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Rust Color Combos: Pinks

This is part 5 of the rust color combo series inspired by Bettye's "colors of fall" post over at Fashion Schlub. Yeah, leave it to me to take one post and turn it into five (and counting).

Today I'm going to evaluate my rust quilted vest and rust pants when paired with a variety of pink garments in my wardrobe, and for some of the promising combinations, build full outfits around them.


As a reminder, I am going to be working with the specific rust items in my wardrobe...which may be a different color from any rust garments you have, and that's OK! The evaluation process will work in the same way, we just might get different results based on the particular items.

Here are the two garments I will be focusing on for this experiment: a quilted vest and a pair of pants. The two pieces are not the exact same color--the vest is a bit deeper and more intense--but they are quite close, and I would readily wear them together.

Rust Quilted Vest & Rust Pants

I have enough pink garments that I divided them into four general categories for trying out with the rust: blush, watermelon, light pink, and magenta. As I've mentioned before, I don't always find it helpful to hear a generalization like "rust goes with pink!" because there are so many versions of rust and so many versions of pink. That kind of general statement is a good nudge to consider that color combination, but you really won't know what works to your own satisfaction until you try specific items and experiment with styling them...and what looks great to one person might look very off to another; it's a matter of personal preference!


I wasn't feeling very hopeful about rust and pink (of any kind) as a color combination, but I thought blush pink might work because it's a very de-saturated color that's so pale that it's almost white. I was pleasantly surprised to like the rust + blush pink pairing in all the specific combinations from my closet...even with the pink garments on the bottom row that aren't extremely pale pink (but do have a dusty desaturated quality).

So, now knowing that I like the rust + blush pink combination, how can I make actual outfits utilizing that pairing from items in my closet? Of course it would be quite possible to take any of the combinations above, throw on a pair of nude-to-me shoes, and call it a day (well, the sweater + vest one does need pants). That would be a stark colorblock look that can be a terrific option, but my personal style of outfit is more accessorized, tends toward blended or bridged colors rather than colorblocking, and usually includes at least one print and one neutral. So I looked through my scarf collection and pulled out ones with a color palette that will help bridge/link/tie together the rust and pink garments and to guide my selection of a neutral to add to the outfit.

My love for navy-based floral prints knows no bounds, so it's no wonder this thifted H&M scarf is in my wardrobe. The pink and red flowers seemed to tie in well with the blush and rust, and the overall color scheme with the mustard-gold accent has a nice "fall floral" vibe.

Outfit #1 is an early fall outfit without a top layer over the blush pink T, which gets close to a colorblock look (especially from the back). I chose light pink/silver/navy accessories, including a bracelet stack that I would wear with the sleeves pushed up.

Outfit #1: Rust & Blush Pink (Light Icy Pink)

Looking at the scarf with the red in the print, I got curious whether I would like red pants with this outfit. Red + pink is an obvious color combination, but it's not one I've experimented with very much. I think the red skinny jeans on the left look quite good here, but they give the outfit a more summery feel to my eye (or perhaps a Valentine's Day vibe for people in warmer MN, February is the coldest month). The red ankle pants are such a bright saturated color that I didn't like them as well with the blush pink T; they seemed to overpower the softer colors in the rest of the outfit.

This thrifted swirly stripe print Accessorize silk scarf (which Robot called my "poor man's Paul Smith scarf" but that could also be called my "poor man's Liberty scarf") has a nice range of pink and red colors as well as a bit of brown, hinting at a promising neutral for the outfit.

In Outfit #2, I went brown brown brown, leaving the rust as the primary accent color and blush pink as a secondary accent. I like how the brown really grounds the look; this would be a great outfit for the transition from fall to winter.

Outfit #2: Rust & Blush Pink (Pale Blush)

I liked the range of pink and peach colors in this thrifted Target silky thin scarf, and though the pumpkin-orange dots are not a match to the rust pants, they shared an overall warm desaturated nature that seemed promising.

In Outfit #3, I chose a black T and black flats to repeat the background color of the scarf (and I think the dots will stand out more against black than a light neutral). The gold-tone buckle on the flats in turn lead me to add a chunky gold bracelet and oval gold earrings that relate to the rounded shape of the dots. Although I don't go crazy with trying to match up all my metals and all my shapes (e.g., I like to be "free to vary" when putting an outfit together), it is very visually pleasing when different parts of the outfit relate to each other.

Outfit #3: Rust & Blush Pink (Pale Dusty Pink)


Looking at my reaction to the items in the watermelon pink category, I realized that the three warm and soft garments were all a yes, the warm and bright garment was a maybe, and the three cool and bright garments were all a no, in my opinion. I can readily see that the warmer and softer the version of pink, the more I liked it with the warm and soft rust...which makes sense to me.

Since I have used this Loft scarf as the inspiration for the #4 Olive & Beige, Kiwi capsule wardrobe that includes warm watermelon pink in its color palette, I wanted to try it as an accompaniment to the rust pants and watermelon pink blouse. Even though it doesn't exactly contain pink or rust, there is a range of warm peach/coral/red colors here that seemed promising, and I thought that the azure blue would provide a great pop of color.

I loved how this turned out in Outfit #4! Because there is so much color in this outfit, for the topper layer I added a black cardigan, drawing on the black in the scarf's floral print. The irresistible cheetah Oxfords are a fun, low-key print mix with the scarf. I added gold colored earrings and a long tassel necklace (for an additional vertical element) that work tonally with the beige shoes and mustard accent in the floral scarf.

Outfit #4: Rust & Watermelon Pink (Dull Watermelon Pink)

This Target scarf with the rich color palette and lush watercolor-y floral print has been a favorite of mine since I bought it in 2013, and those rusty brick red colors looked like a great match to my rust pants and quilted vest.

In Outfit #5, the black and white in the scarf were my jumping off point for including the striped T and black and gold bead earrings, and I rounded out the accessories with other pieces that match the scarf: a dark red glass pearl bracelet and warm-toned leopard smoking slippers. The light salmon pink of the pants then becomes a pop of color against the rest of the tightly coordinated outfit, providing an interesting "free to vary" element that keeps it from being overly matchy-matchy. This is an atypical way for me to build an outfit, but I do like how it turned out!

Outfit #5: Rust & Watermelon Pink (Light Salmon)

This thrifted coral-pink cheetah print scarf is another favorite in my closet dating to 2013. I get a kick out of the cheetah heads throughout the print.

I thought the energy of the cheetah print was a good pairing with the bright salmon pink skirt in Outfit #6. I took the lead from the cheetah's spots and completed the rest of the outfit in black, choosing jewelry and boots using a black and silver/gunmetal color scheme with just a bit of edge.

Outfit #6: Rust & Watermelon Pink (Salmon Pink)


This category of pinks definitely challenged my eye when paired with rust, though only the light-and-bright pants and rose cardigan were outright noes for me. Will I find scarves that link these colors together in workable outfits?

I've used this thrifted oval print scarf already in this series back in the navy & grey post, but I figured dealing with these tricky pink + rust combinations was the perfect to bring it out for a second run.

I kept Outfit #7 very simple, using the print scarf to tie together the pink sweater and rust pants and provide direction for a grounding neutral to use in the accessories. For a colder day, my dark grey puffy vest would be a great layering piece for this outfit, and the shoes could easily be upgraded warmth-wise to a pair of grey ankle boots.

Outfit #7: Rust & Light Pink (Dusky Pink)

This Amazon scarf (not currently available) has so many colors in it and yet seems like it has even more when I wear it...I have found that it fits in well with lots of pink, blue, green, red, and coral/orange colors.

The styling of Outfit #8 follows a strategy that is no doubt feeling familiar by now: start with the rust and pink garments, add the bridging multi-color scarf to tie those colors together, and use a neutral from the scarf for the other pieces (here, a top and accessories) to ground the outfit. It may be formula-based, but I don't think the results seem formulaic or predictable at all. And for my style personality, balancing the kind of out-there pink + rust color combination with the visual comfort/simplicity/ease of the repeated neutral pieces feels right...the resulting outfits have both tension and harmony.

Outfit #8: Rust & Light Pink (Light Heathered Pink)


Our last set of garments today are bright, very cool-toned magenta or hot pink shades. Yeah, this whole set was a hard pass for me. I'm not going to say it would be strictly impossible for me to create an outfit from any of these pairings, but I'm pretty turned off by these combinations and I see no reason to fight against that given how many other more appealing pink + rust combinations I've found.

It's definitely a matter of personal preference how hard you want to push and how deep you want to dig to make pieces work together. There's a fine line between unearthing a hidden gem and forcing something that's never going to feel right. I think that for people with a wardrobe of typical size, going with the obvious yeses, experimenting with the well maybes, and setting aside the immediate noes can provide more than enough options. And those combinations that provoked a ready thumbs-down? It's not like you are striking them from existence! You can always revisit them at another time and see whether your opinion has changed with the passage of time or whether your eye has adjusted with repeated exposure.

For great expert advice on choosing linking/bridge pieces, I recommend this post from Imogen Lamport at InsideOutStyle. And let yourself be led down the rabbit hole of her other outfit creation / color coordination posts, too...her suggestions are top-notch!

What did you think of the rust + pink garment pairings and outfits? Were any of them ones you would wear? Or wouldn't wear?

In my next Rust Color Combos post, I will move on to a very different set of colors...purple, aqua, and teal!

I link up with:

Nike at Life as a LEO Wife (Sundays)

Shelbee at Shelbee on the Edge (Mondays; 3rd Thursday)

Michelle at My Bijou Life (Mondays, Fridays)

Mica at Away from the Blue (Mondays)

Debbie at My Random Musings (Mondays)

Roxanne at Glass of Glam (Mondays)

Claire at Claire Justine (Mon, Wed, Fri)

Laura at I Do deClaire (Tuesdays)

Emma at Style Splash (Tuesdays)

Jess at Elegantly Dressed & Stylish (Tuesdays)

Gail at Is This Mutton? (Wednesdays)

Shelly at The Queen in Between (Wednesdays)

Jodie at Jodie's Touch of Style (3rd Thursday)

Carrie at Curly Crafty Mom (Thursdays)

Ada at Elegance and Mommyhood (Thursdays)

Jacqui at Mummabstylish (Thursdays)

Nicole at High Latitude Style (Thursdays)

Suzy at The Grey Brunette (Fridays)

Nancy at Nancy's Fashion Style (Fridays)

Erika at A Little Bit of Everything (Fridays)

Lucy at Lucy Bertoldi (Fridays)

Kimberly at Being a Wordsmith (Fridays)

Rena at Fine Whatever (Saturdays)

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