In Kitsuke, or the Japanese art of wearing a kimono, people take colours and prints very seriously. Some of the meanings of the colours and layers have been lost to time, but the art remains.

On some kimono, there are tiny accent colours scattered around a main colour or the backdrop colour. Some of these accent colours can be very subtle, such as the purplish shading on a red flower or the edging around a geometric shape. To maintain the harmony of the entire kimono set, people would incorporate that tiny accent colour into another piece in the kimono set to make that accent colour pop. For example, if the minor colour shows up as purple, they would choose a sash or an accent bead in the same colour, to make the colour look brighter and make the colour scheme more compact.

You might not have the budget or interest in kimono, but you can use the same technique in all your outfits, especially if you don’t want to have one dominant colour in your entire outfit. Accent colours need not be a secondary aspect of your outfit if you help bring it out. This technique works especially well for prints.
First, determine the main colour and the accent colour. The main colour is usually the background colour, but it depends on how loud or dominant the patterned colours are. Once you’ve determined the accent colour, simply find other parts of your outfit that match your accent colour.

This blazer, for example, has green leaves on a white backdrop. The main colour would be white, with green as an accent colour.

To bring out the green more effectively, pair them with this skirt.

Or, you could choose a similar pair of white trousers and choose these green high heels.

In other occasions, the accent colour is very well hidden. The shading on the print on this blouse is very subtle, as red and violet are very close to each other on the colour wheel. To make the purple more apparent, choose a purse in the same colour, such as this one.

The same concept can be applied to this dress. The backdrop is blue, with white lace patterns. You can pair it up with white pumps and a clutch purse to complete your look.

Of course, you don’t need to stick with a single white texture with everything other than your dress; accentuate your look with white pearl or clear crystal jewellery.

This jacket has more than two colours, so it’s up to you to choose which accent colour to emphasise.

Try emphasising the least visible colour, blue, with these trousers.

If you choose to bring out the warmer hues in your outfit, try carrying this clutch purse around.

The same concept can be applied to patterns and textures, but that’s a topic for another day. For now, practice picking out the colours and choosing which accent colours you want to bring out.