I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that putting together an outfit that aesthetically compliments each other can be downright frustrating! I’ve pretty much collected every Colour Guide in Instyle Magazine and figuring out what colours work best with eachother was still confusing to me. But what I didn’t realize is that it’s not that complicated because it all comes down to one thing.. the colour wheel!
We all know that the Primary Colours on the colour wheel are Red, Yellow and Blue. From there, they make the Secondary Colours, being Orange, Green and Violet, and then go into the Intermediate Colours which are a mixing of one primary colour and one secondary colour. This is why you can find that the colour wheel has a couple various shades of the same colour. The yellows to red-violets make up the Warm Colours, while the Cool Colours are made up of yellow-green to violet.
Now that we’ve covered what all of the colours mean and what they’re created from, let’s start looking at how we can use the colour wheel to find colours that work really well together!
First, there’s Complimentary Colours which sit on opposite ends of each other on the colour wheel.
1. Yellow / Violet
2. Blue Green / Red Orange
3. Yellow Green / Red Violet
4. Blue / Orange
5. Green / Red
6. Blue Violet / Yellow Orange
By pairing any of these together in an outfit made of pants and a top, shorts and a tank top, a dress and belt, or a skirt and top, you have created an outfit that go together perfectly, plus it’s also a fabulous way to do a fun colour blocking look! Here are a few examples of some great complimentary colour outfits!
Triadic Harmony Colours
Then there are Triadic Harmony Colours which are made up of three colours that are spaced equally apart from each other on the colour wheel.
1. Blue / Red / Yellow
2. Blue Violet / Red Orange / Yellow Green
3. Violet / Orange / Green
4. Red Violet / Yellow Orange / Blue Green
These colours work really well in helping you create a complete outfit right down to the accessories. By adding a hint of the third colour to an outfit, for instance in a belt or a necklace, your look will be in perfect harmony. The following outfits will give you an idea of how to create your own Triadic Harmony outfit!
Split Complimentary Colours
Lastly, on the colour wheel you can find Split Complimentary Colours. You can find them by starting with any colour on the wheel and looking to its opposite (the complimentary colour). On either side of the complimentary colour are the split complimentary colours. You can come up with several split complimentary colours, which include the following:
Red Violet / Yellow / Green
Red Orange / Green / Blue (shown above)
Blue Violet / Orange / Yellow
Violet / Yellow Orange / Yellow Green
Like Triadic and Tetrad colours, these colours can be used just the same when paired together as you will find below.
You might think that by wearing all three shades, you’ll look way too colourful but you don’t need to take these exact shade names at face value. For example, red orange is pretty much another way to refer to the colour coral. Blue Green can be interpreted as teal or turquoise.
You can also pair shades of the same colour family (red and hot pink). To find them, choose a colour on the colour wheel and look to the left or right of it for the colours within its family. This is not as bold as pairing colours from opposite ends but it is just as intense and complimentary.
I hope this post has helped you understand the colour wheel a little better and how it can benefit you to have one around to help give you ideas for colour pairings that you may not have thought of otherwise. I guarantee that once you start getting into it, it’s very hard to stop!
Have you ever used a colour wheel to put together your outfits? What are your favourite colour pairings?! Share below!