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Fall Outfit Formula: Print Scarf + Animal Print Shoes

A couple weeks ago, Liz blogged about the "easiest style hack ever": adding a scarf and animal print shoes to turn a basic top + bottom outfit into a stylish one. Because both long print scarves and animal print shoes are on my Feel More Me dozen list, and I love a print mix, I wear this combination frequently. I have never thought of it specifically as a way to add oomph to a simple outfit or as an outfit formula; it's more just something I naturally gravitate toward. So I am glad that Liz called this particular combination out as an intentional styling choice that can be used to easily boost an otherwise very plain outfit...but let's not forget that the Print Scarf + Animal Print Shoe formula can be used successfully with more complex outfits too!

Either way, this is the perfect time of year to put together outfits using this formula because even in warmer climates, it's probably cooled down enough in the Northern Hemisphere to start adding scarves back into rotation (or, if you're like me, to continue wearing them but even more often). Friends in the Southern Hemisphere, your window for wearing scarves before the summer heat sets in may be quickly closing, so you might need to sneak this one in before it's too late for the season. Luckily the formula works as well with a little square scarf tied jauntily around the neck as it does with bigger, larger, warmer cool weather scarves. Just wear a print scarf of any size, shape, or fabric + animal print shoes/boots of any kind and you've got it!

I decided to write this post because I was amused to find myself wearing this outfit formula mere days after reading Liz's post...and it was an outfit I had planned well before I wore it/she posted it. In this case, I wasn't wearing the all-neutral base outfit that Liz had featured on her blog (she showed double denim, which is not a thing I do often at all), but it was extremely simple and low-key by my standards: a blue denim colored top + burgundy jeans. Just two pieces, both solids, one neutral and one colored/semi-neutral. I chose my warm-toned cheetah Oxfords to pair with the burgundy jeans and then added a bird/foliage print scarf with a burgundy background.

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OOTD #1: 11/14/23

My daily bracelet stack is based on a new DIY paper bead bracelet set I made in a wine/pink/sage/gold color scheme that works very well with my scarf. To this I added a gold spacer bead bracelet from Amazon and several DIY stone or glass bead bracelets I had already made. I was really happy to see how well the second bracelet made of wine and green agate beads coordinated with my new set.

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The top paper bead bracelet with the pink flower charm was made from this page from a Coldwater Creek catalog. Originally the background of the image was white, but I painted it with a soft pink acrylic paint to fit into my desired color scheme. I cut 0.5" triangular stripes to make the shorter bicone beads, which I thought turned out beautifully. I love how the paint adds greater dimension to the finished beads as well as changing the color. And since the scale of the print tops in the image was quite small, some of that print came through on the beads as well.

DIY Paper beads page to bead example

The bottom paper bead bracelet is an interesting case. I had two copies of this image from a Coldwater Creek catalog, and I just loved the rich color and texture of the fabric in the image. But the white box with a lot of text does not at all lend itself to making bicone paper beads. Paint to the rescue! I covered the entire white area with a burgundy metallic acrylic paint, which not only fixed the color/text issue but added some shine to the paper. I cut these into my customary 1" triangular strips to make the longer bicones and am pleased as punch by how the beads look. {Bicone bead tutorial} {Stretch bracelet tutorial} Bonus: I channeled all my positive feelings about this lovely cardigan into making paper beads instead of spending $180 on a piece of clothing I do not at all need (and that is not truly in line with my dominant style preferences)! My wallet and the planet thank me for that one.

DIY paper beads page to bead example
DIY Paper Beads page to bead example

My bead soup earring project continues unabated with these 5-bead stack earrings I made in coordinating colors specifically to go with the paper bead bracelet set. This time I used some green crystals, pink glass pearls, opaque pink glass beads, and gold-tone metal flower beads, and all but the metal beads and bead caps were from my bead soup.

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Design bead soup earrings for a paper bead bracelet set

Since the Print Scarf + Animal Print Shoes outfit formula is one I wear a lot, I thought I'd take a stroll through my OOTD archives to find some examples of the varied ways this formula can play out. To keep things manageable, I limited myself to pants outfits (since that's the version Liz demonstrated). Let's see what we have here...

Solid Top Version

This recent outfit from my fall/winter capsule wardrobe uses what may be the most basic outfit possible as its starting point: a white top + black pants! The scarf and shoes both contain the color black, which becomes a linking element across the outfit. The warm tone of the smoking slippers relates well to the orange of the scarf, too.

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OOTD #2: 10/25/23

Solid Pullover Sweater Version

I found a number of outfits featuring a pullover sweater (a neutral or a rainbow color) with solid neutral pants that use the outfit formula. This makes sense, as there is a good part of the year in which I wear this kind of sweater and don't layer over it, thus fitting into that "simple two piece outfit" category. Sometimes I layer a t-shirt underneath that you don't see, other times I put a collared shirt under it, but it still has that two piece look that calls out for some jazzing up with prints. I think solid sweater + solid neutral pants/jeans outfits are probably a go-to option for many of us in fall and winter, and they make a great backdrop for the print scarf and shoes.

This outfit (which looks like it could be from my fall/winter capsule but is actually from two years ago) incorporates a small square silk scarf instead of a long flowing scarf so I added a long pendant necklace to break up the space of the sweater. You'll see over and over that I combine my animal print shoes with a scarf with black in the print. This is by no means a necessity (you'll also see examples in which that isn't the case), but mixing prints that share a color is one of the easiest ways to make your mix look cohesive.

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OOTD #3: 11/18/21

Here's a version with an infinity scarf worn close to the neck (it was late December after all) and two necklaces layered together as a vertical element to the look.

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OOTD #4: 12/20/21

This outfit I put together for a Style Imitating Art challenge has a real menswear vibe to it with the scarf worn like a men's tie. The pants look grey but are actually a false plain: they have a very subtle herringbone print. I would normally have opted for a grey-based animal print shoe, but I wore these smoking slippers for the challenge and I liked how they looked, with the warmth of the brown resonating well with the red sweater.

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OOTD #5: 2/7/22

Another version with a silky square scarf, this time folded up on the bias and tied with a square knot. You'll notice that once again I added a long necklace with the shorter scarf; I just really like how the outfit looks more interesting and more finished with that vertical element (and I'll take any excuse to wear more jewelry).

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OOTD #6: 4/15/22

The outfit formula works equally well in the cool parts of spring as it does in fall, though you might find yourself selecting lighter colors for these looks, as I did with the light blue and olive here. The scarf has navy in the print while the shoes have black, but even for those who have poison eye for the navy + black combination, I really don't think anyone would notice since the two pieces are so far apart visually. That visual separation is part of what makes this such an easy way to print mix, whether you are new to it or are an old hand.

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OOTD #7: 5/2/22

In this outfit from last year, my DIY paper earrings {tutorial} were the star of the show, but the print mix of Alice in Wonderland scarf and animal print shoes added even more personality and whimsy to the look.

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OOTD #8: 11/12/22

I have shown you a lot of leopard and cheetah print shoes, so it's nice to have some denim-blue-and-silver snakeskin flats to share in this spring outfit with a print scarf featuring a classic seasonal motif and an overall lighter color palette.

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OOTD #9: 3/26/23

So far I've shown a lot of accent color pullover sweaters, but I have worn this outfit formula with neutral sweater + pants also, as in this olive and black based outfit. I really like how the addition of the black pendant acts as a visual stepping stone between the black in the shoes, the black pants, the black in the scarf's print, and the black Alice headband.

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OOTD #10: 4/19/23

Simple Print Top Version

Even though the basic outfit formula works with solid clothing pieces, you can certainly go for a three-way print mix as I have in this Style Imitating Art challenge outfit. Both the striped top and cheetah print shoes are simple prints in neutral colors so they are easy to print mix with. In this outfit, the bright aqua fish motif scarf (which is wearing a fish pendant gifted to me by Jodie; my accessories have accessories) really takes center stage.

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OOTD #11: 4/18/22

Solid Third Piece Version

Another way to modify the formula is to wear your print accessories with a three piece outfit. Many three piece outfits worn in fall/winter can be overall dark, neutral, and plain, which makes them a great backdrop for a print scarf and animal print shoes. Here are a trio of examples in which I have enlivened dark skinny pants, a dark top, and a black velvet vest with the formula.

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OOTD #12: 1/28/22
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OOTD #13: 2/25/22
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OOTD #14: 3/9/22

But you can use the formula in more colorful outfits, I did in this Style Imitating Art challenge look with a magenta cardigan and green pants. I think the scarf does a terrific job of bringing the outfit's colors together so that the combination makes visual sense.

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OOTD #15: 3/29/22

On cold days, it's nice to throw a quilted vest over the classic pullover sweater + jeans combo, and for many of us, our go-to vest is a solid neutral color. The print scarf and animal print shoes works beautifully to add interest to this combination. This was my Christmas Eve outfit from last year, complete with ornament print scarf, a White Rabbit pocketwatch pendant for extra delight, and the cheetah Oxfords that work in every pants outfit I try.

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OOTD #16: 12/24/22

This outfit is more similar to the magenta/green one I shared above in that the scarf works as a bridge piece to bring the outfit colors together rather than as a pop of color against a neutral backdrop. Adding animal print shoes to the mix is a great option for these outfits as well.

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OOTD #17: 1/11/23

Here is another example of an accent color third piece (a peacock blue cardigan) worn with the formula. This was a warmer day so I opted for grey leopard ballet flats instead of the smoking slippers or Oxfords. In a lot of these outfits, any animal print shoe - cool or warm tone; sandal, flat, Oxford, boot, sneaker - would work. Since this scarf has a lot of different colors, some of which read more warm and others more cool, it's particularly well-suited to create an "any animal print would work" look.

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OOTD #18: 10/23/23

Simple Print Third Piece Version

I will wrap this up with a somewhat more complex base outfit, consisting of a solid accent color top, solid neutral pants (jeans), and a print third piece: the polka dot blazer you may recognize as part of my current fall/winter capsule wardrobe. Similarly to the striped T outfit above, the polka dot print of the blazer and the leopard print of the shoes (in a blue and black color scheme) are very simple prints that make it easy to add a third one to the mix.

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OOTD #19: 10/28/22

I hope that this Print Scarf + Animal Print Shoes outfit lookbook has shown you how easy and versatile this outfit formula is. And of course these outfits don't even scratch the surface of the many possible ways to wear the formula. I think it is adaptable to a great many different climates, style vibes, color preferences, levels of refinement, and situational needs.

I'm guessing most of us have at least one each of the print scarf and animal print shoes of the formula. And if you don't have animal print you have another print? Polka dots, stripes, geometric prints, florals...there are other options that would work. Substituting any kind of multi-color shoe/boot is a possibility. You could also try a solid colored shoe that has some interesting texture or details. I think this is definitely a "shop your closet" outfit formula, which is my favorite kind.

Do you ever wear the Print Scarf + Animal Print Shoes formula...or a variation on it? Do you have a favorite print to pair with animal print? Would you wear double animal print? Do you wear a lot of Pullover Sweater + Pants/Jeans outfits in the fall/winter?

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