How To Mix Colors

Posted by Jen Anderson on

How to Mix Colors - Vikki Vi Fashion Blog

We all know how to mix bright colors with neutrals like black, tan, or navy. But a lot of us are afraid to wear two non-neutrals together. I know I used to be. Heck, wearing brown in place of black used to feel like I was stepping outside my comfort zone.

It's totally possible to wear two bright colors together without looking like a clown. Stylists create outfits like that all the time. It isn't that they have a magic formula. They just understand color theory. You and I don't need to go that far, but we can grasp the basics.

Get To Know The Family

If you've spent any time in front of your closet trying to figure out why this blue necklace doesn't look good with that blue top, you know that not all colors are created equal. Sure, the primary colors you used to draw a rainbow in kindergarten all have something in common. But once you get into the big box of 64 crayons, you start to notice differences.

Some colors are pastel, or earth tones, or jewel tones, or even neon. Colors that belong to the same family get along well together (unlike actual families). That's why those eye searing neon shades we wore in the 80s all work together.

Need a more contemporary example? Our Royal Purple Classics and Sapphire Classics are both jewel tones. So even though they're bright and eye-catching, they work well together. If you're worried it might be too much, our fabulous stylist Monica suggests adding a scarf or necklace that includes both colors to tie the pieces together. 

Copy From Someone Else

Monica fills our Instagram account with pictures of great outfits put together from different pieces you can find on our site. If you're taking your first steps into wearing more colorful outfits, you can just wear what she does. I promise that no one at the office is going to call you a copy cat.

But why stop there? Prints combine different colors all the time. Maybe you have a print scarf or top that includes several of your favorite colors. That scarf is telling you that you can safely match any of those shades.

My favorite cheat involves a multicolored striped scarf I treated myself to a while back. I hold the scarf up to the different pieces of clothing I want to wear. If they each look good with the scarf, then I know they'll look good together. And then I get to wear my favorite scarf.

Why Bother?

If you've been sailing along in life wearing only one non-neutral color at a time, learning to match colors may seem like a wasted effort. But it's just so much fun!

It can also project an air of confidence bordering on the intimidating. Showing off your knowledge of this fashion rule doesn't make you look frivolous. It shows you know something other people don't, either intuitively or because you took the effort to learn. It's the perfect way to dress for your next big meeting.

Check out our other posts about plus size style.


I do my outfits a bit differently than Nora (above) does. I have noticed that both Vicki Vi and Travel Elements (Steinmart) tend to use the same colors throughout the line. Colors seem to stay true over years. I bought a Vicki Vi dress and jacket about 15 years ago because I loved the outfit. Then in Steinmart I found a jacket I loved and it appeared to be the same fabric. So I bought a black jacket to wear with the black dress and it was a match. I live in Eastern North Carolina and there were no stores carrying Vicki Vi. My lucky day was when I found this web site with LOTS of pieces. I have found that the colors I purchased 15 years ago are matching the current designs. I buy pieces usually when they are on sale. Two years ago I traveled to Italy for almost two weeks with very few separates and was able to live out of one 211"suitcase.

I have also found that they go in the laundry with warm water and a regular cycle and then get pitched in the dryer on a regular cycle and look great. Drying them flat was a real pain!

—Mary anne,

Perfect timing! I’m rebuilding my wardrobe. I can’t afford to buy all the matching items so I’m going through drawers &my closet to see what I can safely pull off. It’s amazing what colors I never dreamed went together. Also some ideas about matching colors are cultural. Looking at beautiful clothing around the world has really expanded by color combination possibilities as well.
Thanks for the blog!

—Nora ,

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