Friday, March 18, 2016

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

The more I look at these colors, the more I like them; for a wardrobe with only 16 pieces, there are wide-ranging options from somber black to gentle pastels. This shows the possibilities of just a few pieces of carefully-chosen clothing.

Here's the original wardrobe, and this was out starting point:

cardigan – J. Crew; shirt – Uniqlo; scarf – Ted Baker London
trousers – J. Crew Factory; tassel loafers – French Connection
flats – Aquatalia; loafers – Aquatalia

I thought it would be nice to show the possibility of some metallic accessories!

cardigan – J. Crew; sweater – Lands’ End; trousers – J. Crew Factory
top toteBaggu; middle tote – Neiman Marcus
 bottom tote – Vanessa Bruno

And small, simple, classic silver earrings...

Cardigan – 81 Hours; sweater – Lands’ End; trousers – J. Crew Factory;
 love knot earrings – Lagos; hoop earrings- Lauren Ralph Lauren
triangle earrings – Alexis Bittar (sold out)

But you are always going to want a pair of neutral shoes. (well, I'm sure someone out there would be happy wearing silver shoes every day. If that's you, then do it!)

Cardigan – 81 Hours; sweater – Lands’ End; pants – L.L.Bean
mules – Robert Zur; ballet flats – David Tate
driving mocs – Cole Haan

The Ted Baker floral scarf was perfect with our first outfit, so I thought that maybe his watches would look nice with these pieces, too. Sometimes it's worth checking a designer's other pieces, laboring under the assumption that their work is guided by a central aesthetic idea.

Cardigan – 81 Hours; tee – Ojai Clothing;  trousers – J. Crew Factory
top watch – Hampden; second watch – Ted Baker London;
 third watch – Ted Baker London

A silver bracelet, worn on the same wrist as a silver watch, is always pretty.

Cardigan – Simply Be; sweater – Lands’ End; pants – L.L.Bean;
 chain bracelet – Putu Putri; cuff – Achara;
 braided bracelet - Achara

With this skirt, a nice feminine shoe feels appropriate. And black patent just screams SPRING to me - maybe because I had many an Easter shoe in black patent, as a small child...

Cardigan – Simply Be; sweater – Lands’ End; skirt – Liz Claiborne
sandals – David Tate; peep toe shoes – Aquatalia; 
bow flats – Callisto

There are a lot of scarves available in the shade of blue - search for "periwinkle" and you'll find plenty. It's such a pretty color, and I think most of us could wear it successfully. Plus, it looks good with black, grey, and maybe even brown? I believe so...

Cardigan – Simply Be; shell – J. Crew; skirt – Liz Claiborne;
 striped scarf – Kate Spade; floral scarf – Nordstrom
solid scarf – Caslon

A small earring, that resembles a flower, is always a classic touch... And since it's now spring, sort of, and since these colors are so flower-like, I couldn't resist.

Cardigan – Lands’ End; sweater – Lands’ End; skirt – Liz Claiborne;
 floral pearl & crystal earrings – Allison Reed; white floral earrings – Kate Spade;
 lavender crystal earrings - Natasha

I can clearly see that a pair of Keds is in my future! But I also think that the last pair of shoes, in a sweatshirt-like fabric, are pretty fun.

Cardigan – Simply Be; sweater – Lands’ End; skirt – A.F.Vandevorst
top shoes – Keds; middle shoes – Rocket Dog
bottom shoes – Mossimo Supply Co.

After all of these whimsical accessories, we might want to remember that we still should have a small handbag for everyday wear. Now that tassels have had their 15 seconds of the spotlight, those of us who love them can still find them, without feeling like fad followers.

Cardigan – Simply Be; tee - Uniqlo; skirt – A.F.Vandevorst
top bag – OMG; middle bag – Sole Society;
 bottom bag – Treasure&Bond

In the middle of all of this spring color, a black scarf might seem somber, but in a light and airy fabric, it can be surprisingly useful.

Sweater – Lands’ End; skirt – Liz Claiborne
top scarf – Modena; second scarf – Caslon; 
bottom scarf – Echo

The pearl pendant at the top is one of the prettiest things I've ever seen - it has a tiny snowflake on it! I love pearls, and I love snowflakes... sigh...

Cardigan – Lands’ End; shirt – Uniqlo; skirt – Liz Claiborne
top pendant – Stephanie Deydier; middle pendant – Lauren Wolf
bottom pendant – Alex and Ani

Subtle sunglasses - you should be wearing them almost every day!

Cardigan – Simply Be; sweater – Lands’ End; skirt – Uniqlo
top sunglasses – Ray-Ban; middle sunglasses – Burberry
bottom sunglasses – Toms

I liked this when it was just the clothes, but now, with the accessories, I really love the ensemble. What a range of activities and moods are covered here!


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  1. There are some really inspiring options here- like the metallic theme, the floral scarf and the black scarf which all make the completed look very smart and pulled together. I'm not sure if I could wear the striped scarf with the floral skirt though........ maybe I'm lacking an adventurous spirit! :)

  2. I love the skirt and cardigan in Look 10.

  3. I have a special place in my one note titled, 'for when I am grey'. This selection is now in there.
    Deb from Vancouver

    1. Lol, I thought I was the only one with these thoughts. These outfits actually make me excited for gray hair (gasp!).

    2. Lol, I thought I was the only one with these thoughts. These outfits actually make me excited for gray hair (gasp!).

  4. Janice,
    Periwinkle and brown are a happily united couple in my wardrobe !

  5. The first couple of outfits are already in my wardrobe. I'm inspired by your additions. Ah, spring - there's nothing like it for itching for a few new things in the closet.

  6. I love the metallic accents! This wardrobe really does have great range.