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Dress and Utility Jacket Outfit Formula for Spring + DIY Paper Beads and Jewelry

Today I am sharing an outfit from my fall/winter capsule wardrobe that I had previously (accidentally) skipped over. It dates from December so is out-of-cycle in that respect, but since St Paul's weather in December and early April are actually quite similar, this is an outfit I could easily be wearing right now. And while I have styled the outfit for cool weather, it uses a formula that can readily be adapted for a warmer spring day.

Fall/Winter Wardrobe Capsule Color Palette
Fall/Winter Wardrobe Capsule Color Palette

This outfit combines the black and olive print dress (marked 3 below) that you've seen a couple of times in this series with a new piece for the capsule, the olive utility jacket (marked 36 below). I think a utility jacket can be a great topper piece for transitional seasons like fall and spring. I bought mine from CJ Banks in summer 2020 on sale for $16. I'm surprised that I have only worn it 13 times so far, for a cost per wear (CPW) of $1.24, but since the start of the pandemic, I have not been dressing for outdoor temperature variations very often so my jackets have gotten less wear.

Capsule wardrobe
Olive utility jacket #36

To add some brighter color to this outfit that nevertheless feels integrated rather than a "pop" of color, I chose a scarf with black and olive plus multiple shades of magenta and warm coral-pink in a paisley pattern. I like the look of a color pop against a dark background, but sometimes I want the additional color to be more subtle. Adding a patterned scarf means that I get some low-key print mixing in this look as well.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
Capsule OOTD #36: 12/20/23

Olive comes in a lot of versions, from greyed-out sage colors through rich warm colors, and it can drive you a bit crazy trying to match them in an outfit or capsule. The olive in this dress is a very deep shade with a lot of black in it, and I find that it's easier to mix lighter olives of various types with it because of that difference in value (darkness). When your two versions of a color are the same/similar value, subtle differences in the undertone etc. are much more apparent than when one of the colors is distinctly darker than other. None of the olive colors in this outfit match, but I think they coordinate well enough. (Technically, the scarf doesn't have olive in it; it has areas of black and gold thread woven together that create the appearance of a very warm golden olive to my eye, so I treat it like it's olive.)

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

Black tights continue the dominant color from the dress, and the olive boots refer back to the color of the jacket. A lot of people swear by the lengthening effect of matching your tights and boots, but I don't really notice much difference unless the colors and values are vastly different (like wearing white boots with black tights). I'm also somewhat taller than the average woman (5'8") so perhaps the small difference in perceived height doesn't show on me as much.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

My all-DIY bracelet stack was created around the paper bead bracelet set in black, pink, and green with hints of yellow and silver as the metallic. The top and bottom bracelets are part of this set, and the middle black and silver paper bead bracelet is a supplementary one that I threw in to round out the stack after adding the pink and black glass bead bracelets. Aren't these bracelets a Pleasing Pairing with the scarf? Those little bits of yellow in the paper work beautifully with the golden tone in the scarf threads. However, the bracelet set was not made to go with this scarf, so that's just fortuitous! I actually made the paper bead bracelet set to wear with a floral print skirt that I'll show below (spoiler: the bracelets match this scarf better than the skirt they were made for!). {bicone paper bead tutorial} {stretch bracelet tutorial}

DIY paper bead bracelet stack

It's rather unlike me to make a paper bead bracelet set inspired by an item from my wardrobe and have it turn out to be a not-great match, but in this case, I was just so taken with this two-page spread in Birds & Blooms magazine that I had to use it even though the green and pink have a warmer undertone than would be ideal and the yellow is extraneous.

Paper beads

On the green cactus page, I trimmed off the very bottom of the paper with the magazine details, then cut up my triangular strips and rolled them up into beads. The large scale and cursive writing of the text meant that the finished beads have occasional white specks that are not identifiable as letters.

Paper beads

On the pink bloom page, the white text was much smaller, so I did cover it up with black marker before rolling the beads. This isn't necessary but I generally do color over text because I don't want stray letters or parts of words to appear randomly on my beads. But lots of people skip this step and create beads that look just fine. It comes down to personal preference and how much time/effort you want to spend doctoring your paper. If there are letters or words, I will pay attention to them, and that's a distraction from the overall look of the bead. I also don't mind spending time customizing my paper for my beads because I am not mass producing them for an Etsy shop, etc.

Paper beads

Here is the skirt that inspired these paper beads. Notice that it has cool tones of pink and purple rather than the warm pinks, corals, and yellows of the beads. You may not be shocked to learn that I am creating another paper bead bracelet set for this skirt, and I hope that the colors will be a somewhat closer fit. But I am still extremely pleased with my "cactus blooms" bracelet set, and as you can see with today's featured outfit, I can easily find ways to wear it.

Design a paper bead bracelet set

I also have a new pair of DIY earrings made by taking a pre-made wire-wrapped beaded link and attaching a charm to one end and an ear wire to the other with jump rings. If you can open and close a jump ring, you can make these earrings. It doesn't get easier than that! It takes longer to decide which charm to put with each color of bead than to actually make the earrings. In this case, I paired a warm leafy green bead with owl charms for a very nature-inspired vibe. (And yes, all of these olive and green colors are present in my eyes.)

DIY charm earrings
DIY charm earrings

I think this is my first capsule outfit to combine the black and olive neutrals from the wardrobe's color palette with the bright pink accent color from my add-on module. The paisley scarf and unexpectedly well-coordinating paper bead bracelet set are both added to the bright pink module with this outfit.

Bright Pink Module
Bright Pink Module

To the neutral accessory capsule, we added two olive green items: the ankle boots and the owl charm earrings. Down next to the owl earrings, you can see two other pairs I've made using the pre-made beaded link + charm method: the dove of peace earrings with olive beads and the snowflake earrings with clear beads.

Accessory capsule to date: Neutral colors
Accessory capsule to date: Neutral colors

Because this is that time of year when various parts of the US, let alone other parts of the world, can have such warmer weather than we do in Minnesota, I do want to offer a variant on my outfit formula for people currently experiencing warm spring weather (and for me and my fellow Minnesotans who have this weather to look forward to).


Cool spring outfit formula:

Dress + utility jacket + scarf + tights + boots


Warm spring outfit formula:

Dress + utility jacket + necklace or lightweight scarf + bare legs + flats/sandals/sneakers


I went through my closet and pulled out some necklaces, scarves, and shoes that could coordinate with my dress + utility jacket combination, sticking with the neutral colors plus metals. I've created little groupings but really, there are a ton of mix-and-match possibilities here, especially if you embrace style juxtaposition. When creating an all-neutral look, I like to create visual interest through texture mixing, print mixing, value mixing (using a range of dark to light tones), and mixed metals. I guess for me, mixing = interesting, haha. But truly, all-neutral outfits do risk looking bland, flat, and one-note, particularly if (like me) you tend to wear very simple pieces that don't have a lot of built-in interest and aren't expensive items that exude a "quiet luxury" vibe. (Also, something can be pricey and luxurious and still boring to my eye.)

Neutral accessory options

You can also use a neutral dress + jacket combination as the base for a very colorful outfit by adding accessories. Looking at my own shoe collection, I identified bright pink (no surprise there), dark red/maroon, orange, and yellow as terrific options for a boldly accessorized look. Here I've put together little accessory sets/beauty bundles in these colors, including solid and print items, as examples.

Colorful accessory options

Of course, you needn't go into bright accent overkill if that's not your style! Even one or two colorful pieces, in addition to some of the neutrals from above, could really jazz up an outfit. The very adventurous among us could readily add multiple accent colors to the neutral base. Both the scarves at the top center (the white striped and the darker painted-looking on next to it) have prints with multiple accent colors that could help create a more integrated look. For example, the white striped scarf would support solid bright pink and yellow pieces. The painted one would help bring dark red and yellow together. Actually, the orange floral scarf would work with a bright pink + orange combination, too.


Here is a plant showing us one way to do a black, green, and bright pink color combination. I don't actually know what this plant is called, but my husband dubbed it the "fake flower plant" because of its waxy appearance and the way the pink color looks spray-painted on. All I know is that the budding center of the plant looks weirder the longer I look at it! Maybe it's a fake flower plant from outer space.

Plant photo
In the Climatron at Missouri Botanical Gardens - 2017

Do you like/own/wear any utility jackets? What do you think of drab, military olive green as a fashion color? What colors do you like to pair with olive? Would you wear a utility jacket with a (not very casual) dress? What are your favorite elements to mix in an outfit: colors, metals, prints, textures, styles, refinement levels, etc.?


Blogs I link up with are listed here.


18 Comments


mimifce
Apr 10

I don't have a utility jacket anymore. I do love the cacti pictures that made the bracelets! I am sharing the Desert Botanical Gardens from Arizona on the blog today.

www.chezmireillefashiontravelmom.com

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sallyinstpaul
sallyinstpaul
Apr 12
Replying to

I have fallen behind on my blog reading, so I'm headed over to see your desert botanical gardens post! Right up my alley.

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Kathrine Eldridge
Kathrine Eldridge
Apr 06

I love the combination of the olive jacket with this pretty printed scarf. The color mix is ! I need to give this a try sometime.


https://www.kathrineeldridge.com

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sallyinstpaul
sallyinstpaul
Apr 09
Replying to

Thanks, Kathrine - I was pleasantly surprised by how well this turned out!

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berryjacqui38
berryjacqui38
Apr 04

I thought it was olive too. Such a fun combo, one I should try too. Jacqui xx

Thanks for joining my linkup. X

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sallyinstpaul
sallyinstpaul
Apr 05
Replying to

Thanks, Jacqui!

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Di Cook
Di Cook
Apr 04

I love this early spring outfit on you! The colors in the scarf make a truly magical transformation. I use scarves frequently to pull the colors in an outfit together, too. I do not have an olive utility jacket in my wardrobe, but I do have a few pieces with a utilitarian look. When I wear any of the few olive pieces I have, I almost always gravitate towards pairing them with red. It's funny what you said about your new bead bracelet looking better with a piece of clothing it was not intended for. This happens to me frequently when shopping. I bring something home thinking it will be perfect for one outfit, and it turns out not to…

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sallyinstpaul
sallyinstpaul
Apr 05
Replying to

Yes! I so hear you on the item that doesn't work with what you intended but looks great with something else - isn't that fun when it happens? For me, it's usually a color thing where I thought "oh this teal will go so great with that other teal" but it ends up like "so it's not teal, it's really more a warm blue, but look how it works with this print," haha.

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mybijoulife
Apr 04

I am totally loving the pink/purple scarf with the gray. You have an amazing ability to create colorful, yet cohesive look. Love your new jewelry pieces.


Michelle

https://www.michellesuzanneartworks.com/blog

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sallyinstpaul
sallyinstpaul
Apr 05
Replying to

Thanks, Michelle! I do love the colorblock look on others but tend to gravitate toward the more cohesive side on myself.

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