How to wear colors to match your skin tone

Updated April 17, 2017

A lot of people are afraid to wear colour and neglect to add vibrant splashes to their wardrobes. It is possible to wear bright colours without looking over the top. Instead of opting for black day in and day out, find out which colours are most flattering on you. While black can look great, a completely dark outfit doesn't have personality. Keep black to a minimum and inject some colour into your outfits. When searching for colours to wear, consider the best shades for your skin tone. Instead of simply adding outrageous colours, you'll be showing off great taste and style.

Wear white, pink, grey, baby blue and khaki if you have a dark skin tone. People who have dark skin also tend to have dark hair and eyes. The best colours for this skin tone contrast with dark features in order to brighten the look. The darker your skin, the more bright colours you can wear. Dark shades and tropical colours are not very flattering against dark skin. Keep black, brown and navy blue to a minimum while completely avoiding magenta, turquoise and mint green.

Wear black, pink, burgundy, beige, royal blue and navy blue if you have medium-toned skin. People with medium skin tones have varying hair and eye colours, from light to dark. Most colours flatter this skin tone, including earth tones. Tanned skin will also look great against an even larger number of colours. Avoid colours that blend in with your skin. For example, don't wear olive green or brown if you have an olive complexion. Stay away from pistachio green, mauve, red and dark brown as well.

Wear off-white, light blue, brown, bold blue and beige if you have fair skin. People with fair skin often have red or blonde hair and light eyes. Pastels and other subdued colours look best on this skin tone. Avoid bright or harsh colours which will contrast too severely with light skin. Try not to wear purple, red, orange or yellow.


Shop with a friend you trust will give you an honest opinion. If you prefer to shop solo, bring along a camera to snap photos that you can study later; save your hard-earned money until you're ready to buy flattering clothing! You don't have to limit your colour choices to just clothing; opt for coloured accessories as well, such as jewellery, ties or scarves. Incorporate one bold colour into your outfit instead of several different colours. Avoid coloured trousers. Brown, black, grey, blue and white are acceptable. Try not to purchase cheaply-made items. If you're hoping for a colour to stand out, you won't want that piece of clothing to look cheap.

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About the Author

As a full-time writer in New York's Hudson Valley, Lindsay Pietroluongo's nightlife column and photos have appeared regularly in the "Poughkeepsie Journal" since 2007. Additional publications include "Chronogram," the "New Paltz Sojourn," "About Town" newspaper and "Outsider" magazine. Pietroluongo graduated from Marist College with a B.A. in English.