There’s a common misconception that capsule wardrobes tend to be lacking in color. Color plays a crucial role in a capsule wardrobe – as it does in every properly designed closet. 

Adding fresh pops of color is one of the best ways to turn a plain wardrobe into something spectacular and memorable. Color can also make a limited wardrobe appear broader simply by adding a little more variety. 

If you’ve been feeling like your wardrobe is letting you down lately, now might just be the time to go ahead and add some color back into it. With that in mind, here is a guide on picking the perfect color palette for you.

Know Yourself

When choosing a color palette for your wardrobe, the first thing you must do is ask yourself a few basic questions. What colors appeal to you the most? Are there specific colors already dominant within your wardrobe? And finally, what colors go best with your natural palette? (See below)

Base vs. Accent Colors

When designing a wardrobe, you’ll see two terms commonly used. These terms are base colors and accent colors. The base colors are the first colors one will choose for their wardrobe – hence the name. Typically, the foundational parts of your wardrobe will be in a base color. Yes, base colors tend to lean towards a darker or more neutral color, but with intention.

Once the base color has been established, it’s time to deal with the accent colors. This is where that bright pop of color comes into play. If you already know what color will dominate the accent colors, choosing a base color that will complement this tone can be beneficial.

Color Theory

It’s up to you how complex this process becomes. If one is looking for something simple, try working with the colors already in your wardrobe by including them more. Mixing and matching is an excellent way of working existing articles of clothing back in.

Alternatively, one could bring color theory into the mix to hit a more advanced level of design and style. Going this route will require the use of a color wheel, but it has dramatic results. There are three different methods for choosing; complementary colors, analogous colors, and monochromatic.

Complementary colors is another way of saying colors that are on the opposite side of the color wheel. Classic examples would include nearly any holiday color scheme: red and green, blue (black) and orange, etc. Remember, one doesn’t have to stick to the brightest and most common hues to play around with complementary colors.

Analogous colors sit next to one another on the color wheel. For example, a person working with multiple shades of purple and blue would be working with an analogous color palette. Again, don’t forget that shades and brightness can be played around with.

Finally, there’s monochromatic. This one is likely self-explanatory, as it consists of one dominant color. People typically picture black when considering a monochromatic color palette, but it can be any color of the rainbow. Again, different shades and hues can add a significant variety, even for a monochromatic color palette.

Simpler Options

If diving into the world of color theory sounds like too much to start with, don’t worry. There are several other options out there. For example, one could easily pick their favorite color and play with colors that complement it and leave it at that.

Alternatively, if you’re unsure of what color to work with but don’t want to get too involved, one could always choose from a list of more universal colors. These colors are called such because they tend to look good on everyone – making the process a lot less complicated.

Universal colors include black, white, navy, taupe/beige, red, periwinkle, pastel pink, teal, and turquoise. Remember that while these colors generally work for a broader range of people, there is no such thing as ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to color theory and palettes. See the next section for more info.

Working With Your Natural Color Palette

One of the most sophisticated ways to choose a color palette is by understanding the existing color palette. That is to say – understanding the undertones already available in your skin tone and hair.

Identifying skin tone is significantly easier than identifying undertones. Undertones are essential to identify, as they are less prone to change and will be impacted by the colors one chooses.

The simplest way to identify undertones is by using what is called the paper test. Hold up a piece of true white paper to your face. If the skin looks a bit more blue, pink, or red, that means you have cool undertones. Conversely, you have warm undertones if your skin looks golden, yellow, or peachy. 

For cool undertones, try playing with colors such as red, pink, yellow, purple, teal, and blue. Meanwhile, for those with warmer undertones, consider using bronze, yellows, hunter green, and peachy shades of red.