Shannon Is A Soft Summer

Imagine sitting at a kitchen table on a warm summer day, drinking tea, doing some writing. Rainclouds have covered the sun. Shadows seem a bit darker. The door is wide open to let the breeze in. You notice that a few raindrops are coming through the screen. The air is fresher already, your skin feels a bit tighter. Before you get up to close the screen, you look out at the landscape. The rain really starts coming down now. You notice what happened to the colors that were sunlit an hour ago.

The colours are grayed, right? They are still cool, but there is an overlay of grey with a trace of brown, like fog, like watching colour through a raincloud. This Season is the Summer version of colour in shade. The whole personal colour palette shares this very faint grey-brown common denominator. Light Summer begins with the True Summer palette too, but the colours are seen in pale sunlight.

Every Season has a True note, a higher note, and a lower note. Noise cannot exist without quiet, or light without shade. Soft Summer is Summer at a quieter, lower tempo. In 12 Season Colour Analysis, this is the Neutral Season where Summer is beginning to integrate a breath of Autumn.

Drapes

Seldom do I meet such a perfect example of a Season. The skin, the eye colours and patterns, and the hair and brow colour are very much in the middle of the curve for Soft Summer. What made this PCA fun was that Shannon understood the theory and could see the color effects instantly. She was able to do her own analysis, which I love because the doors open fast and easy and the resistance wall crumbles.

Because this coloring is so medium, it seems the most misdiagnosed. The draping was straightforward. In the True Seasons, it was a tired face we saw in Winter colours, completely dominated by the drapes. Quite good in Summer colours, but a sense of being incomplete, of not having located the magic. A yellow face in Spring colours, with no benefit that Summer did not offer. A slightly yellow face in True Autumn, less so than in Spring colours, with a good eye colour intensity, and a sense of something here is working.

There was no contest between Soft Summer and either neighbor, placing Shannon in the middle of her Season. Often, Soft Summer has a remarkably fragile bone structure that does not achieve hi-def till it is in the right colors. The warm neighbor of Soft Autumn color looks queasy, flat, pasty, blunted, and out-of-focus. The cooler True Summer was too blue-shadowed and pink-lidded.

Impression

This is a Summer more than anything. The watery feeling of the colors still applies, as does the coolness and delicacy. Watermelon, clover, and many water colors. Water and hostas can get quite dark, but they are never crayon.

Soft Season means that not only is the person Soft to look at, with no big jumps between skin/hair/eyes, and so that is how they wear their clothes. Low saturation colours in low contrast combinations. Gentle colour movements. No trends (too exaggerated) or sudden transitions and dark lines (too severe). Related shades work well, but not necessarily monochromatic. Classy. Subtle.

The Colour Book gives you all your swatches, automatically mix-and-matchable. Your analogous, complimentary, and monochromatic colours are all in there. How they are combined depends on the energy of the particular Season. Neutral skin has warmth and coolness, so they have a warmer cosmetic colour palette (Desert Rose type) and a cooler selection (Dusty Plums). Color analyzed makeup colors are in your Book as well.

The Summer personality is seldom overly demanding. Refreshingly pleasant personalities prevail in all 3 Summer Seasons. Children adore their steady and straightforward manner. The loudest voice will not belong to a Summer. They are highly civilized and have no problem with impulse control.

Autumn inserts practicality, speed, and strength into the Summer core of these people. The moment Autumn is invited to the party, the Summer soothing way is replaced by Autumn determination. The straightness of the brow conveys it in the eye photo alone. As a triathlete, this woman is nothing if not determined.

Soft Summer Hair

This is an article in itself. It is harder to understand and harder to achieve. Note that the hair is photographing more red than IRL. In the next part, I’ll show you the real color.

Shannon

Your face Photoshopped can be yours for the draping, easy to look at and easy to be. After years of feeling uncomfortable with makeup, Shannon said this,

The colours in my swatch feel right to me, as does the description of the Soft Summer personality – it all fits in terms of how I know myself. The make-up application looked and felt fantastic and, for the first time, made me want to buy and wear make-up.

 

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Use of Images

The images contained in this article are of private individuals, not celebrities. I consider the permission for me to use them as a privilege. It is my intention to protect these women’s privacy and generosity. If you use any of the photos without permission, I will seek legal counsel. I do not want to have to reduce the beauty and detail of the photographs with watermarks.

This is a learning site. Please do use my words with credit back to the web page you copied and pasted them from. If you mix up my meaning and get the message wrong, feel free to omit any reference back to me.

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37 thoughts on “Shannon Is A Soft Summer”

  1. “The draping was straightforward. A tired face we saw in Winter colours, completely dominated by the drapes. Quite good in Summer colours, but a sense of being incomplete, of not having located the magic. A yellow face in Spring colours, with no benefit that Summer didn’t offer. A slightly yellow face in True Autumn, less so than in Spring colours, with a good eye color intensity, and a sense of “something here is working”.”

    Yes! This paragraph could have been written about my draping as well, right down to the True Autumn drapes bringing out my eyes, but not perfecting my skin.

    It’s true that the colors of the Soft Summer palette are so easy to combine. I used to hate picking out clothes in the morning. Now it’s easy, and a pleasure. The best part is never having to wear black ever again! I feel so much happier and lighter without it.

    The temperament description matches me, too. I sometimes help teach a ballroom dance class. When I expressed my concern to one of the students that I was perhaps coming across as too exacting and focused on details, he reassured me that I didn’t seem so at all. He said I was just being a “standard bearer of grace”! That was nice to hear. :)

  2. Christine,

    Great picture and article! I was analyzed as a soft summer before being done as a bright winter. After wearing bright winter things for a while, and consistently feeling that something might be off (too bright, too much), I’ve been wondering if soft summer is more accurate for me. Bright winter looks good with my dark hair and light skin, but I don’t think it perfects my skin. What would I look for to know which palette is better? Any tie-breaker ideas for bright winter vs. soft summer?

    Would a dark haired soft summer wear the soft summer colors differently than people with light hair?

    FYI My coloring is a little like Katie Holmes who pretty my world says is soft summer.

    Thanks!

  3. Christine, thank you so much for this article! I’m looking forward to the hair photos. Shannon’s eyes look very blue. Is this consistent with soft summers? I’m trying to determine if I fit more in soft summer or soft autumn. Thanks as usual for such beautiful imagery!

  4. Denise,
    There couldn’t be 2 more opposite palettes than Soft Summer and Bright Winter. I guess the tie breaker color would be black and white, both of which are quite acceptable on Bright Winter, but not on Soft Summer.
    The shade of hair makes no difference as to which colors in the correct palette work better. As one grays, one might choose to wear more grays to repeat the hair, but it’s not necessary to perfect the skin.
    Hard to say about Kati Holmes. I see her as rather dark, but Lora is far more adept at PCA from photos than I ever will be. I have never looked at any photos of her.

    Cynthia,
    Eye color won’t really help much. Soft Autumn can have blues and greens in the eye, absolutely. If I were to think of 1 difference with eyes, it’s that Autumns have more orange in the eye than brown.

  5. Im in doubt whether I am a soft summer or a soft autumn. How can I find out – is there any way to test it with certain colours? I’ve got medium blond hair with some golden and reddish highlights (naturally), medium brown eyes and a pale skin with freckles.

  6. This concept of Soft Summer being very “medium” and often misdiagnosed really rang true with me. It not only applies to the person, but to the colors they wear as well. For instance, those sunglasses for Soft Summer didn’t appear to be the color they actually were, here Shannon’s hair is appearing a different color than it is in real life, and I know I’ve never been able to produce a photograph of myself that is true to the colors I see in a naturally lit mirror, much less the same to each other. Is it something in the nature of Soft Summer colors, their medium haziness, that causes such a range in their appearance? And also why the hair would be an article unto itself (throwing that out there without having read the article, of course)?

  7. Hi Christine,
    I am confused about how both soft autumns and soft summers are able to look good wearing warm, peachy nude lipstick. I am 100% sure that I am a soft autumn. I look great in medium, warm, muted, clothing. Medium olive green is my best color. I look awful in cool gray, muted cool blue, and muted cool pink clothing. The strange thing is, I look rather blah wearing nude lipstick. I look great wearing warm, muted rose lipstick. I have noticed that Jennifer Aniston and Sara Jessica Parker, both considered soft summers, frequently wear and look great in, warm, peachy nude lipstick. Shouldn’t these ladies favor cooler colors? Why do I look blah when my coloring should be warmer than a soft summers? Any thoughts about this? Maybe being a beautiful movie star makes one’s coloring more flexible?
    Thanks for your time.

  8. Nadine,

    I get asked these tie-breaker questions often, understandably so. When you get down to the last 2 Seasons, it can be difficult to sort out, for many reasons. Soft Autumn does better in avocado green and milk chocolate, both of which are too warm for Summer. Remember that hair color, eye color, freckles, colours of tans, etc. are not relevant in PCA.

    Adrienne,

    The hair is a separate article because I had so darn much to say, which should come as a surprise to nobody. It posts in a few days, the 15th I think.

    The medium-ness is part of the difficulty with analyzing this Season without properly calibrated drapes, yes. But photography is never on my side. I’ve tried in daylight, in shade, outside and in, full spectrum lights, grey rooms, fiddled with the white balance on the camera, nobody ever looks like they really do. The closest is Louise from the Light Spring article, in a grey room, with a pro photographer, and she doesn’t look quite that way either. I’ve given up. I also don’t over stress because the fact is that even an accurate photo is of no use to you. There is too much variation between members of a Season to be able to place yourself from a photo.

    Laura,

    I think you answered your own good Q. I have no idea what Seasons those women are. SJP’s eyes have looked Spring in a few photos. They are Photoshopped so nobody knows what they really look like. It may be that a Laura Mercier can take a model and put off-Season makeup on her and achieve a good look…but for the rest of us who are just trying to get out the door in 10 min with some cash left in our wallets, what good is the Mercier/model combo? I’ve heard it said that Aniston spends 20K per month on her appearance, and that number is probably not far off. Not only does that have no relation to me, in fact it’s part of the problem for women and not the solution since we compare ourselves to a make-believe standard, but if she’s spending that on herself, I hope she’s donating twice that to microloans for women, or something that really helps.
    Ok, off that soapbox – toffee/cinnamon-peach lips are great on Soft Autumn. I find them unattractive on Soft Summer, who gets dusty plums and desert rose colors.
    I think those models get soft lips because of the “rule” that strong eyes need quiet lips. Whatever. This is makeup artist territory. Actors under 30 with the great lip definition of youth and injection are not us. We, especially over 40, need balance, sophistication, definition, youthfulness, and harmony. For some Seasons that works their whole life, maybe Michele Pfeifer. Others, say Meryl Streep, Calista Flockhart, do better with NATURAL color than a beige-y lip. But, as always, anyone is free to disagree. That’s the beauty of the internet, that we can agree to disagree, what the world needs more of.

  9. First of all, thank you for answering my question!
    I don’t think that avocado green and milk chocolate are good colours for me.
    My favourite colours are mint green, teal and medium blue, khaki, purple and dark brown.
    Do these colours give a hint at me being a soft summer?

    Furthermore: Could you recommend a good blush and lipstick for soft summers?
    I’d like to test them!

  10. Christine,
    In your reply to Laura, you said that toffee/cinnamon-peach lips are great on Soft Autumn. Would you please suggest some? Thanks.

  11. Caroline,

    This is a Neutral Season, have warmth and coolness in the skin, so the lip palette will have some ‘mocha rose’ choices and some ‘light toffee’. It should not get so cinnamon as to be sharp or overly orange.
    You could look at Revlon Blushing Mauve, ELauder Tender Mauve and Blushing Mauve as pinker ones.
    CoverGirl Lipstain Cinnamon, MAC Overindulgence gloss, elf gloss Malt Shake are good warmer ones.
    Have you seen the article here, A Soft Autumn Case Study?

  12. Thanks, Christine. Yes, I loved reading A Soft Autumn Case Study! The two lipsticks that the model wore, Bobbi Brown Rose Brown and Chanel Incognito, are a bit too pinky rose for me. I’m on the warm end of the Soft Autumn spectrum. That’s why I got so excited when you used the words, “toffee/cinnamon-peach” to describe SA lip colors. It’s hard to find the right color that doesn’t cross over into sharpness or darkness or overly orange. I’ll give your warmer color recommendations a try. Thanks again.

  13. Christine,

    I’ve found this article and the soft autumn article very helpful as I’m trying to decide between the two soft seasons. Your writing is so poetic and expressive. I love reading your posts and the ideas and advice are helpful for me. I’ve been analyzed as both soft autumn and summer as well as bright winter. It’s clear that black, white and the brightest bright winter colors are too strong for me, so I’m deciding between the two soft seasons.

    I’ve been playing with makeup colors to “see” the differences between soft autumn and summer. My feeling is that soft autumn looks more natural and makes my skin look softly “peaches and cream”. However, since I’ve been wearing darker brighter lipstick colors for so long all of the lighter colors look “funny” to me. In soft autumn colors, I get compliments that I look great and am beautiful (not compliments to my clothes or makeup or hair).

    On my monitor, the soft autumn case study lip color incognito looked a good bit darker (still muted and neutral – but moving toward a muted orangey red). I was disappointed to find that IRL it was much lighter.

    With my dark hair I think a darker lip color looks more balanced (but all of the soft autumn colors I’ve tried so far really compliment my skin). I plan to try the recommendations you made for Caroline.

    My question is (finally!) what darker lip colors would you recommend that still fall within the soft autumn parameters?

    Thanks ever so much!

  14. I just want to say that one of the best things about being a Soft Summer is that first color drape that you have on Shannon. As soon as I saw her in it, I wanted to look in a mirror so that I could imagine it on myself. The right colors absolutely resonate with you and make you FEEL good. I spent a long time accidentally buying Spring colors for myself, but they always wore ME instead of the other way around.

    I just cannot get over that first color. I am eating the nourishing energy from it right up. :-)

  15. I recently read in another article (not here) that there are some colours both soft seasons can wear.
    Is this true?
    Could you make a list of these colours?

  16. Nicola,

    The drapes don’t photograph precisely, but I completely understand what you mean. Both the drapes shown are pivotal in testing this Tone. These people are very much at ease in these colors.

    Nadine,

    In the Sci\ART system, there are no colours that are borrowed by other Seasons or Tones. Each is unique. Having said that, some of the neutrals are very close. The other colors are quite different, because Soft Summer is so much more Summer in its coolness, while Soft Autumn is recognizably warmer as a mostly-Autumn.
    I’d write clamshell, putty, whatever, but naming colors doesn’t really help you. We’d both have a different idea of “cream” in our heads.

  17. I have medium-dark ash brown hair, dark brown eyes and very fair skin but not milky White. I look great in dark brown, blues, greys, lilacs but black looks terrible on me, it’s just too bright and harsh against my skin. Am I summer or winter, I’m confused because of my dark eye colour.

  18. Forget about your eye colour. Brown eyed Summers absolutely exist. So do blue-grey eyed True Autumns. So do brown-eyed Springs. So do topaz-eyed Winters. Perfect your skin first and everything will be automatically perfect.

  19. I am still very confused and I must say disturbed regarding make up (lip color in particular). I am in my 50s. In my youth my hair is what I would have called a medium warm brown. In the sun or under the lights it glowed a beautiful auburn shade so I had plenty of red/gold highlights. My skin is pale. Porcelein I guess and definitely cool. I have always tended toward some freckling and have a very ruddy complexion so that when I try to “match” the light undertones of my face I appear ghostly plus it is hard to cover the ruddiness without just getting a “pink” look. My eyes are pale blue (aqua with yellow areas near the pupil). I have tried so hard to be a warm spring (which I love) but I think I am too soft for this strong look. I feel I may actually be a soft summer. The colors of soft summer seem blah to me and I don’t feel pretty at all. Also I can not find a lip color that suits me. Brights are too bright and the “browned” pinks and plums look dead to me. Can you help?

  20. A couple of things from a recently diagnosed soft summer:

    (1) The SSu and SA neutrals are indeed very close. SAu has more browns, but you can mentally expand the SSu spectrum that little bit by blending the dots. I thought I was a SAu for a long time (and quite possibly I *was* a tad warmer 5 years back before the grey kicked on) and my neutrals still work pretty well, though my better-educated eye can now see that they’re not exactly right. (They never were – always needed to be that bit desaturated and smoked over, and I think I knew it – but it’s hard enough getting things that fit, especially if you fall outside the industry standards (reasonably-generically-proportioned-B-cup-wearer-who-stands-between-5’3″-and-5’7″) and as Christine has said elsewhere, sometimes you just have to buy something or not at all.

    (2) After years of struggling with slightly-too-warm lipsticks, when I could be bothered at all, I’ve found a perfect, disappears into the skin nude: L’Oreal Colour Riche 253, Blush In Nude. Swabbed onto white paper, it’s a very, very, very close match for the middle mauvey-rose tan next to the neutrals in the fan, and it’s the only one I’ve tried so far that didn’t make me feel like I’d pinched me Mum’s lippie (many of the standards are hard to find here in Oz). Dead subtle. Barely there. Just enough to make the non-girly person look that little bit polished up.

    It’s a difficult spectrum to locate without formal guidance – the palette is one that I suspect is quite hard to luck upon, unless you have a particularly sophisticated natural eye. The colours are subtle, tertiary-order, delicately smoked and dusted, and hard to find. Many of us dismissed summer as a genus possibility, back in the CMB early days, because summers were supposed to have a lock on blues and we knew we often struggled with them (and if you look at the dots, there’s no true blue – marine, teal, smoggy periwinkles – but no variations on straight blues such as true summer might manage). The greens, too, are spruced, and then there’s that deep lettuce yellow which Christine has so accurately typed as avocado. It’s just so easy to get this season wrong. Our pinks and reds are blended as well – never more eloquently described than as “rose petals living on a dusty road”.

    I tell you, friends, I drifted into soft autumn because it’s easier to find ….

  21. I’m a self-diagnosed soft summer. Nynd, I identify with your descriptions of SSu. I actually think of myself as a “cool autumn”, because the autumn colors (in Color Me Beautiful book) are perfect for me in depth and muted quality. If they had a charcoal grey undertone rather than burnished gold one. The summer colors generally look too pure and pastel. Neutrals work much better than “colors”: rose-gold, taupe, pine green, grey green,soft white, charcoal gray, very grayed blue, muted raspberry. And the “sueded” quality, yes. Always wished I was really light or really dark, somewhere in the middle instead. But I love the rich, sueded look of being a soft season.

  22. I suspect that I am a soft summer or some sort of soft season. My skintone seems muted to me though some of the grayed colors for that palette looks a bit drab on me. I look really good in gray, light turquoise and salmon or coral pink. My eyes are a deep soft greenish hazel with a subtle coppery center and my hair is a dark cool brown. Childhood pictures indicate that I was much more muted in coloring (lighter hair) and not so ruddy in the cheeks. Cool colors seem to suit me better most of the time though lipsticks that are too pink (blue based) or too peachy (warm based) seem to clash a bit with my skintone. I seem to do better with a blend, not too cool, not too warm. I think my coloring is similar to Ashley Judd’s. Is it possible that she is a soft summer?

  23. You sound S Su, from your good observations. Ashley could be Soft or True, seeming more True to me, but certainly I could imagine a Summer of some sort.

  24. Thank you for your quick response, Christine. The only thing that throws me sometimes is that I can wear a lemon yellow and what seems like a cherry red or balanced red (could even be slightly warm), but I’m not sure if these colors are in the S Su fan. It’s very difficult for me on the other hand to find a good red lipsitck (again, too orange or blue based or deep is overpowering). I was draped once as a summer (not an in depth draping) and was given a Color Me A Season fan for summer. I don’t think all of the colors in the fan are particularly flattering. The red is a deep blue red which looks too heavy next to my skintone. I plan on getting a more complete draping at some time. In the meantime is there a place online that I can order a good S Su fan.

  25. If you can wear lemon yellow and cherry red, suspect you may be TSu. Those colors are two of my personal bests.

  26. You are right about the CMAS fan. A lot of them are way too light for me. I can wear the darkest strips quite well. The Winter CMAS fan is more muted than you may think. There are lots of TSu and SSu colors in it.

  27. Thank you for all this great information. Could you give me your opinion on some hair coloring? My hairdresser has just cut off a lot of my chocolate brown (dyed) hair as I am now trying to let my hair go natural. I have about a 3 inch halo of salt and pepper on the top. My hair dresser suggested some chunky (white-ish) highlight right in the front. I like the idea but am not sure of the white. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thank you,
    Donna

  28. Honestly, Donna, I’m never a big fan of obvious processing and effects. That’s a personal taste thing and you may find it looks great. Don’t imagine the white chunks on a woman on TV. Imagine them on a woman you know of your age, lifestyle, and clothing. If you feel that hair effect would look striking and attractive, then give it a try. You can always change it. To me, S Su is a Season that looks fantastically good in their gray hair. It goes with the dusty pink-purple lip colours incredibly well, and the grayish effect of the clothing. The woman looks almost more harmonious than when her hair had brown colour, even in her 40s. The hair dressing industry is very big on playful stuff in hair – what they don’t always keep in mind is what it looks like next to that particular skin and whether it helps the woman get taken more seriously.

  29. First of all, I think this is a great site! I have been reading up on colour analysis and am really struggling to work out what season I am as my characteristics seem quite mixed. I have light to medium brown hair which is pretty neutral and dull in tone and light grey green eyes (which are quite muted). My skin is beige-yellow rather than pink toned and I look quite sallow and washed out without makeup (although I tan fairly easily). I don’t look good with gold or silver near my face but look great in off-white pearls. I
    look good in off white, aqua, shell, coral pink and powder/blush pinks, beiges and soft medium blues. I look overwhelmed in dark strong colours, sick in anything rusty/orangey/mustardy and washed out by anything that is overly cool or grey. I was thinking I could be a soft summer but really confused! Anyone have any ideas?

  30. There’s a lot here that sounds like one of the Summers, Kate. I’m recognizing elements of all 3 types, because there are many crossovers. They are all primarily Summer, after all.

  31. Well, at least it sound as you were the opposite of a Bright, so a Soft, instead, and if Christine have seen you as a Summer, Soft Summer looks like a perfect fit.
    But I´m only a newbie in the color study thing, don´t take me seriously.

  32. I went through the Color Me Beautiful program at about 14yo and was identified as a summer. Today was the first time I heard about the 12 blends (or 16?) and now I am unsure of what I am. I have very light skin with faint freckles under the eyes (which are a warm brown), and medium brown hair (with some defimitive red

  33. Sorry, I meant definitive coppery/golden highlights when colored with medium brown. I think I look better in silver, but I feel like my coloring is conflicted between my hair/eyes and my skin tone. I don’t look good in oranges or golden yellows. I guess I am confused as to why no one really identifies brown eyed people as summers. I think I am a soft summer, but would like some confirmation, if possible. Thanks!

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