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What Colours Can I Wear with Red?

I have written a lot about colour in recent posts, from tonal blocking to colour blocking. Call it a return from a monochrome wilderness to the fold of brightly coloured sartorial wildebeast. And the latest hue to come into my sights is red. Here, I solve the dilemma of what colours to wear with red.

In the past I have shied away from red. It was a bit too bright for me and my monochrome default. And my imagination just didn’t expand sufficiently to envisage any other colour to wear it with. I’d try and combine it with either black or white as the obvious options. But these combos made me think of sports team colours.

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I’ve been emboldened by my travels over the style-related sites of the Internet lately, and have started to get a little experimental with my colours. And one thing I’ve earned through trial and very few errors is that red goes with oh so many tones.

Neutrals + red

Black and white are obvious choices. But taking neutrals a little further, you have a whole spectrum of beiges, blushes, and shades of browns. If you treat leopard print as a neutral, which I do, then (done tastefully), red and leopard can look positively striking for all the right reasons.

One thing I have taken from the recent resurgence of red is that it looks incredibly inspired when combined with camel and tan tones.

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The beauty of this combo is two-fold: (1) red is a colour that matches almost every skin tone. It has an equal balance of warm and cool and is therefore universally flattering; and (2) camel has that magical ability to make anything you’re wearing look expensive. What’s not to love?!

Floral neighbours on the colour spectrum

Next to red on the colour wheel are the delightfully feminine shades of pink, lilac, lavender et al. They are the perfect accompaniment to turn your red outfit into tonal-blocking perfection. One only has to look to the street style photographs from the most recent of fashion weeks to see the finest examples of pink combined with red.

clashing tones on the opposite side of the colour spectrum

Imagine this dress (pictured) over blue jeans, with yellow strappy heels and a bright blue sweater over the top. Rest assured I’ll be combining these items in the weeks to come. Red combined with a bright blue or an olive green (it’s opposites on the colour wheel) pack a very stylish punch.

In the meantime, consider your red and and camel pieces and have a go at combining them in your next sartorial creation du jour.

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Dress: Scanlan Theodore; Shoes: ATP Atelier; Trench: Mango (previous season. Similar here and here)