I don't think in complements at all. I'm with Rachy and think in matchy-matchy terms. Because:
1. I wear one bag almost every day, this one since October 2016. It is tan, but it only complements one pair of tan boots and one pair of tan/navy/gold loafers. I rarely change it out for one of my other 3 bags or myriad clutches. It's much more important that it "goes" with almost all outfits.
2. I don't wear belts.
3. I don't wear scarves.
So, I try to match earrings and shoes most days, and usually to some colour in the outfit. So when dressing, the first choice is the top half most days. Then what bottoms will go with that, most commonly black or grey but could be navy, olive or white. All pants are plain. Most skirts however, although seldom worn, are patterned, so in that case I choose the skirt first and then a plain top.
Now I have the bottoms and the top. Next is shoes. There is a colour and style for almost every print top available! Then finally earrings. I have even more of them! Girls go wild!
2 pics below, one a matchy-matchy outfit and one where shoes match one colour in the print and pants match the other.

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I read Christina's question a little differently. I have quite a few non-neutral winter outerwear pieces, and do use complements to accessorize them. My citron wool coat gets a scarf and bag that tie the coat together with the boots ; my pale pink coats have a few groupings I like to wear with them; my plaid coats have yet another . Coats are a perfect backdrop for a group of complementary accessories. I've also created groupings from new-to-me colours: my pale blue complement evolved that way. I didn't have any clothes in pale blue, but once I got my hands on a pale blue leather bag, the floodgates were open to add in sandals, scarves, jewellery, etc etc. It encouraged me to try a few pieces of clothing in pale blue too ....

Yah, for winter you need a really good outerwear/boot/bag trifecta.

I bought a juniper green puffer last year and black boots/bag works with it, but chocolate would be better.

Lisa P, yes, that sounds smart! I like the way you built your pale blue capsule. And my goal is to do what you have done with coats. I just haven't been able to yet. It's a work in progress.

Jenni, I think matching shoes to patterns is my common go-to also! I also use earrings.

I tend to do this in an opportunistic way. If a colour I like is trending at retail, I stock up while I can. This year I am stocking up on forest green, teal and plum because there is quite a lot of it here. So I have accidentally built up a complement of these items. But I would like to pursue doing this is a more deliberate way with light neutrals, because I really need more of them in my wardrobe.

Threads like these make me want a do a complete overhaul - my first reaction was I am the least methodical shopper and dresser around. But then I thought more - I try not to mix medals, which means that over the years I have kept an eye out for different hardware/color combinations in bags and shoes. I like to coordinate my bag/shoes/earrings, all of which I wear every day. During our long hot summers my outfits are one or two pieces so that is my focus.

Thanks for a great post and such fun reading.
I think I am more deliberate than organic.
Spring, fall and winter are easier because I use scarves, vests, bags and footwear and find it easier to mix them up.
Summer is tougher because I use very few scarves and my jewelry is limited by choice. Footwear is also limited by choice.
I can tell you I had a “ happy” situation in that a few years ago I needed to dye a sandal to match a pewter( more silver) dress. The shoes matched perfectly but over time the dye took on a lavender hue. By golly- if it not perfect with 6 of my summer dresses. People always comment- pure dumb luck- it certainly wouldn’t happen if I had tried to get that color- lol. I bought a bag second hand that was a close match but it did nothing for me. Now I combine the lavender sandal with a pale mint bag and it is a fun combo.

I have not read all the replies yet, but I deliberately try to form compliments to feel more pulled together. My most used are silver, gold and tomato red. I am working on turquoise and would like to add yellow and cognac. I have blush, black, black and white, pale grey, and a toffee tan. Some of these I don't feel are as complete as I'd like.

Thanks Suz, Lisa, and everyone. I have some ideas for summer now. I mostly have to play around with what I have, but I’m okay with things that go together rather than being exact matches.

Suz - you are killing me. Your last post *forced* me to buy that J crew stepped cowl neck, and now these cognac sandals are calling my name... Did you get them in Canada?

I don't usually build complements, but your post had given me a lot to think about to understand why I don't and if I should start...

Roxanna, that's hilarious! The sandals came from HeelBoy https://heelboy.com. They don't seem to have them online but there is a Toronto store. You can also order from Vionic. https://vionicshoes.ca

I'll be back tomorrow to comment individually -- I must try to sleep before an early morning dental appointment!

An interesting topic, and not one I tend to spend much time thinking about before purchasing. Usually a color will seem suddenly arresting, and an item (usually a handbag) will give me that where-have-you-been-all-my-life feeling, and I'll succumb. It's only afterward that I realize what nice things it can do for the rest of my wardrobe. This Spring, for example, I was looking for a green bag (inspired by one of Angie's posts) and fell hard instead for a small crossbody hobo bag in a deep rich mustard yellow leather. This is a color I've avoided all my life; it makes me look sick. But when the bag arrived and I saw how wonderfully it interacted with all the indigo shades in my wardrobe, from pale washed denim to dark navy linen, I knew I'd found something special. I even experimented with an inexpensive cotton tee in the same yellow under a deep indigo jacket, and liked it (for Summer only). Similar experiences with a coral red bag (bought a coral & cream striped tee, and a dark blue silk floral scarf with coral roses to work with that one), a turquoise blue bag (added cashmere gloves in the same shade), and many others have convinced me that a complement is right when I find myself wanting other pieces in the same color!

I love hearing everyone’s thoughts. Thx for creating this thread!

The term complements was a new one for me. After the post about complements, I wondered if I even had any. I don't think about matching bags, shoes and belts. My wardrobe evolves organically but I do stick to a certain colour palette.
After some thought, I decided I do have some complements of sorts. I will start with my summer footwear. My footwear is very limited because of my feet.

1/ Copper - Copper Birks, Belt with Copper Buckle, a few scarves with Copper in design, Amber jewellery
2/ Bronze - Bronze Birks, Bronze and Brown animal print clutch, Bronze/Old Gold jewellery, a few scarves with Bronze in design
3/ Mustard Yellow - Mustard Yellow Finn Comfort Sandals, Mustard Yellow and Brown Reiker Wedge Sandals, Multicoloured including Mustard Yellow Straw Clutch, Mustard Yellow Leather Clutch, Amber Yellow Bracelet

I think I did this unconsciously for many years, and have only started doing it consciously in the past year or so. Four or five years ago, I bought a pair of little dark yellow flats that were a perfect match for a yellow floral scarf I had at the time. Then I added a mustard-and-turquoise striped top, and loved being able to mix-and-match those three pieces. They played nicely with both navy and olive, two of my dominant neutrals.

Right now I have two colours that I think of in terms of complements: blush and sage. Again, they both work well with navy and olive, and also with black and white, so they're easy to integrate. I guess I don't really think of my neutrals in terms of complement-building, because I always plenty of them available! One nice thing about blush is that I can consider my rose-quartz jewelry as part of that complement, which expands my options. Now I'm looking to add some green gemstones in shades that would work with sage green (think aventurine, malachite, jade).

I also like these colours because blush paired with burgundy creates a tonal look, as does sage paired with olive. In fact, I tend to just roll my red and burgundy items in with the blush items and think of them as my "red stuff" and all of my olive clothes, in my mind, are in the same compartment as the sage, filed under "green stuff" -- I work in broad strokes!

Recently, I've been thinking about building a little cognac capsule (probably just a bag and boots for now) to add a warm accent to my cold-weather outfits which are very heavy on black, navy, and charcoal. I'm very picky about cognac shades though -- a lot of them skew too bright for me. I like a soft, dusty, vintage-looking colour that's darker than tan, but not as deep as chestnut. Hard to find! My complements tend to grow slowly because I'm very picky about finding the right shade.

I think summer dressing is equally important for complements (well, to me at least) because you are wearing very few items and want to have as much impact as you can with those few items. So for me, simple shorts and a tee really needs the supporting complements of some combo of bag, shoes, belt or jewelry (sometimes all of these!)

I have a burgundy complement for summer (instead of cognac I guess) that is just a simple handbag and sandal but I like to use it to "colorize" an otherwise neutral backdrop. My lipcolor echoes these colors so it harmonized well with little else - but rose gold may be the jewelry I choose to further emphasize the red tones.

Okay, I have an ice blue purse, which I'm carrying today but have not tried to complement at all. Sometimes the purse I have handy is the one I'm carrying, as long as it doesn't totally clash.

That said, I can consider this complement for it in the future. I am not including jewelry, as most of mine isn't uploaded (plenty of it is silver and/or blue). I also have more scarves than are uploaded. I don't wear my printed scarves so much in the summer, since I wear so much print in my outfits, but I'd like to change that a bit over time.

ETA: That said, I have a cobalt tote, and the complement would be almost the same (minus the pink scarf and blue sneakers, maybe.)

What a fascinating post to read through! Love that we all have different approaches to this ^^ I have definitely been doing less thinking and more feeling with wardrobe rebuilding. Having high affinity for all kinds of mixes probably helps there. And I'm with the camp that doesn't wear a lot in terms of accessories which makes compliments a little less useful for me.

My approach is super boring but it's what works best for me and has come about organically as I've narrowed down what exactly I enjoy wearing: I really only like to wear a handful of neutrals+variants for shoes (blush/tan/cognac, gold/rose gold, cream/white, gray/taupe, charcoal/black/navy, occasional olive). I don't wear belts all that often any more but they follow shoes in terms of colors. For jewelry I mainly wear earrings in plain metals (gold, rose gold, occasional silver) but I do have a handful of chunky crystal studs in key wardrobe shades. Bags are mixed -- I like to have options to compliment the shoe compliment (hah~) but I also enjoy wearing colorful/printed bags which I generally do NOT for shoes. Same with coats, love colorful coats!

Beyond that, I treat any other accessory less as compliment and more a
key element of the outfit i.e. necklaces and scarves are generally NOT
thought of as part of a compliment. Will have to think on this one a bit, I think I go compliment-ish sometimes and very not compliment-ish others.

I tend to mix-and-match across all of my "compliments" and don't necessarily favor matching. But it does still help to think of them in compliments, because that list of shoe neutrals are the kinds of accents I like to add so it's nice to have options across different items (especially if I opt not to go matching).

Fun to think about! I'm not really sure that I have before, at least not in the more overview-compliment aspect.

(Suz you definitely need a fuchsia winter compliment!)

I think my complements start randomly and without any forethought. I just like a particular item or color, or possibly a pattern, and soon I have two items of that sort, and then I have three, which is the start of a collection. I’m not sure if four and more makes it a complement, or maybe by three but somehow it happens! Single, pair, collection, complement, and sometimes I reach the state of overgrowth! Depending on the color overload, my closet could look like a giant raspberry jello mold, a field of dandelions or a Mediterranean Sea.

My number one inspiration for complements has been my glasses frames. I had red glasses in my senior year of high school and all through college. I am convinced that they served as the stimulus for my first complement. I had no idea what I was building except perhaps a wardrobe that would make me look like one of the Hare Krishna Cult members on our campus. I loved my unusual red glasses, and soon I had a matching red wool pea coat! Next came a red scarf, red gloves and a red wallet which I still use. I found some red sandals for summer and boots and a long red puffer coat for winter. Finally, I chose red dresses for special events, and red cardigans, red rugby stripe shirts were stolen from my boyfriends collection, and I managed to get some red ruby stud earrings. It’s funny how I still have so many of these pieces, but not the glasses that sparked the original inspiration.

My current complements, mostly started from glasses are red/raspberry and I have a fuschia complement. Turquoise/light teal and pale blue. I also have a pale lemon yellow/citron complement which is old, from before I started posting on YLF, but I have been adding to it again recently. There are others, but isn’t that enough! Thanks Suz!

Wow, I have enjoyed reading your replies and imagining your closets so much! Thank you for these terrific stories.

Staysfit, I love that you still have some of the items from your original red complement! And strawberry or watermelon red still looks amazing on you. I think using specs frames as the starting point is a brilliant idea. I laughed at the image of a jello mold!

Aida, thanks for enabling my fuchsia addiction! I haven't done enough with that lately. I got onto this idea of complements because Angie raised it this year on the blog as a way to add a new colour successfully to the wardrobe. She did this with olive and burgundy. And then blush, which was mainly (but not completely) accessories in her closet.

Christina, that looks like a perfect summery complement to me! For sure! So pretty, too. I like the bag.

Texstyle, I love the idea of rose gold with burgundy. That would be gorgeous with your colouring.

LaPed, that is a very interesting idea-- to make a tonal pairing with accessories vs. a contrast or "pop" of colour! I really like this way of looking at it. I'm going to need to think on it some more because I might like to try it. I agree that a cognac capsule would be good in winter with all the grey and navy you and I tend to wear. I've been thinking along the same lines. I don't have boots or a bag in that colour but I think I might like to try it since I do enjoy my summer cognac items.

Style Fan, you and I both stick to a fairly limited palette. I wonder if that makes it less likely we would be deliberate about this? Because everything tends to "go" with everything else already? Yet this year I found myself inspired by Angie's complements, and also, I suppose, I had to replace so much footwear it was more natural for me to think that way.

Thanks, Jessikams! Glad you raised the question!

Tulle, I know just what you mean about mustard. I had a mustard bag early in my time at YLF and I adored how it worked with blues and it was such a treat to be able to have something in that colour! Hmmm. Maybe it's time to build a new mustard capsule.

Joy, I always get a lot of pleasure from your outfit posts in part because I can tell you have thought in terms of complements! Your eclectic closet is filled to the brim with interesting possible pairings.

efbgen, that is so interesting! Lavender and mint is a lovely combination! Has it made you more interested in wearing lavender in general?

Shevia, your "thrown together" elegance works like a charm. You are forming complements unconsciously.

Brooklyn, plum sounds perfect for your closet! I'd be opportunistic about that, too, because it doesn't come round every season. Strike while you can. I do think light neutrals can prove really useful, too.

Smittie, you're not the only one hoping that chocolate makes a return soon!

I am a neutral wearer...lots of black, white, and shades of beige. I introduce statements in my accessories such as an eye catching collar necklace, or an oversized gold cuff. I also love to pop an outfit with a fur clutch or faux alligator bag/shoe combo. My compliments are not with color but with textures and bulky jewelry. I think this is a great way for a woman who loves neutrals or black to turn her look into a head turning affair!

My complements start either deliberately (lilac, purples, burgundys, khaki green) or randomly. My random complement is in tan or soul sucking beige. Not an inspiring color. But the Acne booties that came in this color inspired me so I purchased bags and tops and scarves that would complement the Acnes.

I have black complements (who doesn't), a tiny ignored cobalt complement, a discarded white complement (shoes gone, belt and tops still existing), and an underdeveloped cognac complement (need the right footwear).

Shoes almost always get the process going, the bag comes second.

Right now I'm working on a yellow complement, nothing has been purchased so far.

I am quite deliberate when adding a new colour into my wardrobe and commit to it - by adding it in with a support act.

I love variety, so my initial foray into a new colour will be via a print which will have the new colour in it, but also work with my existing wardrobe. I then assess how I feel about the new colour and if I want to build on it.

I approach compliments with an analytical approach that is based on feeling. Analysis and feeling, deliberate and organic.

PS: Cocolion: your beiges do not look soul sucking to me and you have a beautiful collection of complimentary accessories!

What a fun thread!

Tangential question mainly for Christina F, but anyone else is welcome to chime in.

I just recently bought the Birkenstock Mayari in silver and am loving it. I’m so glad that Birkenstock now has a narrower width option and the softer synthetic straps. I’m wondering if you like the Gizeh style the same, more or less than the Mayari. Also am wondering if you are finding the Onyx color useful. I struggle a bit with black casual sandals seeming heavy on my low volume feet. I’d usually pick a second metallic for the Gizeh, (available directly from Birkenstock) like bronze or copper. Getting another silver pair in the Gizeh seems like not enough of a different look. I did get the metallic Bella Vita in a rose gold as well as a pair of sandals that are more like peep-toe flats from Gentle Souls in pewter, so I’m trying to figure out if I’m all set in metallic or shoes. Should I get a black pair, or step totally out of my comfort zone and get a white pair. Advice anyone?

3style, you might want to start a separate thread with this question because since this thread is now older people might not come back to it. And we have many Birkenstock wearers on the forum who'd probably add to the conversation.

By the way, I loved seeing everyone's complements. Bijou, it sounds as if you adopt Angie's method for adding olive and burgundy. And CocoLion, I loved your examples -- gorgeous colours (and neutrals) to add.

Suz, I’ve been wondering when it is better to add to a thread versus starting a new one. I’m thinking to do a review of the vests that I decided to keep and wasn’t sure if proper netiquette for YLF was to start fresh or add on.

3style, you can feel free to start new threads whenever your heart desires. Sometimes we refer back to the original thread that got the conversation started and sometimes we don't. Either way, it's all good. If you give the thread a good subject heading that lets people know what it's about, those who feel they might have something to contribute will jump in readily. We are a friendly bunch here.

Suz, the other (private alumni group) forum I usually post has the procedure that when you piggyback off of a thread, you put the new name and then you put square brackets in which you then insert the old thread name or even all of the several past thread names. Thread naming gets really complicated, but very precise.

See, maybe I need to think more about complements. I've never been one to see a bag as part of my outfit since I typically only carry one to work. I also wasn't a belt wearer for years, then got into them, then shrunk two pant sizes and of course they don't fit. I tend to be pretty minimal when it comes to accessories, since a huge part of my style for years was layering to accommodate the daily climate swings in CO. I wore fairly simple clothing with very little extra detailing and few accessories, since I often was wearing 3 or 4 layers which added interest -- too much detail left me feeling fussy. I liked shoes which added a pop of color, since I didn't wear a ton of non-neutrals in most of my clothing items but did a lot of neutral-mixing for tone-on-tone looks.

Arizona is a different ball game. I find my truly lightweight summer clothes get drug down by my keys and phone, so I'm becoming an adopter of the smallish crossbody for errands and other non-work outings and need to hunt for a new option or two, since I'm currently using a pleather gift-with-purchase. I'm trying to get back into belts, especially since higher rises (which I don't do for comfort reasons since things marketed as high rise press on my ribs) are more popular-- I find with my short rise I can create a similar look with a mid-rise jean if I add a belt to make tucking or a more cropped shirt look intentional, especially with retro-inspired looks.

Without layers and other accessories, I'm finding my higher contrast (pop) shoes harder to work into outfits without looking lonely. I still love them, so I need to figure that out. However, I can't see myself wearing a red belt with red shoes, for example.

Elly, I have much the same issues and preferences, so as you are thinking about where you want to go with this, I’d love to read a new thread about your experience. I’ve been sticking with neutral or metallic shoes in recent years as a result of neither liking lonely or matching shoes, but if I did want an exciting color, I don’t have much of a feeling for a useful accessory compliment for myself.

My other issue is that I’m the only “fashionista” most people I know know, so I tend to get a fair number of random accessories as gifts and hand-me-downs. Often I’ll end up with something I like but that I don’t want more items of the same genre.