I like the exact same colors that you do, especially in winter. Sometimes for variety I mix 3-4 dark colors, as Angie talked about doing a while ago. Say, black, gray, eggplant, and chocolate. I like to create a long line so I don't like adding a bright or a light to my darks. I add light with makeup, some highlights in my hair, gold or silver jewelry... and the texture of shoes can do a lot too.

Elly I love the colours you wear. I tend to stick to earth tones. I never wear pastels, white, gray or any colour that is trendy unless it sings to me. I look in my closet and all I see is brown, olive green, camel, cognac and denim. I also have some black for my bottom half. I refuse to spend my hard earned money on clothes that do not make me happy. I also live hours away from brick and mortar stores. We are enroute to Montreal for 2 weeks ( Yeah) and I am hopefully going to buy some things.

I find that a colour like brown can be boring on one person and exciting on another It depends on their colouring. A warm chocolate brown looks great on me but on someone else is deadly.

>What do you do when you don't like light neutrals on yourself?

As a dark-eyed brunette who only wears cool tones, I like specific light neutrals on myself -- but when it's cold and I have less skin showing, I prefer them as accents (either solid or mixed into prints and patterns). I'm a grade A overthinker but it's never occurred to me to be self-conscious about my lack of wearing lights.

Do you keep hunting for the "right" colored tops? Do you buy a few scarves and hats in good shades and wear colored shoes and call it good? Do you embrace the all dark neutral look?

Yes, yes, and yes. I don't really do colored shoes so you have me beat there!


You've gotten great ideas upthread, and your carefully shopping has really paid off -- everything looks really cohesive and great for your coloring!

Me, I could pretty easily wear only solid dark neutrals for 8 months of the year but find I feel better and more interesting when I mix in prints/patterns and my best color-colors for variation.

I do try to keep a leaner closet so tend to keep the p/p in accessories and tunics (preferably ones that I can twist/pin/layer to work as blouses).

Since you're pretty ambivalent about prints:

  • I echo suggestions to look for accessories to keep you from being too bored. I know you're an hourglass -- do belt a lot? If so that's a GREAT excuse to look for cool belts with colored buckles and/or leather. I think you can go there without it feeling too stereotypical SW/Western. Or metallic chain belts?
  • I'd keep an eye out for prints in your neutrals (not sure if you've done that or focused on color-color). I find all- or mostly neutral prints can be "quieter" even when the design is pretty bold!
  • Maybe look for a sweater/top/jacket that's not necessarily a statement per se, but incorporates more than one color.

Some of my neutral-heavy fall/winter looks from the last 2 years below.

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Posting again as a friend of mine has coloring more like yours -- I unofficially class her as a Deep Winter -- and I thought seeing some of her color mixes might be useful.

Again, I know you don't like bolder prints/patterns on yourself. However, I thought it might help to see lowER-contrast p/p in action.

I'm not saying all darks or all lights don't look great on those of us with innately highER natural contrast. But I do think we do well in mixed-color outfits or prints/patterns that:

  • include our hair, lip color, and/or skin tone colors
  • play in our mid-tone ranges so we get contrast with our hair AND our skintone
  • mix lighter with mid-tone *or* darker with mid-tone

FYI, like you (and me) she works off a limited palette (Photo 1 = main colors, photo 2 accents); these photos were taken over 2 fall/winter seasons.

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Gradfashionista-- you also explained that perfectly. I've never thought about wearing light pinks as neutrals because my whole life I've disliked them because of their femininity. That said, I've noticed that the blush color that has re-emerged in the last few seasons could be an incredibly good neutral color as it really looks a lot like some of my own undertones and with greys or navies or browns it doesn't have the same "girlish" vibe.

Adelfa-- I really enjoy the look you are talking about. Actually, originally I was hoping to find some deep shades like eggplant to wear with my palette in combination-- I like that subtle depth, and also enjoy metallic accents with my hair and eyes. I just struck out on the really deep almost burnt rich colors-- I just wasn't finding what I liked in my price point or was looking the wrong places/ the shape wasn't right if the color was.

Style fan, excellent point about keeping true to yourself.

Vix-- thank you for all your time, it was incredibly instructive for me! Both you and your friend are very stylish ladies, I admired a lot of the looks.

I think I agree with you --- I don't completely dislike light neutrals on myself, but I like the ones I like more as accents in the winter -- the way you explained it with skin makes perfect sense.

I love my colored shoes-- I find it so much easier to find the really deep rich shades that I love in leather than clothing and it looks totally fun or completely subtle depending on the clothing pairing.

You make an excellent point about pattern and accesories. I think I can do pattern in accesories despite struggling with it in most clothing. A scarf worth of pattern that incorporates all or one of my neutrals seems do-able. I think part of the reason I struggle with pattern is that I feel like most patterns have a feminine connotation that I have a hard time with. I love patterns like the feather print your friend is wearing, and large scale photo-type prints, and things like plaids and stripes. That said, I also am way more likely to wear pattern in the summer when I'm wearing fewer layers and have fewer things going on. Making the patterns lower contrast themselves might help with that.

What you said here really struck me as something to keep coming back to and using when shopping and creating outfits, no matter the season:

" But I do think we do well in mixed-color outfits or prints/patterns that:

  • include our hair, lip color, and/or skin tone colors
  • play in our mid-tone ranges so we get contrast with our hair AND our skintone
  • mix lighter with mid-tone *or* darker with mid-tone"
I would love to find some prints mixing the coppery tones in my hair with browns, greys, etc. I also think that it is partially why I like the darks so much-- they contrast the highlights in my hair and skin while mimicking the natural darkness.

I also love the colors in your friend's palette, particularly the deep purple, blue, and red.

Some really interesting thoughts, Elly. As a Warm Autumn I second Vix's analysis of mid-tone + dark/light - warm/heated, fairly intense autumn peridot, pumpkin, dark red, etc. contrast nicely with the darkness of my hair and the fairness of my skin. I know you can go darker/deeper still in colours than I, but do you like either of these? (May be too true autumn for you in Military Olive or Vivid Vicuna, but for me they're a great mossy olive and a warm, cognac/ mid-brown blend.)

This corduroys are lovely -- I also looked at two similarly-colored pair from the Gap but the problem is the same, I have a short rise! I love those colors though and am getting my fix with the olive hoodie and jacket and cognac/deep toffee accessories.

I think another part of my issue is that I'm olive skinned and very fair, but tan pretty deep and I am still tan this time of year, but will look totally different by January.

Prints are a brilliant idea for incorporating colour...!

Thanks for posting this! DH is probably a deep autumn. Warm skin tones, not a lot of contrast (Filipino), light neutrals do absolutely nothing for him.

At one point, I wanted to add more color to my wardrobe, thinking I had way too much gray and other neutrals. Then, I started to think about what I actually wear and want to wear. Those bright red jeans only get worn occasionally, and I had to admit it is not solely because they are pretty warm for my climate. I don't think I'd want to wear a red sweater any more often, or even a bright white one.

Today, I'm wearing a light cream long sleeve T that I rarely wear. I decided it works for me because it is mostly covered by a sweater jacket. I mostly prefer to wear varying shades and textures of gray or non-contrasting dark colors. White is okay for a collar and cuff, but I usually prefer to wear blue instead.

I am starting to think about prints, as they can make an outfit more coherent. I don't always want to wear a printed scarf. A print shirt can mostly obscured by a sweater or jacket; that works for me.

Embrace who you are.

Donna, excellent advice! It does sound like your hubby and I are deep autumns . . . my partner is as well, although he is fairer/pinker skinned and has lighter eyes than me and I look better in black than he does, but otherwise we have very similar "go-to" colors --- I think it is amazing the whole spectrum of people that can fit into one season.

Your story about the red jeans is very instructive. In the past I've found myself reaching for my neutrals often--- when I have 2 of the same top, the black one always gets worn out. I'm experimenting right now with flannels that mix neutral and color, because I love flannel shirts and have a feeling I would wear them even if they were pink. Same with hats and shoes--- otherwise the item has to be really special! Maybe I will find a drapey blush pink tencel big shirt or a cozy tunic or scarf in a deep eggplant or dried blood red come time for deep winter.