A Guide to Wearing (And Pairing) Neutral Colours
A few months ago we published a guide about how to develop your wardrobe colour palette, and a few of your asked about how these concepts around colours applied if you are trying to go for more minimalist and neutral tones.
With a heavy focus on on minimalism these days, it’s no surprise that many of you are interested in how to develop and pair your neutral wardrobe. And whilst the whole point of adopting neutrals into your wardrobe is to make it really simple to pair colours, the last thing you want to feel is bored with how colours can go together, which can sometimes happen when you stick with a simple palette.
Luckily, there are a few different ways to experiment with how you pair neutral colours that will keep your outfits interesting, which is what we’re going to share more about here. And whilst neutrals aren’t for everyone, (and it doesn’t even need to be one or the other – some days I’m all about neutrals and others I love colour), there are lots of benefits to simplifying your dressing process, like time saved and a wardrobe with greater longevity.
Below we’ve developed another outfit colour guide, this time for neutrals, using colour theory to help decide how outfit colours could be paired. Read on below for more detail!
In terms of neutrals, there are two elements of colour theory that are useful to understand so you can experiment with your outfits.
Analogous: Analogous colours are hues which appear next to each other on the colour wheel and when creating an outfit with neighbouring hues. By pairing these types of colours you create a tonal outfit, where all the colours are a similar tone.
Complimentary: These are colours which are roughly on opposite sides of the colour wheel. They create outfits with maximum contrast due to their relationship with one another.
How to Experiment With Neutrals
As we mentioned before, developing a neutral colour palette isn’t about just having one or two colours you wear, unless thats what you want of course! If you’d like some diversity in what you wear, the following two options are greats ways to experiment with what you wear.
Contrast outfits involve putting together complimentary or analogous colours (including black and white). Colour blocking and print matching (as we talked more about here) also falls under this category. Contrast colour garments give you the greatest variety of outfit combinations and can build on existing tonal outfits by introducing a new hue. This is particularly useful when coordinating accessories to go with an outfit. However, a good rule of thumb is to have a maximum of three analogous and/or complimentary colours an outfit at any one time to avoid making the ensemble too “busy”.
Tonal outfits involve choosing a single colour and wearing items that are different shades of that colour in one outfit. It plays with varying the brightness, lightness and saturation of one particular hue but it can also incorporate analogous colours which sit relatively close to one another e.g. navy and teal. It’s one of the major rules when it comes to wearing denim on denim: that is, always pairing denims pieces that have different tones together. I find tonal outfits are a great way to put pieces together when you are short on time.
If the concept of a neutral wardrobe still scares you, you can also add in some other colours such blue, stripes and some classic prints such a leopard to add a bit more personality to an outfit.
In case you’ve missed it, read the 5 steps to Wardrobe Rehab here.