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How Do I Know Which Colors to Wear for My Coloring?

Clothes with gold and brown tones.
The color blue complements a cool skin tone.
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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 16 July 2014
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Determining what colors look best on you can be a useful tool to help build your wardrobe and make you appear to your best advantage. With so many shades and hues available, it can be very difficult to determine your best colors. Understanding you skin tone and complexion can be extremely helpful in knowing which colors to wear to make yourself look good.

You may have heard people refer to themselves by color seasons: winter, spring, summer and fall. This method of determining color palettes was originally used by artists, but made its way into the beauty and fashion industry through color analysis pioneers such as Suzanne Caygill and Carol Jackson. Jackson’s 1980 book, Color Me Beautiful, became a widely-accepted resource guide for determining your season and which colors will look best on you by your complexion and skin tone.

According to color analysis, all people have either a warm or cool skin tone. Warm skin is characterized by yellow or peach undertones, and a tendency toward warmer hair colors like golden brown or honey blond. Cool skin tones have a pink undertone, and tend toward ash blond or brown and black hair. It is possible to have characteristics of both genres, in which case you will have much more choice in which colors to wear to look your best.

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Warm skinned people are further broken down into spring and autumn, while cool-skinned people are either summer or winter. Springs and autumns look best in gold-toned colors: bright greens and pinks or corals for springs, heady greens, oranges and deep yellows for autumns. Summers use clear, blue or silver-toned colors like cherry red and violet, while winters use blue-toned pastels and icy colors, like navy, powder pink, and cool gray.

Jewelry can help show you which colors will look best by examining the appearance of your skin next to it. If you have warm undertones, gold jewelry will make your skin look warm and rich, while silver jewelry may seem to contrast or just not enhance your natural tones. Studying this effect can tell you whether to look for gold or silver toned colors when shopping for clothing.

There are exceptions to every rule, and color analysis is certainly not without fault. No matter what season you are, choose colors in your wardrobe that make you happy and comfortable. Coordinating your wardrobe with a color palette can certainly make your fashion life more organized, however, as you will have a variety of choices that match each other in tone. If you are conscious of your color palette, you will also be able to avoid shopping for fad or trend clothing that will be useless in a year. Knowing which colors to wear will help you on your way to a classic and timeless wardrobe, but never be afraid to show your personal style and break the rules from time to time.

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Discuss this Article

anon342632
Post 6

I have always had issues with colors to wear for clothing and makeup, if anyone wants to help me. I think I have a cool skin tone, but I am not sure. My hair is kind of a warm brown, although it has almost every color in it. My eyes are weird. They're mostly bluish grey (with maybe a little green), and have yellow gold specks in the center. I have the bluish veins in my wrist. My skin is really pale, not overly freckled, burns easily, and never tans. I've only ever worn silver jewelry, so I don't know about gold. However, I tried on some really pretty gold nail polish and did not like how it looked at all. So I'm thinking silver wins.

As for which season I am, I had someone tell me I could wear winter or spring, so that just confused me. I really like wearing dark, deep colors like black, navy, and purple. I'm probably winter, but powder pink doesn't sound like it would look good on me.

anon139803
Post 5

Another tip for redheads: I wear my hair a vibrant copper red and I love to wear pink but it has to be to right shade. I find I can glow in pale pink but magenta makes me look ruddy. Also, peach is a great option to show off red hair and still feels similar to wearing pink. Peach is actually my new favorite color to wear!

(I should add that I am a natural blonde with blue eyes and warm skin.) -Xina

anon115378
Post 4

Also, a note for fair skinned dark brunettes with dark brown eyes:

Seasonal color analysis will place you into the autumn category, and it will tell you to avoid wearing pastel blues or pinks. But, if you have the right skin tone for it, pastel blue and pink can work on you. Look for shades of light blue and pink that have golden undertones in it that will bring out the color of your eyes and hair.

Most makeup artists tend to pair up the color pink with fair skinned brunettes with brown eyes, so pink is an excellent choice. Avoid wearing colors that are either too cool or too warm. Remember, you are not limited to just the colors in the autumn family. You can work spring colors into your wardrobe too.

surfNturf
Post 3

Greenweaver- I agree with you. I just wanted to add that women with olive complexion look best with burgundy highlights if the hair is dark or a shade of reddish brown for complete semi permanent hair color.

Hair color tips like this flatter your hair and enhances your natural beauty.

GreenWeaver
Post 2

I just want to add that sometimes hair coloring determines which color tones look best.

For example, women with red hair should avoid pink tones as they seem to clash with the hair color. Red hair color, like the shade of pink are too very bright colors that don’t look well together.

For example, a woman with red hair should choose warm tones in both her clothing and makeup. These are traditionally shades of brown and peach tones for lipsticks and earth tones for clothing.

Emerald, brown, rust, and beige work really well with red hair color.

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