How to standardize your fashion color palette

How to standardize your fashion color palette

One effective way to simplify your wardrobe is to choose a color palette that you like, that looks good on and where each color matches one another. Once you’ve created that color palette, you can use that palette to standardize the colors in your entire wardrobe. In this blog post, I’m sharing my best tips to create a color palette for your wardrobe. (Or, check out the related video below.)

What’s a color palette?

A color palette is a group of three to six different colors that look great together and will give you many options for pairing those colors together in your wardrobe. With thousands of color shades available, the options for color palettes are unlimited.

The two main benefits of using a standardized color palette for your clothes are:

  • Create the maximum number of mix and match options using all the pieces in your closet
  • Be confident that the majority of the items in your closet will match several other items in your wardrobe, ensuring that each item in your closet is versatile

Below are some examples of color palettes. They feature a variety of shades and tones for inspiration for your color palette. Your color palette will appeal to you. These examples show just four colors, but you could easily extend any of these four color palettes with one or two additional colors to give your palette a little more variety.

The options for color palettes are unlimited.

When you’re choosing a color palette, you also use that as inspiration to adjust the metallics that you have in your jewelry collection. For example, my personal color palette is based on blacks, and grays and teal, and a few brighter accent colors. I found is that every piece of gold jewelry in my wardrobe stopped making sense with my color palette.

Once I got rid of all of the browns and tans and corals and sage in my closet, I also got rid of all of my gold jewelry. I just have silver jewelry now, and silver easily matches the tones in my color palette.

Ideas for determining the colors in your palette

Finding the colors to use in your specific palette can take a little time, but you will happy you took the time to do it. Start by taking an inventory of the colors of the clothing in your closet today. I did this to determine my own palette. I also found that the brown and tan clothing were pieces that I rarely work so I removed them all (yep, all of them) from my closet.

Next, think about the colors that look great on you – the colors you’re wearing when you get those compliments from your friends.

Both the colors you already have in your wardrobe and love and the colors that look great on you should be the building blocks to help you determine the rest of the colors for your color palette.

"To get started standardizing your fashion color palette, take an inventory of the colors of the clothes already in your closet, then jot down the colors that look great on you, the ones where you get compliments all the time." Share on X

Take inspiration from the color wheel

You can use a color wheel to help you pick out additional colors for your palette. Choose one of your colors, then look at both the analogous and the complementary colors on the color wheel. Analogous colors are located next to each other on the color wheel and can often be easily paired together.

Complementary colors are directly across from each other on the color wheel and are confirmed to be good color combinations. For example, blue and orange are located across from each other on the color wheel and are complementary colors to each other.

Remember that any color on the color wheel contains many variations in shades and hue. Often you can find a tone of a specific color that you love and will fit into your palette well.

It also can be fun to head to the paint department at your local hardware store when you’re creating your fashion color palette. All those paint chips may inspire your color palette, and you often can find prefined color palettes in the paint chips that you can use as inspiration.

Use tech to generate a color palette

You can use the Color Palette Generator from Canva to help you generate a color palette using a favorite photo as the starting point. You just upload the photo on their Color Palette Generator website and a color palette will automatically be generated.

I have tried this with many of my own photos and stock photos and it’s a fun exercise to see many ideas for color combinations that you might not think of. Again, with these palettes, you can easily extend them with a couple additional colors you determine on your own.

Bring variety with creativity

Once you’ve just developed your color palette, don’t worry that it will stifle your creativity. You can experiment with many types of fabrics and textures to further extend the versatility of your clothing. I suggest you also try different shades and tones within your color palette.

An easy way to add interest to your wardrobe is with textures and embellishments. Look for details like fur, lace, mesh accents, cut outs, and embroidery that catch your eye and fit your style.

Prints and patterns in the tones in your color palette add variety and energy to your closet while keeping the benefits of a mix and match collection. Find patterns like florals, plaids or whatever you love; just keep them within your palette to ensure you can wear them with your other pieces.

Still need to sneak in a few other colors? Use the flexibility of accessories to bring in other accent colors to further extend your color palette. Add a bright red purse or a rich green pair of shoes (or whatever is your signature style) to give even more outfit and style options.

This blog post that helps you create a color palette for your wardrobe expands on a point I make in my “Formula for Dressing Effortlessly” ebook, where I help you change the way you look at your closet. It helps you define a purpose for every piece in your closet and ensures that each clothing item can be worn with many others items easily and well, effortlessly.

Video showing how to create a color palette for your wardrobe

Prefer to watch a video? Here’s a related YouTube video about standardizing your fashion color palette.

Any fashions shown on this page or in the video can be found at

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