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  • Writer's picturesallyinstpaul

Fall/Halloween Work Outfit Idea: Black, Orange, Purple, and Burgundy Color Combination

With Halloween just around the corner and falling on a Tuesday, today I'm sharing a work-ready outfit I put together for a low-key Halloween (or any day in fall, really) that incorporates the colors of the holiday/season without being overtly Halloween-themed. Of course there is nothing wrong with wearing a strongly Halloween-influenced outfit (or costume) if that is what you like and is smiled upon at your workplace! But for those in industries/jobs where leaning too heavily into Halloween vibes is not appropriate or doesn't create the image you're going for, it's good to have alternative options.

One very common way to handle the Halloween-at-work conundrum to is to dress in all black or in straight up black and orange (and maybe white) "normal" clothing, with or without Halloween motifs like pumpkins, bats, witches, etc. in jewelry/accessories. But if you don't like that look, are tired of it, want something more subtle, or are just itching for something a bit more complex in your color choices, I put together this color palette for your consideration. Naturally it starts with black and orange, as they are the traditional dominant colors associated with Halloween. I supplemented it with a dark purple as this color is increasingly included in Halloween color palettes. And as a wild card, I added a burgundy/maroon color that is perfect for fall and coordinates well with orange and purple but doesn't have strong Halloween vibes.

Color Palette

There are endless ways to combine these colors into an outfit, and you can decide which of them will take center stage and which will be supporting players. You can allocate these colors to solid or print items and across the various garments and accessories that make up your outfit. If four colors feels like too much or you don't own anything in one of them, you can certainly wear a subset of the colors in your outfit. I think any of the 2-4 color combinations from this palette would work beautifully. You can also tweak the colors (wearing a somewhat different version of one or more of them) to fit within the items you have in your closet, your preferences, and your own coloring.

I tested the full color palette myself a few days ago in a work outfit, and these are the items I selected to represent each of the colors. Because I am a fan of accent color pants, don't own much in the orange family for tops, and like reversing expectations about where to wear color vs. neutrals, I started with these light salmon ankle pants that are somewhere between orange and pink-coral in color (they can look more of less orange depending on the light and what I wear them with). For the dark purple, I selected a print blouse with a variety of accent colors (including hints of salmon and rusty burgundy) against a purple background. I chose a black polka dot blazer as a topper layer. And for the wild card burgundy, I chose earrings with rich burgundy/wine crystal beads that have a lot of flash and sparkle. So my outfit is mostly orange and black with some dark purple and hints of burgundy.

Color Palette

I will caveat this by saying that I did wear this outfit for WFH (because I am currently on full-time WFH status) but created it with my workplace in mind. I would 100% wear this outfit to the office as is.

My outfit bears a strong resemblance to the typical black-and-orange Halloween work look but with some key differences. I like seeing the orange unexpectedly on the bottom, and I think the purple and burgundy tones add some interest and, dare I say, sophistication to the look. (Because "sophisticated" etc. are not part of my personal style guideposts while "relaxed" is, I did leave the blouse untucked and turned over the cuffs of the arms for a more laid-back effect.)

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD 10/24/23

I love that at a distance, the polka dot print of the blazer appears like a soft black, but close up, you get the full effect of the print mix. (This kind of "false plain" print is fun to play with in work outfits especially.) The multi-color crystal necklace adds some sparkle but fits well with the colors of the blouse.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

I subtly extended the polka dot theme with these party-time studded flats with black-on-black dots. I find these shoes quite fun and festive while still being within parameters of my workplace (your office may vary).

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

My all-DIY daily bracelet stack is based on a paper bead bracelet set I made last winter to coordinate with this blouse, using a predominantly rust, wine, and gold color scheme. I filled out the stack with two deep burgundy garnet bead bracelets, a mixed gemstone bracelet, and a smoky purple glass bead bracelet.

DIY paper bead bracelet stack

When I made these beads, I wasn't yet in the habit of photographing the paper throughout the process, but I do have some page-to-bead images to share. The top bracelet with the patchwork print tube beads was made using this image of a tunic in a Coldwater Creek catalog. I cut the image down the center, then glued the patchwork print to a longer sheet of paper to get the needed length for the strips (as shown in detail here). I painted the ends of the beads with metallic gold acrylic paint to match the spacer beads in the bracelet.

DIY Paper Beads

The bottom bracelet started from another clothing catalog image, this time a trio of colorful sweatshirts in an LL Bean catalog. The burgundy, mint, and salmon pink colors were a wonderful match to colors in the blouse. I cut these in triangular strips to make bicone beads, and colored over the text and unwanted white space with markers in desired colors (as discussed here). This "array of garments" type of image is really common in certain clothing catalogs (such as LL Bean and Lands End) and results in nice colorblocked bicone beads.

DIY Paper Beads
DIY paper beads page to bead examples

I made a pair of bead soup earrings to coordinate with the paper bead bracelet set, focusing on the rich burgundy and gold/tan colors. I found two pairs of good-sized faceted crystal beads and stacked them with gold bead caps around the larger crystal for a dead easy but elegant pair of stack earrings (aka "beads on a stick"). As a happy coincidence, they look marvelous with the crystal necklace I'm wearing (and that I do often wear with this blouse). So arguably, I have a 3 piece jewelry set (necklace, earrings, and bracelet stack) that go extremely well with each other and with this particular blouse! I'm sure you'll be seeing this little "blouse + accessory set" combination again.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
Design bead soup earrings for a paper bead bracelet set

Do you like to acknowledge the Halloween holiday in your October 31 outfits? Do you go full-on costume, Halloween motifs, black and orange, or otherwise? Do you/did you have a go-to approach to Halloween outfits for work? Do you know what you'll be wearing on October 31, 2023?

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