It is rare to find a person who hasn’t stood at their closet door looking at the choices and wondering what matches and what doesn’t.  Unless you are Albert Einstein or Simon Cowell who had/have multiples of the same outfit, combining colors in clothing is a challenge.   The following is a guide to combing clothing colors with success using basics.


1.Know your colors

It goes without saying that the first step to combining colors is knowing your colors.  Finding a standard color chart will help you pair clothing in a sensible manner.  Primary colors are red, blue and yellow.  From the primary colors spurns a plethora of secondary colors.  A color wheel will help you match primary colors with secondary colors.

White, black and grey are considered neutral colors.  When a neutral color is tinted it makes it lighter by adding white and when it is shaded it has black added to it to make it darker.  Tones are created by adding grey to the color.

2.Do not use complementary color wheel colors

Complementary colors are opposite one another on the color chart.   Classic green and red of Christmas is an example of complementary colors.   A well-coordinated and bold dresser can combine these colors with great aplomb but the general population is best off using a complementary color and pairing it with a pale tint of the complementary color.  A pair of green slacks can be matched with a light red scarf or shoes of the same hue.

3.Primary and neutrals

It is best to start any wardrobe with primary and neutral colors and build around it.  Taking a page from Simon Cowell, a white shirt, blue jeans and black shoes are wardrobe basics.  The primaries and neutrals can be combined in numerous combinations as well as be complimented with various tones and shades of the same primary color.  A light blue shirt, with blue jeans and blue shoes works well provided the hues work together.

4.Combinations to be avoided

Even the primaries and neutrals can be poorly mixed.  Black and blue are not a good combination along with white and cream.  These combinations highlight each basic color without coordinating together.  Brown and grey is another combination that should be avoided.


Using the primary and neutral colors as a base wardrobe can be jazzed up with accessories and patterns.  A tie or scarf can break the single color look of an outfit by complementing the colors.  The important rule of thumb to remember when combining colors is to not use more than three colors.  Any more than that and it ruins the look of your outfit.

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