Choosing a Color Palette for a Capsule Wardrobe

GAP called this sweater "camel" and while I see their point, I couldn't help but call the color something cuter like caramel.

Side note: I'm thinking of asking whether you say "ca-ra-mel" or "carr-mel," but I also don't want to start an internet war like that freakin white and gold dress did last year.

I mentioned how much I've been wanting a sweater in this color when I shared my holiday edit, but today I'm covering a bit more of how I went about picking my colors.



The ultimate reason you should settle on a color scheme is cohesion. If your pieces all complement each other chromatically, you’re more likely to achieve a really put together look while minimizing the effort it takes to look put together. I always say the goal is to make it look like I tried without actually trying that hard.

Having a color palette means I have one less thing to think about when getting dressed in the morning. I've done most of the thinking ahead of time, leaving room for less stress and more creativity when I open up my closet in the morning!

My purpose in building capsule wardrobes is to end up with my best clothes, my favorite clothes. It's to get to a point where my closet isn't filled with items I never wear. At the core, it's about being intentional about what I purchase. I usually can't afford to buy from ethical and sustainable brands, but what I can do is shop better, even if it's at these fast fashion stores. Being very clear about what I'm looking for means I quit buying clothes just because they're beautiful on the rack.


I think it's safe to bet that most of us already know what colors we're drawn to. Years of magazine quizzes, color analysis, and good ol’ trial and error have given us the knowledge of what we like and what we don't.

Take blush pink for example. This is a color that was (and still is) very popular. It's a color I love to look at. I find it beautiful. But it's also a color that I never wear. I don't like the way it looks on me. I've never been much of a pink-wearer, and even though I tried to force it on myself, unfortunately, this gorgeous shade never made it into one of my outfits.

On the flip side, let's look at this camel/caramel/cognac color. I really love this color. Like really, really love it. It reminds me of the color of timber and autumn leaves and it makes my heart sing. I could wear this color in basically any shade it comes in and end up incorporating it into almost every outfit.


Spend a week paying attention to the colors you wear most. Keep a record on your phone or in a notebook. Remember that we’re searching for the broad color name, not the specific shade.

I feel like I should say that neutrals are colors too. If you love neutrals, rock them! There's no need to force a colorful wardrobe on ourselves if it's not our style.

Once you have a better idea of what colors you're naturally drawn to, gather some color scheme inspiration online based on those colors. Design Seeds is a great website for this.

The next step is to look for the differing shades of each of those colors. Colllor is a cool way to visualize this. It shows you the different shades and tints of your chosen color. It even gives you similar colors to give you a better idea of the options within each of your chosen colors.

Viola! Now you’ve got options within options! OPTIONCEPTION!

I take my list of colors and divide it into three categories: neutrals, main colors, and accent colors. My breakdown usually looks like 3 neutrals, 2 main colors, and 1 or 2 accent colors.

Now that you have your wardrobe's color palette picked out, you can move on to planning it and making it!