Spring 2014 Color Trend Report

The Spring 2014 collections showed an inspired color palette of soft pastels and vivid brights that stand alone brilliantly or blend together ably to create a sensible balance.

We continued to see traditional fashion “rules” broken: the use of white as a workable year-round color; traditional masculine shades of beige, blue, and gray finding a place in women’s everyday dress; and more surprisingly, softer shades such as petal pink and dove gray crossing seasonal lines and appearing in pre-fall collections from fashion houses such as Chloe and Ralph Lauren.

The Pantone Color Institute has announced its seasonal color schemes for more than 50 years. In September, Pantone’s Executive Director Leatrice Eiseman explained the Spring 2014 palette to Women’s Wear Daily. “What’s interesting is we’re seeing exciting and fashionable colors as well as more neutral ones.” While recent seasons have showed full looks in dramatic colorways, not everyone is ready to make the bold leap just yet. “There needs to be equilibrium,” Eiseman said. “The world still needs the stability of soft neutrals.” 

We are feeling optimistic in our perspective, but we are also retaining a smart, practical attitude. While just about every color—blue, yellow, orange, red—was represented on Pantone’s list, here are a few standouts:


White has continued to rise in popularity over the past several seasons, thankfully providing us with relief from rules regarding its seasonal appropriateness. When is Labor Day again? Now this crisp, clean color is considered a year-round staple. For full-time wear, add a navy blazer and a heavier shoe.


Circular Petals Earrings: $58, J.Crew; Tuxedo Bow Belt: $50, Banana Republic; Helmut Lang Blazer: $460, Net-A-Porter; Stretch Toothpick Jean: $115, J.Crew; Sophie Hulme Spear-Tab Pouch: $245, Barneys New York; Runway Looks: Altuzarra, Chalayan, J. Mendel, Gianfranco Ferre

Black & White

Designers Derek Lam and Erdem (among many others) fused black and white to give us chic clothing options for Spring 2014. The best part of this pairing is the likelihood that we already own the basic pieces required to create the look. It can be as effortless as pairing a white cotton tee or silk shirt with a black pant and simple sandal. It’s a timeless, pulled-together look that requires very little thought.


McQ Alexander McQueen Arrow Sweater: $455, Matches Fashion; Echo “Reflected Circle Links” Silk Scarf: $38, Nordstrom; Gansevoort Quilted Leather Shoulder Bag: $245, DKNY; A.L.C. Walsh Silk Paneled Striped Skirt: $374, Saks Fifth Avenue; Kenneth Cole Pointed Toe Flats: $160, Bloomingdale’s; Runway Looks: No. 21, Cedric Charlier, Ralph Lauren, Derek Lam


From peach to petal, pink was one of the most prevalent colors represented on the spring runways. The color had a noticeable beginning during the Fall 2013 shows, shown in topcoats from several designers including Carvenx, Celine and Jonathan Saunders. Fashion editors and “It Girls” have been frequently photographed sporting this color trend in both jackets and clutches. If you’re a fan of this sweet shade, then Spring 2014 is your season! If not, this spring is the perfect time to get on board. Pink tones have traversed seasonal lines again, popping up in pre-fall collections from Alexis Mabille, Chloe and Elie Saab.


Adam Lippes Cropped Sweater: $690, Net-A-Porter; Oliver Peoples Ria Sunglasses: $335, Neiman Marcus; Snakeskin Belt: $58, J.Crew; Kenzo Color-Block Leather Clutch: $250, Moda Operandi; Repetto Metallic Suede Ballet Flats: $300, Saks Fifth Avenue; Leather Wide Heel Sandal: $80, Zara; Runway Looks: Sportmax, Richard Nicholl, Alexander Wang, Tods

Violet Tulip

Violet, or lavender, was Pantone’s second-seat color and undoubtedly had a major presence in the spring collections. This pastel shade was represented in full looks at Christophe Lemaire and Burberry, as well as approachable separates at Christian Dior and Rag & Bone. Violet is quickly gaining momentum toward “must-have” status. While wearing a head-to-toe sheer purple outfit might not be attractive to everyone, pairing a violet button-down (Gap and J. Crew have nice versions) or knee-length skirt with classic beige and gray neutrals will certainly hit the mark on this color trend. This shade complements a variety of skin tones and can also be incorporated through the use of accessories: bracelets, a shawl, or a pretty leather pump.


J.Crew Color-Block sweater: $95, Net-A-Porter; Chan Luu Amethyst Earrings: $120, Net-A-Porter; Resin Hexagon Ring: $48, Leif; Cashmere Blend Eyelash Wrap: $98, Nordstrom; Gianvito Rossi Leather Pumps: $645, Net-A-Porter; Runway Looks: Marco de Vincenzo, Burberry Prorsum, Rag & Bone, Christian Dior

Radiant Orchid

Radiant Orchid, a brighter tint of purple, is the talked-about Pantone Color of the Year 2014. This color is certainly a favorite of Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, who wore a dress in this vibrant shade during an August photo shoot. The fabulous photos caused the item to completely sell out within 48 hours! “I don’t deny at all that she is influencing the palette,” Eiseman said when asked about this particular color. Dolce & Gabbana and Peter Pilotto showed orchid beautifully incorporated into prints on dresses and skirts. Although it may not lend itself well to every skin color, incorporating it similarly through prints, as well as bright accessories, will keep you on color scheme.


Kendra Scott Elle Earrings: $52, Neiman Marcus; Aerin Erickson Beamon Gemstone Cocktail Ring: $180, Shopbop; Kotur Margo Crinkled Metallic Box Clutch: $350, Neiman Marcus; Purple Leather Envelope Clutch: $49, HeyFair; Kate Spade Galley Loafer: $258, Jildor; Manolo Blahnik Tayler Bicolor Suede d’Orsay Pump: $735, Neiman Marcus; Runway Looks: Peter Pilotto, Preen, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci

Gray / Pantone’s “Paloma”

From pewter to charcoal, gray has been a common color seen shifting across both season boundaries and gender lines. This shade is a current favorite among designers and is now a timeless neutral for men and women alike. Whether added to your wardrobe through a fitted cardigan, tailored trousers or structured handbag, gray tones will always hit the mark in sophistication and style.


Gray Longline Open Front Coat: $215, Chicnova; J.Crew Ribbed-Knit Sweater: $218, Net-A-Porter; Alexander Wang Prisma Leather Backpack: $1,095, Net-A-Porter; Somervell Necklace: $59, Stella & Dot; Moyna Swirl Beaded Fold-Over Clutch: $115, Cusp; Runway Looks: Altuzarra, Richard Nicholl, Max Mara, Burberry Prorsum

Mint / Pantone’s “Hemlock”

Mint green is another pastel that seemed to be everywhere for spring—either represented by way of head-to-toe looks or thoughtfully mixed into prints. This color is already considered a mainstay in the accessories department, and this season was no exception. It offered a calming lightness to the spring collections, and the shade successfully pairs with a variety of other colors.


Florence Stackable Bands: $49, Stella & Dot; Silk Pocket Blouse: $138, J.Crew; Carven Double Crepe Trousers: $116, Matches Fashion; Leather 18mm Watch Strap: $25, Fossil; Sanibel Reversible Pendant: $79, Stella & Dot; ASOS Secret Garden Heels: $66, ASOS; Runway Looks: Lanvin, Peter Pilotto, Derek Lam, Calvin Klein

Nude or Beige

Taupe or camel—whatever you choose to call it, this classic color is a chic choice for both men and women this spring. This color is typically shown in trench coats and handbags. This season, don’t be afraid to sport it from head-to-toe. A sleek, tailored pant or beautiful nude shoe are great ways to start.


Merona Solid Hobo Handbag: $35, Target; Cutler and Gross Sunglasses: $565, Net-A-Porter; Milly Dylan Woven Zip Crossbody Bag: $325, Neiman Marcus; Geometric Necklace: $88, Etsy; Maison Martin Margiela Leather Knot Sandals: $1,290, Shopbop; Hollie Pump: $128, Banana Republic; Runway Looks: Hermès, Carolina Herrera, Max Mara, M. Patmos


Metallics were one of the biggest stories of the upcoming warm-weather season. Gold, silver, holographic—this is another area that has experienced a fashion-rule rewrite. Lanvin played a major role, showing a collection of tinny pinks, purples, and greens. Now, feel free to mix and match gold and silver or choose a shimmering lamé for daytime. For Spring 2014, it all shines.


Jackie Link Bracelet: $69, Stella & Dot; Zac Posen Holographic Eartha Mini Cross Body Bag: $295, Shopbop; Metallic Nail Polish: $6, American Apparel; Pyramid Zip-Top Clutch: $118, BCBG Max Azria; Isabel Marant Prissy Embossed Pumps: $650, Matches Fashion; Runway Looks: Lanvin, Costume National, Dolce & Gabbana, Marco de Vincenzo