As per the Dictionary, Neutral means “having no strongly marked or positive characteristics or features”. This is the philosophy behind Neutral colors too. These colors have no affinity to any particular hue/color – they are without any color.
Generally, this term is used to define colors that are not prominently shown in the color wheel. But these are so important in the color spectrum, that you cannot imagine a world without them, right?
Look at yourself. More than 90 % of the population of this world has this color scheme inherent in their body (the rest are red-haired and/or have blue or green eyes).
What are Neutral colours?
The most prominent neutral colors are Black, White, Brown and Grey.
But other than these, other colors with some hue undertones are also considered as Neutral colors. In fashion, some dark shades of red, green and blue like navy blue are considered neutrals. Metallic colors like gold, silver, copper, bronze are also considered neutral colors.
Gold, silver, Bronze and Copper
Choosing the right Neutral Color for you
A human body, unless you are a redhead with blue or green eyes, consists of neutral colors. So when you choose neutral colors, this has to be kept in mind and you will have to choose a neutral color that will complement the natural coloring of your body.
Neutral colors are the classic colors you can choose for the foundation pieces of your wardrobe. Like the little black dress, as the ever famous example. You can build the rest of your wardrobe with other colors from there.
Neutral colors are without the warmth or coolness associated with other colors in the color wheel. But that does not mean that the neutral colors are neither warm nor cool.
You can say that black, beige, tan, gold, cream, chocolate brown, etc are warm and white, grey, silver, navy, etc are somewhat cool. This is especially important in choosing complimenting accent colors to go with these colors.
Significance of neutral colors
To portray power, capability, and charisma nothing like neutral colors. They are stylish and versatile; they can be mixed and matched with other vibrant colors for greater balance and interest.
Many a wardrobe is based on the neutral color scheme alone. If you have a penchant for classic clothes, you will be choosing all your clothes in these colors.
Check out the other color schemes like this in the post “Outfit color combinations“.
When you are going for an interview and want a reliable, confident looking ensemble or when a bridegroom is looking for an appropriate color for his suit or when you are pruning your wardrobe and thinking of creating a solid capsule wardrobe with some core pieces; many instances when you will be searching for the perfect neutral colors.
Neutral colors in fashion
In fashion, colors are very important. Even when you are using black and white, there is a preference for colors. But the neutrals, even when they are said to be without any color, are very popular in fashion. There is a reason why these are favourites out of ‘all’ colors – these are colors that can make anyone look rich, dignified and trustworthy. Need there be any more reason?
Building a wardrobe around neutral colors
Neutral colors can be combined with other colors in the color spectrum and they will create a good balance. They will subdue strong colors, and enhance dull colors. They can also be combined with other neutral colors.
A minimalistic and classic wardrobe can be built around neutral colors with very little money. You can choose a few pieces of clothing items in these colors and pair them with suitable accessories for a very versatile wardrobe. You can wear these clothes over and over again, mixing and matching them, without anyone noticing that you have only this much. The whole concept of a capsule wardrobe is this, and it is possible with neutral colors.
Choose bottom wear and jackets in neutral colors in the white, black, gray, or beige family. These will blend in and will be the base for different colored tops.
If you combine neutral color for all pieces of your wardrobe at the same time, some may mistake you for an office furniture or some thing more boring.
The basic rule of choosing neutral shades are these –
If you have a warm coloring go for the warm neutrals and if you have a cool coloring go with the cool neutrals.
Colors like beige, tan, gold, cream, chocolate brown, ivory, olive, dark tobacco are warm neutrals. If you have a warm skin tone, choose these colors for your clothes. Avoid dark grey and black, definitely.
Pristine white, lots of grey shades, silver, navy blue are cool neutrals. If you have a cool skin tone, choose these colors for your clothes. Avoid warm browns, coffee brown, and olive green.
Black is the ultimate neutral color. Think of the famous Little black dress which is one of the most versatile clothing a woman can own.
But some may consider black boring. And black pants can remind one of uniforms. The best alternatives are beige and grey.
Both colors are good. Brown as a neutral color goes well with almost everyother color but some may say that grey is more sophisticated.
Beige is the neutral color to choose if you have warm tone and grey if you have cool tone skin.
When choosing accessories, you can select neutral colored one safely to pair with any other colors in your clothing, because these colors do not compete with other colors but they enhance the colors. They act as a good frame for your clothes.
One thing to ensure is that the shoes and bags should match.
Some commonly used shades of neutral colors
If you have a favourite neutral colour do mention in the comments below
3. Oxford blue
4. Fog grey
8. Steel Grey
9. Tobacco Brown
Updated on November 11, 2022 by Sarina Tariq