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Coordinate the colors in your wardrobe

Using the color wheel is a great method for effective color-coordination.

Colors can be your best friend or your worst enemy when it comes to fashion. You can either walk into a room bursting with vibrant energy or as a blinding splendor depending on how you choose to coordinate your colors. But if you know how to effectively balance your tones and implement the right shades that suit each other, matching colors will be a cinch. Here are a few go-to tips when it comes to essential color coordination:

Know your primaries
Red, green and blue are the standardized primary colors, and should often be utilized as the main shade of your outfit. All other colors stem from a combination of these essential three, but that doesn’t necessarily mean all tones will work with these primary colors. What’s nice about red, green or blue is that they’re the best colors to be utilized for a monochromatic look, which is styling an outfit out of entirely one color.

 red, green or blue are the best colors to be utilized for a monochromatic look, which is styling an outfit out of entirely one color.

Spin the wheel
While the color wheel may be familiar to those who remember art class, it’s also a strategic tool when it comes to determining what colors can work together in your outfit. Colors that are adjacent to each other tend to match well. For example, yellow and chartreuse, red and vermilion, and indigo and blue follow this formula. Colors that also are placed on the wheel directly across from each other can work together as well, such as blue and orange, red and green, and yellow and violet. Color coordination using the wheel is an easy trick when you can’t decide if the shades you chose complement one another.

Using the color wheel is a great method for effective color-coordination.

Keep it simple
As a rule of thumb, it’s generally not advised to go overboard when it comes to colors in your attire. You should try to keep the amount of colors you use in your outfit around two, never exceeding three. You don’t want to be a vigorous blur when you’re out and about. Matching a primary or secondary colored top with a solid colored bottom, or vice versa, is usually a safe bet. You can always resort to black or white when it comes to having a solid color for your outfit, as both hues work well with just about any other shade. If you’re running out of color coordinating ideas, try to match your bottoms with the same colored jacket, and wear a top underneath that’s a complementary tone.

Skin and hair
Sometimes successfully coordinating colors means recognizing what goes best with your own skin complexion and hair color. If you have darker skin, you can tend to get away with wearing more eye-popping color combinations, such as red and black, pink and orange, and green and beige. Women with lighter skin should try to stick to more subdued color arrangements, such as brown and yellow or navy and beige. For blondes, clothes with shades that complement your radiant hair tone include teal, vermilion or lavender. Darker haired ladies should think of more autumn-esque colors, such as brown, orange or a rich red dress.

Comments (4)

Ruth Griffeth

I really have to thank you for this post. I do really try to do what you suggest with the color wheel, and making sure I wear complimentary colors, and when it comes down to it Black and White is my saving grace!

Marnie Ward

This article was just what I needed. Thank you for clearing up so confusing I had. Coordinate the colors in your wardrobe will be something I will refer back to time and time again. I love all the tips you gave on how you choose to coordinate your colors, know your primaries and keep it simple. After I read it, it made sense but no one has explained it so well before. I would have never guessed that your Skin and hair would make such a difference with your outfit either.

Thanks for a great article.


These are some good tips. I also recommend ebook How Style Works—it has the greatest tips for making your outfit look right on your coloring and hwo to pull together your whole look!

Monroe & Main

Hello, Thank you for the comment. We hope you continue to find our blog useful!

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Published on Oct 03 2014

Last Updated on Jul 03 2019

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