Help needed: determining the color palette for my style

I think I have been all over the place with colors in my wardrobe. I think I have clothes which work together color-wise most of the time even though my closet resembles the rainbow :-)
However recently I begin to think that I may need to be more focused in creating my "signature" color palette being inspired by Angie, Vix, Suz, Inge and others. I like the sound of this so much: "I wear a pallete of <insert 4-6 colors and neutrals here>. It sounds so sophisticated and definitely helps to make the right shopping choices.
But I really draw a blank when it comes to my own color definition.  
So - can you help me to start on this? I seem to be all over the place when it comes to colors. I don't suit neon and sour brights and pale pastels but other colors seem to work (SS beige excluded of course)
I am often drawn to deep jewel shades of cobalt, emerald, ruby, deep teal and amethyst. However I may be drawn to more muted colors as well - like burgundy, rust, mustard...
I thought I cannot wear yellow but my recent purchases of "warm lemon" sweater and bright lemon blazer surprised me by how I love wearing these colors.
I know I love the drama of black and white but I am not sure black is a flattering color on me.
On the other hand I like taupe and light grey for their versatility and dark grey for its sophistication but again - do they love me back?
I know brown is a good neutral for my coloring but it does not mesh well these other neutrals, right? Especially now when I darkened my hair it may not work as well on me as when my hair was mid-tone brown.
Dark navy and ink was a recent discovery for me - I was sure I cannot wear these colors but I think they actually suit me.
See my dilemma? I am all over the place and I have not yet mentioned mid-tones bordering on muted brights like coral, spring green, lilac...
So how can I do this? Any suggestions? Any advice?   Any help?


This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.

38 Comments

  • Carole replied 7 years ago

    It's like you are reading my mind, Sveta. I have a hard time narrowing down my color palette and determining the colors that actually complement me. Sometimes I don't like the feeling of being hemmed in and restricted but it sure would make shopping and creating a well organized wardrobe easier. I will be watching this post and see what the more advanced YLF'rs come up with.

  • rae replied 7 years ago
    Hm, by process of elimination (no pastels, sours, beige, certain browns), it seems like you might like more muted colors. Jewel tones that are not quite eye-searingly bright, taupe, gray. And possibly with a cooler undertone - like your lemon yellow versus citron? And mixing the more vibrant colors with softer ones.

    Also, what colors are your favorite to wear? Do you like to wear brown? They say there is a shade for everyone, but you don't have to include every color that flatters you in your capsule. I think I look pretty good in some pinks, but I don't include them in my palette. 
  • rachylou replied 7 years ago
    I think you look very good in muted colours. Also, I'm thinking you look good in primary and tertiary colours.

    colour theory
  • Suz replied 7 years ago
    Sveta, you can discover this for yourself. Find a mirror with good daylighting and get your hair pushed back off your face so that it doesn't influence you. Don't wear makeup. Look your very worst!! 

    Then hold up colours next to your skin -- various hues and intensities. If a colour almost makes it look as if you are wearing makeup, if it lights you up - it is a good one for you. If you eye goes first to the colour and not to your face, it is probably too intense (too saturated) though it may or may not be a good colour. If it drains you and makes you look tired, it is the equivalent of SS beige. 

    Also, look for colours that resemble the colours in your eyes, the inside of your lips, and your natural hair colour. In the end, this is how I picked "my" colours. My neutrals (ink blue, navy, denim, taupe, charcoal, and winter white) echo the tones in my hair and eyes. My signature colours include orchid (inside my lips), cranberry red (ditto), fuchsia (a slightly brighter or more intense version of same), teal or peacock blue (eyes).

    The saturation is key, however. For me, most colours need to have a shot of grey in them to tone them down a bit from their pure state. That would be too intense for my low contrast colouring and would obliterate me. You'd see only the colour, not me. 

    OTOH, light, pale, and pastel colours totally wash me out and make me disappear. I can take a far darker and richer shade than some might suppose, and in fact, demand it to look my best. 

    If you don't feel confident after doing this self-test, you could also spring for one of those colour analyses, as I did, pre-YLF. But not all are worth the money, IMO. They're only as good as the person who is doing the job. 

    Anyway, Vix is an expert on this stuff. She will sort you!! 

    I will just add a small wrinkle. Just because a colour or colours aren't your best on their own, doesn't mean they can't look good on you in combination. Because it's not only about what flatters your skin tone. It is also about how the combinations work for your overall style. 

    You gave the example of black and white. Well, it is probably true that in isolation, those colours are not your most flattering. 

    BUT, as you've also discovered, you are in Kibbe's terms, a soft dramatic. So the drama of that high contrast is ideal for you. As long as you temper it with some softness in the overall look, it will feel balanced on you, and will illuminate something essential about your beauty. 

    I am in a similar position. Technically, as a "cool" or "true" Summer, true white is not one of my best colours (though winter white is) and black is too harsh for me (though I can get away with it.) Black and white "should" be way too strong for me according to the colour theory. And, in some combinations, that's obvious. Large scale black and white patterns, for example, are death to me!! Horrible!!! 

    But put me in that simple black and white trouser outfit with "our" soft chalky white jacket and a soft white sweater and BAM!!!   Or even put me in dark navy with white stripes! Why? Because in Kibbe's terms, I am a dramatic classic. I need classic shapes with a dramatic punch. In the B&W outfit, the high contrast black and white provides the punch. And again, for me, anything tipped or houndstooth will look great - - crisp, sharp and clean detailing gives drama, and often this involves higher contrast colours than would, theoretically, be my best. 
  • Agnes replied 7 years ago
    Thats good advice Suz.
    The other thing I would add is to listen out for compliments. Often when people compliment you its the colour looking good on you that they are responding to. If you are wearing an outfit, even if the shapes are good, if the colour doesnt suit you you won't get a compliment.
    Also listen out for the difference between, 'you look great in that jacket' and 'that jackets pretty': you dont want to confuse a pretty coloured item with it making You look pretty. I think everyone has a neutral they look great in.  I look great in white and like I I am ill when I wear cream...
  • Firecracker replied 7 years ago
    Wow--Suz has some fantastic guidance here. (Furiously taking notes!)
    I would add, Sveta, that you may have a more well developed sense of your palette than you realize. You've already pointed out some colors you do not wear. Step back and take a look at your closet, and see what other colors are missing. Look at your reds, for example, and see if you can describe the shades that you don't wear. Do the same for blues, greens, etc. I think you'll find that you are making selections already, because they flatter you, they feel good--in short, they are your style.
    I feel at times as if I'm all over the map color-wise (and style-wise), and I will admit I probably have too many clothes. But rather than having a core set of related neutrals and accent colors, I have a few of them. The neutrals I wear are black, charcoal, espresso or dark chocolate brown, sage or muted olive green, taupe, denim blue, navy, and now white (with white jeans). That's a lot of neutrals! They are all pretty cool, though, and I tend to wear colors with them that are mostly muted medium tones, for a fairly low-contrast overall effect. That's what I'm comfortable in, and I think it's pretty harmonious with my skin, hair, and eye coloring. I think this is easier than thinking about a specific set of colors to stick to.
    Most guidance I've read says one should have a couple of key neutrals and build a wardrobe around them. I just can't see myself doing that. Maybe you are of a similar mind?


  • Suz replied 7 years ago
    Just to add to what Firecracker has said -- I, too, found the advice to "pick two neutrals" very limiting and constraining. It turned out I wanted and needed MORE neutrals than that!  Why? Because mid-tone neutrals are a core of my style and some of my most flattering shades. Well, duh! 

    I have picked a few "signature" colours - these are the ones that really light me up, do wonders for me, and in general also work well together and with all my many neutrals. But I have not and do not rule out other colours -- even, in some cases, less flattering ones. And if I like them, I will still include them in my wardobe as supporting players, either as accessories (bags, scarves, etc.), as articles of clothing not to be worn near the face (e.g in your case, perhaps, your yellow pencil skirt) or just as a fun change. But I think of these as sort of like the "accents" in interior decoration -- they might be the colours that I switch up to match the latest trends. Whereas the signature colours remain, to a greater or lesser extent depending on availability and my own whim. 

    Even within the category of flattering colours-- there will be shifts. For example -- blue is pretty much a guaranteed winner on me. But one year I might wear more cobalt, another year more grey-blue, and still another year more denim blue. I allow myself lots of freedom on the continuum. Ditto for the orchid -to-fuchsia continuum. 

    Angie does this, too. She has  a few reliable colours that she knows are ideal for her, and she returns to those colour families again and again. But there will be variation in the precise tones she wears. And she'll also include the odd item in a non-signature colour -- like her blush moto. And then she'll find ways to wear it. The outlier might even turn into a new favoured colour, over time.
  • Vix replied 7 years ago
    Hi Sveta --

    As you know, this is a topic near and dear to my color-captivated heart. I will try to get in what I can this morning then circle back to see what insights/strategies were added!

    Flattering colors:
    Suz has started you down a great path. I think I'd start by pulling all your neutral-to-warm toned clothes out and testing them, as they seem to resonate the best with your coloring to me.

    One reason Suz and I can wear similar colors despite different coloring is that cool-toned shades are best one me. I just don't look great in cool colors that are too bright, too icy, or too deeply blackened (like dark dark burgundies or greens). So try to establish your color parameters. [It doesn't mean you have to ditch other colors, just that they probably won't serve you well as Core Colors.]

    Desired colors (per a given time period etc):
    To start, I want to say your gut and intuition play a huge role here. Forget for a minute about how warm/cool/deep etc you can go for uber-flattery. You want colors that you're drawn to, because if you shop this way you'll be wearing a lot of it for a given period or "forever." ;) If you aren't feelin' it for brown at a given moment, buying your "best" browns won't make you happy.

    I know you personally wear a lot of color-color. But that may shift by season, right? Or by what you want to communicate in a season. In general, I try to think through how many of my new purchases should be my core neutrals (solids or prints), how many should mix neutrals +  my preferred color-colors, and how many should be straight-up color-colors. 


    How you wear your colors (the combos, the dominance of color X in a print, etc):
    Again, Suz has got you started. This is a bit trial-and-error. As a cough greying cough brunette, I generally need some deeper shades (charcoal, dark cool brown, black, deep blue) in my outfits. It's VERY hard for me to wear head-to-toe of my "good" lightest shades but I make an effort in summer and usually can get it down to incorporating one printed/patterned piece that includes darker shades of my core colors. ;)

    Your coloring is more in the medium range than mine, so you may find medium range colors are really your ideal ones, and that your combinations are better off when they aren't super-high-contrast. OTOH you like drama...I get that. I find combining my lightest and darkest core colors will get me there. Sometimes it's color-blocking, other times a column of color A (or a tonal color column) with color B on top. Inverting that so color A is beneath your column B colors works well too.


    Building a wardrobe based on permanent and/or rotating core colors:

    I have to say it's funny to think of only wearing a small number of colors within a given period/season as to *me* I wear so many more than that.

    I think it's a combination of wearing lighter/darker variations within a color (so deep blue-green and all the colors along the scale to a lighter blue-green) PLUS wearing prints/patterns that involve multiple shades from my "Spring/Summer 2013" mini-palette or larger wardrobe palette.

    This is where buying prints/patterns that incorporate your lip, skin, hair, and/or eye color really comes in handy -- you have instant harmony and they should coordinate with your core colors. Also look to buy prints/patterns that incorporate a chosen season's colors when you buy solids or vice versa. 

    [For instance: this spring I feel in love with a taupe/blue/purple-y print shell, purchased it with a navy blazer, and later added a taupe blazer that worked with alot of my taupe-included prints/patterns.]

    Ok, I have a few more things to post but I'll do it separately. 

  • Zapotee replied 7 years ago

    Sveta, I personally think that your features are more high contrast and that your coloring works really well with more saturated colors ( Perhaps your early 2012 wardrobe). However, I do think that the more neutral based tones you have been sporting lately, although not as conventionally flattering, work really well also. Overall, I think you should continue business as usual. I think that picking a palette works really well to some extent, but it can become limiting.

  • Vix replied 7 years ago
    BTW, I'm so looking forward to seeing what decision you make, if it alters your preferred combinations, etc! 

    ETA forgot to attach palettes I was thinking you could explore -- both have some warmth, so you may be able to wear most from each. ;)

    ****

    If interested, I do blog about building a color-based wardrobe. Disclaimer: not at all straightforward-y how-to in nature, but visuals included!

    This post has links that hit most of my writing on my efforts:

    O no not you again: of closets and color capsules

    This post is about helping a pal choose core colors and includes tips from stylist Bridgette Raes about choosing prints/patterns based on one's levels of contrast and more:

    Fizz flies the coop with a pocket full of prints [pt 2]

    Another friend, another core-colors post:

    Eileen exorcises her wardrobe demons [pt 1]

    And of course you've seen my YLF post on choosing my colors for this Spring/Summer (slated to be a blog post when time permits) but I'll stick it here for easy reference:

    http://youlookfab.com/welookfa.....sule-color
  • replied 7 years ago
    Great advice here Sveta. I thing jewel tones are a no-brainer for you. I also love you in mixed neutrals. Like Suz, I think the old advice to choose one or two neutrals is outdated; I wear as many different ones as I can. 
  • Jonesy replied 7 years ago
    Do you *need* a more restricted color palette? I guess I'm wondering what is driving the desire, if your wardrobe is humming along so efficiently and effectively as is, right now :)? I mean, it seems like you are the mix master, in terms of coming up with endless combinations of items, using all different color combos. Are you feeling like you'd like to simplify or something like that?
  • Janet replied 7 years ago
    Ah, I see Jonesy chimed in with something along the lines of what I was going to say. :-)

    Sveta, my initial reaction was, "Why are you looking to limit your palette?" You wear a pretty wide range of colors very well, but I think your wardrobe is quite cohesive. Why limit yourself? If you are enjoying the colors you have, continue with them! If there are some that suit you particularly well and that you feel especially fab in, well, there's your answer as you make future purchases. 
  • Angie replied 7 years ago
    Suz's advice is so fab! And Vix makes the process virtually scientific! Great read, ladies. Thanks :)

    Sveta, I'm with Zap and Jonesy. Your style is at all time high. It does not need "colour tweaking", and you wear all your outfit combinations to perfection. Sure, you wear some colours better than others - but it STILL ALL LOOKS FAB! Not need to simplify on my account - unless you have a dire need to wear a small subset of colours. Personally, I encourage a non-restrictive colour palette.

    Furthermore, you have to work with colours in combination - not in isolation. For example, blush does not pass the complexion test on me at all. Horrible!! Yet when I wear it WITH cream, white, acidic colours, black and light blue, the visual is greatly changed. Details :)
  • Sveta replied 7 years ago
    I am quickly responding here to say thank you all for taking your time and providing your advice. I am going to read and re-read it all and reply in details but cannot do it now from the office(work continues to be CRAZY)
    You ladies are the best - thank you so much! A lot of food for thought here...
  • amiable replied 7 years ago
    I'm no expert, but wanted to chime in with a book that I found helpful (and need to re-read), and which says much of what Suz had said:  Color Your Style by David Zyla.

    He discusses finding your best colors based on eyes, hair, skin and vein colors. 

    My main problem with his idea on me is that it includes no green for me.  I like green, and am continually trying to find a way to make it one of my best colors :)

  • replied 7 years ago
    There are differences in the various color analysis systems, and I've struggled to make sense out of them. The one that works the best for my personal coloring is the 12-season system by Color Me Beautiful. Their soft summer palette has proven to be perfect for me. I no longer look washed out (from wearing dark, bright, or pale colors) or yellow (from wearing colors that are too warm) or gray (can't think of a better term for this; it's from wearing colors that are too cool). I look healthy and alive, both in person and in photos, and am finally at peace with my color choices. Hope this helps.
  • Vicki replied 7 years ago
    Sveta, you've raised so much interest here that my head has ideas going round like a color wheel!  Honestly, I think you've been doing a splendid job of making brilliant color choices and I, too, see you in the gorgeous muted jewel tones and the color-blocking neutrals.

    With Suz's outstanding process and Vix's knowledge, you can test these ideas for color confirmation (that you are and have been correct), and I would also add to trust what you have been doing, because you do this naturally, Sveta, with great flair and style.  
  • nancylee replied 7 years ago
    Sveta, your wardrobe is fabulous as is...but I totally get your desire to have a more streamlined color palette to work from.  This kind of color focus does make shopping and putting together a cohesive wardrobe easier, but it takes some effort and a lot of trial and error.

    I spent a LOT of time last year trying to discern my best colors, with help from YLF. (Suz and Vix are especially good at colors, so it's great that they chimed in early on this.)  What really helped me was determining whether I was "warm" vs. "cool" and "soft vs. "strong."  Mid-tone colors work best for me, as they might for you if both brights and pastels wash you out.  Of course, you can always *make* a color work for you through clever combinations (as Angie suggested).

    Here are the links to my "what are my best colors?" odyssey.  Can't wait to see what you discover.  

    http://youlookfab.com/welookfa.....t-and-warm

    http://youlookfab.com/welookfa.....colors-yay
  • Ingunn replied 7 years ago
    Sveta, I understand your desire for exploring this so well. You got me started, too! FWIW, I find your style really fab, and I think you can wear a wide specter of colors. I think your coloring are not that different from mine, as I feel that many of the parameters you mention fit me, too: Medium to high contrast, not too much pastel, careful with neon, a mix of warm and cool etc. When I look into my closet, I mainly see blue and neutral colored tops, and more colorful bottoms. Where is the color in your wardrobe - on the top or bottom?
  • Sveta replied 7 years ago
    Carole, I think we are on the same 'doubtful' wavelength with you!
    Rae, I think my main problem may be that I am drawn to a lot of colors emotionally and very often the ones I am drawn too really suit me.
    Suz and Vix, you are getting the award of the month for the best detailed color tutorials EVER! Honestly it blows my mind just thinking how much time and effort you put into those comments - thank you!
    Firecracker is right, I hink I need to explain better my "dilemma": it is not so much about determining which colors suit me - I think I have a pretty good idea about this now - but more about how to determine my main color palette I can use to build my wardrobe in a more organized manner. I have noticed lately that I am limiting number of colors I wear in one outfit, very often to one color with neutrals.  This is  a very big shift for me because before YLF the majority of my clothes were colors with hardly  a neutral in sight - and no wonder I had problems dressing then. I also did not wear black because it was not as faltering on me as brown and thought that all blues are horrible for me because I have warm coloring.
    Since then I re thought the whole color theory for me. I have discovered that I can wear certain blues really well if they have enough red in them - like cobalt - or when they are very dark - -like navy and ink. Actually these blues are among my best colors! That was blowing apart my color theory because navy is a not good color for warm toned people - how come it suits me? Then came black and you are right, Suz - it is the drama of it combined with white which works for me. However I have noticed that black is easier for me now when my hair is darker.
    I think the trick to look at the hair / eye color to determine your colors does not work as well for brown eyed and haired gals. What colors are in my eyes - well, brown and nothing else. The same is for hair  - if I even can remember what is my natural color anymore :-) Anyway in my youth it was brown with reddish and golden highlights - hence warm coloring - but still shades of brown! For the life of me I cannot detect my very best colors from there (cobalt, deep purple, deep teal...)
    Vix, I would need to per-use your suggestions in more details (too tired now) and look at your blog. Thanks for the tons of great info!
  • Suz replied 7 years ago
    Sveta, look deep into your eyes. There are so many browns. Some are tinged with black. Some with amber. Some with green. Some with gold. Some with blue. Some with all of these! I have many brown eyed people in my life. Not one of them has eyes that look the same to me. So....I think there are probably many tones there to work with. 

    My husband's eyes are a warm, dark chocolate brown. But his skin tone is cool and even pinkish in places. His hair used to be dark brown and now is silver. He looks good in cooler tones but can also wear the occasional warm tone. 

    My daughter's eyes are a cool brown with hints of black. She looks good in the very same colours that I do  -- except more intense versions. She is Asian, so obviously her skin tone is very different from mine (and her hair). But she is cool-toned, nonetheless. 
  • Sveta replied 7 years ago
    Zap, Janet, Jonesy and Angie - it is not that I want to limit my colors but rather streamline them. Now when I consider a purchase I sometimes agonize with the color choice - I like this one and that one and another one is so flattering and they all would work with my wardrobe - so what to go for? I feel that if I can identify my primary palette of neutrals and colors which work for my coloring, style persona and emotional happiness it may be easier to make these choices without future regrets. It does not mean I want to limit my colors - cannot have that, I like color too much for it - but get better organized with them.
    And telling the truth I really like the idea of signature colors - call me silly but it sounds very appealing to me. Every time I read here about someone's signature colors I think - well, why I don't have them? :-)
    Also I think I need to get organized with neutrals. They do not carry as much emotional weight for me so I need a more scientific approach to them. I would really like to determine which are my best 4-5 neutrals - both in flattery and  stylewise - and use them as a core group to make purchasing decisions easier.  
    Amiable, talking about color flattery - I found that virtually any color can work for anybody - it all depends on the shade and saturation. I am sure there are green tones which should work great on you, don't  give up on the color you love! Maybe green is like blue for me - I thought it does not suit me at all and now some blue shades are the best for me!
    Ruth and Nancy, thanks for sharing your experience.
    Vicky and Claire - thanks for moral support!:-)
    Ingun, this is an interesting question. Before it was definitely color on top, neutral on the (curvy) bottom. It began to change when I bought my yellow skirt and discovered how versatile it is and how much variety colored bottoms can add to one's wardrobe. I still have more colors on tops but working on getting more on the bottom as well :-)
  • Sveta replied 7 years ago
    Suz, I tried but I cannot see anything but brown :-) It is not a dark brown, more like amber...whatever specks are there are still from the brown family :-(
    Maybe if we go for NAS together you can have a look :-)
  • Caro in Oz replied 7 years ago
    Sorry I missed this (too much going on here). 

    Do you wear mainly silver or gold metal Sveta? Sometimes this is the place to start as a lot of neutrals look best with one or the other imo. Also do you have any favourite colours - not in clothing, just in general? I've found these questions sometimes reveal more than questions about clothing as we have been bombarded with information about fashion rules all our lives.

    I love the idea of repeating our eye, skin & hair colours in clothing. Letting my hair go grey has really changed my neutrals in a big way.
  • Sarah A replied 7 years ago
    Wow! Suz and Vix, you gals really have got this figured! Sveta, I cant say I have anything to add, I do think you are onto something to help the planning and purchasing, but appreciate the read.
  • Sveta replied 7 years ago
    Caro, I wear mostly silver - because my jewelry has to be on the big and bold side and real gold is too expensive and I have no seen a fake gold color I liked yet ;-)
    Gold goes better with my skin color but silver in too bad either.
    As for the favorite colors - deep jewel colors are my favorite ones and they also the most flattering.
  • Vix replied 7 years ago
    cross-posted with Sveta, who explains why I do what I do better than I. ;)

    *****

    It's interesting that others feel putting fairly liberal parameters around what colors one buys/wears is "restrictive" -- I tend to think that applies to people who only wear a single color (ok, maybe 2). 

    I see setting boundaries around my color choices as being selective.

    [Much as I try to frame avoiding candy as the main part of breakfast, lunch, and dinner as "opting in" to healthier choices vs restricting my food picks. That one's a much tougher sell!]

    Aside from starting from scratch with limited funds or creating a travel capsule, I haven't read the "choose 2 neutrals" thing. Does it come from the 50s, when most middle-class women wore dresses or skirt suits?

    I do limit the neutrals and color-color buys I make each season (~ 3 times a year) in order to maximize being able to wear the new stuff together as well as with older stuff.

    But as you can see from my Spring/Summer palette below I can't even limit my neutrals to fewer than 7, ha -- and that's counting the variations of taupes, greys, and deep browns as 1 each!





  • Sveta replied 7 years ago
    Vix, I have to admit I don't completely understand what you mean by color-color - can you explain what you mean by this?
    I also don't see it as restrictive  - more like perfect selection for YOUR style. I think we all have different needs for color in our life so our selections are different. For somebody wearing 2-3 colors only your selection would be overwhelmingly big. For some Technicolor experts like MaryK your selection would be pretty restrictive. And it is just right for you!;-) 
  • Vix replied 7 years ago
    Oh sorry -- I just say "color-color" to distinguish from neutrals. And given my black on both sides history, to remind myself there is another category besides neutrals, ha.

    I know that both subsets are colors, pinky swear.
  • Suz replied 7 years ago
    I see deciding on some key neutrals and colours as freeing vs. restrictive. It is the way that artists use constraint to make a stronger piece. That is how I understand your wish to narrow things a little bit, Sveta. As the decision to concentrate focus for greater impact and drama, which, since you require drama to look your best, is a really good idea! So, maybe it would just be best to pick the ones that make you feel happiest! Maybe four or five -- whether they are related or not -- but then see if those ones work together.

    And figure out your neutrals, too. As you see, both Vix and I have a lot more neutrals than two. The way I see it, you can actually have as many neutrals as you like! I think the old advice for two (one dark, one light) was when people believed women would be buying shoes and bags in those neutrals and would need one for winter, one for summer. But there is no reason not to have more than one per season. 
  • Scarlet replied 7 years ago

    I didn't read all the comments, although I will cause it looks like an interesting read, but I just wanted to say my initial reaction to your post was along the lines of Jonesy. It seems like color mixing is a kind of signature for you. At least in my mind it is.

  • Vildy replied 7 years ago
    I think the two neutral limit was popularized by Janet Wallach in her couple of books on building capsule wardrobes. One is Working Wardrobe. People credit her with popularizing the idea of capsules. Usually one would be a darker neutral and one a lighter.  She would show a broad selection of two color themes from which to choose, the better to mix all your pieces. Though she did allow as to how some women will prefer to have dress capsules, which seems to throw the whole idea out the window. :D
  • Joy replied 7 years ago

    Sveta, I've not read all your replies but want to say that more than once I've tried to limit colors to streamline the wardrobe but have mostly failed because I've discovered that I can be energized by introducing a new color, like blush or the yellow raisin skirt.
    One thing that may be helpful is to think of neutrals in terms of light and dark and pick a couple of favorites in each area to concentrate on. Example: My best dark neutrals are charcoal, navy and chocolate, but I'm leary of navy because there are so many shades and they don't work together. My light neutrals are soft white, silvery light grey and maybe blush.

  • Freckles replied 7 years ago
    Sveta it is so interesting to me that you have these concerns when you always look so fabulous.
    I have been wondering about this myself, see a nice idea and then think of looking in my closet and realizing it would bore me to death.  This is shocking to me as my wardrobe is still mainly black.

    I love all the advice you have been given and look forward to seeing what you decide to do.
  • tarzy replied 7 years ago
    I just wanted to chime in to say that I have been on a journey of figuring out "my colors" for a while now, and for me, it's been freeing rather than restrictive. I used to have a closet full of black. Literally - nothing but black. Today I'm wearing a light pinky peach. Unheard of!

    I am actually considered neutral - I am warm, but not very warm. I need softness with my warmth (no mustard yellow or bright orange) and I can't go too dark or the color overwhelms me. For me, having a prescribed palette makes it incredibly easy to get dressed. If I follow my palette, I can literally reach into my closet and pull things out and know that everything will "go" together because they all fall within the same range of warmth and saturation. (I think of it as my color version of Garanimals!) For someone like me, who doesn't have a natural eye for color, these boundaries/guidelines really help.

    Also, I do believe that there's a version of blue, or red, or pink, or whatever color you're looking for that works for everyone. Some blue has a lot of black in it - too dark for me. Some blue has a lot of red in it - too cool for me. Some blue has a lot of green in it - this makes it warmer and that's better for me. I would have a hard time finding these differences on my own, which is why I rely on a "system," but you certainly can do it on your own. 


  • Sveta replied 7 years ago
    Suz, I completely get what you are trying to say. It is funny but I really have a problem deciding what are my "signature" colors. Amethyst purple of course, and cobalt, and clear red, and emerald green, and deep teal - I cannot really choose, I love them all!
    Scarlet, it may be very much so :-)
    Vildy, this is interesting to know.
    Joy and Freckles, this may be very reason why I could not limit my colors - afraid to get bored?
    Tara, thanks for sharing your experience. Pinky peach - wow, I remember that fear of color and "black only" wardrobe...:-)
  • DonnaF replied 7 years ago
    Sveta;

    Don't amethyst, cobalt, red, and emerald pretty much go with each other, except that red + green brings up Christmas associations and are hard to wear in equal quantities?  You could probably get at least three to work together most of the time. 

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