In Part 1 of Developing Your Wardrobe Palette, I wanted to talk about the thoughts that ran through my head as I ventured on to this project. Now, I want to move it a step further to…
Developing My Own Color Palette
One thing to note– during this process, I decided to keep my palette broader, while still refined. While I love hot pink & turquoise, at the day’s end, it would bore me to wear only those (and who wants to resent their favorite colors!?!?). By starting this process with a larger spectrum, I felt that it gave me more room to grow, see what works and doesn’t, and then adapt accordingly.
When developing the color palette for the base of my wardrobe, I thought about the colors that have played a strong influence on my life– from childhood until now. Questions that I asked myself were:
♥ What colors have I repeatedly been drawn to through phases in my life?
♥ What colors did I feel good in and feel that I looked good in?
♥ What colors have long held a strong presence in my life, and which colors’ popularity fades with me after a season or 2?
It was important for me that I didn’t approach this process with too many restrictions; it’s not possible for my wardrobe to solely consist of 3-4 colors.
When I bought my Hayden Harnett tote at Christmas, I bought it with an understanding that it was the piece I could “build my wardrobe around.” (I think I learned this trick from Genevieve on Trading Spaces.)
I’ve broken down my quest in to three color categories: Neutrals, Bases, and Accents.
Neutrals: I believe that neutrals are a personal thing– what you consider a neutral color won’t be one for the next person. In my own wardrobe, black and grey are my neutrals, with white/ ivory and navy in small doses.
I also think that patterns have neutral qualities– for me, those would be polka dots, stripes, and pinstripes. You’ll rarely see me wear a pattern that isn’t one of those.
Base Colors: Bases make up the dominant color portion of my wardrobe palette. When I answered the questions from above, I realized that I am & have always been drawn to bold jewel tones & their vibrant, bright counterparts. Pink, Red, Purple, Blue, & Turquoise, in their gemstone & street art incarnations.
It may seem that that five colors equates to quite a few base colors, but when I look at them, I realize that they are all tones or extensions of the same two colors: Red and Blue. (These were the closest approximations I could come up with to my favorite versions of these colors, but they could vary in tone.)
Where this process works for me is limiting the range of the color’s shade (how light or dark it is); in my current wardrobe, I find it’s when I move outside of the above shade’s that I have difficulty with incorporating that color in to my wardrobe.
Accent Colors: I like to think of the accent colors as those occasional colors that pop in to my life. They’re don’t fit in to the base colors, but I’m often attracted to them. Luckily, they tend to contrast beautifully to the colors above. For me, they are kelly green, chartreuse, mustard yellow.
You may be thinking I’m crazy at this point.
These colors are not & would not be applied to my wardrobe in any large dose. Rather, I think of them as the color of a scarf, a brooch, or the accent on a pair of shoes. The additional colors that can take my neutrals & base colors and add a bit of Punch! and Pop!
Is this REALLY refining your color palette?
You may think, “How in the world is this refining your color palette?” Sure, we’ve got a wide range of tones available, and select colors that I can use & abuse as I like. We’ve also eliminated a LOT of colors from making their way in to my wardrobe.
In thinking about this, I’ve come to a few decisions:
♥ No more buying any more pastel versions of the above base colors. It just doesn’t work. They sit in my closet, unworn, with me wondering how to wear them.
♥ To focus on the five base colors when I shop. By doing this, I know that the colors I will have will coordinate with one another.
♥ Not feel guilty for lusting after pieces in the accent colors. By identifying them as colors that I love & am attracted to, it makes me more aware of how they contrast with my base colors. If I just bought an plum or navy sweater, then I know that a scarf that is mustard may be an unusual, but beautiful combination.
♥ Refining Shopping Decisions. One thing I lament is how many options there are available in our world. If I want a black wedge, 32,405 options could come up (number randomly made up). If I find a beautiful cardigan, but it’s bright orange, I know that it’s not going to work in my wardrobe. It means that I need to evaluate my love & presumed need over the practicality & cost of the piece.
♥ No More Buying “Because It’s a _____.” I own brown shoes. I’ve got 2 pairs of brown heels and a pair of brown boots. While they boots had gotten reasonable wear, I’ve worn 1 pair of the heels ONCE. Why did I buy them? “Because I own grey heels, but not brown ones.” Why did I buy brown ones, that I won’t wear & had nothing to wear them with, when I could have bought another pair of grey heels, that I WOULD wear?
Next up: Looking at present wardrobe pieces that do and don’t work; evaluating recent purchases and how they fit in to the grand scheme of the process.