Mixing Bright Colors

Anonymous asked: "Any tips for matching coloured shoes with outfits? I have a pair of blue heels that I love but rarely wear because I don’t know how to match them with my outfit unless my shirt/pants are blue.

"And now I’m eyeing a pair of blue brogues but hesitate to buy them for the same reason. Also, inspired by your website I bought a pair of red pants and a similar bluish-green pair, and I love them! But I don’t know what tops to wear them with apart from black T-shirts."

I’ve been super into unlikely color combinations, myself. Color is strange. Like all shades of blues look good together. Hell, blue goes with everything. But mix two oranges and it can look horrible. Sometimes you just have to hold things up against each other and see if it looks good.

Texture is really important to keep in mind. The texture of blue jeans go with EVERYTHING, whereas blue chinos of the exact same color doesn’t. Crazy, huh? And like, brown pants with a black shirt in the same material is a horrendous combination, whereas brown boots and black leggings looks totally baller. Another example: you can die your hair red and wear an orange dress, but put that same red on a sweater with the same dress and people will cry.

Here are some words that might be helpful when starting to think about color:

Neutrals: Color that does not attract attention, like beige, ivory, taupe, black, gray, and white. However, almost all neutrals have an undertone of other colors. Unless they are completely gray with nothing else mixed in. Here are some dark neutrals:

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You can see how some are greenish, others purplish.

The easiest way to avoid clashing, is, like you said, to repeat one bright color against an otherwise neutral outfit:

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(from: tessetnils.canalblog.com)

You can also use neutrals to offset several bright colors. This preppilicious ensemble combines bright green, blue, and red:

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(from: featherandoar.com)

This is genius: the blazer and tie are neutrals with the sweater’s maroon mixed in. Perfect example of how you can use the undertones in your neutrals to compliment the bright(er) colors.

Complimentary colors: Hues that are opposite from eachother on the color wheel. Purple and yellow can be pretty fun:

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(from: diyfatshion.com)

Blue and orange are an excellent choice:

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(from menswearstyle.co.uk)

Red and green, however, can be tricky. Because, Christmas. And, just ew. But if it’s an olive green like this that doesn’t scream Christmas, it can look fantastic: 

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(from: usgirl.info)

But then, olive/army green is close to being a neutral. That coat would go with anything.

Shades: The same color, just darker or lighter. Check out this genius ensemble. Three different shades of teal. Who would have expected that??

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(from waynetippetts.com)

Pastels: Pale and delicate. Most commonly worn in spring. Just think Easter.

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(from filippocirulli.tumblr.com)

Jewel Tones: Highly staturated, rich colors, that resemble well-known gemstones. AKA emeralds, amethysts, rubies, topaz and sapphires

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YUMMMM (from: aopevents.wordpress.com)

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(from: theberry.com)

Jewel tones are notoriuos for looking amazing with brown. Which is why Missy wound up with an entire teal wardrobe (be careful.)

Primaries:Red, Yellow, Blue. The colors with which every other color is made. Think legos, Ashley Yielding.

(from dapperq.com)

 

Analogous colors: Colors close together on the color wheel that share similar hue and saturation. When placed together, they look very harmonious. No one does it better than Dustin in his oceanic blue and green combo:

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(from: closetfreaksblog.com)

Monocromatic: Colors that are the same thoughout. According to Macy’s, it’s in this season. But be careful of overmatching. Sometimes matching too much can look calculated. Unless you’re this dude:

People might try to impose rules on you, but in the end you have to just use your eyes and intuition. The more you think and observe color in the world around you, the better your eyes will become at figuring out what looks good together. Have fun!!

- Sonny

As Qwear's Founding Editor, Sonny’s work centers around envisioning a future in which the clothing people wear does not dictate their chances of survival. Sonny was awarded 2015 dapperQ of the Year and was the first trans blogger to be sponsored by Topman. In March 2016, Sonny spoke at South by South West's first official queer fashion panel.