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Choose a shade to suit your colouring

When is a white dress not a white dress? When it's cream, ivory, latte or cappuccino. Expert tips on which wedding dress colour could suit you

A cream wedding dress

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Cream is a richer colour than white or ivory that can be slightly buttery.

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Suits:

  • Red-heads who look great in darker creams
  • Medium colourings with pink undertones

Not great for: skin with yellowish tones

‘Cream wedding dresses tend to suit olive-coloured skins or girls that have a slight tan,’ says designer Elizabeth Todd. ‘It seems to bring the skin alive and makes the dress look rich and expensive-looking. I would avoid putting a typical English rose in cream as it could make her look drained and make her skin look almost ghost-like. We tend to use antique gold with cream, which looks fantastic on darker skins too.’

‘To wear cream your skin needs to contrast and either be much darker or much paler,’ says Sarah Arnett. ‘Stay away from cream if you have any yellowish tones in your skin.’

An ivory wedding dress

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Suits:

  • Pale complexions with dark hair
  • Skin with pink undertones
  • Dark skin tones

Avoid yellow ivories if: you have olive skin.

“Ivories come in different shades and it really does depend on the fabric. A bride who suits an ivory duchesse satin may not suit an ivory taffeta,” says Suzanne Neville.

“Ivory/soft white is deal for dark hair, pale Irish complexions through to Mediterranean and much darker skin tones,” says designer Sarah Arnett. “We find that it suits most people and is our best selling colour. It also looks great in chiffon or tulle layered over other colours such as gold, silver or blush.”

An off-white wedding dress

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A natural-looking white that is chalky rather than bright white, or a milky white.

“There are a lot of variety of off-white shades – they often have names like antique white, cappuccino and latte – and there are a few basic rules that designers swear by when matching colours to complexions,” says Y&YW  fashion editor Peta Hunt. “However, in the end, only you’ll know if a shade really suits you.”

Suits:

  • Most skin tones (other than very fair)
  • Most hair colours (particularly dark blond and brunette)

“I love old white – it’s a very natural looking shade which looks beautiful when your skin isn’t highly coloured,” says Caroline Castigliano

“I like latte because it’s between white and ivory – white with a touch or warmth,” says designer Suzanne Neville

A bright white dress

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A pure, brilliant white, sometimes called diamond or optic white. Man-made fabrics tend to be brighter than silks.

Suits:

  • Brunettes with medium skin tone
  • Tanned and olive skins with any hair colour
  • Black skins

Avoid if: you’re very pale.

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“White suits dark skin best, although if you have a medium-toned skin, have a spray tan before the wedding and your white dress will still look fab,” says designer Ian Stuart.