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How to Dress According to Your Skin Tone & Hair Color

We’ll cut to the chase — picking out clothes is tough. From figuring out what’s flattering for your body type to deciding which denim cut works best for your legs, it’s basically a part-time job. Even though these clothing guidelines and suggestions can seem overwhelming at first, they’re sure to help ease your shopping and dressing process. Today we’re talking about which colors will work best according to your skin tone and hair color. We’re moving on from old-school color rules like “redheads shouldn’t wear red” or “blondes shouldn’t wear yellow,” because let’s get real, those color combos can be pure gold.

Below, we break down various different skin tones, the most common hair colors associated with those skin tones and which clothing colors will complement them. We also asked Siobhán Quinlan, creative director of New York’s Art + Autonomy salon, for some insider tips.

But before you dive into figuring out the color of this week’s outfit, step one is figuring out your skin undertone.

Finding your skin undertone

An undertone is the complexion of your skin, and most people fall in one of three categories: cool, warm and neutral. Understanding your undertone can help you discover the best shades of color to wear.

  1. Color check: Look for specific colors that stand out in your skin. Warm-toned skin has yellow, peach and gold tints, while cool-toned skin has more pink, red or blue.
  2. Look at your wrist: Look at your veins. If you see blue or purple veins, you’re most likely cool-toned, and if you see green, you’re warm.
  3. Look at your eyes: “Does their eye have golden flecks? They will look better with something warmer. Does their eye have blue or gray flecks? Then I will probably suggest something cooler,” says Quinlan. Generally, cool-toned people have blue, gray or green eyes, and warm toned people have brown, hazel or amber eyes.
  4. Look at your hair: Look at your natural hair — cool tones will have silver or ash undertones and warm tones will have red, orange or yellow undertones.
  5. Celebrity match: Look for a celebrity who has similar skin tone to you and see if you both have cool or warm tones. You can also see how a hair color or a color looks on them and if you like it.

Now, what if you don’t identify any of those consistently or feel in the middle? You’re probably a neutral skin tone, which means you can wear either cool or warm tones — go, you!

Some general color guidelines based on your skin undertone are:

  • Warm undertones look better in gold jewelry, whereas cool undertones look great in silver jewelry.
  • Generally, warmer colors (like red, orange and yellow) look flattering on warmer skin tones and cooler colors (like blue, green and purple) look flattering on cool skin tones.
  • Look for colors with the same undertone — if you’re cool-toned, find a red with a blue-ish/deeper base, and if you’re warm-toned, look for warmer brick reds.

Very fair

How to Dress for Your Skin Tone | Very Fair Skin Tones
Image: Getty Images

Cool tone: Julianne Hough | Warm tone: Taylor Swift

Best hair colors include: platinum, ice/silver blond, red, ashy blond, champagne, gold, honey

Best colors to wear: neutrals, pastels, jewel tones

“Something too dark or light (in hair or clothing) can sometimes feel harsh for everyday,” says Quinlan. “I tend to advise my clients to stay away from those extremes unless they are really going for more of a ‘look.’” You can add subtle contrast with darker neutral colors and jewel tones.


How to Dress for Your Skin Tone | Fair Skin Tones
Image: Getty Images

Cool tone: Emma Stone | Warm tone: Blake Lively

Best hair colors include: red, dirty blond, golden blond, light brown, butterscotch, strawberry blond

Best colors to wear: lavender, sea-foam green, blush, soft yellow, mint green, coral, ivory, peach


How to Dress for Your Skin Tone | Medium Skin Tones
Image: Getty Images

Cool tone: Penélope Cruz | Warm tone: Jessica Alba

Best hair colors include: golden brown, caramel, ash brown, dark brown

Best colors to wear: olive, purple, mustard, cranberry, forest green, royal blue, pink

Medium skin tones can wear darker, bolder colors without washing them out.


How to Dress for Your Skin Tone | Olive Skin Tones
Image: Getty Images

Cool tone: Rosario Dawson | Warm tone: Jennifer Lopez

Best hair colors include: golden blond/brown, caramel, chocolate brown

Best colors to wear: earth tones, green, orange, olive, blue, navy, pink, emerald, burgundy


How to Dress for Your Skin Tone | Dark Skin Tones
Image: Getty Images

Cool tone: Kerry Washington | Warm tone: Beyoncé

Best hair colors include: espresso, jet black, honey blond (for warm tones)

Best colors to wear: jewel tones, plum, white, orange, pink, yellow, ruby


How to Dress for Your Skin Tone | Deep Skin Tones
Image: Getty Images

Cool tone: Lupita Nyong’o | Warm tone: Viola Davis

Best hair colors include: jet black

Best colors to wear: jewel tones, white, fuchsia, yellow, royal blue, blush

Originally posted on StyleCaster.

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