How to mix and match - planning your wardrobe with other colours

Non complimentary colours that work well as base work wear outfits are:
Black, Grey and brown.


Everybody owns a black piece or two. Black easily goes with most colours. I would advise you to steer clear of colour shades that consist of a lot of black so for instance:

Very dark green (bottle green), dark blue (navy), dark purple and dark grey.

No one says you can't wear those colours next to black but if the colours you wear with black are very dark then the look becomes a little muddied or dark! Sometimes it's nice to add a contrasting colour to lift a black outfit.

Bright Ideas - black suit recipe - be bold, be bright, be brave.

Steer clear of black and bright yellow - done badly you can end up like a bumble bee.

Classic black combinations:
Black and red
Black and black
Black and white
Black and blue
Black and pale grey

Bright Ideas - black dress plus red belts and bags work as a dream mix.

To lighten up a black work dress - go for a light coloured jacket, skin coloured tights and light coloured accessories.

Use black as a base and accentuate your key features such as waist with a bright belt or neckline with a coloured scarf or necklace.


Grey is a great base colour for an outfit. Many women wear a grey suit to work. Whether you prefer a dark, a light grey or soft silver, most women can wear grey.

Adding grey to your wardrobe can extend your outfit options.

Colours can be viewed as either cool or warm. When making grey paint you add blue for a cooler hue or red for a warmer hue. You may find that your skin tone and colouring only suits a cooler or warmer hue of grey.

You can also use this theory in styling your outfits: a grey suit can be warmed if you add pink or red accessories. This can really lift a look if you add a warm shade next to your face in the form of a scarf or necklace. If you look great with cool colours, grey works very well with blue - some lovely earrings in turquoise could add that extra colour you need to a grey dress!

Grey works well with most colours. For instance mustard yellow works very well with grey. Imagine a smart pair of grey trousers, grey blouse and a smart mustard yellow jacket.

Or orange; you could try a dark grey skirt and an orange blouse. Coral and grey is one of my favourite colour combinations. Coral picks out the pink and orange that both go very nicely with grey. A dark grey dress with a purple necklace would look stunning and professional.

Adding colours to a grey base:

There are many shades of grey to choose from:


A nice dark chocolate brown can be a lovely colour for work. A great alternative to black and there are many colours you can wear with brown; easily match orange, taupe and ivory shades and tones with brown. Yellow, red, blue and purple can be worn with brown; but maybe a little harder to find the right brown matched with these colours.

There are lots of colours you can match with brown because browns are created by mixing all the primary colours (red, blue and yellow) together.

Brown shades to choose from:

Colours to combine with a brown base:

Bright Ideas - ivory and brown make a good match when you come to styling. Tan accessories are really easy to co-ordinate

So if you have a lovely pair of leather brown shoes for work; match these with a purple dress and skin tone tights. Go for a brown dress and you can wear black tights and shoes or if you want to brighten/lift your outfit with a colour - something like a little jacket and shoes in deep orange would be nice!

Bright Ideas - brown accessories also work well with black outfits.