When you’re out buying a new shirt, do you consider if its colour matches your skin tone? Probably not. Most men would likely pick whatever colour catches their eye and stand in front of a mirror deciding if it looks good or not. This is completely fine. Experimentation allows you to spice up your look, so feel free to try on any colour you fancy.
While there are no hard and fast rules as to what colours you can or cannot wear, knowing what colour looks best on you can have its advantages. One, it can help in cutting down the time you spend in the fitting room. Two, if you’re shopping online, you can choose with certainty the colour to get without having to try it on beforehand.
What’s your skin tone?
The first step is determining your skin tone. To do this, take a look at your forearm. In order to decide which colours should form the core of your wardrobe, you’ll need to determine whether your skin is pale, medium/olive, or dark.
Does your skin burn easily when you’re under the sun? Do you have freckles? If you’ve got pale skin and light features, then you have a fair/pale skin tone also known as a ‘cool’ complexion.
On the other hand, if you tan under the sun without much burning, you most likely have a medium skin tone. You have a ‘warm’ complexion with yellow, yellow/peach, and olive undertones.
Finally, there is the dark skin tone. This skin tone tans without burning and includes various shades of brown with yellow, red, or blue undertones.
What colours are the best for you?
If you’ve got fair or pale skin, then hues that clearly contrast with your skin tone works best for you as they can, quite literally, give some colour to your complexion. Darker colours like grey, brown, burgundy, bottle green, navy and bolder shades of blue can contrast beautifully with your skin tone, making you look vibrant.
On this note, you may want to avoid soft, pastel shades or bright colours as they’ll only wash you out. If you want to wear neutrals, avoid white, light beige and stone. Instead, choose richer shades such as sand, camel, khaki and slate grey.
If you have medium skin tone, you can generally wear most colours, but ‘warm’ earth tones such as browns, tan, khaki, yellow, green, orange, gray, blues, and some reds may suit you best. Other flattering colors are cream, black, and navy blue. If you want to wear white or pastel colours, make sure you are tanned enough to pull off the look without being washed out.
If you have dark skin tone, you can wear a vast majority of hues and shades as your complexion does not easily appear washed out unlike the paler skin tones. However, avoid wearing brown when possible as it won’t clearly contrast with your skin and will therefore not highlight your best features. This is such a versatile skin tone, so make the most out of it by trying out different colours!
These are not hard and fast rules, but a guideline to what colours may show you in your best light. As a men’s stylist and personal shopper with many years working with clients from all ethnic backgrounds, I’ve learnt a thing or two about colours. As mentioned earlier, feel free to experiment and see how a particular colour looks on you. Also, take note of the colours you’re wearing when someone pays you a compliment, as you may use this as a guage on what colours bring out the best in you!