I like rules. I respect boundaries. Black and white works for me.  And then there’s Marsala, the Pantone Color of the year for 2015.

Fill me in here…how does this work? I feel like Pantone is very specific about the name, the precise “18-1438,” and we are left with varying shades of Kylie-Jenner-90s-lip, garnet, and muted cranberry in the realms of suggested shades.



Where is my much needed precision?! Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a color family. But this is where I begin to flounder in confusion. What is Marsala? Is it a general range of depths for a specific tone?


For now, I’m going with the color splash they share…mainly because Sephora picked that over the deeper and more red offerings Pantone shows. Priorities!

I don’t know about you, but the first thing I do when the Color of the Year is announced is head over to Sephora’s Beauty Picks to see what they match to Pantone.  They play it kind of fast and loose on color matching, but this gives me the best visual and gets my creative wheels turning. I also like to read the descriptions of the shade recommendations. Marsala is a match for “dusty rose,” “pink rose,” “deep rose,” and “pink brown” — just to name a few.

My first pick?  NARS Pigalle marsala lipstick.  Sephora actually recommends NARS lipstick in Tolede, but when I swatched in store the shade was too pink and not dusty enough for me.  I settled instead on Pigalle, a “semi matte pink chocolate.”

wearing NARS Pigalle for Marsala Color of the Year 2015
wearing NARS Pigalle

I am really pleased with how closely Pigalle matches Marsala. It might be a bit warmer with more evident brown undertones, but in all my searching and swatching (seriously…I think every Sephora associate in the store checked in with me that afternoon!) Pigalle is the closest I have come.

As the hunt continues and my own concept of Marsala develops more, I’ll keep you posted on what else I find. But for now, what do you think of Marsala? Have you found your own perfect shade yet?