It's all about your skin's undertones.

By Julia GuerraSamantha Sutton and Andrea Cheng
Updated Apr 27, 2021 @ 6:00 pm
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How to Find the Best Color to Wear For Your Skin Tone
Credit: Ernesto S. Ruscio/Getty Images

Incorporating more color into your wardrobe might seem overwhelming and near-impossible at first, but the truth is it's pretty easy. Of course, there are no "rules" to fashion — you can literally wear whatever colors you'd like, and we bet you'll look darn good in them, too. That being said, identifying which colors best flatter your specific skin tone can help you stand out in a crowd and radiate from the inside out.

"Color is the number one most important thing to me when it comes to styling; it's what makes my service unique," stylist Cristina Ehrlich — who works with Laura Dern, Rachel Brosnahan, Uzo Aduba, and Natasha Lyonne — told InStyle. "The first thing I do with a new client is study their skin tone and figure out what's going to look best. It's easy to wear black, but color can be so beautiful."

Just like with makeup and hair, the key to finding your most flattering colors starts with skin tone, or rather, skin undertone, which can be grouped into three categories: warm, cool, and neutral.

"Many people have a natural proclivity to understanding which one of those categories they fall into because it's fairly obvious," said Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute and author of More Alive with Color. "Beauty rules based on skin tone would also apply to what you would wear, which will make up the nucleus of your wardrobe."

To make it simple, we asked stylists to break things down for us and reveal which skin tones look best with certain colors — and how to figure out which group we belong to in the first place. But remember, take these suggestions with a grain of salt. What matters is that you wear whatever you feel most comfortable in.

You're Warm If...

Which Color Looks Best With Skintones
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Your Skin Tone

Has a greenish or yellowish (aka golden) undertone. Olive complexions also fall in the warm category, says Eiseman.

Your Hair Color

Ranges from dark brown to dark blonde, Eiseman tells InStyle.

Your Jewelry Preference

Is yellow gold. According to fashion stylist Britt Theodora, the type of jewelry you instinctively gravitate towards might be telling of your skin's tone. If you feel yellow gold looks best on your skin, you probably have a warmer skin tone, she says.

Go-To Colors for Warmer Skin Tones

LA-based fashion and celebrity stylist Philippe Uter tells InStyle that he associates warm skin tones with warm colors, like orange, yellow, or even gold. He adds that bright colors also make the perfect match, while Theodora says that natural earth tones such as browns, deep tonal reds, and rich shades of green look great as well.

Colors You Might Want to Avoid

As far as Uter is concerned, there aren't really any colors warmer skin colors should avoid. That being said, he does suggest only wearing black if it’s a “slick and graphic piece.”

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Kat McNamara, Jennifer Lopez, Katie Holmes, Jessica Alba, and Beyoncé

You're Cool If...

Which Color Looks Best With Skintones
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Your Skin Tone

Has a bluish undertone. This group can also range from very fair to very dark, Eiseman tells InStyle.

Your Hair Color

Ranges from very dark (blue-black or a deep brown) to light blonde, says Eiseman.

Your Jewelry Preference

According to Theodora, those in the cool group tend to prefer silver, rose gold, or a mix of both.

Go-To Colors for Cooler Skin Tones

Cooler tones look fantastic in charcoal, cool blues, and violet, says Theorodra. However, Uter adds that you might want to keep in mind that strong colors can make cool skin tones look paler.

"I usually love pastel colors to bring some softness to the silhouette," he tells us, and also recommends adding blues and pinks, soft yellow, or green to your wardrobe.

Colors You Might Want to Avoid

Uter's biggest no-no when it comes to dressing cooler skin tones are too bold, strong colors, such as electric blue or green grass. Eiseman warns against wearing oranges and yellows.

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You're Neutral If...

Which Color Looks Best With Skintones
Credit: Getty Images

Your Skin Tone

Is hard to determine. Eiseman tells InStyle that if you're a neutral skin tone, you really can't tell if you're warm or cool.

Your Hair Color

Is a combination of colors, according to Eiseman. Think blonde with ashy streaks or brown with warmer tones.

Your Eye Color

Is hazel. Most neutrals have hazel eyes, which tend to change depending on what color they wear, Eiseman tells InStyle.

Your Jewelry Preference

Is a mix and match of metals, says Theodora.

Go-To Colors For Cooler Skin Tones

According to Theorodra, neutral tones look great in neutral colors, so stick with shades that fall in the middle of the color spectrum. Still, if your goal is adding more pizzazz to your wardrobe than white, beige, and taupe can offer, Eiseman suggests gravitating towards shades of light peach, dusty pinks, soft rose, peony pink, placid blue, jade green, and cameo green.

Colors You Might Want to Avoid

Reds, yellows, and anything too bright or vibrant that can overwhelm are typically a no-go for neutral skin tones, Eiseman tells InStyle. If you do decide to wear yellow, she says, try a soft version like cornsilk or buff.

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