Color Blocking for Beginners

Spring fashion colors are usually subtle with pastels and neutrals ruling the scene. But this year prepare to see bold, daring colors dominate fashion trends.

Colorful homes
Image Credit: Christian Haugen

Color blocking is a styling technique that hasn’t quite been picked up by the masses. It involves some knowledge of the color wheel and a bit of bravery. The main idea is combining different colors that support and compliment each other. To get a great idea of this check out the March cover of Elle Magazine. There you will see singer Katy Perry dressed head to toe in the season’s vivacious colors.

Color Wheel Basics

Most of us have taken a Design Fundamentals or Art Theory class, so here is just a brief summation of one of the most important principals, the color wheel. The color wheel explains how colors evolve and some colors organically  pair well with each other. First we have primary colors: red, yellow and blue. Mixing these colors in different combinations creates your secondary colors: green, purple, and orange. Lastly, your tertiary colors results from further mixing.


Gucci.com Screen Print

As previously mentioned, some colors innately pair well together. Analogous colors are three colors lined up on the color wheel. Complementary colors are directly opposite one another on the wheel. These are your go-to pairings.

Also consider tint and shade when color blocking. Shades are colors mixed with black. Tints are mixed with white.  The amount of white and black added varies and creates different results. Consequently, shaded and tinted variations pair well with other shades and tints.

To recreate this style, first become well acquainted with the more successful portrayals of color blocking. Elle.com has tons of videos and pictures of Spring runway shows. Well known designers Prada and Stella McCartney have also devoted part of their collection to color blocking.

If you are willing the shell out the extra dough, Gucci and Prada are a great starting point. If your wardrobe budget is a bit more modest, it is still very easy to try out this trend. Just visit your beloved retailers and pick up your favorite bold colors. Using your recently acquired knowledge of the color wheel, start mixing and matching. Happy pairing.

Easy Tip: Start out color blocking just your blouse and jacket. It will help you ease into the trend.

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