My Evolving Colour Palette

June 30, 2019
Doen Blouse worn with jeans and clogs

Summer has finally arrived here in Scotland and I’m reaching for the more colourful pieces in my wardrobe. There is definitely something about seeing the sunshine which makes me want to dress a little cheerier. For the longest time, there wasn’t any ‘real’ colour in my wardrobe. But over the last couple of years, that has changed and I’ve explored dressing a little more colourfully. Today I want to chat about how my colour palette has evolved over time and share some tips if you want to switch up your colour palette without buying a whole new wardrobe.

Creating a Colour Story

When you have a capsule wardrobe, which I did for years you learn that creating a cohesive colour palette is key to a versatile wardrobe. Even for those of us, who have moved on from capsule wardrobes, a well thought out colour palette helps to keep your wardrobe minimal.

For years my colour palette has been a very minimal mix of black, white, shades of grey and the odd pop of red. This became very restrictive and when working with a capsule wardrobe something I found difficult to change. Since quitting my capsule wardrobe I’ve been adding more colour to my wardrobe and allowing my colour palette to evolve naturally.

So how has my colour palette evolved? Well for starters I’ve been playing with more warm tones and moving away from the often harsh blacks and cool greys. For the longest time, I thought I couldn’t wear warm tones with my pale skin and dark hair. But I’ve come to realise that isn’t a good enough reason not to wear a colour you like. I started slowly switching my black accessories for tan and cognac. Now I have a few warm earthy toned pieces in my wardrobe and they have completely changed the whole aesthetic of my wardrobe. Believe it or not, there is even a couple of yellow items in there now. If you had suggested I wear yellow a few years ago I would have just laughed at you. But now it’s becoming one of my favourite colours to wear.

Adding these warm earthy tones feels very natural and has enabled my wardrobe and personal style to grow with me. Now rather than thinking about set colours such as grey or red as my colour palette I now think of tones. The warm earthy tones feel more like a colour story than a colour palette. Now when I research a new item for my wardrobe I ask myself if it fits the colour story. Rather than asking if it’s an exact colour. This feels like a more flexible and intuitive way to build a wardrobe.

My current colour story is natural warm earthy tones. Think of all those beautiful autumn colours like rusty reds, burnt oranges, warm yellow, caramel browns. I mix these in with my core basics of black, white and grey. Check out my colour story Pinterest board for visual of my colour story. 

Doen Blouse Worn with Jeans

Changing Your Colour Palette

Maybe your style has evolved and the colours in your wardrobe need to do the same or maybe you’re getting a little bored with your current minimal palette and need a change. Whatever the reason evolving your colour palette without buying a whole new wardrobe is possible.

Change the way you view your colour palette. The first step is to rethink how you think about the colours in your wardrobe. The traditional method is to think of 4-6 colours which will form your wardrobe. You then only add pieces in these colours. But if you think in terms of colour stories you open up a whole range of colours. You could do what I did and think of seasons, for example, warm earthy tones as autumn or light pastel shades for spring. Or maybe there is a film or TV show which better describes your colour story.  The idea is to move away from the rather strict method of only having set colours in your wardrobe.

Start with accessories. This is probably the easiest way to test out new colours or tones in your wardrobe. For example, if like me you want to move away from cool blacks to warmer browns switch you bag from black to brown. Live with it for a couple of months and see if you want to add more. Then maybe add a pair of shoes. This way your wardrobe stays the same so it doesn’t feel like a big change. But switching your bag from black to brown makes a huge difference to an outfit.

Add in some basics. It can be very tempting to go out and buy a bold dress or blouse in the colour you’ve been coveting. But start small with a t-shirt. That way you can add the colour into more outfits as t-shirt works with pretty much everything. You can get used to wearing this new colour with a piece you already know how to style and feel comfortable with.

Have you ever changed your wardrobe’s colour palette? If you have please share your tips and what worked for you.

Shop My Outfit

Blouse – Doen O’Keefe Top (green sold out but other colours still available) also available at Net-A-Porter (cheaper option if in UK)

Jeans – Everlane Cheeky Straight (affiliate link)

Clogs – Lotta Stockholm

2 responses to “My Evolving Colour Palette”

  1. Caroline says:

    Post pregnancy I’ve slipped into a capsule wardrobe as such, as I refused to buy any new clothes and also had a mass clear out of my wardrobes wit a mission to dress more capsule and me.
    This resulted in my wardrobe very much consisting of blacks, greys, khaki and a couple of whites. Which I love, but like you, with the warmer months I wanted to add some colour. Since I’ve lost a bit of weight and am able to get back into a small portion of my old clothes I’ve added in some navy. I also purchased a coral jumper which is like neon in my dark wardrobe! Haha!
    I’ve also been doing a lot of research into colour palettes and what suits skin tones etc. It’s all very fascinating. It’s definitely opened up a few new colours to me that I hadn’t thought of and also steered me away from just buying anything!


  2. Karenza says:

    I’ve also recently added some yellow to my wardrobe. I always thought my skintone was all wrong for the colour, but I’ve found myself drawn to it lately. I’ve been branching out from my safe colours of navy blue, black, red and white. The first two are great for fall and winter but not so great in the hot summers.

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