What Color of Clothing to Wear for Different Skin Tones

Wearing the right color can help people to see you in the most flattering light. Color in clothing can compliment you and brighten you, or it can clash with your natural coloring, point out flaws and make you look drawn or tired. Skin tone, along with hair and eye color, should determine the colors and shades you wear most.

Woman in bright clothing.
Woman in bright clothing. (mediaphotos/iStock/Getty Images)
Skintone and Shades of Color

Let your hair and eye color determine the colors you wear, but let your skin tone determine the shade. A redhead might wear blue instead of red, but her skin tone will determine whether she wears a bright cobalt or a soft baby blue. If you have dark brown hair and medium skin, you could look great in red, but your skin tone determines whether that should be maroon, cool bluish-red or orangy tomato red. Use an artist's color wheel to determine where the shade falls on the spectrum.

Dark hair and red clothing.
Dark hair and red clothing. (ariwasabi/iStock/Getty Images)
Determine Your Skin's Understone

Everyone’s skin has an undertone. Some are beige, pink or bluish; this “cool” undertone blends well with silver jewelry and white. Others are peach, yellow or golden, “warm” undertones, that look good with gold jewelry and off-white. The few people with neutral undertones should let the natural warmth or coolness of their hair and eye color determine the shades they wear. To determine your undertone, look where your skin doesn't get much sun, like the inside of your forearm, in natural light. Placing a white sheet of paper next to your skin can help you see the coloration.

Check forearms for skin undertone.
Check forearms for skin undertone. (Thinkstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images)
Determine your Skintone's Depth

Next, look at how deep your natural skin color is. Generally, unless you are going for dramatic contrast, pair lighter colors with lighter skin for maximum impact. If you have dark hair, you can wear darker or deeper colors regardless of your skin color.

Match colors with skin tone.
Match colors with skin tone. (Martin Novak/iStock/Getty Images)
Finding the Right Shade of a Color

Using the color of blue as an example, lets look at different shades would work on different coloring. An icy light blue or baby blue would look good on a cool, fair skinned ash blonde, while a light blue with a hint of purple or green, like periwinkle or aqua, would work best with a warm toned, fair skinned golden blonde. A brunette with warm, medium toned skin would look good in a french blue or turquoise blue shirt, while a true blue or steel blue works with a medium skinned brunette with cooler skin. Cobalt blue looks great against dark, warm toned skin, while navy compliments cool toned dark skin.

Blue clothing.
Blue clothing. (diego cervo/iStock/Getty Images)
Shades for Cool and Warm Skin

All clothing colors veer toward either a grayed out or heathery version of a color, or ones that are browned out or golden. Grayed out or heathery shades are suitable for cooler toned skin. Shades that are golden or browned out are suitable for warm toned skin. Practice in determining shade makes perfect, along with use of a color wheel. Try different shades of the same color next to your face in natural light. You may find that a color you love, but never thought you could wear, may be available in a shade that works beautifully for you.

Warm tone skin.
Warm tone skin. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)
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