Favourite Colour Combinations

One of the questions I am constantly asked: What is my favourite colour combination.

When I sit down to contemplate it, I am unable to reach a well defined conclusion. My mind simply runs wild with possibility; my eyes glance upwards, my eyebrows dance and I shake my head in defeat. I can’t possibly choose. I start with the assertion that contrasts are my favourite thing, but then I wade into the beauties of palette and I start to think that a burgundy tie and a pink shirt is the most beautiful pairing in all Christendom.

My answer to those who ask, therefore, is an apologetic shrug and the feeble words; “I don’t even have a favourite colour.”

However, I have often received enquiries for advice regarding colour, from those keen to shed their monochrome daily wardrobe and skip through the kaleidoscope, and so I have collected thoughts on appealing combinations that, while unusual and often eye-catching, are not too riotous as to cause consternation or the passing of the smelling salts.

Green and lilac


There is something mysterious and alluring about green and lilac combinations. On its own, lilac can be a difficult colour; ethereal and bewildering. However, it reduces to a natural aesthetic when green is thrown into the blender. Perhaps it is the iconic thistle flower that influences the mind, but when they are together there is a misty richness to the combination; a mossy earthiness and a luxurious, velveteen pairing, the union of nature’s verdant canvas and one of its floral stars.

I like it when combined with greys and navy blues, but particularly with the stone-like colouring of a light-grey Prince of Wales check suit.

Brown and grey


One of the more unusual combinations among my favourites, brown and grey is often a descriptor of all that is dull and lifeless. However, such presumptions do a disservice to the subtle beauty created by the marriage of these tones. Pairing rusty brown trousers with a steely grey jacket sounds like a mismatch but in actual fact, the colours complement and flatter the other extremely well. The brown makes the grey seem even cleaner and stonier and the brown, instead of appearing dreary, is rich and warm.

I like it when combined with mid-blues, deep greens and berry reds to add a little floral colour to the earthiness of the tones.

Orange and azure


These two colours are very strong and need a sombre, desaturated backdrop for their startling fusion. Orange and azure call to mind the flower-filled terraces on the Amalfi coast, the contrast between a cool sea and a bloom bouncing in the breeze.

Though obviously a wonderful combination for the warmer months, I have used these two colours with brown autumn suits; pairing an azure cardigan with an orange pocket square, using a navy tie to avoid overfizzing it, and adding tan shoes to accentuate the influence of orange.


  1. Gustavo said:

    Colours have a psychological impact and the green/lilac combination is usually regarded as the essence of evil. Notice how popular culture charaters of evil nature (looking at comics it’s easy to spot)are so often portrayed in green and lilac.
    Just thought it curious enough to mention it here.


    October 28, 2011
  2. Ricky Davis said:

    Pink and grey, sky blue and brown. No one knows why it works. It works!!

    October 28, 2011
  3. Adam Ford said:

    Depends on the season as to the colours worn. Not a big lover of comics so cannot comment on green/lilac being the “essence of evil” however, now we’re in the throws of Autumn/Winter i’m enjoying mixing Mustard coloured sweaters with Sage Green tweed. Also, Berry/Burgundy shirts/jkts with Tobacco brown cords and trousers. Autumn/Winter doesn’t have to be about blending in with the elements.

    October 29, 2011
  4. Amit Anand said:

    Choc Brown with Beige, Gray with dark red, Blue with pastel green are my fav color combos

    October 29, 2011
  5. George said:

    Christendom?! What century do you live in?

    October 29, 2011
  6. gary said:

    colour blind

    October 30, 2011
  7. gary said:

    christendom is a word that a lot of aspring intellectuals think is intellectual. unfortunates.

    October 30, 2011
  8. Some interesting choices of colour combinations. I particularly like the idea of mustard and sage green and blue with pastel green. Pink and grey is also an excellent combination.

    George, I don’t know where you’re from but “…in all of Christendom” is a popular phrase, down my way. I am not literally referring to Christendom when I use it but instead using it colloquially.

    Gary, if your first comment means that you are colour blind, I am sorry to hear that.

    If it is meant to mean that I am colour blind because of the suggestions I made, I don’t particularly care.

    Your second comment, a snide one which is actually incorrect, and incorrectly spelled, suggests that the second meaning probably applies and that you are here to throw dung at the walls which others have erected.

    October 30, 2011
  9. George said:

    Perhaps it’s a Westminster thing. I suppose the Abbey is just a stone’s throw away.
    Nice post as usual, by the way.

    October 31, 2011
  10. Barima said:

    Gustavo – one the one hand, the Incredible Hulk. One the other, Lex Luthor. I suspect it’s more of a guideline than a rule, given the occasional ambiguity and petulance of the former character, especially since those combinations were usually thought up for visual distinction, particularly when juxtaposed with other supers, and because in those days, certain colours were easier to print

    I’m fond of burgundy/wine and brown, though recently, I’m keen on yellow/green, orange/green, orange/brown and bright blue/brown, which I tend to express in shirt and tie combinations

    And Christendom still survives in our hearts, as well as in offices across Central London

    October 31, 2011
  11. mark perez said:

    nice combinations except the last one…..
    and ya pink and grey definitely looks the best to me…

    November 1, 2011
  12. Robert said:

    Great color combo suggestions. Favorite
    combo is green/blue and brown/grey. Great article.

    November 12, 2011

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