Friday, July 11, 2014

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe from Scratch Step 15: A Versatile Dress and an Accent Cardigan

Many of you have pointed out that we really need something dressy in the capsule wardrobe that can be worn in warmer weather, and many of you have asked specifically for a dress, so that's what we're doing today!  These dresses are paired with accent cardigans, which dramatically pull together all sorts of looks... Very neutral, comfortable sandals will be wardrobe workhorses - make sure that they're appropriate for more than just one dressy occasion...

Can you see  turquoise jewelry here?  And this dress with the simple beige cardigan and gold necklace would be lovely.
beige dress beige sandals turquoise cardigan Starting From Scratch Wardrobe
Ivory dress – Roberta Guercini, sandals – Cole Haan, cardigan – Fedeli
olive and beige Starting From Scratch wardrobe with turquoise and maroon accents
Links to all items can be found on earlier posts - please check posts labeled  "Starting From Scratch" for full information!

 If you're not mad for sleeveless, just look for a dress with an elbow or bracelet sleeve.
black dress black sandals and red cardigan
Dress – Maison Martin Margiela, sandals – Cole Haan, cardigan – Bottega Veneta
black and grey Starting From Scratch Wardrobe with red and blue accents
Links to all items can be found on earlier posts - please check posts labeled  "Starting From Scratch" for full information!

 No, this dress and cardigan don't match precisely, but they blend beautifully, and the difference in textures, as well as the metallic accents in the cardigan, let you mix the two without fear.

And when you're trying to figure out what shoe to wear with a "color" dress, don't forget to consider buying shoes that are the color of your legs and feet - the ultimate wardrobe neutral!  This is very current "fashion advice" with which I happen to completely concur.

blue dress and cardigan with nude sandals
Blue dress – Dorothy Perkins, sandals – Jimmy Choo, cardigan – Sonia by Sonia Rykiel
brown and beige Starting From Scratch Wardrobe with blue and yellow accents
Links to all items can be found on earlier posts - please check posts labeled  "Starting From Scratch" for full information!

If you need to dress up for something where you need to make a real "statement", definitely consider buying an ensemble in one of your accent colors.  Your neutral shoes, or a pair that matches your skin, will work well, and you will probably have scarves and/or jewelry that will be perfect.
blue dress and blue cardigan with black sandals
Dress – Charlotte, sandals – Munro, cardigan – Lorena Antoniazzi 
caramel and black Starting From Scratch Wardrobe with blue and coral accents
Links to all items can be found on earlier posts - please check posts labeled  "Starting From Scratch" for full information!

If your wardrobe includes a light neutral or a light accent color, you're in a good position to find something beautiful and summery!  And this dress could live again, with the striped scarf and navy cardigan...
yellow dress white cardigan and white sandals
Yellow dress – Miss Selfridge, sandals – Via Spiga, cardigan – kaliko 
navy and beige Starting From Scratch Wardrobe with yellow and mint green accents
Links to all items can be found on earlier posts - please check posts labeled  "Starting From Scratch" for full information!

Some of us are never happier than when wearing our darkest neutral in a very simple shape.  But that doesn't mean that it can't be beautiful - sandals with a bit of texture, and a flattering accent color make all the difference.  Note that we already have some excellent pink jewelry in our wardrobe (and that killer pink brooch) that will dress this up perfectly.

navy dress navy sandals pink cardigan
Dress – Jaeger, sandals – Munro, merino cardigan - Uniqlo
grey and navy Starting From Scratch Wardrobe with pink and lilac accents
Links to all items can be found on earlier posts - please check posts labeled  "Starting From Scratch" for full information!
How to build a capsule wardrobe - step 15 - a dress and a cardigan
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  1. Janice, I love these suggestions. I could imagine beginning a from-scratch wardrobe right here from the perfect dress and cardigan!

  2. I have not worn a dress in a long time. But, those top two dresses and cardigans might stop that! Great selections, Janice! Have a wonderful weekend!

  3. I like the first outfit especially; the cardigan would be right at home in my closet. Thanks for the lovely outfit inspirations. Have a nice weekend.

  4. These are wonderful additions, You could go any where at any time with the wardrobes you have shown..You could choose your clothing blindfolded...if need be!

  5. Could you please make another "organizing our wardrobe cluster" for these starting from scratch steps? It would be very useful...

  6. Hi! Love love this series. Just one question: I love the blck/grey/red/blue combo, but I am thinking having red and pink as my accent colours, because I just love them. Should accent colours clothes also go together? I am not that sure about red & pink...
    Thanks for the help!

  7. Hi!
    Just looking at the wardrobes you have created I can come up with so many different outfits, its truly amazing. And the best thing is that I already have most of those items in my wardrobe.I love that about your blog, its never about an exact garment, its always about putting them together. I just need to lay it all out and really look at the clothes I have.
    So I just wanted to say "thank you" and "I love this work, among the best you have done."
    And reading the comments for me adds a lot of extra insight to the posts. I was asking before if you should /could have different accent colors for different seasons.
    Another question I also have been asking myself a lot is which colors to chose, but I finally decided to take the ones that I love the most. It might not be the ones that suit me best. But when I'm getting dressed I want to do it in the colors I love the most.
    And to the lady above, in my country a lot of (mostly older) women working in the artistic field combine pink and red. It does work, but it is a bit of a statement.( )
    (Sorry for the non correct aspects of my English.)

  8. Lovely stuff! I do love a good dress - so easy to plop on and look put-together.

    It's too hot here for cardigans at the moment, but those outfits would be great for Spring or early Autumn.

  9. Thank you so much for this series! I've been reading and re-reading them trying to develop my own game plan.

    May I ask your thoughts about using black and navy as the two neutrals? (I have my hesitations, as I don't want it to look like I got dressed in the dark, but they're the only two neutrals I like. I usually stick to one or the other. The other option would be to have two parallel capsules.)

    1. I have the same question. I've been focusing on navy and white as my spring/ summer neutrals and black and grey for fall/winter. The thing I find difficult about navy is matching colors so I pair it with white and use aqua/turquoise and an accent. I'm planning to use a brighter shade of blue as an accent for black and grey. I know this amounts to two separate wardrobes (although there is some overlap) but realistically I think it's necessary and to me desirable to change up the colors a bit through the seasons and I am staying pretty much is the same cool palette.

    2. One more thing---I love the navy fabrics in spring and summer--linens, chino, cotton. Not so much in winter. They seem a little too fifties airline stewardess or something!

    3. Hi Theresa, thanks so much for your response. I think you have a great idea with splitting it up into two seasons rather than trying to make them work together. I use navy with red and white accents a lot. For summer I could do navy/gray/red and for winter black/gray/red.

      Navy is definitely more flattering on me, but black is just so much easier to work with. I didn't think of navy not being winter-y, I have to ponder that.

    4. I thought about doing navy and black as neutrals but I really don't like them together. Can't see me wearing a navy cardigan or jacket with black trousers and vice versa so for me it would make my wardrobe less versatile. Having said that I have both navy and black trousers, cardigans and jackets so I guess that would be a two-wardrobe thing. I use gray to work with navy or black. I'm getting muddled!!

    5. You might like an article written by Tish Jett at regarding assembling a workable neutral wardrobe in which she uses navy and black as her neutrals. Click on the Joy Boutique.

  10. Thanks, I'll check it out.