Styling Guide: Understanding types of colors

Neutral Colours

  • Black
  • White
  • Grey

Cold Colours

  • Blue
  • Green
  • Blue tones of purple e.g. lavender

Warm Colours

  • Red
  • Orange
  • Yellow
  • Pink
  • Pink tones of purple e.g. plum

Warm Neutrals

  • Cream
  • Beige
  • Tan
  • Brown
Greens, blues and purples are cool colours for the quiet sophisticate. They convey a serious mood and reflect a calm, natural and elegant style. Emotionally they express a serene and peaceful state of mind. These are the qualities that make the cool palette my favourite colour combination.
Reds, oranges and yellows are warm colours for the lively extrovert. They convey a vivacious mood, and reflect a sensual, active and carefree style. Emotionally they express an energetic and free spirit.
Match lighter and darker shades of the same color to create a chic, stylish outfit. Dark green and light green, or navy blue and pale blue, are simple, but stylish, combinations.
Complementary Colors

It is important to know whether the colors are actually complementary colors before you choose to wear both cool and warm colors. Some examples of complementary colors include red and green, blue and orange, and yellow and purple. An outfit that consists of these color sets will look great. Variations of these sets of colors are also ideal for clothing. For example, a mustard yellow can look great with a magenta purple. This is one of the first things to consider when choosing colors for an outfit.

The Amount of Color

Another one of the factors that you are going to want to take into consideration is the amount of color that you are actually going to be incorporating into the outfit. If you are going to be wearing a pair of purple pants with a yellow shirt, you may be going overboard. However, pairing a purple tank top with a yellow sweater can be a good idea. You will most likely want to choose one color that will play a more prominent role in your outfit. Then, include a small amount of the other color.

Wear three colors or less in every outfit.

Black, White, and Grays

No matter what cool or warm colors you are choosing for your outfit, it is important to keep in mind that you can always wear it with black, white, or grays. Any color that you could possibly wear will match one of these colors. Whether you are wearing cool, warm, or warm and color colors, you can opt for one of these colors for your outfit.

Two colors and one neutral — like blue, yellow and white — work well together. Two neutrals — like black and white, or black and gray — can create a stunning outfit.


The color with the smallest amount of color can also be incorporated into your outfit through the form of accessories. That purple tank top with the yellow sweater would look awesome with purple shoes, bag, and watch. The main key is to use accessories to accentuate both of the colors in the outfit. Also keep in mind that it is all about choosing the right colored accessories or the whole outfit may not look right. Not mixing checkers with stripes, for example, is very important.

Choosing the right accessories, including only a minimal amount of one of the colors, and knowing what colors complement each other is important if you want to mix cool and warm colors. Most people can pull off wearing cool and warm colors easily. Putting a little bit of thought into the colors in your outfit before wearing it is ideal, however.

Accessories like belts, shoes, scarves and purses should be similar colors to your outfit. Don’t pair a perfectly matching cream shirt with a brown pants and add red shoes.


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