I've frequently seen talk of monochromatic outfits on fashion forums, style blogs and pinterest, but I also love analogous combinations. There's just a bit more depth to them. Here are my most recent ones.
A varieties of blues in the green direction. The brown belt adds a hint of contrast.
On the other side of blue spectrum toward purple. Silver accents keep things cool.
Finally, a truly monochromatic look with shades of burgundy.
You know all kinds of things about colour
now, including what the actual primary pigments are. The trick now becomes how
to put those colours together. There exist three different types of color schemes or combinations of colours: monochromatic, analogous, and complementary. These work as guidelines for which colours work well together as long as you create variation in terms of value and chromaticity.
A monochromatic colour
scheme is one in which a single hue or tone varies in value. In
other words, choose a single hue or tone, and then lighten and darken it.
This scheme reduces contrast and prevents
the eye from focusing on any one particular area. If you want things to just
blend in, go with a monochromatic colour scheme. Of course, if the monochromatic
colour scheme is in a hue that contrasts noticeably with the environment, the
fading away effect will no longer work. Black white and grey may go unnoticed,
but shades of red may be more noticeable.
An analogous colour
scheme occurs when shades and tones of adjacent hues on the colour wheel are
combined. Choose two or three hues which are next to one another in the colour
wheel and combine those.
The effect of this scheme is similar to the
monochromatic scheme; the colours blend with one another, especially if they are
alike in value or chroma. Citrus colours
(think orange, lemon, lime) together do not create much contrast with one
another. Similarly, deep purples and blues together in an outfit blend easily.
The closer the colours are in the colour
wheel, the less contrast they create. Above, the blues and purples are very
close to one another. Below, the blues and greens are a bit more spread out.
The colours are still harmonious, but they create more contrast.
The classic complementary
colour scheme is most heavily influenced by using the “real” colour wheel
because it combines colours which are opposite each other on the colour wheel. Complimentary
colours are essentially opposites – they each make the other colour stand out
Combining blue and yellow makes the blue look bluer, and the yellow look
brighter. Choosing two hues is often too jarring, so consider tones, shades and
tints. Here is a shade of blue (navy) with a yellow tone.
There are three other types of
complementary colour schemes that you can use. The split complementary
scheme chooses one colour and the two colours adjacent to its complementary
For example, azure and orange are
complementary. Orange is adjacent to red and yellow. Therefore azure, red and
yellow together make a split complementary scheme. To translate this into an
outfit, I’ve combined leopard print shoes and a bronze scarf (yellow tones)
with a red blazer and chambray blouse. I have anchored everything with neutral,
A double complementary
colour scheme basically combines two complementary colours schemes together.
Ideally, the four colours form a rectangle in the colour wheel rather than a
square. Otherwise there is too much contrast and the outfit just looks like a
mess of clashing colours. This can be hard to pull off because it emphasizes the differences rather than the cohesiveness of the colours. It becomes really important to use dark shades, light tints, or greyer tones of some of the colours involved.
Below, I combined dark emerald
pants and a fuchsia (rose) top with a light azure cardigan and bright orange purse.
The darker pants and lighter cardigan temper the brighter hues, and because
azure + orange and emerald + rose are complementary pairs, everything is still
Finally, a triadic
colour scheme groups three colours which are equidistant in the colour wheel.
For example our three ‘real’ primary colours – cyan, magenta and yellow – form
a triad. The three secondary colours – red, blue and green – also form a triad.
Here I used shades of red (maroon) and blue (navy) with green. I also added a bit more red with a bright red lipstick.
It is important to note that in most of
these cases, I never use more than one hue at a time. The boldness of a hue
often needs to be tempered with shades, tones, and tints or with neutrals. I hope you've enjoyed this series about colour. You may see the world in a new light!