I’ve spent time making color palettes for myself in the past, mostly they consist of neutrals with a few pop colors thrown in. Ultimately, shopping with these palettes felt very limiting and I would inevitably start to buy fabrics and clothing that was close, but not quite right. That’s why I was excited to find that in this month’s issue of Seamwork there is a fantastic, in depth article on creating a personal color palette by Elizabeth Farr.
Elizabeth digs into using technology and free resources to help you design an expansive color palette using your skin tone, hair, and eye color, and then walks you through how you can use in your wardrobe. It’s a great resource – and since this month’s theme is creating a color palette and fabric shopping I decided everyone participating in Wardrobe Architect should try out the process for ourselves!
Create Your Personal Color Palette
First, take pictures in natural light with no makeup.
Find the values of your skin, hair, eyes and lips. I used Adobe Photoshop, but Elizabeth has other suggestions for tools you can use.
Narrow down your colors to about 25.
Now use a program such as Adobe Color CC to find the colors that harmonize with your natural coloring.
Once you’re finished you can narrow down your color choices by eliminating any that are similar.
Write down the RGB values and then find paint chips that match your colors. I used the Easy RGB tool Elizabeth suggested, and then took a trip to the paint store to collect samples.
Now take some time to play around with the paint chips and create different palettes. Follow Elizabeth’s guidelines for testing out the colors against your skin. Ultimately, I chose to completely eliminate several colors from my set that while flattering, were not for me. Colors like cornflower blue, pale yellow, eggplant, and baby pink might compliment my skin tone and eye color, but I know I would feel uncomfortable wearing them.
You should also take some time to play around with creating seasonal palettes. I love wearing pink in the summer, but steer clear of it completely once the weather cools down, and while I enjoy wearing a lot of deep browns in the fall and winter, it makes my wardrobe feel drab and heavy in the summer. Plus, giving yourself some seasonal variation in your wardrobe means you won’t feel as tempted by new color trends every time the weather changes.
Once you’re satisfied with your color palette, it’s time to go fabric shopping! We’re getting ready for summer here, but if you’re in a part of the world where fall is winding down, you will want to shop for winter weight fabrics.
Find the list of projects you’ve made for your capsule wardrobe and write down what types of fabric you’re looking for, as well as the general color groups you would like to make it in such as pinks, reds, blues, and white. This will help keep your search organized! Don’t forget to always “shop your stash” before heading out to your favorite fabric store to shop. You may find you already have many of the things you were looking for.
Hunting for that perfect weight of fabric that fits your color palette it can be difficult, especially depending on what season it is, or current color trends, so you’ll probably need to take several trips to the fabric store over the next few months to see whats new in stock. Elizabeth has great tips for fabric shopping, my favorite being:
Be prepared to buy off season: Colors in fashion are cyclical, so there will be seasons that you are able to find a ton of choices in your color palette and others where you might find little in your colors. Be ready to buy the fabrics you want whenever you see them, whether they are in season or not.
You may be ready to buy yardage for certain projects, or you can just collect swatches to add to your Wardrobe Architect notebook. Once you’ve got your patterns and fabric ready for one or two projects you’re ready to start sewing!
- Create a personal color palette
- Go fabric shopping
- Start sewing!
Now that you’re ready to sew, what are you planning on buying fabric for first?