colours in a wheel

Colours in outfits. How to Combine them.

The art of mixing colour is a skill. It is not innate. A knowledge of it is worthwhile.The act of combining colours in clothes may not seem so much of a hassle, but a lot of factors must be considered in order to attain the acceptable look. Aside the colour of our clothes, other factors such as hair hue, skin tone, eye colour etc must be considered. This is more so because the minutest change in tone can quietly alter our look.

Basically, colour combination should be hinged on personal style and taste. To get a basic understanding of how to combine hues, it is necessary to understand the ‘colour wheel’.

The Colour Wheel

Isaac Newton in 1666 developed the colour wheel which has popularly become the fulcrum for color theory. It has 12 basic hues. A lot of clothes come with a tint (adding white to hues to make them lighter) or a shade (adding black to hues to make them darker). Black and White are regarded as ‘neutral colours’. The key to using the colour wheel is understanding which combination looks good to the human eye and which looks bland and boring.

Primary Colours

Mixing other colours cannot form a  primary colour.. The three primary colours are: red, blue and yellow. They are in their natural form when they are not tinted or shaded. In this state, they are very bright and clear to the human eye. They are meant for capturing the attention of your beholders. This is the reason why they are only used in small amounts such as in a blue tie or red pocket. It will be completely wrong to make a suit in the natural primary hue.

The Secondary Colours

Mixing two primary colours creates a secondary colour. The secondary colours are: green, orange and purple.

Yellow + blue = green

Red + yellow = orange

Red + blue = purple

Tertiary or Intermediate colours

Tertiary colours are located between the primary and secondary colours in the wheel. There are six hues in this category. They are: Yellow-Orange, Yellow-Green, Blue-Green, Blue-Violet, Red-Orange and Red-violet. Mixing the same amount of primary and secondary colours forms tertiary a tertiary colour. In naming them, you say the name of the primary colour first.

Basic Rules of Colour combination

Combine Triads

This is one important style rule to follow in order to look simple and appealing always without having to break your wallet and stress your brain. The focal point of this rule is not wearing more than three colours at a time. This dress style is easy on and pleasing to the eyes. You might want to consider dressing in triads if your outfit contains lots of pieces. A good example is a man who wishes to combine a suit, tie, belt, shoes, bag, shirt, hair, socks, cuff-links etc.

Also, another easy way to limit the amount of colour in your dressing, is to match  your accessories.

Complement or Contrast

Secondary colours have a complementary relationship on the wheel. This means that each of the secondary colour is directly opposite a primary one on the wheel. Due to the contrasting nature of complementary colours, the human eyes easily notices them and as such captures attention. This is why many outfits, for the sake of basic contrast, use complements. Television presenters most times use complements because television cameras find it demanding to interpret closely related colours without seeming washed out. People who require contrast to look different and attention grabbing, use complements in their outfit. One way of grabbing viewers’ attention, is to accentuate outfits in small portions of complement (pocket squares and boutonnières). This makes a lovely touch on suits and sport coats.

Analogous Colours

These are colours that are directly adjacent on the  wheel, hence they are great for office outfits because they give a consistent look and as such create minimal contrast. They create a restrained a look.

In Conclusion, Colour combination in itself is a science which can be studied to a professional level. However, getting a basic understanding of it for the purpose of hue combinations is necessary. The three basics as outlined in this article are triads (combination of three hues), complements and analogous hue schemes. These are just basic rules, as such, you should be at liberty to dictate your style and experiment using these basics. Tints and shades also spice up your style and personality.

See also: 10 ways to make sex enjoyable


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2 thoughts on “Colours in outfits. How to Combine them.

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    • Ovuakpo Macaulay Ologe February 4, 2018 at 7:12 am

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