Make Your Life Easier with Capsule Wardrobes

Life is stressful enough without worrying about what to wear.  When you put an outfit on, you deserve to feel comfortable, confident and joyful.  There was a time when I really struggled with putting together relaxed professional outfits and a "fun" wardrobe for weekends.  In to the rescue came an image consultant who taught me how to put together sharp outfits out of my closet. 

She taught me this "no-fail" method of creating looks that I have used ever since:  Create capsule wardrobes centered around basic neutrals.  Expand the versatility of those basic neutrals with interesting prints and accessories.

The beauty of capsule wardrobes is that they give you so many options on what to wear because everything works together.  A capsule wardrobe makes packing for any type of trip a cinch.  Since pieces work together, you can quickly pull together an amazing outfit.

The foundation of a capsule wardrobe are the "core neutrals".  Choose your favorite neutral shades - those that look best against your skin tone and hair color.  Black, navy, chocolate, white, teal, cream, camel, burgundy - these are all excellent choices for your core neutrals. 

Work with one core neutral at a time and make sure you have a top and bottom that look good together.  Adding a third piece such as a jacket or vest will give you the most versatility in putting together looks.

Let me show you what I mean.  Here are the pieces in my chocolate brown capsule wardrobe:

My core neutral bottom is a cbrown top and brown pantsomfortable pair of pants that fit well and dress up or down.

My core neutral top is a matching brown long sleeve t (I also have a short sleeve for summer).  I chose a round neck because I like the way it looks with jackets and accessories.
I also chose a third piece - a silk vest in the same chocolate (a jacket would be a great third piece too).

Those 3 are the "core" of my capsule wardrobe in chocolate brown.  You could also add to or replace the pants with a skirt.  The next step is to add prints to create a multitude of interesting looks. 


3 print tops in a row oblong image
I started with 3 silk tops that will transition from casual to dressy.  I wanted one of these tops to be a style that can stand on its own - a tunic or button down that has presence when worn by itself over the pants - a piece that I can add nice jewelry and go anywhere.  The next addition will be some print jackets.

marbled turquoise jacket over brown pants
Adding a structured print jacket gives your look a lot of presence.  The addition of a jacket with collar or buttons elevates the entire look.  While this jacket definitely can be casual, it has a professional, tailored look as well. 
The color of the jacket is a high contrast to the chocolate brown core neutral, giving the overall look more energy and vibrance.

kimono jacket over brown pants 
I chose to add a relaxed, flowing kimono style jacket.  This gives a completely different look than the structured jacket shown above.  Also, a looser, flowing jacket goes from daytime to evening and is also a wonderful option for special occasion wear.

marbled silk vest over brown top and pants
Now, I want to add a vest to my capsule.
Vests are a great way to add visual interest to a core neutral top and bottom.  This patterned vest is perfect.  A more structured style of vest would be equally flattering.
Vests in solid colors that contrast with your core neutral color are great additions to your wardrobe.  Look for scarves that feature both colors to pull the look together.



green scarf over brown top and pants
I added multiple scarves that I can use to make different looks.  Scarves are wonderful tools to accent your core neutral.  They reflect your personality and make any outfit look more finished.
You do not have to use complicated methods of wearing scarves - simply wearing a longer scarf draped around your neck can be beautiful.  For easy ways to wear scarves, check out my You tube video.



 How to choose prints to go with your "core neutrals"?

*  Choose prints that reflect your personality.  There are so many prints to choose from:  geometrics, stripes, abstract, floral, artisan.  Choose those that speak to you and always choose colors that look good against your skin and with your hair.

*  Select prints with multiple "core neutrals" in them.  If you are building 3 capsule wardrobes around black, teal and navy, choose prints that have at least two of those core neutrals.  I always mentally imagine the pieces that a new item will work with in my closet - if I own 3 items this new piece will look great with, it is a good purchase.

*  Use contrast to convey an emotion in your look.  Select prints that have at least two of your core neutrals while at the same time paying attention to contrast.  A high contrast print will give your look energy while a low contrast will give you a more subdued look.

How do you get started?

Select several core neutral colors.  Find tops and bottoms in those neutrals out of your own closet.  If you need a top of bottom to create a complete core neutral, then put that on your shopping list.

Look through your closet for prints that you can use in more than one of your core neutrals.  Look for both dynamic prints and more subdued prints.  If you are missing pieces that will work with some of your core neutral colors, add them to your shopping list.

If you love dresses and skirts, add them into your capsule wardrobe using the same concepts. 

Check out my Youtube slideshow here that summarizes building a Capsule Wardrobe.  Questions?  E-mail or call - I love talking about putting together winning looks!




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