We’ve all seen and perhaps envied those individuals who look effortlessly put together or chic in a way that seems unstudied but you know requires some time to coordinate. We’re not talking about the classic little black dress or crisp white button down either. We mean the people who can mix prints with aplomb or manage to wear all the colors of the rainbow and it looks deliberate, not crazy. They may know this easy outfit styling trick.
Simple Outfit Styling Trick: Matching Bookends
While we don’t have the magic formula exactly to get this kind of style, we do have a few tricks up our sleeves and one of them is to “bookend” your outfits with at least two pieces that are either in the same color family or have other undeniable similarities. This works to bring everything together and make your outfit cohesive, even if you are wearing seemingly disparate pieces.
For instance, you could pair boots in a pale gray suede and a scarf that matches or is primarily the same shade of gray with a bold violet coat, or a brushed metal cuff bracelet with a bag, shoes, or sunglasses with similar brushed metal hardware all worn with a solid top and bottom in complementary colors.
Matching Colors: Accessories
The key is to make sure that the pieces on the bookends or the edges of your outfits like your shoes, bag, jewelry, or hat and hair all coordinate nicely or echo each other, therefore tying the whole look together.
Here are some of our favorite ways to bookend our ensembles…
One of our favorite and most luxe looks for winter is winter white anything, but we also like soft blues, icy lavenders, blush pinks, and pale greens paired with darker grays and blacks. While it might be difficult to keep pastel or ivory-hued footwear clean, the extra work might be worth it.
And besides, nothing says “luxury” quite like wearing somewhat impractical colors like winter white and pastels during the winter. We suggest these Dolce Vita lug-soled combat boots in ivory paired with a coordinating ivory pashmina for your cold-weather luxe this year.
This method of bookending is simple. Just coordinate the metal in your jewelry, sunglasses, the hardware on your shoes and bags, and any other metallic touches like embellishments on your clothes. It creates a sense of cohesion and coordination even if nothing else you are wearing is the same color. Try a pair of boots with a heavy chain like these from Steve Madden with a black leather bag that has a similar gold chain strap, like this crossbody from Madewell.
If you can’t decide what metals work best with what colors, keep it simple by pairing yellow, copper, bronze and rose golds with warm colors and silver or pewters with cool shades. Or switch it up and go for contrast at opposite ends of the color wheel. We love deep blues and violets with coppers, yellow or rose gold as well as rusts, red-oranges and marigold or mustard shades with silvery or white metals.
Styling Trick: Matching Scarves and Jewelry
Coordinating your scarves with your jewelry is always fun, and can be a good way to bring color into an otherwise neutral look. Try it with rich greens this fall and winter for an on-trend look. We love the combination of this emerald silk scarf and this green abalone ring from Kendra Scott.
Bookending Shoes and Bags
This is perhaps the most obvious and classically matchy-matchy version of bookending. But matching your shoes to your handbag never truly goes out of style. You don’t necessarily need to be exact with your coordination either. Try mixing up textures with a pair of snakeskin or faux croc shoes and a smooth leather handbag, or vice versa. We like this faux snakeskin Fossil crossbody bag with charcoal gray boots, such as these from Ecco.
Bold Colored Boots and Hats
Your outerwear most likely takes center stage in the winter, and having a matching or coordinating hat and boots might be the easiest way to bookend your winter outfits. While black is an easy and practical choice, a saturated pastel or bright color like these red boots by Guess combined with a matching beanie can bring life to a gray winter’s day.
Styling Trick: Matching Hair And Accessories
While you might not think of your hair as part of your outfit, it is one thing that you “wear” every day. Echoing the tone or color of your hair in your shoes can be a great way to bookend an outfit.
For instance, black boots and black hair might be the simplest combination to find. But it’s never complicated. Try a chocolate brown boot if you have deep brown hair, taupe if you’re a blonde, or pewter or dove gray if you’re rocking natural salt and pepper. They all work as bookends. These Sam Edelman combat boots come in several colorways so you can find one that matches your mane.
Shop Bookend Accessories
Do you “bookend” your outfits by making sure the pieces on the edges of your ensemble are matching or at least coordinating? How do you tie together seemingly disparate pieces or ensure that what you are wearing is a real “outfit” as opposed to just clothing you threw on? Share your tips in the comments or in our Growing Younger Facebook group!
You may like to read more of Jacqueline’s fashion posts like Fabulous Summer To Fall Transition Outfits For Women Over 40 and Want Some Bonus Height? Try Platform Shoes!
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