Know the colours to match

MAP­PING colours to your clothes is as much science as it is an art.

The Manica Post - - Fashion / dateline / relationships -

YOU can have all the money in the world and flaunt the most ex­pen­sive wardrobe pos­si­ble, but if you do not marry the colours in your out­fit well, it’s a lost cause.

You ei­ther need to have an eye for de­tail or un­der­stand the sen­si­bil­i­ties of how colours work. Strike a bal­ance, stay safe or go all out, what­ever you choose to do, know the rules be­fore you break them.

Take your favourite de­sign­ers and care­fully ob­serve their work

— all of them have their sig­na­ture shades that they taste­fully play around with.

How to match your clothes in an ad­mirable fash­ion:

Even if you just scratch the sur­face of this one in­ter­est­ing as­pect of styling, you will see a whole world of knowl­edge, and that’s what I’m go­ing to help you with.

How to know what colours to match?

Us­ing the right colours and match­ing them per­fectly can be a deal maker. Choos­ing the per­fect colour for an out­fit is what sets you apart. And, that’s why colour and its the­o­ries con­tinue to be the pivot for not just clothes, but ev­ery­thing else like in­te­ri­ors, hair, makeup, and much more.

To ex­plain this fur­ther, let’s first un­der­stand the ba­sis of this whole colour the­ory.

Pri­mary colours

These com­prise red, yel­low, and blue. No two colours can be mixed to achieve these shades. Ev­ery­thing else is de­rived from these colours.

Sec­ondary colours

Sec­ondary colours are a com­bi­na­tion of the pri­mary colours. So, red+yel­low = or­ange, red +blue = pur­ple, and blue+yel­low = green.

Ter­tiary colours

These colours are a com­bi­na­tion The colour wheel of pri­mary and sec­ondary colours. By mix­ing these colours, you get shades like mint, aqua colours, corals, etc.

Hues of colours like red, or­ange, yel­low, brown, etc are warm colours — they make things look smaller in size, and that’s why most of us pre­fer wear­ing warmer colours when we want to look slim­mer. Cool colours, like hues of blue, pur­ple, green, etc, are sooth­ing colours.

Neu­tral colours

Neu­tral colours are self-ex­plana­tory. They are just muted, plain, and sub­dued. Black, grey, whites, off-whites, taupe, etc, fall into the neu­tral cat­e­gory.

What are the prin­ci­ples for match­ing colours?

One fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ple for match­ing your clothes, or for that mat­ter any­thing, is com­bin­ing colours that work in har­mony. And, that’s what we need to re­mem­ber while de­sign­ing or putting our out­fits to­gether.

Red and green, vi­o­let and yel­low, blue and or­ange — com­ple­men­tary colours, as the name goes, work best when put to­gether.

These are ex­actly op­po­site to each other on the colour wheel. They might seem bold to look at, but the out­puts will be per­fect. If you ob­serve care­fully, your spring and sum­mer cloth­ing is mostly de­signed us­ing com­ple­men­tary colours. While some might ar­gue against this con­cept, it is ac­tu­ally a mat­ter of choice as some like mak­ing bold state­ments.

Match­ing two or three con­tin­u­ous shades on the colour wheel that blend well with each other is called anal­o­gous colour match­ing. When you put an en­tire out­fit to­gether based on this, it looks both strik­ing and stylish. If you are won­der­ing how to style that or­ange or camel trench coat of yours, pick a shade on ei­ther side of the colour in the colour wheel and work with that.


The com­bi­na­tion of colours that are equidis­tant from each other on the colour wheel is called “tri­adic.” They look great to­gether, but some might ar­gue that they can be OTT. How­ever, you can choose the muted shades of these colours to make your out­fit. A pair of green car­gos with a pas­tel pink top and pow­der blue ac­ces­sories or shoes will look so­phis­ti­cated and taste­ful.

Keep­ing it in the fam­ily is a mantra you need to re­mem­ber. The safest way to do this is by blend­ing dif­fer­ent shades of the same colour. How­ever, that will in­evitably get mo­not­o­nous and bor­ing very soon. Re­mem­ber how we dis­cussed com­ple­men­tary colours? (Red and green; vi­o­let and yel­low; blue and or­ange). Play around with a com­bi­na­tion of these colours; they will look great when put to­gether.

Om­bre is tak­ing over ev­ery­thing from hair­styles and cakes to nail art and decor, and not to for­get, out­fits. Party-wear out­fits, brides­maid dresses or just a sim­ple jeans and top in om­bre can turn heads. Di­min­ish­ing shades of the same colour ei­ther in as­cend­ing or de­scend­ing or­der works great. If you are sport­ing sep­a­rates, you need to bring it all to­gether with the top, bot­tom, shoes, and ac­ces­sories be­ing in sync. Wear om­bre out­fits for your Christ­mas or win­ter par­ties, goes per­fectly with the theme, and the weather too.

It seems like a no-brainer be­cause it’s just one colour in the same shade for the en­tire out­fit. How­ever, it is the hard­est to pull off, for ob­vi­ous rea­sons. The good news is mono­chrome looks have caught up and are not con­sid­ered weird any­more.

Start with com­fort­able and neu­tral colours like greys, blues, whites, and blacks, then progress to pas­tel un­der­tones. Mono­chrome looks can be cus­tomised de­pend­ing on the sea­son or oc­ca­sion. If it’s a for­mal set up, stick to neu­trals, blues or whites, other­wise ex­plore the pas­tels, yel­lows or even brighter shades if you please.

If it’s a printed or pat­terned out­fit, let the print take over. Prints and pat­terns are usu­ally a com­bi­na­tion of one or more colours, so you must leave it at that. Keep the ac­ces­sories in the neigh­bour­hood; more colours only make it clum­sier and un­ruly.

The bal­anc­ing act

An­other trick of the trade is to bal­ance out any colours you choose to mix care­fully. Any­thing done pro­por­tion­ately is a fool­proof way of co­or­di­nat­ing your out­fit. Like they say, too much of any­thing is good for noth­ing. —­

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