Dark Autumn Landscapes
February 6, 2012 by Christine Scaman
In 2 parts because Dark Autumns are among the most fascinating persons on the planet. As you’ll see, I can talk about this Season for a long time. Today, the colours, the landscape, the person. Next, the clothes and the Colour Equations.
In 12 Season Personal Colour Analysis, the Dark Autumn Season holds those persons whose natural colouring is:
- Dark, the TMIT, but richly dark, luxuriantly, glowingly dark. We are given robust red wines, lustrous deep olives, and ornately reddened browns and purples. This is the aspect of colours that they are first and most. Darkness before heat.
- Neutral to warm. In this context, Neutral means colours that have both some coolness (blueness) and some warmth (gold), as opposed to lower-case-n-neutral that can mean flesh-toned makeup or gray/taupe clothing. Sophia Loren feels much more toasty than she does black. Black feels uninteresting and thoughtless next to the hot, spicy fire she embodies. Always plug in the comparison. There are no absolutes with colour. I once called Winter skin rubbery and Summer papery. Kathy needed a moment to get past that. If her Winter skin were compared to rubber OR paper, well, my Dark Winter skin is for sure not papery or any woven substance. Focus on each separately: how does Sophia feel next to black AND how does black make you feel help up next to Sophia?
- Barely muted, not enough to notice. Dark, thick taupes, as hippo grey, not pigeon. Balsamic vinegar and tomato paste are dusty compared to Turkish coffee and dragon blood (I meant oxblood but dragon blood was more fun to type). Dark Autumn is very colour concentrated. There is so little dusty here, it’s hardly noticeable unless you held up the colour next to the 99% pure Bright Season colours.
The Darkness (Is Not Black)
Dark Autumn means darkness releases the magic – heavy, hard, deep, strong darkness. It enriches the eye, attains the skin tone’s perfection, and infuses the appearance with a vital force that will set you back in your tracks. You unlock this mystery of Autumn’s blazing heat entwined with the coming Winter quiet with luminous, full, rich darks. Spring and Summer have darks that are without the density of oil paint. Dark Autumn colours are thick and meaty.
Colour may be settling with the approach of Winter’s cold but the octane level remains very high. Black’s feeling of weight is certainly here, yes, but its more distinct voice of deepest, most sacred sleep, of stark outlines and a spare sensibility, are not yet in reach. Black can feel a bit leaden on those who do not contain it by Nature’s hand. Keep Dark Autumn darks penetrable and interesting. Choose the almost-black purples, blues, browns, and greens. In daylight, you should see colour. Almost black colours often look metallic like that finish on cars, and it’s never the cheap cars.
Once a woman hears that she ‘can wear black’, she wears it with a vengeance. On Dark Autumn, it’s not great or very good or good. It’s acceptable in small blocks with a lot of heat added in. Solid black is forbidding. It’s a wall, a very boring wall unless you are primarily Winter because it has no translation on any other body. Two entities that can’t find a communication place are not intelligible to one another (thanks to Sharon for the great analogy). Black is still a foreign language on Dark Autumn’s body, though there are a few phrases to pull out in emergencies. To the viewer, the person and the black have no unifying element. They remain a little separate, the clothes from the person, as if there’s a blank space between them with nothing it it.
Black is their toughest temptation but it looks far colder, harder, and heavier than they do. Wearing it looks a bit disappointing relative to what could have been in rich, hot, bronzed reds and browns. Play up the heat and to look spectacular. If she can’t get with tribal, then do military, urban chic, or nerd chic, but don’t default to black. Do touches of black, in belts, shoes, a small part of a print. Avoid big, black blocks. And don’t do black with silver jewelry which is even colder. Even in pants, the near-blacks are leap years better than black. The viewer sees you from head to toe in one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand seconds. You register others in that time, at least to make a first impression. The deep maroon pants got noticed with more pleasure than one more black bottom half.
Autumn is too comfortable and knowable, familiar and natural, for black. Invited into a home for coffee and cake isn’t black. The midnight fire dance or glass of brandy contain some black, but with the firelight flickering, surfaces are so much more red and orange and green than black.
Black keeps the world a little farther away, which is about where Winter likes it. Black (and Winter) is involuted. Autumn is not primarily that way. Winter disengages from anything they don’t want to acknowledge or pay attention to. Like it’s not even there. Like all the stuff in the house that needs dusting. Autumn isn’t that way. They are engaged. They’re sanding furniture, baking and sharing, attending charity functions, going to obedience class with their Bernese Mountain Dog, starting projects in time for Christmas, showing up for a friend’s three wedding showers with a gift every time, always trying to figure a better way of doing something. And dusting.
Dark Autumn can balance the weight of black. Therefore, they will not appear to gain weight when wearing it. So, it’s not completely random on this person but next to such a powerful force, on a spirit this strong, black looks colourless. Almost lifeless in an onerous, inorganic way. Cold-blooded on a hot-blooded soul.
There is no pure white until Winter is firmly in place so that tendency it has to brighten everything (like a Dark Winter face but not a Dark Autumn face) won’t be seen during the draping. This face will appear greyer, without vitality, and more lined. Stay far from white. It’s an instant 10 years, a truly unattractive choice. Learn Summer’s pastels too so you never buy them accidentally. See that blue book way up at the very top right of the page? It can help you with this.
These are the darkest light colours of the 12 Seasons. Even they have darkness, a scorched quality. Colours appear slightly aged, in the way that paper can be sponged with tea or coffee to be antiqued. The lights are substantial colours that can drain out any other kind of skin, like the sturdy colours of grains, brown rice, quinoa, that overlay of brownness but not blackness.
The light colours are distinctly browned, like vinegars and preserves. Browned spiced peach, chamois, November grass, and dark willow. Winter’s blue is coming in, neutralizing Autumn gold to some extent. What should strike home is brown as a dark warm taupe overlay, as brown rose and brown coral. Think of the dried apple, peach, and fig, compared to the originals. Spring is raw, Soft Autumn is cooked, True Autumn is flambe, and DA is what’s in the pan when the flame subsides. Dark Autumn’s lights are the colour of the bread or the sauce that got left too long in the heat.
Light colours are either right on or way off. Because darkness is very forgiving (meaning colours are more likely to look gorgeous just by being dark), it follows that light colour is the opposite. This applies equally to clothing as hair. The Dark Seasons are the most awkward blondes (remembering that hair averages don’t exist in the Seasons) unless Nature gave them light coloured hair. Don’t let someone tell you that women need lighter hair as they get older. To the person looking at you, it feels uncomfortable to see light streaks because they are so very far from who you are inside that it can’t be counterfeited in. Up floats the question “What was so wrong with who you were that you felt you had to be everyone else? I liked you fine before. Now, you’re making me wonder. Plus, I feel kind of embarrassed and cramped and I don’t know why.”
Still big smoke coming off it. An overcooked type of heat, where a carbonized trace is cooling the colour’s original heat. Moroccan colours. Darker than Bollywood colours. Persian carpets, Aladdin colours.
The reds look browned, as bricks, russets, bittersweets. That almost burnt quality is important. Burnt oranges and reds make beautiful lip and blush colours. Red is almost automatically a warm colour in that even when it’s cool, its message is hot. These lip/blush shades are not hard to find, certainly not in makeup. Dior Rouge Blossom lipstick is a beauty, as are Clinique lip in Chianti and NARS pot gloss in Medea. Wear sheer, but wear your red-browns. Look at Chanel Glossimer 64 in Sunset Gold (toasted apricot), Revlon Lip Butter in Fig Jam (sheer brown), and Lancome Hotspell (sheer bronze). They look incredibly good.
Just cool enough for a diamond to form, the hardness Winter brings. Nothing is flimsy. Soft on someone else looks flimsy here.
Temperatures are dropping. The fire is dying down, only embers left. If this is the picture I chose for the coldness, imagine what the heat looks like! Greys provide a cooling effect, situating the Neutrality of the Season.
Winter can have a bigger influence on character than its minority role in this palette should account for. This person can be more cool and formal or more passionate and dynamic, but forcefulness is always there. Move towards that heat. It looks good. The distinguished professor and the head of state are as Dark Autumn as the painted warrior. Reserved and serious are worn extremely well too, but there is a sense of might, as mighty, as Madeline Albright, as Indira Gandhi.
Google Scan their Images. The power of this person is awesome. As they age, Dark Autumn women become more formidable every day. Don’t reduce that by being one more blonde. I’m never fond of purple/dark magenta/burgundy hair trendiness either, which are only distraction on a very focused person, though these colours are stunningly good in clothing. Claim the power in the faces above, those of Cleopatra and Melinda Gates. Rise up to being who you are. In the beginning, right colour can feel like a disguise. In no time, the colours will have convinced you of your truth when nobody else could.
Dark Autumn can tap an infinite pool of strength. It is not in Autumn’s nature to be entitled (it can be Winter’s, of being outside the rules). They don’t make special concessions for themselves, they just get on with the work. Few can match Dark Autumn for taking on the big roles and getting stuff done. They have Winter’s enormity of scale built-in so the huge task doesn’t daunt them for a second. They are the strongest people in the world because they are not self-indulgent. And they could care less if their husband dresses better than they do. Allow the drama of grey in hair, a strong testament to your Neutral Season colouring where the warm skin/cool hair play together so well, or choose the rich, dark browns you were blessed with in hair colour.
Cute lipstick looks gray, both makeup and skin. Blonde hair looks grey, both hair and skin. They look weak. A Dark Autumn must protect herself against trend at all costs.
The energy is still natural – though less than True or Soft Autumn, barely rustic or earthy anymore – which is why flesh-tones in makeup look better here than on a Winter face. Drama and the right costume can look very right too. Soft Autumn is pie crust, Autumn is whole wheat, and Dark Autumn is dark rye bread to dark walnut and mahogany wood, because among the feeling of its colours is hardness. By comparison, Spring is puff pastry and lots of sugar. Summer is petit fours. The Lights are meringue. Winter? I’m sure they have sweetness, .. I was asked what car a Soft Summer drives, it just came into my head, a Volvo wagon!…back to what is Winter’s sweetness…it’ll be hard and controversial, meaning many won’t like it …edible flowers? rosewater candy?….. flourless black chocolate torte with a raspberry coulis.
With maturity, and these colours are Spring’s matured, come deeper waters, more complex patterns, more density of substance. Spring’s candor and innocence are much more about simplicity. Winter’s isolation speaks of a different type of simplicity, one of extremes of the cleanest surface fused with a most elaborately difficult interior.
Autumn has a steady rhythm. You can always hear the faraway sound of a drum. In Soft Autumn, it’s hushed as if under Summer’s water. The Softs are the Seasons of natural elegance. Their unifying grey feels steady and calm, more than cool or warm. Autumn’s complexity exists in all three Autumns, so the combinations of their colours look better to me than any one alone (and in this, I’d include Soft Summer), as warm dull apricot or browned rose with warm pewter, limitless possibility. In those Seasons, layers work well to give sense of pattern (as texture, complexity, and creativity, like the handmade harvest display on the front porch), and depth, both of which have an inherent rhythmic progression.
In Autumn, we march to a steady beat from colour to colour to colour, feeling the connections, the reasons for being together. At Dark Autumn, words are more loaded, as luxury and control, almost ready for Winter’s power. Dark Autumn’s rhythm is insistent, unbridled, tribal. The greys look more like powder keg than soothing. Colours stand alone more, though layers still work quite well here, less well on Dark Winter. Autumn is questioning and curious. Winter is oblivious and listens to its own GPS. The Autumn outfit should feel stimulating and absorbing, like a pulse, moving from piece to piece. Winter is pulling away, its large empty voids depicted in stark and solitary use of colour and jewelry, and of course, black.
For Dark Autumn, it’s the tribal-as-in-undomesticated goddess, the wild horse. The untethered freedom. Your own hoofbeats pounding in your ears. The driving intention. The uncaring about reactions. Can we go back and emphasize the word wild. Native. Savage. Unchecked. Untamed. All it takes is one scarf, one bronzed lipstick, one leopard print-backed glove, and the viewer just felt it in their chest (but couldn’t say exactly what they felt).
Autumn is good at dressing what is. Once they see the system work, they move on. They tend not to be conflicted about what suits them and letting go of other colours and styles but they need to see it themselves. This is not the ‘what do you think?’ group. They have to think it. And with colour, of course, they have to see it. When they look away from their face in the mirror in the white drape, I know I’m golden. Until they do, they look at you like “Yeah, colour, whatever. Let’s go buy boots.”
For many Dark Autumns who feel better as neighbourly and unpretentious, well ok. Your True Autumn origin is strong and doesn’t often care for theater. The tolerance for it can be close to zero. Everyone looking at you is waiting for you to pull out a shot of excitement, but we’re all our own biggest obstacle. You’re not alone in that. We all could look instantly more magnificent if we could unleash our inner somebody. Figuring out who that is is a little hard, but even after knowing, getting her decked out and let loose is another animal altogether. For me, it’s the navy pinstripe suit with the iced violet or dark rose shirt. I own neither item, but in my own defense, I have been trying on suits. None of this is easy or automatic for anybody. If you believe one thing, make it “When one door closes,…” Knowing the colours that are in you puts your hand on the doorknob. Are you going to do something with it?
If tribal feels nuts, even that one necklace, you might try giving your Winter side bigger air time. Dark Autumn is equally superb in classy suits, jackets, borrowing from elite sports like horse (English better than Western depending on the item) and ski, jet set safari and archeological digs. Like Winters, you look better when you’re done up dressier than anyone around you than when you opt for the True Autumn associations of everyday twills, denim, corduroy, and chunky wools. Dark Autumn is that wickedly good Season that looks good classic and good fired up.
The music can be monastic hymn. But then there’s this…the serpent, the danger. Feel the tension? True Autumn was a cheerleading camp compared to this.
Slithering along, now more alone in the dark, the knot in your belly gets tighter, now just on Dark Winter’s doorstep:
We’ve set the scene, dimmed the lights. Next, we’ll think about clothes.