I stay away from white, light gray, pastel blue and pink, and bright/jewel tones, especially hot pink. I have light skin with slight yellow undertones, and I look really awful/washed out in those colors. (That makes shopping difficult--clothing manufacturers seem to think that everyone loves white and bright colors.) I like to wear browns, eggplant, brick red and similar "muddy" colors.
I think it's ok to gently tell a friend that a particular color or shade is not the most flattering on her, but it sounds as if the comments at issue in the op were less than tactful.