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Paint yourself in pastels

DesignJames R. Sanders, Gap Inc. bloggerComment

Always look on the light side — especially in summertime.

Fashion is having a dark period lately, where even brighter hues show up deep and heavy on the fabric. Pastels, though, are seemingly impervious to the dark trend — or any trend, for that matter. 

Sure, they can give off a more innocent, springtime vibe. But the lighter and wash-colored versions of all of your favorite colors can be more chic than those in your Easter basket. As always, it's all in the styling.

Thinking of painting yourself in a pastel palette? Read on for tips on doing just that with hand-picked items from our brands, whether you prefer clean, minimalist looks or need to tone down an outfit replete with patterns and accessories.


Patterns in a pastel color scheme can be a great way for the minimalist who also likes patterns and prints. With pastels, look for shoes and accessories that complement the garments. If the right shoes are hard to find, neutral colors also work; earn extra style points if your bag or clutch is the same color as your shoes.


Solids are great alternatives to the darker colors that are popular right now. Any pastel will pair well with white, which can then be dressed up or down. Solid pastels have an uber-feminine sensibility to them, which might not be the look you're going for. If that sounds like you, you can always make it edgy with statement hair and jewelry — a good juxtaposition can be a great thing.

Color blocking

Color blocking, the practice of wearing multiple solid colors at once, is a trend that gets remixed every season, often with brighter, bolder colors. But color blocking pastels can take a lackluster palette to the next level. Pastels all have the same washed undertone, so mixing and matching colors, including whites, blues, pinks, lavenders, and oranges, works fabulously.


Don't forget about pastel accessories. Pick a pastel color from one of your garments and start looking from there. Or, you can never go wrong with all-white accessories. Focus on fashion-forward jewelry that pushes boundaries without taking away from the overall look.