Creating Your Color Palette

Intentional Wardrobe Series

Welcome back to the Intentional Wardrobe Series, I hope you’ve been following along and having a great time in the process. In the last post we chose Your Essentials , today we’ll be creating your color palette! Look how much we’ve accomplished… Just a couple more steps to go and your closet should begin to look exactly how you’ve envisioned for SO long! Let’s go…


One of the main issues I’ve had with my wardrobe in the past, was my obsession with buying random colored items with no thought of what already existed in my wardrobe. I didn’t think of what the item could be paired with in my closest, which lead to many random piece. Pieces that I liked but never wore because I didn’t have anything to wear them with. There is a need for strategy when you are building an intentional wardrobe and the easiest thing to do is start with creating a color palette. Pinterest is a great place to start when you’re trying to see how colors go together. Here are some color palettes that caught my eye.

We are all different and have different color preferences, so there is no set “rules” about what your color palette should be. The key is understanding how you look and feel when wearing certain colors. Also, it’s important to know the right amount of color and how to integrate them into an outfit. Proper integration will help your wardrobe evolve to more outfit options. Let’s look at some color basics, to help you understand how to achieve this balance.


It’s good to have a general idea of what your base colors will be. Your base colors are the colors you chose when buying your essentials. These are usually neutral colors that compliment each other and can be worn with a large range of other colors. You want to choose colors that transcend seasons and can be worn for years at a time. I mentioned before that good colors are black, white, navy, khaki… but if you love red and wear it every day then it could be one of your base colors. The choice is yours and what you prefer, the point is to make the preference clear. My base color palette looks like this:


Most of the base colors will be neutral colors but I’m sure you’ll want some pops of color in your wardrobe. That’s where accent colors come into play. Accent colors are any other color that isn’t your base colors and are great for mixing up your seasonal outfits. You could buy different accent colors for the seasons or you could pick them and stay in the color family when the seasons change. I chose the accent colors of red and teal for my color palette and I just stay in the family of my accent colors. In the fall/winter I go with deep red/burgundy and in the spring/summer I go with bright red/coral. These are a few of my accent pieces and I also have some jewelry pieces. Notice I have the floral shorts in with the base colors as well as the accent colors. The black background of the shorts allows them to be paired with any color in the shorts to be a base piece. I can also wear them with a black or white top and it becomes my accent piece.


Once you spend time deciding your base colors and your accent colors, you can play around with how to put them together to create your color palette. I’ve listed some fun ways to experiment with color combinations. It’s a good way to see which colors you need more of and which ones are not so necessary. These are not color “rules”, just some ideas to help you get started.


To color block, you take colors that are opposites on the color wheel or contrasting colors and pairing them together. The color combinations should be at least two colors in the whole outfit. When you want to look put together with little effort, color block… it’s fool proof! A good way to achieve color blocking is by making sure your wardrobe consists of some solid colored items. This will allow you to mix them with neutral basics (jeans or leather jacket).


For you to achieve monochromatic dressing, you’ll choose one color. Then wear items that are different shades of that color in one outfit. It’s the easiest to do but the hardest to pull of. Create a greater contrast by choosing color that is further in shade. Create less contrast by choosing color closer in shade. You can also create drama by adding black or white pieces/accessories to the outfit.


Prints can seem tricky to match up with a number of different colors in your wardrobe, but never fear! The easiest way to match prints is to pick a color in the print and match to other items you’re wearing. When using prints, try to keep the rest of the outfit simple… not boring, but simple.

Of course there are a million and one exceptions to the rule. Choosing colors that compliment your skin tone and your look are more important than trying to stick to color trends or tonal dressing. I have included a Color Guide to help you sort through colors (click the image to the right). Have fun choosing the colors you’ll wear… this is suppose to be fun!!