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  • Writer's pictureAbigail Houillon

Made To Match: How To Coordinate Colors Without Clashing

With the proper techniques, coordinating shirt, suit, and tie colors can lead to stylish and contemporary outfits, without looking like the color wheel lost its lunch on your clothes. The color wheel is important to be cognizant of when putting together your outfits in order to establish sleek looks while incorporating bold takes that carry a sense of your unique style. There are five color schemes that vary in simplicity and boldness; all of them are easily accessible when applied correctly.

The Color Wheel

The color wheel is comprised of two halves; cool colors and warm colors. Cool colors include blue, green, and purple, while warm colors include red, orange, and yellow. While following the guidelines to the color wheel are encouraged, feel free to add originality and flare whilst keeping our tips in mind.

1) Monochromatic Color Scheme

The monochromatic color scheme is the simplest of all the color schemes in that it portrays elegance without complications. Monochromatic simply means utilizing different shades of the same color.

As is standard, this usually resembles a light or muted shirt color with a darker variant of that same color for the tie. The most common example that is seen would be a light blue shirt with a navy tie, or a light pink shirt with a burgundy tie.

2) Adjacent/Similar Color Scheme

Under the adjacent color scheme, the colors are close to each other on the color wheel. Generally, this means that the colors next to each other fall under the same half of the color wheel; cool colors next to cool colors, and warm colors next to warm colors. This color scheme gives more variety in style while still clinging to a sense of familiarity. It also creates an outfit that is soothing to the eye.

The utilization of this color scheme usually reveals itself through the pairing of cool colors; blues mixed with greens and purples. However, you can choose to go with adjacent warm colors to opt for a bold look that is still appealing; reds mixed with oranges and yellows. A popular example of this color scheme would be a light blue shirt with a green or purple tie.

3) Neutral Color Scheme

Choosing a neutral color scheme is a safe option that still emanates class and uniformity. Neutral colors include; white, gray, tan, and black. This color scheme is the most versatile because almost any color could be paired with neutral colors and it will still create a coordinated look.

That being said, it's important to keep in mind that pairing neutral colors with themselves (white on white, black on black etc.) will generate a style that is muddled and lost in itself. Given that neutral colors act as a blank canvas, it's best to choose colors that will stand out against them. Examples of the neutral color scheme include a white, black, or light gray shirt with any color tie; green, blue, pink, orange, etc.

4) Triadic Color Scheme

The next two color schemes will start pushing the boundaries of style in a charismatic way. The triadic color scheme means choosing colors that form a triangle on the color wheel. The mixing of warm and cool colors is a bold look that, when done correctly, creates a sense of harmony and contrast.

Examples of triadic colors include; blue, red, and yellow, and orange, purple, and green. When it comes to pairing these colors for suits and ties, what's typically seen is a light blue shirt with a mustard yellow tie and another accessory that is a variant shade of red (such as a burgundy pocket square).

5) Complimentary Color Scheme

Complimentary colors are the boldest option when it comes to style, but when paired correctly, can create that unique look that will be sure to make you stand out wherever you go. Complimentary colors are those that are opposite each other on the color wheel. Some complimentary colors include; blue and orange, yellow and purple, or red and green.

It's important to keep it tasteful and classy so you don't resemble a mistletoe or get mistaken for the joker. The most common example of the complimentary color scheme is a light blue shirt with an orange tie. However, other options can include a light blue shirt, with an eggplant tie, and a softer variant of green for the jacket. Again, this is the color scheme the it is the easiest to dishevel, but with practice can become a confident style that sets you above the rest.


While coordinating colors does require some technique, adding your own unique flare is what's going to set you above the rest. Whether you decide to keep it simple like the monochromatic color scheme, or take it bold like the triadic color scheme, maintaining a good color balance will ensure that you can rock the look and have fun doing it.

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