Friday, March 10, 2017

How to add Accent Colors to a Navy, Grey and Camel capsule wardrobe

Monday I added accessories to a very neutral navy, grey, camel and white; many of you requested in the comments that I go back to my reader's original accent colors of wine and forest green to see how they might look with this capsule wardrobe.

Changing up accent colors is one of the easiest ways to take a very classic capsule wardrobe and put your personal spin on things, so I was positively eager to get to this post!

First up, let's update the color palette that we were using, and update the style notes for a bit of guidance:

A classic color palette with style guidelines

I didn't want to really disrupt the core of our original Four by Four wardrobe, so I chose the very easiest way to experiment with accent colors - tee shirts!

tee shirts in burgundy and forest green
tee shirts - J. Crew

I just pulled out a striped tee shirt, and the silk tank top (that's sold out) and put these in their places. They seem very visually comfortable here, if there is such a concept as visual comfort!

A Four by Four Wardrobe in grey, navy and camel with wine and forest green accents

Just to show the versatility of the core garments, I swapped out virtually all of the accessories for some in cooler colors. Except for substituting out the 2 new tee shirts, all of the garments are of course the same.

two ways to wear a Uniqlo navy pleated skirt

In the bottom outfit, I'm thinking that the sweater is going to be around your shoulders or waist, unless the temperatures drop. And it was impossible for me to resist the idea of garnets and some jade to wear with these accent colors. (you could go nuts and get some rubies or emeralds...)

two ways to wear khaki pants with navy, and accents of wine or forest green

Garnets.... and scarves.... sigh....

two grey outfits accented with wine

These earrings very much remind me of the Caviar line from Lagos, at a fraction of the price...

two ways to wear navy pants with camel and wine

The accessories work with most of the garments, so after you have a few outfits nicely "set," you're in a good spot to get dressed in a hurry with everything you need at your fingertips!

two outfits featuring grey and navy worn with wine and forest green accents

I think these look wonderful together:


So what do we learn from all of this beautiful fun? That you can have pretty much the identical classic wardrobe to a lot of other women, but as soon as you start choosing your personal accent colors and accessories, there's no danger that you're ever going to be mistaken for each other! These small changes can make so much difference...

love,
Janice

How to add accent colors to an all neutral capsule wardrobe with accessories



18 comments:

  1. I am drawn to silver and cool colors so I am just loving this and it really is amazing how much impact two colorful tee shirts can have! :)

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  2. I am off to seek out a J.Crew t-shirt!

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  3. This is probably the most valuable lesson I've learned from TVF. Create a solid core wardrobe of neutrals, then have fun with accent colors. I get what I call "mini pods" of color: a solid tee, a scarf, and socks. Then if I like the color, I add a solid cardigan and a pattered shirt. By that time I'm either ready to make that color a regular part of my wardrobe, in which case I might invest in shoes and a bag or jewelry. If I'm tired of the color, then it all goes into the donation pile and I'm ready to try a new color!

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    1. Lara the LibrarianMarch 10, 2017 at 12:10 PM

      Brilliant idea! May I adopt it?

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    2. I'm not Virginia, and I hesitate to speak for her, but I'd be shocked if any reader of The Vivienne Files offered ideas and suggestions for any but the most altruistic of reasons. It's the kind of community of women we are! And you're right that it's a genius way to experiment without breaking the bank...
      Friday hugs,
      Janice

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    3. Oh gosh, yes! Janice is absolutely correct; we are a collaborative community here. Just one more way Janice has made our sartorial lives so much better. Hugs.

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    4. It was such a flattering request, wasn't it? I STILL can't get used to the idea that someone wants to take my advice about anything....
      hugs,
      Janice

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    5. What???? I think we all have taken your advice, Janice!! I know you have absolutely been my one and only teacher of how to develop a wardrobe! I only wish I was as adventurous as you , as artistic. But I've gotten the gist of using two coordinating solid neutrals as the backbone of a wardrobe. And this backbone actually allows a ton of freedom to explore and more importantly USE everything I now own! Magic! Thank you, thank you. Janice Collins, Washington DC

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    6. This really is a genius idea, Virginia. I can imagine it could also be useful as a long-term strategy, for those of us who like to play with wider color palettes. I'm imagining a "wild card" color involving one piece of solid clothing and two small accessories; a "secondary accent" that plus a second piece of solid clothing + a patterned one; and a "primary accent" the preceding plus a "durable accessory" or two (shoes/bag/nicer jewelry). That seems like a good way to add some structure and avoid the "must have all the things in all the colors!!!" syndrome, while still allowing for a larger number of accent colors in a wardrobe.

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  4. Janice,
    Thank you for honoring the request with regard to the accent colors of forest green and merlot -- you really delivered on this one, as usual ! Trade the black and gray for brown and tan, and this is my travel wardrobe ! While I recognize that you already have a tan/camel color as one of your neutrals, I would just use that and choose a lighter or darker tan from my own wardrobe for a total of 3 neutrals plus the 2 accent colors, plus off white.
    I totally agree with Virginia on color pods, including pods of accent pieces, which I learned from you -- it makes it look like you have packed your entire wardrobe with much variety when you simply change up the accessories ! Thanks for another great job !

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  5. If ever a Nobel prize is awarded for "Making Peace with One's Wardrobe", I nominate you.
    Thank you - again! - for an inspiring, instructive and inventive post.

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  6. I'm wild about this color combination!! I must get busy and start compiling my wardrobe around it. I think I already have a partial start on it! Do you think gold accessories could be substituted to provide some variety? I like both silver and gold...or maybe used some of the mixed metal accessories? Sound possible? what small changes would need to made in accessory pieces or clothing to make that work?

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    1. You could easily substitute gold or mixed metal jewelry here - the warmth of the camel neutral makes it logical, and if you love what you're wearing, you'll be fine! There really are very few rules to this kind of thing, no matter WHAT some fashion magazine or self-appointed style guru tells you...
      I'm very much the "do your own thing" blogger!
      hugs,
      Janice

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  7. Love how the accents livened and personalized this wardrobe! And the Santorius scarf even has some of the emerald green - granted, a very tiny bit. One of these days I will buy a scarf from Wolf & Badger. - nancyo

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  8. I've just had a look at the Hermes scarf in all it's different colourways. It is fascinating how much the look of this scarf changes depending on the accent colours used. I found that my eye was drawn to different aspects of the scarf pattern every time the colours changed. THis also shows the power of the accent colours to change the overall look.......Fascinating.......

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    1. I can't encourage everyone enough to look at Hermes scarves - in person, if possible! - because they really are a study in the uses of color. Please don't be intimidated by their stores; I've never had a bad experience visiting one, and I've been in them A LOT without buying a single thing. Their staff seems to be well trained to treat everyone with respect and kindness, and they're always happy to share their knowledge. Your appreciation of the beauty of their products seems to be enough to make them happy...
      hugs,
      Janice

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  9. Great exercise in wardrobe management! It's amazing how much a little color can change things!Thank you Janice!

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