How to Choose the Right Clothing Colors for your Skin Tone

If you want to rebuild your wardrobe and wish only to incorporate outfits that flatter you, we recommend going for colors that look best on your skin tone. Wearing colors that compliment your skin tone is as important as wearing clothes that suit your body shape.

But we know how hard it can be to choose the right colors, so we are going to help you out.

There are many ways to figure out what colors work for your skin tone. The general rules to remember are:

  1. People with fairer to pale complexion are most suited for warm colors
  2. People with medium complexion are most suited for bold colors
  3. People with dark skin tones are most suited for rich, vibrant colors, whites, and pastels

If you can remember these simple rules, you are good to go. Now let’s delve deep into the exact colors you should be wearing and what colors to avoid completely.

How to Determine the Best Clothing Colors

Just to be clear, there are two tones you should be aware of. Your surface tone or complexion, which is what you and everyone else can see, and then your undertones. Both tones affect how you look in certain colors, so it’s important to consider them.

The skin undertones do not change, even under extreme weather conditions, but your complexion can darken or lighten depending on so many factors. 

There are different types of complexions – fair, medium, olive, brown, and dark complexions. In addition to skin tones, there are undertones that are warm, cool, or neutral. Neutral is a combination of warm and cool undertones.

If you don’t know what your undertone is, check your veins. If your veins are green, your undertone is warm, and if your veins are blue, your undertone is cool. If you can’t tell the color of your veins, you most likely have a neutral undertone. You can use this video tutorial to determine your skin undertone.

Best Colors According to Skin Undertones

different colors of colored clothings

Now that you know skin undertones, it’s time to figure out what colors work best for your tone.

Cool Undertones

Celebrity inspiration – Emma Stone

The best colors for a woman with a cool skin undertone are basically colors that are on the cool end of the spectrum. Colors like bright blues, emeralds, purples, pink, and lavender would look stunning on this undertone. 

The cool colors can be paired with warm colors such as rubies, pale yellows, and rose reds or neutrals like whites, navys, and grays to balance the outfit. 

Cool-toned women may want to avoid colors that are too contrasting. The contrast should be subtle. 

Warm Undertones

Celebrity inspiration– Blake Lively

For women with warm undertones, clothes with warm colors like peach, mustard yellow, browns, coral, gold, warm reds, and amber are excellent choices. 

Cool colors like moss, olive, violet-red, and orchid would also look great on their tone. They can also wear softer neutral colors like taupe, beige, cappuccino, and cream.

Neutral Undertones

Celebrity inspiration– Kerry Washington

Women with a skin undertone that is in between warm and cool, are one of the luckiest people alive because they can dress in pretty much any color. Neutral undertones look great in both warm and cool colors. The only consideration for them when picking out colors is their skin complexion. We will look at how to dress according to your skin complexion shortly.

Women with neutral undertones should, however, avoid brown and navy colors. They should also keep blacks to a minimum.

Best Colors According to Skin Complexion

The second way to choose the right clothing for your skin tone is according to your complexion. We will look at how to choose clothing colors if you are a fair, olive, brown, or dark-skinned woman.

Fair Complexion

woman face with fair complexion

If you have a fair or very light complexion with warm skin undertones like Amy Adams, Taylor Swift, or Anna Kendrick, you want to invest in outfits with colors like teals, peach, khaki, and shades of brown, red and bright blues. The different shades of green will also compliment your skin, as well as ivory and gray. 

Warm colors like peach, rose pink, apricot, and light pink would also really look good on you.

 For people with yellow undertones, pastels and neutrals would look absolutely great on their skin.

 You may want to stay away from whites, neons, extremely bright colors, and colors that are too dark.  

If you have fair skin but with cool undertones, colors like deep red, turquoise, emerald, raspberry pink, deep purple, gold, and amethyst will really flatter your skin.

You, however, want to stay away from silver, neons, black, and white. You also want to keep lilacs and yellows to a minimum, as they’ll make you look washed out.

Olive Complexion

woman face with olive complexion

If your complexion resembles Penelope Cruz and Jessica Alba, then you are an olive girl. You probably have yellow or brown undertones. You can pull off a range of colors with this complexion, but pinks, reds, greens, and oranges will look stunning on you. Think burgundy, rose, cherry, lime, emerald, mustard, cranberry, olive, and earth tones. Bright pinks and deep reds especially will make your skin pop.

Medium Complexion

woman face with medium complexion

If you have a brown complexion like Beyonce, you want to avoid colors that are an exact shade of your skin, like browns, beige, orange, and caramel. Instead, pick out colors that flatter your skin, like jewel tones ( emeralds, sapphires, rubies, and amethysts), plum, mustard, shades of green, deep blues, and deep purples. Bright and deep pinks are also excellent choices. They’ll make your skin pop.

 Dark Complexion

woman face with dark complexion

Women with a very dark skin tone, like Lupita Nyongo and those of African descent, look best in all shades of warm colors, from pastels to rich, bright colors. Think plum, pinks, yellows, gold, bronze, shades of purple, mustard, fuchsia, orange, and copper. White also looks stunning on dark-skinned women, as well as any color that pops out of the skin.

Cooler colors are, however, not excellent choices as they will make them look darker with hues of gray.


Now that you know what your skin tone is and what colors flatter your tone, we hope you are ready to add new outfits to your wardrobe. Remember dressing well is as much about choosing the right colors as it is about a style that suits your body. 

Remember that you still need to carefully blend colors when building out your outfit. Just because you look good in cool colors doesn’t mean that you can put on a jade green and deep purple outfit. You have to find colors from the cool end of the spectrum that balance out.