Teal: A Colored Neutral

Colored Neutrals: Installment One

Happy day, Reader dearest!

If you are new here, Welcome! I’m Liz, a recovering Blackaholic and lover of color. This is where you say, Hi, Liz!

(No, I’m not making fun of recovery or those in it. We all have our -isms.)

And only one of mine is that I used to live in black. Really. My wardrobe was at least 85% black (maybe more), about 10% denim and the other 5% was everything else. White, Green, Blue, Purple, Red. There was NO pink. More about that here.

Which means that if 30 or 40 year old me looked at 58 year old me’s closet, she’d think I’d lost my mind. Who is this woman with little to no black? How does she get dressed? She can’t be wearing mothing but jeans… There’s only one pair of blue jeans hanging in there! And why are jeans hanging anyway? (That’s a topic for another day.)

One of the ways I manage to dress without a closet full of black is by opting for other neutrals. Lighter ones that are more flattering for my now much lighter hair and my new more textured complexion. And I rely heavily (Let me make that HEAVILY!) on colored neutrals.

What’s a colored neutral, you ask? It’s a medium to deep value color that acts like a neutral. Meaning that you can wear it with oodles of other colors. Maybe not as many as a true neutral, but enough…

So, again, welcome and let’s start the first installment of this month’s series on colored neutrals. For more of an explanation about colored neutrals, and other information (and links) about color, read here.


Can we sing a song for teal? No, not the duck, although they are lovely, aren’t they? Gazing at this lovely avian, you can clearly see from where the name of the color comes. Which came first? Unlike the chicken and egg, there is an answer. The name of the bird has a longer history than the color word. Bird before word.

Teal is known as a universal color–one that looks good on everyone. That makes teal a rare bird in the world of color! #sorrynotsorry

A true teal is neither warm nor cool. That’s not to say there aren’t warm teals and cool teals depending on the combination of dyes used to create a particular hue. Because teal, and it’s tints and shades like turquoise and aqua, look good on myriad folk, you would think manufacturers would make clothing in it year after year, but unfortuately, they do not. I have a client who has been looking for a pair of teal shoes for more than two years. The right teal shoes, obviously! I’m on the hunt for a teal sweater, not too dark, not too light–the Goldilocks sweater.

I am partial to teal specs and sunnies! And this coat is just gorgeous… If you are interested, you can shop the board, at this link! I wish the watch came in a silver version; I’d snap it up in a heartbeat! (I don’t believe Nordstrom is affiliated with the app I use to create these images, so no joy on any earnings… I’m ever hopeful!)

Other Ways to Look for Teal

Color names are a funny thing. I’ve always wanted a job naming colors, say of paint or nail polish… It sounds like a lovely way to earn a nickel–involving some travel for inspiration, a large pitcher of an icy cocktail and a computer. Right up my alley!

Some other names you may find Teal under are: Petrol (Not petrel, the bird.), Turquoise, Blue Green, Green Blue, Prussian Blue, Verdigris, Sea, Ocean (and any sea or ocean name, i.e. Mediterranean or Agean) and Peacock.

I’m not saying these names are correct, I’m just saying you will often find them describing shades of teal… And I’m sure there are dozens more! For some lovely shades of teal and their hex codes, visit

Fabulous Pairings

Because teal is blue and green, looking across the color wheel for its complements (and splits) will net us some lovely pairings! You can also wear teal with other neutrals. Choose one with an undertone that complements your coloring. I LOVE teal and navy, but then I’m cool complexioned. Teal and camel? Delicious! Teal and Olive? Gorgeous. Teal and brown? Rich and elegant. To branch out from neutrals try pairing:

Teal + Coral

Teal + Red

Teal + Pink

Teal + Blush

Teal + Violet Red/Red-Violet

Teal + Mustard

Teal + Deep Purple (An 80’s vibe that rocks!)

The Real Teal

So How About You?

Do you have teal (or any of its shades or tints) in your closet? Are yours light or dark? Have you ever thought about the dark teal as a neutral? What color would you try pairing teal with first? If you do and post in on social media, please tag me @closetplayimage. I’d love to see what you’re styling! And do remember to share any other color names you’ve run across that describe teal! I love to hear from you… XO

Stylishly yours,


  • Carol Karl | Living a Real Life

    I love the teal! Question: As an overall light, even though there is a teal colour in my palette, would it be too much for me to wear a coat in my teal?

    • Liz K

      Dark outerwear is the norm and TBPH the most practical, Carol! A teal coat would be a nice way to split the difference and get a lighter value outer layer with the practicality of something deeper in value.

  • Sally in St Paul

    I love teal, so I have a lot of it, in a great variety of darker, lighter, warmer, and cooler versions. At least half my teal items were purchased second-hand, which makes it easier to weather the periods when teal is not as readily available at retail. The other neutrals I like with it, in addition to your suggestions, are black (what can I say?), denim, grey, and white. Yellow/mustard and coral are probably my favorite accent color pairings. Looking at our green-wing friend, I wish I had a teal dress to wear with my cognac riding boots. Anything in that rust/chestnut family would be quite lovely. I have not owned a teal coat but would love to! My coat collection is full right now, but I would absolutely adore a medium-dark teal coat to substitute in next time I am purchasing. After wanting a nice green-teal flat for years, I was excited to find a pair of pointy-toed suede loafers from Nine West this year.


    Liz, I love teal!! I wear a true medium teal blue, more my Spring colors!! I’ve learned from ordering on-line what names of teal look the best on me. I love peacock!! I wear teal in the winter with chocolate brown. So beautiful!! I also love teal and a true medium purple together. I will wear teal and navy as well!! P.S. Have a new keyboard, isn’t it nice that I have every letter now?! LOL!!

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