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Trend Report: Color-Block Style + How to Wear It

Bright hues are here! Our latest color-block collection of flats and sneakers comes in six new colors across three of your favorite silhouettes and features color-blocking details designed to energize your day. 

In case you’re new to the term, color blocking is the use of contrasting vibrant hues—usually as bold & bright blocks of color—in clothing design, art, and decor. The style is making a fashion comeback this season, and our latest collection is right on-trend. Originally inspired by the art of Dutch painter Piet Mondrian, color blocking took off in the 1960s, made a big splash in 2011, and popped up all over the Spring/Summer runways again this year. 

For our new collection, we’ve put the Birdies spin on this cool trend with color-blocked details both inside and out. That means bright pops of color on the insoles of our Starling and Heron flats and two-tone exteriors for our Swift slip-on sneakers. Whether you prefer a subtle nod or a bold statement, you can try this trend out feet first and put a little extra sass in your step. Read on for more ways to incorporate color blocking into your look. 

Brandon Maxwell runway image of color-block outfitBrandon Maxwell Spring 2021

The Rules

As bright as it may be, color-blocking can provide a sense of order with a set of rules on how to do it successfully. The goal is to choose colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel and pair them together to make complementary color combinations (for example, yellow and purple or blue and orange). By contrast, you can also create tonal variety by picking colors that are in the same color family—such as pink, orange, and red. You can also try combining these two approaches by choosing two colors next to each other on the wheel and adding one complementary color to the mix. 

Valentino runway image of color-block outfit

Valentino Resort 2021

Go Bold

Choose two or three pieces of solid-colored clothing to build a single outfit. Avoid wearing too many colors together at once. Balancing a color-blocked outfit with a neutral color, like gray, is also a great way to try this trend without feeling over-the-top. Since bright color combos make a bold statement, it’s important to start with colors that you know look flattering on you and letting those be your guide for creating color-blocked looks. 

Jil Sander runway image of color-block dressJil Sander Pre-Fall 2011

Choose A More Subdued Approach

While it’s what most often comes to mind when thinking of this trend, color blocking does not have to be done only with bright colors. Earth tones, muted primary colors, neutrals, and even black-and-white combos can all be used to create color-blocked effects. You can also pair a multicolored piece (like a sweater or jacket) with solid colors to achieve a color-blocked vibe instead of using each piece of your outfit to make such a bold statement.

color-blocked women’s flats and slip-on sneakers

Let Your Accessories Do the Work

Shoes, handbags, scarves, jewelry, and other accessories are a great way to try out color blocking without going all in. Think of these items as the finishing touches that take your outfit from everyday to next level. Our two-tone Swift slip-on sneakers make a subtle color-blocked statement when worn with jeans and your favorite T-shirt. Or double down and pair our two-tone sneakers with a color-blocked jacket. 

Color blocking may sound intimidating at first, but we hope we’ve provided you with a few easy and approachable ways to try it out for yourself. And don’t forget, our color-block collection of women’s flats and sneakers is a great way to ease into the trend.