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Crescent’s Ultimate Guide to Styling Colors for Cohesive Outfits

neutral monochromatic outfit with trench, blouse, and trousers

Learning About Outfit Color Combinations

Defaulting to neutral colors used to be an easy way to create an outfit. You put a black piece with a white piece, and voila! You’ve got a sophisticated, cohesive ensemble. These days, however, the neutral color palette has expanded to include everything from navy blue and taupe to nude, brown, beige, and cream. With so many new additions to the neutral color spectrum, styling colors can be a little more complicated if you want to ensure you still look chic and elegant. Even more important, minimalist wardrobes often have a few pops of color to create contrast and add interest, so you’ll also have to figure out where those fit into your looks.

If you want to create amazing outfit color combinations with your neutral pieces and more colorful styles, Crescent is here to help! You don’t need a comprehensive lesson in color theory to learn about styling colors – simply follow our guide for minimalist outfits that utilize a few key color combinations that will help you revamp your style.

Monochrome

A monochromatic look is one that’s deceptively simple. You’re only focusing on a single color – what could possibly go wrong? Unfortunately, there are a few pitfalls when styling monochromatic pieces because you could potentially end up with a mundane, flat look.

Many people prefer creating a monochromatic ensemble because it makes getting dressed in the morning a little easier and ensures you’re still making a fashionable statement. But the key here is to mix and match several shades of the same color while avoiding hues that are too contrasting. When styling these colors, keep the undertones of your selections in mind and steer clear of pairing warm and cool undertones of the same color together. 

If you’re looking to break up the monotony of a monochrome look, consider incorporating patterns or texture into your outfit for a bit of variety without breaking away from the single-tone style. Think about spicing up a blue look with a navy houndstooth trench coat over a silky cobalt blouse and navy culottes. This outfit combination balances the flare and drama of unique textures with classic, chic silhouettes!

Complementary

orange beige turtleneck top

slate blue floral skirt

If you’re looking at a color wheel, styling complementary colors means you’re pairing the colors that are directly across from each other. Are you looking for a complementary color to blue? The right choice is orange. Prefer to start your outfit with burgundy? Chartreuse is the hue directly across from it. While you may not be focusing on primary colors when working with a minimalist capsule wardrobe, the color wheel provides a basis for pairing opposites. 

When creating complementary outfit color combinations based on a neutral palette, you’ll need to look at the undertones of the piece to determine what its base hue is. Ivory and cream, for example, lean heavily towards yellow, and you should pair them with rose, taupe, or lilac. Beige and sand, on the other hand, have more of an orange tint, and they pair well with navy, grey, and dusty blue as their complementary choice.

Minimalist complementary styling allows you to create dynamic outfits without resorting to eye-popping shades of red, pink, orange, and purple. You can still create an impactful outfit with complementary neutrals.

Analogous

Styling analogous colors are even easier than using complementary colors. Colors considered analogous are those that are next to each other on the color wheel. For example, you could put together yellow and green or yellow and orange to create an analogous outfit. If you’re working with neutral hues, you’ll have to complete the same analysis we did for complementary colors and look for the undertones in your greys, blues, and tans.

We recommend starting with a single base color, say olive. That’s clearly a shade of green, so you’ll have to pair it with one of the neutral hues on either side of green on the color wheel – either something with yellow undertones (like beige) or a blue undertone (like slate). When you build around a single featured color, you gain better control of your ensemble’s narrative and create a sense of consistency that won’t look boring.

Triadic

fern colored knit cardigan set

clay colored trousers

We’ve talked about the three most popular color combinations, and you may be feeling confident and raring to go. But, wait! There’s one more way of styling colors we want to explore before it’s time to experiment with what’s in your closet. A triadic color scheme is a bit like the advanced version of analogous outfit color combinations. When you put together triadic ensembles, you’re pairing hues that are skipping a space between them and the color next to them. Instead of pairing yellow and green for an analogous look, you’re pairing yellow and blue for a triadic look.

Styling triadic colors provides a more diverse feel to your outfit without getting too wild. They’re mismatched in a harmonious way that still makes sense. An obvious triadic outfit for us would be a pairing our fern-colored cardigan set with one of our clay-hued linen pants.

Time to Shine

With this overview for styling colors, we think you’re ready to go! Mix and match the pieces in your capsule wardrobe based on these guidelines and discover new combinations that you never even considered before!

Looking for more styling advice before you head out the door? Find tons of style inspiration on our blog and browse our featured products for more ideas today!

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