Some people are naturals at matching colors — others are not. If you are one of the latter, but don’t want to pay a professional stylist to show you how to color coordinate, never fear: you can learn. Matching colors like a professional stylist simply means following basic color-coordination rules and learning a bit about fashion. Once you understand certain colors complement other colors, and how to put them together, you are well on your way to being just as much a trendsetter as someone with her own stylist.
Things You'll Need
Learn how to use a color wheel. A color wheel shows you how each color is created from the three primary colors: red, blue and yellow. Understand a color wheel’s basic layout and how secondary and tertiary — or third-stage — colors are created, and you will soon see the colors that complement each other and those that should never be paired together.
Wear three colors or less in every outfit. If your dress is blue, complement it with two matching colors from the color wheel — for instance, wear emerald-green shoes and carry a light-green purse — but don’t add a yellow scarf. Two to three colors is ideal. Four colors is overkill.
Pair an analogous color with another. Analogous colors sit next to each other on the color wheel. They are similar to each other in hue and tone, so you are perfectly safe wearing an outfit combining two or sometimes three analogous colors.
Avoid mixing black and brown, black and navy or white and cream. These color combinations do not match. The only time you can get away with using one of these color duos is if the brown you match with black is a light brown. Choosing the correct brown can be difficult to judge, so if you are not a professional stylist, stay away from it.
Think of colors as fitting into one of four categories — neutral colors, cold colors, warm colors and warm neutrals — and learn the rules for choosing colors from different categories. For instance, two colors and one neutral — like blue, yellow and white — work well together. Two neutrals — like black and white, or black and gray — can create a stunning outfit.
Match lighter and darker shades of the same color to create a chic, stylish outfit. Dark green and light green, or navy blue and pale blue, are simple, but stylish, combinations.
References and ResourcesGreatest Look: Color Matching
"The Pendulum"; Coordinating Your Clothes; Lindsay Kimble; Nov. 4, 2010
SoStylist: Advice on Color Matching for Clothing