Fashion Advice: Color Scheme


Dear Budget Fashionista

This morning when I got dressed, I thought I looked rather spiffy.  But when I got to work the 2 girls I work with said I missed the boat.  Tell me if this sounds like it goes together: Plum corduroy nicely fitted blazer, white cami underneath, khaki slacks, and teal suede slingbacks.  The girls are telling me I can’t wear teal shoes because I’m not wearing teal in my outfit.  Am I wrong in my selection, or are they just being narrow-minded?  I would love to hear what you have to say about what I chose to wear today.

Answer: I give you credit for at least trying to put together an outfit that is different, But you and your colleagues are in the fashion wrong. Here’s why . . .

You: Purple blazer and teal shoes- great idea. The khaki pants—bad idea.  The dominant colors in your outfit- purple, teal, and light tan don’t work well together and looks a little “off” to the naked eye. A better option would have been a pair of chocolate brown slacks. Why? Purple, teal, and brown creates what is called a triadic color scheme (three colors equally spaced along a color wheel). Using these colors in the outfit creates a more harmonious color scheme, which in turn looks more balanced.  It is one of the reasons why prints with the dominant colors of purple and teal often have a dash of chocolate brown thrown in to add balance.

Officemates: The whole “matchy-matchy” look is very tired—just pick up any Lucky, Marie Claire, or Vogue and you’ll see that mixing and matching colors and prints is very “in”.

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  1. says

    I think that plum and teal coordinate – they’re in the same color family.  But it would have been nice to tie the outfit together with some other teal in the outfit (because it’s such a bold color), like a necklace or tote.

    But I like it anyway. :)

  2. rockmara says

    Where can we get one of those color wheels that I’m guessing you fabulous stylists use, so that we don’t muck up the triadic color schemes?  Sam Flax or Pearl Paint, where the art students shop?

  3. Melanie says

    I am wearing a bright orange gown to grad and I need to know what colour of a handbag will compliment my dress?

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