How to Choose a Color Palette for your Capsule Wardrobe

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Are you a lover of color or a fan of neutrals?

When you’re building your capsule wardrobe, or even re-vamping it, having a color palette helps save you time and money. You’ll be much more intentional with what you add to your closet in terms of color and style, and you won’t be tempted to buy as much because of it.

You know that feeling you have when you look at your closet full of clothes and feel like you have nothing to wear? That’s because most people shop on impulse and buy things in every shape and color without putting much thought into how they’re going to style it with what they already have. They might even have too much in their closet to remember (that was me at one point)!

By paring down your closet to only having things you absolutely LOVE in it, you’re much more aware of what you have and what you need, so you don’t need to shop aimlessly and have a ton in there with nothing to go together!

I like to think of my closet as my own personal museum that I am the curator of. Our clothes showcase our style and personality and I only want to showcase what I feel and look my best in!

Everyone has unique taste, so there’s no one way to say what your color palette should be. That of course will be your decision and require some thought and introspection on your end.

The main thing to understand is you want to love everything in your closet and feel your best in it. Having a capsule wardrobe will let you have base pieces that you can build on and change out throughout the year to give your closet a little “refresh”. Your accent pieces are what will give you more personality and variety.

I will also say as a disclaimer that my way of having a capsule wardrobe may be a bit untraditional. I don’t set number limits for my closet and I try to wear my pieces year round if I can instead of switching them out seasonally. I will also add and remove things multiple times a year. I don’t count my PJs, work out clothes, loungewear, underwear or fancy clothes as part of my capsule, either. So this is just my recommendations on how to get started with your every day clothes!

Base Colors

I’m sure if you’ve been doing research on capsule wardrobes, you’ve happened across this phase. Base colors are the neutrals you’ll use to build your capsule on. They include colors like black, white, ivory, tan, navy, beige.

You can choose to build your capsule on as many base colors as you’d like. Some people focus on black as their base and build around that, others choose navy. My primary colors in my closet are white and ivory.

The base colors make up the foundation of your capsule and will be things that are timeless, classic and can be worn year after year. Trendy pieces can be subbed in now and then, but most likely won’t be something you keep forever.

Those generic recommendations you see for capsule wardrobes all over Pinterest that have 3 shades of t-shirts, a chambray shirt, utility jacket and all that…those are the base pieces in neutral colors. The things you have that you build onto and add your accent pieces to.

Your capsule wardrobe should always have your style of pieces in it. Don’t feel obligated to have a striped shirt and denim jacket if those aren’t things you like or will wear. When paring down your closet, pay attention to what your most worn items are and try to get those in your base colors if you don’t have them already.

If you have a favorite color that you wear a lot, this can also be a base color for you. It doesn’t have to be a neutral, those are just the more common ones to use. But remember, this is YOUR closet. So there are no rules for what you should or shouldn’t do!

Accent Colors

These will be basically every other color that’s not a neutral or one of your base colors. Accent colors are how many people change up their closet each season. These won’t be something you choose once and be done with. You can change them up as little or as often as you like!

When choosing your accent colors, the main things to keep in mind is what colors look good on you, what you feel comfortable and confident in, and what you’ll get the most use out of.

I really love blush pink, but because I’m so pale with pink undertones in my skin, it looks terrible on me (I refer to it as the naked mole rat effect lol). This would not be a great choice for me to have as an accent color because I won’t ever feel confident in it.

Keep in mind what colors look the best on you and stick to those. This is where the money saving kicks in! When you know your accent colors, you won’t be as tempted to stray.

I personally try to stick to two accent colors per season as I prefer to keep my closet mostly neutral. That’s my comfort zone because I prefer neutrals to color. In the beginning, this may be easier so you don’t go overboard with buying too many colors.

I do know people with multiple colors and patterns each season in their capsule, so if that’s your jam, you can always coordinate your colors together. Getting multiple shades of the same color is an easy way to mix them together and go for a tonal look.

Just remember the main goal of a capsule wardrobe is simplicity. You want everything in your closet to go easily with most other things. Each piece in there should be able to go with a minimum of three other things you already have, and the more the better!

For example, if you get a pair of pants, you should have at least 3 tops to style them with to feel good about adding them to your capsule. Since you have less pieces than most, you want everything you have to be very versatile!

Patterns & Prints

“Does having a capsule wardrobe mean I can’t have prints or patterns in my closet?” ABSOLUTELY NOT!

I think this is the fun part! Because you’ll typically have so many neutral pieces in your closet, you can use prints and patterns as your accents! They’re such a fun way to add more character to your closet.

Having a full patterned piece like pants or a top and mixing them with a neutral piece is an easy way to incorporate them in your closet. Or if you don’t want to do a full on patterned piece, you can get accessories with the pattern you love and mix it in just a touch.

This fall, animal print was very on trend. While I didn’t want to buy leopard print pants I’d probably never wear again after this year, I did have a few leopard print accessories that I used as accents to my otherwise neutral outfit to spice it up a bit. Plaid is also a big trending thing in the colder months. In the spring, I like to add in a few light floral prints.

My biggest tip for patterns and prints is to shop smart for the long term. Don’t spend too much on anything that’s trendy as it’s not something you’ll likely wear year after year. But getting a scarf or belt can be a fun way to add in the accent you’re wanting without breaking the bank.

Now, I’m not bold enough to mix patterns, but I do know it’s possible. So if this is something you’re comfortable with, go for it!

Textured Pieces

This may be my favorite way to spice up my otherwise pretty simple wardrobe. I love texture.

There is NO LIMIT to how many textures you should have in your closet. I think the more the better. But mixing them can be tricky, so unless you’re feeling bold, it’s can be easier to let them be your statement pieces.

Textured pieces are materials that draw attention such as suede, leather, velvet, lace, sequins, fuzzy, etc. Having a black cotton tank top and having a black sequin tank top are definitely two different things! I prefer to get my textured pieces in neutral colors because I can typically get way more use out of them.

Let’s use the black sequin tank top as an example. I could pair that with distressed jeans and cardigan and wear it to work, or I style it with nice dark jeans and a blazer and wear it to an event.

Neutrals are classic and can easily be dressed up or down most of the time. This will help you get more wear out of your pieces, which of course is our goal with a smaller closet!

And there you have it! Hopefully this post helps you take your next steps into creating your own capsule wardrobe and gets you started thinking what colors you’ll want to incorporate in it. I will tell you creating a capsule wardrobe has no only saved me a ton of time and money, but has given me a new confidence that I never expected because I truly love everything I wear and it makes me feel great!

I hope you’ve found value in this post and it helps you on your capsule wardrobe journey! Check out all my other capsule wardrobe posts here if you’re looking for more info.

What are your thoughts on color palettes? Do you have additional tips for choosing yours? Share them in the comments below!

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