How to match clothes colours when it comes to, not just fashion trends - that strips away the rules with the S/S 18 on-trend colours - but to timeless combinations?
Here is our practical guide with basic rules and some useful tips to know which colours match well together.
Let's start with the basics.
Have you ever heard about the Itten colour wheel?
Johannes Itten - painter, designer, writer and professor at the Bauhaus Art Institute - has deeply studied colours and has created this tool in order to classify them and give the first indications about the colour combination.
Observing the graphic, we can see a triangle with three colours at the centre of the circle. They are the three primary colours - yellow, red and blue - from whom combination originates the secondary ones, placed around the triangle forming a hexagon: green (from yellow and blue), orange ( from red and yellow), purple (from red and blue). Around it, there is another circle with 12 colours representing primary, secondary and tertiary colours derived from a further blend.
According to Itten, given that he thinks that white and black are "not colours" and for that reason they match well with (almost) any colour, the perfect combinations are among complementary colours, namely those inside the circle that occupy positions diametrically opposed and never among colours of the same family. For example yellow and purple, fuchsia and pistachio green, red and green and so on.
How to match the colours of your clothes?
Together with the Itten's theory, there are other criteria and ways to match pieces and accessories.
Even if, in this field, may not be always so easy.
There are combinations that are considered incorrect, such as the blue or the brown with the black, but actually, it depends on the tonality: the blue royal goes well with the black, just like the beige and camel (very elegant above all in casual clothing for men).
The first step is to understand which colours go well with our skin tone, hair and eyes colour in order to start from a base colour to create our outfit.
The colour harmony is a topic that arouses much interest, that's why we want to go into the subject starting from the concept of skin tone, undertone and overtone.
The tone refers to the concept of shading. There are people with fair, dark or olive complexion.
The undertone refers to the temperature of the skin and to the concept of cold and warm (regardless of the skin colour).
The overtone refers to the superficial layer of the skin that may be yellow or pink.
These variables are independent and combinable, but the fundamental one is the undertone.
How to recognize our undertone?
The first test is to look at the blood vessels on your wrists, if they are greenish the undertone is warm, if they are bluish the undertone is cold. If they look both greenish and bluish your undertone is neutral.
However, there are other clues to recognize it, for example, the colour of your lips or their reaction to sun's rays.
Your lips will become peach-coloured if your undertone is warm, and violet if it is cold. When it comes to suntan, it will be golden for those who have a warm undertone and reddish for those who have the cold one.
Finally, the skin with a warm undertone will never have a very pale skin, whereas the cold undertone may tend to greyish/greenish tone.
How to choose the right colours?
Those who have a warm undertone may prefer earth and natural colours.
Neutral colours like cream, pink powder, camel, coral, turquoise, yellow, burgundy, teal, and aubergine will be perfect for you. Better to avoid cold colours like black, fluo colours or greys.
On the contrary, for those who have a cold undertone should prefer cold and intense shades.
Yes to white, violet, light blue and pink. But, no to brown.
According to this division, let's see the combinations among light, dark and lively colours.
1. Light colour + light colour = to get a minimal, elegant or bon ton look (above all with pastel colours).
2. Light colour + dark colour = to get an optical effect.
3. Light colour + lively colour = to get a basic, sophisticated but eye-catching look.
4. Dark colour + dark colour = to get a perfect look for any occasion (as Victoria Beckham shows!)
5. Dark colour + lively colour = to get a glamorous look perfect for the night as well.
6. Dark colour + dark colour + lively colour = to get a look that never goes unnoticed.
7. Light colour + light colour + lively colour/dark colour + dark colour + lively colour = to "break" the monochromatic effect, for example with shoes, bags or accessories in contrast.