color matching clothes

How to Know Which Colors Work Together for your Outfits

As men, it’s sometimes tough for us to figure out which color shirt will match best with the rest of our clothes. Fashion in this day and age dictates that your shirt not only has to match your jeans, shoes, jacket, watch, and other accessories but your skin tone and eyes as well. Fortunately, choosing the right t-shirt and putting together an outfit that looks great isn’t as complicated as it might seem. We’ve put together this little cheat sheet to help you dress sharp—and get noticed. We’re going to help you figure out which color combinations work, and which ones don’t when picking out your clothing.

Color 101

Before we get started on how to know which colors work best for your outfits, we have to dive into a bit of color theory. Don’t worry, we’ll keep it simple and won’t quiz you at the end. It’s really important to know which colors work best together—and why. This isn’t our opinion or the latest fashion trend from Paris—it’s actual science that you can apply to many other things in life besides clothing. Take a look at the below image. It’s called a color wheel, and it’s used to show the relationship between colors. If you think it kind of sort of looks like a rainbow, you’re 100% correct. In fact, every single rainbow you have ever seen follows the color wheel scheme. color wheel

Complementary Colors

The color wheel above is a secret short-cut to successfully matching your clothes, outfits, and accessories. If you want to choose a t-shirt to match the rest of your outfit, the colors need to be complementary. All that means is that the two different colors look good when paired together. To choose a complementary color, simply pick two that are opposite of each other on the color wheel. For example, if you have a green shirt and orange-ish jeans, some people might stare at you like you were an alien from outer space. As you can see from the color wheel above, the colors green and orange are not complementary. However, if you wear an orange shirt and blue pair of jeans, people will marvel at how well you’ve matched your outfit. Ok, maybe they won’t marvel as such, but those in the know will instantly see that you’re on top of your fashion game. The reason complementary colors work well together is due to the contrast that they give off. These two different elements create an aesthetically pleasing balance. If you have a pair of khakis in your closet, the color is closest to gold or a lighter yellow. This means that a purple or dark indigo t-shirt, tie, or even a watch will work very well.

Monochromatic Colors

Mono means “one.” A monochromatic outfit is one that is the same color from top to bottom. Blue shirt, blue jeans, blue shoes, blue watch, and a blue hat—is either very overwhelming or downright dull. However, some people in life can pull it off with the greatest of ease. There are some monochromatic outfits that tend to work well—if you know how to do it. Think back to high school and to the Goth kids that used to hang out by the bleachers. They wore completely black outfits from head to toe. While that kind of look does tend to call attention to itself, from a color perspective, it works very well.

Analogous Colors

Analogous colors are ones that reside directly next to each other on the color wheel. These colors are harmonious and will work well when combined. A teal shirt and blue jeans are considered analogous. However, be sure to use some contrast with your accessories (as defined by the above color wheel). It’s best to have one color as the main and two more in a supporting role.

Which Color Works Best for ME?

As human beings, we are all different. We have different shades and tones of skin, and our eyes can range in color from brown, green, emerald, hazel, and even grey! Specific colors tend to look best with certain skin tones and eye colors. Here are some basic rules on how to choose them:

Eye Color

Scroll back up to the color wheel and find the color of your eyes. Colors that will match best are located directly next to your eye color. For example, if your eyes are green, then anything light blue or yellow will match perfectly. If you’re looking for a bit more pizazz, try choosing a complementary color. For those with blue eyes, an orange or gold-colored shirt will pop exceptionally well.

Skin Tone

For skin tones, choose a contrasting color. There’s only one rule that’s set in concrete: avoid matching clothes that are too close to your skin tone. For example, if you have a pale or light complexion, try to avoid too much white, pastels, yellows, and even beige. All of these colors will cause a washed-out effect and look. Darker colors like brown, violent, and dark reds will look best.

How to Choose the Right Color Pants

Choosing a pair of pants for an outfit the best idea is to just go simple. It’s hard to go wrong with just a simple pair of pants, and the best part is, most guys often have a pair of Brown pants (or khakis), a pair of blue jeans and a pair of black jeans (or pants) in their closet already. So there’s no need to go out and buy a bunch of different fancy pairs of pants when choosing a casual outfit to wear. That being said, pants outside of those color ranges are usually reserved for collared shirts or nicer outfits, like weddings and other special occasions. But with that being said, here are the basic rules when choosing a t-shirt to go with your pants.

Don’t Mix Black and Brown

Black and brown do not go well with each other and you should just forget about pairing those two together. If you want to wear your black pants/jeans, then don’t choose a brown shirt. If you’re going with your brown pants or khakis, leave the black shirts at home. Blue jeans will be the perfect match for both a brown t-shirt and a black t-shirt, but don’t wear the black jeans with the brown shirt. It’s also safe to say that you shouldn’t choose one color to cover yourself in. Blue jeans and blue shirt is probably a bit too much blue, so be sure to switch it up and choose colors that won’t all blend together. Contrast is your friend. Of course there are always exceptions to that rule, and you should use your judgement (or get a second opinion) when you go with the same color pants and shirt. However, if a black shirt and black pants tend to do alright with one another. Just be careful when mixing different shades of black, or extremely faded old t-shirts or jeans.

Blue Jeans are Universal

It’s common knowledge, but if you’re having a hard time deciding what pants go with a certain shirt, it’s hard to go wrong with a nice pair of blue jeans. Blue jeans tend to go well with any t-shirt color that you can find, unless that t-shirt is made of denim, then you might want to stay away. But as an overall rule of thumb, blue jeans are the universal pants.

Which Color Shoes Should I Wear?

When it comes to shoes, like pants, the idea is to keep it simple. We understand that there are lots of people out there with a variety of different colored shoes, but for the sake of this article we’re going to focus on the basics. If you own a pair of black shoes and a pair of brown shoes, you’re pretty much set for any outfit you might want to wear on any given day. And to keep it simple, try to match your shoes to your pants, and in the case of blue jeans, as we mentioned above, you can mix and match with pretty much any color, just try and ensure that your shoes match some of the colors in your shirt to keep things flowing between the different elements of your outfit.

Color Is Important

As we’ve outlined in this article, color matching is important when it comes to looking good in your outfit. Certain colors go very well together, while other colors will clash and can make you look like a mess. Plan your outfits accordingly and ensure that you pick colors that will compliment every part of your design. Don’t forget to take into account shoes, accessories, and eye color when trying to find an outfit that really stands out.
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