Effective Tips for Creating Polished Color Coordinated Outfits

Lizzy Capps
by Lizzy Capps

I know a lot of people whose wardrobes consist of black, white, and neutrals and if that is what they’re into then that is totally fine. But I do also know a lot of people who would like to delve into the world of color, and it can be quite daunting for some people.

It can be difficult pairing together the right colors. I am here to show you some color-coordinated outfits and make it as easy as possible for you to put together a nice colorful outfit. In my opinion, an outfit works best if you have up to three colors.

Color coordinated outfit example

Going with a monochrome outfit is nice - having your top, bottom, shoes, and accessories all in the same color range.

Monochrome outfits look like you put thought into your outfit, even if you’ve just gone for the first things in the same color that you saw in your wardrobe. Also, you can wear more than one tone of that color and it still looks good.

Color coordinated outfit example

If you want to expand to working with two colors within an outfit, the easiest possible way to do this is for one of those colors to be black or white. Black or white black or white go with almost anything.

The only thing that I don't necessarily think goes together is black and navy blue. There are instances where this can work but I would generally stay away from this color combination.

Black and brown can also sometimes not look so good. White, on the other hand, goes with completely and utterly anything.

Color wheel

When you are adding a third color to an outfit, there are some things that you have to consider. First, think about which colors actually go together.

A lot of you probably know what the color wheel is. Red, yellow and blue are your primary colors. Then the colors in between are those

colors mixed together; they are secondary colors.

Typically, the colors in this wheel that go together are the harmonious colors (the colors that are next to each other) and complementary colors (the colors that are opposite each other).

Color wheel

The colors on the color wheel are quite bright, but you can also work with them in their different forms. This wheel has on the outside all of the colors mixed with white which essentially makes them pastel colors.

Color wheel

As well as that you also have the color's darker forms.

You can think of colors as having three different categories: pastels, true colors, and dark colors. When pairing two colors together, I think that it’s best to choose colors from separate categories, and if you do want a third color in the outfit to neutralize it a little bit, black or white brings it back so that it's not too overwhelming.

I know a lot of people are fans of mixing pastel colors and having baby blue and baby pink in an outfit. Personally, that doesn't really work for me.

Two dark colors together can look, well, too dark and two true colors together can look too bright and in your face. Combining colors from different categories gives you that much-needed contrast.

Color coordinated outfit example

To give you some examples, here I’m wearing a skirt in a true yellow with a pastel green top and black accessories to balance out the look.

Color coordinated outfit example

Here I have pants in a soft, pastel brown with a top in a true red and black accessories to balance out the look.

Color coordinated outfit example

And here I have a pastel blue cardigan, with a handbag and shoes in a true yellow and then white jeans to balance out the look.

Example of color coordination in fabric sample

A super easy way to know which colors go together is to look at your clothes that have patterns on them and see which colors are combined in the pattern. You can then incorporate these colors throughout your outfit.

So, for example, I’m holding up a gorgeous pink floral dress that has dark green, red, and lilac on it. That shows that you can pair the dress with any of the colors that are in the pattern.

Example of color coordination in fabric sample

The flowers on this top look black in the picture but they are actually navy blue and they have a white outline. So the yellow and the navy blue go together. I could wear this top with white jeans and then pair it with a blue bag and blue heels.

Example of color coordination in fabric sample

Here I have a bright blue skirt that has some gorgeous olive green, lilac, and electric blue detail. I would pair this with an olive green top because I think the colors look great together. Identifying the colors in patterns is such an easy way to put together an outfit.

Color coordinated outfits

I hope you found this color tutorial helpful and that you learned something new. Follow these tips when pairing colors together and you’ll have an outfit that looks harmonious, complementary, and stylish.

For more great styling tips, check out this post on how to rock an oversized blazer.

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