Do you wonder why there’s only four colors in your wardrobe? Partially, it’s because you like those colors. But it’s also because you look good in those shades and so you can buy them without worrying if they’re flattering. For me, it’s blue, purple, and black. Sometimes I go crazy and get something in green. When you know which colors flatter your skin tone, you buy them again and again.
But when we stick to those few colors, we’re missing out on a world of possibilities. And we know it. Don’t you feel just a little disappointed in yourself for buying yet another red top? But we get scared off by that one t-shirt that made us look like we needed to go back to bed for a week. One little garment in an unflattering shade is enough to keep ay women wearing all black all the time.
The problem is figuring out which colors look good with your skin tone. That dress you like comes in three colors, but how can you tell which ones will flatter you? You can try them on, but do you really trust the lighting in the dressing room?
Just like you need to know which shapes look best on your body, you need to know which colors will make you look your best. Lucky for us, there are some ways to tell which colors will flatter you before you shop.
Are You Warm or Cool?
Some colors are warm and some are cool. Bright sunny yellow is warm, and gray is cool. If you were picking a color to paint your walls, you’d pick cool colors for your bedroom because they’d soothe you and help you relax before sleeping. But you might pick a warm color for the kitchen because it’s a busy, energetic room and warm colors are energizing. So you can tell if a color is warm or cool by looking at it – does it relax you or energize you?
The same thing goes for prints – all the colors in a print will be either warm or cool. So even a busy print in cool colors will be more soothing to look at than the same print in warm colors.
Remember that some colors, like red and purple have both warm and cool shades. So if you look bad in that one red dress, there’s another red dress that will make you sparkle.
Skin tones aren’t warm or cool – our skin’s undertones are. How do you tell if your skin’s undertone is warm or cool? One way is to ask someone at the makeup counter. They’ll be able to tell you and recommend makeup in colors that flatter your skin tone.
If you don’t want to trust a random makeup artist (and after that one lousy makeover I got that one time, I don’t blame you), then The Fashion Spot has a quick and easy way to tell.
Go ahead and turn your hand over, palm up, taking a gander at the underside of your wrist. What color are the veins? If they look blue or purple, you’re cool toned. If they look green or have a yellow cast, you’re warm toned. That’s it. Simple.
If you’re anything like me, you had no idea that some people’s veins looked different than yours. And now your mind is blown. Even better, now you know whether to wear warm or cool colors.
This one is a little more complicated. Remember when everyone was getting their colors done in the 80s? Those distinctions are still valid, even though it’s no longer trendy enough to merit holding a party for all your friends to have their colors done.
Lovelyish has a handy guide for determining if you’re a Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall based on your hair and eye color. Your skin tone (not the undertone, but the shade like olive or dark brown) is also a factor. Once you’ve figured out which season you are, Lovelyish and other sources have handy color charts showing exactly which shades will be the most flattering on you.
If you dye your hair,your hair color may put you in one season while your eye color puts you in another. Use your judgment. I’m in that boat, and looking at the color charts, and based on which colors I know look good on me, I’m pretty confident that my eye color is putting me in the right season.
Go Forth and Shop Confidently
Once you’ve figured out which colors flatter your skin tone, you can add colors to your wardrobe without looking tired or sallow. When you see a dress in three colors, you’ll know which ones will work for you. And when you look at a closet full of clothes in the same few shades, you’ll know not to feel bored. Because all those clothes will make you look fabulous.