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 corduroys by H&M
    • Brown Leather Belt by Banana Republic
    • Oxblood chelsea boots by Scarpe di Bianco
    • Brown leather duffle by Frank Clegg Leatherworks

    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
    • Burgundy suit jacket
    • 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

    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. 


    • Rodel

      I’ve been visiting a new blog lately http://www.onstreetabudhabi.com and this look could work in winter in Abu Dhabi.

    • Brian


      Maybe you could do a post on what you keep in those fancy bags of yours?

    • GQESQ

      Great style as always!!!
      This season rocks!!
      Were can i get a great denim shirt…long lasting?

    • TO

      (Posting over here about SB Daily since there is no allowance for comments over there anymore.)

      The SB Daily post today (Nov. 9) of Townsend “killing it in fall textures and colors” reminds me (it’s strikingly similar!) of one the looks on Club Monaco’s site which I was coincidentally admiring earlier today: http://www.clubmonaco.com/product/index.jsp?productId=13336700&ab=viewall

      Adam Levine is doing some great stuff over there; considering the styling right now they are definitely giving JCrew a run for their money in that department too.

      • TO

        That’s supposed to be Aaron Levine! Bahaha

    • PRHarris


      Thanks for the post. Very insightful.

      I have to admit, I actually purchase the chunky RL cardigan because of you. Gentlemen, if you’re still looking for the cardigan, a great resource is ebay. I know I’ve seen it on the site several times.

      Thanks again.

    • Kristopher

      If I see you in the streets I’m jacking you for that belted cardigan. You have been warned. Get your game face on.

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        haha bring it on player.

        • Andrew

          I remember some older posts where you rocked this cardigan, too. Since then it’s been growing like a virus in my mind, and now, seeing this new post, I’ve got to have one! Dan, can you recommend any specific cardigans that share the same features as this one? I did a search on the net, but came up with nothing. RLP might been too rich for my blood.

    • Gus

      Dan, your beard growth pattern is nearly identical to mine…seeing you rock it with pride makes me feel better about my own less-than-ideal coverage. Looking good!

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Yea, it’s not completely “full” but I like it. Takes more time, but it’s worth the investment in my opinion.

        At the end of the day, it’s all about confidence.

        Thx for reading.

        • Gus

          Yeah, I’m in the process of growing out mine right now…it’s taking a while, but I’m finally starting to get some results I’m happy with.

    • http://www.wix.com/neilfortin/costumes Neil

      Hey! How did the monk’s fair? They don’t look too bad…but I know I always have questions about good shoe cleaning techniques…what did you do to clean off the mud?

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Honestly, they’re still muddy. It’s usually good to clean them as soon as possible, but I haven’t had a chance to get to it :/

        When I do, a damp brush with leather and suede cleaner will likely do the trick. Maybe a suede brush to bring the “nap” back after…

    • cam

      the RL belted cardigan is so clutch for fall/winter. i f@#$!n love that thing.

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Agreed brother.

        One of those splurges that pays dividends over time.

    • Liam

      Great post. Autumn is such a great time for colors, theres some fantastic combinations in this post. Inspiring.

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Thanks Liam. Glad we could inspire, it’s our mission statement.

    • TO

      Nice overall play off the seasonal palette, as always some new and interesting combinations…Some spectacular items featured in this post Dan! My favourites include the mustard turtle and the faded anorak. Cool Chelsea boots too.

      But, most of all, THAT WAISTCOAT. Was that pattern inspired from menswear’s past or your own creation? Just a brilliant mix of colour in that tartan, I expect you have/will be designing more “sport coat of waistcoats” in the future, great idea.

      • Keaton

        Good call on the waistcoat, TO. That’s probably the most significant thing that I took from the whole post. Brilliant!

        • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

          All that writing for nothing, eh?

          Thx for reading Keaton (or at least looking at the pictures).

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Thx TO. Loosely inspired by the prohibition gangsters depicted in Boardwalk Empire…love heavy textured cloths with patterns in masculine colors.


    • http://adampiercey.blogspot.com Adam

      Great post Dan, I wanted to send a quick kudos to you as well for the pattern-mixing post from a few days ago.

      Any thoughts towards a post dedicated solely to rarely seen but absolutely flattering colours?

      I was born in East York, Ontario but I grew up in south London in the UK. I had green suits and jackets, taupe suits for summer, I even remember my English professor coming into class one day in a mustard tweed that made him look like a Spanish James Bond.

      Love your site mate,


      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Haha. Awesome comment. And yes, this is a great idea for a post. We can ad it to our list of upcoming content, which continues to grow longer than our capacity…

    • Jake

      how wide is “wide knit tie” dan?

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        In this case, 3.25″ I think. The average off-the-rack knit tie is typically 2-2.5″.

        Thx for reading.

    • http://www.thetreasuregentleman.wordpress.com TTG

      Great post Dan. The 4th look is my favorite. That burgundy blazer fits like a glove and the sweater is classy; i’ll have to check out Zara for that.

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Thx. Sweater is from years ago. Look for the concept, not the exact piece.


    • http://www.theseals.com.au Desmond

      Killing it as usual, SB!

      Glad to see that Sandy didn’t knock you around too much.

      I agree that the burgundy blazer look is a corker.

      Those hopsack pants (from the suit you have) are top notch as well – who makes the fabric for them, please?
      I’m starting to get interested in lightweight suiting fabrics because of the climate down here in Australia.

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Thanks Desmond. Still no heat or hot water at home, but business must go on!

        Fabric by Ariston. It was from a few seasons back, but they should have something similar.


        • http://www.theseals.com.au Desmond

          Thanks, mate

    • Keaton

      I’m so glad that you’re listing the pictured clothing underneath the photo in a “Feature Items” section. It’s so much easier to locate and better looking, in my opinion.

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Couldn’t agree more. Thanks Keaton.

    • Jerome

      That forest green jacket is remarkable. Awesome post.

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Thx brother. It’s one of those items that, when I first placed the order, the crew wasn’t feeling it, then when it came in everybody loved it

        • TO

          I don’t see how that’s possible!

        • Adyna

          That forest green jacket it.s gold!..incredible color, perfect for this time.

    • Felix

      I think those are your most beautiful pair of shoes I’ve seen – the oxblood chelseas!

      Great post as usual, digging the content.

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Thx Felix, although I’d say that’s up for debate :)

    • MrJbeee

      Another great post. That burgundy blazer with that brown sweater is a good look. Keep it up!