Color Class: How To Pick Shades That Flatter Your Skin Tone

2. Yellow is the trickiest color.

But the right yellow, she emphasized, can be amazing—like Michelle Williams' canary gown from the 2011 Oscar Awards. In general, warmer options (such as mustard or sunflower) are easier to pull off, although icy shades can be very striking on extremely dark or Nordic complexions.

Michelle Williams, via Donato Sardella for WWD

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If you, like me, devoured the entire Little House on the Prairie series as a child, perhaps you remember the strict fashion guidelines Mrs. Ingalls set for her daughters. While tow-headed Mary, the eldest, was required to dress in blue, it was nothing but red and pink dresses for her brown-haired sister, Laura. No exceptions, no negotiations, that was that: blondes belonged in cerulean, aqua and sky; brunettes in cherry, tomato and blush. Period.

That rule would not fly in celebrity stylist Jen Rade's studio. She knows that the key to looking your best is not what color you go with, but the shade in which you choose it. Take fair-skinned blondie Jennifer Morrison, whom Rade just dressed in pastels for the Monte Carlo Television Festival. "Pastels can make pale people look sallow, but in this case it was the perfect pink and mint [for her]," the stylist explained to me over the phone last week. "Because it picked up a hint of her eye color, there was a warmth to her skin."

Finding the most flattering options for your complexion can be tough, though. There are thousands upon thousands of variations in the color wheel, and only so much time to spend in front of the mirror. To make the whole process faster, I've asked Rade to share her best tips in the slideshow above. Click through to see what suits you.


For more from Jen Rade, catch her on QVC this coming Monday, June 30 at 6AM and 7AM EST.

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