Today’s question comes from Marc:

“Being asian, I’m not sure what colors to wear to fit my skin tone. A chart I found online says I have a warm, autumn skin tone. What colors would work best for me?”

I hear this question a lot, and today I’m happy to share the secret trick to finding the PERFECT colors to wear for your skin tone.

Ready?

The trick is…to stop worrying about it.

Colors to wear for asian skin tone
Steve Yeun showing you color is all about the vibe, not your skin tone (photos via GQ)

Dressing for your skin tone is one of those bits of style advice that get passed around a lot.

It sounds like it’s a problem you should worry about, like spending money on lattes or worrying about ATM fees. (Face it, if an ATM fee is going have an impact on your checking account, you have much, much more significant money problems than a $3 fee.)

COLORS THAT YOU LIKE VS COLORS THAT WORK BEST ON YOUR SKIN TONE

This isn’t to say you won’t come across colors you lean towards because you love how it looks on you. But this is NOT the same as picking a color based on skin tone.

Colors to wear for black skin tone

You and I could have the same skin tone, and I could prefer wearing green, while you might hate green and love how the navy looks on you.

But this whole concept of autumn or cool skin tones, or using some kind of color wheel pie chart to choose the right colors, is bullshit.

It over complicates things. And frankly doesn’t make any sense!

The color you should pick is all about the vibe you want to give off, not the color of your skin tone.

Colors to wear for indian skin tone

As a professional stylist, I’ve never picked colors for my clients this way.

In the previous 11 years I spent designing menswear, we never took into consideration the skin tone of our customer when designing clothes.

It’s not a thing among experts.

So anyone that suggest you do, I recommend you take their advice with a huge grain of salt.

Colors to wear for white skin tone

Here’s what you should do instead:

Men’s neutrals when it comes to style: White, black, navy, olive (army green), grey, khaki/camel, and brown

#1 COLOR TIP FOR MEN: BUILD THE MAJORITY OF YOUR WARDROBE AROUND NEUTRALS

Take a look at the image below. What do you notice?

All the men center their core style around neutral colors.

It doesn’t matter if you’re young, old, black, asian, white, formal or casual. Neutral colors make everyone look really good, and is the foundation to a solid wardrobe.

Here’s why:

Notice how harmonious neutral color looks (left) feel, compared to the jarring mix of bright colored outfits (right)

Neutral colors aren’t overpowering

It looks good on everyone and is pleasant to look at compared to loud, bright colors. Nothing wrong with wearing colors, but many men overdo it and it comes off as showy.

It’s almost as if you’re overcompensating for the lack of style by wearing something flashy and loud.

They mix and match easily with each other

Because neutrals aren’t overpowering, you don’t need to know a thing about how to mix and match colors. They all work together.

Notice how the pops of color are just right in all these outfits thanks to the mostly neutral colored outfit

They’re the perfect backdrop for brighter colors and patterns

Neutral are like the carbs of your wardrobe: they’re a great delivery method for more color and patterns into your look.

That’s the secret to wearing colors and patterns without looking like you’re screaming for attention.

The majority of your outfit should center around neutral pieces: a navy suit, a camel coat with khaki chinos, navy pants and black shoes. Then add a single pop of color and BOOM – your style has reached red carpet levels effortlessly. (See Ryan, Jonah, and Idris above)

READY TO ADD MORE COLOR AND PATTERNS TO YOU LOOK?

Try using “The Swap Trick” – a technique I show my clients to help them add more colors and prints to their looks gradually, so they don’t look or feel stupid! I share this technique in my post “How to Wear More Prints and Patterns”

peter@theessentialman.com'
Author

Hi, I'm Peter. I spent 11 years as a menswear designer here in NYC. Now, I help some of the most successful men look really good as a Private Personal Stylist and writer of The Essential Man. You can learn more about what I do by clicking here

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