• HOME

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Red and Black Week 2014, Day 1: How to mix different colour shades in one outfit

I can't believe that it's been a whole year since I last took part in Sophistique Noir's Red and Black Week; it's an honour to take part again. Red and black is the most classic of bold gothic colour themes, possibly because of the associations with blood and vampires, but not one I indulge in a lot nowadays; I accessorise with red a lot in the winter with hats and scarves, but over the past year I've been paring colour back to bare black, particularly with summer coming (what an oxymoron). 

One of the reasons I and many other people struggle with red (including, from memory, the host of our event, Ms. Kitty) is how difficult it is to mix different shades of it. Unlike other colours, such as green or purple, red has the peculiar ability to make one look like a Frankenstein's monster when not matched properly. Even more famously, the eternal goth problem of mismatching blacks is an all too common issue. If you have a small wardrobe or are lazy like me, you can't be bothered meticulously matching shades everyday. But I've compiled a list of tips for getting around this -

Take care of your clothes

One of the main reasons mismatching blacks become a problem is fading; this can change the midnight black of your once favourite item to a dusty charcoal. The main culprits is washing, which removes some colour each time, as well as drying. Red doesn't fade quite so badly, but does notoriously run in the wash! The Everyday Goth has post on keeping blacks black, which can be easily applied to other colours.

Red and Black Mash-Up

Mix textures, fabrics and prints

One of the suggestions often given to make all black outfits visually interesting is to include multiple fabric types and textures; this can also be used to make different shades of the same colour work, as it separates them from one another. Above, I mixed patent oxblood leather creepers with a natural finish red leather jacket, and a velvet skirt with a cotton crop top - the difference in shades between them isn't as noticeable.

Oxblood and Fire Engine

Keep different shades far away from one another

This may not always be practical, but physically distancing items from one another makes it less obvious when colours don't match. I tend to use this in make up a lot; the red of my lipstick often doesn't match other reds in my outfit, but because they're separate it's not noticeable. The same principle goes for this gorgeous skull bag.

Sourced from pinterest

Dye it!

If all else fails, re-dyeing your clothes may solve the problem, either to correct fading or change the shade. Be careful to match the dye to your fabric type and check trimmings and stitching beforehand.  For small patches of fading on black clothes (particularly around seams) I typically use a sharpie to fill it in.

Have you got any tips for mixing different shades in the one outfit? What do you think of my first polyvore sets? Let me know in the comments! You can find my previous Red and Black Week posts under the theme posts tag.



  1. I'm participating this week too! Mismatched colors drive me insane and i just don't wear them. If it's laundry day, i hide it with a jacket no matter the temperature.

    1. I've become too lazy to care nowadays! Jackets fix everything.

  2. Mismtched colors freak me out as well, but I particularly like to match two different - usually a brighter and a darker, more saturated - shades of the same color, though I have to admit, that I hardly ever wear bright reds, especially not accessories.

    1. It can look good! It's almost better when the shades very clearly don't match. I tend to avoid red too.

  3. You make a great point about mitigating the mid-matched reds with distance. I also love the Sharpie tip for blacks!! I use that one from time to time.

    Thank you for sharing your tips for Red & Black Week! I'm so happy you are taking part again this year. :)

    1. Thanks - it's such a tiny bit of upkeep, but it really helps.

      You're welcome! Happy to join in. :)

  4. Ah, the good old Sharpie. It has saved many a piece from my wardrobe.

    1. The sharpie has saved my butt far too often!


I love interacting with readers, and promise to reply all comments. Spam and advertising will be deleted.