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4 Things You Need to Know About Color Palettes

Color palette wardrobe
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Picture your morning routine of choosing an outfit. Odds are you spend at least 30 minutes pulling various items of clothing off the rack, trying them on, being let down by the lack of pizzazz, stripping them off, and then staring at the closet again. It’s a vicious cycle and pretty much the number one thing that ruins every girl’s morning.

A large contributor to this problem is the fact that most of us have a hodge-podge of a closet. There are tops and pants in a ridiculously wide range of colors and prints, and shoes that are realistic and functional sit next to shoes that are best admired on the shelf. It’s basically a giant mess, which makes figuring out what to wear a mountainous undertaking. Over the last few years, I realized I was slowly changing my closet from a messy rainbow to straight-up monochromatic magic. I was creating a wardrobe color palette without even knowing it, and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.

My closet is now 60% (give or take) neutral. When I get ready in the morning, I almost always wear some variation of black, white, gray, and tan. I love the simplicity of the colors, and each item just goes with the rest. I occasionally throw in red as an accent color. It’s become my signature look, and I think everyone should adopt a similar approach in order to reduce unnecessary stress.

1. A color palette is easier to create outfits from.

When all (or most of) the items in your closet go with the others, choosing an outfit is stupid easy. I know that I can choose just about any top and pair it with any jacket to get a cool look that fits who I am. This doesn’t mean that dressing becomes boring; after a while, you start to realize you can combine stuff you normally wouldn’t—simply because it wasn’t your first instinct. You become even more creative, in my opinion, when you have a specific color palette to work from.

This is because the rules change. When you have clothing in every color imaginable, you just combine the same pieces over and over again since they only match a few other pieces. But when every single item of clothing works with the rest of the closet, you have a wider range of outfit choices.

2. This is not a capsule wardrobe.

Every time I say “wardrobe color palette,” the people around me ask if I’m talking about a capsule wardrobe. I’m not. A capsule wardrobe also utilizes a color palette, but it only contains a limited amount of items. I’m not down with that unless I’m traveling. I like to shop. A lot. I have at least 20 black tops alone. I have three pairs of the exact same jean in different washes. And multiple leather jackets. This does not fit in with the capsule wardrobe ideals.

A color palette simply means that I choose clothing in the colors that I like best (and go together best). I pretty much live in all black, so it’s easy to combine it with other neutrals and reds. If you want to create your own color palette, think about the colors you wear (and like) the most, and ask yourself, “What colors look good on me?” Then choose three main colors to make up the bulk of your wardrobe basics and two or three accent colors that work with them.

3. You don’t have to skip clothing in other colors.

You don’t need to buy a v-neck in every color under the sun. You just need one in each of the colors you’ve chosen. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t ever buy something outside of the palette either. If hot pink isn’t one of your colors, but you found a fierce hot pink dress you want to wear on New Year’s Eve, then buy it and don’t stress about it. Special items in other colors or styles is 100% okay. Most of my closet is black and white, but you can bet I have a hot pink blazer I save for special occasions.

4. The color palette also applies to your shoes and accessories.

You can’t just follow a color palette for shirts, pants, skirts, and dresses. You also have to apply the rules to shoes, hats, jewelry, and scarves. If you don’t, you’ll end up with tons of items that don’t look right with your clothing. For me, this means sticking to gold jewelry with black and clear gems. Silver doesn’t work with my aesthetic. However, it might be the right jewelry for you if you have a color palette that relies heavily on navy.

When it comes to shoes, I stick with black and gray as much as possible. I have one pair of boots with brown in them, and even though I love them, they’re ridiculously hard to put with a predominantly black outfit. This is all to say that your life will be easier if you purchase shoes that fall into the color palette. Otherwise, you have some great shoes you’ll never get to wear because they don’t actually work with the rest of your closet.

Follow Terra on Instagram: @terrabrown3

Last modified on February 21st, 2017

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