Seasonal Colors in Fashion

Happy woman wearing a yellow fall coat

Fashions may come and go, but one thing that remains is the idea of dressing in seasonal colors. Seasonal colors are hues that mirror the shades seen in the four seasons of nature. Each season has its own set of traditional colors that are typically associated with it as well as transitory seasonal colors that are deemed current by the fashion trends of the year.

Spring Colors

Image of spring blouses

The seasonal colors of spring are much like the season itself - light, airy hues that are comprised of pastel versions of the colors of the rainbow. Inspired by the melting snow that brings the first blooms of the season and traditional Easter tones, spring's seasonal colors include the following:

  • Pale peach
  • Blush pink
  • Mint green
  • Baby blue
  • Cream
  • Light gray
  • Soft yellow
  • Spring green
  • Lavender

Summer Colors

Woman in an orange summer dress

Summer colors are all about vibrant, rich and bold colors - take inspiration from the sunshine, ocean and summer blooms. Have fun in the sun by embracing these bold colors, but don't forget to integrate plenty of white as well - it's the official 'non-color' of the summer season, from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Your best bets for summer colors include:

  • White
  • Lemon Yellow
  • Candy Apple Red
  • Mandarin Orange
  • Bold Pink / Fuchsia
  • Turquoise
  • Royal Blue

Fall Colors

Woman in a gray fall sweater and scarf

Fall colors emulate the changing colors of the leaves and nature. Along with the rich hues of autumn, Fall marks a shift toward more neutral tones as colors fade away from the outdoors and give way to the grays and creams of winter. Here are the quintessential fall colors to try:

  • Browns, ranging from Khaki and Camel to a deep Mahogany and Espresso
  • Muted Mustard Yellow
  • Burnt Orange
  • Hunter Green
  • Darker Purple tones like Mauve and Aubergine
  • Neutrals like cream, and all shades of gray and black

Winter Colors

Winter sweater and accessories

In nature, winter marks the absence of color - fiery fall leaves are replaced by bare trees and snow covers the ground. Likewise, traditional seasonal colors for winter are neutrals, punctuated by deep, rich jewel tones that are representative of the festive nature of the holidays. Seasonal winter colors include:

  • White
  • Cream
  • Shades of Brown
  • Black
  • Medium to Dark Gray
  • Deep Ruby Red
  • Dark Purple
  • Emerald Green
  • Sapphire Blue

How to Incorporate Seasonal Colors Into your Wardrobe

In addition to these standard seasonal colors is a range of trendy colors that are in vogue. These colors vary from year to year, and are influenced by the Pantone color of the year as well as the colors showcased on the current runways during New York and International Fashion Week. Sometimes the current trendy color of the season bucks the traditional seasonal colors entirely, such as when electric neon hues made a splash on Spring runways a few years back.

Because the trendy seasonal tones vary widely from year to year, building a wardrobe around the more traditional seasonal colors is a safer bet that will stand the test of time. Incorporate the trendy seasonal colors through accessories such as jewelry, shoes, purses, scarves, sunglasses, and one or two statement wardrobe pieces that can be worn that year and retired once they have lost their relevance.

Wearing Seasonal Colors Throughout the Year

Incorporating seasonal colors into your wardrobe is a cinch if you create capsule wardrobes. Capsule wardrobes typically consist of 20 - 30 pieces of seasonal clothing basics that can be mixed and matched together to create quick outfits without digging through your entire closet. Building a capsule wardrobe is an easy way to batch your seasonal clothing to ensure that you are dressing your best for the current season, and it also eliminates the problem of peering into your closet and finding 'nothing to wear.'

Here's how to ensure you wear all your seasonal colors with your capsule wardrobe:

  1. Begin by sorting through your entire closet and grouping clothing into each of the four seasons based on color and style
  2. Even if the items in your wardrobe are seasonally ideal, make sure they are the right color to flatter your own skin tone and hair color. Each season has plenty of colors to choose from, so don't keep anything that doesn't look great on you - even if it is a trendy or seasonal color.

Once you've narrowed down your wardrobe to your best pieces, for each season choose:

  • Three casual tops
  • Three dressier tops
  • Three sweaters - lighter sweaters for spring and summer, heavier for fall and winter
  • Two jackets - rain jackets/ windbreakers or linen jackets for spring and summer, heavier ones for fall and winter
  • Four pants (two dressy and two casual)
  • Three skirts (add two shorts for spring/summer)
  • Three to four dresses (two casual, plus one or two cocktail dresses)
  • Four key accessories such as belts, hats or scarves (choose two traditional seasonal accessories and two trendy)
  • Three pairs of casual shoes and three pairs of dressier shoes

Look Your Best All Year

Once you have created each season's capsule wardrobe, your clothing will be sorted seasonally. This makes getting dressed a cinch, and ensures you are rocking the perfect hues and styles throughout each season. When it's time to transition from one season to the next, simply retire your capsule wardrobe to the back of your closet and move the new season's capsule to the front. Dressing seasonally has never been easier.

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Seasonal Colors in Fashion