Style Systems: Finding Your Color Palette

Ok friends, today I’m so excited to share with you what I consider to be the essential key to making a capsule wardrobe not just work, but really come to life.

Back when I was first discovering minimalism, one of my biggest hang ups was that minimalist principles appeared to give me the freedom and efficiency that I was craving, but the minimalist aesthetic made my heart sink. This was most prevalent to me when I saw wardrobe after wardrobe of black and white basics, or stories like this one.

Sure, having only two colors in a closet means super easy mixing and matching, but the truth is, I hate the way I look in black, and very rarely do I feel I’m able to really pull off a stark, bright white.  In fact, there’s a whole host of colors that wash out my skin tone, and there are certain colors I find myself naturally drawn to, that I get compliments when wearing.

As I was working through what the Anna version of a capsule wardrobe would look like, I was reminded of a little book of fabric swatches that my mom showed me once, telling me about how she and a friend of hers had “gone to get their colors done” and that she was “a summer.” Sound a little hokey? That’s what I thought too, until sometime in my first job, when I really started caring about my personal style…and made several clothing color mistakes.

Sometime when I went home to visit my parents, I had my mom dig out that book of swatches and immediately saw several of my favorite colors to wear. Obviously this seasonal color analysis thing deserved a second look. I found this fantastic seasonal color quiz from Agnes at 30-Something Urban Girl (link below). As it turns out, I am also a summer, and a “soft summer” at that (more on that next week).

So first off, the “season” has nothing to do with the actual season of the year. The two primary determinants for your season are whether your coloring is warm or cool, and whether your features are dark or light.

Scratching your head over this? If you look great in colors with red or orange undertones (think colors like goldenrod, rust, olive, chocolate brown), then you probably have a warm skin tone. If you look great in colors with blue undertones (think jewel tones, like raspberry, sea foam, royal purple, teal), then you probably have a cool skin tone.

Being light or dark is defined by your hair and eye color. In my experience, eye color generally matters less than hair color, so people with blonde, light brown, and light red hair fall into the light category, while true brunettes and people with black hair fall into the dark category.

Screen Shot 2017-05-28 at 5.50.11 PM

If you want to get more detailed than this, I highly recommend that you check out Agnes’ quiz:

So what does all this mean for your closet? Any time I can define my personal style with a boundary, it has helped me become a better, more efficient shopper. That gorgeous yellow dress that’s on clearance? Not going to work with my palette. If I find a top I love, I’m no longer tempted to buy one in every color, because not every color works for me. But the best part is walking into your closet and seeing only clothes in colors that make up a cohesive palette that enhances your natural beauty rather than overwhelm it.

If you’re totally baffled by capsule wardrobes, this is a great place to start! Try making a mini capsule of clothes that fit within your seasonal color palette (a 10 x 10 challenge would be perfect for this), and see how it works for you.

What role does color play in your wardrobe now? What are some of the lessons you’ve learned about color in your wardrobe?

Next week I’ll be digging more into my personal color palette and the ways it has changed my wardrobe. See you then!

Anna Signature

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