Hot Mess: The Misleading Belief About Matching Colors

If there’s one thing everyone else and I involved in the fashion world vehemently don’t agree on it’s that matching primary colors doesn’t work. I believe, wholesale, that it does work.

What got me thinking about this was how so many people wear the holiday colors around the holidays, matching green and red, (and certainly, green is a secondary color, but my argument still stands) to look festive but also because, well, they go together. If they didn’t go together, they wouldn’t be the primary colors chosen to represent the holiday now would they? So when did this belief that matching primary colors in clothing was a bad idea? Because to me, it seems like you’d want your colors to match, right? Yellow jeans mixed with, say, a robins egg blue sweater is a killer look, and yet so many other self proclaimed internet fashionistas would immediately jump down your throat to tell you that it isn’t.

I’m here to settle this matter once and for all.

Look at this model, for instance.

So many people would say that base colors, you know, nothing hat isn’t a certain shade of something or a mix of two shades of one color, don’t work. But honestly, this girls outfit works tremendously. Not only is she just generally gorgeous, with a killer figure, but the colors play off well against one another because they’re both just general base shades of themselves. It’s simplistic. It’s minimalism. It’s totally fine. But even though this isn’t entirely about primary colors, let’s discuss secondary colors like orange and green, another combination most would likely proclaim is horrible but I happen to believe works perfectly fine. It seems to me that these days fashion is about not matching, but where’s the visual pleasure in that? Certainly not matching has its points, it’s definitely a style, I won’t argue against it, but I prefer my wardrobe to be base colors that match because I think that’s the most visually appealing look there is.

We have so many absolutely ridiculous ‘rules’ for fashion in this world that were arbitrarily decided without seemingly anyones input. Like how you can’t wear white after labor day, or you can’t mix up your socks or you can’t wear socks with sandles (although this one I agree with if they’re ordinary flip flops, not if they’re actual sandles). But who came up with these rules and really who’s gonna enforce them? They’re inane and it’s high time we moved on.

Another perfect example is this outfit, which is beautifully put together. That’s a wonderful shade of yellow and a beautiful almost mauve shade of red, and yet people would immediately tell me that this isn’t something that works when it so clearly does. When did fashion become less about matching colors and more about ludicrous design? As a former model, I should know what I’m talking about. Some of the designs they make you wear are out there and extremely unappealing, but I defend them because they’re pieces of art. But general clothing is a different story. People are trying to take the rules of the runway and apply them to our daily wardrobe, and that isn’t how things work, guys. My wardrobe is chock full of primary, secondary and base colors that all go together, no matter what Instagram model might tell you.

I don’t wanna be the crotchety old woman whose entire job it is to complain about how better things were in her time, primarily because they really weren’t and also I’m not old, but I really do wish we could maybe all come back together and start agreeing on things in the fashion world again. It all feels so fractured now, everyone is splintered off into their own subgroups and there’s no real overall community anymore that unanimously either debates or agrees on one thing or another. And like the colors that all meld together, I want the community to be filled with people of colors that meld together. Black women have incredible style, latina women have a forceful style, asian women have a chic and clean yet gorgeous style and trans women (colored or otherwise) have a whole unique style all their own and it’s all beautiful and it all deserves to work together to make one magnificent image.

This coming year, let’s work together to make the community, and the clothes, once again work together and be happy with that, because when things work in tandem instead of clash – be they clothes or people – the outcome is always better to look at.

Soliel Bovier, 24
Writer of the Hot Mess fashion column for Nowhere Online News and owner of at least 4 and a half cats

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