The complementary color harmony is the most basic harmony. It is created by pairing two colors that are opposite one another on the color wheel. Red, blue and yellow are primary colors. The secondary colors green, orange and violet are their complements. The combination of these complimentary colors creates a vivid and energizing effect, especially when combined at maximum saturation.
Complementary colors are perceived to clash because the eye does not easily flow from one color to the other causing a visual dissonance.
Traditionally complementary colors were used mainly in graphic arts and advertising. However contemporary fashion sometimes takes advantage of the dissonance to draw attention to an outfit.
Red and Green is one combination, for example, that was made popular for Christmas outfits. The other versions of this complementary harmony include red orange paired with blue-green and red-violet paired with yellow-green.
Another complimentary color combination is Violet and Yellow. Blue-purple paired with yellow-orange is the other variation of this complimentary harmony. This color harmony is often used for sports team uniforms or athletic wear.
Orange and Blue is the last of the complimentary harmonies. This is also a popular combination for athletic uniforms and swimwear.
But in most of the above images, your eye is drawn to the outfit, rather than to the beautiful woman wearing it. So, in order to create Visual Harmony between you and your clothing you'll want to consider these tips when creating outfits from complimentary colors.
1. Choose complimentary colors of varying tints, tones and shades.
The primary and secondary colors can be tinted with white or shaded with black or mixed with another color altogether to create various tints, tones and shades. All of these mixes will affect a color and thereby modify its relationship with its complement to one that feels more harmonious.
2. Visual proportions also affect color relationships. For example, a large bright yellow article of clothing against a bright purple can be overwhelming on some women. On the other hand, a smaller portion of one color against another can be quite fun as seen in the monochromatic purple outfit below with a pop of yellow in her handbag.
3. Fabric, texture and print will also affect color relationships. Repeating one of the colors in another through a print will change the way the color combination is perceived by the eye as will a textured pattern over a plain one. A blue denim will read differently than a smooth blue pant. A chiffon skirt will have a different impact than a cotton one.
4. Complementary Colors in the Shades and Contrast Levels that match your Inherent Seasonal Harmony will be the most attractive on you. Choose from your version of each of the primary/secondary colors and you'll find a combination that is not only harmonious with one another, but harmonious with you as well.
An Autumn Type might wear complimentary colors this way.
A Spring Type might wear complimentary colors this way.
A Summer Type might wear complimentary colors this way.
And a Winter Type might wear the complementary colors this way.
So have a little fun using your Seasonal Colors to create an outfit in a complimentary harmony and let me know how it goes.
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