How to Incorporate Color With Bookending

In spring and summer I inevitably want outfits with more color!  In warmer weather you can’t rely as much on layers to make outfits interesting, so incorporating color is one way to pull together outfits and make them pop.  I recently wrote about How to Use Colored Shoes to Make Outfits Pop, and today we’re going to talk about another way to get color in your outfits–bookending!

How to Incorporate Color this Spring and Summer Using Bookending

Bookending is when you use the same color somewhere in the top part of your outfit (cardigan, earrings, necklace, belt, etc.) and somewhere in the bottom part of your outfit (belt, pants, shoes).  It’s a very, very easy way to bring color into your outfits.

In the past I’ve talked about incorporating color by pulling out color from the print or focusing on colors opposite the color wheel, etc.  Sometimes those still require a bit of thinking to balance the outfit with its colors.  With bookending you don’t have to worry about whether the outfit is balanced because balance is innate.  Also, you don’t need to pull any color from anywhere else in the outfit.  A color can be nowhere in the outfit at all, but with the balance bookending brings, you can bring in a color and your outfit will look cohesive.  (And no, the colors do not have to match exactly!)

Here are some ways to bookend outfits that you can try!



Use bookending to liven up an outfit of all neutrals.  It’s so easy to create a cohesive look because any color goes with neutrals.  Choose one and wear it in both the top half of your outfit and the bottom half!

Striped Tee + Skinnies + Mustard Flats + Earrings + Tote

My favorite uniform is a striped tee with jeans, and you can mix it up so many ways.  That combo is the perfect canvas for bookending, and it works with any color you want!  I chose these fantastic yellow earrings and yellow flats (the combo being my current favorite go-to!)  Try it with red, green, pink, cobalt blue, blush–seriously, anything!

Shop the Look:
Top: Amazon (similar)(similar)

Jeans: Democracy (exact -wearing size 6)(similar)
Bag: Nordstrom (exact)
Flats: Amazon (exact)(similar)

Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (exact–wearing size M)


blush cardigan + striped tee + blush flats + black jeans Striped Tee + Blush Cardigan + Black Jeans + blush flats

Here’s that same combo again but with black jeans.  This time, instead of using colored accessories on the top, this outfit has a colored completer piece with matching shoes.

Shop for the Look:
Tee: H&M (similar, similar, similar)
Cardigan: Nordstrom (similar)(similar)
Jeans: Seraphine Maternity (my favorite non-maternity–I wear size 6; similar maternity)
Shoes: Amazon (exact–wearing size 9; similar)
Bag: Nordstrom (similar)
Watch: c/o JORD (exact)


White Blouse + Green Pants + Orange Flats + Statement Necklace White Blouse + Green Chinos + Tote + Statement Necklace

Here’s a business casual look bookending a colored necklace with flats.  The flats even have some extra lighter colors and the combo works.  Also, remember how I said the colors don’t have to match exactly?  The orange in my necklace isn’t a perfect match with the coral in the shoes, but I think it still works!

Shop for the Look:
Top: c/o ModCloth (exact–size M)

Pants: Old Navy (exact non-maternity; exact maternity-(other colors)-sized down to 4)
Coral Flats: c/o ModCloth (exact–size 9)
Bag: Nordstrom (exact)
Necklace: c/o ModCloth
Watch: c/o JORD (exact)


FROM THE PRINTWhite Jeans + Cherry Tee + Gray Bag + Rust FlatsRust Flats + Cherry Tee + White Jeans + Gray Bag Cherry Tee + White Jeans + Statement Earrings + Rust Flats

This is where we get a little fancy with color.  There’s red in the print, so I pulled it out into the bookends.  However, this would have worked just the same with a solid navy top or any other solid neutral top, just like the other outfits in the All Neutrals section above.

Shop for the Look:
Top: J.Crew Factory (exact-wearing size S)

Jeans: Loft (exact–I wear size 28P)
Bag: c/o Sole Society (similar)

Flats: Nordstrom (similar)
Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (exact-wearing size M)



Here’s another way to play with more color.  In both outfits below, I’m wearing a colorful top, but the color in the bookends is not anywhere else in the outfit.  Instead of drawing colors out of the print like in the example above, I used a contrasting color.  When incorporating a contrasting color like this, bookending is a really simple way to pull together the colors and the outfit.

Red Ikat Print Top + Yellow Flats + Yellow Earrings

Red and yellow!  I used to avoid this combo because it reminded me of McDonald’s or ketchup and mustard ? but I got over it and love how fun it is!

Shop for the Look:
Top: LOFT (exact–wearing size S)
Jeans: Democracy (exact -wearing size 6)

Flats: Amazon (exact)(similar)
Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (exact–wearing size M)


White Jeans + Lavender Sweater + Mustard Flats White Jeans + Mint Bag + Lavender Sweater + Mustard Flats White Jeans + Mustard Flats + Lavender Sweater

And more yellow bookends (because if you couldn’t tell, I stinking love yellow :P), but with lavender.

Shop for the Look:
Sweater: c/o ModCloth (exact–wearing size L)

Jeans: Old Navy Maternity ( my favorite non-maternity–I wear size 28P)
Shoes: c/o ModCloth (exact–wearing size 9)

Necklace: c/o ModCloth 
Bag: c/o ModCloth (similar)



Yes, neutral bookends still count!  You can do this with outfits that are already made of all neutral pieces, or you can do this to pull together outfits that have colorful pieces.  One of my favorite pairings is white earrings with white sneakers.  Maybe it’s because of my dark hair, but I LOVE how the little white accents make outfits pop!  I also do it often with my tan cutout earrings and cognac wedges/boots/flats.

Pink Graphic Tee + Leggings + Sneakers + Statement Earrings Graphic Tee + Leggings + Jean Jacket + Sneakers Jean Jacket + Graphic Tee + Leggings

Here’s an outfit with a bright color bookended with neutral pieces.  If you’re ever stumped with how to accessorize with a particular color, neutral is a no-brainer!

Shop for the Look:
Top: Nordstrom (similar options–top above sold out, link takes you to many pink tee options)
Jacket: Old Navy (similarsimilar)
Leggings: H&M Maternity (my favorite NON-maternity–I wear size M; exact–wearing size S)
Bag: Nordstrom (similar)
Shoes: Kohl’s (exact–wearing size 8.5)
Earrings: (exact-I wear a size M)



Utility Jacket + Striped Tee + Tote bag + Skinnies + White Slip Ons Striped Tee + Skinnies + Slip On Shoes + Cognac Tote + Utility JacketStriped Tshirt + Skinnies + Tote Bag + Green Utility Jacket + White Slip ons

This is an example of using neutral bookends with all neutral clothes.  The earrings are a nice touch to polishing off an outfit!  (BTW, they’re made of leather so they’re reallyyyyy lightweight.  You can hardly feel them!)

Shop for the Look:
Tee: Nordstrom (exact–wearing size S)

Jacket: c/o Conversation Pieces (similar)
Jeans: my favorite non-maternity pair (I size down to 4!)
Sneakers: Zappos (similar)(similar)
Bag: Nordstrom (exact)
Earrings: (exact-I wear a size M)


I think the easiest place to start practicing bookending is with an outfit full of all neutrals.  Try adding a couple of accessories in the same color (earrings or necklace + shoes or belt) and see how it makes your outfit pop!

For more posts on how to incorporate color into your outfits, check out all of my post tagged “color play” HERE!



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