Friday, September 25, 2009

Mail Bag: Colors for Asians

okay Kasmira,

Allow me to confess my ignorance on online fashion blogging websites, for i have just stumbled into this lovely side of cyber world only since the past month (my normal daily routine would usually consist of msn news and yahoo finance).

Your blog has been quite an eye-opening experience for me. I have learned so much from your daily outfit, color palettes, and also developed the love for thrifty shopping. I wish there were such lovely websites existed back in my teenage years; it would have saved me much sorrow on awkward and embarrassing fashion moments growing up.

I am sure you have thousands of thank-you & i-love-you letters a day so i will stop babbling on how much your blog enlightened me. I would love to know what color palette you would consider looking best on medium asian skin with black hair? Being artistic has never been my forte, so going through different color one attempt after another is just a complete torture.

I work at a financial investment company so black is my normal go-to outfit, but i have to admit that the blonds just look immediately 10 times better in it. oh, and they also look striking in red, green, blue, pink, and any other bright color you can think of, and all of them make my asian skin look dull. Any suggestions?

your devoted fan who views your blog on an hourly basis,

ps. This is the first time i have ever written letter to a stranger (never even to a celebrity growing up as a geeky little girl), yes, you have inspired me THAT much. Hope you consider it as my best appreciation.

I’m so glad you enjoy my blog, and I hope you’ll consider it merely an entry point into the wonderful world of style blogs (buh-bye news and finance). In fact, I am going to point you to some bloggers with coloring similar to yours for inspiration. These ladies may or may not consider themselves “asian,” but they share your yellow-based skin and dark hair.

Academichic (check out E’s posts)
Adored Austin
Cheapskate Chic
Clothed Much
Fashionist (a street style blog that often features asian women)
Just My Style
Nubby Twiglet
Style Bubble
That’s Chic
Times of Glory
Two Thousand Things
The Voguette

Also, try scrolling through the Wardrobe Remix Pool for color inspiration.

I don’t intend to avoid your question or label anyone, but I think that observing others with coloring like your own will be more helpful than any advice a cool blonde can give you!

Another way to find colors that look good on you (besides color charts – which have never done me a bit of good), is to take an honest friend shopping with you. Try on tops in different shades and get her opinion. You might even ask her to take pictures so that you can more objectively judge for yourself or revisit certain colors later. Having a buddy will hopefully make the experience less torturous.

Also, experiment with makeup. The right lip color can make clothing in even the most unwearable shade work for you. If you’re no makeup maven, find a cosmeticsaholic friend to help you out.

Finally, I’d ask my readers to leave their own advice (and links to any other inspirational style blogs) in the comments.


JordanMayTwigs said...

Awww that is such an awesome letter to receive!!

I'm kind of in the same boat as her.
Only I've got VERY Olive skin.
With Slight Yellow undertones.
I would suggest to wear more neutral colors.
And pretty pastels.

You can mix edgey with elegant with this.
By adding fun accessories.

Also if you are having a hard time with makeup.
I would suggest going to a MAC counter.
They can help you find WHAT EVER your heart desires.
And you can completely transform your skin tone to look more neutral as well this way.
So that you can wear a wider varity of colors if you wish to wear the things that "those blondes wear".

I hope I helped a little.
And this was a great letter.
I wish people would email me asking for advice!!

Peace Love && Lipstick

Indiana Adams said...

Teal, coral, traffic cone orange, and bright, bright yellow.

Trust. I always get acting gigs when I audition in those colors.

AFY said...


I'm Asian, too. Personally, I love us in jewel tones: rich reds, blues, greens, etc. Also vibrant colors you see in nature, like the shades of fuchsia you see in orchids, etc.

I used to be more like you until just a couple of years ago... I'm only branching out into brighter colors now. I used to rule out whole colors (ie, 'I can't wear orange'), but the trick is to find the right hue for your skin tone.

(Ex: I loathe almost all orange shades when they're paired with my skin tone, but I once found a shirt that was a warmer orange + had some black threads woven into it ... so it actually worked for me. I paired it with dark blue jeans to make it really pop, and the overall combo looked great on me because of that sharp contrast.)

The other thing is... you can find a color that looks good on you, but if you don't feel good in it or don't think it looks good on you, it won't feel good. What you'll think looks good on you is part exposure (are you okay with it?) and part instinct (even if you've seen it before...or love do have to know when to veto it - you'll build this instinct through exposure).

(This is where having friends is a great suggestion -- if they have that exposure, they can help you build up your sense of what works and what doesn't as you venture out into new territory.)

Last recommendation: check out some fashion pics/catalogs of models from Tokyo, Hong Kong, or Korea. The use of color is so different in Asia, and bright colors pop up all the time. I have an American sense of color, so sometimes I'll get a new idea or two that I hadn't considered before. There are a ton of shades I don't think work for me, but I'll seen them on other asian women, and it seems fine, so it makes me rethink what I think is okay and what isn't okay.

Oh, and knowing the color wheel is handy, too. (Like that whole orange/blue thing.)

Okay, manifesto over. Good luck! :)

Diana Draw said...

Those are some fantastic blogs! I love how diverse they are.

Margaret said...

And keep in mind that if a color doesn't flatter your face, you can have a scarf/collar/blouse to keep it away from your face (using a more flattering color) and still enjoy it!

l e i g h c i a said...

I have pretty standard Chinese colouring (medium skin tone, black hair). The best colours for me are purple, black, grey, fuschia, blue, red and sometimes green. With the dark colouring in your hair, it's easier to pull off rich jewel tone colours. Colours that make me look more washed out are beige, light pink, yellow, orange etc...

As for makeup colours, try Berry Bloom by Revlon.

academicguide said...

I'm not Asian, but I also have what can be a hard to match skin tone. Your office may be too conservative for this, but I highly recommend colored shoes as a great way to add interest to an outfit. Almost any skin tone can pull off shoes of any color. They are way to far from your face to suggest dramatic changes to your skin tone (or you can keep them away from your skin altogether with tights or pants). I never thought I would be able to pull off yellow until I bought yellow shoes. The shoes themselves look great and it inspired me to find just the right shade of yellow to work with my coloring.

TigerLily said...

kasmira, thanks for suggesting my blog.

To Kat: Don't be afraid to try colors. I wore white quite a lot because somehow it gives a brightening effect on my skin. I also wear red, brown, green, nude and pastel colors. If you have to wear black then opt for bright accessories, it would save you from dullness ^o^

Kat said...

awww.. everybody is so helpful. thank you all so much. i am so glad i have you all to help me stepping out of the "black all over geeky girl" phase.

Keix said...

Another "typical" Asian woman chiming in to say JEWEL TONES! I'm currently in love with seafoam green, which is sort of a lighter version of turquoise; look for teal, orchid (not violet) purple, true red.

Anonymous said...

Ummm sorry but do you know what colours would suit me? I do have the typical Asian colouring, like, I have black hair and stuff, but my skin's paler than others. I know I can't really wear red- It makes me look washed out... So, um, what colours do you suggest?

Kasmira said...

Anon - take a look at the reader comments. Lots of help there! And I would highly recommend experimenting with an honest friend. Go shopping or just use someone else's vast closet to try a variety of colors against your skin tone and make note of the best ones!