What to Wear with Olive (and who it suits)


Olive or military green seems to be big for the coming season. I’ve picked up both a casual jacket and a pair of cotton pants (NOT cargo style). How would you recommend wearing them, and with what colors, so as not to look too grunge? I’m over 50 with blonde hair and green eyes, and warm, muted coloring. Thanks Imogen.

What to wear with olive - which colours play well and harmonise in outfits

What to Wear with Olive

Olive is a great neutral colour to wear if you’re warm. There are brighter and more muted versions, lighter and darker.

As olive is warm in its undertone, it’s an ideal neutral that teams well with so many other colours, warm blues, orange, coral pink, red-violet and camel to name a few.

What to wear with olive - which colours play well and harmonise in outfitsIf you’re blonde and muted, team it with soft, smoky warm colours in lighter tones.  If you’re brunette, mix your olives with the darker shades with a little more intensity.

Olive is a great warm neutral (and a version of it is in every warm colour palette in the Absolute Colour System) as there are lighter and darker versions, as well as ones that are brighter and more smokey.

Think about the colour wheel and your own colour contrast when combining olive with other colours.  Not sure of your colour contrast?  Discover yours here.

  • If you are monochromatic – then look for lighter and darker shades together.
  • If you are analogous – wear it with warm blues or warm yellows
  • If you are triadic – it looks spectacular with warm red violets or orange
  • If you are complementary – try it with a burgundy or coral pink (red can just feel too Christmas if you’re not really careful).

Olive is a great neutral to wear if you have some colour contrast as it’s a coloured neutral and so adds one of the colour elements you need to your outfit – and then you can add your other colours in another garment and an accessory (remember when adding colour contrast, not every colour added needs to be in a garment).

What is your favourite colour combination with olive?

Need to Discover Your Best Neutrals?

There are a few ways to discover your best neutrals.   The easiest way is to work with your hair colour (if it’s a neutral) or eye colour (if it’s a neutral) – read this post on choosing the best neutrals basics for your wardrobe here.

If you’re not sure of your undertone and would like my professional opinion on your colouring, a personal colour analysis is just one part of my 7 Steps to Style program – which not only will tell you if you should be investing in olive or leaving it well alone, but what your colour and value contrast are so you can create harmonious outfits for you.

More Tips on Choosing Olives and Greens

How to Find Colours to Match Your Colour Swatch

Going Green and Sheer Style

How to Pick the Undertone of Greens

How to Discover Neutrals with the Right Undertone For You

What to Wear with Olive (and who it suits)


I'm not sure if it's for you but how would you feel if you learned all about the colours and styles of clothing that suit your individual personality, shape and style? Just imagine what it would be like when you can open your wardrobe and pull together fabulous outfits that make you look and feel amazing every day? If you'd like to stop wasting money on the wrong clothes and accessories plus join an amazing bunch of very special women also on their style journey - then my 7 Steps to Style program is right for you. Find out more here.

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  • I love olive, but I worry that I might end up looking too ‘army’, which is definitely not my style … however, I have a lovely salmon pink top that would go nicely with some olive pants so maybe I”ll keep an eye out!

  • When I ditched all the black two years ago, olive quickly became my replacement neutral. It’s so versatile and can sometimes feel more modern than brown. I love it teamed with warm blues (I have blue eyes, auburn hair). I also like corals & salmon for summer/ with lighter olives and oxblood & dark teal for autumn/winter. A pop of mustard can work too (don’t want to stray too far into “green & gold” as I’m Kiwi not Aussie!). I’m happy to see lots of olive in for autumn in the shops.

  • A good post, Imogen especially as I had not even thought of using olive as a neutral. I will be looking at it in a whole new way now (as just like Rachel I have ditched the black).

  • Following on from Lisa’s comment “As a cool colored person, I wear olive with pale blue and purple…”
    Would this colour be a good base for cool colour too ? Or one to avoid if cool / Summer season. ?
    if so, what other colours could olive trousers work with for example … or a cargo style vest/jacket.
    I’m also trying top ditch black, and use a lot of navy as a neutral base.

      • I absolutely love the outfits & colours in both of the pictures.. all nice tops and the colours draw attention to your lower half as well -which is a plus! V shape. It’s a shame people with cool colouring can’t get away with olives. I would gladly wear any of these outfits but “can’t”.

  • I have cool colouring so I don’t wear olive 🙂 that said I do have one summer skirt that is olive-ish and I wear it with a cool top so that at least that matches my skin tone!

  • I love olive! Green in general is one of my favorite clothing colors, but olive works really well on me. Seems to go with everything. I have a few olive jackets, olive pants and olive sweaters. I often pair them with dark purple or wine colors. They also look great with dark jeans, black or blue. In summer I like them with pink or yellow. I’ve even done some pale turquoise. I’m a dark blond/light brown, cool/neutral coloring, with green eyes.

  • This is one of my favorite colors, but sadly olive along with khaki/camel (yellow based neutrals) make my skin look “bleah” and muddy. :/ Due to being a “in-between cold and warm person, medium value and soft”, not all warm colors looks good on me, especially not the muddy yellow-based kinds as Ive no problem wearing pastels and brights despite my coloring are soft.
    With the “bad” cool colors like lilac and rose beige, I can always warm them up with gold and warm toned makeup, but it doesnt seems to work so well with warmer colors because I dont like them with grey and silver (but love them with black and cool non-neutrals). In this case, I feel that soft cooler colors are easier to adjust than warm colors! 😛

    Its one of my favorite colors to tone down bold colors (e.g. bright coral) with and Ive 3 jackets in olive and lots of other pieces, so I refuse to let it go as its one of my signature color for my fall outfits! Colors I usually pair it with is burgundy, coral, salmon and pinks with black and white. Browns, Camels and yellows just make my skintone look orange-y if pairing these with Olive, despite Im so pale I cannot wear foundation. o.O

    btw, Ive a bit hard pictured olive as a neutral, because Im not so keen about wearing all-olive outft like I sometimes to with black. Its such a subtle color, but its still a green so its something i find hard to get used to. 😛

  • I love olive but don’t have anything in that colour. I would enjoy wearing it as a neutral. Must go shopping and keep a look out for a jacket and or pants. I didn’t know I could wear olive, I am blonde, blue eyes that look green when I wear green, low contrast.

  • I am starting to adore olive as neutral, I am warm and soft and I like soft dusky pink with olive- they balance out the “pink” and “army” effect nicely on me and does wonders for my skin tone.
    Olive has become fool proof with me by pairing with dark slate and gold accents..

  • I’m really enjoying olive this year. My colouring is muted and slightly warm, I’m a greying brunette with green eyes. I have a tunic with a print I wear with olive jeggings and a long cardigan, an olive shirt dress and some other pieces too.

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