Liven Up Your Wardrobe With Color-Theory Techniques

I can walk into any one of my client's closets and style six (fabulous!) outfits in less than an hour. Yet, I must confess: Most days, my closet looks like a crime scene.  


Because I like spending my evenings peeling yellow police tape off of my closet door?  No, not really.

Because orange is the new black?  That may be true, but not my motivation.

Because I'd rather clean up my closet than cook dinner?  Okay, that's a possibility.

In truth, I just need to stop arguing with my clothes and listening to my own advice beginning with a color wheel like the one to which we were introduced as children.


Using this wheel and the color combinations described below, you can create outfits with interesting color palettes and avoid creating your own crime scene.

Color Combination #1: Monochromatic

Monochromatic dressing means wearing separates of one color, or tints, tones and shades of one color, for an overall tonal look.

This strategy works best when you choose pieces with various textures and is especially flattering for petite women and for those who want to look as slim as possible because it has an 'elongating' effect. I often suggest women wear a monochromatic ensemble or 'column of color' underneath a jacket or other topper. 

Color Combination #2: Complementary

Pairing colors that are directly across from each other on the color wheel is called complementary dressing.  Although very simple in nature, this type of dressing often results in some very bold looks.

Color Scheme #3: Split Complementary

Split complementary pairings can be achieved by taking a base color and wearing it with colors directly next to its complementary color. 


When using this technique, you can select a saturated version of the color and pair it with less-saturated versions of the other colors.

Color Combination #4: Analogous

Combining three colors that are directly next to each other on the color wheel is referred to as analogous dressing.  For best results, choose one dominant color and two lighter or less saturated versions of the second colors.


Color Scheme #5: Triadic 

Drawing a triangle on your color wheel will allow you to put together a triadic color combination, which, like analogous color combinations, works best when you choose one dominant color and two lighter or less saturated versions of the second and third colors.


Trust me, learning to use the color wheel is much better than cleaning up a closet crime scene.​