Typically Taboo Color Combinations

taboo Color

When it comes to fashion and design, there are certain color combinations that are considered taboo. These combinations often go against traditional color theory and can be seen as unconventional or even risky. However, when done right, these typically taboo color combinations can create a bold and striking aesthetic that stands out from the crowd.

Color has a powerful impact on our emotions and perceptions, and certain color combinations can evoke strong reactions. While some color pairings are universally accepted as visually pleasing, others are seen as clashes or discordant. Despite this, many designers and artists choose to push the boundaries and experiment with unconventional color combinations to create unique and memorable designs.

In this article, we will explore some typically taboo color combinations that may surprise you. From bold clashes to unexpected harmonies, these color pairings challenge conventional wisdom and offer a fresh perspective on color in design. Whether you’re a fashion enthusiast or a design aficionado, these unconventional combinations are sure to inspire your next creative project.

Typically Taboo Color Combinations

I believe quite strongly in rules. I look both ways before crossing the street. I file my taxes early and pay on time. I don’t swear in front of children. (OK, maybe I slip on that one sometimes.) I signal my turns. There are dozens of rules in life that I’m quite willing to follow.

But “never wear brown and navy” ain’t one of ‘em. Although I’m excited to be living in a world where fashion rules are disintegrating rapidly and steadily, I’m also excited to push color-related boundaries that the fashion world still considers sacred. For the love of green platform shoes, if two colors work together, wear them together. THE END!

OK, not the end because I’m gonna give you some examples. Here are a handful of typically taboo color combos that you – yes you – can happily and stylishly wear. Like tomorrow.


Taboo Color

This one is so commonplace in magazines, blogs, and catalogs that it hardly feels taboo to me … but I know that many women still fear wearing these two venerable neutrals in tandem. My advice is to include a third neutral or a dusky, muted tone in the mix to keep your outfit looking organic. Brown and black alone can look stark, but mix in some gray, ivory, mustard, or plum and you’ve got a gloriously refined-looking ensemble.


OK, OK, this is more teal than navy. Although I definitely believe that black and navy can be worn together, I struggled to find a photographed outfit to showcase the pairing. This combo is trickier and needs to be done in a way that looks intentional.

The easy route is to find a piece that includes both navy and black in the pattern. It can be a dress, blouse, scarf, necklace … just about anything. Pattern is the great bridge to color pairing because if a clothing designer did it before you, you KNOW it can’t be “wrong.” Furthermore, incorporating a patterned piece gives you the freedom to pile on solids in colors that might otherwise feel strange to pair. (This idea will come up again and again, as you’ll soon see.)


Already Pretty daily outfit featuring Liza Reitz dress

Navy actually pairs BEAUTIFULLY with most shades of brown; Everything from tan to cognac to chocolate. Navy has the amazing ability to skew cool or warm depending on the colors it’s worn with, and the rich warmth of brown brings out the best in this deep shade of blue. Here I’ve got on a navy dress with cognac shoes and there’s loads of separation between the two shades. When in doubt, going this route is almost fail-safe: Shoes in one shade, clothes in another, and bare legs between softens the blow of a taboo color pairing.  This outfit shows chocolate and navy together but, once again, relies on a patterned piece that includes both colors to bridge the gap.

My main advice for this duo? Don’t be scared. Start with a navy piece and try a few shades of brown until you land on one that pleases your eye. Experiment and play until you’re boldly wearing your brown dress and navy wrap to work! To parties! To dinner!


Already Pretty daily outfit featuring bolero sweater

Now we’re getting into “taboo due to holiday connotations” territory. Red and pink are so Valentine-y that women are loathe to combine them. And yet they’re perfect partners! Since pink is simply a lighter value of red, the two look naturally perfect together. But the world declares anything pink and red to be a heart-shaped box of chocolates … so add another color to the mix. Here I’ve chosen brown (which, come to think of it, just ADDS to the box of chocolates metaphor), but gray, black, and purple work equally well.

Once again, patterns can be the magical bridge – here’s an outfit featuring a dress that includes both red and pink in the pattern.


Already Pretty outfit featuring shirt dress

Aaaaaaand Christmas.

Red and green are complementary colors on the wheel, but wearing them together inevitably smacks of yuletide. ESPECIALLY bright red and emerald green, as I’m sassily wearing here. Both the pattern-bridge and expanse of bare leg techniques are being employed here: The scarf I’m using to belt my dress has both red and green in it, and the red dress is separated from the green platforms by my naked calves. And honestly, wearing these specific shades of red and green without those bridging techniques will probably look undeniably Christmas-y. But there are a billion shades of red and a billion shades of green, and pairing some more offbeat shades will look marvelous. Raspberry red and lime green, maroon and olive, brick red and teal … the possibilities are endless.

Unleash your creativity and break free from the norm by exploring taboo color combinations. Embrace the unexpected and infuse your world with unique and daring hues that defy traditions. Share your favorite unconventional color pairings with us in the comments below, and let’s inspire each other to think beyond the ordinary palette. Dare to be different, and watch how these bold choices transform your surroundings into works of art that reflect your distinctive style.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a taboo question?

Taboo subjects are those that are considered sacred or forbidden by society, religion, or morality. Understand the importance of context when it comes to taboos and how to respond to them.

Why are color combinations important in clothing?

Color is important in fashion since it enhances your appearance and helps you stand out from the crowd. It might have an impact on your feelings and mood. The color blends in with the designs. For example, humorous shirt designs come off as funnier when light colors are used in place of dark ones.

What is taboo in fashion?

There will always be cultural norms, religious beliefs, and points of view that prohibit particular clothing choices. For instance, nations where modesty is highly valued in society do not embrace the miniskirt.

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