Wearing colour the minimalist way

By Sophia Roe
Minimalist colour by Bottega Veneta

Photo: Getty

How to introduce colour to your wardrobe, while sticking to a Scandi aesthetic

When it comes to Scandinavian style, the oft-favoured phrase is ‘less is more’. The Scandi wardrobe is typically built around neutral hues like white, black, brown and around fifty shades of grey (no pun intended). In other words, the standard Scandi look matches the weather: it’s pretty dark for most of the year.


For many, it can feel too overwhelming to introduce a pop of Pantone to the palette. But adding colours should be fun and can, if done right, complement a minimalist look. Here’s the low-down on how to do it.

Keep it simple

When buying colour, look for classic items. You’ll never see a Scandinavian wearing something too flashy or covered in logos, so if you want to wear colour, keep it simple and don’t go too avant-garde. Pick a shape you feel familiar with and always think about how you’d style it with what you already own. Lastly, keep it to a maximum of two items when styling with louder colours. The things we never choose to wear from our wardrobes are the pieces that don’t match anything else – don’t make that mistake.

For inspiration, look to the way Phoebe Philo used of colour during her time at Céline. It’s a great example of how to keep a look fresh by, for example, pairing colours with with classic items like shirts or suit trousers.

Start off small...

Have in mind that cool colours merge better with a neutral scheme, so if your wardrobe is predominantly comprised of whites, blacks and browns, these will be your go-tos. Pastel tones also work very well with neutrals and are a good way to ease into the look. If you’re new to colour, try introducing a bright manicure or makeup look, a statement necklace or a scarf to start with.

...And work your way up

If you’re feeling bolder, a blazer or knit are great ways to make an impact. The next step? Shoes and bags, which can change up a look in seconds. Cold-toned technicolours have made a comeback, with brands such as Chanel and Bottega Veneta presenting the most covetable examples.

Finally, go with your heart

When choosing a colour, you’re making a statement. Colours inspire very different reactions depending on our state of mind and associations, so go with something that feels right for you. At the end of the day, there are no real rules.