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Is black good with any color?

Is black good with any color?

Black is a versatile neutral color that can work well with just about any other color. Black clothing and accessories are wardrobe staples because of black’s ability to act as a blank canvas that absorbs other colors without overpowering them. However, some color combinations with black are more aesthetically pleasing than others. The most important factors to consider when pairing black with other colors are hue, lightness, and saturation.

Complementary Colors

Complementary colors are those located directly across from each other on the color wheel. These color combinations create high contrast and grab attention. Some examples of complementary colors that go well with black include:

Color Why it Works
White Classic black and white is elegant and timeless. The high contrast makes each color pop.
Red Bold and energetic, red makes black edgier and more exciting.
Yellow Cheerful yellow balances out black’s seriousness.
Blue Deep blue has a soothing effect against stark black.

When pairing black with a complementary color, balance is key. Use one color as the main color and the other as an accent. Going overboard with high-contrast complementary colors can be harsh on the eyes.

Analogous Colors

Analogous colors sit next to each other on the color wheel, meaning they share common hues. Analogous color schemes are usually more subtle than complementary ones. Analogous colors that work well with black include:

Color Why it Works
Gray Different shades of gray are sophisticated and elegant with black.
Brown Rich browns complement black for an earthy, natural look.
Burgundy The depth of burgundy makes an intriguing pairing with black.
Navy Dark and moody, navy blue is a stylish match for black.

Black and analogous colors come across as subtle and polished. Layering analogous hues together keeps outfits from looking dated.

Bright Accents

While black goes well with rich, dark analogous colors, sometimes you want to use black as the backdrop for a bright, vibrant accent color. Bright pops of color make basic black outfits and accessories more fun. Some bright hues that pair nicely with black include:

Color Why it Works
Pink Pretty pink provides feminine contrast against black’s severity.
Lime green Vibrant lime green energizes understated black.
Turquoise Punchy turquoise creates a playful look against black.
Yellow Sunny yellow lightens up dark black.

When using bright colors with black, restraint is important. Limit brights to small touches like scarves or jewelry against a black outfit. Too much brightness overwhelms black’s darkness.


In addition to true whites and grays, black also pairs attractively with brown, tan, cream, khaki, olive green, and taupe. These neutral colors act as softening agents against harsh black, creating versatile, everyday color combinations. Neutrals work especially well when layering black pieces. For example:

Outfit Why it Works
Black pants + tan shoes Tan shoes lighten up black pants.
Black top + olive cardigan Olive cardigan eases the edge of a black shirt.
Black dress + cream jacket Cream jacket softens the boldness of a black dress.

Neutrals allow black clothing and accessories to feature prominently while creating balance. Black and neutrals together exude refined elegance.

Avoid Overwhelming Black

Some colors come across as drab, dreary, and depressing next to black. Muddy or muted shades often make black feel heavier. Colors to avoid pairing with true black include:

Color Why it doesn’t work
Mustard Mustard yellow can look dirty against black.
chartreuse Bright chartreuse overwhelms black.
Pale purple Washed-out purples get drowned out by black.
Mint Black overpowers soft mint green.

These colors are better paired with softer dark shades like charcoal gray rather than stark black. In general, pair black with richer, bolder colors instead of pale or muted ones.

Consider Skin Tone

The colors you choose to wear with black should also flatter your skin tone. Certain colors can make skin look sallow or ashen against black. If you have a warm, peachy undertone, cool colors like icy pastels and neon brights are unflattering with black. Olive and deep skin looks best with jewel tones against black rather than pale washed-out colors. Contrast is important, so avoid pairing black with colors that are too similar to your skin color.


Black’s versatility makes it easy to pair with almost any color. For the most pleasing combinations, consider factors like complementary hues, color lightness, accent colors versus neutrals, and how the colors flatter your skin tone. Avoid matchy-matchy black outfits by creatively mixing patterns and textures. With some thoughtfulness, black can be the perfect complement to your favorite colorful pieces.