Myth: Whatever colors you wear, they need to match.
Myth 2: Whatever colors you wear must never match.
Truth: It depends. This idea of matching colors has shown up on my social media feed. There are those who love when colors don’t match. One woman loves wearing a lighter version of green with a darker one and she loves the contrast. I love wearing two different versions of green of similar value because I love the richness. There are also those who say that when colors don’t match it doesn’t look right. And there are those who just don’t feel right when their own colors don’t match.
From me, you get the truth.
For the most part, there’s no right or wrong in terms of matching. It depends on the look you want. If you want a monochromatic head-to-toe look that makes you appear taller and slimmer (love that), then yes, your top and skirt can match and it will work. If you want your jewelry or other accessories to just add a bit of richness to your outfit without actually standing out, then it’s okay if they match your outfit.
The problem with matching is that too many people stick with it only because they’re afraid that not matching is a faux pas. It’s not. There was a time when everything had to match, and if your clothes and accessories didn’t match just right it was a faux pas, but this is one of those old rules that is long dead. In fact, if every element of your outfit matches too perfectly it may not look right. The goal is to show your style as if it’s effortless, and matching does not look effortless.
That said, there are ways to do a matching look that can work well and it need not be avoided. The easiest way to do a matching look without looking dated is to go with one color from head to toe and then add one single contrasting element. That’s likely to be an accessory like a necklace or a pair of earrings or an oblong scarf. That one contrasting element will make the outfit look less thought-out and contrived.
Another good way to do a matching look is to do one single perfect match with absolutely no other colors involved. This works best with classic neutrals – black, navy, gray, brown, beige, and white – or with secondary neutrals: burgundy, wine red, deep teal blue, forest green, and muted pastels. This tactic is tricky with brights because those stand out more. To pull this off, every item has to be the exact same color and that color has to flatter you. If your style is edgy, then this works best when done in a darker color.
While it’s okay to do a matching look, it’s not a faux pas if you don’t. Wearing two different versions of the same color can look wonderful. If your coloring leaves you looking your best with blended colors, then it’s best if your two versions are close in value. For example, two versions of light green can look very rich. Same for two versions of darker blue. But if your coloring leaves you looking better with higher contrast, then it’s good if your two versions have two different values, such as light green with dark green. Since they’re in the same color family, they look unified.
Even the monochromatic head-to-toe look need not match perfectly. A black top with a navy skirt has the same slimming effect. Same with a navy top and dark brown skirt. A pastel top with a beige skirt will work the same way. None of these combinations actually match but they do blend, and so they give you that one long line.
I have often advised that jewelry should not match the base outfit. That’s because I believe that jewelry is supposed to set off the outfit, and if it matches too closely it disappears. However, there are those women who prefer for their jewelry to match. If you just want your jewelry to add some extra richness and bling to the outfit (as if the outfit is ornamented), then matching is absolutely fine. If you’re afraid of committing a fashion faux pas by wearing jewelry that doesn’t match, then you do need to take that step out of your comfort zone and try non-matching jewelry just to see how well it actually works. It’s supposed to be about the look you want and not about old-fashioned rules that are long dead.
Overall, it’s good to go with what works well for you and suits your style.