It's not as tricky as you think.

By Andrea Cheng and Samantha Sutton
Dec 31, 2019 @ 2:00 pm
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There's something comforting about an all-black outfit: it's considered timeless, it looks great on everyone, and putting those pieces together each morning requires little to no effort. But what about all the other colors out there? The vibrant shades we frequently spot celebrities wearing (and wearing so freakin' well), but seem slightly intimidating to pull off on our own?

Incorporating more color into your wardrobe might seem overwhelming and near-impossible at first, but the truth is it's pretty easy — once you learn the rules. It all boils down to finding out which colors best flatter your skin tone, helping 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 Mandy Moore, Laura Dern, and Natasha Lyonne) told us. "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, which can 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, she broke things down for us, revealing the basics of which skin tones look best with certain colors, as well as which ones those same people should avoid.

Of course, the true number one rule of fashion is that there are no rules, so take these suggestions with a grain of salt and wear whatever you feel comfortable in.

RELATED: 22 Outfit Ideas That Revolve Around a Pair of Black Jeans

YOU'RE WARM IF...

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Your Skin Tone... 

Has a greenish or yellowish (AKA golden) undertone. Olive complexions also fall in the warm category.

Your Hair Color... 

Ranges from dark brown to dark blonde.

Go-To Colors From the Warm Color Family: 

Oranges, reds, golden yellow, amber, and honey gold.

Go-To Colors From the Cool Color Family:

Warmer greens and blues such as olive, deeper turquoise, green moss, fern, pesto, and red-purples (think: magenta and orchid shades).

Some Neutrals to Try: 

Taupe, hot chocolate, creamy whites, winter wheat, and latte.

Colors to Avoid:

Icy shades and jeweled tones (amethyst, sapphire, ruby).

Your Celebrity Inspiration: 

Jennifer Lopez, Katie Holmes, Jessica Alba, and Beyoncé.

RELATED: How to Get Away With Wearing Leggings for Every Occasion

YOU'RE COOL IF...

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Your Skin Tone...

Has a bluish undertone. It can also range from very fair to very dark.

Your Hair Color...

Can range from very dark (blue-black or a deep brown) to light blonde.

Go-To Colors From the Cool Color Family:

Bright blue, royal blue, sapphire, emerald, amethyst, deep purples, lavender, and lilac snow.

Go-To Colors From the Warm Color Family:

Shocking pink (in place of hot pink), cerise, ruby, and bright rose.

Some Neutrals to Try:

Gray, navy, and pristine white.

Colors to Avoid:

Oranges and yellows.

Your Celebrity Inspiration:

Lupita Nyong'o, Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett, Viola Davis, and Lucy Liu.

YOU'RE NEUTRAL IF...

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Your Skin Tone...

Is hard to determine; you can't tell if you're warm or cool.

Your Hair Color...

Is a combination of colors — blonde with ashy streaks or brown with warmer tones.

Your Eye Color...

Is hazel. Most neutrals have hazel eyes, because they tend to change depending on what color they wear.

Go-To Colors:

You're best suited for neutral colors that fall in the middle of the color spectrum. Look for light peach, dusty pinks, soft rose, peony pink, placid blue, jade green, and cameo green.

Some Neutrals to Try:

Taupes, grays, or off-whites like vanilla.

Colors to Avoid:

Anything too bright or vibrant that can overwhelm, along with reds and yellows. If you do decide to wear yellow, try a soft version like cornsilk or buff.

Your Celebrity Inspiration: ​​​​​

Amal Clooney, Kerry Washington, Angelina Jolie, Rachel McAdams, and Julia Roberts.

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