Play Paper Dolls in Your Fall Closet

After you rotate the cold-weather items back into your closet, it’s great to spend some time experimenting with new combinations you may not have worn before.  I lay out mixes on my bedroom carpet, finish with the accessories and snap a quick cell-phone pic of each combo for future reference, like this…

Having outfit ideas right on my phone makes it easy to be out the door in a flash every morning.  And it keeps me from falling into a rut, wearing the same few items time after time while other fun options remain on their hangers.  My late friend Brenda Kinsel often said that our clothes want to come out and play with each other, so we should give them the chance.

I focused on building Fall/Winter outfits with cardigans and toppers I added to my wardrobe last Spring and Summer.  Let me break down this example for you.

The red cardigan (Jjill) is a mid-weight linen blend in a season-spanning color.  I typically buy a matching shell for any cardigan, but this time it wasn’t available and the red is such an easy color to mix that a shell wasn’t mission-critical.

I wore it all summer over off-white or light-wash denim for casual and a little navy skirt for dressier occasions. For Fall it will obviously pair with navy ponte bottoms, dark-wash denim, charcoal gray pieces and black leggings.  The red color family, in all its variations, is infinitely versatile that way.

But these vintage black/white wool tweed trousers especially caught my eye against the tiny-dot background of this print cowl-neck shell.  (For those of you who sew, this is a go-to pattern I recommend highly.) And thus this outfit was born.

The sweater’s open neckline leaves plenty of room for the drape of the cowl-neck shell, which is deep enough to showcase the 2-tone silver choker.  The shaped cuff bracelet hugs my wrist, echoing the sweater color without adding bulk at the hipline.  Belting over the lightweight sweater will keep the silhouette more defined,  And of course I’ll add Shoulder Shapers and Sleeve Bands to give the sweater a flattering bit of structure.

NOTE:  I’ll collage all the outfit combos in this series of posts so you can see the detail clearly.  For my personal use — and for your own records — the paper doll layouts are adequate memory joggers and far more time efficient to create.

Can’t wait to see pics of the combos you develop to leverage the season-spanning abilities of pieces you may typically think of as summer-only.

About Nancy Nix Rice

I help other women feel confident about how they look every day - regardless of their age, budget, lifestyle or the size tag in their pants - so they put wardrobe concerns on the back burner and go share their gifts with the world.


  1. Alicia Reilly on October 20, 2021 at 5:12 pm

    Nancy: I had such fun meeting you on Monday! Thank you so much for sharing your wardrobe expertise with me. I’ve been busy following your method and putting other combinations together. So enjoyable! And, believe it or not, I’m even questioning why I ever thought white looked so good on me!!

    • Nancy Nix Rice on October 20, 2021 at 9:49 pm

      So glad you’re continuing the project. It really is fun to play with a grouping of garments when they all go together, isn’t it. Bravo for rethinking the “must-have white shirt” thing.

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