This outfit formula is more about the mix of colours than the actual items. It’s about lightening up and softening an outfit. To keep things easy I’ve combined very simple and casual, updated modern classics with the odd pastel piece. Of course, feel free to use non-classic pieces if that’s more to your taste. The point is to get a handle on how to mix pastels into an outfit in a more subtle way. 

Some tips to get you started: 

  • Light blue denim and light blue chambray can function as pastels and might be easier to wear if pastels aren’t your cup of tea. Think of these pieces as “pastel light”. 
  • Keep most of the neutrals a light colour. Think shades of white, caramel and taupe. Chestnut is another option that is a little darker than caramel.
  • If dark neutrals are essential, think ink blue, navy and charcoal instead of black because they have a softer visual effect against the pastels. 
  • Pastel pieces can be incorporated by adding a bag, belt, scarf, eyewear or footwear in a pastel of your choice. Think lilac, light pink, baby blue, mint, lemon, peach or apricot. 
  • Metallic footwear is a great way to lighten up an outfit. 

Here are the components:

Bottoms: White, stone, tan, light grey, and light blue jeans are a slam dunk. But dark blue jeans, navy or grey trousers are another way to go. 

Top: A striped tee, pullover or sweatshirt with a white stripe lightens the entire outfit, and picks up the white in the jeans. A light blue chambray shirt is another option. But if you prefer wearing dark colours on top, stick to dark blue or grey. Wear a belt if you’re fully or partially tucking the top.

Topper: Any topper in a light neutral is an option, whether it’s a trench coat, wool coat, utility jacket, blazer or leather jacket. 

Footwear: Caramel, chestnut or taupe booties is one way to go. Shades of white or metallic is another. Ink blue and grey if you prefer dark footwear. Or wear a shade of pastel on your feet. Slipper flats, oxfords, Converse and pumps are footwear alternatives. 

Accessories: This is where you can add more low-impact pastels to the outfit, like I’ve shown with the bags, scarf, belt and eyewear in this ensemble. Add jewellery and watch as desired. 

Matching the colour of the belt with the footwear, the bag with the belt, the scarf with the belt, or the scarf with the bag, are ways of pulling the outfit together. 

Adding a pastel accessory to your wardrobe is one way to give pastels a go without breaking the bank or committing to a clothing item. I have a light blue or blush pink bag on my shopping list because I’ve found these specific pastels quite versatile. And since they work well with the black and white ensembles that I wear frequently, I know they’ll get lots of use.

Classics and Pastels