Styling Idea: Adding Beauty Bundles to Rainbow Striped Print Top Outfits
I bought this rainbow striped linen top in my December 2022 Lands End order for $13.19. It is the same style as the indigo one I shared earlier in the month but a completely different colorway. The rainbow color palette is very traditional with the ROYGBIV colors represented (except for the indigo/blue-violet color) on a white background, so it matches a lot of different things in my wardrobe.
I thought I'd take this opportunity to discuss beauty bundles/accessory sets in the context of this colorful striped top. The term "beauty bundle" was coined by the late Brenda Kinsel (whose website is currently down) to refer to a set of accessories that work well together. I call these groupings "accessory sets" too because it's a more straightforwardly obvious description. Typically, a bundle consists of 3 or more accessories that share related qualities, most commonly color, but a bundle can also be built around a key item or a theme like "polka dots" or "rock-n-roll." You can create color-based bundles from a single color, color family, or multiple colors. You can create bundles for different seasons or for different occasions (such as casual, work, fancy/dressy). The items don't all need to match exactly, and you don't need to wear all the pieces together at the same time.
There are many reasons to consider creating beauty bundles/accessory sets:
They allow you to create/finish outfits easily because you can choose accessories from a bundle of related pieces.
You can create many different looks by pairing the same base outfit with different accessory sets.
You can test a new color by purchasing 3-5 accessories and adding them to clothing you already own.
The accessories can shift the level of refinement of an outfit (as in the classic day-to-night example).
For those of us with a high affinity for wearing multiple colors, or who have high color contrast, it's an easy way to add extra color to a look in a cohesive, intentional way.
Often beauty bundles/accessory sets are presented as ways to spice up simple outfits in neutral colors. That's how I illustrated some of my beauty bundles in the Pantone SS 2022 colors in this post last summer. I also showed some bundle examples with more colorful examples using color formulas and color wheel combinations in this second post.
Today I am sharing some recent OOTD which I created around my rainbow striped linen top and some color-based beauty bundles from my closet...though I am defining the term broadly to include clothing in some cases. Even though that's not how Brenda Kinsel first conceptualized beauty bundles, I think there can be value in knowing not only what accessories you have in a color grouping but also what clothing. (I have organized my digital closet to show me all the items I own in a given color category, as shown here.)
Even if you don't have a rainbow striped top like mine, you might have another colorful print item in your closet that you can build into an outfit using the same concept. So I hope this gives you some styling inspiration for your own wardrobe!
Let's get started...
For my rainbow top's debut wear, I chose the violet/purple from the stripes as the primary accent color for both my pants and my accessories for a highly color-coordinated look. Here are the specific items I selected, which I am counting as four: pants, necklace, bracelets (worn stacked so counting as one), earrings. Note that these pieces cover a large range of violet/purple tones from bright violet to smoky dark purple, illustrating that your items don't have to color match closely to work well in an outfit. (And the more spread out the colors are when you wear them, and the smaller the amount of real estate each item takes up, the more leeway you have with using similar rather than matching colors.)
Within the context of the outfit, I think the four violet/purple pieces were just right. Both the layered necklace and bracelet stack included other colors/metals in addition to the purple so that single color isn't overwhelming. I selected neutral shoes (nude to me) to ground the colorful look.
The yellow items I selected, based on the yellow stripes in the top, also span a range of specific tones from light yellow to mustard, but they coordinate nicely. This time I selected only accessories in yellow because I was wearing an accent color bottom piece with the striped top. Again, I pulled four pieces: scarf, bracelets (stacked), earrings, shoes.
I love the yellow + blue combination (two-thirds of a triadic color scheme on the color wheel) so yellow felt like a natural choice to pair with my cobalt blue skirt. (And if it has a bit of a "supporting Ukraine" vibe about it right now due to world events, that's OK with me. It might also remind you of a sports team; any such association is completely accidental. But thinking about it, my now-defunct elementary school for grades 1-3 had the colors of blue and yellow/gold, so I would also be OK with this as a "Go, Dragons!" outfit.)
So far I've shown the bottom piece in (1) the beauty bundle color and (2) a different accent color, but in this outfit I am using the more typical choice of neutral pants. So I could pull basically any color from the rainbow stripes as the accent color for my beauty bundle and it would work. I chose three pieces in bright blue: bracelets (stacked), scarf, and shoes.
My neutral (dark blue wash denim) and my beauty bundle accent (bright blue) are similar colors with a low level of contrast, even though they are distinctly different shades of blue. That made it easy to add a secondary accent color to pop against them. I chose orange as the other accent color, appearing in the bracelet stack and earrings (Blue + Orange is a high energy complementary color scheme).
Orange & Yellow
For my last example, I created the beauty bundle around a pair of yellow pants and my white floral Keds that I'd chosen to wear with the striped top. I came up with a multi-color bundle in orange and yellow with 5 pieces: pants, bracelet, earrings, necklace, and shoes.
This resulted in a very colorful outfit with no major neutral pieces (my bracelet stack does add a bit of neutral navy), but I think it works!
Last Friday when I was wearing the rainbow striped top + yellow pants outfit above, my husband and I were both on a vacation day. We had been discussing going for a walk along the river, but there was a sudden thunderstorm with quite high winds in on our area that we watched from our balcony instead.
After the storm passed, a very large, beautiful rainbow showed up in the sky. It faded out quite quickly, and I was barely able to catch a photograph of it before it disappeared.
Next thing you know, the sun came out into a gorgeous blue sky, and the trees, plants, and grass were aglow with freshly washed emerald green.
I didn't at all realize that I was dressed in a rainbow striped top that matched the sky that day until I downloaded the photos onto my computer. How was that for luck? Of course my husband started singing "Rainbow Connection" in a Kermit the Frog voice when I pointed it out.
Do you have any rainbow striped items of clothing, accessories, or décor? Have you ever put together a grouping of colorful accessories into an outfit? Have you identified any beauty bundles/accessory sets in your wardrobe? How would you style this rainbow linen top for summer?
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