Crafting a Color Scheme – The Secret to a Functional Wardrobe

Posted on July 5, 2018

The following is an excerpt from BJ Wilson’s book, An Expert’s Guide to Fashion Styling: A Workbook and Practical Guide, available for hardcopy purchase here or e-book here

Why Color Schemes are Imporant

Every wardrobe should have a color scheme and sometimes two or three, depending on the client’s lifestyle and budget. A well-defined color scheme unifies the pieces in the closet, making coordination of garments simple, and gives the wardrobe its longevity. Think of a color scheme for a wardrobe much like a color scheme for a home. It can be bold and dramatic or elegantly understated.

Colors belong to color cycles which change every few years. Color cycles apply not only to fashion, but to household goods, home furnishings, and even to the auto industry. In the fashion industry, a color cycle spans two to seven years, which helps wardrobe consultants build their clients’ wardrobes with confidence. But not all colors within a color cycle survive from season to season, so a consultant must stay on top of the fashion color trends.

How to Spot Trending Colors for Upcoming Seasons

Color forecasts are the key to understanding clothing color schemes. Twice a year a group of influential designers meets to discuss color trends and fabrics. Their mission is to determine the color palette for a particular fashion season, several seasons in advance. The process is certainly not an exact science, yet it appears to work well. From these designers’ ideas, a consensus grows in the fashion industry. Clothes and items reflecting the designers’ forecasts are produced and suddenly everyone is wearing purple. Purple is hot.

Every season has its hot new colors. To determine an upcoming season’s colors, study the fashion industry with your attention on color. Look through current fashion magazines, browse clothing stores,research the designers on the Internet, and note the dominant colors displayed in clothing catalogs and advertisements. Consider subscriptions to fashion magazines and catalogs. At BJ Wilson & Company, we like Vogue, In Style, and W. Not only will you get a good idea of the latest color forecasts from these publications, you will learn a lot about the latest fashion trends.

Several websites, like Pantone, on the Internet forecast color trends up to two years in advance. Also on the Internet are fashion shows. You can view pictures of different looks or watch videos from the most recent high-end shows.

How to Develop a Color Scheme

For each wardrobe season, Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter, after studying the color forecasts and trends, you should prepare three color schemes that reflect the current color palette. These color schemes will help you to:

  • Design a color-coordinated wardrobe plan and shopping list
  • Shop efficiently and quickly based on the color scheme you have selected
  • Mix and match outfits within the color scheme, which will expand the your wardrobe and give multiple choices.

What Does a Color Scheme Look Like and How Do You Define One?

Every color scheme is composed of basic colors, accent colors, and a print or pattern. To define a color scheme, select two to three basic colors from the light neutral and dark neutral color palettes; and two to three accent colors. Light neutral colors include white, ivory, beige, and camel. Dark neutral colors are navy, gray, brown, and black. Accent Colors within a color scheme are selected for their ability to work with the neutrals and dark colors. They should reflect the current season’s trendy colors. To complete the color scheme, choose a current print or pattern that adds interest, blends, or highlights the colors of the color scheme.

Accent colors, prints, and patterns add interest and pop to the wardrobe. By studying the color forecast for a particular season, you will be able to incorporate popular accent colors and patterns and prints into a client’s wardrobe plan each year, ensuring that the wardrobe remains vibrant, smart, and stylish.

Need a Little Extra Help?

Not to worry! Color schemes are our specialty. We can help transform your wardrobe into one that truly works for you. Check out our professional fashion styling services available.

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