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Brooks Brothers cashmer turtleneck sweater, citrine and bone cat statement necklace, Hipstick tights, asaavi leather skirt, Vince Camuto suede boots, Hermes Collier de chien bangle (all own)

Each season Pantone predicts the new It colors from what was seen on the runways. No fashionista on a budget can afford to swap out all her clothes and replace them with pieces in the new trends. Nor would any woman in her clear mind even think about doing so. After reading this post you will know many tricks how to substitute the colors of the season, and fake Pantone colors with lookalikes from your closets.

  1. Fashion over 40 and Pantone Trend Colors
  2. How to Deal with the It Neutrals
  3. Your Solution to Look Up-to-date Color-wise
  4. What Are Modern Color Combinations to Try?
  5. How to Combine Fashion Colors
  6. Train Your Color Senses
  7. Why to Fake Pantone Colors with Lookalikes


Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post.

Fashion over 40 and Pantone Trend Colors

Pantone names a Color of the Year. Sometimes, there are even two like Yellow and Ultimate Gray. Remember rose quartz and serenity? Or in plain English, a very light blush pink and a very light blue. In addition there are the trendy neutrals and the fashion colors. Together they make up a palette that works well when combined. Another great way to come up with color combinations that work well is using the color wheel. Unless you are a Deep, wearing analogous colors in your color palette is a great choice to work around the Pantone colors.


post logo showing Pantone colors


First of all, these colors mean you will see them everywhere in the stores. Even worse, you can’t buy any other shade of them. Ok, that’s a little bit exaggerated. Second, for many of us some of these trendy colors are not flattering and wash us out. Third, some of the trends may be close to what we associate with the uniform of Old. In other words, there can be colors that are hard to style at any age. However, you can work around the It color of the year and look up-to-date nevertheless. Read on …


style book author in colors of the year
Back view of yellow gray outfit described below


lifestyle blogger over 50 in yellow leather skirt gray sweater, tights and boots
Outfit details: Brooks Brothers sweater, citrine and bone cat statement necklace, Hipstik® Legwear tights, asaavi leather skirt, Vince Camuto suede boots, Hermes Collier de chien bangle


How to Deal with the It Neutrals

Neutrals are the easiest to deal with. No matter what this season’s neutrals’ fantasy names are, they can stand alone as monochromatic looks, but also work great together or paired with pops of color. Of course, you don’t need to replace your entire neutrals to the new season’s swatch. Just take them as inspiration to create looks in color combinations close to the combinations you saw on the runways.

That’s enough to look modern and hip.

Substitute what ever the dark blue’s name is (e.g.,  evening blue) with a dark navy. Wear blush, peach or light pink as the substitute for the trendy pink. Also recall that what Jane Doe would call olive can have names like Guacamole, Martini Olive, Greenery, … . Burgundy had names like Oxblood, Sangria, Red Wine, Marsala, Tawny Port … you name it.

This means you can wear the trendy neutrals like you would style your olive outfits, navy, blush, gray, … brown looks. However, it also means that you can use the neutrals that you have already. Who can distinguish Neutral Gray, Cool Light Gray, Quiet Gray or Silver Gray from Ultimate Gray without running around with the Pantone Colors of the Year swatch sheet? Have you ever looked up what they cost? Typically, if someone carries around a fabric swatch at all, it’s related to their flattering colors. Have you ever had a color analysis?

Thus, ask yourself how you would call these neutrals. Give preference to those neutrals from your existing wardrobe.

Chocolate brown, burgundy, tan/camel, navy, winter white, medium and light blue as well as hunter/forest green are perfect for all color-shy women who prefer wearing all neutrals. No matter what their name is in a season, you can look modern and trendy with them without going beyond their comfort zone.

over 50 years old woman in Pantone tofu and russet orange polka dot dress
Zaful polka-dot dress, Kieselstein Cord buckle and belt, Hermes collier de chien bangles and leather band, statement necklace, Aigner sandals, and Chanel bag


style book author in mixed prints with various autumn It shades
August Silk cardigan, Pineapple Silk tank top, ethnic belt, Hermes collier de chien bangle, statement necklace, Camel bag, Salvatore Ferragamo pumps, 3/4 pants c/o White House Black Market. and coordinate bangle c/o ONecklace


Of course, you can up your style factor by pairing your neutrals with one or more of the core neutrals or fashion colors from the new NYFW palette. The photo below provides an example with a hint of yellow in the neckerchief and a hint of a light blue in the enamel of the belt buckle. More about when and when not to add a pop of color in the guide at the link.


stylist in colors close to Pantone's fall colors
Great Northwest suede jacket, Loft sweater, Russian enamel belt, neckerchief with meteorological symbols, Camel bag, statement necklace, and L.K. Bennett snake-print plateau pumps


Your Solution to Look Up-to-date Color-wise

Riot your closet for shades and hues that come close to those that were forecasted to be the seasons It. In the outfit in the photo above, I went with colors that are in the broad “ballpark” of this season’s red (shoes, jacket), purple (jacket, shoes), brown (bag) and green (dress, bag).

stylist in a work outfit in fall's It colors
Notations blazer (dyed), statement necklace, Prada ultra violet pumps, Doney and Brooke snake print bag, Esprit pint neckerchief, Jord bamboo men’s watch (all own), and best girlfriends bracelet c/o Chicos


fashion blogger over 50 in black, red-pear, teal, tofu and russet-orange in one outfit
Oliveo maxi leather skirt, Zaful striped mini dress worn as sweater, Chanel belt, Hermes Constance bag, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Alaskan Native necklace, Oliver Perry zip-front cardigan, DIY bangle, and Musse & Cloud wood leather straps sandals c/o Coolway


The outfit above stays close to the trendy red (skirt),  green (one of the stripes colors) and gray. The wood sole  and top create a modern vibe as they pair brown and black for a chic look.


midlifes blogger in fake suit in valiant poppy, quiet gray, limelight, black, red-pear, styling
Anne Klein blazer, silk scarf, L.K. Bennett snake-print pumps, Modalu Pippa bag, Jord men’s watch, Hermes collier de chien bangle, black pearl necklace, silk shirt c/o Lilly Silk and pants c/o White House Black Market


In the outfit in the photo above, I went with colors that are in the “ballpark” of the red (scarf rose print, shoes), yellow (scarf bow print), green (leaves in scarf print),  and gray (scarf accents, bag).

When you like the styling and dressing tips of this post, and want more for all kind of dressing situation in midlife, buy my book How to Dress for Success in Midlife.

Various hues of gray and red as a pop of color are also a foolproof combination.


What Are Modern Color Combinations to Try?

Gemstone inspired colors are for cocktail dresses and special occasions like a formal wedding or to dress for success at a military ball.

Neutrals are great for a Business Casual Style  and a corporate work place.

Olive, for instance, plays well with pink, red, burgundy, blush, and yellow. For examples, see the inspirational outfits in the photos below.

Nicole in terrarium moss dress with studded heels
A Novo military-inspired dress, smoky-quartz belt, jade bangle, Hermes enamel and collier de chien bangle, Ray Ban aviators, necklace (gift from my late Mom), and structured work bag


Nicole of High Latitude style donning a summer look in living coral, sweet soy-bean, sweet-corn, Terrarium Moss
DIY skirt, Chanel bag, beaded Dagwood necklace, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Ivanka Trump ankle-strap pumps, and Shein utility jacket as top


Brown, navy, dark tan and gray are perfect for a Corporate Style for suits, skirts and trousers. Style with the usual corporate tops in white, winter white, light blue. Fashionable variations of what Jane Doe would call lilac, peach, blush, light green, light or baby pink are Go-tos when it comes to tops. These combinations will make great job interview outfits. For the daring, try a bold yellow or warm red for fashion-forward business casual work attire.


midlife woman in granit-brown floral shirt and sweet lilac skirt
Jones New York button-down shirt, Gucci belt, Michael Kors satchel, Hermes collier de chien leather bangle, and Ivanka Trump cap-toe pumps


Brown and pink or light blue are modern pairings.

work outfit in the colors of the year at the Top of the World Style fashion linkup party
Back view of the pink and brown outfit described in detail below


over 50 years old woman in leather pants with turtleneck
Moda International cardigan dyed maroon, I.N.C. chocolate brown leather pants, Investments sweater, Hermes collier de chien cuff, Antonio Melani booties, statement necklace and Wooden watch c/o Jord


Burgundy works well with blush, brown, light blue, washed denim (photo below), olive and gray. Wildcards for a pop of color are orange and yellow (second photo below).


fashion blogger in denim coat over dress in spring/summer Pantone colors
Max Mara denim coat with fur details, eShakti fit-and-flare dress, Judith Leiber charm belt, structured work bag, floral tights, and sunglasses c/o Winkwood


over 50 years old woman in tumeric, Jester red fit and flare knit dress with charm belt and floral tights
eShakti fit-and-flare dress, Judith Leiber charm belt, floral tights, and wooden sunnies c/o Winkwood


How to Combine Fashion Colors

Fashion colors are best bought as pieces that have a fast turnaround, i.e. short tenure in your closet. For example, T-shirts, or the season’s Must-have.  They work well with neutrals to brighten up the look like in the example below with a statement blue.

Stylist tip:  Make the fashion color the statement by pairing it with neutrals.


Pink. In my opinion, this fashion color is a neutral for all who know the secrets of cool neutral looks. Pink goes well with burgundy and all kinds of blue, black, gray as well as with other shades of pink. See the next example photos for inspiration. More on how you can wear pink in the linked guide.


over 50 years old fashion blogger in Peacock pink leather jacket, Jester Red top and sweet pink sequin skirt
GNW cardigan worn as top, Newport News leather jacket, H&M sequin midi skirt and Ivanka Trump suede pumps


blogger Nicole in Princess blue, pink, eclipse spring style with mix of floral and stripes
Oliveo leather skirt, Ann Taylor sweater, Liz Claiborne open-toe pumps, Hermes collier de chien bangle, necklace with matching bracelet, Rebekka Taylor floral print bomber jacket


style blogger wearing Princess Royal top, Peacock pink skirt, sweet-corn pumps with Jester red heels and a floral scarf
GNW Luxe sweater, Banana Republic tweed skirt, Native American belt, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Pavlova scarf, pantyhose, Calvin Klein pumps


Wildcard: Try pink with orange!


Orange is probably not everybody’s favorite. This color is hard to pull off in everyday life. Go with a blue to color block or try wearing with analogous colors like the red in the example below.


fashion blogger in Fiest skirt and sweater with leopard print boots
Max Mara skirt, Moda International cardigan (dyed), smoky quartz necklace, YSL tote, pantyhose, and Manolo Blahnik leopard print boots


For additional stylish inspiration with this orange skirt see the post at the link.


Train Your Color Senses

A great way to relax and experiment with new color combinations is an adult coloring book. Did you know that I made one especially for women who are interested in fashion?

Fashion Coloring Pages e-book by Nicole Mölders of High Latitude Style

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Wear Your Flattering Colors

Remember you look your best with your own colors. When you had your colors determined recently, then you know your best suiting colors. Go for them! Combine them like you are wearing the seasons It colors.

Did you have your color analysis in the 1980s? When only a subset of them works for you, you should have them analyzed once more. Today, 12 seasons are distinguished. This means you may miss out great opportunities color-wise.

Of course your seasonal or tonal colors work easy with each other as do the Pantone colors. You can never go wrong with wearing analogous colors, However, you must know that analogous colors may be tricky with your seasonal or tonal best.

Any similar shades of blue with a similar difference in tint look great together. See, for example, the outfit inspiration photos in this post. This season, monochromatic looks are a Do.


style book author in blue black fall style with shirt, long cardigan and collarless shirt
Fashom skirt, Nicole sandals, Coach bag, Eclipse watch-bracelet, Winkwood sunglasses, pendant necklace, Hermes collier de chien bangle, tights c/o Hipstik, sun-protective shirt and long cardigan both c/o Coolibar


Why to Fake Pantone Colors with Lookalikes

It’s good for the environment to “repeat” your pieces and style them in a new, trendy way mimicking this seasons It shades. Best of all, it’s a great way how to save when shopping for your wardrobe updates.

You can read more about styling awesome looks with neutral colors in the blogger roundup at the link.

Photos of me: G. Kramm

© 2013-2022 Nicole Mölders | All rights reserved

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. aquamarinastyle

    Great color combo suggestions, Nicole. You are so good with color and pattern mixing so I trust your advice!

    Thanks for hosting,
    xx Darlene

  2. I love the names they give the actual colors and I do think a lot of colors can mimic them. I love this color on you and it looks great with that rainbow bag!


  3. This Main Line Life

    Thanks so much for the mention. I really appreciate it. Love those blues in your outfit. That color looks great on you.