The Wardrobe Architect is a popular series that ran in early 2014. It’s currently being expanded (with help and feedback from you) into a comprehensive toolkit. You can read all the posts here. If you want to give feedback and get first access when the toolkit is finished, enter your email:
I’m a big believer in accessories.
This wasn’t always the case. When I was young, I’d wear a single pair of sneakers with every outfit I owned. I had one bag. I rarely changed jewelry.
But since my own style has become more simple and streamlined, I’ve found that accessories really bring an otherwise plain outfit to life.
And it doesn’t take a great quantity, either. I find that a few things that are really beautiful, personal, or attention getting can do the trick just fine.
I’ve also found that there seem to be two types of accessories I have to address. The first is functional accessories, things that really need to work with my life and circumstances in order to be well-loved. The second category is purely decorative accessories. This may include jewelry, decorative scarves, or anything else I wear purely to adorn myself.
Functional accessories can be decorative too of course, but there is some element of usefulness to them. They might include shoes, bags, hats, belts, warm scarves, gloves, sunglasses, and legwear. These are all things you need to work for you in one way or another. You might not need all of these things, depending on your climate, and some might become purely decorative for you.
Start by making your own list of these accessories, and write down what your requirements are for each. Here’s mine:
- Shoes: Comfortable, able to withstand some mud and dampness. Includes both comfortable heels and flats.
- Bags: One purse with long shoulder strap and plenty of pockets, and one larger tote type bag for work, to carry my laptop, lunch, etc.
- Hats: Warm wool hats (both felt and knit) in Winter, big hats with brims to keep the sun off in Summer
- Belts: Very simple, thin, leather. Some for wearing with pants, some for wearing at the natural waist with dresses.
- Scarves (for warmth): Very big, very warm
- Gloves: For Winter, they should preferably be knit (merino or cashmere) and be long enough to cover my wrists.
- Sunglasses: Dark and classic, black or tortoise frames.
- Legwear: Warm fleece-lined tights in Fall/Winter.
Decorative accessories, like jewelry or pretty scarves, don’t really need to have all of these functional requirements. You can also include some things from the functional list that you wear purely for the sake of style. For example, if you don’t really need to wear a hat in the summer but like the way hats look on you, you can add them to this list.
Here’s my short list.
- Jewelry: Simple, warm tones. Whether vintage or modern, I like jewelry with an heirloom quality. Nothing too cheap-looking (most of the time)
- Scarves: Silk scarves in pretty colors for tying up my hair in the summer or wearing around my neck in the Fall/Winter.
With these lists in mind, let’s turn back to our Spring wardrobes.
The first question to ask yourself is how many of each item to include. This really depends on your own preferences, lifestyle, and also on how much you already own or want to buy/make.
I’d already added a few pairs of shoes to my wardrobe for Spring. Now I’ve also added three bags (purse, work tote, plus a canvas tote for the market), hats, belts, spring scarves, and jewelry. Most of this I already own, so it’s easy.
[images shown: see my polyvore set for details]
I now have pretty much everything I need to create a huge variety of outfits. All that’s left is the sewing!
- Make a list of requirements for your accessories. List what you consider to be functional accessories and decorative accessories, and what your requirements are for each.
- Decide how many of each to include for the coming season. How many of each do you need for your current capsule wardrobe?
- Add accessories to your capsule wardrobe. Be sure to look towards what you already own before window shopping!
Are you an accessories lover like me? And what kinds of accessories are you most drawn to? For me, shoes are my biggest weakness.