Color names in fashion design : An easy reference guide for 100+ colours

When I reached the wonderfully stocked fabric store I started blabbering – “Ba ba ba”. I had forgotten to bring my fabric piece for matching. The showroom salesman asked me helpfully “Burgundy?”. “No, No, I want a Blue with some green and a little bit of white” – “Aquamarine? teal? oh ok, Sea foam green?” I should HAVE brought that fabric piece! I clearly did not know the colour names that matter.

Even the teeniest difference you envision in shades and hues of colors have already been invented and named. That too, such cute little names. 

Having all those colour names used in fashion design in one place seems a good idea so that I can come back and reference whenever I wanted to know about that purple with just that mix of blue in it and some white (which is Periwinkle, by the way) or white itself which is milky but with a pink undertone ( Alabaster). Or should words like blueish purple or cloudy white as I used to say suffice?.

Is it enough that fashion designers use these color names and you come across them and guess at it?. No way! Knowledge is power. So here are the colours that I have seen and loved. 

Blue colours

Blue is my favorite colour. And so is it the favourite of most of the people of this world – Refer this post if you do not believe me. There are so many variations to this colour that one of them is sure to be a favourite of yours too

Baby blue is a very light pastel blue. Periwinkle is a mix of blue and purple with white. Cobalt blue, Cerulean blue, sapphire blue, royal blue are all saturated shades of rich blue colour. French Navy, Navy blue are dark blues with a lot of depth. Azure is a clear deep blue sky blue

Green colours 

Green is a colour which symbolizes concerns towards ecology and the environment. It represents nature and evokes a soothing, relaxing sensation. It is a colour of happiness

Nothing can be as refreshing as looking at some of the green shades like Mint green, lime green and jade. Emerald, a rich green colour with just a hint of blue in it was the Pantone colour of the year 2013. Forrest green is a dark green clolour.

colors and names

Green -Blue combination colors

These are the most refreshing colors in the whole spectrum. The jewel tone of Peacock blue as well as Capri, the colour of the sky are all captivating. Aqua is a light to medium blue-green. Teal is a rich blue-green combination but then so is turquoise.Aquamarine is a clear light green-blue colour.

White colors

Impossible to write about all of the different variations of white but some prominently used white shades are off-whites &  creams other than the stark white color.   White in all its variations points to serenity and peace. It also denotes innocence and purity.

Alabaster is a warm white with a pinkish tone. Ivory has a yellow overtone to its white colour. An egg shell white has some brownish shade added to it.

white colour names

Beige colors

Beige is a creamy tan colour and Wikipedia lists Beige as a shade of white. I would not. Beige in fashion has a different and distinct identity. Though the people who crave colors may see beige as boring, it is an important colour in fashion design. There are people who live in shades of beige.

Brown colors

Brown is a colour that denotes stability. Coffee is the colour of  roasted coffee bean and as such you must know that coffee beans vary so much in colour but generally it is dark brown colour.

Bronze is a dark brown colour with a tint of green.Fawn is a yellowish dark tan. Auburn is a dark copper brown shade with a golden shine 

fashion colours

Curiously most of the Browns have associations with food. Chocolate, peanut, coffee, caramel, nutmeg, cinnamon. Maybe it’s my selective vision and I chose those and left out most other less appetizing names.

Yellow colors

Yellow is an energizing colour. Remember the stimulating effect of those Yellow sunflowers in the famous Vincent Van Gogh painting. It represented all the optimism that Van Gogh apparently felt during that period

Honeysuckle yellow was the Pantone colour of the year 2011.Chartreuse  is a yellow green colour.

colour names used in fashion design

Red colors

Red colour can literally accelerate your heart beat. It is a stimulating colour, a very active and warm colour. Burgundy is my favourite red colour and it is a deep wine red colour that suits most everybody. Cardinal is a similar vivid red 

colour names of fashion design

Purple colors

Purple and Violet are shades that represent a peaceful environment. They denote royalty and justice. Mauve is a mixture of pink and lavender. Radiant Orchid was the Pantone colour of the year 2014 and Marsala for the year 2015 and Ultra Violet is the colour for 2018. Someone sure loves Purple colour there

Eggplant is a bronze-purple and amethyst a  reddish-violet shade. 

Pink colors

The right shade of pink can be the most soothing colour for you. Rose gold is a pink colour with lots of variations – it is available in lots of hues ranging from a soft shade to deeper ones.Rose quartz was Pantone colour of the year for the year 2016

Orange colors

Orange, the colour of Pumpkins apricots and peaches may not be a favorite of many ( It is said to be the least favourite of all colours) but it has an energizing vibe because of it’s association with energy, warmth, and the sun.

Peach, Apricot, Coral – all of them seem so similar, it is confusing. They all fall somewhere between the colours of orange and red/pink. Peach is a colour between red orange and pink , with a little bit of white making it a pastel shade of orange. Apricot colour is a yellowish-orangish-pinkish color (Wikipedia). Coral is a darker shade out of all these. Salmon is a little pinkier than peach.


colour names in fashion designing


Black & Grey colors

Black, basically means a lack of colour but somehow or the other it has turned out to be a fashion staple.  Is there any adult who does not have a single piece of black clothing or accessory in their wardrobe? If there is, I think that it is very rare

Ebony is another name for black, some would say with a reddish tinge to it.

Grey is made up of equal amounts of the primary colours. The best thing about grey is that when it is with another color it starts to be that colour’s complement. It will absorb the colours that surround it and enrich it. 

Pastel Colours


More Colour names – Alphabetical

colours in fashion

colour names in fashion

Reference for the colors: A treasure trove of colours – 

Related posts :

Which color should I wear?

15 color combinations based on the color wheel to mix and match clothes.

colour wheel chart for clothes

Comments 5

  1. Gee, I always thought that peacock blue was brighter and more vibrant than that dark color you cite. Go figure.

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