The Professional Way to Choose the Colors of Your Clothes (P)

The professional way to choose the colors of your clothes

Be in the know-how!

Color combination is really an important part when it comes to making a first impression, because it confers a personal touch. Through colors, you communicate more about yourself and most people process color interpretation faster than other aspects of your look. It is a very refined way of communicating information about you. Nevertheless, it should always come down to your personal judgment, and how you look at colors.

There are, however, some guidelines that can be used to make a color combination that is interesting and pleasing to the eye.



How many colors?

It is hard to give an exact answer to this question, but in general one can say that the risk of using too many colors is greater than the risk of using too few.

Too many colors will make you look hard on the eye, as there is a crowd of colors demanding for attention, so it is really tiring to the eyes.

On the other hand, wearing just a few colors, makes your look boring, but this does not always need to be the case.



One commonly used rule that you cannot go wrong with in these matters, is to use three colors. You will need a:

Primary color: This is the main color of the outfit. It will occupy most of the area and set the tone for the outfit as a whole i.e black suit

Secondary color: This is the second most used color on your outfit and is usually there to “back up” the primary color. It should be a color that is pretty close to the primary color or a color that makes a good contrast i.e. white shirt

Highlight color: This is a color that is used to emphasize certain parts of your outfit. It is usually a color which contrasts more with the primary and secondary colors, and therefore, it should be used with moderation. It is common to use a complimentary or split-complimentary color for this (see below)


You can and should use these types of colors for every outfit you wear, if it’s a casual outfit, a work outfit, or, of course, a formal outfit. There are some combinations that go for more formal outfits, while some combinations go with casual or sport outfits. Usually darker colors are seen as formal, while bright color combinations are seen as sporty and fun. The color wheel is not something used just in art, it is used for clothing too and it’s the result of many, and we mean many years of experience.



The Color Wheel

The color wheel is very useful when you want to combine colors in a way that is pleasing to your and everyone else’s sight. Below we will demonstrate some of the most common ways to combine the colors of the color wheel. Choosing colors by looking at the color wheel is highly useful for people who don’t know how to choose colors. Of course, some people can choose colors from instinct, but if you analyze the combinations they make, you will see they follow the same rules, just that in an unconscious way.


The color wheel


Analog Colors

The analog colors are those colors which lie on either side of any given color. Often these are color schemes found in nature. An outfit that makes use of analogous colors usually feels harmonious. The secondary color, as described above, can often be an analog color.


To establish which two colors are analog colors, pick one, skip one and pick the next one. The two you picked are analog colors.

To establish which two colors are analog colors, pick one, skip one and pick the next one. The two you picked are analog colors.


Complementary Colors

The complementary colors are the colors which are directly opposite from one another on the color wheel. Complementary colors are contrasting and stand out against each other. Often it is a good idea to use a complementary color as the highlight color, as described above.


Complementary colors lie on exact opposite sides of the spectrum.

Complementary colors lie on exact opposite sides of the spectrum.


Split Complementary Colors

Split complementary is a color and the analog colors to its complement color. Using split complementary colors can give you an outfit with a high degree of contrast, yet still not as extreme as a real complementary color would. It also results in greater harmony than the use of the direct complementary.


Split complementary colors are a combination between two analog colors and the complementary color of the one that lies between the two analog colors.

Split complementary colors are a combination between two analog colors and the complementary color of the one that lies between the two analog colors.


Triad Colors

Triad colors are three hues equidistant on the color wheel. When you want an outfit that is colorful and still balanced, a triad color scheme might be the way to go.
(Keep in mind that the combinations above only illustrate the hues that are combined. In most color schemes you will also introduce variations on saturation, tint and shade.)


Triad color combinations lie at equal distance from one another. You can start counting with any color and go from 4 to 4 (in this case), or from 8 to 8 should you be using a 24-color color wheel.

Triad color combinations lie at equal distance from one another. You can start counting with any color and go from 4 to 4 (in this case), or from 8 to 8 should you be using a 24-color color wheel.

Other color combinations

Besides the color combinations described above, which are based on the position of the colors on the color wheel, there are also a few other ways of combining colors.


Monotone Chromatic

A monotone color scheme is just one single hue and its variations in terms of tints, shades and saturation. Using saturation and tint/shade variations of a color is always good. However, in most cases we would advise against using a fully monochromatic scheme, as there is a risk of monotony. We wrote a while ago an article on the fact that tendencies in fashion are to use only monochromatic schemes, but we would advise you to create your own style and maybe use a glimpse of color. Using it with pure white or black can be efficient though! This is the only way it can look good!


Monotone Achromatic

A monotone achromatic color scheme is a special instance of the monotone scheme which consists of only neutral colors ranging from black to white. A scheme like this can be efficient on an outfit, but it can easily look boring. Using an achromatic scheme with just one bright color for highlight can be very effective.

Also, we need to also talk about wearing black and white. Black and white are not colors, and in fashion, we put them in the “neutrals” category, along with beige, gray, etc. As you know, we recommend that you don’t wear just neutral colors, but here we need to say that black and white is the only combination of neutral colors we recommend! Brown is also a neutral color in fashion. Brown belts, shoes, jackets also go with anything. In fashion, silver and gold are also neutrals, so you can mix them: a gold bracelet goes with a silver one, even though it’s not something very common.


There you have it, color wheels, examples and all the information you need! Next time you will be putting an outfit together, if you follow these rules, you will most certainly stand out in the best way possible!

Using this information will definitely help you and improve the way you look for good!



Fraquoh and Franchomme






Further reading:

The complete guide to mixing patterns and prints

A guide to coordinating the colors of your clothes (+examples)

Choosing the colors of your clothes according to your skin tone

Discovering what colors to wear according to your natural features

Choosing the best color of clothes for dark skin tones

How to match your tie and shirt

P.S. What do you think? How do you mix your colors? Do you have a favorite color? Share your feedback, questions or thoughts in the comments below! For more articles on style, fashion tips and cultural insights, don’t forget to subscribe to Attire Club via e-mail or follow us on Facebook or Twitter!


45 thoughts on “The Professional Way to Choose the Colors of Your Clothes (P)

  1. Admiring the commitment you put into your website and detailed information you offer.
    It’s good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same outdated
    rehashed information. Wonderful read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  2. Howdy! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a
    quick shout out and tell you I really enjoy reading through your posts.
    Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same subjects?

  3. Hello! Excellent post! 😀
    I have a question though. I’ve read your article about skin tones and I’m an autumn, which is good because i love yellow hues and deep colors. I have a formal event coming up and i need a 2-3 color combination for that. My original plan was mustard and dark green but that has already been “taken” so i need a new color combo. Any tips? Ideas? Think indian desi wedding style and I would really truly appreciate any help you can throw my way! 😀

    • Hello AyJay,

      Thank you for your input!

      What you want to do when you mix colors is choose a main color and go from there. The next thing you can think of is if you want more of a natural combination or a more “constructed” one.

      We think that light blue would be a nice color (even though it’s hard to tell without seeing you) for you. You can make it work with darker shades of color or shiny browns.

      It looks like you are a big fan of color, so you can go for a palette starting with light orange. This shade goes well with pigment-green or jungle-green. In the end, there are 40 shades of green.

      Desi weddings are really colorful, so you can go for bolder combinations, such as blue, pink and white or different shades of red and gold.

      If you find the right hues, you can even make a red-blue-green combo.

      If there are any other questions, let us know! Have a nice time choosing the clothes and putting the outfit together and a wonderful day during the wedding!

      We’d love to see the result of course:P!


      • Thank you! This is brilliant! This actually gives me more ideas than what i was limiting myself to before. I’m probably going to forego the light orange-jungle green idea because that would be too similar to the mustard-dark green thing. But I’m leaning towards the red/maroon-brown combination with gold accents on hem, sleeves, etc
        I will surely let you know how the dress turns out and thanks again 😀

    • Orchid is a rather bright color, but it can be mixed very well with neutrals, especially with beige! All colors are great if you are paying a lot of attention when you are using them in a color scheme!

  4. Hi!

    My comment disapperaed 🙁

    Firtly, many thanks for the article it is great help!

    However, I got a question. The color wheel shown here differs from other colorwheels. How come? There’s another one here on the blog too where e.g. red and green are against each other not red and blue. Could you please explain?



  5. Choosing color is the hardest thing for me to do. (No am not color blind! lol!) But these article showed nice which color works well with what. But my problem, is i am still not sure what looks good on me. I have a complexion like… mmm “Will Smith”, I have been wearing only navy, black and gray mostly. Can anyone guide me what to select. I want to wear more colors but I fear people might catch me and put me in a circus to be a “clown” if I dressed differently. HEEEELLPPP!

    • Dear Faruq,

      Thank you very much for the comment! We are glad you are interested in looking well without looking like a clown.

      Navy, black and gray are all neutral colors, which means that you an wear them with any color or pattern. Let’s say you have a wardrobe of sold neutrals, which you can wear with anything.

      While we don’t have a visual of you, we can imagine that colors such as pink, light blue and light purple can look good on you. A blue and white pattern can also have an interesting effect on a skin tone like yours. Stay away from browns or white, as they might make you look washed out. On the other hand, dark blue, red and burgundy might also make you look great!

      For more information on how to dress up if you have a dark skin tone, read our article on this subject:



  6. i m assian nd my colour is between white nd black i mean brown but i couldnt find my season sometime i go for warm as my veins colour is green but my hair s black nd also my eyes s black nd thts y i m confused nd also cannot identify my season i think i belong to spring but its specifications confuse me so can u help to which group i belong ??

  7. I like that you talked about choosing a secondary color that is similar to the primary color you have already chosen. I have been looking for a better way to match my clothes, and I wasn’t sure how to coordinate outfit colors. I can see how it would look better to choose secondary after primary, so you don’t end up mismatching the third color.

  8. I like that you talked about how the highlight color should be used in moderation, so it doesn’t seem like too much. I have been looking for some new outfits to wear at school. I can see how it would be good to only use one highlight color so the outfit doesn’t look overwhelming.

Your Comment and Input