A Natural Palette: Autumn Colors

November 5th, 2012

At the Articles of Style office, one of our team‘s daily tasks is organizing the questions and comments we receive via our contact form. Since we have a diverse audience of readers from all around the world, these inquiries allow us to find common topics that men find confusing or frustrating when it comes to improving their personal style.

Recently, a popular subject in our inbox is how to pair colors together and create a tasteful palette for a wardrobe.

We could talk color all day, it’s one of the foundations of personal style, but here’s some easy, straight-forward advice: take inspiration from Mother Nature and mimic her seasonal palette.

Here, some examples using Autumn colors as the basis for creating Fall outfits.

1. Weekend Layers

Good style is all about looking confident, comfortable and natural in your environment. Here, my advice is to take the last part of that statement somewhat literally.

Nature not only offers us beautiful color combinations, but we’ve also been conditioned to find these naturally-forming palettes approachable and pleasing.

During the Fall, for example, complement your surroundings by taking inspiration from the falling leaves.

Heathered browns, burnt oranges, rustic burgundys, burnished beiges, deep mustard yellows, etc.

It’s important to pay close attention to the distinct shades of natures colors, too.

For example, take the combination of red and orange. Vivid red and bright orange would be a jarring combination (especially in the Fall), but a deeper burgundy with a burnt orange can be a soothing mix.

  • Tortoise shades by Matsuda Eyewear ·
  • Brown cardigan by J.Crew ·
  • “The Dressy Tee” in Heather Burgundy by Dan Trepanier x Rich In Clothing ·
  • Burgundy paisley silk scarf Vintage ·
  • Watch by Montblanc Timewalker Automatic ·
  • Nato Striped grosgrain watch strap by Corvus ·
  • Orange corduroys by Facconable ·
  • Tan suede desert boots by John Varvatos

2. Equestrian Tradition



Your tailored wardrobe can follow the same principle, like this forest green double-breasted jacket (as featured here), ochre brown hopsack trousers and burnt orange knit tie.

Perfect for the “regal dandy” tradition of horse race culture.

In its usual cyclical fashion, menswear proportions are moving from the slim minimalism inspired by the 1960s, to fuller and dandier proportions inspired by the expressive and indulgent 1970s.

Personally, I like both aesthetics. There are times for tight lapels and skinny ties, but this outfit calls for full peak lapels and a wide knit tie, in my opinion.

Not knowing much about the venue was a mistake here, and the monkstraps took a beating in the muddy field. Looking back, weatherproof boots would have been a smarter selection.

As always, you can see more outfits that are appropriate for horse races (or any other occasion) by using the Articles of Style Style Guide. Simply click “Where are you going -> Derby/Horse Race”.

  • Tortoise shades by Matsuda Eyewear ·
  • Forest green double breasted suit jacket ·
  • Pale brown plaid shirt ·
  • Burnt orange wide knit tie by Corneliani ·
  • Silver collar pin by WANT ·
  • Brown wool flannel pocket square by Armstrong & Wilson ·
  • Leather strap watch by Montblanc Timewalker ·
  • Brown alligator belt and silver buckle by Ralph Lauren Purple Label ·
  • Leather/suede double monkstrap shoes by Scarpe di Bianco

3. Business Casual

Lightweight outerwear is a great place to add a dose of unexpected color. Again, this doesn’t necessarily mean color that is bright or in-your-face.

This dusty salmon/brown anorak is nicely complemented by the Autumn palette that most often surrounds it.

I picked up this jacket at a Club Monaco sample sale. I’m not sure, but I’m hoping it never went into mass production.

Sample sales, like vintage stores, are great places to get affordable pieces that might be one-of-a-kind.

Of course, these particular Autumn colors are best suited for those experiencing seasons like we are on the East Coast. If you live in Miami or Mumbai, for example, your natural palette would be slightly different.

The trick is to mimic the natural colors in your location, wherever that may be. This is also a good tip to keep in mind if you’re packing for a trip.

  • Tan herringbone silk cap by Stetson ·
  • Tortoise and silver sunglasses by Matsuda ·
  • Faded orange anorak jacket by Club Monaco ·
  • Brown/Orange/Red plaid Vest ·
  • Blue chambray shirt by Rag&Bone ·
  • Brown Leather Belt by Banana Republic ·
  • Oxblood chelsea boots by Scarpe di Bianco ·
  • Brown leather duffle by Frank Clegg Leatherworks
  • · Brown corduroys by H&M

Pima Corduroy Trouser in Chestnut

4. Down the Middle

Take advantage of another popular Fall color – burgundy.

It looks sophisticated, mature and flattering on just about any skin tone.

Tailored jacket + textured knit + slim dark jeans = an outfit that can take you from day to night and is appropriate for a variety of different occasions.

It’s what we at Articles of Style like to call dressing “down the middle”. Not too dressed-up, not too dressed-down.

Fall is also the best time to break out suede shoes.

Their napped textured is most appropriate in cool, dry, temperatures.

  • Square aviator shades by Randolph Engineering ·
  • Linen knit sweater by Zara ·
  • Brown wool flannel pocket square by Armstrong & Wilson ·
  • “Stella” Watch by Brera Orologi ·
  • Indigo denim jeans by JBrand ·
  • Slim brown leather belt Vintage ·
  • Brown striped socks by Kenneth Cole ·
  • Brown Suede Loafers by Ralph Lauren
  • · Burgundy suit jacket

Burgundy Worsted Suit

5. Layered Knits

Fall is also a great time to layer knits, like this fine-guage turtleneck and chunky belted cardigan.

Brown and forest green here again, this time with a dose of mustard, which is seeing popularity in menswear lately.

  • Tortoise aviator shades by Persol ·
  • Chunky belted cardigan by Ralph Lauren Polo ·
  • Mustard thin cashmere turtleneck by Gucci ·
  • Watch by Montblanc Timewalker Automatic ·
  • Nato Striped grosgrain watch strap by Corvus ·
  • Forest green cotton suit trousers ·
  • Brown alligator belt and silver buckle by Ralph Lauren Purple Label ·
  • Green/Tan/Burgundy striped socks by Smart Turnout ·
  • Burgundy tassel loafers by Johnston & Murphy

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Yours in style,

Dan Trepanier


Photography by Alex Crawford.