A Guide to Color Coordination
The color theory
Color coordination is one of the most important things when it comes to style. A well-thought outfit always has an advantage as opposed to an outfit that has not been so carefully put together. We wrote a while ago a complete guide on how to choose the colors of your clothes. In this guide, we will be looking at the practical aspect of the color theory. If you know how to mix colors well, you will be one step ahead of the game, as a well-coordinated outfit colorwise always looks more harmonious and elegant than something worn at random, unless you are so lucky and pick your colors right at random. There are several schemes you can use to put colors together. This is truly something great, as there is something for everyone and for every setting. Some color schemes tend to look more formal, while others will always be more appropriate for casual outfits.
We chose to exemplify these schemes, by using mostly shirts, ties, bow ties and pocket squares and mixing them according to the schemes. Note that you can use these schemes for any pieces and that they are not limited to bow ties, pocket squares and shirts or jackets. Also, if you don’t like these theories, you are free to make up your own, but we know that following these rules will ensure you an aesthetic look.
When you are putting together an outfit, it is recommended that you wear not more than three colors. These should not be in the same amount: you should have a primary color, a secondary and a tertiary. Of course, the primary color is the one that occupies most of the colored space, while the tertiary is the one that occupies the least. If you have any other pieces you need to put on and don’t know what color to pick, the safe bet is to wear neutral colors. Neutrals are colors that go with anything. These are: black, white, gray, khaki, etc.
The color wheel
The color wheel is used in any creative field to mix and match colors. It represents a balanced roundup of colors, divided into cold and warm. Some color wheels have more shades on them, while others have less. On some color wheels you will be able to notice different shades and tints, which indicate the intensity of a color. When you are working with the color wheel, you can always take into consideration the fact that you can use colors in different levels of saturation. This way, you can create endless variations, some looking better than others. We’ll explain a little the differences between hue, color and other words with which you might not be very familiar.
The color wheel
Hue and color basically mean the same thing and refer to the color family or the basic color of a certain shade. For example, blue is the color root for navy.
A tint is also called a pastel. It is any color to which white has been added, resulting in a paler version of the root color.
A shade is the opposite of a color: it refers to any color with black added.
Tones are created by adding both black and white to a color. A color mixed with gray is often called a “grayed down” color. Tones can be more soothing to the eye as they are not very strong. Some people consider them more subtle, complex and sophisticated.
The analog color scheme
Creating a combination of analog colors basically means that you will be choosing one color from the spectrum, skip one and then choose the next one. These combinations are very simple yet highly elegant. Such combinations are found in nature and look great.
A tie and a pocket square matched according to the analog colors scheme
A tie and a bow tie in another scheme with analog colors.
A combination of complementary colors involves choosing two colors that are found on exact opposite sides of the color wheel. These colors are highly contrasting and look very bold if put together. Such combinations usually draw the eye and stand out very well. To give you a few examples of such combinations, we can mention: red-blue, yellow-purple, etc.
Blue always goes great with red, as they are complementary colors. You can tone the blue down in order to get a better effect.
Split complementary colors
The split complementary color scheme.
A split complementary color scheme will result in a more calm, toned down look than a combination of complementary colors would, but still with a very big impact. Basically, to create such a combination, you need to choose two analog colors and the complementary color of the one that is found between them.
A red checkered shirt goes great with a turquoise tie and an aqua-green pocket square. The more shades you use, the more subtle your outfits will be.
A green shirt makes a good combination with an orange tie, and a violet pocket square. Notice how the color scheme follows the rule.
Triad colors are colors that are found equidistant on the color wheel. If you are using a 24-color color wheel, you can count from 8 to 8 starting from any color to find the right matches (in our case, we have a 12-color color wheel so we are counting from 4 to 4). Such combinations will result in more unconventional, strange combinations, but nevertheless harmonious. They go best with formal clothes, but can also be used if you are putting together a club or party attire.
Triad colors can look more serious if you use shades.
But they can also look funky and electric.
A monotone chromatic color scheme, as technical as it might sound is a scheme where you use only one color. You can use it in the same shade or you can use variations of that color. Such combinations are very hard to pull off, but if you manage to do it, you will look extremely subtle and elegant. Such combinations go great at semi-formal or formal events, but you can wear them in other settings as well, as they are very sophisticated.
These orange pieces would work great with a neutral jacket.
Monotone achromatic color combinations are the same as monotone chromatic, just that the color you are using is a neutral. Different shades of gray put together make a very elegant look. So do browns combined, different shades of khaki or wearing an ivory outfit.
To avoid any 50 shades of gray references, we chose to showcase all-beige pieces
Wearing color can be something anyone can do with a little effort and time put into it. We encourage you to take these examples and create your own style, your own identity and to experiment with different combinations so that you discover what you like and what you don’t. You can always be changing your preferences, that’s not a problem. In fact, that’s what style is all about!
Fraquoh and Franchomme
P.S. How do you like to coordinate the colors of your clothes? Which scheme do you like to apply? Leave a comment if you have feedback, questions or any type of input and don’t forget to follow our blog via e-mail or on our social media.