Let’s talk about what looks best with your skin color.
Color and complexion are pretty important topics we haven’t discussed much here.
This seems to be monumentally important to the ladies when they apply makeup, which makes sense when you’re basically coloring your face.
I doubt guys give it much thought; to be honest, I hardly do either. But if you’re spending time picking out some nice clothes to wear, why not take that extra step to pick colors that look best with your skin tone?
There are plenty of ways to determine the optimal color palette for your skin tone, but it really doesn’t have to be complicated.
If we men follow a few simple pointers, we should be okay.
“Do these colors go together?”
In this video, I’m giving you 5 easy tips for matching your outfit. These are tips you can use right now, and they’re super simple to remember.
And yeah, I tell you why you shouldn’t worry too much about skin tone when getting dressed. Just follow the tips in the video.
By the way, are you subscribed to Effortless Gent on YouTube? If not, you should be 😉
How To Find Colors That Look Good On You
Believe it or not, color is a hard thing to get wrong, and luckily for guys, it doesn’t matter that much anyway. There’s a set of colors I call #menswearNeutrals that works great for all guys.
As far as the chart I put together (see below), there’s a good chance you may not have the exact coloring of any of these examples, and that’s fine. Just choose someone who matches closest. And if you’re in between two guys’ skin complexion, you can wear colors (and avoid colors) assigned to both of them.
Just keep in mind that most colors look fine on everyone, and you can’t really go wrong.
This list isn’t scientifically proven, so use it as a general guideline, and deviate when necessary. Remember that none of this is set in stone with no exceptions; it’s important for you to try stuff and see what looks good on you.
Some things to remember off the bat:
- If you have a lighter, paler complexion, avoid stark black and white
- If you have a medium complexion, the primary and bold colors will suit you well
- If you’re a darker skin tone, you have more freedom with whites and pastels than most
Assuming you can remember those basic rules, you’ll be good, but let’s see if we can dig a bit deeper.
Not sure which colors look best on you?
Grab our Contrast Cheat Sheet, free!
Dress for your skin tone
If your complexion closely resembles Conan O’Brien, focus on warm khaki colors, peach tones, teals, red, bright blues and greens.
Try to avoid: Black and white. The stark contrast is too much for your skin and will only accentuate the lack of color.
Let’s say you have the coloring of Justin Timberlake. Pastels look best on you. Think baby blue, light pink, lavender, pale yellow. Neutrals also look good on you, such as a lighter beige and heather gray.
Try to avoid: Really striking or primary colors. Also, too much deep, dark color can wash you out. Stay away from all black or all navy.
If you have more olive or tan skin like Adrian Grenier, try warm colors such as rich browns, orange-yellow, olive green, deep reds, and purples.
Try to avoid: White and black, pastels, any kind of faded color. These don’t work well with your complexion.
Lastly, let’s say you have a complexion like Will Smith. Dark colors look great on you like black, dark gray, and navy. Rich, deep colors also look good. Think emerald green, sapphire blue, royal purple. Bright white and pastel colors look great as well.
Try to avoid: Earthy tones and washed out colors; these don’t do anything for you.
Four Colors That Look Good On Everyone
There are four colors that are “universally flattering”, regardless of your skin tone. These colors are Eggplant, True Red, Indian Teal, and Mellow Rose.
Kinda weird names, I know. But look at the photos of the women below. All different complexions, but none of them look sickly or pale when wearing these colors.
How would guys wear these colors?
Easiest way would be to pick one item of clothing in one of these colors, and keep everything else in your outfit neutral. #menswearNeutrals! (Watch this video if you don’t know what menswear neutrals are).
So for example, Indian Teal and Eggplant (or similar variants) would look great as sweaters.
True red? Try a Polo shirt. Mellow rose is basically a light pink / peach color, so try a dressy button-up under a blazer. As long as you find something in between those two hues, you’re good.
Did this help you figure out which colors work best for you?
This is one of EG’s most popular posts. You can find the whole Back To Basics series here. This article was originally published April 21, 2011, and was last updated June 17, 2018 (added video resource and more information to all sections).