Choosing the right color of your clothes can be a challenging process and many people wonder what the best way to create a color scheme that will flatter your natural look is. In a previous article, we talked about the color wheel, which is a useful instrument when it comes to putting an outfit together. We also discussed in another article what the best way to choose the colors of your clothes according to your skin tone is.

manIn this guide, we are going to go a little deeper and concentrate only on putting together a great color scheme for people with dark skin. We know that there are different complexions of dark skin, from Indians and other Asian complexions to people of African or Mediterranean descent. To identify where you stand, you should we look at the Fitzpatrick scale. Before we start, it’s important to note that most people with dark skin tones have what is a “low contrast complexion”, which means that their hair and eye color are also dark. The reason this is important is because our eye color and hair color influence a lot the way we look overall and they add a new factor to the equation. This does not mean that people with dark skin tones can’t have a different hair or eye color, but then they should take these factors into consideration as well and count them as given parts of their look.

The tips we want to give you are not unbreakable “rules”, they are guidelines and tools you can use when you want to make your skin color (and by extension your whole image) stand out.

 

 

Contrasts

The first thing you need to know about colors is that different colors look in different ways on different backgrounds. That’s a lot of different-s. What this means is that any color, for example red, will look differently on green than it will look on black or on yellow. There are a lot of types of contrasts, but we don’t want to fill your head with all the terminology.

red contrast

In this picture, you can see how the same shade of red looks on different backgrounds.

Basically, two colors that fall in the same category (the two main categories being warm colors or cool colors) will mute each other out, while colors that are rather different will make each other pop. To give you an example: a yellow square on a while paper won’t stand out as much as a purple square on a white paper. Colors found on exact opposite sides of the color wheel create the most contrast (red-green for example, etc.)

 

The color wheel

The color wheel, divided in warm and cool colors.

 

Just look at how the two shades of green interact with different colors. We actually had to check whether the two shades of green were the same. You can relax, they are.

It’s important to understand these theoretical things before we can discuss more about contrasts and colors.

 

Two shades of green: once on a blue background and once on an orange one. See how your perception changes?

Two shades of green: once on a blue background and once on an orange one. See how your perception changes?

 

Dark skin and warm colors

If you have dark skin and are wearing warm colors (yellow, pink, orange etc.) you should know that you are on the right path! For men with dark skin, “chalky” colors (which are what we as men call pastel colors) are the best along with bright, warm colors such as red or orange. They bring out your natural shine and make your skin glow.

 

man with books

This look is an example of how warm colors make people with dark skin stand out.

 

Going very bright (such as really pale yellow) or very shiny is not recommended though, as these colors will make a contrast that we as advisers feel is a little too much. In this case, your clothes will stand out too much and your features won’t be visible.

 

 

Dark skin and cool colors

man in blue

Wear cool colors in different shades and in combination with warm colors.

 

If you are a black/Indian/any-other-complexion-guy and want to wear colors situated on the cold side of the spectrum, you should be very careful. Of course, you can wear dark colors as well, but they will usually make you look duller and tone you down a lot.

This is why, when you are wearing browns, blues and dark greens, you should make sure that they make a contrast with your skin tone, even if the contrast is quite small.

Cool colors can sometimes make wonders if you wear them as accessories or in combinations with warm and bright colors: purple sunglasses go great with dark skin, and the same goes for wristbands, and especially for ties and bow ties, worn on brightly-colored shirts.

 

 

 

Black, white and other neutrals

A neutral brown suit can compliment your skin tone if you choose the right shade.

A neutral brown suit can compliment your skin tone if you choose the right shade.

Black and white, along with khaki, gray, beige and other colors are considered “neutrals” in fashion. They go with anything and can be mixed with any other color. Usually, we recommend that you choose neutrals for either the main pieces, and then use a lot of colors for the supporting pieces (for example: use a gray shirt, but wear a green tie and pale blue vest); or use bright colors and wear neutral accessories (for example: a yellow shirt can be toned down with a black vest).

The thing about black and white is that black people are not black as an absolute black, just as white people are not white like a sheet of paper; they are either more orange or pinker, for example. This is why each person should see how neutral colors look on them.

Remember that when it comes to accessorizing, gold and silver are both neutrals, so they go together well. This means that you can wear both a golden ring and silver one without feeling stressed about it.

The same does not apply to clothes, though. It’s hard to make gold and silver work on clothes, as they are very shiny and you don’t want to be mistaken for a lamp or something.

 

 

Mixing colors

So far, we discussed how each individual color acts on people with dark skin. This must not limit you, but it must make you more creative. You can make use of any color combination (should it be two colors, three, or more) as long as it looks great and flatters your skin.

 

Adding a pop of color to an outfit (done the right way) will always make your look better. Here you can see how the tie and the socks really complete the look!

Adding a pop of color to an outfit (done the right way) will always make your look better. Here you can see how the tie and the socks really complete the look!

 

You can wear very bright and pale colors and not feel self-conscious by mixing them with dark colors that will tone them out, you can add colorful patterns and textures whose colors and overall feel give you a great vibe.

People with dark skin can really take advantage of mixing warm colors with cool colors. In our opinion, it’s best to use the warm colors as the first, lowest layer, and use the darker on the upper layers. This will create more visual interest and will make you look really dapper. For example: wear a chalky cream shirt and a blue vest over that.

 

To draw a short conclusion, we can state that men (and women as well) who have a darker skin tone look best in colors situated on the warm side of the spectrum, combined with accessories and patterns in colors found on the cool side of the spectrum. Looking good means feeling good, which is why we encourage everyone to discover their own style and to make the best out of their natural features, should these mean skin color, size, weight, etc.

 

Fraquoh and Franchomme

 

 

 

 

 

Further reading:

Choosing colors of your clothes according to your skin tone

A guide to coordinating the colors of your clothes (+examples)

Choose the colors of your clothes like a pro!

Choosing colored contact lenses according to your skin tone and hair color

Color combinations that work for any skin tone, hair and eye color

Discover if you are a Spring, a Summer an Autumn or a Winter

P.S. What type of colors do you like to wear? Do you have any questions regarding the best color clothes for people with dark skin? What issues do you face when you are dressing up? Share your thoughts in the comments or ask us a question directly! Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our website via e-mail and to follow us on Facebook and Twitter!