How to Color-Block Like a Pro: 6 Fool-Proof Tips

June 25, 2018 by Tiffany Tse

Who hasn’t fallen into a sartorial color rut at least once? It’s easy to rely on your usual combo of blacks, grays, and neutrals, but this season’s standout color-blocking trend demands that you no longer play it safe. Color-blocking is the art of combining solid blocks of color in a single look. There are a handful of creative ways to wear this trend. Whether you just want to dip your toes into this trend or you’re feeling up for a bigger challenge, mix bright, bold colors for an impactful look. Read on for six foolproof tips for color-blocking like a pro.

Tip #1: Avoid Prints in a Color-Block Dress

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: ELIZABETH AND JAMESMARA HOFFMANHUTCHCEDRIC CHARLIER

Move over, little black dress. Put that old standby on hold as you try chic, color-blocked cocktail dresses. The key is to stay away from busy prints and patterns, which would break up the color-block effect, and stick to frocks and accessories that feature multiple solid colors.

Tip #2: When Color-Blocking Clothes, Max Out at Three Shades

JACKET: VEDA, TOP: NICOLE MILLER, PANTS: TIBI

Unless you’re feeling truly adventurous, it’s best to play with only two or three shades. This blend of blood orange, fuchsia pink, and true red—all analogous colors that sit next to each other on the color wheel—works beautifully together. Adding a fourth hue to the mix would be color overload.

Tip #3: Pair a Color-Block Shirt and Bottom From Opposite Ends of the Spectrum

TOP: TRINA TURK, PANTS: DIANE VON FURSTENBERG, EARRINGS: LIZZIE FORTUNATO

Complementary colors—any two shades that are on opposite ends of the spectrum—often make for the boldest, brightest, and most interesting color-blocking combinations. Take a look at any basic color wheel and soon you’ll be mixing tangerines and indigo blues, violets and canary yellows, and more with ease.

Tip #4: Keep Saturation in Mind

BLAZER: THEORY, TOP: CINQ À SEPT, PANTS: TIBI

Although you’re encouraged to choose opposing colors, make sure to stick to similar saturations. Rich jewel tones (like ruby, emerald, amethyst, and deep navy) should pair with jewel tones, pastels (such as lavender or baby blue) with pastels, and neons (including hot pink or lime green) with neons.

Tip #5: A Color-Block Jacket Can Inform the Rest of Your Outfit

JACKET: ENDLESS ROSE, JEANS: CURRENT/ELLIOTT, BACKPACK: LOEFFLER RANDALL

Use one statement color-blocked piece to inform the rest of your outfit without overwhelming your look. For example, this color-blocked jacket contains several hues—camel, black, white, orange, and blue—so pull from its color palette and style with just one or two other shades.

Tip #6: Utilize Neutrals in Color-Blocking

JACKET: J.O.A., PANTS: SCOTCH & SODA, PURSE: KATE SPADE NEW YORK

Color-blocking can provide a welcome break from everyday neutrals. But if you’re new to the trend, shades like camel, gray, cream, and black are easy to match with bold brights.

Now that you understand the basic rules of color-blocking, it’s time to embrace the trend by renting a color-blocked piece or mixing a few unexpected shades together. In the end, it’s all about experimentation and having fun with your style, so reach for the loudest color combinations you can find and go for it!