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How to Match Colours

The Colour Wheel
The Colour Wheel

Good style doesn’t necessarily come with having a bunch of money and shopping in high-end designer boutiques; good style comes from knowing what goes with what and how to combine clothes into a nicely looking outfit. Base line tips include not wearing flip flops with long, thick jeans or thin leggings in the place of pants. However, if you want to upgrade your look to even more sophisticated and eye-catching heights, nuances such as the right combination of patterns, fabrics and colours become important as well. A nicely (or poorly) put together colour combination can make (or break) your look, so read up on some good advice regarding matching colours for your outfit of the day!

The Colour Wheel

First invented in 18th century by Sir Isaac Newton, this wheel is used to display the relationships among colours and although we will use it mostly to discuss good outfits, it can be employed in any field related to colours. The first thing to note is primary colours and those include red, yellow and blue. They are called primary because no colour combination can be used to achieve them, but all other colours are derived from them instead. Secondary colours are what the name implies – all colours that you get from combining the primary ones. Then there are also tertiary ones, which are mostly shades achieved by mixing primary and secondary colours.

Another important distinction here is warmth. All colours are divided into cold (blue, purple, green), which are known to have a soothing effect, and warm (red, yellow, brown), which are loved by those who aspire to appear slimmer because they reduce things visually. Neutral colours are self-explanatory and include black, white, beige and others.

The matching process
The matching process

The matching process

Now that you know how colours are distinguished, how do you actually get them to look good together? One way to do this is to go for complementary colours. They appear exactly opposite to each other on the colour wheel (violet and yellow, blue and orange, red and green). In that way you can create bold summer looks or brighten up your winter outfits. Analogous matching includes three consecutive shades of the wheel; in that way you can create either very subtle and sophisticated or very daring and eye-catching looks. Either way, they will look great. Triadic colour matching includes three colours equidistant from each other on the wheel. You can mute the shades a bit for a more neutral look and look like you came straight down from a fashion week runway!

Other tips

If one garment is your accent (for instance, a long formal dress or a huge winter code), experiment away. Match an ombre dress or an interestingly patterned coat to neutrally coloured clothing and be at the centre of attention! Monochrome look is a great idea if you want to blend in completely or stand out and make a statement, all depends on the colour of your choice. Don’t forget to match everything to your skin tone – some colours complement certain skin types more than others, so make sure you do yourself justice!