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Colour blocking is a fashion trend that uses colour to create eye-catching visual effects. Yves Saint Laurent invented and popularised it in fashion with his Mondrian Style Dress. However, it has since become a favourite among fashionistas and colour lovers.

Colour blocking your outfit might be the aesthetic jolt you need if your outfits are getting stale or you can’t get enough of your black ensembles.

This trend works best when different colours, textures, and placements are used. Keep in mind that your personal style and body shape will influence how you incorporate this styling technique.

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So, if you haven’t already determined your body type, now is the time. If your personal style cannot be defined, I have some simple steps for you to follow here.

What is colour blocking?

Colour blocking is a fashion technique used to create colour blocks on an outfit. The blocks can be created by combining different coloured pieces or by using stripes or seams within a garment.

Various iterations and colour combinations have risen and fallen in popularity over the years. However, it has been and continues to be a popular styling technique. It’s a great way to liven up your outfits and experiment with new looks.

How can colour blocking be used to flatter your figure?

Colour blocking is extremely effective at flattering your figure, regardless of body type. However, the type of body you have will influence the style of colour blocking and emphasis you try.

Strong, vertical stripes can also help you appear taller by elongating your body. Similarly, column dressing, or wearing a single colour from head to toe, can help lengthen your vertical line. This is an example of monochromatic colour blocking.

The use of darker shades and colours can de-emphasize an area while also slimming it.

Types of Colour Blocking

Because we will be referring to the colour wheel and where certain colours are in relation to each other throughout this post, here is a basic colour wheel for your convenience.

To learn how to colour block fashion, first understand the colour wheel and how the colours relate to one another. 

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1. Duo-tone colour blocking 

Duo-Tone Color Blocking In duo tone colour blocking, two tones that contrast, such as orange and purple or purple and green, are used.

Duo-tone colour blocking is simply wearing two different colours. They are frequently colours with high vibrancy and contrast, but they are not always complementary (in terms of the colour wheel definition of complimentary). For instance, yellow and pink, grey and yellow, red and blue, or purple and orange, are all possibilities.

2. Complementary colour blocking 

Complementary colour blocking is similar to duo-tone in that it involves wearing two colours that are on opposite sides of the colour wheel.

 As an example,

  • red, green, 
  • blue, orange, 
  • yellow, and purple.

You can experiment with different tints and shades of these colours, but there are only so many possible base combinations.

Keep in mind that this colour blocking strategy can be quite intense because complementary colours are designed to stand against one another and brighten the visual effect of one another.

If you try this technique, make one of the colours the dominant colour. You can see this in the example below, where she is wearing complementary colours red and green. The green, on the other hand, is a darker shade with a slight blue tint, while the red is more minimal and less pigmented. This adds fun to the outfit without screaming Christmas colours.

The tints or shades of the colours can also be used to play with complementary colour blocking. To create a less saturated look, pair a pastel pink (a red tint) with a seafoam green (a green tint).

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3. Analogous Colour Blocking

Analogous colour blocking combines three colours that are adjacent on the colour wheel. 

As an example:

  • blue, purple , 
  • blue-green and red, 
  • orange, and yellow.

However, you can experiment with the number of colours you use and how different the colours are. It usually includes two or three colours.

It has a similar feel to tonal dressing but a broader colour palette.

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4. Tonal Colour Blocking 

Tonal colour blocking is the use of a single hue with varying shades and tints of the same colour.

You can use these as examples: navy, indigo, royal blue, and ultramarine because they are all members of the blue family. Then you’d add lighter shades like sky blue at the top and a very dark blue at the bottom to highlight your body. This creates a slimming vertical line and is an excellent colour blocking strategy for appearing taller.

You can also take inspiration from the below outfits, which feature two tonal outfits with neutral accessories. The first outfit features a tonal tan look consisting of two shades of tan, while the second features three separate pieces all in the burnt orange family. These looks are cohesive and use the colour-blocking strategy without being overpowering.

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5. Monochromatic Colour Blocking

Monochromatic colour blocking involves wearing only one colour throughout your outfit. Throughout your outfit, the colour is kept close to the same shade. While this does not incorporate multiple colours, it does create a single-colour block and employs the column dressing technique to lengthen your body.

For a little extra oomph, add a pop of colour with an accessory to a monochromatic look. Accessories can be a contrasting colour or neutral. However, the outfit’s focal point should always be that one-shade dominant colour.

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Colour-Blocked Outfit Style Tips

The most important thing to remember when incorporating colour blocking is to make sure it’s flattering and not overwhelming. You don’t want to look like a child playing dress-up, nor do you want to wear an outfit that “wears you.” So follow the tips below to ensure you have a well-put-together and flattering outfit.

  1. Neutrals are your friends! A neutral can always be incorporated into a colour-blocked look, and it can sometimes add a whole new level of sophistication. It’s difficult to go wrong with a neutral, whether you wear them with nude pumps, a white jacket, or black jewellery. Neutrals add balance to your outfits and should not be avoided! A neutral accessory or wardrobe touch can elevate the look and ground the entire ensemble.
  2. If you’re wearing more than one colour, make sure you have a good balance of light and dark pieces. Also, use the light and dark pieces to complement your body shape. 
  3. Don’t overlook your assets! Choosing colours is one thing, but selecting the best colours for your skin, hair, and eyes is an important step. I recommend determining your seasonal colour palette (I have a guide on that here) so that you can choose the best tints, shades, and versions of each colour.
  4. Shop with your seasonal colour palette to ensure that your wardrobe is full of vibrant options that you know will work. Just because Rosie Huntington-Whiteley looks great in a full coral suit doesn’t mean the same colour will look good on you.
  5. If the colours are extremely bright or intense, choose one to be your main colour and incorporate the lighter colours into it. For example, if you’re wearing a bright blue and red outfit, make the red more muted and the blue the more intense colour on top.
  6. Take inspiration from anywhere and everywhere. Create a Pinterest board, watch runway shows, and look for new and interesting colour blocking techniques on the street.
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Do whatever works for you and your style, but make sure you like it. What you wear should reflect your personality. So, if colour is your thing, don’t be afraid to go crazy with it. If it isn’t, you can still incorporate colour-blocking outfits into your look.

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Shweta Modi

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