After we have exhausted our attention to skin tones and skin temperatures, we have to talk about skin contrast. Skin tones and contrast are two fundamentals that work side by side to create our overall look. Other than just skin tones, contrasts plays a huge part in dressing up. These are distinctions with regards to your skin, hair (facial or crown) and your facial features.

1.What’s your Contrast?

High Contrast– Most Chinese, Japanese, Koreans and some fairer skinned folks from South America find themselves in this category. These are men with dark or almost black hair with fair skin. Men with stark contrast should focus on contrasting color combinations. Such as navy, dark grey and black with white or light colored shirts.

Tip: High Contrast men will look dull with low contrast clothing. Jon Hamm, Mr. Don Draper himself looks dull and sickly with the cream blazer and ash blue shirt (Left). Whereas the other picture (right), the high contrast set off by white shirt against the navy suit narrows your attention to his face and tie.



 As for our black gentlemen brothers, they fall into this category as well. You might be wondering why, as this contradicts the theory of dark hair-light skin contrast. This is for a reason that there is a definite contrast between the pristine white shirt and their beautiful dark skin.

 Tip: As Tinie Tempah looks casually chic in this ensemble (Left). He can also get away with rich vivid bright colors (Right) because of his warm skin tone.

   Tinie Tempah in white collarless bib front Dolce Gabbana shirt at Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup Final at Cowdray Park Polo Club on 20th July 2014 35271fbc744cc515139a19e414786842

Photographed by: David Nyanzi

Medium Contrast Most men from Southeast Asia, Hispanics and Dark brown-haired men fall into this category. There is a definite contrast from their hair and skin, but not as stark as the high contrast men. Focus on medium hues of blue, grey and richer tones of pastels. Even though, one will look fine in black and white outfits, they can definitely look livelier in medium contrast clothing.

 Tip: If you get invited to a black tie event, stir things up by wearing a midnight blue tuxedo, just like what Mr. JT did (Left picture), white shirt and black satin bow tie. This way, you curb your contrast to medium and making it gentler to your face and skin tone. Of course, if it’s a strictly black-tie event, while it is not the best look for you (Right picture), it will still be safer to follow suit.

    2013ama-justin-timberlake1-v_p JT_4

 Low Contrast The trickiest among the three. Majority of Redheads and blondes will fall into this category. Their fair skin and golden hair makes a soft-low contrast.  One should focus on light and blending tones such as tan brown, medium to light grey and pastels. Avoid any contrast of some sort, as this will be too strong and therefore, moving the attention to the clothing as opposed to the face.

Tip: Complement your facial features by color repetition. As the Mentalist star Simon baker shows, the coolness of his ash blue blazer pairs perfectly well with his blue eyes.  


How do I use this information?

Well, it’s not like The Gold Codes to launch a nuclear weapon (close enough) but knowing your skin tone and contrast can make your life a whole lot easier when navigating your way inside a dress bar or getting dressed in the morning. The whole idea of skin tone and contrast is to focus the attention to your FACE.

These are just suggestions and not something written in the bible. Find out what works for you by understanding your skin tone and contrast. Play around with it and see what your partner and (honest) friends say about it. They are usually good indicators of how good or bad we are doing in life or in style.