Here’s why green is so hard to match: it can be cool or warm toned, or even neutral

Green is an interesting colour to work with when it comes to mixing, matching, and finding colours to complement green. I think I started to pay attention to shades of green after watching one of Daria Andronescu’s videos, where she mentioned that green can cause confusion when trying to make it work with other colours because it is not strictly a cool-toned nor a warm-toned colour. It depends on the shade of green. Khaki green and olive green are more cool-toned but also suit some people with an olive undertone, lime green, neon green, and pastel green have a bit more yellow in them and feel more “warm”. The most frustrating part is that sometimes each of these greens don’t go well together. I think the difference would be pretty jarring in an attempt to make a green “monochrome” outfit, compared to an outfit with a variety of blues, but after some thought… I think you’d still get the same issue with any colour.

I’ve been paying attention to greens when it comes to my existing clothes. I think I look better in dark green. Something like the teal green in my Lime Cordiale shirt, and the dark green in my checkered preppy shorts, are shades of green that lean cool, and thus look better on my mostly cool toned skin. I do have a bit of a warm tinge when I tan, but most of the time darker greens look better on me.

Me, Georgie, an Asian woman with short dark hair, wearing a dark teal band shirt and a washed black denim skirt and sneakers, standing near a park.
My Lime Cordiale shirt is a “washed teal” which is cool-toned.
Me, Georgie, an Asian woman with short dark hair, wearing sunglasses, a checkered black top, and checkered dark green shorts. I am standing on the path of a lane that has some plants growing in the background.
Preppy dark green shorts, also leaning cool.

Contrast that with my neon green skirt, which is a pretty nice bright colour, but one that I struggle to really match with anything else in my wardrobe other than white or black. It went alright with a primary red colour, and then looked like Christmas. Since it’s a colour I wear further away from my face, I feel like I can get away with the fact that it might not suit my skin tone, since it’s not going to clash with my features. I think that’s an entirely different thing from simply being able to “pull off” a bright, asymmetrical and “out there” kind of skirt, though. I’m just talking colours.

Me, Georgie, an Asian woman with short dark hair, wearing sunglasses, a white top and a green skirt with sharp angles. I am standing in front of a wall with some green leaves and vines attached to it.
So neon.

I know neon green is a bit of a loud and daring colour to wear in general, so one might call this a “statement” piece and unique in the sense that not many people would put it in their wardrobes. I’ve been struggling to style this. If you imagine it being a lighter and less neon green, though, it would lean towards a more “Spring” colour (if you consider the four seasons—and sometimes expanded to twelve—system of colour typing). That is not a colour I would choose at all, but you can imagine it would go well with colours that are in a suitable Spring palette like light blue, canary yellow, and some shades of pink. All of those colours are not colours I would generally choose for my wardrobe as they are not my “best colours”.

Anyway, I digress—I bought the skirt on eBay for a fairly good price, and it strays a bit from my style at the moment, but I still hang onto it in the hopes I can still find ways to wear it.

I tried on this, I suppose, Kelly green coloured top, feeling rather unsure about the brightness of the colour. I can handle some bright colours like fuchsia and cobalt blue—again, depending on how tanned I am—but something about this green felt off.

Me, Georgie, an Asian woman with short dark hair, wearing a Kelly green coloured sleeveless top.
This colour didn’t feel like it looked as good on me compared to dark green.

It sort of made me look greener. Which led me to believe that maybe I have a slight cool olive undertone (that’s undertone, not olive coloured skin). Either way, I was definitely more convinced that a darker green tends to look better on me, as does a more jewel-toned green. Something like this green but with a bit more blueish tint to it, like a teal or dark turquoise, would work better on me.

It’s not just greens, but other colours in general, that I find useful to try many different shades of, until you find the one that suits you. I think that for now I’ll be sticking with the darker greens, but since they are tricky to match, I’m also just going to work with the clothes I already have. We want to think sustainably, too! 🌎

I’m blogging every day in January 2023. Let me know if you’ll be joining in and trying to blog every day. 😊 The hashtag you can use on social media is #blogeverydamnday.

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I don’t know if this will help and I promise this isn’t a shamless plug! But I did a birthstone themed style guide which essentially was a colour guide for each birthstone and it included two green stones which were vastly different shades; emerald and peridot. They include Pinterest boards with ideas, colour palettes, makeup and so on. It might help?

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Ooooh. Coincidentally, emerald is my birthstone 🤩 Peridot wouldn’t suit me because it is light green I guess. I will have a peek, it’s worth it for some inspiration anyways! 💚

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