Wednesday, February 15, 2017

How to Pick Accessories for a Grey-Based Wardrobe - Start With Art: Paris Dreaming by Peter Rumney

You might remember that yesterday we were looking at this very pretty painting and building a wee wardrobe around it:

Paris Dreaming by Peter Rumney with style ideas and color palette

And that we left that post with this capsule wardrobe assembled using our backbone template:

13 piece capsule wardrobe with a Backbone of charcoal grey and bright accents
Blue top – Lands’ End; pencil skirt - J. Crew;
Grey cardigan – Lands’ End
; red top – Lands’ End;
pleated skirt – Marks & Spencer,
short sleeve sweater – Lands’ End;
yellow blouse – Max Mara; dress pants - J. Crew;
striped tee - J. Crew Factory
; green sweater - Kettlewell;
jeans - L.L.Bean; white tee - L.L.Bean;capris - L.L.Bean

There's an interesting conundrum around the idea of accessorizing this wardrobe - it's inherent in the very different two "sides" of the template: bright vs neutral. One the one hand, a few bright accessories are going to be good fun to complement the bright blouses and sweater that I've included. However, you don't ever want to go overboard in that direction, because you can end up looking a bit cartoonish, and you don't want to leave your "all-neutral" outfits without any jewelry, shoes, scarves or bags!

So I am going to see how it works to use all neutral footwear, and a balance of colorful and neutral accessories in each outfit. I think it's a logical start, but we'll know better once the actual pieces fall in place!

three ways to wear a charcoal grey pencil skirt

three ways to wear a charcoal grey pleated skirt

three ways to wear charcoal grey dress pants

three ways to wear charcoal jeans

three ways to wear charcoal capris or cropped pants
Earrings – Lauren Ralph Lauren; sandals – Bella Vita;
sunglasses – Kate Spade NewYork;
sandals – Bella Vita; necklace – Lauren Ralph Lauren;
clutch – Coach;
cuff - Cahya Krisna; cuff – Achara; sandals – Bella Vita

When the accessories are assembled together, you can see that the neutral pieces outnumber the color accents, which is probably the way it will best work. But this is really the decision point - some women are going to want more colorful accessories, and others are going to be okay with a greater number of neutral pieces. It's these kinds of thought-out decisions that define personal style, so it's worth being certain that you love what you buy, and that it finishes off your outfit in a way that you find comfortable.

accessories for a charcoal grey and brights capsule travel wardrobe

I really like the way that this all looks together! This diagram is particularly useful if you're interested in an academic sense in how your accessories are balanced. Here, I've clearly gone a bit overboard on red pieces (I know you're shocked). Maybe a red handbag, and sunglasses, might be a purchase reserved for AFTER your wardrobe is complete, and you're in the mood for a second, jazzier option in that category.

a travel capsule wardrobe with a charcoal grey Backbone and bright accents

The most important thing, without question, is to be happy with your wardrobe. All else - the balances of esoteric ratios etc. - is just a tool!


PS - For other planning tools, including the latest Pantone Color Planner, check out the Planning Documents section of the website.

How to Pick Accessories for a Grey-Based Wardrobe - Start With Art: Paris Dreaming by Peter Rumney
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  1. This looks great! I would totally wear colorful accessories with a completely neutral outfit, and vice versa. Right now my gray-based travel wardrobe for an upcoming 10 day trip with varied activities is including accent colors of hot pink, teal, and rich caramel, along with a bit of black. - nancyo

  2. Accessories are so fun. Like Nancy I would happily wear colorful accessories with a neutral outfit but I really love color. :)

  3. Dear Janice, huge thanks for the amazing job that you do! Your website is my biggest lesson in style ever. You really changed the way I view fashion and clothing. Still there is this puzzle that I am unable to solve. Recently I put myself into trouble by purchasing a pair of beautiful gray jeans (I did own some gray tops and cardigans to go with it). Now I suddenly have two neutrals as a base Navy and Gray. And I just don't know what to do. Before I just lived in a navy skirt, Bretton top, a strand of pearls and navy blazer. Now I have all these choices. Would you like to do a wardrobe based on gray och navy one day?
    Lots of love from Sweden

    1. I have a lot of grey and navy neutrals and I find that - aside from a few print tops - most items will mix and match really well. Almost any accent colour that works with one will work with the other - I tend to use red, pink, turquoise and a rich caramel - along with white for shirts & t-shirts.
      I think that you have opened up a whole lot of new possibilities for yourself but in actual fact you will still need only a few items to use with one or the other - or to tie them together. Have fun.

    2. Anonymous,
      If you go the top of this post and click on the 4x4 wardrobes title , a window pops up showing you multiple selections, including navy and gray wardrobes Janice has done.

  4. From a fiscally responsible point of view, it makes sense to keep the more expensive accessories like shoes and bags in the neutral until you're completely comfortable with the wardrobe, then as you say, expand into a jazzier version (like red handbags and maybe yellow sneakers!).

  5. Love the all neutral shoes included here!

  6. I agree with Nancy. I would totally wear the red handbag and sunglasses with the second to last outfit. I have mostly navy and gray clothes and I have a couple of colored handbags that I use. Same with shoes. My shoes have way more personality than my clothes!

  7. Neutral accessories is a great idea! You make it look easy! Thanks for all you do!!

  8. You have struck a chord with all of us who 'need' several accent colours in our lives. But then psychology is an important part of all your advice, dear Janice.
    Robyn in Tasmania

  9. Janice, I have been following your blog from the beginning, but I am still learning from your examples. I really like the picture, but I realize now that in part it was because the neutral dominated the color. For this to work for me, I would need to keep my clothes neutral and invest in colored accessories (shoes, bag, jewelry scarf, etc.) My "lesson" is exactly the opposite from what other readers learned. So helpful!

  10. I like this wardrobe a lot, and I would add a red umbrella! ;)

  11. oh how I am loving the Start with Art series! will you be doing more?

  12. Hi there my dear! I just want to ask if we can follow each other on GFC?

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  13. I love this -- I'm obsessed with grey so this gives me lots of ideas.