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How to pair tricky colours in your wardrobe [Plus The Two Colours You Will see everywhere this year]

January 25, 2021

In May of every year, a group of 10 people, who’s names are a secret, meet in an all-white room. They all have different industry experience but they have all come together to discuss one thing…

The outcome of this meeting will have an impact on half of all the garments sold in the US and the world.

What started off as an ‘afterthought’ discussed between a few individuals has transformed into a formidable team that starts researching every Spring, taking 9 months of studying our daily lives searching for recurring patterns to decide one thing…

The Colour of the Year.

The Pantone Colour Institute states that the Colour of the Year is actually “…a colour snapshot of what we see taking place in our global culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude.”

For 2021 we have been graced with not 1 but 2 colours of the year. Ultimate Grey and Illuminating Yellow. Colours to represent optimism. Pantone says “an aspirational colour pairing, conjoining deeper feelings of thoughtfulness with the optimistic promise of a sunshine-filled day.”

Sounds pretty, bloody good to me.

But this got me thinking about colour pairings. In the example of the Colours of the Year, grey provides the perfect grounding for the luminosity of yellow.

So how do we pair the more ‘unusual’ or stronger colours in our wardrobe so they don’t look jarring or distracting?

You have 3 options…

  1. Using our foundation or fundamental colours. Colours that usually make up the majority of our outfits and are staple background colours. These colours depend on your colouring and contrast levels but common options are black, grey, navy, camel, classic blue, darker shades of green.

  2. Using natures most perfect colour… the colour of your skin, a ‘nude’.

  3. Using denim… forever the greatest leveller.

So next time you think twice about exploring colour because you are worried about what it will go with… fall back on your foundation colours to create the perfect anchor for fun colours.

My favourite examples….

💫 Orange and Navy

💫 Jade Green and Grey

💫 Red and Camel

💫 Cobalt Blue and Black

💫 Nude and Fuchsia Pink

💫 Denim with… everything!

Click here for inspiration…


Put together an outfit tomorrow using a new colour combination that you have never tried.

This is the best time to explore, when no-one is really watching.

What exciting combinations can you discover?

Penny x

P.S. I’m obsessed with Prada and Raf Simons’ new campaign called ‘Dialogues’. Check it out at and note the perfect example of combing illuminating yellow with ultimate grey on the home page.

Photo credit: Guardian

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