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  • Writer's picturesallyinstpaul

Fall Denim Shirt Outfit Formula + DIY Paper Beads

I love the versatility of classic blue denim as the "ultimate neutral," whether it's jeans, a skirt, or a shirt. A denim shirt is a great option for one of my favorite fall outfit formulas that I'm sharing today:

Solid top + print or accent color pants + print scarf + interesting shoes

When you like wearing colorful and/or print bottoms with print scarves, figuring out what top to wear can be challenging, especially when the bottom piece is not a neutral. You don't always have an appropriate top in the right accent color, and even when you do, the combination of that many colors/prints can feel overwhelming for your situation or mood. The white T or (my nemesis) the "crisp white shirt" is often the go-to default option for when in doubt, which is reasonable, but I'd argue that the denim shirt is equally if not more useful!

Advantages of the blue denim shirt:

-It can be mixed with any color, including any variant of white/ivory/cream/beige, without looking off or clashing.

-You can choose the wash of denim in a shade (warm to cool), intensity (saturated to faded) and value (dark to light) that works with your own coloring, the other pieces of the outfit, and your own preferences.

-It is not sheer, so you don't have to add an underlayer or a topper layer.

-It's more structured than a T but more relaxed and comfortable than a crisp white shirt, hitting a nice middle ground that is great for "smart casual" looks while being easy to dress up or down.

-A classic one that buttons up the front can be worn year-round as a stand-alone shirt, a top to layer over, or as a lightweight jacket.

And for people like me who wear blue well and look good in softer tones, it's also a flattering choice...but I'm pretty sure there is a flattering shade of blue denim for every type of personal coloring/season. If blue isn't your favorite, you can choose denim in another neutral (though it won't have the same "ultimate neutral" status in my opinion).

My outfit of the day is a business casual look using the outfit formula to combine a blue denim shirt + pinstriped pants + multi-color print scarf + tasseled suede loafers. The scarf creates some third-piece-like interest without adding an extra layer.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD 10/27/23

In this particular outfit, the blue denim is even a better choice than usual because it plays so well with the medium shade of muted blue in the scarf. By the way, if you have struggled with the "how do I wear a collared shirt with a long rectangular scarf?" dilemma, I like this looped-around styling technique (method #4 here) very well. (If you have a smaller square scarf, fold it repeatedly on the bias until you have created a thin, long shape then tie it around your neck with a simple square knot for a jaunty look.)

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

My "interesting shoes" are a pair that I almost didn't buy. I already had a pair of plain navy pointy-toed flats, so these loafers felt a bit redundant, but I really liked the suede and just could not get over the wonderful navy-and-blue tassels. So after wrestling with the decision for a while, I bought them (Hush Puppies, $66, 12/2020), which turned out to be an excellent choice. I have worn them 42 times so far for a current CPW of $1.57, and they are still in pristine condition so I expect a lot more wears to come.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

The plain navy flats (top pair under navy here) are quite versatile: I wear them with both skirts and pants and they work with any outfit involving navy, so they continue to be valuable in my wardrobe. But these loafers are a favorite with fall/winter/spring pants outfits where I want a jazzier-but-still-polished navy shoe option. Navy is my most-worn neutral, so having two pairs of navy flats plus one pair of dark blue ones is not too much for my closet.

My all-DIY daily bracelet stack is based on a paper bead bracelet set I made in a navy/denim/gold colorway: the top paper bracelet and the bottom one. The middle paper bracelet with the flower spacer beads is a supplemental bracelet I sometimes add in to beef up various paper bead bracelet sets. The other 3 bracelets are made from lapis lazuli beads, which is one of my favorite gemstones for bracelets due to dark blue/navy color and the sprinkling of gold tone from the pyrite (fool's gold) in the stone. I bought the 6mm beads in the top bracelet from Fire Mountain Gems, and the 8mm beads in the bottom 2 bracelets are from the Bargain Bead Box (technically, some of them are from the subscription box while others are from the extra beads I bought from their sister site Bead Box Bargains after I saw how lovely they were in person).

DIY bracelet stack

I only have the page to bead photos for the top paper bracelet, which started out as this Lands End catalog image of navy, black, and olive pants that I painted around with gold metallic acrylic paint. I was able to cut quite a few 0.5" triangular strips from the paper, and I selected strips mostly from the navy/black/gold area for this set of beads {tutorial}. The bead photo shows you how they look after rolling but before sealing/glazing them; there's a bit of roughness to the edges at this stage that is covered and smoothed out after two layers of glaze has been added. (My X-acto knife blade needed replacement so it was creating some jagged edges, and obviously the beads in the photo are much larger than in real life so we see every detail!)

DIY paper bead bracelet set
DIY paper beads page to bead examples
Design a paper bead bracelet set

I enjoyed my dive into my nature photograph archive when creating my recent "nature's beauty" post, so I decided I should add nature photos to my blog posts more often! For these outfit of the day posts, it will be fun to look through my archive and see if I have anything that relates to or bears a resemblance to my outfit.

I think this blackbird with the red and cream epaulettes is a nice match to my navy pants with maroon and cream pinstripes. Blackbirds are raucous at the best of times, and the ones in the feeder area of the national wildlife refuge were particularly loud. This guy (and yes, this is definitely a male bird) seems to be saying "Back off, losers - this is MY FEEDER!" I tell you what, birds and humans seem to go crazy where free food is involved.

Bird photo
Red-winged Blackbird - Minnesota Valley NWR - 5/15/16

Do you prefer to wear a white T, a white shirt, or a denim shirt...or all of them? Do you ever wear the solid top + print or accent color pants + print scarf + interesting shoes outfit formula or a variant on it? Have you started pulling out the scarves yet this season...or are you like me and never put them away entirely?

Blogs I link up with are listed here.

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