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How to Style the New Pantone 2021 Colors of the Year

How to style the Pantone 2021 Color of the Year: Ultimate Gray and Illuminating Yellow.

As you may have heard, the Pantone Color Institute’s choice for Color of the Year is . . . actually two colors. Ultimate Gray and Illuminating (for the uninitiated, that’s a bright yellow hue). Reaction to this announcement has been mixed. But our ace correspondent Julie Chang Murphy is here to show us how to style the new Pantone 2021 Colors of the Year, Ultimate Gray and Illuminating yellow, in fashion, menswear, beauty and home décor.

Ultimate Gray and Illuminating

The trend analysts at Pantone Color Institute have the thankless job of forecasting the color of the upcoming year every December. And you know its been a hard year when they punt and choose two colors, not just one.

For 2021, they chose two colors: “the union of enduring Ultimate Gray with the vibrant yellow Illuminating.”  Huh?

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Ultimate Gray is described as solid and resilient — like the colors of weathered pebbles on the beach. Illuminating is a bright and cheerful yellow, imbuing the year ahead with optimism and clarity.

The public reaction was swift, as always. And snarky, as always.

how to style the Pantone 2021 Color of the Year: gray and yellow

How to style the Pantone 2021 Color of the Year: Ultimate Gray and Illuminating Yellow.

“Sweatpants gray” seemed seemed to signal that everyone is just giving up. The yellow hue selected was “too rubber duck-like” to some. And together as a combination, the colors reminded folks of dated 1950s bathroom and kitchens, gender neutral baby showers or road markings. Vogue proclaimed it “really weird.” Ouch!

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But here at Dandelion Chandelier, we’re openminded — after all, our namesake is inspired by the sunny and grounded yellow dandelion who morphs into an ethereal light grey, only to be carried off by the power of our wishes in the wind.

And we love color! Every single color is redeemable in the right context and design. Read on, and you’ll see.

How to style the Pantone 2021 Color of the Year: Ultimate Gray and Illuminating Yellow.

How to Style the New Pantone 2021 Colors of the Year

Below, we’ve rounded up some of the most compelling and elegant fashion, home and beauty products in Ultimate Gray and Illuminating. Seen in the right light, the future can look beautiful and encouraging, indeed.

1. Women’s Fashion

Gray has always been a cozy staple in our wardrobe. Think classic college sweatshirts and warm, heathered socks. But it can also be elegant and luxurious like this Marni cardigan and Chloe wallet. Yellow reminds us to lighten up and have fun and this ombre dress, hair wrap and belt are a welcome pop of color.

  • How to style the Pantone 2021 Color of the Year: Ultimate Gray and Illuminating Yellow
    How to style the Pantone 2021 Color of the Year: Ultimate Gray and Illuminating Yellow. Marni Shearling Cardigan- $3,690. Courtesy Photo.

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2. Men’s Fashion

Ultimate Gray and Illuminating surprised us in its heritage appeal — especially when it’s woven into an timeless plaid pattern like North Face’s jacket and Brunello Cucinelli dress shirt. For accessories, gray is minimalist and dignified. And we love the signature yellow of Acqua di Parma’s shaving brush for a fresh start in the morning.

  • How to style the Pantone 2021 Color of the Year: Ultimate Gray and Illuminating Yellow. The North Face Quilted Down Jacket- $960. Courtesy Photo.

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3. Home Décor 

This soothing combination achieves its full potential in creating a warm and inviting home. We found a simple yet stylish rug, pillow and blanket that would elevate any living room. And the sight of a cheery yellow tart pan and ceramic floral arrangement with whimsical Billy Buttons brings just the right dose of charm.

  • How to style the Pantone 2021 Color of the Year in home décor
    How to style gray and yellow in home décor. Emile Henry Round Tart Dish- $42. Courtesy Photo.

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4. Bath & Beauty Products

The evocative gray of a smoky eye or scent can be found in Chantecaille and Byredo’s luxurious and sophisticated products. From the natural world, lemons and geranium leaves inspire refreshing bath and beauty products like aromatherapy bath oil, serum and nail polish.

  • How to style the Pantone 2021 Color of the Year: Ultimate Gray and Illuminating Yellow
    How to style the Pantone 2021 Colors of the Year. Aromatherapy Associates Support Equilibrium Bath and Shower Oil- $71. Courtesy Photo.

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How to Style the New Panetone 2021 Colors of the Year

Those are some illustrations of how these two hues can live together in real life in harmony. Let us know how you feel about this year’s Pantone Colors of the Year. Do you love this pair or hate it, dear reader? Wherever you land on this pressing matter, we wish you a happy and healthy New Year 2021.

How to style the Pantone 2021 Color of the Year: Ultimate Gray and Illuminating Yellow.

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This article contains affiliate links to products independently selected by our editors. As an Amazon Associate, Dandelion Chandelier receives a commission for qualifying purchases made through these links. 

Crediting her training as a cultural anthropologist at Wellesley College, Julie has immersed herself in various industries in the last 15 years including fashion design, event planning, and fitness. Julie lives in New York where she loves trying every ramen and dumpling restaurant with her husband and three children. She finds joy in bold prints, biographies of fierce women, kickboxing. And spending way too long finding the perfect polish color to express her mood.

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