Matching colors in your outfits
Photo: Instagram/@bekind_havefun

The Ultimate Guide To Matching Colors In Your Outfits

Not everyone will admit it, but many of us can be puzzled when it comes to colors and matching. 

Should the color wheel be followed, or can you just mix and match as you go? There are so many decisions to be made when purchasing new color statement garments – and also so many options! Which should you choose and what season do you wear them in?

Don’t worry if you’re unsure – here is the ultimate guide to choosing the best colors for you and a hint at the hot colors for 2021!

Which Color Groups Work Well Together?

Photo: Lookbook/@drewsbeauty

If you’re pre-planning color outfits, an excellent way to matching colors in your outfits is to look at color theory!

You don’t actually need to be well versed in art theory to do this; the color wheel and its complementary colors are quite simple. The color wheel shows primary, secondary and tertiary colors. To find the groups that complement each other, all you have to do is look at the groups that sit opposite the wheel!

Color combinations that pair well together are:

  • Red and green
  • Blue and orange
  • Yellow and purple

These are great for creating looks that have unexpected color matches. When you’re experimenting with these color matches, make sure to play with different shades, too – while red and green may make some think of Christmas, darker or lighter shades of these colors can completely change the energy of the outfit into a summer or winter pairing. 

Another good way of matching color groups is looking at analogous combinations.

These are colors that are side-by-side with each other on the color wheel. As these groups are so similar, you’re able to create an outfit that has harmonious colors, and you could even play with blending the hues into each other.

A key point for matching these colors is to choose a primary base color and allow the other hues to highlight the base but not overwhelm it. This usually works best with the secondary and tertiary colors.

What Color Looks Can Pair With Every Color?

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When it comes to piecing a wardrobe together, you’ll always need a few garments that can match any of the bolder pieces you own.

If you like experimenting with color, this can feel tough. Exactly, what color matches everything?

While trial and error methods can help you find the perfect shade, it’s always best to go back to proven classics – own a handful of white, black, and beige basics.

White, black, and beige can sometimes feel quite boring, especially if you’re partial to a bright shade. However, owning a few jumpers or tops in these colors will help match your outfits.

This also reduces the need to own the same garment in multiple colorways, allowing you to cut down on your wardrobe size and, more importantly, washes! These days there is such a focus on downsizing and minimalism (especially within fashion) that many are now embracing fewer garments and creating a ‘capsule wardrobe’ that mixes easily.

Ensuring that you have a couple of neutral tone pieces alongside your bright statement color pieces will also help to improve your outfits. While monochrome looks do pack a punch, sometimes too much bright color can overwhelm the eye. For example, when wearing a neon color, you can pair it with a black piece to keep it chic and not too overpowering.

What Is The Most Flattering Color?

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No one has the same natural colors. We all have different skin tones, eye colors, and diverse hair. There is great advice on skin tone dressing, but this all shouldn’t mean there isn’t one color that fits everyone. In fact, there are a few colors that do!

These are great options to invest in if you haven’t yet worked out your favorite colors to wear. Or if you’re getting dressed in a rush having outfits in these colors make your life a bit easier, as you know they’ll look flattering.

1# Teal

Teal is a gorgeous blue hue that can brighten any skin tone up. This is usually an excellent option for spring/summer outfits as it is a lighter blue. But don’t let that stop you from going for teal jumpers for winter.

This color sits opposite pink in the color wheel, so if you want to bring out pink blush and create a fresh look, this is the right choice.

2# Dusty Pink

This is a great nude/neutral option if you’re looking for a color to pair with bolder ones.

Dusty pink suits all skin tones, so whether you’re looking for an elegant dress or a comfy hoodie, this feminine color will suit you.

3# Navy

Often used for uniforms or formal wear, navy is a popular color because it flatters everyone. Not only that, but navy is a good option when matching colors, as it matches easily without clashes. 

Of course, these rules are really just guidelines. When it comes to expanding the color in your wardrobe, you can wear any color.

The best way to know what flatters you is to get out there and try the colors on. My favorite rule is to only wear what I feel comfortable in. Some colors are meant to suit me well due to my skin color, but I don’t feel my best in them, so I opt for others! 

What Colors Should You Not Mix?

Photo: Lookbook/@annieomeow

The topic of colors you shouldn’t mix is an interesting one. In recent years there have been many fashion trends that aim to disprove these out-dated color ideas.

For example, pink and green. This has long been known as a fashion faux pas, yet mixing dusty pink and sage green is a popular combination right now. This pairing actually looks excellent. However, if it was neon pink and dark green, the outfit wouldn’t look so hot.

Mixing colors that traditionally don’t go together is a delicate balance of working out which shades work.

The rise of mixing these colors directly stems from the rise of Instagram and influencers penning a “quirky yet casual” style.

This is another variation of the “Scandi-cool” aesthetic, created by influencers from Scandinavia. This look consists of feminine outfits with odd color mixes that somehow look high fashion and ultra-relaxed at the same time.

But, if you’re keen on knowing what colors shouldn’t be mixed ever, here are the pairings to avoid:

  • Red and orange
  • Green and orange
  • Navy blue and black
  • Grey and brown
  • Red and yellow
  • Pink and green

What Color Draws The Most Attention?

Photo: Lookbook/@vanorasy

If we are all honest with ourselves, we do want to be noticed when we dress up and wear our best outfits. There’s no shame in this!

If you want to take your party outfits or eveningwear to the next level, choosing a color that stands out is key. Many think that bright shades are the best way to do this, but blinding guests at a party with a near luminous hue isn’t the only way.

The color to wear to naturally attract the human eye is red. This is the color that gets attention and also holds it the longest. Red is associated with power, making it perfect for any social event. Interestingly, this is also why most companies use red in their logo and why red is also so common in marketing.

Red is a primary color and is perfect for color blocking or monochrome outfits.

When pairing red with other colors, opt for neutrals if you want the red to be bold. Go for deeper or lighter shades of red to complement the look. Remember to get the other shades to highlight the base color.

It’s always safe to wear a statement piece in red and then go for an outfit that’s black and white – this can help the red piece shine and doesn’t drown you in color at the same time. 

2021 Color Predictions To Keep You On Trend

Color matching can give you lots of options to experiment with. But if you have a keen eye for trends, it’s always best to check out what top trend forecasters predict for the coming year.

For 2021 Pantone has predicted that Illuminating (a calming yellow hue) and Ultimate Gray (a neutral gray) will be popular this year.

Many have speculated that after 2020, a year full of tumultuous times, the yellow and gray are supposed to represent joy and stability.

Perhaps we will see these colors embraced on the spring/summer catwalks this spring!


Adding some color to your life!

Hopefully, some of these color tips have inspired you to get creative and expressive with your own wardrobes.

Will you match colors or clash them? Are you bold or neutral? Trying colors for yourself is a great way to spend an afternoon – especially if you’re still in lockdown!

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