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How to Work More Yellow into Your Wardrobe

The conventional wisdom is that yellow is one of those hard-to-carry-off hues. However, recent Red Carpet fixtures have been really rocking the yellow gowns. At the Golden Globes (of course!), women of all skin and hair colors — from blondes Naomi Watts and Reese Witherspoon to brunettes Emily Ratajkowski, Natalie Portman, and Viola Davis — looked gorgeous in shades from pastel baby-chick to lemon to almost-chartreuse. Taraji P. Henson wore a stunning thigh-slit taxi-cab-yellow Vera Wang gown to the Emmy’s. And, last spring, Beyoncé stunned us all with her sulfur-colored Roberto Cavalli ruffles in her art film/album/video Lemonade. It’s kind of like red lipstick — makeup mavens say everyone can look good in red lipstick if they pick the right red.

Image via E!

We asked some pro stylists for the low-down on yellow — and we can’t wait to see which stars go for the gold at the Oscars!

1. The key is your skin tone.

Image via USA Online Journal.

“I think yellow is an overlooked color — it’s so happy and sunny,” says Jenny Altman, stylist and lingerie expert. “Matching up a yellow to your skin tone is the best way to choose the one that works for you. There are orange yellows, pink yellows, red yellows, etc.” When you pick foundation or a red lipstick, you usually go by similar guidelines. Are the undertones in your skin warm (peachy or golden) or cool (more fuchsia pink)? Then, choose the corresponding yellow (take a look at a color wheel) a warm one leaning toward red and orange or a cooler one verging on green.

2. Adjust the contrast!

Image via US Weekly.

Another way to pick your best yellow, according to Jené Luciani, NBC Today style correspondent and bestselling author of The Bra Book, is to go with the one that contrasts the most with your skin color. “For example, someone with very olive skin should choose a bright or pale yellow as opposed to a mustard shade, whereas a fairer skin tone should opt for as vibrant and deep a yellow as possible,” she says. Dark skin tones look amazing in true yellows (aka very saturated shades like primary colors) or those with a lot of white in them.

3. Go subtle with shades of gray.

“Pale subdued yellows have varying degrees of gray added to them,” says Molly Bingamen of Ladybird Styling. “These yellows work best on women of a more muted complexion with not a lot of contrast between their hair and skin color.”

4. Know what goes with yellow.

Image via PopCrush.

Skip pairing yellow with black, says Altman; it’s too harsh (and, after all, who wants to look like a bee?). She prefers accessories in nude (for daytime looks) or metallic shades (evening). “Gold is certainly the easiest color to match with yellow, and it’s the most chic — it adds sparkle and glamour to any outfit,” she says. If you want to add a pop of color, she’d opt for turquoise. “It complements yellow and never looks too ‘matchy.’” And don’t layer multiple yellows, she says. “Trying to match yellows will never work!”

“As far as I'm concerned, yellow is one of the new neutrals,” Luciani says.

“Yellow shoes can often help elongate legs just like nude pumps. And it's not just for spring anymore! A bright yellow coat can brighten up a dreary winter day.” She likes yellow with other bright colors, but cautions those with light blonde hair: “A very fair blonde could get washed out if the yellow is too close to her hair color,” she says. “In that case, choose a pop of yellow like a bag, chunky necklace, or shoes. Or wear a yellow top and throw a neutral blazer over it so it's not too overpowering.”