Pastel Colors: How to Wear Pastels

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So soft, romantic and ethereal, cupcake inspired pastel colors are the obsession of all girlish girls, who want to spice up their looks with some innocent and romantic vibe, breaking the monotony and diminishing all the blues. Milk caramel, velvety peach, pale pink, powdery mint, banana, guava, lavender and baby blue – all these delicious Easter egg inspired shades instantly cheer up and turn any look on the positive way. However, when it comes to real life, incorporating pastels to our wardrobes may seem a little tricky. There are just a few fashion tips to stick to and you’ll know how to wear pastels and not look like you are going to an Easter parade.

Pastel Colors: How to Wear Pastels

Pastel Impressionism

After so many eye-catching prints and bold colors, these cotton candy shades come to rectify things and please the eye. Many designers give preference to lace pieces, creating a real poetic impressionism: whether it’s a lovely dress, a top or a skit, lace details go well along with pastel shades, making them appear even more delicate and feminine. Even casual dresses for a carefree stroll around the city, coming in delicate pale green, beige and blue colors with a minimum decoration, feature lovely lace, chiffon fabrics, looking so ethereal and trendy.

One of the most alluring ways to nail down the pastel trend is the pastel colorblocking. Thus, you can confidently combine pastel pink with pale lemon, blue with mint green, creamy orange with purple, and wear pastels the best way. It’s also fun to wear pastels with brighter shades. In this case too, pay attention to the color wheel.

Another popular style is pastel skinny jeans. Pale lemon, peach, cotton candy mint, and coral jeans look light and feminine and perfectly go with simple tank-tops and pastel shoes. You can wear pastel colored denim pants both in summer and fall, trying to brighten up the gloomy season. Try to wear your pastel pants with some neutral top or go colorblocking, paying attention to the color wheel and sticking to the main color blocking rules.

Pastel Colors: How to Wear Pastels

Style Tips for Pastel Colors

Stick to Minimalism: The most important rule of pastel shades is not to overdo with their “sweet” manner. Maybe all these head-to-toe pale lemon and sugary pink dresses with lace details, accessorized with pastel shoes, bags and headbands look chic on the catwalk, but in real life they can be too much – after all, not all of us are pastry saleswomen. Instead, try to calm things down by accessorizing your pastel clothes with pieces in black, white or other neutral tones. Generally, when choosing pastel clothing pieces you’d better be guided by minimalism, always going for pieces with clean and sharp lines, which will place the emphasis on the design of the garments rather than the pastel shades. If you can’t do without ruffles and lots of details, you’d better go for sculptural forms to add a bit of drama to your pastel looks instead.

Pastels with Neutrals: Do not be afraid to mix pastel colors with neutral ones. Beige and coffee shades will help you balance the girly nature of pastels. Pastels look incredible with gray and cream tones as well.

Pastel Color Blocking: Without any exception, all pastel colors looks amazing with each other and you are welcome to mix and match more than two pastel shades in a look. Mix pastel shades on the principle of color-blocking, using things with clean straight lines. Pastel color-blocking will not work with clothes featuring too complicated cuts, details and draperies. Unlike the color-blocking rules of brighter tones, in case of pastels less strict rules exist. You can even wear some four pastel tones in a single look adding a bright accessory to create a contrast. However, brunettes aren’t encouraged to wear so many pastel colors at a time.

Pastel Colors According to Your Hair and Skin Tones: The pastel rule states that dark skinned girls look great in lighter, more “creamy” tones, while women with a lighter skin color should go for coffee tones and richer pastel shades. On the whole, pastels are the best colors for the blondes, no matter what shade of blonde hair they may have. Blondes are welcome to mix and match various pastel shades and wear head-to-toe pastel outfits, looking incredibly feminine and sophisticated, As for the brunettes and redheads, too many pastel shades tend to make them look pale, therefore it’s a good idea to create a little contrast with bright shades when wearing pastel colors. You can either pick complementing details (shoes, bags, sunglasses, jewelry, scarfs, belts, etc. ) in darker shades like black, or go for even more contrasting hues for the accessories.

How to Wear Pastel Colors

Pastel Colors with White and Black: You can never make a mistake wearing pastel colors either with white or black pieces, or matching them both with black and white.Combine pastel jeans with a white and black top, complementing the look with dark colored platform sandals. No matter how many pastel shades to match with a black piece, black is always going to dominate, creating modern and polished looks. Since pastel colors may look a bit boring and dramatic with black pieces, you can always replace black with soft gray or beige tones. As for white, it only enhances the softness and femininity of pastel hues, at the same time managing to balance things out for more harmonious looks. Pastel colors with white make the go-to summer looks, while in winter, they might look a bit weird.

Pastel Colors With Brights: For the ultimately playful and vibrant looks you can try wearing pastel colors with brighter tones. This way you’ll also reduce the exaggerated sweetness and femininity of pastels at the same time showing off your creativity and unique taste in style. For instance, think mint green pants matched with a bright green blazer topping a simple white tee and there you go! You just need some neutral shoes and a bag to make things pretty and cool. You’re never afraid of mixing different types of fruit ice cream in a bowl, so do the same with pastel shades, matching them with brighter tones.

Pastel Colors With Prints: If you think only monochrome is the way to go with pastel shades, you’re completely wrong. Pastel colored clothes look especially intriguing and romantic in combination with printed and patterned pieces, especially when those patterns feature pastel tones. For instance, you can wear a pastel lilac blouse with a white skirt featuring peach and lilac abstract prints, this way creating a connection between those two pieces. It’s, however, advised to avoid floral patterns to match with pastel pieces, since this might make you look a bit old-fashioned. Instead, give preference to modern minimalism and go for garments that feature minimal and abstract patterns.

Monochrome Pastel Looks: Less is more is also true about pastel fashion and you can always create smashing looks picking a single pastel shade for your entire outfit. This way you’ll also elongate and slim down your silhouette. To jazz up your looks, go for creative accessorizing details and your pastel outfit is sure to win the spotlight instantly. When wearing a single pastel shade from head to toe, you are more than welcome to experiment with volumes and textures to create interest.

Pastel Nudes and Creams: Cream and beige tones are the most versatile of all the pastel shades, and they go literally with any other pastel or neutral shade. When matched with neutrals, cream and beige clothing pieces look sober and elegant being an amazing option to wear to the office. On the other hand, you can always pick cream shoes or other small details that will ideally finish off colorfuly pastel looks.

Wearing Pastel Colors in Fall and Winter: Although pastels are those ice-cream shades meant for spring and summer, if you are so in love with their sweet character, you can always wear pastels in fall and winter too. Pastel sweaters always look amazing in combination with black and dark-wash jeans in winter, especially when you pick a mohair pastel sweater. You can also consider wearing pastel colored outerwear, such as pastel coats.

How to Wear Pastel Colors in Winter

Pastel Accessories: If you are not sure that you will feel self-confident in pastel clothes, start with small things here and there, mostly using pastel accessories, such as a pastel clutch, jewelry, hats or shoes in candy hues. You can also experiment with pastel makeup (pastel pink or blue nail varnish will look amazing with a black dress or a white blazer with pants). Accessories in pastel shades can also be used separately with full black attire options. For example, a mint clutch or a pastel necklace worn over a black dress will create a magnificent look (Click here to learn How to Wear Mint Green).

Shoes and Accessories to Wear with Pastel Clothes: When it comes to the best shoes to wear with pastel outfits, stick to either neutral or bright shades to create harmony and to balance things out. With black, white, cream, beige, brown and gray shoes you can never err. And in case you want to add energy to your monochrome pastel looks, you are always welcome to pick a bright matching shade for your outfits. This also refers to other complementing details, such as bags, belts or scarfs. Metallic jewelry pieces (both gold and silver) always look chic with pastel outfits.

Makeup to Wear with Pastel Clothes: Avoid pastel and colorful shades for your makeup when wearing pastel outfits. Instead keep things minimal and neutral, playing with versatile earth-toned eyeshadows, nude lipsticks and creating perfectly smooth skin.

Wearing Pastels in the Club: When wearing pastels to party nights, try to focus on contrasts. Pick bright and energizing accessories to your pastel outfits that will instantly catch the eye. However, keep in mind that pastel colors should dominate, so wearing either some neon-colored shoes or a bright clutch with your pastel outfits will do the trick.

Wearing Pastels to the Office: Too many pastel shades aren’t appropriate for office looks, therefore try to incorporate white, cream or beige tones to your looks, at the same time picking only cleanly cut, modern and minimalist designs for your pastel garments. Keep your hair and makeup simple and modern.

Wearing Pastels to the Street: The modern street style rules suggest mixing and matching contrasting styles and pieces for an outstanding look, so when wearing pastels to the street try to combine the femininity they exude with something preppy or sporty chic. For instance, pastel colored pants matched with a simple pastel shirt will look amazing in combination with loafers, a nude clutch and retro-style sunglasses.

Pastel Colors: How to Wear Pastels

Pastel Accessories

The most wining pastel accessory is a spectacular clutch in pale pink, banana, lilac or mint. A small square or rectangular pastel colored clutch will add cheerfulness and a romantic attitude to spring and summer attire options. Choose something with a metal detail, peplum or ruffles to match with your evening outfits.

Pastel shoes look amazing in combination with white pants or a light colored dress. You can also wear pastel colored shoes with shorts and skirts in much softer shades. Don’t forget about pastel sunglasses and pastel jewelry.

Pastel Colors: How to Wear Pastels

Pastel Makeup

Pastel makeup is great both for pastel outfits and neutral ones. Clear lip glosses, pearl eyeshadows, blush in the shades of tea rose are ideal for creating a sophisticated, natural look (Click here to learn How to Wear Pastel Makeup). And, of course, pastel nail polishes look so trendy and delicate. For pastel clothes, choose your nail polish in the main color of your outfit or the opposite shade to colorblock your look. High-gloss mint nail polish goes well with black clothes, pale pink with lemon, while lilac with white and pink.

Pastel colors are great to wear to work, on special occasions and on the daily basis. Just try to keep things modest, when you are going to work, a little more glam-glitzy for special events and simple for casual wear. Whatever you do, try to be creative and self-confident and you’ll look chic and sweet, while sporting a rainbow of taffy-colored hues!

Pastel Colors: How to Wear Pastels

Photos courtesy of Vogue

About Armine K.

Fashion and photography addict, interested in languages, culture, traveling and all-things-beautiful. Find me on Google+
  • jada

    Can I wear pastel pale pink Jeans with nude/natural pumps and a creamy feminine top?

    • Fashioniser

      Hey Jada,
      You certainly can wear that color combination! A pastel color with two neutrals looks really amazing! :)

  • destiny

    Can I wear smothie orange color pants with black high boots and a black shirt in this time of the year?

    • Fashioniser

      Hey,
      Yes, you can. And who said that pastels are only for summer? You can certainly wear pastels in winter too, only not to as a great extent as in summer. Matching a single pastel color with black or other neutral shades will work great for winter too.

  • Sue

    Hi, can I wear a pale pink jumper over a mint green lace dress? And how should I accessorise it? thanks

  • Fashioniser

    Hi Sue,
    You can match pale pink with a mint green, as they create a lovely sugary combo together. A jumper worn over a delicate lace dress is, of course, a contrasting, yet lovely and interesting style solution. As a final touch, finish your look with some small accessories in silver or gold, such as some bracelets or a small necklace. You can wear high heels with your dress to keep the girlish effect. Otherwise, go for some ankle booties to completely contrast your look.

  • Angela

    I got this great cream/light gold dress for New Years, and I bought a few pastel blue accessories to go with it (Earrings, ring, necklace) They give it a really soft and pretty look. I’m just worried about what shoes to wear with it.. I have great black pumps, and since it’s going to be cold I was going to wear black leggings too. I’m afraid it won’t go together. Will that work, or should I try a cream legging and black shoes?

  • Fashioniser

    Hello Angela,
    You have chosen a really lovely outfit, I guess. You can wear black tights and black pumps with your dress, of course. Keep in mind that black goes with all the colors in the world. Yet, if you want to create a more sophisticated and sugary look, I’d advise you wearing some neutral tights (beige, latte, cream, etc.) with your black pumps.

  • Bek

    Hello there, I am attending a Gala Ball at NYE on the River! I’m wearing a light Pale pink designer dress. A short hugging dress forms underneath and flowing translucent pale pink material on top, and to the floor (my description is doing no justice for the dress!). The flowing material has the potential to touch the ground. Firstly what colour shoes? I was thinking a striking, but light silver pair with a very contoured structured hand back, small diamond earrings and a diamondee clip for my hair?? Or maybe white, I would love some options!

  • Fashioniser

    Hi Bek,
    Your description of the dress is quite great! :) The first option of wearing silver shoes with the accompanying accessories sounds really amazing. Otherwise, you can pick a nude pair of shoes, such as cream, as nude colors look amazing, when combined with pastels. Golden, black or white will also go with your pink dress, but the first two options are the best for a romantic and sophisticated result. Complete your look with a delicate pale pink makeup that will be barely visible and you are done!

  • Amy

    Hi there, I love this article :0) I was just wondering, I have a wedding next weekend. I have bought a pale pink structured, but soft looking, knee length dress. I just received a pair of gorgeous gold high heels (a softer gold color). They are Kurt Geiger shoes i received as a gift from a friend. Do you think the pale pink dress will go with gold shoes for the wedding? Many thanks! :0)

    • Fashioniser

      Hi Amy,
      Yes, you can match your gold high heels with your pale pink dress. Gold gives warmth to soft pink, while silver adds a touch of coldness. Both the colors look great with pink. Have a great party! :)

  • cimaron

    hey there, im going to a really nice club and was wondering if i can wear burnt orange skinny jeans and tall black wedge boots together? i still cant decide on a top but would love some suggestions:) thank you so much

    • Fashioniser

      Hey,
      You can wear those boots with your pants and finish off your look with a cream lace top, for example. That’ll be sweet and sexy at the same time. If you want to look more colorful, go colorblocking, matching your clothes with fuchsia, purple or pink. For the colorblocking rules, you can check out this article: http://www.fashionisers.com/style-tips/color-blocking-trend-how-to-colorblock/

  • Christina

    Hi I am a bridesmaid for a wedding. Our dresses are a purple pastel color. What color accessories (ie necklace) should we pair it with? Mutli-pastel colors or a specific pastel color?

    • Fashioniser

      Hi Christina,
      Pastel purple looks amazing in combination with white, pale pink, pastel yellow, fuchsia and silver. That’s an awesome color and playing with the hues mentioned, you can create an amazing look! Good luck!

      • Christina

        Thanks!

  • Becca

    Hi Christina,
    It’s my sisters birthday and were going for a meal, I have a taliored pair of pale dusty pink skinny trousers with a white polo crop top? Darker pale pink heels and I was wondering what colour blazer to match? Mayb pale pastel turquoise? Too many colours? Your opinion would be great :]

    • Fashioniser

      Hi Becca,
      Since your top is white and you have got two shades of the same pink color, it’s ok to use the fourth color, which can be again pastel. Yes, pale pastel turquoise will look ok. Otherwise, you can try pale pastel orange or light lavender/ lilac. Or else, you can pick a neutral tone, such as cream or beige.

  • Anna

    Would lavender nail polish go with a black dress and a lighter lavender purple and gold bracelet, gold earrings, and black leather strappy wedges with a cork “textured” heel? Or is it too much? What other nail colors would be lovely with this outfit?

    • Fashioniser

      Hi dear Anna,
      It’s not much at all! It’s just perfect, you can freely match that nail polish color with your outfit. Other hues that you can try can be pastel pale pink or neutral tones (such as beige).

  • Sally

    I have this pastel lilac skinny’s n I was wondering what color top could go with it??? N what color shoes would look great?? I was going with a black lace top n black vans but I think it’s too dull??? Any suggestions???

    • Fashioniser

      Hi Sally,
      You can match your lilac skinnies with white, cream, pastel coral, pastel yellow, champagne tops. You may try flirty floral printed tops too. As for your shoes, go for anything neutral (beige, cream, black, etc.). Options are endless. Just mix and match and see in what colors you look the best.