A lot of minimalist wardrobes seem to be quite devoid of color. Black, white, grey, maybe some creams and blues – after a while, every minimalist wardrobe starts to look the same to me. They all seem to have the same few items that “every person should have”, and their styles are very much the same. Of course, there are enough exceptions to this, but sometimes it seems like a minimalist wardrobe can’t be fun and colorful.
But this is not true at all! A small wardrobe can have color and not just as a statement piece. My own wardrobe is not quite as bright as it was when I was a child, but I still like to use colors and patterns, especially in spring and summer. I only own a few black pieces, and I don’t own anything that is pure white or cream at all.
So in this post, I will explain several ways in which you can incorporate color into a minimalist wardrobe or capsule wardrobe, and still be able to mix and match a lot of items. If you want an example of a capsule wardrobe that mixes neutral pieces with color, also check out my winter 10×10 wardrobe challenge!
Use a color scheme
A way to use color while still being able to mix and match everything is to use a specific color scheme of colors that you love and you know look good on you. If you make sure all or most of these colors combine with each other easily, you will be able to mix most of your items together.
If you aren’t good at deciding which colors look good together, there are many online tools and examples you can use. For instance, Pinterest can be a great way to find outfits in color combinations that you like, or to find examples of how to create a color scheme.
Personally, I mostly stick to a color palette of (navy) blues, (burgundy) reds, and olive to dark greens. I can’t wear all of these colors with each other, and especially in summer I wear some clothes outside of this palette. But together with some good basics, my wardrobe gives me a lot of versatility. Which brings me to the second tip: versatile basics.
If you have a couple of versatile basics in neutral colors, you can mix and match many different colors with these items. While a wardrobe that consists only of neutral colors might be boring, it can be useful to have a few different items that are black, grey, white or cream. And of course, jeans are also a good versatile basic that look good with almost anything.
But your basic items don’t have to be in neutral colors. It might be a bit harder to pull off, but if you love, for instance, the color red, you can as well pick red as a basic and make sure all the other colors in your palette are a good match with red.
One of my favourite ways to incorporate color into a minimalist wardrobe, is using patterns. Many capsule wardrobes make very little use of patterns – but I find that patterns can actually be quite easy to mix and match. If you mostly wear basics and want to use patterns to bring in a little pop of color, you just have to make sure it matches with your basic colors such as black or white.
But you can also use patterns to be able to wear colors more easily. If your color scheme consists of, for instance, pink and yellow, you could buy a black skirt with a pink and yellow pattern so it matches the clothes you already have. But you can also easily incorporate colors you don’t usually wear into your wardrobe with patterns. As long as you make sure at least some of the colors in a pattern match with your existing wardrobe, anything can work.
Find new color combinations
For the more adventurous people among us, who love to color block or combine different patterns in one outfit, another way to build a colorful minimalist wardrobe is to throw away the color schemes and find new color combinations. Who cares what colors are supposed to look good together? Just combine two bright colors together, or wear orange from head to toe. Wear whatever makes you happy.
Although I occasionally used to make bold choices like this as a kid – there is a picture of me wearing a bright red t-shirt with bright turquoise pants – I currently prefer not to stand out too much with my clothes, so this is certainly not a tip I use myself. But if you have a bold wardrobe, and other people’s statement pieces are your basics, that certainly doesn’t mean you can’t have a minimalist or capsule wardrobe.
The only thing that defines a minimalist wardrobe is that it contains only the items that you love and need. There is no fixed number of items and there is no certain look to it (even though minimalist bloggers and YouTubers might sometimes make it feel that way). You don’t have to compromise on your taste and style to be a minimalist.