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Supplementing a Capsule Wardrobe #3: Add a Related Color from Your Closet + DIY Jewelry

In my previous post in this series, I discussed expanding a capsule wardrobe by creating a module of pieces from your closet in a new accent color, using bright pink as my example. Today's post demonstrates a similar expansion strategy: adding a related color to the capsule's palette. Here are the inspiration garment and the 7 colors I selected from it to create my original capsule.

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

One of the palette colors is a brilliant red, which is a gorgeous color with black and is perfect for the holidays. This is the cluster of red clothing pieces I had selected using the "thinking in threes" strategy to include the range of items needed to span early fall to late winter temperatures.

Red cluster

But as you can (I hope) see in this zoomed in image of the floral top, in addition to the bright red flowers, it also has maroon outlining around the flowers and leaves. Since the maroon color is closely related to the bright red, it will likely play nicely with the existing red clothing and accessories in the capsule, making it an easy color to choose for expanding the capsule wardrobe.

Maroon color detail in floral top

Back in March, I had posted about clothing purchased in 2014 that I still wear, and two of the items were these drapey cardigans from Coldwater Creek in peacock blue and maroon that were near my <$1 cost per wear (CPW) goal but still distant from my 30 wears goal. These cardigans currently function in my wardrobe as fall/spring pieces that I layer over sleeveless tanks (the cardigan sleeves are too tight to comfortably layer over short or long sleeved tops). I selected the maroon cardigan as my "supplement my capsule with maroon" garment for fall.

Cardigans from 2014

In the two OOTD I'm sharing today, I paired the maroon cardigan with a black inner column of color. I have a black tank that I didn't include in my original capsule that clearly fits right into the capsule and provides even more flexibility in adjusting my outfits for the weather and situation. Having a black sleeveless tank, a black short-sleeved top, a black long-sleeved top, and a black pullover sweater would be a "thinking in fours" technique that, depending on where you live and what outfit formulas you like to wear, could definitely be a good idea for a fall/winter capsule!

My first maroon outfit is kind of exciting for me because I am wearing both the maroon cardigan and black space dye knit skirt from my 2014 post! The maroon boots (52 wears; $1.80 CPW) and gold tassel necklace (82 wears; $0.24 CPW) also date from 2014 or earlier. The black tank (25 wears; $0.60 CPW) and the rabbit print infinity scarf (20 wears; gift from Mr. St Paul) are from 2018. There is nothing new here, and every piece has been worn a good number of times, but this particular outfit combination is new for me, so it has a very satifying "new outfit from old favorites" feel to it. This is also an outfit formula/silhouette (longer cardigan + pencil skirt) that I am quite comfortable wearing that is spot on for my own style preferences. Even when infinity scarves and waterfall cardigans are not a current trend, and you can probably find 1000+ influencers saying "ditch this, buy this instead" to make bank, they are still my style, and that's what matters most!

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
Capsule OOTD #17: 10/30/23

I mentioned in my Print Scarf + Animal Print Shoes post that I am a big-time fan of the short scarf + long necklace combination, and I am wearing a classic-for-me version of that here with a rabbit motif scarf and the long tassel necklace that is one of my go-to options. I LOVE how the gold pops against the black top and provides a feeling of brightness to an otherwise dark outfit. It's amazing how such a small detail can really affect the overall vibe of an outfit and increase how happy we are with it. Scarves and layered necklaces are #1 and #2 on my Feels Like Me dozen list, but I could definitely add "short scarf + long necklace" to the list.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

Here you can see the space dye pattern in the skirt, which I like as a low-key interesting alternative to a solid black one. It works well with the black and white print of the rabbit scarf, too. Tights colors can be a conundrum, but matching your skirt/dress or matching your shoes/boots is an easy option that works well. Actually, finding plus size burgundy tights in the right reddish-maroon-leaning rather than purply-wine-leaning color to coordinate with these boots was quite the challenge! I have since supplemented these burgundy tights with two other pairs but they are more on the purply-wine end of the spectrum, unfortunately (I bought on Amazon). I just keep babying this perfect pair (washing in a cold water in a laundry bag and hanging to dry) in the hopes that they will stay in good shape for a good while to come.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

My daily bracelet stack is a bit different from usual today. It's still DIY jewelry, but instead of paper bead bracelets or a stack of bead bracelets in various colors, it's a single coordinated set from a kit I got from Annie's Kits Simply Beads subscription. This one has snowflake obsidian in 6mm and 8mm, grey crystals, black crystals, and two types of gold-tone spacer beads strung on stretch cord. I would not have gravitated toward gold with the black and grey, but it's really pretty!

DIY bracelet stack

I followed the patterns in the kit, but did modify them slightly; I tweaked the beads in back to get them each to my perfect size and added a larger hole gold bead in the back as a place to hide the knots. I wasn't always successful hiding the knots, though, because the stretch cord was quite thick and created pretty large knots. I'm not worried about the knots because they are positioned on the back of the wrist where no one will see them. I am very happy with how these turned out, and I have kept the instructions with the bead patterns so I can create other sets in the same style in different colors/stones.

This was also a strange day because I didn't wear a headband, even though either my gold or faded black headbands would have been perfect with my outfit. My hair was relatively tame on this day so it wasn't a problem. I am wearing red crystal stud earrings under there that no one would ever see, but I just don't like having empty holes on my ears so I always wear some kind of earring.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

In my second outfit, I am wearing the black jeans from my capsule instead of a skirt, maroon flats instead of boots, and a different infinity scarf + long necklace combo. The jeans date to September 2019 but I have worn them 50 times for a $0.53 CPW. They are the only black jeans I own, so they get a decent amount of wear; I wear jeans about half the months of the year, so that works out to about two wears per month during the jeans season so far.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
Capsule OOTD #18: 11/6/23

This floral infinity scarf from Target (2015; 15 wears; $0.95 CPW) is a rather odd one because it's a navy-based print but has a section that is black and white. So I'm never quite sure whether to wear it with navy, black, or either. I positioned it on my neck with the black and white portion at the front to line up with the black tank, and I thought it looked interesting in a good way. The gold/silver palm/monstera pendant from CJ Banks (2021; 25 wears; $0.22 CPW) has quickly become a go-to necklace for me because it's such a cute design, and a mixed metal pendant is just extremely versatile and useful in pulling accessories together. I think many people treat palm/monstera motifs as a summer thing, and I can see that, but it's not like these plants lose their leaves in fall/winter!

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

I am glad to have a pair of maroon flats from my Big Payless Ballet Flat Purchase of 2015 (28 wears; $0.61 CPW) that can work as a "thinking intwos" with my maroon ankle boots to cover the entire year. Colorful ballet flats could definitely be another entry on my Feels Like Me list.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

My daily bracelet stack features a bunch of bead bracelets you've seen me wear before (all DIY except the gold cube spacer bead bracelet from Amazon). Most if not all of these bracelets have already been added to my accessory capsule; I didn't add anything different to work with the maroon accent color because the dark red was close enough for my taste.

DIY bead bracelet stack

However, I did wear a new pair of bead soup earrings I made in maroon and gold. I was able to find 3 pairs of maroon beads in different shades, shapes, sizes, materials, and finishes that otherwise would probably have languished in my bead soup for eternity. I'm really enjoying finding a purpose for these spare beads, and working with a limited set of beads has made me get more creative in combining beads that I would otherwise be. The metal spacers and bead caps act as a unifying element in pulling these disparate beads together into a cohesive piece of jewelry.

Bead Soup Earrings
Design bead soup earrings

You may have gathered that in addition to the typically multi-colored earrings I'm making to coordinate with specific bracelets sets, I am also creating monochromatic earrings that are basically free agents to be added to any outfit. Some color/metal combinations are already well-represented in my existing earring collection, but there are definitely a good number of combinations that I can make to fill in the gaps. These maroon ones are a good example of that.

Here is the maroon section of my digital closet. I did have one pair of "maroon" earrings (the dark red crystal stud earrings I was wearing underneath my hair in the first outfit in this post, as it turns out!), but I thought I could make use of a maroon-and-gold pair since gold is the metal I wear most often with maroon. So I made these bead soup earrings to fill in that "gap." I call it a "gap" because it's not like most people actually need a pair of earrings to represent every possible color/metal combination! But since I like making jewelry and have this whole bead soup earring project going, I'm being a bit systematic about creating earrings that fill gaps, however tiny and insignificant, in my collection rather than, say, making 40 pairs of turquoise/silver earrings.

Maroon section of my digital closet

As for maroon-and-silver, I haven't made a pair and don't currently have a plan for one. But I might make some down the road if I plan an outfit that would benefit from them. I have made a pair of burgundy-and-silver earrings from my bead soup, however, which will slot into my burgundy section of my digital closet once I photograph them.

Burgundy section of my digital closet

And both the maroon-and-gold and the burgundy-and-silver pairs will find their way into the maroon/burgundy/wine accessories folder where I can see all the items in this general color family in one place.

Digital wardrobe - color family

Here are the 5 items from these two outfits that form the maroon module in my fall/winter capsule wardrobe: a cardigan, scarf, earrings, shoes, and boots.

Maroon module
Maroon module

For comparison, here is the bright pink module from the three earlier outfits. It's interesting that both modules feature a cardigan as the clothing piece in the new accent color that I wore with the neutral pieces of the main capsule. It makes sense that bright pink has more accessories (bracelets, earrings, scarves) because it's so different from the main capsule colors; the maroon, as a color closely related to bright red, was able to borrow accessories from the main capsule.

Bright pink module
Bright pink module

Report updated cost per wear & total wears for the drapey cardigans (link to peacock cardigan outfits).

In celebration of the wonderful black, white, and red winter color combination, I have a photo of a gorgeous pileated woodpecker to share with you today. Some years ago, Mr. St Paul and I traveled north in early January on a birdwatching trip, and as you might imagine, it was cold. Quite cold. We were lucky to see this woodpecker from the car, and I finagled my camera out the passenger side window to photograph it because at this point in our visit I was feeling DONE with standing outside in the cold. I checked our bird spreadsheet (you knew we had one, right?) and can report that we saw this woodpecker on Riley Road in Duluth, MN along with pine grosbeak, common raven, bald eagle, and blue jay.

Bird photo
Pileated Woodpecker - 1/9/2016

As a follow up to my items from 2014 post, here are the updated stats for my two drapey cardigans from March to now. In spring and fall 2023, I wore the maroon cardigan 3 times and the peacock blue one 4 times, bringing the total wears for each to 18 and the CPW to $0.83. I've hit my CPW target for both (hurray!) and will continue to work toward my 30 wears goal next spring. As always, a hat tip to Mica at Away From the Blue for her example in blogging about the 30 wears metric.

Cardigan update - total wear and cost per wear

Do you ever wear related/similar colors together like red + maroon or red + pink in an analogous color scheme? Do you like to put together old favorites into new outfits? Or do you tend to wear old favorites in tried-and-true combinations? Or do you get rid of older items on a more regular basis? Do you document your closet inventory? Do you track your spending, number of items, number of wears, cost per wear, or other metrics?

Blogs I link up with are listed here.

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