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Dress for Your Skin Tone: The Best Examples

Young and beautiful woman in a short floaty dress

Ever wondered how celebrities manage to look good 24/7? You may put it down to their steady stream of stylists and designers always on hand to dress them in the finest fashions. Well, here’s a little secret that those same fashion stylists all preach to their celebrity clients – it all comes down to color.

Each of us has that one color that always gets us tons of compliments whenever we wear it. Think about it. Maybe it’s a striking red dress or a sultry blue blouse that never fails to garner praise at every showing.

So how can you pinpoint your standout color? It all boils down to your natural complexion. From very fair skin to deep, dark skin tones, we lay out the colors that will most accentuate your natural beauty.

How To Dress If You Have Fair Skin

Pale complexions typically have light eyes and naturally blonde or red hair. You may even notice fine freckles along your nose and cheeks, and your skin barely ever tans.

Colors to try: pastel shades (pale blue, baby pink and light turquoise).

Celebrity examples: Amanda Seyfried, Cate Blanchett and Julianne Moore

A Meeting of Pastels

Woman in blue jeans and soft pink sweater

Delicately Layered: Soft pinks and blues give fair skin a delicate quality, while ripped jeans toughen up this feminine look (photo: bloglovin.com)

With pale, very fair skin, soft colors take on a feminine, dreamy effect. Heighten this romantic persona by layering different pastels such as baby pink and powder blue. Ripped denim jeans add just the right amount of edge to this girly look.

The Bolder, the Better

Woman in deep blue and purple dress

Bold and Beautiful: Jaime King combines shades of deep blue and purple, beautifully enhancing the warmth and depth in her skin (photo: instyle.com)

Combining deep navy blues and purples in your outfit brings out the warmth in a fair skin tone, topped off with vibrant cobalt blue stiletto pumps for maximum effect.

Summer Serene

Young and beautiful woman in a short floaty dress

A Touch of Tan: Gold jewelry picks up the skin’s golden accents beautifully. Enhance the effect by choosing a floaty floral sundress (photo: wachabuy.com)

Certain types of fair skin can be prone to take on golden tones during the warmer months. If you’re one of the lucky ones, take advantage of your bronzed glow by wearing a strappy summer dress adorned in blue-tinged flowers.

What To Look For If Your Skin Is Medium Fair

Your skin will have a light, naturally tanned color to it during the summer months, but still be prone to fairness during the colder seasons.

Colors to try: bright colors like hot pink will bring warmth to your skin tone and brighten up your complexion.

Celebrity examples: Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato and Jessica Alba

Rubies & Roses

Lady in fiery red top and floaty skirt

Red Siren: Fiery red takes a ladylike twist – the perfect choice for medium-fair skin, topped off with flattering nude stilettos (photo: pinkpeonies.com)

Feminine daytime dressing can be sexy too with the combination of red and bold, scarlet flowers. Pair this ultra-feminine ensemble with pointy stiletto pumps in a color identical to your skin tone to accentuate your silhouette and lengthen your legs.

Grey’s Anatomy

Jessica Alba in grey and black color outfit

Shades of Grey: Dove grey and black not only add dimension to Jessica Alba’s skin tone, they’re bang on trend too (photo: daily.newlook.com)

Jessica Alba’s skin tone lends itself to many different color combinations. Here she shows us how to achieve elegance and simplicity in a dove grey coat paired with a black top, black jeans and topped off with darker grey boots.

The Beauty of Greige

Woman in beige grey skirt and white top

Girly Greys: Delicately blending grey and beige, this color beautifully brings out the olive tones in medium-fair skin (photo: tsangtastic.com)

If you have medium fair skin, the latest color trend of greige will do wonders for your skin tone. A balanced mixture of grey and beige, this color adds dimension to the olive tones in the skin, as seen here in a longer-length wrap skirt worn with a sleeveless ribbed white vest and lace-up open-toed shoes, also in greige.

If Your Skin Is Light Tan

Women with this complexion can usually trace their ancestry to Latin America, Western Europe and some parts of Asia. Typically referred to as olive-skinned, women with this skin tone can luckily wear almost any color and still look gorgeous.

Colors to try: pale pink, mint green and canary yellow

Celebrity examples: Penelope Cruz, Aishwarya Rai and Eva Mendes

Creamy Delight

Jamie Chung in creamy colored outfit

Lush Layers: Creamy colors like ivory white and porcelain pink brighten up naturally lightly tanned skin like Jamie Chung (photo: myveryownpensieve.tumblr.com)

If your skin is a naturally light tan color, try layering clothing in shades of muted creamy colors. The warmth in your skin tone will become instantly radiant, as seen here against a pale pink top and darker blush jacket worn over brilliant white pants.

Femininity at its Finest

Woman in pink and subtle nude shades outfit on the street

Softly Feminine: Nothing says femininity like pale pinks and subtle nude shades, all colors perfectly complemented to lightly tanned skin (photo: careergirldaily.com)

For a look that elevates your light tan, complement these ultra-girly colors with a pair of edgy ripped jeans – all topped off with slinky nude stilettos, of course.

Bohemian Blush

Woman in a dusky shade outfit

Dusky and Demure: Part-playful, part-feminine, this outfit in a dusky shade is great for women with olive skin and darker features (photo: fashionce.com)

For a more contemporary, sexy look, dark coral is a great choice for an all-over jumpsuit, especially suited to more olive skin tones.

What To Wear With A Medium Tan Skin

These women have naturally tanned skin in shades of light coffee to honey caramel. With warm tones to their skin, they also look radiant in practically any color they choose to wear.

Colors to try: neon shades are striking and can really make your complexion glow.

Celebrity examples: Shay Mitchell, Kim Kardashian and Rihanna

Burgundy Brigade

Woman in deep wine colored dress

Berry Blaze: This color is deep and multifaceted, perfect for warming up your skin during dreary grey winter months (photo: stylishwife.com)

For a striking look that is still office-friendly, pick a slim-fitting pencil dress in a rich wine tone to add some color to your skin in the colder seasons.

Coral Craze

Rochelle Humes in shorts and pink jacket

Just Peachy: The warmth created by this coral shorts suit perfectly plays up the golden tones in Rochelle Humes’ skin (photo: dailymail.co.uk)

The British singer uses this summery color to enhance the tones in her skin color, while the warm coral and rich brown of her shoes and handbag are offset beautifully by a simple white vest.

If You Have A Dark Tan Skin

Still of the olive variety, this complexion has a darker tint to it. While still warm and golden during summer, this skin tone can look ashen and dull at times.

Colors to try: Deep purple and bright tangerine can lift up a dull complexion.

Celebrity examples: Zoe Saldana, Chanel Iman and Kerry Washington

Wistful in White

For skin with a darker tan such as Zoe Saldana, a gentle off-white color works best as a brighter shade could make the skin seem sallow and ashen. Wearing this shade, her skin appears bright in comparison.

Layers of White

Woman in blue jeans and white top

White on White: Layers of pale-colored clothing will still give the effect of one uniform color while complementing darker skin tones (photo: ecstacymodels.tumblr.com)

A clever way of incorporating white into your look is by layering different shades of the color throughout your outfit. Here a flared bright white blouse is layered underneath a light pale-colored jersey, still giving the effect of one uniform color while being complementary to the skin tone.

Metallic Muse

Model Lais Ribeiro in black, white and metallic colors

Striped Style: Model Lais Ribeiro dazzles in white, black and metallic – colors that would complement almost every skin tone (photo: fashionacidic.blogspot.com)

This dress is an all-around winner and would work well against a variety of skin tones, given its even distribution of white, black and metallic colors. The addition of a bold red lip works beautifully against the warm tones in this particular color complexion.

If Your Skin Is Dark

Naturally dark skin can range from dark brown to a deep blue-black shade, the intensity usually dependent on your ancestry and ethnic make-up.

Colors to try: bold colors like cobalt blue to contrast your skin, as well as golds and metallics.

Celebrity examples: Alek Wek, Lauryn Hill and Lupita Nyong’o

Magenta Magic

Corinne Bailey Rae with a pink dress

Pink Meets Gold: Touches of gold on her dress and shoes perfectly accentuate the golden undertones in Corinne Bailey Rae’s skin (photo: glamsugar.com)

The singer wears the ideal color for her complexion – a rich, warm magenta which perfectly accents the warmth in her skin. Hints of matte gold on her dress and shoes further do wonders to accentuate the golden undertones in her skin. Combined with her dark brown curls, the overall effect is strikingly gorgeous.

Azure Dream

Woman in with blue top and black mini skirt

A Case of the Blues: Darker skin makes any shade of blue sparkle (photo: afternoonexpress.co.za)

When darker skin is set against blue of any shade, the skin’s undertones are naturally reflected. Paired simply with a pair of black leather shorts and black stiletto heels, this brilliant blue top adds a luminous glow to the skin.