I am no stranger to color as a leisurely stroll through my Instagram account will show. Neutral colors make their occasional cameo, but using color is my repertoire. I find it especially interesting to mix unexpected colors together. My background in visual arts (painting,drawing) feed my constant need to taste the rainbow. Mixing colors can be scary for some, especially if your new to the territory; but not to fret because I’m here to help. Those who attended my Level Up workshop got the full nitty gritty and a wealth of knowledge on color and pattern mixing. However, Im always willing to spread the wealth. We’re taking it back to basics; I’ve compiled my top tips for any person, even beginners, to mix colors like a pro.

  1. Complimentary Colors: Why do certain wines pair well with certain cheeses. Why are peanut butter and jelly so compatible? The answer is because they compliment each other. Hence where we get complimentary colors. These colors bring out the best in each other. Do you remember the old school color wheel presented in your first art class? Well it’s the perfect tool for beginner color mixing. Complimentary colors are opposite each other on the color wheel. Why does my outfit above of pink and green work? Pink is a shade of red so the wheel shows us that it naturally will work great with green. The color wheel was not just a great tool for Picasso, but it translates in so many facets of creative expression, even home decor. Now you know why red and green is the popular combo for Christmas! In lieu of going to the predictable white or black, try utilizing this for an unexpected color pairing.

Color Wheel

2) Analogous Colors: Sorry this is the artist in me coming out. This simply means pairing any side by side colors. For example orange could be paired with any of the shades between yellow and red. Here I paired my orange suit with a citron ( a shade of yellow) knit shirt. With this option some pairings may be too bright so you can always pick a tone of one of the colors to create a different vibe. I completed the look with a red lip; so you see you can also execute this trick with your makeup or accessories. You can also mix in neutrals like white or black to break up the colors if you like.

3) Monochromatic– Monochromatic simply means varying tones of one color. In my opinion this is one of the simplest ways of mixing colors because you don’t have to think too much. If your wearing a pair of navy pants or a skirt, try making your top, shoes and bag a different shade of blue. This is an easy way to mix it up. I could have easily swapped out my green blouse above for another shade of pink to create a monochromatic ensemble.

Don’t take the easy way out with all black or all white, although very chic (see my outfit here). Try an outfit in different shades of brown, which is a nice alternative for those who usually default to black. Red is another fun option with so many options. Red can be paired with burgundy in the fall or pink is always fun. Pink is made from adding the color white to red, making it a variant tone; which is why it works so well. Remember when doing a monochrome look to also vary your fabrics and textures; this will give your look more depth. Check out the color wheel below to see varying shades of one color.

Monochrome Color wheel

4) Primary Colors, Jewel tones and Pastels: These categories will always look good paired in their respective category together because of their relationship on the color wheel.

Primary: Red, Blue and Yellow

Jewel Tones: These consist of sapphire blue, ruby red, amethyst purple, citrine yellow, and emerald green (They can also be paired with neutrals)

Pastels: Periwinkle, lavender, mint, blush, lemon, etc.

This is what I consider a little more bold, but creates a major impact. Pair magenta with emerald green like I did here. Or how about an outfit with primary colors, in the paring below I used all three in their pure forms; you could also just choose two. One of my favorite pairings is aqua blue with red!

I know this was a bit in depth, but I wanted to make it a little simpler for you guys to delve into the world of color. This is what I go by because the possibilities are endless. This is also just a guide, but once you’re a pro at color pairing, there is no right or wrong to what colors you can wear together. I hope this helps you live life in a little more color!

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