Wearing the right colours and co-ordinating them appropriately will enhance your natural colouring. You can wear any colour as long as you choose the best intensities and tones, and feel confident wearing them. These depend on your skin tone and hair colour. The wrong colours worn may clash with your natural colouring and make you look unhealthy or appear tired. Asian skin tones can range from fair, cool porcelain to deep warm tones of golden bronze, while hair colours can range from light brown to dark black. It is best to check your skin tone under natural light or in daylight.
It has been found that a Warm toned person has skin tone that can range from light to golden bronze, peach, yellow or orange; and usually tans easily. Their natural hair colour comes in light brown to dark brown or even black. Yellow- or orange-based undertones suit them most and make-up colours include coral red and peach to shades of pure red or berry red. A Cool toned person on the other hand has skin tone that is pink, blue or red undertone: your skin tone may be very pale, fair or dusky; and usually cannot tan easily. They may get rather red in the sun before they eventually get a dusky tan. Their natural hair colour is normally jet black or light brown. All shades of pink from pastels to rose suit most and colours with blue, pink or purple under tone are suitable. Make-up colours include magenta red, rose pink, rich blue red or fuschia red. They look better in silver that gold and look great in pure white.
Cool Colours are blue- or pink-based.
Black and pure white are the basic cool colours, and so are most summer and winter colours.
There are no oranges and browns, but colours like pink, purple, magenta and fuschia.
Warm Colours are yellow- or orange-based.
All earth colours are warm, and so are most spring and autumn colours.
There are no blues or pinks, but colours like turquoise, teal, peach and salmon.
When mixing two solid colours, it is better to mix them by the tones, for example, warm and warm or cool and cool, as the colour blend better together and do not contrast. The only time we can mix warm and cool tones together is if the cool is darker than the warm, like black or navy blue.
When mixing a solid colour and a print, it is better that the solid colour is similar to at least one colour in the print. The alternative is to match it with white as it is the lightest of all colours and it generally matches with every other colour or print. You may choose to wear two prints, for example a patterned tie on a printed shirt. But do ensure that these have similar colours but the sizes can be different. At any one time, do avoid wearing too many colours, but having different shades of one colour is acceptable.
Colours come in different brightness and intensity and can be classified as Deep, Medium and Light. To determine which to wear, the intensity of the skin tone as well as the hair colouring must be considered. If the wrong intensity is worn, one can either look very pale or very dull.
An example of contrast is when one’s skin is fair and the hair is dark. Choose light intensity clothes and dark intensity ties, glasses, lipstick or accessories, or vice versa. The alternative is to choose dark and light combinations in your clothes, but keep your make up and other accessories light.
Colours can also be grouped into different categories. When building a wardrobe, do have a few pieces of different tones from each different group in order to have a good mix. This will give you more chances to match the pieces and wear them differently each time.
- Corporate colours are appropriate for business or formal affairs and can be matched with the other colour groups. These are for basic pieces of the working wardrobe like suits, trousers, jackets and skirts.
- Fun colours liven up a neutral outfit and are worn as blouses, scarves, prints, ties and smart casual shirts. These colours are appropriate for semi-formal or casual social events.
- Earth colours are seen in nature; they may be bright or dull. Depending on the style and intensity, these colours can be worn for a variety of occasions.
- Pastels are light colours that can be worn to tone down fun colours or to decrease the severity of some corporate colours. Mainly found as blouses and shirts in the wardrobe.
Putting it all together
It is ideal to wear the correct colour tones as it blends better with your skin tone and enhances your natural skin colour. When mixing colours, it is important that the colours are well coordinated and that they blend with your skin tone. You may have some clothes in your wardrobe that are not your colour tones, but you can match them with shoes and accessories of the correct tones to balance the look. It is also possible to create a different look by changing the colours of your hair and make-up.