Tuesday, March 22, 2016

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe of Accessories: Cobalt, Black and Grey, 1 at a Time

I love this wardrobe...

This wardrobe was originally put together in this post; with the starting outfit I'm leaning toward a pair of shiny black flats:

Shirt – Uniqlo; scarf – Hermes Tyger Tyger; pants – L.L.Bean
cardigan – L.L.Bean; top flats – Rockport
middle flats – Gabor; bottom flats – Munro

And for no better reason than to show some variety, I think that we'll give our mystery wearer a nice clutch bag. If you're not usually a handbag person, maybe all you really need is one nice bag for dressy occasions!

Tee - Uniqlo; pants – L.L.Bean; cardigan – L.L.Bean
top clutch – Boohoo; middle clutch – Gunne Sax
bottom clutch – J. Renee

I'm changing the order of the accessories here so that I can find a scarf to really tie this outfit together. This is another thing that you really want to bear in mind when you're finding accessories for your wardrobe - they should be sourced (purchased, gift-hinted, etc.) in whatever order you need them!

Tee - Uniqlo; pants – L.L.Bean; sweatshirt – Uniqlo
top scarf – Vera Bradley; middle scarf – Burberry
 bottom scarf – Faliero Sarti

Comfortable shoes! They can be plain loafers, something with a tassel or other ornament, or athletic shoes. If that's what you need to wear in order to be comfortable, then just wear them and be happy. The rules aren't strict, and your comfort is more important than any imaginary fashion police opinion!

(and yes, the name of the first shoe brand translates as "the love of feet")

Shirt – Uniqlo; jeans – Simply Be; cardigan – L.L.Bean
top loafers – L’Amour des Pieds; tassel loafers – Sudini; 
sneakers – Rockport

I picked black and silver watches, to echo the black and grey neutrals:

Tee – Simply Be; pants – L.L.Bean; cardigan – L.L.Bean;
 top watch – Anne Klein; middle watch – Anne Klein;
 bottom watch – Skagen

There's a world of pretty bracelets! I'm particularly smitten with those 2 Alexis Bittar beauties....

Tee – Simply Be; pants – L.L.Bean; cardigan – Prana
top bracelet – Kendra Scott; middle bracelet – Chan Luu; 
bottom bracelets – Alexis Bittar

If you're sticking with comfortable shoes (and why in the name of happiness would you buy something that WASN'T comfortable?), it's nice to have some variety in color and texture. Silver is always a favorite of mine. (it wouldn't be wrong to find a pair of cobalt blue shoes too...)

Shirt – Uniqlo; pants – Mint Velvet; cardigan – L.L.Bean
top flats – Dr. Scholl’s; middle flats – Lauren by Ralph Lauren
bottom flats – Kristin Cavallari

Finally some earrings! One thing to remember when you're looking for jewelry is that there's a world full of semi-precious stones that come in a rainbow of colors! Here's a sampling of lapis lazuli, in big, middle-sized, and small earrings - something to suit any earring wearer.

Top – Vanessa Bruno; pants – L.L.Bean
 top earrings – Maria Maguino; middle earrings – Neeru Goel
bottom earrings – Francisco Sanchez

Generally, I'm not much of a stickler about "real" jewelry versus costume (aka "fashion" jewelry), but when real onyx is so affordable, I can't see any reason to buy something made of resin or plastic.

Tee – Simply Be; pants – L.L.Bean; sweatshirt – adidas by McCartney;
 top earrings – Kenari; middle earrings – Mahavir;
 bottom earrings - Narayani

For everyone struggling to picture athletic shoes with a skirt, I present Converse BALLET STYLE!!! These are SO on my shopping list...

Tee – Simply Be; capri jeans – L.L.Bean; cardigan – L.L.Bean
top shoes – Converse; middle shoes – Sofft
bottom shoes – Sudini

I considered looking for a multi-colored tote, or some in cobalt blue, but in the end I realized that black was going to work best here. So I chose to look for some texture instead - quilting and woven leather give some visual interest without the worry of making colors match!

Tee – Hobbs; capri jeans – L.L.Bean
top tote – MZ Wallace; middle tote – Calvin Klein
bottom tote – Cole Haan

Does anybody else remember wearing station chains back in the '80s? I had a couple that I wore until they literally came apart and couldn't be repaired... I still really like the look of them.

Sweater – Lisa Todd; pants – L.L.Bean
 top necklace – St. John Collection; middle necklace – Alexis Bittar
bottom necklace – Lagos

This is the point at which I would usually try to find the perfect solid colored neutral scarf, but I thought that a subtle pattern that combined our two (very closely related) neutrals would be a good way to give a feeling of completeness to "all neutral" outfits. There's a WORLD of grey and black scarves out there!

Tee – Iris and Ink; pants – L.L.Bean; cardigan – Prana
top scarf – Nordstrom; middle scarf – Michael Stars
bottom scarf – Rag & Bone

When I think of black sunglasses, I think of Ray-Bans! But there are all kinds of styles available, to suit your preferences, your face shape, and your mood:

Sweater – Lisa Todd; skirt – Uniqlo
top sunglasses – Ray-Ban; middle sunglasses – Ray-Ban
bottom sunglasses – Le Specs

If my wardrobe vanished overnight, and was replaced with this, I'd be a little bit weirded out, wondering what had happened... But at least I'd look good, and be well-dressed!


Artisan Made Jewelry Designs


  1. I love this wardrobe. Cobalt can look cheesy with certain other colors (kelly green: too '80s; yellow: too Ikea; orange: too Mets/Knicks/sports jersey), but with black and gray it's perfect.
    Are you going to show us your updates for your spring wardrobe? I always find that so interesting, how you subtly tweak what you have.

  2. From Margie in Toronto - Love these colours! The only thing I would do would be to change out the sweatshirts (not really my thing) - if I swapped one for a button up grey cardigan and the other for a more formal shirt/blouse I'd be all set.

  3. I like this set. Chic and easy to live with. The only things I would change are swapping the cobalt sweatshirt for an enveloping cashmere one in the same colour, and adding a touch of some of the non-cobalt accent colours from the inspiration scarf to the clutch bag and/or some of the earrings. To me, that tiger is so happy and garden-bound that he demands a wardrobe that provides him with some softer pieces to frolic amongst, too. : )

  4. I tend toward casual, yet conservative clothes (aka plain), but I do love a sparkly shoe! Somehow it liven things up just enough. :) And those ballet converse sneakers are now on my shopping list too!!

  5. I love that you find shoes that are comfortable and attractive. So many times, fashion bloggers post outfits with IMPOSSIBLE shoes.


  6. Since I wear mostly non-patterned clothes I love Vera Bradley purses and am happy that you've used some of their products recently. Right now they have a cobalt tiles pattern that would be great in this wardrobe. I may have to rethink my use of purple since I really love this mix of colors!

  7. I am struggling to put together the perfect wardrobe (for me) in Black, Grey, and Cobalt, with a touch of White and Teal. I absolutely love this as a starting wardrobe! The colors are definitely spot on, but it is... not quite right. For one thing, I look absolutely terrible in light bottoms and I am not much of a fan of dark grey jeans, either. I guess because I haven't figured out how to pair shoes and accessories to give them the right balance. Can you try something a bit more unexpected with the same color scheme? Black, Cobalt and Grey - where Grey is actually the accent and Cobalt is the second core? I would love to see your take on a wardrobe where one of the core colors would normally be just an accent!

  8. I might have to check out those Converse too! I have a gray pair of slip on Chuck's but these are pretty cute! I love the black onyx dangle earrings too. You always find the neatest stuff! I hope you show us your own personal spring wardrobe updates too!

  9. Not my colours but really love the selection, so many great combos. I really like the concept of the grey sweat skirt with the sweat shirt, the ballet converse( FABULOUS) with black legless tights. I am almost 70 and would wear that in a flash when out with my grandkids at a Disney Pixar movie...honest.
    Deb from Vancouver

    1. Ballet Converse - what a concept! Sign me up! I'd totally wear them with that sweat skirt but never would have considered footless tights, too... that's a look I'm going to have to try.

    2. Ballet Converse - what a concept! Sign me up! I'd totally wear them with that sweat skirt but never would have considered footless tights, too... that's a look I'm going to have to try.

  10. Love these colors! I wear cobalt a lot! But I need to round out my neutrals with some of these grey pieces. I love the silver shoes. Several items are now on my shopping list. Thank you!!

  11. This wardrobe is great! I need to up my cobalt game (it's one of my best colors) - nancyo

    1. In fact, right now I am putting together a travel capsule (aiming for 4x4, but a couple of extra pieces keep trying to find their way into the suitcase) in black, denim, and taupe (with a few pops of bright color), but I am sighing and wishing I had this wardrobe instead! - nancyo