Do you recall the colour wheel from the days when you did fine art as a subject in secondary school? Then, we used only six colours, three primary (red, blue and yellow) and three secondary (green, purple and orange) colours. Tertiary colours we got to learn about later.
The way it is, you don’t need to be a visual artist to understand how colour works for your wardrobe, you just need to know your skin colour type and the colour wheel.
Taking a look at the complete colour wheel above you’ll see twelve main colours ranging from red to violet, green to yellow, blue all the way back to red. These are the basic colours that can be referred to as hues. The colour wheel offers a visual representation of hues and shades – if you add white or black to these then they will change in hue; for example violet and white will make lavender while black with purple will make plum.
With these little adjustments you can pretty much come up with any colour you want. But what’s really important is understanding the position of each colour on the wheel because how close or far away they are is what makes them easy or difficult to co-ordinate.
The positions on the wheel will determine similar, complementary and contrasting colours of each shade. The sections on either side of a colour are similar, opposite is complementary and contrasting hues are separated by three sections of the wheel.
For instance, purple and orange are either side of red making them similar. Red is opposite to green making them complementary. Yellow and blue are three sections away from red making them contrasting.
Note that it’s not advisable matching complementary colours directly, you can use their tints (lighter colour) or their shades (darker colour). Like cream which is a tint of yellow can be combined with navy blue a shade of blue; or lavender a tint of purple and maroon a shade of red; or pink a tint of red and green.
Fashion meets art in this post – knowing how to balance, match and mix colours goes a long way to help in overall dressing for the total man.