Colour Combination Basics

So after my previous article on colour, you guys should now understand the basics of how colour works and the ways you can put different colours together. But sometimes you just don’t have the time to pull up your picture of the colour wheel and figure out what you’re going to wear with your new pink chinos. Luckily, you won’t have to; all you’ll have to do is bookmark these next couple of articles! Because what I aim to do prove you all with some easy ready-to-go colour combinations that will help you out off any outfit dilemma you come across.

For this article, want I want to do is get the very basics down. So that means starting with the colours that I’m sure are dominating most male wardrobes in the thick of winter – black, navy and grey. Now these aren’t bad colours guys, especially for A/W. Putting any combination of these colours together is a fool proof plan for an outfit. The only problem you’ll come across is that it’ll start to make you feel a little bit like the weather; cold, dreary, dull, boring, the adjectives go on and on.

The solution is to start pairing them with new and interesting colours! Some of these are neutrals that you may not have thought of yet such as brown, khaki or olive. Others are true colours like red, blue, green and yellow. The important thing to remember is that you can wear colour whenever you want. And that includes the winter… in fact, especially in winter!

Whether it’s a bright coloured shirt and a solid neutral suit or a coloured jumper anchored with a neutral polo shirt, pops of colour go a long way to energising a look.

Example Outfit Combinations With Pops of Colour Mixed With Neutrals

Black

A classic colour that has been around since the dawn of time but often a colour that causes people grief when it comes to pairing with other colours. This often leaves people opting for the ‘all-black’ outfit which after a while gets very boring.

A colour that is nearly always paired with black is purple because it is very complementary. I’m quite partial to a lilac shirt, purple tie and black suit combination for instance. However, make sure that you stay in the light to medium tones because a dark purple can often mix-in with black and look very muddy.

Another colour would be anything from the red family. My personal favourite would be pink (just so happens to be 2011 colour of the year) as I think the contrast between dark and light is a cool thing to play with in an outfit and I often pair my black shawl neck cardigan with a pink shirt or polo.

But when you think about it what can’t black be paired with? I love my black suit as it gives me license to wear some truly loud shirts in yellows and greens because it provides the perfect anchor. The important thing to remember is that if you are opting for a loud colour try to keep it to just the one. Another loud colour will only throw the look, keep everything else neutral.

  • paul smith london Mohair and wool dinner suit
  • Polo Ralph Lauren Purple Fine Stripe Slim Fit Shirt
  • ASOS Slim Tie
  • Polo Ralph Lauren Plain Logo Slim Fit Polo
  • Paul Smith London Pink Classic Fit Shirt
  • john varvatos Long sleeve cardigan
  • Burberry Black Packable Trench Coat
  • Prior Coat
  • Gunray Iggy
  • Generic Frame Black Tapered Chinos
  • Unconditional Recycled Cotton Basic V-Neck T-Shirt
  • Unconditional Recycled Cotton Basic T-Shirt
  • PAUL SMITH - JEANS 828H-745 Tailored Yellow Shirt
  • LYLE & SCOTT KC648-V22 Retro Green Polo Shirt
  • Ben Sherman Slim Fit Gingham Check Shirt
Navy

Brown, Brown, Brown! For godsake wear brown with navy! It brings out the blue in the navy and makes the brown look even richer than it already did. A really easy way to do this is with your shoes. Why do you think brown brogues look so good with a navy suit? Or brown loafers with blue jeans? I have a dirty habit of always trying to wear these two together because I love it so much, especially when it comes to ties. If I see a striped tie in navy and brown, it’s more than likely I’ll buy it.

Another go-to is red. It’s often used by US Presidents in a navy suit, white shirt and red tie combo because it reminds people of the American flag but it also works so well because they are contrasting colours in the colour wheel. Now, that does mean you have to be careful but as long as you don’t use too much of it you will be fine. Stick to a tie, a shirt under a jumper, t-shirt or canvas shoes and you won’t go wrong.

Then there’s yellow. Oh yellow, my favourite for this coming S/S. Navy and yellow might be the preppy man’s standard but don’t underestimate it until you try it. They are opposite in the wheel (complementing colours) so any combination or amount is always going to look good. My go-to? I have my eyes on a pair of slim yellow chinos that I intend to wear with my navy polo’s, shirts, jumpers, you name it. And the best part about yellow and blue is that you can throw in another neutral like brown and it still works.

  • White Oxford Shirt
  • BURGUNDY RUCHED FRONT T-SHIRT
  • French Connection Classic Plain Tie
  • Polo Ralph Lauren Navy Pima Cotton V Knit
  • Rip Iggy
  • paul smith Pure wool suit
  • Grenson Chocolate Leather Soft Unlined William Brogues
  • Paul Smith Shoes Brown Soft Leather Dwight Tassel Loafers
  • lanvin<br /> Plaited leather belt
  • TM Lewin Navy And Yellow Herringbone Stripe Tie
  • Vivienne Westwood Yellow Oversized Crest Polo
  • Ralph Lauren Chinos
  • LYLE & SCOTT JE788-V02 Acid Yellow Knit
  • HUGO Agor blazer
  • Polo Ralph Lauren Chino Shorts
Grey

There is nothing that cannot be worn with grey and that is a fact. With a darker, more charcoal grey try rich blues, purples and greens. For a light to medium grey then lighter colours in blues, pink, yellow go really well.

Also, black is fantastic colour to pair with a light grey to make your outfit look automatically more casual. For example, when wearing a grey suit try a black dress shirt without a tie when heading to dinner. It really works.

  • gucci Vintage wool suit
  • ASOS Square Collar Slim Fit Shirt
  • Junk De Luxe Plain Slim Fit Shirt And Tie Set
  • NFLAG Iggy
  • Lyle & Scott KC648-V22 Brick Polo Shirt
  • Sandringham S/s Polo
  • Charcoal Pleat Carrot Chinos
  • FOLK Basic Light Blue T-Shirt
  • Pink Brushed Check Shirt
  • Hugo Boss Belted Nylon Trench Coat
  • ralph lauren Check button down shirt
  • Pink and White Stripe Shirt
  • All Saints Mikkeli Cardigan
  • acne V- neck T-shirt
  • YMC Basic T-Shirt

But that’s all for now guys, hopefully that gives you some ideas for what to do with all that monochrome you’ve built up over the years. Next time it will be what real colours go with what and after that ways to incorporate colour into your outfit.

So until next week guys,
Matt Allinson