The Ultimate Guide to Matching Clothing Colors

pairing theoryWe often have the dilemma in the morning when we are figuring out what to wear. Does this skirt match this blouse? Or do these trousers go with these shoes? We have all been there, so next time you are having this problem, remember what I am about to tell you. Obviously you need to think about the colors you are wearing and whether they match, so I’m going to make this easy for you by explaining how to match your colors.


Being Aware of the Color Groups

–        The first thing you need to do is be aware of the various color groups out there, for example, you have your neutral colors, including white, grey and black. Then you have your cold colors, for example, blues, greens and bluey-purples. The next color group is warm colors; warm colors include reds, oranges, yellows and pinks. The last group is warm neutrals, which includes tan, brown and cream.

An easy way to remember this is thinking of seasons; if you think about summer colors, then we will often think about reds, oranges and yellows, so it makes sense for them to be warm colors. If we think about winter, we will often associate it with blue and other lighter colors.

Getting Started on Matching

–        Familiarize yourself with the color wheel. This is your key to finding colors that look great together! There are a number of ways you can match colors on the color wheel. For example, there are complementary colors, analogous colors, triadic colors and monochromatic color.

  • Complementary Colors – Take a look at the color wheel and choose just one color from it. Once you have chosen your color, then look at the color directly opposite; these colors are complementary colors that work very well together. Some examples are red and green or orange and blue. You could easily wear a pair of red jeans and a nice green top. Or you could wear a pair of blue jeans with an orange top and orange shoes.
  • Analogous Colors – Choose any color from the color wheel, let’s say dark green for example, then look at the colors either side of the color you have chosen. In this case, we have picked the dark green, so the colors either side are light blue and light green. This is just one example of analogous colors.
  • Triadic Colors – Again, pick any color from the color wheel and draw a triangle that is evenly spaced. We will pick a dark blue for this one; now the colors that the corners of the triangle are pointing to are the colors that are going to match. In this case, the colors would be dark blue, dark green and orange.
  • Monochromatic Colors – This is the easiest of all of the color matching techniques. You don’t even need the color wheel for this one. Pick any color you can think of and then choose a different shade of the same color. For example, if you have chosen dark blue, then use a lighter blue. You can have dark blue jeans and a lighter blue top, but one thing you need to remember is to make sure the shades are obviously different and it doesn’t just look like you have tried to find the exact colors to match because this will look fairly silly.

–        Now you are familiar with the color wheel and the various color matching techniques, you are pretty much set. But you may be thinking about where other colors come in, like the neutral colors. So here are just some examples of colors that do match.

  • Neutral colors will generally go together, so you can safely wear black and white or black and grey. Neutral colors go with pretty much everything, so you can’t really go wrong.
  • Black and red, black and purple, black and pink, etc.
  • Brown and cream.
  • Blue, orange and white. You can introduce a neutral color to your complementary colors.

Now you are color aware, you will never find yourself in that morning dilemma again. If you get stuck and you are in a rush, then simply use the monochromatic technique or go with a couple of neutral colors because these are easy things to remember. You can now get your wardrobe in order and look fantastic and stylish all the time!


About the Author: Ashlee Bardin is very fashion conscious and loves to share her knowledge and tips with others. She recommends taking a look at if you are searching for a new pair of shoes to match your outfit!

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