Creating a Summer Capsule Wardrobe Using a Column of Colour


summer wardrobe capsules, column of colour

Hi Imogen,
Your northern hemisphere fans need your help. Spring, summer is on it’s way, I’ve searched your incredible archives to find a summer wardrobe capsule featuring your ” column of color” for petites, but alas, I can only find fabulous fall and winter.

Please help! It’s getting warm in Southern California.
A faithful fan,

When you think about creating a capsule wardrobe using a column of colour in the summer, it can be harder than an autumn/winter capsule as we tend to dislike layering so much.  It’s very easy in the cooler months to add the third piece to create an outside column, but in the hot weather, we often only want to wear two pieces not three.   The key to doing this, is not to stick totally to exactly the same colour, but just to keep all your pieces in a similar value – such as the one here that is all based around light value colours.

summer capsule wardrobe column of colour


Particularly if you want to elongate yourself with the column of colour, you want to make sure that each of the colours isn’t so different that you cut yourself up into two pieces.  Instead when you choose all colours of a similar value (that means lightness or darkness) you will find the eye is more likely to keep moving when the colours are related in value, unlike wearing a high value contrast where the eye will notice the change in colour more readily and top at that point and follow that horizontal line.

Don’t forget to accessorize to make the outfits look more different and varied, also remember that wearing necklaces, scarves and earrings up near the face draw attention upwards.

Make sure your shoes blend with your skin or pant colour so that you keep the column of colour going.

Did you know that dresses are a great way in summer to get the column of colour effect with just one garment!

You can see that these pieces all mix and match, each top and jacket can be worn with each bottom.  Keep your third pieces (jackets, waistcoats, vests, cardigans, shrugs) lightweight. You will want a combination of longer and shorter, or sleeveless versions.

You can make 25 outfits here without adding a third piece.  If you add the third piece it adds up to 75 outfits!  All from these few pieces.



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  • Oh, Imogen, what a lovely summer wardrobe!! This is just what I needed to focus, plan, and get started. You make everything seem so easy and the stores make shopping so difficult. While these beautiful, soft, colors are a little light for me (I am more of a soft autumn and need a little more color), perhaps I can find slightly richer tones (hopefully without looking like a carrot or turquoise Popsicle), ha, ha, any additional ideas along these color lines would be appreciated.

    I can’t thank you enough for your generosity, your unlimited willingness to help each and everyone who has a style problem. You are the greatest!
    A faithful fan,

    • Easy, just choose medium to deeper colours that suit you. The formula doesn’t change. You just choose the colours that work for you and keep them all in a similar value

  • This is amazing – I’m 5’1 and always struggle with looking put together in summer, and thought it was because I was medium-deep in value colouring, but I’ve realised that it’s because my summer clothes/jackets/accessories are all in different values!

    • Yes they do – read up the other posts with examples of columns of colour and you can see how they can be done using contrast (harder in summer, but don’t forget you can accessorize to create contrast)

  • I notice that the tops are mostly plain, so presume this works best when limiting patterns?
    It’s useful to have a few lightweight chiffon or cotton scarves – they can add colour or patterns and can work as a light cover up from the sun. My favourite is to wear a lightweight cotton vest under an open cotton light shirt as the breeze can work on cooling you too. Accessories can pull it all together.

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