What Color Nails Go With A Black Dress?

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Everyone should have a black dress! It’s an essential closet staple. Not only can a black dress pretty much be suited to almost any occasion, it can be dressed up or down to suit the formality. And of course, black goes with everything, no matter what color your accessories!

So what color nails go with a black dress? What is the best nail color for the dress that goes with everything? Well, pretty much all of them!

But how do you choose between every color of nail polish? Now that non-traditional colors like green, blue and yellow have gone mainstream, there are so many colors to choose from.

In this article, we are going to help you narrow down your options by showing you which color nails will better suit different occasions, and seasons.

We’ll also look at how to choose a color based on your dress style and we’ll show you how to pick the colors that will look best on your skin tone.

Before we get into it, if you were looking for the short answer: you can’t go wrong with:

  • Neutral colors, like nudes, grey, beige, and taupe.
  • Metallics also work well with black – copper, silver, gold.
  • Deep jewel tones can also look great with black a black dress, like deep ruby red, emerald green, and sapphire blue.

What Nail Colors Go With A Black Dress? What To Consider

There are a few considerations that you need to take into account…

1.   The Occasion

This should be your first consideration. A black dress can be worn from the night club to the office and pretty much everywhere else in between.

You could go glam with a really flash nail color if you’re going for a night out on the town, but that same color, regardless of how good it looks, might not be appropriate for someone’s funeral or a job interview.

You could go glam with a really flash nail color if you’re going for a night out on the town, but that same color, regardless of how good it looks, might not be appropriate for someone’s funeral or a job interview.

2.   The Style of Your Dress

Is it long, short, flowy, tight? What’s it made out of? Is it a formal or casual dress, or somewhere in between?

Is it vintage or boho? Or is it a sleek, sexy floor length slip dress with a slit up the leg?

Certain colors can either accentuate your black dress or make your whole ensemble look a little bit off, like you did your nails to go somewhere else and you just haven’t removed your nail polish from your previous outing.

3.   The Season

Pastels are great for spring time, but will look out of place in the fall. Just as a deep cranberry red that is an ideal winter color, might look a little too dark for a day event in the middle of the summer. 

4.   Your Skin Tone & Undertones

This is especially important to find the colors that will look good on YOU. Your skin tone is either pale, medium or dark.

Your skin undertones determine whether your natural coloring is warm, cool or neutral. We will get into how to determine your skin undertones in a little further down.


Best Nail Colors to Suit the Occasion

We’ve assembled a few different nail color suggestions as to which colors are better suited to which types of occasions.

Serious Formal & Professional Occasions

Whether it’s an awards ceremony, a dinner with the Boss and his wife, a graduation, a job interview or a funeral, you don’t want to go too crazy or over the top with color. A more serious formal occasion calls for something understated and elegant. 

Nudes

Surprisingly, a beige or nude shade looks amazingly chic with black and works well for both serious formal and professional occasions.  

Something like Sally Hansen Insta-Dri , in Sandstorm, might just be just what you need, especially if you are feeling a little overwhelmed choosing the right color.  

Sally Hansen Insta-Dri

When choosing a nude shade, make sure it’s a shade or two either lighter or darker than your skin tone. If it’s too close to your skin color, not only will it make your hands look washed out, but you’ll look like you have weird, creepy mannequin hands with no nails. No one wants that.

And if you choose to go nude – with the polish, not naked to the event – whether a nude with a slightly pink or peach base will look better on you will depend on your skin undertones.

Navy

A navy nail polish like Butter London Patent Shine x10  in Brolly, is also great for any type of serious formal or professional occasion. Paired with a black dress it looks stylish and sophisticated.

Butter London Patent Shine x10

Celebratory Formal Occasion

In the case of a celebratory formal occasion, you can venture a little bit further out with color, but it still needs to be chic and sophisticated.

Metallics

Any type of metallic nail polish not only goes fantastically well with a black dress, but it adds a little extra bling to your ensemble.

You can also get super glittery metallic nail polish, which would be great on New Year’s Eve, but some glitter polishes can be a little over-the-top sparkly and maybe not the right choice if it’s a day event.

ella+mila Polish

A polish like ella+mila Polish  in Gilded has just enough sparkle and sheen, without looking like you’ve been helping the kids with their glitter craft project.

When going for a metallic polish, it’s best to match your skin undertones – gold and copper for warm skin, silver and pewter for cool skin.

Don’t worry – we’ll get further into that later. So if you don’t know if you have warm or cool undertones, we’ll show you how to figure that out.

Informal Occasions

There are no rules and no limits really as to what color polish to wear if it’s a casual affair. However, that said, even it’s an informal event, or you’re just going to the supermarket, you are still going to want to choose a color that goes with the style of your dress and your skin undertones. So keep reading!


Best Nail Colors to Suit the Style of Your Dress

Sometimes your dress style will dictate which color looks best.

Boho Color Palette

Heroine NYC

When it comes to boho chic, you are looking at peach, ivory, sage green, coral, sort of muted colors, bordering on pastels, but not so… Easter.

Heroine NYC  in peach will bring your boho look together.

Vintage Black Dress

Sally Hansen

Now if your black dress has a classic vintage feel, you are going to want to choose a color that reflects the character of your dress. Nudes fit right into a vintage color palette, as do browns, plums and wine red. 

Sally Hansen  in Plum’s the Word is a classic vintage color.

Sexy Little Black Dress

Now when it comes to a sexy little black dress or cute black skater dress, think about your favorite sports car. Then think about what colors it would look great in. That’s where you should be going with your nail color. Something striking that contrasts the dress.

Nothing says sexy like red. Revlon ColorStay Gel Envy  in Get Lucky is the quintessential sexy red.

Revlon ColorStay Gel Envy

Best Nail Colors to Suit the Season

Now regardless of which color looks great on you or amazing with your dress, you may seem a little stylistically out-of-touch if you are wearing turquoise nail polish in the middle of winter.

Each season has its colors that are generally associated with that time of year. We’ve put together some color swatches and matching nail polish for the different seasons to give you an idea of what you should be aiming to coordinate with.

Spring

Pastels, pastels, pastels – the light, airy colors of blossoming trees, blooming flowers and pretty song birds.

Source: Pixabay
Sale
Sally Hansen Good, Kind, Pure Vegan Nail Colour, Pink Cloud, 0.33 Fl Oz, Packaing May Vary
Sally Hansen Good, Kind, Pure Vegan Nail Colour, Pink Cloud, 0.33 Fl Oz, Packaing May Vary
NATURE IN A BOTTLE: Natural, plant-based, 100% vegan polish; RADIANCE THAT LASTS: Four days of rich and earthy color per application
$7.48
Dazzle Dry Nail Lacquer (Step 3) - Faith - A cool, pastel lavender with gray undertones. Full coverage cream. (0.5 fl oz)
Dazzle Dry Nail Lacquer (Step 3) - Faith - A cool, pastel lavender with gray undertones. Full coverage cream. (0.5 fl oz)
FAITH: A cool, pastel lavender with gray undertones. Full coverage cream.
$22.00

Summer

Summer is all about bright, fun colors, especially the ones that accentuate your tan! We’re talking about the blues and greens of the ocean, tropical flowers, sunshine and watermelon!

Source: Pixabay
Sale
Orly Baked Summer Nail Color Collection, Neon Heat, 0.6 Ounce
Orly Baked Summer Nail Color Collection, Neon Heat, 0.6 Ounce
This is a bright happy cheery cherry red.; Ultra-smooth application; Maximum color; Nourishes and protects nails with Vitamins A, E and B5
$7.48
Nail Lacquer, Sky True to Yourself, Blue Nail Polish, Summer '22 Power of Hue Collection
Nail Lacquer, Sky True to Yourself, Blue Nail Polish, Summer '22 Power of Hue Collection
electric green nail polish; The shimmer finish will glisten 247; No dulling; Nail Lacquer is OPI's original nail polish formula
$11.49
Sale
Revlon ColorStay Gel Envy Longwear Nail Polish, with Built-in Base Coat & Glossy Shine Finish, in Red/Coral, 640 Jokers Wild, 0.4 oz
Revlon ColorStay Gel Envy Longwear Nail Polish, with Built-in Base Coat & Glossy Shine Finish, in Red/Coral, 640 Jokers Wild, 0.4 oz
Outrageous shine and rich, long lasting color, that won't fade in one at home formula; Delivers high impact, salon-quality color for up to 7 days
$6.51

FALL

Now it’s no surprise that fall colors mirror the color of the changing leaves. Anything red, gold, orange or brown falls under Autumn colors. Deep plums and wine reds are also great fall colors, as are metallic gold and copper.

Source: Pixabay
Sally Hansen Color Therapy Nail Polish, Exotic Acai, Pack of 1
Sally Hansen Color Therapy Nail Polish, Exotic Acai, Pack of 1
Color that cares while you wear; Intensive Nourishment for healthy looking nails; Up to 10 days fade-proof, Chip-Resistant Wear
$5.23
Sale
ZOYA Nail Polish, Autumn, 0.5 Fl Oz (Pack of 1)
ZOYA Nail Polish, Autumn, 0.5 Fl Oz (Pack of 1)
Big 10 Free; Long Wear Formula; Vegan Friendly; Professional Salon Formula
$11.33

Winter

Winter colors are all about cool blues, grey, dark red, dark green, silver, and gold… basically the colors of the Christmas season.

But any dark, rich color, like burgundy and deep plum, are also great colors for winter.

Source: Pixabay
Smith & Cult Nail Polish, Lovers Creep, 0.5 Fl Oz
Smith & Cult Nail Polish, Lovers Creep, 0.5 Fl Oz
Unit count: 1.0; Package Weight: 0.181 kilograms
ZOYA Nail Polish, Dove, 0.5 fl. oz.
ZOYA Nail Polish, Dove, 0.5 fl. oz.
Does not contain Doetoluene or dibutyl phthalate (DBP); Chip-resistant; Long-wearing; Formaldehyde free
$10.00

What Nail Colors To Avoid with Your Skin Tone

Some nail colors look better on some skin tones than others. It’s the same as the color of the clothes you wear.

You’ll notice that some colors definitely look better on you than others.

At the end of the day, you can wear any nail color you want – there are no rules. That said, choosing the right color for your skin tone (and undertone) can mean the difference between making your fingers look fabulous, long and elegant, and making your skin look washed out, your fingers short and stubby, or your hands look older.

This is especially true for those looking for nail colors for pale skin.

When it comes to skin tone, there are three general categories: pale, medium, and dark.

Now it’s probably easiest to go through which nail colors to avoid for each because it’s a shorter list.


What Nail Polish To Avoid for a Light Skin Tone

Neon & Shimmer

Those with pale skin should avoid vivid neon and shimmery polishes. They reflect light, and can make your skin appear drab and aged.

Yellow

While yellow can be fabulous for those with medium and dark skin tones, on paler skin, not only does it tend to drain away the color from your hands, you might just end up looking like you have nail fungus (depending on the shade of yellow and your skin undertones).

Dark Colors

Very dark colors on pale skin can be a double-edged sword. They can look great, but you need to be careful. The contrast between any very dark color of polish and your pale skin will make your hands seem even paler and you run the risk of looking more goth than glamorous.

Darker colors will make short nails look even shorter.

Dark-colored polish will also attract and focus attention on the hands and highlight any lines and veins that will be easier to see on a light complexion.

Dark colors for those with pale skin are a matter of trial and error. They will work for some, but not others. You won’t know if they’re right for you until you try them.

Red

Red is also a tricky color. It can look great, but it can also veer toward the gaudy and over-the-top on paler skin. If you are going to attempt red, make sure you are matching the red to your skin undertones.

For warm undertones, you want to look for a warm, true red that leans more toward orange than pink, like Revlon ColorStay Gel Envy Longwear Nail Polish  in Long Shot.

If you have cool undertones, on the other hand, go for a cool red with a blue base, like OPI Nail Lacquer  in Red Hot Rio.


What Nail Polish to Avoid for a Medium Skin Tone

Unlike those with pale skin, if you have a medium skin tone, you have fewer worries. Bronze colors won’t show well against your skin tone. Avoid very pale, pastel shades, which could appear washed out.


What Nail Polish To Avoid For a Dark Skin Tone

For those with a dark skin tone, you might want to avoid anything too light, like white, silver, and pearly pastels as they tend to make dark skin look darker, dull, and aged.


How to Check Your Skin Undertones

Now you can have gone and chosen a color that is appropriate for the occasion, suits your dress style, is fitting for the season, and STILL doesn’t look great on you. That’s because it’s the wrong color for your skin tone.

There are three skin undertones: cool, warm, and neutral.

Cool skin undertones have hints of blue, green, and violet. Warm undertones look more red, orange, golden, or yellow. Those with neutral undertones are part of the lucky bunch with a mix of both warm and cool undertones.

Cool skin undertones have hints of blue, green, and violet. Warm undertones look more red, orange, golden, or yellow. Those with neutral undertones are part of the lucky bunch with a mix of both warm and cool undertones.

Figuring out your skin undertone is important because this is the easiest way to find the nail polish colors that will compliment your skin the best.

To determine your skin’s undertone, look at the veins on the underside of your wrist in natural light.

  • If your veins look blue, you have cool-toned skin with pink undertones.
  • You have warm-toned skin with yellow undertones if your veins appear green.
  • If your veins appear both blue and green, you are one of the lucky people that have neutral undertones, which means that almost every nail color will look great on you.

If it’s hard to tell what color your veins are, or if you can’t see them at all, hold up silver and gold jewelry next to your face.

Regardless of your personal preference, which one looks better next to your skin?

Those with warm-toned skin will look better with gold jewelry. Those with cool-toned skin will look better with silver jewelry.

When it comes to choosing nail polish if your skin has warm undertones, you are going to want to look for warm colors. And likewise, if you have cool undertones, cooler colors will look a lot better on you.

Warm colors are those that have more red, orange, and yellow, while cool colors are those that are more green, blue, and purple.  So whereas tomato red is a warm red, cranberry red is a cool red.


Conclusion

When it comes to choosing the best nail color for your black dress, there’s a lot to consider – from the reason why you’re wearing the dress and the formality of the situation, as well as the style of dress, the season, and both your skin tone and undertones.

Sounds like a lot to be thinking about just to pick a nail polish color. If you are still having a hard time, consider your skin tone and undertones first. Once you’ve done that, You’ve ruled out at least half the colors.

Then go by the season, occasion, and finally the style of dress.

The information in this article is a guide to help you narrow down your options. It by no means lists every color that will work! So if you follow the guidelines, you will likely find colors we haven’t mentioned that will also look fantastic.

Good luck!

Written by Kayla Young

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