Color In Nature; Nature Knows How To Dress

Why is it that when we look at certain man-made color combinations, either in fashion, product design, or advertising, we can definitely say those colors work or don’t work well. Yet in looking at nature have you ever noted that some color combination seemed off? Not likely.

When we look at a landscape all the colors flow beautifully one into the other. Even the flamboyant coloring of birds seems to work. Nature’s coloring is always in sync, matched, and flows effortlessly.   But mankind needs lots of help when we pull out the crayons.

So why don’t we look more to nature for help when picking out color combinations.

With a few notable exceptions, most of nature’s colors are muted. This natural and subtle muting is the presence of other colors within the generic color that you are looking at. Because muting a color introduces greater variety within a color, it also increases the combination of colors with which it can be matched.

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If you look out upon a landscape in the middle of summer you see a lot of green.  Blue and yellow make green.  So, generally speaking, a green can be matched with either a blue or yellow because they share the same color bloodline.


Additionally, by carefully looking into the green you can find blue/greens, yellow/greens, and even red/greens (rusty greens).  And these greens can be warner or cooler. It is best to match warm with warm and cool with cool. So, the warmer yellow/green sweater below is a better match for the warm yellow skirt.

The muted colors of nature are more complex.  They are a symphony compared to a melody. By carefully observing the color of an object, you can deduce its component parts. This allows for broader color choices in matching outfits.

To review, nature always dresses well. And most color variations found in nature are muted color combinations. Learning how nature creates these color variations allows us to better understand matching man-made items, such as clothing. Learning the mix of the color in clothing, deconstructing the color, will allow you to match clothing items in a natural way.