Dark Autumn

A Comprehensive Guide

Dark Autumn is the darkest season of the Autumn family. Like the other two Autumns, its colouring is warm and muted, but the main characteristic of its palette is the depth of the colours.

Dark Autumn is one of the three Autumn seasons and sits between True Autumn and Dark Winter on the seasonal flow chart.

Unlike Dark Winter, this sub-season is warm. However, both sub-seasons share some colours as they are sister palettes. They are both a blend of Winter and Autumn, with Dark Winter leaning more towards the Winter palette and Dark Autumn leaning more towards the Autumn palette.

Wardrobe Building Essentials
Everything you need to build a Dark Autumn wardrobe.


Please note: Do not worry too much if one characteristic of your appearance deviates from the below descriptions. You may still fall into this colour season if your overall appearance matches the profile.

The following images are examples of Dark Autumn. You may look different but still be a Dark Autumn.

You are a Dark Autumn if the dominant characteristic of your overall appearance is dark, and the secondary characteristic is warm – meaning warm colours suit you better than cooler ones.

When you look in the mirror the first thing you notice about your colouring is that your hair and eyes have a dark colouring. Quite often, the skin is also on the darker side (in relation to your ethnicity), but there is always a high contrast between hair and eyes against the skin.

In addition, your features have mainly warm undertones – either red or brown.

The Features

I. Eyes

The most common colours of Dark Autumn eyes are dark hazel, dark green, warm dark brown, and warm black. Though very rare, eyes of this sub-season can also be muted dark blue. You may notice swirling and erratic borders around the pupil as well as freckles on the iris which are characteristic for Autumn eyes.

II. Skin

The skin is either neutral or neutral-warm – meaning both gold and silver look good against it, but gold looks better. It ranges from from light to deep (II to VI on the Fitzpatrick scale). Skin undertones can be either golden or red. Dark Autumn skin can be quite pale in winter and may also have freckles.

III. Hair

Dark Autumn hair is typically medium to dark golden brown, deep chestnut, deep auburn, or black-brown but with golden or yellow undertones. Regardless of the colour, Dark Autumn hair has a rich, warm, and deep glow to it and may develop golden or red highlights when in the sun.

IV. Contrast

Dark Autumn is a sub-season of high contrast between hair, eyes, and skin. There is even a high contrast between the iris and the whites of the eye. In the images below, you can see the big difference in shades between the features. While the hair and eyes are very dark, the skin is very light in comparison.

Dark Autumn vs Dark Winter

Dark Autumns are often mistaken for Winters and may have either a very dark or a high contrast look compared to other Autumns.

Both Dark Autumn and Dark Winter have dark as their dominant characteristic. The distinguishing feature between them is their secondary characteristic – Dark Autumn is warm, and Dark Winter is cool.

Dark Autumn has a warm and rich colouring with red-black and brown pigments.

Dark Winter, on the other hand, is cool and brilliant with cooler undertones and an even higher contrast between skin, hair, and eyes. The natural colouring contains dark grey, blue-black, and black pigments.

The Colour Palette

Dark Autumn is the season reminiscent of late autumn evenings, when the last rays of the sun fall on the land, the shadows become long, but some warmth of the passing day still remains.

In terms of colours, the following images are representative of the dark, rich colours that are part of the Dark Autumn colour palette:

The Palette

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The Dark Autumn colour palette is warm and dark. Its colours are the most pigmented and darkest of the Autumn family. Dark Autumn sits at the darkest and least warm end of the Autumn spectrum but still retains some warmth without drifting into the cool Winter palette.

Colour Dimensions

On the three dimensions of colour, Dark Autumn has the following properties:


The colours lean towards the warm end of the scale but are not extremely warm. This means they contain more yellow than blue undertones. So even if you choose blue (which is the coolest colour of all), you will find only warmer shades, like turquoise, mint, or pastel blue that have a tint of yellow.


In keeping with Dark Autumn’s dominant characteristic, the colours are dark and deep. Even the light colours on the palette are the darkest light colours of all the twelve seasons.


The colours are medium in chroma; meaning they are neither extremely soft and muted, nor extremely bright and vibrant.

Sister Palettes

Dark Autumn sits between True Autumn and Dark Winter on the seasonal flow chart. It falls at the Winter end of the Autumn palette, which is why the colours more saturated, cooler, and darker than those of True Autumn.

Compared to Dark Winter, the colours are similarly dark, but more muted, and warmer. Winter’s effect on Dark Autumn is to cool down the colours by some degree. It also turns up the brightness and makes the colours more vivid, so that Dark Autumns can get away with higher contrast combinations than either Soft or True Autumns.

Compared to the third Autumn sub-season Soft Autumn, the colours share the same neutral-warm hue but are darker and more saturated.

As sister palettes, Dark Winter and True Autumn both share Dark Autumn’s characteristics of dark and warm, respectively. This means you can borrow some of their palettes’ colours as they are close enough to the Dark Autumn colour palette. But stick with the darker colours of the Dark Winter palette. Its icy light tones are probably too cool for you. From the True Autumn palette, you can also borrow the pumpkin and spicy colours, but they may be overpowering unless used as accent colours only.



Even though technically you can combine any of the colours on your colour palette with each other, certain combinations will look much better than others:

The warm, contrasting darkness of the Dark Autumn colour palette is best reflected when you wear your colours in high-contrast combinations. This level of contrast will mirror the high value contrast that already exists in your natural appearance and intensify it. This means that the colours you combine should contrast each other in hue or value.

The best way to achieve high contrast is by pairing light with dark colours. Or you can create dark outfits with a lighter, brighter accent colour. If you have dark skin, you can create contrast by wearing outfits in lighter colours and accenting them with darker ones.

To increase the contrast of your outfit, choose hues that sit opposite each other on the colour wheel – such as dark yellow and blue-green.

Less flattering colour combinations for you are those that have a very low contrast – such as monochromatic looks. If you want to go down that road, make sure to combine the very lightest with the very darkest shade of your chosen hue; otherwise, your naturally contrasting appearance will look dull behind your gentle outfit.

Even though black is a dark colour, the cool, icy true black of Winter will not flatter you. Instead, you have a warmer black with a subtle greenish undertone in your colour palette as well as dark chocolate browns. These will complement your warmer colouring.

The same applies to white. A true white is too cool for Dark Autumn. Instead, you have different shades of beige that are warmer and much more flattering.

Colours to Avoid

Apart from white and black, avoid soft, pastel, and toned-down colours – such as dusty blues and pinks, that will make your naturally rich colouring look off and washed out. Colours that are too cool will also clash with your natural warmth.

Wardrobe Building Essentials
Everything you need to build a Dark Autumn wardrobe.

Patterns & Prints

If you are thinking of incorporating some patterns and prints into your wardrobe, consider the following:

The best patterns are those that only contain Dark Autumn colours – like in the first example below.

If a pattern contains some, but not much colour from a disharmonious palette – like in the second example, you can also wear it.

The last example contains too much of a disharmonious colour (a Light Summer mint green, which is light and cool), so it’s best left alone.

Since your natural colouring is high-contrast, opt for patterns that reflect this natural level of contrast rather than ones which are too timid.

In the example below, both patterns are in Dark Autumn colours and wearable. However, the second pattern displays a higher contrast between the elements and is therefore more flattering.

Great patterns for Dark Autumn are bold, highly stylised forms of natural autumn elements – such as oval shapes, leaves, and wood structures. Geometric shapes are less common in Autumn patterns – with the exception of retro patterns.

Natural floral patterns are not YOUR best choice. If you want to wear floral patterns, the flowers should be highly stylised – as in paisley and oriental patterns.

Elements should be big and loosely arranged.

Avoid stiff geometric patterns and small, dense patterns – like in the first example.


Since Dark Autumn has neutral-warm colouring, a large range of metals will look flattering on you. From bronze, brass, gold, and copper to pewter and silver, all will work on you. If you opt for the latter two make sure to select a warmer shade rather than the coolest.

Metals are generally better with less shine and more depth – like antiqued, oxidised and hammered metals.

Red stones in red hues are perfect for this sub-season. In most cases, Dark Autumn skin has a reddish tint, so this is a very harmonious choice.

Another great stone is emerald. Framed in yellow or pink gold, this green stone turns into a flattering ornament.

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