The Pantone Color Institute has named the harmonious color combination of yellow and gray as the 2021 Colors of the Year. The exact shades in question are 13-0647 Illuminating and 17-5104 Ultimate Gray. These particular colors have been chosen as the ‘it’ shades of the year by Pantone due to the careful scouring of social media trends and analysis of runways all over the globe.
The combination of Illuminating and Ultimate Gray is described on the website as“a marriage of color conveying a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting.” The cool gray easily counteracts the bright and vivacious yellow, leaving little doubt that this color match was made in Heaven.
A Marriage of Colors
Why so bright and cool?
Pantone may choose the popular colors that they are seeing, but they also strive to choose colors that hold an important meaning for the year they are chosen and will be worn.
While some are jumping to conclusions that the colors were plucked from Off-White’s 2019 runway show that paired the two in a checkerboard pattern for dresses and jumpsuits, Leatrice Eiseman, the director of Pantone’s Color Institute, would disagree, considering her statement on the decision in the careful choice these colors; “the selection of two independent colors highlight how different elements come together to express a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting, conveying the idea that it’s not about one color or one person, it’s about more than one.”
Illuminating, the bright and sunny yellow, was chosen for its uplifting effect on the mood. This warm color might instantly take you into the summer. It’s like drinking a large glass of cool lemonade while sunbathing on the warm cement. Yet, why not take Illuminating into fall and winter for its bright impact that makes one smile upon seeing and wearing it? Below, you can do just that with a classic cardigan or canvas shoes.
Ultimate Gray, on the other hand, is the steady partner to Illuminating’s creative style… the silver tray that holds up your homemade lemon cake at a spring picnic. The reassuring color is versatile, used in both fashion and beauty, from nail polish to sneakers and purses. Ultimate Gray needs no argument to travel into all the seasons since it has always effortlessly done so in the past, just not as one of the most popular colors of the year.
Pantone colors have been chosen for over twenty years now and will always go in and out of style. Last year’s Pantone Color of the Year was the rich Classic Blue. This calming color was a bit easier to add to your clothing and beauty hoard, as it was only one color. Two colors have not been placed in the spotlight for a good five years, the last time being in 2016, with Serenity and Rose Quartz. Thankfully, it happened again!
While beautiful and serene, Ultimate Gray would be all on its own, and Illuminating would be a bit too bright for the past year. Together, the color union creates a striking balance that makes many designers and fashionistas clamor to incorporate the two colors into their wardrobes.
Our Ultimate Gray + Illuminating Fashion and Beauty Finds
If you are concerned with where to find products with these colors, nothing to fear! Below are our favorite fashion and beauty picks to incorporate the 2021 Colors of the Year into your own closets and makeup drawers.
If you want to try out Ultimate Gray with your skin tone before investing in any larger fashion pieces, then this is your best bet. OPI’s ‘Suzi Talks With Her Hands’ nail color is a perfect take on Pantone’s Ultimate Gray. Apply it, talk with your hands, and you’ll know whether or not you want to go all in on this color trend or not. Purchase yours at Ulta!
This liquid eyeshadow pen from Huda Beauty is easy to apply, cruelty-free, and comes in two shade options, one of which is, you guessed it, Illuminating! The Limelight option is vibrant and fun. This bright yellow can lighten up your face in the winter or just be a fun color to play with during the summer months. So, don’t be afraid to ditch your classic brown or black eyeliner for this one. Pick it up at Sephora and have a ball!
If straying from your normal eyeliner to an Illuminating tone is a bit tricky for you, this eye pencil from Urban Decay has got your back. Just as easy to put on, long-wearing, and still one of the colors of 2021, even if the shade is called Uzi. It’s really great having two options, isn’t it? And if you really want to shake up your makeup scene, then maybe try both eye pencils from Sephora.
Kick back this year in style and comfort with Cariuma’s OCA easy-on, easy-off canvas sneakers. The yellow of the eco-friendly canvas makes it easy to pair with jeans and a T-shirt for a quick coffee run if need be. Feel like dressing it up? That’s just as easy! Add a dress to your Farfetch basket, and you’ll get a whole new outfit in the mail!
Whatever your associations with cardigans and grandmothers – something worth stopping since Lyst Data Insight’s dropped the fact granny-chic has been trending – this Camila Coelho cropped cardigan in butter yellow is worth purchasing. It certainly isn’t something you’d find in grandma’s closet – the shoulders have a delicate princess cut, and if you’re in the mood for a matching bra top (with a keyhole) and shorts, you can also find them on Revolve. Cue the stylish comfort that knitwear brings!
Like many of us, if you still are in the mood for staying at home in your ‘daytime’ pajamas and not yet want to venture out into the world, even in knitwear, then this Cosabella pajama set is perfect for you. The oversized Ultimate Gray sleep shirt hangs loosely over the matching shorts creating a comfortable and stylish at-home outfit. Purchase the set on Revolve and enjoy the cotton-soft comfort of what will soon become your favorite PJs.
For those of you who are not big fans of sitting around and waiting for your nail polish to dry but still desire the trendy look of gray nails, this nail lacquer is the perfect pick. Sally Hansen’s Insta Dri polish dries in a minute and has the top coat combined, allowing no time to be wasted and your hands to still be in perfect style. Pick up your bottle of Against the Grey-In at Ulta.
Slip into these cheerful sandals to instantly bring summer vibes your way. These shoes will illuminate any outfit. So, if you’re looking for an excuse to buy more shoes (when you may not even be going out), this is the perfect pair to opt for. Do I even need to add the magic phrases ‘made in Italy’ and ‘express delivery from Farfetch’?
Don’t get confused with the rounded toe and heavy rubber sole – these aren’t athletic shoes! The Superga Cotu Classic Urban Sneakers in Grey Sage fit perfectly true to size with excellent arch support. If you feel like dressing all in the Pantone 2021 Colors of the Year, think of pairing these sneakers with the yellow knitwear set. Both can be found on Revolve.
Haven’t you heard that one-pieces are all the rage? Hit the beach this summer in the LPA Vivian swimsuit. This adjustable spandex swimsuit fits to your body and makes you look your best. If you need to dash off the sand to grab a quick ice cream cone to cool off, all you have to do is shim into a pair of shorts for a stylish and comfy look. Nab it at Revolve!
From the runways to the streets, crossbody bags have been gaining more and more popularity. This is partly due to their stylish ease. The Prada Identity bag in slate gray certainly has stylish ease – 100% leather, multiple pockets, adjustable straps, and the magnetic closure will keep your belongings from falling out. Who knows, this purse might just become the new ‘it’ bag? Join the trend at Farfetch!
Yes, I am enticing you to go purchase another crossbody bag. Though, really, I couldn’t help it! The miniature 100% leather bag from MSGM is just too cute! The two separate, magnetically shut compartments are so handy. Plus, the Illuminating color is beautifully saturated. Why have one when you can have two? Purchase at Farfetch because it really did need to be added to this list.
Revenge shoes may be often categorized as sky-high heels, but these Aquazzura thong-style sandals (at three inches) should be added to your shopping cart. Slingback and strappy in stunning yellow leather, Carrie Bradshaw would certainly make this pair her 101st! Wear it with the Illuminating swimsuit, and you’ve got a jaw-dropping pool-ready outfit. Pick up your pair at Farfetch!
Photos via Pantone, Vogue, Farfetch