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What Colors Should I Wear?

Whether you're a fashionista or a style novice, it's important to wear colors that work with your skin tone and hair color. That means that you need to start at the beginning and determine what colors work for you.

Figuring out the colors that best compliment your colors and features is not an exact science. While there are plenty of guidelines and supposed "rules" about what colors work best with your skin tone, there are no hard and fast rules to which you must adhere.

Focus primarily on your skin tones when determining the right colors for you to wear. After all, you can always change your hair color or wear colored contact lenses, but changing the fundamental tone of your skin is expensive, dangerous (i.e. UV damage and harsh chemical treatments) and practically impossible. Don't fight your natural skin tone; work with it to achieve your best look.

How to Determine Your Skin Tone

You can't figure out what colors work best for you without first determining your skin tone. Examine your skin closely without wearing any makeup at all. Not one speck.
In addition, you will need to have the right lighting. Avoid fluorescent bulbs as fluorescent lighting will affect the quality and look of the colors. Put a white towel around your shoulders and avoid bold colors in the background when looking in a mirror. You don't want any distracting outside colors.

Discounting any suntan that you might have, look at the fundamental tones of your complexion. Regardless of race, most skin has red, blue, pink or yellow undertones. If your skin looks bluish or pinkish, try for cool colors. If you have yellow or red undertones, stick with warm colors.

When thinking of warm colors, consider fire and the sun; shades of reds, oranges, yellows should work nicely. Additional warm colors include

Yellow green

Brown

Ivory

Cool colors should bring to mind the sky, water and ice. Most blue and green colors should be great choices for you. Other cool colors include:

Bluish-gray

Black

Pure white

Bright pink

Burgundy
If your mirror/white towel experiment isn't helping you determine your complexion's undertones or the warm-cool formula isn't helping you determine which colors work best for you, don't despair. You might just have the solution to your problem in your closet.

Grab a bunch of your clothes in a range of colors. Go back to the mirror-without wearing any makeup-and put a color next to your face, one piece at a time and see how your skin changes with each color match. A good color match should:

Make your skin and eyes appear bright

Reduce the appearance of the any wrinkles

Diminish the appearance of skin blemishes

A bad color match might:

Make shadows in your skin look more pronounced

Make your skin look dull

Make your skin look washed out

Tips for Working with Personal Colors

Once you get an idea of what personal colors work best for you, you can begin the fine-tuning process. As a start, you can use complementary colors to enhance your eyes or hair color. Complementary colors are the colors that are located opposite of one another on the color wheel. For example:

  • red is opposite green
  • blue is opposite orange
  • yellow is opposite violet

Therefore, if you have red hair and want to enhance the appearance of your hair, wear a green scarf as an accessory.

You can also work with color intensity. Color intensity might be defined as the concentration or force of a color. For example, emerald green is an intense shade of green. Going back to the example of red hair, a bright red ruby brooch might be a terrific accessory.

Determining which colors look best on you isn't just about finding the most complimentary colors for your complexion. Color psychology can also play a role in color analysis. Some studies show that colors can have a psychological impact on human beings. Of course, the psychology is sometimes conflicting, but that's where your sense of personal taste can come into play.

For example, take black. Black is a classic, slimming color that evokes effortless sophistication and chic. Who doesn't have a little black dress in her wardrobe?
Black can convey power and authority. On the other hand, some associate black with submission, as priests wear black in submission to a higher authority. In addition, the bad guys in classic films always wear black. Black is often associated with evil and darkness and or even grief.

While dressing in head-to-toe black is super slimming, it's best to add in a touch of color-a scarf, a broach-in one of your complimentary colors to brighten the overall mood of your outfit.

The Psychology of Colors

Blue, the color of the ocean and the sky, is a soothing color. Blue is supposed to induce feelings of tranquility and symbolize loyalty. However, blue can also be taken as a cold or depressing color.

Red is a color of contradictions. It's the color of love, but red also indicates hostility and anger. Wearing red may even adversely affect business negotiations. Red is a bold color that can stir up very strong feelings, both positive and negative, so use red judiciously in your wardrobe.

Yellow is a bright and sunny color. Yellow conveys friendship and optimism. However, yellow can also be overpowering to the eye. People also tend to get crankier than usual when spending time in yellow rooms.
White usually symbolizes purity, like angels and innocence. In addition to attracting a host of stains, white clothes give off a crisp, reverent vibe. Accessorize with a splash of red or blue, depending on your mood, or go for the duality of a black and white ensemble.

Color analysis and knowing what colors work best for you can help you look the best that you can. There are also other benefits of knowing your best personal colors.

Knowing your personal colors can save you time and money. You will no longer have to play guessing games when buying clothes or makeup as you'll already know which colors work for you and which colors to avoid.

Armed with this color knowledge, you can clean out your closet and donate any clothes that don't work for you while concentrating on the colors that convey the mood you want to express and look great with your skin tone.