Will You Wear the Pantone Colours of 2021?

Written by Fiona Ingham
stripey dress and blusher copy

The latest from our House of Colour blogger Fiona Ingham

Article first published on House of Colour website (www.houseofcolour.co.uk) December 2020. Edited for HBB blog January 2021

Since early in the 20th century various forecasting agencies have predicted colour trends. In 2000 the American company, Pantone Color Institute, decided to choose a colour for each year. They research film, travel, design, technology, sport, art, fashion to name but a few! Global trends and public mood are put into the mix to find a hue expressive of the times. The choice is a reaction but also a predictor. What is certain is that the chosen one will become ubiquitous in 2021 fashion and design.

For only the second time two colours have been honoured. They are Illuminating – a zingy yellow, and Ultimate Gray – a mid grey.

Tell the world!

Announcing the colour, Leatrice Eiseman Executive Director of Pantone evoked connotations of yellow sunlight, joyfulness and optimism balanced by the rock-like reassurance, reliability and strength of grey. She adds in a lighter reference to grey sweatpants, a WFH trend! This colour duo has already graced catwalks, including Prada Spring/Summer 2021.

But what does this mean for our HoC seasons? It should bring joy to Springs and Autumns who can sparkle in their buttercup yellows. Hopefully they can shop in their wardrobes. As an Autumn I’m a yellow addict and am delighted to discover that my Uniqlo cashmere turtleneck is bang on trend! It certainly sparkled with my metallic faux leather bronze midi skirt over the festive break.


Where to wear?

Winters, do check your colour rating. Illuminating is near your acid yellow but a nod to it in a pattern, trim or accessory may suffice. This vibrant yellow is not for Summers. Try a dash of a softer hue, more buttermilk than buttercup.

Ultimate Gray, I hear whoops of delight at this choice! This neutral, undemanding mid grey works for all except Autumns. My warning is that although it may symbolise the afore-mentioned reliability, when worn on its own or with other neutrals it just might invoke dreary, depressing days. We’ve had enough of those! It’s a great neutral for investment pieces but please brighten it up!  Autumn’s grey has a yellow tinge so if there is an urge to paint the town, well, greyish, check out the Dulux Colour of 2021, Brave Ground, an equivalent neutral located between a warm grey and khaki.

A blusher and strong lipstick enhance all neutrals. When masking and unmasking lip liner smudged over the lips works well. Check out the on trend eye shadows, HoC Yellow 26, Dark Grey, Flat Mid Grey, Lizard Grey.


Out with the old...

So, let’s say a fond farewell to Pantone’s Classic Blue of 2020. Its popularity was assured as blue is the favourite colour worldwide. Ultimate Gray will also have an easy ride. I urge Springs and Autumns to give a warm welcome to Illuminating. You will feel sunny, look good and definitely cheer up and illuminate the room. Or at least the Zoom…

stripey dress and blusher copy


Consistent holder of the House of Colour Star Consultant award each year since 1991 plus the new Double and Triple Star Consultant award for 2019. Winner of the Business Development Award and Team Productivity Award and also a 2017 Livewire Innovation and Excellence Award.

Colour Analysis can be a Private Individual Session (two hours) with a group of friends or joining a group (both half day). If you did your Colours some time ago Fiona recommends the Advanced Colour session for further inspiration.

For the time being Fiona is running her sessions virtually. For ‘Individual Personal Style on Zoom’ sessions and how to look good ‘Across a Crowded Zoom’ mini workshops contact Fiona directly with the details below.

Contact details: Fiona.ingham@houseofcolour.co.uk  07791 507534


Leave a Reply