October 27, 2021
As nifty and attractive as this wardrobe is, it’s really the accessories that make it work!
You may remember from last week that when I chose 2 pink garments to add to this wardrobe, I also added these accessories:
Lovely as these are, they will NOT be enough for any normal person!
For years, I’ve been trying to come up with a “Master List of Accessories” that everyone should have; for years, I have not succeeded!
And I think this is okay – accessories are far too personal to be structured in this way. One of my closest friends wear a TON of jewelry – literally at least 10 pieces at any one time. Another of my friends wear earrings – maybe – every now and then. I’m not going to give either of them a list suggesting that they are wearing too much, or too little!
That said, I can make a few suggestions about a few things. Shoes, for example…
I’ve always felt that I could get through just about any period of time in autumn or spring with 4 pairs of shoes: ballet flats, loafers, something sort of athletic shoe-ish, but dressier, and a pair of short boots. Something like this:
Your four may vary, but I think that it makes some sense to consider what your essential shoe wardrobe is, and then plan purchases accordingly. When you know that you only need four (or 3, or 6 – I’m not you!), you can budget to buy the best shoes you can afford. That’s always a good move…
And I routinely use 3 bags – a teeny one for lunching and shopping, a medium-sized one for activities that last longer and might require things like extra face masks, an umbrella, or a small medicine case. And lastly, a good tote bag or backpack is useful maybe only a few times a month, but when you need it, you NEED it!
You will note that I included black leather goods, even though our dark neutral in this wardrobe in navy. Men wear navy suits all the time with black shoes – look at any executive and that’s what you’ll see. If you have the patience to look for navy things, please do it, but don’t feel pressured to do so…
After getting some cool bags and shoes, it’s time to look for more frivolous, mostly decorative accessories. My favorite approach is to take a range of outfits from the wardrobe and accessorize each in turn…
Yes, we have light pink as our primary accent color in this wardrobe, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t wear a scarf with a touch of bright pink, and some matching earrings! Accessories give you a way to include just about any color that you like in your wardrobe without necessarily buying new clothes…
Similar story here – this heroine likes her plaid scarves, and she can wear any that she wants so long as they look good with navy!
But woman does not live by scarves alone – if you’re wearing ivory, pearls are a natural, flattering and logical choice for jewelry:
Sometimes the very plainest outfit you can imagine is the perfect base for an ornate scarf and some really glorious earrings!
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you’re wearing too much pink! If you’re happy, they should mind their own business…
Once you’ve got a good assortment of accessories, you probably will be able to add the perfect touch to any outfit in your capsule wardrobe:
Not that there’s anything wrong with another pink scarf!
Our heroine could easily greet the day dressed like this:
I firmly believe that most of us can justify owning at least as many accessories as we have items of clothing – possible quite a bit more!
p.s. Three years ago, one of our most mysterious heroines traveled with a capsule wardrobe of olive and dark rose pink…
Janice I love this! Especially for stepping a bit out of the matching everything like shoes and handbags in navy. This is what I usually wear, both navy as basis, pinks/red/white-cream/black accents, with black and cognac leather shoes. I would swap leather handbags for textile ones since I appreciate more the lighteness than the look, but overall I really like the outcome here.
Thanks for cheering up my day, I have loads of work to be fitted in tiny daycare schedule for my little one… This was a tremendous mind break :)
Blessings to everyone!!
As someone who doesn’t wear earrings, I went through each picture and thought “if this was my wardrobe, what would I have instead” and made the following list: navy baker boy cap (very rounded over the head), a Pale pink captains cap (much flatter and more structured), a golden leaf patterned headband , a navy wool garbedine peacoat (knee length) and pearl bracelets to match the necklace.
I have the caps in taupe and cream respectively, a plastic tortoiseshell headband and a light grey hooded version of how I imagined the coat. The bracelets just seemed to fit in my imagination, although an ivory or pearled headband could also work.
Selfridges sells clothes from Colorful Standard, and they have knit watchman caps in about 40 colors – also sweatshirts, tee shirts, shorts etc. I sleep in matching tee shirts and shorts from them (bubblegum pink anyone?) and can warmly endorse their quality!
Rex, I love that you are a hat person! I basically only wear a touque in the winter and a sun hat at the beach. But hats are a really fun, bold accessory. You have made me think!
What timely advice. I have been spending too much time for a couple weeks trying to sort out my shoes. Replacing, upgrading and whatnot. Not sure what I needed, spending time on my Pad, finding something I liked only for it to be sold out. Going to stores, trying on, even buying then having to return because they weren’t comfortable when I got them home. And so on and so forth. I couldn’t focus on what I really needed, or even define it. I was about to buy boat shoes. Et cetera. Janice’s great post has clarified the issue for me. I translated the shoes to my colors and lifestyle, navy, gray and casual. Clicked through to lands end and ordered three out of four. yay! Still need to find the sneaker type shoe. Of course, when I get them, I hope they fit. But that is another issue entirely. As for the rest of the accessories I am pleased to find I have functional totes and bags. Which is also a relief. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Gail Finke says
I like to hear what other people do. I have modified my own wardrobe by reading about accessories here. However, I don’t wear many. I have a few scarves, and only a few necklaces I switch out (really just two I wear most of the time, and three more I sometimes wear) and the rings I wear every day. Other than that I might as well pitch all the other jewelry I own. And I have one bag at a time. I really don’t care about bags and don’t get all the hype about them. I buy cheap fake leather bags and plan to buy a nicer actual leather one so it will last longer, but to me, bags are just something I have to carry stuff in, to be put down as quickly as possible. I don’t think of them as part of an outfit.
The same is mostly true of coats. Now that I have a bigger budget, I have nicer-looking coats that “go” with my clothes. But when I used to have a very limited budget, I had whatever I could afford that did the job (I’m petite, and the available petite coat styles and colors are usually far more narrow than regular sizes, especially at lower price points). Again, to me coats are just what you wear on your way somewhere, and take off when you get there. A lot of wardrobe bloggers show their trench coats or similar outdoor wear as part of their outfits — fine, I guess, if you live somewhere when you’re standing around for hours in your trench coat or ski jacket. But not something I think much about or look at.
Then again, I don’t care much about cars, either. They’re just for driving. The simpler and less expensive, the better. The only time I bought a car because I loved the look was my PT Cruiser. It did bring me a lot of joy for a while, but it was a clunker in the end, so I learned my lesson!
What an interesting personal style! i agree, its fun to see what other people do :)
For myself, living in New England… 6months out of the year, outerwear is the only part of my outfit most people will ever see!!!! So I like to pick coats that 1 – keep me warm and 2 – make me smile. They dont necessarily “match” my outfits, but often they ARE my outfit (my trousers, if showing, are neutrals, so go with everything). I have enough coats to meet my needs; now, every year I pick a scarf or 2 from my collection to wear with the coats and treat myself to a new pair of gloves in a colorway that goes with the scarves! (the gloves wear out by the end of the year anyhow). A nice fresh pop/ new look with the same old coats.
Most people would think my relatively few clothes very boring I think – very simple designs and apart from a few striped linen blouses in summer, nearly all plain in shades of dark to light blue, green and brown. I love to see how other women dress creatively, but simply don’t have the time to think about outfits everyday and also am very short indeed and only wear dresses or tops and pants in similar shades.
What I do have though is a big collection of accessories collected over many years, and an autumn winter shoe ‘collection’ much like those above. As Janice says accessories, scarves especially are ideal to bring a bit of a colour pop to outfits.
Not surprisingly, I am always drawn to the beautiful accessories Janice manages to find. The only problem is that being in Europe I sometimes see something that really sings to me and then find I can’t have it!
Janice – you read my mind! I went through the process of evaluating my shoes/bags situations recently and determined that I needed 3 types of each season – 1 pair of sneakers, 1 pair of flats (loafers, mules, ballet flats) and one pair of dressier shoes (could be heels, sandals or boots depending) for each season.
I followed the same thoughts for handbags – each season required a cross body bag, a tote bag and one clutch bag for dressier occasions.
Earrings – my everyday hoops, something with color/whappage and a pair of studs.
Since a lot of these things can straddle more than one season – it met my goals towards minimalism, having the appropriate thing ready and a way to personalize my appearance.
As each season approaches I’ve been replacing or repairing as needed.
Thank you for this post and the sage advice! Have a beautiful day!
Genius – well done! And thanks for taking the time to share with us – we can always learn from each other…
Natalie K says
I love this !! I would need to add a shoulder-bag snd a evening bag!! Plus, necklaces, a short, a long and a WOW!! evening necklace!! Plus, as always, several gold necklaces!! Plus bracelets!!
Jackie Katz says
I definitely have more accessories than clothing. Accessories, with the exception of shoes, do not wear out and I tend to keep them for ages. I have scarves that are at least 30 years old and jewelry pieces that are even older. In the past year, I have started sorting through my accessories and selling and donating the items I do not wear.
That William Morris scarf! Also, you’re going to get me into pink, yet!
Accessories are brilliant workhorses whether you’re home or traveling. They hardly take up space and yet can change the mood of a single outfit in a flash. Three scarves tucked into a small backpack converted my hiking apparel into casual dinner attire on a two week trip hiking the Swiss Alps with only the backpack. Lots of basin laundry was involved!
If only we could find more footwear in grey. Grey looks amazing with navy AND black, but it’s really hard to find in every shoe style. In summer, what works is ivory so dark it’s almost beige or beige so light it’s almost ivory.?
My favorite way to travel! Agree about dark gray shoes. Bought a pair of ivory/beige sneakers this summer (color called “moonbeam”) and found them very useful.
Perfectly explained!!! And it solves my dilemma… I crave cozy simple clothing, but need to look “put together.” Accessories it is. Thank you, Janice!
Oh, yes, I love accessories and am warming up to pink, but I might be on a slightly different wavelength:
For everyday life in fall, which includes using my bike for transportation, various kinds of fieldwork in the forest preserves, and tons of walking, I adore seriously functional accessories: trail runners, crossbody field bag (sort of a cross between a backpack and small messenger bag), and, for the woods, hiking boots and tall wellingtons. But I *always* wear earrings and a colorful scarf.
When I go places outside my casual neighborhood, I often wear jewelry and scarves inherited from my mother and grandmother (who was the most stylish person I’ve encountered). Black short boots and small black leather cross-body bag are mainstays, even–as shown on this post–with navy.
Speaking of nature: if you ever wondered about a bird you can’t see that is singing so loudly, download the free Merlin app to your phone. It is amazing and wonderful in its ability to id birds by sound.
Natalie K says
Janice, What a great wardrobe!! I’m not a soft pink person but i could see myself doing this wardrobe with peach, coral or even poppy red!! I always change the pants to skirts because I only wear skirts!! Then this would be the perfect wardrobe for me!!
I purchased the soft tea rose roll neck and was pleased at how well it fitted – I hate them too tight around the neck, but this one is just right for me. The pink has a very grey undertone, which is what I was looking for as I have a silk scarf with the exact same shade and I’m trying to build a small capsule with ‘old rose, mink, pearl grey and charcoal. The greys and mink are quite easy to find, but the old rose or vintage rose is much harder and when I do find a nice jumper or t-shirt they sell out really quickly. My search continues….
Beth T says
Sounds lovely, Sharon.