The key to figuring out the most flattering colors for yourself is in the color of your skin's undertones. Here is a great infographic that shows you how to determine if your skintone is warm, cool, or neutral. Image credit: unknown.

The key to figuring out the most flattering colors for yourself is in the color of your skin's undertones. Here is a great infographic that shows you how to determine if your skintone is warm, cool, or neutral. Image credit: unknown.

No, we're not trying to be racist or anything like that. We just want you to look your best!

Are colors the best way to choose your clothes?

We've all heard about dressing for your skin tone but most people don't really "get" it.

I have clients who don't understand colors at all and how they look on them. I have other clients who get analyzed for their color charts based on their skin tones and get hung up on only using those colors. They miss out on great pieces because they are obsessed with being legalistic with their colors. Neither way is ideal.

I want to be clear that the absolute best way to choose clothing items is to choose according to styles you like and the way they fit you. If you love the way an outfit looks on you and it fits you flawlessly, you're most likely going to rock that outfit because you feel good and attractive in it.

But yes, there will be times you will find pieces that look great on the rack and even fit you perfectly but, sadly, won't look good on you. Why? Skin tone, my friend. Skin tone.

There are some colors that just will not do you justice. And some that will look stunning on you.

So I'm going to clear up some of the confusion on skin tone, colors, and wardrobe.

Choosing clothes colors based on your skin tone can step it up a notch in refining your image. Wearing certain complementary colors can allow your assets to stand out and camouflage what you want to tone down. 

For example, certain colors may make you appear tanner or more flushed giving you a healthier, vibrant appearance. On the other hand, other colors might wash you out making you look translucent, bland, and ill.

Before you run out to get that rainbow of colors that will transform you, you must first discover what skin tone you have.

What's your skin tone?

We'll start here with the basics. Are you warm, cool, or neutral?

This infographic above from Beautylish.com will help you determine what your skin tone is.

Neutral people can wear most colors and look good. This might confuse you but anybody, regardless of the color of their skin, can be neutral. Weirdly, some people are neutral and some just are not.

Do not confuse “cool” or "warm" to mean “light” or "dark." They are simply meant to help you establish your tone according to your undertones. 

A paper test can determine your skin tone.

You can use plain white paper to accurately identify if you are warm or cool. Start with a white piece of paper and hold it under sunlight. Hold the underside of your wrist or the inside of your forearm against the paper.

Check your skin compared to the paper to see if there is a distinctly pink or blue tinge, in which case you're cool. If you have a yellow or orange tinge then you are warm. 

You can also tell by your veins. Held against the paper, do your veins have a bluish or greenish tint?

If you look at the chart above, you can see that if they are more on the blue side, you have a cool skin tone. People with cool skin tones can have anywhere from light blue to dark brown eyes. Most people have cool skin tones, including people with dark brown or tan skin.

If your veins are more on the green side, you have a warm skin tone. You will see golden or yellow undertones. Like cool skin tone people, you may have any eye color.

If your veins look blue/green, you have a neutral skin tone.

Or use the metals test to identify your skin tone.

Does your skin look better with silver or gold? Silver, platinum, and white gold complement cool skin tones. Gold, pewter, brass, and copper complement warm skin tones.

To compare, place a silver piece of jewelry, like a ring, bracelet, or wristwatch on one hand. On the other hand, use a gold piece of jewelry. One hand at a time, observe how the metal matches your skin. If you have a cool skin tone, the silver will look flattering, while the yellow metal (gold) will clash. On a warm skin tone, the gold will be the more flattering of the two.

In our next post we'll go into more depth on skin tones and figuring out your complementary colors using the "seasons" scale.

For now, figure out if you are warm, cool, or neutral.

If you're ready to find out more about a color consultation or image consultation with one of our image consultants and stylists, let's get started! If you are not in Los Angeles or Denver, our consulting services are also offered via internet video conferencing or telephone.

The Shopping Friend is a team of image consultants, personal stylists, shoppers, and coaches dedicated to elevating and improving our customers' and clients' lifestyles and careers through image, communication, and etiquette tools.

Book recommendations for deeper analysis of your skin tone and colors.

For more in-depth color analysis that you can discover yourself, you'll like these books below.

Color Me Beautiful  is my top recommendation because it is timeless in it's color advice, even though it was published in the 80's. The styles are dated, but most of the advice is as sound today as it was 20 years ago. Unfortunately, the original edition is mostly geared towards Caucasians. Most other ethnicities were not considered and Asians and Blacks were generally placed into the Winter category.

Color Me Beautiful's Looking Your Best was written later and represents people of color well. I don't think it replaces the original book but it does have some gems in it. They explain body types clearly and easily. They also explain that all skin tones, no matter how light or dark, can be cool or warm and so then can fall into any season of the four seasons. The authors broadened the basic four seasonal color palettes into 12 (3 for each season). Some find this helpful since their personal coloring is a seasonal blend instead of a clear identification of Spring, Summer, Autumn, or Winter.

Color Your Style, by David Zyla is a more recent book that also addresses all ethnicities. It doesn't have any pictures which some people like and some really don't like. People who like it say that since there are no pictures, there is no need to question 'off ' ink tones.

Not having pictures allows for a much more personal approach to the system. No visual examples means a person must put his/her own interpretation on the advice - which is the point, after all -- to learn to express oneself. People who don't like this book think some of the advice is not relatable to their lifestyles. That it is more suited for glamorous celebrity lifestyles.

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