Colour(s) of the month - Pastels

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Happy April! Month of all things springtime, we simply couldn’t choose a single favourite shade for this fresh and cheerful time of year, so, inspired by the colours of Easter decor, we went for All The Pastels.

Pastels: a brief history

Pastels are what are known as ‘tints’ – true colours with pure white mixed in to lighten them without sacrificing clarity or purity of colour, giving them an innate lightness and brightness which sits so comfortably with this time of year, full of new growth and fresh starts.

Because of their lightness, pastels are generally seen as more soothing than stronger versions of their colours, as well as being associated with frivolity, joy and optimism (and couldn’t we all use a good dose of that wherever we can get it?).

Pastels are often associated with femininity, having been particularly popularised in 18th Century France. However, they have also found their place among men’s fashion in the early 20th Century, with sportsmen and higher class gentlemen favouring pale pink polo shirts and suits, which evolved into the pastel shades we often see in classic menswear (think pink polo shirts and pale blue cashmere) today.

Whether it’s elegant classic attire, or channelling a 1950s Hollywood feel, there’s a pastel for everyone, and we’re here to show you yours!

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Can I wear pastels?

Before we start discussing which pastels are right for you, you might want to explore your seasonal palette a little more if you haven’t already done so. Why not start with our Colour Quiz, and begin your journey into your very best colours?

If your seasonal palette is Spring or a Summer, the answer is an obvious, and emphatic, yes to pastels, but for Autumns and Winters, we need to take a bit more of a careful look.

Pastels for Springs

Spring has perhaps the ‘truest’ form of pastels – pure colours with enough white added to freshen and lighten them without bleaching them out. And when it comes to wearing them, the world is your brightly coloured oyster! Pair them with other ice cream shades, with bold brights for a higher contrast look, or classic neutrals for a sophisticated finish.

Style notes: Pastels are so simple for you - whether you go tonal or contrasting, simply layer up two or three pastels with a neutral of a similar depth and you're guaranteed an effortlessly light but still Spring-bright look!


Pastels for Summers

Pastel also provides few issues for you – although your colours are frequently softened with a hint of grey along with the white, the lightness and freshness of so many of your colours still makes them fall firmly into ‘pastel’ territory.

Style notes: Although there are several colours within this outfit, the fact that all of them have very similar value (how light or dark a colour is) makes this Summer outfit feel tonal and fresh, rather than bold and over the top. Although Willow Grey and some of the stripes in the Multi Stripe Breton technically fall outside the remit of being true pastels, due to having a quantity of grey added, they both retain the same light, springtime feel that sits so well with 'traditional' pastels like Pink Clover and Lilac Pink.


Pastels for Autumns

As we get into the deeper, richer shades of Autumn, pastels become more challenging, but that doesn’t mean they are impossible. For you, pastels are just very fractionally softened, losing a tiny hint of the clarity of your fellow warm season, Spring’s, clear and bright pastels. Soft Autumns (read all about sub-seasons here) may well be able to carry off an outfit made up entirely of pastels, but for the rest of you it’s likely that adding in a deeper touch to your outfit will give it the extra weight that you need as an Autumn, without sacrificing the freshness of your pastels.

Style notes: Soft Mint is a beautiful true pastel shade, and you can add a little richness, and a tonal feel, with the Laguna Culottes and Green Teal Print Infinity. If you need to ‘warm up’ your outfit a little (particularly for True Autumns), a light shade with some warmth like Macadamia will add more yellow tones to the outfit without making it feel heavy or dark.


Pastels for Winters

Pastel isn’t exactly the first word that springs to mind when we consider the vibrant, saturated, cool toned Winter palette. But remember your ice shades, which are essentially bleached out pastels – pair these with either light shades for an icy cool look, or add contrast with brights and dark neutrals for a bolder look which really brings out your own clarity and brightness. You can also use light but vibrant shades like Aquarius and Acid Yellow, which will feel like pastels relative to your Winter brightness.

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Stripe 1/2 Sleeve (coming soon) | Cotton Bella Trousers | Cashmere Gauze Stole | Classic Metallic Belt | Silver Feather Necklace

Style notes: I've added a good dash of contrast to this fresh summertime look with boldest Neon Pink, and added the freshness with Iced Aqua and Silver. While your pastel look might lack the 'ice cream' feel of Spring or Summer's, it can offer a real change from your go to bold look of 'dark neutral, light neutral, splash of bold colour', and really lighten up your palette for spring/summer.


Cynthia on Apr 03, 2021 1:09 PM

Love this and all of your blogs! Really helpful to see all 4 seasons - as a soft summer, I can usually take away some ideas from the soft autumns as well —- and learn what not to wear from the spring and winter looks —- although they are beautiful to see!

Ellen Glynn on Apr 03, 2021 10:17 AM

Oh my goodness- surely Summers can have a bit more fun with pastels than that???

Helen H on Apr 02, 2021 3:41 PM

I love the Winter icy shades and use them a lot more in summer to lighten up and create some cool contrast. My current favourite is Acid Yellow (which was a surprise) as it adds zest to so many Winter colours. I've always loved Ice Lavender and Ice Hyacinth was beautiful - bring it back, please! I still find Pink Ice a bit peachy, though. Great blog as usual, Jo, with some gorgeous mixes.

Helen Williamson on Apr 01, 2021 12:52 PM

Fabulous, love this, as a soft autumn who does pinch some spring & occasionally summer colours I will enjoy this! I love that it’s one we can all do. Fun, thank you. ❤️

Jill Naylor on Apr 01, 2021 10:20 AM

Great blog. As an Autumn I struggle with the pastels.

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