Home > Matching Your Outfit > Men Clothes Color Matching 101 (Updated)

Men Clothes Color Matching 101 (Updated)

August 10th, 2010

One of the things guys ask me all the time is how to match one’s clothes. This question pertains mostly to colors because that’s where us men have the biggest problems.

How can you really stand out from the crowd?

What’s the one thing that will draw women’s eyes upon you? (without effort…)

Give up?

It’s color.

In fact, it’s not color… it’s color matching.

When you make a great color combination, you’ll really feel what it’s like to have people admire you.

Think about it:

If you stop wearing t-shirts with big logos on them or socks with sandals, you’re on the right track.

If you take good care of your personal hygiene, you’ll save yourself from embarrassing moments… But it won’t get you any attention.

If you start wearing a nice shirt or a tie, you’ll look good but you still won’t hit a home run.

BUT, if you wear a great color combination… that’s another story, isn’t it?

Learning to match colors is like learning to be good at a sport: the more you practice it, the better you become. If you’re clueless about where to start with color matching, I’m going to give you some excellent tips.

It won’t be easy at first and you’ll probably be afraid to wear this or that combination.

It’s ok, I’m here to help.

The Color Wheel to the Rescue

Let’s start with the color wheel. Do you remember it from grade school? If not, here’s a picture of it. You’ll see why we need it in a second.

Let’s throw in some notions about colors. Red, yellow and blue are called the primary colors. Any other color is a combination of these three.

The secondary colors are green, orange and purple. Mix any two primary colors in equal proportions to get them.

men style ebook

Two colors that are next to each-other on the color wheel are called analogous…

… and color that are on opposite sides of the wheel are complementary:

OK, now let’s see the color matching rules, that are BASED on the color wheel.

Remember these 2 Rules Forever and Ever

Analogous colors go well together only when they have the same level of intensity.

Complimentary colors create high contrasts. Be careful which ones you wear because some shades don’t go very well with one another. In general, complimentary colors go well together. Just make sure you avoid the red and green combination. You don’t want to look like an elf…

When you start to actually match your clothes, you need a lot more rules than the two above. Color intensity, luminosity and the colors’ shades need to be taken into consideration. However that’s not something you need to learn by heart.

Once you have the fundamentals, you need to start looking at stylish outfits to train your eye to feel what works and what doesn’t.

But to give you a head start, I want to spoonfeed you some of the color combinations that are used daily by myself as well as other stylish guys around the world. They’re in random order so pick whichever ones look and feel better to you.

any shade of brown + any shade of blue + a warm drop of color such as red or yellow

This color combination is the easiest one to make that will also look really cool. Brown and blue will always work together so there’s just no way you can mess this up. The hit of warm color is there to state: Yeah, I know what I’m doing.

red + brown + camel + navy blue + white

OK, this one is more complicated. It’s one of those color combinations you can use to pick up girls in a nightclub or in the street. Definitely not something you woudl wear when you visit your relatives. To tone it down, just make sure you’re not wearing too much red or too much white.

As you can see, you can decide how much you want to stand out using these colors by wearing more or less of them. You can fine tune your color matching endeavors just like a volume knob.

purple + brown + gray + green

My, oh my. If you can pull this off, you’re my hero. Purple and brown having the same level of brightness will definitely attract a lot of feminine looks. The thing is, no one wears this color combination.

Now, if you’d like to wear it but you’d also liek to tone it down just a little bit, simply replace brown with black. Black is back, as they say. In fact, black and gray, being the neutrals that they are, will work with pretty much any color on the wheel.

Good luck!

Matching Your Outfit



Or you can stay in touch with us by signing up to our RSS feed by clicking here or you can follow us on Twitter here or on Facebook here.

  1. August 24th, 2010 at 05:03 | #1

    color do really plays a great role in choosing a casual or a formal wear for men and women alike

  2. December 13th, 2010 at 06:27 | #2

    A really great post. I’m going to show this to my brother since he always have trouble matching up his clothes.

  3. December 20th, 2010 at 02:06 | #3

    Great post, thank you. The color of the suit is always problem for men, so the information above will help people in the future.

  4. December 20th, 2010 at 02:17 | #4

    It is my first time to hear about the men clothes color matching. However, it will be so important for us to pay attention on it.

  5. December 30th, 2010 at 22:29 | #5

    i would think that just showing us the colors that work together instead of all that is what we want. Such as black pants and red or yellow or blue or whatever then a black sweater or something like that. we come here for answers and we get this floating drop down box like anyone really cares about the what ever it is that the damn things is about. so do you get my drift. Make your web site helpful and more will come here.

  6. December 30th, 2010 at 23:12 | #6

    whostandsforwhat :

    i would think that just showing us the colors that work together instead of all that is what we want. Such as black pants and red or yellow or blue or whatever then a black sweater or something like that. we come here for answers and we get this floating drop down box like anyone really cares about the what ever it is that the damn things is about. so do you get my drift. Make your web site helpful and more will come here.

    We have a few articles about that and more will come as time passes. Here’s a few:

    http://www.bestylish.org/blog/index.php/matching-your-outfit/what-can-you-wear-orange-with

    http://www.bestylish.org/blog/index.php/matching-your-outfit/7-purple-outfits-for-men

    http://www.bestylish.org/blog/index.php/matching-your-outfit/3-simple-men-casual-outfits

    This article is for those who really want ta deeper understanding about color matching.

  7. June 12th, 2011 at 13:05 | #7

    Hi,

    Nice article but I think there is one mistake in this article. As up to my knowledge the primary colours are RGB (Red, Green and Blue).

    I want to see article regarding color combination for office wear.

  8. June 12th, 2011 at 17:34 | #8

    Hitesh Agja :

    Hi,

    Nice article but I think there is one mistake in this article. As up to my knowledge the primary colours are RGB (Red, Green and Blue).

    I want to see article regarding color combination for office wear.

    Hi,

    RGB is a standard for monitors, which use red, green and blue to form all other colors. But the primary colors are red, yellow and blue (green is actually formed from yellow and blue). It’s easy to forget – I do too sometimes. :)

  9. June 17th, 2011 at 17:04 | #9

    Amazing! All are great tips.but all are traditional…i want some new..

  10. Todar
    August 17th, 2011 at 07:56 | #10

    I think this ia a fantastic introduction into the subject of “matching colours” a lot more men need to get this post in their mail, its a good for all to know the basics.

  11. JasonX
    February 18th, 2012 at 22:29 | #11

    Yea man. Color is visual flavor!

  12. February 25th, 2012 at 02:28 | #12

    dp :

    Amazing! All are great tips.but all are traditional…i want some new..

    Just check the other articles in the archive.

  13. February 25th, 2012 at 02:28 | #13

    Todar :

    I think this ia a fantastic introduction into the subject of “matching colours” alot more men need to get this post in their mail, its a good for all to know the basics.

    Thanks, color is THE way to stand out.

  14. February 25th, 2012 at 02:29 | #14

    JasonX :

    Yea man. Color is visual flavor!

    Nicely said.

  15. brian watling
    July 13th, 2012 at 18:24 | #15

    i am looking for gold tips for foumal dress shirt can you help

  16. srinivas
    July 29th, 2012 at 10:32 | #16

    Hi just want to know what color and type of shoes will match my white suit for my wedding.

  17. October 17th, 2012 at 09:06 | #17

    Nice write-up. You talked about complimentary colour being a possible match, then in the latter end you warned against combining red and green which according to the chart are complimentary.
    Contrasting details?
    Thanks.

  18. October 17th, 2012 at 10:10 | #18

    Hey, like I said in the article, red + green = Christmas Elf. You should only use this color combination around the holidays.

  19. tonery
    November 23rd, 2012 at 20:26 | #19

    Yeh, nice article but i think a color matching chart will serve more better. Tnxs!

  20. patrick
    December 12th, 2012 at 20:05 | #20

    George,
    great article as usual.your insight and advice are simply invaluable

  21. Andy
    January 11th, 2013 at 06:44 | #21

    @lent ford
    Did you bother reading what you wrote before posting? Hoping you don’t speak the way you write.

  22. AB
    January 29th, 2013 at 15:27 | #22

    The primary colours are Red, Blue and GREEN. The secondary colours are Cyan, Magenta and Yellow. This throws your entire color wheel off.

    So red complements cyan, green complements magenta and blue complements yellow. Makes a bit more sense now, huh?

  23. January 29th, 2013 at 15:49 | #23

    You’re talking about a different color model than the one I’m mentioning in the article, namely RGB versus RYB.

  24. AB
    January 29th, 2013 at 23:06 | #24

    That’s true, but the RYB model is a historical model for mixing paint pigments, whereas the RGB model is a more up-to-date model derived from human color perception in the visual cortex and hence more applicable for color matching on clothes. See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complementary_color
    Hope this helps your article!

  25. abcd
    July 12th, 2013 at 06:01 | #25

    is yellow ochre colur jeans and blue shirt with black stripes a good combination??

  26. SAGAR
    September 12th, 2013 at 18:53 | #26

    which common color mocasins should be weared under blue yellow black and red t-shirts.?

  27. Rahul
    September 15th, 2013 at 01:42 | #27

    Hi,
    The concept of complementary and analogous colours is good.I’ll surely try it.When you say that analogous colours go well only with the same level of intensity,do you mean something like Dark orange and light orange or Dark and light purple.
    Also,there is no mention about the colours black and white being complementary or analogous which are used quite frequently.Can you give suggestion for these too.
    Thanks

  28. Trad
    October 2nd, 2013 at 14:27 | #28

    @SAGAR

    In general, you’d want to match your shoes to your pants (and belt, and maybe your wristwatch strap), not your shirts or jackets. The exception is when you’re wearing shorts (as there is no shoe-sock-pants continuity) or you’re trying to make a fashion statement. In general, I’d suggest – red, blue and dark red shoes with some shade of brown – from cream/tan all the way to the chocolate/oxblood. White and yellow (to light brown) with light brown (tan) shoes. White or black shirts with black moccas, but avoid black shoes if you’re wearing shorts, as the contast between the shoes and your skin color would be too strong if you’re Caucasian. Again I’ll say – if you’re trying to make an avantgarde fashion statement then [almost] anything goes – I’m suggesting just the classic combinations.

  29. Trad
    October 2nd, 2013 at 14:32 | #29

    @Trad

    What I meant to say: In general, I’d suggest – blue/navy and dark red T-Shirts with some shade of brown shoes – from cream/tan all the way to the chocolate/oxblood. Depends on your pants. Off-white and yellow (to light brown) T-shirts definitely with light brown (tan) shoes. White, charcoal or black T-shirts -> black shoes.

  30. Gaurav
    November 4th, 2013 at 21:00 | #30

    Hi , i have to attend a marrige party on sunday. I have purcheased a chrome yellow color trousar. Could you please suggest me a good pair of shirt with trousar and blazer color as well. Can i wear this with white shirt with red collor and light brown loafer. Please help me it is very neccessary for me to look good in that party as my girlfriend’s mom dad would be there.
    height-5’6 ft
    color- Fair

  31. Ashley
    March 17th, 2014 at 03:44 | #31

    To everyone saying green is a primary color, you are wrong. Green is a mixture of blue and yellow.@Hitesh Agja

  1. November 30th, 2010 at 22:34 | #1