Have you ever put on a shirt in a cut you know is great on you, looked in the mirror and thought, “Well now–why…doesn’t…this…look…right?”
It just might be that the color isn’t very becoming.
Thankfully, there are ways to figure out which shades look best on you. From skin tone to hair color and more, read on for a few quick tips that will have you confidently wearing your most flattering colors in no time!
How to Figure Out Your Most Flattering Colors
Define Your Skin Tone (and Your Undertone)
The first step to figuring out your most flattering colors is to identify your skin tone and your undertone. If you’ve ever taken a makeup course or shopped for foundation, you might be familiar with this process!
Skin Tone: Skin tone, sometimes also called complexion, is what color your skin is. Your skin tone can range from extremely fair to very deep and might change over time based on the season or how much sun you’ve gotten.
Undertone: Your undertone is the underlying color in your skin that influences its overall appearance. You might notice that some people’s skin appears more golden than pearlescent in the sunlight. This is an undertone at work. Unlike skin tone, your undertone is consistent throughout your life.
Your undertone is more subtle than your skin tone and is sometimes more difficult to identify. It’s helpful to understand your undertone as it’s a really important element to figuring out which colors will be most becoming on you.
You might notice in the makeup aisle that certain shades have names like “Cool Alabaster” or “Warm Beige.” These are taking not just your skin tone, but also your undertone, into account. While there are infinite skin tones, undertones generally fall into three distinct categories: warm, cool and neutral.
By just looking at your skin, your undertone might not be readily apparent to you, but there are a couple of common tricks that you can use to help identify yours.
- The Jewelry Trick: If silver jewelry looks most flattering on you, then you’re probably a cool tone. If gold looks better, then you’re likely a warm tone. If both look great, or you can’t quite tell, then chances are you’re neutral.
- The Vein Trick: Flip your hand over to reveal your forearm and then hold it up to the light to see your veins more clearly. If your veins appear to be bluish, then you’re a cool tone. If they look greenish, then you’re probably a warm tone. If you see a bit of both colors, then you’re likely neutral.
A common misconception about skin tones and undertones is that only certain skin tones can be certain undertones. In reality, any skin tone can pair with any undertone. Fair skin can have warm undertones just as darker skin can have cool undertones.
PICKING YOUR MOST FLATTERING COLORS
Now that you know your undertone, use it as a guide for deciding which colors will look most flattering against your skin! When dressing to suit your undertone, it’s most important to find colors that work with your undertone instead of against it.
Just as your skin has an undertone, so do all the colors in the color wheel. Use this guide from University of Alaska Fairbanks to help you figure out if a color is warm or cool.
- Warm Colors: Warm colors remind you of the feeling of warmth. If you look at it and it makes you think of sunshine on your face or a hot summer day, it’s probably a warm color. Rust, burnt orange and fiery reds are all warm colors.
- Cool Colors: Cool colors might make you feel refreshed and remind you of water or grass. Baby blues, greens and purples are all typically cool colors.
If your skin has warm undertones, look to those colors that remind you of sunlight and heat. Pick out colors that are either naturally warm or that are on the warmer end of the cool spectrum.
Here are some outfits that would look great on people with warm undertones:
- Orange dresses and yellow dresses paired with yellow gold jewelry will help bring out the radiant warmth in your skin.
- Peach and coral colors are perfect matches for your golden skin, and work as colors for both blouses and blush for your cheeks!
- If you’re into neutrals, opt for gray dresses or skirts that are on the warmer end (think: “greige” or taupe) to maintain your healthy glow.
For those with cool undertones, find inspiration from icy blues and frosty purples. Choose colors that are either cool-toned or are on the cool end of the warm spectrum.
Here are some flattering looks for people with cool undertones:
- Crisp, white dresses are simple yet very flattering on your skin.
- Dress up denim with a frosty lilac or icy blue shirt that complements the rosiness of your cheeks.
- Deep berry reds can help give your skin some dewiness. Match your lipstick to some statement pants for a show-stopping look!
- Take a cue from nature and pair blue dresses or green dresses with shining silver accessories.
People who have neutral undertones really have a lot of flexibility when it comes to choosing becoming colors to wear. Even though you can really experiment with any color of the rainbow, keep in mind that ultra brights might overpower your balanced complexion.
Here are some outfit options for people with neutral undertones:
- Soft pink dresses really highlight neutral skin. For a trendy upgrade, mix the metals in your jewelry.
- A sleek gray pantsuit will look powerfully stylish against your skin.
WHAT MAKES YOU SMILE?
These guidelines are meant to help you choose the most flattering colors for your outfit, but they’re not hard and fast rules. Really, what’s the fun in fashion if you can’t wear anything you like? Remember that your best looks are always the ones you feel most confident in, and pick outfits and colors that make you smile!