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Choosing The Right Neutral Color For Your Wardrobe: It May Be Time To Break Up With Black

Choosing the right neutral color for your wardrobe

Beauty & Fashion Kuel Thought Leader: Gail Scott

Break up with black? I know that notion sent shivers up some of your spines, but please hear me out.

How You Wear Black Matters:

Some of you just weren’t born with coloring to support such a strong and deep color.”

Jet black is not the best neutral for everyone, but other colors can be your black. Let’s discuss what is best for you!

First off, black feels safe. It’s a choice we make when we don’t know what else to do. We cannot mess that up, right? Wrong. But it isn’t all your fault. We are told that “black is chic”, “black works for everyone”, we all need a “Little Black Dress”, and that evening wear is always black. No wonder we gravitate to the shade. And to help us along, black is almost always available. Black is probably the color of more garments and shoes than any other.

So, “Why not black?” you ask. It’s severe and harsh. Some of you just weren’t born with coloring to support such a strong and deep color. You have your unique coloring, and other colors will highlight your palette. Black can also be lifeless on the wrong person and feel visually heavy. And face it, choosing black when it isn’t right for you can look like you just took the easiest option. Choosing the right neutral color for your wardrobe may take some effort but it is worth the investment.

Who Should Wear Black?
  • those with high contrast coloring-for example, those with dark hair and fair skin
  • some deep redheads
  • those with moderate contrast coloring and a medium skin tone-think dark brown hair with deep beige skin
  • cool platinum blondes with medium to deep skin tones
Who Should Not Wear A Lot Of Black?
  • those with low contrast coloring-for example, light to medium brown hair with light to medium skin tone
  • soft cool color types – it’s too dark and overwhelming for your delicate coloring
  • bright, cool, light color types-it will appear too heavy
  • light warm color types – it will be like a wet blanket on your beautiful brighter coloring

You may now be asking, if not black, then what?

“The key is finding your black. Your black may not be black at all..”

Choosing The Right Neutral Color For Your Wardrobe:

The key is finding your black. Your black may not be black at all. What we mean by finding your black is finding a color that will work for you as black works for a bright, cool, deep colored person. It could be a shade like navy, brown, or gray. It’s that deep neutral that grounds your wardrobe. 

  • For light and warm gals, a warm brown or camel can serve as “your black”
  • For soft and cool gals, grays and navy can be your grounding neutral

Other considerations around wearing black:

  • How you wear black matters. If you are warm and bright and want to wear black, go with all black, gold jewelry, and harmonious makeup. This sleek look benefits from a simple hairstyle like a straight bob or a neat bun. The black may still feel a little severe, but it can work.
  • Anytime you combine black with white it is a high-contrast look. These looks are best on color types that are high contrast. Black with pure white looks good on a bright, cool, deep gal, and black with beige looks good on a bright, warm, deep gal. For softer color types, these high-contrast combinations can wash you out and overwhelm your coloring. Other high-contrast combinations are black with orange, red, hot pink, and yellow.
  • If you love black, but it isn’t your best shade, wear it away from your face. Choose black pants, skirts, or shoes, and keep your best shades near your face.
  • Black in a print can instantly add a feeling of heaviness. If your coloring is soft or light, this can bring you down instead of lighting you up.

Gail Scott January 2024 (1)

Makeup Paired With All-Black Clothing:

  • We often need some color on our face to balance black on our body. So consider a little more blush or a bolder lip. But a lot of heavy and deeply colored makeup paired with black can be too much and age your face. For a warm skin tone, a soft or slightly fiery neutral makeup look is also very pretty paired with all-black clothing.
  • No matter your coloring, black or black-brown mascara is the way to go. Our lashes need that contrast to stand out. If you have high-contrast coloring, look for jet-black options.
  • Black eyeliner is best left to those with high-contrast coloring. A deep cool or warm brown is dark enough for most. For those with colored eyes, consider your eye color in choosing a liner. For blue eyes, browns, bronzes, and charcoal grays look amazing (depending on your temperature). For green eyes, browns, bronzes, plums, and charcoal grays can be fantastic. For brown eyes, blues, plums, and greens can make your eyes pop.

If you are struggling choosing the right neutral color for your wardrobe, your best black, start by getting color analyzed. Knowing your chroma, temperature, and depth will lead you in the right direction to finding your best grounding neutral. Take the free color quiz at www.yourcolorstyle.com/quiz to get a general idea of your color type. If you need more help, consider a professional in-depth color analysis and/or working with a stylist to help you find your best colors to wear and what combinations to put together to help you look your best.

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Gail Scott

About the Author:

Gail is the Beauty & Fashion Editor for www.yourcolorstyle.com.
As a 28 year veteran in the beauty industry, she is passionate about helping women to look their best and to express themselves in their outward appearance. She is also co-host of the Midlife Moxie podcast, available on all major platforms. Find Gail on IG: @gailsscott
Email: [email protected]  If you would like more help with makeup application, check out Gail’s course on www.yourcolorstyle.com. For some of her favorite beauty products (many used in these looks), click here.