Style

Wardrobe colour code: How to wear dark tones together

Some simple tips that will make even the most daunting fashion dilemma easy to tackle

Aldo platform heels

Aldo platform heels

Le Château jacket

Le Château jacket

Pippa Middleton

Pippa Middleton / Photo credit: Keystone Press

J. Crew no. 2 pencil skirt

J. Crew no. 2 pencil skirt

Inès de la Fressange

Inès de la Fressange / Photo credit: PR Photos

Michelle Williams

Michelle Williams / Photo credit: PR Photos

Stick with what you know
The rule of neutrals is simple: they all work together. Strictly from a colour combination perspective (i.e. not taking fit into account for the moment), no mix of grey, navy, brown, tan, white and, of course, black – the grand daddy of all neutrals ­– will lead you astray in the style department. But while pairing a soft grey or light tan with rich black is a no-brainer, for some reason partnering the darker shades together can strike, ‘Is this right?’ hesitation. Let me go on record to say it is because those shades flatter every skin tone and have ageless appeal.

Black and blue
Black and navy together are incredibly underrated. It is an easier combo to pull off than head to toe black because while a black blazer and black pants can end up looking like a slightly off set match, the inky tone of navy plays along nicely without trying too hard. It’s a more effortless choice. Black and navy also has a particularly Parisian chic feel, à la French style icon Inès de la Fressange (shown). A jacket, slim pants or full trousers are especially nice in navy. Add some stripes, a hit of red and a little gold and you’ve got a very luxe look. And the next time you’re in the market for an LBD, be open to navy options that work just as well with black tights.

Try: No. 2 pencil skirt, $134, J. Crew.

Shady lady
Black and chocolate brown can also be a fashionable pairing, but because brown lacks the glam factor of navy, an emphasis on sporting separates that are ultra attractive for their fit or finish is essential. Turning to textures like leather, satin or tweed can guarantee amazing results. Think of topping black trousers with a buttery soft brown leather jacket, or adding a brown satin blouse to a black pencil skirt.

Orangina
Adding a pop of colour will also help. Vibrant orange, pink or green accessories will standout beautifully against those dark tones, while also unifying a look. Or work the neutral palette further, and lighten up with white or cream.

Try: Jacket, $120, Le Château, and platform heels, $90, Aldo.