Ready to kickstart your color blocking fashion journey? This is your one-stop article to create your own color blocking fashion styles.
For fashion lovers looking for a fashion aesthetic that looks cute and makes you appear slimmer, then color blocking fashion is the perfect stop for you. Color blocking fashion, in a strict sense, means mixing 2-3 bold and contradicting colors into one throughout your outfits. And naturally, its loud personality creates an exciting statement – commanding for everyone’s eyes to be on your outfit.
Universally understood, fashion can be a fun and exciting way to express one’s personality. Color-blocking fashion can be an excellent choice for extroverts and people with more expressive and loud personalities. However, it can be quite intimidating for the very reason that it attracts attention. This trend comes and goes, but color-blocking outfits in black, white, or neutral colors are a wardrobe staple for everyone. Several renowned brands, like Frances Valentine, Anthropologie, Staud, etc., are currently brainstorming their drops on this aesthetic as a background.
The Emergence of Color Blocking
How did this trend come about? We can date it back to the 1960s when Yves Saint Laurent debuted his Piet Mondrian-inspired dress at the Fall/Winter 1965-66 runway show. Many would consider this an iconic incident in the history of fashion for the domino effect it created in several aspects of style. This piece didn’t just encourage many other designers to play with colors boldly but simultaneously pushed the boundaries of fashion styling.
The trend later saw its re-emergence in the hands of Stephen Burrows, a black fashion designer whose disco-themed collections ushered color blocking. It has now grown into its own aesthetic, reaching multiple aspects of design beyond fashion. We can recognize many fashion houses like Gucci, Valentino, and Prada experimenting with colors. It has almost become a must in many runways to re-introduce color blocking to capture attention.
How to Color Block?
As the name goes, colors are an essential aspect of this trend. Therefore, understanding the color wheel plays a crucial role in color-blocking your outfits. Since mixing colors can easily go wrong, it’s best to know how colors blend and what colors go with each other. There are primarily three ways to mix colors: Monochromic, Complementary, and Contrasting.
You might be wondering why this is. The reason is, quite simply, that these are arranged in a harmonious manner with the aim to produce psychological effects. The color wheel is the best way to break down the complex relationships between colors, helping us find the color combinations that offer visually pleasing factors.
Monochromic, as you might’ve guessed, uses different shades of the same color. The most subtle ways we see this are in full-black and full-white outfits. But since we’re aiming for a louder version, imagine a full layered shades of red or green. Monochromic outfits are fun to work with but can be a little challenging for the level of dedication required.
Complimentary or family colors are close to one another in the color wheel that tend to go well with each other. This is precisely where the color wheel comes in handy. You can take any three colors in the color wheel and bet on them to work great together, and they’re often referred to as primary, secondary, and tertiary colors. One such example would be – yellow, yellow-orange, and orange.
Another place where the color wheel does God’s work is by determining contrasting colors. To find which colors best contrast one another, you simply have to put together the colors directly opposite in the color wheel. This is the most daring and bold you can get with color blocking. Some examples of contradicting colors are – violet & yellow, blue & orange, and green & red.
For every experiment with colors, we must understand the skin tone we’re working with, as it primarily sets the feel of the outfit. There are essentially, once again, three kinds of skin tones – warm, cool, and neutral. There are many ways to find your skin tone, but the easiest way is to look at your veins. If they’re greener, you’re warm-toned, and if they’re bluer, you’re cool-toned. If they seem like a mix of both blue and green, then you have a neutral skin tone.
Now that you’ve understood your skin tone let’s look at the colors that best suit these tones. Warm tones go well with earthy colors like yellow, orange, red, etc., and cool tones complement jewel tones like purple, green, etc. On the other hand, neutral tones – the lucky ones, can work with every color. However, you don’t need to follow them strictly and can opt for your own color choices if that’s what you prefer.
Also read: How to Find Skin Undertones
Considering how expressive and heavy the outfit itself can be, accessorizing, in this case, can be minimal. But some ways you can complement your outfit is through your shoes, bags, or jewelry. There are two options to pick from: add more color and pop to the outfit or tone it down by adding fewer bright colors.
If you’re looking to accessorize a monochromic outfit, you can add a bag or an earring that contrasts the base color. For family colors, you can either work with another color from the same family for your accessories. For example, a blush-colored bag for an outfit in the shades of rose, pink, and blush.
Of course, if you prefer a bold look, you can try some riskier options like adding accessories to a monochromic outfit in a contrasting or complimentary color. For example, a bright pink bag and a necklace with a beige look. The safe option is to add colors to a neutral outfit through accessories.
Perks of Color Blocking
Color blocking can bring dimensional benefits to one’s style. Given its nature, the bold choice of clothing cannot just help you gain positive attention but also allows you to create confident first impressions. Bright colors are psychologically well-received by both the wearer and the viewer – aiding you in constructing your outer essence effectively.
Another renowned benefit color blocking brings along is slimming. Mixing two colors in strategic ways can create the illusion of a fitter body shape, particularly when a darker color is worn on parts of the body you want to slim down, like the sides of the waist or hips. In many cases, it can make you look taller, but it mainly relies on the clothing you choose according to your body shape.
How to Wear Color Blocking Outfits for Slimming and Taller
As we’ve already discussed, one of the significant perks of color blocking is that it can make your silhouette appear slimmer. There are several methods of color blocking through which you can achieve this.
- Use darker color frame for your light shaded clothing. For example, a shirt with darker sides as outlines can help your figure look slimmer.
- Wear light colors in places you’d want to draw more attention to and darker colors in places you want to appear slimmer. For example, pairing a light pink top with a dark red pant can make your lower body look slimmer while accentuating your upper body.
- Color block vertically in order to showcase your figure to be taller an slimmer. For example, shirts having a middle down with colors flowing from the top to bottom can create an elongated illusion that makes you appear taller.
- Avoid horizontal color blocking. For example, a sweater with colors flowing from the side, one on top another can compress your silhouette, thereby making you look shorter and larger. However, they can come in handy for those with large torsos.
- Wear a light-colored outfit with a darker color in the waist area to make your silhouette seem more structured and slimmer. For example, a white dress with a black belt panel can work well for a rectangular body shape to give the illusion of an hourglass shape.
- The same technique can help women in their early pregnancy to hide the bellies.
Color blocking can be a fresh and fun perspective to take on fashion, and with its daring essence, it can be a challenge to explore styles outside one’s comfort zone. What’s best about this trend is that you can create a color-blocked outfit with just what you have at home – it boils down to how you pair your clothes. If you love reviving old trends and experimenting with colors, you should surely try color-blocking. Let us know about your color-blocking experience in the comments.
Aishwarya Sai S. is Fashion Journalist at ShilpaAhuja.com. She’s a Chennai-based writer who just graduated from Stella Maris College with her Bachelor’s degree, majoring in English and Communication Skills. She’s passionate about art, fashion, music, and literature; and loves to endlessly scroll through creative platforms that both inspire her and allow her to artistically express herself. Enjoying leadership roles and craving an active participation in the society, she’s constantly searching for new experiences.