With years of trial and error, you may have developed a general sense of what colors look best on you and which do not. Nevertheless, with over 45 shades to choose from in Lost River's clothing color selection, it can be difficult to know where to start. Use this "Test to Dress" skin tone guide to find the set of Lost River colors that will complement your natural undertones and avoid those that clash with it!
Disclaimer: This guide is not color law, it is color theory. If you love a color that doesn't necessarily match your "tone," don't worry. Ultimately, the most important factor in looking your best is authenticity and self-confidence, so if you have an attachment to a certain color, do NOT let this guide stop you.
With that said, shopping online can be difficult when trying to determine what a color might actually look like in person. For the most part, our samples are pretty spot on, but this guide is here to make your e-shopping experience just a little easier.
Do you have a cool, warm, or neutral skin tone?
To figure out your true skin tone, you need to look more than skin-deep. While the surface color of your skin can change with sun exposure, reactions to medication, or medical conditions like rosacea, your skin tone is actually determined by the undertones that come through. This confusion about undertones versus surface color is why sometimes we pick out foundation or powder that looks great in the tube but clashes horribly once we try it.
Before starting, make sure your skin is clean and free of any cosmetics or lotions, which could affect the results. If you just washed your face, wait about 15-30 minutes until any redness from scrubbing fades. Make sure you use natural daylight to examine your skin tone, as artificial lighting can change the appearance of your skin's undertones.
First, flip your wrist over so that your palm is facing up. If your vein has a blue or purple tint to it, you have a cool skin tone. If your vein is more of a greenish color, you have a warm skin tone. If it's hard to tell one way or another, you may have a neutral skin tone.
Second, reflect on your relationship with the sun. People who tan easily are warm-toned. If you are more prone to burning, you have a cool skin tone, although people who have dark ebony skin that doesn't burn can also have cool undertones. If you experience a bit of both, you have a neutral skin tone.
Third, find a white piece of paper and hold it up to your face in front of a mirror. If your skin appears to be pink, rosy, or blue compared to the paper, you have a cool skin tone. If you have more of a yellow, green, or brownish tint, your skin is warm-toned. You have a neutral skin tone if your face appears grey or ashen-colored. If you have a skin condition like acne, rosacea, or if you are extremely tanned, ask a friend to use the paper test on the crease behind your ear instead, which is less likely to be affected by these variables.
Which Lost River colors go best with your skin tone?
Now for the fun part. We have separated Lost River's color selection into groups that will complement cool, warm or neutral-toned skin, as well as a group of classic neutrals that will look good on everyone!
First, let's start with neutral colors. These classic shades will look great on any skin tone because they provide a perfect balance of warm and cool that won't clash with your skin. Pure white goes great with everyone's skin. If you ever find that a white garment doesn't look quite right on you, take a look at it in natural light and make sure it doesn't actually have cool or warm undertones that might not have been as obvious on the rack. Light blush pink brightens any skin tone and brings out the natural glow of your face. Teal with a perfect mix of blue and green can be worn by anyone and is a great summer or winter shade. If you want to go dark, try eggplant purple, which acts like a neutral and accentuates your skin without overpowering it. Sage, navy, cinnamon, and light and dark grays are also great classic Lost River neutrals that will complement any skin tone.
For a cool skin-tone, the best colors to wear are inspired by both the depths of the ocean and the depths of winter. Bright blues, emeralds, and deep purples will look great, along with frosty shades of lavender, ice blue, or pink. On the warm side, you can turn to crimson, raspberry, or espresso. With neutrals, you can rock cool gray, bright white, and navy. Try to avoid orange, tomato red, and strong yellows, which can clash with your skin completely.
For a warm skin-tone, the best colors to wear are rich reflections of nature. On the warm side of the color wheel, you should turn to red, coral, mango, saffron and honey. You also should look great when you wear "warmer" versions of cool colors, like kiwi, moss and boysenberry. Neutrals that are best for you include oatmeal, winter white, latte and chocolate. Avoid chilly colors like icy blues or jewel tones like sapphire or amethyst because they can wash you out and make your skin look gray.
As a neutral, you can wear anything on the color wheel — but it's typically best to go for softened or muted versions of a color instead of the brighter ones. Choose colors like dusty rose, sage, buttercream, or aqua. For neutral colors, turn to off-whites, latte, mid-range grays, and black. Oversaturated colors like azul and hot fuschia can overwhelm your neutral skin tone, but there's one big exception to this: never be afraid to wear a bright, true red — you will look amazing.
Love this guide?
We're only just getting started! As you may have already noticed, this particular guide only covers our Popcorn color samples. Stay tuned for future posts featuring:
- Tissue knit and batik colors
- Dressing by season
- Skin shade matching
- The science and art of color theory
- How humans perceive color and the messages colors communicate
Have a topic you'd like us to cover that isn't listed above? Share it below in the comments!