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A Navy Common Wardrobe for Fall: 4 More Project 333 Variations

In my previous post, I showed four ways to expand a fall navy-based The Common Wardrobe (TCW) to 33 items, consistent with a Project 333 capsule, staying with the same color palette. Today, I will present four additional approaches that broaden the color palette.

As a reminder, this is what the 27-item wardrobe looks like so far:

Here's the entire capsule by the numbers so far:

-4 bottoms (2 pants, 1 jeans, 1 skirt)

-5 tops [T or blouse]

-3 collared shirts

-3 pullover sweaters

-3 toppers (2 cardigans, 1 vest)

-1 shoes

-1 scarf

-2 necklaces

-3 earrings

-2 bracelets

Option 5: Add More Prints

The capsule is very heavy on solid items, which makes sense when you want to create a mix-and-match wardrobe from a relatively small wardrobe. But for the print lovers among us, wearing solid outfits day after day can somewhat blah. I picked out five print items in a variety of colors and designs that all share at least one color with the 27-item wardrobe above: navy, white, beige, olive, and aqua. This is similar to the bridge piece approach in the last post, but instead of choosing prints with two or more of the palette's main colors to tie solid items together, you are selecting statement prints that you like; of course they should coordinate with at least some of the solid items, but they only need to match one of the main colors in the palette and they may have additional colors in the print. And actually, match may be a strong term: for example, the floral cardigan here coordinates with both navy and olive, but the colors in the print are more like a dark peacock blue and a soft aloe/moss.

Option 5: Add More Prints

While this approach results in a not-entirely mix-and-match capsule, it livens up the wardrobe with print garments that bring a lot of energy and interest to the outfits, as seen in these sample outfits. It's also a way to sneak in small doses of many other accent colors. The 5 pieces I selected introduce rust, orange, purple, green, blue, and blush. One thing to consider, however, is that dressing from a capsule means wearing the same items fairly often, so you need to be comfortable with repeat-wearing these distinctive print items. Once again I added the tall cognac boots as the second shoe choice because they will work very well with the two skirts and taupe-beige knit pants in the wardrobe.

Option 5: Add More Prints

Option 6: Add a New Neutral

For those of us who prefer to wear a lot of neutrals, but find the range of neutrals in the 27-piece wardrobe too narrow, adding six pieces in a new neutral (ideally that works with the existing color palette) might be a good approach. Here I picked a set of medium to dark grey items that will coordinate easily with the existing color palette but that also can be used to create various columns and twin sets in grey.

Option 6: Add a New Neutral

This emphasis on a variety of neutrals allows the creation of subtle but quite lovely outfits like these. For my style personality, the emphasis on solid neutral pieces is TOO subtle, but for some people, these outfits would be quite right. I think a key to keeping outfits in a wardrobe like this from looking too flat is to make sure that the items cover a range of fabrics and textures so there is a textural complexity when the outfits are formed. For the second pair of shoes, I'm following my norm of adding tall boots with the selection of a second skirt, this time choosing grey to coordinate with the new neutral items.

Option 6: Add a New Neutral

Option 7: Add a New Accent Color

If the idea of a full set of items in a single hue is appealing, but adding another neutral to the mix feels wrong for you, certainly a French 5 in a new accent color might give your capsule a wonderful injection of color without sacrificing wardrobe cohesion. Here I have a French 5 in sandstone coral (actually a subset of the fairly robust collection of sandstone coral items I own), which I think is a lovely accent color with the 27-piece wardrobe's color palette of navy, white, beige, olive, and aqua.

Option 7: Add a New Accent Color

As with the grey set above, these pieces can be worn together for a column of color / twin set / monochromatic outfit, but they also integrate well with the existing wardrobe, as seen in these sample outfit ideas. Again, selecting items of varying textures seems important here, which I found easy to do with my items. For the shoes, I once again added the brown flats that look great with all the colors in the wardrobe. I rely quite a bit on cognac and brown leather shoes/boots in the fall, even though I don't have brown hair to bookend them, and I am quite happy to have the brown shoes be the only brown item in the outfit.

Option 7: Add a New Accent Color

Option 8: Add Multiple Accent Colors

For the true color lovers among us, any of the forgoing options might still result in a color palette that is too narrow. In this case, might adding 5 items in all different colors do the trick? With the strong neutral base in place, are there any accent colors that would be out of bounds? I think not.

This first set of colorful additions includes five tops in a range of fall-like colors that will look great with the neutrals in the existing wardrobe. I think that diverse colored tops is probably the easiest way to inject new colors into your outfits. I know some people can wear a top more than once before washing, but I prefer to have a fresh clean skin-layer top every day, so I go through tops more quickly than bottoms and topper layers, which makes concentrating the wardrobe additions there sensible. Tops are worn near the face, so they get more attention than items on the lower half of the body, so a new color here can have more impact than elsewhere. I think the outfit formula of neutral bottoms + accent color top + neutral topper [optional] is probably the most commonly worn one, so it's easy to put together and appropriate to a wide range of situations.

Option 8a: Add Multiple Accent Tops

Especially for those who enjoy colorblock styling (expanses of color that are not blended or "bridged" but stand alone) this could be a great option. And since these variously colored tops will never be worn with each other, there's no limitations on which ones you choose. In these sample outfits, the bright red T and soft dark green blouse easily pair with the denim and navy items, but I think any accent color you like to wear would work. I used lightweight tops here, but if you like to wear pullover sweaters, you could mix some of them in also, whether worn as stand-alone garments, bottom layers (under the vest, in my case), or top layers (over another top, like a button up shirt).

Option 8a: Add Multiple Accent Tops

Of course, I have to mention accent colored scarves as an alternative to the tops. Not everyone wants to expand their wardrobe with garments that may go out of style, cease to fit well, etc. Some people put a lot of thought, effort, time, and money in finding just the right garments for their capsule and have built a collection of nice, perhaps pricey tops in their core colors (especially their neutrals) that they intend to wear again and again. Others may have difficulty with fit or other issues that limit their ability to find garments that meet their needs. There are a hundred reasons that adding accessories instead of more clothing can boost your style and your sense of variety and fun in a more sustainable way. Scarves have at least as much visual impact as tops do and are a great way to give the appearance that you're wearing different interesting outfits all the time when perhaps you're really cycling through the same set of neutral tops and sweaters over and over again.

Option 8b: Add Multiple Accent Scarves

It's easy to imagine how these scarves would add vibrancy and color to the navy/white/olive outfits we can build from this capsule, but they can also be worn with prints and accent color pieces like the fall foliage print blouse and dark aqua sweater shown in these sample outfits. In both "add multiple accent" options, I have again added the brown flats as a useful second pair of shoes.

Option 8b: Add Multiple Accent Scarves

Of course these 8 options for expanding your capsule into a 33-piece Project 333 wardrobe are not mutually exclusive! I could readily imagine that you might use a few of these strategies in choosing your last 6 items. For me, it helps to think of what different approaches one could take, the advantages and disadvantages of each, and how they impact the ability to make outfits from the wardrobe. It's about choosing with intention and awareness.

There's also no reason that these approaches wouldn't be applicable to a wardrobe that isn't a "capsule wardrobe" per se. I think that a great many people who find the idea of a small capsule wardrobe limiting still want to be able to easily create cohesive outfits from the wardrobe they have...and that means having pieces that are selected for their ability to work together.

In my final post about this capsule, I will show the 6 additional pieces I selected and my reasons for doing so. (I used more than one of these 8 approaches in making my selections!)

Are there any pieces of this capsule so far that you would change out? If you were expanding the capsule, what pieces would you add? Is there an approach that have I neglected to discuss?

I link up with:

Nike at Life as a LEO Wife (Sundays)

Shelbee at Shelbee on the Edge (Mondays; 3rd Thursday)

Michelle at My Bijou Life (Mondays, Fridays)

Mica at Away from the Blue (Mondays)

Debbie at My Random Musings (Mondays)

Roxanne at Glass of Glam (Mondays)

Claire at Claire Justine (Mon, Wed, Fri)

Laura at I Do deClaire (Tuesdays)

Emma at Style Splash (Tuesdays)

Jess at Elegantly Dressed & Stylish (Tuesdays)

Gail at Is This Mutton? (Wednesdays)

Shelly at The Queen in Between (Wednesdays)

Jodie at Jodie's Touch of Style (3rd Thursday)

Carrie at Curly Crafty Mom (Thursdays)

Ada at Elegance and Mommyhood (Thursdays)

Jacqui at Mummabstylish (Thursdays)

Nicole at High Latitude Style (Thursdays)

Suzy at The Grey Brunette (Fridays)

Nancy at Nancy's Fashion Style (Fridays)

Erika at A Little Bit of Everything (Fridays)

Lucy at Lucy Bertoldi (Fridays)

Kimberly at Being a Wordsmith (Fridays)

Rena at Fine Whatever (Saturdays)

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