“How to Dress Up, not Mess Up.” | The Vanderbilt Bijl Style Guide, part I: Combining Colors

Combining colors in fashion – The perfect look

Combining pieces of clothing to form the perfect look can be quite a challenge sometimes! From combining colors in fashion, textures, prints and shapes to what works with your particular face – and body type. We are going to teach you exactly how to do it, one step at a time, starting with combining colors.

color wheel - dress up not mess up

Combining colors is a real art, and a science as well. Let’s start with the latter, leading to the question: What exactly are colors anyway? Colors are a certain frequency of light -photons moving in waves- which our eyes and brain interpret as different mixes of red, green and blue (due to how the eyes perceive color). Blue, for instance, has a much higher frequency than red. People tend to see low vibration colors as warm (like red and orange) and high vibration colors as cold (like blue). The total range of colors is defined by the color spectrum. When we put this range in a circular shape, we get the color circle or color wheel; a pie chart of sorts, showing ‘all’ the colors.

Color Theory

Now it’s time to dive a little deeper into the matter. When dealing with light (photons) red, green and blue are the primary colors; from these 3 the other secondary colors can me made by combining them. Tertiary colors deal with differences in hue and brightness and such, within the same primary or secondary color. 

In color theory, ther

e is a concept called color harmony. There are different kinds of color harmony:

ColorTheory - dress up not mess up

  1. Complementary harmony is the color opposite of the one you are starting from and consists of two colors.
  2. Analogous harmony consists of three colors; a color and its two neighbors on the color wheel.
  3. Diadic harmony (not shown) consists of two colors that are two colors apart from each other om the wheel.
  4. Split complementary harmony is created by adding the two neighbors of a colors’ opposite color, yielding three colors as well.
  5. Triad harmony divides the circle into three equal points (colors).
  6. Tetradic harmony is a rectangular shape, yielding four colors in tetradic harmony.
  7. Quadrilateral harmony is the same as the latter, but with a square shape, resulting in four colors.

Follow these rules when combining colors in fashion and you’ll be assured of a chromatically responsible outfit. As for black and white, they really do “go with anything” as they say.

So much for color theory. There is also a thing called color psychology. Did you know that yellow is associated by the majority with optimism and clarity? Likewise blue stands for trust and dependability, explaining why we are so clear and dependable ^^ More on this in part two of the Vanderbilt Bijl Style-guide series.

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