You may have a general idea of the colors best suited to your skin type. They help you look and feel your most confident, and you usually reach straight for those when you’re getting ready for the day. Be it a special occasion or a day at the office, you can’t deny the impact that wearing the right color has on your look. But how you can determine if that cotton cardigan or that pretty blouse is the right shade for you?
It turns out there are a few tricks of the trade to help you narrow down your choices. Of course, color is very subjective — and if you happen to love a particular shade, don’t feel like you have to ban it from your wardrobe entirely just because you don’t happen to align with it when you investigate your options. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to fashion, and you should always wear what helps you feel your best. But with a few of these guidelines in mind, you just might be able to curate a wardrobe that works well for you no matter what the occasion.
Determining if your skin’s undertone is warm, cool, or neutral is the first step to selecting the best colors for you. Undertone refers to far more than your skin’s actual tone. It takes into account your natural tone beneath the skin’s surface. It’s that shade that reflects the overall tone of your skin. It doesn’t reflect a light or dark color, but a depth. You can determine what you are by testing women’s scarves in both gold and silver.
If the former looks best on you, then you’re likely a warm tone. If you look best in silver, then you’re likely cool. If you’re neutral, then you happen to wear both equally well. In general, warms have a peachy, golden, or yellowish undertone, while cools skew pinkish or bluish. Neutral tones fall somewhere in between the two. Armed with this information, you can then focus on the types of colors that best flatter you.
Cool colors are bright and upbeat. They can also be rich and moody, so you have a wide range from which to select. Consider deep jewel tones for your tunics, dresses, sweaters, and skirts, such as sapphire, amethyst, and emerald, all of which flatter your skin tone beautifully. Shades of vibrant blue and purple, along with softer colors like icy lilac and mint green, are also ideal.
That doesn’t mean you can’t wear warmer hues, however. Just look for peppier, more radiant shades from that family, like vivid pink and ruby red. These balance your skin well. If you love neutral shades, you’re in luck — colors like crisp white, navy, and gray are all flattering to cool undertones. Steer clear of shades like yellow and orange, which may not perk up your complexion as well as other colors.
Warm shades evoke a sense of coziness and comfort. They’re deep and enticing, too. Colors like honey, orange, mustard, amber, and maroon are all traditional colors of the warm family, and they’re perfect choices for everything from turtlenecks to leggings to T-shirts.
If you love the look of cooler colors, however, you’re in luck. Classic cool shades with a warmer slant are perfect for you. Consider colors like olive, magenta, dark turquoise, teal, and moss. Many neutrals convey a sense of warmth, too, like mocha, chocolate, oat, taupe, and wheat. If you want to make your decision easier and eliminate a few hues, avoid jewel tones and anything with an icy note, like sky blue or silver.
If you really can’t tell whether you’d look best in a green or orange jersey dress, you might just have a neutral undertone. In this situation, all colors seem to flatter you equally, allowing you some greater flexibility when choosing new items to add to your wardrobe. However, there are still some colors that you might want to embrace more closely.
For example, mid-range shades like peony, peach, and jade are highly flattering — they’re not too light or dark. That’s a key way to determine which hue is best. If it falls somewhere in the middle, it’s likely a neutral. You’ll love colors like off-white, taupe, and gray, too. If you want to wear something richer, try colors with depth instead of those that are too bright and overwhelming. Yellow, orange, and red can be shocking, but softer variations may work very well.
Once you know if you’re cool, warm, or neutral, you’ll have a much easier time filling your closet with clothes in colors that are endlessly flattering. Color is key to choosing styles that really resonate with you. But again, remember the old rule about there being no rules. Take it all in stride, wear what feels comfortable, and stick with colors that you absolutely love.