The best way to understand colours that suit your skin tone is to window shop and try all kinds of clothing up in those racks and have a few dressing room adventures in front of the mirror. Also, this can get tricky due to the fact that we don’t just live in a world full of solid colours. We love our prints and we love our surface embellishments and there is also the fact of seasonal colours and fashion, which is quite a dynamic world out there.
So, let us first list out all the possible skin colours out there in general and understand where you stand. We range from all the way from ivory to dark chocolate. To list out the colours, I have divided them into 6 very basic groups. You could be a shade lighter or darker to the specified shades but what matters is – The shade that matches nearest to your skin tone. The list are:-
- Dark Peach
There are two ways to choose the right garments for you.
- Solid Colours
- Prints/Surface ornamented – Main Colour set and Compliment Colour set – go with the main colour set
When it comes to the right silhouette according to your body shape and size, I have written very vastly in another blog which you can check in:- What to wear (and possibly what not to wear) for your body type and what colours to wear for your skin colour?
Also, I would like to tell you that Black being the absence of light will make everyone look gorgeous, except the ones with the skin tones of chocolate or dark chocolate, here judgement depends on silhouette and surface as well. Its a universally accepted shade of power and mystery! Although black lace is a whole different game altogether, that will even make the chocolate look luscious or powerful!
Ivory Skin Tone
Ivory skin tone or the Pale skin tones usually come from the highlands or the northern hemisphere. I’m not sure if the weather makes it that way but it is a secret in their skin. Their melanin content is usually low and their skin burns but doesn’t tan. That is the secret for this tone of skin.
Usually most colours are their friends. If we go by the colour wheel theories (which are many), contrasts (by contrasts to your fair skin tone I meant dark shades) work very well with you, making you look brighter/fairer. The shades that will give you this positive effects will surely be darker shades of red like maroon and wine, the blues such as royal blue and prussian blues, viridian greens and sap (or dark leaf) greens. Browns and barks will do well as well but it might make you look duller.
Stay away from bright and fiery colours such as yellows, oranges and reds. Keep it cool shades such as greens and blues. Even a bright leaf green or sky blue will make you look dull.
When it comes to neutral shades, I would suggest going for the lighter tones such as beiges and peaches. They will compliment your skin, although it might not make you look brighter, will definitely have a welcoming effect from you, like saying I’m approachable and sweet! (Keep them darker than your skin tones)
Shades of white might also work well for you.
Coming to Prints or surface embellishments, use the above colours in majority
Peach Skin Tone
A tad bit darker than ivory, most of the western world and in many parts of the world, this is an existent skin tone. They are still considered fair but with a peach complexion. Their melanin content is higher than ivory but not as much as the others. Their skin burns, but lesser than ivory and tans lesser than the other skin tones but not as much as ivory.
This is a skin tone that usually suits most colours. Here, I will discuss what is the effect of colours on your skin and you can decide for yourself.
Most bright and fiery colours such as Yellows, reds and Oranges might actually look great on you by adding a shade of tan on you. Definitely, might not make you look fairer but the tan on your skin might give you the golden glow. Whereas, the cool colours such as ash, light greens, sky blues and darker colours such as dark green, royal blues, bark, etc. will make you look paler
Colours such as Wine and Maroon might also add the golden glow of fire and add a bit of tan. But this is a brighter tan, an aesthetically pleasing tan.
Stay away from the whites and neutral shades such as peach or beige unless the nude look is your look for the day. Using them as compliments might not do much harm but definitely not as a main colour or the colour that emphasises itself on you.
Prints and surface embellishments with Gold will also add to your tan and give that fiery golden glow on you, the kind you will love, but stay away from too much silver unless it is just minor compliments.
Dark Peach Skin Tone
Now we are coming more to the central lands of our lands, between the tropics. You have a balance of melanin, your skin burns and tans but lesser than the previous two and more than the latter it burns, tans more than the previous two and lesser than the latter. You can wonderfully carry off a tan but beware of skin burns if you overdo it. Most Asians and Mexicans; and few Europeans, especially the Italians and Greeks; and most of the Muslim world come around this skin tone.
Dark fiery Colours of the burning embers will give you a golden glow, don’t forget the shades of wine or umber as well. Bark too! But stay away from the dull colours because that will only make you look duller. Even the colours of fire – yellow, orange and red; and golds will make you look beautiful yet fiery! a golden glow of radiance. You would also love the colours of nature such as Greens and Blues but stay away from the dull greens unless they are really dark.
Neutrals, is different game altogether, lighter neutrals than your skin tone will make you look brighter but darker neutrals, again stay away from them. Greys and ashes too, go for the lighter tones but stay away from tones slightly darker than you, but a very dark grey like a 90% grey or black will look fabulous on you.
Beige Skin Tone
Now, this is a tricky colour, you might get confused yourself to dark peach, but remember, compared to dark peach you’re a tad little darker. Your skin will burn lesser than the previous three but a tad more than the latter two, whereas you have more melanin content and thus your skin will tan more than the previous three and lesser than the latter two. Again people closer to the tropics like the Mexicans and the Asians closer to the equator and tropic of Capricorn, along with most of the Muslim world have more of this skin shade.
Fiery colours such as Red, Yellow and Orange might look good on you but that would be a gamble as they are not the best, whereas what is best are the darker shades of green, Blue might make you look darker but can be aesthetically pleasing in some cases, i.e. the darker shades such as royal or Prussian blue. Gold will give you a golden glow but lets not make sure the ensemble is brighter than you might be, careful here, play it with good balance as complimenting with other colours.
Neutral shades lighter or darker than your skin tone will also do well, so will the greys, but again, keep them quite light or quite dark, the in between will only make you look duller.
Dark wines, reds will make you look great but sadly, the oranges and yellows might again make you look darker and might steal your glow onto the dress, so be careful here. The teals might also be a make – do unless the whole dress is gorgeous but try to avoid teal on the everyday casual basis.
Tan Skin Tone
Ah! This is the tone for most equator surrounding denizens. Another tone for the people across the globe, south Asians, Egyptians, Mexicans, Latin Americans and the Original indigenous Americans and Australians, all spread between the tropics and closer to the equator. You have a high melanin content which tans very well (which I am sure you have faced many times and sometimes even hate it), your skin hardly burns and you’re not afraid to step out into the sun.
Reds, Yellows, Blues, Greens; all the bright colours your would love to wear and rightfully so! Don’t worry about the darker shades of Wines and Maroons, but be cautious with the blacks and greys, if they have compliments of other colours such as gold, silver or any other shade that compliments you, then it is A-Okay but all in solid, I would suggest to avoid unless the silhouette is gorgeous! Even an all gold will work well with you (Think Cleopatra). Blues and Greens of the darker shades might also, not accept with you wholeheartedly! Although the darker shades of pink and plums will also make you look gorgeous, but with lighter pinks, always compliment it with other shades.
Coming to neutrals, I would ask you to be cautious too, they are not your best of friends either. Dark Bark and umber although might go well but not on a gorgeous prom night, maybe an everyday wear or business wear.
Chocolate Skin Tone
You have the highest melanin content, tanning is hardly a problem, not much difference between chocolate and dark chocolate; and the best part, your skin hardly burns, you hardly get skin problems and its usually well hydrated and healthy. In short, you’re a goddess of the Nile! Bast reborn! Most people of this category practically live around the equator, the blacks of Africa and the southern Asian countries such as South of India, etc.
You love colour, especially the bright reds, all the colours that make up fire! And rightfully so! In fact many traditions with similar skin tones have the colour red as their holy colour or colour of their traditions asking them to don this colour in all special occasions. But, I would suggest keep away from the bright cool colours such as sky blue and Green, whereas the warmer tones such as Yellows and Oranges, are colours that make you look gorgeous.
Greys and blacks might look okay for business wear or casual wear but definitely not an occasion wear!
You can carry light neutrals very well as well, although they might make you look darker, but isn’t that how you already are? Dark Chocolate and Gorgeous! But beware of the shades of beige, umber, barks and browns, they will make you look duller as well.
The contrast of White will also have a darkening effect on you but in a more gorgeous way. In fact, the same gorgeous way the black works for lighter skin tones, white does the game for you.
For details about what to wear and how to wear it, I have written a separate block which you can view by clicking here.
Also see my workshops here.