The right colors to wear for your skin tone


Color can be a cruel mistress. Most of us know that we could gain some style points by styling outside of our comfort zone, but – like finding the right hairstyle for your face shape – choosing shades that work with your complexion is often easier said than done. With such a spectrum of kaleidoscopic nuances, sorting the wheat from the chaff is no small feat.

Now some of you disagree, saying it’s not exactly rocket science, but just a matter of trying something on and size it in a dressing room mirror before you buy. And to some extent, you are correct. But if you want to cut down on your shopping time or shop online with more confidence, it is worth familiarizing yourself with a few basic rules for knowing which tones are sure to complement you.

First step? Delete the bookmarks you created for these online quizzes based on supposedly sophisticated algorithms. And remove those guides who think they’re doing you a favor by tagging you with a season (seriously, WTF?). These can be fine for a bit of light entertainment, but knowing that your skin is “winter” isn’t very helpful for taking action.


Second, look at your forearm. To better judge which colors should form the heart of your wardrobe, you will need to determine if your skin is light, medium / olive, or dark. Once that’s no longer the case, read on for a step-by-step guide to finding the colors that are right for you.

Fair / pale skin

Are you constantly looking for a place to protect yourself from the summer sun? More freckles than a speckled goose egg? Or, at the very least, have red, blonde or light brown hair? Chances are, you are the proud owner of a milky pallor.

Colors to wear

If you have fair skin and fair features, then shades that contrast clearly with your skin tone will – literally – bring color to your complexion.

“I recommend that you base your outfit on darker colors, which you can combine with lighter colors,” says Daniel Rhone, personal shopper and stylist at Selfridges.

Darker colors like gray, brown, burgundy, bottle green, navy, and bolder shades of blue will all work well as these shades contrast with your skin tone.


Colors to avoid

Since, in poor lighting at least, you might be mistaken for a corpse, you’ll want to avoid soft, pastel shades or bright colors as they will only wash you off more. The same goes for neutrals too; So rather than white, light beige or stone, choose richer hues like sand, camel, khaki and slate gray.

“That doesn’t mean you can’t express yourself through color. It just means you have to mix light colors with dark colors, ”Rhone adds.

Red, while not best suited to the pale person with rosy cheeks and rosy cheeks, can work for paler alabaster skin tones when worn in bold tones like crimson.

Outfit inspiration

Olive / Medium Skin

If you have olive-colored skin that tends to tan rather than burn out in the sun, then you have what’s called a “ warm ” complexion, which suits a much wider color spectrum than those with fair skin or a “ fresh ” complexion. .

Colors to wear

While most colors will work with a medium skin tone, you can make sure you look your best by going for shades a little lighter or darker than the middle one.

What does this mean exactly? Choose pale beige over warm sand if you go for light neutrals, or try a bolder shade of purple (like magenta) rather than mauve, for example.

“I would recommend a lighter color palette, with white being the obvious choice to accentuate your skin tone,” says Rhone. So it’s good news that the austere hue is no longer limited to linen. Outside of the sunny season, try a pair of white jeans with a dark jacket for a standout look.

Colors to avoid

Since your skin will likely have yellow or green undertones, it is wise to avoid wearing undertones of those colors that are too close to your skin tone.

What you are trying to avoid here is end up looking naked i.e. your skin blending into your clothes. Shades you should probably give the lift include pistachio, mustard, olive, and mocha brown.

For more delicate looks like all white or pastels on pastels, make sure you’re tanned enough (closer to black than olive green, if you will) to wear it without looking washed out.

Outfit inspiration

Darker skin

Much like those with average skin, when it comes to finding colors to suit you, guys with darker skin have won the genetic lottery and can try their hand at almost any shade without much trepidation. .

Colors to wear

The world, gentlemen, is truly your oyster. Your skin color is perfectly positioned to pair well with the vast majority of hues and undertones, as it is not at risk of being washed out like relatively pale skin tones.

That said, there are a few caveats. “Having a license to wear bright, bold colors like jade green or cobalt blue is great, but don’t forget to add balance to your outfit with a color that will hold the look together,” advises Rhone.

In practice, this means not spinning the color wheel like a crazy decorator who just spent half an hour blowing chemicals in a paint shop, but choosing one or two pops of color that complement each other rather than each other. compete.

Colors to avoid

Brown is pretty much banned. Just as pastel tones wash out paler skin tones, brown will not contrast clearly enough with your skin, resulting in bleeding in your skin.

While black and navy are two key colors in any man’s wardrobe (making up the majority of formal and corporate wear), it’s worth keeping them to a minimum to really get the most out of them. your particularly versatile complexion.

“Personally, I don’t subscribe to a color chart that dictates how you should dress based on your skin tone,” says Rhone. “Style is, and always has been, self-expression, and I always advise my clients that if there’s a color you like, go ahead and wear it with confidence. That said, it’s worth keeping in mind which colors work together. “

Outfit inspiration


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