Today, we’re going to be revisiting art class; more specifically, color theory. If you remember, the color wheel is super important when it comes to art but it’s important in fashion too. By understanding the different terms in relation to color, we can more easily pair clothes and create outfits.

Color Theory

     So we know that the most used primary colors are red, blue, and yellow (fun fact most comic book heroes’ color schemes include primary colors; villains include secondary). Secondary colors are green, orange, and purple. Tertiary colors are a mixture of primary and secondary colors. These are the basics of color theory.

   These are going to be the basis for what we’re going to talk about within the color series. Now expanding on that are these terms, which will help you understand how color works in order to more easily match colors to create outfits.

Words to Know

Hue– Pure color

Tint– White+Hue

Tone– Black+White+Hue

Shade– Black+Hue

Color Value Chart Color Value made in Canva

Saturation Intensity of color

Value– Relative lightness or darkness (Tint and Shade)

Undertone– underlying color


     You’ve probably heard of undertone in relation to make-up; which is based on the undertone of your skin (click here to find your undertone). By definition it is present but not obvious which is the reason why a lot of people have a hard time distinguishing what undertone a color has unless it’s being compared to another.

     A thing to note is that color and undertones are still being discussed so there’s no real consensus on undertone(temperature) and that it can change depending on your light source. Because of this, determining temperature of a color is going to be largely subjective. So what you view as a warm pink, I may disagree and that’s okay. Fashion isn’t about rules, it’s about expressing yourself in a way that makes you feel good.

     Continuing on, for the most part people consider red-violet to yellow warm, and violet to yellow-green is cool. Orange is the warmest color, while blue is the coolest. Which is why when a color is more warm it’s because there’s more orange (or a warm color) used to create it and vice versa.

Examples of Use

     The reason why undertone is important is because it can be used to compliment your skin tone and it can make colors in your outfit pop more. Now my skin tone (I think) is neutral but leaning towards warm because I do have a slight yellow undertone.

    So if I was having trouble implementing color or finding a color that I think works in my wardrobe; I’m going to look for a color that is more warm than cool (even though I personally wear both).

     This outfit is an example of it. My undertone leans towards warm with a yellow tinge. So this dress compliments my skin tone pretty well. I paired it with dusty blue heels that have a cool undertone to it because I wanted a feature in my outfit to pop. 

My warm skin tone and yellow dress made sure that the cool blue drew the eye. Cool right?

     Now that we understand the terms, we can move on to color schemes which are the basis that you can use to mix color within your wardrobe easily. I will be dedicating a post to each color scheme within this series.

     Until next time, stay wonderfully you.


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