Soft Autumn Landscapes

It means a lot that so many of you feel the same recognition and reinforcement of colour by seeing it depicted in natural scenes that I do. Kristin sent me some photos of Belgium that spoke to her strongly of Soft Autumn. I can see that she and I are on identical wavelengths about this Season. I thank her for sharing these very evocative images with us.

In Dress For Your Landscape: True Summer, we talked about how certain colours, shapes, textures, and textiles all go together for a reason and why some just never belong. When the natural presentation is familiar and real to us, every element elevates every other. Colour is information, in landscapes or on people. We evolved to see, hear, smell, and feel certain information together and understand it instinctively. We each emanate a natural landscape of colours and they look so right when we don’t add in all manner of discordant notes.

In 12 Season personal colour analysis, Soft Autumn describes the natural colouring of a person whose inborn colours mostly resemble the True Autumn Season, but are cooled and grayed a bit because of the small influence of Summer’s medium muted blue. Because contribution is coming in from a warm and a cool True Season (True Autumn and True Summer), this is one of the 8 Neutral Seasons.

Even in these photos, the colours are telling you so much about the time of day, the position of the sun, the temperature, the time of the year. If you took pictures of a leaf on a tree in your backyard every hour for 24 hours, it would never show the same green twice. That’s what the Seasons are, essentially. They are the progression of the changing perception of colour in different lighting as the planet changes position relative to the sun, on a daily or yearly scale, through 12 steps.

Kristin said,

I like how these pics have both Soft Autumn colors and a soft Autumn character. Feminine and elegant, with a pleasing earthiness and quiet strength. These pics helped me make sense of this palette and made me excited about wearing it. Honestly, my first impression was that Softs were a bit boring, (too neutral, too muted), but I see now that this palette can have a very pleasing, elegant glow.

Every part of these landscapes fits so well.

The late afternoon, warm, comfortable light makes every colour glow with heat that is more full-bodied, not bouncy like Spring’s. Soft Autumn is Amaretto sliding down your throat, not whisky, not Sprite, and not green tea. The nectar, not the juice.

The more solid substance of the stone walls and their rough surface says Autumn’s more robust strength. Do you know those Old Village paint colours? SA is much like that. They always have names like Colonial, Williamsburg, Chesapeake, you know.

On any of those pages, choose any Options&Price > Paint Sample Boards> View Colors (in red in the Online Purchase box). You will see an assortment of (mostly) SA colours, and certainly SA feelings. Architecturally, it feels like beautiful barns and covered bridges. Ralph Lauren ads and luxury Land Rovers, not Testarossas. Autumn is practical. They look real and right in clothes you could actually get something done in.

The presence of water tells of a Summer component, but it’s never the bigger role. There is a drier feeling. Spring and Summer colours feel wetter, from petal to mist to fountain to lake. This landscape looks gorgeous with one element of water – a wavy line in a print, a scarf design, a leaf.

This is mellow warmth, so think of every meaning of that adjective. To mellow out means to relax, to destress, to settle in, and contemplate another day. I worked at this looks are never less right. Soft Autumn looks like real life. She usually doesn’t look very different with and without her best makeup, compared to many of her sisters.

The colour span is medium. Not real hot or cold, sunny or shaded, dark or light. Similar types of colours flowing together.

This is not Spring hedonism. Soft Autumn is more homespun than hippie, though there’s a similar type of crunchy granola freedom about both. Here, we have a more organic seduction, as earthiness can be quite erotic. If you’re over 45? and you remember Neil Diamond’s early material, the jeans, the long hair, the gravel in the voice, you may know what I’m saying. Hot August Night, you know?

Too often, the expression of passion through quiet is misjudged to be low, but that’s not so. Leave flash to someone else. Believe that others fully sense the extreme physicality of understated heat. We feel so grateful for the absence of force that we give more of ourselves back. Nothing rattles our cage, no visual element is aggressive, not a single one. We feel less guarded or inhibited, more open to reveal, more receptive to consider, more willing to play, I’m not using these words by accident. Soft Autumn is the most smoothly sensual Season. Everyone is highly tuned to getting the message the way Nature made it, whatever your variation. 10 million years of evolution gives us no other choice, when flash was just getting started.

In a wide V-neck, broom yellow sweater, knit loosely enough to see some skin, a mid-calf stone gray skirt in a cotton knit heavy enough to cling and move over curves, a favorite leather belt slung low over her hips, vintage brown equestrian or Frye boots, and a natural stone pendant around her neck, Soft Autumn is as much invitation to light someone’s fire as anyone can be when colour is working with them (because the definition of colour wealth is like the definition of financial wealth, right? Your money is working for you, not the other way round. Just substitute the word colour. No blingy thing could raise the attraction and neither would a jeweled boat in one of those canals or a flying carpet going past the steeple below.

We feel unthreatened and heaven knows there’s value in that. Nothing is asked of us. I have often thought that I like myself best in this company, probably because it is so undemanding. There’s no pressure to adjust to anything sudden or extreme. The contentment of sitting at a cafe, sipping a latte, knowing I don’t have to be anywhere, I couldn’t feel more ease. Soft Autumn’s landscape is almost hypnotic, lulled by the steady rhythm, but entirely without the innocence of a lullaby.

What Kristin captured here is really important. She didn’t send maple trees in October, a jaguar, or a pumpkin patch. This palette has definite coolness compared to the True Autumn parent. She has a great perception of Soft Autumn. The tendency people have is to see it as warmer than it is, but since it’s primarily Soft, it is more gray than orange or yellow. And she even got the grays right! Quite fabulous.

The words got away from me again so we have another To Be Continued post. In the next section, how to translate the landscape in clothes and makeup, and some talk about blue.

 

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21 thoughts on “Soft Autumn Landscapes”

  1. Wow.

    Yessss.

    And if this is the urban take, Google “Frederick McCubbin” (use images) for the bush version …

  2. So beautiful! I am excited to read the next post. I really think one of my younger sisters is a SA. I can totally feel how these scenes would just cozy up to her and she would just fit right in. Since figuring out styles and textile is where I get most confused, I’m fascinated to see it all come together.

    Looking forward to seeing other landscapes as well, especially TA of course. hint hint ;) I know, I’m terrible…

    You have quite a talent Christine!

  3. What you said about the makeup – I’ve noticed that. It’s been a few months, I guess, since switching to SA makeup; and it can be frustrating to know that I can put on a full face of makeup and it barely shows. I find myself wanting more color, more drama.

  4. Ah, Ashley, that’s a soft-season thing, I think. We’re doubly-muted, and in a world of saturation, contrast, and industry emphasis on colours that pop, we find ourselves craving more. More chroma, more depth, more warm, more cool, more anything darn thing, rally. Everything that catches our eye is too much something-or-other.

    Staying true to our colouring means a foot over the brake at all times, and we wear out the brake pads. Oh yes, M’am, I know well of what you speak. SSu and SA are beautiful seasons, but the world in general doesn’t do subtle all that well, and sometimes we crave a party popping jolt of what those brights do so effortlessly, or the eyeball-soaking saturation of true autumn, or the rich, unalloyed darks of DW or DA …

  5. I admire your intuition aproach to the colour analysis, Christine. I studied more systems then Sci\Art (online only – I have no really certified specialist around), but after seing more just palettes and general descriptions of seasons, I belive I understand it all much better.

    I look forward reading more of these fabuous landscapes / colour season / intuition blog inputs of yours ;)

  6. Thank you, Christine and Kristin. Those are inspiring.

    For anyone who is interested:
    If you would like an eyeliner which is EXACTLY the same shade as the shadowed waters in those pics, then Bobbi Brown Forest Shimmer Ink Gel Eyeliner is a perfect match. You can smudge and soften it as much as you like, but in full intensity it looks just like those deep cool canals.

    I am adjusting to my SAu-ness (slowly), and this article is a wonderful help. To actually see the colours working together, in nature, is so useful.

    The weather has turned so cool and wet here in the UK that I have spent the afternoon sorting out my Autumnal wardrobe (which is basically my Winter wardrobe minus the thicker woollies), and delighting in the colour combinations and styles that I am going to be able to wear now that I have been definitively analysed. Having avoided beige like the plague for about 10 years, I am now able to embrace the RIGHT beige, and find it terribly calming. This palette is just so damn cool. Laid back. Relaxed. Effortless.

    In fact, to avoid becoming soooo laid back that I am horizontal, I have decided to ramp things up a little with texture (so gloriously illustrated in these photos). The contrasts of texture in the soft leaves, grainy brick, hard stone and smooth water have inspired me. I can see velvet, lace, crochet, linen, suede, boucle, crinkle, raw, satin and slub silks… All in toning, medium to low contrast colours, with the occasional gleam of copper, bronze, steel and soft gold.

    For the first time, distressed leather (proper, high quality, un-mucked-about-with cow hide, in dark sludge grey-brown) is on my palette. Such as this beautiful bag
    http://handbags.novica.com/leather/weathered-leather-handbag-honey-sierra/171518/
    But where to find a matching pair of boots…?

    And Scarves are going to be my new best friends. I’ve just spent a happy hour on eBay searching for ‘pendant scarves’ and ‘infinity’ or ‘circle’ scarves. They are absolutely gorgeous, and many of the colours available at the moment fit right in with the whole SAu colour range.

    Jo

  7. I am looking for Soft autumn lady whom I may bless with one of my favourite jackets of all times. It is distressed leather, soft brown/beige, rough with uneven natural edges. It is light and excellent for summer evenings. To fit it you must be a size US 12 / UK 16 / EU 44. I will send it by mail, no strings attached. I just want it to end up where it belongs – on a soft autumn.

  8. AC – how generous and large hearted of you to offer your favorite jacket of all time to a soft autumn!!! I wear a US 12 in jackets and am a soft autumn if it is still available. What season are you? My email is: esthercontest@hotmail.com if the offer is still open……

  9. I’m trying to self-diagnose… if the very colors themselves are off-putting to me (so much brown!), does that mean I’m not a Soft Autumn? The Soft Summer colors- mmmm!

    I guess the question is- can I rely on my gut reaction to the colors in these photos to guide me towards the right classification? And as someone above mentioned- if I do turn out to be a Soft season, what about all the drama that I crave?

  10. Maja,
    That is a BEAUTIFUL photo. It makes me think of a perfect book cover. The overall effect is very warm, very oranged. If there were pinks, blues, etc in the shot, it might balance all the warmth. Soft Autumn is much cooler than people often think. Some of the burnt reds and golds in the foreground will be moving to TA, since they’re more saturated.

  11. These pictures are very helpful. Ever since I was analysed as a SA, I struggled with the colour palette (and still do to some extent). Previously, I had only used the outdated Colour Me Beautiful book with the four season system to analyse myself; since I didn’t fit in anywhere I decided I was a spring. Having been used to wearing clear, pure spring colours and believing I looked good in them, I didn’t like the SA colours at all. But then I looked at pictures of myself and realised that even though red looked great against my pale skin my eyes and hair looked dull. SA colours brought me to life without losing me and though my colouring still obviously looked ‘soft’ it felt like my features were ‘blending’ with the SA colours instead of competing. What you say about greyness is very interesting. Sometimes I have to be careful not to let something get too ‘deep’ or ‘warm’ such as chocolate brown or a too warm tan can look difficult with my face and my pale neutral skin. This is why I still struggle with SA colours because you have to remember they are soft and warm but are fairly neutral as well! However, I’ve always found my best colour to be pink and always seem to receive compliments in it – warm pinks only though. It made me wonder because I didn’t think think there were many pinks in the SA palette? ‘Blush’ pink seems to look the best on me. I also have problems with eyeliner. Even though I use a brown pencil sparingly and smudge it, I still think it looks too strong and heavy on me. I’m wondering whether to use some mascara either alone or with some soft eyeshadow instead.

  12. Jenny,

    Let me answer your Q all together here

    – makeup in Bare Minerals – sorry, I haven’t swatched that line. I can look at it next time in Sephora (about a month).
    – SA doesn’t really have pink as powder or Barbie versions; it has muted coral pinks as the cooler pinks and then light brick shades for the warmer
    – finding even light eyeliner go dark very fast is common common for SA; they’re lighter than they look, regardless of hair and eye, and need a light cosmetic touch; this is an ideal Season for eyeshadow as liner, to give a softer, hazy line very consistent with the mutedness of the colours ; brown eye pencils that may be good are Rimmel Exaggerate Sable (light touch), Lauder SoftSmudge Brown (cooler option, usually too cool for most). Light Spring’s choices are usually too light with no presence at all on SA skin. Lancome Bronze and Urban Decay Stash may be good too.
    – the silver gold dilemma is also a SA issue; gold is usually better, it’s true, but it can look too yellow, shiny, or hard. Consider using a whiter gold, a very brushed texture, and keeping the amount of metal less by inserting beads, stones, shells, leather, etc.
    – forget the eye colour; nobody knows what their eye colours really are, though pixellating them can be very helpful and correct sometimes. Many people have hair and eyes that fall outside the oh,so misleading average.

  13. I’m a new follower of this site so going on a bit of a posting mania at the moment. I really enjoyed the post on soft autumn landscapes, particularly your comment on grey in the palette. Has anyone out there watched “Gone with the Wind” recently? Scarlett’s costuming is really interesting in the first half of the film, as are the set colours.

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