Color is a big part of my personal style and brand. A simple scrolling through my Instagram or LTK page, and that vibrant reality sets in quickly. But, really, dressing in color is a bit counter culture. A lot of the industry is trending towards neutrals and modern gray-scale. Because of this, adding color to your outfit can be a little intimidating. Especially if you’re not used to styling your work to weekend wardrobes with bold hues.
Having vibrant colors in your outfits can have extreme dopamine dressing effects, which is perfect as we descend into the dreary Midwestern winter (take me back to the lake house)! But, your seasonal outfit selections don’t need to be all gray and black. Let’s go over some great ways to add a pop of color to your daily ensembles:
How to Add a Pop of Color to an Outfit
Determine colors that complement your skin tone.
Our skin has undertones that must be considered when we start adding color! The wrong colors can wash you out or highlight the color blotches and variations in your skin. Your undertones don’t actually have anything to do with your skin shade—you could have dark skin and a cool complexion or light skin and a warm complexion. Or, vice versa, of course. 🙂
There’s a really easy way to figure out your complexion. This may sound strange – look at the veins in your arms (or anywhere else they are visible). Are they green or blue in appearance? If blue, you have a cool complexion. If green, it’s warm. It’s as simple as that!
People with a cool complexion look best in darker colors with highlights of lighter shades. Darker grays, browns, reds, greens, and blues will give you some color and tone. Moreover, you should avoid pastels and bright colors.
Warm complexions look best with light neutrals—especially white. For colors, you want to pick the brighter and bolder variations of each color. Muted color palettes won’t compliment you as well! Additionally, greens and yellows might be too close to your skin tone to be flattering.
So, when adding a pop of color, determine a color range that will look good on your skin tone! It can be frustrating when you find a piece you love, try it on, and it just doesn’t look as good on you as it does the model and you don’t know why. It might be the wrong color for you! Keep your selections within your ideal color spectrum.
Don’t be afraid to do lots of color.
Adding color to your wardrobe can be as subtle or as bold as you want. Don’t think it’s tacky to add a lot of color. On the contrary! In fact, color is super chic, and there’s no rule that states your outfits need to be mostly brown, black, and white. Make the whole outfit pop if you want, or keep it chill with just a pop of color (like a single vibrant accessory).
Always consider the color wheel—but also don’t.
If you’re just adding one color, styling is really easy. Any color can pair with an otherwise neutral ensemble. But, when you add multiple colors, things get a little more complicated. To find colors that complement each other, simply grab tones that are on the opposite end of the color wheel. These colors will always go together and create a complete ensemble!
You can see examples for nearly all my outfits, like this J.Crew green ruffle dress and pink button-up ensemble. The emerald and fuchsia colors exist on either end of the color wheel, so that’s why they go so well together. This blue and pink Sail to Sable dress outfit plays on the same principles.
That being said, rules are also made to be broken. A cool way to add some brave visual interest to your outfit is to layer up colors that are neighbors on the color wheel. This pink and red Valentines-inspired look is a perfect example of this trendy concept! You can see more outfits that fall within both the opposite color rule and the side-by-side rebel variation in these spring and summer Ann Taylor posts.
Pick a color group that excites you.
Neon, pastel, metallic, primary—there are so many color groups to choose from. Pick a color group that suits your skin’s undertone, but pick a color group that excites you too! If it makes you happy, you’ll wear it with more confidence, and that’ll naturally make your look more flattering.
You can see some vibrant pastel outfits here and a few soft tertiary color options here. Really, you can find primary, metallic, and neon color groups (and more) on my Instagram page as well. Do what compliments you and what makes you feel beautiful.
Stick with a color scheme.
Once you get an idea of the colors you want to use, develop a color scheme. The scheme can be just shades of the same neutral and a single color. Or, it can be a few colors! If you ever need color scheme inspo, you can browse Pinterest. There are infinite examples.
Once you have the scheme, it’s really easy to layer up and select the right pieces. You can browse a ton of color scheme combos in these outfits! Feel free to copy these to create your own looks.
Jewelry is a great way to add a pop of color to your outfit! They help balance an outfit and make every ensemble look complete and fashion-forward. Here’s a pair of colorful green earrings with a black and white outfit that make the look a little more fresh and fun. And, for this outfit I added bold blue bangles to elevate my workwear!
Find bold, statement shoes.
Much like jewelry, statement shoes can really amplify your outfit and add some color. Plus, adding color at the bottom of the ensemble will draw the eyes up and down, evening your proportions and making you look taller.
With this all white outfit, I grabbed blue silk pumps! And, with this paisley dress, I added complimenting teal slingback pumps. Oh, and I can’t forget this retro black and white ensemble with pink heels. You can see how the simple addition of a vibrant shoe really elevates the look.
Choose a handbag.
Shoes, jewelry, and handbags! A quality handbag in a bold color looks great with a neutral ensemble. It’s like the outfit highlights the bag for an upscale and totally chic look. Just make sure you follow your complimenting color scheme and group. Choose a bag with a vibrant print, a bold texture, or, of course, an exciting color. Scroll through some of these amazing handbags for inspo.
Go wild with matching accessories.
Want to take your next commitment to color to the next level? If so, consider pairing matching accessories in the same color or hue. This can add a ton of visual interest and curate a totally show-stopping ensemble.
If you want inspiration, check out this pinstripe blue and white dress with luscious red accessories. Or, you can go all monochrome like this lavender look for something really trendy and whimsical. Layer up matching accessories for a gorgeous look.
A coat can go a long way.
Nothing elevates an outfit like a great coat. They’re total wardrobe necessities, and they make the shift into winter much less dreadful. Rather than using a coat to cover your amazing outfit, use it to totally amplify it!
This colorblock coat has the perfect minty splash of color in this tonal look. And, this hot pink wool coat over the gray sweater dress adds a ton of excitement to this outfit! I do the same with this wool coat and purse. But, if you still need inspo, check out how I layered pastels with this soft spring outfit.
Adding a pop of color can add a ton of energy and visual interest to your fashion-forward ensembles.
Don’t be afraid to add some color. You can totally rock any colorful fashion adventure you want to go on! Tell me, what color combos are you excited to try? What’s a brave color choice you haven’t had the guts to wear yet? I want to hear all about it in the comments below.
And, of course, be sure to check back every week for new content that will help you develop your ideal style.