Cinnamon/Russet: A Colored Neutral

Colored Neutrals: Installment Five

Happy day, reader dear!

I can feel fall approach when anyone says Cinnamon or Russet. I know I’m not the only one! But this gorgeous color is SO much more than fall…

You guessed it!

Cinnamon is another Colored Neutral and the last in the series.

If you are just tuning in, this month I’ve been sharing about Colored Neutrals. What they are. How they work. How to find them AND what kinds of color pairings look amazing with each. For the introduction to this series, read this post, here. You’ll find links to all the other Colored Neutrals posts within.

TBPH, I’m not a huge fan of cinnamon. The spice, that is. The color? LOVE it! That may be a childhood hangover. Cinnamon Girl by Neil Young (with Crazy Horse) made me intensely happy. I didn’t even know what a Cinnamon Girl looked like (I still don’t.), but it was a change from all the songs about blondes. Which I was not. It might also explain my predilection for coloring my hair auburn during my 20’s… The things we learn about ourselves. Randomly. And late.


So what color is Cinnamon? We all know it when we see the spice, but explaining it? That’s a bit more difficult. Is there a difference between Cinnamon and Russet? I think of Cinnamon as a medium-dark shade of brown touched with more yellow, making it look more orange. I think of Russet as a medium-dark shade of brown touched with red.

Either way, Cinnamon and Russet behave as a warm neutral.

Is that the same way you see them? I say it’s difficult because our color perception is wrapped up in our history with the color AND our experiences with it. The name of thing and its color become closely intertwined. Most of the stick cinnamon I’ve bought is much darker than the image above, but someone else’s might look exactly like it!

To see these pieces up close, visit here. No money will come my way. But if it helps you, please have at it!

As a Sublime (Cool, Soft and Light), I would give most of these pieces a pass. BUT I would be sorely tempted by the bag and the booties. Reason being, I love the colors of those two. Boots and bag work because keeping colors that don’t flatter my coloring away from my face is my Number One strategy for style finesse when I simply cannot resist those color loves that don’t love me back.

Finding Cinnamon

Shakespeare said A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. The same could be said about our color words! Although, they might not have the same connotation.

If you are looking for Cinnamon, try: Rust, Sienna, Russet, Cognac (Or other rich brown spirits!), Tan, Suntan, Auburn, Carnelian, Amber, Gingerbread, Terracotta and Bark. For other ideas and shades of brown, check out Color-Meanings.Com.

Fabulous Pairings

You might call Cinnamon, Brown. Or you might call it Orange. Or Rust. Colorwise, brown IS orange! Brown is dark orange. Whenever we are looking for lovely color combinations, looking across the color wheel for its complements (and splits) is a great place to start! You can also wear cinnamon with other neutrals.

TIP: Choose a neutral with an undertone that complements your coloring. Cinnamon and grey is one of my absolute favorites, but then I’m cool complexioned. You can also use cinnamon as a way to warm up black! Cinnamon and brown? Gorgeous! Cinnamon and Olive? Made for each other. Cinnamon and Teal? Unexpected and elegant. Cinnamon and Navy? Yummy! To branch out from neutrals try pairing:

Cinnamon + Wedgewood Blue

Cinnamon + Baby Blue

Cinnamon + Wine

Cinnamon + Peach

Cinnamon + Aqua

Cinnamon + Deep Purple

Cinnamon + Pistachio

Cinnamon & Spice

I’d love to show you photos of me rocking this color IRL, but I own almost none… Instead, let’s take a peek at these lovely looks I found on Pinterest:

How About You?

Do you have any of these gorgeous colors in your wardrobe? Do you treat rust as a color or a neutral? What color do you most often pair with cinnamon? Do you remember Cinnamon Girl? If you try one of the color combos and post it on social media, please tag me @closetplayimage. I’d LOVE to see what you’re styling! And please share other color color names you use to describe Cinnamon! I love to hear from you and there is plenty of room for your thoughts…

Stylishly yours,


  • Lise

    Even as a cool toned person I love rust. It is not that terrible on me, unlike oatmeal. I have rust pants, a rust linen blazer and a rust linen skirt. Sounds very interesting with deep purple. Love it with blush, which surprised me.

  • Kathleen McDermott

    Tobacco, for a dark cinnamon. I’m cool, soft, light also so no cinnamon near my face, unless it’s in an otherwise flattering print. I think it is a lovely color and really like it for shoes and purses. Would wear cinnamon pants. It is rich and vibrant in a subdued way. Hence, an excellent colored neutral, as you portray!

  • Sally in St Paul

    We’ll get to the color in a moment, but first…You don’t like the flavor of cinnamon?! Fortunately I like it well enough for both of us 😉

    Cinnamon/cognac/rust with grey, black, or navy is so gorgeous…even just adding a pair of cognac boots to an otherwise cool, mostly neutral outfit gives such a fall flair (and as you point out, is an easy way to wear a color that doesn’t look as terrific near the face). I’m looking forward to digging into your colorful pairings!

    • Liz K

      I should clarify. I do like the flavor of cinnamon, Sally, just not in the quantity that the season seems to bring out in others. (Don’t even get me started on the cinnamon brooms!) I like other spices with it, especially ginger, nutmeg and cardamom, and think that cinnamon gets all the love and a heavy hand rather than the lovely balance the combination brings. Hope to see some of your pairings soon!


    Liz, Good morning!! I simply LOVE the color cinnamon but I also call this russet or rust. I own a top in this color and carneilan jewelry but I would love to find other pieces to add this year!! I wear russet with navy, teal and a not quit as light as milk chocolate but not as dark a chocolate brown either. It is interesting how we perceive colors!! My mother is a Autumn and her brown is expresso brown so I have to remind her if she see’s something she thinks is me to think “Are these Natalie’s colors our mine?” She’s so thoughtful!! I’ve never worn rust with peach or purple!! I’ll have to think on (visualize) and play around with those color combo’s!! Thank you Liz for all the great color combo’s!!

    • Liz K

      Thank you for your comment, Natalie! Yes, it is tricky when others look at and buy color for you. I almost always shop alone for exactly that reason! As for the color combinations: the play is all about getting more than one of the color properties in sync: Value, Undertone and/or Intensity.

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