I talk a lot here and in my Facebook group about the importance of having a wardrobe color palette. But if you’re landing here out of frustration about your current wardrobe situation, that seems like a hazy solution. Today I want to talk about what a color palette is and 3 reasons you need one for your wardrobe.
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Defining a Wardrobe Color Palette
Let’s start with the what before we move onto the why. In the realm of design a color palette is a previously agreed upon set of colors that are to be used for a project. In most cases this is used to streamline the creation process and to create unity in the finished product. Below are several examples of how this is used:
- When you build a house, you typically pick an overall palette of colors for items like flooring, walls, and cabinetry that all go together.
- When planning a wedding, usually the bride chooses a set of colors that will run through her bridal party clothing, decorations, and stationary.
- If you’re starting a business, a color palette is frequently created for branding purposes so that elements from business cards to signage can be cohesive and create recognition for your business.
The act of creating a color palette for your wardrobe has the same goal as all of these other uses: to create an end product that is cohesive and recognizable.
Before we get into the how of creating a wardrobe color palette, let’s explore the three main benefits to doing so.
Spend Less Money
For the majority of the population, wasting money is an unpleasant experience. When it comes to clothing and fashion, the waste is exorbitant. It’s estimated that 80% of textiles used in fashion are destined for a landfill. Beyond the impact of this waste, is that which comes out of our own wallet.
I’m embarrassed to admit how much money I wasted on the “wrong” clothing just last year alone. From cheap shoes to ill-fitting items, I’ve made a lot of purchases that weren’t a good fit. But you know what I haven’t bought? Anything green, brown, or any of the other hundreds of colors not in my personal palette.
That’s not to say that I don’t occasionally come across an item in those colors that looks beautiful to me in its design. But since I know it’s not something that goes with the rest of my clothing, I admire it from afar and leave it for someone else.
This also saves me a LOT of money throughout the year as seasonal items are released. In many cases those new collections are full of colors that aren’t part of my wardrobe, so I avoid “shiny new thing” syndrome.
When I do decide I want or need something new, I carefully look at what I already own, assess what colors might be missing in distribution, and search for something particular, such as a turquoise dress.
Using a color palette for my wardrobe forces me to make conscious decisions about what I’m buying, and reduces impulse spending on pretty things.
Make More Outfits
Let’s be real about something right now. Have you ever…bought something that was screaming your name, either because of color, print, design, name brand, etc? ONLY…to get home and realize that you have nothing to wear it with? Raise your hand if you know what I mean.
I expect this scenario resonates with most of you, and usually ends in one of two ways. Either you go out and buy something else new to wear with this outlier item, or you put it away and find it a year later with tags still attached.
You should love your clothing, but you should also aim to wear it out completely. An item that doesn’t go with the rest of your clothing because of color matching doesn’t have a place in your closet.
By sticking to items within a preselected color palette you are insuring that each item goes with at least 3 or more other items. So if you buy an outlandish print shirt grounded in your palette colors, you know that it will go with all your neutral bottoms, your color accessories, and all your shoes.
You won’t be left wondering, “what do I wear this with” because the answer is everything!
Never Wear Unflattering Colors
Allow me to share with you what I call the lavender saga. My favorite color is purple, in nearly every shade and tone. I especially like a soft lavender, lighter than orchid, a true cool pastel purple.
IT. DOES. NOT. LOVE. ME.
I don’t even want to honestly answer how many times over the years I’ve been lulled into purchasing a clothing item in this color. Literally every single time I can’t stand wearing it.
It looks truly terrible against my skin tone, although it does look nice with my eyes. It doesn’t do anything for me.
And if you’re new here, truth alert, not every color looks good on every person.
Now, since I know that lavender does nothing for me, it’s assuredly not in my wardrobe color palette. Instead I opt for a true purple, sometimes using a royal purple as well. These colors are incredibly flattering, and satisfy my desire to wear my favorite color.
Create Your Own Palette
Now that we’ve gone over why you really and truly need a color palette, how do you go about creating one?
The first step is to find your color season, or potential best colors. Once you have this part, the next part is pretty easy! You’ll choose some neutrals to base the core of your wardrobe on, and then you’ll select several colors to feature.
I’ve created a tool to streamline this process, and it includes a bonus quick start to discovering your color season.
Get Your Free Color Palette
I hope this has answered some of the questions about why having a color palette for your closet is so incredibly important.
My goal is to help you create a wardrobe that represents who you are, and also makes you feel beautiful and confident.
In a season of closet overwhelm, and decluttering gurus offering different advice, knowing who to follow can be really confusing.
Today I’m not asking you to tackle that mountain, but to consider how pre-selecting specific colors can give you direction moving forward.
Do you use a wardrobe color palette? If so, let me know how many colors you like using? I like 3-4, but I’d love to hear your number!
Stacey is the owner and creator behind Radiantly Dressed. She is a certified image consultant and AICI member focusing on creating simplicity in wardrobes via color and style.