Introduction

For those of who are are familiar with my previous article on how to integrate colour into your wardrobe, you should now be pros at ditching the blacks and donning the brights! Well that is all very well, but how do we know which colours suit our individual looks the best? Well, you guessed it, I am about to tell you. The great thing about this article is, you can improve your look by wearing flattering colours, and it will look effortless. People aren’t going to realise why you are suddenly wearing more of a certain colour, but they are going to notice that you are looking a lot better. I won’t tell if you don’t!

So firstly, before I start blabbering on and demanding that you wear certain colours, we have to determine what “type” or “category” your skin tone falls under. Skin types are often broken down into “seasons” for this and are distinguished by the coloured undertones of your skin. To determine whether you have a cool (winter/spring) or warm (summer/autumn) complexion, simply check the underneath of your arms! If the veins running down your forearm appear blue you are a “cool” complexion, if they appear green-ish then you fall under the “warm” category – simples. If you can’t see any veins, then you are a vampire, and I am afraid I cannot suggest any colour other than black. For those of you still human, please turn your arms over – you will need them to scroll down.

Tones

Cool Tones – If you fall under this category you will usually have either pale or dark skin with blue or pink undertones. Bright, bold colours will bring out these undertones and show off your skin to the best effect. Don’t be afraid to go bold with solid primaries and pastels, but bare in mind my tips coming up later for individual skin tones.

Warm Tones – These skin types tend to have deeper, richer undertones of golds and yellows. Black can be your friend, and earthy tones such as browns, reds and oranges will suit your skin. Avoid anything too bright or bold, and think of Autumn’s key colour palettes when picking out your outfits.

So it is all very well being able to pick out colours suitable for the season you fall into, but it is all a bit too ambiguous for my liking, so onto individual skin types! For the benefit of the majority, I have separated skin tones into three main categories: pale, olive and dark. If you fall somewhere in between these categories you will have to play around with my tips from each skin type, and see what works best with your individual tone.

Fair/Pale Skin

Colours for Pale/Fair Skin Types

The pale skin is a trait of many: blondes, redheads, and the Milky-bar kid. If you have pale skin I’m sure you are often troubled with the risk of looking like a ghost, so hopefully these tips will help. Firstly, stick to darker colours that contrast your skin – whites and pale colours will merely wash out your face even further. Navy’s, blues, emerald greens and primary colours will look great on you. Don’t be afraid to go bright and bold, your colourful undertones allow for you to be that bit more bolder with your colours than anyone else.

If you wear black, choose a bright colour such as red, and integrate it in through the accessories or however you like to highlight those rosy undertones. If your rosy undertones are so red that you look like you are constantly blushing, tone it down with a cool primary blue. Avoid earthy tones such as beiges, oranges, creams and terracottas, as similar to whites they will just wash you out. Avoid pastels also, but if you desire a lighter, more subtle look than the bright primary colours, go with icy tones such as teal and turquoise.

Olive/Medium Skin

Colours for Olive/Medium Skin Tones

If, like me, you fall under the “olive” or “tanned” category, you will often be brown haired and have yellow and green undertones. Avoid these two colours at all costs or they will bring out your tone too much and you will risk looking like the latest addition to the Simpsons family. Avoid settling for the middle and choose either light or dark tones for your outfit – weather or mood depending! Beiges, creams and light blues are great for a brighter feel. Pure whites may look a little harsh against your skin but don’t be afraid to experiment; creams would suit your complexion much more easily. Blacks and greys go well for a darker feel, and black jeans with a slightly lighter top are a great mix of contrast and complement for your skin tone. By wearing subtle items of earthy browns and beiges, and perhaps sands, you can bring out the olive tones of your complexion, but be careful not to overdo it! Mix with key monotone pieces to avoid this.

Darker Skin

Colours for Dark Skin Tones

If you are lucky enough to have darker skin, you will find that pretty much all colours suit your tone. Make sure you don’t go either too bright and white, or too dark and black, but keep it bright and fresh with bold colours! Avoid dull colours such as browns and navy’s, and stick to pastels to complement your blue and pink undertones. Don’t be afraid to go bright and bold with black, or light and fresh with pastels and whites; just avoid the all white or all black look and you’ll be fine!

Eye Colour

So that is skin types and hair colours covered, but what about eyes? Girls aren’t the only ones who suffer from the cliche “beautiful eyes” compliment, as guys are often noticed for the colour of their eyes too. With this in mind, what’s stopping us from picking out the right tones and shades in our outfit to bring out the colour of our eyes?

Blue eyes – Are something to be proud of, so why not show them off with the colour of our clothes? It is pretty simple: if you have blue eyes, wear blue. Find a similar tone or shade to your eyes to bring them out, or wear a slightly darker shade of navy or teal to emphasise the brightness of those beautiful baby blue iris’s. Oranges can also be great complimentary colours for blue, but keep in mind your skin type at the same time.

Brown eyes - Brown eyes often fall into two categories: those with red tones, and those with green tones. If yours appear reddish, then wear deep, warm tones to highlight them. Reds, yellows, golds and browns fit perfectly, but again be aware of your skin type. If your brown eyes have green tones to them, then wear emerald greens or in particular plums and purples to really complement and bring out the green.

Hazel or green eyes – Similar to brown with green tones, wear purples and plums to really bring out the green of your eyes. Green clothes may also work, but it is often not the most flattering colour, so just beware!

Conclusion

If you incorporate the tips I have given you from eye colour, skin type, and seasons, then you are sure to find the perfect colours and shades for your skin tone. Every skin tone is different and unique, so as always it is about experimenting with different colours and seeing what works best on you. A great way to test a colour is to take a picture with you wearing that tone, as the camera will adjust to that main colour and either make your skin look great or terrible in comparison. Also, remember to stick to the tips I gave in how to integrate colour into your wardrobe to avoid looking like a walking banana, a full on rainbow, or a member of a 90’s boy-band in an all white ensemble – trust me, it’s not a good look.

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Cheers,
Tom