Incorporating Colors, Part 3: Bookending

Over the last few weeks we’ve been talking about how to incorporate colors the easy way.  Today we are wrapping up that mini-series with one final post.  Our topic?  Bookending!  (If you missed the first two posts, catch them HERE.)

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.

With bookending you don’t have to worry about whether the outfit is balanced because bookending innately creates balance.  Nor do you need to pull any color from anywhere else in the outfit.  A color can be nowhere in the outfit, but with the balance bookending provides, you can add a color and your outfit will look cohesive.  (And no, the colors do not have to match exactly!)

Here are some easy ways to bookend outfits!

SIZING: I’m 5’6″ with a short torso and usually S/M or 6 in clothes, 8.5 to 9 in shoes.


white floral top + pink cardigan + white pants + grey purseblush cardigan + blush ballet flats + white floral top + white jeans + grey purse

Cardigan + Shoes
Choose a cardigan and shoes in the same color to instantly pull your outfit together.  I pulled out the pinkish tones from the background of the top (like we talked about in Part 2 of this series), but you can wear an all-neutral top with jeans and ANY color for the cardigan and shoes will pull it together (like we talked about in Part 1 of this series but using bookending instead of one pop of color).

My shoes are several years old, but they’re still available in most colors and sizes HERE!  These run small–I’m wearing 9.5.  I’ve had them for several years and continue to pull them out each spring.

Shop the Outfit:
Top: c/o White Plum (similar)
Jeans: Old Navy (similar, similar)
Cardigan: Nordstrom (similar)
Shoes: Amazon (exact–wearing 9.5)
Bag: Nordstrom (similar)
Necklace: Nordstrom (identical)


Striped Skirt + Blue top + yellow sandals + Yellow earrings Striped skirt + blue navy top +yellow accessories

Earrings + Shoes
Welllll, you know I love some yellow.  No surprise that most of the examples I have of pops with earrings and shoes are yellow! ? This first outfit is a casual example where the outfit is all blue and white, full of neutrals.  You could totally mix things up with yellow sandals and white earrings, but I love the cohesion and balance that bookending brings.  Totally a preference, of course, and just another fun thing to play with and easy way to create cohesive looks.

BTW, my SKIRT!  IS BACK IN STOCK!!!!  I’ve had this thing for several years, and it’s a PMT favorite!  It’s currently ON SALE and available in sizes XXS to 3X.  It has an elastic waistband, which is glorious.  Has pockets–yesss!  And is lightweight and just so dang cute.  See ways I’ve styled it HERE.  And get it while you can HERE!  Note, this skirt is midi length, so if you’re petite you might need to pass OR plan on getting it altered.  You can see if they’ll detach the bottom hem with horizontal stripes, take length off the vertical striped part, then reattach the horizontal hem.

Shop the Outfit:
Top: c/o Modcloth (exact-size M)
Skirt: J.Crew Factory (exact–I wear size S, similar)
Sandals: Target (similar in many colors!)
Bag: Nordstrom (similar)


white print blouse + navy pants + navy blazer + yellow flats + brown tote Yellow flats + yellow earrings + navy pants + navy blazer + brown tote + white print blouse

This second outfit is a business casual example with earrings and shoes as bookends.  While the blazer and pants are navy, the top is pink with yellow and blue flowers.  The yellow accessories echo the yellow in the top.  I tried this with yellow earrings and other colored shoes like nude pumps or brown, but again, bookending with yellow flats created a great sense of balance to the outfit.

Shop the Outfit:
Top: LOFT (exact-size XS)
Blazer: Old Navy (similar)
Pants: Old Navy (exact-size 4)
Shoes: Amazon (exact)
Tote: Nordstrom (exact)


Striped Tee + Skinny Jeans + Olive utility vest + pendant necklace + brown tote + white sneakers Stripped Tee + Olive utility vest + skinny jeans + brown tote olive utility vest + skinny jeans + brown tote + pendant necklace + striped tee

Necklace + Shoes
Necklaces + shoes is another easy combo for bookending, whether we’re talking a colorful pendant or a statement necklace.

This example doesn’t use color, but I wanted to show you can bookend with neutrals like white!  I love using cognac bookends as well.  If you go back through my Instagram page, you’ll see that I use white bookends a ton, often with white earrings and/or a white necklace with my white sneakers.  I LOVE the pop that white accessories give against my darker complexion!

A couple notes about my clothes.  People keep asking about this tee on Instagram, and it’s only $8 so gooooooo get it HERE!  GREAT striped tee!  Soft and stretchy.  I sized up to M for a looser, more relaxed fit.  I also have this in the rust/white color which I’ve talked about several times here, but I love this basic black/white as well.  This is scoop neck, which I love for opening up my neckline, but they are more difficult to wear with statement necklaces.  Just a heads up, and all the reason to justify having more striped tees in my closet.  (Read about what I look for in striped tees HERE.)

My vest is from last year from JCPenney.  It’s not available at the moment, but it is SOOOO SOFT and SOOOO COMFY.  And was SOOO affordable!  I was really sad when it sold out, but as I walked through Target the other day I saw a super similar one that felt just as soft and was also pretty affordable HERE.  I didn’t have time to try it on, and honestly I barely had time to touch it and check it out.  But I’m pretty sure it’s super soft, plus reviews say so.  Totally worth checking out!

Shop the Outfit:
Top: Target (exact–size M, similar)
Vest: JCPenney (similar)
Jeans:Nordstrom (exact-size 4)
Shoes:Report (similar)
Necklace:Nordstrom  (similar, similar)
Tote: Nordstrom (exact)


Those are three super simple ways to bookend, but there are many more combos you can try.  Like, a belt and shoes, cardigan and belt, scarf and belt, or scarf and shoes.  Next time you want to add some color, play around with adding a colorful cardigan or necklace + shoes and see how it elevates your outfit!

Become a Bookending Pro!  🙂

BTW if you want more help putting bookending into practice, last year’s Spring 2018 Challenge utilizes bookending.  You’ll become a PRO at it by the end!  The guide is from last year and has been discounted, and tons of women are using it right now.  Check it out HERE.


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