Mix colors with confidence―a little know-how is all it takes to be tone deft.

By Elinor Smith
Updated June 03, 2008
Four dresses
| Credit: Perry Hagopian
  • Here’s the tricky thing about combining colors: Coordinate shades beautifully and something like art can happen. Make the wrong match and you look more like you mastered the art of clowning.
  • So when combining colors, consider three basic rules: First, tones opposite each other on the Color Wheel (a circular diagram of the spectrum) bring out the best in each other. Second, neighbors on the wheel are harmonious. Finally, all shades are thought to have personalities that can clash or meld. For a sure thing, go with a neutral-and-color pairing. Or experiment with a mix of bold tones. Armed with these tips, you won’t need to be an artist to create inspiring palettes.