Blondes Wearing Red

how to wear red

I have always really shied away from wearing red because I feel as though it drains me of all colour. I think that it’s a very, very difficult colour to wear if you’re blonde, too. I mean, if you’re really blonde like Gwen Stefani, you can get away with any colour because your hair is so light that it’s almost just a neutral. But if you’re a darker blonde, or a blonde with yellowish tones, you have to tread carefully.

So it was with some trepidation that I stepped out in a red dress on Wednesday night – I was off to Soho House for the Monica & Joe 1st Birthday Party. I felt so self-conscious at first – red really is a bit of an attention-grabber! I think that a faded, more orangey red is easier to wear than a deep red. For a blonde, anyway. It looked very light and summery rather than heavy and vampish, and it helped that the dress was just a slip of the lightest silk – nothing too figure-hugging or sexy. I went for a very high ponytail and quite dark, winged eye makeup – I found that I needed to wear a little more makeup than usual so that my face didn’t get lost! I think when I wear this dress again I’ll define my eyes even more and perhaps darken my brows a little. You’ll see the dress in its entirety in a video coming up soon, so I’ll try to remember to make these little cosmetic tweaks when I film that. If you want to see a pic before then, here it is on the Monica & Joe website.

How do you all feel about wearing red? Any blondes who swear by it? I want to put together a little guide on “how to wear red” so if anyone has some tried-and-tested tips then let me know!

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  1. Alex
    March 19, 2012 / 7:10 am

    Oooh I disagree! For one that red looks stunning on you. For two, I am a slightly “darker” blonde, very pale coloring, and have always been told that red is by and far away my most flattering color. I find if I have a solid red on I can usually count on receiving compliments, even (especially) when I’m not wearing much makeup.

  2. Ulrike
    March 19, 2012 / 7:14 am

    Glad to see the site is up and running again :)Quick peek in my wardrobe tells me that red is one of the few colours that I wear outside the neutrals family. I have similar colouring to you, pale with darkish blonde hair but I find that the whole “hello sailor” look (navy, red, white)really works. And it seems to be in fashion every year over. Result!

  3. Zu
    March 19, 2012 / 7:16 am

    As a blonde I swear by red!! True reds, rich deeper ones too, anything goes. I have rosey to neutral undertones depending on the season and for me it’s always been an easy color to pull off. I suppose you have to get used to it, but a good way is to be wearing a red coat on the Paris metro amidst a sea of black and grey, and you’ll immediately feel more energetic!

  4. Paige
    March 19, 2012 / 7:21 am

    Ruth! Do you have any recommendations as to where I can purchase jeans. I am a tall, long legged girl and most jeans come above my ankles. :( I also cannot find my rise. I need a mid rise. High rise is too much for my body and low rise is not enough, my derriere will fall out! Help, please. I don’t mind paying around $150-$200 USD, but the cheaper the better, haha. Thanks.

    • Ruth
      March 21, 2012 / 10:21 am

      @Paige have a look at the site Donna Ida. They are jeans obsessed and boast that they can find jeans for anyone! xx

    • Jen
      March 24, 2012 / 11:42 pm

      Topshop! I have a 36″ inside leg and a big ass too and the tall jeans fit me. They’re not very durable but they are a lot cheaper than your budget.

  5. March 19, 2012 / 8:11 am

    Even a red lipstick can wash you out, so, a dress? of course! I do think that the key is the rest of the makeup, and that blush is mandatory in this case (contrary to popular opinion that says to wear neutral/almost invisible blush with red lips – red anything calls for RED BLUSH imo)

  6. March 19, 2012 / 8:13 am

    I am blonde and love a good bright red, I find dull or orange toned reds look yucky but a bright fire engine red really works well :)

  7. Sam
    March 19, 2012 / 8:38 am

    Hi Ruth, you looked great! I have darkish blonde hair & green eyes and I like red. I agree that the more muted shades are more flattering than bright pillar box red. I wear brown/bronzey eyeshadows, black mascara & nude/coral lips and I find the red really highlights my eyes, not washing me out at all.
    Go for it lol! X

  8. Eva
    March 19, 2012 / 8:53 am

    Hi Ruth,

    I usually think you look gorgeous but I find this washes you out a little. Maybe with a slight tan it would look better?


  9. Georgie
    March 19, 2012 / 9:10 am

    I was blonde all my life (until last month when I changed to brunette) and I wore a lot of red and also navy blue! I do want to try out red as a brunette but I’m still carrying a bit of extra weight (a bit? More like a stone really) since having my baby and red is definitely a colour for when you are feeling good about your body shape!!

  10. March 19, 2012 / 9:59 am

    A red lipstick I love and swear by, is the Dior Addict Lipstick in 745 New Look. Its perfect for blondes and like your dress its not too full on. xxx

  11. Tracey
    March 19, 2012 / 10:21 am

    As a blonde I wasn’t sure red was my colour either but then I saw Reese Witherspoon in red in This Means War and was totally converted. She looked gorgeous! Trying to get it into my daily dress more. Red really suits you too. I love your dress!

  12. March 19, 2012 / 10:28 am

    That colour really suits you! It looks more like a coally red on this computer screen. I am a brunette, pale skin, I have to be slightly careful with a few reds but can wear a few. I find accessorising the dress hard as red can be so bold that only black shoes/cardi goes with it- and it can be quite harsh- or too geometric on me. Red and black! xx

  13. Kris
    March 19, 2012 / 11:09 am

    I’m light blonde and I find it difficult, too. I feel like cooler colours suit me a lot better than warm tones (my hair is ashy as well), so I usually go for pink rather than red. But lately, I’ve come to love deep wine reds and bordeaux. I don’t know if it’s because they’re darker, but I find them a lot easier to pull off than a proper bright red.

  14. March 19, 2012 / 2:35 pm

    Interesting. I’ve never seen red as a potentially dodgy colour for blondes as I still remember how stunning Cameron Diaz looked in THAT red dress in The Mask. It’s emblazoned on my brain for life! I think you look good in red, Ruth. Embrace the red, it’s a great colour! xx

  15. Jessica M.
    March 19, 2012 / 4:32 pm

    Hi! I just found your wonderful blog…very fun. :) I’m a blonde w/ dark blue eyes and fair skin. Red is actually a color I really like wearing. I think it works for me because I have a lot of pink undertones, so it brings out the natural color in my cheeks. However my daughter has light brown hair, with more yellow undertones and red is not a good color for her. I wonder if it has more to do with pink vs. yellow undertones rather than hair color…

    Anyhow, thanks for all the great information on your blog. I’m fairly new to the exciting world of make-up…I hardly wore any as a teen, and now, as a 26-year-old, I feel like I’m finally learning the basics. Cheers!

  16. NancyH
    March 19, 2012 / 5:03 pm

    You look nice!
    I’m blonde (quite a Gwen stefani blonde) but I never tried to wear red, when I was a brunette I used to wear a lot of red tees but then I dyed my hair tips, well from the ears down, green (don’t judge me I were young and I looked cool) and tried to wear red…i looked something between a Santa’s elf and a 80s soap opera drama queen. I’m since then SO traumatized that I’ll probably never wear anything red in my life!

  17. Chloe Elizabeth
    March 19, 2012 / 5:30 pm

    Hey Ruth, I actually have a similar colour dress that I got from Reiss and looking by your photo its more of a “salmony reddish pink” (or maybe I am wrong?) but I think that type of red colour suits darker blondes. I agree, a stunningly vibrant colour red definitely suits dark hair/platinum blonde hair more so than a soft blonde. If you look at red carpet dresses that are red you definitely notice it. Having said that sometimes a bit of a tan and more golden colours in the hair helps, i.e. the likes of Gisele or Rosie-H-Whiteley. Then again they can make anything look good! xx

  18. Emma
    March 19, 2012 / 5:54 pm

    I’m blonde and people always tell me red is ‘my’ colour actually, I love wearing red, especially poppy red:)

  19. Mel
    March 19, 2012 / 8:17 pm

    Ruth you should wear Red more often.. especially in winter, it brightens up those grey gloomy days we have here.. Yes I’m a brunette.. but I’ve seen blondes looking stunning in red, and you look fab in that red. It just has to be the right shade of red as you say in your piece.. as there are bluish red’s, dull red’s, bright orange red’s, verging toward’s maroon red’s.. so many but you get the idea. I’m surprised you’ve not thought of using it to make you stand out at a casting.. Please put red in your life.. and start with some red accessories, shoes, bag’s, belts.. hey start a trend xx

  20. Hazel
    March 19, 2012 / 8:18 pm

    I’m a natural ash blonde but dye it ‘golden blonde’, so it is a vibrant blonde especially in the sun. But I find that vibrant golden blondes can wear vibrant colours, I think it just all matches and goes hand in hand. My opinion anyway, don’t know about dresses, but for casual wear I pull it off fine :) I’d like to think so anyway… You look stunning btw, and you look young as ever! xx

  21. March 20, 2012 / 3:45 am

    I think you look gorgeous in red!! Love your make up too! Very good look for you!

  22. charlii jean
    March 20, 2012 / 5:18 am

    Ruth you look quiet lovley in red, It isn’t the hair color that is the problem is getting the right shade of red for your skin tone. For me I have dark golden blond hair and I have winter (olive undertone) skin tone so I look great in blue based reds but your dress would make me look ill. Any way looks like you found your shade of red.

  23. Maja
    March 20, 2012 / 12:29 pm

    First of all, let me just say that you look stunning and very classy. You managed to choose just the perfect shade of a rather daunting colour. As a natural (very) blonde, I often shy away from red myself, partly because I find it slightly too attention-seeking, partly because I hate the idea of ending up looking like som cheesy Hollywood cliché, e.g. Cameron Diaz in The Mask. Seeing your picture, however, I might make another attempt. I agree that it makes sense to put some emphasis on the eyes; I would definitely avoid a strong lip with a red outfit, as it can quickly take us back to that tired Hollywood cliché.

    • Ruth
      March 21, 2012 / 10:19 am

      @Maja thanks Maja – good tip to add to my list! x

  24. Nancy
    March 20, 2012 / 3:02 pm

    Ruth I think you look lovely in red you should wear it more often it suits you.

  25. Emily
    March 21, 2012 / 10:32 am

    Of course blondes can wear red! 8) I’m a natural redhead but like to go blonde over the summer months, I’ve gone from a honey blonde to a serious ash and find that the right shade of red can really compliment my look. I do however, have huge issues wearing red while being a ginger! Jessica Rabbit makes it look so easy!

  26. AMR fan
    March 24, 2012 / 11:23 pm

    Ruth, just to set one thing straight-you could wear a red potato sack and still be the most gorgeous girl in the room. I’ve got honey/golden skin and dark hair, so red is my go-to colour if I want to look polished and sexy. I personally think blondes look good in anything, especially if your name’s Ruth Crilly =P

    • Ruth
      March 24, 2012 / 11:28 pm

      Thank you as always, AMRFan. You do realise people are going to start thinking that I’m paying you to say these things?! Haha.. xx

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