What Is Colorblocking? How to Wear This Timeless Trend

What Is Colorblocking? How to Wear This Timeless Trend

Classic and colorful.

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Colorblocking is a long-standing fashion trend, but this eye-catching, bold look is always getting updated. Whether you’re drawn to the mod, geometric colorblock looks from the ’60s or prefer a more subtle approach, there’s no reason not to brighten up your wardrobe using this styling trick.

So, what is colorblocking? We’ve got Yves Saint Laurent to thank for the design element. If you want to get technical — and we do — colorblocking is when two or more colors are combined or stacked in “blocks.” Often, this is done in a single garment, but the effect can also be created through separate pieces. More recently, colorblocking has become more of a general idea that can be expressed through accessories as well as single-color pieces of clothing.

Because the options for how to wear this trend are boundless, we tapped fashion expert Samantha Brown to share advice on how to wear colorblocking along with her fave tips on pulling off a colorblock ‘fit. Ahead, along with explaining what colors go together and why, Brown shares ways that anyone can bring a bit of colorblock flair to their look, even if bright colors aren’t their thing. From pastels to minimally saturated and even monochromatic colorblock looks, here’s how to wear colorblocking, according to a fashion expert.

Related: How to Be a Fashion Minimalist

Keep Color Saturation Consistent

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Take a cue from Jodie Turner-Smith in Christopher John Rogers: “Color blocking looks best when the colors are of equal vibrancy and saturation,” shares Brown. In other words, “brights with brights, pastels with pastels, and neon with neon.”

Add Neutrals

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Shop Similar: Le Superbe Microdose Colorblocked Plissé Midi-Skirt, $495.
Just dipping your toes into the world of colorblocking? “You can always tone down the look by adding a neutral,” explains Brown.

Add a Pop of Color

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Not a color lover? Don’t sweat it. If you’re more monochromatic than technicolor, you can lean into the abstract shapes of colorblocking with a single pop of color.

Related: How to Color Coordinate Your Closet Like a Pro

Stick to Separates

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One way to colorblock bold colors without running the risk of looking overly busy is to pair separates in solid colors. “I love tailored, streamlined pieces in clean silhouettes paired together in equally vibrant hues,” shares Brown, whose favorite take on this approach is “a wide-leg trouser with a silk blouse in a different color.”

Try Suiting

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Shop Similar: New York & Company Colorblock Single-Button Blazer, $78.
Slipping into a colorblock suit is an incredibly easy way to try this trend. As with a matching set or dress, a suit that has colorblocking built-in takes all the guesswork out of making a vibrant fashion statement.

Bring It to the Beach

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Shop Similar: Quince Italian Wrap One-Piece Swimsuit in Teal Colorblock, $50.
Colorblocking in fashion isn’t all about chic suits and expensive dresses. This bold look also looks incredible on the smaller scale of a one-piece swimsuit.

Mix in Sheer Panels

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Shop Similar: Club L London Enya Midi Dress, $104.
You can stick to a single color and still create a colorblocking effect by picking a look with mesh or sheer panels.

Consider the Color Wheel

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Shop Similar: STAUD Shoko Sweater Dress, $165.
When deciding which colors to pair together, Brown recommends taking a look at an artist’s color wheel. “Adjacent colors look great together, in addition to complimentary colors across the wheel,” she explains.

Add a Block Belt

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Shop Similar: Streets Ahead Gabrielle Waist Belt, $325.
A wide belt worn at your natural waist is one way to create even more depth in a color block outfit. Not only do you get an additional “block” of color, but it also makes it easy to ensure your other accessories are a seamless match.

Add a Patterned Piece

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When accessorizing a colorblock look, Brown suggests reaching for bold finishing touches. “A patterned accessory can help tie your colors together,” she shares.

Colorblock Quietly

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Shop Similar: Hutch Sleeveless Colorblock Dress, $198.
Colorblocking in fashion doesn’t have to be ultra-saturated. “It doesn’t always have to be a bright look,” says Brown. “You can also color block with pastels.” Case in point: Karolina Kurkova in Thom Browne.

Try a Matching Set

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Shop Now: Matthew Bruch Patchwork Linen Mini Skirt, $298.
A matching set can take the guesswork out of picking which pieces to pair together with a color-blocked look.

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