The 20th Century’s Beautiful Color Combinations

Bright, psychedelic colors are reminiscent of the 1960s and ’70s, while pink, black and teal smack of the ’50s. Of course, everyone associates color combinations with certain time periods, but with a little research, you’ll find that these colors are more than just public perception.

Author Katie Greenwood took the time to study the specific color palettes that appeared most commonly in fashion and design for each year of the 20th century. She published her findings into one drool-worthy book entitled 100 Years of Colors that we can’t wait to get our hands on. We’re fortunate to have excerpted pages from the highly anticipated book that pairs a year’s en vogue color palettes alongside historical promotional pieces.


In the introduction of the book, Greenwood describes her process of isolating the fashionable color palettes and reveals what to expect from her pairings:

“My research was not without its challenges and contradictions. Condensing each decade into just 10 images and a brief overview was a hugely reductive exercise, and in addition each image needed to be portrait format, with enough colors available for the palette. Therefore the important red, black, and white combination used extensively in Russian Constructivist graphics, along with other beloved images, fell by the wayside. However, the constraints also led me to images I might not have discovered otherwise, some fitting the expectations of a decade, with others appearing anachronistic—a reminder of color’s ability to surprise us.

Without further ado, view the beautiful color combinations below!

5 Beautiful Color Combinations of the 20th Century:


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