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A Gentleman’s Guide to the Best Clothing Colour Combinations

Updated: Jul 14, 2021

Learn how to easily match colours for men’s clothing in this essential guide.

Understanding colour and its role it has on styling are imperative if you want to look the part. There’s a whole psychology behind colours, with each one making us feel and think differently.

In fact, opting for a slightly darker or lighter shade in one colour can completely transform the meaning of your outfit. For instance, light blue is associated with fun, while a darker shade portrays authority and power.

One of the biggest challenges when factoring this in is trying to identify the best clothing colour combinations. It only takes one ghastly trouser and shirt colour combination to put dates off, lose out on a job and get a load of stick from your mates.

In this guide, we show you the ins and outs of colour theory and how you can use it to effortlessly choose the best clothing colour combinations.

Colour combinations for clothes

Whether you’re out shopping for some new gear or trying to find a colour combination that works within your wardrobe, knowing colour theory is extremely useful.

Cast your mind back to art class and think about the colour wheel. This simple diagram can work as a rough guide, giving you a taste of what colour combinations work and what don’t.

  • Complementary colours – these are opposites on the wheel offering you a balanced contrast. However, they can be quite strong combinations, so we recommend using whites or blacks to neutralise the look.

  • Analogous/associated colours – these are colours which are next to each other on the wheel which have similar tones and blend well together.

  • Triadic colours – these colours are three evenly spaced hues working in harmony. Although, they can be quite bold and should only be used as a guide.

Once you’ve refreshed yourself with the specifics of the colour wheel, there are a few other fundamentals you need to know about clothing colour matching for men.

Colour psychology

As we mentioned earlier, humans perceive certain things when they see colour. Knowing this will help you establish whether a colour is right for an occasion.

  • Red: danger, passion, love and anger

  • Light blue: fun

  • Dark blue: authority and power

  • Dark green: wealth and growth

  • Light green: calming

  • Bright green: creative and refreshing

  • Yellow: optimistic, fun, attention-grabber and energetic

  • Brown: strong and classic

  • Black: sexy and powerful

  • White: pure, innocent, calm

  • Grey: reserved, calm, emotionless, impartial and controlled

Tints, shades and tones

Knowing the difference between these three can help incorporate black, grey and white staples into your look.

  • Tints: mixing colour with white

  • Shades: mixing colour with black

  • Tones: mixing colour with grey

Tried and tested colour combinations for men’s clothing

Yes, colour theory is important in the long-term planning of your wardrobe, but what about when you’re stood in the middle of the shop looking for a quick and powerful colour combination? Or when you’re in a rush to find an outfit for a date?

To make things easier, here are some classic men’s clothing colour combinations you know will instantly work.

Navy, white and brown

If in doubt, always turn to navy, white and brown. The contrast between navy and white, complemented by the rich brown colour is timeless.

The neutral and pure feel of white allows the blue to really stand out and inject a light, summery feel to the look.

Brown and burgundy

If you want to look intelligent, well-travelled and mysterious all at once, brown and burgundy is the way to go. A dark, deep red, such as burgundy, mixed with brown is a vivid, fiery colour combination for men.

Grey and black

While both colours may create a muted finish, there’s something slick and powerful about this colour combination for men.

Black generates contrast and the grey reflects off it. Add a dash of white in there for a lighter and rounded appearance.

Brown and cream

Think long summer nights in the heart of Cuba. Brown and cream are an elegant and powerful colour combination. It’s also surprisingly versatile. For formal events, a cream blazer with a white shirt and light grey tie looks incredible. While brown on tan and a lighter tan on tan looks amazing for laidback, casual occasions.

Green, khaki and brown

Ever wondered why the army look so badass in their uniform? It’s the Green, khaki and brown colour combination.

The woodland vibes make any man look natural, free and true. It particularly excels when you wear casual attire, such as jeans, coat/jumper, Oxfords/Chelsea boots and a white Oxford shirt.

Final thoughts

Finding the best clothing colour combinations that work for you is an art. It takes time to master. However, if you use the colour theory and the colour wheel, you’ll start to grasp the rules and will be able to use your investment fashion pieces to shape the rest of your look.

White and black are vital in piecing colour combinations together and adding a balance as well. The trick is to use two colours, like the ones above, and infuse them with white or black to stop your outfit from looking too bold.

Lastly, don’t forget about jewellery and accessories. While many watches come in versatile colours, such as gold, brown, black and silver, you should always try to make a subtle nod towards it somewhere else in your look. For example, if you’re wearing a summery brown strapped watch, choosing a belt or shoes in a complementary brown will tell those around you that you think about the finer details.

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