Styling Tips | Color Combinations

The basics of color theory is something I studied about when I was in school. Little did I know, that one day it would be of such great use to me deciding on the color combinations of my outfits! Here are some of my tips when it comes to colors and hopefully this will guide you on how to make different colors work together!

Banana Republic Midi Skirt (color combinations)

Complementary Colors featuring a Banana Republic Midi Skirt

Lets start with some basics. This is the basic color wheel with the 12 colors. There are 3 primary colors namely red, yellow and blue. Primary colors can be mixed together to get any other color you want. However you can’t mix other colors together to get these 3 colors.

Secondary colors are the ones that are formed by mixing together two primary colors.

Yellow + Red = Orange
Red + Blue = Purple
Blue + Yellow = Green.

Then finally tertiary colors are the ones that you get by mixing a primary color and a secondary color.

If you use this color wheel you can make sure to nail the color combinations with these simple tips!

Color Wheel

Color Wheel

Monochromatic

This one is known very well to the classic style lovers out there. It is also a petite fashion lovers favorite. If you’re petite and it’s not your favorite, it should be! Monochromatic looks elongate you by forming a continuous line for the eye. This one is the easiest to remember and construct but boy is it hard to pull off! Usually monochromatic looks are best worn with a nice textured fabric (pictured), or try going with different levels of saturation in a single outfit. Monochromes are also fantastic to accessorize, a nice statement necklace ought to do it!

A Monochromatic J.Crew Dress (color combinations)

A Monochromatic J.Crew Dress

Complementary

What are complementary colors? If you look at the color wheel then the colors opposite each other are called complementary colors. So for example red-green or orange-blue. These color combinations are by far the boldest and most striking ones. Usually start with the primary color as the main and focal piece of the look and then find a complementary color in the accessories or your top or skirt. I would recommend making the top the non primary color especially if you have a midi skirt or long pants like I do. The primary color should be the majority in terms of proportions of the look.

You can also vary the levels of saturation of the colors to determine how striking you want the look to be. The more saturated the color the more striking it will be. The orange and blue colors are both very saturated which makes this outfit particularly striking!

Also, even though red-green is a complementary pair, be careful how you style it so that you don’t come off looking like Christmas!

Complementary Color Outfit (color combinations)

Complementary Color Outfit

Analogous

Analogous colors are any 3 colors that appear side by side on a 12 part color wheel. Since the colors appear next to each other on the wheel these color combinations are very gradual and harmonious. Even though you have 3 colors, try to make sure that you pick one color that will dominate in terms of proportions as well as color saturation. The second color should support the dominant color and the third should be an accessory or just an accent.

In this outfit you can see that my skirt is the dominating piece in terms of saturation. Then I have gone in for a less saturated top which is a supporting piece and a scarf for my accessory. The presence of all three color looks very contiguous.

Analogous Colors Outfit (color combinations)

Analogous Colors Outfit

 

Split Complementary

This one might be one of my favorites after complementary colors because you can make it playful and striking. Split complementary colors are basically demonstrated in the wheel below. The red lines shows you one example of split complementary colors and the black lines shows you a second example. Split complementary takes the analogous colors and makes it more striking by adding in the complement. This color scheme is difficult to mess up. It’s perfect for beginners.

Split complementary colors

Split complementary colors

Let’s see how to make this work. Again, like with most multi-colored outfits, pick one color to be your focal point. Then use the other two colors as the supporter pieces. This color scheme is not as striking as complementary colors but still eye-catching. Here I have picked the baby blue sweater as the focal point. The dark blue and orange come as part of the accessories, namely my coat and my necklace. You can safely try experimenting with this scheme.

Split Complementary Color Outfit (color combinations)

Split Complementary Color Outfit

The Triad

The triad is formed with three colors that are equidistant on the color wheel. An example would be purple, yellow-orange and green. For triad colors make sure that you have one dominant color and the other two are only accents.

In this look my dominant color is the vibrant yellow skirt. The denim shirt and my purple crossbody only serve as accents. Denim is really easy to pair with just about anything! In addition to that, my necklace also incorporates the same triad colors which perfectly completed the look! As you can see I have kept the remaining accessories and my shoes very neutral in a gray hue so as to not add any other striking color to the look.

Outfit with Triad Colors (color combinations)

Outfit with Triad Colors

I hope that these tips will help you when you are deciding your color combinations. Playing with color is so much fun, I love it and I hope I have made you love it too 🙂

xoxo
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41 Comments

  1. August 15, 2016 / 10:18 am

    Girl you sure know how to rock your colors! Love all of your different ensembles! So cute! xxx

    • audrey conceicao
      August 15, 2016 / 8:45 pm

      Thank you so much <3

  2. ruthieridley
    August 15, 2016 / 10:53 am

    You always have the best tips love! Great style!!

    • audrey conceicao
      August 15, 2016 / 8:44 pm

      <3

  3. August 15, 2016 / 5:55 pm

    I’m a petite gal also, and I’m so glad I came across your blog. This post has so many great tips! Love that sweet outfit with the varying aqua colors! –Ginger

    • audrey conceicao
      August 15, 2016 / 8:44 pm

      <3 I'm so happy you like them :)

  4. Lauren Neal
    August 15, 2016 / 7:43 pm

    Great tips! Love all these looks and never really thought about these in terms of color composition! Definitely something to think about when pairing bold colors together!

    -Lauren
    http://www.ivorytowerchic.com

    • audrey conceicao
      August 15, 2016 / 8:44 pm

      Thank you <3

  5. Heather Johnson
    August 15, 2016 / 7:59 pm

    This is such an informative post, and I love the photos/looks you put together for each description! I think I am going to bookmark this one, girlie! Also, you look gorgeous and as a fellow petite gal (clockin’ in at 5’almost 1″, lol), I appreciated all of your tips!
    X,
    Heather
    http://www.alittlecasual.com

    • audrey conceicao
      August 15, 2016 / 8:43 pm

      Thank you sweetie 🙂

  6. August 16, 2016 / 3:39 pm

    You do a great job of properly incorporating color in your outfits! Gorgeous looks!

  7. pilatespearlsandpeanutbutter
    August 17, 2016 / 9:08 pm

    I love mixing complementary colors! It makes any look stand out. And oh my gosh, you never realize all the detail and theory behind pairing colors. It further proves my case that fashion is basically a science 😉 .

    xxMeah

    • audrey conceicao
      August 17, 2016 / 9:09 pm

      Omg I can’t agree more!

  8. nsalama1
    August 17, 2016 / 9:12 pm

    This is so helpful. I never know which colours to put together. Thanks for providing this great guide – maybe now I’ll wear more than just grey and black

    Nicole | The Professional Mom Project

    • audrey conceicao
      August 17, 2016 / 9:32 pm

      That’s such a wonderful compliment 🙂

  9. Laura
    August 17, 2016 / 10:41 pm

    Great sense of style and you are adorable! Thanks so much for sharing!

  10. August 18, 2016 / 10:32 am

    This post is so incredibly informative!! I feel as a fashion blogger I should be so much more well versed in the science behind it. I totally just go off what I like, what I think looks nice together and what I feel great in. I need to go back to school!! Thank you for this wealth of knowledge!!

    xoxo
    Tiffani
    http://www.tiffaniatbretonbay.com

  11. Samantha
    August 19, 2016 / 10:53 am

    I love this post and all your looks!! You styled them so well!
    XX-Samantha | chicserendipityblog.com

  12. August 21, 2016 / 8:17 pm

    Loving all the looks!!! thanks for sharing with is at #Alittlebitofeverything.

  13. August 24, 2016 / 12:38 am

    This is so helpful! I always struggle when trying to match bold colors like these. These outfits are perfect for work and the professional world, as well!

    • audrey conceicao
      November 3, 2017 / 10:31 pm

      Thank you so much

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