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Print Mixing My Fall/Winter Capsule Wardrobe + DIY Paper Beads

I challenged myself to try some more extreme print mixing with my fall/winter capsule wardrobe to test the limits of my taste for this type of combination. In my check-in post, I made the case that there is more latitude for adding prints to a capsule than the typical "how to build a capsule wardrobe" advice that focuses heavily on neutral solid pieces will allow for, and I thought I'd push myself to get especially print-intensive for a couple outfits. Let's see what I tried aand what I learned from this experimentation!

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

In capsule outfit #15, I wore my plain black long-sleeved cardigan for the first time. That may not sound like a promising start for a highly print-mixed outfit, but it was actually the only solid piece in the look!

Capsule wardrobe
Capsule OOTD #15 item added in light blue

You have seen the red plaid pants several times already, but this time I added a polka dot T and geometric print shoes (both shown recently with my bright pink module) as well as a white scarf with black, red, and blue stripes. The black cardigan tones down the combination a little but there is still a lot going on in this outfit!

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
Capsule OOTD #15: 10/26/23

This (thrifted) scarf is somewhat stiff and was very voluminous until I cut it in half lengthwise to create two identical pieces, one of which I braided into a scarf necklace using Jodie's technique and this one that I'm using for more normal scarf tying. I wanted to keep the length of the scarf shorter so that the polka dot print wasn't completely obscured, so I used the "loop to the front with ends brought through"technique (method #5 here).

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

I like the top, cardigan, pants, and shoes combination; the scarf print is fine too but I am less fond of the high value contrast between the dark top/cardigan and the white-based scarf. If the scarf were darker...say a black scarf with red, blue, and white stripes...I think I would have liked it better. Sometimes I don't think as much as I should about the relative amounts of the different colors when I put items together and the combination doesn't quite work for me as I'd hoped. But I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the print pants + print shoes pairing looks pretty good to me!

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

My all-DIY daily bracelet stack features the debut of a new paper bead bracelet set in grey and black with pops of red, green, purple, and blue. I filled out my stack with a pair of black bracelets, one white one, and two recently-made bracelets with striped acrylic beads. This brought me up to 7 bracelets, which is something of a sweet spot for me when layering bracelets in the 5mm-8mm range.

DIY paper bead bracelet stack

I designed the paper bead bracelet set based on the multi-color floral top that was also the inspiration for this wardrobe capsule's color palette! You'll see that the colors of the two paper bead bracelets are not as closely matched to the top as is typical for me. For example, the bracelets have some grey, lime, and orange colors that are not present in the top's print. But since I had already created a couple bracelet sets that adhered more closely to the colors of the top, I decided to experiment with a set that is only loosely inspired by the top. You'll see that the two paper bead bracelets look very different from each other as well rather than closely coordinated. But the addition of other bracelets in filling out the stack connects the two pieces well enough to my eye.

Design a paper bead bracelet set

The top paper bead bracelet with the swan charm was made from this page from an alumni magazine. I liked the red, green, and blue accent colors, and I thought the wash of grey color was more interesting than a flat solid color background. These beads offered up two points of surprise when rolled! First, I hadn't thought through that the red, green, and blue colors would be so minimal in the finished beads compared to their impact on the flat page, so the predominantly-grey-with-colorful-speckles appearance wasn't fully expected. Second, my brain interprets the colors in the flat page drawing as red, green, and blue, but when the colors are de-contextualized in the rolled-up beads, I can see that there is a whole array of colors there, including pink, yellow, orange, and purple. I thought the page would make pretty beads, but they were pretty in a different way from what I'd anticipated, which is fun!

DIY paper beads page to bead example

The second very colorful bracelet started as this much more dull page from The Economist magazine. This time, after I cut the strips, I did recognize that they would be mostly grey with only a bit of color. So I ramped up the color content in a big way by coloring the edges with various shades of marker, resulting in vivid colorblocked beads.

DIY paper beads
DIY paper beads page to bead examples

Capsule outfit #16 brings the black striped T, circled below in green, into play for the first time, joining a plethora of other print pieces in a print-mix-on-steroids look.

Capsule Wardrobe
Capsule OOTD #16 item added in green

I repeated the plaid pants + print shoes combo that I liked in the previous outfit and topped them with a white-and-black chevron print cardigan and moody floral scarf in a variety of rich fall colors.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
Capsule OOTD #16: 11/2/23

Although this outfit has even more prints than the last one, I do prefer it to that one. I think the balance of black, white, and color in this one is better. The cardigan has more white than black, but very similarly to the geometric print flats, the areas where the black and white overlap each other create a mid-tone mottled grey appearance that reduces the overall dark/light contrast of the piece.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

Both the knit shoes and the knit cardigan are woven patterns rather than printed-on prints, and I think that can make a difference in not only how textural the pieces are but how the colors in the piece interact with each other. When white is woven with black, you often end up with a design that is not as stark or high contrast as the typical bold black and white print. This recent travel capsule on The Vivienne Files is a good demonstration of the differences in black and white designs as it contains a silk scarf with a stark optic print, a knit sweater with softer but still distinct stripes, and a tweed suit that gives the look of a "false plain" in mottled grey rather than its true black and white.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

If you've been wondering where the heck the purple is in my capsule outfits, I did finally introduce some purple earrings to the accessory capsule! I do have more purple coming down the pike later in the season, but for some reason, it's just not a go-to color of mine.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

My all-DIY daily bracelet stack also has a purple bracelet as well as red and olive bracelets lending some color to my black-and-white bracelet set (that I'd already added to the capsule in an earlier outfit).

DIY Bead Bracelet Stack

Here is our updated accessory capsule after 16 outfits (not including the bright pink module). We are up to 11 bracelet sets, 13 earring pairs, 13 necklaces, 7 scarves, and 9 pairs of shoes. I think it's going to be time to do some organizing of these accessories by color in my next post!

Accessory capsule to date
Accessory capsule to date

Do you like mixing prints? Do you prefer to do so with subtlety? Do you go more extreme with print mixing on occasion? Does the balance of colors in the print mix make a difference to you? Do you like to wear purple? What colors are your favorites for wearing with purple?

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