mediterranean dreams explored one country at a time

Best Of Europe...

how to choose your capsule wardrobe colors based on skin tone

Alright gals. No more funny business eh! With any luck, you have an emptier...or empty closet and a general concept of your personal style vis-a-vis a daily uniform you could wake up in and comfortably, yet stylishly, die in. Are your fingers tingling? You are almost ready to spend some cash. Hopefully you haven't cheated yet and parted ways with your hard earned dough because we still have two steps left. Here comes the fun part: choosing your wardrobe colors.

Much like painting a room, picking a palette of colors allows you to mix and match various pieces in a cohesive fashion. Color theory should not be left to the artists and psychologists! In fact, having a decent understanding of color combinations will give you basic wardrobe building skills that will extend through many years of investment purchases. You should definitely check out Anuschka's color guide before you take any permanent steps toward putting together a capsule wardrobe.

For those without time to spare, or rather a wallet burning a whole in their pocket and a clearance sale with an expiration, here are some quick tips for deciphering your skin tone:
  • if you tan easily but rarely burn and have greenish veins on your arms, then you're most likely a warm or yellow undertone kinda chick
  • if instead you burn rather easily and always seem to have perky rosy cheeks with more blueish veins then your undertones are cool or blue

After a short lesson about the color wheel, color choosing is really quite simple. First, you need to pick two neutral colors. Neutrals include black, browns/tans, grays, and navy. A color is considered neutral if it goes with any other color. These colors are part of your foundation and paring it down to two simple options will be to your advantage as you will focus your lean capsule wardrobe around your basic neutrals. Now with a "uniform" and neutrally safe color options, imagine how much easier this process will be from here on out. Does this mean you can never break out of your neutral palette once you are locked in? No! You can always break out other neutrals. However, in the beginning stages of your new wardrobe, keeping things simple will allow you to dress with ease.

I quickly determined in an unprofessional manner that I have warm undertones. I've noticed a positive complimentary situation happening anytime I wear whites, browns, or golds. Ideally I'd like to also get a consultation with a makeup artist, but this is a great start. Why did I ever spend so much time wearing apple green and plum purples! After you have chosen your uniform colors, you need to pick two or three accent colors. Once you establish some closet basics, the rest of your wardrobe can be filled in with interesting pieces from this second color palette.

If you haven't already, now would be a good time to refer to the color wheel from Academichic. When you are choosing two or three colors it is preferable that they would be colors that are either complementary or that follow the two-thirds rule. Following this basic rule will open up your wardrobe to more exciting and remixable options. As you can see, I found a rocking pair of Jeffrey Campbell's that blended a sexy nude brown with a bold candy pink. These shoes surprisingly worked with a lot of outfits because my wardrobe already had colors that suit me and fit perfectly within my uniform palette.

A few tips:
  • Don't feel like you have to stick with primary colors. This isn't Kindergarten! You are allowed to use secondary colors.
  • You can always focus on two colors from a two-thirds group. (Like turquoise and yellow-orange)
  • You can also stick to two complementary colors like yellow and purple.
  • If you are feeling limited by these rules, another way to determine wardrobe color is to be a bit more general by picking color clusters from the two-thirds groups.

At first, this exercise can seem like a practice in patience. However, if you stick with it, you will be eventually be able to create a closet full of clothes that can be mixed and matched to make creative and reusable outfits.

What are your complimentary lean capsule wardrobe colors?


  1. Ooh, I love the pink and peach shoes

    1. I miss them so much! They were a work of art, but super unpractical for walking around in NY haha

  2. I stick to a lean color palette for work, mainly consists of BLACK, white, grey, and navy. Occasionally I'll add in burgundy, light blue, cream, or raspberry pink. I wear the same pieces over and over, and yet I'm still able to come up with new combinations.

    1. You are indeed the queen of neutral perfection.


Form for Contact Page (Do not remove)


Letitia Elizabeth is the author of EUROPE NOMAD, the travel blog for daydreaming fellow travelers who love cheap countries in Europe, beautiful countrysides, and magical quality of life. Here you'll receive packing lists + guides, Europe travel tips, digital nomad working life advice & living in Europe as an American stories. Welcome!