Saturday, May 25, 2013

Common Capsule Wardrobe Accessories, step by step: Khaki and Green

white scarf - Sperry Top-Sider, green striped scarf - Faliero Sarti, starry scarf - Dianora Salviati, solid green scarf - Kin by John Lewis, two-toned bandanna - Jacob Cohen, green earrings - Nan Fusco, solid beige scarf - Valentino, watch - Wewood, necklace - Seta di Jaipur, striped flats - Keds, sunglasses - Oliver Peoples, sandals - Massimo Dutti, bag - Georgina Skalidi, green sandals - Diba

Okay, the above shows the accessories that I would choose if I were going to have the following green and khaki Common Capsule Wardrobe for this summer.
all clothes - L.L.Bean

Right away, you can see a sort of harmony between these two pages - similar colors, and a similar relaxed and sort of organic feeling.  But how do I get from the clothes to the accessories.  It requires patience, to keep looking until just the right thing appears, and the focus to keep in mind what the goal is.  In this case, I was definitely looking for things that were summery, with a linen-ish texture or feel, and that were relaxed and a wee bit whimsical.  Let's look at it one piece at a time.

You've got to have shoes - virtually no way around this fact!  I knew that I wanted Keds, or some kind of canvas shoe; it just feels more like summer when your shoes are canvas.  Browsing through the mountains of Keds available, I spotted the striped ones and was immediately smitten; they're neutral but fun, and they combine the two neutral colors in this wardrobe.  As slip-ons, they're a step up from shoes with laces, so they can even be worn with the dress...

Next, I wanted GREEN.  For summer, you know that someone, somewhere, had manufactured a sandal in any color you desire.  These won because they're flat, they seem like they'd stay in place on your foot pretty well, and I like the woven texture on top.

The bag was found strictly by accident.  The combination of colors is perfect for this wardrobe, and the unique design guarantees that nobody else is going to be carrying the same bag...

Finally, a neutral, simple, comfortable sandal that will go with every garment in this wardrobe.  Don't skimp on something like this, because you might wear them 4 or 5 times a week all summer long...
For scarf rookies everywhere, the easiest way to ease yourself into the world of scarves is to start with solid colors.  These three, in the three colors of this wardrobe, can be worn around the neck, as wraps if the weather turns cool, as a belt, or tied to a bag.  Once you've chosen your signature colors, you can hunt down these scarves and keep them for the rest of your life...

Sunglasses should be an investment too; good quality sunglasses are essential to protect your eyes and your vision.  This is another case in which isolating your colors around which you're going to build your wardrobe gives you the freedom to really concentrate on ONLY the items that will be workhorses for you for the long haul.  This style is classic, they're very well  made, and they are neutral enough that you can wear them with anything and not get tired of them.

Just a tip - when you've chosen the colors upon which you want to focus your long-term purchasing, wander into a craft store and buy a skein of embroidery thread in each of the colors.  Stash them in a tiny plastic bag (like the ones in which sample cosmetics are delivered) and tuck them into your bag.  Any time you're shopping, pull them out and carry them like a talisman of your personal style!

Tomorrow I'll discuss the choosing of the patterned scarves and of the jewelry.


  1. Nice items. Great purse. Truly EXCELLENT embroidery floss idea!!!! You've done it again. Thanks!

  2. Thanks so much for the glimpse into your thought process, it helps. Love the embroidery floss idea, so useful. One thing - the scarves pull the look together but not sure how they would pan out in Toronto's very hot and humid summer, especially since I'm retired so not dressing for the office. What is your experience in Chicago?

  3. Janice, any chance you could create a FEMININE core wardrobe for the TRUE SUMMER colour palette. There are a heap around for soft summer but the few examples for pure/true summer are very androgynous :-( Hoping your genius can fill the 'market gap' xxx

  4. Striped flats, just up my alley! I'll replace the green with a favourite blue and I'm ready for summer. Embroidery floss - now that's the ticket for matching (like carrying around paint chips). You are amazing and inspiring! Thank you so much for all the work and thought you put into your posts over the years.


  5. The embroidery floss tip is such a good one - a keeper!

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  7. Wonderful information, so very useable and explained in a way that one can implement. Over the years I have read many books on wardrobes, putting together a capsule, etc. But they all missed the mark in one way or another, for me. I never really 'got it' until I started reading your blog and saw what you put together. THIS works!! Thank you.

    1. I totally agree with your comment.

  8. Thanks I was thinking of buying a pair of khaki jeans but was wondering what they would work with.

  9. Wow the embrodery thread idea is simply amazing! Thank you!

  10. What is the sweater you show from EB, is it the 'ribbed sleep cardigan"?

  11. A very interesting article. The insights are really helpful and informative. Thanks for posting.

    Wardrobe Accessories