I’ve always been pretty good a putting different patterns and colors together in an unusual and great way. Mixing and matching is not too hard if you know all the rules (and have had your coffee).
For beginners, you’ll want to start with a basic neutral color to ground your outfit. Neutrals are colors you would typically find in pants: black, gray, denim, camel, navy, white, brown. If you’ve seen any episode of TLC’s What Not To Wear with Clinton Kelly and Stacy London, you should already know this. You can match any color with any of these basics.
But maybe you don’t want to wear a neutral color. Maybe you just bought some awesome green jeans and a great red vest. Great! But can you wear them together? Yes, you can because they are complimentary colors.
Complimentary colors are the colors opposite each other on the color wheel, as shown here. (The primary colors red, blue and yellow are also shown.) You can wear any complimentary colors together, though, maybe red and green isn’t the greatest idea since you’ll look like a christmas tree.
You can also mix colors that are in the same families, like different blues, together.
Wearing all one color will have a very slimming effect because it creates a straight line of your silhouette. You can make a monochromatic ensemble more exciting by adding a pop of color with your shoes, bag, scarf, hat or jewelry. Another way to spice it up is to add a pattern or some different textures.
Once you have mastered mixing colors, you can move on to the more expert, but just as easy, matching of different patterns.
When mixing patterns you must must must follow the rules of mixing colors. Choose different patterns that are in the same family or complimentary. The patterns can have different colors in them, like different plaids. But the matching color should be pretty prominent to pull off this look well.
Feel free to show me pics or tell me your favorite color/pattern combinations.
[Update: Instyle Magazine has just posted this guide to make your wardrobe pop using color.]