How To Use The Colour Wheel For Fashion

January 24, 2019



I use the colour wheel a lot when deciding which colours to use in my paintings.

It is an immensely complicated subject and is used differently by different artists depending on whether the artist wants to convey mood or expression; to capture the light or a time of day; or to craft a dynamic composition that is less about reality and more about creating a painting that visually holds together.

colour wheel

The colour wheel is not only important for artists but can also be used for our everyday lives in fashion, home decor or even in the presentation that you will be delivering to your clients.

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The same theory also applies to using colours in fashion.

Understanding which relationships on the colour wheel look “good” to human eyes and which seem bland or garish is the key to using the colour wheel in coordinating your outfits.

Once you have a general idea of what the colour wheel encompasses, you can begin to combine the colours together. There are a ton of different colour combinations out there. From prints and patterns, to colour blocking, accessories and everything in between.

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Colour Theory

1. Monochromatic

The easiest way to match clothes is to use a monochromatic colour scheme. Monochromatic shades are those of a single colour in various gradients featuring a lighter and darker version of the same colour.

2. Complementary

The best colours to wear together are shades that are complimentary of each other. In the world of colour, this actually means shades that are opposites. These include red and green, violet and yellow and blue and orange.

On paper, they seem quite striking and daring, but in reality, these shades work well together and won’t seem as statement as you may first think. They’re easy to find as they’re directly opposite each other on the traditional colour wheel.

3. Analogous

When two or three shades are side by side on the colour wheel, they are known as analogous colours, like red, orange and yellow, for example. These work well together because naturally, they blend into one another.

4. Triadic

The term triadic is given to three shades in the colour wheel that are equal distance apart from each other. Pink, green and orange are good examples of this.

5. Neutral

This is when, you guessed it, two or more neutral tones are combined. These are arguably the most worn, and many of our go-to’s. Greys, navys, black, creams and browns are all considered neutral and in turn, all work together to create a chic, tonal colour palette.


These are just the beginning of all the possibilities that the colour wheel can hold for your style choices. Honestly though, when it comes down to it, don’t forget to just have fun with it and take risks, make mistakes and do whatever the hell you want as long as you feel comfortable in it. Using the colour wheel is a very basic guideline to get you started. A splash of difference here or there is what makes the outfit yours.

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“Disclosure: There are some affiliate links on this page but these are all products I highly recommend. I won’t put anything on this page that I haven’t verified and/or personally used.”