Monday, March 06, 2017

Accessories for an "All-Neutral" Capsule Wardrobe in Navy, Grey, Camel and White

Oh, how I love accessories! As much as it's important, and nice, to have good-quality, classic clothes, it's really the accessories that make outfits distinctively yours...

Let's briefly flash back to look at the scarf from which we're working; note that I've slightly changed the color wheel to reflect the focus that I'm going to put on brown leather accessories! I do these in PowerPoint, which gives you nearly infinite flexibility in the number of colors you include, the proportion of each color, the nuanced shade of each color, as well as the ability to change the borders (both color and width) at will. I don't think that PowerPoint was ever intended for this purpose, but it works really well!

Vintage Ferragamo scarf with style guidelines and updated color palette

The lace trim on this top is an echo of the filigreed border around the "cat portrait" in the scarf, so I thought that a little bit more lacy quality, in a bracelet, wouldn't go amiss. And if you find the tobacco brown accessories uncomfortable, you could always switch to black or navy. Navy can be more difficult to find, which I think might be why you almost never see a man wearing navy shoes with a navy suit!

navy top and skirt with brown leather accessories

For those in the early stages of introducing warmer-toned leather accessories into their wardrobe, Longchamp bags are worth considering. They all have that warm brown handle and closure, and they come in a rainbow of colors.

And is this scarf perfect for this wardrobe, or WHAT?

grey and navy outfit with navy fabric accessories

You may really only need 1 belt in your wardrobe, so there's no reason not to make it a wonderful one! And I love the strong geometrics of the brooch... a good brooch can be amazingly useful, and there's no piece of jewelry that's easier to wear.

navy suit and white shirt with brown leather accessories

You know, if you count carefully, you'll see that I made a whopping mistake on Friday, and that this Four by Four wardrobe actually has SEVENTEEN pieces of clothing! These shorts never made it to the grid...

Ah, proof that The Vivienne Files is a one-woman operation, and that the woman in question isn't perfect! Thank heavens nobody much expects me to be flawless...

But anyway - wouldn't this be a glorious outfit for sitting under the umbrella on the deck by the lake on a hot day? Sipping a cool beverage, lifting the hair off of the back of your neck when I breeze comes by? Dozing, just a little behind your sunglasses?

camel summer outfit with gold accessories

Another really perfect scarf for this wardrobe - I got super-lucky... I could wear an outfit like this for days...

navy sweater and skirt with brown pumps, gold earrings and a silk scarf

You might not want to wear both the bracelet and necklace... or you might! Different people have very different comfort levels with things like this, and it's very important to recognize and respect the things that you love versus those that give you an inner feeling of unsettled posturing, or costume-wearing. You don't have to take anyone's advice, if it makes you feel like you aren't being your true self - but you know that!

khaki outfit with gold and pearl jewelry and navy fabric accessories

I looked and LOOKED at necklaces with brown leather and silver metal bits, but just didn't see one that suited me, so I thought that it was worth pointing out that there's no law against wearing gold against a dark pewter metallic top. No law at all...

grey outfit with brown leather accessories

Now I'm re-using earlier accessories, just to show that they're versatile and can be used across the range of this wardrobe:

grey outfit with brown leather bag and shoes

Why yes indeed, there is NOT a pair of shorts here! Only I could take 3 times 5, add 2, and get sixteen...

grey, navy, and camel Four by Four wardrobe

Aren't these lovely together?

The rest of the outfits follow, now with accessories, to show that you really could pull together a lot of different looks from this relatively small collection of pieces:

two outfits from a navy, grey and camel capsule wardrobe

two outfits from a Four by Four wardrobe in grey, navy and camel

two outfits using khaki pants, from a navy, grey and camel capsule wardrobe

two grey outfits from a navy, grey and camel Four by Four travel capsule wardrobe

two ways to wear navy dress pants, from a travel capsule wardrobe in navy, grey and camel

Tomorrow, I'm going to try to tackle the question of how one whittles down the masses of a normal wardrobe into a coherent capsule wardrobe. I have two different ideas about how to approach this, so it (I hope!!!) should be interesting...


How to accessorize a capsule wardrobe in an 'all neutral' color palette of Navy, Grey, Camel, and white.
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  1. The Mondrian-type scarf is indeed perfect. Even if your math isn't. Though I keep hearing that 2+2=5 now.
    The brown belt, bag and shoes would make the simplest outfit look very put-together without being overtly matchy-matchy.
    Speaking of which, yesterday I saw a woman head-to-toe in shades of purple, including her hair. That's committing to a color palette! And she was French....

    1. I thought of Mondrian with the scarf, too, and I think it's so smart! Hollyce

  2. I was bemused by this wardrobe on Friday, I couldn't see why you were not using the lovely green in the scarf! However, the accessories you have chosen make the outfits look stunning. I especially like the two scarves you have added, but I really need to stop buying scarves!

  3. So this is what it's like to have a post hot off the press so to speak! There aren't many comments to read. A novelty after spending a LOT of time reading from the start & generally being about 2 years behind! I didn't like having to WAIT for the new post though! :-) Kylie

  4. Janice,
    The tobacco brown accessories are the icing on this cake , as well as the other accessories that you have selected for this post ! They just set off everything and complete the ensembles to perfection ! Will you be taking this post again , but in a different direction , with the accents of merlot and forest green that you first mentioned ?

    1. I was also wondering about the accent colors..

  5. That Mondrian scarf!!! *swoon*

  6. Love these brown leather items. Vivienne Files girlfriends, if you love the belt, Banana Republic does one that's very similar at a much lower price. The oval gold buckle design gives your tummy a flatter look. A plus for me! I think I will look seriously at either the pumps or flats for a dressy look.

  7. Those scarves! This is where the shopping freeze really hurts. That and the fact that they are just a bit out of my price range. The cognac/tobacco is lovely with the navy and the gray. - nancyo

  8. Oooh, I'm looking forward to the whittling-down posts. Great idea, because that's the situation in which most of us find ourselves when we decide to design a more coherent wardrobe!

  9. Just loverly, thank you, Janice.
    And I second the "2nd direction" comment - re taking up the forest green/merlot theme. Tee hee.Judith

  10. So I love Jack Rogers slides; am I the only one who seems to have the gap of an inch between the thong/toe part and then hang over the teensiest bit in the heel? Is the thong strap just in a weird place? Love the scarf and colors!

  11. Janice, thanks so much for the wonderful ideas! I love everything about this set of outfits! I'm having a hard time deciding which colors to go with when structuring my own wardrobe---so many good ideas that you have suggested! I really appreciate that you show wonderful classic pieces that will make good investments and not will not become quickly dated, as so many of the trends will do. I look forward to your posts each day and re-read through the old ones regularly! Thanks so much!

  12. This is really good!!!! It is great to see how everything comes together so well!!
    Deb from Vancouver

  13. These choices beautifully complete this lovely wardrobe, I too love everything about it. (As I never wear shorts I couldn't care less if they are omitted.) It's a capsule with excellent versatility too. A real eye-opener for me, seeing these favourite neutrals together. Yum!
    And what a great teaser for tomorrow. Looking forward to that.
    Robyn in Tasmania

  14. This is probably the wardrobe I like least of all the wardrobes here. I kept wondering why, especially because I like the black, gray, and white and would be happy to see almost any other color with them. I finally decided it was because a) I really , really don't like the camel =ish color with these, and b) there are two garments I dont' like at all. So between the two, I have a strong aversion to it. But when I think about a different color with those and replacing the two garments with two I do like, then suddenly I like it a lot! The only reason I'm sharing this rather inane reflection is that I think it shows how good your system and thinking are here. What I dislike is the color and the garments. Replace them with ones I like using the same system, and I see a wardrobe I really like! So see, you're a genius. The system works perfectly.

  15. I'm a little embarrassed to ask this, but how is a brooch an easy piece of jewelry to wear. I love the ones you show, but I have no idea how they're worn. Back in the '80s we wore them at the throat on a buttoned up shirt. That's the end of my brooch knowledge!