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What Color Nails Go With a Red Dress?

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Red is a statement color. It’s bold, sexy, and projects confidence. Red is a color you have to own, otherwise it will wear you.

So you have your perfect red dress – now what?

Your nails are just as important as your shoes and accessories to accentuate your look. But what color nails go with a red dress?

There’s not one right answer. The right color will depend on a few different factors. In this article, we are going to show you how to not only choose a color that looks good with a red dress, but show you how to choose a color that also looks good on YOU!

If you were looking for the ‘in a nutshell’ short version:

  • Surprisingly, nudes go well with red
  • Black and grey are pretty safe bets
  • Depending on the color of red of your dress, gold and silver can work
  • Orange and purple can also work, depending on the color
  • Olive green or teal can also look great, but not on the same dress, it really depends on what color red your dress is.

But don’t worry, we will show you how not only to determine what colors go best with different reds, so your nails don’t end up horribly clashing, we’ll show you how to choose the right colors that go with the red dress that will look good on you.


What Color Nails Go With A Red Dress?

There are three ways to choose a color that will go well with a red dress.

  1. Using neutral shades
  2. Choosing a complementary color
  3. Matching Your Nail Color To Your Dress

Using Neutral Shades

One of the best solutions to the ‘which color’ conundrum is to use a neutral polish. Nudes, beige and taupes, grey, white, cream, ivory, and even black all work well with red… because they’re all neutral and go with just about anything.

Nudes, beige and taupes, grey, white, cream, ivory, and even black all work well with red… because they’re all neutral and go with just about anything.

That said, some of these colors will not only look better on certain colors of reds – we’ll get to that a bit further down – but also look better on you than others, depending on your complexion and skin undertones.

We’ll also be getting into that, so keep reading!


Choosing a Complementary Color

The true definition of a ‘complementary color’ is the color that falls opposite another color on the color wheel.

Let’s have a look…

Yellow is purple’s complementary color, and vice versa. You’ll notice that green is red’s complementary color.

Depending on whether your red dress is a warm red ( a red that has more orange and yellow) or a cool red that has more blue and purple, will dictate which green goes best.

A warm red will suit a warm green, like essie polish  in Willow in the Wind.

A cooler red which has more of a blue base, will be better suited to a cooler green like OPI Nail Laquer  in Rated Pea G.

Willow in the Wind

Rated Pea G

Now although those greens above look amazing with the red they’ve been placed above, imagine them switching places. The vintage, sexy olive becomes goose pooh green with the cool red.

The deep, cool, almost teal, emerald green with the warm red becomes Dollar Store Christmas card.

Of course, you don’t have to take the ‘complementary color’ thing so literally. A complementary color is really any color that doesn’t clash, but complements the other color and sets it off in a good way.

The best way to think about complementary colors is in terms of warm and cool tones. Warm reds will look best with warm nail colors and cool reds will look best with cool nail colors.

The best way to think about complementary colors is in terms of warm and cool tones. Warm reds will look best with warm nail colors and cool reds will look best with cool nail colors.

Remember how we mentioned earlier gold and silver can work with red. Gold is warm, so it’s best suited to warm reds. Silver is a cool color and looks amazing with cool reds.

Matching Your Nails to Your Dress

So if you’re thinking about a nail color for a red dress, red nails would naturally be one of the first things that pops into your head.

This can also be done.

However, you need to make sure that you either match the color of the dress exactly or that you choose a red that is the same tone (i.e. warm or cool) as your dress.

You can go a little bit lighter or a little bit darker, depending on the occasion.


Taking into Account Your Skin Tone and Undertone

Now there are a few things you need to consider when choosing a nail color. Even if it’s a neutral or the perfect complementary color for your dress or it totally matches, a color that looks great with your dress might not look so great on you.

There are three main categories of skin tone: pale, medium and dark. Whether you have a pale, medium or dark skin tone, it will affect how different colors look on you.

Within these skin tones are subcategories of skin undertones. Now your skin undertone is either warm, cool or 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 group with a mix of both warm and cool undertones.

Not sure which skin undertone you have? No worries, because there is an easy way to find out.

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 among the lucky bunch we talked about earlier that have neutral undertones, which means that almost every color of polish for pale skin 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 jewellery.

Choosing the right nail 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.

Now with that sorted, let’s talk about the colors we’ve mentioned above and how they will go with your particular skin tone and undertones, and find out which ones to avoid.

Neutrals

Neutrals are fantastic because they literally go with everything.

Nudes – The only thing you need to watch out for when choosing a nude color is that, regardless of your skin tone, the neutral you choose is not an exact match to your skin color. Choose a nude that is a shade or two lighter or darker than your skin.

Nudes that are more pink will look better if you have cool undertones. Nudes that lean a bit more toward peach will be better for those with warm undertones.

OPI Nail Lacquer, Mimosas for Mr. & Mrs., Nude Nail Polish, 0.5 fl oz essie nail polish, spring 2020 collection, cream finish, rainwear don't care, 0.46 fl ounce Dazzle Dry Nail Lacquer - Cashmere Taupe, a medium warm nude. Semisheer cream. (0.5 fl oz) JINsoon Nail Lacquer, Nostaligia , 0.37 Fl Oz (Pack of 1) Sally Hansen Color Therapy Nail Polish, Re-Nude, Pack of 1 Deborah Lippmann Nail Polish, I'm My Own Hero, 0.5 fl. oz.
JINsoon Nail Lacquer, Nostaligia , 0.37 Fl Oz (Pack of 1)
JINsoon Nail Lacquer, Nostaligia , 0.37 Fl Oz (Pack of 1)
JINsoon Nail Lacquer - #Nostalgia - 11ml/0.37oz; A gorgeous, sophisticated nail polish Gives vibr
$18.00
Sale
Sally Hansen Color Therapy Nail Polish, Re-Nude, Pack of 1
Sally Hansen Color Therapy Nail Polish, Re-Nude, Pack of 1
WELCOME TO COLOR THERAPY: Adds a splash of vibrant color to your nails; FORMULATED FOR YOU: Made with an argan oil formula
$6.79

White – white can look really good in certain situations, but if you have darker skin, white and light cream or ivory can make your skin look dull and washed out.

Although technically a neutral, unlike a nude or a beige, white will be a stark contrast to a red dress.

This can be okay, but if you are looking to play down your nails and have your dress the center of attention, then maybe white is not the way you want to go and opt for a less contrasting-color like ivory or grey.

Nail Polish by Revlon, ColorStay Gel Envy Nail Polish, Chip Resistant & Longwear Formula, Built-in Base Coat & High Shine Finish, 510 Sure Thing, 0.4 Fl Oz essie Nail Polish, Glossy Shine Finish, Blanc, 0.46 Ounces (Packaging May Vary) Snowy White duri Nail Polish, 722 Darling, Pastel Creamy Light Beige Shade, Fast Drying, Glossy Finish, Classic Look, Easy at Home Application, 0.45 Fl Oz, by Duri cosmetics Dazzle Dry Nail Lacquer - Foxy, a full coverage warm, light gray. Full coverage cream. (0.5 fl oz)
Nail Polish by Revlon, ColorStay Gel Envy Nail Polish, Chip Resistant & Longwear Formula, Built-in Base Coat & High Shine Finish, 510 Sure Thing, 0.4 Fl Oz
Nail Polish by Revlon, ColorStay Gel Envy Nail Polish, Chip Resistant & Longwear Formula, Built-in Base Coat & High Shine Finish, 510 Sure Thing, 0.4 Fl 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
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duri Nail Polish, 722 Darling, Pastel Creamy Light Beige Shade, Fast Drying, Glossy Finish, Classic Look, Easy at Home Application, 0.45 Fl Oz, by Duri cosmetics
duri Nail Polish, 722 Darling, Pastel Creamy Light Beige Shade, Fast Drying, Glossy Finish, Classic Look, Easy at Home Application, 0.45 Fl Oz, by Duri cosmetics
Salon and spa favorite professional nail polish by duri.; Look sophisticated and beautiful pastel light beige cream nail polish.
$9.49
Dazzle Dry Nail Lacquer - Foxy, a full coverage warm, light gray. Full coverage cream. (0.5 fl oz)
Dazzle Dry Nail Lacquer - Foxy, a full coverage warm, light gray. Full coverage cream. (0.5 fl oz)
FOXY: A full coverage warm, light gray. Full coverage cream.
$22.00

Black – Also technically a neutral, black can be a little too much if you have a bright, fire-engine-red dress.

Black is best suited for dark reds and burgundy dresses. You want to make sure you’re looking glam, not garish.

And for those with pale skin, black nails, even paired with the right dress color can be too much of a contrast against really light skin.

Remember, you’re aiming for glam… not goth (unless you are aiming for goth, in which case: go with the black).

If you have short nails, black polish will make them look shorter. Black can also highlight wrinkles and veins in hands of those with pale skin.

If you have short nails, black polish will make them look shorter. Black can also highlight wrinkles and veins in hands of those with pale skin.

Grey – Grey is a fantastic color that goes with everything. Because there are so many different shades in both cool and warm tones that you can find a grey polish that is perfect for you. Grey is super versatile and goes with any casual, formal and professional occasion.

Medium and darker skin look better with a slightly darker grey. Those with pale skin should stick with light or medium grey.

JINsoon Nail Lacquer, Kookie White essie expressie Quick-Dry Vegan Nail Polish, Binge-Worthy, Soft Gray, 0.33 Ounce OPI Nail Lacquer, I Can Never Hut Up, Gray Nail Polish, Fiji Collection, 0.5 fl oz Revlon Nail Enamel, Chip Resistant Nail Polish, Glossy Shine Finish, in Black/Grey, 905 Sophisticated, 0.5 oz Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish, Shade Slate-r Girl #809, 0.5 Fl Oz
Sale
JINsoon Nail Lacquer, Kookie White
JINsoon Nail Lacquer, Kookie White
Item Package Length: 2.54cm; Item Package Width: 2.54cm; Item Package Height: 7.62cm; Model Number: I0013004
$15.90
Revlon Nail Enamel, Chip Resistant Nail Polish, Glossy Shine Finish, in Black/Grey, 905 Sophisticated, 0.5 oz
Revlon Nail Enamel, Chip Resistant Nail Polish, Glossy Shine Finish, in Black/Grey, 905 Sophisticated, 0.5 oz
Gorgeous color goes on smoothly and bubble free; Choose from 64 sheer, opaque, shimmer, metallic, and chrome shades
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Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish, Shade Slate-r Girl #809, 0.5 Fl Oz
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish, Shade Slate-r Girl #809, 0.5 Fl Oz
#1 no UV/LED light system; Up to 8 days of color and shine; A gorgeous manicure that lasts longer than a traditional nail polish
$7.49

Greens

Now for some, green is a little bit too out there.

We get it.

If you’re not feeling it, opt for another color. But if you are amongst those who have embraced the nail color revolution that’s welcomed an array of non-traditional colors into the mainstream, then as we mentioned before, green can look fantastic.

And as you saw above, there is a big difference between warm and cool greens and how each will suit specific red tones, and not the others.

If you’re going to go green, make sure it’s the right tone of green.


My Dress is a Cool Red but I have Warm Skin!

So in the event you’ve just looked at your veins or done the jewelry test and have discovered that your skin undertone is different from the tone of your dress, don’t worry.

Chances are, if you bought the dress, you thought it looked pretty good on you.

If that’s the case, you probably most likely fall into the neutral category which is a mix of both warm and cool undertones so both warm and cool colors will look good on you.

If it’s a choice between choosing a nail color to go with the dress color or your skin undertones, choose the dress.

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