Why It Works

In theory, combining all of the primary colors--red, yellow, and blue--in a single outfit sounds like a how-to guide for circus dressing. But there's nothing clownish about the visually rich ensemble Amanda Seyfried recently put together, and it's worth noting how she did it. While visiting Today in New York, the actress showcased a ladylike take on colorblocking with the help of Prada's sky blue Cashgora Leggero Single Breasted Coat ($3395) and marigold Cady Silk Ruffled Hem Dress ($1650, available select Prada boutiques), a red Celine bag, and nude Christian Louboutin heels. Though these three hues aren't typically considered complementary, the varied tones--paler shades contrasted with bolder pigments--create a directional and harmonious result. Keep reading for more details on Why It Works!

Coat: Stick to softer shades of blue when it comes to your outerwear, so as not to distract from the other colors. Since this piece is such a prominent part of your outfit, simple lines are key to keeping the entire look streamlined.
Similar Essentials: Max Mara Frida Coat ($533); Ted Baker London Double Breasted Cape Coat ($420); Pendleton Thames Walking Coat ($160) in Cambridge Blue Melton.

Dress: Look for a dress in paler shades of yellow--this is not the time for ultra brights--to complement your coat’s lighter blue hue. Try a fuller skirt to achieve that modest, ladylike result.
Similar Essentials: St. John Collection Sleeveless Milano Knit Dress ($795); Sonia by Sonia Rykiel Shift Dress ($447); Ralph Lauren Blue Label Jocelyn Jersey Dress ($129) in Sunfish Yellow

Bag: Go bold with your bag. Bright red really pops against more muted shades. Tie the look together with a statement lip in the same cherry hue.
Similar Essentials: Diane von Furstenberg 440 Top Handle Small Satchel ($545); Tory Burch Robinson Small Dome Satchel ($495); Coach Legacy Leather Mini Tanner Tote ($258).

Shoes: Your shoes shouldn’t compete with the rest of your look, so pick a classic nude pump for an understated finish. 
Similar Essentials: Jimmy Choo Agnes Pointed-Toe Patent Pumps ($525); Charles Jourdan Hunter Heels ($199); Boutique 9 Sally Heels ($99).