette. Wish I could have swatches but this page is amazing. I can’t thank you enough.


Tuesday 10th of May 2022

Wow this is so helpful. This us embarrassing but I had my virus done 3 times. Just didnt seem right. None of them identified me as soft muted autumn. Other Autumns and True Spring they said. I love my muted color palette. Wish I could have swatches but this page is amazing. I can't thank you enough.

Gabrielle Arruda

Friday 13th of May 2022

I'm glad it was helpful! Color analysis can be a journey!


Monday 25th of April 2022

Have you done Spring yet? Did I miss it?!!!

Gabrielle Arruda

Monday 25th of April 2022

Spring is not up yet, I'm still working on all the images for them. Any particular spring sub season you want first?