To Match or Not To Match

That is the question.

I love to combine outfits, it is a hobby and passion since I discovered clothes could be both functional ad fashionable all those many years ago.

I love dresses and I have started to make my own creations, but one question has arisen in my mind …

Has it become cheesy to match the colors of a dress?

To this crucially important question I will answer: No! And luckily! The harmony of colors is an essential part of the composition of an outfit, but you have to respect a few small rules. Which I hopefully will be able to lay out in the next twenty minutes as I have an appointment and hate coming back to my unfinished posts.

Adopt a color to the primary focal point.

A cameo is an assemblage of shades of the same hue. For example, you can wear a turquoise top with an electric blue jacket and raw jeans. On the other hand, you will have to choose different colors for shoes and accessories.

To match the color of the clothes to those of the accessories, or to match the color of the accessories to each other, is a fashion faux pas. In our grandparent day, it was fashionable to match the colors of the main pieces of an outfit with the accessories or to match the color of the accessories: navy skirt, red top, red bag, red shoes, red varnish, red mouth… today this has become dated and is one of the beginner mistakes people often make. To stay in an area of modernity, we will choose more than two elements of the same colors, so long as it is not the main piece (bag and shoes; top and bag; jacket and shoes; etc…). We will avoid matching the bright colors, especially when the contrast of the outfit is important: we will avoid for example wearing shoes – bag – pink jewelry blurred on a black outfit that we preferred to match with elements of different shades of pink and purple. It was preferred to tune in to dark or neutral colors. Another trick to avoid contrast is to match two visually close pieces: for example bag/top or pants/shoes. Being close, it will give the impression that they are a single piece of the outfit.

  • Just say no to monochromatic outfits, except for black, white (a wedding dress) and grey. But beware, in this case we preferred to play with shades to build up accents.

  • Make sure that you choose accessories whose color contrasts with the rest of the outfit is a great way to boost a look! The only small exception is black: if your accessories are black you can match them, it's classy.

In a classic style, if we still important to combine bag and shoes or belt and bracelets – though never more than two elements – we will choose to trust the designers so that the color and the material are the same.

Just say yes to the combination of details. We love those little reminders! An accessory that recalls the color of a pattern of the top print or shoes matched with lipstick is top, but make sure that no other element of our outfit is the same color or the effect will be lost.

But then, how do I pick the right thing to accent? First, avoid the carnival effect (as I like to call it) with the rule of 3 colors, this is the sacred commandment of the fashionista, to apply for the full outfit, bag and shoes included.

The best thing to do is to choose neutral colors (beige, camel, navy, black, white …) and match an element of a bright color (for shoes or bag for example, but not both).

This is easy and stylish! And professional designers use this often combined with other techniques.

We want to use those techniques too. The basics are not enough and we want to be more daring, we will play with complementary colors, neighboring colors or, as already seen above, the shades of the same cameo. I suggest that you pick up a small chromatic tool to better understand this theory and help you make the right picks when you are designing an outfit.

As a quick rule of thumb:

  • The opposite colors of each other is how you define complementary colors. It's also ok to choose colors that aren't exactly the opposite.
  • The colors that lie to the right and left of the chosen color defined neighboring colors and are the perfect choice not to create too much contrast.

Alright that about covers it. Time to run.

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