Sustainable Fashion

Easy Outfits: The Color Rule of Four

Do you have a hard time putting outfits together? Maybe this will help. I build easy outfits by using the Color Rule of Four. What is that exactly?

The Color Rule of Four Definition

The Rule of Four definition is very simple. When I build my outfits, I follow 2 basic rules:

  • Use, at most, four colors for your outfit, which includes shoes and other accessories.
  • On occasion, use only one print. Once again, this includes shoes and other accessories

Outfits Using the Color Rule of Four

Outfit 1:

My color choices are always pretty neutral. For instance, this outfit has Navy Blue, White, Grey, and Tan. This is pretty typical of my style aesthetic. I find that when I stick to, at most, four neutral colors it eliminates questions like: “do these colors go together?” or “does mixing stripes and prints look good?” or “do these two prints complement each other?” Then, to add a little interest to the outfit, I often infuse a print. Even so, that print still stays within the same color family. I only use one print in the entire outfit. That way I know it doesn’t have to compete with anything else, but truly adds as a complement.

Outfit 2:

Use black as a contrasting color. In the rule of four, even when mainly focusing on neutrals, black can be used as the pop of color. This is particularly true when the base of the outfit is fairly light. The attention is drawn to something as striking as black. For instance, since I really wanted to draw attention to my accessories, it was simple enough to treat black as if it was a bold color.

Outfit 3

Now that spring is just around the corner, I consider pastels as something that can be very neutral. However, I still stick very closely to the rule of four. In this instance, I would wear this outfit in the warmer spring months. The powder blue pants are so pastel they almost read as white. Therefore, it still creates the illusion that I’m still working with a neutral palette instead of a specific color. The outfit comes across effortless. Sticking to this rule allows me to play with silhouettes. I purposefully wanted to keep this silhouette very flowy, almost breezy. The silhouette, in combination with the colors, adds to the feeling of being light and airy.

Outfit 4

I have recently been obsessed with mixing chocolate brown and black. I find that these two striking colors complement each other very well. Once again, I kept the outfit very simple and only infused one plaid print as an accessory. The great thing about the rule of four is that you can really use it with many different types of clothing. You can use it for something extremely casual, or for a wear to work outfit like I have here. It makes getting ready so simple and removes the guess work. Additionally, if you’re working with neutrals, your outfits come across curated and put together. The trick is to seem like you put a lot of thought into your outfit, without actually putting a lot of thought into your outfit.

The Rule of Four has some other benefits:

  • It definitely helps me stay true to my personal style, which prevents me from impulse buying items that don’t fit my aesthetic.
  • It keeps me from accumulating too much. How? Well, how many white pants or black blazers do you need to have? Keeping the palette neutral and only limiting myself to 4 colors an outfit has allowed me to keep my spending in check.
  • I have actually become more creative with my outfit choices. All of a sudden, I’m more focused on fit, proportion, silhouette, texture, etc. It really is about wearing something that actually really looks good on you and not falling prey to trends.

I hope that these tips are helpful. My goal is to ultimately make fashion accessible to people and to inspire people to reach for what they already have in their closet instead of buying. Sometimes it just takes a little creativity mixed with simplicity.

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