Thursday, April 07, 2016

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe in Turquoise, Coral, Black, and Grey: 1 Piece at a Time

What beautiful summer colors, and what exciting accessory possibilities!

Skirt – IDLF Uniqlo; tee – Uniqlo
necklace – Kenneth Jay Lane; cardiganBoden

Coral was a specific request...

Skirt – IDLF Uniqlo; tee – Uniqlo
necklace – Kenneth Jay Lane; cardiganBoden

Normally, I would build solid columns and suits, but just to show you a different way to go about building a wardrobe, I'm adding an accent tee shirt first. This can be a wonderful idea if you're still "on the fence" about a color scheme; if you buy an accent piece and find that you don't reach for it every couple of days, it might mean that you need to rethink your choice of colors.

Tee – L.L.Bean

Okay, NOW we're putting together the black suit. These kinds of monochromatic outfits really come into their own when the accessories show up!

Cardigan – Simply Be

Since we're fast moving into summer, I thought that a pair of light pants would be fun - and it gives you a suit-like pairing with the matching cardigan. Almost any tee shirt or shirt could be worn with those 2 pieces; talk about versatile...

Pants - Boden

Time for more accents!

tee - Boden

Even if you never choose to wear the tee shirt and cardigan together, if they're both your chosen accent color, it makes sense to have them - anything that goes with one will go with the other! And always remember: a sweater that buttons all the way to the top is both a cardigan AND a sweater that can be worn on its own...

For what it's worth, Boden has a LOT of coral pieces right now!

cardigan - Boden

If you abhor the idea of culottes, substitute a regular skirt, or shorts, or "pedal pushers." I just thought that these were intriguing enough to merit inclusion!

Culottes - Boden

I love stripes, and any top that includes 2 or more of your wardrobe colors is always going to be a great "hinge" piece in your wardrobe.

Top – H&M

A sweater for cool evenings isn't the silliest thing you could add here - and it looks really great just tossed over your shoulders as an accent, or to have handy in case of over-air conditioning.

Sweater – Weekend Max Mara

Every woman who wears pants needs a good pair in their chosen dark neutral color...

pants – L.L.Bean

Here's a perfect example of a top that includes all of the wardrobe colors here. While you might not be interested in skipping a mortgage payment just to buy a tee shirt, the idea of this is sound.

top - Etro

If you're planning this wardrobe for travel, you don't want to forget some sort of rain protection. It could prove to be the single most important thing you take with you!

rain jacket - L.L.Bean

As before, if you don't wear shorts, look for a different style of skirt, or cropped pants, or maybe a printed or patterned "bottom." But these shorts aren't painfully short, so they work better than most for those of us who are uncomfortable exposing too much...

shorts - L.L.Bean

And finally, a dress! A simple, basic, but beautifully-colored dress. This could go a LOT of places, with the right accessories and shoes:

dress - J. Crew

This turned out pretty nicely, I'd say! Lots of possibilities... 

Accessories for this wardrobe tomorrow!

NORDSTROM - Shop Women's Spring Essentials


  1. Love this wardrobe for summer - bold and feminine. btw, this is ivory and not grey, right? - nancyo

  2. I love it--two colors I'm really attracted to (along with red, hmm...choices need to be made). So summery, even with black. And I love that black jacket--so sleek. I wonder, though, whether IRL it would be too dressy to work with the white/ivory pants, which seem like lighter versions of khakis. Or maybe that's just the photo.

  3. I see what you mean about the price of the Etro top- isn't it gorgeous- and it goes so well with the rest of the wardrobe - just as well we can swoon for free :)

  4. I see what you mean about the price of the Etro top- isn't it gorgeous- and it goes so well with the rest of the wardrobe - just as well we can swoon for free :)

  5. May I ask a question of the community?

    When did "coral" come to mean this reddish color? Coral, in its peachy/orange/shrimp *phase* is what I grew up with and what I think of when someone says "coral".

    A few years ago, I made a coral suit (in the peachy version) and for the life of me, could not find beads to make jewelry because everything labeled "coral" was this newer, reddish version.

    It's a pretty color in its own right, but not what I thnik of as coral.

    1. would calling the color "salmon" help at all? - nancyo

    2. Beckie,
      Yes, coral has more orange, peachy overtones to me also. Salmon is more reddish pink to me. On my monitor, the color above appears to be a warm red.

  6. Agree - This rich, strong colour is often the one that comes up when when I look for corals. The shade I automatically associate with the name is the soft tones of the branchy and lacy animals, but heavy-shafted and brain corals are often this deep shade.

    Or, every year or so I google it ("color names 2016") and see what the current popular labels are for my favorite colours. Marketing trends make Avacado Green taboo, but Nepeta couture! Frustrating, but the hunt can be fun. Boolean searches that contain your secondary words might be fruitful: "coral" +(peach, orange, shrimp)

    Looking for beads I might try looking at images of natural stones and gemstones and then use those names in my search - unlike synthetic beads in which name is usually a clear indication of colour, rose quartz, pink jade, moonstone, opal, and adventurine are frequently a soft, peachy coral colour because rocks have so much variety. The names of the natural material may be a good lead to what bead-makers are calling their colours these days.

    Good luck!

  7. This is such a useful and cheerful summer wardrobe! Thank you! Thank you! It is also a great grouping for a longer trip. As you say, any color tee shirt could be added and work with the black and white core pieces. I like the fact that you give us several options for what the piece could be and that gives us more ideas of what might work in our individual situations.