Best Colours for Pale Skin

by Jamie

If you’re paler than a piece of paper then you need to check out this guide on the best colours for pale skin, as you may have been wearing some that falter instead of flatter.

Living in the UK it’s pretty much a given that we aren’t used to the sun, nor do we see any. A sciency friend of mine told me once that the UK leads with the highest vitamin D deficiency in the world. Whether this is true or not I don’t know, but what I’m trying to get across to you is that a lot of us are as pale as pale can be.

Some of us are naturally pale, or, if you’re like me, you simply don’t like going out in the sun. Many of us fall victim to wearing some pretty questionable things at the best of times, but it’s worse when you can’t get your colour pallet right, especially if you’re as pale as porcelain. This guide is here to help you figure out which colours suit you best and how you can pull them off this and every season.

Colours That Suit Pale Skin

Just because you’re pale doesn’t mean you can’t wear some nice colours. When you look at the runways for the men’s fashion weeks you can see that some of the models look slightly sun-deprived, especially at brands such as Saint Laurent and ACNE. I know that we all can’t afford such luxury brands as these, but what we can take from this is that you can easily team some great colours with your skin tone.

Key Colours:

  • Grey
  • Burgundy
  • Green (varying shades)
  • Navy
  • Brown


Grey is a great colour to wear when you’ve got a paler complexion as it doesn’t wash you out nor is it too dark to really highlight your paler skin. For a smarter appearance why not try wearing a classic flannel suit. A flannel suit is a great way of introducing this staple colour to your wardrobe, especially if you work in an environment where a suit is a necessity every day.

Teamed with a pair of classic black brogues and a white button down shirt you can have a spot on look for the office and even for a smarter evening out. You can accessorise in what ever colour you want as the colour isn’t in direct contact with your skin tone as it’s highlight the suit. Try a pocket square in a bright red or blue and simply tuck it into the top pocket of your jacket to give your outfit a touch of detail and colour.


Navy is another great colour to wear when you’re as pale as fine bone china. It’s darker than a normal blue yet it won’t highlight your skin so much. This is because navy has undertones of a lighter colour in it, usually white or grey, which balances it out. Don’t be afraid of an all navy look, so try teaming a pair of navy trousers with a navy sweatshirt for a casual look that is bang on trend and classic.

Now, you probably don’t want to go with a navy pair of shoes as this can throw the whole look off and you may start to look like a nurse on his rounds. So opt for a classic white trainer with a minimal design. This creates a sleeker appearance to your look keeping it smart but still casual. This pair from Religion are spot on, minimal and stylish, they’d be perfect all year round, you’ve just got to remember to keep them clean!

Colours To Avoid if You’re Pale

Now we come to the most important part, the colours to avoid. Because of your lighter skin tone you’ll want to avoid wearing colours that was you out, or ones that highlight your paler tone. This isn’t a good look, so you want to opt for darker shades to not only take away from your skin tone, but to work with it as well.

Key Colours:

  • Pastel shades
  • Red
  • White (too much of it)
  • Beige


Avoid colours such as white or paler shades of beige as these will blend in with your skin tone and completely wash you out, which will make you look like a Halloween costume, and we don’t want that. Opt for a darker shade like grey or brown as these won’t wash you out and can create a smarter appearance.

Pastel Shades

Pastel shades, such as purple, yellow or light blue, are basically in the same category as white. They’ll wash you out and highlight your fairer tone, just emphasising the part that you’ve been trying to disguise.


You many think that wearing red would be an okay colour to wear, but you’d be wrong. So wrong. Because many fairer toned people are natural redheads you can be overwhelmed by the colour and throw off your entire look. I’m talking about bright shades of red here like a fire engine. Even if you don’t have firey locks a bright red will still compete against your pale complexion, washing you out and in some circumstances highlighting the red tones of your cheeks when you heat up.

After you’ve just got off a crowded train, the last think you want to do is match your jumper. Instead, opt for a darker, deeper shades of red like burgundy or maroon as these will avoid matching or competing with your skin tone, and are versatile enough to  and won’t highlight your paler skin. 

How To Mix Colours

Of course you can mix the right colours together, I’m not suggesting a total burgundy look as not many people could pull this off. Mixing and matching certain colours together to create a great transitional look is the key to a great wardrobe.

Try wearing a navy or darker blue jumper, and pair with darker grey trousers. Make sure that the trousers are slim fitting as this just creates a smarter shape to your look. Roll up the bottoms of your trousers a little bit to shoe a bit of ankle and team this look with a pair of smart white trainers. This gives the look a casual edge whilst still being smart – perfect for the office or an evening out this season.

For a more casual feel why not try pairing a pair of green trousers (yes green) with a denim shirt. Keep the denim light to help balance the darkness of the trousers, giving you a smart overall appearance, with the denim maintaining a casual edge. You can keep it as it is or layer your denim shirt over a plain white tee for some added warmth and a textured effect.

Throw over a navy peacoat and some black loafers, keeping then in a sleek penny design rather than the more elaborate tassel loafers. They’re stylish, comfortable and perfect for this season, just remember to keep them clean.

Skincare for Pale Skin

If you’re looking for colours to complement your pale skin, you should probably make sure that your skin is looking the best it possibly can. Dull, tired skin is going to be hard to look good, so make sure that you’re taking care of it as much as you can. There are various ways to ensure your skin is looking its best. Some require money, some just require some extra time.

  • Sleep: Probably one of the most important parts of skin care, and sometimes the hardest to get. The ideal shut eye time is 7-9 hours, which can be difficult if you’re on a busy schedule. However even getting enough sleep a few nights as week can make a difference to your overall health, and of course skin.
  • Water: You’ve heard all this before, but water is pretty good for your skin, and although tests have been indecisive on exactly how much water you should be drinking, generally 2.25 litres a day is recommended. However it’s good to remember that your body can’t absorb a huge amount of water an hour, so take it easy and pace yourself throughout the day.
  • Diet: Okay, so not all of us can live the perfectly healthy lifestyle, but try and make sure you’re incorporating enough leafy greens and fatty acids into your diet, not overdoing it on the caffeine, and are getting a good dose of vitamin C.
  • Grooming: We’re not just talking skin products here, although that can make a big difference to your complexion. Make sure that you’re using products that match with your skin type. It’s generally best to use a gentle cleanser every morning and evening, followed with a moisturiser, and use an exfoliator once or twice a week to get rid of any dead skin. When you save, make sure you’re using a good quality razor and if it’s getting blunt, throw it out. Knicks created by bad quality razors can cause ingrown hairs, which can lead to bumps and an uneven complexion.

The Best Colours for Pale Skin

  • Darker toned colours like navy and burgundy will complement your skin tone.
  • Grey is a good alternative to black as it mimics the versatile tone without creating a striking contrast with your complexion.
  • Pastel shades will only wash you out and highlight your pale features, so they should generally be avoided.
  • Mix and match complementary colours to create flattering outfits, maintaining a similar tone throughout.

On That Note

Worry not if you’re plagued with pasty skin, you can find colours to suit you and take you through every season. Try wearing darker colours such as grey, brown, burgundy and green as these will sit better with your skin tone and won’t wash you out. You’ll want to avoid certain colours such as white or light beige as these will simply blend in with your skin tone and completely wash you out, and none of us wants that now do we.

I’m not saying you should wear completely tonal looks as you may look a tad odd if you’re wearing a completely green look. So try mixing things up a little bit by wearing a navy jumper with a pair of dark grey trousers and some classic white trainers for a smart-casual look you can be proud of.

Feature image from Pinterest

You may also like