5 Color Matching Tips To Pull Off Any Outfit

Color Matching Tips To Pull Off Any Outfit



You want to dress well and be able to pull off any outfit. Yes, I can hear you. And how exactly can you achieve that? In answering this question for you, I would strongly suggest you to start with understanding the basics first, and that is: color matching.

Having some color matching ideas in mind can certainly save you lots of time and energy later on when choosing your apparels. For this reason, you should continue to read on:


Color Basics 101: The Color Wheel

The color wheel concept all started when Sir Isaac Newton held up a prism by his window and discovered a beautiful spectrum of colors projecting out of it as light passes through. Subsequently, he went on to illustrate his conceptual arrangement of colors in the form of a wheel, which has ever since then become the source of inspirations to many an artist who wishes to study about colors.


Color Matching: Newton's Color Circle









Along the development of color theory, one key figure from the 20th century is particularly worth noting: Johannes Itten, a Swiss painter and teacher. One of his most famous proposals was that of a 12-hue color wheel (also known as the Farbkreis), which is still widely regarded as the color wheel that best illustrates basic color relationships up to this day.


Color Matching: Johannes Itten's Color Wheel











Today, Itten’s color wheel is still widely followed in the fashion world. By referencing this wheel, you will be able to help yourself with putting together an outfit that appears pleasing to the eyes. Here are a few ways in which you can play with different colors to create visual appeals (and they are scientifically proven by the way!)


Color Matching in Fashion


Associated colors

Color Matching: Monochromatic Colors

A relatively effortless way out of all possible color matching techniques, wearing monochromatic pieces altogether is a definite way to get by if you wish to appear decent without having the need to fuss about all other sorts of colors.

Will that make you look dull or even naive? Nope. The idea here is to get yourself dressed in different tints and shades of that same color, which almost always blend well (yes, a no-brainer!). To add even more interests to your overall outfit, you should also check out the texture combinations in what you wear.


As a rule of thumb, you will want to wear brighter on the parts you wish to bring out the most, and darker on other parts you wish to downplay a bit.




Color Matching: Analogous Colors

Slightly more sophisticated than the monochromatic style, the analogous technique calls for colors that closely neighbor one another. Not only do adjacent colors go in harmony, they also allow for a wider range of color variations which can possibly lead to more visual stimulations. Just think about the fall leaves found in nature. Wouldn’t you agree that their colors go stunningly well together?

When considering the analogous style, you should aim at letting one particular color stand out. Having this dominant color combined with its neighbors as supporting colors can sufficiently bring out an interesting look.




Example of an Associated Colors Combo:

Blue Button-up Shirt, Cropped Blue Jeans












Blue Button-up Shirt; Cropped Blue Jeans



Complementary colors

Color Matching: Complementary Colors

Complementary colors are those colors located opposite to one another on the color wheel. These pairs create such a visually shocking contrast that they actually complement one another. Ever wondered what makes the red rose one of the most popular and acclaimed flowers in the world? Well, apart from the rose being a rose, the sharp contrast resulting from the combination of its red petals and green stems is also a key factor.

To pull off the complementary style, make sure to use the two colors disproportionately in order to avoid creating too much visual confusions or shocks (unless that’s actually what you’re trying to achieve, of course!).


Generally speaking, a good balance can be attained if you’re wearing about 3 times more of one color than the other. For some more playful varieties, you may also want to consider combining any paler and deeper variations of those complementary colors. No matter how you combine them, they can all be seen as visually striking and are very expressive indeed.



Color Matching: Split Complementary Colors

Do you think the complementary combo is a bit too bold or perplex? Perhaps you like the sharp visual contrast created out of the complementary scheme, yet for whatever reason, you just hold back to the idea of putting them on. If that’s the case, you may opt for the split-complementary combo instead.

The split-complementary is a combination of three colors: a base color, as well as the two colors that are right next to the base color’s complement. While this combo maintains the essence of a strong complementary contrast, the cohesive nature of analogous colors also helps reduce the amount of tension built.

As is the case with complementary style, you should apply the colors disproportionately when you have the split-complimentary style on. For more visual appeal, make sure to use the two analogous colors predominantly.



Example of a Complementary Colors Combo:

White/ Navy Button-up Shirt, Rover Green Pants, Red High Top Shoes













White/ Navy Button-up Shirt; Rover Green Pants; Red High Top Shoes



Triad colors

Color Matching: Triad Colors


Triad colors are colors located equally apart from one another on the color wheel. These colors come together with less contrast than the complementary combo. While the triad color style gives you a greater multitude of color choices, don’t get too carried away – special attention has to be given as to whether the 3 colors go well together in an outfit. Truth is, having 3 distinctive colors in an outfit can be quite overwhelming if they don’t actually mix well.


As such, in order to capture the aesthetic appeal of the triad colors style, you should adopt either one of the following techniques:

  • Allow one color to take the lead, while the other two can be used as accents (i.e. only use those two colors sparingly)
  • Let all three colors be kept fairly muted (i.e. less vibrant). You may try dressing fully in either earth tones or pastel colors


Example of a Triad Colors Combo:

Navy Blazer, Burgundy Blouse, Corduroy Pants



















Navy Blazer; Burgundy Blouse; Corduroy Pants



Neutral Colors

All of the above color combinations can enable you to make wonderful choices of casual outfits. But wait, what about the more commonly worn colors such as black, white, grey and brown? Everyone should have at least an apparel item that comes in one of these neutral colors. Given their high versatility, these colors are definitely not to be missed when it comes to color matching. This is especially true if you need to dress up for more formal occasions. To learn how you can bring out the best in neutral colors, make sure to check out the next post.

2 thoughts on “5 Color Matching Tips To Pull Off Any Outfit

  1. Paul Reply

    Blimey! Sharon, I never realised there was a science behind colour-coordinated clothes.

    I’ve always admired the clothes that Michael Portillo wears on TV, but I don’t have the nerve to wear them. In recent years, I have taken to wearing pink shirts. I tend to choose a grey tie to match. Is grey good with pink or should I try another colour?

    Many thanks,

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