Ever wondered why your outfits don't work colour wise?

Why do some colours when put together look more vibrant than alone?

Or why do some colours sit harmoniously together and others clash?

When you go clothes shopping or putting together outfits an awareness of colours can help.

If you always end up with nothing working together or only sticking to buying one colour you might find a little colour theory helpful to start you off.

If you want to know specifically which blue or which red is for you then you'll be best to contact an image consultant or colour consultant who can guide you through colours.

Guide to Basic Colour Theory

Colour Glossary:

Hue

- This is the name of the colour i.e. yellow, red or blue.

Tint

- This is the hue mixed with white.

Shade

- This is the hue mixed with black.

Tone

- This is the hue mixed with grey.

Value

- How dark or light a colour is.

Transparent

- The colour pigment to transmit light and allow other colour layers to show through - in tights the lower the denier number the more transparent they are.

Opacity

- The opposite to transparent - total coverage - like thick opaque tights

Primary Colours

Blue, red and yellow (technical names: magenta, cyan and yellow) - these are the basic colours used to mix other colours.

Blue is a primary colour but there are many blues out there - some have an undertone of green or some have an under shade of red. All colours have this bias towards another tone which is why it is sometimes very tricky to find a shade to suit. For example, if you have a paint called French Ultramarine next to a paint called Prussian blue you will see that Prussian blue is a greeny shade of blue and French Ultramarine is a reddy shade of blue.

So in fact when looking at primary colours, there isn't just three primary colours there are six:
  • Red with a yellow bias and red with a blue bias
  • Blue with a green bias and blue with a red bias
  • Yellow with a red bias and yellow with a green bias

Secondary Colours

The secondary colours are green, orange and violet.

To make the secondary colours you add together the primary colours like this:
Blue + yellow equals green
Yellow + red equals orange
Red + blue equals violet

If you add more yellow than blue when creating green your green will be a yellowy green and vice versa.

On a basic level this is why some green shades may suit you and others may not.

Complimentary Colours

This is a great rule of thumb to help when putting together colours in outfits.

Complementary colours complement each other because they are completely opposite on the colour wheel - within those colours you can have different shades and tints which means there are a hundred variations just within these combos!:
Orange and blue
Yellow and purple
Green and red

Link to colour chart on Dulux to order colour testers: http://www.dulux.ie/colours/samples/index.jsp