Sunday, March 29, 2009

the fire-haired fashionista

As of a week and a half ago it’s officially spring: season of daffodils, sweeping and sunshine (except in BC; we get rain instead). Now, spring carries a lot of connotations. You’ve gotta exude a cheery and exuberant persona, turn over a new leaf, etcetera. So on the morning of the 20th I opened the creaky slatted door of my closet, surveyed my choices, and realized with dismay that all it seemed to host was funeral attire.

Okay, so I need to go shopping; my wan wardrobe could definitely use some colour. But I have a small problem. I am instinctively attracted to racks of red: red sweaters, red tops, red handbags and hair-bands. However, the approach of said hue to within ten feet of my hair sends the fire department rushing to douse me. It’s very sad.

If you’re a redhead in a similar fashion rut, you must have realized by now that certain colours are just… not… flattering. So, I’ve compiled some basic colour tips to help you avoid the above fire hydrant fiasco. This goes for non-natural gingers too (we welcome you into the fold).

If your hair is a true red, auburn or copper… you probably have an ivory, yellowish or golden undertone to your skin; brown, green, hazel or blue eyes; and possibly freckles. Natural, earthy tones, such as beige, brown, camel, olive green and gold look best on you. Grey, taupe, purple, navy, pink or bright red… not so much.

If you have strawberry blonde or light auburn hair… you probably have peach or golden undertones to your skin, and green or blue eyes. You can wear most spring colors: apricot, beige, golden yellows and peachy pinks. Marine and violet blues or aqua can also look great. Warm greys work, but bluish and dark grey, plum and wine will look stark and cold against your complexion.

Now, down to some particularly noteworthy shades.

Black – the “universal colour” – isn’t so universal if you’re a redhead. It drowns the life out of your hair and skin and makes you look distinctly sallow. You can get away with it, but in black skirts, pants and accessories rather than close to your face. To pull off your trusty LBD (little black dress) or black top, a jacket or scarf worn overtop in a flattering colour can soften the severity.

Green, on the other hand, is a redhead’s dream. There’s at least one complementing green shade for every shade of red. Just two simple tips: the lighter the shade of your hair, the lighter the green you should go for, and warmer greens suit warmer complexions.

To clash or not to clash… ah, some tricky ones. I've found that pale pinks can look good on darker redheads whose color is not too coppery, but otherwise pink is a no-go. Very dark, muted purple and lilac can also work, though they suit the strawberry blonde or light auburn redhead type best. And please, for the love of all that is good (unless you're Marcia Cross), avoid orange.
The cardinal rule is this: if you’re addicted to a colour that clashes horribly with your hair, wear it as far away from the face as possible or accessorize instead with shoes, handbags or belts.

My work is done. Now go forth, my kinsmen, in lovely complementary hues!


  1. nessa you are so wise :)

  2. I wear dark purple a lot... pale pink (almost peach)...burnt orange (University of Texas!)... navy... and I have fairly bright red hair. If you like the way it looks wear it. Except of course for hot pink... that is just wrong!