a fashion designer picking the perfect color combination

The Ultimate Guide in Picking the Perfect Color Combination

Choosing the right color combination for your clothes is a great way to express your mood and style. But we must admit that sometimes, we can get a little stuck. Have you ever found yourself standing in front of your open closet filled with clothes, yet not knowing what to wear? Would you base the first item that you pick out on your mood? Be it daring and bold or modest and contemporary, we have broken it down for you in this ultimate color combo guide. 

Understanding the color wheel for outfits can be an essential tool for your clothing coordinates. Try following some main color rules and be surprised at how some unlikely color combinations can come out beautifully. Of course, you will need to consider things like your skin tone, occasion, and where you plan to be wearing your outfit. But we hope this simple guide for both men and women will help you match your threads with ease.

First, let’s go back to the basics from when we learned about the colors of the rainbow. We may be more familiar with them through the acronym ROYGBIV. Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet. Among them are our primary colors, red, blue, and yellow. If you look at the color wheel, the primary colors are far apart from each other. But when combined, they form the colors in between.

Color wheel highlighting the primary colors

Now that you are reacquainted with this basic color wheel, let’s look at how we can coordinate some of these colors.

Clothes Color Combination

Complementary Color Combinations - Polar Opposites

Playing with the color wheel can be fun, and you will see why. To create bold color matches, one simple rule is to pair colors that are opposite from each other on the color wheel. The purpose here is to create contrasting combinations that harmoniously marry each other. The kind of reaction we’d want to get is a pleasant surprise of, “who would have thought?!” In the color wheel below, we have the more vibrant colors in the center. The outer segments gradually turn into lighter shades, much like a gradient. Nevertheless, you can still play with this kind of color wheel by following the same rule of opposites. Create brighter eye-catching combinations, or go for subtle pastel tones. The choice is yours.

Color wheel highlighting the polar oppositesA woman wearing polar opposite colors

Triadic Color Combinations - Triangulation

Triad combinations are much like complimentary combinations. But as its name suggests, we are using the three colors evenly spaced from each other on the color wheel. The primary colors, yellow, blue, and red already make a good example. Although it’s not only limited to that, you can make use of three bold color combinations. It may look like an unlikely choice, but it strikingly goes well together. This is the best time to experiment when you are in a flashy mood. Definitely get out of your comfort zone with these lively colors.

Color wheel highlighting triadic colorsA guy wearing triadic colors

Analogous Color Combinations - Howdy Neighbour

Analogous Colors are colors on the color wheel that are next to each other. They are either to the right or left of each other. For example, in the color wheel below, we have the shade of purple. If you go clockwise, the purple mixes into the reddish shades. Counterclockwise, and it shifts to the blue shades. Try and coordinate garments using these neighboring colors. They are sure to blend effortlessly with these options. 

By now, we hope you can see how this outfit color wheel can come in handy. Don’t be afraid to try combinations wherein the colors transition to a different shade. As long as they are adjacent to each other, it should work.

Color wheel showing an example of an analogous color combination

Monochromatic Color Combinations - 50 Shades of ...

Not to be confused with analogous colors, a monochromatic scheme matches colors toward the center of the color wheel. These are easier to get an idea of as long as they belong to the same color palette. The changes may be subtle but within the same group. On the color chart, the Pantone number is usually close together. Wedding events may be a popular occasion to see this in play. When the motif of the party is orange, you are bound to see gowns in a wide array of oranges such as tangerine, candlelight, goldfish, etc. But don’t make it exclusive to formal events. See if you can apply it to your everyday wear. Although, it would be advisable not to overdo it. For example, wearing five different shades of blue from head to toe may not be a good idea. Aim for no more than three colors of the same shade. That would probably be your max.

Color wheel showing an example of a monochromatic color combination

Neutrals - Your Wild Card

Now, on to the safer and less daring combinations. You can’t go wrong with neutrals. We call black, white, and greys neutrals, because technically, they are not considered as colors. Clothes in neutrals should be staples in your wardrobe. We have to also give special mention to shades of brown like khaki, tan, cream, and beige. These are also considered neutrals in fashion but of a different group. What’s great about neutrals is that you can match any color with them. This is great for office wear where, for example, black bottoms are a necessity. But don’t limit it to just the workplace. These are no-brainer pieces that can go with your favorite bright top. Since neutrals can go with anything, you can definitely wear neutral pieces together.

Ladies wearing neutrals together


Creating the right color combination for clothes doesn’t have to be a headache. These are the basic main color rules that are easy to remember. Maybe you could have a color wheel handy on your closet door. Then, remember the rules such as opposites work, trio colors work, neighboring colors, gradient shades, and neutrals all work.

In the fashion industry, they can delve into this more in detail. But it may not always be for the everyday person who is looking for wearable fashion. So let’s reserve those striking, flamboyant fashion choices for the runway. 

It still boils down to what makes you feel great. When in doubt, wear it with confidence. That is always key.

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