Triadic Colors – “Live Colorfully”

I’m about to contradict popular opinion (and probably a third of the women in my office): I do NOT agree with having a wardrobe full of black.

Is an all-black outfit chic? Definitely for some occasions. But for every day of your life? That’s when you cross the line from chic to insecurity.

So let’s talk confidence, vibrancy, and life (perhaps la vida loca): Color!

In order to play nicely with color, you have to understand it. And I am here to teach you! We can’t cover all of the lessons of color concept in one blog post, but we can start.

My favorite color concept has to do with color scheme – knowing what colors to pair together that are not only appealing to the eye or personal taste, but what the color wheel actually tells us go well together: triadic colors.

A triadic color scheme is (by google definition), “comprised of three colors evenly spaced on the color wheel.”

You don’t have to google a color wheel to understand what this means – though I will provide you with one below. In fact, you already know the two main triadic color schemes: primary colors and secondary colors.

Primary Colors:

Most people don’t walk around sporting bright yellow, royal blue, and red. It feels a little Crayola-ish, don’t you think? Although I think this outfit pulls it off quite nicely:

However, there are two tricks to styling a primary color scheme I have up my sleeve:

  1. Put the “Blue” in the blue jean

Denim is really a neutral. Paring yellow and red with denim almost camouflages the fact that you are putting all three primary colors together. You can either wear denim as your bottoms or layer it on top of the outfit with a jacket! Either way you will have a casual look.

  • Remember primary colors in their more humble shades.

Pastel pink, yellow and blue are such pretty spring colors. For fall, doesn’t burgundy, navy and mustard warm you up? These different versions of primary colors are more wearable than the bold colors we learn in kindergarten; and frankly, they are more widely found in fashion

But don’t forget the blue jean trick! You can change the shade of your blue jeans to be light wash or dark wash to go with whichever color scheme you choose.

Secondary Colors:

These are my favorite colors to play around with. They are less expected, have more depth, and are extra satisfying when you get it right.

Tip number two that I gave above applies to these colors as well: while emerald green, royal purple, and bright orange make an intriguing combination, I think it’s safe to say that the combination is not for the majority of us, myself included.

Instead, I like to play around with different shades of these colors: plums, mint greens, turquoise and peach. I love wearing orange in the summer, and almost exclusively try to style with a triadic companion. Something about orange and turquoise makes me feel like I belong on a tropical island!

A few other tips when embarking on the challenge of a triadic color scheme:

  • You don’t have to wear them all at once.

I know that “tri” stands for three, but when it comes to these colors, sometimes two is better than one. Or at least, less intimidating. A teal necklace against a purple top really pops! I LOVE wearing yellow earrings with a red dress, it stands out! If wearing color is out of your comfort zone, start small and pick two, not three.

If you do wear all three triadic colors at once:

  • Use accessories to your advantage!

Playing with triadic colors doesn’t mean you have to play with print. You’ll notice that most of my outfits above are actually solids paired together with a statement necklace or shoe. These little pops are really just a finishing touch versus an eye sore.

If you do have all three colors incorporated into prints make sure that your accessories are neutral.

I leave you with a quote from one of my favorite designers:

“Live Colorfully” – Kate Spade

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