Carolina Herrera Spring Summer 2015. Image: Showbit
We’ll admit that yellow really is a tricky colour to wear, whether on a top or a dress. Even the ever-stylish Duchess Kate was, ahem, thrown shade by Prince William who said she looked “like a banana” in this hue.
Don’t give up on this colour just yet; there are ways to wear it well. There’s even a particular shade that’s almost universally flattering too.
1. How to match the right shade of yellow to your skin tone
The main idea is to find that balance in differentiating your yellow wardrobe piece from your overall skin tone. Shades of yellow appear most flattering on women with what insiders would consider a ‘neutral’ skin colour, ie. a skin tone which contains a good balance of both cool and warm tones.
One easy way to find out is to compare whether gold or silver looks better on your skin. If silver is more flattering on you, you’re likely to have a cooler overall skin tone. Should gold work better on you then your skin tone is on the warmer side. If silver and gold both flatter, lucky you; your ‘neutral’ skin tone makes most types of yellow appear appealing on you.
This situation however, is trickier for many East Asians. Whether you have fair, medium or darker skin, should your yellow dress appear too similar to the yellow undertones of your skin, it could make you look sickly.
The key is to maximise the colour contrast between your skin and the type of yellow you’re wearing. Consider if your skin has enough ‘cooler’ undertones for you to pull off the more vivid hues.
Bonded cotton dress, price unavailable and satin necklace with ceramic beads, $189, both from In Good Company. Saffiano leather clutch, $550, from Raoul. Image: Jasper Yu/ herworldPLUS
Japanese model Suzuki Ai (seen above) for instance, has fair skin with generally pink-ish, cool overtones, which makes warmer hues like canary yellow and mustard yellow appear more flattering on her. Cooler, neon shades of yellow may make her skin appear sallow.
Alice polyester blend top, $149 from Soon Lee. Rubber and plastic necklace, $89 from COS. Leather sling bag, $499 from Club Monaco. Gold-plated brass bracelet, $123 from Pinwheel Jewels. Image: Jasper Yu/ herworldPLUS
In contrast, Singapore model Zianna Zainal (seen above), has fair skin with warmer, more yellow overtones than Suzuki’s, so the best fit for her are cooler tones of yellow such as a neon chartreuse yellow or the paler pastels like custard yellow rather than the vivid canary yellow that Suzuki is wearing.
Another solution: Get a good tan if you can to help balance out your warmer and cooler undertones, just make sure your skin doesn’t burn under the sun ‒ lobster red looks terrible with all shades of yellow!
2. The one yellow tone that all Asian women should try
Cotton dress, $59 from Soon Lee. Robert Clergerie nappa and rubber sunglasses, $640. Plated metal charm bracelet, $150 from Oroton. Image: Jasper Yu/ herworldPLUS
Think of the palest, pastel yellow that you can find; so fair, that it’s close to cream, like your favourite off-white dress. This hue can work well on the fairest of your friends as well as pals with warmer skin tones too.
3. Layer yellow with grey, to make this shade easier to wear
Creatures of the Wind Spring Summer 2015. Image: Showbit
Instead of wearing the sunny hue on its own, why not pair your yellow statement piece with grey separates. For instance, you can layer a thin turtleneck, under your sunny dress to offset the stark colour contrast between the yellow frock and your skin tone. Avoid pairing it with black if possible, for that inevitable bumblebee comparison.
4. Try yellow in neon tones
Diane von Furstenberg Spring Summer 2015. Image: Showbit
We’re not just talking about the traffic-stopping shades. It’s an almost lime-like yellow that you should shop for. The brighter, louder neon yellow tones flatter darker skin tones best.
5. Wear a floral print in yellow
Michael Kors Spring Summer 2015. Image: Showbit
A floral print can also help make the summery colour more palatable too, as seen in the Michael Kors and DVF Spring Summer 2015 collections.
6. Go for separates to wear to the office
Think of the yellow item — be it a top, jacket, skirt or a shoe — as your outfit’s statement piece, so stick to just one item in the bright shade so that your look avoids being too over-the-top for work.
CELINE, Ngee Ann City, #01-28-29, Tel: 6736 0511.
CLUB MONACO, Ngee Ann City, #B1-41/47/48, Tel: 6732 1767.
COS, ION Orchard, Tel: #03-23/23A, Tel: 6238 8933
IN GOOD COMPANY, TANGS Orchard, Level 2, Tel: 6737 5500.
ON PEDDER, Scotts Square, #02-10/11/12/13, Tel: 6835 1307.
OROTON, ION Orchard, #03-10, Tel: 6634 2770.
RAOUL, Paragon, #02-49, Tel: 6737 0682.
PINWHEEL JEWELS, http://www.pinwheeljewels.com.
SOON LEE, 73 Haji Lane, Tel: 6297 0198.
Need more style inspiration? Check out the gallery below, to find the perfect yellow hue for you!