Rainbow Your World | Autumn Color Palette

To celebrate the end of Autumn, let’s talk about the three different flavors of the Autumn color palette: Warm Autumn, Deep Autumn and Soft Autumn.

A few months ago, I wrote a post about the 6 main characteristics of the 12 Season Color Analysis System, and based on the amount of traffic and response I have seen to that post, I wanted to elaborate a little more on each season.

Keep reading to find out if you are an Autumn, nail down your dominant coloring characteristic, and find out what to wear to look your very best.

Autumn Color Palette

Autumn Color Palette

Autumn is the time when the days get shorter, the light gets low, and nature is set ablaze. Long, deep shadows fall across richly textured fallen leaves while warm, rich colors light the trees above.

That is the essence of the Autumn color palette.

Are you an Autumn? Let’s make sure.

  • Your coloring is mostly to all deep and warm, but it may be slightly lighter, as long as your overall level of contrast is low.
  • Your skin and hair are noticeably warm with golden undertones.
  • Autumn eyes are usually a warm and deep shade of brown or hazel, but may be a deep blue or green, even a slightly lighter blue or green if they contain some gold.

What kind of Autumn are you?

Autumns have warm, deep and soft coloring generally, but the season further breaks down those characteristics into three types of Autumns: Warm Autumn, Soft Autumn and Deep Autumn. Let’s learn a little more about each of them.

Warm Autumn

Warm Autumn

Warm Autumn Color Palette

Warm Autumn, sometimes known as “True Autumn,” is warm above all else. If you show any signs of cool in your coloring, you are not a Warm Autumn. Warm Autumn borders Warm Spring on the color spectrum, so both your coloring and the colors you wear will be a little brighter and more saturated than the rest of the Autumn Palette.

You may flow between Warm Spring and Warm Autumn, but the main difference is in the levels of contrast. Warm Spring has more lights and brights and saturated colors, while Warm Autumn is less extreme and stays closer to a medium depth of color.

  • {Eyes} Warm Autumns nearly always have eyes in the medium range, neither light nor deep, but more saturated in color than the rest of the season. Eyes can be brown, hazel, olive green, or other warm medium-range colors with a fair amount of gold in them.
  • {Hair} Hair has very obvious warm tones – you will notice highlights of gold, copper, caramel, or even red. Warm Autumns have rich medium to deep golden brown or warm, saturated red hair. If your hair is blonde, strawberry blonde, lighter reds, overly dark brown or black, you are not a Warm Autumn.
  • {Skin} Your skin is warm overall, and has visible golden undertones. It may light to medium golden bronze, and you may have freckles. If you are an Autumn that has a noticeable glow to your skin, you are likely be a Warm Autumn.

Deep Autumn

Deep Autumn

Deep Autumn Color Palette

Deep Autumn loses many of the the lighter, brighter shades of Autumn, and heads into deeper, cooler territory. If you show any signs of light and delicate in your coloring, you are not a Deep Autumn. Because Deep Autumn borders Deep Winter, the colors get richer, bolder and more saturated than Autumn as a whole.

You may flow between Deep Winter and Deep Autumn, but the main difference is in color temperature. Deep Winter is cooler and has more contrast than Deep Autumn, but both can wear deep, rich, saturated colors.

  • {Eyes} Deep Autumn eyes are almost always dark brown, but can also sometimes be dark green, hazel or very dark blue.
  • {Hair} Hair is rich, slightly warm medium-dark brown to brown-black.
  • {Skin} Most women of color fall into the Deep Autumn season, but skin tone can be a range of other warm shades. Some Deep Autumns may have slightly lighter skin tones, even medium ivory due the influence of Deep Winter’s naturally higher level of contrast, although you will still appear overall softer and warmer than Winters.

Soft Autumn

Soft Autumn

Soft Autumn Color Palette

Soft Autumn is moderately cooler, more muted and lighter than the rest of the Autumn Palette because it borders on Soft Summer. If you show any signs of brightness or saturation in your coloring, you are not a Soft Autumn.

Because you may flow between Soft Summer and Soft Autumn, you may find that you can mix in a little bit of cool colors, like soft and dusty blues, greens, purples and greys, as long as you balance them with some warmth and keep your level of contrast low.

  • {Eyes} Soft Autumn will almost always have lighter eyes than their Deep and Warm counterparts. They can be light brown, hazel, and even slightly greyed blue and green.
  • {Hair} One of the hallmarks of the Soft characteristic is the low level of contrast in your coloring. As such, your hair and eyes will be of a similar level of lightness or depth, even though they may be different colors. Hair color can be anything from golden blonde or brown to soft faded reds, but always a middle depth, neither light nor deep.
  • {Skin} Soft Autumn skin tones may appear almost cool compared to the rest of the Autumn palette, but still show signs of warmth with yellow undertones. Your skin may be light warm ivory, beige, olive, or even slightly darker bronze, if your eyes and hair are a color level.

What to Wear?

Now that you know more about your micro-season, I’ll bet you’re wondering how to put that knowledge to use in your look. Although the guidelines below are for Autumns as a whole, stay true to your dominant characteristic. For instance, peach, being a brighter color, looks beautiful on Warm Autumns, but not as good on Deep or Soft, whereas grey lends a muted quality that is more at home in Soft or Deep Autumn, but not in Warm.

  • {Colors} You will look your best in colors that are warm, deep and muted, but be sure to stick primarily with your dominant characteristic. Some of Autumn’s best colors are grey, cream, ivory, camel, gold, khaki, peach, brown, evergreen, olive, buttermilk, marigold, mustard, orange, rust, terracotta, burgundy, red, and eggplant.
  • {Textures} What makes you think of Autumn? Cinnamon sticks, bare trees, crunchy leaves, flannel, leather, wool, velvet…you will always look your best in more richly textured fabrics and accessories like hammered metals and antique-looking finishes. Burnished shimmers and contours accent your features beautifully, but stay away from dewy shine.
  • {Layers} Depth is a great friend to Autumn palettes, and layering multiple tones and textures accents and amplifies a well-chosen color palette.

Are you an Autumn? If you have questions about your palette, ask away in the comments below!

12 Season Color Analysis System

Rainbow Your World | Winter Color Palette


  1. Melyssa says:

    Thanks for your article !
    I’ve always thought my coloring was deep, but now that I’m into analyzing my colors, I realize I may not be that deep, especially because both deep autumn and deep winter color palettes seem too deep for me. I can’t manage to see if I’m a soft or a warm. I have dark brown hair (I think ?) which is kind of translucent and has some reddish highlights under the sun, my eye color is a brown with no particular highlights, but nothing cool to it, and my skin is obviously warm I think. Could I send you one picture to help me figure out if I could be a warm or a soft ?

    • Natalie Webb says:

      Definitely send me a photo! Although it’s never quite as accurate that way as it is in person, those readings are super expensive. Photos are free 😉

      Look for perhaps three recent-ish photos of yourself in a brightly lit room or outside, although not in direct sunlight. Make sure they are nice clear images with your face, neck and hair and eyes readily visible. Also, an eye close-up and a photo of your hair in the sun can help shed some extra light on things, so to speak.

      Send those over and I’ll help you find your season! Ever since I figured mine out, EVERYTHING about dressing myself has gotten easier.

      • Jane says:

        I want to know more about my ‘autumn’ colors. Warm, deep, soft… really LOVE the deep but am not sure I am that color. Can I send pictures? Thanks.

        • Natalie Webb says:

          Hello Jane! I am actually in the process of refocusing this site exclusively on color analysis section, and moving it to a new domain. I offer a personal color analysis service over there, and am in the process of developing a few more to debut over the next couple of months. I would love if you would come check it out! http://rainbowyourworld.com/ryw-color-services/

  2. I have battled with my season for almost a year now and with those awful palettes could not determine what my season was! I knew I was medium-dark with a mid contrast who looked slightly off in winter but not empowered by dark brown. I was so lost till I found your website. I feel as if things are getting clearer for me. Can’t wait to be secure in finding the right colors for me. So tired of having a closet full of clothes I can’t wear. I ended up giving most of my clothes away and haven’t bought any new ones. You found a new reader!! Thanks!!

    Ps my website is awful its just like an online wishlist/guide for myself. Lol.

    • Natalie Webb says:

      Samantha, it makes all of the difference in the world. Even just armed with some basic knowledge of your main characteristic (I, for instance, know to go for saturated contrast and stay away from all light, all dark, and diffused colors), and now I just know how to shop for colors by instinct. There will be many more posts on the subject coming up soon, so stay tuned!

  3. Erika Towle says:

    OK so I am totally confused! I had my ‘colors’ done when I was a teenager and I am an autumn but now there is deep ,warm & soft?? Oh my Help!! I have all earth tones in my closet but of all ranges & tones.. My eyes are a medium brown/hazel this sounds weird but they change.. when i was little they were a dark brown, and my skin is very fair, I always burn before I tan.. Any thoughts would be great! I can’t wait to show this to my Mom, she is a ‘Winter’

    • Natalie Webb says:

      I would definitely have to check out some photos to give you a read on your micro season – feel free to shoot me an email!

      • Erika Towle says:

        Oh man, I HATE taking pictures of myself. They never even look ok they are always horrible LOL and I’m guessing you need a close up or two-icky..
        I will do my best! Thank you!!

  4. Jerica says:

    Wonderful article about the autumns! I know I was definitely a deep autumn when I was younger and that when I tan I still can wear many of the dark autumn colors. In the winter though, I get much more pale (cooler) and the deep autumn colors make me lock sallow. Do you have any suggestions about which palette I can or should use during those pale winter months?

    • Natalie Webb says:

      You could go a couple of different ways, depending on your coloring. If you think you gain more contrast during your pale months, you likely flow into Deep Winter. There is another possibility though, and that is Soft Autumn. If you think your contrast decreases, you might fall into the Soft Autumn season. Throw on a deep, blue-based red with a black jacket and white scarf. If that makes you pop, you’re Deep Winter. Then try the Wes Anderson palettes. Seriously, his entire film catalogue is Soft Autumn. http://bethmathews.com/post/23693125274/wes-anderson-and-his-colors

      • Wow! I have that same problem! I actually wore a shirt from jcpenney worthington. Its black with a sheer peach over it that makes it almost brown and the peach helped me with that pale look. So I think I lean towards soft autumn on those pale days. Black seems to drain me unless I put some rea lly dark eyeliner and lipstick. Almost like I have to force contrast in order to pull it off. What an awesome suggestion.

        • Natalie Webb says:

          Once you’re pointed in the right direction like this, is gets easier and easier until you just know instinctually what looks best on you. Keep notes, too! If you feel really great leaving the house one day, snap a picture, keep it up for awhile, and look at them all together. It will tell you everything you need to know.

          • I just posted three new pics. One with a new lipstick I bought today its from maybelline: cinnamon stick. I also got dressed in two different outfits one a black dress with blue and gray dots and then switches to a black shrug with a peach top. I look white because my foundation has sunscreen. (oy vey! lol) not sure which one I was liking the most. Could even be that neither one suited me, but I tried lol. loved the lipstick though!

  5. Betsy Barnum says:

    Hi Natalie–
    Just discovered your site and finding it pretty appealing! I’m fascinated by your color palette analysis, and I have a question that I don’t see addressed anywhere: what happens to one’s color palette when the hair turns white. I was an autumn in my youth, before there was any differentiation within the seasons–now I think that I would have been a warm autumn. My hair was auburn, with copper highlights, and my eyes pretty much the same color (people used to comment on that). I still have those eyes, but my hair is now mostly white, no trace of red. I still have mostly autumn colors in my wardrobe, and most of them still work well (though some of my colors are deeper than would be exactly right for a warm autumn)–but it seems to me that a different set of colors now look good and sometimes better on me–white instead of eggshell or ecru, for example, and I can wear reds and purples now too. Blue-green shades seem better than more yellowy greens. And so on. Your comments?

    • Natalie Webb says:

      You, my dear, seem to have slipped into Deep Winter. As hair loses its pigment, many fall into the Winter (or possibly Summer) season. Most of us will move into the cooler seasons as we age. The colors that you mention now work on you put you pretty squarely in Deep Winter, because it borders Deep Autumn. You may still be able to wear some Autumn colors. Give the Winter season a read and see if it clicks with you!

      • Betsy Barnum says:

        I believe you’re right! My eyes are not dark, really, more of a medium brown, but I definitely am not a summer of any type. So deep winter it is. It’s kinda fun to be able to branch out from my familiar palette and experiment with colors I never thought I’d look good in,, like purples and blues.
        Besides being in awe of your expertise on colors, I am very impressed with your web site. The design is so attractive–I love what you do with type (and color, of course!) and with all the beautiful photos. You truly give everyone who comes here a gift! Thanks so much. And thanks also for the knitting patterns. It was following a link from AllFreeKnitting that brought me here in the first place. You rock!

        • Natalie Webb says:

          So glad you’re finding your colorful way!

          The site design is courtesy of Brian Gardner at Studiopress. Such a great company.

  6. Rebecca says:

    I have taken many online quizzes and all give me or my Asian friends the same answer. MOst Asians have dark hair and dark eyes so does it mean we all are deep Autumn?

  7. Rebecca says:

    Can you upload a spring palette also please….it ll get easier to determine our color.

  8. natasha says:

    I was just wonderingl whether you are a color analyst. YOu seem to be too good at it. Thumbs up!!!

  9. Natalie Webb says:

    Oh my gosh, not at all Rebecca! That’s just lazy analysis, classifying all non-Caucasian people Deep Autumn. People can be all over the spectrum.

    While many Asian women do fall into Deep Autumn, even more are Deep Winters (Lucy Liu is a good example). Likely they even flow between them. However, there are some Asian women (wait, why am I talking about women here? Men are in this too!) who have a striking contrast between very dark eyes and hair with very light skin that can even fall into the Clear group. Feel free to check out the color analysis service I offer! http://www.leavemetomyprojects.com/rainbow-your-world-service/ I would love to help you nail it down.

  10. Natalie Webb says:

    I’m working on it, actually! I just started working on these detailed seasons in the autumn, and have been publishing one per real time season. And look at that, Spring is right around the corner! I am having such a wonderful time compiling such pretty nature-y inspiration boards, it’s just delightful. Look for it on the 25th of March, I already have it slated into the ol’ editorial calendar.

  11. Natalie Webb says:

    Hello Natasha! I am not a certified color analyst, but I am three things. An artist with a serious color theory obsession (I went to the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design), a barber who is a colorist certified by Schwarzkopf and Paul Mitchell, and an obsessive-compulsive researcher who read the entire encyclopedia between the ages of 8 and 10, and now has THE INTERWEBS. In recent years, I became completely fascinated with seasonal color analysis, and have found such joy in helping people find their way to feeling like their best selves through color. It’s such a wonderful thing to be able to use my crazy to help people feel good. Oh wow. That sort of sounded dirty didn’t it? I meant it in a bright and shiny way, I assure you.


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