Tuesday, November 08, 2016

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe: Starting From Scratch, Stage 2

When we paused at the end of yesterday's capsule wardobe building, we had five pieces of clothing - not a ton, but still enough for a tidy handful of outfits:


5-piece capsule wardrobe core
blouse – James Lakeland; tee - J.Crew;
c
ardigan –
L.L.Bean
;

p
ants –
L.L.Bean
;
cords – L.L.Bean


Clearly, this wardrobe is going to take on some real depth of color with the addition of some accessories. I'm sticking with this gorgeous rich brown leather for as many things as I can manage, including a really nice bracelet!

first 5 essential accessories for a capsule wardrobe


Generally speaking, a well-balanced wardrobe should have more "tops" than "bottoms." Jeans and trousers don't need to be laundered as frequently, and because they're worn below the waist, they're under your desk, they're under a dining table - they're just farther from our eyes than a blouse or tee shirt. So a change of shirt will have a bigger impact in terms of seeming to add variety to your wardrobe...

So let's grab a couple of simple tee shirts, and a nice neutral olive scarf. A solid scarf in your darkest neutral is always going to be handy!
 
tee shirts and a scarf to add to a casual capsule wardrobe


You might think I'm cheating here, when you recognize that these three pieces are exactly the same as the Step 7 items from the first "How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe: Starting From Scratch!" 

But when I was looking for a casual cardigan, pants and shoes in beige, it quickly became apparent that I already had this grouping chosen. These pieces work just as well with the olive and warm colors we're using now as it did before, when we built the wardrobe with navy and pastels. While many of us can't wear beige near our faces, there's no denying that it's a tremendously versatile neutral color.

 
cardigan, pants and boots to add to a casual capsule wardrobe
If you're following along at home, you've had to buy or scare up a handful of accessories (many of which might have already been in your armoire!), and purchase or select four more pieces of clothing. I think that the change in the look of this wardrobe with the additional garments is significant:
 
9-piece capsule travel wardrobe, or core of a capsule wardrobe
blouse – James Lakeland; cardigan – L.L.Bean; tee - J.Crew;
tee –
Uniqlo
;
cardigan – L.L.Bean; tee – Uniqlo;
p
ants –
L.L.Bean
;
khakisL.L.Bean; cords – L.L.Bean;
 boots - Naturalizer; loafers - Cole Haan



This starts to look a lot like a really good travel capsule wardrobe; you now have at least 24 different outfits possible from your core of 9 garments:
 
8 outfits possible from a 9-piece travel capsule wardrobe


8 outfits possible from a 9-piece travel capsule wardrobe


8 outfits possible from a 9-piece travel capsule wardrobe


Tomorrow, we figure out what we're going to do in place of the dress that would normally be in Step 9, and we add some sweaters, and a jacket!
love,
Janice
How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe: Starting From Scratch, Stage 2
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9 comments:

  1. Those cardigans look nice and warm.

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  2. LOVE that scarf! My second thought was that the two cardigans look awfully similar. Maybe something a tiny bit dressier, for dinner out?

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    1. I was thinking the same thing. There are lots of lightweight cream or beige crew neck button-front cardigans out there that would be perfect, and could be worn with or without a layer underneath. But I'm not sure which of the cable knit sweaters above I would eliminate, because I like them both!

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  3. I am happy to see you brought that lovely scarf back into play! And I agree about the beige -- I don't think it looks good close to my face (especially the shades with a touch of grey), but I consider beige pants to be one of my wardrobe essentials. So far I've got the pants covered for my capsule wardrobe, as well as the cardigans, but I need to add more long-sleeved tops in the appropriate colors. Years ago it used to be easy to find cotton button-front shirts in an off-white or cream color (L.L. Bean and Land's End were great sources), but now it is almost impossible, so I usually just settle for white (luckily white is a good color for me). I wish I had kept the ones I bought years ago.

    I'm really looking forward to seeing more rust added to this wardrobe, as well as the introduction of teal. Maybe tomorrow? Also, I love print tops, but finding them, especially in the right colors, is difficult on the internet. Have you had any luck? This series is really inspiring me!

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  4. While I'm always attracted to a pretty patterned scarf, solid scarves are so useful! On my recent Pyrenees trip I brought a couple of solid scarves and they expanded my options beautifully, and not only when I was wearing a top with a pattern. - nancyo

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  5. I'm beginning to see the real value of a solid scarf in my dark neutral (navy) and perhaps also in my light neutral (tan-taupe) - especially as I want to add more print patterns in my tops. A navy scarf is now at the top of my purchasing priority . Thank you , Janice for this and so many other inspirations ! Janice Collins, Washington, DC

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  6. Thank you for doing this again and you can keep doing it. I also appreciate that you repeat the faithfuls as that reinforces the value of good well designed basics.

    Deb from Vancouver

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  7. Love this process! Your explanations are so helpful! I don't think I would use two so similar cardigans either. I like the longer darker one better. : ) I'ts amazing how much you can do with only 9 well chosen garments!! Thank you Janice!!

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  8. It's great seeing this easygoing, nicely curated 'collection' coming together. Your explanations are always helpful too. This process is will be the basis of my long-postponed (will the weather never settle?!) seasonal changeover at the weekend.

    I quite like having a favourite style of garment in different colours, especially warm knits, which can be hard to find in flattering lengths.

    Robyn in Tasmania

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