Color Formula: Modern Twin Sets for Summer/Fall - Part 3
This is another knit T + 3/4 sleeve cardigan from my summer 2020 CJ Banks sales purchases, and this time they also had a lightweight scarf that I couldn't resist (all in "Blue Earth"). I like the added texture brought in with the scarf in these outfits.
The 3/4 T and utility vest are also from the summer 2020 CJ Banks sales ("Storied Indigo"), as are the beaded necklace and tassel necklace with the soft blue/mustard/soft indigo shapes. But I once again got lucky with a CJ Banks + Coldwater Creek duo that summer when the Coldwater Creek 3/4 sleeve pullover sweater ("Blue Earth") happened to match the utility vest! As a further bit of serendipity, the silk snakeskin print scarf I thrifted that summer works perfectly with these pieces.
Trying to get versions of Blue-Green from the color wheel that match can be a challenge, so when I had the opportunity to buy several pieces in "Peacock Blue" from CJ Banks' fall/winter 2022 collection on sale, I went for it. For spring and fall, the combination of full length pants, striped T, and corduroy jacket is a favorite. It's an easy, fully coordinated base outfit that means the only decisions to make are in the accessories. I love to experiment with my closet, mixing and matching my items, but it's also nice to have some set combinations that I can count on. I think this color works very well as a head-to-toe option because it fits into that "colored neutral/semi-neutral" territory.
This outfit features a couple coordinating dark teal pieces that were a lucky coincidence of two thrifted pieces that turned out to work well together: a dark teal blouse from CJ Banks and a teal/black marl cardigan (that gives an overall "dark teal" vibe) from Walmart. I need to remember to wear these together again! For my test case, I went with a simple dark wash jeans + black/white accessories outfit, but I think there are a lot of possibilities here.
This light olive-y/sage-y green is another summer 2020 CJ Banks color ("Aloe Vera") that I purchased several items in, including this T and long-sleeved cardigan. Both the T and the cardigan are longer and looser than I remember them to be (compared to the soft blue CJ Banks duo above, for example), so when I put them together with this voluminous skirt, the resulting outfit looked a bit off. I have been experimenting with the somewhat-outside-my-comfort-zone volume over volume look, but with the added awkwardness of the length, I was disappointed when I saw this in the mirror (after taking the OOTD photo, naturally). But I decided to attempt a front tuck of the top to change the proportions and it looked much better! (You'll have to trust me on that one, haha.) This is another great semi-neutral color that I wear spring through fall and will freely mix and match with olive.
In January 2021, I finally realized my dream of a wine/burgundy twin set when I purchased this blouse and cardigan from CJ Banks. I have a number of pieces in this general color category, a mishmash of items bought at various times from various stores (some thrifted), and have struggled a bit to figure out what works with what. So getting these two wine pieces that match was a win. Because both pieces are long-sleeved, this is a twin set that I wear more once the temperature cools down into something like real autumn weather. I think the color looks great with this dark pink ombré scarf for a monochromatic look.
Oh red, how you challenge me! Once we hit the Red (including pink) section of the color wheel, my closet is a mess of different clashing colors. For pinks, both the warm vs. cool undertone and the saturated vs. muted aspect are all mixed up, so I don't have a modern twin set for summer/fall in even remotely coordinating pinks to show you!
Red is not much better, though here it's mostly the warm (orange red) vs. cool (blue red) issue at play. In this outfit, I had attempted to put my short-sleeved T and 3/4 sleeve cardigan together, and while it wasn't terrible, I didn't feel comfortable with it...and in fact, I quickly decided that the tomato red cardigan didn't work for my coloring so I purged it. (That was a JCP online purchase that I should have returned immediately, but at the time, I let myself feel desperate for a red cardigan and I compromised on the color in a way I should not have done. Lesson learned.) Now I have a different red cardigan (Target brand, thrifted) that I like a lot more...but it really doesn't work with the red T!
Finally, A Couple of Tonal Examples
Before I close out on this topic, I did want to emphasize that there is no law that says a modern twin set has to have matching or extremely close colors. It's definitely possible to make more disparate colors work, despite the challenges I discussed with the reds/pinks in my own closet. I need to do more experimenting in this area, but one color where I've had the best luck with creating "tonal" twin sets is the Blue-Green family. Here are a couple summer/fall OOTD examples.
This is the same teal/black marl cardigan shown in the Dark Teal section above. In this outfit, I paired it with a bright teal Henley T, and I think the combo works well. If the cardigan had been a solid color instead of this marled look, it might have been a bit more awkward-looking because the T is greener than the cardigan. I also wore the vibrant print scarf as a barrier between the two pieces so the difference in color is less obvious. (If this color difference isn't apparent to you, I get it - it's subtle and the marl + print scarf do downplay it a lot.)
This combination uses a different strategy in creating a tonal twin set: using two items that are the same/very similar hue but in different values...in other words, darker and lighter versions of the same basic color. In this case, the varying textures of the two pieces also helps them go together more easily.
(And here's the final tally of bottom pieces have appeared more than once in the modern twin set series:
Navy citrus crops - 4
Navy/coral/green pleated floral skirt - 3
Coral pants - 2
Light pink pants - 2
Plaid pants - 2
Skinny jeans - 2
Black pants - 2)
Do you like creating tonally blended outfits in which the specific colors don't match but are in the same color family? What are your favorite colors for creating tonal outfits?
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