Different types of red and how to wear them Different types of red and how to wear them

Do you wear a lot of red? If you don’t, maybe you should. Red is a powerful color. It is the color of passion, courage, leadership, and love. It can be a bold statement or a sexy accent color. Red is a very versatile color that you need to have in your closet and drawers.

If you don’t think you are a fan of red or can’t pull it off, we beg to differ. Although fire engines and sports cars may be the first things that come to mind when you hear the word red, there is much more to the color than those. A whole spectrum of reds go from almost pink to almost dark purple.

Whether you are already a fan of red or you just want to see if there is a shade or two that might work for you, we have the info you need right here. To help with your journey to getting more red in your life (and in your wardrobe), here are some of the different types of red and how to wear them.

Primary Red

This is the standard red you know and love. It is bright and bold and in-your-face red. It is the red we know from childhood and Valentine’s day and can be fun and playful or powerful and sexy. The issue with wearing red for many people is that it can be a little too bold or on-theme. If you wear it right, though, it can look great on you.

The complementary color for red on the color wheel is green. Primary red and primary green can skew way too Christmas-y in many instances, so you want to look for interesting shades of darker and lighter green (try army green) to pair with primary red. Pink is in the same color family so that goes well with primary red, as do trendy colors like mustard yellow, camel, or gray.


Often confused with maroon, burgundy is a dark red but it doesn’t skew towards purple like some other dark reds do. The color is named for the Burgundy region in France because it is similar to the color of the area’s famous red wines. The most well-known example of the color burgundy in popular culture is in the burgundy and gold of the NFL’s Washington Football Team.

Speaking of burgundy and gold, that is not just great for uniforms on Sunday. It works just as well in the boardroom on Monday or at Happy Hour on Friday. In addition to gold, burgundy pairs well with anything in the yellow family, as well as lighter colors such as grays and turquoise, and darker colors like navy. This thorough guide from No Cold Feet shows that socks are a great way to get some burgundy into your wardrobe.


One of the lightest reds is the color blush, named for the shade of theater makeup used on actors’ faces in 16th century England. This shade is so light it is almost pink and some shades of blush do indeed look pink. However, true blush has just enough red in it to put it in this family.

Blush goes well with many colors, light and dark, depending on the vibe you want to present. It is light enough that it actually goes well with the reds above, primary and burgundy. Right now, blush and gray and blush and navy are two very trendy color combinations. For a great spring-time look, pair blush with a light pastel like lavender purple or mint green.


Cardinal red is darker than primary red but not quite as dark as the shades associated with “dark red” such as burgundy, maroon, and crimson. The color is named after the well-known bird and it is a great red to wear if you like true red but primary red fashions make you feel a little too much like a fireman.

Cardinal works great with base colors such as black, white, gray, dark blue, and tan. If you have a suit or dressed-up outfit in one of these base colors and are looking for a sexy and dangerous pop of color, try pairing Cardinal red socks with the outfit. For a trendier look, you can try Cardinal and turquoise.  Pairing Cardinal with a busy pattern is a very hip look, too.

Also read: How Do Clothes Affect One’s Mood


One of the deepest, darkest reds, maroon in so dark it skews towards purple, black, and dark brown. The color is so dark that the name actually comes from the French word chestnut. This is a great color for people who want to wear more red but shy away from the truer reds because maroon is almost like wearing an earth tone color.

Maroon contrasts very well with lighter colors in the brown and yellow family and is also a classic combination with gray, white, and black. For more modern, hipper maroon looks, try pairing it with a light sky or baby blue.  In the fall, maroon and orange is a fantastic combination.


Another red named after wine, this is a dark red with hints of purple and gray. This unique and interesting color will make any outfit look more interesting and fashionable. This deep and rich color is a very palatable choice for people who shy away from traditional reds.

Merlot goes well with purples and grays because of the colors reflected within its own shade. It also pairs very well with almost any shade of pink. Merlot and black make a dark and mysterious color combination; it also is great with dark yellows and golds.

Also read: Trending Clothing Brands [Wardrobe Essentials] of 2020


Candy apple red is not the only red color. Don’t shy away from red just because you aren’t a fan of the traditional shade. A whole family of darker, lighter, and frankly more interesting and mature reds are out there for you to explore. Give one of them a try in your sock drawer, on your tie rack, or in your closet.

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