Between Soft and Dark Autumn

I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it when someone asks specific questions. It helps me focus. The article comes together faster. Pinpointing your gaps helps you use your Season palette better so that you own and love your entire closet.

PCA absolutely has to be grounded in sound theory or we’re in a mess. But financial theory and getting your RRSP in order are not the same. I might never be the first guy, but I can try to be the second one. If other analysts have comments to add or just plain disagree with me, I always deeply appreciate correction and much prefer if it’s public, in the Comments section, so everyone can learn.

Sabira has my respect for verbalizing what she doesn’t yet know. That takes time, effort, and organizing the files in your head. She asked some great questions. I fear that my answers can’t be as cut and dry as we might hope, always beginning with , It depends.

I am not posting palettes because Sabira added a link to the eleablake (the makeup company that creates astoundingly good 12 Season cosmetics) Pinterest pages where you can see all 12 layouts.

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I would ask what I should rely more when finding my coloring. For example my eyes are rather muted, I would say dark teal green or pine, but my skin is not so grayed, so some of the most grayed colors of a SA palette work with my eyes, but don’t work with my skin giving it unhealthy glow. DA palette works better with my skin. Does that mean that I should rely more on my skin tone, than on other factors?

Look at the skin foremost. You just can’t be going around with an unhealthy glow. What would be the point of that? When the skin is right, the hair, eyes, everything else, are automatically right.

Skin and eyes will always accord in the end but eyes are tougher to call because blue eyes will make a connection with a blue turtleneck from any of the 4 Seasons. How do you pick the true connection? It’s not easy for women to do on their own or with friends who don’t quite know what to look for. I often am sent photos of a woman in clothing from what she assumes is say, True Summer, but the colour is actually from another palette.

Don’t look only at what intensifies eye colour. Look at how crisp the outer edge of the iris is. If the eye edge is fuzzy, so are the other features smudged into the face. The natural topography is dulled and blunted.

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I would ask if there exist some colors that can help distinguish between the two seasons. I mean if there are colors of the SA palette that a DA can’t tolerate and vice versa.

A funny, in fact almost frightening, thing happens when Dark Autumn spiced peach is put beside Soft Autumn skin. It sucks all the life and colour out of it. Then when SA soft coral replaces it, the flush of health and vitality returns like a whoosh, from the drape up to the hairline.

Same thing happens when Light Spring wears Bright Spring iced pink. Though B Sp’s seems a lighter shade of pink, it drains the life out of L Sp skin. Put the L Sp coral on the person, and you can see glowing alive colour suffuse the skin.

Dark Autumn’s lighter colours are very particular and hard to find. To choose between 2 Seasons, you have to get extreme. Try DA’s strong burnt orange, dark rust, and dark tobacco, against SA’s light flowerpot terracotta, latte, and willow green. There’s no point using grey – DA’s battleship, TA’s elephant, SA’s dark putty, the odds of finding them in your closet is next to nil.

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I am not also sure, whether black is a part of a DA palette or no. Because as for me, I can wear black, but it is not my best choice, I need to wear something golden or beige with it to make it work. When I wear black only I can’t look my best.

Sounds about right for DA. It is not in their palette but they can balance the darkness so well that they can cheat it in if it’s warmed up. What’s even better than black are those colours that are so dark that even in pretty good lighting, you think, Is that black? When you move it around, you see that’s it is darkest navy, eggplant, brown, and grey.

Put a SA in pure pitch black, all you see is the black and an older looking SA.

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Question about contrast – if a soft season can have medium-high contrast between skin, eyes and hair, or it doesn’t matter.

Let’s be sure we’re comparing apples to apples. It sounds like Sabira is meaning contrast as distance between lightest and darkest, what is most often meant.

There is a wide variation in hair darkness in Soft Seasons (and all the others), so there will be different degrees of contrast (hair-skin-eye differences in darkness level). Although the most perfect skin tone, colour, and texture, and the overall harmony are achieved with the same palette regardless of hair colour in a given Season, and hair colour isn’t used to choose Season, there’s no doubt that it plays a role in how others see us.

What I think looks right, an opinion from not-a-fashion-expert, is to repeat what you look like. Try to use the same distances between lights and darks in clothes that you see in your face, always within your correct palette.

The more I see of this, the more I think that spending too much time on contrast just complicates your life. Your entire colouring is inherently set to be in agreement in the exact same way as your 12 Season (12 Tone) colour palette. Your own personal hue/value/saturation all shift consistently and together even if you got darker than or warmer eyes than the average for the Season. The thinking is already done for you. The Sci\ART palettes are so genius because they make it hard to get it wrong, to achieve very high contrast where it doesn’t belong. In Soft Autumn, where you have eggshell and medium-dark putty grey for lightest and darkest, you can’t really create a too-high contrast. So, contrast is something to think about briefly but I’d move around my palette with freedom and imagination knowing every colour there looks great on you, and I’d spend my time figuring out my body’s geometry.

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What do you think about the concept of flowing seasons – can it be so that a person can take some colors from the neighbour palette. And can it be so, that a Soft Autumn can be closer to the DA than a SSu.

This is the order of the Seasons in my head, as taught to me during my Sci\ART training (my diagram, not an official Sci\ART publication):

The Season Circle

So SA and DA just wouldn’t share colours because they’d have to pass through TA. They are totally different. Perhaps one of DA’s browned coffee beiges could work pretty well, but most of DA is just too aggressive (too saturated, too red, too dark) to flatter a SA or work with the rest of her outfit.

To my knowledge, the flow concept comes from Color Me Beautiful. I’m not familiar with its full meaning or implications, so I’ll talk about sharing colours.

Any two immediate neighbours could maybe share some colours if:

1. Those two Seasons were very close when choosing the final and correct Season.

2. You respect TMIT. A Dark Winter and Dark Autumn could share their darker colours much better than their lighter ones. Light colours on Dark Seasons are less forgiving, so they’re either exactly right or completely wrong.

A True Summer and a Light Summer would share maybe the coolest colours of Light Summer. Maybe. I find True Seasons very absolute, and quite low in their tolerance of neighbour Season colours because the neighbours have warmth, the one thing with which True Seasons cannot harmonize. The sharing works better with Neutral Seasons. Still it takes caution and is often done too freely. Your best palette was chosen for a reason. Strive to stay within it.

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I’ve always thought that I am SA flowing to Ssu, but when I saw these – http://pinterest.com/eleablake. I realized that those colors I thought to be a Ssu blue-greens are really DW blue greens and some of the colors I thought to be of a Soft Autumn are more of the DA palette. I know that it depends on the monitor, but I have never thought that the soft seasons are SO grayed. I think I had the wrong concept of what is really soft. Is it so?

The Soft Season palettes are probably the hardest to figure out on your own, Soft Summer likely hardest. The colours are losing some saturation in the photos and monitors. They appear brighter than this in the swatch books. It’s not your concept of Soft that is wrong. It’s the concept of how Soft, or how Soft in this Season compared to that Season. Dark Winter is softer than Bright Winter.

People don’t look at your clothing colours on a screen or a white background. They look at them ON YOU. On a Soft Summer, those soft colours look connected to her. She looks healthy, vibrant, and defined instead of disappeared. It feels comfortable and right to look at those colours when SHE wears them.

On a billboard, we might choose other colours, but we don’t see other people as two-dimensional blocks of isolated colour. We see them as a total image, like an organic hologram, not separate from what they wear. We are more beautiful when the colours we wear are an extension of ourselves and have a logical reason to be placed next to our body.

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I am still confused with the terms soft and muted. What is the difference?

For our purposes, there isn’t one. They mean desaturated, closer to the pot of gray paint you started with before you began adding colour pigment. If the colour appears dusty, heathered, grayed, then it is called muted or soft.

Most important to always remember, colour is relative. Closer to gray compared to what? Wedgewood blue or electric sapphire? Compared to Bright Spring, True Spring is soft, but we don’t call True Spring colour low in saturation or muted.

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I started to think whether I can be a DA, because my worst colors are pure white and summer light pastels. Light pastels give me either yellow or grey unhealthy glow for my skin.

Sounds right for DA. The skin looks like concrete in Summer pastels.

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I also appreciate this post very much

http://12blueprints.com/3-great-colours-on-the-12-seasons/

But it makes things for me much more complicated :

As for a DA the 2nd and the 3rd are my best colors indeed, but I am not sure about the fist blue-purple. As for a Soft Autumn – I look good in brown and soft warm yellow, but the medium green is not my best choice – it is too light and too grey. As for neighbour seasons – I can wear Dark winter grey and maybe red, but I am not so happy with red – my better red is definitely warmer. Yet it is an ok color. I can wear SSu pine green – it works with my eye color, and so does TA teal, but other shades of a Soft Summer are not my best choice usually, and True autumn is too warm for me.

Like 19 people out of 20, you’re finding confusion in interpreting colour. How do you put it all together? I’m afraid that only a small minority can get it right, even from photos sent to an analyst. Plainly said, it just comes out incorrect too often. That’s not the analyst’s fault, it’s the medium.

When you saw the colours above, error #1 came in because the screen didn’t show them right. That error will carry forward just like in algebra, in every calculation to follow. Then you tried to match them with what you had, error #2 because that was off a little. If it were easy to find right colours, we’d have drape sets by the truckload to sell you. Now we have error #3, where you decided what works on you, but I bet that for some of your choices, I might come to a different answer. And on it goes.

Between any 2 Seasons, you’re always juggling 3 parameters of colour – warmth level, darkness level, and saturation. So maybe the saturation of Dark Winter works well, but not the warmth level. Maybe the coolness of S Su is what works, it’s kind of like DW’s coolness level after all, but its darkness level is way off and its saturation is off by a tiny bit. And on that goes.

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I also tried to compare how different greens intensify my eye color – there was no clue also, my eyes are not so dark (but I am not quite sure how dark can be blue-green eyes, I would describe my eye color as pine green in general) and change color that is why I can’t wave goodbye to soft seasons. I tried blue green and olive – but they work both I think, because my eyes have blue green background with an olive sun around the pupil, so when I wear olive they are warm green, when I wear pine they are pine green, when I wear teal they are teal green. I know that every season can have every eye color, but with different shades. So I have a question can that be that a DA can have pine green eyes or pine is more a soft color?

Right, so you may find blue, green, or brown eyes in any Season but they won’t be same version of those colours in terms of warmth/darkness/saturation. Some are less common, like blue-eyed Dark Autumns, but it can happen, perhaps as a dark teal that appears blue.

And yes, if you have green in the eye, it seems to connect with any green you wear to some degree.

When you say pine green, we probably have a different colour in our heads. Even if you sent me the colour, I doubt that it would be the real colour of your eye. We usually don’t know our true eye colour till it is placed adjacent to our most harmonious palette. To go from eye colour to a Season decision will lead you wrong. To go from Season to, Wow, who knew I had those colours in my eyes? happens all the time when a woman is correctly draped.

 

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26 thoughts on “Between Soft and Dark Autumn”

  1. What happens to an Autumn when their hair turns gray? Or in my case, silver? The Autumn colors that once looked beautiful on me – like camel and olive – now make me look sick. Dying my hair is not an option as I am allergic to the chemicals. I thought skin tone ( warm or cool ) did not change as one grows older, but mine seems to have done so. Perhaps I was never an Autumn after all?

  2. Lena,

    I can tell you when my True Autumn mother turned gray the rest of her cooled and softened too, except her face, and she changed to Soft Autumn. Whether this is typical I don’t know.

  3. Lena, I think your conclusion is very intuitive and probably correct, that you were never TA. For most of us, when hair grays, Season doesn’t change but the way we use our palettes might, to repeat the new hair colour. I do think some women drift down to a slightly cooler, softer palette, as Gail’s mother, but they’d be in the minority. Another thought would be that you were never even an Autumn but a Spring, who do look somewhat ill in Autumn colours…but no, you say the A colours once looked beautiful, so you likely were indeed A. You have a great sense of colour and will hopefully be able to adjust your palette with ease.

  4. Thank you for your insights, Gail and Christine. I think I was a SA who has drifted into a Summer, probably a SSu or a LSu, now that my hair is gray. Perhaps I was always a Summer. I have been wearing SSu lipstick and clothes lately. I feel and look “right” in them. Very comfortable. Also in silver jewelry, which I could never wear before.

    I actually love my gray hair and am enjoying finding the “new me” with beautiful new colors. I would encourage other women to give their true hair color a chance to come out and play. Nature usually knows better than that bottle of hair dye!

    Christine, my gray hair looks almost exactly like your sister Sonja’s in your “How Light Summer Goes Grey” post.

  5. Hello Christine, the Q&A are very helpful!

    I’ve had my own share of desperately trying to figure out my season. I’ve finally concluded it is a sort of Spring or Autumn, after tens of years of trying Summer and Winter colours on both hair,make up and clothes. As a child I couldn’t wear light/medium blue; I was great in greens and all kinds of yellows. As a teenager I looked best in Navy. Then I started to dye my hair in blue black and I pulled off all the 3 Winters pallette and it worked great. I was literally Snow- White. Blue was suddenly an ally. As a blonde, I wanted to be an extravagant platinum or cold ash/purplish blonde but I looked old and awful in these. All my life I’ve been running from copper and yellow and orange and gold and greens, because, with extremes shades of blue-black, burgundy red and platinum blonde, orange and copper was horrible. My guess is that I was just “masking” my true self and I was constantly trying to put masks that allowed me to wear my favorite colours, not the colours right for me.

    I started to rediscover my true nature by carefully and repeatedly reading your blog. I have very light golden freckless on my cheeks, a light peachy/ivory complexion ( not the whitest possible- I am not that whitest, mattest complexion but the next one), eyes are light golden/amberish, eyelashes are almost blonde, without makeup no one see I have any at all, and my natural hair colour si a dark blonde/light brown with a subtle golden undertone). Friends keep telling me I have blue/green eyes which is not true and speak of my complexion as being ” so fair” ! ( no, I don’t, I just think they somehow remember my eyes as being light and they automatically presume I have blue/green eyes, as a stereotype). From all the celebrities you have discussed my colours are closer to Michelle Williams and Maria Valverde in Borgia.
    If I were in America I would come to ask an apointment to you. Unfortunately, I live in Romania, Europe, and it is almost impossible to get to you. I understand it is impossible to have an online of photo& mail consultation… What a pity! My question is : is there any chance I am a totally fooling myself as a Spring or Autumn subcategory? Could I still be Winter/Summer? Thank you for your patience!

  6. Thank you very much, Christine, for such an informative answer. I am traveling now, but when I get home I’ll try to do some draping trying to look at my skin mostly. And you’re right about the eyecolor. I was told I am a winter by two color analysts in my country, who were using 4 seasons palettes. But I felt like winter is something unnatural to me – my skin appeared pinkish a bit and my eyecolor looked monochromatic steel grey. Then I realized that I am neutral warm actually and when I started to wear autumn colors my skin was the right shade without any unhealthy redness and my eyecolor appeared more “colored” – I could see the shades of blue and green more than grey. Thank you very much one more time for your great help =)

  7. The more I read about colors, the more I get confused.
    I don´t know my season, but I can sense when certain colors are right or wrong on me. But here I have learned that they are not “colors”; they are “shades”: a person can be gorgeous in a red and awful in another type of red (for me it is: clear red=good / browned red=bad). OK.
    But when I try to imagine in seasonal terms, I get confused. Is this particular blue TW, TSu, LSp or… what? If it looks good/bad on me, what does it tell about season? And, the most important thing: when I go shopping, I don´t find the colors who I know they work on me! So, what´s the point on knowing my season if all that is in the stores seems to be wrong? Or, if I find a right color, it turns that that particular dress doesn´t flatter my body shape!

  8. Daenerys, I do not know my season either. But I do no longer care to know the precise name or category, because, as you say, clothes or make up are not arranged according to seasons in shops, and choices could pretty limited when comes to good shops.
    Yet reading the discussions here was helpful to me, because they made me analyze myself a little better and discover what suits me or not, and this spares me the frustration of wanting nice looking things that are entirely non-appropriate for me. I have sort of invented a season for myself, trying to be consistent when comes to coolness, greyness and lightness. It is not so difficult, after a while.
    More elegant ladies and specialists may feel differently, and knowing everything precisely matters a lot to them, but for me this is enough, I really feel grateful, this blog has brought me some peace of mind.

  9. I agree with, you, Inge, because what I have said is true, but it is true, too, that here I have learned things I didn´t know before and it is useful. For example, I knew there was warm/cool and dark/light opposites, but I never have thought about brightness/mutedness, and now I know that I understand that my problem with certain colors was not they were too dark, but they were too muted.
    If I read this blog is because it teaches me a lot!

  10. Agree with this: “Your entire colouring is inherently set to be in agreement in the exact same way as your 12 Season (12 Tone) colour palette. Your own personal hue/value/saturation all shift consistently and together even if you got darker than or warmer eyes than the ‘average’ for the Season.”

    I would be the poster child if it were any other way, and this is exactly my conclusion. Main thing is don’t go more blended or more contrasty than your body’s natural level–and stick to your palette whatever you do.

  11. PS: I saw the 3 great colors and found them very helpful for friends. BUT I wear all 6 of SA and TA very good;-) only the teal may have more blue, greenish teal seems to be to cool for me, but blueish (and rather seeper) teal is very nice (how can that be? I war good nearly each green and rather no blues).

    My best colors are olive and greygreen (my eyecolor), the SA yellow, the SA brown, the SA willow green, the TA chili pepper red, a blueish and middle to deep teal, the TA gold (my haircolor is a very warm taupe dark blonde, which is close and I often wear trousers in that tone, which repeats the haircolor and thats very nice) and a fair yellow beige (I call it “sand”).

    And then there is a middle to dark tealbluegray, hard to des cribe, which is awsome.

    no gos: blues, any pink or rose tones, no mint.

    So my worst colors are the half SA chart (the blues, mints, pinks…) but the 3 best SA are under my best, too.

    Does that make any sense to you?

  12. Christine – between TA and SA, we’re getting very close now in colours for you to distinguish at home. The optical effects will be quite subtle. If it was difficult for you to tell SA and DA apart (reasons: either it was hard for you to know exactly what to look for, or hard to judge this on yourself, or your test colours weren’t quite right, then TA will be even harder. TA could wear metallic burnished gold better than SA. TA would do chili pepper red better, and SA would be tomato.

  13. Thank you again, Christine. I tried some of the darkest and warmest DA colors and some of the lightest and softest SA colors and it seems that DA is much more better. burnt orange and dark tobacco are very good, dark rust is also good enough. Soft autumn’ softest colors give me grey shadows on the face. So it seems that I am a DA. Not only for me, but practically for all the people whom I asked to look at my draping.

  14. Christine, that helped much. Once I inherited a sweater (do not wash wool cloth to warm;-) which is a hot spicy chili red. I thought: “hmmm, red is not so good for me”. But wearing that very warm red I looked so much better, that I did not believe it first. It was that touch of orange underneath, that made the difference.
    Thank you very much.

  15. When I received my palettes, I was shocked to find how muted the TSum palette is compared to the “equivalent” season in other systems. So someone working from the assumption I was, previously, might assume that a Soft season is necessary when they don’t really need to be muted down that far.

  16. So I doubted it. I doubted that skin could take the entire load when I let my hair turn natural pewter. All Hoorah-you’ve-embraced-your-gray-websites tell us that we need cool colors now. And definitely, and definitely, no brownish colors. But I tried the “Blueprint” instead. Christine showed pictures of her dad in olive green and grey hair. I tried it. I shunned the cool grey colors and started remaining true to the Dark Autumns. Ahhh..,when I look in the dressing room mirror I need to look at the skin FIRST and not the hair. I feel more like myself now that I’ve accepted the logic of skin first. My body doesn’t fight with my hair!!! Grrrrrrr!!!! Thank you, Christine. You always (gently) remind us of our own truth.

  17. Robin,

    Interesting insights. I notice you wrote your hair turned “pewter”, which as I recall is a color found in the DA palette, and therefore would continue to harmonize with DA colors. Unfortunately, my once-auburn hair has turned silver which clashes with my former TA colors. My warm ( very ) light ivory skin tone has also cooled as I’ve gotten older. My eyes are dark teal blue, btw, and my eyebrows / eyelashes are still a natural black.The SSu palette is more flattering to me now. I think each person’s situation is different. I do miss my TA colors though, which I always enjoyed wearing!

  18. Hi Christine,

    Fascinating article. I was especially interested because when I was analysed by Nikki Bogardus the final part of the analysis was deciding whether I was SA or DA, finally coming down on the SA side, but confirming that I was borderline and ‘could go either way’.

    The heat of TA and the coolness of SSu were never in the running. So I would suggest that for some people (incl me) where light/dark dominates, not heat/coolness, then we must skip, rather than flow…

  19. I am torn between two tones. I am definately a soft autumn, but am not sure if I am a light, soft autumn or a deep soft autumn. I have muddy yellow hazel eyes with a medium beige skintone. My natural hair color is dark mousy brown, but I now color it light brown with gold highlights to cover the gray. I am aware of a 16 tone color system that divides autumn into soft tinted (light), soft toned (darker) and deep autumn which is not soft and a true autumn which is the most saturated in color. I am torn between tinted and toned. I don’t consider myself fair and I am not a woman of color and I find the deep autumn colors to be very intense on me. Does it sound like I am a soft tinted autumn. Sorry to be so winded!

  20. Sue, I can’t really help because I don’t work with those classifications. I do use the term Soft Autumn, and sure it’s possible. The 16 Season system questions are probably better directed to one of their analysts. I don’t know the basis and criteria for that decision-making process.

  21. Christine, you mentioned using white to distinguish between DW and DA. Do you use DA white specifically, or do you find that stark white works just as well?

  22. I should have said that I use the light colours to distinguish DA and DW. Dark Season skin is too happy in dark colours to really tell the difference, though as you get better and know what you’re looking for, you can make the distinction using any colours. But DA’s lights are toasted while DW’s are icy and much closer to white. Which white you use wouldn’t matter, TW or DW, since DW would be better in either than DA, but again, you’d have to know what to look for. There will be compromises with DW in TW white so you’d need to prioritize to arrive at the right conclusion.

  23. Hi Christine!

    I was analyzed by one of your own as Soft Summer. It makes sense now, since it is one of the most misunderstood seasons. It was an amazing experience! The final colors and makeup were gorgeous. An interesting observation was that I cannot wear white in any season or anything too light which crosses off all icy colors as well. Too light a color makes me ruddy and red. Too light a pastel is not good on me either. I will have to be very creative about my future wedding dress…

    I could wear some of the Dark Winter colors but not too light and not the ones that were more saturated then S Su. and almost black. DW was compared lastly to S Su (the best looking of all). I wonder why some of DW worked on me if they are a few seasons away? My skin clearly likes darkness and muted. The colors that worked appeared just as good as S Su. How correct or legitimate would a DW be who could not wear contrast with icy colors or black due to not being in the skins range? I was intrigued by Dark Winter but after reading your book, Soft Summer sounds exactly like me in description of looks and personality. The draping were beautiful on me, they looked very rich. I have changed my golden blonde hair to pine cone brown, and I am in the process of planning out my new wardrobe to come!

  24. Some Dark Winter worked because the heat levels are the same (cool-neutral), the heat type is the same (Autumn), both tolerate darkness well, and both have some amount of muting. They may be a few Seasons away on a 2D map on a screen, but in a real person, they have a fair bit in common.
    I’m not sure I understand the Q about DW contrast, Heather. If you mean “Could a person still be DW and not look completely balanced in icy colour and high contrast?”, the answer is, yes, in fact the majority of them. DW and BW are quite different from TW, though they also have much in common. Glad you feel right in SSu. I agree that not only are the colours gorgeous, they look very rich when they find themselves in us.

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