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Neutral Colors – The Fashion Cheat Code

Have you ever been sitting there staring into your closet, struggling to put together an outfit for an important event? Maybe you’ve got some Sonic the Hedgehog-colored blue chino pants in hand, and you have NO idea what color dress shirt would look “right” with it.

Or maybe you’ve put on your pants and shirt already, and you want to throw on a blazer to make sure you meet the “dressy” dress code at your office’s holiday party. Your shirt is deep purple like Spyro the Dragon’s scales, and the only blazer that you have is the Pokéball-red one that you found at Marshall’s for $35 last summer. You throw it on…and it looks absolutely awful! What do you do? What matches this shirt?!?

In some way, shape, or form, ALL of us – whether you’re a PC gamer, an XBox acolyte, or a PS4 zealot – have had to struggle and stress out at some point in our lives while figuring out which pieces of clothes we have look good with each other. And let’s be real – a lot of that stress comes from the fact that our clothes are a bunch of different colors (unless you dress in all black like you’re Sephiroth).

Well guess what? There’s no need to STRESS OUT about this anymore! The simple and UNBEATABLE answer to all of your fashion color matchin’ woes is…neutral colors!

But what exactly is a neutral color? If you were to ask a fine artist, they would most likely tell you that a neutral color is a color that does not show up on the color wheel. You know, this thing:

I’m sure you notice that there’s no black, white, or grey anywhere on this wheel. So in the art world, neutral colors are white, black, grey, and SOMETIMES beige and brown.

Neutral colors in the fashion world are slightly different though – they’re classified as colors that are natural-looking colors, or “earthtones.” That means browns/tans, olive green, and navy blue. PLUS you get black, white AND grey:

These are all colors that exist outside of the traditional color wheel. What’s great is that they match not only everything INSIDE the color wheel, but each other as well! They’re like the Superman of the color world – they’re able to do everything!

My #1 favorite strategy when it comes to utilizing neutral colored clothes is to make sure all of my staples are available in neutral colors. For example: my chinos and dress pants – all neutral colors like olive green, black, or gray. My button down shirts – 90% of them are in different patterns of mostly gray, white, or light blue. I know light blue isn’t on my neutral color diagram, but I still consider it a neutral color since it goes well with SO many other colors! T-shirts – mostly white, black or gray. Even with my casual pants like my joggers and sweatpants are neutral! See what I mean?

That’s not to say that everything in your closet should be neutral colors, because that’s just boring unless you love rocking a simple and minimalist wardrobe. Personally, I enjoy having a few pieces of clothes in some brighter colors that pop, but I ALWAYS make sure that the majority of the outfit is built around neutral colors. That ensures that I can EASILY create balanced looking outfits that are comfortable, look interesting and put together, and are not not too visually busy.

I can say with 100% certainty, based on over 10 years of trial and error, that utilizing neutral colors is one of the two major keys to deleting the stress raid boss out of your life when it comes to picking what clothes to wear. The second key is finding clothes that fit your body type, as described in my post Cheat Codes for Fitting Your Body. Once you start incorporating more neutral-colored clothes into your wardrobe, I promise you that getting dressed in dope outfits will start to feel easier than completing your first quest in World of Warcraft.

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