I had a friend reached out to me today. She was very inspired reading one of my blog posts about blazers and even went to the shopping mall to buy one. Once she found one she loved, she ended up leaving it because she couldn’t figure out how to add a bag, shoes and the right shirt to get the look.
Today I want to spend some time talking a little bit more about colours and how to colour coordinate your outfits. It can be an intimidating task but with a few pin pointers to keep in mind, it can eventually become second nature.
Let’s start with the neutral colours – white, brown, beige, grey and black.
These lack colour saturation which makes them easy to put together harmoniously. Your eyes flow from one piece to the next without the distraction of one- single colour. In addition, blue, gold and silver are also great neutrals. If you are unsure about how to coordinate your outfit, sticking to neutrals will help you pull an elegant and sophisticated look.
Below are some inspirational outfits.
Now let’s talk about colours with high saturation. These are split between warm and cool colours. Warm colours like reds create excitement while blues are soothing. As we get more comfortable with matching neutrals, we want to venture into incorporating a splash of colour to the outfits. If you are unsure about how to coordinate bolder colours, start by adding one dominant colour to a neutral outfit. This bold colour would be your accent colour.
Is it your purse that you want to draw attention to, your shoes or both? Accent colours are great to highlight something in your outfit. Below you can see how Jessica Alba uses an all black ensemble and adds a yellow scarf. Plus the play between the bright red lipstick and the scarf a brilliant detail.
Once you are comfortable with neutrals plus a colour and you want to step up your game, it’s useful to look at the colour wheel. Originally invented by Sir Isaac Newton, the colour wheel was meant to help artists mix colours harmoniously when painting. The great thing is that the same rules apply to clothing. Take a snapshot of it below to keep it in your phone’s pictures when you go shopping or put outfits together in your closet. I will show you now how to use it to mix and match your outfits.
Analogous Colours – To make your outfits stand out more, let’s add two colours that are adjacent to each other in the colour wheel. This combination of colours is called analogous colours and they flow effortlessly. See below how the model uses a blue-violet with a blue green.
Complementary Colours- There is no reason to just stick to neighboring colours on the wheel. Opposite colours also complement each other very well. These are called complementary colours because they enhance each other. For example blue green and pink or red and green. To make them more subtle, you can use one colour as a background colour while the other colour stands out and gets all the attention
Another way to style your outfit is by choosing a monochromatic look which is using different shades and tints of the same colour. It’s almost foolproof since you are sticking to one colour. Victoria Beckham styles her outfit by using different shades of lilac.
In summary, start with neutrals or monochromatic colours to style your outfits. As you get more comfortable, start adding one colour, then two and use the colour wheel to guide you as to what colours go best together. In time, it will become easier to come up with more colour combinations. Good luck!