Sunday, 21 February 2016

Accessories for your capsule wardrobe: adding personality

Have you ever worn a necklace or scarf, or tried on a pair of shoes in a shop, and felt that they weren't quite right for you, but you didn't know why? The scarf might be in a colour that flatters you, so why don't you love it? You saw the shoes in a magazine and thought they looked great on the model, so why don't they work for you? The answer in both cases could very well be that they didn't suit your style personality.

Perhaps you have a fairly strict dress code where you work and you feel bored in the clothes that you wear during the week. Maybe you are retired, like me, but want to look a bit more stylish in your jeans and t-shirt "uniform". If you add accessories that reflect your style personality, you will look better and feel happier in your outfits. That is why this topic deserves a post of its own.

Let's assume that you look good in pink. You may decide to buy a pair of shoes to go with your favourite pink necklace, but what style are you going to choose? Here are a few options, some of which may appeal, but I'd be surprised if you love them all, as I've deliberately chosen different styles to suit different style personalities.

My style is colourful casual chic, so I would be drawn to the pair of Vans trainers on the right rather than the high heeled pumps below them. I also like the ballet flats,  as my style recipe includes the words "with a Parisian influence", The boots appeal to the "little bit quirky" part of my style personality, but it would also depend on how comfortable they are to wear! If you are more of a dramatic, you might choose the boots or perhaps the pumps in the centre. Classic personalities would probably lean towards the ballet flats or the loafers at the top.

Pink of course looks better on those of you who have a cool colour palette so it wouldn't be my first choice for accessories, as it wouldn't match my warm neutrals. Orange however would look fine with my brown and camel basics.  The bags below would be better options for anyone with a warm colour palette, though not so good with cooler shades.

I'm sure by now that you've got the hang of this and can see how the bags won't suit everyone's style personality. The two bags on the top row are pretty casual so classic or feminine personalities are more likely to be drawn to one of the bags in the centre. I like the bag in the bottom row on the left, as it is a little bit quirky in my view, however anyone with a strong dramatic personality might find it far too ordinary.  It's all a matter of what appeals to your individual personality.

Have you identified your own style personality? Are you relaxed, feminine or more of a classic? Perhaps you are dramatic, creative, rebellious or even elegant chic. If you're not sure, take a look at my post from last year on Style Personality and in particular the last paragraph.

We've covered colour and personality, but that's not the end of the accessories story. To give you a clue: I'm just over 5 feet tall, so even if I find accessories in a colour that flatters me and a style that suits me, they might not look right on me. Why do you think that is? I'll give you the answer in my next post!

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Accessories for your capsule wardrobe: adding colour

My basic capsule wardrobe is already well under way with fourteen items of clothing, ten of which are in neutral colours. I already have some accessories that will go with my wardrobe, many of which are in neutral colours as shown below. The first pair of shoes and the bag are warm neutrals so will go perfectly with my capsule, however the last two pairs of shoes are black and navy, so they are far from ideal. Although my new neutral colours are brown and camel, I still have a pair of navy jeans, for example, so I'm not quite ready to discard these shoes. It's more important to choose warm colours for tops and scarves, which are worn close to my face, before I think of replacing all my trousers, skirts and shoes. Of course when I do need to replace any bottoms or shoes I now know to look for warm colours.

I would recommend spending more money on accessories in your neutral colours, as they are unlikely to date, so long as you choose classic styles. However once you have your basic neutral accessories covered, the fun can begin! I have to admit that a few years ago I didn't give much consideration to my accessories but nowadays I appreciate how much they can add to an outfit.

I will be writing about choosing accessories to suit both your personality and your lifestyle at a future date, but for the moment I'm going to concentrate on using accents of colour to make your capsule wardrobe even more versatile.

Hopefully you have worked out your best colours, whether through an in-person colour analysis, an on-line consultation, trial and error or using your own judgement. The important thing is to know whether you look better in warm or cool shades. Once you've established your neutral colours, you need accent colours that flatter you and blend well with your neutrals. Consider using accents that bring out the colour of your eyes, contrast with your hair colour or match the colour of your lips.

My signature colours
The picture above shows some of my signature colours, which blend with my hair, eyes, cheeks and lips. As you can see there are blues, greens and reds there, however I have to make sure that I wear warm shades of blue, green and red and not cool versions.

Look through your existing accessories to see if there are any colours that you love, especially if people compliment you when you wear them. If they look good with your neutrals, they can be the start of your accessory beauty bundles as defined by blogger and author Brenda Kinsel.  Beauty bundles are a collection of accessories of similar colours that go well together, which you can use to brighten up your wardrobe. Please note though that it is not advisable to wear every item in your bundle at the same time!

As an example, if your neutrals are warm, you might like to create one of the following beauty bundles in warm accent colours.

If your neutrals are in cool shades, then your accessories should be in cool accent colours that go well with your neutrals. Maybe one of the bundles below would look good on you?

I don't like to dictate what everyone should wear, even though I advise you to discover what colours flatter you the most and base your wardrobe around them. What if you love red but red doesn't really love you? It might not be the best colour to choose for a scarf or top, but you might get away with a red bag or red shoes. Sometimes you have to follow your heart.

Remember what I said about needing to consider your personality and your lifestyle when choosing your accessories? You also need to think about your body shape, face shape, colour and value contrast. Looking at the sets of accessories above, you may have noticed that the shoes are flat and the bags are fairly casual. I chose items that appealed to me, so even though some of the colours wouldn't suit me, the styles certainly would. More of that in my next post!

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Building a capsule wardrobe - MORE neutrals

I'm guessing that many of you may groan at the idea of more neutrals, however others may be thinking "great"! Remember that one of the benefits of a capsule wardrobe is flexibility and that some of you may have wardrobes like mine used to be: crammed full of clothes in a variety of colours that don't go together. Hopefully you will see the advantages of adding more neutrals and will bear with me. If you have warm colouring and chose brown, for example, as your dark neutral, then choose a warm but light neutral such as camel, stone or cream as your second neutral. Below are pictures of my light neutrals plus the dark ones from my previous post, which can mix and match with each other.

My light neutrals
My dark neutrals
For those of you who look better in cool colours, stick to a cool neutral like a light grey or white, mixed with dark grey or navy for your dark neutrals as shown below.

Light grey neutrals
Dark navy neutrals

If you do have lots of different colours in your existing wardrobe, don't worry as I'm not going to suggest throwing them all out. Look at the examples above, which are either warm or cool neutrals, and imagine them worn with red, orange, yellow, green, blue or whatever colours you love. If you suit cooler shades, you will obviously need to wear a blue-red top rather than an orange-red one and vice versa. Here are some examples from my own wardrobe, which go beautifully with the neutrals shown in the first two pictures.

A touch of colour
For those of you who look better in cool colours, you might like to choose accent colours similar to those in the following picture.

Cool colour accents

I've shown 14 pieces from my warm capsule wardrobe: 7 tops, 4 bottoms and 3 cardigans. As all of the tops can be worn with all of the bottoms this makes 28 different outfits, however don't forget that there are also three cardigans that can be worn with them, giving over 100 possible combinations. You can do the same with the light grey and navy neutrals, combining them with the cool accent colours to create numerous different outfits.

Don't forget that these are only examples of some of the pieces that you might want to include in your own capsule wardrobe. You may prefer skirts or dresses to trousers. Softer, more delicate colours might flatter your colouring more than the shades I have shown. When you add in your personal style, body shape and colouring you will be creating a capsule wardrobe that is unique to you. You don't even have to include accent colours if you're more of a neutral, monochrome sort of person. I have the occasional day when I wear neutral outfits, however these days are rare as colour is part of my style recipe.

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you will know what's coming next. Accessories! Your neutral shoes, bags, necklaces and scarves are an essential part of your capsule, however you can totally change the look of each outfit with not only accessories in accent colours but also in different styles. Classic, feminine, dramatic, sporty. elegant - choose whichever style suits your personality. More on that in my next post!

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Building a capsule wardrobe: using neutrals

You've taken the decision to start building a capsule wardrobe, possibly swayed by all the bloggers (including yours truly!) telling you how much easier life is with a capsule and how you will immediately look super-stylish. You've chosen your neutrals and accent colours, identified your body shape and worked out your personal style, and now you are eager to start shopping. Before you leave your house though, or browse one of the numerous on-line stores, start by looking in your existing wardrobe. Yes I know that it's far from perfect - which is why you want to build a capsule wardrobe - but you may already have some of the basics you need for your capsule. It's also a good time to clear out anything that doesn't fit, doesn't flatter you and that you don't love, leaving more room for any new purchases.

Common sense suggests that the first items in your capsule wardrobe should be neutrals and preferably dark neutrals if only because they won't show the dirt as much. Do you have a pair of black trousers, or maybe a simple navy skirt that you can mix and match with other basics? If your lifestyle is very casual, you could pull out your best pair of indigo jeans as your first piece. What about that dark grey jacket that you bought in the sales and hardly wear - will it go with the black trousers, navy skirt or indigo jeans? Depending on your lifestyle, the first pieces in your capsule should be two tops, two bottoms and one outer layer or a variation on that theme.

Looking through my own wardrobe, I have a pair of dark brown jeggings that will be one of the foundation pieces in my capsule wardrobe. Dark brown is going to be my first neutral, however your choice could be different. You can see my chocolate lace top on the right in the photos below, my long cardigan is on the left and the brown jeggings are on the right, below the top. In the middle of the top row is a second top, which I don't own at the moment, however I plan to purchase something similar to add to the capsule. The other two pieces are alternatives that I'm considering to complete the first step. I suspect that I will buy another pair of trousers, however I'm not ruling out a skirt if I find one that fits well and flatters my body.

What pieces will you start with? You may prefer two skirts instead of trousers or perhaps you look better in dresses than you do in separates. I'm showing you my choices, but unlike many people who write about capsule wardrobes I don't want to be prescriptive. If you really want a classic black jacket, dressy black trousers, pencil skirt, button-down white shirt and cashmere sweater, then go ahead and buy them, but not just because fashion bloggers tell you they are must-haves.

We're now going to start looking at jackets - but please don't stop reading if you don't like jackets. I'm talking about an outer layer here, so cardigans, ponchos, blanket scarves and other alternatives can be included if you're not a jacket person. After all, I'm using a long cardigan instead of a jacket in my own capsule.

Look at the options below, which range from a tailored, double-breasted black jacket to a casual loose cardigan. Forget about the colours for a moment, just ask yourself if any of the styles would suit you. Once you've chosen a style that suits your personality and your body shape, then find an outer layer in your dark neutral colour.

I've lost count of the number of fashion articles or style books I've read that dictate a black jacket as an essential for any chic woman's wardrobe. Why not grey, navy, brown or tan? Maybe a black cardigan like the zipped one on the right in the top row if you look good in black? Perhaps a black and grey poncho would suit your style more than a structured jacket?

Having suggested that you build your capsule around neutral pieces, please don't think that this means it will be dull and monotonous.  Remember that I mentioned accent colours in the previous post? The picture below shows what I might add to my capsule to make it more colourful.
I hope this will inspire you to start building your own capsule wardrobe. When choosing your basic neutral pieces, whether they are some of your existing clothes or new purchases, go for the best quality you can afford so they will last for a long time. On the other hand accent colours can be trendy pieces if you wish, however don't spend as much money on them. The accents don't have to be limited to accessories of course. I already have a soft teal top and a coral one, which will look good with my dark brown neutrals as well as the neutrals that I will show you in my next post.