Monday, March 26, 2018

How to Pack Just Enough Accessories

So, while Friday's travel capsule wardrobe looked pretty good, it's really not complete! Without at least shoes (and maybe a bag) you're not probably going very far... (and yes, some people don't ever wear shoes; there are ALWAYS exceptions...)

Let's do some planning, before we add accessories to that wardrobe - first, by remembering and building on our color palette.

travel capsule wardrobe palette of navy and white with accents of lavender and teal

It's worth considering if these colors will give you sufficient guidance for your choice of accessories. I like to - at a minimum - add a metal color, so that I don't just willy nilly toss all of my jewelry into my bag! You might want to also be certain that you've got a dark neutral that's going to work for things like shoes and bags. With navy, many of us might want to use black leather, so it's worth remembering that when you're making your choices.

I'm going to use navy accessories for this wardrobe (much easier to find in the warmer weather!) and  I'm going to make sure that it's clear that silver is the metal of choice, for this trip!

a travel capsule wardrobe color palette evolved into an accessory palette

Now you can jot down a few notes about what you're considering for your trip. At this stage, I was hopeful of finding espadrilles in 1 of the accent colors - didn't happen! But thinking about this for a second helps you to avoid forgetting really important categories of accessories, like (for me) earrings...

After you've done this, you can (with a clear conscience) buy those lavender espadrilles when you see them on your vacation - they are in your plan!

An Accessory Color Palette and planned items to pack from each color
 Now that this bit of planning and thinking is out of the way, let's go back to the clothes and figure out what accessories we really need to pack:

4 by 4 Travel Capsule Wardrobe in navy and white with accents of teal and lavender
teal tunic - Lands' End; navy cardigan - Lands' End; white tee - Lands' End; lavender tee - Lands' End; paisley polo - Lands' End; navy tunic - Lands' End (sold out - similar here); sleeveless print shirt - Lands' End; striped tee - Lands' End; maxi dress - Lands' End; teal tee - Lands' End; floral shirt - Lands' End; denim dress - Lands' Endnavy pants - Lands' End; navy capris - Lands End; white shorts - Lands' End; chambray shorts - Lands' End

I feel like I have enough accessories if I can put together outfits in my mind and accessorize them from the items that I've packed. So let's start with an obvious, classic travel outfit, and add the necessaries...

travel outfit in navy and white with lavender and teal accessories
navy cardigan - Lands' End; earrings - WWAKE; white tee - Lands' End; scarf - Nordstromnavy pants - Lands' End; watch - Timex; loafers - Born; backpack - Hershel Supply Co.

Now back to the travel wardrobe to assemble another outfit, and then accessorize it:

sightseeing outfit in lavender and navy
lavender tee - Lands' End; silver orchid earrings - Desi Antari; floral shirt - Lands' End; bag - Nordstromnavy capris - Lands End; bracelet - Lafonn; mules - Dav

After you've accessorized your second outfit, you might be pretty close to having everything that you need - it's most important to be sure to have appropriate footwear, and don't forget your SUNGLASSES. (in all fairness, this outfit wouldn't stink with the mules above...)

vacation or summer outfit in lavender and chambray, with accessories
sunglasses - SMITH; paisley polo - Lands' End; amethyst ring - James Avery; chambray shorts - Lands' End; sandals - Sofft

Now that we have sandals, we might not need any more accessories; let's assemble at least a few more outfits just to be certain... You want to make sure that you "test drive" every pair of pants, shorts, all your skirts and dresses - the garments below your waist will dictate your shoe choices/needs.

Here, the sandals that are already packed are perfect with these shorts, and the little navy bag is a perfect match. I chose to add a pair of earrings with an angular/geometric feel, but they're strictly a fun addition and far from necessary! (but if you're going to pack a ton of something, earrings are a good choice - they're not very big, nor heavy...)

summer outfit of white shorts and striped top, with accessories
earrings - Carlos & Cynthia Rendon; striped tee - Lands' End; white shorts - Lands' End; bag - Nordstrom; sandals - Sofft

I'm envisioning that our heroine will wear her denim dress as both a dress on its own, and as a duster/jacket over other outfits. I felt like this little "twilly" scarf (maybe on her bag, or in her hair?) was a nice touch here. Otherwise, the accessories already packed are all that she needs.

white tee, navy capris and a denim duster, with accessories
earrings - Carlos & Cynthia Rendondenim dress - Lands' End; twill scarf - Cyclades; sunglasses - SMITH; white tee - Lands' Endnavy capris - Lands End; mules - Dav

After your travel outfit, the most important thing you pack will be whatever you want to wear for special occasions - maybe the event for which you're traveling, or a special dinner. (I've been known to pack garments that only get worn one time, but it's worth it!) While the white sandals or the navy mules would both be great with this dress under other circumstances, for a lovely evening, our heroine is going to want to amp it up a notch! One of the joys of packing flat sandals is that they take up very little space...

teal print maxi dress with accessories
silver orchid earrings - Desi Antari; wrap - Nordstrommaxi dress - Lands' End; bag - Nordstrom; sandals - Jeffrey Campbell

No matter what time of year, no matter where the destination, having a neutral, warm, versatile wrap with you isn't a bad idea...

When you get all of this together in a pile, you can see that it's not really a cumbersome amount of stuff! Given that you're wearing the bulkiest shoes, and carrying the backpack, it looks even smaller!
And it makes SO MUCH difference to how your clothes look and feel...

Spring Accessory Travel Capsule Wardrobe for a navy, teal, lavender and white wardrobe
wrap - Nordstrom; sunglasses - SMITH; print square scarf - Nordstrom;   silver orchid earrings - Desi Antaritwilly scarf - Cyclades; amethyst ring - James Avery; square earrings - Carlos & Cynthia Rendonbracelet - Lafonn; diamond & silver earrings - WWAKE; bag - Nordstrom;   watch - Timex; backpack - Hershel Supply Co.; silver sandals - Jeffrey Campbell; loafers - Bornmules - Dav; white sandals - Sofft

I can easily spend as much time choosing my accessories as choosing clothes when I travel! Does anyone share my fondness for the wee finishing touches?

How to Pack Just Enough Accessories
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  1. Dearest Janice, today I just HAVE to write you. I've started reading your blog about have a year agi, shortly before I got my breast cancer diagnosis, and it is absolutely fair to say that reading your blog has gotten and is getting me through therapie - by keeping focused on happy and healthy times in the future when I will be sitting outside in a nice café in the sunshine, fabulously dressed thanks to you!! Last week I ordered a pair of earrings from and they just got delivered - beautiful lapizlatsuli and white pearl matching my navy and white summer wardrobe. I couldn't be happier! THANK YOU for all that you do, and the inspiration and courage and love that you give. Greetings from Germany xoxo

  2. Janice, You and I are on the same page on the importance of accessories! More than once my travel wardrobe has been black, gray, white, with all the interest provided by accessories!! Your comment about shoes being determined by what is worn on the lower half of the body is perfect. Thie above wardrobe is much prettier than what I pack, it’s good to remind myself that color CAN be done!

    And to Anonymous in Germany above: best wishes for your return to health. That we all could sit at a cafe in the sunshine, have a nice chat, and feel lovely and pulled together. Best wishes to you and thank you Janice. Chris in Indy

    1. Yes! Black/gray/white (maybe with denim blue) is my most common travel combination. Sometimes with an accent (I used hot pink recently and it was fun!). - nancyo

  3. Until recently I didn't bother too much with accessories. However, since reading this blog and seeing what a difference they make, I have been converted. I now have plenty of scarves, shoes, gloves, bags, and have started a sock collection, for thoses times when I have to take my shoes off in someone else's house. I'm almost too enthusiastic, and have to curb my desire for just one more...I like jewellery and have some necklaces, but find I don't wear them much. I do find though, that I am often far more dressed up than those around me! Linda M

  4. Janice,
    Without accesories, I feel only half dressed! Earrings and my watch are always a must , if nothing else . They really are the icing on the cake !

  5. Posts like this are genius, Janice, & so timely since I'm packing today for a 2-week transatlantic cruise! And like the poster above, I've used, & am using again this time, black/gray/white, with red this time for accessories. Organizing my wardrobe, for both travel & daily living, has been so much easier since I found you - bless you!

  6. Janice, I am a long-time follower and have enjoyed your blog for all of the inspiration and sound advice.
    When I travel I always wear a pair of walking shoes--they cover my feet and in a small plane they are required. I live in Alaska. Most of my travels now take me to the lower-48 (vacation time) and I still want those walking shoes plus the need for shoes more appropriate for the activities I do in large cities and small towns. I usually pack 3 pairs in my bags all matching my bottoms. Plus I stick to 2 colors and 1 neutral for everything. Accessories are the icing and I like plenty of icing options. So thanks for this post I will incorporate all your ideas/advice into my wardrobe
    Annette from Alaska

  7. Today and last Friday are the most beautiful capsules yet. We are cruising the Hawaiian Islands in June. I just went to Land's End and ordered several of the items in this capsule. Together with what I already have in my wardrobe, I can put together the 4X4 of Friday's post. AND... I was tempted by the Nordstrom scarf until I realized I have the Monet Waterlilies scarf that is actually a better size at 34" X 34" and the perfect colors similar to the Nordstrom scarf.

  8. So thank you, thank you, Janice! You have saved me hours and hours of time and no telling how many dollars.

  9. I love this palette, and the warm-weather clothes! If only it would actually warm up outside...

    I peeked on Yoox, and found purple, blue, and green espadrilles in shades that would match this palette :)

    1. Yep, Yoox is a GREAT place to find the obscure, often marked WAY down. I saw some there, but the size assortment was so peculiar that I didn't want to link to them. I don't want someone to click on a link and be disappointed because their size is gone...