Colors And Fashion: When To Wear Yellow

This article is a guide to knowing when to wear yellow. Yellow has the possibility of making or breaking a fashion look.

Yellow is a color that immediately grabs your attention in the most direct way possible.It's used liberally in various warning signs and labels.It's bright, loud, and holds the eye instantly""even more so than white.It's a color representative of spring and summer, at times festive and giddy.

When you decide to wear yellow, let's face it: you have just decided that you want to be noticed, and not in the most subtle way possible.

Wearing yellow with just about any other color in the spectrum can easily become a fashion land mine.For instance, alternating yellow and black in an outfit may make you look like a human-sized bumble bee.Yellow and orange in an outfit is rather garish, as two loud colors close to one another in the color spectrum tend to clash.In general it's the brighter shades of color that will clash badly.


Yellow and most other medium colors such as gray and brown can potentially become a fashion misstatement.Also, offshoots of these colors, beige, dark brown and the lighter grays may not compliment yellow very well.Strong colors like orange, green, purple and red should be avoided with yellow altogether in the same attire.

Surprisingly, certain shades of blue match with certain shades of yellow, and to clarify the earlier assessment, certain shades of gray.However, bright/light blues with yellow represent another range of garish color combinations to be avoided.When mixing with medium colors, the yellow should be toned down to a shade similar to pastels, and the medium color should be deep and rich.This makes for a pleasing contrast, for instance, a pastel yellow blouse and medium gray pants or skirt combination.

Below is a guideline to aid you in deciding how to wear yellow:

Women: a rich navy blue skirt compliments a pale yellow blouse or top.The skirt may even have a fine pattern print, like polka dots or hound's tooth.The same scheme may be applied with a charcoal gray skirt.Yellow should be avoided in any dress except for a formal gown or a sundress.In a formal gown, you want the yellow to be pale, a subtle effect while still drawing the eye.A bright yellow summer dress is likely to have some kind of design to break up the solid color, like a floral print.Yellow slacks should be avoided.A yellow cotton shorts outfit looks good and yellow should be avoided in shoes.

Men: A pastel yellow dress shirt (perhaps with a white collar) works well with dark gray, navy blue, or black slacks.Everything else in casual wear is a go; shorts, t-shirts and other casual wear.Yellow in paler shades is a light, summer color for just about every informal occasion.However, yellow should be avoided in all but a dress shirt in business and formal wear.In sportswear, yellow blends with white and other lighter colors, but should be avoided in footwear.

Oddly enough, weather conditions tend to play a factor for people when deciding what colors to wear.It is far more appealing to be seen wearing yellow on a bright spring or summer day than on a dark and rainy day in fall or winter.Even on rainy days in the spring or summer, people tend to tone down on the bright colors, more than likely a subconscious decision.

The range of colors that accentuate yellow in most clothing attire are the dark tones and shades.Charcoal grays, deep browns, royal blue and similar colors make a good pairing with yellow.A suggestion is to use muted shades of yellow in these color combinations so as not to jar the eye from one part of the outfit to the other.

In closing, yellow is a prominent color that walks a fine line between appealing looks and outright garishness, but with a good eye on coordinating it with other colors and a little care, can be very stylish.

© Demand Media 2011