Confirmed: Spring's Hopeful Color Palette Is On The Way

Explore the five biggest color themes that fashion buyers are getting behind.

Courtesy of Proenza Schouler
Spring/summer '21 color trends include shades of rust orange from Proenza Schouler

It was only a few months ago when experts confirmed that the Spring/Summer 2021 color trends seen on the runway, in lookbooks, and streamed from remote locations all over the globe exuded a sense of optimism. The palette suggested that brands were designing with prosperity and serenity in mind. But with new spring arrivals dropping this very moment, it’s worth remembering that what’s seen during Fashion Week isn’t always exactly what arrives in stores nor ends up in consumers’ closets. Fashion buyers help determine that part. The ones ahead are on board with projecting a positive spirit, but they have a unique take on the season’s most desirable color trends, too.

“The spring collections have so much optimism, joy, and hope for brighter days ahead,” says Saks Fifth Avenue’s Fashion Director Roopal Patel. “It’s as if designers were dreaming of traveling to their favorite places, delivering a sense of escapism as we move forward. All of these bright and vibrant colors feel happy and light, and that's exactly what we all need right now.” Katie Murphy, Vice President of Client Services at 11 Honoré, echoes the sentiment, as well, stating that fashion is leaning toward a greater sense of being carefree, even when matters outside of clothing choice still feel heavy and uncertain. “After a cold and dark winter, I think everyone is ready to use fashion as a mood-lifter, and that’s where the joyous colors will come in,” Murphy states.

As for the color trends they're buying into for spring/summer 2021, buyers mostly agreed on a set of vibrant, saturated tones that inherently feel uplifting but they also pointed out the strong presence of comforting neutrals and playful combinations of multiple hues. Ahead, a closer look at what’s to be the most prominent themes of the season and where to buy them.

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Spring/Summer 2021 Color Trend: Sunshine Shades

Courtesy of Altuzarra

“There were many ‘sunshine shades’ on the spring/summer ‘21 runway from designers including Altuzarra, Simon Miller, Valentino, and more,” says Patel of this particularly cheerful and positive-feeling trend, which she describes, as greater than one very specific tint. “From vibrant yellow to tangerine orange, these bright pops of color bring a feeling of joy and happiness.” Essentially, this trend encompasses all the pigments you'd find in the sky on a particularly glorious day.

Spring/Summer 2021 Color Trend: Bold Magenta

Courtesy of Tanya Taylor

“For Spring/Summer ‘21, we are turning to a palette fit for a painter,” says Murphy, stating that milky blues, pistachio greens, and a solid base of neutrals are popular for spring. But the VP also calls out a specific shade that was super prominent in countless collections this past fall: bold magenta. “With colors that mimic the bright skies and florals that come with the season, we are taking the opportunity to play with proportions,” she says of how 11 Honoré's adopting the lively shades. “You will see a lot of statement sleeves, feminine ruffles, and unexpected flounces from us! Brands to watch out for are Azeeza, Tanya Taylor, Veronica Beard, and our very own Private Label Collection.”

Spring/Summer 2021 Color Trend: Multi-Colored

Courtesy of Gabriela Hearst

While the multi-colored trend may not pinpoint a specific shade in a spectrum, it’s worth calling out among the upcoming collections. “We loved the sense of joy throughout the Spring/Summer '21 collections,” says Liane Wiggins, Head of Womenswear at MatchesFashion. “Everyday pieces from the denim at Molly Goddard to the sleepwear at Halpern, the tie-dye knitwear at Elders Statesman and the day dresses at Valentino have been uplifted by designers experimenting with an array of bold and uplifting colors and prints."

As Wiggins sees it, these creative clashes of colors not only have the power to elicit joy but give consumers something to look forward to. “I think we are all excited for the opportunity to dress up again and we see these bright colors and patterns coming through in this category too, whether it is a multi-colored silk dress from Gabriela Hearst or a pair of Amina Muaddi heels — it will be a welcome contrast to how we have been living over the past year and will feel exciting to put something special on.”

Spring/Summer 2021 Color Trend: Nature's Neutrals

Courtesy of Khaite

Rest assured minimalists and those color-averse, 2021 will not be all about the brightest and loudest shades you can find. “White, cream, nude, and camel tones cleanse the palette and act as a base for the transitional months,” says Sak’s Patel of the season’s range of soft, warm neutrals that have been seen in the collections of Khaite, Fendi, and Victoria Beckham.

Selfridges Head of Womenswear, Jeannie Lee adds, “as people are connecting more with nature. Earth tones have been prevalent even amongst streetwear brands such as Joah Brown and Les Tien which traditionally have gravitated towards stronger, more primary colors.”

Spring/Summer 2021 Color Trend: Rusty Orange

Courtesy of Proenza Schouler

“Color has been important for spring/summer ‘21,” confirms Lee of Selfridges's seasonal buy. In contrast to the boldest options available, Lee points out a trend that's not quite bright nor a true neutral. “A rich rust-hued orange has made its way into many collections," says Lee, "most notably as a key dress in Proenza Schouler.