How Many Colors is Too Many?

It Depends!

Happy day, reader dear!

Isn’t the answer above frustrating? If you are the kind that likes rules and life in black and white, I apologize. I’m all about the messy middle (As Brené Brown calls it.) That place where things aren’t Yes or No, but Yes AND No. The place with lots of shades of grey… And all the colors of the rainbow, too! I’m happy to dwell there, but not everyone is. If you aren’t, this may not the be blog for you…

Have you ever wondered how some women can colorblock without looking like a clown? Or pattern mix? It’s all about the colors! AND about the person. That’s where it gets messy. Because there is more than one moving part. Color consulting and color combining is part science, part art, and part personality.

I take a moment every few weeks to remind you to please Pin any images or posts you like to your Pinterest account, and share with your friends anything you think they might find helpful! That’s why I’m here! Many thanks!

Color Science

When I work with a client on a color consultation, it starts with the purely physical part. The science of color. What does their coloring look like? Is is light, dark, or somewhere in between? Is their coloring bright or more subdued? Is their undertone cool, warm, or something not quite either. (Which isn’t neutral, btw.) What is their Value Contrast? What is their Color Contrast?

Color Personality

Then there’s the pesky personality piece! It’s also the most fun! Different style personalities are drawn to different colors and combinations. How do you create drama (for Ms. Dramatic) with a soft and warm palette? You create arresting color combinations. How do you create a Relaxed look with a cool and bright palette? Let’s find the cool, bright colors that nature gives us and use those as our starting point.

Art of Color

The art part is about what colors to choose, how to combine them, and how to wear them to create a focus on the wearer rather than on the colors themselves. It’s about thinking of the whole person as a work of art. Art is about line, design, color, and composition. How do I take their colors and create harmony with the person and the personality?

How Many IS Too Many?

Now we’re back to the original question and you can see why it’s messy! I always recommend starting with the physical, your Color Contrast, and playing from there. Align the number of colors in your outfit (or your print/pattern) with your personal coloring. If you are Dramatic, Rebellious or Creative, or high energy, you might add an extra color, or two or three! If you are Feminine, Relaxed, or even just very quiet, you might remove a color to create a more subdued look.

Note: For more information on how to count/read the number of colors in a print or pattern, read this post!

So How About YOU?

What colors are you drawn to? Are you a color lover or color loather? When you open your closet, what color predominates? Does it make you look amazing? What color do hear “WOW, you look great today!” in? Are you comfortable wearing more than one color in an outfit? (Neutrals don’t count!) Do tell… I love to hear from you!

Stylishly yours,


  • Leslie Susan Clingan

    I like color very much but seem naturally drawn to earth tones. I struggle with putting different solid colors together. I need a print with both colors to tie them together. That’s one reason I like scarves, I think. They give me the freedom to put 2 solids together and tie them in a bow with a scarf!!

    Has your blog name always been interactive/interchangeable color? Never noticed it before but it is fun!!

    • Liz K

      Thank you for visiting, Leslie! Have you always been drawn to earth tones? I know I find the colors to which I’m drawn have changed when we live in different places… And have certainly changed the more I learn about color! I’d love to find out more about what you mean by struggling with putting together different solid colors. You are right about scarves! They have the ability to pull together disparate pieces. As for the header, all the links on the site change color when you roll over them, I just never noticed it on the homepage before!


    I do love color but my husband always says to me I like muted color. I tend to wear more color in the summer. I wear watermelon, turquoise, coral, orange-red with navy and white in the summer. The rest of the year I find I wear neutrals with ivory. I do look much better in ivory. I do wear a red handbag all year. I have problems walking and use a walker so my shoes are not something I want to draw attention. Otherwise, I would wear a red shoe!

    • Liz K

      Thank you for commenting, Natalie! Most people do wear more color in the warmer months; I’m the opposite. I feel overheated in the summery colors and prefer light neutrals and use color for accents in the warm weather. I love the warmth of color in the cold months! I understand the shoe issue! That’s certainly common. A red handbag is always a fun choice! (And easy to find.) Your husband’s preference doesn’t surprise me! Men often prefer more muted colors than women. Wishing you (and hubby) a very happy New Year!

  • Natalie Robinson

    I would wear the rust and green outfit in a heart beat, minus the heels. I’m way too relaxed for even casual heels. I happily wear all the colours but I like to keep the value contrast low so it maintains the relaxed cohesive feel.

    • Liz K

      Love it! I wish I was higher Color Contrast myself, but I have a little rule-breaker in me along with high energy, so adding a color doesn’t usually overwhelm. You certainly can tell in a still photo, though! I’d love to wear the rust and green outfit… Thank goodness I get to indulge all those gorgeous warm colors when I play with clients or create looks for the blog!

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