Some of us are not born with the natural inborn instinct to choose colors and patterns that work well together, and while seeming odd on an individual level they look great as a combo. Here are some basic rules that will always work and as you get more comfortable with your choices you can be more adventurous and try some “out of the box” options.
- Know your colors:
One word, VIBGYOR (pronounced vib-gi-or). It stands for Violet, Indigo, Blue, Green, Violet, Orange and Red and represents the basic color wheel. Imagine all these colors on a circle starting with violet and going around to Red. The VIBG colors are cool and YOR is the warm side of the circle. Of course this can differ according to the particular shade you choose but the general rule is applicable to most situations.
- Types of combinations:
The monochromatic combination is, as the name implies, a outfit that uses shades of the same color in the wheel. This is a bit hard to carry off except for the neutral colors like black, grey and white. An easy tip is to use the same color but with different fabrics and patterns to add a touch of boldness to the outfit.
The complementary combination uses colors that are on opposite ends of the color wheel. The high contrast makes both colors stand out and complement each other. This is one of the easiest combos to pull off. For e.g. a pale blue with a soft, warm orange is a great complementary combination for the fall.
Analogous color combinations use neighboring colors. The colors chosen should be different enough in tone to complement each other. A basic tip is to use one main color and “support” it with one or two others.
- Mixing Patterns:
This is very tricky business. If in doubt, always do this only with colors of the same family. If you are using a complementary or analogous color combination then make sure both patterns have at least one color in common to make the outfit gel together.
- Break it up:
An outfit made up of patterns alone hurts the eye. Try using a solid color to break the pattern and give the viewer a rest area to appreciate the combination as a whole.
- Competition is not good:
As with colors, patterns should complement each other. If you are using multiple patterns (thin strips and wide stripes) in your outfit make sure one is the dominant one and the other nicely follows along (note: this is not a relationship blog).