I don’t have a limited palette, but I do stage a one-person colour fad every year and build colour capsules.

This has been an interesting read.l think I meander between Runcarla and Rachylou s approach .In theory I stick to Olive,blue and white in the summer but my “one person colour fad“has been yellow this year.Weird as I never normally go near yellow as I have yellow hair and it can be difficult but I am obsessed with yellow this year.l blame the circumstances of this year.Yellow is a very cheering colour l find and fortunately mixes well with my other summer colours.

Omg, what Nemosmom said and Roxanna highlighted! This is a strategy I am moving towards - buying different types of pieces in the same limited palette, rather than multiples of the same pieces in different colours. Work way better when I do this but had never articulated it quite; thank you!

Carla, your approach to colour is so well-thought-out and you are very disciplined! Overall, I would say I use a similar approach to you: I have my main neutrals of navy, black and white, and then a seasonal accent (some sort of red/wine for winter; blue for summer). For a while I did a lot of blush as a mid-neutral, and I am slowly transitioning this to cool beige.

I do add occasional other colours that appeal to me, especially soft teals and (usually dark) greens, but these are sparing. I used to also incorporate a bright pink in the spring, but haven't for a while now. If I want to experiment with a new or trending colour that is not in my palette, I will generally do so as a scarf or inexpensive top ... anything that needs to last a few years definitely needs to be a core colour for me.

I do have some remnants of colours that don't fit the current palette (e.g. a bright pink linen tee) - but I have learned not to over-purge these items. They are great boredom busters. That said, going forward, I am being increasingly strict. I do go for the neutrals about 95% of the time, after all!

Well said, torontogirl. Horrray for boredom busters. This time of summer I get sick of my summer things and have moved into my “Hot Fall” capsule. Wearing autumn colors in hot weather fabrics and styles or mixing in dark neutrals feels fresh. Today’s outfit is an aqua and black print sleeveless top with black silk baggy pants and a black silk button-down shirt worn as a very light weight jacket, aqua accessories.

Enjoyed this thread! I have been thinking about colors a lot lately and trying to prune and decode what I am about there. My coloring has changed a lot from when I was completely dark haired. My skin and eyes have gotten lighter too. But blues are still my friends and purples too. But I am still working out what makes me feel best, and am easily tempted astray. Apart from certain warm colors that are my absolute worst. Very inspired by all the palette collections on the forum now.

Such an interesting thread! Reading Janice on the Vivienne Files was where I got the idea that I might be happier constraining my color choices, and not buying black just because it was easy. So for a while I stuck strictly to navy, grey, and various purples (lilac, lavender, as well as darker shades). More recently I've branched out a bit, particularly to pink and teal. But I'm so much happier with a wardrobe mostly in colors I actually feel good wearing. So - I'm all for limitations wisely chosen!

Color has been critical when choosing clothing items. Much of my professional wardrobe has been built around wearing a column of color. From shoulders to toes my frequent base colors are black, blue, gray, maroon, tan and cream. I have been a big fan of toppers and the ones I choose need to coordinate with my base colors. I often choose stripes, geometrics or patterns that include more than one base color.

My accent colors are reds and teal/turquoise/ aqua. I love those colors, but do not choose to wear them from head to toe.

I hear you on not wanting to keep everything in my closet paired up with just one partner. I gravitate towards patterns and certain colors instinctively; when I pick up a funky cape or a new skirt on a whim, I don’t worry much about the colors, because what appeals to me has been consistent for decades. I never really examined colors in my closet until I started at YLF, but when I did, I found strong patterns that lend themselves to sartorial polyandry.

I like blue dresses! My two-piece blue-and white dress that I included in a post a few weeks ago was purchased at least 16 years ago, or maybe when I lived in Austin in the early 90s. I have a blue sheath that I wore to a friend’s wedding right after college. And I still find that when I’m undecided about a dress in a store, seeing it in blue can completely sway me. I’m a total sucker.

Accent colors for me are fire-engine (not orangey) red and true greens.

My preference for berry shades came from looking at what I had and learning about tonal matching as a sophisticated way of dressing.

When I want to rebel, I often go pink. Fortunately, those shades work well with the berries and other colors in my wardrobe.

I find that all of the above colors can be mixed together without restraint; it’s hard to find anything in my closet that clashes with anything else.

I don’t have a lot of monochromatic neutral pieces. Light neutrals and browns don’t work for me tonally matched; I look sluggish in those outfits. When I wear monochromatic neutral pieces, their function is generally to calm things down/prevent the colors and patterns from being overwhelming.
Colors don’t play any role in managing/storing my wardrobe. I could organize everything (including outerwear, swimwear, workout clothes, undies, and even furnishings/decor) in color capsules, but the one month I did that was very confusing. When I’m getting dressed, I want to cover various body parts and maybe add extra warmth. No matter how well they match, 3 toppers don’t make an outfit, lol. It works best for me to store things functionally—tops divided by sleeves, sweaters separated into T-necks, cardis, and pullovers, etc. I can’t see that at a glance the way I can color, so it helps to have things pulled apart like that.

The realization that I have such strong color themes is kinda par for the course for me—I tend to come at things from the other direction of most people. What I’d like to do now is diversify the shapes in my wardrobe. I’ve spoken before on how finding out about warm tights & boots worn with dresses was an absolute revalation to me in Berlin 25 years ago. I still love that sillouhette. I’m starting to be less reactive to the straight leg pants and simple pullover outfits that featured so strongly in my Midwestern upbringing in winter. Most of the items on my wish list are toppers, in various shapes & lengths, to change up my profile, while sticking with the colors I’ve always known and loved.

ETA: sorry that got so long!

Maine, I would love to see you in teal/aqua/turquoise from head to toe, whether totally monochromatic, tonally matched, or as a column of color with a white 3rd piece/topper!

This has been a very interesting thread! I'll add my data points, which I think are different from those of a lot of people who have commented so far.

I have quite a broad palette -- I will wear some shade of basically every color. But often I am interested in only very specific shades (plum, but not royal purple; emerald green, but not forest) or very specific applications (love cognac footwear -- but otherwise avoid brown). So that enables me to limit the possibilities in a useful way.

Because I have a high affinity for color mixing and rarely wear columns of color, I have found in the past that a one-off piece does not necessarily become an orphan and in fact can be a heck of a lot more useful than yet another piece in a "core" color. I have really struggled to systematize this, though, and am not sure I've cracked the code yet!

One thing that is helping me is thinking through very carefully exactly where (on my body) and how I want to wear a color. For example, I really like to wear white tops in winter but I have no interest in white jeans. Coral is an important color in my spring wardrobe but mostly I want to wear it in accessories -- not clothing. So, the strategy that others have mentioned of buying a different kind of thing in the same color (rather than duplicating the same thing in a different color) could really lead me astray!

Again, I really feel the urge to systematize here -- to know "ok, a complement consists of x, y, and z," and then go about building it. But for me, what I want a complement to consist of depends on the color. And then, of course, it all gets upended once I get out of my head and see what exists in the real world! I think that is the skill that I really need to build now -- to be able to say, "Aha! I never thought of a ballet-pink pullover sweater. But now that I see this one that ticks a lot of boxes for me, I can see how useful it would be, and know just how I would wear it."

Sarah, I love your thinking as much as always. Your last comment is especially good for me—I want new shapes in colors that work with what I’ve got, but not every color works for every shape. I’m really wishing I would’ve gotten this blazer when RL & others encouraged me to do so. I’m starting to feel the same thing about the cropped cardi soon.

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I am pleased I came back to the thread....

Yes (Roxanna, NemosMom, TorontoGirl) - I have made that mistake too. I am better to have a navy tee, navy sweater, navy dressy top, navy bag, scarf with lots of navy) - makes it more functional.

I am feeling stronger about colours as I age. I put on a combo this morning that didn't work - it looked too cool for my colouring and very wrong.

I do have a few orphaned colours though = these three pieces below I find the hardest to wear in a way that suits me. Even though the two blouses are great colours on me but I only like them with jeans. And the red is not my red and I have to be very careful to wear with good colours close to my face....

Loved reading all of these comments and am putting "column of color" on the agenda for the next year... For me, that means matching a neutral top and topper, like a modern twin-set, which I think looks really elegant even if it's white-on-white or navy-on-navy.

SarahD8, I get exactly what you're saying. We're very similar in some ways, and very different in others. Similar - I'm also very particular about some colors. In purple, I like lavender/lilac and deep aubergine, but I'm not fond of royal purple or plum. And while I like virtually all blues and greens (except olive), I'm not at all drawn to greenish blues like aqua or turquoise. Different - I don't have the high color mixing affinity. It may look like I do, since I rarely use black and almost never other neutrals, but I'm a bit restricted in the combinations that I do like.

And similar - I really want to crack the code! Why do I struggle to pair red with any other color, aside from greens in December? Why does emerald green seem to go with navy or white, and nothing else? And what do I do with my pale yellow skirt aside from the coral blouse with yellow in it? Etc. In theory a nice pink should go with green... but so far I haven't found the right shades of either.

Color is most important part arround which I build my wardrobe. I enjoy creating new color complements. I am always attracted to bright cheery colors like orangy red, hot pink, citron yellow and turquoise. I have probably too much of those colors in my wardrobe and have to stop myself from getting more. On the other hand, I don’t enjoy getting dark neutrals but I am aware that I need them to be able to create practical outfits. Once I get them they stay in my wardrobe for long time until I am forced to replace them. I much prefer my light neutrals like white, cream and blush. I try hard to love colors like burgundy, olive and camel. Almost every year I build a capsule arround one of those colors, but the love doesn’t last long and those colors are usually first to go when I edit my closet. I also have a complicated relationship with grey. In theory it should be great color for me, it goes well with my grey hair and with bright colors in my wardrobe. But there are so many shades of grey, and they rarely look good together. It can also look boring and drab. But when it is right gray, it is great.