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6 Neutral Colors That Work With Every Skin Tone, Stylists Say

These tones flatter all complexions—and as an added bonus, they're as versatile as it gets.

Whether you're using them to create chic monochromatic ensembles, or as an understated base for a fun pop of color, neutrals serve as the essential foundation for any wardrobe. Not to mention, they never go out of style—and many neutral colors work with every skin tone.

"Neutral colors are incredibly versatile and can be easily mixed and matched with a wide range of other colors and patterns," shares Rosie Mangiarotti, fashion expert and founder of Perkies. "First, they act as a canvas for your outfit, allowing you to create various looks with just a few key pieces. Second, unlike trendy or bold colors, neutrals remain relevant season after season, making them a reliable investment for your wardrobe. Lastly, when you have neutral pieces it becomes easier to effortlessly put outfits together."

According to Charles Fratto, a womenswear designer and style director for ILOE STUDIOS, the name of the game is knowing your undertones. Cooler neutrals like taupe, blush nude, and dove gray are especially flattering on people with cooler undertones in their skin, whereas warmer neutrals like sand, sepia, and caramel look best on people with warmer complexions.

That said, you can't go wrong with any of the following neutrals—which according to stylists, work on all skin tones.

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Close up of a smiling middle-aged woman wearing a black top.
digitalskillet / iStock

This might go without saying—but black is a color that is seasonless, timeless, and also works with every skin tone.

"It's slimming and elegant and adds a touch of sophistication to any outfit," says Joe Manktelow-Pimm, a style expert and editor at 7Gents.

The best part about black? It's a blank canvas. "Accessorizing with colorful statement pieces or metallic accents can elevate a black outfit even further," he adds.

Charcoal gray

Woman working on her laptop with large headphones, wearing a dark gray sweater

If you're concerned that black looks too harsh on you—say, because you have super fair skin, dark gray is slightly softer.

"Charcoal gray has more dimension than black, plus it's a color that always looks luxe, regardless of the fabrication," says Carol Davidson, a stylist and self-image coach.

"Charcoal gray suits and blazers can be dressed up for formal occasions or worn casually with jeans," Mangiarotti tells Best Life. And Manktelow-Pimm suggests going for a monochromatic take by pairing deep charcoal with lighter shades of gray.

This neutral also looks stunning with ballet pink, baby blue, and burgundy.

RELATED: The Best Colors to Wear If You Have Gray Hair, According to Stylists.


A smiling senior woman wearing a cozy sweater and holding a cup of tea on her couch.
Viktoriia Hnatiuk / Shutterstock

Bright white looks stunning against cool-toned skin, and cream complements skin with warm undertones.

But according to Jared McCullough, a style expert with A Few Wood Men, ivory—which is right in between true white and cream with subtle hints of yellow—suits all complexions.

Ivory creates a gentle contrast against darker skin tones and lends some warmth to lighter skin tones, says Mangiarotti.

Morgan and Margaret Hodge, co-founders of M & M Suit Shop, note that ivory pairs well with so many colors, including forest green, navy, mauve, maroon, and terra cotta.

"For an easy summer vibe, I love to combine soft ivory with other lighter colors or pastels," adds Davidson. "Complete the outfit with a metallic slide or sneaker."

Navy blue

Closeup portrait of beautiful woman with red hair and blue eyes posing outdoorsShutterstock

"Hands down, the most universally flattering neutral is navy," Davidson tells Best Life. "It's kinder to aging skin than black, and it is just as slimming and easy to pair with other colors."

Davidson and Mangiarotti love the combination of navy with white, beige, or gray for a crisp, polished look—and note that it looks great with both silver and gold jewelry.

"A navy blue blazer or dress can be dressed up for work or dressed down for a casual day out," says Mangiarotti. "Navy blue also serves as a great base for accessorizing with statement pieces in bright colors or metallics."

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A smiling young woman wearing a beige turtleneck sweater with gold hoop earrings and her hair up in a bun.
Look Studio / Shutterstock

According to Jaime King, SVP of design and trend at Maurices, warm-neutral browns like camel look beautiful on everyone, regardless of their complexion.

Camel can also be worn in every season, and with almost every color, save for neons. It looks especially striking with earth tones, jewel tones, and other neutrals.

"This warm neutral imparts a natural radiance to any skin tone," says Manktelow-Pimm. "It also works well for both casual and business settings. To add depth to a camel outfit, consider incorporating different textures and playing with layering. Accessorizing with gold or bronze jewelry can also enhance the warm undertones."

Chocolate brown

Woman outside surrounded by trees wearing a brown jacket and scarf
ranplett / iStock

When you want to wear a richer brown than camel, look no further than chocolate.

"Chocolate brown complements both cool and warm undertones, making it a safe go-to neutral for everyone," says Elizabeth Kosich, a certified image stylist and founder of Elizabeth Kosich Styling.

According to Kosich, chocolate brown also serves as a stellar substitute for black that's slightly less severe. For a fresh twist on the classic little black dress, try a little brown dress with nude flats or knee-high brown boots and an ivory coat for contrast.

If you're looking to add a little color, try pairing this shade of brown with sage green, slate blue, or blush.

Rebecca Strong
Rebecca Strong is a Boston-based freelance health/wellness, lifestyle, and travel writer. Read more
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