Dark Autumn

Luxurious and spicy, Dark Autumn is the deepest of all the seasons.

This is the intense palette of Moroccan spice markets, espresso martinis, wine poached pears, Mogul palaces, blazing sunsets and leopards slinking through shadows.



Dark Autumn is warm-neutral and extremely low value with some softness.

The blending of the season with Winter cools the palette a little, adds lots of weight and imparts a blackened quality.

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This season is what happens when you take earthy organic and add edge.

If Soft Autumn is the gentle earth, and True Autumn is the abundant earth, Dark Autumn is the volcanic earth.

Everything is shaded like there’s a thin layer of soot over the entire palette, imparting a heavy smoulder.

Black is present but plays more effectively as a lingering smudginess rather than a central character.

Bitter chocolate, liquorice, black pepper and tarnished pewter are all better options.

The season’s extremely low chroma and predominant warmth means pure white is about as disharmonious as it gets.

Toasted sesame, hessian and dirty ivory are much better substitutes.

Highlights include red onion, turmeric, military green, golden olivetone, aubergine, cognac, paprika, Bath stone and deep peacock.

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The value level will make or break a piece of jewellery for a Dark Autumn.

This season is so dark and so heavy that anything shiny or reflective will look completely disconnected.

All finishes really need to be very matte, opaque or textured to look their best.

Yellow gold is lovely. Even better if it’s the weathered, antique kind.

Be careful with rose gold. Generally, it’s just too pink and light but if you can find a dark or blackened version, all power to you!

This season is where oxidised copper and brass come into their own.

Nobody can do bronze like Dark Autumn.

Don’t go near cooler metals unless they are tarnished to kingdom come.

Matte silver works and pewter is great but both need warming up.

Some metals, like platinum, don’t colour much with age so are best avoided completely as they’ll never reach the low value level.

Marcasite is one of Dark Autumn’s best option for cool metallics. Created from pyrite and silver, the high iron content and blackened texture lowers the value of this metal to subterranean levels.

Keep gemstones deep and soulful with solid colour and raw, rounded or rough-cut finishes. Avoid sharply faceted cuts.

Hematite, dark turquoise and garnets connect beautifully with the palette.

Leather and wooden jewellery are amazing.

The most flattering Dark Autumn metals are uncommon in commercial prestige jewellery. However on you they look regal and fascinating so don’t get distracted by bright, shiny things.

Own your unique beauty and look a bit harder if you want something special. Many jewellers do produce high-quality pieces in Dark Autumn-friendly metals. The result will be well worth the effort.



Dark Autumn faces need depth to look their best so even if you prefer finer frames, keep the colour dark.

That Autumn favourite, tortoiseshell, is fail safe and this season’s version goes into the black. If it’s very golden and tawny, leave for the True Autumns of the world.

Plain black eyewear will look flat and boring without some heat. Look for versions with warm detailing or accents.

Keep in mind that burgundy, cognac, aubergine, dark chocolate and teal are more flattering.

Look for sunglasses with lenses in gunmetal, dark olive, bronze and black.

Avoid mirrored or reflective eyewear; matte is infinitely better.


Wardrobe basics

Dark dye is best for blue denim. A solid finish is fine and so is a little fade, but leave the super worn looks for softer or lighter seasons.

Beware of brown footwear - many classic browns don’t have the depth required to ground a Dark Autumn. Cognac or bitter chocolate are unbeatable.

Black is fine and often a better option than many lighter browns.

Buffed, glossy finishes like the surface of a chestnut or polished saddle are great but avoid patent leather.

Dark Autumns were born to wear classic leopard print.

Although black is in the palette, be warned.

It might be easy, especially in corporate wear, but it won’t be great unless you’re prepared to balance it with plenty of warmth.

Textured or matte versions are far better than very solid, obsidian blacks. Fabrics like tweed or wool can help soften the effect if necessary.

Avoid teaming a black outfit with cooler toned jewellery.

Opt for other neutrals wherever you can - they have more dimension on a Dark Autumn - and use black sparingly to ground an outfit.

Military green, deep chilli, burgundy and molasses make better colours for suiting.

The palette’s greys present as rhinoceros hide, crocodile and bronzy iron. They’re amazing but can be tricky to find.

Even in the right colours, shiny fabrics don’t always work because their reflectivity messes with the value level. This season is all about the shadow.



Luxe chocolate brown, auburn and black appear in Dark Autumn hair colours.

Dark green undertones are very common.

Attempting blonde is almost certain to fail. It will wash you out and is very ageing.

Occasionally some Dark Autumns have naturally lighter hair but in reality, it is more of a honey or caramel. On such a low value person it just seems light.

If you really want something that resembles blonde, try some of the darker honey tones as a colour among many, like an ombre or balayage and be very, very careful not to go too warm or light.

Going full-coverage fair will crush your richness and ruin your magnificent lowlights.

Greys are often very matte and brownish, like tarnished silver. Even with age, you’ll never lose your depth.

Keep reds deep and chestnutty.

Like any season, be discerning about the levels of your own pigmentation to ensure a convincing result.



Because of it’s extreme depth, this is the most three-dimensional of all the seasons.

As a result, Dark Autumn skin loves shadow so definitely try out contouring.

Make bronzer a staple.

Deep salmon or amaranth pink are your blush colours.

Don’t go near illuminators or highlighters. They add light and shimmer when you’re all about smoulder.

Black-brown mascara suits all Dark Autumns, even those with very deep natural pigmentation. Some blacks might be ok but many have a bluish tone better suited to Winters so take care.

Look for the darkest espresso eyeliner just before black. Deep olive is an amazing alternative.

Experiment with peacock teal, bronze and dark gold in eyeshadows. Lighter neutrals are grain coloured - brown rice, oatmeal and millet.

Smoky eyes are incredible. Load up the colour, your face can handle the weight.

Lip colours are very rich and best kept matte. The most flattering tones are spicy, browned and on the reddened side.

Find drama in oxblood, deep rust, Anjou pear and carnelian.

Beautiful everyday lip colours present in a range of toasted, cappuccino browns.

Skip lip glosses and anything really shiny, fresh or dewy - your unique look is dry and bronzed.

Sparkle or glitter is ok if it’s dulled, deeply metallic and preferably warm.

Dark Autumn is about the only season that looks finished and complete with a heavy, smoked eye and neutral lips.


Loving your look

Dark Autumn colours look like treasures just dug from the ground.

You are an ancient jewel-box glinting in a dim room, candlelight slowly revealing the murals in a Pharoah’s tomb, a Persian carpet.

The gypsy queen and the Amazon.

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