Soft Summer Inspiration WITHOUT USING BLUE

soft summer heather
by Jorunn Hernes (Norway)

I get the most wonderful inspiration from the readers of my Nordic Simplicity blog. I loved this comment from my reader Mandy, who is a Soft Summer and shone a light on the (blue) elephant in the room.

Soft Summer and using blue

Challenge accepted.

Blue is an easy colour for Summers, perhaps too easy, to the extent that besides mauve and dusty pink, it’s the most loved colour in the Summer palettes.

But let’s follow Mandy and forget for a minute how lovely blue is as part of any Summer’s wardrobe, and look at some examples of Soft Summer outfits completely free of blue.

I have three style boards to show you.

Mauve and green

Mauve and green wardrobe for Soft Summer
True Color International SSu palette
True Color International SSu palette – click on the image to visit the TCI site

I started with the fun pants in green and mauve. Such a delightful pattern, and it gives all kinds of opportunities to play with colours from the SSu palette. To support this, I picked a couple of dark burgundy pants. If you are of a minimalist mindset, you could easily have enough with one of these. Moving on to tops, two tops in antique rose, short and long sleeve, and a dusty sage green top. Combining these with a soft and comfy cardigan from the same mauve colour family, you can mix and match and layer these items in a myriad of ways, and to complete the look, adding a lavender bag and green shoes would not go amiss, along with a staple pair of neutral sandals.

Green and green

SSu outfits in green
True Color International SSu palette
TCI Soft Summer palette – click on the image to visit the TCI site

Moving to another segment of the SSu palette, let’s pick outfits from the calming greens, with the merest hint of lavender. Again, starting with a pair of pants in green and floral, we can build a wardrobe of lush greens that there are so many of in the SSu palette, and insert a little greyed lavender for interest.

Look how many green pants I found! I paired the pants with a cream and green blouse and many green tops and added a light lavender top picking up the hyacinth flowers of the pants. I think it supports the green without reading as overly blue in this context.

Soft Summer neutrals

Let’s not forget neutrals. When you know your neutrals, you can build an entire wardrobe out of them, and then bring in colours according to seasons and trends without replacing the staple items of the wardrome.

And the secret recipe for looking polished and “expensive” is extensive use of neutrals. And since all three Summers excel at using tone-on-tone and monochrome outfits, let’s explore how that would look for a SSu using (almost) only neutrals.

SSu outfits in neutrals
True Color International SSu palette
TCI Soft Summer palette – click on the image to visit the TCI site

Such a glorious range of neutrals, from pale straw to pinkish beige and greige to deep taupe.

And since I’m obsessed with floral patterned pants, I couldn’t resist sneaking one in there. Granted, it has pinks and greens, but the overall impression is one of delicate cream of caramel light beige. Add three more pants in beige and taupe, and you have the backbone of a very elegant capsule wardrobe using mainly neutrals. The tops are kept in neutrals, combining pale straw and dark taupe for the striped top, and the very delicate yellowish white for the blouse, a tank top in solid beige and a sark long sleeved deep pinkish brown top. All these can be combined all around and makes for a super capsule wardrobe for traveling. Pair the outfits with sandals or shoes and scarves and necklaces, add a smart jacket and you’re good to go anywhere. Put a bathing suit in your suitcase with these items, and you can go on a cruise for a week and be well dressed enough for anything from dinner with the captain to promenading on the top deck.

Would you like more?

And should you wish to go deeper in exploring neutrals, the mini-course Neutrals for the Summer Seasons will open for enrollment soon, over on my website

Jorunn Hernes is located in Norway, where she offers in-person 12-Season Colour Analysis. Jorunn blogs in English and Norwegian about colour and style, with particular focus on minimalism and practicality. Please click the link buttons below for more information.
Jorunn Hernes

18 thoughts on “Soft Summer Inspiration WITHOUT USING BLUE

  1. Genie Reisdorf says:

    I love what you are doing here, Jorunn. I am a soft summer. This gives me many ideas.

    The hardest thing for me is determining if a color is greyed. Especially with the darker colors. Do you have any suggestions? I think this is the most difficult thing for me.

    • Jorunn Hernes says:

      Hello Genie and thanks for responding! I’m so glad the blog post resonated with you. So on you your very interesting question about how to determine if a colour is greyed.
      If comparing/harmonising with your fan, if the fan seems dusty and dull when put on top of the colour in question, then the item is probably less greyed than ideal for Soft Summer.
      A method is one that I apply often, and that is the “compare and contrast” method. Determining if a colour is greyed is especially hard with the very dark and very light versions of colour, and especially perhaps if we’re only looking at that item without anything to compare it with. I find a good trick is to find something else to put beside the colour you’re wondering about, something of roughly the same value. So when trying to figure out the level of grey in of a particular dark item, try to find something else of a roughly similar darkness and look at them side by side. Then you’ll quickly be able to see which of the items is more grey than the other.
      What do you think of these approaches?

    • Jorunn Hernes says:

      Hello Jan, thank you for your kind words. I’m so glad the blog article resonated with you! And it is true that some of my best articles are written as a result from a direct prompt from my audience, so I deeply appreciate all manner of comments and questions that can reveal real struggles that I can address in my writings. So keep them coming!

  2. Keturah says:

    This was enlightening! What a great challenge. I’m a Dark Autumn. I actually don’t own or wear much brown. Sometimes brown feels luxurious, often it feels low energy. I’m still searching and figuring out my best DA neutrals. Your comment about neutrals making things look expensive has pushed me to keep working on it 🙂

    • Jorunn Hernes says:

      Hello Keturah, I’m so glad you liked it! In fact, the superpower of all three Autumns is the ability to use colours as neutrals…
      I just posted a new blog article on Nordic Simplicity with a similar topic, inspiration for DA without using brown. You might enjoy that one!

  3. Mandy says:

    YAY! Thank you so much for taking on my challenge. Those first two boards give me all the heart eyes! The last one is nice, I’m just not a neutrals girl, haha. Can’t wait to listen to the upcoming podcast episode!

    • Jorunn Hernes says:

      Oh, hi Mandy!!!!! How lovely to hear from you, and yes, it was such a fun challenge you gave me. I’m glad you liked it, and there is really no need to stick to neutrals when you have so many other lovely colours to choose from to use as basic colours!

  4. Eileen says:

    Please consider a true summer without blue article. We use blue a lot.I noticed Christine’s podcast on summer, had a hard time finding summers wearing their own colors! Please elaborate on this. Thanks!

    • Jorunn Hernes says:

      I’l take you up on that, Eileen!!! What a wonderful suggestion. I’ll do Inspiration for True Summer without using blue next. Look for it on Nordic Simplicity! And be sure to watch Chrysalis Colour for the next installment of “The misunderstood Season” series that Terry is writing!

  5. Robin says:

    I adore Christine and I’m enjoying your posts. She draped me as a soft summer years ago.. Here’s the rub. The colors do flatter however the colors in this recent post to me are ugly and actually give me a sick physical reaction. I feel the same way about mauve. Color preference is like taste buds. You love what you love. It’s hard to find happiness and joy in S Summer colors and limits me. I would jump off a cliff for Christine and don’t doubt that they are my colors, however, I wish I could like them. Thanks for your posts. I’m still learning after all these years.

    • Jorunn Hernes says:

      Hello Robin! I feel bad for you that you don’t like the SSu colours that I picked for this blog post, it sounds like you’re having a very strong reaction to them.
      But if you enjoy the blues in the palette, by all means use those! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
      All in all, feel free to wear what makes you H A P P Y! After all, it’s your choice!
      And thanks for reading our blog posts.

  6. Nancy says:

    When you do the blog on True Summer without using Blue, can you try to stick to what’s actually available in the stores rather than just theoretical? As a True Summer, I can usually find blues, grays, blue-greens/green-blues and burgundy in stores. Pinks are usually too warm and/or too bright. Blue based purples which aren’t too dark are rare.

    Since all of our colors have a blue base, I’d rather that we be rewarded for using a color which is a cornerstone of our Season rather than be teased into trying to avoid it. I think that contributes to the difficulty of finding examples of Summers wearing their true colors.

    • Jorunn Hernes says:

      Hello Nancy, thank you for this interesting comment, I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts on this.
      The collages I create as illustrations are made in URSTYLE, which are clothes that are actually available in stores, so some shops, somewhere, will have had these at some point in time.
      But you make a fair point in that blog posts like mine will always be rather theoretical and more useful as inspiration rather than actual shopping guides.
      The object of this series of blog posts is to open up the vast possibilities that are available for each Season.
      I do enjoy inspiring you to expand your options, just in case you want to change things up! And in this case, it sounds like this made you even more aware of how much you love the blues in your palette, and that is wonderful.

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