Often times, fashion focuses on pairing contrasting colors. This is at the heart of most French fashion as well as many of the more popular designs from the1960s onward. Contrasting colors allow for clarity between the two tones. They do not create a subtle color palette, but they do create bold and striking styles.
However, you can create a subtler impression by pairing similar colors. The more similar the color, the subtler the distinctions will be. Yet not all colors can be paired with a similar shade. Here are some things to bear in mind when pairing similar compound colors rather than shades of primary colors.
Purple blends well with different shades of purple so long as you keep it within the same family. Consider some of the purple Lela Rose dresses that have the slightly darker motifs spread across the bodice and the hems. These dresses pull the similar shades together. But they follow one rule: they use purple shades from the same family. Purple always has a dominant red or blue base. When you’re attempting to create a color palette, you need to make sure that you choose purples that all have the same dominant hue. Otherwise, they will clash with one another. Other mellowing colors can be worked into the pattern to make it work better, but in general, purple will always work best when purples of the same family can be worked together well.
Green is one of the most forgiving of the compound colors. Unlike purple which needs to be paired with the same dominant colors, green can be combined with any other shade of green. When you decide to pair it with another shade of green that has a different dominant color, you need to make sure you have at least three shades of green. This prevents the three shades from clashing. The combination creates a nature filled feeling. Verdant green can even be combined with olive green so long as another shade is incorporated. It tends to work best when the different shades are layered or merged together throughout the garment rather than doing straight stripes.
Pink is another forgiving compound color. You can combine it with all different shades of pink. In some cases, incorporating multiple shades of pink can create a fun and spring like appearance. Unlike green, which should not be put in stripe form unless shades share the same dominant color, you can put multiple and contrasting shades of pink into a stripe or polka dot pattern. It creates a whimsical appearance. The differences between the shades does not keep them from working. In fact, the contrasts allow pink to be one of the more versatile colors. In fact, this is part of the reason that pink has been such a popular color. Style lists it as one of the most powerful feminine colors available, and its popularity has only grown because you can mix and match all shades of pink. It works very well in subtle designs as well as bold.
Orange provides the most challenges though in theory it should be one of the easier compound colors to pair. Unlike many other compound colors, it is composed of two warm primary colors. Green, pink, and purple are composed of warm and cool primaries. Yet this close similarity causes orange to be one of the trickier colors to pair with another shade of orange. Most of the time, it works best if it is paired in layers that build on one another. Lighter shades of orange should be used to create length, and darker shades of orange should be used to create depth.