In the case of clothes, choosing colors over tones can be tricky. Often, people stick to greys, browns, white, and black. These are safe tones that, unlike colors, are considered business acceptable across the board. Tones are also different in that they are not colors and don’t have a place on the color wheel. If you’re interested in how to color coordinate your outfit, you need not look any further than an artist’s reference tool.
The color wheel arranges the three primary colors and the resulting mixes of colors in a disc cut into twelve slices. Starting with red and moving clockwise, the colors are red-orange, orange, yellow-orange, yellow, yellow-green, green, green-blue, blue, blue-purple, purple, and purple-red or pink. By referencing this wheel, choosing coordinating colors is simple.
Start Small With Monochrome
When starting with colored clothing, the first step is to go slow. Monochrome refers to a color palette that is of the same color or tone. Often, people think of monochromatic as gray, black, and white. This is accurate because these three tones are also hues of each other. Monochrome means one color, so it can also be various hues within one point on the wheel. For instance, you could easily pair a purple dress with a lavender jacket. Utilize light and dark hues of one color to achieve a beautifully matching outfit.
Experiment With Related Colors
The next best way to use color effectively is to employ analogous colors. These are two or three colors that are next to each other on the wheel. Look to the left and right spaces of your first color choices to find these cohesive colors. For instance, if you start with a purple dress, your analogous choices will be lavender, pink, and blue. If you start with green as your base color, try incorporating hues of blue, green-blue, yellow, and yellow-green. Any color you start with can be paired with neighboring colors very effectively, allowing for many beautiful and bright combinations without a huge price tag. The smart shopper with an eye for fashion can take any discount women’s apparel and turn it into a serious designer look.
Avoid Opposite Colors
Understanding how to color coordinate your outfit is just as important as knowing how not to. The worst thing you can do when putting together a look is to use complementary colors. When people say an outfit clashes, this is what they mean. Complementary colors are high contrast and can be identified as two or more colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. For instance, never mix red and green, purple and yellow, or blue and orange. These colors pop or clash when next to each other, which can look very garish!