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Rust Color Combos: Bright Teal & Muted Teal

This is part 7 of the rust color combo series inspired by Bettye's "colors of fall" post over at Fashion Schlub.

Today I am going to evaluate my rust pants and quilted vest when paired with a variety of bright teal and muted teal items in my wardrobe. Both of these rust garments are between the red and red-orange colors on my color wheel...and when I look opposite that, I find the complementary color would be between green and blue-green, which is where many teal colors fall!


Bright teal with this reddish rust is a promising color combination. I have to admit that I am not entirely sure why I like some of these pairings better than others! I think the two bright teal garments with the check boxes are slightly more green and a hint more muted than the other ones. It would make sense that the warm muted rust would pair more readily with versions of bright teal to the extent those teal colors also have a warm, muted quality.

Let's continue exploring some potential bridge pieces for these rust + bright teal pairings as we did for the Purple & Aqua post and the Pinks post...and to keep things more interesting, I will endeavor not to use any of the same ones as I did in those posts. (Obviously in real life, using the same bridge piece in multiple scenarios would be a wonderful way to get good value from our purchases!)

First up is this jewel tone giraffe scarf that is the inspiration scarf for the 6 Scarves 2021: #5 Brown & Black, Nelly capsule wardrobe. Rust is not present in the Nelly wardrobe's color palette, but I noticed that the mostly-gold leaves also have some dark red in them, which in addition to the teal in the teal/blue/magenta leaves makes it a candidate bridge piece.

Since this scarf has such a fall-to-winter vibe about it, I tried it out with the bright teal quilted vest. I really like how the rust and bright teal come together with the dark brown sweater, taupe-beige boots, and gold jewelry in Outfit #1. I would normally reach for a matching brown quilted vest for this outfit, but the somewhat muted teal vest is a nice surprise that adds energy to the look. Black sweater and boots could be substituted for the brown and still look great (the scarf handily contains both neutrals). An ivory sweater would also be a nice alternative.

Outfit #1: Rust & Bright Teal

For a warmer weather option, I liked the look of this print mix floral scarf that contains both bold darkish orange and greenish teal.

When I put the scarf into Outfit #2 with the rust pants and aquamarine cardigan, it coordinated quite well...a reminder that our bridge garments don't need to match the outfit colors to lend a degree of intentionality and cohesiveness to the look. (Jodie just demonstrated this wonderfully in her emerald green post.) The DIY seed bead jewelry repeats the three main colors in the outfit, which may feel like overkill or be pleasing to you depending on where you fall on the matchy continuum and how much you groove with the Power of 3 idea.

Outfit #2: Rust & Bright Teal

This third scarf may seem a bit fair afield with its very bright orange and light teal/mint koi on a light mint background, but I thought it probably related well enough to rust and bright teal to work as a bridge piece.

What do you think of Outfit #3? I seem to be using a strategy of adding a third neutral color drawn from the scarf in rounding out these outfits! Brown, navy, and now a black top. Black tights + boots would 100% work here, but I gravitated to the cognac option instead, which I often do when I want to "warm up" black. Another strategy on display here is connecting the bright orange in the scarf and the rust in the vest by including several other variants in the orange/red spectrum in the outfit: light orange tiger-eye beads on the earrings, a range of coral/orange/rust seed beads in the bracelet, and the cognac boots. Now instead of having an outfit with two mismatched orange-red colors (which may look like a mistake), we have an outfit with a plethora of various orange-reds (which looks intentional and cohesive).

Outfit #3: Rust & Bright Teal

Our bridge pieces don't have to be scarves (though that's an easy way to do it!). You could use a cardigan with colors similar to your main pieces (here the rust brown and peacock blue in the cardigan are rust- and teal-adjacent colors, respectively) as in Outfit #4. I kept the jewelry pieces in the gold/cream/ivory range for simplicity, but could not resist a bit of print mixing with the leopard flats (that are a terrific match to the bracelet colors).

Outfit #4: Rust & Bright Teal

In Outfit #5, the vibrant autumnal floral skirt brings together the sweater and vest, and once again, accessories are chosen to repeat colors and achieve a cohesive look. I considered a pair of aqua/teal earrings but prefer how the brown and brass ones look...possibly because fall = brown in my head and because the repetition of the brown at head level, wrist level, legs, and feet pulled things together.

Outfit #5: Rust & Bright Teal

This teal and white striped T is interesting because I just LOVE it with the rust pants and don't think it needs much of anything at all to work. I would readily put on the T, pants, and a pair of white Keds and call it good...if under-accessorized for my typical style! (Because I'm me, I added all kinds of fun accessories to Outfit #6.) For some reason, the white stripes really work for me here. I imagined the stripes as a different neutral and was distinctly less sold on the combination. It's a mystery.

Outfit #6: Rust & Bright Teal

Here are a couple more tops and a necklace that I thought would be good options as bridge pieces for the rust pants and aquamarine cardigan, the pairing I found most questionable of all the rust + bright teal combos. The bead necklace, made many years ago by a friend, uses the combination of turquoise and coral that I associate with indigenous peoples of the Southwest US but that is also commonly used by Tibetan artisans. (I enjoyed looking at images of some historic, some modern pieces here.) It's a gorgeous complementary color scheme, so it makes sense that people across the world from each other independently came to prize it.


All of these muted teal colors worked beautifully with the reddish rust in my wardrobe, though if forced to rank them, I do slightly prefer the greener versions in the top row.

I immediately thought of this paisley scarf in dark muted teal, rust, brown, and cream as a bridge piece.

In Outfit #7, I used the same brown sweater and gold earrings and bracelet as I did in Outfit #1 above to demonstrate how easy it can be to re-wear the same combination of items in very different ways. Brenda Kinsel developed this concept with the Beauty Bundle idea (as an example, in this post she puts a set of brown accessories through its paces in multiple outfits), but there's no reason we can't expand it to encompass garments as well as accessories! The brown sweater + boots and gold earrings + bracelet could be worn again and again with different skirts, scarves, and vests. I couldn't even guess how many distinct outfits I could create using them!

Outfit #7: Rust & Muted Teal

I identified some print garments in my closet that could work with rust despite not containing any rust in them. The dark green-teal plaid shirt at upper right has burgundy and cream, the lighter teal plaid shirt at lower left has mint/tea green and black, and the striped top is peacock blue and white. Not a speck of rust to be had, yet the combinations look great to my eyes.

That light teal plaid shirt made me curious about other mint/seafoam items in my closet as possible pairings with rust, and I like that they share a desaturated quality with the rust pants. These colors are much lighter in value than the rust, which I think makes them a little more challenging than the dark muted teal colors, but worth experimenting with further.

Do you make use of Beauty Bundles or other sets of garments and/or accessories to make getting dressed easier?

In my next and last Rust Color Combos post, I will experiment with rust and green or blue combinations!

Blogs I link up with are listed here.

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