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Struggling with Mixed-Colour Patterns? Here’s How to Choose Right Ones for Your Colour Palette

Have you ever stood in front of your wardrobe, puzzled by a garment that combines both warm and cool colours? You’re not alone. This can be particularly challenging when the pattern includes colours like blue and orange or blue and yellow. Here’s a guide to help you navigate these tricky combinations and ensure that your choices enhance your personal colour analysis palette.

Understanding Your Palette

First, it’s essential to know your palette. Look at the specific shades of blues and yellows you already wear. For instance, in an Autumn-related Exotic palette, you’ll find warmer, mustard yellows and turquoise blues. Conversely, in a Winter-related Dramatic palette, you’ll see a mix of warmer blues and cooler purply blues, with yellows more akin to light lemons devoid of orange tones.

Evaluating Patterns

When faced with a pattern that includes both warm and cool colours, you need to ensure the colours align with your palette. If the pattern features blue and yellow, you could potentially wear it whether your palette is warm or cool. The key is to ensure that the blue and yellow tones match your specific shades.  Those blues and yellows want to blend with these colours in your colour swatch.

Mixed Patterns and Dominance

However, some colours like orange are always warm and will not suit a cool palette. When evaluating patterns, focus on the dominant colour and how it aligns with your palette. For example, if a pattern is predominantly cool but includes a warm colour like orange, the orange will stand out and might clash with your overall look if your palette is cool.  Here’s an example of this.

Even though the blues and greens in this palette harmonise with the Dramatic swatch, the orange isn't contained in the swatch and it is the focal point of the pattern, not so good for someone who has cool Dramatic (winter) colouring.

Even though the blues and greens in this palette harmonise with the Dramatic swatch, the orange isn’t contained in the swatch and it is the focal point of the pattern, not so good for someone who has cool Dramatic (winter) colouring.

Some patterns contain both warm and cool elements. You can sometimes overlook a minor colour mismatch if the dominant colours are suitable for your palette. For instance, if a pattern is mainly warm but includes a cool colour like hot pink, it may still work if the warm colours are more prominent and advance more than the cool colour. Warm overtone colours like yellows, oranges, pinks, and reds tend to advance and grab attention, while cool colours recede.

Understanding how to choose the undertone of colour

Colour Overtone

For example, a predominantly cool pattern with a bright orange will clash because the orange will pop against the cool background. On the other hand, a mostly warm pattern with a cooler hot pink might still be harmonious because the advancing warm colours overshadow the receding cool pink.

 

 

  • Dominance: Ensure the dominant colours in the pattern match your palette. A minor mismatch can sometimes be ignored if the dominant colours align well with your palette.
  • Advancing vs. Receding: Pay attention to whether the colours are advancing (warm) or receding (cool) overtones.  When you think about overtones of colours, these are the way we ascribe warmth or coolness to a colour based on hot things (sun, fire) versus cold things (water) which is why yellows, oranges and reds are warm overtone and blues, greens and purples are cool overtone. Avoid patterns where an advancing colour from the wrong palette dominates.
  • Colour Quality: If a pattern seems off, it might not be your fault. Many patterns are poorly colourised. If a pattern contains an equal mix of warm and cool colours, it’s best to avoid it.

Practical Advice

  • Dominance: Ensure the dominant colours in the pattern match your palette. A minor mismatch can sometimes be ignored if the dominant colours align well with your palette.
  • Advancing vs. Receding: Pay attention to whether the colours are advancing (warm) or receding (cool) overtones.  When you think about overtones of colours, these are the way we ascribe warmth or coolness to a colour based on hot things (sun, fire) versus cold things (water) which is why yellows, oranges and reds are warm overtone and blues, greens and purples are cool overtone. Avoid patterns where an advancing colour from the wrong palette dominates.
    Warmer colour pattern with orange and blue works with the SPicy Palette

    This pattern has both warm and cool overtone colours – blues/greens plus the orange and yellow – and works with this Spicy palette. The greens in it are cooler, but because it’s a smaller amount and the cool recedes it doesn’t matter

  • Colour Quality: If a pattern seems off, it might not be your fault. Many patterns are poorly colourised. If a pattern contains an equal mix of warm and cool colours, it’s best to avoid it.  Here’s an example of a pattern that should be avoided for both warm and cool palettes as it’s too mixed.
Here's an example of a poorly colour pattern that is too 50/50 as the cool mint green background is equali in quanity to the warmer oranges

Here’s an example of a poorly colour pattern that is too 50/50 as the cool mint green background is equal in quantity to the warmer oranges

By keeping these principles in mind, you can confidently choose patterns that complement your unique palette, enhancing your style and ensuring you always look your best. Remember, it’s about finding harmony in your wardrobe, reflecting your true colours, and expressing your personal style effortlessly.

 

© 2024 Academy of Professional Image

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