Autumn shades to flatter any skin tone

May 11, 2024
Source: Supplied.

Entering autumn here in the Southern Hemisphere is making my styling spirit dance with joy, I kid you not, and I’ll try not to dislocate a hip when doing that autumn leaf shuffle – said whilst grinning. It has always been my favourite season as I love the warm shades of nature, embracing those russet tones, when style layering makes dressing so much more interesting too.

Interestingly, as we age, our skin tone changes to complement those varying shades of silver creeping into our hair and that often changes the colour palette of our closet, which we have been accustomed to for half our lives. This certainly is a valid excuse to go shopping to enhance our wardrobe, but when we’re keeping a beady eye on the budget, there are ways to sneak around that little style hurdle…

I had honey-blonde hair, which used to be sun-streaked back in the day, also referred to as photobleaching. However, when I was not spending time in the sun, which I did less of after I turned thirty for fear of melanoma, I tricked nature by adding silver highlights, which I loved. I could still wear warm autumn colours, browns, russet shades, and even burgundy as my skin tone was fair with an undertone of gold, which I’d certainly describe as medium.

I could wear any colour, basically, and pastels looked fabulous too. Then it changed when my hair turned grey, virtually overnight, when I was 45. I had to touch up my hair colour and now added honey blonde to the silver and became rather confused as my skin tone, especially in winter, was decidedly paler, more pink than peach! Suddenly, pastel shades paled my complexion and I had to get creative with makeup, darkening my foundation by at least one shade to create a peachier tone.

Confusion ensued and when I started chatting to my girlfriends who were going through similar changes, and most of them brunettes with either pale skins or olive, they were complaining they could no longer wear shades they’d always been conformable with either.

Enter the complexion chart, and top women’s magazines interviewing stylists to stars and supermodels, to assist us with our dilemma.

My advice? Don’t ditch those autumn shades if they no longer complement your skin or hair tone. Not sure about you, but it pains me to part with items I have hunter-gathered over many years that remain stalwarts in my wardrobe. Let’s get smart and simply add a colour that does enhance our skin tone by wearing it close to the face, and don’t forget a warm or cooler lip colour to pick up the hues that create our most alluring look.

Love black, as it never dates, but it no longer flatters your facial tone? Add a big or little scarf in a shade that does suit you. A touch of pastel with a soft pink or coral lipstick, will make a huge difference on a medium, olive, or dark skin. If your skin tone is pale, add a warm shade of peach or red for warmth and drama.

Shades of white, like black, don’t date and always look classy, especially ivory. If your skin is too pale, add a warmer colour close to your face, and you’ll notice the difference.

The six basic skin types are: pale, fair, medium, olive, natural brown, and dark brown or black. If the veins on the inside of our wrist appear more blue than green, we have a cool tone, if we see green, the skin is warm toned.

Warm skin tones are enhanced with shades of orange, brown, navy blues, and warm greens, whilst purples, greens, charcoal greys, and deep blue suit cooler skin tones. Pastels and neon shades do not suit cooler skin tones.

In the end, it’s all about confidence. Feeling good is everything, so, play with your wardrobe, be bold and you’ll be surprised at how many different colours will enhance other shades. Grey remains big for all seasons now, and it never suited my fair to medium skin colour, yet, now it does as I’m paler! I warm it up by adding a peachy glow to my cheeks and I wear a soft coral lip colour – it also looks uber stylish with red lips. I know it sounds odd, but lips and cheeks don’t need to match, just be subtle with the cheek colouring.

Enjoy the changing of the season, lovelies, and as it is in nature, we also undergo changes during this time. Go with it, pamper yourself, get enough sleep, and indulge in wardrobe therapy to pack away summer items, donate stuff you never wear or dislike to charity, and plan your look for the season. It’s a great excuse to embrace a little retail therapy by adding a few current items to enhance those existing wardrobe choices for the season. We’ve got this, gorgeous, have fun, be fabulous!

A cool blue knitted dress with warm shades of tan to enhance a fair skin, and gone all blue with a cardigan with a warmer skin tone (created with a warmer foundation shade); White and tan will always go together and if so inclined, add a touch of animal print for a pop of drama; Warm up grey and black with a peachy lip colour. Source: Provided
Shades of ivory are flattering when we add a warm colour to our cheeks and lips; Pastel blue and navy work well on a warmer skin tone; warm up white by adding an autumn colour close to the face, ideal for a paler complexion; warm up a stone-colour or any neutral colour with a multi-coloured scarf in colours that suit your skin tone (pictured, a bright coloured, and a more subtle toned scarf). Source: Provided
Warm up a stone-colour or any neutral colour with a multi-coloured scarf in colours that suit your skin tone (pictured, a bright coloured, and a more subtle toned scarf); autumn layers of soft tans and white work on most skin tones, just warm up your makeup shades if you are pale; sleeveless grey woollen dress with a light knit jacket with black detail, and tan boots; an alternative for a cool skin colour would be wearing the warm burgundy colours closer to the face, or a red scarf to warm up the cool grey hue. Source: Provided

Fashion items from my wardrobe, sourced over several years from mostly Australian fashion outlets include: Witchery, Trenery, Country Road, Seed Heritage, Fella Hamilton, Zara, Midas, and Wittner Shoes. 

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