Advice on colour matching for clothing and what to wear together

When dressing, many people find it difficult to colour match their clothes and so seek fashion advice on colours that go. Some personal stylists base their advice on the colouring of the person being styled but So Stylist says that’s so boring! Why shouldn’t you wear the shades that you love, or that show your personality or how you’re feeling?

There are very few hard and fast fashion rules when it comes to choosing colours to combine in clothing – and many would say that such style rules are made to be broken, as fashion should be about expressing yourself as well as flattering your figure. However, this free fashion advice on colours that go together is here as a helping hand for those that seek it. If you’re clueless at colour matching clothes or never know what to wear together stick with So Stylist’s advice and you won’t go wrong.

First get to know the types of colours:

Neutral Colours

  • Black
  • White
  • Grey

Cold Colours

  • Blue
  • Green
  • Blue tones of purple e.g. lavender

Warm Colours

  • Red
  • Orange
  • Yellow
  • Pink
  • Pink tones of purple e.g. plum

Warm Neutrals

  • Cream
  • Beige
  • Tan
  • Brown

How colour theory affects clothes that go together

Complementary Colours

Complementary colours are found on opposite sides of the colour wheel to each other. The term ‘complementary colours’ can be misleading when it comes to fashion advice on the colours that go as it does not necessarily mean that wearing them together will be complementary on you! Rather it means that they complement each other, they bring out and emphasise each other. Perfect if you want to create a striking poster – not so perfect if you’re trying to create a sophisticated outfit.

How to wear them

Unless you are a very confident dresser it is best to avoid wearing complementary colours together. Instead why not try wearing one colour with a paler tint of its opposite, such as green with light pink or blue with pale gold?

 

Analogous Colours

Analogous colours are next to each other on the colour wheel. As they are similar to each other and easy on the eye in combination they make a pleasing palette for an outfit.

How to wear them

Limit yourself to no more than three analogous colours in your outfit. Stick to two and a neutral and you can’t go wrong.

Failsafe colour palettes for successful dressing

(Bear in mind combinations from the color wheel)

  • 2 colours and 1 neutral e.g. green,
    yellow and white
  • 1 colour and 1 neutral e.g. black and red
  • 1 colour and 2 neutrals e.g. purple,
    black and grey
  • 2 or 3 neutrals e.g. black and white
  • 2 or 3 warm neutrals e.g. brown and cream
  • 1 pattern and 1 or 2 plain neutrals
  • 1 pattern and 1 plain colour from within the pattern
  • 1 pattern, 1 neutral and 1 plain colour from within the pattern

General fashion advice on colours that go

If you’re wearing more than one item the same colour, make sure they are either exactly the same colour, or clearly different shades of the same colour. Nearly the same but not quite is not a good look as it looks like you’ve tried to match exactly and failed.

If you’re wearing all black don’t wear brown shoes. Black and brown can be tricky to wear together without looking mismatched so if you do, make sure you pull it together with accessories to make it into a real colour scheme rather than looking accidental.

Brown and ‘warm neutrals’ look lovely when combined together and make great fashion colours for fall or autumn. However, they do not mix well with warm tones such as red, pink and purple so instead team them with cool colours such as blue or green.

A small splash of a warm colour in a cool colour palette add interest without overdoing it e.g. a red tie on a blue shirt or yellow accessories with a green dress.

Lots of pastel colours together can look too sugary sweet. Try one pastel colour with a neutral (e.g. pale pink and grey) or a pastel with a deep version of the same colour instead (e.g. pale blue and dark blue)

Keep to one pattern only per outfit, even if the colours match.

Limit yourself to 3 colours (including neutrals) per outfit, unless the additional colours make up a pattern or print.

Don’t mix black and navy.

Don’t mix white and cream.

Don’t mix brown and grey.