Fashion Magazine

What Are Clashing Colours?

By Imogenl @ImogenLamport

Hi Imogen, I have a question about clashing colours. I have seen many blog posts recently wear the bloggers claim they are clashing and yet the colours are either complimentary, triadic or analogues so they do mix well. I’ve also googled “what colours clash” and everyone answered the same, “opposite” colours, however we know they’re complimentary and do go together. So I’m confused, what makes colours clash? Is it shades, tones (cool/warm), balance of color or none of the above?

Clashing colours

You’re right – those aren’t really clashing colours – when they are colours with similar intensity or value (like I illustrated yesterday) even when they are complementary (opposite), analogous (next to each other)  or some other color scheme (triadic, tetradic, split complementary etc.) they they are not clashing.

Colours that do clash are those that have unrelated color properties (or resonance).

Intensity – smoky muted colours with bright colours

clashing and matching colours
clashing and matching colours by imogenl featuring a red jacket

Undertone – warm with cool


Clashing and matching undertone
Clashing and matching undertone by imogenl featuring splendid tops


As you can see from these pictures, colours need to have similar properties to really go together and not clash.

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