A 12 Piece Colourful Summer Capsule Wardrobe Using Colour Theory

A white background with 12 clothing items plus shoes and accessories for A 12 Piece Colourful Summer capsule wardrobe. In the middle is a black box with white text that reads, "A 12 Piece Colourful Summer Capsule Wardrobe."

Everybody has those moments when they wish they had a more colourful style and want to add more colourful clothes to their wardrobes, but ultimately fall back into their tried and true pieces which are often neutrals or subdued colours.

It often seems like the idea of adding colour is just too hard.

There are too many things to take into consideration so you don’t feel like you are walking out of your house looking like you are going to interview for the circus.

I am here to tell you that it isn’t hard, and once you understand the theory behind choosing and wearing colours, it will become like second nature.

A colourful wardrobe does not mean that you have to wear head-to-toe bright pieces.

There are so many levels and variations to this concept that you will be able to adjust it to reflect the vibe you are going for in your personal style.

This vibe may even change day by day, so having a wardrobe to accommodate these fluctuations is crucial.

With this colourful summer capsule wardrobe, I incorporated a lot of different colours, but I also included a handful of neutrals so that you can easily adjust the level of colour to suit your goals.

Since this is a small wardrobe I wanted to ensure that a full colour spectrum was included so it is a mixture of pastels, brights, and warm and cool colours.

I went all in, but want show you that while this might seem overwhelming, there really is a huge amount of summer outfit ideas that you can build with these colours without looking clownish.

So if you are the type of person who gravitates towards colourful clothes but end up buying your trusty neutrals instead, than this post may be what you need to help take you out of that colour comfort zone.

A 12 Piece Colourful Summer Capsule Wardrobe

A white background with 12 outfits for A 12 Piece Colourful Summer Capsule Wardrobe.

Yellow-Green Tie Top | Cropped Jeans | Pink Ballet Flats | Red Clutch | Green Dress | Sneakers | Blue Blazer | Scarf | Earrings | Perforated Flats | Pink Handbag | Blue Skirt | Shorts | Lavendar Linen Blouse | Pink Sweater | Bjork T-shirt | Hat | Button Up | Vest | Heels | Sunglasses | Yellow Sandals | Green Bag | Tan Trousers

Note: I pick my pieces with mindset of being able to carry them through to other seasons.

So in this instance, when I first saw the highlighter yellow sleeveless top with necktie, I immediately thought about the recent Gucci 2025 Resort show and this outfit in particular. This top would add that specific pop of colour in a very easy-to-wear fall outfit.

Some reasons why you may avoid adding colour to your wardrobe:

The main one is that it is outside your comfort zone. Many people find comfort in sticking to neutral colours like black, white, grey, and navy because these colours are generally seen as safe and versatile.

Adding colour can feel like a significant shift from their usual style. You don’t have to think about it when pairing neutrals which is an ease that most people seek.

Colour takes a bit more planning but honestly, once you start it will become like second nature.

Then we have the fear of attention. I get it, bright and bold colours tend to draw more attention.

People who are more introverted or self-conscious might avoid wearing vibrant colours because they don’t want to stand out in a crowd.

As I mentioned above we have uncertainty about matching. People don’t want to overthink and there is often uncertainty about how to match colours well.

Without a clear understanding of colour theory or what colours look good together, people might feel it’s safer to stick with neutrals to avoid fashion mistakes.

Last we have what are known as the professional norms. In many professional environments, muted tones and conservative attire are the norm.

Bright colours may be viewed as unprofessional or too casual in these settings, discouraging people from incorporating them into their work attire.

Overcoming these fears can be a gradual process of experimenting with small pops of colour, learning more about what colours work well together, and gaining confidence in one’s personal style.

Colour Theory in an Easy to Understand Way:

Colour theory can be confusing when you are just starting out. If you have a background in art you probably already have an understanding of it since colour theory is a concept that doesn’t just apply to fashion.

If you don’t know the basics of colour theory then I am going to break it down in smaller easy to understand concepts to help get you get started in a simplified way to incorporate colour into your wardrobe.

Understanding the colour wheel is fundamental. I suggest investing in an inexpensive version to help you visually with understanding these concepts. One like this will be perfect.

Let’s start by going back to learning colours as a child often taught by using rainbows. The colour wheel consists of the primary colours red, blue, and yellow. We know these well.

Then the secondary colours of green, orange, and purple fit into that rainbow we are all familiar with.

And last we have the tertiary colours which are the colours in between, like red-orange or blue-green.

In colour theory all these colours are then broken down into shades, tints, and tones. These are the variations of a colour created by adding black, white, or grey.

Shades: A shade is created when black is added to a pure colour. This darkens the colour, making it deeper and often more intense. For example, adding black to red creates a burgundy shade.

Tints: A tint is made by adding white to a pure colour. This lightens the colour, making it softer and often more pastel-like. Adding white to blue creates a light blue or baby blue tint.

Tones: A tone is achieved by adding grey to a pure colour. This mutes the colour, making it less intense and more subdued. Adding grey to green results in a more muted or earthy green tone.

Since you probably don’t have a colour wheel yet, I will give you a visual example using blue as a base colour:

    Pure Color (Hue): Blue
    Shade: Navy (Blue + Black)
    Tint: Sky Blue (Blue + White)
    Tone: Slate Blue (Blue + Grey)

    Easy peasy right?

    We should all have a basic understanding of colours in general, so now let’s move on to how to pair these.

    These pairings are known as the Colour Schemes. These are combinations of colours that work well together.

    There are several options when it comes to mixing colours varying from very simple and subdued to bold and adventurous.

    Monochromatic is the easiest and a good starting point. This concept consists of different shades, tints, and tones of a single colour. If you had your colour wheel, this concept would be shown in the colours segmented in one column.

      For example, wearing different shades of blue creates a cohesive and sophisticated look.

      Try mixing different fabrics and textures as well to elevate this look. Fabrics like silk, lace, wool, leather, and knits are examples of using textures to build a monochromatic look.

      You can change up these fabrics based on seasonal wear, especially with summer outfits when using layers to build your look is difficult.

      Analogous Colours are the colours that are next to each other on the colour wheel. These combinations are harmonious and pleasing to the eye. For instance, pairing blue with blue-green and blue-purple. It is like the next step from monochromatic.

      There is a sense of sameness and flow.

      Complementary Colours are the colours that are opposite each other on the colour wheel. These pairs, like blue and orange or red and green, create a vibrant and eye-catching contrast. These pairings are bold but always work well.

      Think Christmas with red and green.

      Triadic Colours are the last colour scheme. These are three colours that are evenly spaced around the colour wheel. This scheme is balanced and dynamic, such as red, yellow, and blue.

      This one is for the most adventurous but it can also be done by using smaller elements. Your outfit doesn’t have to be broken down into even colour-blocking for it to work.

      It actually looks better and more natural when it is not.

      The next concept most people are already familiar with is warm and cool colours.

      Red, orange, and yellow tones are considered warm. They can make you appear more approachable and energetic.

      Blue, green, and purple tones are cool. They often have a calming effect and can make you look more professional and composed.

      A good base for any wardrobe is your neutrals like black, white, grey, brown, and navy. These are versatile and can be paired with any colour. They make it easy to add more vibrant colours or to create a balanced outfit.

      Next we have Balance and Proportion.

      We hear about these terms in regards to fit but it also applies to wearing colour.

      If you’re new to wearing colour, start with small statement pieces. A bright scarf, shoes, or handbag can add colour without overwhelming your look.

      Balance bold colours with neutrals. For example, if you’re wearing a bright red top, pair it with black or white pants. This makes integrating colour easier, and once you get more comfortable you can jump into more daring pairings like a red top with sky-blue trousers and yellow sandals.

      I am not one for fashion rules but I do think it is important to be familiar with them so that you can have them in your styling toolbox.

      It is something that you can refer back to when you are questioning your look or trying to decide what to wear.

      The 60-30-10 rule when it comes to colour means 60% of your outfit is a dominant colour, 30% a secondary colour, and 10% an accent colour. It is a good way to not get stuck in that colour-blocking mentality.

      This next concept is a controversial one. We are seeing a lot of of this on social media but like I mentioned above, these are good things to have in your style toolbox even if you never refer to them.

      This is picking colours based on your colouring.

      Some colours may complement your skin tone better than others. Generally, warm skin tones look great in warm colours, while cool skin tones are complemented by cool colours.

      Obviously, this isn’t always the case and a lot of other things can affect how colours look on you, like hair and eye colours but ultimately it is personal preference and you need to wear what makes you feel good.

      Confidence is key in pulling off any colour.

      Some practical tips for starting are:

      Start Small: Begin with accessories or one piece of coloured clothing.

      Mix and Match: Experiment with different combinations to see what you like best.

      Use Patterns: Patterns can incorporate multiple colors in a subtle way. It might be less overwhelming this way.

      By understanding these basics, you can start to build a more colourful and vibrant wardrobe with confidence that will express your style personality.

      We are often our own worst enemies so I want to challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and add at least one bright and colourful piece to your summer wardrobe. You may be surprised at how your confidence soars.

      Colourful Summer Outfit Ideas for Women

      A white background with 12 outfits for A 12 Piece Colourful Summer Capsule Wardrobe.

      A white background with 12 outfits for A 12 Piece Colourful Summer Capsule Wardrobe.

      Yellow-Green Tie Top | Cropped Jeans | Pink Ballet Flats | Red Clutch | Green Dress | Sneakers | Blue Blazer | Scarf | Earrings | Perforated Flats | Pink Handbag | Blue Skirt | Shorts | Lavendar Linen Blouse | Pink Sweater | Bjork T-shirt | Hat | Button Up | Vest | Heels | Sunglasses | Yellow Sandals | Green Bag | Tan Trousers

      You might also like:
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      The 12 Piece Ultimate Summer Capsule Wardrobe
      A 12 Piece Edgy Minimalist Summer Capsule Wardrobe
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      Sara

      Sara is the founder and creative behind livelovesara. A George Brown College Fashion Styling Graduate, she provides advice on finding your personal style regardless of age and budget. She is always on the hunt for the perfect wardrobe piece and is a vintage and thrifting enthusiast who can't wait to share her newest finds. She is also trying to learn French.

      4 Comments

      1. Hi Sara, Just occurred to me today that I haven’t got any posts from you for a few weeks. For some reason this seems to happen from time to time . Can you please make sure I’m on your mailing list. Much thanks!!

        • Hi Sabbian, I checked and it shows that your still on the list, so I’m not sure why it’s missing you. It’s not going in your spam? I switched over to a different mail system about 8+ months ago that sends them out on Saturdays now. I wonder if the switchover caused the issue.

      2. I loved this article! Thanks for sharing your insight!

        I would add another challenge when incorporating bright colors into a capsule wardrobe is that these pieces might be more meaningful, and so other people may be more likely to notice how frequently we are rewearing the same pieces. That makes me nervous to add them to a minimalist wardrobe.

        • Yep! This is a really good one too. We have an innate fear of being seen in the same outfit for some reason. This is what challenges me to try to find different ways to wear things, especially when they are a memorable piece.

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