Ever wondered what colors are best for you? In this color series, we will look at the best colors for your special features. In this this article we are looking at the summer color palette.

When you think of summer as a season, you might think of warmth and brightness. However, the summer color palette is actually the opposite of that. It’s all about cool skin tones and muted colors.

Which color season are you? Get the details on spring, summer, autumn and winter

Think about soft pastels and colors that are more of a blend of shades rather than the primary colors you get in your art box.

Having said that, summer color types range through soft, true and light summers, where the colors that suit you best will slightly vary, so it’s definitely worth experimenting with paler and brighter shades of the same color.

Why dress for your color type?

Dressing according to your color type is very much back in favor, and with good reason. As we get older, our skin can start to look paler and washed out, but the right colors against your face can make you look younger and more vibrant.

First off, you’ll look healthier and better.

Knowing which colors suit you can also really help you hone your wardrobe, so everything in your closet goes with everything else. it’s also easier to put together day-to-day outfits.

How to tell if you should wear a summer color palette?

Now that you’re thinking about dressing according to your color type, how can you tell if summer colors are right for you?

1.Your skin has a cool undertone

And it’s likely there is a low contrast between your hair and skintone. If you aren’t sure about the contrast levels, then taking a black and white photo can really help you to see whether there’s a big difference between the tones in your hair and skin.

Summer color palette outfits - Carmen wears a blue skirt and yellow skirt | 40plusstyle.com

As you will see from our colors charts below, soft blues and pale yellows can work beautifully for the summer color palette. Carmen @carmen_gimeno above wears a beautiful warm-weather outfit that combines the two.

Note that if you are worried about any colors washing you out as a summer, you could take a tip out of Carmen’s book and wear a pair of glasses or sunglasses that suit your skintone, and a bright lipstick.

Get her look with this similar shirt, skirt (plain option here), sandals, tote, belt and sunglasses.

2.Your eyes will be cool

Your eyes are blue, gray-blue, cool green, a gray-brown shade, or gray. They will be a muted shade, rather than being warm or bright.

3.Your hair has ashy undertones

You are likely to have light blond to medium brown hair, with cool, ashy undertones rather than it being warm and golden or auburn.

Jona wears an outfit of green and yellow | 40plusstyle.com

Jona @the50plusgirl above opts for bright shades that could wash a summer color type out, but her tan and bright lipstick keep the look super flattering.

Steal her look with this similar camisole, shirt, skirt, sneakers, woven bag and sunglasses.

4.You look best in silver or platinum jewelry

Because summers have cool undertones in their skin, eyes and hair, cool colored jewelry like silver, white gold and platinum will work in harmony with you.

As well as your jewelry, choose silver shades for the hardware on your outfits, such as your buckles, zips, buttons, and bag handles.

Celebrities who have a summer color palette

If you look good in a summer color palette, you’re in great company. Celebrities with a summer color palette include Olivia Wilde, Emily Blunt, Claire Foy, Anna Kendrick, Jennifer Garner, the Princess of Wales, Margot Robbie, Rihanna, and Michelle Pfieffer.

Colors that look great on you

Below, you can see some of the colors that will look great against your skintone. These are the colors you should wear closest to your face, either with your top, jacket, dress. if you don’t want to invest in a whole new wardrobe and you don’t already have these shades in your closet, treat yourself to some scarves or statement necklaces in these colors.

Summer color palette | 40plusstyle.com

What you are looking for are colors that are a blend of shades. So, rather than a very bright red, for example, look for paler pinks and purples. Or, rather than bright blues, you’re looking for blue with a touch of gray.

Think not about the bright shades of summer in the sunshine, but the more muted shades of nature in misty weather or after the rain.

Georgette in sunset ombre maxi dress | 40plusstyle.com

Georgette @grownandcurvywoman above (read her style interview here) looks stunning in her draped maxi dress. You can see that you can choose the most flattering color for you at the top of your dress.

Check out this ombre dress (other options here and here) that you can wear with this similar pair of earrings.

Neutrals to wear if you have a summer skin tone

Of course, you won’t just wear top to toe color in most outfits. You’ll want to add some neutrals. But which ones to wear, and which ones to avoid?

Well, let’s start with what to avoid first.

Black or white won’t work well for you because they’re very high contrast colors, but your color type is low contrast, so they will drain you. If you do want to wear these, wear them at the bottom of your outfit rather than beside your face.

Instead, look for softer neutrals. Specifically, choose those with some grays and blues in them. So, choose whites that are toned down with gray, gray itself, and navy. You can opt for some beiges and browns, but they should be on the cooler side, rather than warm shades.

Neutrals to wear if you have a summer skin tone | 40plusstyle.com

A capsule wardrobe for the summer color palette

Now let’s look at some specific clothes, shoes and accessories we’ve found which meet the summer color type guidelines. And, read on for a capsule where we put them together into different outfits.


Below, we’ve chosen a neutral top that gives you the same look as a white t-shirt – but note, it’s not a bright white, as that would wash you out. It’s off-white. Each of the other tops chosen here has a little gray mixed into their color palette, so it tones down the shades. You can see we’ve chosen a gray-blue, lilac, and minty green.

Tops for the summer palette |  40plustyle.com

Equipment Willow Tie Waist Silk CamisoleM.MLaFLeur The Nora TopCOS Ribbed Tank TopCOS Oversized Shirt

M.MLaFleur The Frederick CardiganM.MLaFLeur The Nora TopWit & Wisdom Ab’Solution High Waist Ankle Skinny PantsSam Edelman Tarra Slingback Pumpbtb Los Angeles Opal Pompom ToteBocar Layer Seed Beads Cluster Collar Necklace  

Coats, jackets and cardigans

On to jackets and coats to go with your outfits. Again look out for more muted tones for the most flattering effect.Rather than choosing the obvious black blazer or black moto jacket, for example, choose paler shades. That way, you could easily wear black, and it will still be flattering. For example a pair of black jeans with the blazer, or a black dress with the moto jacket on top.

The blazer (below) comes in a good choice of colors that would work for the summer type, including the mint shown, as well as greyish blue, dusty rose, lake blue, light gray, and navy. The faux suede jacket also comes in a dusty rose shade that would look good on you.

Jacket for summer | 40plusstyle.com

Urban Coco Open Front Blazerdanibe 3/4 Sleeve Open Front Cropped Cardigan – BLANKNYC Faux Suede Moto JacketM.MLaFleur The Frederick Cardigan

Shan wears a pastel outfit | 40plusstyle.com

Shan @teachingonthegc above shows off some of the pastel shades which look beautiful on summer types.

Check out this similar top, denim jacket, skirt (another option here), sneakers, crossbody bag and necklace.

Pants and jeans

Moving onto pants and jeans, it’s much easier to wear any color at all on your bottom half, because the shades close to your face are most important. However, when choosing your jeans, keep your flattering colors in mind. Rather than black or white, look out for blue or gray jeans, or pastel colors.

The Wit & Wisdom skinny pants (below) come in a few colors that would be good for summers, including shadow, dove gray and smokey twilight.

Pants and jeans for the summer color type | 40plusstyle.com

Hudson Jeans Holly High Waist Flare JeansWit & Wisdom Ab’Solution High Waist Ankle Skinny PantsCOS Plissé PantsBP. Textured Wide Leg Pants

BLANKNYC Faux Suede Moto JacketEquipment Willow Tie Waist Silk CamisoleHudson Jeans Holly High Waist Flare JeansGENTLE SOULS by KENNETH COLE Cody Espadrille Wedge SandalTory Burch Ella Nylon ToteLana Blake Layered Y-NecklaceJenny Bird Nouveaux Puff Earrings


When you’re choosing your dresses, it’s like choosing tops, because they will sit close to your face. If you’re really confident about your color choice, then choose necklines that end close to your face. Otherwise, you can choose lower necklines for shades that don’t quite liven up your skintone as much. Or, if you have dresses that aren’t within the color chart we’ve shown you, choose necklaces that are, or silver necklaces.

The wrap dress comes in other colors that would suit you, including navy.

Dresses for the summer color type | 40plusstyle.com

COS Gathered Linen Midi DressFLORET STUDIOS Tonal Midi DressFraiche by J Flutter Sleeve Faux Wrap Maxi DressCinq à Sept Jacey Tie Waist Silk Shirtdress

Summer Color Palette | 40plusstyle.com

Eileen @eileenternullo above always looks beautiful in purples and pastel shades.

Recreate her outfit with this similar dress (another option here), flats, handbag, earrings and necklace.


Obviously, your shoes are the part of your outfit that won’t be next to your face, so choose any color you want. But, below, you can see some shades that would match the tones in your palette.

Summer color shoes | 40plusstyle.com

Linea Paolo Newry Ballet FlatGENTLE SOULS by KENNETH COLE Cody Espadrille Wedge SandalJeffrey Campbell Ready 2 Go Ankle Wrap Wedge Sandal – Sam Edelman Tarra Slingback Pump

danibe 3/4 Sleeve Open Front Cropped Cardigan – COS Gathered Linen Midi DressJeffrey Campbell Ready 2 Go Ankle Wrap Wedge Sandal – Tory Burch Ella Nylon TotePanacea Mint Crystal Oval Hoop Earrings


For your accessories, matching your colors to your outfit can look super stylish, and different. Choose silver or white gold jewelry. If you want classic shades for your handbags, choose navy or gray.

Plus, look out for scarves and statement necklaces in your color pathways.

Accessories for the summer color type | 40plusstyle.com

Tory Burch Ella Nylon Totebtb Los Angeles Opal Pompom ToteJ.Crew Weave ToteLana Blake Layered Y-NecklaceBocar Layer Seed Beads Cluster Collar NecklacePanacea Mint Crystal Oval Hoop EarringsJenny Bird Nouveaux Puff EarringsCindy & WendyCashmere Silky Pashmina Scarf 

Natalia wears a green and blue outfit | 40plusstyle.com

Natalia @odin.stylish.me above actually has a lot of contrast in her hair and skintone, so isn’t necessarily a summer, but she is wearing some of the colors that look great on summer palettes.

Steal her look with this similar shirt, shorts, sandals, tote, belt, necklace and sunglasses.

Colors to avoid if you are a summer color type

Because you are “cool”, you will want to avoid colors that suit “warm” color types. Generally, that includes autumnal shades like mustard and terracotta, and bright primary shades. To see what to avoid, take a look at our articles on the autumn color type and spring color type.

Your summer palette outfits together in one capsule

Below, you can see the clothes, shoes and accessories from above together in one capsule. You can mix and match to create different looks. For example, wear the moto jacket over anything – the blue is mixed with gray so it reads as a neutral.

You could wear the cardigan over the drawstring pants for a comfy loungewear look, the off-white top with any of the pants, or the blue shirt with the slim jeans.

Summer palette capsule wardrobe | 40plusstyle.com

shop the wardrobe for the summer color palette here:

Everything in harmony

To create outfits that really work for you, you’ll want to pick colors that liven up your skin tone, as well as clothes that work in harmony with your body type. Knowing what suits you makes it much easier to put together a capsule wardrobe that works every day.

Want to know what colors are right for you? Join one of our courses

There is a lot more to say on color that we can cover in just one article. That is why we created an extensive course just on color: the Advanced Color course.

In the essential color section you will learn about:

  • Choosing your best neutral
  • The difference between light and deep colors
  • The difference between warm and cool
  • The difference between warm and muted
  • How to wear metallic
  • Which colors are right for you?

Then in the advanced color section you will learn about:

  • Color contrast
  • Value contrast
  • The right color and value contrast for you

Even if you have had a color analysis done, you will not have gotten this deep understanding of color.

With more than 2 hours of video training, detailed notes and 2 workbooks, you will truly understand color and how it effects your appearance.

It may just change your style game forever.

Get immediate access to our advanced color training here

Continue reading:

  1. How To Determine Your Body Shape
  2. How To Wear Navy: Color Palettes And Styles For You To Choose From
  3. How To Wear Gray: Color Palettes And Ensembles For You To Choose From!
  4. Which color season are you? Get the details on spring, summer, autumn and winter

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Summer Color Palette | 40plusstyle.com

Feature image by Eileen @eileenternullo


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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