Beige as a color has always been quite controversial. It can be linked to being boring, drab and fabulous fashionista Sue Kreitzman even proclaimed: “Don’t wear beige. It might kill you!”

I recently received this email from Aileen:

“… I have often heard people saying that older women should avoid wearing ‘beige’ as it is an ‘old lady’ color, too safe and boring and also very draining on the complexion. What I noticed in a recent catalog is a lot of ‘beige’ but hiding behind words such as: Toffee, Vanilla Pink, Toast, Iced Mocha, Putty, Toasted Almond, Pale Oyster, Almond Cream, Desert Sand, Heather Silver Sand, Heather Stone, Pale Oyster. What do you think about beige as a suitable color for older women?”.

Great question Aileen!

Let’s first examine: exactly what color is beige?

According to wiki, beige is a very pale brown color, variously described as a pale sandy fawn color, a grayish tan, a light-grayish yellowish brown, or a pale to grayish yellow.

What is beige |

It can indeed be a tough color to wear depending on your specific skin color, but it can also look very chic, provided it is worn in the right way.

Beige clothing: Is beige having a resurgence?

Yes and no. Beige is definitely more popular now than it has been in other years. Below you can see how some of the major fashion houses showcased beige on the catwalks for spring/summer 2020.

beige is on trend right now |

Burberry – Givenchy – Oscar de la Renta

However, as you know, beige is not just for 2020. It is also a complete classic. There’s nothing more timeless, for example, than a beige trench coat.

Lauren Ralph Lauren trench coat |

Lauren Ralph Lauren trench coat

Also take a look at how to wear a trench coat.

Some tips on wearing beige and putting together a beige outfit

Wear it away from your face

One of the easiest ways to wear beige is as a bottom. That is how I wore my beige / camel trousers and jacket a while ago with a cream top. I would probably add more color when I wear this again.

Get a more vibrant or shimmering beige

Beige is also easier to wear when it has a bit of shimmer. My golden top for example falls in the beige color range, but it’s shimmery and more golden which brightens up the complexion and is therefore easier to wear. It also helps to wear it with a vibrant color and red lipstick.

Think about fabric and texture

neutral outfit ideas |

One of the reasons beige works so well is because it has a natural feel, so it makes sense that it looks particularly beautiful when worn in natural fabrics such as wool or linen. Adding texture also creates more interest.

Petra (above) wears an outfit which mostly consists of beige, but she adds interest with different textures and a pop of pink.

Recreate her look with this similar sweater, satin skirt and boots.

Make it part of your timeless capsule

If you are thinking about your wardrobe more in terms of a capsule right now rather than as separate items, beige can be the perfect neutral base for the rest of your clothes, shoes and accessories.

It can also form the basis of a classic wardrobe.

Take a look at our ultimate guide in creating a capsule wardrobe for more inspiration.

Choose the right shade of beige

Just as with gray, there are 50 shades of beige, and more. Choose the shade that looks best against your skin tone.

If you are pale, you may wish to avoid pale beige so you don’t look washed out. Most importantly don’t choose a beige the same color as your skin (otherwise, you may look partly undressed from a distance!)

Wear it with color

A green dress worn with a beige trench coat |

Beige is a really good neutral to combine with color. Keep reading for the best colors to pair with beige!

Wear it with a colorful jacket, cardigan, top or use accessories like scarves, necklaces and bags. This is how I wore my beige pants a while ago with red and here is a beige skirt worn with orange.

In general, I would say to stay away from an all-beige outfit as shown by the models at the top. The color does tend to wash out many women (over 40) including me.

If you like the look and feel of wearing a neutral all over, then cream or white may be a better option. They are brighter colors and don’t have that ‘drab’ feel about them. I actually really love an all-cream or all-white outfit.

That said, beige can be a great base for adding colors.

Psyche (above) pairs her beige trench coat with green.

Get her look with this similar dress, trench coat and leopard print booties.

Choose colors that suit your complexion well or that make you happy. Play with various colors and young & hip accessories like contemporary jewelry or a funky bag and use beige as your canvas.

Below you will find just a few examples of how you can look stunning and chic with beige.

Wear with your gold jewelry

Beige can look both classic AND classy. Wearing beige with your gold jewelry can elevate your look even further.

Colors that go with beige?

So now that you are maybe thinking about beige in a whole new way, what colors should you wear with your beige?

Colors that match with beige: All neutrals

This is one of my favorite ways to wear beige. Pairing beige with other neutrals such as white or cream can look very classy.

wearing camel pants with white |

Patricia (above) looks stunning in beige and white.

Check out this similar textured shirt, trousers, croc-embossed handbag and sandals.

Below are more beige and white outfit ideas for you.

pairing beige with other neutrals |

NIC+ZOE asymmetrical hem tank topCaslon linen blazerTommy Hilfiger ankle pantsVionic cage sandalTed Baker London croc embossed bag

a beige jacket and white dress |

Ming Wang shift dressBlank NYC moto jacketTen79LA hoop earringsVionic cage sandalTed Baker London croc embossed bag

What color goes with beige? Beige with black

There are very few colors that don’t go with beige. And there are very few colors that don’t go with black.

So, it stands to reason that beige and black can look brilliant together.

a beige sweater with an animal print skirt |

Jo (above) adds oomph to her look with her animal print skirt.

Recreate her look with this similar sweater, leopard print skirt, tights and boots.

a beige and black dress |

Ganni wrap midi dressVionic cage sandalTed Baker London croc embossed bagTen79LA hoop earrings

wearing beige with black |

Halogen boxy blouseBarefoot Dreams cardigan1922 denim coated ankle skinny jeansBrixton wool fedoraMadewell ballet flatTed Baker London leather crossbody bagKendra Scott tassel necklace

Beige with navy blue

Beige is a classy color, and navy is a classy color. So, when you put them together, you get an outfit with more than a touch of class.

colors that go best with beige |

Patricia (above) looks very stylish and manages to be classic yet contemporary all at the same time.

Check out this similar blazer, pleated skirt, pumps, belt and bag.

You can opt for navy and beige, as in the outfit below.

a class outfit featuring beige |

Wit & Wisdom stripe topJ.Crew linen blazerProsperity Denim belted ankle jeggings1901 sneaker

A paler shade of blue will also look just as beautiful.

blue goes well with beige |

Vince button-up shirtChouyatou biker jacketVince  twist drape midi skirtVionic cage sandalTed Baker London leather crossbody bag

Beige with red

This is one of my favorite color combinations, as beige looks ultra-modern when worn with red. A tomato red looks particularly great.

red and beige are the perfect color combination |

Lizzi (above) wears her red sweater with a beige coat and makes sure to team her whole look with red lipstick.

Get her look with this similar red sweater, coat, jeans and studded boots.

Below are more beige and red ideas for you.

a beige and red outfit idea |

Lulus rib detail sweater1901 ankle skinny pantsVionic cage sandalTed Baker London leather crossbody bagLaura Lombardi chain necklace

a classic trench coat and red dress |

Harper Rose sheath dressScotch & Soda belted linen coatVionic block heel sandalTed Baker London leather crossbody bag

teaming a red top with nude pants |

Halogen v-neck blouseEnglish Factory belted crop trousersMarc Fisher LTD pumpTed Baker London leather crossbody bagLaura Lombardi chain necklace

Beige outfit ideas

Below is a capsule wardrobe for you, putting together all the ideas from above.

A capsule wardrobe based on beige |

Other colors that go with beige

I hope that’s given you some food for thought when it comes to how to wear your beige.

The fact is, because beige is such a versatile color, there are few colors it doesn’t go with. You might also with to try beige with orange, cobalt blue or purple, for example.

How to wear beige over 40 |

What do you think about beige? Will you wear beige this season? What colors do you wear with beige?

Continue reading:

  1. How To Wear Gray: Color Palettes And Ensembles For You To Choose From!
  2. The Ultimate Guide To Creating A Capsule Wardrobe That Works For You
  3. A Capsule Wardrobe For The Classic Style Personality

Like this post on how to wear beige? Share it on Pinterest!

Can you wear beige over 40? (or will it kill you?) |

Feature image by Petra


Sylvia is 40+style’s editor-in-chief and has been helping women find their unique style since 2011. An alumni of the School of Color and Design, she is devoted to empowering women of any age to look and feel their best. Read more about Sylvia and 40+style on this page.

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