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Matching Eyeshadow with Clothes - Do's & Don'ts

Matching Eyeshadow with Clothes - Do's & Don'ts

While it’s still important to consider eye and skin tone, choosing makeup to compliment your outfit means zooming out to get the full picture of what you’re wearing and how your makeup harmonises with your overall look.

While we might consider choosing eyeshadow to compliment our eyes and skin tone, less is  said about matching our makeup to our outfits. Here, we’re going to look at the do’s and don’ts of matching your eyeshadow to your clothing.


Be Scared!

Outside of fashion editorials or festivals, colourful makeup tends not to appear as much on people in everyday life. Part of the reason for this can be down to hesitancy: working with colour can feel like something of a gamble for some - but experimenting with colour and switching up your look now and then can be fun, so why not give it a try?

Create a Clash

An easy way to start using colourful eyeshadow is to use tonal contrasts. While using the exact same colour as your outfit is a definite no-no (it makes sense in principal, but tends to result in a clash), using the same colour in either a softer or stronger hue can be very effective: pairing purple with a softer violet tone, for example - or using various shades of blue.

Go Overboard

Using multiple colours on your eyes can look really pretty - but tends to work best when the rest of your outfit is fairly neutral (a black or white top, for example). The same goes for your makeup: while in some cases you can get away with a bold lip and eye together, most of the time it’s best to choose one as the main feature and keep the rest of your face neutral.


Try a Classic Look

Some styles of eye makeup are great all-rounders: a neutral look or a classic smoky eye will rarely steer you wrong and both tend to work with most outfits. Here, the traditional advice might be to go softer for daytime and stronger at night, though there is a little flexibility here: smudgy, sultry eyeliner can still work well for daytime if paired with softer colours in your outfit - the key is contrast.

Some makeup looks were made for certain outfits (a feline cat-eye paired with a breton top, for example). A red lip (for instance) might automatically make us think of a nostalgic, retro look - while smoky eyes are synonymous with rock chic or soft grunge. When using classic looks, consider the overall vibe of your look and how your makeup can be used to compliment it.

Go for Gold (or Silver, or Bronze…)

Some neutral colours work perfectly with certain metallics in the same colour scheme - so if you you want to substitute a colour with the corresponding shiny hue, this is another option:

  • Grey - Silver
  • Orange - Copper
  • Yellow - Gold
  • Red - Bronze

Dive into Colour Theory

If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, you can use colour theory to choose colours that will work with the rest of your outfit. To start, get your colour wheel out (or search online for one if you haven’t one handy) and look at which colours work well with each other the best (this is a good resource to use if you’re unsure).

Colour theory is commonly used by artists and designers - however there’s no reason you can’t use it in makeup - after all, you’re doing something creative - just with a different kind of pigment!

Here are some examples of the key colour schemes used in colour theory and how they can be used to help you match your makeup to your outfit:


Complementary colours sit opposite one another on the colour wheel. Examples of these might include:

  • Purple and yellow (or gold, for a more regal look)
  • Magenta and green
  • Blue (or teal) and orange


Analogous colours are the best friends of the colour wheel: they sit right next to each other. Often found in nature, one colour tends to be the dominant colour while the second and third are used to accent it.

While using three colours might seem a little daunting, the easiest way to do this is to choose the dominant colour as your clothing and use the second and third colours on your eyes.

In these examples, the dominant colours are red, green and violet, while the second and third colours can either be used on the eyes (or elsewhere in your outfit) to make the dominant colour pop.

  • Violet, blue and teal
  • Red, fuschia and yellow
  • Green, blue and purple

Split Complementary

Here’s where things get a little more complicated: split complementary colours form a triangle on the colour wheel, with one colour at the top and two forming the corners at the “base” of the triangle (search image references for this if you’re not sure).

A few examples of triadic combinations include:

  • Red, yellow and blue
  • Royal purple, red ochre and lime green
  • Purple, green and orange



Tetradic colour combinations work with shape as well - this time the colours form a square on the colour wheel, with a shade at each corner.

A couple of examples of tetradic combinations are:

  • Yellow, purple, blue-green and red-orange
  • Red, green, blue-purple and yellow-orange

Now that you have your eyeshadow palettes at the ready, why not explore our tips on how to apply eyeshadow elsewhere on the blog, where you’ll find plenty more ways to get creative with your makeup.


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