What makes pastels a favorite trend is that it’s universally flattering. This ultimate style guide teaches you how to wear pastel colors all year round—from fall to summer.
Pastel is soft and delicate, a very clean palette, and that´s why there´s no wonder why it makes you look blooming and feminine. The most popular pastel colors in clothing are cream, beige, soft pink, light blue, and mint. But there are a whole lot more of pastel colors that you can find in the market if you´re on the lookout for a piece of pastel clothing.
Pastel colors are always a huge trend in spring. Everything from tops, bottoms, shoes and accessories incorporate pastels! Does it blossom back as a trend every after winter due to people feeling tired of seeing mostly black and dark colors in winter? Who knows? But what I do know for sure is that pastel colors bring freshness and sweetness in spring.
Yet come fall and you´ll easily spot pastel colors being repurposed for colder weathers. You´ll spot those fabulous pastel jeans and sweaters, or even neutrals pieces, being layered over by some eye-catching, oversized pastel coats!
Wearing pastel colors is so fun because you can easily colorblock different pastel colors and you´ll often look effortless and well put-together. The most important thing to consider though is that you choose the right pastel colors that flatter your skintone.
Let´s go ahead and take a look at the many ways you can wear pastel colors.
Table of Contents
How to wear pastel yellow
There are different shades of yellow. That means, there are also different shades of pastel yellow. But as long as it´s a pale shade of yellow, it is pastel yellow.
When should you wear pastel yellow? If bright yellow is too overwhelming for you, pastel yellow will make for a great alternative.
Should you wear pastel colors with pastel yellow? If you want to create a dreamy or romantic look, pair it with other pastel hues such as pink or purple shades like lilac, rose and periwinkle.
If you want to match complementary colors, pair it with a soft blue. You can also pair it with shades of orange, with a crisp white, or let it pop with black.
How to wear pastel colors: Try a pastel yellow dress
Although pastel yellow is often considered a less flattering hue, the following outfits show you that this color can actually be quite versatile if you know how to style it.
1. Choose a pastel yellow tie-detailed ruffled cotton-poplin mini dress for a casual look.
I have a pastel yellow summer dress that looks very similar to this Phillip Lim dress. I noticed that although pastel yellow can sometimes look dull, if your dress is styled with fabulous ruffles and frills, the result is actually interesting.
Needless to say, this look works well as a casual outfit. Wear it with equally fabulous yet casual sandals such as strappy flats or strappy gladiator sandals.
2. Choose a Floral-print pastel yellow midi dress.
To combat the tendency of a pastel yellow to look dull, choose a pastel yellow dress with bright floral print such as this Andrew GN dress. It features light and bright pink petals, as well as deep green and olive green leaves.
A long sleeve and midi dress, you can easily style it up with black strap heels. As mentioned earlier, pastel yellow will pop when worn with black. Thus, these black stap high heels will subtly help the dress to stand out.
3. Go for a subdued floral-print silk-voile pastel yellow midi dress.
Another interesting approach when wearing pastel yellow is to choose a printed dress with subdued print. We now know that pastel yellow looks crisps when matched with white, but the added gray and light olive green to the print makes the whole look elegant.
3. Open-back draped linen pastel yellow mini dress.
If you have a darker complexion, pastel yellow will look so beautiful on you. And because the color flatters your skintone, you can easily go for a dress that is totally edgy and sexy such as this open back, strap pastel yellow linen mini dress.
4. Opt for a double Layer crinkled satin-twill midi pastel yellow dress.
For a more relaxed summer look, go for a pastel yellow slip dress that twill skirt. Finish the look with some white flat sandals and a brown or an orange clutch bag.
How to Wear Pastel Colors: Start with a Pastel Yellow Top
Styling a pastel yellow top is easier because there are many ways you can mix and match with this piece. In fact, you can create a work outfit, a casual summer look, a smart look, and even a party look with a pastel yellow top.
5. Pick a pastel yellow jacket and trousers.
Quite read to wear, this pastel yellow crop jacket and belted woven wide-leg pants looks stunning as an office attire. for a more casual effect, finish the look with some open-toe strappy high heels. But for a power look, go for a pair of black, pointed toe leather pumps.
6. A silk-chiffon pastel yellow wrap top.
Pastel yellow is Dolce and Gabbana´s favorite hue for spring 2021. This wrap top is from their spring collection and is styled with a pair of vintage high-waist jeans and matching pastel yellow strap stilettos.
Of course you can easily swap the vintage jeans with other trousers depending on what you want to achieve with the look. For example, bring out the pastel color with black jeans or look clean and put-together with white jeans.
7. A pastel yellow cotton-jersey sweatshirt.
For a casual look, wear a pastel yellow sweater with matching pastel yellow sweat pants. Keep the look crisp with white sneakers, and then pull together a lovely, pastel on pastel look by adding a natural beige wool coat. Add a black bag.
8. Ruffled knitted turtleneck sweater.
This look embodies a clash of femininity and power. Pick a pastel yellow ruffled turtleneck sweater, which is delicate and feminine, to wear with a pair of maple colored blazer and pleated wide-leg pants. Then add a pair of black leather ankle boots.
As you can see, the pastel yellow really pops out against the darker hues. And by adding a light blue bag, you´re giving the pastel yellow a break from all the attention. This is a beautiful mix of complementary—light and dark—colors.
9. Cashmere turtleneck pastel yellow sweater.
There are two shades of light yellow featured in this look. Layer a pastel yellow coat of a pastel yellow sweater, but make sure that both pastel yellow are not exactly the hue. Wear them with some dark blue jeans, accented with brown shoes and bown handbag.
10. A pastel yellow t-shirt.
For a very casual summer look, go for a printed cotton-jersey t-shirt in pastel yellow to wear with some chambray shorts, flats, and a straw bag.
11. Leather-effect pastel yellow blouse with belt.
This is a perfect look for spring. Choose a pastel yellow blouse with drop shoulders and belt, to wear with a black above-the-knee skirt and brown tall boots. Depending on the weather, you can also throw over a natural beige long coat.
Other ways to wear pastel yellow.
11. Pastel yellow high-rise wide-leg jeans.
Because pastel yellow is a light color, it easily goes well with darker colors. For this look, a pair of pastel yellow high-rise, wide-leg jeans is teamed with a navy blue sweater, some white sneakers, and a brown bag.
12. A pastel yellow wrap coat.
Is a pastel yellow coat worth the investment? Can you wear it more often?
Then answer is yes. Since it goes well with both light and dark colors, a pastel yellow coat is more versatile than you actually think it is. For this look, a pastel yellow coat with leather belt is layered over an animal print top, some olive wide-leg trousers, and some nude colored pumps.
13. A pastel yellow asymmetric pleated buckled twill wrap skirt.
If you have a pastel yellow skirt as beautiful as this designer twirl wrap skirt, wear it with everything black in order to really bring all the attention to the skirt.
15. Pastel yellow crop top and pleated organic linen shorts.
Whether it´s a crop top and high-waist pleated shorts, or a crop top and high-waist long skirt with side slit, you can always rest assured that your pastel yellow set will make you look super comfy, cozy, and trendy this spring and summer. Inject a touch of boho by adding a straw bag and some espadrilles.
16. A pastel yellow crop pants.
Whether or not you´re into wearing this cropped crepe de chine track pants, I just want to give you an additional idea on how to wear pastel yellow casually in summer. Yours may be a pastel yellow jogger? Wear it with light gray t-shirt and some white slipers or trainers.
How to wear pastel pink
When it comes to how to wear pastel colors, pink is probably the most popular. This is the way to go girly, neat and feminine. Wear pastel pink.
If pink is the ultimate color of femininity, something that allows you to embrace your inner girl, then pastel pink is the way to be whimsically girly. However, I`m well aware that some women avoid pink because they see it as being too feminine, too Barbie-like, or too childlike. They see pink as an inferior color, as if it´s a juxtapose of women empowernment.
You can´t measure a woman´s strength solely within the context of the color she wears. Simply put, pink is the celebration of a woman´s power because being a woman is in itself empowering and there´s nothing inferior about it. So, never feel guilty of wearing pink!
1. A pastel pink gown.
Divine, delicate, and deliciously stunning is this soft pink embroidered gown. It´s a picture of true romance with a hint of modern attitude. The bust of this Aloisa Dress features a stunning sheer mesh neckline that has been exquisitely adorned in eye-catching floral beads, cornelli and lace applique. Very charming. It´s perfect to go with this pair of Georgia Shoes in the same color. Wear it to evening parties, wedding parties or even to a romantic date.
2. A pastel pink top.
For days when you´re inspired to go dramatic, this tulle midi skirt featuring a playful ruffle wired hem and a satin band that cinches in the waist and a flared silhouette is your perfect bet. You need an elegant yet simple top to tone down the drama just a bit, that´s when this slinky and effortless soft pink top comes handy.
Polish the look with an equally stunning pair of heels decorated with a gorgeous bow detail on the toe. To balance the busy-ness at the bottom, add these vibrant earrings in a selection of vivid hues
3. A pastel pink coat.
Of course, you shouldn´t fall short of stunning coats in fall. Invest in a pastel-hued coat for a true ladylike luxury. You can wear it on top of anything. If you want to go entirely pastel, layer this pink coat on a pastel dress. Or you play with contrast by wearing it on top a black dress partnered with a monochrome court shoe. Alternatively, you can simply throw this coat over a printed top and casual-smart trousers.
4. A rose pink peter pan collar blouse.
For days when you crave for a chic but practical outfit, whether it´s for work or for running errands, opt for a sweet and super-feminine Peter Pan collar blouse from Marc by Marc Jacobs and partner it with a pair of versatile cropped trousers. Amp up the look with statement accessories such as a striking monochrome print stiletto heel and a colored, structured leather handbag.
5. Wear pastel colors: Head to toe pastel pink.
At first glance it looks like you´re wearing a single color that´s close to your skin tone, but hey, look closer and the eye will notice that although you´re sporting a head-to-toe tonal mix, each separate is actually a variation of pink rose. Remember how that hue used to be a huge color trend? It lingers.
6. Dusty in Mink.
I love dusty look just as much as I adore husky voice. Seriously, who can resist this dusty mink tie waist pants paired with an elegant white top? You really need a pair of pointed toe heels for this.
7. Gold Meets Blush, pastel pink!
This one is a re-interpretation of Alexa Chung´s pastel green combo above. As I´ve said, you can pick the idea and ten rework it. So instead of a sweater and skirt, this mix and match features a spaghetti strap camisole in gold partnered with a blush pink pleated midi skirt. The mushroom accessories served well in strengthening the pastel statement.
8. Pastel Pink Coat on Black + White.
If you´re wondering what to wear to the airport, it´s time to put on some basic black and white and then throw over a pastel long coat. But really, this look is very functional you can sport it while running errands or even for meeting up with the girls. I love how the black and white polka dot top added interest to Jessica Alba´s nude top coat.
How to Wear Pastel Blue
1. A pastel blouse with white skirt.
This look is all about pastel blue, something you can wear to the office. Notice how the light blue haze drape top complements the gardenia combo skirt. Add the cement dress pumps and gold blocked handbag and you`re ready to bring the trend to the work place.
2. Pastel Blue Coat on Bright Checkered Prints.
Whether you have two separates in yellow and blue/purple checks or you have a print blocked dress, a smoke-y pastel blue coat will pull everything together as seen here on Elle Fanning. Keep your accessories in white or similar pastel hues.
3. Pastel blue jacket with white jeans.
Any pastel colors will always look great with white. But in this outfit, we can see how teaming three pastel colors—light blue, lavender, and beige—results to a very cohesive,cool summer look. So if you have a pastel jacket, go ahead and wear it with white skinny jeans, a pastel colored top, and some beige sneakers for a comfortable summer outfit.
4. Pastel Pink Coat on Pastel Blue Dress.
You may not have Jessica Wright`s hour glass shape but you surely must have the guts to wear a pastel on pastel layering. Your dress doesn´t have to be figure hugging, but as long as you work with the rule of length, long coat on knee-length dress or vice-versa, a pastel pink coat will always look great on a baby blue dress.
5. Experiment with colors.
Remember that while we´re used to seeing pastels paired with other pastel hues, you can always experiment teaming pastels with darker colors. Probably the only time I´d give your outfit a double take is when you´re wearing pastel everything and your shoes are in black. Some brown or nude pair of chaussures will work better.
How to Wear Pastel Colors in the Fall
Question: I wanted to know how to wear lavender, white and other pastels in the fall. I love them soo much! I thought by using strong neutrals I would be able to balance it out but struggling. ~ Hannah (18 years old college student with fair skin, blue eyes and blond)
Thank you for your great question! I cannot believe it’s already Fall. Time flies by so quickly these days. To me, pastels are classy pops of color and have the same excitement quality like bold colors. It’s all in the way you use it. I used to fear change in the trends and my fallback color was black. However neutrals tend to be safe colors and it turns outfits into the mundane.
Colors only work when you feel confident about it. It’s in the way you use it. Don’t let the colors overwhelm you. Let you and your style define the colors.
How to wear pastel colors in the fall: Strong Neutrals
I styled these outfits based on Hannah’s wish to pair pastels with strong neutrals. When you feel like the pastel color is too much for your outfit, the safest route is to pair it with a neutral color.
Neutrals are by definition “relaxed, unbiased, and impartial.” It is supposed to help enhance the pastel color of your outfit, not to detract from it. Some strong neutrals might help like navys, blacks and browns. I would tend to wear dark colors on the bottom because I’m more bottom heavy. If you are like me, the dark wash will create a slimming effect.
How to wear pastels in fall: Soft Neutrals
Lately with the approach of Fall, I want to try softer neutral shades that project a youthful and fun loving aura. A big hit for the past couple of years is camel. Camel is a softer shade of brown. While Heather Gray is the lighter version of Somber Gray. Both of these neutrals give off a classy and polish yet casual look
How to wear pastels in fall: Vibrant Jewel Tones
I love pairing pastels with jewel tones. The darker, more vibrant jewel tones help make pastels pop! The interaction makes the outfit more appealing and more playful depending on the cut and style of the particular piece. Just mix and match. If the color combinations do not work for you, try a different combination. Keep your outfit fun and light.
If you have pastel accessories like purses, rings, bracelets and necklaces, use it to add a light and playful mix to your outfits. Accessories can add that extra edge or glamour to your outfit. It works wonders in revamping a very common outfit into something new and unique.
How to Wear Pastel Colors in Winter
Pastel colors always come back as a trend color in fall, and then in continues to winter. If you look at the winter trends on the runway, you´ll be seeing pastel coats making the waves. The styles of coats may differ, but you´ll most likely always see a pastel coat. This goes to prove that once you´ve invested on a great pastel colored coat, or sweater, or anything knitted, you are going to find ways to wear it in winter. It won´t go outdated.
However, let´s be real. If you´re a fan of pastel colors and you want to wear this color in winter, you are most probably going to invest on a great pastel colored coat, right? Whether it´s a top coat, a cocoon, or a dress coat, as long as it comes in a whimsy shade of pastel, your pastel color investment is guaranteed to be of-the-moment.
There are many ways to wear a pastel coat; but it´s always inspiring to take cue from the runway stage. As you can see from the runway photos above, the pastel coats are worn as the main statement-making piece. The shoes often matched, if not complemented the coat, but rarely clashed.
You can choose to wear your pastel coat over a matching pastel dress, to weart it with white boots or silver high heels, to go head-to-toe nude on nude, or to toughen it with black.
1. Double-breasted blush pastel coats
Blush or rose pink pastel coat is probably one of the most versatile pastel coats you can wear out there. It literally goes with any color, and it looks great with any skin tone. You can wear it with black and dark browns to work, or dress it up dreamy with other pastel colors for a more feminine, elegant look.
2. How to Wear Pastel Colors: pastel shade of gray wool coats
Pastel gray is the epitome of new sophistication. When it comes to your toppers (sorry but please, step aside black coats), pastel gray is the new black! Wear it gray on gray with suit pants for a powerful work look, or with nude + other whimsy colors for a ladylike result.
3. Cocoon Pastel Coats
Still boosting the blush and rose pink pastel shade, these cocoon coats is about going cozy while still being runway-ready. Opt for wool mohair for a really wintery look, or for clean wool that transition between seasons.
The best thing about wearing cocoon pastel coats is they provide enough room for you to wear knitted sweater with big sleeves. Even if your sweater doesn´t have those bell or fluffy sleeves, having enough room for a thick sweater and some pleated trousers always come handy.
4. purple pastel coats
It never hurts to invest on a pastel shade of purple. Try the affordable sophistication of Jessica Simpson`s double-breasted coat with side-entry hand pockets, or Soybu´s sweet + casual smart sweater style.
A purple pastel coat can be worn nicely with an all-black outfit. While a lavender coat will blend well with blue washed jeans.
5. pastel coats for casual days
These are the pastel coats that make running errands or going to school still look chic. I´m coveting the faux-shearling jacket from Tahari, it looks so warm, and casual but trendy. But I would be just as happy getting wrapped in a girly ruffled-front trench from Jessica Simpson, + it´s budget friendly.
Whatever style or color of casual pastel coat you´d choose for running errands, it helps to know that you can easily wear it with gray hues or black.
6. high-fashion clean pastel coats
Looking for a killer coat that dresses to impress? Make sure to invest on one of these clean pastel coats. Styles include slim + single buttoned, funnel collared cocoon, and wool-blend cocoon.
As you can see, it´s so easy to look sophisticated and expensive in a pastel coat. Simply wear it with beige, gray or silver and you´ll quickly look like a million bucks.
7. short belted pastel coats
On days when I just want to look casual smart, I always go for the short coats. Short coats are best to wear with jeans, especially the skinnies. This season, lighten up your casual smart get-goes with these short pastel coats, featuring belted styles, in glow and lilac.
Admit, you´re likely to grab those dark colored jeans and sweaters any day in winter. Thankfully, pastel colors will clash nicely with any dark colors.
How to Wear Pastel Jeans
Editor´s Note: This outfit was posted by Helen of Dietingfashions.com, former Creative Fashion Glee´s content contributor.
When I think of pastels, the first thing I think of are Easter eggs. Making Easter eggs are so much fun. So when I saw this Free People striped sweater on sale, I knew I had to work on a playful outfit.
This is such a comfortable outfit. The open knit of the sweater makes the outfit bearable in the heat. The mint jeans are form fitting at the waist and loose at the knees. This is becoming one of my go to outfits for easy and fun looks.
How to Wear Pastel Colors in Spring
Pastel is back as a trend for spring, yet again. We´ve seen different shades of pastel on the runway – from dresses, suit pants, skirts and shorts sets – that it makes us think, “how do I incorporate this trend into my own style?”
If there´s one takeaway I got from observing several pastel looks from the runway for over a decade now, it´s that the best way to give this trend a fresh take for spring is by wearing pastel colors with killer shoes. Think buckled, pointed-toe boots, edgy strap sandals, and smart mules.
But as I´ve said in the past, pastel will always come back as trend every spring. So if you´re thinking of getting yourself another piece of pastel, make sure it´s something that you can always rework. Make sure it´s a practical investment.
1. Invest on a pastel leather jacket
A moto jacket in blush will go with anything. It toughens any outfit but still keeps that feminine luxe to it. You can wear it with a head-to-toe pastel combo or with a little black dress.
2. A pastel faux fur jacket
Wondering what´s the best way to clash with a pair distressed jeans? This blush in pink faux fur moto jacket. Depending on how warm or cold that day is, you can finish the look with some high heel sandals or some gray ankle boots.
3. Layer with a pastel colored cardigan
4. A pastel sweater dress with thigh high boots
You can never go wrong with a pastel sweater for spring. Team it up with a pair of thigh boots and a moto leather jacket.
5. Muted pastels for the cold weather
If you have to stay outdoor and the temperature is still far from warm, wear a stone-coloured trench coat paired with a pastel orange pants and black platform booties for a trendy yet cozy look.
6. Colorblocked Pastels
Last seasons were mostly about colorblocking vibrant solid pieces. This spring, your take on colorblock trend is effortless and relax – pastels in the same family of colors or complementary pastels.
7. Almost-Beige Mix
Beige is a shade many of us adore. It tones down daring and loud pieces and balances some experimental blends and yet, able to stand on its own. Take a head-to-toe beige number (think jumpsuit or long maxi dress) and pair with striking metallic platforms, or go for a beige maxi skirt teamed with a muted tank under a cropped ivory cardigan.
8. Light-Hued Silk and Stripes
Deviate a bit from too girly floral trend and wear something silky, tailored or striped in light colors. Pair a muted stripe button down with a tailored cropped pants, tucked in, or wear your shirt untucked with some pastel cropped skinny jeans for a casual and relax take.
How to Wear Pastel Colors in Summer
For this season, pastels are made into brighter hues so expect to see brighter shades of pale. The good thing about it is … while bright pastel colors are still refreshing to the eye, they´re a bit more vibrant than normal pastel colors yet not as shocking or overwhelming as the brightest of hues.
Wearing pastel colors in summer is also more about mixing colors with cream and beige instead of color blocking. Here are some beautiful looks for you to try.
1. A backless lavender maxi dress
Lavender is a very stunning color which depicts both femininity and maturity. This backless lavender maxi dress is can be styled up and down, with a strapped silver or gold heels for an evening wear, or with neutral color flat sandals for a more casual look.
2. Light Blue Dress
Sometimes, when you see a dress that´s really cute, you can´t have enough of it. Take for instance this More and More light blue chiffon dress, its color is oh so fabulous and it´s styled with intricate folds and pleats. Add some edge to the look with an ankle cuff (studded) platform wedge.
3. One Shoulder Peach Dress
Look happy and gorgeous (even if the skies occasionally turn grey) in a one shoulder pinky-peach dress featuring an asymmetrical neckline and a versatile shift style. Because the dress is already a statement, add a nude pumps, a beige bag, and gold jewelries.
4. Lace Likely Pink Romper
Looking at this lace pink romper makes me crave for modern lace even more. A cool pastel pink with sheer, black lace accents along the shoulders and side cutouts, this romper would look perfect with a less is more black strappy gladiator sandal or with flat black ankle boots.
5. Swan Hit Wonder Cream Skirt
A cream crochet shirt matched with a cream swan skirt together don´t speak color but statements, fun and appealing cream-colored gauze shaped into feather-like petals on your skirt.
To add pastel effects, go for a colorblocked pastel yellow envelope clutch and pastel yellow pointed toe flats. The flats, together with the skirt, will zeal the inner ballerina in you. Accessorize with a gold slim belt and gold bangles.
6. Coral Pink Colored Jeans
Colored jeans aren´t going anywhere but for spring, they´re made even more interesting in pastel colors. Would you not fall in love with this BB Dakota Reanne Coral Pink Jeggings? Team up with a matching spring plaid shirt and mint green pumps for a vibrant twill look depicting sexy skinnies and tapered legs.