Light, medium or olive and brown are the three main skin tones. Caucasians generally have porcelain, light-skinned complexions. Latinos, people of mixed race and Asians generally have an olive or medium skin tone. African-Americans and Indians have a brown complexion. While some colors can look great on one skin tone, they can make another skin tone look ruddy or washed out. Flatter your skin tone by wearing working complementary colors into your wardrobe.
Light skin tones look good in pastels and some strong colors such as dark blue. Work beige, nudes and browns into your wardrobe. For a pop of color look for navy blue or baby blue, lavender, lemon and light pink. Steer clear of bright purple, red, orange, yellow or bright whites. Black clothing washes out light skin so avoid it. Harsh colors are not flattering for light skin tones. Remember blue clothing brings out blue eyes and green clothing brings out green eyes.
Medium or Olive Skin Tone
Medium and olive skin tones look good in earth-toned clothing. Flattering colors include black, nude, beige, khaki, navy, dark reds and pink. Dark brown, lime green and olive-green are not flattering for olive skin tones. Also stay clear of gold and oranges. These colors can make your skin look sallow. Take care not to wear anything that matches too closely with your skin’s hue.
Dark skin tones look great in white, khaki, gray, light blue, eggplant, bright red, orange and pink. Black, turquoise, bright green, dark brown and navy blue are not flattering colors for those with dark skin. If you have to wear black, work in a piece of clothing that is a complementary color. For men ties work well for this purpose and for women, think scarves, belts, shoes and purses. Look for clothes that bring out dark hair and eyes and cause a contrast of color.
Based out of Kansas, Holly Smith has been an active writer and reporter since 2003, working primarily in online news. She has written for "Kansas Liberty News" the "K-State Collegian" and worked as an on-air reporter for "Manhattan Matters" and the "Educational Communications Center." She holds Bachelors of Arts in print journalism and electronic journalism from Kansas State University.