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30 Wears: Burgundy Birds Blouse - Part 1: Color Formulas for a Print Shirt

It's definitely been a minute since I've shared a 30 wears post, and I'm glad to be back at it. I didn't notice when today's blouse passed the 30 wears mark, but since it's now sitting at a total of 33 wears, it was past time to feature it. As always, a thank you to Mica for inspiring me with her 30 Ways to Wear series.

This bird print blouse is the same style/size of utility blouse from Loft as the cream/dark green rabbit blouse I featured in a previous 30 wears post. I purchased it a few months later and at a slightly lower price. My favorite thing about this blouse, aside from the fact that it's a great bird/foliage nature print, is that it contains a lot of colors, which makes for interesting color matching opportunities. For neutrals, it has black, grey, and white. The background is a plum/wine/dark burgundy color, which is a semi-neutral/colored neutral. The dominant accent colors are dark red/maroon, aloe/sage/mint green, and coral/orange.

Color palette

Burgundy bird blouse - Loft - XXL - $25.00 - 2/2017

Total wears: 33

Cost per wear: $0.76

Additional wears to reach $1 CPW: n/a

Additional wears to reach $0.65 CPW: 6

Let's take a review of 23 (!) ways I have worn this vibrant print blouse. I'm going to organize them according to color combinations and color formulas. Because this is a lot to cover, I've split it into a three part series.

All Neutrals

With 3 neutrals in the print, I have a lot of neutral outfit options with this blouse, and that's a very easy way to wear a colorful print shirt. Pairing the bold print with dark neutrals in particular is a good way to tone down the blouse, especially for a business casual work environment. A button up collared shirt like this lends itself to adding a necklace (or several) for accessorizing.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD 3/20/17
Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD 9/27/17
Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD 11/9/18

But a scarf can certainly be worn with it instead. The bright mint scarf added a welcome jolt of cheer to the predominant dark grey in this outfit.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD 1/20/22

Although dark neutrals tend to be popular both in office settings and during the colder months (which is where and when I tend to wear this blouse), using a light neutral like cream or white can lighten and brighten the look while creating a higher value contrast. A light topper layer is the more expected way to do this, but don't disregard the option to wear a light skirt or pants instead.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD 12/3/19

You can definitely wear a light skirt with dark tights/footwear in cold weather; just repeat the tights color in the upper half of the outfit (as discussed here) so the result has a sense of intentionality rather than a "I just put on a random pair of tights because it's cold" vibe. In this outfit, the dark grey cardigan matches the tights, and the multi-strand pearl necklace ties back to the white skirt, creating a balanced look.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD 4/19/18

Match the Print's Background Color

If your print shirt has a background or dominant color (not every print does, but I think most do), you can match that color to create a variation on a color formula like the modern twin set or inner column of color. This is probably easiest when working with a neutral background, but absolutely can be done with a colored neutral like this one or an accent color.

A modern twin set pairs the print shirt with a topper layer of any kind (cardigan, jacket, vest) that is in a matching or similar color. The plum/wine background of my bird blouse coordinates well with the wine blazer and the wine quilted vest, creating outfits with different levels of refinement.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD 4/7/17
Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD 3/2/22

An inner column matches the top + bottom pieces, and in this variation, the plum/wine background color of the top is very similar to the dark purple of the skirt. The more typical way to select tights and boots for this outfit would be to go with black for both (matching the vest), but I wore black tights and maroon boots instead. Because all three are in dark colors (and arguably both the dark purple and maroon are colored neutrals), there is not a lot of contrast here to make any one of the three stand out from the others.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD 11/26/18

Do you regularly combine prints with neutrals? Do have tend toward dark, medium, or light neutrals...or does it depend on what type of garment we're talking about? Have you ever matched a print shirt's background color to make a modern twin set or inner column of color outfit? Would you wear a skirt/dress, tights, and boots in 3 different colors together?

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