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/ 24 September 2014 / 1 Comment


capsule wardrobe doesn't have to be neutral


Find yourself a comfortable place to sit, dear reader, because this is going to be a long one. There are many ways to establish your colour palette - below, I talk about four different approaches.

*New here? Read about what is a capsule wardrobe and my reasons to start it here.
*Want to try it yourself? Start purging your wardrobe here, and read the first step here.

The good thing about these four approaches is that you can mix and match them. You can try all of them or only one of them. Let's start with the easy one.

Inside your tidy wardrobe:
Open up the door of your wardrobe. I know, I know, I just told you to find a comfortable seat, but this will only take a minute and then, I promise, you can get back on your perch.

Make a few steps backward and focus only on the colours. What do you see the most of? Black? Blue? Cream? Pink? Or khaki? Those will be your base colours, (your neutrals).

What colours aren't represented at all? You don't see any yellow? Or orange? If you don't have any in your current wardrobe, then there's no point including them in your capsule palette. You wouldn't wear them!

Inside your chaotic wardrobe:
OK, so maybe you open up your wardrobe and it's not necessarily untidy, but you have summer clothes, fall and winter clothes all together on one rail. You see all the colours of the rainbow which prevent you from pointing out those that dominate (totally guilty of this).

Let's do this: if you're making an autumn colour palette, take out up to 10 autumn-y things from your closet that you love and wear the most. Be it a top, a scarf, a bag, whatever. Assemble these items on the bed. What colours dominate? Presumably, these already suit you and you feel good in them. They will be the base of your palette.

*A capsule wardrobe doesn't need to be made out of neutral or monochromatic colours. If you normally wear a lot of colour, don't be afraid to include it in your capsule. Quite the opposite! Challenge traditional colour combos, you never know, you might come up with something fetch. Create a capsule wardrobe that's you.

I did this exercise with all my wardrobe: summer, fall, winter and spring clothes included, because I was creating a all seasons colour palette - just so I don't have to do it twice. I took out all the things I love to wear and divided the colours into three categories, according to their vividness. 

Least vivid: NEUTRALS | Mid vivid: COMPLEMENTARY | Vivid: ACCENT 

It's pretty self explanatory - I'll be using my neutrals as base for my outfits and mixing them up with complementary colours. Say like charcoal trousers with a light blue shirt and a beige jumper. Accent colours will only appear in small doses - a silver ring, a gold watch, a pair of statement shoes. 

This is my 365 colour palette:
neutrals, complementary, accent

There are 19 colours in there, and I'm happy with that number. And they do go together. Test it! Take any one colour out of each category and you have a great combination. Some of them are bolder than others but I love that this way it's so easy to get a wardrobe that looks very put together, don't you think?

For my autumn palette I just picked colours I associate with autumn and piled them up into an autumn colour palette (below!).

What's your colour season?
Alternatively, if you're not sure what colours you should go with, try find your colour season. Have you heard of this? Each one of us fits one of these categories: Spring, Summer, Autumn, or Winter. And there are many things to consider - colour of your skin, hair, eyes, the tone of your skin {not the same as colour!}, even your teeth! Colour typology at its best. Safe to say it may take a while.

Generally, spring and autumn have warm shades in their colour palettes - spring is full of pastel hues, while autumn has those deep warm and rich colours that everybody obsesses over. 

Summer and winter have cooler shades, summer's look a little faded and ashy, while winter's are very statement and contrasted (the whitest white and the blackest black that only really suits the chosen ones).

Into Mind does a great job explaining it on a larger scale and I thought it was a pretty helpful guide for determining your type. The categories have subcategories, because a lot of you will find yourselves in between. I was totally lost at first, but after reading Into Mind, I think I'm a cool summer - I have medium brown hair, blue-grey eyes, pale skin with a cool tone. There's not a big colour contrast between the colours on my face, which is apparently characteristic of my type. So there you have it.

Even though I went through the guides and did the tests, in the end I decided not to listen to my pre-determined colour palette completely. It was interesting to learn colour typology, but I do find it a little restrictive. The cool summer colour palette consists of quite a few greens - a colour I almost never wear. And there are hardly any rich tones, like navy, which is a colour I love. Though, I did take out some of the warmer colours I previously had in my palette and replaced it with cooler ones - or I moved them down to Accent.

For autumn, I've moved the famous navy up to neutrals. Cue: navy jeans, navy jean jacket. This is what my seasonal palette looks like:

If none of these three approaches were particularly helpful to you, you might want to try this: 

Set up a new board on Pinterest: 
Name it colour palette or colour inspiration and start pinning. But wait! Be very extremely selective. Yes, extremely. Pin clothes, street style, but also interiors, fabrics, patterns, places, flowers, make up...anything that really appeals to you. You don't have to pin hundreds, 25-30 is enough, but it may take a couple days (you don't want to pin something just for the sake of pinning it). Then, look at your board as a whole and proceed as per the instructions of Inside your tidy wardrobe at the beginning of this post. What colours dominate? What colours aren't represented? Check out my inspiration board here.

Hah! That's it! I had loads of fun finding the right colours for me and reading all the guides, so I hope you will too. If you're skilful in Photoshop & such, make and print your palette. If not, here is a pdf print out with blank squares that you can either colour in, or, better yet, glue cut outs from magazines onto. Use paper, tapes, fabric...whatever colourful cut offs you might have. 

You'll need your colour palette on hand when you go shopping, which is - oh-so-soon! - because tomorrow is the last step of this 5 step guide: Shopping list and budget!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Britney, I do all of my graphics in Photoshop. Hope it helps :)


Thank you for taking the time to leave a few words. It always makes my day!



Hi, I'm Kat! A colourful wardrobe advocate and a capsule wardrobe graduate. Need any help finding your personal style and curating your closet? Advice on how to make most of the clothes you have? Or how to pack for an upcoming trip? I'm your girl!


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