Wednesday, March 02, 2016

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe in Brown, Camel, Cream and Turquoise: 1 Piece at a Time

I decided to pull a scarf into this one, in order to illustrate the color scheme a bit - I think that adding the scarf lends a bit of validity to the possibility that this outfit could be someone's favorite:

Shell – J. Crew; cardigan – J. Crew
scarf – St Petersburg Global Trade; pants – J. Crew

I love the possibilities - dark chocolate, caramel, whipped cream, and.... I do NOT have anything except ugly artificially-colored sprinkles to offer in turquoise!

Shell – J. Crew; cardigan – J. Crew
scarf – St Petersburg Global Trade; pants – J. Crew

Normally, I try to start building a wardrobe with solid garments, because they feel more versatile. But sometimes, you see something that's just perfect, and you grab it!

Blouse – H&M

Here's a case of "I love it in chocolate, I will probably love it in caramel." That's not at all a bad strategy for expanding your wardrobe with taking huge risks!

cardigan – J. Crew

These trousers give you a... sort of... suit look. Again, I normally wouldn't introduce plaid pants as the 6th item in a wardrobe, but they're perfect, and they had "whappage." Thus, here they are!

I indulge myself in these sorts of wandering from the system in order to show you that you don't have to march in lock-step with me in order to build a functional wardrobe. If you stick to your colors, and you choose pieces that you love, a little bit of variation will do no harm, and will let you build a wardrobe you really like. Getting the "right" things doesn't help you at all if you don't want to wear them frequently.

Pants – L.L.Bean

A shell, or a sweater vest? A cream blouse or shirt (which I don't include) could be a handy 17th piece of this wardrobe!

Shell – J. Crew

It's pretty important to settle on a shade, or range, or turquoise when you start this wardrobe; blending these pieces is an important part of owning a wardrobe that gives you plenty of options.

Cardigan – Miu Miu

If you don't want a skirt, look for a 2nd pair of pants, in a different fabric - suede, leather, denim, corduroy, flannel...

Skirt – IDLF

Love at first sight here:

Tee – Angelo Marani

The 3rd neutral makes an appearance:

Cardigan – L.L.Bean

Pants – River Island

It might be "un-fascinating" to build up your supply of neutral pieces like this, but you'll be grateful you have them, some early Monday morning...

Tee shirt – Isabel Marant

Woman does not live by cardigans alone! As long as your colors blend nicely, your fabrics do NOT have to match.

Jacket - Seventy

Yes, you've seen some of these pieces before. I do this deliberately (and not out of some inherent laziness) to show you how versatile some items can be if they work well with your chosen neutrals. 

Tee shirt – Dorothy Perkins

One last "bottom." Depending on the season, this could be shorts, culottes, a skirt, or another pair of trousers. A brown, camel and cream print skirt could be pretty... But I'm offering up a pair of jeans, just for relaxation and variety.

Cords - Prana

Everything works well together, and there are lots of clear possibilities for the next few purchases, too! 


NORDSTROM - Shop Women's Spring Essentials


  1. Gorgeous! I cannot get over how much I love this.
    That jacket is fabulous. I could see that cute full-skirted beige/khaki dress from yesterday in this wardrobe, too.

  2. Agree, this is just fabulous! Plus, it would be easy to swap the turquoise for just about any bright highlight colour such as green or yellow, giving masses of options. I love the wider pants, they are so elegant.

  3. I can see myself wearing every single thing! The jacket is scrumptious!

  4. This series is really enjoyable. I'm currently updating my wardrobe after some major changes in my life (new climate, new finances, physical changes) and have to do it slowly. I have chosen colors and know my style, but was still having trouble implementing my ideas. This has given me a sense of direction.

  5. I am soooo in LOVE with this silk jacket. They also have it in cocoa...swoon.

  6. I am still thinking about the food connection to this colour palette, so we could add a turquoise macaron couldn't we? I also belong to the silk jacket love tribe.

    Deb from Vancouver

    1. Clever Deb! I had been thinking of Curacao for the turquoise but I'd much rather have a macaron!
      I'm in the silk jacket team too.
      This whole colour scheme is perfect for me and I just love the selection of garments.

      Robyn in Tasmania

  7. Can we call this a dark chocolate, caramel, and whipped cream parfait eaten while looking over the Mediterranean?
    -From Suzyn - frustrated as ever with this commenting system!

  8. I was imagining dark chocolate, caramel, and whipped cream on a turquoise plate! Lovely wardrobe. - nancyo

  9. Not that anyone would want to pass up those delicious dessert combinations, but I'm also reminded of my favorite (not too well known) butterfly, the Mourning-Cloak: (Geek effusion over now. Thanks everybody.)

  10. This is gorgeous! I LOVE it! Swap the dark brown for black and this is what I am working on! I can't find cream pants anywhere yet but maybe as the weather warms.I have white but would prefer a cream color. I love some of your examples, but being a size 16 leaves me out of most of your picks. I'm too fat for all these stores! LOL! I just ordered a shell and cardigan in a turquoise color from J Jill. Can't wait for spring!!

    1. I expect we'll see cream trousers from J.Jill later in the spring - they rarely disappoint when it comes to good trousers!

  11. Love LOVE this one Janice! That Angelo Marani tee is to die for.