Unlike other seasons, autumn is the one where we truly remark on the colors. The shades are rich, vibrant, colorful, and brilliant. They’re hard to resist. It’s a visually stunning season.

In terms of personal coloring, the traditional rule of thought is that people fall into one of four different seasons. Each one has different color characteristics and in seasonal color analysis, the goal is to find which of the color characteristics most flatter our own personal coloring. While seasonal coloring has its merits, it’s understanding the color theory behind seasonal color analysis that will help someone navigate what these seasons mean exactly. I wrote a thorough post on this topic that will really help you understand seasonal color analysis better and put you in better control of choosing the best colors for yourself.


I bring up an understanding of color theory and seasonal color analysis because now that autumn is here, it can be hard to figure out how to wear the colors of autumn if they’re not your best shades. Everyone wants to embrace the rugged richness that comes with autumn, but if the colors of this season don’t work for your own coloring, it is easy to turn them away. Yet, the truth is, everyone can wear autumn colors if they choose the right ones for them. What makes autumn so beautiful is the wide spectrum of shades that make up the season. There is a shade for everyone and with the right guidance

If we’re speaking specifically about autumn colors in the color analysis sense, the shades of this season are warm, muted, and deep. If you read my post linked above, you will understand that the warmth of a color is the undertone of a color. A warm color has yellow undertones and a cool color has blue undertones. The muted quality of autumn colors is known as chroma. Chroma is a spectrum that indicates how clear soft or muddy a shade is. Autumn shades are known to be less clear, more muted, or have what is known as low chroma. Autumn colors are deep deeper shades, also known as low value. I bore you by repeating this in-depth, the post above shares everything more explicitly.


This is an image found in the post linked above. I am repeating it here because this is the most important distinction you need to understand in order to wear autumn shades even if they aren’t your best colors. What people don’t realize about seasonal colors is that every season shares a quality with every other season. Using autumn as an example, looking at the image above, you will see that what summer shares with autumn is that they are both low chroma (muted) palettes. With spring, autumn shares warm undertones, and with winter, autumn shares the deepness of color. And like autumn colors, all the other seasons share something in common with all the other seasons.

Because of these shared aspects between seasons, this is why people can jump around the seasons and borrow from different palettes. The trick is to use the quality that your season shares with the season you are trying to wear.


To give you some examples, I have created four autumnal looks for each season to illustrate how whatever season you consider yourself you can embrace the autumn palette.


autumn colors

Let’s start with what is traditionally known as autumn colors. As explained above, autumn colors are deep, rich, warm-based, and muted. All the colors in this look have warmer undertones that would likely make someone with cool undertones look sallow, but on a person with autumn coloring, these colors look rich and the lack of clarity or brightness in these shades work on someone with more muted coloring.

I styled this sienna dressy tee from Banana Republic Factory with a camel cardigan from Equipment. While the sweater is light, the richness of the other shades anchors it. The olive pants from Theory finish the outfit along with camel boots from Marc Fisher, a scarf from Poetry, and amber earrings from Kendra Scott.


autumn colors

From the image above about what the seasons share, summer and autumn share muted qualities. Summer shades are light, cool-based, and soft or muted. In this look, what I did was use the shared muted colors between summer and autumn. While muted, the eucalyptus-colored dress has cooler undertones with a lot of blue. It’s a perfect green for summers who want to embrace autumnal colors. The soft blue blazer from Boden is light cool-toned and muted. Despite being light, there is a richness to the blue that captures the blue shades of autumn. Lastly, I chose a beautiful muted brown that isn’t too yellow for the pumps and teal light earrings from Alexis Bittar.


autumn colors

The shades of winter are deep, clear, vibrant, and cool-based. What winter and autumn share is a depth of color. In order to capture an autumn palette in a season that is historically cool-based and very clear as compared to the autumn season that is warm-based and more muted, I went with the spectrum of autumn shades that are more vibrant and rich. Instead of olive, I chose a deep hunter in the pants from Vince, and rich teal in the Margaux loafers. Hunter is a cooler green and teal is considered a universal color because it is a very warm blue shade. I styled the look with a deep magenta blouse from Eileen Fisher that works stunningly well against Hunter. To add more depth, I added this charcoal sweater from Brochu Walker and brought green further into the look with this necklace from Chan Luu. By using cooler, deep greens like hunter, the outfit captures an autumn feeling by still being true to the winter palette.


autumn colors

What the spring palette and autumn palette share is a warm base. Unlike autumn, however, spring colors are much more vibrant, clear, and energized. In this look, I used the warm shades that autumn and spring share and chose colors that aren’t as deep and rich. I styled this bright orange sweater from J.Crew with faux leather camel pants, also from J.Crew. Under the sweater, I added this crisp button-up shirt from Frank & Eileen and finished the look with olive booties from Margaux, a belt from Longchamp, and stud earrings from Argento Vivo.


Given how each season shares something with another, you don’t have to slot yourself so narrowly into one color palette. You can embrace the rich, varied colors of the autumn season no matter what coloring you have.