Thursday, February 11, 2016

The 1st Five Steps: Shifting Accessories from Cool Colors to Warm Colors

To me, changing the color palette of your accessories is more difficult than shift a wardrobe of clothes! Jewelry might be valuable, scarves might hold sentimental value, and shoes can be just plain hard to find...

Especially when you're starting with a very nice assortment of items like this:

Hoop earrings – Charter Club; pearl earrings – Uno de 50; ring – Chico’s; pearl necklace – Nareerat
 brooch – Chloe; square scarf – ImageDiary; tassel earrings – Cole Haan; teardrop earrings – Simon 
 Sebbag; black pearl earrings – Khun Boom; blue necklace – Swarovski; bracelet – Withaya Cheunjit
silver necklace – Elina Miro; fringed scarf – Elizabeth Gillett; tote – Issey Miyake; boots – Bussola
booties – Clarks; sandals – OluKai; slip-on shoes – Vans; slides – Donald J. Pliner; pumps – Charles
 by Charles David; sandals – OluKai; ballet flats – Lanvin; speckled scarf – Saachi; pumps – Cole Haan;
 striped scarf – Mila Schon; backpack - AmeriBag

Step 1 - Defining Accessories need to change!

As hard as it is to let go, this scarf WAS the defining core of the wardrobe from last week. (see it here). And you'll want a new pair of earrings, to bring your warmer colors near to your face. And since your wardrobe is going to be more limited for a while, another scarf is a good choice - you can wear it to help your 2 color palettes work together.

There are 2 very different ways to approach your new purchases when you're making a major wardrobe change.

  • buy relatively inexpensive things, in case the whole project doesn't work out well, or
  • buy extremely nice things, so that if the whole project goes "toes up," you can re-sell your new purchases, and at least feel like it wasn't all a total loss.
I'm going to mix the two options, because I'm trying to show the best available items, regardless of the price. I guess this is a 3rd approach to take, eh?

An Hermes scarf might seem a completely insane route to take, but if you're REALLY sure that these are the colors that you want, a beautiful scarf can help you focus your colors, and give you something that you don't mind wearing frequently.

Hoop earrings – Melissa Joy Manning; square scarf – Hermes Collections 
Imperiales; turquoise scarf - Blugirl

Step 2 - Essential Boots and Bag, plus a necklace (for fun)

Step 2 of the clothing shift involved replacing a full 3-piece outfit, so you're definitely going to need shoes! Replacing a handbag can be a good way to put your color change "in your hands" on a consistent basis, since you handle your handbag a lot - this is a good way to test your comfort level with the new colors. And a necklace is far from an essential purchase, but it gives you options (in addition to your scarves) to wear with your new clothes.

Brown mother of pearl necklace – Kendra Scott; boots – Sam Edelman;
 bag – Fossil

Step 3 - Another Important Pair of Shoes, and 2 Accents

Another 3-piece clothing ensemble is getting replaced in Step 3, so another pair of shoes is important; you don't want to be stuck with just your new boots as your only "warm-colored" option. Your choice of accessories to replace is pretty wide-open, but I think a 2nd pair of earrings, and a solid, neutral scarf might get the most mileage.

earrings - Melissa Joy Manning, scarf - Mauro Grifoni; loafers - Coach

Step 4 - Flat Shoes, and 2 Pieces of Jewelry

Yet again, an entire outfit of clothing is being replaced in this step, so another pair of shoes should go along. With ballet flats, loafers, and boots, you have a good range of footwear for a variety of weather conditions. Two more pieces of jewelry can also be replaced at this stage, to keep up with the "3 per step" approach. Remember, there's NO schedule by which this is supposed to be done.

And if at any time this start to feel uncomfortable or just plain wrong, STOP SHOPPING! You can't buy your way into a comfort level with the wrong colors. If this is not, in fact, the right move for you, just accept that you've made a mistake, forgive yourself, and hold your current position for a few weeks or months, until your preferred future path is more clear. Shopping will NOT fix an error...

crystal stud earrings – L. Erickson; wire cuff – Louise et Cie;
 ballet flats – Bella Vita

Step 5 - Pumps, Casual Sandals, and a Great Necklace

Here's the point in the clothing shift in which a new dress appears (but NOT my magic!), so new pumps are in order, as well a pretty necklace. And since you're getting new shorts too, a pair of sandals is critical.

Speaking of which, these are REALLY comfortable sandals. It takes about 10 minutes to get used to the degree of support which they provide, but then you'll be addicted. I have two pair.... so far....  (they come in 9 colors...)

Chain necklace – Robert Lee Morris; gold flat sandals – Vionic
pumps – Softspots

This definitely looks like it has one foot in each bathtub, doesn't it? But until all of your clothes are migrated to your new color palette, it's important to be able to wear everything in an attractive ensemble. Patience is a key variable in a process like this!

Tomorrow, I'm going to finish replacing "cool" accessories with "warm" ones, and show the final wardrobe of both clothing AND accessories!


Artisan Jewelry Designs


  1. I am fairly settled with regard to the colours I wear with my clothers, but I definitely have a foot in both camps when it comes jewellery with my mix of both gold and silver. One of my best buys 5 years ago was a muted gold and silver watch which is still a mainstay of my wardrobe and enables me to swing freely between the rest.

  2. I mix and mingle a lot. Like Jazz I have mixed silver and gold. I shall never get my colours done...if I don't like it I don't wear it..I thought we were attracted to colours that suited us, but that is inappropriate for a lot of online shopping
    Many shades of grey! Hope you're well Janice. Kind regards to all from Australia xx

  3. I like all the browns in here. My sister-in-law wears a lot of brown. She manages to find either exactly the same shade, or something complementary. She's either in a monochrome camel/chocolate look or she mixes in a color--turquoise, pink, red. It looks great. She's blonde and 59, and the softer colors really flatter her.

  4. From Margie in Toronto - I'm really enjoying this series and finding it very useful in that you don't expect - or encourage - people to rush out and buy everything new but to take their time and really think about this shift and how we feel about a new colour!

  5. I have been migrating in the other direction (warm to cool) for 3 years. While I have made significant progress, accelerated shopping is definitely not the answer. A well chosen scarf really seems the best integration piece.

  6. The yellow scarf is divine...such a great way to put yellow in the mix!

  7. Love this migration. You suggested the Vionic sandals some time ago, and I bought a pair, then another, and yet another! They ARE incredibly comfortable. Ok, maybe I even have one more pair, plus have bought them for my daughter.

  8. Love how you can create so many options around one scarf....and ooh la la all those great shoes!
    The humble scarf is the hub of my accessory wardrobe...I popped one on today, it is White with soft grey...Hermes Peinture.

  9. Hi Janice, women on this blog often comment about how they are changing their wardrobe as they mature. I who favours stronk dark colours was encouraged to try on a raspberry merino top and was surprised at how nice it looked. Would you be interested in taking this same starting wardrobe and keeping it in cool colours but softening it a bit over time? Thanks Jazz

    1. Great idea! (And no matter how I shifted my wardrobe colors, I could never ever get rid of that beautiful Image Diary scarf. I might even consider having it framed.)

    2. Jazz, until Janice returns, you might take a look at her post of 28 September 2011, "Back to the roots of the Vivienne Files" in which she envisions her friend Vivienne gradually changing from a black/red wardrobe to a gray/rose pink wardrobe. Lots of food for thought in her explanations, as usual.

    3. Thanks, not surpirsed that it is a topic that has been covered before....

  10. I was surprised how after just 2 steps the atmosphere of the accessories page had changed so that the contents looked fine for both colour schemes. It may be the drama of the lovely scarf influencing things or it may be straightforwardly the case that introducing some accessories really can swing a wardrobe.
    By the way, I've found op shops (thrift shops in the US?) good places to look for handbags as I don't like the current fashion for giant sacks with lots of dangly bits. But whatever style you like, including non-leather, you may find something inexpensive that you like in a colour you're wanting to try. They only display bags in good condition so it's worth while browsing now and then.
    Robyn in Tasmania

  11. Some great choices here! Love the saddle tan items! I agree that the Vionic brand is very comfortable. I have several! I also love Fit Flops. Very comfy! Very interesting exercise! Thanks Janice!

  12. Hi Janice,

    This is wonderful. Exactly what I'm needing. Thank you for the reminder to take it slow and keep personal comfort level formost in mind. I started with a scarf and a wrap in my new warm colors, and a jacket from the local hospice thrift. Then added a few basic neutral tops. I'm keeping my grey basics while awaiting some basic pants in chocolate brown. I got a few simple accessories today. I'm starting to discover which colors make me comfortable and happy and what styles feel right in the warmer colors. (I do fond myself drawn to some slightly different things with the shift.) Today I found a great hat in one of my favorite new colors. I'm considering asking for it for valentine's day. That would be a mark of commitment so I'm making that decision slowly. Great fun! Your blog is really helpful. I'm looking forward to seeing the final post.
    Thanks again,

    P.S. I hope you and yours are well; and your trip went as planned.

  13. Hi, hope all is well with you and the people you are helping.
    This is a great lesson you are so patiently taking us through. It works even for less dramatic shifts from one colour scheme to another. Another winner with that hermes scarf.

    Deb from Vancouver