Early on in my first capsule wardrobe challenge (a blast from the past if there ever was one), I quickly grasped the importance of a cohesive and carefully edited colour palette. This has since extended through to the entire contents of my wardrobe, creating a solid backbone of core items and complimentary accents, with an occasional pop of colour (cliché, I know!) to keep things interesting.
There are several different rules you can use for building a colour palette, however the simplest, and easiest to navigate, is to select 3-4 main or neutral colours, and 2-5 complementary or ‘accent’ colours.
Using my own wardrobe as an example (and not my capsule), my main or neutral shades are: white, black, grey and navy; and my accent or complementary shades are: blush pink, cornflower blue, and the occasional smattering of cherry red.
As you can see, this makes for pretty easy early morning dressing, maintains a cohesive look and feel overall, and clearly defines aesthetic values. I do tend to favor the more neutral side of the scale (mostly as it is timeless), although you could just as easily start with a base of plum, evergreen and black, if you were so inclined (not my best colours, unfortunately!).
Can you detect a theme? The main colours generally tend to be muted – these are the backbone of your capsule; the accent colours on the other hand can be vibrant, vivacious, and as loud as you like – as long as they complement your base shades. One of the purposes of this exercise is to develop a palette which is virtually universal when it comes to remixing your wardrobe pieces.
Some of the things to ask yourself are what colours are dominant in your existing wardrobe? What colours do you most enjoy wearing? What colours suit your skin tone? All, important questions, and ones which will assist you in determining your final colour palette for your capsule.
A good place to start, is to look at the building blocks of your capsule. Which garments would you consider your key pieces, and what colours are they? Typically, I’d imagine these would be neutral shades comprising of mostly white, grey, beige and black. From here, start branching out. What garments are missing from your capsule? Is it a cooler month or a warmer one? A quick scan of your wardrobe, with these two questions in mind, should give you a fair idea of which colours you’ll want to include as your accent shades. Perhaps you like to follow trends, and a pastel winter is on the cards; or maybe you want to keep it classic a la the French, stocking up big on Breton stripes, camel trench coats, and delicate red ballet flats.
There’s two things to remember:
– No two capsules will be the same
– You should be able to put together a capsule with your existing items, assuming they are in good condition and can withstand another season.
If you’re looking for an in-depth guide to colour palettes, then Anuschka of Into Mind is your girl. Anuschka talks at length about various colour combinations, warm vs cool colours, and the virtues of keeping a streamlined colour palette within your wardrobe. Not to mention that her site is an excellent resource for anyone wishing to learn more about capsules wardrobes and minimalism in general.