How to Coordinate Colours in Clothing: A Basic Chart

When I was starting out, every once in a while I would buy something colourful, only to have it gather dust in my closest. I once had a great purple sweater and every time I would slide through my clothes hangers I’d look at it, ponder about wearing it, then brush it aside in favor of a more versatile black sweater. That purple sweater never saw the light of day. Colour coordination can be a challenge.

What prevents most men from wearing colour is not knowing what colours work with each other, and maybe the fear of looking like a peacock.


While sticking to neutrals is good, incorporating some colour into your style is a great way to show off some personality with your outfit. It takes cojones for a man to wear a pink pants and carry himself confidently in them.

2f42178b32ff0734494a7bba2f27f4a4pink and yellow

To make sense of it all, I made a chart to show some of the main colours used men’s wear and what other colours they work with. Follow these guidelines and you’ll have a good idea on how to put together a colourful but not overbearing look. Or, you can stick to neutrals, it’s your call.

colour chart

*Correction: navy and red do work with each other, as do blue and red.

Granted, the chart doesn’t cover every shade of every colour, and their compliments. Certain shades work better together than others. There’s probably some special shade of orange that works with some special shade of purple out there somewhere. Until recently, pairing black and brown, and wearing both black and navy at the same time, was outlawed by the fashion police, but that’s no longer the case. Colour rules always change.

Note: when in doubt as to what colours to match, just look at nature for ideas. Violets have purple petals with green leaves and the dirt under them is a dark brown; tigers have orange, white, grey and black fur. Their colours are what make them beautiful. Rainbows are beautiful too, but don’t try to copy them.


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