Color Theory 101: Candy Crush

Summer always elicits my inner-most desires to wear neons but the thing is, I don't really look or feel my best in highlighter shades. Many of you probably do, and to that I say shine bright you little neon diamond. But for the rest of us there is an equally appealing option: candy colored brights. (Some call them sherbet shades and I am in support of this, as well.) Less vibrant brights, practically pastel neons, candy colors are a milkier version of neon hues and, in my opinion, can be a little more forgiving to the complexion. Not to mention they're just downright pretty!

Here is my candy-coated color wheel to give you an idea of how to sport these colors this season.


clockwise from top:

top | bag | pants | shoes | top | bag | pants | shoes | top | bag | pants | shoes

And maybe you're looking at this and thinking it's pretty but you're not too sure about how to wear candy colors without looking liking a child and/or a clown. Well, it's not everyday that my art degree can be put to use so I'm jumping at the chance to offer a little lesson in harmonious color mixing to help you experiment within the confines of the "color rules."

First up is the Complementary Color Scheme...


Complementary colors are those that are directly opposite each other on the color wheel. Complementary colors are in high contrast to each other and can create the illusion that the colors are even more vibrant. This is why orange (or bronze) makeup brings out blue eyes, etc.

This is a bold look and can be somewhat jarring. If the pink top/green bottom combo is too much for you, you can always take advantage of the striking combo in a smaller way, i.e. pink top with green necklace or pink top with green shoes, separated by a neutral or denim.


In case contrasting just isn't your thing at all, there's always the Analogous Color Scheme...


Analogous colors are the hues that are connecting neighbors on the color wheel. As opposed to complementary, analogous colors work with each other harmoniously to create a calm and pleasing visual for the eye. It's a relatively simple color scheme to work with, too- notice with the outfits below how the bag from either side of each analogous group would work equally well.

Easy can come across as visually simple, however, so the trick when working with analogous colors is to make sure there is enough contrast in tones so that it doesn't veer into boring territory.


There are many more color schemes worth exploring, but we'll save those for the next edition. :)

What's your favorite color combo?