How to Wear Any Color and Look Good Too!

Let’s start by addressing the question: Can I only wear specific colors? The answer is: You absolutely, positively, can wear any color you want and look great doing so! Questions revolving around color are THE most asked questions from readers, Instagram and Facebook followers, and real-life styling clients… “what color should I wear?” “what colors should I stay away from?” “can I wear red (or yellow or pink or olive or any color you’re unsure about)?”

People are seemingly consumed with what colors they can and cannot wear. And honestly, it doesn’t need to be that hard. Maybe it’s because people had their colors done during the color analysis craze of the 1980s and categorized to be a spring, summer, winter, or fall. That assessment then dictated ALL the colors they would or would not wear for the foreseeable future.

Trigger Warning – Unpopular Opinion Alert

In my opinion, the whole concept of the right colors has become just too complicated. It doesn’t need to be, and I’d like to suggest throwing it all out the window. I might get some hate mail about this. Or color analysis devotees sending me dm’s to say how having their colors analyzed was a life-changing event for them. And, if it’s done right by you, that’s great – keep doing it. 

But the majority of people I see are hindered rather than empowered by their color category – the rules they’re trying to follow have made things more complicated, not easier. And that’s just backward. It’s frustrating to see. So if it’s frustrating for me to witness, it must be even more disheartening to experience.  Please understand, this is coming from me!! I’m both a rule follower AND a rule creator (cough cough, The Rule of One, The Third Piece Rule, and The 2 Out of 3 Rule, to name a few). So it’s not that I’m anti-rules. Instead, I’m anti-complications. 

Don’t Box Yourself In

What I don’t want is something I’ve seen repeatedly – where people box themselves into the belief that they can’t wear something, like a particular color, and then expend a ton of energy avoiding it. When in reality, there is a version of that color you could be happy wearing. That, my friends, is doing yourself a disservice.

Being too strident about the colors one “can’t” wear means you’re missing out on a lot of the rainbow, and that’s a crying shame. If in the past, you were told that because you have a specific color hair, eyes, skin tone, and undertone that you shouldn’t wear (you can insert any color here but let’s use red as an example) – that’s a whole bunch of malarkey. Why? Because there are hundreds of shades of red, and one of those reds WILL LOOK GOOD ON YOU. I don’t know which will be the most flattering, but altogether steering clear of the color red means you’re missing out on a hue that could make you look and feel fabulous.

The EASY Tip to Find Your “Good” Colors

Ok, so this tip is so straightforward and painless, even borderline obvious, it’s going to blow your mind. And it also works really, really well. So it’s an all-around win in my book. WEAR THE COLORS YOU GET THE MOST COMPLIMENTS ON. Yep, you don’t need a fancy quiz or to evaluate your veins (yes, that’s a way to tell your skin undertone). Simply pay attention when you wear a color that generates compliments. That’s the clue to this whole color puzzle!

Yes, it might take some experimenting. And the colors that amass praise might also change over time. But being in tune with how others are perceiving you is a useful litmus test. 

Experiment Wearing Different Colors

Experimenting doesn’t mean you need to buy items in a spectrum of colors to try out either. Instead, hold a color (it can be clothing, paper, a scarf, or a pillow) up to your face. If you want to try a wide variety of colors, I recommend getting a multicolor patchwork set (typically used for crafting) from Amazon for under $20. Hold the various colors up to your face. Does it make you light up? Or wash you out? Lighting up is good; washing out, not so good. But also not the end of the game. Some simple styling tricks make even the most blah colors work for anyone.

Styling Tricks that help you Wear ANY Color

Change Your Lipstick

Make-up, especially lipstick, can make an otherwise less than ideal color POP. For example, mustard yellow can make me (and many people) look sallow. But simply adding a red lip re-adjusts the color balance and mustard yellow is now my color BFF.

Wear a Necklace or Scarf

Placing a color that compliments your skin next to your face, with a scarf or necklace, can allow you to wear any dang color you want. Why? Because what’s next to your actual face is what counts.

Use the Color as an Accessory

If you want to wear red (yes, let’s use that as an example again) but you don’t want to futz around to find the perfect shade, wear the color as an accessory and call it a day. Wear a red shoe, bag, or belt for a great pop of color without all of the commitment.

Now you officially have permission to wear any color your little heart desires. We’re all spending a lot of time at home right now – it’s the perfect time to try wearing different colors and styles. Here’s your homework: pick two colors that you almost never wear and start incorporating them into your wardrobe. A great way to add new colors to your closet that you’re not 100% sure about yet is to rent them! I’ve talked a lot about how much I love my clothing rental subscriptions. They will allow you to try out some new colors without fully committing! Once you try some new colors and start feeling comfortable, you can then invest in new pieces.

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Since the purpose of this blog is to take the stress out of getting dressed, we try to make it easy on you by sharing shoppable links (accessed by clicking the PINK words or the actual photo) with awesome readers like you. We want to let you know, some of those contain affiliate links for products. There is absolutely no additional cost to you if you take action (click, purchase, subscribe) with one of these links. As a result, we will earn some coffee money from your click.  But we promise to drink it while creating more ad-free, helpful content like this.

Photo: Becky Cormell


Cleveland-based personal stylist and fashion blogger.

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