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How to Complement Your Complexion with Color

Earlier this year we heard from Kristin Pielech of Stylistriss with tips on how to mix patterns to add a little personality to your office wear. This week, Stylistriss is back! Here she talks about how to complement your complexion by being selective about the colors you choose to wear. Similar to how not all trends work for all body types, not all colors complement all skin tones.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get the job just because you wore your colors, but it’s the look-good-feel-good effect. Knowing you look your best will make you feel your best, and thus you’ll project your best-self during the interview.

If you’re wondering whether the blue shirt or the white shirt makes you look more energized, read on!

Stylistriss - complement your complexion

In general, there are three groups of skin tones which help determine what colors are best for you: Cool, warm and neutral. Defining your skin tone by one of these general categories is the first step to finding your complimentary colors. Here are a few steps to determine your tone:

  1. Look at your inside wrist: what color are your veins? If they are blue/purple in color- you are a cool tone. If they are a green/yellow in color- you are a warm tone. And if your veins are neither of these colors - you are neutral tone.
  2. Use the sun test: How easily do you burn? Those who burn easily are a cool tone; those who tan easily are warm tone; and those who are not really affected by the sun are neutrals.
  3. Compare to white paper: What color is your skin compared to the white paper? You should be able to discern undertones that fall in the same color categories as your veins in the first technique.


Dressing for cool tones

Colors for cool skin tones

Jewel tones are your friends! Look for emerald, ruby, bright blues, deep purple, lavender, ice blue, and blush pink. Your neutral palette includes cool gray, bright white and navy.

Do your best to avoid oranges, yellows, and tomato red - these will clash with your skin tone.

Dressing for warm tones

Colors for warm skin tones

Deep nature colors are your ideals! Stick with amber, gold, red, peach, coral, moss, and turquoise. Your neutrals include taupe, cream and light gray.

Avoid jewel tones like sapphire and ruby, they will wash you out.

Dressing for neutral tones

Colors for neutral skin tones

If you fall in this category, you are a lucky because most colors look great on you! Just about everything will complement your complexion but to look your absolute best, choose muted over bright colors. These include dusty pink, jade green, corn yellow, and light blue.

Your neutral colors are coffee brown, black, and medium gray.

While there are few colors that will wash you out, try to avoid extra bright colors like magenta and electric blue.


Classics for everyone

There are a few colors that I believe everyone can wear with the right accessories. These are true white, black, pale pink, eggplant purple, and teal.

My takeaway tip: Accept the compliment when people tell you "that color is so you", or "you look amazing in that", and take a mental note of what you’re wearing. It’s a wonderful sign that you have found one of your key colors!


The tips laid out in this post are general suggestions for all genders and ages, based on skin tone. Your eye color and hair color can affect your optimal color palette. If you’d like more specific guidance on what colors and styles compliment you most, contact Stylistriss.

Did you follow the tips laid out in this post? How do you feel in your colors? Share your experience with how you complement your complexion with us in the comments!

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