What Colour Clothes Look Best With My Dark Skin Tone? Ask MR PORTER
The blurring of boundaries in men’s style can only be a good thing. More variation, more fun. Remember “never wear brown in town”? Thankfully, there are now very few rules when it comes to getting dressed in the morning. But with liberation comes the paralysis of choice. If I have a seemingly infinite colour palette, how do I know what to go for? And what if we also factor in our skin tone? That’s the sartorial head-scratcher in this week’s Ask MR PORTER, put forward this week on Instagram. If you’ve got a style question you’d like our panel of experts to answer, slide into our DMs or simply drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. The choice is yours…
“Tips on how to style colours for people with dark skin?”
“Dark skin tones are the most versatile to work with,” says Mr Anish Patel, a stylist who has dressed some of the world’s most stylish men. “You’ve hit the colour-matching jackpot because you can play around with most hues. The only thing to remember is: avoid colours that are too close to your skin tone. If you’re brown, like me, avoid wearing brown clothing. Look at the pigmentation – I also have a lot of yellow pigment in my skin so I avoid yellow.”
The good news is there are plenty other colours to play with. Generally speaking, the darker your skin, the broader the spectrum of colours available to you. “Neutrals, cream or white all offer a natural contrast to dark skin,” says Patel, who is also an alumnus of MR PORTER. “The contrast is so big it makes the colours look crisp. The same with pastels or mid spectrum colours like blues or greens. Again, with dark skin you don’t run the risk of looking washed out unlike paler people. You’re safer with pink, for example. “The strongest colours are jewel tones like deep oranges, emerald green, mustard and even navy and burgundy. Warm skin tones set it off nicely. Try a suede jacket in a jewel green tone.”
With so much choice, it can be easy to go overboard. Don’t mix and match too much, advises Patel. “Wear one key colourful piece like a green shirt or jacket and tone the rest of your outfit down. With neutral tones you don’t have to be conscious of how much you’re wearing. You could wear an entire cream suit and it’ll look great.
If embracing bright colour brings you out in a cold sweat (never a good look), the advice is simple: you do you. “Wearing bright colours is also about your personality,” says Mr Olie Arnold, Style Director at MR PORTER. “You may feel exposed standing out in the crowd in bright colours and that could affect your confidence. Remember you should always wear the clothes (and their colour), not the other way around.
“For those who already embrace colour in their wardrobe, we’ve seen some great prints for SS21, from the likes of Casablanca, Endless Joy and Go Barefoot. It’s never been a better time to bring some colour, and joy, into your life.”
Illustration by Mr Slowboy