StyleBistro : Are You Dressing for Your Hair Color?

“Are You Dressing for Your Hair Color?” originally appeared on StyleBistro. Read the story at

In his new book, Change Your Clothes, Change Your Life, stylist and image consultant George Brescia discusses how clothes can dramatically impact not only how we feel about ourselves, but also how others perceive us—thus impacting the course of our daily lives. While it’s all fascinating food for thought, we were most intrigued by the idea of dressing around our hair color, perhaps because it’s something we hadn’t really given much thought to before.

But Brescia raises an excellent point: “Would you throw on a bright yellow hat without thinking about whether it clashed with the rest of your outfit? Well, that hat is your hair—and it’s a hat you wear every day.” In a chapter devoted to the power of color, he breaks down the ideal palettes for four different hair hues: honey, caviar, copper and silver. Read on to see what advice he has for your tress tone.

Honey: Warm Sunny Blondes

Navy is the New Black
While black tends to be every woman’s fail-safe color, Brescia advises against it for blondes, since its stark contrast against lighter complexions tends to be too harsh and often washes them out. Instead, he recommends wearing navy as a close substitute. “It acts as a black without being a black, creating a subdued palette that is one important degree warmer,” he explains.

Reese Witherspoon in a navy Nina Ricci dress
Reese Witherspoon in a navy Nina Ricci dress
(Source: Bauer Griffin)

Avoid Pattern Play
For much the same reason, blondes should avoid bold, graphic patterns that have a tendency to overwhelm them. “Because the contrast between your hair and skin is naturally low, a very strong pattern can create an imbalance that causes your features to recede,” explains Brescia.

Get Earthy
Brescia’s favorite color for blondes is camel, which he says will be responsible for “bringing out the highlights in your hair and creating the kind of harmonious picture that puts you at center stage.” He also recommends shades of blue, green, peach and other earth tones.

Gwyneth Paltrow in a peach Donna Karan gown
Gwyneth Paltrow in a peach Donna Karan gown
(Source: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images Europe)

Caviar: Classic Brunettes

Be Bold
“Your shock of dark hair makes a powerful statement,” says Brescia. “[It] gives you the presence to stand up to bright colors, so embrace your ability to wear attention-getting hues that would be overpowering for other women.” In other words, skip pastels in favor of neons, jewel tones and other saturated shades, as well as prints “that match the intensity of your strands.”

Megan Fox in a jewel-tone Donna Karan gown
Megan Fox in a jewel-tone Donna Karan gown
(Source: Junko Kimura/Getty Images AsiaPac)

Know Your Neutrals
Brescia calls beige “Washout City” for brunettes because it can too easily blend in with your skin tone. Instead, he suggests relying on gray, black and stark white as your go-to neutrals. “They play off the natural contrasts in your palette, popping your dark hair and letting your features shine through,” he explains.

Jessica Alba in graphic black and white
Jessica Alba in graphic black and white
(Source: Jason Merritt/Getty Images North America)

Copper: Chestnuts and Redheads

Color is Everything
Although hair color plays a big part in how everyone gets dressed, this is especially true for redheads. “Unlike blondes and brunettes, their hair will never read as a neutral, and so it always needs to be taken into consideration,” explains Brescia. As such, they need to operate within a highly-defined palette of chocolate browns, corals, peachy oranges, blue-greens, camels and creams in order to best complement their standout strands.

Amy Adams in a cream Carolina Herrera gown
Amy Adams in a cream Carolina Herrera gown
(Source: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images North America)

Be True Blue 
Just like blondes, redheads should replace their stark black threads for ones in a more flattering navy. “In addition to warming up her skin, blue has the advantage of being a near complementary hue to red on the color wheel, which is why it looks so great next to her hair,” says Brescia.

When in Doubt, Go Green
Perhaps the most flattering color of all for redheads is green, which Brescia recommends wearing whenever you want to be noticed. “[They are] hues that lie on opposite ends of the spectrum and thus present the strongest possible contrast when juxtaposed,” he notes.

Christina Hendricks in an emerald-green dress
Christina Hendricks in an emerald-green dress
(Source: Kevin Winter/Getty Images North America)

Silver: Gray, Dirty and Platinum Blondes

Have a Soft Touch
“The best colors for gray hair are muted,” says Brescia. “It must be toned down in order to match the diminished intensity of the hair follicle.” He recommends sticking to slate blue, gray, silver, sea-foam green, lavender and taupe in order to not overpower such light locks. This rule of thumb also applies to platinum and dirty blondes. “As opposed to the classic blonde’s golden yellow strands, true platinum is defined by an absence of color, reading almost as white,” he explains.

Helen Mirren in a red Escada gown
Helen Mirren in a red Escada gown
(Source: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin)

Lady in Red
The one exception to the aforementioned rule is red. “It is such a pure color and one that happens to look fantastic with gray,” says Brescia, who also recommends white for a crisp contrast.



  1. I was auburn for most of my life and as that looked quite marmalade as the grey grew in I went various shades of blonde – I am ash blonde now rather than silver and I must say for the first time in my life and I am comfortable wearing scarlet which I always thought clashed with my then colour… but I have too much black and will certainly try some blue now.. interesting thank you.

  2. I love this article. I change my hair colour a lot, so I know what you mean by wearing certain clothes with certain hair colours. I completly agree with the suggestions you have made in this article 🙂

  3. This has been my mums long standing belief that hair colour and skin colour affects what type of colour clothes to wear and I totally agree now! Lovely piece, very informative and helpful! Jess

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