5 Best Outfit Color Combinations
Before Personal Color Analysis, I fell into a rut when buying colors. If I walked up to a sale rack at Target with 3 t-shirts for $24, I would invariably pick white, black, and a color at random. This resulted in a really boring wardrobe that didn’t work together and didn’t suit my personal coloring. While at a store, I didn’t think about outfit color combinations or what colors go well together. I just bought what was on sale and added it to my ever growing closet. I was the classic shopaholic with a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear. If you are in the same rut, you might want to consider using the color wheel to create your favorite color combinations for clothes and shoes. Why the color wheel? Because it’s an easy tool to help you create harmonious outfit combinations that can revive your wardrobe!
How to Choose Color Combinations for Clothes Using the Color Wheel
As the video explains, you can use the color wheel to help you easily create color combinations for outfits that are much more interesting than the typical black that you always reach for. There are 5 basic color schemes that you can use to guide your outfit choices. They are listed below by energy level – from least amount of energy to highest. What does that mean? Lower energy color schemes are more calm and soothing while higher energy are more exciting and energizing.
1. Monochromatic Outfits
The monochromatic color scheme is basically one color. A monochromatic dress is a classic example of this color scheme and is often a very sophisticated and elegant look. Having said that, if you vary the value of the color that you are wearing or wear a brighter color, it will provide more interest and energy. Try wearing the lightest value and darkest value of the same color together. In my monochromatic yellow outfit, My dress is the absolute lightest version of the sweater with a print that is the same color as the sweater. Although, it’s monochromatic, it’s more interesting than the classic sweater set combo.
2. Neutral plus a Color Outfits
Although you don’t need the color wheel to wear this color scheme, I had to include it, because it is so universally flattering. Everyone looks good in it! This color scheme combination can be as simple as a black dress and colored necklace, scarf or cardigan. To create more interest though, you might want to vary the “colors” you are wearing. Meaning, your neutrals don’t have to be monochromatic. Consider pairing 2 or 3 neutral “colors” with one actual color. In the picture at the left, I have paired the green sweater with a neutral striped shirt (cream and black), dark jeans, and leopard print shoes. Yes, leopard is absolutely a neutral (black and tan)!
3. Analogous Outfits
An analogous color scheme is when you wear three colors that are next to each other on the color wheel, but it’s also beautiful when you just wear two of the three. This top, for instance, is blue-green, blue, and blue-violet. If you choose the same value of the three colors, it’s a soothing combination whereas if you vary the value (lightest mixed with darkest), it’s an energizing combination. Given the use of three colors, I can combine this shirt with so many different options. I pair this shirt with my dark jean and a blue-green cardigan, with my blue-green Bermuda shorts, and with my white cropped jeans. So fun!
4. Complementary Outfits
Complementary colors are directly across from each other on the color wheel like red and green or blue and orange. If you combine complementary colors in their purest form – like the red and green of Christmas – it is super energizing. This is why this is a classic color scheme for sports teams. Since you might not want to look like a raving fan on a regular day, try using different values of color for a more subtle effect. When thinking about blue and orange outfits, I use my version of orange, which is almost coral – like the picture on the left. You can also use this color scheme to pick fun shoes and jewelry to make your outfits pop, When wearing blue, you might add orange shoes or a coral necklace.
5. Triadic Outfits
Triadic colors are equidistant from each other on the color wheel – like blue, yellow and red. Wearing this color scheme provides a stimulating effect and is usually reserved for more relaxed or casual occasions. To create a more subdued or elegant effect, try wearing a print (pictured) with all three colors or use two parts of the triad. An example would be a blue and yellow outfit combining a chambray shirt with yellow shorts or jean shorts and a yellow tank top. This triad can be really fun in the spring and summer, and if you think outside of the box, you won’t look like a Garanimals commercial! Try pairing jeans (blue) with gold jewelry (yellow) and a pink t-shirt. In this way, you’ll create the fun effect without the crazy energy. The outfit becomes neutral plus a color, so anyone can wear it!
Your best color scheme depends on your coloring, which you can read about in my post on Dressing Your Personal Color Harmony.
The best color wheel for choosing outfits
If you’d like a tool to help with what colors go well together, search no further than the color wheel. My favorite pocket color wheel is only $5.38 on Amazon. It’s a great color matching guide allowing you to create clothing color combinations that you hadn’t thought of before. One side is the traditional color wheel while the other shows the value of the various colors and the color scheme combinations – analogous, complementary, and triadic. Additionally, the front side allows you to see the color when adding white (tinted) or black (shaded). This is helpful if you are a Spring (tinted) or if you are shaded (some Winters and some Summers).