Believe it or not, there is a science to color matching.
Color scientists, as we’ll call them, have dedicated themselves to understanding the color wheel to help celebrities, fashionistas and style trendsetters for decades. The system is known as color theory, and it sounds much more challenging than it actually is. The key to understanding how to match colors is very systematic and rhythmic. Let's break it down.
Creating a monochrome style means that you’re sticking with one color for almost the entire outfit. Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean that you will look dull. I love monochrome looks because they are clean and simple. In fact, if pulled off correctly, monochrome can lengthen the body and can streamline the silhouette. You will want to have different shades of the color you choose for your look. Wear the lighter shades where you will want the eye to catch first and then downplay the other areas with darker shades. Keep the colors solid and as close in tone as possible.
Creating an analogous style means that you start with a color on the wheel and move two spots to the right or left as your matching tone. Allow one color to be the shining star of the outfit, and let the other colors support it. Be careful with clashing colors; bold colors matched with bright colors or pastels will make the outfit hard on the eye. For example, a deep red with a vivid peach would not be pleasing for any occasion (except a costume party).
Complementary colors mean that you choose one color on the wheel and draw a straight line to find its complement. Opposite colors can be contrasting, but surprisingly they also strengthen one another. For example, orange will look brighter when paired with its complement, blue. Ever wonder why red heads look so well wearing green? Wouldn’t you know it, green and red are complements. To pull off a complementary outfit, make one color three-fourths of the focus and its complement the remaining. If your colors are equally split, the style can come out looking extremely odd.
Now we're getting crazy. Split complementary is using two analogous colors (colors next to one another) and one complementary. If you can visualize drawing lines on the color wheel, the three colors chosen should link together in the shape of a ‘Y.’ Use the two analogous colors for the main portion of the outfit and the complementary as a pop of color. What I like about this color combination is that it adds some fun elements to an outfit, making outfits look fashion forward and fresh.
Not all outfits will need to follow the color wheel. However, it is a great place to start. A basic understanding of color theory and matching will break up the monotony of your wardrobe and open your creative and stylish side. Don’t be intimidated to experiment; you might be surprised how certain colors blend to create a new outfit. Grab your color wheel, and dive deep into a new closet.