3 Simple Tips for Color Blocking

Let’s inject some color into these cold gray days we’ve been having lately, shall we? One of the easiest and most fun ways to create a bold look is to use the technique of color blocking. What is color blocking? The main idea is simply to combine two or more different colors strategically to create an eye-catching look.

This is such an accessible look to try, as you can most likely start with items already in your closet. Here are three basic tips to aid you in trying this look:

  1. Start with solids. Color blocking creates a daring enough look in and of itself. So, for beginners, there is no need to make it more complicated by adding in patterns. Keep it pure with solids only. (You can tell, however, that I felt the need to break this rule with a fairly tonal star pattern on my jeans. Sometime, rules are meant to be broken, right?)
  2. Stick with the same saturation. If you are starting with a very saturated piece, keep the other colors saturated as well. If you are going a bit less bold, consider less saturated, timid tints like pastels. Whatever colors you pick should all have the same visual weight.
  3. Be color wheel wise. Are you familiar with the color wheel? Understanding the basics of it can really help as you venture into color mixing. As it relates to wardrobe color blocking, here are the first two things you need to know:
    1. If you want to mix just two colors, select your favorite color on the wheel. If that color is the main color of your look, then just accessorize with the color directly opposite of it on the wheel. That color is known as the complementary color. For instance, if you choose to wear a yellow dress, consider accessorizing with a purple bag or shoes. Similarly blue and orange mix well together.
    2. If you want to step up your color blocking game and mix three colors, first find your main color on the wheel. Then draw an equilateral triangle (a triangle in which all three sides are equal) from it to two other colors across on the wheel. Those three colors make a naturally harmonious trio of colors. For instance, I started with this loud yellow sweater, and then accented in red via the sunglassesbag, and lipstick and blue via the jeans and shoes. Orange, green, and purple also create a nice combination.

Bonus tip: Always pick one color to dominate, and then have the other colors play a supporting role. One big dose, and then two smaller doses.

If you’d like to read more about color wheel theory, check out this great resource from HGTV.


Details of My Look

J.Crew Howden knitted color block sweater | Stella McCartney printed star mid-rise boyfriend jeans (here, here, and here) | Mansur Gavriel tote bag in red (red sold out, in black here; other red tote bags here, here, and here) | Delpozo bow sandals (in navy and red; I also love these blue sandals) | Thierry Lasry sunglasses | Jennifer Fisher gold bracelet | Nars jungle red lipstick

Is this a look you’ve tried before? If not, I encourage you to give it a shot! Have a great day.

Photos by Justin James

Color wheel via Will Kemp Art School


  1. Merritt Beck says:

    What a fun look! And great tips on color blocking!!

    The Style Scribe

    1. Carrie says:

      Thanks a bunch, Merritt! I really appreciate that.

  2. Conni says:

    Such a great post! I always love those helpful hints and we could always rely on the color wheel. xx, Conni

    1. Carrie says:

      Thanks for saying that, Conni! I’m really glad you enjoy the tips and tricks. 🙂

  3. Bella B says:

    great tips Carrie!! I love these photo they are so cute and those pants are adorable!! I love the stars!!


    1. Carrie says:

      Thanks so much, sweet Bella! Hugs –

  4. great tips Carrie!! I love these photo they are so cute and those pants are adorable!! I love the stars!!


  5. Sydney says:

    Oh Carrie you are the most fabulous person on this earth, hands down. I love colour blocking, my mom and i love to colour block it is our way to brighten up our days!! Loved this post!! I also must have a pair of star jeans!!

    1. Carrie says:

      You are too sweet! Thanks, Sydney. Wishing you and your mom a great week.

  6. Sheri says:

    Love that yellow sweater – that zipper!

    1. Carrie says:

      Thanks, Sheri! Isn’t that a unique touch? I didn’t even notice that detail when I ordered it online. A nice surprise. 🙂

    1. Carrie says:

      Thanks so much, T!

  7. Jennifer says:

    Kudos to yet another fabulously creative post! That vibrant yellow is fabulous and love it paired with the electric heels, and who doesn’t love star jeans?! OMG, so fun!

    xo, Jennifer

    1. Carrie says:

      That’s so nice, Jennifer. Thanks! I appreciate your encouragement.

  8. Anastasia says:

    Such a great and informative post, Carrie! And a beautiful outfit. This yellow looks so fresh!

    1. Carrie says:

      Thanks, Anastasia. I appreciate your feedback. Xo

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