In high school, much to my mother’s dismay, I plastered my walls with Duran Duran posters, Chanel ads, and makeup looks pulled from magazines. One of my favorites was a very 1980s makeup look on a model with short spiky hair. I don’t even remember the brand. Clarion, maybe? Or Ultima II?
The slogan, however, I will never forget:
It’s kind of become my style mantra. I am definitely a color girl.
I’m sure you’ve heard of eating the rainbow, but I prefer to wear it.
I know not everyone is as enthusiastic about color as I am, and I get it. If you’ve worn neutrals all your life, it can be hard to know how to get started introducing color into your wardrobe. So here, a guide to wearing color that can help every woman, from the color shy to the color-full.
Choose a Color Palette
A lot of women (and I used to be one of them) find the idea of a color palette restrictive. But if you approach a color palette as the starting point for color in your wardrobe, and not an all-encompassing concept, it becomes easier to wrap your head around. Here, an easy way to create a color palette for your wardrobe.
- Look at your existing wardrobe for the colors that you wear the most. You might love green, for example, but find that you rarely choose it for clothes. If there’s no color, look around your home and use your favorite decor colors for inspiration. When all else fails, simply choose your favorites.
- Narrow your starting list of colors to the ones that love you back, i.e., the colors that are most flattering.
- Start with five colors, 2-3 neutrals and a couple of fun main colors. This is a manageable size to start with, and gives you focus when choosing basics and accessories. Make sure you have a healthy number of items in each of these 5 colors in your wardrobe.
Add a Single Pop
Several years ago, adding color to an outfit meant weaving it through the look in a couple of different places, but the more modern way to add a single pop of color, with a shoe, for example, or a jacket.
Wear Color With Color
Wearing color with color is a bold but stylish choice, and to pull it off successfully, it helps to start with some rules. Eventually, you can always break them.
A color wheel, like my favorite one, shown here, can be helpful when pairing colors in your wardrobe. (Click on the image below to see this color wheel on Amazon).
- Keep the intensity of the colors the same, and by this I mean the saturation. Bright with bright, light with light, soft with soft, deep with deep.
- Once you have a hang of strategy number 1, you can try combining a light color with a bright color, or a deep color with a soft color.
- Try Analagous Colors. These are colors that are close to each other on the color wheel, such as red and pink or blue and green.
- Consider Complementary Colors: These are colors that are opposite to each other on the color wheel, and the contrast makes the individual colors that much more impactful.
- Wear different shades of the same color. So light blue with deep blue with bright blue, for example.
Choose a Colorful Staple
Wearing a favorite go-to basic silhouette in a color that you love but have never worn can be an easy way to branch out without fully committing. You already know that you wear and love that silhouette, so changing just one detail (the color) can make it seem more approachable.
Add a Neutral Jacket
If a head-to-toe colorful outfit like a dress or jumpsuit seems a little much for you, tone it down with a neutral jacket. You can also add color to an all-neutral outfit with a jacket for a fun look.