Could you talk a bit about the use of neutrals with signature colors – specifically neutrals other than black? I’m a pale strawberry blond with green-flecked blue eyes, and greenish-blue and pink are both wonderful colors on me. But what neutrals should I pair with these? I adore black and wear it all the time. It’s versatile, slimming, works with so many colors, and the go-to color for most in NYC (where I used to live). Now that I’m really thinking about color, I look at women with black hair wearing black and I love the way their wardrobe echoes their hair. I’m envious. So what neutrals work for someone whose hair isn’t black?
When looking for neutrals that suit you best look at your:
Eye colour – olive green, hazel, bronze, blue grey, deep brown – whatever it is, repeat your eye colour in some way – maybe slightly more muted so it appears more neutral and you have a stunning neutral option.
Work with your hair colour. Think taupe, camel, winter white and beige tones as your ideal neutrals. Hair tones are great for shoes, bags, boots, belts and coats (as you’re always wearing your hair, so these commonly worn items will always go with something about you!)
You are made to wear camel – such a sophisticated colour!
Taupe and tan, beige and khaki, warm chocolate brown and marine navy – there are so many neutrals for you to try rather than black!
Your colours will work with your neutrals You don’t need black as a fallback. Any darker colour will be slimming, more slimming than black if it suits your complexion as it will create a face focus.
Rose beige, taupe and shades of grey all look stunning on you. Charcoal and navy, rose brown and mushroom are equally gorgeous.
You too should avoid black as it can look very harsh against your fair colouring. Instead opt for a charcoal blue grey, platinum or battleship grey which don’t have the same starkness of black.
Can you please do these for brunette and redheads as well?? This would be AWESOME
Brunette a are coming tomorrow
How about red/auburn? or are we not part of the population?
Hi Ilene, I know that you are part of the popoulation which is why I wrote this post https://insideoutstyleblog.com/2013/03/whats-your-best-neutral-red-hair.html Hope it helps!
Brooke, brunette a are coming tomorrow!
Thanks so much for this post! 🙂 I really need to get away from defaulting to black.
What neutrals would you think best for someone who is mostly a cool colouring, but has warmer blonde hair? I’ve had my colours analyzed via the 12-season system and been told I was a light summer. From what I understand this means I have mostly cool tones, but some warmth. Example: http://i1290.photobucket.com/albums/b524/maya429/image_zps6d06ab52.jpg
Dawn – is your hair natural or dyed?
It has some highlights which have grown out, but that’s all pretty close to its natural colour. When I was younger it was lighter, but still very golden. I’ve dyed it white-blond in the past and that looked great!
Interesting as I see warmth in you not coolness, but just slightly warm, not really warm. It could be that the seasonal system you were draped with didn’t have the colour direction options that I have so they ended up giving you cool. I’ve seen this happen many times sadly.
Hmmm . . . would that mean then that colours which are neither too warm nor too cool would be my best neutrals? If so, what would those be? I was able to find some more photos of my various hair-shades if that helps.
This was my hair colour when I was younger:
Then it went somewhat darker on its own:
Here’s one when I dyed my hair was white-blond: http://i1290.photobucket.com/albums/b524/maya429/image_zps5a5e71d7.jpg
This site gave me the idea to combine cool colours with warmth: http://www.truth-is-beauty.com/understanding-your-light-summer-look.html Would that be a good idea for me, or not if I have more warmth in my colouring than they suggest?
Colour can seem so confusing when you really get into it. And I thought I was good at art!
Thanks for your time, and hopefully my question helps out some other people too 🙂
Dawn – without seeing you in person, as screen colours are inaccurate, it’s really hard for me to judge. Your current hair appears warm, but whether that is leftover dye or your natural hair I’m not sure. That’s why a colour analysis is such a great investment – you find out for sure!
Thank you so much for this post. I’ve been analyzed as bright spring – love the corals, turquoises and greens – but am finding it a challenge to work with my neutrals. I thought that camels and milk chocolates would work with my natural blonde hair, yet my swatches don’t include those colours at all. They’re closer to your cool blonde set. Does that make sense?
Laura. Swatches are just a small representation of the kinds of colours you can wear. If you look at the colour with the swatch if it blends and goes with the colours then you can wear it. You couldn’t carry a swatch with the 50 000 colours that you can wear!
I have often wondered about blonds wearing black. When a warm blonde wears black I can see the obvious disharmony, and how black washes them out. But been less sure about cool blonds. Don’t get me wrong, what you write Imogen makes a lot of sense. But (black itself being cool) means that a cool blond’s complexion won’t suffer as much, and I agree that the black doesn’t blend into them, but I think the very clash between light (blond) hair and dark (black) top looks v dramatic and sexy:
Compare that with dark hair and dark top, it certainly “blends”, but doesn’t it just look “bland” ?! :
Yes a cool blonde can carry off black better than warm, and the younger you are the easier it is too, but as you get older you’ll find that the black really highlights lines and wrinkles. Also, a blonde with dark eyes like Gwendoline Stefani can carry off black more easily because of her high contrast.
Also with black you need to consider the fabric. A lace or chiffon or something that has a see through element will never look as harsh as a satin or fabric that is very dense. Consider also time of day and the lighting. It’s much easier to wear less flattering colours at night as the light is dull and we can’t perceive colours accurately at night. Plus women tend to wear more makeup at night which can offset the harshness of black.
I am interested in your answer to this question. I too have primarily cool coloring. My natural hair color is ash blond with significant reddish-gold highlights.
Susan, skin is the most important factor when choosing colours and neutrals. As skin is the organ that makes you look healthy or unhealthy.
I love your website! Would you also do this for silver hair.
I was planning to do more hair colours next week Geri. Will cover grey.
Love this post – can you now show us how to put colours with these neutrals. I usually wear colours with blacks as this is an easy option but love the neutrals you have above which I often wear. But when I do wear them I tend to just wear all neutral as I am never sure how to incorporate the colour with the browns.
Kerryn, I’ve done some blog posts about working with colours, do a search or click on the Colour Guide tab and go through the older posts.
Is there any way to make black work if you are a warm blonde? I love black as a colour and I feel I would not be me without my black leather jacket. I do have a pretty edgy personality and brown or camel just don´t quite work with my style.
I’d like to know this as well. I’m warm toned (think spring/autum) skin, with neutral long blonde hair & brown eyes with hints of green. Warm colors & neutrals suit me much better, but I LOVE black, and have been told that it looks very good on me by a color analyst, who originally told me “I shouldn’t wear black based on my coloring”…then had me put on black and had to reverse course! And like Aum, I do also have an edgy personality. I will go head-to-toe in solid black.
A little bit late asking it on here…
but I’m wondering, about color analyses. Is it rare to be completly neutral in color analyses? Because I’ve experiement with color quiz and analyses, especially the gold/silver metallic test. All result, always end up being neutral —expect when my hair is dyed warmer or cooler, or when wearing bronzer (according to most websites, Im a soft summer leaning towards soft autumn if my hair is warm colored or wearing bronzer).
I only look washed out if wearing an outfit in all-warm, all-warm, or all-dark/light color schemes. :S I dont seems to have any “best” colors, except when its comes to “color values” and “color personality”.
Is that a common or rare thing?
When I look at your pics on your blog I would say you are soft and a bit warm (not a lot warm), think of warm to cool as a continuum. Very warm colours won’t work, and cool colours won’t either. The gold/silver is hard to figure out when you are closer to the warm/cool divide. But when I see in in cool colours (like the light purple sweater) it’s obvious that cools like that don’t suit you – the colour jumps off you, vs when you’re in a warmer colour it harmonizes with your colouring. The light/dark is about your value contrast (there are posts about that somewhere here) and you have a low-medium value contrast so will look better in light with medium or medium with dark colours rather than straight light/dark.
Ahh, thanks for replying! 😀
I don’t have my natural hair color on the pictures on the blog though. Not sure if that matters when it comes to color analyses…?
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8401/8681966920_6162944d1d_z.jpg This is the closest color on natural my hair, but a little bit lighter. For some weird reason, my hair always get golden everytime I re-dye it even though my real hair color is a bit ashy (or mousy?) and very dark shade of bronde, some people confuse it with medium brown hair in certain lightning.
Oh, I’ve already read about the values on your website and thought I was either in medium or high value in contrast! Because low contrasted outfits have never worked on me. 😛 I prefer the light/dark contrast more though because my style is a little bit dramatic.
when I looked at Lina and read your post, I’ve realised that she is like my mum in her colouring. I would say my mum’s a little warm too, albeit brighter/less soft than Lina (e.g. she looks ghastly in soft camel). so which colours are a little warm as opposed to very warm?
Love the advice … I’ve always shied away from camel neutrals … I never feel as good in tone on tone … warm blonde, camel top etc. but after seeing your article am going to give it another try and have a good hard look at myself in my black based wardrobe!! Thank you =)
Kylie -camel can work well if you have warm colouring, otherwise go for more of a rose based beige. Sometimes people need more contrast – you may want to mix your camel or lighter neutrals back with a dark brown, or navy blue.
Being a summer with a bland dishwater blonde, I love to wear black in order to just get some contrast into my look. Being a dark blonde summer can really be dull, since I myself look washed out and all the colours I am supposed to buy are also washed out and sometimes even dirty looking. I have always been commented for wearing too much grey and greyish blue – “why do you always wear these depressing colours?”, everyone would tell me. So I cut down the grey and blue and I don’t miss it at all. Being a V shape, I need to wear dark hues on top. Now I never go for head to toe black, but always pair it with my summer colours. I don’t know if this is right, but I just feel best in black. I know that summers should never wear black and now that I see this, I am completely comfused…
Veronika – you don’t need to wear black to create contrast – you can make your smoky colours look brighter and more contrasted just by putting your lighter colours with your darker colours (no need for black) or more opposite colours together (opposite on colour wheel) so rather than wearing blue with grey (bland and boring) wear blue with pink, blue with yellow, grey with red, pink with green etc.
Can you do silver/gray or salt and pepper hair, please?
Already done Steph https://insideoutstyleblog.com/2013/03/whats-your-best-neutral-grey-hair.html
I wonder what you suggest for blondes who have different shades? I have natural dark blonde (no highlights or dye), that bleaches a warm goldish blonde in the sun. My roots are ashy dark blonde, very cool and taupe-y. The difference is quite noticable especially if I hold my ends against my roots. Should I go by roots or ends or find the average of the two combined colors in my hair?
I would work with your skin undertone – whether that is warm or cool.
If I am going to wear shoes in my hair color, how accurate does the shoe color temperature have to be? I’m muted and cool, with dark ash blonde hair. Can I get away with the warm tan/beige/taupe shoe I already own, since it is so far away from my hair? Assume I am wearing jeans or a skirt, not gray pants or some other cool color right next to the shoes.
They don’t have to match exactly – but when you look in the mirror the feeling of the colour is of matching and that they are related. Too different and they will draw attention to themselves.