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True Autumn: The Ultimate Guide

True Autumn: The Ultimate Guide

True Autumn/Warm Autumn: warm, muted, and slightly dark

You are a golden goddess! The True Autumn is filled with warm undertones and a muted but rich palette.

True Autumn, also known as warm autumn, is considered the original autumn category and is associated with the autumnal fall colors we know and love.

It sits between the Dark Autumn (or deep autumn) and Soft Autumn (muted autumn) on the seasonal flow chart. And if we are looking at the entire flow chart it is opposite True Spring. Whereas true spring is bright and fresh colors, the true autumn is warm, rich, and muted. 

Are you a True Autumn? 

autumn section of seasonal color analysis- deep autumn, true autumn, and soft autumn

The first thing you will notice about your appearance is your golden undertones. Not sure you have them? Go back to my seasonal guide here to help determine this.

Next, you want to look for muted tones. And if this is confusing you, we will clarify this more in-depth soon.

Notice how there is only mild contrast between the True Autumn’s features.  Let’s examine it below.  

The Contrast of a True Autumn

true autumn contrast, grayscale color palette to show how close the tones are for the true autumn hair, skin, eye color, and lips.

The contrast of a True Autumn is mild. 

It’s the opposite of true spring which has high contrast levels, due to its brightness and freshness associated with that season. 

true autumn (warm/muted) versus true spring (warm/bright)

People who are true autumns will have muted features and coloring but not so much that they appear dull or drab-looking. What makes a true autumn “true” is the golden, warm undertones, with a lack of contrast between their hair, skin, and eyes.

If you look at the grayscale photo color palette, the True Autumn example has hair, skin, eye color, and lips that are all very close in shade (grayscale). This creates a visual to see the low-contrast, muted quality.

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Having trouble understanding contrast? Soft-muted versus clear-bright? 

Here’s a video to explain it more simply:

soft muted faces versus clear bright face

Color Qualities of a True Autumn

A true autumn has the following color qualities:

true autumn color qualities- hue is warm, value leans slightly dark, and chroma is slightly soft/muted

Hue: Hue refers to the underlying color characteristic of a specific color. True autumns will have warm hues that have yellow undertones instead of blue undertones.

Value: Value refers to the ratio of lightness or darkness within a color. It aims to distinguish color in terms of how close it is to white or black. The true autumn value has a wide range consisting of lighter creams and beiges to darker rich browns. However, most of the true autumn palettes fall slightly towards the darker side of the spectrum.

Chroma: Chroma defines the intensity of the color- whether it is soft/muted or clear/bright. The true autumn leans slightly towards the soft/muted side. While the colors have pigment, they are not highly saturated or bright. Please watch the above video for clarity if this part is confusing you!

True Autumn Attributes 

True Autumn Eye Colors

true autumn eye colors: true golden brown, amber shades, light brown, olive green, dark hazel, medium-light brown

The most common eye shades for the True Autumn are: 

  • true golden brown 
  • light brown / amber shades
  • olive green
  • dark hazel 
  • medium brown

All of these are rich, warm shades that work well with the golden undertones. Remember that there can be some variation and these are just guidelines. So if you have one characteristic that doesn’t fit, don’t weigh it too heavily. 

True Autumn Hair Colors

true autumn hair colors: golden blonde, caramel, golden auburn- medium auburn, medium-dark golden brown, and ginger-coopper colors

Hair colors for the True Autumn always have golden undertones and fall anywhere between the dark golden blonde (rarer), to auburn, to a medium-dark golden brown. 

The most common hair colors for True Autumns are:

  • caramel colored
  • can include dark golden blonde (but this one is a bit less common) 
  • medium auburn 
  • medium to dark brown with golden undertones
  • ginger to copper colors

Your hair will most likely highlight naturally and have a caramelly, warm tone to it. 

True Autumn Skin Colors 

true autumn skin color shades: fair with yellow undertones, light ivory, medium, tan, light brown wit golden undertones, medium brown with golden undertones

True Autumn skin has golden undertones and can be anywhere from fair to medium to dark in color. The true autumn is most associated with those warm golden undertones, which means pink tones, rosy tones, and even olive shades are not skin shades within this season. It’s important to remember that even if your undertone appears warm it doesn’t mean you are true autumn. 

Your skin tone will most likely tan easily, or freckle in the sun. And your rich and warm color palette (which we will get into below), will really draw out the warm glow of your skin. 

The most common skin shades for True Autumns are: 

  • fair with slight yellow undertones
  • light or ivory with yellow undertones
  • medium
  • tan
  • light to medium brown with golden undertones 

True Autumn Celebrities with Palettes

Here are some celebrities that have been typed as True or Warm Autumns. And some coordinating shades and palettes. 

  • Jennifer Lopez
  • Julianne Moore
  • Christina Milian
  • Isla Fisher
  • Ana de Armas
  • Jane Seymour 
  • Beyonce (there is some debate on this)
  • Debra Messing
  • Mariska Hargitay
  • Eva Mendes
jennifer lopez true autumn
julianne moore true autumn
christina millian true autumn color palette
isla fisher true autumn color palette
ana de armas true autumn color palette
jane seymore true autumn color palette
beyonce true autumn color palette
debra messing true autumn color palette
mariska hargitay true autumn color palette

Best Colors for a True Autumn 

The true autumn is a warm, rich season. So colors will have golden undertones and can be true to the color or muted/dusty in appearance. They are not the “clear” shade of the color. Instead, imagine taking a bright color and dialing it down in brightness a few notches. 

The most common true autumn shades include: 

  • warm, rich, and muted reds
  • autumnal oranges and yellows (not neon or bright lemon shades) 
  • dusty rose / rosewood tones 
  • red-brown & burgundy colors that have a muted richness to them 
  • russet plum brown shade with golden undertones 
  • deep dusty green color with olive undertones *remember true autumns can wear dark and light muted versions of green 
  • muted forest greens
  • amber and golden shades
  • muted harbor blues
  • dusty lilacs and muted lavender

These are just guidelines to get you started. You don’t want to restrict yourself too much if the colors below aren’t appealing but instead allow it to be a guide and play around with different shades in each category until you find what works best. 

Here is a True Autumn Color Palette for Reference:

true autumn color palette best and worst colors

Colors to Avoid as a True Autumn 

True Autumns have a lot of colors to choose from, but the worst colors for them are neons, bright colors, and clear colors. 

Blue undertone colors, pastel tones, and anything with an “icy” feel to it should be avoided as this will wash out your beautiful golden undertones. 

Extremely bright and neon shades will be overpowering. Because you have low contrast between your hair, eyes, and skin, anything that has a bright and stark contrast to your physical attributes, will be jarring and overwhelm your natural glow. 

true autumn worst colors - pastels, magenta, icy colors, cool gray, black

True Autumn Makeup Palette 

The true autumn is a warm and muted season. You want to keep everything subtle, and complimentary to your glowy look. You want to highlight your features instead of hiding them behind makeup which tends to look heavy on the true autumn. 

Your true autumn makeup palette will most likely be made up of natural matte tones with a hint of shimmer. You can play around and use some warmer tones or more muted earth colors that have a bit of color to them but it’s best not to go overboard as you want your true beauty to shine through instead! 

Foundations for the True Autumn

true autumn foundation shades

It is incredibly important to match the right hue and tone of your foundation to your skin. Here’s a resource to help you do this if you’re struggling.

Eyeshadows for True Autumns 

true autumn eye shadow colors

Neutral Eyeshadow Colors:

  • beiges
  • khakis 
  • browns
  • gold (not overly shimmery or chunky)
  • olive

You can also experiment with: 

  • warm browns with true autumnal oranges 
  • warm browns, burnt coppers, rusty reds 
  • burgundies with warm undertones
  • deep plum with warmer undertones
  • apricot tones, honey tones
  • true chocolate brown & muted true orange tones (in the same palette) for a sultry neutral smoky eye look. 
  • rust shades for eyeshadow will be gorgeous on you as they bring out the golden undertones in your skin and hair color. 
  • muted browns with a hint of warmth to them will also work well especially if some shimmer is added into the mix which brings out those rich undertones again. 

Mascara and Eyeliners for True Autumn

It is important to recognize that true black and charcoal shades are going to overpower your coloring as a True Autumn.

Mascaras in the deep brown, coffee-shades, and ginger browns or auburn shades work best. You could also try a deep olive if you want something a little closer to black without the contrast. 

true autumn mascara and eyeliner colors

The best eyeliners for the true autumn are the dark coffee colors or dark forest greens. You could also experiment with dark burgundy or dark cabernet. If you want a colorful eyeliner try referring to the shades in the general True Autumn palette and matching from there. There will be trial and error needed with this, though.

Lip colors for True Autumns 

true autumn lipstick shades

Autumn is known for having warm undertones, so oranges, warm pinks, reds, and even some berry tones will look great on you. But finding your exact shades may take some experimenting because there are different skin tone, hair, and eye combinations possible for the true autumn. 

Matte and shimmer lipsticks typically work best for your season, as they don’t overpower your look like a high gloss could. 

  • warm pinks
  • corals
  • reds
  • brown shades
  • henna colored shades
  • rust colors
  • merlot
  • berry colors

Blushes and Bronzers for the True Autumn 

true autumn blushes and bronzers

The True Autumn pairs perfectly with bronzer and blush, it embraces all those golden, natural hues. 

The true autumn can also pull off a warmer blush, and opt for a rosy cheek look. Warm pink or coral tones may work well for you if applied to the apples of your cheeks to give that natural sun-kissed glow. 

You can also try an orangier tone blush or even a red-hued blush (if you’re darker-skinned). Just use a light hand when applying. 

If you want a more dramatic look try adding some deeper bronzers into the mix as long as they are blended and not too shimmery. A great matte bronzer can add a bit of contour to your cheeks and subtly define your face shape. Just don’t be too heavy with this as we don’t want to disrupt the low contrast of your season. 

NOTE: Because you already have a nice, natural glow to your skin highlighters can disrupt this and end up giving you an aged look. Overly shiny will be too much with your palette. Opt for a smooth, and clean look to your overall makeup look. 

True Autumn Makeup Look Examples 

Natural

true autumn natural makeup example- eva mendes

Dramatic

jlo true autumn dramatic makeup example
beyonce true autumn dramatic makeup example

Daytime Formal

ana de armas true autumn daytime formal makeup example

Building a Wardrobe: True Autumn 

For your wardrobe, you will want to pull colors from your True Autumn Color Palette. But let’s go over some color combinations, and color pairing techniques that will work best with your unique coloring. 

Building a wardrobe around your true autumn palette usually means that you are pairing the colors together in different ways to create new outfits. Just remember, when wearing true autumn colors it’s best to make sure there is some, but not too much, contrast between the pieces.

True Autumns can wear tonal outfits, analogous colors (next to one another on the color wheel), and pairings that have some contrast (like a dark neutral with a muted color). Want to learn more about color blocking and using color-blocking styling techniques, I have a post on it here.

You want to avoid those complementary colors like blue/orange, yellow/purple, and green/red generally as that contrast level will wash out your glowy skin. But pairings that have “medium-level” contrast work. These usually include some tone or shade of neutral. 

true autumn color pairings- tonal eamples, analogous examples, and balance contrast

Don’t be afraid of adding a pop color into your outfit (as long as it is the right tint or shade for the warm autumn). It will be subtle enough to not overwhelm your season, but also provide a bit of oomph and depth to your outfit. 

Business Casual or Office True Autumn Color Palettes 

true autumn business casual color palette

Building a wardrobe will usually include some office wear, which may not be quite as exciting, but is definitely necessary. Remember this advice is general, and you need to tweak it to your office or business’s expectations. Some offices may be more casual and will embrace louder colors and shades. And some offices may be extremely conservative. 

If you want to learn more about building a chic and functional business casual wardrobe, I have a guide for you here.

Ultimately you will want to tone down the color in your corporate wardrobe and make sure you have some base neutrals in each look. 

Because True Autumns lack the blacks, navy, and true charcoals that are so common in office clothing, we have to get a bit more creative. 

Refer to the business casual color palette (above) for some ideas on where to start.

Prints and Patterns for the True Autumn

The most attractive designs are those that exclusively use autumn hues, such as the first one shown below. True autumn colors, such as in the first example, are ideal. If a pattern contains some but not enough color from an unbalanced palette – like in the second scenario – you may wear it. The last image has way too much of an unbalanced color (a cool summer green, which is bright and overwhelming), so avoid it.

three prints with varying degrees of true autumn colors

Keep in mind, if the “wrong color” is:

  • a neutral
  • a very small design feature 
  • from the same over-arching season 
  • or has a watercolor, blended effect

It will be less likely to affect your entire outfit. 

When choosing prints or patterns you need to keep in mind the entire contrast of the print. Because True Autumns don’t have a lot of contrast in their features, they tend to look best in low-contrast prints as well. 

print contrast examples, high contrast, medium contrast, low contrast

So despite the fact that all three prints below are composed with some true autumn colors, the left one is best because it has the least contrast. Look at it compared to our True Autumn Face example, the left option suits her best. Not only is it composed of only true autumn colors but it also has the least contrast, a perfect print for the true autumn.

true autumn prints next to true autumn portrait example to show which print is best

Here are some other print ideas that work for the True Autumn :

  • Botantical, leaves, and autumnal influenced prints
  • Retro prints (espeically for the 70’s that lean right into your core color palette)
  • Florals 
  • Larger scale prints
  • Prints that don’t have small scale details
  • Giraffe print 
  • Soft shapes ( not too many geometrical lines)
prints for the true autumn wardrobe

Jewelry and Metals for the True Autumn

true autumn stones and metals

The True Autumn thrives with copper, dark brass, and bronze shades of metal. But they can also wear gold and brass. 

Hammered, natural, oxidized metals are also good options, as they have less shine. Overly shiny metals can create too much contrast, so be sure to try these on in person and with good lighting. 

For stones, you can try anything that has an earthy or natural feel to it. For example:

  • amber 
  • agate
  • topaz
  • quartz
  • raw stones
  • tiger eye
  • turqouise (although be careful how pigmented it is, go for slightly muted ideally)

True Autumn Outfit Ideas 

While the best silhouettes you choose will be based on your body type, it doesn’t hurt to get inspired by some general outfits that look fantastic on the True Autumn. 

true autumn outfit with orange knit dress, cream coat, cream boots, and brown structural bag with gold hoops
true autumn outfit with medium blue jeans with cream sweater, jackie gucci bag, mules, stone ring and teddy coat in brown
cream trousers with nude bodysuit and moss green quilted jacket, brown leather bag and green paris texas boots and gold hoops, true autumn outfit
cream sweater dress with dark green puff jacket, gray tights, teddy bag, gold studs and white boots with chunky heel, true autumn outfit
true autumn business casual outfit with tan-brown trousers, turquoise knit turtleneck, cream heel mules, and tan leather tote
true autumn casual outfit, fuzzy teddy coat with turtleneck, 70's style blue jeans wide leg, with leather clog and orange Chloe tote

Shop the True Autumn Outfit Pieces

Regularly updated (so if you don’t see the exact item from the outfits, a similar option should be there)

The true autumn is a gorgeous, muted palette, that will bring out your inner glow. 

Learning your palette won’t prevent you from wearing a certain color family, but instead will help you find the right tint and shade that compliments your skin tone. Don’t let your outfits or makeup wear you! 

And the true autumn embraces all those beautiful fall colors at their best! 

Have any questions, feel I left something out? Feel free to comment below and we can discuss!

Your true autumn exploration is just beginning! Be sure to pin the below image so you can reference 😉

true autumn: the ultimate guide