top of page

Dressed in Skin: The Relationship Between Fashion Choices and Skin Colour

Fashion is one of the most subjective and personal forms of self-expression. It allows expressing individual personality, mood, and beliefs. Fashion has always been an integral part of human culture. From ancient times to modern-day, it has played a crucial role in how we express ourselves and present ourselves to the world. However, when it comes to fashion, one factor that is often overlooked is skin colour. Our skin colour can affect our fashion choices in numerous ways, from the colours we choose to wear to the styles that suit us best. There is a debate about whether one’s skin colour can affect their fashion choices. People have different opinions about how skin colour impacts their wardrobe choices. Some believe that skin colour should be a factor in choosing clothes, while others argue that it should not matter. In this article, we will explore how skin colour can influence fashion choices and the cultural implications that come with it.

unsplash fashion does skin colour affect our fashion choices runway models fashion week fashion shows skin colour of models

Cultural and Historical Influences on Fashion Choices

Fashion has always been influenced by cultural and historical factors. For centuries, people have used clothing to communicate their social status, cultural identity, and beliefs. The colour of the clothes has always been a significant factor in fashion choices. For example, in ancient China, red was considered a symbol of good luck and was worn on special occasions. In India, women wear bright and colourful saris during celebrations and festivals.

Similarly, skin colour has also played a role in fashion choices. In some cultures, lighter skin tones are considered more desirable, and people with fair skin may choose lighter colours to complement their skin tone. In contrast, people with darker skin tones may choose bolder colours that stand out against their skin. For example, in some African cultures, bright and bold prints are worn to celebrate their skin colour and cultural heritage.

unsplash fashion does skin colour affect our fashion choices runway models fashion week fashion shows skin colour of models

Fashion Industry and Representation

The fashion industry has a significant impact on fashion choices and trends. However, for many years, the fashion industry has been criticised for its lack of representation of people of colour. Models and fashion icons are often portrayed as having light skin tones, leading to a narrow definition of beauty that excludes people with darker skin tones.

This lack of representation has a significant impact on the fashion choices of people of colour. Many people may feel that they cannot wear certain styles or colours because they are not represented in the media or through fashion influencers. However, in recent years, the fashion industry has made strides in promoting diversity and inclusivity. More designers and brands are featuring models with a range of skin tones and body types, making it easier for people of colour to find inspiration and representation in fashion.

unsplash fashion does skin colour affect our fashion choices runway models fashion week fashion shows skin colour of models

Personal Preferences and Individuality

While cultural, historical factors, and industry representation may influence fashion choices, personal preferences, and individuality play a significant role. People may choose clothing that makes them feel comfortable and confident, regardless of their skin colour. For example, someone with a darker skin tone may choose to wear lighter colours because they feel more comfortable and confident in them. Similarly, someone with a lighter skin tone may choose to wear bold and bright colours because they like how they look and feel in them.

Personal preferences and individuality also come into play when it comes to fashion accessories. Jewellery, hats, bags, and shoes can be worn to complement skin tone or add contrast. Personal style is subjective, and what works for one person may not work for another.

unsplash fashion does skin colour affect our fashion choices runway models fashion week fashion shows skin colour of models

Colour Analysis and Skin Tone

Colour analysis is a technique used to determine the most flattering colours for an individual's skin tone. This technique considers factors such as skin tone, eye colour, and hair colour to identify the colours that enhance an individual's natural beauty. Colour analysis can be useful for people who are unsure which colours work best with their skin tone and want to make more informed fashion choices.

There are several skin tone categories, including fair, medium, olive, and dark. Individuals with fair skin tones may find that pastel colours, blues, and pinks complement their skin tone. People with medium skin tones may find that earthy tones such as greens and browns are more flattering, while individuals with olive skin tones may find that rich jewel tones such as emerald are on their liking list.

If talking about makeup, then it can also play a significant role in fashion choices. Different skin tones require different makeup shades, and this can affect what type of clothing and accessories one chooses to wear. For example, someone with a warm skin tone may prefer wearing gold accessories and warm-toned clothing to complement their makeup, while someone with a cool skin tone may prefer silver accessories and cooler-toned clothing. Similarly, individuals with more intense skin tones may require bold makeup choices to complement their clothing and accessories.


In conclusion, our skin colour can indeed have an impact on our fashion choices, whether we are aware of it or not. As human beings, we are all unique, and our skin colour is just one aspect of our individuality. The fashion industry has made strides in recent years to be more inclusive and diverse, but there is still a long way to go.

It is important to remember that fashion is a form of self-expression as we said in the beginning, and what we choose to wear should ultimately make us feel confident and comfortable in our own skin. While there may be societal pressures to conform to certain fashion trends based on skin colour, it is up to us as individuals to break free from these expectations and embrace our own personal style.

Additionally, it is important to recognise the harmful effects of colourism within our society. Colourism is a form of discrimination based on skin colour, which can lead to prejudice and unequal treatment. It is essential that we challenge these harmful attitudes and work towards creating a more inclusive and accepting society.

In the end, our skin colour should not limit our fashion choices or define who we are. We should celebrate our differences and embrace the diversity that exists within our world. Fashion is a powerful tool that can be used to express our individuality and bring people together, regardless of skin colour. Let us strive toward a future where fashion is truly inclusive and diverse and make us comfortable with whatever we want to wear.