I see a bunch of searches in my blog related to how to match your nail colour to your outfit colour. Obviously, there are some very classic guidelines there. Painting guidelines and artistic rules of what colours and shades match and what colours and shades don’t. But there are also personal preferences, circumstances, cultural differences, occasions, your mood for today 🙂 and a whole lot of other things that can modify and alter and challenge the general colour matching rules that exist out there. So, what do we do and how do we navigate this whole thing and wear what we like and at the same time steer clear of unwanted faux pas? It’s a tough call and it differs person to person, still there are some bigger things and concepts we can keep in our mind and stick to, when we ask ourselves – so, what manicure will go with what I’m about to wear tomorrow? Or tonight 🙂
If you’re going to wear black…
Lucky you 🙂 Because it’s probably the easiest matchingwise. A lot of nail colours will work here. Almost all of them. Almost…
Black. Black is the obvious best couple colour kind of thing here 🙂 You can do it. No question about that.
White. White is an obvious counterpoint colour for black clothes. You can go dead on white or pearly white, all good.
Let’s talk blue for a minute. Navy blue? Yeah, sure. Be prepared that it’s going to be dark though. Dark outfit plus dark nail colour. So, maybe, you want to throw in some bright spots there. Purse? Lipstick? Something. And then brighter blues, cooler ones will be best suited. Pastel blues? Not that great with black. I’d take a pass here. No pastel blues with black outfits for me.
Red now. Cherry red? Yeah. Vampy. Once again though, keep in mind that it’s a dark look with a lot of dark background. Bright red? Absolutely. Hot. Raspberry red? Why not? It’s a classic and can work with black well enough. My personal preference is fiery glowy super bright red. I’d probably keep cherry red for a lighter coloured clothes look, where it will be a counterpoint thing rather than blend in the black kind of thing.
Coral. Yep. I think it works with black. Why not? Pretty much any kind of coral will do, if you’re a fan.
Purple and plum. If it’s plum or really dark purple, then it’s going to be darker than dark kind of look. Once again, maybe, you want to throw in a couple of bright or light spots in there to dilute it. Just purple can work too. I say though, be careful, if the purple is darker so that it doesn’t merge with the black outfit altogether.
Grey. Yes, but you have to keep several things in mind here. If it’s a darker grey, it’s going to be almost black and black kind of look. If it’s a lighter grey, it’s better if you have some grey somewhere in your black outfit. Like a stripe or something. In the perfect world you’ll have like a white and grey stripe on your black dress or a silk scarf, maybe, at least. You know why? Because grey + black on its own can be just… well, boring. It’s just calling for some addition, which might well be in accessories, so don’t sweat it 🙂
Pink. Tough. Classically and traditionally, it used to be a no go with black. Then things changed. And pink and black can be worn together. I think, brighter pinks work better with black. Both warm and cool ones. And I still up to this day feel more comfortable, when I bring in some other pink elements in my black outfit to support the pink on my nails.
Brown. I don’t think so. Unless your black outfit has some brown elements in it. Pattern or whatever. And even then you’re running the risk of brown + black being as boring as grey + black, so beware and bring in some elements into, something it to break this massive ‘wall’ of darker colours on you.
Yellow and green. Absolutely. They work really well with black background. In fact, by wearing those with your black outfit, you’ll create a stark and striking contrast and bring out the best in these bright colours… and black. They are a perfect match. You might want to support your brights, yellow or green, with accessories though. Purse, shoes, belt, jewellery, well, you know.
Nudes. Sure. They are like the most universal things in the world. That’s why so many people like them. Nude manicure matches everything. I would amend that – almost everything. Still, definitely those well groomed manicures can be easily worn with black clothes.
Pastels. For starters, they are different than nudes. You know what I mean, when I say pastels, not nudes, right? Lighter romantic pinks, corals, yellows, blues, greens and stuff like that. Well, I don’t like to wear those with black. There are so many colours in the world and a lot of those work much better with pastels. So, I, personally, try not to wear pastel manicure with black outfits.
If you’re going to wear white…
Not as easy as black, but you have a lot of ways to go here. Let’s see… White is obviously another universal kind of background for nail colours. Almost anything goes here. So, it’s only up to you and your imagination what colour you go with.
White and black. It’s like with black outfit, only the other way around 🙂 White clothes with white manicure is classy, elegant and womanly. White clothes with black manicure is an awesome and impressive counterpoint. Both are good options. I like both. Especially white outfit and black nails. I like it even better than black + black.
Pastels. I don’t really like white clothes matched with pastel manicure, believe it or not. You know why? It’s the same as wearing black clothes with darker off black shades. It blends in and merges and turns into one big lighter spot. I’d hold pastels, when you’re about to wear white. It’s not that you can’t do it, you can, it’s just that pastels will play better if they have some background there as opposed to just white.
Nudes. Unlike pastels, I think they work. Sure. They do. With white clothes they provide for a very clean and sophisticated look.
As for colours, almost anything works with white, really.
Red. All kind of reds.
Blue. From, navy blue to bright blues and turquoise, you name it.
Brown. Why not?
Purples and plums. Sure.
Corals. Yes, they do. Hot orange or modern coral. All good.
Pinks. Sure. I’d stay away from pastel pink though, but, maybe, it’s just me. Brighter pinks are nice with white.
Grey. Sure. Especially darker grey is really cool with white clothes.
Green and yellow. Green and yellow, those fun colours, can be great with white, if you wear accessories of the same fun colour you went for on your nails.
If you’re going to wear red…
Hot 🙂 Good for you.
Red, obviously. I generally try to either match it to my red outfit shade or go a little darker. It’s very hot, when your red nail shade is a little darker in this case.
Blue. I don’t know. I say, only if your outfit is red and blue 🙂
Brown. Yes, most reds work nicely with browns.
Purples and plums. Darker plum can work with some shades of red but not all of them. While I’d hold the brighter purples and not wear them with red clothes.
Corals. Not an obvious choice. But personally, I think that hot orange and more subdued corals alike look interesting, modern and sometimes chic with red. Just be sure to match carefully here.
Pinks. Maybe, although why, if you can paint your nails red? 🙂
White. Might well be. Especially if you wear some white accessories with it.
Black. Possible, although I’d like to either support it with some black elements in my look or skip it and hold it till I wear outfit that’s not red.
Green and yellow. Both be too bright, when you try to match them with red. Because red is bright colour in itself. Yellow basically doesn’t work with red. Green only works with red in elves Christmas costumes, as far as I’m concerned.
Nudes. Yes, they work with red too. Red manicure works better though.
Pastels. I don’t think so. I pass on pastels, when I’m about to wear red.
Grey. I don’t know why you’d want to match red and grey. Only if you wear a darker grey with it that’s almost black. And then remember that you probably need to bring in something black or dark dark grey in your look and outfit to help your dark grey manicure work with your red outfit.
If you’re going to wear blue…
Blue. All kind of blue. And, yes, pastel blue would work too. You can either try to match your blue outfit shade perfectly or go intentionally lighter or darker in your manicure. If you want to go more classic and more elegant in your look, try to do this – cool blue outfit + cool blue manicure or warm blue outfit + warm blue manicure. If you do it vice versa, you’ll get an artsier and edgier look.
White. Yes, it works with blue, I think, nicely so.
Black. I don’t know. It can work with certain shades of blue clothes. But not all of them. It’s a tough call. I try to stay away from painting my nails black, when I’m about to wear something blue. Unless, of course, there are black elements in my blue clothes.
Red. No, I don’t wear red nail colours with blue clothes. Only if my clothes are red and blue 🙂
Brown. Brown and blue? Doesn’t sound like a good match to me.
Purples and plums. Maybe. But why, given you can go for black manicure? I’d take a pass.
Corals. Pretty much the situation here is the same as it is with reds. Mostly it’s a no. Only if there’s coral and orange somewhere in that blue outfit of yours.
Pinks. Nope, it’s as much a no for me as reds and corals are.
Yellow and green. Yellow and green are mostly too bright on their own to work with blue. If you have any kind of green or yellow pattern or stripes on your blue outfit, then maybe. Just maybe.
Nudes. Believe it or not, nudes work with blue too 🙂
Pastels. Maybe, pastel blue. Everything else is more of a no than yes for me.
Grey. Yes, I think so. Grey goes well with blue and oftentimes is a good match for it.
If you’re going to wear brown…
White. Maybe, although it’s not an obvious choice and wouldn’t be my obvious manicure option to wear with brown clothes.
Black. No. Only if your clothes are black and brown. And even then I’d go for a brighter manicure shade, so that the look is not too dark.
Red. By all means and in all shapes and forms. Brighter and orangey is nice. Red cherry is classy. Raspberry is chic. Go for reds, they were made for brown.
Blue. Only if your outfit is blue and brown. Blue jeans and a brown shirt don’t count as such 🙂
Brown. Yes, just be sure that it doesn’t all merge and blur into one big dark spot. Throw something in. Something that’s not brown.
Purples and plums. They will look good with brown. Plums especially. And warmer purple shades. You’ve got to be careful with brighter, clearer, cooler purples though. It’s not going to be easy to make them work with brown. And even if you do make it work, your look will be artsy.
Corals. Sure. Orange. Coral. All those fiery colours will make brown look even better.
Pinks. Maybe. Although they aren’t as great a match for brown as reds and corals. I, personally, would stick to reds and corals here.
Yellow and green. Yellow and green would both look great with brown. If you go for brighter versions of any of those though, your look can get edgy. If you go for more muted shades here, you’ll look as chic as it gets.
Nudes. Yes, nudes are a good match for brown clothes. Especially nude beiges.
Pastels. Maybe, although I think they look better with beige than they do with brown.
Grey. Nah. Only if your outfit is grey and brown.
If you’re going to wear purple…
So many options.
Purple and plum. All shades of those would look great, you pick it, cool or warm, light or dark, bright or muted.
White. You can wear it with purple outfits, not sure you want to do it though or that it would be the best choice, unless you have a white pattern, white accessories or white something in your look.
Black. Possible. Only once again, if your purple outfit is dark, paired up with black manicure the look can prove to be too dark. Bring some other colours in your makeup or clothes to dilute it.
Red. That can work, especially if your outfit is a warmer purple shade. Might be interesting. Raspberry red works well with purple clothes.
Blue. Yes, you can do it, if… your purple clothes are a cooler purple 🙂 Then blue will make more sense with them.
Brown. You can do it with warmer purple outfits.
Corals. Not quite. Only if you’re going for a very artsy option and look, then go right ahead. It’s a good one.
Pinks. Quite. Pink manicure will be appropriate here.
Yellow and green. Yellow and green nail colours do not make much sense to me, when we’re talking purple clothes. Only if it’s about a very trendy look, and if yellow and green are somehow present in it.
Nudes. And they match purple too, those most universal manicure shades 🙂
Pastels. Yes, I do like wearing some pastels with purple. Say, pinks, lilacs, beiges. Maybe, blues.
Grey. Grey nail colour can be an option, if you’re wearing cooler purple clothes. Then it will look good.
If you’re going to wear coral…
Corals. Elegant and modern corals and artsy orange is the first thing that comes to mind here in terms of manicure, you know why, it’s a perfect match 🙂
White. Maybe. I can see it work. Can’t say it’s my personal favourite. But it’s a way to go, if you love white nail colour.
Black. Theoretically it should work. I don’t see it clicking though. I mean, maybe, only with muted and elegant coral shades. Maybe.
Purple and plum. Not quite. Only if you’re going for a very artsy option and look, then go right ahead. It’s a good one.
Red. Yes. It seems weird, but just as I think coral manicure can be great with red clothes, I do think that red nail colour can be paired up with coral outfits.
Blue. Very artsy. If you dare. If you do though and make blue manicure work with coral clothes, you can get a very edgy and a very special look there.
Brown. Absolutely. Orange and brown were made for each other. As simple as that.
Pinks. Quite. Pink manicure will be appropriate here.
Yellow and green. Yellow and green don’t strike me as obvious manicure options. When I consider it though, I say – why not? Both work with corals. It’s just that your look can prove to be hip. I’d say, pastel yellow and khaki green or lime green would be at their best here.
Nudes. Told ya. Works with anything 🙂
Pastels. Sure. Yellow, coral, pink, lilac. Maybe, blue, maybe, green. Coral is a bright colour in its core, so lighter delicate pastels on the nails can complete it nicely.
Grey. I don’t see it. Grey is a cool shade. Coral is a warm shade. Unless you go for a dark off black grey… But once again, why would you, when there are all those other colours out there?
If you’re going to wear grey…
White. Yes, yes and yes again. White on the nails and grey clothes are a classy combination. Very elegant.
Black. It works. Black is like a darker version of grey on the nails. Elegant. Personally, I prefer dark grey manicure instead of black to match grey outfits, but it’s my own and very individual preference, so to say.
Grey. Of course. Especially as there are so many shades of grey. So many…
Corals. Yes, corals will work. Especially brighter corals and reddish corals.
Purple and plum. Good ones. Cooler purples on the nails can be very sophisticated with grey clothes, while warmer purples can be artsy.
Red. Blazing hot red manicure elevates grey to a whole new level and makes it sexy.
Blue. I love wearing blue nail colour with grey clothes. There’s something exquisite about this combination. Elegant.
Brown. Not really. I wouldn’t wear brown with grey, unless your outfit has some brown in it together with all the grey.
Pinks. Yes. If you wear pink manicure with your grey clothes, you’ll look very modern. I like that.
Yellow and green. Yellow and green manicure with grey… hm. I’d say yellow is probably a no for me, most of the times. As for green nail colour, especially cooler green shades, it looks gorgeous with grey clothes.
Nudes. Yes, nudes work with grey clothes just as they work with clothes of other colours.
Pastels. Maybe. Why not? A lot of pastel shades can look cute and tender with grey outfits.
If you’re going to wear beige…
Nudes. When we’re talking beige clothes, nude nail shades rule the world. Especially as beige nail colour is the ultimate nude. And what can be classier than when your manicure matches your outfit? I’d make sure though there’s some colour in your look too, say, on your lips 🙂
White. It matches beige outfits. I only paint my nails white though, when I’m about to wear beige clothes with white pattern, white elements, white shoes or purse or belt or jewellery, you get my point here.
Black. To me, it’s a no. Unless my clothes are beige with black and not just beige. You could make a case though that black can be this counterpoint dark shade against the neutral beige background. So, you can do it, if you like this combination.
Grey. Possibly, yes. In fact, a beige outfit will look very sophisticated with grey manicure. I like it. Especially if your beige outfit is a cooler beige or greige.
Corals. Coral and orange are a great counterpoint for beige clothes, even more so for warmer beige clothes.
Purple and plum. Looks very exquisite with beige outfits. The great thing is you can do both warm purple and cool purple manicure here. Warmer purples and plums will look more lush. Cooler purples with beige clothes will look trendy and artsy.
Red. The most classic, the most womanly and the hottest nail colour by all means can be worn with beige clothes and turn casual and relaxed outfits vampy.
Blue. Modern and artsy blue manicure is great with beige outfits. The look you get as a result is modern chic like if you go for navy blue, or artsy if you pick a brighter blue nail colour.
Brown. It’s a perfect match. Chocolate brown nail colour will look hot and vampy with beige clothes.
Pinks. Girly pinks look romantic and fresh with beige outfits. Also, they look easy and in the day.
Yellow and green. Yellow and green both work really well with beige. And the range of looks you can build here is impressive. Pastel yellow and pastel green with beige clothes can be tender and delicate and nice. While brighter yellow and green nail colours with beige outfits can be more artsy. It’s up to you 🙂
Pastels. Beige clothes paired up with pastels provide for a delicate and tender look. Also, it’s very chic when all the colours in your look are muted. So, it’s a good option.
If you’re going to wear pink…
Pinks. Pink, more pink and then some. If you’re afraid it will be too much pink, if you paint your nails pink when you’re about to wear something pink :-), keep in mind that there are a lot of shades of pink out there. So, you can just go for a different shade on the nails. Lighter or darker, cooler or warmer, brighter or more pastel like.
Nudes. If you’re a fan of nude manicure, you know that you can wear it with pink clothes as much as you can wear it with clothes of any other colour 🙂
White. Yes, I like white manicure with pink clothes. Only in this case I’d go for pearly white nail shades.
Black. Now that we can wear black and pink in one look, I prefer brighter pinks, when I know I’m going for a black outfit. The good news is it can be a cool pink or a warm pink depending on which you like more.
Grey. Pink and grey is not the most obvious combination, but I think it works. There’s something really sophisticated about it. I like it.
Corals. I try to stay away from matching pinks and corals. It’s just that it makes more sense to me to paint my nails pink, as long as I’m wearing pink. You can pull pink outfit with coral manicure though, if you like brighter colours.
Purple and plum. Certain shades of purple on your nails can give your look in general and your pink outfit in particular a very modern and chic edge. You can paint your nails any purple shade almost, when you’re about to wear pink clothes – from hot plum to romantic lilac.
Red. I’d go for pink manicure instead of red, when I’m going to wear pink clothes. But… it’s possible to make red nail colour work with pink clothes. Say, you can wear red shoes and a red purse with your pink clothes, then red manicure makes a whole lot of sense.
Blue. Blue and pink? No. Only if it’s a super baby doll like look with baby blues and baby pinks or turquoise and hot pinks mixed in it. Then it can work. Only then.
Brown. Brown and pink combos are classy. I like them. They bring pink back to where it started. Fresh and elegant instead of overused.
Yellow and green. I wouldn’t try to match either green or yellow with pink. Unless they are pastels on your nails and there are some yellow and green elements in your clothes. And, honestly, I wouldn’t even try so hard to make green or yellow work with a pink outfit. Why do that? There are a lot of other colours that match it naturally 🙂
Pastels. Pink is so delicate in its essence. So are pastels. So, yes, a lot of pastels are a great match for pink in clothes.
If you’re going to wear green…
Green and yellow. I love green, so the more green there is, the better it is for me 🙂 You can either try to hit exactly the shade of your clothes in manicure or you can intentionally go for a different shade of green and make it stand out. You can make yellow work on your nails too when you’re wearing green clothes, just keep in mind that yellow and green combined in one look are artsy. Very much so.
White. Possible, but why oh why would you do it, when there are all those other colours you can wear on your nails, if you’re about to wear a green outfit? 🙂
Black. I can only ask the same here. Why would you wear black on your nails, if you’re wearing green clothes? Although, I guess, you could do it, if your green outfit is really really dark.
Pinks. Remember what I told you about black and pink? Some time ago they’d say it’s a no go. Now it’s fine. We have the same situation here. They used to say green and pink don’t belong together. Things change though. Now you can wear the two in one look and be just fine. I’d support your pink manicure here though with some pink accessories.
Nudes. They still work, they still match, they are still universal.
Grey. Yes. Especially with cooler greens. That’s when grey is at its best.
Corals. Very bold, but it’s possible. I’d advise to go for coral manicure, when you’re wearing warmer green outfits.
Purple and plum. No, I don’t like this combination – purple and green. It’s possible to pull it. Even if you do though, it will be on the artsy side of things.
Red. Told you already. To me, red and green combo belongs only in Christmas costumes. And nowhere else.
Blue. Blue and green are seemingly close. Still, I don’t see how blue manicure works so great with green outfits. I take a pass here. Unless your dress or something is green and blue.
Brown. Yes, brown goes well with green. All kind of green, actually. Warmer and cooler green alike. This combination is not too common, but it works.
Pastels. They can work with green clothes, but once again, why would you want to wear them with a striking green outfit? I’m not so sure.
If you’re going to wear yellow…
Yellow and green. Yellow is my second favourite. So, a lot of yellow is good just as a lot of green is good, as far as I am concerned 🙂 I like to go with a different yellow shade on my nails, when I’m about to wear yellow clothes. Green can work too here. Especially warmer green that has some yellow in it. Lime green and stuff.
Pinks. I’m just no big fan of pairing up pink and yellow in clothes and manicure. It can be done, if you work hard and get some pink elements in your yellow outfit. To me, it’s just not worth it 🙂
Nudes. It’s our final colour, and, yes, nudes work with yellow. So, we’ve officially established that nudes work with anything 🙂
White. The combination of yellow and white is boring to me. I’d only paint my nails white, when I know I’m about to wear a yellow outfit, if my yellow outfit has a white pattern on it or something.
Black. I guess, it’s possible, but my question still stands – why do it, when there are all those colours that are a better match for yellow?
Grey. No, I wouldn’t paint my nails grey, if I’m about to wear yellow clothes. I could come up with more interesting and better suited manicure options here.
Corals. Yes. Might be. This combination can be fun and vibrant, if both your yellow outfit and coral manicure is bright. Or it can be exquisite, if you wear something pale yellow and then have a muted coral manicure to round up your look.
Purple and plum. No, I don’t think it goes with yellow clothes.
Red. Possible. Say, if you wear a lighter yellow outfit and a super bright orange red on your nails.
Blue. Blue and yellow don’t go that well together. Hey, it’s a poem almost 🙂
Brown. By all means. The combination of yellow and brown is chic. Pale yellow clothes and chocolate brown manicure come together to create a very elegant look.
Pastels. Possible, not my personal choice though.
These are my thoughts. My palette. My colours. My breakdown of matching clothes and manicure. What’s yours? 🙂