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Colour Wheel in Mens Fashion

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Colour coordination should never be overlooked by the man building a wardrobe.  Well-chosen colours are like a proper fit:  a detail that can entirely make or break an outfit.

Very nice clothing in the wrong colour combinations will still make you look bland and boring, or loud and foolish.

Finding a happy medium is essential to developing the look men strive for. We’re going to look into the colour wheel here.  This is the basic theory that underlies all the colour decisions you can make in your wardrobe.

Mixing Colours in a Man’s Outfit

Mixing colours is an essential skill for any man who hopes to dress well.  Mixing colours can create two effects: harmony or disorganisation. When we mix colours in an outfit, we want to use colours that work with each other to create an appearance that’s pleasant to look at, not a mash of colour that looks chaotic.

If we don’t mix colours or use any variety, the end result is most likely going to be bland or boring, which people don’t want to look at. If we mix too many colours, or mix colours in a non-harmonious way, it leads to a chaotic and disorganised appearance. This is why it is essential to know how to properly coordinate the colours of an outfit.

There are three colour schemes that register as the most organised with human eyes:  complementary colours, triad colours, and analogous colours.

Complementary colours, as discussed above, are directly opposite one another on the colour wheel.  This creates the most vivid contrast in an outfit:

It’s most common to see a complementing colour scheme on someone who needs strong contrast to stand out.  TV commentators like complementing colours, since television has a hard time projecting closely-related colours without turning washed-out.  A small accent in a complementary colour is a great touch on a suit or sport coat — pocket squares and boutonnieres in complementary colours always make an attention-getting splash of colour.

Triad Colours are equidistant from one another on the colour wheel.  This creates the most balanced form of contrast:

Triad colours are a good scheme for an outfit with lots of pieces.  A man trying to balance a suit, shirt, tie, belt, shoes, cuff-links, etc. might want to be thinking in terms of triads (some accents in neutral colours, such as black shoes and a black belt, will of course work with any colour scheme).

 

Analogous Colours are directly adjacent on the colour wheel.  This creates a minimised contrast, giving a very consistent look:

Analogous colour schemes are great for looking a little more restrained. They make good office outfits. Some fancy occasions also call for analogous colour schemes, such as a wedding party with a unified colour scheme, but be aware that fancy isn’t the same as formal. For that you’ll still need a standard black tie ensemble, which uses very little colour at all.