Welcome to the first instalment of the How to Wear series! This month's segment is all about how to wear colour. Over the years I've gone through phases where I've only worn black, so much so that people are shocked when I showed up wearing other colours. I very recently went through a phase where I only wanted to wear shades of white, and after realising that I can be a clumsy eater, and ending up with drops of chocolate ice cream and marinara sauce on my favourite whites – I decided to maybe try to stick to neutrals, but if you're one to be spontaneous with colour, keep reading.
Colour theory is something we’re all familiar with on some level but sometimes it’s best to have a guide on hand, especially when planning outfits in advance. This avoids an ‘uh-oh’ moment later on when you try on an outfit that works better in your head than in your mirror.
I use a simple formula for most of my outfits. I pick a colour I want to hero in my outfit, and I either go for the same colour, an analogous palette (next to each other on the colour wheel) or if I'm feeling spontaneous, a complementary colour (opposites on the wheel).
monochromos – having one colour
Monochrome dressing is a comfortable zone for most, and still gives you the tools to create a head-turning outfit. When putting together a monochromatic outfit, once you've settled on a single colour, you can experiment with different silhouettes and textures. A very common way monochrome outfits are worn are as traditional suits, or a slightly elevated suit with a wrap blazer and wide-leg trousers because it's easier to find exact shade matches when you buy a co-ord set. Another route you can go down when styling a single colour, is by putting together different textures of the same shade – whether that be thin or thick knits, denim, or OTT vinyl and viscose. I like to break the monotony with a statement shoe, gold jewellery, or a statement belt and I would be remiss if I didn't guide you to the queen of monochrome outfits for more style inspiration, check out her Instagram (@mynameismonochrome) here.
analogus - similar to something else
If I'm not wearing a monochromatic outfit, you will most definitely find me dressed in analogous colours. This is by far the easiest colour palette to work with, and also the most fun. You can either stick to the same fabric and fit but mix up the shades of a colour, or go completely OTT on the silhouette and keep the tones muted like Bottega Veneta's twill jumpsuit and garbadine coat in light and dark shades of brown. With analogous colours, don't be afraid to experiment with a variety of shades of the same colour – take Victoria Beckham as an example, she's picked a berry shade for her trousers and added a pop of colour on top with a bright purple, all while sticking to the same colour story.
complementum – constituting one of a pair
This is where it gets a little tricky – colours that don't seem to go together when you hold them up next to each other, versus the same colours looking fantastic once you've worn the outfit. A good place to start your with complementary colours is to pair colours exactly as they are on the wheel, like the yellow and purple on the left. Over time as you get more comfortable, start putting together shades of the same complementary colours. For instance, red and blue aren't exact opposites on the wheel, but the brightest shade of red paired with a light blue creates the same balance an orange and navy would. Similarly pink isn't even on the wheel, but since it lies between red and purple, it looks great with a soft green. A complementary outfit is definitely one you should have in your closet especially if you're someone who loves colour – whether the contrast comes from the apparel or accessories, it's always nice to see a pop of colour.
DM us your favourite monochrome, analogous or complementary coloured outfits and we'll share our favourites on Instagram. Would you like a segment on how to wear neutrals next? Let us know!