Color Formula: Modern Twin Sets for Summer/Fall - Part 1
Although there are infinite combinations we can use when putting outfits together, I find it helpful to think about some easy combinations categorized as...
(1) Outfit formulas - combinations of pieces/silhouettes - such as Long-sleeved T + Skinny Pants + Long Vest (long over lean), or
(2) Color formulas - combinations of matching or different color pieces - such as Matching Top & Bottom (i.e. inner column of color).
(Of course, there are also color combinations, which might be based on the color wheel - such as Complementary: Orange + Blue - but those do not link up to specific pieces in the outfit. They instead describe the overall color scheme.)
Since we are moving from summer to fall (in the Northern hemisphere), this is a great time to start thinking about again outfit layering. While some of us will wear lightweight layers through all but the hottest parts of summer (raises hand), I know others have been waiting for temperatures to drop a bit before wearing a layering topper piece.
In celebration of the return of layering season, today I'll talk about one of the less common color formulas that's perfect for late summer into fall (and beyond): the modern twin set.
The words "twin set" can definitely evoke images of a bygone era of 1940s Hollywood stars, 1950s secretaries, 1960s housewives, and 1980s church ladies. In its classic form, a twin set or sweater set is a knit sweater (short-sleeved or sleeveless) with a matching knit cardigan. It can feel relegated to history (though not everyone agrees, of course).
But by "modern twin set" I simply mean a matching top and topper in the same or similar colors. Not only do they not need to be constructed from the same sweater knit, they actually look better in my opinion when the pieces have different fabrications and/or textures. What we're going for here is a subtle color-on-color layering effect. And remember that a modern twin set can be made using any kind of topper. A cardigan certainly will work, but so will a jacket, blazer, vest, kimono, shirt-as-jacket...anything you want to wear as a top layer over the same/similar colored top!
The matching top + topper combo seems to be less popular than some other color formulas. I wonder if people just don't think of it or if it is overshadowed by the column of color options with their famed "look slimmer and/or taller" reputation. But I was excited this past spring to see Kay Harms at Dressed For My Day showing an example of the modern twin set style formula with an oatmeal ribbed short-sleeved sweater and oatmeal linen blazer in a chic and simple neutral outfit.
Because I have a lot of modern twin set examples in my OOTD, I'm going to share these in two posts, starting today with the neutral versions.
It's impossible for me to pick a favorite modern twin set from my wardrobe, but this combination has to be a top contender! It's a faded indigo knit peplum top with eyelet/lace detailing on the upper half + a chambray cotton blazer. I had owned the top for a couple years before I thrifted the blazer and realized that they work extremely well together, so it's a wonderful serendipitous combination. I tend to wear this combo very simply with a necklace and a solid bottom in a neutral or accent color. But I'd like to try it with a print!
I have several different top + topper combinations I can use to make navy twin sets for all seasons. For summer and early fall, I have a short-sleeved T (aka the "crochet top" due to the crochet detailing on the yoke) and sleeveless blouse that I can combine with a short-sleeved cardigan, short-sleeved jacket, utility vest, and knit blazer. Navy is my primary neutral in these seasons so items in this color are well-represented in my wardrobe. These items are not dye-lot matched in terms of the specific navy color, but in general, I find navy pretty easy to mix and match.
I usually start wearing olive more intensively in the Summer/Fall and Fall seasons. I have this thrifted lightweight olive cardigan that I can layer an olive tank (not pictured below), short-sleeved Henley, or (for true Fall weather) long-sleeved T underneath. I haven't done as much with this combination as I could. It would be interesting to experiment with accent colored pants or skirt, probably drawing on a color in a print scarf that includes navy...for example, the burgundy bird print scarf below suggests that burgundy pants would be an easy choice.
As much as I love brown this time of year, I no longer have a twin set in brown! I do have a sweater + quilted vest that I can wear when it gets cold, but nothing for the warm or merely cool seasons of the year since I purged the thrifted jacket shown here from my closet (it became too small). I have a brown lightweight long-sleeved cardigan on my eventual wish list (I am in a non-clothes shopping mode at the moment).
White seems like such an easy color to make a twin set with and yet this is the only OOTD I have photographed using one! This 3/4 sleeve cardigan with either this white tank or a white short-sleeved T is one option. I also have an open weave sleeveless vest I could wear over the T. Definitely so many outfit combinations to consider with a white twin set. Though perhaps this color would be even better suited to spring than to fall (as the pastel colors below attest), I can see it looking great with all the warm fall colors for a summer-to-fall transition outfit.
The combination of the lace-front T and long topper is something I've only tried once, but I think the experiment was successful! For fall, I love it with the brown and green.
On Friday, I will share some modern twin set OOTD in accent colors.
Do you have any late summer/fall tops and toppers that would work as a modern twin set? Do you wear traditional twin sets?
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