Some people just don’t wear a lot of jewelry; they don’t want to collect handbags, nor shoes, and they find one scarf suits them quite well…(okay, they’re nuts…)
Actually, that’s their right. Of course it is! But it does suggest that they’re going to want to plan a bit to make certain that they have what they want and need when they get dressed.
Let’s start where we were yesterday, with this nicely tidied leisure wardrobe:
When we finished this wardrobe yesterday, we had a lovely color palette for our heroine’s clothing. Working from that, we can easily devise a corresponding palette for her accessories – add a choice of metal (if you’re not going to have a lot of jewelry, what you do have can easily be either all-gold or all-silver) as well as a color for leather goods. The 2nd color palette is clearly going to work well with all of the clothes assembled with the first colors in mind.
Planning is essential – if you’re only going to have 3 or 4 pairs of shoes, they’ve got to do yeoman work! Same with bags and jewelry…
So here’s where some thought is required – what pieces are necessary, and in what colors should they be? There’s a lot of room for variation here, but I think that at a minimum, boots and loafers should be in either the darkest neutral or the leather color. Sandals and lighter-weight flats can be in the lighter neutral or an accent color. Jewelry is obviously going to be in the metallic, as well as an accent or a neutral. What’s available to purchase (or what’s already in our heroine’s closet!) will make a lot of difference here.
And a scarf? That’s tough to predict – it should certainly include a neutral or 2, and at least 1 accent color. This is a case in which our heroine just has to look until she has serious whappage for something… (whappage is my household’s term for that quality of being so completely overwhelmed with desire for an object that it feels like being whapped…)
Tentatively, this is what our plan might be… It can take a long time to find everything, so patience and focus are key!
After a bit of shopping about, this is what our heroine found. She wasn’t really planning on denim accessories, but a denim and olive tote bag, with brown leather, seemed impossible to resist!
The best way to make certain that she has everything that she needs is to assemble some outfits – from cold weather to warm – using all of her “bottoms,” and accessorize each of them…
So you don’t have to shop the house down to have the right accessories – just a bit of a plan and some shopping discipline! And I’m not pointing out that this might be a great way to plan accessories for travel….
Gosh the accessories bring this wardrobe to life! Beautiful work.
The Pouting Pensioner says
I was intrigued to see how this somewhat challenging wardrobe was going to be accessorised but you've come up wit some excellent choices. I love Skagen watches but haven't got a golf one, maybe that should change …
Loved your 'whappage"!!! Hugs, x.
Karissa Haumann says
This wardrobe was already one of my favorites. I have similar interests and coloring and also have made some mistakes in the past purchasing greens that were too cold. I think this wardrobe is also great for those of us on a budget and can't build up a wardrobe of accessories.
I have made the same mistake with the greens in my wardrobe and am currently editing out the “ wrong ones “. Sticking with one level of warmth or coolness of a hue simplifies outfit building , and reduces closet excesses, which I also need to do !
Amazing! As a no 'wearer of accessories', love the two bags and would perhaps add in a summer tote in light neutral. Everyday accesories for me are ring & watch (no pieicings either). For me only special occasions warrant extras. For extra special weather conditions – beanie, gloves and warm scarf, sun hat and of course sunnies! Thanks again Carol S
Chris from Indy
"Doing accessories" does not mean acquiring mountains of them, or piling them on. (I mean, you pretty much have to wear shoes and a bag, so why not put some thought into it. )The benefit to learning how to choose them is that a small wardrobe suddenly seems so much bigger, travel is easier, and you actually spend less on clothes because the accessories provide variations.
As for "no budget" goes, I have found gorgeous scarves in thrifts for $2-$3, an unworn leather bag for $15… or try rummage and yard sales, consignments and broad hints near your birthday. I have sunglasses many friends have asked about, $7 at Forever21.
Having said that, I do have pricey accessories for which I save.
As for jewellery, you can have one item and make it your signature, but it should be non-generic.
Love the simplicity of having just a few perfect accessories. Your explanations of how to plan for them are wonderful – thank you!
I usually feel best in cool colors, but all of my olive pieces are the more yellow tone. Hmm!
I like this way of choosing limited accessories for packing, just would cut back on shoes.
Ever since we came back from a Cape Cod tour this past Autumn, I have been in a Ralph Lauren, preppy, penny loafer kinda’ mood ! A throwback to northeastern university style in the 60’s ! This collection of garments and accessories fits right in with that mood ! I never leave the house without both earrings and lipstick, and often a watch ! I feel undressed otherwise ! I already have an olive green bag, so my venture into colored shoes might just begin with olive boots or loafers, or driving Mocs. Accessories were not paid attention to by me until recent years, but after daily viewing of your articles and active practice, I have seen how important accessories can be to change up a look using the exact same garments. You have done a post on this some years back, as I recall. When on a tour or cruise, I count on a necklace, earrings, and maybe a bracelet set in a given color or metal , one night at dinner to set off an outfit, and then several nights later I’ll use a scarf and earrings and bracelet for the same purpose, again wearing the exact same neutral garments. If a really lengthy trip, I’ll take a second scarf and earrings with different colors for a third wearing. Depending on the outfit, I’ll add a belt. Since shoes are heavy to pack, I stick with two neutrals for trips. Having color families of accessories , as you have shown, offers great versatility , but not wearing all of the pieces at once ! I just need to take the time to try on the pieces with the outfits before they go into a suitcase, so that I’m not dragging along my entire jewelry or scarf collection!
Well, I guess I'm in the "nuts" category – or wish I was! I just went through my jewelry to purge what I don't wear which is most of it. I don't like a lot of "extras" on. I never wear bracelets unless its a VERY special affair and my watch only when traveling. I wear the same three earrings (simple gold, pearl and faux diamond studs) all the time although I have many. I don't wear scarves in summer and the same 3 or 4 in winter. I do wear necklaces when I dress up on Sundays or go out to dinner, etc but again I'm only wearing 6 of them. Most of the time my dress is very casual with only earrings as accessories. I have three purses: pewter evening bag, navy purse, and smaller taupe everyday bag, and two totes. That's it! Winter: Two pairs of clogs, two pairs booties, and nude dressy pump. Summer: gold sandals, navy sandals, dressy wedge pumps also in champaign gold, and cute sneakers.
So except for the necklaces, my accessory wardrobe is similar to this heroine. Love these analysis posts so much. Janice Collins, Washington, DC
Janice Riggs says
One of my dearest friends wears virtually no jewelry, and only wears scarves for winter wear. She does, however, wear really spiffy hats all winter!
Chacun a son gout – do you own freak thing – if there's any rule that you can take from The Vivienne Files, it's not to be told by ANYBODY what you need to buy, wear, be, or do…
I am still mulling over your very excellent idea from yesterday of using tints and shades of given hues for variety within warmer or cooler seasons. Lighter for the warmer months, graduating into deeper shades for cooler months, and yet having the mix and match options year round ! Genius ! Another of your readers, Pat, also commented on this idea yesterday. This potentially cuts down on the total number of garments in a wardrobe too, as those other slightly “ off “ varieties of a color can now be history ! Why has it taken me years to figure this out , as you have done this kind of post before this one ? Yesterday was a real lightbulb moment ! Hmmm, I’m off to my closet and some great lighting !
Women inspiring women, I love it!
The aha moment for me came when you suggested laying the wardrobe out. When I try to put together a travel capsule I do it in my mind and always wind up taking too much. Looking at the physical items will surely give me the clarity YOU found!! I can't wait to do this with my entire wardrobe. Awesome post Janice. Thanks so much!
Deb from Vancouver says
Thank you for this particular segment and process. It is really helpful
Ivy Bromius says
I'm not a typical accessory person either and really appreciated this post. I wonder if you might do a similar post with with "alternate" accessories. Things like hats, belts, hair pins (what else?). I don't do earrings or bracelets and tend to wear only a single symbolic necklace. I like the IDEA of accessories but get stuck picking them out.
Well, call me "nuts" but I love this and think I could skip a couple of those accessories. LOL
The bags are perfect. I like the earrings but would probably leave out the watch and the chunky bracelet and look for a more simple necklace or two.
Thanks for doing this wardrobe. The colors and the styles are all appealing to me.
Monica Reid says
These super-analytical posts make my heart (brain?)sing. While I'm very analytical when it comes to other aspects of my life, my wardrobe has always been an area I couldn't seem to get a handle on. These posts show me how to do it, and in a way that appeals to my personality and inclinations. Thank you Janice!
As always, I love what you put together and the 'rules of thumb' to help simplify my choices. I still can't identify warm and cool within one color until you point them out. I have gone back to older posts as well such as the one on different grays. I also can't get my mind wrapped around rules of thumb for them. Help?!
Janice Riggs says
Warm colors will have hints of yellow, while cool colors have more blue. If you look at sites that show colors for web design, they will show the "component" colors that make up any color. It might be helpful…
Janice, what if this woman DOES have blue eyes and loves her turquoise tops? Would you think about doing a flip on this wardrobe to see what happens if she goes the other direction? Are the original cool green olive items so different from the warm green olive items? I'm such a magnet to green and it's often difficult to find in the stores. You are such a fairy godmother to all of us. Thank you.
Janice Riggs says
I'm going to redo this with a final wardrobe in cool colors… Should be fun!
P.S. I am studying your 2016 12 month Olive based wardrobe and trying to understand its relationship to this current one.
I liked this post and would love to see more in this vein. I really don't do jewelry, even more so than your heroine here. Just my wedding band and my smartwatch. So a few purses and totes plus shoes and belts are my only accessories, and I don't want to have a large collection of any of those. I could see having a few more scarves, but for me only in the colder seasons.
I love accessories but as an active mom of 2 young kids, I am taking a break from the accessories lately. So there's lots of reasons to pare down, or take a break! Love this! Thanks.
I would love it if you could do this minimal accessory organization with a black, gray, red, and blue wardrobe. I don't do well wearing scarves and I too am in the silver, gold, pearl, and diamond earring routine. I have lots of other but never wear them.
Thanks for the great ideas.
Love this! The accessories really pull the outfits together. I am something of an accessories minimalist myself, but you are making a convert out of me. My husband will be so thrilled ….
Grand Piracy says
La folle qui n'aime pas beaucoup des accessoires, c'est moi! Kkkkk! :-)
(Ni les jupes, ni les robes, ni le couleur rose…)
Not sure if it's a question of nature or nurture, but I somehow never grew out of being a tomboy who swopped shorts and T-shirts with her two brothers! Yes, really, we even had a few "communal" sets that nobody in particular owned and we all wore!
I have bouts of trying to be more girly, but inevitably return to my default setting, so this would be a perfect solution, many many thanks!