10 Best Colors to Wear for Southeast Asian Skin Tone (Men’s Style Guide)7 min read


Alright fellas, as a Southeast Asian man, I feel like I’m in a pretty good position to talk about what I think are some of the best colors to wear for Asian men. 

10 Best Colors to Wear for Southeast Asian Men (and what to avoid) | GENTLEMAN WITHIN

Now, let me start off by saying that color choice, much like style, is a personal thing. Ultimately, you can wear whatever color you like, but there are some general guidelines worth following that will ensure that the colors you wear are more likely to flatter your skin tone rather than clash with it.
color theory chart

A note: I also want to mention that the colors you choose to wear are more than a matter of complementing skin tone, it also sends a message. Colors have historical, psychological, and emotional meaning that is worth taking into consideration, which is beyond the scope of this article.

Instead, here I’m going to focus on color coordination and how to put together well-balanced and thoughtful outfits for Asian men with medium/olive skin tones. Furthermore, I’ll mention a few colors in which you’ll want to proceed with caution, and how you can still wear them.

BEST COLORS to Wear for Southeast Asian Skin Tone (Men’s Style & Fashion)

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BEST COLORS FOR ASIAN SKIN

All the examples below can be found directly on my Instagram page (follow me if you haven’t) where I’m wearing colors and hues that I think all Asian men should consider adding into their arsenal.

Thankfully our skin tone blends nicely with a myriad of colors. The following colors are some of my favorite to wear and lucky for us, many of them go really well together too.

Let me show ya.

Navy Blue

Navy isn’t just one of my favorite colors to wear, it’s also one of the most versatile colors for all men, regardless of skin tone. There’s a reason why the navy blazer is considered a style staple. 

In fact, whenever someone asks me about getting their first suit, I always recommend navy first. The reason it look fantastic on southeast asian men is because the dark color contrasts against our lighter complexions. This stark contrast allows for a bold look that’s sharp and sophisticated.

navy outfits 1

navy outfit 2

navy outfits 3

navy outfits 4

Whether you’re rocking a navy blue suit, jacket, vest or sneakers — I recommend all men, but particularly asian men to utilize navy as often as possible until it becomes a go-to in your daily rotation.

Additionally, using navy as a base color makes it easy to inject highly contrasting or pops of color to liven up your neutral outfits. This takes us to the next color you should be wearing often, and that’s grey.

Grey

If you don’t have an eye for color coordination and have no idea what colors to wear, stick with greys. They’re neutral and can serve as an anchor for your outfits.

Dark and even heather grey make for fantastic foundational colors of any well put-together outfit. It also works exceptionally well with the aforementioned navy. 

grey outfits 1

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I particularly love grey monochrome. That doesn’t mean every piece you’re wearing has to be the same shade, in fact, you can play with contrasting textures, patterns or hues and still be monochromatic. While some would say that it’s super boring, I think it’s tasteful, versatile, not to mention super easy to pull off.

Furthermore, virtually any other color will complement grey making for a well balanced, minimal getup.

Cream

Cream color is underutilized in menswear because most men don’t believe that they can pull it off. It’s almost white and thus has a nice contrast against the medium skin tone of many asian men. 

cream outfits 1

cream outfits 2

I’d mostly recommend cream color to be worn in the warmer and hotter spring, summer months because of how light it is. For example a cream sport coat over a light blue button up and royal blue trousers with a bold striped necktie makes for an elevated warm weather fit.

cream outfits 3

Furthermore you can wear cream as a top or bottom, like the turtleneck sweater, corduroy pants and suede sneakers in the examples above.

Brown

No brown in town? Forget that! Asian men look awesome in light brown shades like walnut all the way to deeper hues of dark chocolate.

brown outfits 2

Take a look above at the brown, almost golden suede bomber jacket, and how the warm tones of the jacket picks up the warm tones of my tan skin. Notice the contrasting dark wash denim and grey sweatshirt that help to breakup the the look with matching honey suede boots.

brown outfits 1

brown outfits 3

Brown boots, brown jackets, brown blazers, they all look great on us asian guys and so you can be sure to wear brown with confidence.

Quick note: If you’re enjoying this article on the best colors for asian skin tone, then you’ll probably find my other writing on all things men’s style useful. Each week, I share updates, style tips and other things not shared on the blog through my free email newsletter.

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Olive Green

I’m not sure how many olive green jackets I have in my closet, but it’s more than a handful! The reason I like olive so much is that much like navy, grey and brown — olive is neutral enough to pair nicely with other colors while being a little bit different at the same time.

olive outfits 1

olive outfits 2

Olive and certain shades of green pair extraordinarily well with other versatile colors like blue and brown. Even a lighter green can work well with the previously mentioned cream color for a eye-catching summer look.

olive outfits 3

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Oftentimes you’ll find me wearing olive green combined with blues and browns which takes us into the next colors that asian men look great wearing and that’s earth tones.

Earth Tones

I often get style and color inspiration from the world around me. For example, earth tones — particularly cooler earth tones — think sky blues, forrest greens, and brown like earth’s soil. These colors are much easier to wear than the warmer earth tones like red, yellow or ochre.

We already know these colors are great on their own, but the beauty of this color palette of blues, browns and greens is that they work so well together, just take a look at the examples above.

earth tone outfits 4

Check out how green makes for an outstanding accent color, for example as a striped tie over a light patterned shirt, brown suit jacket and dark blue jeans.

Give it a try sometime, it doesn’t matter which piece is which color, just simply experiment combining these earth tones together and I guarantee you’ll stand out from the crowd, in a good way.

White

White is as simple as it gets. There’s a reason why the basic white tee is a casual everyday staple. The reason we look good wearing white is because of the contrast is provides against our warmer, tanned skin and dark hair. 

white outfits 1

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Whether you rock a t-shirt, dress shirt or sweatshirt, wearing white is a solid style move always worth making. Try wearing it as a base or mid-layer underneath a jacket or if you want to step out of your comfort zone, rock a pair of clean white jeans. And for sure you’ll look like a casual, cool and well-dressed gent.

Black

If there’s one color that by default all asian men look superb wearing, it’s definitely black. Many of us have jet black hair that when paired with a solid black tee, suit or leather jacket for example is simply badass.

black outfits 1

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It’s edgy, sophisticated and mysterious all at the same time. For some asian guys, black is all they wear and I don’t blame ’em, it just looks that good.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Pink

Real men wear pink right? While I don’t quite agree with that statement, pink in small doses can add visual interest to otherwise plain outfits.

pink outfit 1

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Pink florals is a prime example of how a little bit can go a long way. The pink above injects liveliness into these fits. And while it’s not for everyone, you can go all pink with your shirt too for an even bolder fit if you’re ready for it.

pink outfits 3

And finally for a special date on Valentine’s Day for example, you can wear a pink tie as an accent piece that’s festive while still tasteful.

Burgundy

And finally, a saturated color like burgundy makes for an excellent accent piece like a necktie for example. I also have a pair of burgundy chinos that I wear during the fall and winter seasons.

burgundy outfit

 

 
 
 
 
 
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I sometimes like to dress according to the season and burgundy is a rich autumn color that goes nicely with black. Give it a try sometime!

COLORS TO BE CAUTIOUS WITH

And finally, I quickly want to touch on the colors to be cautious with and how you can still potentially wear them.

Yellow

I wouldn’t say to avoid yellow, beige or any other colors that are similar to your complexion, just be sure to break things up with darker colors. And so, avoid going all monochrome with those warm colors or you might end up washing yourself out or making your skin appear more sallow.

yellow outfit accent tie

In my opinion, Yellow is one of those colors to proceed with caution for most men, not just asians. If you were to wear a saturated color like yellow, use it as an accent color as opposed to the dominant color of your outfit.

Orange

Orange is a difficult color to pull off for any man, regardless of skin tone. But for asian men with a medium complexion, orange isn’t an ideal option. You can still wear it stylishly and effectively though. For example, if you’re going on a hike an orange, navy color blocked fleece is a good choice.

orange outfits 2

Beige

Depending on the shade of your skin, beige or tan is a perfectly fine color to wear. I like wearing these lighter colors particularly during the warmer spring and summer months. Tan trousers like khakis for example (considered old hat by many) are an excellent business casual style essential that pair particularly well with navy.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Khoi N. | Style for Men (@thegentwithin) on

Be cautious with this color though, especially if it’s too similar in shade to your skin tone. A key is to allow for enough contrast between the color and your skin tone.

CONCLUSION

In the end, it’s just style. Ultimately you can wear whatever colors you want. Have fun with it and express yourself in a way that you feel most comfortable. It’s what makes you, you afterall.

10 Best Colors to Wear for Southeast Asian Men (and what to avoid) | GENTLEMAN WITHIN

Which of these colors are staples in your rotation?

Let’s continue the discussion over in the Gentlemen Within Private Facebook Community.

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Comments

  1. M says

    Just got married to a man of Chinese descent. You are awesome. Thank you. I liked how you paired the photos of you with your explanations. I agree cream and grey are two colors he wells wear. Thank you for your suggestions.

    • Khoi Nguyen says

      That’s awesome. Congratulations! Thanks so much for the kind words. Cheers, -Khoi

  2. Nelson says

    great article brother! I’m Asian and deciding on what color bracelet to get!

    • Khoi Nguyen says

      Thanks for dropping by! What kind of bracelet are you looking to get?

  3. Qui says

    Just got my first navy suit and I never realized how good I look with navy. Most of my stuff is black. Now I’m buying navy jacket and pants to compliment them. Also decluttering my closet a lot and donating items that I dont wear

    • Khoi Nguyen says

      Qui,

      Right on. Navy is one of my favorite colors in menswear. Perfect time to declutter and donate!

      Cheers,
      Khoi

  4. Kotulig says

    Yooo thank you for this! I just find other articles not working since the “Southeast Asia skin tone” is different from what non-Asians perceive it to be. It’s not as simple as what it looks like. Aforementioned in the article, it also has a pscyhological effect. Simply, the vibe of one’s color. I didn’t really have a particularly good fashion sense during my teens. I just wore what wouldn’t look messy, dull, or over the top. So as I step into the adult world, this really helps in looking formal enough especially to co-workers.

    • Khoi Nguyen says

      What’s up my man. I’m delighted to hear that this article was helpful for you. That’s certainly true that a color’s desired effect and aesthetic extend beyond just the visual component.

      Cheers, -K

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