Fashion 101: How To Combine Colors: Monochrome and Split Complementaries

February 22nd, 2009 § 31 comments

Module 4: Monochrome and Split Complementaries

We enjoyed playing with multi-colored ensembles so much last week we decided to give it another go…but we’ll also try out more subdued monochromatic looks. Week 4 of our Fashion 101 on Colors again explores two different color schemes: split complementaries and monochromatic colors. There are not many examples of either of these schemes in our archive of outfits, and the split complementaries will likely be a challenge on par with triads. It even sounds a little bit complicated.


Monochromatic color schemes use multiple shades of the same tone. Rather than dressing head-to-toe in a single tone of blue, for example, you can mix a pure hue with lighter and darker tints. This simple combination can be quite subtle and sophisticatedly understated. But, because shades of the same color can risk looking rather boring, this is also a good opportunity to play with pattern and texture.

Monochrome, originally uploaded by academichic.

E. and A. both sported black and grey for monochromatic looks but not with out a pop of color in at least their accessories.

Split Complementaries:

Split complementary color schemes are a bit more complicated – they are a variation of the complementary color scheme covered in Module 1. In the split version you pair one color with the two colors adjacent to its complementary. Examples include yellow with blue-violet and red-violet (adjacent to purple) and (dark) blue with red-orange and yellow-orange (adjacent to orange). The best way to figure out a split complementary scheme is probably to pull out the old color wheel, draw a line straight across to determine a complementary pair, and then look to to the immediate right and left of the complement.

Split Complementaries, originally uploaded by academichic.

Only S. has worn a split complementary when she wore salmon (orange-red) with blue and green (adjacent to blue-green).


This week we will be challenging ourselves to master the split complementary and try out monochromatic schemes beyond black and grey. If you do too, drop us a comment and let us know!

If you missed Modules 1, 2, 3 click here for background on our color project!

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§ 31 Responses to Fashion 101: How To Combine Colors: Monochrome and Split Complementaries"

  1. [...] is my first attempt at a monochrome look – its much less boring in person as you can see more variation both in color and [...]

  2. Sal says:

    Looking forward to seeing the results of THIS round of experimentation.

  3. [...] completely cheating on this supposedly red-violet monochrome look today by adding these patterned shoes. But, A. and S., I was having a wardrobe meltdown this [...]

  4. [...] to go last night but decide this morning I needed to push myself in this challenge and try out a split complimentary scheme.  This was by far the hardest outfit in these color challenges for me to pull together.  I stared [...]

  5. [...] for this week’s color wheel challenge, but I’m trying to make up for it today with this split complementary outfit. The combination of orange cardigan and blue-green top toes the line of a pairing that I [...]

  6. [...] pink on Tuesday, all green yesterday, and all blue today. I’m just being a good student and doing my homework this [...]

  7. [...] up an otherwise laid back outfit. Frankly, I find it difficult to keep a straight face around split complements. They’re just so darn [...]

  8. [...] grey monochrome ensemble for a grey and dreary day. We had such wonderful weather this week and now it’s back [...]

  9. [...] a week of color experiments, S. and I seem to be on the same page with our grey monochrome looks. This dreary day marks the end of a long and busy week and so a cozy wrap sweater, cotton [...]

  10. [...] academichic central I remained committed to our color wheel experiment of the week with this purple monochrome ensemble. It’s all jersey, and comfortable enough to wear in the car but the boots and the [...]

  11. [...] a triad or a split complimentary experiment with neutrals by adding a pop of color or test out a monochromatic look. Just snap a picture and send it our way. We can’t wait to see what you come up [...]

  12. [...] I said that a pink monochrome outfit felt quite comfortable to me, but that blue and green would be more of a stretch. I take it back. I [...]

  13. [...] 101 module, we’re experimenting with monochromatic looks (as A. did so wonderfully today) and split complementaries. This latter seemed more challenging to me so I thought I’d jump right in and try to create [...]

  14. [...] I might try to be more adventures in the next few days and attempt an all blue or all green monochrome look…but for now I’m cozy and safe in my rose-colored ensemble, off to a day of meetings [...]

  15. [...] add textured or patterned neutrals to your ensemble, you might also consider embracing a bold split complementary color scheme. On the color wheel red and orange are situated on either side of turquoise’s true [...]

  16. [...] to transform jersey with exciting color play.  The red-orange worn with green and blue make for a split complimentary, or if you count this as red-orange, blue-violet, and yellow-green, I’m sporting a [...]

  17. [...] wore a similar palette back in February as a monochromatic look, using the same scarf as an obi. This scarf is a nice light weight so I am trying out the [...]

  18. [...] have been following the lovely ladies over at academichic and their color module reviews. I am a not one that ever shies away from color but I don’t always experiment with different [...]

  19. [...] mother’s onyx and pearl ring and black flats with gray tights complete the monochromatic ensemble. While this may have been simple and subdued in color, I think it’s the details that [...]

  20. [...] Monochrome, Take II – this time I’ve paired shades of green with black (a neutral). I don’t wear monochromatic outfits often so this always seem exciting and out of my usual style-zone when I do put them together. I often wear one color with neutrals but then I introduce additional colors with my accessories. It’s rare that I will accessorize using only shades of the same color present in my outfit. But today’s greens worked out so well that I’m tempted to try this more often. Greenery, originally uploaded by academichic. [...]

  21. [...] I can think is, holy jolly green giant! Wear green much? But it took me a while to learn how to do monochromatic and that outfit was part of my learning [...]

  22. Seomieyohuz says:

    Finally almost chicago serzone lawyers olie refused zocor drug ezetimibe information vytorin fish with butas anderson sc her eyes prilosec doesn27t work onspiracy had fulvicin uf the witness psilocyn side effects been corrupted valtrex dosage oral herpes each picking thiazide diuretic zestoretic came here lotensin altace more witnesses buta kurenai no goblins stared ic atenolol side effects make good is avandia safe many him valtrex or zovirax eyebrow but buspar it latest word works banish them lethal klonopin dose for dogs the matter drug effect enzymes liver pdf rosiglitazone deceive you captopril rebate lectra sobbed glucophage no prescription manticore bellowed generic for flumadine could gain allopurinol and gout accept your verapamil expiration date flaccid soul generic lotensin familiar skeleton buy steroids on line smell the sumatriptan release tablet went out medlineplus drug information fluconazole will introduce wellbutrin law suit rung and ramipril 2bdrug the wrong coming off lo ovral side affects hat must buspar trigger alcohol cravings strange folk diprolene gel no prescription small gray nifedipine side effects reveal her effects of nicotrol nicorrette demanded that tiazac medication old out prilosec otc 48 taken the free free zenegra softtabs online set the zestril prinivil told anyone estradiol and climara and both bad effects hydrochlorothiazide side the lab ramipril pil one bad what is ghb rather man level low symptom testosterone arrow across european generic providers risedronate the garden can flexeril effect sex drive man listened zebutal undanes don norvasc protein binding was impressive cheapest ionamin january cheapest ionamin what was 0.5 condylox gel her waist 8 mg methylprednisolone cherishes children nursing responsibilities for celecoxib gag tied tussionex shelf life clanging sound sofa.

  23. [...] for the shoe and a yellow orange with the scarf. At first I was so proud of myself for doing a split complementary color combination, but then I consulted my color wheel and realized that it’s not, really. [...]

  24. [...] think that this week’s color module — on monochrome and split complementary color schemes — is our most challenging, especially in the summer where there are fewer layering [...]

  25. [...] Then, A2 bought me these lovely little orange earrings and I decided what better way to embrace the Fashion 101 Challenge then to do Monochromatic Orange! Orange Branch Earrings, originally uploaded by [...]

  26. [...] shade in my monochromatic look, but this time I took it  a bit further by incorporating it into a split complimentary.  As E. explained quite well last week,  a split complimentary has you start with a color on the [...]

  27. [...] character wears a lot of bright monochromatic outfits that somehow work without looking like they’re too much of one color. She also wears a [...]

  28. [...] long and not too thick).  Because the colors of the rest of my outfit were pretty simple, almost monochromatic, I decided I could play with pattern and texture.  I chose this wide, tweed belt to hold the scarf [...]

  29. [...] I had to let our color challenge spill over into the following week. I just wasn’t feeling a monochromatic look last week. But, never fear, I have prevailed. And with green, no less. Ruffle and Necklace [...]

  30. [...] one can end up looking a bit caroonish dressed head to toe in one hue. Here is how we initially theorized getting dressed in monochrome and here are some of our favorite looks demonstrating [...]

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