Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Color Trends 2016: Pantone Fashion Color Report

Pantone is a world’s leading authority on color selection in fashion and interior design. 2016 Pantone’s Spring and Fall palettes include many earthy, yet vibrant, colors that remind us of the 70s. With a couple of seasons of strong colors, trends are moving to soft and calming shades.

Factors Influencing Current Color Trends

1. The Pantone Color of the Year is “a color snapshot of what we see taking place in our culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude.” This year Pantone chose the blend of Rose Quartz (baby pink) and Serenity (baby blue) as a symbol of gender equality and gender fluidity.

2. One of the factors strongly influencing color trends in 2016 is Cuban transformation. American culture, music, and cuisine have always been influenced by Cuban immigrants and artists, but socio-economic changes that are just starting in Cuba trigger even more interest in this vibrant and colorful country that has been off-limits to Americans for over 50 years. People want to draw as much as possible from the Cuban heritage, rich with contributions from indigenous African, European, and Native American roots before the country becomes westernized. Cuba is full of spicy end exotic tones. Its capital, Havana, is literally abounding in happy and sunny colors. Perhaps the city’s landscape reflects Cuba’s multi-ethnic heritage.

3. Another factor that plays an important role in 2016 color trends is a strong need for peace and the end to ongoing armed conflicts around the world. Therefore, people are gravitating toward colors that elicit a sense of order, peace, and security. This may be why current color trends align closely with palettes of the ’70s when a peace-loving generation awaited the end of war in Vietnam.

4. One more factor that is clearly seen in current color trends is a need to reconnect with nature. We live in an era in which most of us are constantly connected to our phones and computers. People are spending increasing amounts of in front of screens, whether at work, home, or in transit, so what better way to rest our eyes than viewing the green tones of nature?

Pinks & Violets

Pink is not only the most adored color by many little girls, but it’s also a feminine color for confident personalities who are not afraid to add a little sweetness to their image. 

Brides choose not only blush pink centerpieces but some, such as Anne Hathaway, Reese Witherspoon, and Jessica Biel, decided to wear light pink dresses over classic white gowns on their wedding days.

Rose Quartz is a soft pink that in nature can be seen in the pink sky or budding flowers. This subtle Pantone version of pink mixes well with other colors. It goes well with gray shades like Lilac Gray and Sharkskin, and blues like Serenity and Limpet Shell, or navy. The Pantone blend of the year, Rose Quartz and Serenity is easy to wear but may feel overly sweet to some people.

Peach Echo is a muted yet warm and energizing orange. Ia a universal shade of peach that will complement many skin tones. 

Dusty Cedar is an elegant rose pink, that according to Pantone, is “a fall and winter version of the pink we’re used seeing in spring.” Dusty Cedar is easy to wear with rose gold jewelry, which is very trendy right now. 

Bodacious is a purple shade that according to Pantone speaks to gender fluidity. According to Urban Dictionary, the word “bodacious” was popular during the ’80s and early ’90s and is a combination of the words “bold” and “audacious.” As the name suggests, Bodacious is an impressive color for brave fashionistas. It is the most difficult color to work with in the Spring 2016 Pantone Color Report, but if used well, it can be a fashion statement.


Sharkskin, Warm Taupe, and Iced Coffee are neutrals that made into the 2016 Pantone color selection. These neutrals work well as a base for more vibrant colors because they pair well with almost any other shade. Warm Taupe is exactly what the name says, whereas Iced Coffee is a bit richer version of it. Sharkskin is a pristine gray that has a lot of application in interior design. It’s also the most masculine color from the group, so it’s going to be popular in the men’s collections. I like Sharkskin mixed with Dusty Cedar and contrasted with vibrant green and yellow accents. 

Lilac Gray is a more subtle version of Sharkskin. As the name suggests, this extraordinary shade of gray has a lot of lilac tint in it. This color is similar to Rose Quartz because it’s feminine, delicate, and conveys a sense of composure.

Interior design is moving back to its roots, and strong glosses are being replaced by muted earth colors. Grays and blues are replacing browns and beiges. A few years ago, people were buying brown sofas, tables, and vanities. Now it’s all about the gray. When introducing gray into your home decor, it’s important to remember that you need to mix it with some brighter and happier colors to avoid a dull feeling, unless that’s what you are going for. 


Airy Blue is a color I spotted a while ago in collections of top fashion designers such as Elie Saab, Reem Acra, and Zuhair Murad. Even though they have been present in couture fashion shows for a while, it took a long time for retailers to pick up this trend.

Riverside is a cool and calming, whereas Serenity is a subtle, dreamy, magical blue with a purple note sometimes seen in the sky. Maybe that’s why it evokes a sense of weightlessness.

In fashion, I like the juxtaposition of milky blues with rusty reds. Milky blues evoke a sense of space and relaxation, so I see a lot of possible application of them in interior design.

Snorkel Blue comes from the 2016 Spring Report, but I hope this color trend will not disappear after just one season. I would love to see more of this new version of navy in fall and winter collections. This striking color is relaxing and energizing at the same time. Thanks to its undertones, it’s a beautiful color for a monochromatic look. Snorkel Blue is a perfect color for a suit that is sophisticated but stands out.

Limpet Shell is a mint-aqua blue with a lot of green in it. This fresh color is nothing new because it has been present in fashion, wedding decor, and home decor trends for a few years now. Mint livens up gray interiors and our senses, so I hope that this clean color will continue to thrive.


Potter’s Clay is a rusty coppery red that is almost brown, and it’s one of my favorite fashion trends that’s already available in the chain stores. Copper and rust shades look great on people with dark hair and blue eyes. One of the easiest ways to introduce this color trend to your wardrobe is to wear it with a copper eyeshadow. Here is one that I like: Coppering.

Aurora Red falls in the same color category, with a lot of warmth but less orange.

Fiesta is a red with a yellow base. I would wear this high-energy color on my lips.

This year reds seem to be more exotic than the 2015 Pantone Color of the Year Marsala, which seems to be more grounded.

Yellows & Mustards

Buttercup is one of the sunniest and happiest yellows you can imagine. It pairs well with Serenity, as well as with gray and green shades. An easy way to introduce yellow to your home decor is to buy pillows in this lively color.

In summer, I like to wear yellows with a green and citrusy base. I absolutely adore fun, bird prints, however, they are not easy to find in the chain stores. 

Spicy Mustard has been present in the chain stores for a while now, but it’s still quite a new color fashion trend. My first encounter with this zesty color was when, as a teenager, I found a pair of my mom's flare pants from the ’70s. By then the color was outdated and old. Surprisingly, now I have a totally different feeling toward this odd yellow that suddenly appears exotic and spicy. The color that once seemed simply “unclean” now seems to be complex. Spicy Mustard makes me realize how our attitudes toward colors change in a life span and reminds me what an important role colors play in culture, society, gender, art, and literature. 


Green brings positive energy and harmony to our lives,  and it has always been my favorite color. No wonder I fell in love with Lush Meadow, the singular, yet beautiful green in the Fall 2016 Fashion Report. This vibrant green reminds me of a rain forest. However, Rain Forest by Pantone has a bit more blue in it. Lush Meadow can also be described as grassy or leafy. Green fabrics in the chain clothing stores are always in deficitdeficit—notwithstanding army green and olive. Many emerald green gowns made it to the red carpet, but the trend never quite made it to the consumer—at least not in recent years. Green shades bring life to any outfit or space. The good news is that you don’t have to paint your walls green in order to be up to date with trends; just buy a green houseplant and voila—you’ve incorporated green into your home decor.

Green Flash is a bright green that made it into the Spring 2016 Fashion Report. This spring green mixes well with white, gray, silver, and brass. According to Pantone, this color is an answer to designers calling for a touch of nature even in urban environments.


The only color I am missing in the 2016 Pantone Fashion Color Selections is white. Perhaps, because white and black are not trends, but fashion staples. No wardrobe would be complete without a white shirt. White is timeless and never goes out of style. People can get tired of strong colors, but white proved to stand the test of time, both in fashion and interior design.

Most people know their favorite colors and in which colors they look and feel good. New colors bring new energy and elicit feelings we are striving for in a given time. No wonder people change their color preferences as they grow and collect new experiences. However, people should never blindly follow color fashion trends. Colors you surround yourself with should make you feel good. If you are looking for a new jacket and blush pink is in fashion, go ahead and buy it, but only if you feel like you in it. At the same time, if you adore your old dress in a hot pink that is not trendy right now, wear it with pride if you feel good in it. Colors play an important role in our everyday lives, and the colors we pick should help us express how we feel or elicit the desired sensation. Trends come and go as culture and societies change, but only you can decide what tones capture your dreams, feelings, and thoughts.

I connect with most colors from the Pantone Spring and Fall 2016 Reports. Some colors, like green, I loved for years whereas others, like copper or mustard, I started “flirting” with quite recently. I can’t really say how much of my current color preferences have been influenced by marketing campaigns and what retailers actually offer compared to the world around me—travels, art, and culture.


  1. Wow! Great post :*

  2. Ooh, I love this and will have to take it with me the next time i go shopping so I can remember your color pairing ideas!!

  3. Thanks for sharing this helpful guide for the colour trends for spring and fall 2016 <3
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

  4. This post is amazing and so informative! I love the trends this season!

    1. Thanks Chloé for keep coming back to my blog :) I feel like we connect really well :)