Capsule Wardrobing

Colorful Capsules

A Capsule Doesn’t Need to Be Bland!

Happy day, dear reader!

Capsule chatting again today! If you Google “capsule wardrobe images” you be deluged with a sea of black, white, denim, grey, and tan… Maybe a little olive for “interest.” Pinterest gives you a similar result. Most of the capsules you find pre-made are neutral heavy, with maybe a touch of color. A top or two, maybe a scarf, but that’s about the extent of it. It doesn’t have to be that way! So what’s a color lover to do?

Let’s start with the basics. Imagine I’m starting from scratch. I’ll choose one or two neutrals to be the base, and two accent colors. (If I’m starting in an established wardrobe, I’ll look for the neutrals that are most flattering to my client!) You’ll get the best results if your neutrals and accents share the same undertone… All warm, or all cool. If I want to expand the capsule, I can build little extensions with more colors and neutrals that can be added in as desired!

Think of the following capsule wardrobes as starters, meant to be expanded upon, or seeds that will grow. Or think of them as packing inspiration! If any one of these suited your coloring and style, you could throw it in a suitcase and travel for a month or more without ever repeating an outfit. You’d likely be quite sick of everything by the time you got home, but you would look coordinated and stylish the whole trip long!

Let’s start with some common colors. For this first capsule, I chose neutrals of navy and brown. This young lady is a relaxed beauty, who loves red. Lots of denim and chambray for her relaxed side, with some touches of bandanna and plaid. Down to earth natural colors, textures, and fabrics. Comfortable, low shoes for the same reason. A dress and softness for those days she feels girly. She doesn’t wear necklaces, but looks lovely with a little sparkle peeping out of her long dark hair. If she wears a heel, it’s going to be red, so those red pumps are a must! And yes, with this capsule I’ve already broken the match your undertones rule…

Here’s another capsule based on a lighter cool palette. Denim and grey are our neutrals, mint and blush, the accents. I wasn’t too keen on this one when I first made it, but after ignoring it for a while, I fell in love and built my Summer 2018 Capsule Wardrobe on it! (In lighter weight pieces, of course!)

This third capsule uses only one neutral, grey, but instead of all solids, I mixed in grey patterns; there’s a plaid and tweed, and lots of unusual pieces. The two accents are atypical choices, but because they are both vibrant and cool, they play together with an interesting harmony. I can imagine that purple dress with the green beads and MaryJanes! And for a party, those fabulous ruffle draped trousers with the green peplum camisole and purple pumps. Cool, structured, and a little dramatic; bold and creative can play out that way…

The fourth capsule is curated for a woman who is relaxed and warm complexioned. Olive and toffee keep it grounded and feeling nature based, leopard adds some sass. Yes, leopard can be a neutral! The neutrals play well with teal and russet accents. We may think of red and green as Christmas colors, but you’d never mistake this woman for Mrs. Claus!

Next comes a similar palette, but created for a business look. You can still find drapey feminine gathering and ruffles, but the structured jackets, bags, and shoes give the whole a far more authoritative feel. You can do business without resorting to black, grey, and navy!

This next capsule is yet another that violates the warm/cool rule. But if that’s what rocks your world, you can make it work! It’s also a fabulous way to transition from the “wrong” undertone to the right one for you without replacing all your clothing. To make the mix work, try to include a column of each neutral. Here you can see an inner and/or outer column of grey, and and two inner columns of olive with the trousers and tops, and the dress.

As you can see, you don’t have to resort to all neutrals to build a wardrobe capsule. Neutrals are easy, and create lots of versatility for mixing and matching (But aren’t necessarily good for your personal coloring or Value Contrast!). Start with one or two, and then get brave. If you choose choose colors that share the same undertone, value, and intensity as your neutrals, you can create a harmonious capsule full of color! And versatility!

How about you? Are you a color lover? Or avoider? Does the idea of a capsule wardrobe interest you, or leave you feeling panicked? Let me know in the comments below! I love to hear from you…

Stylishly yours,


  • Angie

    Hi, Liz
    This was helpful to see. I had already picked out my spring/summer accent colors to combine with my neutrals. But narrowing it down to two neutrals gives me an easier starting point for creating a whole slew of outfits before branching out to other ideas.
    Thanks for the inspiration,

  • Gina

    Great article Luz. I find a lot of capsules around very boring so these are a nice change. That said, I dont think my entire vardrobe has as many traditional neutrals in the same colour as in these capsules,

    • closetplayadmin

      Thank you for visiting, Gina! I can imagine you wouldn’t have that many neutrals as your color contrast is higher than most women! Most of these are geared toward N +1C or +2C ladies. I don’t run across too many 3C’s!

  • Lise

    Oooh, I love the first three capsules! Yes these are way more interesting to my eye then the slew of black/white/gray/tan versions all over the internet. Lise

    • closetplayadmin

      Thank you, Lise, for the compliment, and for visiting again! Glad you found them interesting. Life is full of boring and tedious; our wardrobes don’t need to be!

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