Reader Annabeth popped this question into the suggestion box:
Tricks for working with extremely pale skin. I’m very, VERY fair – to the point where, when I go without makeup, total strangers ask if I’m not feeling well. I’ve adopted the strategy of playing up my paleness rather than hiding it, but would always be happy for more tips about that.
I’ve written before about my own marked paleness here and here, but didn’t offer any style-related pale-girl tips. And before I even attempt to do so, I must point you to Forever Amber who has a section of her blog dedicated to pale skin makeup reviews and tips, and has also taken a stand on never, ever giving in to people’s weird, misplaced desires for her to get a tan. Rock on, Amber. Pale girls unite!
As always, none of my figure flattery advice posts should be considered gospel, including this one, and I fully expect you to read them with a grain of salt. Style “rules” are merely guidelines, no matter who is dispensing them. I trust you to use your judgment. And I trust you to take what applies to you, discard the rest, and assume positive intent. That said, here’s what I’ve got for ya.
Don’t worry about it
I’m delighted to hear that Annabeth plays up her pale skin. DELIGHTED, I tell you. Anyone who is policing your body for any reason at all should consider getting a new hobby. Your skin is your business, no matter how tan, not-tan, pale, dark, spotty, or covered in Twilight-reminiscent glittery bits it may be. The end.
Study pale celeb choices
Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton (pictured above in all her luminous glory), Nicole Kidman, and Dita Von Teese all rock fair skin. You may have a hard time tracking down photos of Cate and Tilda frolicking about in casual wear, but any outfit shots will show you how they select colors, accessorize, and style their hair to look stylish and chic year-round.
As a pale gal myself, I typically shy away from blushes and beiges when it comes to clothes. (Nude-to-my-skin shoes, yes. Nude-to-my-skin sweaters, not so much.) I’m more likely to go for vibrant shades that play off my natural undertones and offer contrast to my light-colored skin. Of course, I have high contrast anyway with pale skin and dark hair, so this is no hard-and-fast rule. And I’d never say to avoid light colors or nude-ish tones altogether, especially if you can work them into a mix of colors. But in summer when many people are showing off browned skin, colors like peach, stone, khaki, tan, and some ivories will likely look stranger against naturally light skin than they will during the cold months.
Consider your makeup
I’m no makeup expert, but I do know that summer is generally considered a casual season and that casualness extends into the realm of cosmetics. Natural, light, glowy tones look fab on fair-skinned gals during the summer months. A flattering blush, light lip color, and a little mascara may be all you’ll need.
Play with pattern
Where big swaths of color can wash you out or alter how your skin tone is perceived, patterns are more forgiving. Obviously some patterns will work better than others with your hair, facial features, and figure, so choose carefully. But be aware that doing patterns against pale skin may appear less harsh than solids.
Fellow pale ladies, what else would you add? Do you dress to play up or downplay your fair skin? A little of both? Any other tips to share?