Color Lover’s Capsule: Step 1. Determining A Color Scheme

by Alison Gerber

blue and pink

I have a lot of clothes. As in, a lot a lot. As in 1 wardrobe, 1 free-standing clothes rack, 1/2 a coat closet, 2 dressers, and a few tubs in the basement’s worth of clothes. Choosing a 37 piece wardrobe out of that is going to be a total nightmare. Unless I limit my options.

Since my capsule wardrobe is going to be about celebrating color, my idea is to begin here: with a color scheme. But how does one come up with a color scheme for a wardrobe? Here’s the way I approach this task. Perhaps my steps may be helpful for you, too.

First I make a note of the colors I am really drawn to at the moment. I really love royal blue and pale pink right now, like in the outfit I’m wearing in the photo above. I have no idea why, I just like those colors. So I note both royal blue and pale pink down for my fall wardrobe color scheme. What colors are you drawn to? List those as potentials for your color scheme, too. Be as specific as you can (i.e. royal blue, not just blue, and pale pink not just any pink).

Second, I look at your wardrobe. Maybe it’s hard for you to think of colors you like off the top of your head. That’s okay! The next step I take is to go to my wardrobe, and take a look at the clothes I really, really love to wear. Is there a color that repeats among them? What color clothes make my skin look bright, and my eyes stand out? What colors make me feel great when I put them on? For me, the answer is jewel tones. Also I have 6 mustard sweaters. I note this also. What’s in your closet? What colors especially work for you?

Third, I find inspiration in photographs of outfits I like. Do you have a Pinterest account? I know they’re kind of cheesy but Pinterest is pretty useful for keeping track of photographs that make you say “wow!”, so that you can come back to them later and determine what your own personal style looks like. I saw this photograph recently in an advertisement for Diane Von Furstenberg:

turquoiseand leopard.jpg

…and though I don’t particularly care for wrap tops or pencil skirts I was drawn to the colors: doesn’t that leopard print and that particular blue look amazing together? Both of these go on my list.

Other photographs that have found me all excited for the new season are those from my favorite Australian clothing brand, Gorman. I mean, just look at these things:

However, there are a lot of colors in these clothes. How do I know what colors, exactly, do I love according to these outfits? Well, what I do is I run these photographs through a color palette generator, like Pictalicious, or Color Snap. After putting a handful of Gorman dresses through Pictalicious, I found a few repeating colors: turquoise, petrol blue, mustard, orchid. I put all of these on my list. Why not run a bunch of outfits you’ve liked or pinned through something like this and see what colors come up again and again?

Last, I look at what designers and magazines are predicting for the season. I purposely do this last because I don’t want to be influenced primarily by others with my clothing choices, I want to be influenced by me. But sometimes looking at seasonal runway shows helps trigger some ideas I haven’t thought of before, as well as remind mw of what is seasonally appropriate. After taking a look at French Vogue, Cosmo and Elle Magazine’s hit predictions for Fall 2017, I found a few trends that interested me: turquoise (sense a theme?), denim, fake weird fur, shiny metallic silver. All of these are added to my list.

Once I was done, I made a collage of the colors I listed (ignore the items, they are just there to represent the colors). I feel like most of these colors will go together pretty well in outfits? I know there are a lot. I will probably whittle them down over time.


What do you think? What color scheme are you planning for your capsule wardrobe? Share it with us here or on my Facebook page!