How to wear the 2021 Pantone colours of the year

12 December 2020
By Nicole Saunders

2021 is here! Time to embrace the Pantone colours of the year.

If you were hoping it would be an optimistic hue that Pantone chose for its always-anticipated colour of the year, you won’t be completely disappointed. Given how 2020 panned out, it’s unsurprising that  Pantone has hedged its bets, with not one but two colours named for 2021. Next year Illuminating – a vibrant yellow hue – and Ultimate Gray – a timeless shade of slate – will be sharing the spotlight.

“The selection of two independent colours 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 colour or one person, it’s about more than one,” explains Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute.

“The union of an enduring Ultimate Gray with the vibrant yellow Illuminating expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude,” she adds. “Practical and rock-solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, this is a colour combination that gives us resilience and hope. We need to feel encouraged and uplifted, this is essential to the human spirit.”

The Pantone colours of 2021: Ultimate Gray and Illuminating. Image: Pantone

Wearing particular colours certainly have the power to uplift us and as vice president of the Patone Color Institute Laurie Pressman explains: “The Pantone Color of the Year reflects what is taking place in our global culture, expressing what people are looking for that colour can hope to answer.”

“As society continues to recognize colour as a critical form of communication, and a way to symbolise thoughts and ideas, many designers and brands are embracing the language of colour to engage and connect.”

Shop our favourite pieces in the two colours below.

As versatile as it is stunning, the cheerful ‘Citrus’ dress from Ruby is at home on the beach or beside the barbecue.

Ruby ‘Citrus’ dress, $249

The end of the working year might be hurtling closer, but don’t let that stop you investing in this power piece. 


Paris Georgia ‘Basil’ suit blazer, $785

Wear the love of the colour yellow on your shoulder with this cute little number from homegrown favourite, Deadly Ponies.

Deadly Ponies ‘Mr Molten Mini’ handbag, $499


Pair this Isabel Marant tee with either jeans or shorts plus a pair of strappy sandals and you’ll be all set.

Isabel Marant ‘Belita’ T-shirt, $365 from Matches Fashion.

These vibrant heels are guaranteed to put some pep in your step.

MW by Kathryn Wilson ‘Diane’ heel, $249

Think of this little number as this season’s answer to the white sundress.

Solid & Striped ‘The Georgia’ dress, $365 from Matches Fashion

Don’t let the punchy colour make you think otherwise – anything crafted by Alessandro Michele is bound to become a piece you’ll cherish forever.

Gucci ‘Jackie 1961’ hobo bag, $3030

Moochi gives the staple summer tee a modern revamp with this statement silhouette.

Moochi ‘Esteem’ T-shirt, $269.99

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