Is it time to implement a minimalist wardrobe color palette? What if every color you wore complimented your complexion perfectly and every piece you owned coordinated effortlessly to make getting ready each day something fun to look forward to? This will be your reality after following the tips in the article to create your ideal wardrobe color palette.
Keep reading for a bit of background info and tips, or head straight to the color palette ideas here.
What is a Capsule Wardrobe Color Palette?
A capsule wardrobe is a curated collection of clothing items designed around a particular season or activity. For example, you may have a set of interchangeable clothes specifically for work and another group specific for weekends or working out. Each group can also have a unique color palette. Your workwear may demand more muted colors, but on the weekend, you may like to wear more vibrant and expressive colors.
This method of wardrobe design works for some people but can be challenging for several reasons. When you have multiple color palettes, you will likely have to have more clothes since there will be limited cross-over and fewer pre-coordinated looks. It can also make shopping more or less difficult, depending on your outlook.
Shopping this way could be easier because you’re only trying to satisfy color requirements for one setting, whereas having a minimalist palette requires you to think of how each piece and color will look in all settings you may be dressing for.
What is a Minimalist Wardrobe Color Palette?
A minimalist wardrobe color palette is a carefully selected and limited range of colors that form the foundation of your clothing collection. This palette typically consists of neutral colors and a few well-chosen accent colors.
The idea behind a minimalist wardrobe color palette is to simplify your clothing choices, reduce clutter, and make creating stylish and versatile outfits easier.
A minimalist color palette is typically considered a long-term commitment to maintaining a smaller wardrobe year-round and often extends to a broader minimalist lifestyle.
Both a capsule and minimalist closet aim to simplify and streamline one’s clothing choices, but the focus and duration of each are different. If you’re interested in how many pieces your minimalist wardrobe should have, check out this article here.n
Benefits of a Wardrobe Color Palette
1. Outfit satisfaction
When’s the last time you liked your outfit so much you were sad to take it off at the end of the day? I wish everyone the experience of having this feeling. It’s not a feeling I necessarily have every day, but when you know, you know. Having more days where you feel great about your outfit is just one of the benefits of a well-curated wardrobe.
2. Streamlined decision-making
Eliminating decision-making fatigue is a huge win. No longer have that feeling or thought, ‘I have nothing to wear’ as you stare at a closet brimming with clothes. It’s not that you don’t have anything to wear. It’s that you have so many options your brain cannot decide which items really speak to your personality and style.
3. Versatile mix & match options
When you have a closet that is color-coordinated, picking great outfits gets much easier. No matter what, your colors will always be in perfect harmony for a great look. This also helps with decision fatigue since you will likely have a set number of outfit combinations.
4. Reduced visual clutter & stress
You may not have paid much attention to it, but there is probably a shop you love going to more than any other, even if it’s not the place you buy the majority of your clothes from.
The moment you walk in, everything just looks good. This is called merchandising. You can create the same feeling for yourself every time you open your closet by the way you fold, hang, and store your color-curated collection of clothes.
5. Sustainable fashion choices
When we stop following every trend and get specific about the clothes we love, we can start buying clothes of a higher quality that will last us longer. Slowing down the frequency with which we add and donate clothes from our closest can have a huge impact on fashion waste overall.
6. Cost savings
When you’ve really settled into a color palette you love, shopping becomes more about replacing items that have been worn out or making a conscious choice to fill a gap in your wardrobe. Being more intentional and selective about your shopping will also reduce the likelihood of making impulse buys. The amount of cost savings will really depend on how many pieces of clothing you like to have and how frequently you shopped prior to making this transition.
Wardrobe Color Tips
- The best color combination for wardrobe essentials is a mix of neutrals and accent colors.
- Pick accent colors for different seasons.
- Try deciding on your neutral after you’ve picked your main colors.
- Universal colors are an easy way to gain confidence with the color selection process and designing outfits complete with accessories and shoes.
- Practice adding a pop of color to your outfits with accessories.n
Tips on How To Select Your Ideal Wardrobe Colors
1. What Do You Like or Dislike about Your Wardrobe Now?
There is no wrong answer, and you may not know the answer right now, but that is okay. Like any creative endeavor, there is always a discovery phase that leads to the best inspiration. As you go through all the tips on this list, you may find words for the feelings that sparked your curiosity about minimalist fashion in the first place.
2. Define how many colors you want to juggle.
Most fashion and color experts suggest limiting your color palette to seven colors max. However, your color palette could be as simple as just one color if you wanted, but that might get a little tiring. Color generators and palettes typically have five colors by default.
3. Use The 3 Color Rule
The Three color rule says, excluding neutrals like black and white, an outfit should have no more than three colors. With this thought in mind, you might pick three base colors and two seasonal accents, which brings you to five colors and a total of seven if you add two neutrals. This should give you more than enough variety for a full wardrobe of options.
4. Identify Or Define Your Core Neutral Color Palette
To identify your neutral colors, I recommend hanging all the neutral tones you own together to see which is most common. For most people, this will be black.
However, if you’re goal is to remove black from your wardrobe, look at the next most common neutral and keep your skin undertone in mind. Neutrals are the backbone of most wardrobes. They’re like the glue that ties a look together and lets your favorite accent colors and accessories shine.
So, it is most important to choose the neutrals that compliment your natural coloring best. More on this when we discuss seasonal color analysis at tip #27.
5. Define How Many Capsules You Need
Think of your closet in terms of activities. Are you designing a color palette that will be suitable for work, special occasions, and weekend activities, or will you need a separate clothing color palette for each? Depending on your personal preference, you may be able to take a more minimalist approach to your fashion color palette by choosing colors you can wear at any time.
6. Study Your Closet
How are your clothes organized? By season, color, or occasion?nIf you haven’t already, take a moment or a few to organize your clothes by color. Can you spot any trends? What colors are already dominating your wardrobe? You’ve probably been gravitating towards your favorite colors or colors you feel most comfortable wearing intuitively. Identifying an existent dominant color or dominant colors can serve as a great starting point for building a cohesive color palette. If these are, in fact, flattering colors you like, it will cut down on the amount of shopping you need to do to fill gaps in your wardrobe, too.
7. Photo Memories
Grab a few of your favorite photos of yourself. What are you wearing? Not always, but sometimes these photos will reveal color combinations that are most flattering for our eye color, hair color, and skin tone. This information should be considered when developing your capsule wardrobe colors.
8. Reference Your Favorite Personal Color Palette
Sometimes, not looking at your closet is actually more helpful. Sit down at your computer, journal, or just reflect on your favorite colors. Try to get as specific as possible about the exact hue and shade of each of your favorite colors and the overall feel you want your wardrobe pieces to have. The more specifically you can picture these colors, the easier it will be to find clothing examples and cross-reference color combination ideas on Pinterest or other sources.
9. Do What You Want
For every time-honored rule of fashion (don’t wear black with navy, or red and green always look like Christmas), there is someone out there finding an intentional and beautiful way to break these rules. The most important thing is that you love your color choices. If you like certain colors together and feel good wearing them, who cares? It’s all about how you carry yourself.
10. Plan With A Color Wheel
If the idea of breaking from convention sends you into a tailspin, hold the alarm. A color wheel will be a valuable tool for you. Understanding different color relationships like complementary, analogous, or monochromatic can help inspire different ideas for color themes you may not have considered.
For example, I never thought complementary colors looked good together until I started exploring these colors with different values. Color wheels typically show the most pure and bright colors. Think Barney purple and Big Bird yellow. Looking at such vibrant colors was off-putting to me initially. However, a plum purple and muted honey khaki or camel can look very refined.
11. Identify Your Color Season
One of the hot trends on social media right now is identifying your color season. This concept has done wonders for me personally. It helped take all the guesswork out of selecting colors once and for all. So, if you can see definite color themes in your wardrobe with subtle differences, Identifying your color season will help you pick the same color clothing more consistently so you can ensure better color coordination overall.
12. Get Aspirational Inspiration
It doesn’t matter how wealthy you are; everyone has a budget. But that never stopped anyone from doing some quality window shopping. Whether you have a clear sense of your most refined and unique personal style or not, looking at high-end designer websites can really help you get clear about your likes and dislikes.
13. Research Color Psychology
We briefly discussed using a color wheel already, but color psychology goes so much deeper. The study of color psychology brings the innate emotional characteristic of color into context. Though the feelings we have and associate with colors may vary some, the concepts can help you look at your wardrobe in a new perspective and see your color palette through a stranger’s eyes. For example, how reserved or approachable a person appears can be impacted greatly by the colors we wear.
14. Study Fashion History
Maybe this one is just for the dorkishly curious, but color in fashion history can be really fun. From learning about what dyes and pigments were most costly and rare to produce to what they symbolized and how that has changed in the eyes of today’s fashion standards. This is particularly helpful for people who like to infuse period detail into their current wardrobe to achieve a particular aesthetic.
15. Study Fashion Designers & Brands
From fast fashion to couture design houses, every well-known fashion company has a team of highly knowledgeable individuals who have dedicated themselves to knowing all the ins and outs of colors, patterns, fabrics, and textures. Like studying fashion history, Following current brands is a good place to find inspiration.
16. Subscribe to Fashion Magazines
Just like fashion brands, fashion magazines exist for the sole purpose of being an educational intermediary between fashion designers and the people who buy their products. Understanding the different creative direction of each magazine will help you find one that aligns best with your personal style goals.
17. Use a Color Palette Generator
There are many great resources out there used by marketers, graphic designers, and creatives alike to come up with the best color harmonies. You can do the same thing when it comes to creating your minimalist capsule wardrobe color palette. My favorite color palette generator is coolers.co, you can use their color randomizer to generate five colors for inspiration or add a few colors you may have already identified as keepers and let the app make suggestions to complete your color collection.
There are a lot of fu color palette generators out there, so have some fun experimenting.
18. Use Canva to Identify Your Color Palette
Similar to coolers, Canva has many designer-created color palettes you can scroll through, or you can search for a color to see a list of palette options that have that color in it. But probably the best tool Canva has is the ability to match colors from a photo to curate a color palette. So, If you’ve created a mood board or Pinterest board with a collection of outfits you love, you can pull those colors from the photos in Canva. Or, if you have a few photos of yourself from our previous tip (#7), Canva can instantly identify the colors from that outfit to help guide your palette creation process.
19. Ask a Stylish Friend or Family Member
The way people think, and their ideas are infinitely unique. Though we can often anticipate friend’s and family’s feelings on a particular subject, they can also surprise us. Getting feedback on the outfits they remember us best in or favorite looks of ours from the past, they love can help provide valuable insight and also give us a boost of extra creativity.
20. Ask a Retail Worker
Many reputable fashion brands have put together extensive training programs for their team members so they can better assist guests with making outfit selections. I used to always feel awkward asking for advice when shopping, but I have had some really nice experiences and received some great fashion advice over the years from these chance encounters.
As someone who also spent a considerable amount of time working various customer service jobs, the best part was always getting to know customers and being helpful. I try to keep this in mind when I am shopping and always try to read the room. If someone seems genuinely upbeat and eager to help – go for it! Here are three simple ways to reply to the “What brings you in today?” or “Can I help you find anything?”
- Yes, can you give me any color recommendations based on this season’s collection?
- Yes, I am looking for something that will coordinate with this color in my wardrobe. Do you have any suggestions?
- Yes, I am experimenting with adding new colors to my wardrobe. Can you help me pick out a few looks to try on?
Please don’t feel obligated to buy something just because someone helped you. There are other meaningful ways you can help them in return if you didn’t find any items you love. A few ways include leaving a nice review mentioning their name, recommending them to a friend, or making a return visit.
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21. Thrift Experimentally
Give that bold, bright color a test run by buying a few inexpensive pieces from a thrift store. See how you feel wearing them and the feedback you receive before committing a large purchase or portion of your wardrobe to that hue.
22. Rent Clothes
This tip is twofold. Renting clothes is a fantastic way to “cheat” if you’re going through a phase that feels a little color-restrictive or if you want to try out some new patterns or color combinations for a while before committing.
23. Barrow From a Friend
Not every piece of clothing will work like the sisterhood of the traveling pants, unfortunately. However, friends can be a great resource for brand referrals, feedback, and the occasional loaned garment, too.
24. Try a Subscription
If all of this just seems way too overwhelming, a subscription box can be a great way to start building a wardrobe. Every box of clothing will be expertly curated with colors, textures, patterns, and seasons all in mind. Each clothing subscription brand operates a little differently, so make sure to look at reviews and compare the differences. Finding one that can tailor your subscription to your particular color palette preferences best will be the key.
25. Create a Pinterest Board – Or Several
More than likely, you already have a few fashion boards with items you’ve saved over the years. When was the last time you looked at the items you saved? Have your tastes evolved over the years or stayed pretty consistent? From there, you can start to create boards based on particular colors, style genres, seasons, activities, or garment types like shirts, shoes, jackets etc.
26. Make a Color Transition Plan
Wouldn’t it be nice just to get rid of everything and start over fresh? I think about this a lot but cannot say it’s a practical or viable solution for any aspect of your life. But clearly defining where you are and where you would like to be with your wardrobe or otherwise is the first step toward reaching your goals. Planning which colors you would like to phase out and what you would like to replace them with will help you transition your style in a budget-friendly way.
27. Hire a Professional
#moneygoals! Actually, not really. What used to be reserved for celebrities and the ultra-wealthy is becoming more and more accessible. The best thing is you don’t have to drop a ton of cash and shop at exclusive department stores to get the perks of having a professional stylist help you make fashion decisions. There are free and paid apps to help you do color analysis or consultants you can work with virtually or in person for guidance.
There are also dozens of personal shopper services out there to help you curate the most cohesive colors and minimalist wardrobe items.
Minimalist Wardrobe Color Palette Ideas
When you have a minimalist closet, it is vital that the colors of your key pieces coordinate to create a cohesive wardrobe.
Color Palette Ideas Based on Skin Undertones
FAQ About Wardrobe Color Selection
What color is best for a minimalist wardrobe?
The best colors for a minimalist wardrobe tend to be neutrals because they are the easiest colors to coordinate interchangeably. However, you can make a minimalist wardrobe with any 3 to 7 colors you choose. Don’t feel trapped by convention, wear what make you feel your best.
What color palette for minimalist style?
If your goal is to achieve a minimalist aesthetic, sticking to stark, cavernous colors might be the best bet. Think white, black, grey, beige, muted blues or greens, or muted warmer tones like mustard or burnt orange.
Why is a Minimalist Wardrobe Color Palette Important?
Having a minimalist wardrobe color palette is the first step to looking effortlessly chic every day. When your wardrobe has been curated with a collection of colors that complement and coordinate with your eye color, hair color, and skin color, each outfit will create a cohesive look. There are many additional benefits to creating a wardrobe color palette here.
How do I choose a color scheme for my wardrobe?
There are many different ways to pick a color scheme for your wardrobe. Most people start by analyzing the colors currently in their closet to determine which colors they’re most drawn to before picking more colors to add or eliminate.
Is grey considered a minimalist color?
Yes, grey is considered a minimalist color when speaking in terms of minimalist fashion aesthetic.
What colors should I wear?
Everyone should wear colors that make them feel good. Wear colors that compliment your natural coloring best and make you feel your most confident and energetic.
Marly is a lifestyle writer and creator of simplylivinghappy.com, a site dedicated to helping readers improve their health, wealth, mindset, and overall happiness. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her listening to audiobooks while gardening, visiting with family, or traveling.