The Art of Color Matching in Outfits: 8 Tips To Look in Style

How do you match colors in your outfit? Read this quick guide to find out.

Understanding Color Theory: The Color Wheel

Your starting point for mixing and matching colors in your outfits is understanding the color theory and color wheel.

Color theory is a set of guidelines that fashion designers use when combining, pairing, and manipulating colors to achieve their desired effects.

In color theory, hues are organized on a color wheel, which is composed of three groups: primary, secondary, and tertiary colors.

Red, green, and blue make up the primary colors. Combining any two of them results in a secondary color.

If you mix a secondary with a primary color, you get a tertiary color.

However, there are hues you won’t find in the color wheel, as they have little to no pigment of color. They are called “neutral” colors and they include black, white, gray, brown, and beige.

Principles For Matching Colors

Fashion designers use the following principles when matching colors:

Analogous Colors

Analogous colors are three colors that sit next to each other on the wheel. They create a rich, harmonious, and cohesive look. Examples are yellow, yellow-green, or green, and blue, blue-violet, violet.

Complementary Colors

These are two colors that are directly opposite each other on the wheel (e.g. blue and red, yellow and violet, green and magenta). This scheme creates a beautiful clash of colors and is a great option if you’re trying to pull off a bold, stylish look.

Triadic Colors

A triadic color scheme is composed of three colors evenly spaced on the color wheel (e.g. red, blue, and yellow). It’s a fantastic color combination if you prefer a vibrant look.

Tips To Match Colors in Your Clothes

Now that you know the basic principles of mixing and matching colors, here are some tips to consider:

Add a Pop of Color

If you love wearing neutral outfits, the easiest way to amp your style is with a pop of color. For example, if you’re wearing a white blouse and white pants, putting on a red coat will do magic. Just be careful to not overdo it. One pop of color is enough to elevate your outfit.

Match Bright Colors With White

If you love bright colors like pink, green, or red, the best way to incorporate them into your outfit is to pair them with white pieces.

For example, if you like to wear a red shirt, match it with white pants (or vice versa).

It’s an easy way to create a balanced and elegant look.

Go Monochromatic

The joy of a monochromatic outfit is that it works with virtually any color you choose, including neutrals. Do note, however, that light tints and dark shades of the same color are best used to create a monochromatic look.

Also, textures add visual interest, depth, and dimension to your outfit. Instead of choosing the same textures for your top and bottom pieces, you can combine two different textures to achieve certain effects.

For example, you can pair a satin tank with jeans for a relaxed yet stylish getup, or a black leather jacket on top of a flannel shirt for a more formal look.

Solid Colors Are Easy to Style

Your wardrobe should have pieces in solid colors for those days when you’re in a rush to get dressed.

That’s because solid colors are easy to style and they almost always look great together.

As long as you take into account the color theory, you can pull off amazing outfits in solid colors.

Balance Is the Key

When it comes to mixing and matching colors, balance is the key.

That said, you also want to take into account the color temperature (cool and warm) to achieve a beautifully balanced look.

Here are some things to keep in mind when balancing colors in your outfit:

  • Neutral colors are a great base and work well with bright colors.
  • Denim is considered a neutral color, which means it pairs well with any other color.
  • A pop of color in your accessories is great for monochromatic and outfits in solid colors.
  • Don’t overdo it. When going for bolder color combos like complementary and triadic, those colors don’t have to be present all throughout your outfit. You can have them on your accessories too, such as your shoes, bag, or jewelry.

Wear Pastel Colors

Pastel colors work nicely with neutral hues, including beige and cream. Feel free to combine more than two pastels in your outfit if wearing clothes that feature simple cuts and details.

Match Stuff that Matters

Every part of your ensemble matters, from your top to your shoes, and accessories. So make sure all of them are in sync, especially in terms of color.

The same rule applies to men’s outfits. Even things like men’s wallets should coordinate with their outfits too.

Wear One Thing at a Time

To keep things in balance, avoid overdoing patterns and textures too. So, if you’re wearing leather pants, skip the leather shoes and wear something in suede instead, or perhaps, a pair of sneakers.

Matching colors in your outfits is the best way to pull off stylish outfits, whatever the occasion. With these tips, you can be confident about your look.


Award-winning writer, blogger, social media consultant and charity campaigner. Social Media Manager for BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogging network Freelance clients include Firefly Communications and Save the Children UK. Works with brands on marketing projects. Examples include Visit Orlando, Give As You Live, Coca-Cola and Kodak. Cambridge Law graduate with many years experience working across three sectors in advice, media relations, events, training and project management. Available for hire at affordable rates.

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