Already Prettypoll: Matchy-matchy Revisited

As you all know, I’m a fan of matching. I like monochrome looks, coordinated accessories, and cohesive color schemes. But even I have my limits. I buy the occasional jewelry set, but will always wear the pieces separately. If I’m doing one bold accessory – red boots, for instance – I’m unlikely to repeat that boldness elsewhere in my outfit. And, much as I love it, I hope never to make an appearance on

Over to you: How do you feel about matchy-ness? Will you match your shoes to your bag? Bag to belt? All three? Do you wear matched jewelry sets? Prefer discrete or repeating color schemes within your outfits? Which kinds of matching do you utilize, and which kinds do you personally avoid?

  • Maggie

    I don’t match shoes/belts/purses to each other, nor wear sets of jewelry (though I often pay attention to gold tones v. silver tones and match that). I do however dress far more within families ie purple/lavender/plum, green/other greens than I do crossing the color wheel for complementary colors. So I usually wear accessories which include one or more outfit colors rather than having a big POP from a scarf or hat. One blogger I admire for her color combining wizardry is Anthromollogies: I think the outfits look fabulous and mostly I think “That would have NEVER occurred to me!”

  • Jennifer

    Conceptually, I do not like to be matchy-matchy but somehow always end up being it to some degree. I can’t pull off disparate elements without thinking I look like a hot mess so some things end up repeating, usually through color. I do try to avoid matching my handbag to my shoes, unless they both happen to be black.

  • Viktoria

    Aren´t those matchy couples cute? But no, I wouldn´t like to be one of them.

    I try to stay away from things that were made to match. But I look for things that match anyway, colour-wise or in some other way. I think it gives an outfit balance and makes me look like I have more weight, more gravity, if that makes sense.

    • The Cat

      No, those matchy couples are NOT cute. Most of them look boring and very unstylish.

    • The Cat

      I have never felt the need to match my shoes to my belt and/or bag, etc. However, I have a personal rule: When wearing bright or bold coloured shoes / hose / trousers / skirt, I usually repeat that bright or bold colour near my face, e.g. in a blouse or sweater or in a piece of jewellery or just in the print of a scarf. To me this looks coordinated but in a casual way, which appeals to me. It also adds interest to the face. :-)

      • Dee

        I just looked at those photos, about 95% of them are couples that look like they are traveling, abroad. For the most part they have matching JACKETS OR OUTERWEAR, ones that are probably good for travel (lightweight, waterproof etc. ) To me that is NOT the same as matching OUTFITS. I was expecting to see couples in matching colored tops and outfits – not jackets. I normally don’t wear the same same type coat as my husband, but on a trip to europe or a long trip where you have to be judicous about what you bring, I see nothing odd or unfashionable about matching jackets. For the most part the jackets look like the unisex type. (I actually wish I was on one of those trips!)

        • Bekka

          Thanks for saying what I was thinking!

  • kb

    I love matchy-matchyness. I know you’ve previously said you’re the mayor of matchy-matchy town,, but I’ll run for city council. I generally match my shoes to bag and belt, my shirt and my socks, and my jewelry. I love repeating color schemes, though usually I don’t do entirely monochromatic. I also match my bra and underwear, at least within the color family.

  • meli22

    I understand the appeal of matching, but nowadays matching too much can really make an outfit matronly and/or age the wearer, even when the cuts are modern. I love pulling out a color from a pattern in a blouse and wearing it in the form of a jacket or accessories, but repeating an accent color across everything in the outfit isn’t really my thing. On the other hand, those who love to dress in a vintage style can really use matching to enhance the vintage vibe. Matching the hue and using other colors is much more modern, because the colors will ‘go’ together but not match. Also, matching colors is not easy- if one thing is a shade or too off from the rest it looks wrong and like an afterthought. On the other hand, it can be really fun to come across items that are the same color and wear them together, which I certainly have done. I would save it to two ‘matching’ items in an outfit though and select the rest to ‘go’

  • sarah

    I like an outfit to be coherent, but I hate matching. Reminds me of garanimals. seems unsophisticated somehow.

  • malevolent andrea

    I’m a reformed matchy-matcher. When I was a young woman, I couldn’t leave the house if my bra and underwear didn’t not only match each other, but match the clothes on top of them. It made getting dressed for work at 5:30 am interesting. ::eyeroll:: The last vestige of this remaining is a nagging sense of discomfort if my coat doesn’t match what’s underneath it, even when what’s underneath it isn’t showing. I need to remind myself that a.) I don’t have an unlimited supply of outerwear and need to just wear what’s appropriate for the weather and occasion and b.) no one at the gym or the supermarket cares if my jacket clashes with the shirt underneath it.

  • Sarah

    I wish I didn’t have such a need for matchy-matchy, but I do. I simplify things by only buying silver jewelry and buying shoes and purses in metallic colors with silver hardware. I have a bronze purse and silvery-bronze shoes; not the same color exactly, but close enough to be matchy matchy.

    I’ll be honest with you….I love outfits that incorporate, say, blue, red and yellow solid separates (say, a blue blouse, red skirt and yellow shoes) but I hate the look on me and I feel like I look like I can’t match my clothes. Even with a patterned piece to pull it together – can’t stand the look. I tend to wear jeans or black pants with everything, silver/metallic accessories, and a shirt in a nice color or print. I just started wearing metallic shoes last year and that was a huge step for me!! Before that, I only wore black shoes. So overall. I am a boring dressed who follows the old school matchy matchy rules I was raised with. I don’t really care that much what people think about my clothes, but when I look in the mirror and don’t feel good, I don’t wear it.

  • Dee

    I don’t mind some matching of colors but the one type I don’t like, at all, is two piece PRINTED outfits, skirts and blouse, or top and pants outfits. They were popular probalby 10 years ago and when I see someone dressed like that now I really think they look dated/matronly. Sometimes the pieces could be separated and worn, and the look would be more up to date but together, NO! When I see a woman wearing such a matchy outfit I usually think that they probably are not that into fashion and really don’t care how it looks. Now on the other hand I have seen crazy printed pant suits in the high fashion magazines in recent months. I have not see anyone actually wear them on the streets but my guess is “they’re coming” !

    • Anamarie

      Warning: those two piece printed outfits ARE coming back – there was a recent Wall Street Journal article about that in the Personal Journal section! Gross.

  • joy at TALLpetite

    It depends on what your definition of ‘matchy’ is! I would never create an outfit all in one color. I may, on the other hand, make an outfit in a color family. Right now I’m planning an outfit consisting of a cobalt skirt, pastel blue cardigan, and a skinny fuchsia belt. I think the pop of color is necessary to avoid a “church” outfit. In general though, I think it looks more youthful to pair opposing colors (but being careful to not venture into What Is She Thinking territory…)

  • Angela

    I am a matches too. Tomorrow’s outfit:

    Navy pants
    Orange cami
    Navy cardigan
    Brown shoes
    Gold bangles
    Long gold necklace with orange peach and coral necklace

    Can’t help it :)

  • Ellie

    I hear you on the jewelry sets. I love the idea, but can’t ever bring myself to wear them together. Especially necklace and earrings. Only occasionally earrings and bracelet get worn together.

  • poodletail

    After almost 39 years of marriage ( ! ) Mr. Poodletail and I find ourselves about to leave the house in nearly identical outfits. Naturally, one of us has to change our clothes and if we’re ever late for event that’s probably what happened.

  • D

    I like matchy to a point- like you, I usually won’t wear matched jewelry, but I prefer color coordination and some cohesion. I don’t like things that outright clash. I could care less about matching with my purse (the ones I use are orange and red, so they don’t match outright with a LOT of my clothing), though I will admit that I do like my shoes and belt to at least be similar.

  • Aziraphale

    I’m the one who wants to spray graffiti all over matchy-matchy town! I’m really particular about what colours I want to wear together, but outfits that look too neat and coordinated are not my cup of tea. My only nod to matching might be to wear an accessory in the same colour as my shoes.

    As for couple matching: my husband and I occasionally have to flip a coin to see who gets to wear their brown Fluevog BBC boots. :-)

  • Anamarie

    I like to wear things that “go” but don’t necessarily match. I don’t like obvious matchy-matchiness. I might wear brown boots with a brown leopard print scarf, but I don’t wear brown clothing with the brown boots. I find it easier to coordinate accessories to create interest than clothing and accessories. I would wear earrings and bracelet that match, because of the distance between them, but not matching earrings and necklace.

  • Trystan (the CorpGoth)

    My hubbi & I are often accidentally matchy, but never in that weird identical way. More like, we get dressed, not noticing what the other one is wearing, & then we see that we’re both wearing a burgundy top & black bottoms. Tends to happen when we both love the same dark goth colors :)

  • Annette

    I would never wear a non-matching bra and briefs. That’s a no-go for me!
    I prefer earrings and necklaces from the same set since they are worn so close together.
    Shoes, belts and bags don’t need to be from the same line but of course matching i.e. same colour scheme or style.

    Lady of Style

  • Michelle

    I like to wear things that “go” in some way
    Today’s example….my dress is predominantly dark khaki & charcoal and I’m wearing red shoes to echo the red detailing on the shoulders.

    I don’t do jewelry sets but if I’m wearing silver earrings, I’ll wear a silver bangle or at least a necklace with silver undertones.

  • Rachel

    I definitely don’t care about matching sets of accessories, matching bra and knickers, matching my purse to my outfit, matching my coat to my outfit. But I do like repeating colours in an outfit, so I might wear a skirt that has some orange in it, with orange shoes and an orange necklace. Or today I’m wearing purple tights and a purple shirt, plus a grey plaid skirt and a purple and grey scarf.

    Of course, other days I’ll wear green shirt, purple skirt, yellow tights, so matching is not a necessity. 😀

  • Chris

    I don’t see anything wrong with wearing a matching t-shirt or jacket my partner does, especially to very casual and sports events. In those instances, we don’t give a fig if we don’t look stylish! I save worrying about ‘stylish’ for work meetings and public speaking venues.

    If you bothered to talk to us, you would find we are far from being boring. Saying so is putting too much emphasis on how people look.

    Notice how many of those couples are holding hands? Perhaps they know something about good relationships. Perhaps they are having great fun and enjoying each other in spite of having insults of boring, fuddy-duddy, geezer, slow, senile or what other derogatory remarks you throw at them.

    • Northmoon

      Amen Chris, amen!

      You are right, most of the couples are wearing matching outerwear. Makes sense to purchase the same clothing for the same conditions or climate if you will be together. Most of them are holding hands, happy to be doing things together and living their lives as a couple. They are not worrying about being interesting or stylish for the onlookers!

      As a woman of a certain age who lost her partner twelve years ago, I am so envious of those matchy couples. Any one who is criticizing them should consider how wonderful it would be to have a long term relationship where you are that much in sync with your mate.

      • The Cat

        We are not discussing the couples’ relationships but their outfits.

        With all due respect: Why would a woman ever want to dress in the same formless jackets as her male partner? In today’s world, there’s plenty of casual outfits to choose from. So, no reason for any woman to look like a male clone. Why not choose a jacket etc. that actually makes you look good? Surely, that wouldn’t worsen your relationship to your partner or anyone else. :-)

        • chrissandra

          One word: layering.

          Since women’s jackets tend to be cut closer to the body, they tend to be harder to wear extra layers under, which if you are actually engaged in serious outdoor activites can become a real factor. In addition, women’s outerwear reaches fashion obsolescence radically faster than men’s.

          It’s not a look that particularily appeals to me, but I think those couples look cute.

        • izabela

          All of those outfits were highly utilitarian though, so why it would matter if they’re not form-fitting or attractive. They serve a purpose and that is to be warm, comfortable, etc.

  • ily

    I like monochromatic looks, but oddly enough, I don’t think this is the same as being matchy-matchy?

  • Kristin

    After looking through my own outfit ideas, it looks like I tend to prefer repeating color schemes on the whole. For example if I’m wearing my black & purple top, I’ll likely accessorize with a purple bracelet/earrings. Sometimes I’ll match my purse to my shoes but other times it’ll match with a cardigan or a top. Other times, the only occurrence of a certain color may come from an accessory, such as a red scarf or a pearl bracelet.

    I don’t match my bras and underwear, and actually don’t even own any matching sets. I own one or two jewelry sets but have no trouble splitting them up if it serves my purpose. I dislike two-piece matching outfits. Even though I know it can make a petite such as myself look taller, I tend to balk at dressing in monochromatic outfits – seems too boring to me.

  • f.

    I wear so much black and grey that I tend to look monochrome a lot of the time, which I really like. It makes me feel “put together” rather than “matchy” and makes it easy to dress in the morning.

    I do have some super matchy accessory choices, just to add a pop of color. I’m wearing a turquoise bracelet and turquoise earrings right now and I usually like to match my earrings to my brooch if I’m wearing both metal earrings and a metal brooch.

    However some of my super simplistic style is offset by an asymmetric haircut in natural red, and my big combat boots…

  • Brynn

    I used to be the queen of matching. I would only buy “outfits,” rather than pieces that I could mix and match. However, now I just like to make sure I look coordinated. I think that too much matching looks over-thought and tacky, but there’s a fine line between that and looking like you just threw on clothes. “Pattern mixing” is a great example. Most of the time, it looks ridiculous, if I’m just being honest.

    I never match my handbags to anything. As far as I’m concerned, bags are tools to carry all your junk, and I don’t a) have the money to buy a bunch of bags for different outfits, and b) have the time to switch out a bag every day. I also usually use my belts as a way to hold up my pants (so you can’t really see them and the color doesn’t really matter), or as an accent to the outfit (like a leopard print belt or hot pink belt to add some interest to a plain black dress).

  • Sue

    It’s a long time since I wore matching bag and shoes – a comment that reveals my age! When I was younger I loved matching bag and shoes, but now I agree with some of the above commentators that it looks a bit fuddy-duddy. I do however like to repeat bright colours in, for example, a scarf or a bracelet to make an outfit look more co-ordinated.

  • Anonymous

    What a fun topic. I had to think about it a while. I think I go for a “pulled together” look, not necessarily a matching look. My goal is to look like I put a little bit of thought into things and I try hard not to look like I got dressed in the dark. A look I dislike in both my home and my wardrobe is what I call the,” I got this all from page 6 of the catalog” look. Usually when I am shopping for any given season, I gravitate towards the accessories and print items first, then I go looking at the pieces that will help me blend these things into my existing wardrobe. Those usually fall into the basics category.
    Sometimes my shoes and belt match because I just don’t have the budget or closet space to buy things in an assortment of colors. I used to play around more with changing up my handbags, but sadly I’m not terribly organized and I always seemed to be somewhere minus what I needed. I used to be very guilty of buying those matching Liz Palacios jewelry sets. I’ve given most of those away and any sets I have remaining, I break up.

    Funny thing, my husband and I did match a lot the first few years we were married. My husband registered us at REI and we ended up with a lot of matching fleece. Somewhere some one has pictures of us with black rectangles over our faces I just know it!

  • cecelia

    I now avoid buying anything two piece- not because I’m afraid to wear the pieces separately, but they will fade at different rates unless you launder them consistently together.

    I do love a tonal look- blues and teals together, pinks and burgundies together. I often put an outfit together, then change one accessory to something that doesn’t match- it makes it feel younger somehow.

  • Ericka

    Awww. I find to be kind of sweet.

    I love a good match…within limits. I love matching a shirt to a shoe or a bag to a shoe. I will never do denim on denim top and bottom (I just can’t; perhaps it triggers bad 80s memories for me). I find it hard to resist a perfect match but if I cannot perfectly match top and bottom I would prefer to do contrast. I used to love matched sweater sets but prefer to mix them up now.

    I never wear matchy jewelry. I love diversity with jewelry so this I haven’t done since I was 10.

  • Olivia

    I am a matcher. I don’t wear belts or change my purse everyday, but I coordinate the colors of my jewelry like an amber necklace and amber colored earrings. I even sort of match my eye shadow to my outfit. I don’t mean blue with blue, but brown tones with brown tones, or eggplant shadow with black and grey clothes.

    When I see outfits with completely opposite colors it makes my eye twitch, lol.

  • Joyce

    I am naturally inclined to be all over the place with color, pattern, and texture…I just love a hot mess! However, outfits that are interesting to me seem to be a distraction to customers at work. So I rely on a matchy-matchy strategy for professional dressing, and go a little nuts on the weekend. I’m happy that there are so many ways to make clothes serve me well.

  • Robin

    I will occasionally do a matchy outfit as a deliberate look (I’ll have a post about it on my own blog later this week), but I do not do matchiness as a rule. I generally prefer things that “go” rather than exactly match.

    My husband and I have a strict no-matching rule (which we call “matchypoo”), and if we accidentally match each other – which does happen sometimes – one of us is required to change before going out.

  • Beth

    Eh, for me, matchy-matchy is a no go. I much prefer outfits that “go” versus outfits that “match”. It makes me feel like I’m wearing a costume!
    My sister, on the other hand, is Her Royal Clothes-Matching Majesty. She cannot tolerate the idea of wearing an outfit that doesn’t match from her ears to her toes.

  • Cynthia

    It kind of depends on what you define as matchy-matchy. I don’t buy adult Garanimals that are sold as sets from lines where all the pieces match (although sometimes I’d like to just to simplify things), but I do like coherency within an outfit, which usually means wearing items that at least speak to each other somehow and not, say, a green and white gingham blouse with a dark red moroccan patterned pencil skirt and turquoise platform shoes (I am pretty sure I saw that happen in the Anthropologie lookbook recently). My jewelry is idiosyncratic, almost all sterling, and I never buy matched sets.

  • ValC-MN

    As far as matching goes, it would depend upon my mood. I will occasionally wear a blazer and a pair of pants that are the exact match or else complementary to each other. If I go the complementary route, then another piece whether a scarf, top, or sweater will either be another complementary color or match one of the colors exactly or have one of the colors in the print.

    As far as purses, I do both – match sometimes or a complementary color.

    Shoes – Most of the time black or brown but at times, I will wear a colored shoe that usually is a match to a color in my outfit. I haven’t tried a totally different color than what I am wearing – other than if I am wearing an all-black outfit and then I use a pop of color on the foot as well as have that similar pop of color reflected in the jewelry I am wearing that day.

    As far as jewelry, it depends on my mood. If I wear gemstones, I may wear matching in that gemstone color, or wear a monocromatic look, or wear a complementary look (i.e. several shades of blue topaz together; at other times, wearing blue lace agate with larimar and turquoise; wearing peridot jewelry layered with amethyst jewelry; wearing various colors of metals together, etc.). At other times, I may wear all yellow gold or all two-tone, or all citrine in sterling silver, etc. Sometimes, I will wear a citrine, turquoise or lapis blue to be a bold “pop” of color that will stand out against what I am wearing. However, when using color in jewelry, I try to wear more than one piece of that color (i.e. if I am wearing a malachite necklace, then I usually will have 1 more malachite piece on but they may be in different metals and accompany a silver, gold, or ceramic watch.)