How to Spell Gabbana: How to Wear Colour? – Part 1

Written by Mariem ELTagoury and Alaa (aka Lols)


Deciphering colors for men and women.


Spring is here! And with spring, come a lot of things we Cairenes dread: The finals, the heat, and the fashion colour blast! Spring is associated with colour worldwide but in Cairo, people either fear colour (perhaps because we’ve got issues with attracting unwanted attention on the streets and styling it the wrong way) or Cairenes fall victim to the fashion crime of extreme multi-coloured outfits, the kind that makes eyes sore, bellies ache and kind of reminds us of Bozo the clown.


So today we’ll overcome our colour shyness, colour blindness, as well the set of tardy rules passed down by grandparents to younger generations (No, your shoes don’t have to match your bag young ladies or your pants young men!) Here’s a guide for how to rock colour this season without anything getting in your way. (Our chic and fashionable Managing Editor, Alaa, promised to help me out with this article by his contribution of male outfits whenever possible – note; not all colour fashion rules apply for ladies and men alike)


Introducing the neutrals:

To know your colours, you must know the neutrals first, so what are neutrals? They are the basic shades from the colour spectrum that can be matched with any other colour from the spectrum without causing conflict.


From top left to right: shades of black , shades of brown, navy colour, dark wash jeans and shades of white


To make it easy, we have shades of black (this includes jet black, onyx, charcoal, licorice, grey, and various other shades), shades of brown (this includes chocolate brown, beige, buff, chestnut, tan, taupe, camel, wood brown, rosy brown, and various other shades), shades of navy (navy blue, bright navy blue, and indigo all fall under this category), shades of white (white, ghost white, snow, smoke, linen, seashell, ivory, etc… ), and the all-time favourite dark wash blue jeans (I know this is not only a colour but also an item; still, it is considered a neutral either way)

If you own a couple of the basic colours, you are guaranteed to create a lot of flawless outfits.


Introducing the Color Wheel:

Color Wheel.
Color Wheel.


Now you know your neutrals. Let’s get to know colours. You might recognize the colour wheel from your school art class –remember the primary colours blue, red, and yellow? When mixed, they give you the secondary colours violet/purple, orange, and green and mixing primary with secondary colours produce tertiary colours! It’s simply a circle of colours that will help us guide you to how to wear colour the right way.


Starting Small with Basics

If you’re colour shy, or you’ve just started experimenting with colour one of the easy ways to start is wearing multiple neutrals together. Forget the old rules that black, brown and navy don’t mix; this is 2014!


Black pants, a white and navy striped top, a grey cardigan or a navy blazer, a pair of brown oxfords and a multi-neutral coloured cross bag.


For this outfit I paired black pants with a white and navy striped top. You could add a grey cardigan if you like to avoid the AC chills or a navy blazer for a bit of sophistication. Add a pair of brown oxfords for relaxed trendy spring vibe, and a multi-neutral coloured cross bag to complete this casual look for spring.


Men’s look


A collar t-shirt, beige chino pants, a brown belt and grey boat shoes, a straw hat, tinted shades, braided bracelets and a scarf.


For this outfit, it’s all about the basics. It’s very simple and laid back. I’ve paired up a collar t-shirt, with beige chino pants, a brown belt and grey boat shoes. To top off the look (for those who dare), a straw hat, tinted shades, braided bracelets and a scarf were added for a more “impressive” look.


The Stand-out Piece

You’ll be surprised how a pop of colour added to your outfit could have you radiant and happy all day long. Here’s how to keep a neutral palette with a touch of colour to keep it interesting.


A grey basic blazer, a pocket shirt, sterling silver earrings, bracelet, black bag, flat shoes and black trousers.



Men’s look


A dark basic shirt, dark trousers, a bright blue belt and grey casual shoes with light blue soles.


This outfit is a little extreme so fair warning! I’ve matched up a dark basic shirt with dark trousers. To dim out the darkness, I’ve added a bright blue belt and grey casual shoes with light blue soles to match with the belt. It’s more of a night out outfit and be sure that you’ll be the centre of the party!


Complementary/ Contrasting Colours

Complementary colours are any two colours on the colour wheel opposite each other; when mixed together they produce the colour black, when paired together the contrast beautifully. One of the most famous complementary colour pairs are yellow and purple/violet; but today I’ll go for less famous combination orange & blue!


Contrasting colors
A bright orange blouse, light blue jeans, cool blue earrings, nude sandals, a straw bag and a silver necklace*


One clever way to wear colour, is to match a bright shade with a light shade. In this outfit I matched a bright orange blouse with light blue jeans, cool blue earrings, and kept the rest neutral with nude sandals, a straw bag and a silver necklace.

*The product became unavailable by the time we published this article.

The Monochrome

Some prefer matching to contrast; let’s face it not everyone’s a fan! If you are, don’t go all matchy, matchy! The monochrome look is a classic look where you match different shades of the same colour, not the exact same colour. Here’s how to do the monochrome.


Super-slim light yellow jeans, mini handheld bag, long pendant, jersey top and wedges.

Men’s Look

For a more laid back style (and for the Marina enthusiasts), a blue t-shirt with light blue shorts paired up with a denim waistcoat. I matched them up with dark blue espadrilles and black sunglasses.


A blue t-shirt, light blue shorts, a denim waistcoat, dark blue espadrilles and black sunglasses.


Stay tuned for next month’s article; we’ll be discussing how to wear colour even further.



Will you be adding more colour to your closets this spring? Do you have certain colour rules passed down to you that you live by? Share them with us & let us know what you think!

About Mariem El Tagoury

I am a graduate from German University Cairo. Reading novels is my passion and writing is my release. My guilty pleasures include fashion & playing around with my make-up kit. A couple of years back when I was introduced to the online world, back in 2007; I was quite surprised that in spite of the presence of thousands of young Egyptians who follow the online sphere daily, there wasn’t one site that represented us or our lifestyle. [Later we’d come to see the rise of the political, religion, social-elite, and foodie websites, but still the voice of the average Cairene youth was missing.] I was glad to find out that I wasn’t the only one who had the feeling of the outsider on the internet, that’s why I decided to gather a team to fill a gap & finally find our place online and give Cairo’s youth a real voice that reflects its true culture. I hope you find our site interesting with a new view of life. Besides running the magazine & editing, I write the “Sans Sugarcoating” column, pardon my french, and a couple of other stuff around here! If you want to contact me, my email is [email protected]; you can also use our contact form or email directly to [email protected]

.after-post-ad { display: none; }

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.