Is your perfect colour deep terracotta or soft aquamarine? Fashion websites will often try and rope you into a test that promises to find that one precise colour that suits you best.
If only it were that simple. Rather than looking for that holy grail of colours that brings out the best in you, fashion consultants say you’re better off consciously thinking about which colours are better and which are worse for your skin tones.
After all, new colour palettes go in and out of fashion as the seasons pass – so why settle for just one?
“Sometimes you just have to try it out,” says fashion trend analyst Carl Tillessen. When you look in the mirror, you should make it a habit of asking yourself not just you’re wearing nice clothes, but also whether they flatter your skin tone.
“If we wear colours that do not match our skin undertone, the face suddenly looks dull, paler and spottier in some cases,” colour and style expert Nicola Schmidt says.
Your skin undertone is key here, as countless fashion mags have pointed out. Unlike your general skin (and hair) colour, which changes in the sun, your undertone stays the same for a lifetime.
In order to find the right colours for each individual, stylists rely on colour theory to determine what season you are: the biggest difference is between cool (summer/winter) and warm (spring/autumn) tones.
Cool or warm? Silver or gold?
You can find out whether your undertone is cool or warm by alternately holding some gold and some silver fabric under your chin. If the golden fabric makes you look more vibrant, then you’re a spring or autumn type. If silver makes you shine, you’re a summer or winter type.
Contrary to what one might expect from the summer type, delicate colours such as light blue, lilac, mint or pink harmonise well with so-called cooler skin tones.
The colours of spring are often light tones such as apricot, lime green or honey yellow. These often flatter people with a warm, golden-yellow or peach-coloured skin tone.
The skin of the autumn type is also warm and golden. Earthy and warm tones like chocolate brown or fir green are recommended, as well as bright copper red.
Always wearing black is no solution
To avoid doing anything wrong, many will resort to wearing black clothes the whole time. “It swallows up any light and with it your personal outline. That’s why it’s also well suited for concealing and making us appear slimmer,” says trend expert Tillessen.
On the other hand, contrasting colours like black and white can leave a cold authoritarian impression. Other colours also convey feelings to us. “For example, red appears energetic and powerful, white very well groomed, fresh and clean, and green is close to nature,” explains Tillessen.
If you want to take small steps towards incorporating more colour into your wardrobe but don’t know where to start – go with blue tones like turquoise or petrol, especially if you have lighter skin.