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Colors for skin complexion?

Sway23

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I've noticed that skin complexion seems to make a big difference in determining what colors look good on a given person. I tend to have a fair/pale skin complexion. Generally what colors are good for this sort of complexion, and what colors should I avoid?
I tend to think that the more "traditional" (for lack of a better word) colors tend to look better on me... such as black, white, brown, and dark blue, while bolder colors like orange, yellow, and light greens tend to not go as well.
 

Nick M

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What's your hair color? That can be an important factor as well...
 

Sway23

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Good point, I have black hair, but it's buzzed real short.
 

esquire.

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We also need to know the color of your hair and eyes.

If you had blue eyes, I would wear something blue to make those eyes pop out more. I don't think this rule applies to asians. Or, maybe, I just don't like brown colors too much.

I also have pale skin, with sandy colored hair. I find wearing black and white by itself doesn't look too good on me. Instead, I go with colors that are in the same color family. I try to wear things that aren't loud.

It's really hard to describe without having a picture of you.

You might try reading Color for Men. It was really big in the 80s. I don't know if people still believe in too much, but it should give you a basic idea for what colors would look good on you.
 

Nick M

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Given that I have a similar skin/hair combination to you, I find there's very few colors we can't wear - only shades of that color. It's all to do with the undertones of your skin, and the undertones of the fabrics, a simple theory that, nevertheless, completely goes over my head.
Put simply, every color has a shade that will work with your complexion - If you look overwhelmed in a bright orange, try a burnt orange, which may very well work for you. Pale green isn't your color? I find a grass-green to deep-green shirt can look very nice. Purple is an underused color, I think, and many shades - especially the more 'royal' purples - can look fantastic. Several members here have much more comprehensive systems than I do - but until they post, the simplest test is simply to hold the fabric up to your face and see how it looks. Also - avoid beige. Ain't gonna happen.
 

acole

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For color suggestions you could try Andy's forum. Â Scroll down and read the bits under 'COORDINATION' and you'll get some good tips. Â There's also this page as well as articles 1, 2, and 3 at Actors Northwest. Â Confused yet?
  I haven't ever been able to pin down what 'season' I am...I just try stuff on and go with what looks right.  For me, the colors that work don't fit neatly into a seasonal category.  I'm still trying to work it out, but I tend to think that the standard 'power' colors (navy/black/charcoal) are so accepted as a uniform that they don't ever look entirely wrong on anyone.  As for the rest, you (or perhaps a lady companion?) can usually tell pretty easily if something overwhelms or washes you out.  I think it's good to patronize stores that are easy about returns (I really like Nordstrom b/c of this).  If you can take an item home, you can relax and try it under different kinds of lighting, and match it against the rest of your wardrobe--all of which is kind of hard to do in the dressing rooms. --Adam
 

clarinetplayer

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the simplest test is simply to hold the fabric up to your face and see how it looks.
I often request if I can take the shirt or suit fabric outside so I can see what the color looks like in "real" light.  Often, the lighting in stores is so muted that colors--at least to me--do not look as they ought.  Frequently, I see a color that I like, but when I hold it to my face in a mirror, or take it outside in natural light, I realize that it isn't "right" for me.
 

NavyStyles

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I often request if I can take the shirt or suit fabric outside so I can see what the color looks like in "real" light.
That's a great idea.  I can remember one particular instance when I bought a pair of pants that looked slate grey.  When I was putting them on at home, I noticed they had a very olive green tint to them.  Those tricky store owners...
 

clarinetplayer

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 When I was putting them on at home, I noticed they had a very olive green tint to them.  Those tricky store owners...
I cannot tell you how many times I've purchased socks thinking they were black only to discover (at home) that they were dark blue. Â I have learned to read the color on the label. Â My worst experience was at a concert, while wearing a tux, that I noticed that my black socks were actually a rather shocking blue. Â
 

A Harris

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If at all possible, look at the item under the sort of light you will primarily be wearing it under. The change in color under different lights can be DRAMATIC. I've had items that I've photographed, and then re-edited the pictures several times before realizing that my editing wasn't way off as I had thought - the light had changed.
 

Sway23

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Yikes, after reading all that, it appears that it'll be easier to just try them on and judge for myself instead of trying to guess what would look good.

I have definitely noticed that lightning makes a huge difference too. A lot of times, I'll have an outfit on that looks great in my bedroom mirror but just so-so in natural light.
 

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