Essential Colour Combinations

So far we have covered the basics of how colours can work with one another and what colours can be mixed with monochromes to create great outfits. But let’s face it guys, it’s not like we all walk around with our very own colour wheel in our back pockets when buying clothes. With that in mind, this article will provide you with a few staple colour combinations that you can turn to again and again. With last week’s article handling the neutrals, let’s dive head first into which colours goes best together.

As always guys, it’s really important to bear in mind each colours position on the wheel for guidance when it comes to pairing it with other colours. Remember there are similar (that are next to each other), complementary (opposite in the wheel) and contrasting colours (three colours in between them).

For the sake of this article, I’m going to ignore similar colour patterns because I would hope that all of you should be able to grasp the idea. For example:; if deciding to wear a navy blazer on a night out, why not try some plum coloured chinos and a light blue shirt to go with it? Both colours are neighbours of dark blue and work really well together.

Instead, what I’ll focus on are interesting colour combinations of the complementary and contrasting variety.

Khaki & Green

Here’s an easy one to remember and a simple one to ease you in with. This tends to work better with greens that are dark in tone along the lines of khaki or military greens. It’s a perfect colour combination for both spring and autumn and is a great to bear in mind with the recent surge in popularity of chinos. The perfect starter chino for any man is in khaki and looks great when paired with a green plaid shirt over a white v-neck t-shirt. You could even top this look off with a denim jacket, another great spring piece.

Alternative pieces to a shirt for when the weather gets warmer could be anything from a Henley top, to a crew neck jumper or even just a plain polo shirt. Your options are endless.

  • River Island Roll-Up Smart Chino
  • BEN SHERMAN CHECK SHIRT
  • LYLE & SCOTT KC648-V22 Retro Green Polo Shirt
  • ASOS Military Cardigan
Red & Green

The Preppy kids dream! These colours are opposite each other in the wheel and fit perfectly together in an outfit. It’s important to bear in mind that although they do complement each other, try not to use them in their full strength hue. For example, make either the red or the green darker or lighter in shade so as not to overpower the look.

A pair of dark green chinos will go perfectly with a red/pink polo shirt. Similarly, a pair of red shorts will anchor a lighter pastel green t-shirt.

  • Humor Santiago Chinos
  • ASOS Drop Crotch Twill Trousers
  • Unconditional Recycled Cotton Basic T-Shirt
Red & Blue

It’s a similar rule for these two as well. However, to really make them work one of the colours should always be a darker one. This allows the other colour more room in the outfit rather than both colours competing with one another. So a navy jumper with some red chinos or burgundy suit trousers with a French blue shirt.

  • Polo Ralph Lauren Preppy Fit Chinos
  • NN07 Simon 1000 Chino Trousers
  • Hudson Blazer
  • SELF LOOP NECK SHAWL PULLOVER
  • Paul Smith London Sky Classic Fit Shirt
  • APPLE RED TAILORED SHORTS
Yellow & Red

Probably the trickiest of them all because of how similar in tone they can be. However, because they are contrasting colours the same applies as it did for red and blue. What I would suggest though is to limit one of the colours to a small portion of your outfit, such as a tie or an undershirt whilst layering. For example, a pair of dark mustard yellow trousers could very easily be paired with a red polo shirt if worn underneath a neutral coloured jumper in black or grey.

  • RALPH LAUREN Slim fit jeans
  • BURGUNDY RUCHED FRONT T-SHIRT
  • LYLE & SCOTT<br /> KC648-V22 Brick Polo Shirt
  • Sandringham S/s Polo
  • LYLE & SCOTT Classic crew neck t–shirt
  • PAUL SMITH Plain satin tie

So there you have guys, a few more colour combinations to store inside your heads (or iphones) so that the next time you’re out shopping for something bright this summer you know what to pair them with and how.

Until next week,
Matt Allinson