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Here’s How You Can Wear Pantone’s Color of the Year

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There’s a few things that are certain in life: death, taxes, and 2020 being an absolute trainwreck of a year.

With so much going on, it’s easy to forget there’s more pressing matters at hand… Like the Pantone Color(s) of 2021.

That’s right. After a revolutionary year, Pantone has made the bold and brave step to release not one, but two colors to symbolize 2021. Their picks? A sunshine yellow dubbed Illuminating (Pantone 13-0647) and a standard slate nicknamed Ultimate Gray (Pantone 17-5104).

For over 20 years, Pantone has released a forecast in December for the following year’s it-colors. In 2018, the company chose a violet symbolizing hope to bridge hyper partisan gaps while 2019’s vibrant coral hue highlighted ocean conservation.

Last year’s color was a classic blue symbolizing a sharp turn into a new decade– or a subtle endorsement for the Democratic party. Who knows?

2021 marks the second time in the series’ history where two colors have been chosen. While the combination may not have been the most expected– we were hoping to see a bold black to symbolize the strides made toward racial justice or a light, PPE blue to highlight first responders– it’s a welcome one.

With one hue reflecting the grim tunnel we’re facing and the other representing the light at the end of it, it’s nothing short of symbolic to round of an uneasy year.

“Emboldening the spirit, the pairing of PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 highlights our innate need to be seen, to be visible, to be recognized, to have our voices heard,” Pantone wrote of their picks.

We guess it is that deep.

Over the years, these two colors have infiltrated celebrity snapshots and designer catwalks before we even considered them trendy. In honor of counting down the days until January 1st, we’re rounding up all the ways Illuminating and Ultimate Gray have been highlighted in 2020.

Nicki Minaj’s Pregnancy Announcement

Barbs, rise. The rapper’s June 2020 pregnancy announcement on Instagram made shockwaves across the Internet. Although her baby boy bundle of joy was born just a few short months ago, the star’s now iconic post gave us major 2013 vibes with her classic yellow wig.

Balmain Spring/Summer 2021

Complete with devil shoulders and The Weeknd‘s “Blinding Lights” on replay, Creative Director Olivier Rousteing was ahead of the trend during his most recent show. While the collection prominently featured neon hues that resembled a pack of neon highlighters, simple yet cool greys were woven throughout the collection.

Marc Jacobs Fall/Winter 2020

These pastels may not be as striking as Pantone’s Illuminating, but they provide a softer alternative to slide into the new year. Marc Jacobs’ Fall/Winter 2020 collection began with a monochrome yellow look that’s the perfect Easter ensemble. Peeps who?

Ariana Grande at the 2020 Grammys

Miss Grande did it again. After a stunning year music wise, the pop star began her 2020 sweep at this year’s Grammys. Even though she didn’t pick up an award that night, she won over our hearts in a custom Giambattista Valli gown. That massive tulle skirt? I mean…

Bottega Veneta Padded Casette Bag

Bottega Veneta had a splashing 2020 when it came to the brand’s accessories. Bottega’s pouch bag and padded cassette bags dominated influencer’s feeds throughout the lockdown. Although Creative Director Daniel Lee first debuted the now iconic silhouette during the label’s Pre-Fall 2019 collection, the puffed-up iteration arrived on shelves a year later.

Quarantine Hair

Grey roots anyone? It wouldn’t be 2020 without mentioning lockdown DIY styles. Celebrities experimented with their locks throughout the lockdown and next year shouldn’t be any different. 2020 was all about going natural and connecting with mother nature, so it makes sense grey hairs would carry over into the new year. Let go of that harmful box dye queen. Brad Mondo would approve.

Collina Strada Spring/Summer 2021

There aren’t many designers who can translate a bubblegum-esque tone of hope better than Creative Director Hillary Taymour. Taymour, known for her bright designs, focus on sustainability and penchant for inclusivity, wove yellow throughout the label’s Spring/Summer 2021 collection. The label’s “Change is Cute,” collection feels like a breath of fresh air in a barren landscape.

Fendi Fall/Winter 2020

The Italian house went all-out in their head-to-toe grey Fall/Winter 2020 show. Even though we may not be stepping outside of our houses anytime soon, Fendi’s monochrome coat lewks look very much cozy. Maybe we can snag one up for those long days on the couch post-Christmas dinner binge.

Moschino Pre-Fall 2021

Channel your inner Fran Fine featuring these bright yellow Moschino ensembles. Under Creative Director Jeremy Scott the label’s Pre-Fall 2021 collection feels reminiscent of 60s and 70s style featuring supermodel Winnie Harlow. Just don’t show those leopard fur-trimmed accents to PETA.

Prada Fall/Winter 2020

According to Miuccia Prada, all you need to survive the second half of this year is a simple grey suit. For those entering the new year under the same work-from-home conditions, look no further than the Italian label’s most recent Fall/Winter collection. Working-class dadcore, but make it fashion.


Oscar de la Renta Pre-Fall 2021

Even though we’re still mentally processing March, the fashion calendar isn’t. We’re crossing our fingers in hope the vaccine arrives before the springtime so we can lounge around in these bright yellow Oscar de la Renta gowns, à la Soo Joo Park. Cottagecore anyone?

Peter Do Fall/Winter 2020

Phoebe Philo lovers rejoice. Up-and-coming designer Peter Do, known for his immaculate tailoring under Celine’s previous Creative Director, often stuns with his wearable, accessible collections. The native New Yorker’s Fall/Winter 2020 collection feels timeless in classic colorways and cool, sleek silhouettes. Whether it be 2021 or 2121, we’ll still open the door and wear it.

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