Wednesday, December 28, 2016

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe: Starting From Scratch: Personalizing the Basics, based on Lightning over Colorado by Joe Randall

Photograph of Lightning over Colorado by Joe Randall, with color palette and style guidelines

When we left this wardrobe yesterday, we had nine pieces of clothing - a small assortment, but sufficient for two dozen outfits. And the wardrobe has a nice coherent look that's beginning to take shape:

9-piece capsule wardrobe in grey, white, pink and purple
top – Dondup; cardigan – Pure Cashmere; shirt– J.Crew; 
tee – L.L.Bean; cardigan - Malene Birger; blouse – Michael Kors
Pants – L.L.Bean; pants – L.L.Bean; jeans – L.L.Bean;
 loafers - Donald J. Pliner; oxfords - Louise et Cie

Time to bring some more color into this wardrobe! The photograph from which we're working gives us options for a wide range of shades of purple, from the lightest pastel to the deepest violet blue. The differences between these 2 colors means that you will have outfits that "feel" two very different ways.

And a bit more gold metal jewelry, as suggested by the clouds in the upper left corner of the photograph. The grey stones still anchor this necklace well within a grey-based wardrobe. (I hope!) Botkier has a handful of pieces available with grey stone in gold - it's pretty striking!

lavender tee and deep purple sweater, with necklace, to add to a capsule wardrobe

This wardrobe is going to be pretty balanced between casual and dressy - well okay, it's going to lean MORE casual, but a skirt, and some dress shoes, will definitely be included. It's a rare person who can get through life without anything of this sort... (but I know you're out there, and I salute your personal style resolve!)

grey blouse and skirt, with black pumps, to add to a capsule wardrobe

Here's where I"m going to start venturing out on to a limb; The jacket and shoes are right in the sweet spot of the grey wardrobe, but I'm going to introduce a very classic sweater, in an (in this wardrobe) unexpected color to start easing us into a few warm hues. I'm not at all sure how this will all play out, but I'm very confident that one could comfortably wear this sweater with grey jeans or pants without any need to feel self-conscious or "unmatched." Not that you should EVER feel unmatched - if you're happy, the rest of the world should just live with what you wear!

And I'm just pointing out that the neckline on this jacket is perfect for showing off your favorite scarf...

grey coat, natural fisherman's sweater, and grey athletic shoes, to add to a capsule wardrobe

We now have 15 garments, which puts the owner in a great position for a lengthier trip, or for most of one's day to day activities:

15-piece capsule wardrobe in grey with shades of purple

Quite a few different way to pull together outfits, for a very wide range of activities:

three outfits for dinner, in grey and shades of purple

Tomorrow, a winter coat, another "warm" sweater, more accessories, and some leisure-wear... Don't miss it!

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe From Scratch: Personalizing the Basics, based on Lightning over Colorado by Joe Randall


  1. I'm excited to see where this goes. I love the look of mixed whites/creams/beiges with grey or even black, so this is becoming very interesting.

  2. I have learned much about how to look at art, a scarf, ornature from you. It has opened a whole new way of putting clothes together. This is another great example.

  3. For what it's worth, I happily mix black/gray and brown all the time:
    - brown pants, gray space-dye t-shirt, brown button-down, brown leopard print oxfords, black flower bracelet
    - gray pants, brown short-sleeve top, gray and white vertical striped button-down, gray boots, copper bracelet set
    - brown skirt, black tank, brown leopard print oxfords, black and white earrings
    - grayscale flower dress, brown button-down, black flats, gold hoop earrings
    - etc


  4. Like Kaci I mix grey with browns, and also brown with blues - some trousers in a dark chocolate (a brown with purple undertones) might mix really well with most of the tops, especially that lovely turtleneck!

  5. I love mixing cool and warm especially grey with ivory and beige. Perhaps a core of a taupe/cocoa brown would mix nice here. I would prefer ivory to the stark white shirts. To keep the stormy feel from the photo.

  6. I'm loving the bright vivid blues and violets in the bottom right section of the picture with the addition of pink. For the neutral core, I would have preferred a minky taupe rather than grey although probably not as easy to find, but lovely nonetheless. Sharon. U.K.

  7. My basics are black/grey/beige/cream, which I find mix well with most other colours - warm and cool - for accents. It's a very versatile core. And I happily gonwith gold and/or silver jewellery. I like the sound of others who mix in brown and navy. My accents are currently the purple/violet colours of this photo, and soft, warm or dusty greens. Next week, when surely our summer will settle in (!), the accents wil change to light and mid blues, and teal. So no problems mixing warm and cool. I think you're doing a marvellous job with this wardrobe Janice, it's fascinating to watch it grow. Lovely choices!
    Robyn in Tasmania

  8. I really like the diesel grey t-shirt. With my rectangular figure, I steer clear of the bat-wing shape that has been so popular lately as it makes my midriff the primary point of focus- not a gppd idea!! But I think that the slightly off the should look might work quite well. I'm enjoying the way you are experimenting with colours.