Have you ever had your colors done? Back in the 80’s and early 90’s it was really “a thing” to have a color analysis performed by a professional so you’d have some guidance about what colors looked best on your skin tone. The idea was that by knowing what complements your skin tone best, you’d be able to optimize your clothing and makeup selections, and save time and money. Fast forward to today, there is definitely a resurgence (mostly thanks to TikTok) of honing in on what colors light you up (literally!). Embracing your natural skin tone with colors that flatter and complement, can help you look your best. Wearing colors that don’t match your skin tone can make you look dull and washed out…which is pretty much never the end goal, right? Today we’re going to focus on colors that make pale skin stand out in the very best way.
Before we dive in…a quick disclaimer. Just like trends and styles, it’s important to wear what makes you feel like the best, most confident version of yourself. Wear what makes you happy. Period. But if you do have pale skin and you’re looking to put your best face forward, there are traditionally some colors to gravitate toward AND away from. Use this post as a tool for direction and guidance. Wearing colors that work with your skin color on the top portion of your outfit can brighten your facial features and make you look radiant! When in doubt, hold the color up to your face to see what really works best for your skin tone. There are literally hundreds of shades of each color. And…just because one shade of a particular color might not work for you, it doesn’t mean you need to rule out that color altogether.
If you are someone who gravitates toward bright colors OR would love to learn how to style bright colors, make sure you check out this post next.
Determining Skin Tone and Undertone
There are 4 broad complexion types including Fair, Light, Medium, and Dark. But then within each of those, there are variations in each category. For the purpose of this post, we’ll be covering colors that look best on Pale, Fair, or Light skin tones. Then, for each complexion type, it’s important to know if you have warm, cool, or neutral undertones to your skin. As a general rule, if the veins in your wrist are more green/yellow, you likely have warm undertones. If the veins are blue/purple, you likely have a cool undertone. If bluish-green, then you might have a neutral undertone. Now that you have an idea of your undertone, let’s talk about 10 of the best colors to wear if you have pale skin.
What Colors Look Good On Pale Skin
1) Emerald Green
Emerald green is such a gorgeous shade on most skin tones and it’s particularly beautiful and intense against a pale skin tone. If you have cool undertones, jewel tones like emerald green are one of the best ways to instantly brighten your face and make your features pop. Emerald green is also a great choice if you have blue or green eyes. You can wear an emerald green top or sweater to brighten up your face, or even go for a monochromatic emerald green head-to-toe look.
2) Cobalt Blue
Cobalt blue is another jewel tone that looks SO amazing against fair skin. It will bring color to your face and create a nice contrast against light skin. In fact, cobalt blue is a great color for both cool and warm undertones and looks just as gorgeous on medium and dark skin tones as well. It pairs great with denim so it’s easy to style AND you’ll be surprised how many compliments you get when wearing this shade! Blue is everyone’s color. It’s inviting yet powerful.
3) Navy Blue
Sticking with the blue family, navy blue is another great color to wear if you have pale or light skin. Some very fair-skinned women tend to shy away from wearing black because they fear it’s too harsh and ages them. In that case, navy is such a perfect alternative. It’s classic, timeless, and easy to style with other neutrals like white, ivory, beige, gray, and even black (yep, you can wear navy and black together!). Another great thing about navy is that you can pair it with your gold AND silver jewelry.
Rounding out the blues, aqua is another bright jewel tone that’s a head-turner and looks fabulous on light skin. It’s also rather seasonless in that you can pair it with white jeans or shorts in spring/summer but also wear it with deeper blues, navy, or even metallics in the fall/winter. It’s bright and beautiful and a no-brainer if you have blue eyes.
There are SO many different shades of red including reds with blue, pink, and orange undertones so it can be tricky finding one that works for your particular skin tone. But if you have very pale skin, red can look quite striking! It can provide a beautiful contrast and add a pop of color to your complexion brightening up your cheeks and lips. People with warm undertones tend to look great in warm reds like brick, merlot, or tomato and then those with cool undertones tend to look best in ruby, cherry, or crimson shades of red. If in doubt, hold the color red up to your face and determine if it lights you up and adds color to your face or makes it appear dull or casts a yellow or green hue (red’s color wheel opposite!). If an all-red top seems too dramatic, you can always try a red print to test the waters. Red signals confidence and power.
6) Deep Purple
You may have heard that people with pale skin should avoid bold colors, but that simply is not true. Deep purple is an example of a bold color that looks particularly beautiful on those with cool undertones. We also love deep purple’s sisters like burgundy, eggplant, and plum. Associated with wealth and royalty, purple makes a statement! Erin doesn’t wear a ton of deep purple and tends to gravitate toward Bordeaux and burgundy but we’ll share some picks in both shades below.
To understand which shade of pink complements your skin tone, you’ll once again want to consult your undertone. In general, those with cool undertones will radiate in fuchsia, berry, and rose shades while those with warm undertones might look best in peachy pinks and coral or orangey pinks. Pink is such a feminine and youthful color and SO on-trend (Hi Barbie!). Just about any skin tone will shine in some version of pink but super pale pinks can sometimes wash out the very palest skin tones. If bright pink feels out of your comfort zone you can always try a pink patterned piece or even a pink blush or lip color to brighten up your face.
Yellow is tough. It can make you look green or even sick if you wear the wrong shade 🤢 When it comes to very pale skin, bright lemon yellows will likely be your best bet. Finding your shade of yellow will depend on your hair color and undertones. Still not sure? You’ll likely look best in a shade of yellow that contrasts with rather than matches your skin tone. Contrast is key!
9) Chocolate Brown
Brown is another neutral color like navy that can replace black in your wardrobe if black feels too harsh for you. It’s such a rich color that looks amazing on pale skin….especially deep dark chocolate browns because, once again, it creates…a stark contrast. Are you noticing a pattern? In many cases, the colors that look best on pale skin are those with the sharpest contrast.
Brown and black outfit combinations are cool, striking. and on-trend. You’ll find some great tips for wearing brown and black hues together in this post.
10) Pastel Shades
Pastel colors like lavender, baby blue, and mint green can look amazing on pale skin tones. Especially those with cool undertones. Breaking out your pastels in the spring/summer seems natural, but we LOVE them in the winter months too when they are a bit less expected. When wearing pale hues, you might want to balance out your makeup with some stronger shades as not to look too washed out. Then, you’ll still create that contrast we mentioned in most of the other looks.
What is your “it” color? Is there a color that you always get compliments when wearing? Let us know in the comments below! I think we’d have to go with pink as Erin’s “it” color!
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