As the world heals and emerges from the gruelling pandemic era, it is with no surprise that fashion enthusiasts throughout the globe are gravitating to more sunny and cheerful outfits that are filled with fun colours like sky blue, fuchsia, lime green and other vibrant hues to wear this season.
In fact, just by scrolling through Instagram, Pinterest or fashion pages on Tumblr, one can immediately see that ‘color blocking’ is currently the hottest fashion trend at the moment.
What is colour blocking?
Colour blocking is a style of fashion that uses contrasting blocks of colour, typically in vibrant hues, to create new, bold and exciting looks. Colour block is heralded as being a trend that is very effective and flattering for all, as the vivid mix of colours adds warmth and overall youthful vibe to everyone, as well as uplifts and revives people of all complexions and skin tones. Truly, if you ever find yourself stuck in a ‘style rut’, playing with eye-catching colour combinations is a great way to inject more life into your daily wardrobe.
Those who have delved deep into the history of fashion design might recall how colour blocking was initially popularized by Yves Saint Laurent with his iconic Mondrian Style Dress. However, some art historians might argue that the credit for this beloved trend lies with the key figures of the modern art movement, that is Georges Seurat and Claude Monet. Either way, colour blocking is a trend that has prevailed throughout the ages and is definitely here to stay.
Interested in incorporating this trend into your wardrobe? Here are our five easy tips on how to colour block like a pro!
1.Mix and match contrasting colours
You don’t have to be an expert on colour theory to mix and match effectively, but it does help if you can identify contrasting shades. If you are not exactly sure where to begin, you can just refer to the colour wheel. When you see a colour that you like, look at the colour on the opposite of that on the colour wheel-these colours, though different, are complementary to each other and would make a stunning combo. Think chartreuse and fuchsia, heavily saturated orange and bright cobalt blue, or forest green with deep burgundy-these colours may seem like they ‘clash’, but they actually stand out in a bold and beautiful way.
If you find mixing such bold colours a bit too overwhelming to start right off the bat, then it is perfectly fine-you can colour block with ‘mild’ colours too! That being said, it is better to not mix two ‘mild’ colours together. If there is not much contrast between the two shades, it would not create the desired colour block effect. Hence, you should try mixing analogous colours instead-these colours are right next to each other on the colour wheel and share a similar hue. Start with finding a colour- for example cornflower blue, and see the colours beside it (in this case, teal and azure) and there you have it- a subtle yet arresting three-colour palette.
2. Mix colours with monochromatic tones
Colour blocking is essentially about mixing bold colours, thus the best way to rock colourful pieces in vibrant shades would have it be the main standout piece in a monochromatic outfit. For example, if you were to combine two bright colours, like a teal crop top with an orange jacket, our preferred styling method for this is to pair it with dark pants and some neutral footwear. Another example would be to wear a monochrome set (such as a two piece suit) with a bright contrasting shirt underneath to really make your outfit stand out.
What we love about mixing bright colours with monochromes is that it goes hand in hand with the re-emergence of the iconic ‘90s sportswear, which features notable combos like a nylon anorak paired with dark leggings, or vibrant crewnecks with bike shorts (an iconic combo worn by the late Princess Diana). Truly, this combination adds that quintessential retro vibe to your overall look that is just so stylish and prominent on all major runways, as well as out on the streets.
3. Play with all the different textures and fabrics
When colour blocking an outfit, you don’t have to just stick to pieces with solid blocks of colour. In fact, you can experiment with lots of different textures and fabrics as well-for instance, incorporating silk with cable knit or shimmering velvet with leather would create an enchanting contrast of textures. Never underestimate the effect of styling different fabrics together, as it can truly change the whole vibe and feel of the outfit-for example, Rihanna’s iconic bright red leather coat with purple chain-style pants exudes a fun and vivacious vibe, while Kate Middleton’s bright red wool crêpe structured coat paired with a neutral, midi pleated skirt outfit radiates a more classic and chic vibe.
When in doubt, try mixing your favorite bold colours with fabrics like check, gingham or plaid, as those are timeless and versatile prints that work all year-round.
4. Accessorize like a pro
One of our favourite ways to tie a colour block outfit together is to accessorize it with pops of colour. For example, if you are wearing a colour block outfit consisting of an emerald green top and hot pink bottoms, add a pair of kitten heels and a clutch that is either of those shades to really bring out the vibrancy of your outfit.
Moreover, the key to doing this like a pro is repetition- If you are mixing two or three vibrant colours through your top, bottom and footwear, be sure to choose one or two of those exact colours when picking out a purse, cap, earrings, or any other accessory to go with your outfit.
5. Forgo traditions and embrace the unconventional
Fashion is about storytelling through clothing: it is what you wish to convey to the world about yourself. While we have listed the traditional colour blocking rules above, the truth is, when it comes to style, there is no clear-cut set of rules-feel free to experiment with new combinations and go wild with all the colour choices you love and create your own unique look!
Personally, we absolutely love seeing new colour blocking formulas, especially fresh new ones currently gracing the fashion runways in Milan, Paris and New York, which involve colour blocking different shades of the same colour family in one outfit- for example, a deep red shirt with a light pink skirt and a pastel pink cross body bag. Now, mixing multiple types of pink together may sound like a fashion faux pas, but if styled right, it can look absolutely stunning.
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Excited to try the current colour blocking trend? Check out Club 21, where you can find gorgeous colour block outfits right here in Malaysia. Established in 1972, Club 21 is a multi label concept boutique that offers a large selection of designer women’s, men’s, kids and lifestyle brands across a diverse range of price points- explore their wide variety of colour block apparel and accessories today.