Color-blocking, when done well, is an easy and accessible way to create a bold, fashionable statement. The trend is definitely not a new one, dating back to the 1960’s pop culture and modern art and fashion, but it hit modern runways, particularly the 2011 Spring runway shows, with such ferocity that it has, once again, exploded in to the everyday for style. Fashion experts, stylists, and women everywhere are experimenting with color-blocking, either minimally in a print skirt or accessory, or as an all-over outfit or dress. This being said, there are obvious rules to creating the perfect color-blocked look, and certain pairings or color combinations to avoid, so it can be pulled off to the desired effect.
Remember foremost, that color-blocking is a science. Don’t worry though, it doesn’t require studying and memorizing steps or formulas, just some fashion sense and perhaps an art class circa grade 9 ‘color wheel’ recollection.
Let’s go over some color-blocking ‘must-knows’:
Keep the hues and intensity on the same level. If you’re using a bold color, don’t pair with a pastel and vice versa. This look rarely makes fashion sense. It can work, but it’s likely easier to use like-minded color degrees. The looks we have been seeing in runways, magazines and in clothing stores for the past several seasons have kept true to this theory. Check out a color wheel (you can find numerous on Google, but this link has amazing tips on pairing colors) to find complimentary colors. Choose opposites on the wheel, colors right beside each other, or colors on a right angle from each other. For example pair a fierce cobalt blue with a bright yellow etc.. Be daring, try for bold, bright colors paired together. Kelly green skinny jeans and a snow white tank, covered with a bright coral sweater would look ultra chic and stylish.
The color wheel might be a tad intimidating but you get used to it. Here are some simpler ideas to keep in mind:
Try it in the nude! I’m not saying go naked, a la Gotye’s color blocked body paint! Simply put, pair a bold color with a nude to begin testing the waters. Try a nude cami under a bold red cardi. Nudes are the simplest way to color-block right, and avoid looking overdone or flashy. Another way to ease in to color-blocking, and along the same theory as nudes, is to simply do black and white. Make sure the colors are crisp and true to their name/shade. Either pair black or white pieces with a vibrant color, or just color-block black and white together alone. Picking separates that are already color-blocked limit the effort needed to create the look. If you stumble upon a black and white skirt, pair it with the same crisp white colored tank or tee, and a black fitted cardi.
Use solids! This one is important to stick to. You don’t want to color-block with patterned items. It will look complex and messy fast. Put the leopard prints and paisley away for this trend, and stick to solid, texture and pattern free separates.
Don’t forget to complement your body type/shape. Clearly vertical color-blocking will elongate your body and complement a curvier form. Pair a vertical color-blocked mini dress on a slender frame to draw eyes to the curves for more emphasis. For a shorter body type, try a high-waist colorful skirt, color-blocked with a cropped tank. And if you’re wary of easing in to the trend, you could always opt for a bold handbag, and some colorful accessories to get the feel of a vibrant attire.
Play around with some colors, and see what amazing color-blocked outfits you can create. This trend can be done on any budget. It just takes a little but of effort, and a sharp eye for the right shapes/colors that suit you best.