At the beginning of the 20th century, members of royal families wore silver wedding gowns...until Queen Victoria became the ultimate trendsetter by wearing white. To this day, the white tradition has remained in Western countries. However, now, there are hundreds of shades of whites to wear—from the starkest of whites to the warmest and creamiest. Some whites look better on brides than other whites; but why is that? The answer lies in the bride’s skin tone. Selecting the correct gown colour can really make the difference between glowing or being washed-out, with no contrast between skin colour and dress colour.
To determine your skin tone:
• Examine the veins in your arm. Veins that look blue indicate that you have a lighter or cooler skin tone and if they look green you are more likely to be warmer, with a medium to dark skin tone.
• Look for your undertone, or the colour you can see underneath your skin. Warm skin tones are usually defined by yellow or orange undertones, whereas cool skin tones have red, blue or pink undertones
• Hold a piece of silver and a piece of gold fabric to your face. The right colour swatch will bring out the warmth in your face and the wrong colour will make your skin look tired and sallow. If the silver fabric works best for you, you may have a cooler skin tone. If it’s the gold, you will most likely have a warmer skin tone.
• Your skin tone can be either light, medium or dark. Some skin experts also use the terms warm, cool or neutral to describe skin tone, while other classifications have been made on the seasons—Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter
Here are some tips for the different types of tones:
Light skin tone—If you are very pink or your skin has rosy undertones, ivory is a good choice. It may be best to avoid pastels and gold. Bridesmaids with pink undertones can opt for black, navy, royal blue, purple, teal, emerald green, hot pink, grey and red. Silver accessories tend to look best with cool skin tones. Medium skin tone—If you have an olive or medium skin tone, a champagne, ecru or off-white gown will work best. Bridesmaids who have a medium skin tone will sparkle in aqua, green, warm pink and red and orange.
Dark skin tone—If your skin tone is dark, crisp white would look stunning. Brides with dark skin tones can also wear an ecru-coloured wedding dress. Bridesmaids with dark skin tones might look best in plum, lavender, soft neutrals and pastels. Both gold and silver can complement dark skin tones. If you’re undecided about which white suits you best, ask the consultant at the bridal shop for fabric swatches that you can take home so that you can look at yourself in various types of lighting. If the bridal shop you visit doesn’t offer this service, visit a fabric store and select your own fabric swatches!