Thursday, March 24, 2016

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe of Accessories: Denim, Stone, Pink and Soft Blue, 1 at a Time

This wardrobe is such a nice mix of casual fabrics with soft and pretty accents, I thought that I would try to continue the theme of femininity in the accessories, without getting too girly or sissy... I love these challenges!

The original wardrobe is from yesterday; this is the starter outfit:

shirt – Uniqlo; sweatshirt – H&M;  jeans – L.L.Bean
scarf – Hinge; top booties – Cordani; middle booties – Clarks
bottom booties – AGL Attilio Giusti Leombruni

While I felt that jeans and a sweatshirt strongly suggested boots, I limited my choices to softer colors or boots with a metallic sheen to them. A lady-like boot might be a stretch, but these at least have a lighter feel to them!

For the first bag, I wanted to see something in the stone neutral, but with a bit of softness, or texture, or "pink-ness" to it...

sweatshirt – H&M; tank – Uniqlo;  jeans – L.L.Bean
top bag – Antonio Melani; middle bag – Hobo
bottom bag – Gianni Notaro

An all-navy outfit strongly suggests a scarf that include navy, but also some lighter color(s) to brighten up the overall look. All 3 of these scarves include either the second neutral of stone, or various shades of blue, which will make the scarf wearable with the light blue accent that's introduced later.

Sweatshirt – Lands’ End; tank – Uniqlo;  jeans – L.L.Bean
top scarf – Caslon; middle scarf – Vince Camuto
bottom scarf – Caslon

Nothing's more feminine than a ballet flat! For those of you who can't usually wear ballet shoes, I really encourage you to look at some of the brands of shoes that design specifically with comfort as their primary goal. I wear ballet flats a lot, and find that I can walk in them for literally miles with no problems. The trick is to find a pair that have enough "infrastructure" to support your foot...

Sweatshirt – Lands’ End; tank – Uniqlo; pants – L.L.Bean;
 top flats – Patricia Green; middle flats – Trotters
bottom flats - Vaneli

A pink watch - why not?

Tee – Ojai Clothing sweatshirt – H&M;  jeans – L.L.Bean
top watch – Ted Baker; middle watch – Ted Baker
bottom watch – Ted Baker

And a bracelet is always fun - when you look down at your hands, as you will do dozens of times a day, you always get a little smile of pleasure at seeing something needlessly pretty that's there for no better reason than happiness!

Cardigan –  White Stuff; tank – Uniqlo;  jeans – L.L.Bean
top bracelet – Anusara; middle bracelet – Joias do Rio
bottom bracelet - Chuleekorn

I love all of the metallic sandals that are available - something as completely neutral and unornamented as a sweatshirt and shorts can take on a different feeling with sandals like these.

sweatshirt – H&M; shorts – L.L.Bean
top sandals – Louise et Cie; middle sandals – Isola
bottom sandals – Geox

There's a world full of blue topaz earrings - if you like light blue, the jewelry world is your oyster. Except no pearls. Now, I'm confused...

Cardigan –  White Stuff; top – Boden; shorts – L.L.Bean
top earrings – KhunBoom; middle earrings – Khun Boom
bottom earrings - Jantana

Same with pink quartz - it's a beautiful stone, but very affordable!

Sweatshirt – 321; shirt – Uniqlo; pants – L.L.Bean
top earrings – Matta; middle earrings – Charming Charlie
bottom earrings – Khun Boom

There's something quintessentially summery and classic about a navy canvas shoe, but that shoe doesn't have to be dead plain. These all have a bit of detail or textural interest that lift them out of the everyday, just a wee bit.

Sweatshirt – 321; skirt – Boden
top shoes – Keds; middle shoes – Keds
bottom shoes – Tommy Bahama

Okay, this time I caved ALL THE WAY into floral totes. All of these come from stores in which I never shop, which is proof that one has to keep eyes open, and prejudices firmly suppressed, or one runs the risk of missing fun, pretty, useful items. It's a lesson we can learn over and over again; while I'm not going into Guess to buy a pair of jeans, I could certainly purchase a tote bag from them, right?

Sweatshirt – Lands’ End; top – Twin-Set;  jeans – L.L.Bean
top tote – Guess; middle tote – Guess
bottom tote – Charming Charlie

In hot weather, you might not want anything heavier than a small pendant around your neck. I went all-out here and found a bunch of vintage Tiffany pieces to show the "floral-inspired" possibilities.

Cardigan – L.L.Bean; tank – Uniqlo; skirt – Boden
top pendant – Tiffany & Co.; middle pendant – Tiffany & Co.;  
 bottom pendant – Tiffany & Co.

Texture again, in a scarf. Maybe something that looks like denim, or eyelet, or something with a tonal stripe. Solid-colored doesn't have to be drab, if you have the patience to find just the perfect piece!

Sweatshirt – Lands’ End; tank – L.L.Bean; skirt – Boden;
 top scarf – Sperry; middle scarf – Brooks Brothers
bottom scarf - Athleta

One more bit of pink, in sunglasses! While it's fun to look at fashion-y colored sunglasses, don't ever buy a pair that don't provide real sun protection for your eyes. Beauty is NOT work vision problems later on.

Dress – Polo Ralph Lauren
top sunglasses – Ray-Ban; middle sunglasses – Sunday Somewhere
bottom sunglasses - Kate Spade

It's got denim and cotton twill, but it's also got a big juxtaposed dose of pretty!


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  1. I really like those top two boots, though I'd be inclined to wear them with the light pants, and the dark ballerinas with the dark pants. Your totes are fun, too, and a good way to do something splashy and even floral without getting all girly.
    Great choices!

  2. From Margie in Toronto - I have gone out of my comfort zone and purchased a navy and blue striped summer tote to use this summer - for me that is a real step up in trying something new - and have to say I might even venture into GUESS to have a look at one of those floral totes!
    I have had good luck with ballet flats from Hotter Shoes UK. In Canada we have to order from the UK website but in the US you have your own website and even some shops. This is a company that I believe has been in business for about 100 years. I was a bit desperate as I take a wide fitting and need a bit more support than you normally get from ballet flats and have to say - I was impressed. Not a huge selection for those with wider feet and not always the most fashion forward but worth the look.

    1. I've heard such great things about Hotter, and I'm just about due to replace a pair of shoes... hmmm... Thanks for sharing your experience!

  3. Janice,
    While these are not exactly my colors, I am loving how you have introduced prints, patterns, texture, the use of light and dark, warm and cool, and varied structure of the items. A perfect wardrobe for just the right person, with so many options and still only 16 pieces ! A floral tote that combines the colors is such a great idea ! Finding items that combine both accent colors has often been a challenge for me, unless I wear a scarf, which I do 9 months of the year, or a colored pendant. That bottom tote is especially pretty ! This post hits the ball out of the park , great job !

    1. Thank you! Sometimes I'm not sure if anybody notices ALL of the work that I put into these posts, but then you remind me of how very observant you all are - it makes it all worth it!
      more hugs,

    2. I know I notice. I am betting that each post takes many, many hours, I also guess that you have a few posts running along at the same time.

    3. Yes, your imagination and attention to detail make The Vivienne Files stand out. Shrebee's comment is spot on about the variety in this post - and many others - where you show solid colour, prints, textures, etc. Sooooooo helpful. I'm chuckling over the floral totes. You really do put your readers' wishes into your plans.

      Robyn in Tasmania

  4. Your hard work shows in every detail -- adore those boots and totes with this wardrobe, plus the genius rockiness of the bracelets to balance the softness of the other jewelry. Inspired!
    Sue G

  5. I am following this one with great interest. Though I wouldn't wear the light boots or have the light purse (navy for me), I found a lot of inspiration in the two posts on this color scheme and am trying to put together my own take on it. I am hoping to get a variegated denim yarn to knit an infinity scarf. I love your totes and hope to make my own. I have a great pattern for it. I plan on adding denim leggings. I need to dig through my stuff to get some pieces of jewelry out, make others, and have a great wardrobe to wear. Thank you for all the work you do putting together your posts.

  6. Such great accessory choices! Love the boots! On these one at a time posts I love to get to the bottom and see if I picked the same ones as you!! :) We certainly do appreciate all the work you do for us!

  7. Hi,

    Another winner. I really appreciate how you do not take a cookie cutter approach, but each grouping has its own personality.

  8. A gorgeous selection that is softly feminine without being too girlish. Living in New Zealand, I enjoy my double daily dose of your blog- last thing at night to enjoy the fruit of all your efforts, first thing in the morning to enjoy the comments from your community. My wardrobe has shrunk considerably since I joined but is so much more cohesive from all the lessons learned. Good Friday here- have a blessed Easter.

  9. I love the last two posts as I have been wanting to see blue and pink used together as accent colours with two neturals. This makes me very happy and I think I can pull most pieces from my existing wardrobe. Now I feel like I will be put together well if I work with this 4x4 for the next month or so. My pink is a bit stronger than this pale version. I already have a pink watch. But don't see one in the last picture of Everything?

    I so appreciate ALL your time involved in searching and researching for each and every piece we see here and discounting the many that don't make it here - a labour of love for you too I hope.

    1. You're right - the watch is indeed missing! Proof that all of this work is done by one extremely fallible woman... I know that from time to time things slip through the cracks, but I do the best I can - you already know that, of course!