Inspirationail’s Colour School – What to Wear With Yellow

By Inspirationail

Inspirationail's Colour SchoolWelcome to the yellow week of Team Inspirationail’s Colour School, if you haven’t already be sure to check out lessons on the basics, warm & cool hues, tints, shades & tones and colour combos. We’ve already covered red & pink and this week we are looking at the best colours to match with sunny yellow.

An Educated Guess

It’s no secret that yellow isn’t an easy colour to pull off, so how you accessorize is of the utmost importance. Although it can be difficult, Team Inspirationail happens to like yellow, it has an enjoyable sunny & happy vibe. As long as you use it wisely and choose appropriate shades, it’s the perfect summer colour and can even be pulled off during winter months. Just remember, too much yellow and you tend to look like a banana. No one wants that.

Here are a few tips you can utilize to help you decide what to wear with your favorite yellow.

Yummy in Yellow

Although it’s not considered versatile in the slightest, yellow’s sunny vibe makes it a Team Inspirationail ‘must’, even if it’s just knitted into winter scarves or brightly coloured bathing costumes. Whatever your yellow hue, there are plenty of colours that can be used to accent (and slightly subdue) its brightness.

Inspirationail's Colour School

Skin Tone Matters

With strong colours like yellow, skin tone should play a huge factor in selection of shades. During the summer months it’s easier for everyone, but when the sun doesn’t shine paler skin and yellow don’t always get along. For lighter skinned divas we like creamy or pearlescent pastel yellows or translucent golds any time of the year and bolder shades during tanning months. Darker skinned lovelies have more year round choice and look great in bold, shiny sun yellow. However, we do recommend avoiding shimmering pale yellows, as they may make skin look ashy.

Primary Yellow

Regardless how much yellow is in your ensemble, we recommend avoiding it when it comes to cosmetics and accessories. This is one colour that is much better as an accent colour, rather than a theme. Yellow is one of three primary colours and that actually makes it a tad more difficult to match. To learn more about primary colours be sure to check out our colour basics lesson. There are several ways you can use the colour wheel to help you decide what to wear with your yellow.

Colour Wheelsl

Complimentary Colours

Complimentary colours are opposite each other on the colour wheel and provide a very high degree of contrast. Calling them compliments is someone’s idea of a sick joke because yellow’s compliment is purple. In this case we don’t recommend pairing the two unless it’s Easter (& even then, it’s questionable). If you are going to do it anyway, try a lighter pinky coral purple, dusty golden purple or creamy pearlescent purple.

Analogous Colours

Analogous colours are directly next to each other on the colour wheel and tend to have more matching properties. Yellow’s nearest neighbors are yellowish orange and yellowish green, both of which are quite easily matched with a sweet yellow. For a sunny look try a lusty lime, light tangerine, or even bright, berry orange

Colour Wheelsl

Triad Colours

Triad colours are equally spaced out along the colour wheel & similar to compliments they offer super high contrast. In yellow’s case it’s red and blue (both also primary colours). This is a decidedly 80’s look that we didn’t like the first time round, so we advise caution when attempting it. If you are into the primary look, the try creamy pink-red, bright, metallic blue or deep, berry red.


Split-complimentary colours start with one base colour and then takes the two colours next to it’s compliment. Sounds confusing, but the concept is simple. When we use yellow as our base, it’s split-compliments are pink and bluish-purple. We aren’t crazy about either of them, but when matching with these options we like a lighter, creamy yellow. For some pizzaz try bright violet, sweet, creamy pink or a barely-there shell pink

Yellow Eye Shadow

Team Inspirationail’s Picks

We like using our colour wheel to help find combinations we’d never have come up with. However, we also like to use our fashion sense to help make these decisions (& we have plenty of that). For most yellow shades we like peacock blues, rich, glimmering grey, or sensuous transparent apricot.

Your Two Cents

In the end, you have to make the decision…you are the one wearing the yellow. We’ve given you a few new ideas (and a few tried & true ones). Please leave us your yellow-matching ideas in the comments below, we’d love to hear them! And, stay tuned because we have more fun planned next week with a lesson dedicated to matching your green.


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