Unexpected Color Combos

I received a text a week or so ago from a friend who said, “What shoes do you wear with orange pants?”

I immediately needed to know what shade of orange, and when I learned it was a rusted orange, I responded with:


I should’ve added cranberry, too, because right now I want to wear cranberry with everything!

One thing I admire so much is when women combine colors and you’re left thinking, “Wow! That really works! I never would’ve thought to put those together.” With that in mind, I present to you inspiration for combining unexpected colors!

First up, orange pants, of course!

This look from Merrick’s Art is simple, but effective. As I warned my friend, black with orange can look too “themey,” but with the lighter T underneath and the light scarf, this works. And since the pants don’t scream “orange!” there’s a subtleness to it.


I love how Sarah from Wearing It On My Sleeves combines navy blue and mint green with orange. Mint green, you ask? I was skeptical, too, but it really does work. These deep shades with a pop of pastel makes it exciting!


As I said above, I want to wear cranberry everything, all day, every day this fall. I think I desired this last fall, too! Guess it’s a color that’s sticking around for a while. And, speaking of orange, the always fashionable Olivia Palermo pairs the two colors seamlessly.

Cranberry, or, in this case, a deeper maroon, also looks amazing with mustard yellow, and I love how Mix Match Fashion brings this together with the leopard belt. The caramel colored accessories work perfectly, too. This look is great for a big day at the office!


I love everything about this outfit from Lovely Pepa: the textures, the plaid, the mustard with the cranberry with the blue. I want to recreate this look from head to toe!

cranberry mustard plaid

When it comes to bright colors, sometimes animal print really is a go-to choice to bring the look together. I love this leopard top with the coral/orange pants. You could wear this all year long, just change out the sleeveless top for a leopard cardigan or long-sleeved blouse.


Yellow is one of those colors I just do not wear often enough! I love how this shade can lift any outfit up a notch. Take the look below (I honestly wish I could give this woman credit because I love her look, but can’t remember where the photo came from!). Navy blue polka dot pants, a white blouse and caramel accessories — pretty tame, right? But that pop from the yellow blazer makes the ensemble.

8-chic-work-outfits-you-can-copy6Whenever I’m looking for colorful inspiration, I can always turn to J’s Everyday Fashion. She’s so smart about combining different shades — as she does here with the mustard yellow cardi and, again, mint! I think this works so well because she brings both colors in from her necklace and the rest of her outfit is neutral — black, white and blue jean. This is one of the easiest ways to mix colors — unexpected shades on your tootsies!

static.squarespaceAnother fun way to play with color is to mix different shades of the same color, like Sarah Jessica Parker does here. Always on the edge of fashion, SJP can even make a simple outfit look chic with a tweed blazer (all the rage this season!) and a bag and shoes of the same hue. It’s the light purple/pink T paired with the deep purple cords that I love. I would’ve been tempted to wear neutrals only with these pants, but the lighter-colored top looks awesome.

September 26, 2012: Sarah Jessica Parker pictured this morning leaving her home in a purple and pink outfit and heads to a Meeting in New York City. Mandatory Credit: Elder Ordonez/INFphoto.com Ref: infusny-160|sp|

Photo via: Elder Ordonez/INFphoto.com

Finally, brights! Pair bright hues — yellow, purple, hot pink, royal blue, lime — with each other and, pow! You’ve got a statement making outfit that will make heads turn. I love that she uses a chambray shirt as a neutral base for this look.

What are some of your favorite unexpected color combos?

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