Already Prettypoll: Your Wardrobe Palette

Years ago, I rebelled against the idea of creating a set palette of colors for my wardrobe. I loved ALL of the colors, and didn’t want to limit myself. But as time has passed and I’ve worked with more clients and my own style preferences have shifted, I’ve come to understand the utility of a palette. It narrows your shopping options, it helps create cohesion within your wardrobe, and it makes outfit assembly easier. My own current palette is mostly black, gray, and olive with burgundy, navy, and brown as secondary options. I’ve worked with clients who stuck to black and cool bright colors, ones who shifted to gray and jewel tones, and a few who worked with neutrals exclusively. Palettes are extremely personal.

Do you have a set palette of colors for your wardrobe? What is it, and how did you come to land on it?

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31 Responses to “Already Prettypoll: Your Wardrobe Palette”

  1. Heather Harrell

    My palette neutrals are more based on ranges. White to ivory, grey to black. My accents are garnet and teal.

  2. Anamarie

    My palette has shifted slightly from black and jewel tones/brights to black, white, grey, leopard (ha!), green, and blue, with less color in each outfit overall. The biggest change for me lately is going from all silver to mixed metals to mostly gold accessories. I don’t know why gold accessories suddenly appealed to me, except my selection was quite limited. Once I started with a couple of pieces, I rediscovered that it can be just as versatile as silver.

  3. Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen

    The base is black, white, gray, denim, and navy with bits of cream but the accent colors change with my moods. More often than not, it’s orange or orange-red, but sometimes there’s more red, or pink, or bright green, or plum. It’s hard to stick to a palette season after season and as life changes who you are, and switching up the accent colors has helped me continue to love my wardrobe without having to expand it too much. Also found with my base palette the brights I adore really become more signature and pieces I appreciate more/wear more often!

  4. Amanda

    My clothes and accessories are about 40% black, about 15-20% each grey, navy, and white, and the few remaining pieces–mostly accessories– are brown, green or blue. Pretty much all solids, too.. Come to think of it, I only own three printed things–a dress that’s mostly black with a gray/blue/coral floral pattern, a scarf in a white/black/blue/red pattern, and a pair of gray/black snakeskin print shoes. It definitely makes coordination very easy!

  5. loubeelou

    My base is black and gray and my accent colors are that deep teal/turquoise (that’s totally popular right now hurray!) and some jewel-tone purple/burgundy. You mentioned olive, which I also really like since it can kind of shift from being a base to being an accent – can make black more interesting and it can tone down some of the more vibrant colors like coral. I have found that I often want to pick up navy as a “neutral” but I never want to wear it – honestly just eliminating that color as an option has helped make my wardrobe much more cohesive and mixable.

    • what not

      I did the same with navy and found it a relief, though a couple navy tanks have found their way back in once I realized how good they looked with grey. Your palette and mine are pretty similar!

    • Natalie

      Your palette is remarkably similar to mine, except that deep teal/turquoise with some jewel-tone purple and burgundy are my base, with black, gray, and brown accents. You must have lovely taste. 🙂

  6. Jean Thilmany

    No. I’ve never been into black, for some reason, and I love matching weirdo colors and I thrift and have too many clothes. Absolutely no pastels or pinks though.

    • crtfly

      Jean, you sound like me. Black makes me look like Morticia Addams which is fine for Halloween, but not the rest of the year. Detest pink clothes and not too fond of pastels either.


  7. Diane Stenglein

    I’m trying to hone it – right now – it’s a lot of navy, grey and denim. I like brights – royal blue and pink for accent. But, I’m a New Yorker, and black is an easy, easy default.

  8. Andrea

    Having a set palette is so incredibly helpful. When I found the Vivienne Files’ description of neutrals — how many there are and how versatile — I’ve really tried to stick with these, adding coral and a few other pops of color. I love how everything goes well together, and I especially love how much older items will go with newer items, even when I didn’t plan to put them together. Here’s a link to one of her articles:

  9. jenangelcat

    When I redid my wardrobe a couple of years ago, I kept to black, white, navy and grey. Last fall I added in burgundy and this spring I’ve added lots soft pastel blue. It makes it a lot easier to put outfits together.

  10. what not

    Yep: black, grey, olive, deep purple, a little pale pink and teal. I came to it when I simply stopped buying colors that I didn’t like and/or didn’t look good on me, but later I recalled that, as a kid, I only liked green, blue, and purple too!

    So I’m just discarding grown-up notions about all my options and embracing what I like deep down, along with a more adult pink (one I hadn’t encountered much in my hot-pink-’80s childhood). And funnily enough, it all looks good together. Score one for my inner five-year-old.

  11. Toni Rae Salmi

    I haven’t really thought about a color palette; however, now that you’ve asked, I see that tend towards black and navy blue as a base color with brighter colors to accent it. It used to be black and brown, but not so much lately. So it’s not really “set” so much as I’ve just done this instinctively. I travel a lot for work, so it’s nice to just say that I’m going either black or navy on a trip–makes packing a lot easier!

  12. Ginger

    I think it’s possible to over-do a color limited wardrobe.
    I’m good with a monochrome outfit or two, but I like color and like to have a wardrobe that isn’t based on one base and accents.

    With that said, I’ve bought and given away so many colorful pairs of shoes I don’t even bother to buy them anymore. So while I might have a wardrobe with outfits centered around different colors, my feet are almost always blue/black or brown.

  13. JW

    My bases are black, denim and brown. With the black goes the brights – white, red, coral, turquoise, purple and black (I’m in L.A.). With the brown goes the tans and greens. Any thing goes with washed denim for spring/summer – also light blue, pink, teal. I hardly ever wear gray or navy (both wash me out.)

  14. Rb

    I have a base of black and charcoal grey (plus navy in warmer months) I like shades of cream and light beige work together with the black/grey bases. I gravitate toward purples (leaning orchid) and blue-greens if I’m adding color, which I don’t always do. I’m rather strict about color in this way, but it keeps the closet organized and my choices easier.

  15. Stephanie Ganger

    Colors have always been hard for me. I have more black in my wardrobe at the moment than I have had in years. Partly because finding good browns has been difficult the last few years. Otherwise it is navy and grey with a HUGE addition of green. I also wear a bright yellow and a bright blue and purples when I can find good ones for myself. I am a redhead and have to be cautious about colors as they can so easily make me look ill or washed out.

    I have always preferred green and would have loved to make a wardrobe entirely out of greens with yellow and blue to add in but finding flattering colors is often a challenge. There are entire years where I don’t buy anything new as the colors are super terrible on me. I cannot even wear white as every time I wear white I look like I am very sick.

  16. Michelle...

    I used to have all the colours but in my quest for a more cohesive wardrobe, I’ve started to cut down.
    I have multiple pieces in denim, black, ice white, royal blue and fuchsia. I then supplement with a few pieces in kelly green, dark grey and red to keep myself from getting bored….

  17. Lisa Wong

    Since doing a KonMari-inspired spring cleaning, most of the clothes I’m left with are black, white, blue or navy, and grey. I have the occasional piece in a colour that contrasts and complements (neon pink ballet flats, burgundy slippers, an olive army jacket, a bright blue winter coat). Getting dressed has been so quick and liberating!

  18. belanus5

    I have a base palette of navy, brown and gray – navy year round, gray for winter and spring and brown for summer and fall. I also rotate my accent colors – coral and turquoise for spring, soft orange and lime for summer, red and olive for fall, and burgundy and eggplant for winter. I wear mostly solid colors, but lately I have acquired a few printed cotton cardigans, which I love. And lots of scarves and necklaces in my palette colors.

  19. fashionforgiants

    On the surface, I’d say all the colors, but in reality, I wear a lot of black, blue and gray. And I accent with most of the colors.

  20. Liz P.

    My preferred palette is mostly black and gray as well, with darker blues/denim, purple (my favorite!), and burgundy.

    I’ve been told true reds also work for me but I am very gun-shy about them — I think they make my skin look weird.

  21. anna dee

    I have a defined palette, though it isn’t super minimal: neutrals/base colors are black, gray, and navy (with a few white pieces for summer); accent colors are cool jewel tones in green/blue/purple, with a few outliers on either end (citron and fuchsia, maybe burgundy). I used to really like bright reds, but as I’ve gotten older and started to go gray, I feel like red just makes me look too ruddy.

    In practice this means I’ve culled chocolate browns and warm neutrals – all the various shades of khaki/tan. In part, this is because I no longer liked the way they looked on me or the colors that looked good with them, but it’s also for simplicity’s sake – I always felt like I had a brown/tan/warm-color wardrobe, and then a black/gray/cool-color wardrobe. This way I have one, more cohesive wardrobe, and it also helps limit my purchases – I don’t buy brown shoes any more, I don’t buy tan/khaki, I don’t buy red (or cream or orange or yellow, but I never bought those colors), and it’s just much easier. Instead of buying stuff that doesn’t really fit a theme in my closet, I look at those things and think “nice, but not for me.” And then more of what I own goes with everything else I own (at least, in the way that I want my clothes to go together). It makes traveling way easier, too (particularly in cutting down how many pairs of shoes I need to pack to go with everything).

  22. Thursday

    My palette is dictated almost entirely by the colours I like and want to wear: red, green and blue. Generally jewel tones, with some brights, dusky and soft tones. Neutrals drawn from navy, black, grey, olive and ivory/beige. Sometimes this feels limiting but I really don’t identify with any other colours – I love strong colour but am very sensitive to anything that doesn’t feel right to me.

  23. Ruth Slavid

    Lots of black blue and gray – the blue really comes to the fore in spring/ summer. I do also have some brown – it is odd because it does feel a bit like a separate wardrobe, apart from brown shoes which I can wear with blue. The blue is navy and light blue, and there is also plenty of white, particularly in the ubiquitous stripes. And then I brighten it all up with red and orange. A red handbag goes with everything, as do red shoes! And then the curveball. Green which I find really hard to wear because it fights so many things, but because it is not in the rest of my wardrobe, I can happily wear a bright green coat, and have spent most of the winter in dull green boots. What’s missing? No yellow, no beige, v little purple, no turquoise or fuchsia…

  24. Sue

    Coincidentally, I’ve just written about my experiences with colour analysis on my blog. I started being a cool winter, then tried the light, warm colours of a dressing your truth type one, returned to being a jewel winter and most recently I joined the 7 Steps to Style system and was identified as an Enigmatic (deep, smoky and warm). Yes, very confusing! My wardrobe neutrals are charcoal grey, navy and brown, with my main accents of teal, blue, purple, red and coral. I do love colour though, so I have neutrals for my basics and add colour wherever I can: tops, scarves, necklaces etc

  25. Natalie

    Almost all the tops, dresses, and skirts in my closet are teal, turquoise, or jewel-purple. Teal is the single most flattering color for me, and it happens to be my favorite color. As a result, I natural gravitate toward items in teal and turquoise shades. It was never a conscious decision for me to create a wardrobe with a specific palette, but that’s what happened. Now when I shop, I try to choose some items that are good accents for these colors, like bright pink and forest green. But I’ve embraced the fact that my favorite tops and dresses to wear, the ones that make me feel gorgeous no matter what kind of hair day I’m having, will always be in “my” shades of teal and turquoise. My style is eclectic, ranging from preppy to hippie to outdoors-woman, but it’s all tied together by my color palette.

  26. Lisa

    Yes I do! Blue, white, and black:). Recently expanded to add purple and gray.
    I use orange (shoes) or olive green (jacket) or gold (jewelry) to provide the complementary contrast.

  27. Rachel

    I’m actually trying to expand my colour palette right now – I’m most strongly attracted to greens and purples, so about 3/4 of my wardrobe is in those colours. I need more variety! I’m looking to add more yellows and oranges.