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What does color coordinated outfits mean?

What does color coordinated outfits mean?

Color coordinated outfits refer to outfits where the different items worn together share colors that complement each other. The goal of color coordinating an outfit is to create a put together, stylish look where the colors enhance each other. This allows someone to make a statement with their clothing choices.

Why Coordinate Outfit Colors?

There are several benefits to wearing color coordinated outfits:

  • Creates a polished, intentional look – Wearing pieces in complementary colors looks more styled and fashionable than random colors thrown together.
  • Makes you look more put together – Matching colors shows you put effort into choosing your outfit rather than just throwing on whatever is clean.
  • Allows you to make a style statement – Coordinating colors and patterns lets you express your personal style.
  • Makes pieces more versatile – Items go with more in your closet when they match other colors you wear often.
  • Flatters your complexion – Strategic color pairings can enhance your natural coloring and undertones.
  • Makes getting dressed easier – Pulling color coordinated items together is fast and simple.
  • Elevates your look – Matching colors looks classier and more elegant than clashing random hues.

Overall, the purpose of coordinating colors is to create a put together, intentional look that shows you care about your style and appearance.

How to Coordinate Outfit Colors

Here are some tips for choosing hues that work together in your outfits:

Match Analagous Colors

Analagous colors sit next to each other on the color wheel, like blue, blue-green, and green. They create smooth, harmonious outfits. Try pairing a blue top with green pants or a purple jacket with a red skirt.

Complementary Colors

These are opposite each other on the color wheel, like red and green or yellow and purple. They create high-contrast, vibrant looks. Wear a bright orange shirt with blue jeans or a yellow top with plum trousers.

Triadic Colors

Triadic colors are evenly spaced around the color wheel, like red, yellow, and blue. They make exciting combinations. Try a red dress with blue accessories and yellow heels.

Monochromatic Colors

Wearing shades of one color from light to dark is always stylish. For example, pair a pale pink sweater with a rose pink skirt and deeper pink shoes.

Neutral Colors

Pairing brights with neutrals like black, white, gray, tan, or navy helps balance the look. Try a vibrant turquoise top with neutral trousers or a bright floral skirt with a plain white tee.

Metallic Colors

Metallics like gold, silver, bronze and pewter work with nearly everything. Wear metallic shoes with a colored dress or metallic jewelry with a patterned top.

Tips for Coordinating Colors

Here are some additional tips for flawlessly coordinating colors in your outfits:

  • Consider undertones – Know whether colors complement your skin’s undertones (warm, cool, neutral).
  • Get color palettes – Use apps or color analysis to find your ideal shade combinations.
  • Choose a focal point – Pick one statement color or print to build the outfit around.
  • Limit colors – Stick to 3-4 colors maximum so the look doesn’t get too busy.
  • Repetition ties it together – Repeat a color in different items, like your top and accessories.
  • Watch saturation – Pair a bright saturated color with muted tones to balance the look.
  • Add patterns strategically – Make sure patterns share outfit colors so they don’t clash.
  • Check materials – Matte and shiny textures impact how colors work together.
  • Judge in natural light – Colors look different in daylight than indoor lighting.

With practice coordinating hues, you’ll be able to quickly put together stylish color combinations for any event or occasion.

Outfit Formulas for Color Coordination

Once you understand color theory basics, it helps to have outfit formulas that take the guesswork out of coordinating colors. Here are some easy go-to combinations:

Monochromatic Outfits

Wear shades of the same color family, like light blue jeans, medium blue shirt, and navy accessories. This creates a streamlined head to toe look.

Tonal Outfits

Mix soft and neutral hues in the same tonal family like cream, beige, tan, and black. This is understated and elegant.

Bright Color + Neutrals

Pair a vibrant colored piece like a red dress with neutral basics like nude heels and a black handbag. This makes the bright pop.

Colorblocked Outfits

Wear solid tops and bottoms in contrasting but complementary hues like yellow with purple or pink with orange.

Pattern Mixing

Layer patterns in the same color family like blue and white stripes with a blue floral skirt. Anchor with solids.

Outfit Type Example Combination
Monochromatic Light blue jeans, medium blue shirt, navy jacket
Tonal Cream sweater, tan pants, nude heels
Bright + Neutrals Red dress with black heels and clutch
Colorblocked Orange top with purple skirt
Pattern Mixing Blue striped tee, floral blue skirt

Having go-to formulas makes getting ready fun instead of stressful.

Choosing Color Palettes for Your Wardrobe

The most straight-forward way to color coordinate your outfits is to build your wardrobe around 2-3 core color palettes. This creates a cohesive collection where everything works seamlessly together.

Here are some examples of color palettes to inspire your wardrobe:

Earth Tones

Build your wardrobe around versatile neutrals like sand, tan, mocha, olive green, brown, taupe, and cream. These effortlessly coordinate.


Focus on shades of one color you love and wear often. Try soft pink, blush, rose, mauve, or shades of blue from light to navy.

Analogous Colors

Choose three next-to-each-other hues on the color wheel like orange, burnt orange, and red or yellow, yellow-green, green.

Complimentary Colors

Pair contrasting colors from opposite sides of the wheel like purple and yellow, blue and orange, or red and green.

Black and Metallics

Make black your neutral base then add pops of shimmering gold, silver, rose gold, bronze and pewter. This glams up any look.

Rainbow Brights

Collect a full rainbow of bright solids like red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. Make bold color statements.

Color Palette Examples
Earth Tones Sand, mocha, olive green, tan, taupe
Monochromatic Shades of pink or blue
Analogous Orange, burnt orange, red
Complementary Purple and yellow
Black + Metallic Black with gold, silver, bronze
Rainbow Brights Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple

Build most of your wardrobe around 2-3 core color palettes for easy coordinating power.

Color Coordinating for Different Seasons

The seasons can impact which color combinations work best. Here are tips for coordinating outfits in spring, summer, fall and winter:


Spring is the time to break out fresh, lighter colors like pastels, florals and brighter hues. Great color combos include:

  • Soft pink with sky blue
  • Lavender with mint green
  • Pale yellow with light gray
  • Coral with navy
  • Light denim with white


Summer is ideal for airy colors, prints and lighter neutrals. Go-to combinations:

  • Yellow with dark blue
  • Red with crisp white
  • Tan with light denim
  • Baby blue with black
  • Bright florals with khaki


Fall is the perfect time to wear deeper, warmer and nature inspired colors. Great matches include:

  • Olive green with maroon
  • Mustard yellow with gray
  • Burnt orange with navy
  • Plum with olive
  • Rust with tan


In winter, pair rich, jewel-toned colors with winter whites and blacks. Stunning combinations:

  • Burgundy with black
  • Royal blue with winter white
  • Hunter green with cream
  • Camel with gray
  • Navy with red

Seasonally appropriate colors keep your outfits looking fresh.

Avoiding Clashes When Coordinating

While combining colors in complementary ways creates stylish looks, some color combinations clash and don’t work well together. Here are some color pairs to avoid:

  • Bright yellow and bright purple – These two brights fight for attention.
  • Red and orange – These warm shades compete and are jarring.
  • Pink and red – Too similar in hue to work well.
  • Light green and bright green – The light green gets drowned out.
  • Navy and black – Both strong colors that are overpowering together.

To prevent clashing, stick to adjacent colors on the wheel, avoid mixing multiple brights, balance neutrals with bright colors, limit the color pairings to 2-4 maximum, and watch hue saturation.


Color coordinating your outfits requires understanding color theory and combinations that complement each other. Build your wardrobe around 2-3 core color palettes. Match colors using principles like analogous, complementary, triadic, monochromatic, and tonal combinations. Use colors suitable for the season. Formulas like brights plus neutrals or colorblocking make coordination easy. Avoid color clashes by limiting hues and watching saturation. With practice, you’ll be able to quickly pull together stylish, color coordinated looks for any occasion.