As mentioned, here, I don’t have a structured capsule wardrobe based around a specific number of pieces. Instead, I like to use capsule wardrobe principles (for example, investing in high quality basics, and re-styling the same pieces in different ways etc.) to create a small, cohesive and versatile wardrobe. While this has been an organically evolving process, and one which I’ve slowly refined over time, learning how and when to effectively add colour to my capsule wardrobe has been a game changer in making it more cohesive, versatile and easier to style. Below I share my favourite some of my favourite tips for incorporating colour a capsule wardrobe with colour.
The 80/20 principle
I think it’s helpful to think of adding colour to your wardrobe like painting both in terms of the overall landscape of your wardrobe and when creating outfits themselves. If you start with a blank canvas (ie. those foundational wardrobe basics in a mostly neutral colour scheme) you can then layer texture (ie. prints and textural fabrics) and colours over the top to add interest and to make a statement. I find my wardrobe is most cohesive and versatile if the majority of it (say, for example, approximately 80 per cent) is in a neutral colour scheme (think black, white, navy, and brown/beige shades). The remaining 20 percent can be statement pieces (colourful pieces and prints) which elevate those neutral wardrobe basics and add interest while still being cohesive and easy to style. Similarly, when it comes to outfits by choosing a neutral piece first, it’s easier to layer a statement top or statement accessories over the top while keeping the overall look cohesive. It’s kind of like having your cake and eating it too.
Identify the colours that you love to wear
There is a distinction between the colours you like in principle and the colours you like to wear. For example, I find that I naturally gravitate toward earthy muted colours (for example, navy, olive or dusky greens, mustard, burnt red and a dusky apricot pink). These colours tend to suit my complexion whereas as much as I love a pale pink, some shades of it can wash me out. You probably already have some idea of the colours that suit you. However, if you don’t a good way is to start with the items you already own or items you’ve loved in the past. Try and identify a pattern – ie those shades and colours you tend to buy or reach for over again and try on your existing clothes with colour and consider whether they suit your complexion.
Choose one or two colours to add to an outfit
Growing up, my mother’s rule of thumb was that a patterned item of clothing was always pared with a plain, colour blocked item of clothing. While there are obviously exceptions to this rule, the same can be said of colour. I like just choosing one colour and then keeping the rest of my outfit neutral. For example, if I choose a colourful dress, I usually keep the accessories tonal and simple. This keeps means the eye is drawn to the statement piece but the rest of the outfit still looks cohesive.
Less is more
Just like salt, a dash of colour also goes a long way. When incorporating colour into a capsule wardrobe don’t forget about the humble accessory. They can be such an easy way to elevate an outfit without being overwhelming. In fact, sometimes all you really need is a good red lip.
Consider tonal rather than bright colours
I love incorporating tonal shades or muted colours as I find that they are more forgiving to wear than a bright colour sometimes can be. For example, these ballet flats in the above pictures are a burnt red (I think cinnamon was the exact shade) which means their shade leans more towards the browns in the red colour spectrum. This means their colour is less stark and mixes well with other neutral colours. Other muted colours I love incorporating into my wardrobe are navy, sage, mustard, olive or blush tones.
Monochrome outfits can be an effective way to incorporate colour
One of my favourite ways to use colour is a monochromatic outfit. This wear you wear the same colour head to toe but play with other aspects such as shades, silhouette, texture, fabric and drape to add interest. Monochromatic dressing can be an effective way of creating an interesting but minimalist look.
I’d love to know, what are your favourite ways of creating a capsule wardrobe with colour?
Outfit details: My favourite levis (which I’ve also worn here and here), a black turtleneck which has been on high rotation since I bought in back in England in 2014 (similar, here), Witchery sunglasses (similar, here), Trenery Ballet Flats (similar, here)
Photos: My lovely friend, Lily.