Have you ever put on a certain piece of clothing and felt like the color made you look pretty damn good? Well, guess what? There’s a little science behind it! My name is Supreet and I’m a Fashion Stylist based out of San Francisco, California. I get clients from all sorts of different background and the one question that always comes up is "can you tell me what my best colors are?"
Your skin, eye and hair color all play a role in what hues make you look like you belong on a cover of a magazine versus which ones you don’t feel so hot in. Your best colors will make your skin glow, while colors that don’t compliment your skin can make it look dull and drab.
Let me dive in a bit deeper so you can see what I mean. Below is a photo of Kumail Nanjiani with a shade of blue that compliments his skin versus a tan that doesn’t.
It might be easier to see him actually wearing the colors...
Source: Getty Images; Channel 24
Notice the blue brings out the warmth in his skin, while the tan brings out the ash in his skin? The blue makes his skin glow, while the tan makes it look dull. Certain colors can do this to your face because they bring out your skin's undertones. With South Asian skin, it's very important to bring out the warm undertone rather than the ash undertone.
I’ll give you more examples, but first let’s go over what the best colors are for South Asian skin and which ones you should avoid.
Jewel tones look the best with South Asian skin, whereas pastels don’t look so great. The darker your skin is, the more radiant your skin will look with deeper and darker colors, so think berry, wine, emerald, ruby and burgundy. Be careful with browns, beiges and khakis as they blend in too much with South Asian skin tones.
If you can’t quite put your finger on it, let me give you some more examples. Look at Varun, Sid, Dev, Hasan, and Aziz in these vibrant colors:
Color Game = Strong.
Now, look at Siva, Hasan and Kal in these colors:
Something looks off, right? It’s because the tan, grey and pastel pink are bringing out the grey undertones in Siv and Hasan, clashing with their skin. On the other hand, Kal’s suit color is too close to his skin color, not really doing much for him.
Check out Kal in this blue suit:
He looks much better, right? South Asian skin tones can't go wrong with blue suits.
Here’s another example of what having a complimentary color near your face can do for you. The first photo is Aziz wearing a camel color coat, which I wouldn’t say is the best for South Asian skin. The photo below that has a “flame” colored highlight at the top of his coat that plays up his skin tone better. This is a great example of how to wear a camel coat without making your skin look drab.
Now you might be wondering, “what about colors that are trending, like light pink, can I not wear them?”
Trust me, I get it. You want to rock the trendy colors. My Apple Watch is light pink and I dig it. One thing you have to keep in mind is a lot of models in advertisements end up being caucasian, and so the colors they wear are picked out specifically for them. With that being said, I’m not saying stay away from trending colors all together, but just use them as a secondary color in your look rather than primary.
What do I mean by primary and secondary? Here’s a good example of Dev Patel wearing pastel pink as a primary color via his blazer (top photo) versus him wearing it as a secondary color via his polo shirt (bottom photo).
The reason he looks better in the photo on the right is because the deeper color brings the golden warmth in his skin, while the light pink does not.
So how can you wear these colors? You want to wear your best colors near your face, so think of shirts, t-shirts, polo shirts, ties, pocket squares, blazers, scarves, sweaters, sweatshirts etc. Your pants don’t matter as much, but they should complement the color of your top.
Next time you get professional photos taken or need an outfit for a special occasion, remember certain colors will make you look much better by picking up the warmth in your face, rather than playing up the ash.
Hope you enjoyed this lesson in color! At least now you know why South Asian Uncles and Aunties gravitate towards colorful clothing, not only does it look better in hot weather, but it does wonders for their skin. What’s even better? Darker skin tones age slower, so your best colors will have you looking fly well into your senior citizen days, just don’t forget to wear sunscreen!
If you want to learn more about how to up your style game, check out PocketStylist.io. I'm always posting tips and tricks on how to look your best!
Ps. There are a lot of beautiful greens and burgundies in stores right now for Fall 2018, so take advantage!