Choosing a Men's Dress Shirt for Your Complexion

Published: 01st February 2008
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Copyright (c) 2008 Janine Giorgenti

Look in the closet of the average man and you will find a sea of solid white dress shirts. Many men are afraid to venture out and try other colors and patterns, because they just don't know which colors flatter their complexions. They also think it will be harder to find a matching tie. White, on the other hand, is easy and always appropriate. This is a seemingly simple solution. However, beware! White does not look good on everyone.

What is My Personal Coloration?

People have various complexions and skin tones. Understanding your personal coloration is essential to looking your best.

Cool Undertones, Soft and Muted

You have a fair complexion with cool undertones. Your hair color may be platinum, ash blond, silver or ash brown, with blue, gray or soft brown eyes. The shirts that look best on you have soft, muted color. Opt for ivory instead of white, and wear pastel colors such as pink, blue, lavender, gray and soft yellow.

Cool Undertones, Bold and Contrasting

You have a deeper skin tone or a high contrast between your hair color, eye color and skin tone. Clear and powerful colors are best for you. Choose dress shirts in bright shades of blue, yellow, pink, purple, gray and black.

Golden Undertones, Clear and Bright

You have a golden complexion. You may have golden brown or red hair and blue or green eyes. To look your best, wear a cream dress shirt and clear colors like blue, peach, golden yellow, violet and sea foam green.

Warm Undertones, Spicy, Rich and Muted

You have an earth tone quality to your coloration and look best in warm, muted colors. Wear ecru instead of white, as well as French blue, salmon, marigold, brown and teal.

Right Colors Make You Come Alive; Wrong Colors Make You Look Sickly!

A white dress shirt may look great on a man with darker skin or one who has more contrast between his hair color, eye color and skin tone. However, a man with light hair and fair skin can look washed out in white. Instead of enhancing his face, a white dress shirt often makes the wearer look pale, drawing attention away from his face, thus making his tie the focal point. A man with this coloring should try more color, like nice soft blues, pinks and lavenders.

For men with warm, deep undertones, an ecru dress shirt is more flattering than white. When a man wears colors that are in harmony with his complexion, he immediately looks younger, thinner and more vibrant. Conversely, wearing the wrong colors will make him look tired, older and sickly. Come alive by wearing dress shirts in rich spice colors or earth tones, such as Mediterranean blue, turquoise, russet, olive, tan or purple. These colors intensify the richness of your natural features, making you look and feel energetic.

Dare To Be Different! Wear Patterns, Such As Plaids, Checks and Stripes

Don't limit yourself to solid color dress shirts. Dare to be different and wear patterns and stripes to reflect your personal style and flair. There is nothing like a fabulous-looking striped dress shirt to set you apart from the pack. The key here is to identify the primary color of the stripe. (This is the one that jumps out at you when you step away from the shirt.) Make sure this color complements your coloration.

How to Match a Tie to Your Shirt

A tip for matching a tie is to select a color in the tie that matches or contrasts well with one or more of the colors of the stripes or checks in the shirt. Be careful when matching a striped tie with a striped dress shirt. If done correctly, it could look impressively skillful; if not, it could be hideous. The trick is to pick a tight stripe that reads more like a solid, or to make sure the two stripes are of different sizes so they do not fight or look dizzy together.

Look and Feel Great!

Now you are equipped to coordinate your outfits while maximizing your personal attributes. So, display your sartorial savvy and get rave reviews.


Janine Giorgenti is a renowned fourth generation Italian designer and image consultant. Get personalized style advice from Janine at or click here to go directly to her Online Image Consultant.

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