Tuesday, July 19, 2016

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe of Accessories 1 at a Time: Black and Beige

Ah, let's add some accessories to yesterday's black and beige travel capsule wardrobe, shall we?

Remember, we started with this outfit, to which we MUST add shoes. There aren't a lot of wardrobe essentials in the world, but shoes, when traveling, might qualify:

3 shoe options to wear with a black and beige outfit
Tee – L.L.Bean; pants – L.L.Bean; cardigan – Missoni
top shoes – Shellys London; middle shoes – Trotters
bottom shoes – Steven by Steve Madden

And I always like earrings for travel - they can be out of your way, but still add a nice touch of ornamentation to your outfit, and draw some attention to your smiling face.

3 earring choices to wear with a black, white and beige outfit
Tee – L.L.Bean; pants – L.L.Bean; cardigan – Missoni;  
top earrings – Mela Artisans; middle earrings – Phillip Gavriel
bottom earrings – Khun Boom

Oh yes, and a scarf can be very handy if you're going to be on an airplane or train which might be freezing cold!

3 scarf choices to wear with a black and white outfit
Tee – L.L.Bean; pants - L.L.Bean; cardigan - J. Crew
 top scarf – La Fiorentina; middle scarf – Nordstrom
bottom scarf - Givenchy

Some people never wear watches, and many of us wear some sort of step-measurement device. But I think watches look really nice, so I think that they deserve to at least be considered...

3 watches to wear with a black, white and beige outfit
Tee – L.L.Bean; pants – L.L.Bean; cardigan – J. Crew
 top watch – Cluse; middle watch - Cluse
bottom watch – Steven Alan

Bracelets are often forgotten in the potential array of jewelry, and I think that's a pity - you'd be surprised how very often someone will notice your bracelet, if you remember to wear it!

What bracelet to wear with a black outfit?
Top – Max Mara; pants – L.L.Bean; cardigan – J. Crew
top braceletGorjana; middle bracelet – L. Erickson
bottom bracelet – L.Erickson

We could discuss how many pair of shoes you want to pack until the cows come home, but I think we can easily agree that you need at least 1 pair of VERY comfortable shoes. And if you can find a pair that combines your 2 neutral colors, all the better!

What shoes to wear with a beige and white outfit?
Cardigan – Simply Be; tee – L.L.Bean; pants – L.L.Bean
top shoes – Arcopedico; middle shoes – Vince Camuto
bottom shoes – Taryn Rose

A tote bag might be something to carry onto the plane (or whatever), or it could be something that you flatten down into your suitcase to have available for when you're walking about on your travels. Nothing makes you look LESS like a tourist than carrying a shopping bag of fresh produce... (you just have to be staying in an apartment, in order to make this work!)

What tote bag to carry with a black outfit?
Top – Max Mara; jeans – L.L.Bean; 
top tote – Danielle Nicole; middle tote – SensiStudio
bottom tote – Amuse Society

I personally REALLY like to have at least a couple of pair of earrings with me - they're light, they're small, and they make me at least FEEL different when I'm wearing the same core of clothing day after day. Here, I tried to find earrings with a touch of black in them to unify them with the clothes. 

What earrings to wear with a black outfit?
Cardigan – J. Crew; tee – Current/Elliott; pants – L.L.Bean
top earrings – Freida Rothman; middle earrings – Jules Smith Designs
bottom earrings – Freida Rothman

Don't forget - with a monochromatic wardrobe, you can include scarves in any pattern/color that's compatible with your neutrals! While these scarves aren't going to work particularly well with this blouse, they would be idea with any of the solid garments. There's no reason you couldn't pack all of them, if you wanted to go a bit overboard...

What Hermes scarf to wear with a beige and white outfit?
Blouse - Tibi; cardigan – Simply Be; pants – L.L.Bean
 middle scarf – Hermès Cavaliers du Caucase
bottom scarf – Hermès Jardins d’Hiver

Maybe you can fit a pair of dressy shoes into your bag? Nothing feels prettier, but do consider what will make your feet happy; travel tends to do mean things to feet... 

what shoes to wear with a black skirt?
Blouse – Tibi; skirt – NIC+ZOE
top shoes – J.Renee; middle shoes – Nina
bottom shoes – Pelle Moda

With simple, uncluttered clothes, a necklace can have a lot of impact. It's another one of those things that takes up no space at all, but can really change the appearance of an outfit. Make certain that you've figured out a way to pack necklaces so that they don't tangle; nothing is more maddening than trying to until a wee bit of chain when you're running later for dinner!

What necklace should I wear with a black and beige outfit?
shirt – Adam Lippes; pants – L.L.Bean; cardigan – J. Crew;  
top necklace – Soko Tepe; middle necklace – Chico’s
bottom necklace - Nakamol

And you must have sunglasses. Always. No matter what time of year...

What black sunglasses should I choose?
Sweater – J. Crew; blouse – Tibi; pants – L.L.Bean;
 top sunglasses – Illesteva; middle sunglasses – Givenchy
bottom sunglasses – Dior

A small, pretty bag could be used during the day, and then also in the evening as a sort of clutch purse. If you choose one that's relatively understated but nicely made, it will fit in anywhere.

Which black clutch bag should I choose?
tee - Current/Elliott; skirt – L.L.Bean
 top bag – Rebecca Minkoff; middle bag – Brahmin
bottom bag – MCM

A 4th pair of shoes might be complete overkill for many of us, but I would always try to find a place to tuck a pair of ballet flats. I find them VERY comfortable, and after a long day I would welcome a chance to slip them on with my dress, or one of my skirts.

Which flats to wear with a black dress?
Dress – Dorothy Perkins; cardigan – Simply Be
top shoes – Jimmy Choo; middle shoes – Diane von Furstenberg
bottom shoes – Jimmy Choo

a 16-piece travel or capsule wardrobe in black and beige

I think that the collected wardrobe shown above could take you to almost anything that travel threw into your path, don't you? And I find the strongly neutral palette very restful... These are good days for restful!


p.s. The lovely KathKath have marked down some scarves... I don't mean to lead you into temptation, exactly, but I certainly couldn't keep it a secret, either!

How to add accessories to a capsule wardrobe in a black, white, and beige color palette


  1. If you're traveling in a place like Paris, accessories can really make you blend in like a local. The little details that elevate your look--what Parisians do daily. And jewelry and scarves take up so little space in the baggage. On the other hand, they are perfect souvenirs to buy during your trip.

  2. Agree with almost all of your suggestions - as always! :-)
    I love earrings, have umpteen pairs and wear them every day.
    Love the look of bracelets but don't wear mine as much as I should - wear them to wrk and take them off when I'm on the pc.
    Never wear a watch although I love the look - I have weird body chemistry & they always run slow & then stop
    Have become a total scarf fanatic since reading this blog
    Ballet shoes are my favourites and so easy to pack - wear my nice sensible walking shoes & I'm good to go

    I think the best compliment when I'm travelling is when another traveller, or even a native asks me for directions or speaks to me in their language, assuming that I live there - clothes make such a difference - I want to blend, not stand out like a sore thumb!

    1. I've been known to kill a watch or two as well! My dad went through watches like crazy. He'd just buy cheap ones and wear them until he killed them. I like to tell people it's my magnetic personality.

    2. I used to laugh at my mom when she told me that I had "too much electricity in my body" but apparently it is something along those lines! Who knew! I've tried cheap watches and expensive watches and it makes no difference - Thankfully I've managed to acquire a really good sense of time and I'm never late! :-)

  3. Janice, as your brilliant posts always make clear, the three most important things about a well-planned wardrobe are accessories, accessories, accessories.

  4. Another bonus of traveling with a completely neutral wardrobe is that you can wear your accessory purchases immediately, no matter what the color!

  5. This is a great wardrobe, and once again you have proved that you are the best accessorizer(if there is such a word!). Well chosed pieces that make these simple outfits sing. Great work.


  6. I am an earring person. My work requires me to wear a uniform of sorts, but when I change earrings every day, I find that this offsets any monotonous feelings.

  7. You are so restrained with the jewellery choices. I end up taking more than I wear just in case!!
    Shoes are a big challenge because they are bulky and heavy but I think a minimum number is 3, one to wear and 2 to pack. They are so fundamental to a good holiday or trip. Making sure they all work with the majority of your looks is also a challenge for me. I sometimes think I should just dress like a man. It all seems so simple and straightforward for them!!
    Deb from Vancouver

  8. I take more jewelry than this. Probably too much! I usually wear earrings, bracelet(s) and a necklace with every outfit. If my blouse is busy or has a lot going on I don't wear a necklace. Today I have on earrings, bracelet, necklace and a watch! Hmmmmm....LOL! I Love your choices here, as usual! Such an inspiration! Thank you!

  9. The accessories make a lovely capsule really outstanding - and so versatile too!! - nancyo

  10. Perhaps at least thinking like a man isn't such a bad idea when packing. This winter, my husband's wardrobe has 2 pairs of shoes, 4 pairs of trousers, 8 shirts, 3 jumpers, 1 scarf and 2 jackets, all inter-wearable despite being in a range of colours. It seems to me in the spirit of Vivienne's wardrobe and some mornings I envy him.
    But I wouldn't give up my bijoux nor my scarves for anything. This plan of Vivienne's shows beautifully how the details of accessories lift an already elegant, practical wardrobe or travel capsule into something special. Aren't they lovely?! Scarves and/or jewellery are so light to pack, yet lift our spirits and add chic to any outfit.
    Robyn in Tasmania

  11. One way I have read of keeping necklaces unknotted is to thread one end through a drinking straw and then hook the clasp before packing. This will not, however, fit into even a large pill holder if you pack your other jewelry that way.
    Wisconsin Peggy