Mixing and matching colours and prints may not be rocket science, but it can be way over the average man’s head. Men are simply not wired that way, after all. Of course, one can always stick to neutrals to keep it safe, but really, that’s just boring (and a tad lazy). A well-coordinated outfit comprising of colours and prints, on the other hand, looks more harmonious and elegant, putting you a step ahead of the game. This is why it is very, very important indeed to learn all about the art of coordination.
As a rule of thumb, you should not wear more than three colours when putting together an outfit. These three colours, in turn, should not be worn in the same amounts. Rather, you need to identify each one as a primary, secondary, and tertiary colour. Naturally, the primary colour needs to be the most dominant, occupying the most coloured space, while the tertiary takes up the least space.
Now, the colour wheel is a great tool when it comes to colour coordination. You have to take into account that the colours in the wheel can be used in different saturation levels, giving you endless variations.
One of the best colour matchups that you can go for are complementary colours. This involves choosing two colours that are found on the exact opposite sides of the colour wheel. Such combinations are very eye-catching because they contrast, but look pleasantly bold when put together. Some of our favorites are blue-orange and purple-yellow.
An analog colour scheme also looks great and is rather quite elegant. This entails choosing one colour from the wheel, skipping the next colour, and choosing the one after. Think yellow-orange and purple-blue.
You can also split complementary colours for a more toned down look, but with considerable impact. This entails choosing two analog colours, plus the complementary colour found between them.
There are even more colour coordination techniques that you can use, such as going for a triad of colours, monotone chromatic, monotone achromatic, etc. These can either result in combinations that range from the unconventional to the prudent, so proceed with caution.
Patterns are notoriously tricky to work with, but when done right, these would add texture, dimension, and overall visual interest to your outfit. The important thing to remember is you have to start simple when it comes to patterns. First of all, you have to consider scale, as smaller scale patterns tend to be easier to match with bold colours and larger patterns. Secondly, you have to consider the prominent colour of the pattern in order to effectively complement the other colours of your outfit.
As a rule of thumb, keep smaller patterns closest to your body and work your way up and outward. With a small-scale pattern on the “main” piece of clothing (e.g. your shirt), it becomes so much easier to incorporate multiple patterns that you can layer on.
When it comes to the shirt-and-tie combo, here’s a great tip: match the most prominent colour of your shirt with the tie’s most minor colour. Or you can simply make sure that the most prominent colour of the tie complements the boldest colour of your entire outfit. Easy-peasy!