Everyone has a style or lack thereof. Either way, you still have your own “brand”. For a lot of us out there, we have living, breathing brands and companies to maintain. As a designer, my business is, well, me. I am a person and the brand. In an effort to make my lifestyle cohesive, I decided to streamline my brand colors and my wardrobe into one seamless color spectrum. It’s an easy way to make my instagram pictures, studio shots and website all look on the same page.
Creating my wardrobe’s color palette was actually formed organically a few years ago. Before the craze of capsule wardrobes and popular minimalistic approaches to maintaining a closet full of clothes, I did it on my own. For years I had been holding on to clothes that didn’t fit, didn’t feel like me, or were way too uncomfortable in general. Not many pieces mixed well with each other and my personal style was all over the place. I decided to donate nearly everything save for a few pieces that could help me transition into my next phase.
I began my wardrobe the same way I begin any branding project – with a moodboard. I created a folder of styles and outfits that created an overall, specific look. I paired down the textures and colors and decided to avoid patterns (other than stripes) completely. As I began developing my collection, I started only with basics and neutrals: black, white and gray.
Over time, my wardrobe and color palette have fleshed out into a place I feel represents me fully. I have a wardrobe that can be mixed and matched thoroughly and I’ve created a uniform for myself. The above colors are what I use as my standard. I do have different values of pink (usually wine) and wear blue jeans and chambray which I consider a neutral, but this is it. This palette ensures I don’t go off-brand or veer from the path of my personal style. You will never see me wearing purple, yellow, orange, or anything in between.
When creating the branding and color palette for my business, I knew that because my business is literally me and my name, that it makes the most sense for my brand to be the same colors. Everything is seamless in that sense. Even my home is decorated in the same colors, though I’ve added indigo and hardwoods into the equation.
Here’s a real look into some of the things in my closet. Yes, they are mostly from Madewell. I also own pieces from many other brands, but I’m a sucker for Madewell because their quality is amazing and they just “get” me. None of these pieces are truly statement pieces. These items can all be paired with so many different pieces in my closet and that’s why I love them so much. My personal brand is: feminine mixed with items stolen from the guys, casual but easily dressed up and very comfortable. I feel in a lot of ways my business and my design styles fall into the same category.
Creating a seamless style and color palette for my closet and brand has established not only a comfortable uniform for me, but creates consistency and recognition. That’s the whole point of branding. You want your style and your company to stand out and be instantly recognizable. Don’t let your closet be schizophrenic. Create a brand for yourself just like you would for your blog and instagram.
So where do you start? Easy. Pinterest. You probably already have a style board and it’s probably all over the place. You can either edit that board or start a whole new one fresh. Start pinning the outfits that really call out to you. Be selective and don’t just pin everything. Once you get to about 15 pins, take a step back and try to find common themes. Look for repeated colors, patterns, textures. If you find yourself pinning lots of black jeans, brown leather boots and striped tees, then start building your color palette there.
Don’t focus on accent colors. Bright red lipstick can always be added on later, but it’s not a core color unless you’re actively pinning red dresses and tops. These accent colors come in later to pair with your core wardrobe. These come to life in handbags, shoes, makeup, etc.
Ultimately, you’re going to have a lot of fun rebuilding your wardrobe, purging the old stuff and creating a new brand for yourself. Limit yourself to 5 main colors and go from there. Make sure you have all the basics covered and then you can indulge in a select few special pieces. (See my paisley top above? That’s one of these special pieces.) Experiment with different textures and patterns.
Let me know what has worked for you in building a wardrobe for yourself. Did you start with a color palette or did you wing it?