Wardrobe Building: Adding Personality to Your Capsule

Over the past few weeks we’ve covered the benefits of a capsule wardrobe as well as how to create a strong foundation for building a functional spring/summer capsule.  Today we get to the fun stuff – adding some color and personality!

Step 1: Choose the palette for your accent colors.

Two or three accents give you a lot of mileage but you can get by with as few as one.  If you love color and would like more accent options, choosing shades of one of your primary accents is an easy way to extend your palette.

Choose accents that look great with your neutrals.  Blues look great with brown and khaki, berry tones pop against navy, etc.  The author of The Vivienne Files has a great “start with art” series that leads to some fantastic palettes.  If there is a scarf or print fabric that you often get complemented on, using it as a base is another good way to find color inspiration.

Capsule Personality: Color Palette

 

 

Step 2: Start filling in with pieces.

Tops and sweaters will get you a lot of wardrobe mileage as will accessories (scarves, jewelry, handbags, shoes).  For those comfortable with the capsule concept, you may even want to consider adding a pant, skirt or jacket in your accent color.

Step 2 is also the step where you will be adding trend items to your capsule.  If you’ve been wanting to try a lace front top or embroidered item – go for it!  Just keep it in your palette’s color scheme.

Capsule Personality: Color

Capsule Personality: Pattern

Capsule Personality: Color

Capsule Personality: Pattern

Aside from color, another way to add interest to your capsule is to select a few print or patterned pieces in either your neutral or accent palette.

Capsule Personality: Pattern

Capsule Personality: PatternCapsule Personality: Pattern

Have fun this week injecting your capsule with some personality!  Next week, we’ll wrap the series up with a sample capsule including full outfit ideas.

Wardrobe Building: Capsule Foundation Shoes

Today’s post marks the final day of spring/summer capsule foundation pieces in our Building a Capsule Wardrobe series with a focus on shoes. Next up will be the fun stuff – adding color, pattern and accessories!

Spring/Summer Casual Capsule Foundation Shoes

The two shoes that I think will get you through 80% plus of your spring casual wear needs are pictured below: a simple white sneaker and a neutral slide sandal.  Don’t panic yet at the thought of just two shoes – we can add something else in an accent color when we get to the next step!

 

Capsule Foundation Simple Sneakers

Capsule Foundation Neutral Slides

For the Office

For office wear, pumps are the foundation workhorse.  While some work environments allow for open toed shoes and while some women prefer a loafer to a pump when wearing a trouser; a classic, pointed toe, mid-heel will get you through nearly all work situations.

Capsule Foundation Pumps

  • Neutral Pump either close to your own skin color or in a dark neutral (black/navy).  I love the neutral shoe because it goes with everything and makes your legs look longer when in a dress or skirt.

Wardrobe Building: Capsule Foundation Dresses & Outerwear

Welcome to the fourth post in our series on building a capsule wardrobe.  Today’s focus is on dresses and outerwear.  We’ll wrap up the foundation pieces next week with shoes and with a strong foundation in place, we’ll move on to the fun stuff!

Spring/Summer Casual Capsule Foundation Dresses
  • Dark Neutral T-shirt Dress
    • Budget: Old Navy jersey swing or fitted v-neck tee dress
    • Mid-Range: Gap Softspun A-line tank or tee dress
    • High: Eileen Fisher ballet neck dress
Casual Caspsule Foundation Tee Dress
Eileen Fisher Ballet Neck Tee Dress
  • Shirt Dress in a solid, denim or stripe.  NOTE: A style that buttons all the way down (as opposed to a popover) increases versatility by letting you style it as a dress or unbuttoned as a layering piece over trousers.
    • Budget: Lulu’s chambray shirt dress or Target Merona shirt dress
    • Mid-Range: Madewell striped shirt dress, J. Crew shirt dress, Everlane striped shirt dress, Mango cotton shirt dress
    • High: Velvet by Graham & Spencer shirt dress
Casual Capsule Foundation Shirt Dress
Madewell Striped Shirtdress
Spring/Summer Office Capsule Foundation Dresses
  • Neutral Sheath Dress (a fit & flare style works if you find sheaths a difficult silhouette to wear)
    • Budget: Liz Claiborne sheath and NY & Company 7th Avenue sheath, Target Merona sheath and Old Navy sleeveless sheath
    • Mid-Range: J. Crew offers several good options including the cap-sleeve v-neck, the buckle dress, the portfolio dress and the resume dress
    • High: Theory Eano sheath, Theory Betty sheath, Boss Dirusa sheath and Kate Spade Sicily sheath
Office Capsule Foundation Sheath Dress
J. Crew Resume dress
Office Capsule Foundation Sheath Dress
J. Crew Cap Sleeve V-neck
Spring/Summer Capsule Foundation Outerwear
  • A sporty, lightweight jacket.  This could be a denim jacket, lightweight moto or bomber in either a cropped or just-at-the-waist length for layering over tees and dresses.
  • Capsule Foundation Jackets
  • Neutral Trench in black or tan/taupe.  Mid to upper thigh lengths are most versatile.
    • Budget: Old Navy trench
    • Mid-Range: London Fog Heritage trench, Michael Kors hooded trench or Calvin Klein trench
    • High: Burberry Kensington or Sandringham
Capsule Foundation Trench
The Iconic Burberry Trench
Friendly Reminders for Capsule Foundation Pieces
  • You don’t need every recommended piece but should work toward  collecting at least a few of them.
  • For most foundation items, buy the best you can afford.  These will be the workhorse pieces that get a lot of repeat wear.
  • Keep foundation piece silhouettes clean and minimal.  Decorative details are fun but limit versatility.
  • Commit to a primary color palette for the season – a dark base of either black/charcoal, navy or brown with a light base of either light grey, white or ivory for black/charcoal and navy or either tan or ivory for those choosing a brown dark base.