How to Properly Color-Coordinate (Without Having to Chase Rainbows)

The way you wear colors on your outfit can, well, show your true colors. Even if you have the most expensive clothes with the best style, if the colors are off or do not match, you’ll look dowdy (or maybe even silly).

Yes, color matters. We don’t live in a black-and-white world, so our choice of colors matters.

Knowing how to properly color-coordinate can make a seemingly boring outfit stand out, or tone down something that’s a bit loud or flashy.

If you’re one of those who struggle with what color combination to go for when putting together your ensemble, we’re sharing a few basic color-coordination tips below to help you with this task.

Let’s Start with the Color Wheel

Yup, it’s back to elementary stuff. Let’s talk about the color wheel first. The color wheel was developed by the great scientist Sir Isaac Newton (laws of motion, universal gravitation, etc. --- yeah, that guy). The color wheel is based on Newton’s experiments with prisms. From those experiments, he was able to come up with the theory that the primary colors are red, yellow and blue. Combining any two colors from these three colors will give us the secondary colors (e.g. red + yellow = orange, yellow + blue = green). And when you combine any two secondary colors, you get tertiary colors.

Why is that important? Good question. This is important for a simple reason: the closer the colors are to each other, the easier it is for you to coordinate them. For example, if you’re wearing a blue shirt, a good color choice for your tie would be something like teal (which is basically blue-green). Since green derives from a combination of yellow and blue, it coordinates with blue.

Color Contrast

Also known as complementary colors, contrasting colors are colors from opposing segments of the color wheel. But we’re not talking here about contrasting colors on your outfit. This is about the color of your hair, eye and skin. Yes, that also plays a vital role in coming up with the proper contrast with your outfit.

For example, if you have white skin and black hair, you belong to a category called ‘high-contrast men.’ Your outfit will also mimic this high contrast (e.g. a white dress shirt under a dark jacket).

There are also ‘low-contrast men.’  If you have, say, light hair and light skin, then you fall into this category. What would work best for you? The safest is to go for a monochromatic look. Monochromatic means using one color but different tones.

If you’re neither high-contrast nor low-contrast, you fall right in the middle category: medium- contrast. If you have dark skin and dark hair or light skin with gray or white hair, you’re right in this category. There are no specific guidelines for this category, but the safest route would be to choose something close to either extreme.

Color Coordination Matters

Mixing colors is always an important factor to consider when putting together your outfit. You can go plain if you want by going for just one color, but that can result to something boring or bland. The extreme opposite of that of course is mixing too many colors, especially if the colors don’t coordinate. Well, if you want to look like the Joker… But seriously, though, too many colors mean a look that’s disorganized and all over the place.

Mix your colors well, and you’ll pass the fashion test with (you guessed it right) flying colors.

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