How to wear colour

Older woman in a blue shirt looking through her colourful wardrobe.


With spring just around the corner, many people will trade their all-black winter wardrobe for bolder and more colourful prints. For those who are used to only sporting monochrome, wearing brighter clothing can be daunting. It can be difficult to recognise which colours clash with your skin tone and it can be difficult to tell which colours complement each other when putting together an outfit.   

The most important thing to remember is that balance is key. You might not want to head out in bright yellow from head to toe, but you might perhaps pair a yellow bag and shoes with dark navy or black trousers for a fun yet sophisticated appearance. 

How do you choose what colours to wear?  

If you’re shopping for a new outfit or want to upgrade your wardrobe with colours that complement you, it’s a good idea to identify whether you have a cool or warm skin tone.   

People with a cool skin tone tend to have pink, red or blue undertones, similar to Kate Winslet and Meryl Streep. If you have yellow or golden undertones, like Jennifer Aniston and Helen Mirren, your skin tone is likely to be warm. 

Still unsure? If you look at your inner arm in natural light and have blue-tinted veins, your tone is cool, whereas green-tinted veins suggest a warm tone. You can also test this by discovering which shade of jewellery brightens your complexion. If a gold necklace complements your tone, you’re warm, however, if you light up with silver, you’re cool. 

What colours should you wear with your skin tone?

  ●     Warm skin tone   

Soft and golden hues look great on people with a warmer complexion. If in doubt, resort to the warm end of the colour spectrum and opt for reds, ambers, peaches and golds. Earthy colours, such as olive, orchid and violet, will also expose your natural glow.     

 ●     Cool skin tone   

Those with cool undertones glow in the colours of the ocean, such as emerald, deep blue, bright purple and icy pink. If warmer colours are more your thing, ruby and rose hues are a great fit, as well as pale yellows and beiges. 

How to introduce colour to your wardrobe 

Start small by wearing brightly coloured accessories and when you’re feeling braver, move to singular items of clothing. Try a bright orange or turquoise watch, or even a bright red bag or gold belt. Singular pops of colour against a plain outfit is a simple but striking way to freshen up your appearance while conveying the fun aspects of your personality.   

From brightly coloured statement earrings to bold pendant necklaces, opt for different kinds of jewellery to transform your appearance. Once you’ve mastered the art of wearing colourful and intriguing accessories, take the plunge with a statement blouse or dress.   

If you have a meal, wedding or event approaching, you have the perfect opportunity to experiment with bolder options. You can’t go wrong with a deep turquoise blouse for cool-toned skin or a coral cocktail dress for those with warmer tones. 

How to wear colourful shoes 

Wearing coloured shoes is perhaps the easiest way to incorporate colour into your wardrobe. From mustards and limes to lilacs and rubies, it has never been easier to find your perfect shade of footwear. But how do you pull them off?   

●     Match your shoes with your outfit   

It’s true that shoes can make or break an outfit. It’s a general rule that you should combine bright attire with neutral shoes, for instance, cream and beige shoes would complement a bright red dress. This rule applies in reverse too, so you should pair a plain black outfit with bright green, yellow or blue shoes.   

●     Match your shoes with your handbag   

Pairing the same coloured shoes and bag together is the easiest way to achieve a harmonious ensemble. They don’t have to be an exact match, but as long as they’re similar shades, they’ll look like they belong together. This isn’t necessarily important if you’re just heading to the shops, but matching shoes and bags at formal occasions can create an elegant look.   

●     Stick to similar tones   

If you’re experimenting with more than one brightly coloured item, it’s important to make sure they don’t clash or compete with one another. To avoid this, check they are all the same intensity. Bright yellow shoes and a bright blue dress work well together, however, you could disturb the tonal balance by throwing in a muted pink bag.

What colour to wear with navy 

The colour navy is flattering against most skin tones. It’s not as harsh as black and can be stylish without appearing too conservative. A pop of pink against a navy garment is a match made in heaven, along with deep reds and romantic burgundy. Yellow and muted tones also contrast with the ocean colour in the best and most striking way, along with coral, green and white. 

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