Here’s How To Mix and Match Outfit Colours Like a Pro
Choosing an outfit to wear every morning is probably one of the most tedious decisions you have to make daily. Deciding between tops or shirts and trousers or skirts (your separates) may appear simple; yet, how do you deal with colour combinations? Knowing what tones look well on you is crucial, but so is knowing how to mix shades so you can effectively blend pieces into a coherent ensemble.
The technique of colour mixing and matching is one of that remarkable brilliance that applies to both aesthetic and artistic aspects of style and fashion. We normally take the safe route and wear simple hues, such as black and white. Sure, you've considered moving away from these basic tones, and you've even gone so far as to take a risk by purchasing some colourful outfits, but for some reason, it never seemed to work!
If you gaze into your cabinet and see a slew of neutrals, grey, and black, you're not alone. Many individuals find it challenging to include colour in their wardrobe-essentials. The main reason? They don't know what outfit colours go well together, what the rules are for mixing and matching, and which shades they should adopt to their favour.
But there is great news: colour mixing is a science (developed by none other than Sir Isaac Newton himself—seriously). Sir Isaac Newton demonstrated the rainbow spectrum by holding a prism near a window one bright day in 1666. He then depicted the natural development in a circle (aka the colour wheel), which proved to be a useful tool for painters and other artists attempting to create cohesive colour schemes. And, you guessed it, it's also useful for every fashionista, including you!
Well, ladies, you need not fret as the mechanism is not rocket science. Colour mixing is one of the most potent methods to spruce up your look, and today we'll walk you through this concept, so keep reading to discover how to mix and match like a pro!
Colour Wheel 101 - Let’s go back to basics!
A colour wheel is a circular diagram that depicts the connections between various colours. In his 1704 book Opticks, Sir Isaac Newton created the first colour wheel. Newton developed an asymmetrical colour wheel consisting of seven colours: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe created a symmetrical colour wheel with only six colours (excluding indigo) in 1810, which is similar to the one we use today. Colour wheels are used by artists and fashion designers to develop colour schemes that give the desired creative impression.
Three fundamental colours anchor the colour wheel, forming a triadic colour scheme. These primary colours are red, yellow, and blue in the classic RYB colour paradigm. Green, orange, and purple can be created by combining the fundamental colours. A tertiary colour is created by combining a primary and a secondary colour: magenta (red-purple), vermillion (red-orange), amber (yellow-orange), chartreuse (yellow-green), teal (blue-green), and violet (blue-purple).
The Colour Theory
Colour theory refers to a set of principles that govern the blending, merging, and manipulation of colours. Colour theory encompasses concepts such as:
- Colour harmony pertains to aesthetically attractive colour combinations that offer a feeling of visual order. Colour schemes based on complementary and similar hues are seen as harmonious in general. However, because people react to colours differently based on their particular tastes and life experiences, there are no universally "correct" colours for establishing harmony.
- Colour temperature is centred with classifying colours as warm (related to sunset and daylight) or cool (associated with nighttime) (associated with overcast light). Experimenting with warm and cool colour combinations might help you blend colours to produce a certain look.
- Colour context asserts that when viewed in different situations, colours appear to act differently. For example, a rusty orange may appear drab and muted next to a dazzling yellow, but when matched with a dark purple, the orange appears considerably brighter.
Hue, Saturation and Brightness
Before jumping into the colour mixing part, let’s try to have an adequate grasp of the colour traits first. These aspects also play a crucial role in matching your outfits:
- The hue of colour relates to its specific placement on the colour wheel. For example, there are three types of orange positioned around the perimeter of the colour wheel; anti-clockwise, these lead into red; clockwise, these lead to yellow.
- The intensity of colour in a picture is referred to as saturation. The colours look purer as the saturation increases. The colours seem washed out or pale as the saturation drops.
- A colour's brightness relates to its relative lightness, ranging from black (0% brightness) to white (100% brightness). This is not depicted on the colour wheel.
The tricky part is combining colours, but the main goal is to mix contrast coherently. Contrast helps your clothing look more engaging while matching colours in the proper palette produces coherence. Consider it as constructing a 'theme' of colours by altering the hue, saturation, and brightness levels of each colour in the palette.
To preserve a holistic palette, pick two distinct colours (or one if monochromatic) from the three colour qualities (hue, saturation, or brightness), but keep the third attribute consistent.
Black, White and Grey
There are a few primary colour guidelines you should follow however, we must first discuss neutrals: black, white, and grey. They aren't technically colours because they lack hue and saturation. This implies they may be matched with any other colour (or together) without interfering with cohesiveness. The only exception is the brightness level of grey, which can vary and should be colour matched to the rest of your ensemble.
You might also combine two or all three of these neutrals. Consider an oversized black shirt openly placed over a white tee and dark grey flare pants. Furthermore, although being colours in their own right, brown, tan, cream, beige, and khaki are considered variants of neutrals. And, because it is inoffensive and ubiquitous, the navy may also serve as a 'neutral'.
Mix and Match Outfit Colours Like a Pro
1. Monochromatic (Same same, but different)
A monochromatic palette's colours have a single hue but differ in brightness and saturation. This “tonal” way of dressing is a huge fashion trend this year, particularly when executed in neutrals and pastels.
A monochromatic outfit is a look made up of one colour or shades of the same colour. While monochromatic outfits appear to need less effort, they may be difficult to achieve, particularly when dealing with bright colours or light neutrals. Monochromatic style requires trial and error to establish what you like and feel comfortable wearing out in public.
A monochromatic outfit delivers a sleek and clean aesthetic that you'll like donning when you have the proper materials to put together. If done correctly, a monochromatic combination may be just as eye-catching as a patterned summer dress or a striking blazer.
- Why It’s a Hit: Light and dark shades of the same hue merge wonderfully. (Imagine a paint chip swatch.)
- Make the Most: Wear dark hues on places you want to emphasise and light shades on areas you want to draw attention to. Mix textures (say, satin with knits) to give the appearance depth.
- Go Extra: Wear one eye-catching colour, such as red (a cayenne sweatshirt and matching track pants), to make an ensemble stand out.
- Go Low-key: Subtle tone-on-tone combinations, such as an orchid pleated skirt with a lilac top, give a relaxing watercolour appearance.
2. Complementary (As they say, opposites attract)
Complementary colour palettes are based on two distinct complementary colours that are located (or nearly so) opposite each other on the colour wheel. Feel free to experiment with brightness and saturation between the two hues, keeping in mind that the colours don't have to be loud. Think blue and orange, green and pink, or yellow and purple (the Los Angeles Lakers didn’t choose their colour scheme by chance).
- Why It’s a Hit: The visual contrast between opposites on the colour wheel is so intense that they boost each other. When red is combined with green, both of them would seem brighter. That's why foliage tones look so good on redheads.
- Make the Most: Use about 75% of one colour and 25% of the other. According to some stylists, wearing two shades in equal proportion might seem like a sports uniform (unless that's what you're going for).
- Go Extra: Use an orange belt to cinch a light blue shirt dress. But don't go overboard with the accents. If you add a flame-coloured bag and heels, "the attention will be pulled to too many locations at once.
- Go Low-key: Paler complements are nevertheless energetic and simpler to carry off than vibrant, primary-based combinations. Instead of gold, accent mint formal shirts with baby pink bracelets.
3. Analogous (We are family, I got all my sisters with me)
Analogous colour palettes are made up of two or three different yet adjacent colours. Ideally, you should maintain saturation and brightness consistently, but you can mix and match up to a point. As seen by the well-known green and blue swimwear, these two tones are well-known for being such a powerful colour combination. In a similar vein, red and blue have long been a common shirt and skirt pairing.
Find a hue that seems secure to you when introducing new colours into your clothing, such as pale blue. Blue is located on the colour wheel between teal and blue-violet. If you're at ease with light blue, try a teal or blue violet for a two-colour palette.
- Why It’s a Hit: Colour wheel neighbours flow naturally together. This pattern is very stunning. (Think sunset colours.)
- Make the Most: Allow one hue to take the lead and the others to play supporting roles. "Asymmetry is more fascinating," Eiseman remarks. Combining strong and pastel colours (such as red and peach) should be avoided since the brighter hue makes the subdued one appear muddy.
- Go Extra: When you want to draw attention, choose equally saturated brights. For example, a poppy-and-tiger-lily floral dress with bright pink flats.
- Go Low-key: Minimal comparable medleys appear extremely ethereal. Wear pale purple palazzo pants with a teal scarf over light denim.
To Put It All Together
Colour combinations can flatter or shatter an outfit. It's normal to be anxious while experimenting with new tones and pairings. But we have walked you through the nitty-gritty parts of sparking new life into your wardrobe, hence we know you will do great! Also, a whiff of change is in the air this 2023! So prepare to incorporate more colours into your closet.
If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to mixing and matching your outfits, we’re here for you. This post will be your very own style spirit guide. If you want to see further style info to appease your distinctive personality, discover Kayfi’s collection of modern modest outfits in a wide range of versatile hues that you can mix and match without shedding a single sweat!
Feel free to mix and match your favourite outfits, may it be a monochromatic look with matching shirts and skirts, a complementary kaftan and abaya, or even an analogous top, blazer and pants ensemble! Your style, your choice!
Do yourself a favour, give yourself a fresh start and style this year. We promise to be always here to make this year your best yet!