Friday, January 01, 2016

Wearing Unflattering Colors: Rust, Gold, Burnt Orange - the Autumn Leaf collection!

This started as rust, but I saw such pretty things in colors close to there that I decided to expand my focus to include all of the "autumn" colors.

For years, because I have brown hair and brown eyes, it was assumed that I would look good in these colors. (this was back in the days before the seasonal color theory caught on...) It was a reasonable thesis, because my eyes are decidedly amber-ish, but it  just never worked out. I'm glad that I stumbled onto this idea for including unflattering colors in a wardrobe; maybe now I can have a reconciliation with warm gold and cognac shades!

This first color feels like caramel to me - I would be tempted to pour the nail polish over ice cream... 

(and note that the handbag is NOT leather, so it is NOT blindingly expensive!)

Bag – Sole Society; sandals – Topshop; tee shirt – Uniqlo; crop knit pants
 – Helmut Lang; Terra Nova nail polish – Deborah Lippmann; bracelet Ippolita;
 ring Vince Camuto

This is DEFINITELY an autumn leaf color! It doesn't overpower the brown, which makes sense when you think of leaves attached to the branches of a tree.
Bag – Dooney & Bourke; flats – Shoes of Prey; brown tee – The Great; capris
 – Dosa;  It’s Vintage nail polish – Butter London; bracelet – Barse
orange sapphire ring – Ippolita

I thought that this was challenging, but I'm glad to have done it, and I'm throwing it out for your feedback. I could see it on the street - someone with brown hair to tie it together? What do you think?
Bag Brahmin; loafers – Naturalizer; tee shirt – Uniqlo; trousers – Carven
 Cognac nail polish – RGB; bracelet  - Miansai;
 ring – Lagos

Here, I felt like the taupe clothes took a quiet back seat to the deep rust of the accessories. Leather goods in this color were often described as "saddle". I've never ridden a horse, so I can't possible comment! (but okay, the bracelet is called "luggage", and I've traveled a lot, and NEVER with a bag that color. Color names are IMPOSSIBLE...)

Bag – BP.; ballet flats – Sam Edelman; taupe tee – Uniqlo; trousers –  
Austin Reed; Delos nail polish – NARS; bracelet – Rachel Zoe
 ring – MelissaJoy Manning

Here's another case where navy is equal to the most bold accessories! I don't know why navy is so often considered a conservative, staid, stodgy color...
Bag – Stella McCartney, loafers - Trotters; tee shirt – Uniqlo; trousers –
 Mango; Motivated nail polish – Formula X; carnelian bracelet – David
 Yurman; ring – Pandora

This warm gold is just yummy, and I love the way the rows of beads and the twisted effect of the bracelet go together... And that nail polish is pretty swoon-worthy...
bag – Sophie Hulme; sandals – Sam Edelman; tee shirt – Etro; cropped
 pants – Chloe; Antique Gold nail polish - Burberry; bracelet Carolina Bucci;
 ring – H.T. Stewart

With this, I'm going to close the curtain on Unflattering Colors. For the next few days, I have something to give away, and I might miss a day or two for family activities. Fear not, I'll be back, pronto!


Wolf & Badger US


  1. Happy New Year Janice. This series has been very informative. Much appreciated and yeah for the versality of navy and black.

  2. Thank you for this wonderful post, I have been enjoying this whole series. The autumn leaf collection is right up my alley as I love all of these combinations. I have to agree with you that the navy combo is very special - no staid or stodge there! I am currently dipping my toe into the world of navy and your post was inspiring. I also think all of those nail polish colours are just divine.

  3. These were my favorites so far in this series! Happy New Year, Janice! May it be full of joy and adventures!

  4. You have closed this series with my absolute favorite. Happy New Year!

  5. I too have really enjoyed this series of posts and have gleaned a lot.........i now know that i love pink in all shades and that it goes with a whole host of neutrals.....i like a bit of green and will a try a couple of shades in accessory groups......burnt orange and peachy colours get a thumbs up........what i thought was khaki is olive and what i thought was taupe is khaki, lol........i dont like the pale blue and mint, thought i would like purple and didnt.......colour names mean nothing.....just go with the flow.
    I have a lovely tan belt that is going to start an accessory collection and then i will build from there. I am also reminded that nail polish should not be overlooked and that scarves (which i love) can work alongside these collections.
    Thank you to my online fashion guru. Here is to a colourful 2016 xx

  6. I really love the brown and pale grey together. Half of me thinks that with my hair as it is now (about 70% light brown & 30% silver, courtesy of Mother Nature) this combo would look nice on me. The other half thinks I would look like I am wearing personal camo, so I don't know if I'd wear it or not.

    But I do really like it.

    Happy New Year Janice!

  7. My parents had leather suitcases the color of that "luggage" color - probably bought in the 1940's. I think it was a more common name back when luggage was mostly made of leather. I love that color for shoes and handbags.

  8. From Margie in Toronto - Not colours that I've worn in the past but ones that I'm more drawn to as I get older - they seem so classic and so smart! I have added some of the caramel colours to my black neutrals (and they also go nicely with navy) and I'm adding browns to my grey neutrals with great success.
    Thank you Janice for all your hard work throughout the year - I've learned so much - Happy New Year to you and your husband, and to all your regular readers.

  9. Happy New Year, Janice!
    Thank you for the gifts you so generously give us all year long.

    A faithful fan,

  10. Happy 2016, Janice! The rust and navy was a sharp,smart combination!

  11. This continues to be the most useful, informative and beautiful blog on the internet. I've so enjoyed this series, and I'm looking forward to a new year of inspiration. Thank you, and very happy new year.

  12. Lovely. I like grey with warmer brown accessories instead of black. It feels confident and a bit unexpected.

  13. What a wonderful series, Janice. I especially love all the combos you used with the tan basics.. All so subtle and feminine ..just gorgeous !! As tan is one of my neutrals I will select one of these ..but which?? I love them all.. Thank you and Happy New Year! Janice Collins, Washington, DC

  14. Happy New Year, Janice!! I hope 2016 has much joy in store for you.

    I have a mostly navy core by now, and I love to put cognac leather with it. But I don't love that cognac color on fabric. However, I've discovered that cognac plays very nicely with some of my gentler pinky tones - from pale blush to more of a rosey color.

    What about following up your "unflattering" series with some investigations into incorporating particularly flattering colors, particularly near your face? Didn't you reference a rule of thumb, oh, probably many years ago now, that whatever color blush you wear is a flattering color for a blouse or scarf worn next to the face? Or did I read that somewhere else? What about a range of blush colors with your cores?

    Wherever you lead us in the new year, I'm sure we'll be glad to follow.

  15. Happy New Year from another loyal, and inspired, reader!

    This series has been so inspirational. I can see my core of neutrals and have fun with bags, shoes and nail polish. I'm not much of a jewelry person, except for earrings and I have a bunch to work with - yay.

    1. Sheesh... I can SEW those neutrals!!

    2. Sheesh... I can SEW those neutrals!!

  16. Happy New Year from another loyal, and inspired, reader!

    This series has been so inspirational. I can see my core of neutrals and have fun with bags, shoes and nail polish. I'm not much of a jewelry person, except for earrings and I have a bunch to work with - yay.

  17. Love the brown and gray! I've been wearing that a great deal since my brown hair has gone more salt and pepper.

  18. Love the navy with the burnt orange - that's I combo I can readily see myself wearing.

    Hope the New Year brings you continued inspiration.

    Mary mcm

  19. Happy New Year Janice and to all fellow readers in the Vivienne Files clan. I am wishing kindness, joy and health for all.

    Deb from Vancouver

    1. Thank you, Deb, the same to you and yours and to our wonderful Janice and her Belovedest !

  20. I have some really nice brown loafers and a brown leather bag left over from pre-grey days. I will try to use them with my grey jeans and grey cashmere cardigan. If I do brown earrings and a brown bangle, it might work. Happy New Year's and thank you for all the year's ideas.

  21. Happy New Year! Looking forward to what 2016 will bring! I love brown and gray.

  22. I will wear autumn colors any day of the week! Thnx for posting.