Choosing your Shade of White


Photo and graphic by Dani-Elle Dubé. Property of Wedding Dreams magazine.

When it comes to wedding dresses, white isn’t always white. From champagne to oyster to ivory, there are varying shades of white. And while you may think all you need to be concerned with when looking for a wedding dress is finding the right style, if you’re marrying in white, then you also need to take into account the shade of your wedding gown because depending on your skin tone some shades of white will be more flattering than others. However, finding the right shade of white isn’t that difficult if you know what you’re looking for.

Fair Complexion

Avoid a white that’s too stark if you’re fair skinned as it will leave you looking washed out. Opt for a white with warm undertones in yellow or gold (these shades are often referred to as off-white, natural white or soft white). A natural fabric such as silk can make some shades of white appear less harsh and is therefore a good choice for a fair complexioned woman.

Medium Complexion

Shades ranging from brilliant white (a stark white) to creamy white with yellow undertones suit medium complexions best, as they help to tone down any ruddiness you may have. If you have pink undertones to your skin, opt for a cream dress; if your skin has yellow undertones, then a shade a little softer than brilliant white will suit your complexion (this softer white shade is sometimes referred to as diamond white).


Olive Complexion

Olive skin looks good in a cool white with pink undertones. A champagne shade of white is also flattering, as can be brilliant white.


Dark Complexion

Dark complexioned women can wear the whitest of whites in all types of fabrics, including synthetic. A dark skin tone also looks good in a white with a hint of brown (a latte shade). Opt for cool whites with blue undertones as opposed to warm whites with hints of yellow.

One way to determine whether your skin has warm or cool undertones is to consider how it looks when you wear gold and silver jewelry. If gold is more flattering, then you have warm (yellow) undertones; if you look better in silver, then your skin has cool (blue) undertones. If you really can’t determine, then you may be one of the lucky few that have a neutral skin tone and can carry off any color.

When deciding on a shade of white for your wedding dress, you’ll also need to consider the environment in which you’ll be wearing your gown. For example, if you’re having an evening ceremony it will probably mean low lighting and candles. A brilliant white dress may give the appearance it’s glowing in this type of light, so you may want to take this into account when choosing your gown.

There’s no need to panic about finding the perfect white wedding dress once you know which shades of white flatter your complexion. You then just need to pick out a style that suits your body shape and go out and enjoy your big day – knowing you look fabulous!


Category: Bridal Gowns, FASHION, Past Issues, SHOPPING, TRENDS