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Is color blocking still in style?

Color blocking, the use of blocks of solid colors in an outfit, emerged as a major fashion trend about a decade ago. This eye-catching style allows you to make a bold statement with your clothing. But is color blocking still stylish today, or has this trend faded away?

The History of Color Blocking

Color blocking first came onto the fashion scene in a big way in 2011. Designers like Stella McCartney, Gucci, and Balmain featured color-blocked designs in their spring collections that year. The look quickly caught on, both on the runway and on the streets.

There are a few reasons why color blocking struck a chord at that time. After years of muted, neutral fashions following the 2008 recession, people were ready for something brighter and bolder. The simple graphic stripes and blocks of color were easy for designers to create and for audiences to understand.

Color blocking also suited the minimalism trend that was emerging, as it allowed designers to play with bold colors while keeping silhouettes clean and simple. And it aligned well with the mod and ’60s revival fashions that were also popular at the time.

The Appeal of Color Blocking

There are a few key reasons why color blocking has maintained its popularity over the past decade:

  • It’s eye-catching. The high-contrast color combinations grab people’s attention.
  • It’s versatile. Color blocking can be adapted for all sorts of clothing and accessories.
  • It’s easy to do. You don’t need advanced styling skills to pair a few brightly hued garments together.
  • It’s fun. The colors and patterns give you an opportunity to be playful with your look.

In an era when fashion has become increasingly casual and comfort-focused, color blocking offers an easy way to add visual interest and vibrancy to your outfits.

Color Blocking on the Runways

Color blocking has continued to make appearances in designer collections over the past decade. Here are some examples of how top designers have incorporated color blocking into recent seasons:

Designer Year Color Blocking Style
Gucci 2019 resort Shift dresses with color-blocked tulle overlays
Christian Dior 2020 spring Two-tone color blocked suits
Bottega Veneta 2021 cruise Belted dresses with color-blocked skirts
Fendi 2022 fall Color-blocked leather jackets and boots

Designers like Miuccia Prada have cited color blocking as an ongoing inspiration, allowing them to come up with new variations each season. While color blocking may not dominate the runways the way it did 10 years ago, it remains a staple element that gives designers a graphic, eye-catching option for their collections.

Color Blocking for Everyday Wear

On the streets, color blocking remains popular for its ease of wear and visual appeal.

For a casual daytime look, you might pair color-blocked sneakers with jeans and a sweater. Color-blocked tops and blouses also look great with neutral bottoms like jeans, pants, or skirts. For women, a color-blocked dress is an easy way to instantly pull an outfit together.

In terms of footwear, color-blocked sandals, mules, and heels are on trend. Handbags and backpacks in contrasting colors also add flair. And color-blocked coats, jackets, and blazers can add interest to neutral fall and winter outfits.

When color blocking, keep these tips in mind:

  • Choose colors with enough contrast between them for maximum impact.
  • Limit yourself to 2-3 color blocks for cohesion.
  • Consider color theory when combining shades to ensure they are complementary.
  • Use neutrals like black, white or tan as one of the blocks to anchor the colors.
  • Add textures like suede, leather or satin for more visual interest.

The color combinations you choose can range from monochromatic (different shades like pale blue and navy) to highly contrasting (like yellow and purple). Choose hues you enjoy and find empowering.

Celebrity Color Blocking Style

Looking at celebrity street style gives you a good sense of how color blocking can be adapted for real life looks. Here are some of the ways stars have rocked color blocking recently:

Celebrity Color Blocking Look
Mindy Kaling Pink coat, green dress, blue heels
Bella Hadid Yellow jacket, red turtleneck, black leggings
Zendaya Orange suit jacket, lime green pants
Harry Styles Yellow sweater vest, baby blue suit

You’ll notice bright colors are a common theme. Stars use color blocking as a way to get noticed and photographed. But they also demonstrate how the look can translate off the runway, when styled with more casual pieces like t-shirts, jeans and sneakers.

Tips for Wearing Color Blocking

Want to try out color blocking but not sure where to start? Here are some tips to make the trend work for real life:

  • Pick pieces in solid colors without prints or patterns, which can compete visually.
  • Choose colors you love to boost your mood and confidence.
  • Start small with accessories if you’re unsure, like a color blocked handbag.
  • Get comfortable mixing colors by trying shades next to each other on the color wheel first.
  • Anchor bold tops with neutral bottoms or vice versa.
  • Add neutrals like black, white or tan as one of the color blocks.
  • Consider wearing color blocked pieces that can also transition to solids, like blazers.
  • Have fun and express your personality through different color combos.

Don’t be afraid to experiment until you find color combinations that make you feel great. That’s the key to mastering this fun, eye-catching trend.

Color Blocking for Different Ages

Women of all ages can pull off color blocking. Here are some style tips for your age group:

Teens and 20s

This is a great time to play with bright, bold color combinations. Try color blocking on dresses, separates, shoes and handbags. Monochromatic color blocks in shades like pastel purple and lilac are also on trend.

30s and 40s

Shift to more refined color palettes with darker tones like jewel tones, navy or black. Try a color blocked wrap dress or blazer with black trousers. Monochromatic color blocks also look sophisticated.

50s and up

Stick to color blocks in classic hues like black, white, navy, red and pink. A color-blocked coat over neutral pieces is striking. Pair a color-blocked handbag with an all-black outfit.

The key is choosing color combinations you find attractive and feel confident wearing. Don’t be afraid to color block just because you’re over a certain age!

Year-Round Color Blocking

One of the great aspects of color blocking is it transitions seamlessly across seasons. Here are color combo ideas for year-round style:


Try pastels like soft yellow and lavender or playful color combos like coral and mint green. Floral prints with color-blocked backgrounds are also pretty.


Bright, sunny hues like yellow, sky blue and cherry red pop against summer tans. Use white as a neutral base for color-blocked shorts, dresses and swimwear.


Rich autumnal shades like burgundy, olive green and burnt orange look gorgeous together. Pair a color-blocked sweater with jeans or layer a color-blocked jacket over a neutral dress.


Deep tones like navy, emerald and plum make striking color combos. A color-blocked coat pops against an all-black outfit. Don’t be afraid to throw in metallics like gold.

By mixing up your color palette each season, you can get plenty of wear out of your color-blocked pieces year after year.


Color blocking has maintained its status as a fashion trend because it’s versatile, easy to wear and instantly enlivens any outfit. From the runways to the streets, color blocking continues to have a strong presence in women’s and men’s style.

The graphic appeal of color blocks endures, whether in bold brights or more subtle neutral combos. Following basic guidelines on flattering color pairings, you can readily work this fun look into your wardrobe. Color blocking remains a trend worth trying at any age or season.

So don’t be afraid to get creative with mixing and matching blocks of color to liven up your look. Color blocking is one trend that is definitely here to stay.