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A Navy Common Wardrobe for Fall: 4 Project 333 Variations

In my two previous posts, I developed a navy-based The Common Wardrobe (TCW) for fall from items in my closet and added both a set of core accessories as well as several olive and dark aqua accent pieces.

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

As I was counting up the items, I realized that 27 is very close to the 33 items in the Project 333 fashion challenge. The idea of the Project 333 is to wear 33 (or fewer) total items (clothing and accessories) for 3 months as an exercise in minimalism and simplicity. While I am basically never minimal or simple with my style, I am systematic, and I couldn't resist the opportunity to think about different approaches one could take to add 6 items to a capsule like the one above.

Reviewing the capsule, there is only one stand-out absolutely needed item as I see it: another pair of shoes. If a person wears shoes daily, they need at least two pairs so that the shoes have a day to rest between wearings. Arguably outerwear and some kind of purse/bag are necessities, but I'm not including those kind of items in this capsule. (If this upsets your sensibilities, feel free to include them in your own Project 333.) So if we agree to add a pair of shoes, that leaves 5 empty slots for clothing and/or accessories that will bolster the capsule in some way.

I brain-stormed a (almost assuredly not exhaustive) list of 8 different approaches a person could take in rounding out their capsule. I'll review four of them today and the other four in my next post. Let's see how the first four work in action with my TCW.

Option 1: Bolster the Core Sets

When I built the capsule, not all types of items were represented in the core colors of navy, white, and olive. So one approach is to finish building some of these core sets in the major colors in the capsule's palette. In my capsule, I have an olive/aloe twin set, which could be rounded out with a pair of pants, an accessory, and shoes. The white tops could be supplemented with a topper layer and an accessory. Navy is very well represented in the capsule already, but for fall, I consider a scarf a basic piece that will be worn again and again, so a navy scarf joins the capsule.

Option 1: Bolster the Core Sets

These items don't introduce a lot of novelty or variety to the capsule, but do provide a sturdy foundation in the wardrobe's core colors. These items will make it easier for one to dress in columns, "suits," and twin sets, and might appeal to those who like the simplicity of a tight color palette or who prefer to wear mostly neutral solid pieces. I think this approach will make it very easy to get dressed, and I suspect that there are a lot of lovely subtle combinations possible in this wardrobe. Here are a couple outfit ideas incorporating these new items:

Option 1: Bolster the Core Sets

Option 2: Add More Tops

Similar to Option 1, this approach works within the existing color palette, but rather than providing ease of head-to-toe mix-and-matching across the core neutrals, it bolsters the element of the wardrobe that will most likely be the laundry bottleneck. These additional tops could be different from what's already in the capsule (such as the teal/white striped T) or more similar to some existing pieces (such as the navy/white striped top). If a person really wanted to, she could duplicate any beloved tops from the existing capsule! I could see this approach appealing to someone who is basically satisfied with what they have in the 27-piece capsule but want to make a small wardrobe easier from a laundry perspective...particularly if they like to repeat specific outfits or outfit formulas. If a person had requirements about shirt lengths with skirts vs. pants, having two slightly different versions of the same basic item might also be handy. I tend to have a "but are there enough tops???" reaction to capsules, and this approach speaks to that question/anxiety in me.

Option 2: Add More Tops

These tops will fit seamlessly into the existing capsule, as shown in these sample outfit ideas. Because we need a second pair of shoes, I selected this brown pair that look great with navy and are of a style that can be worn equally well with pants and skirts. They are a particularly nice option with the taupe-beige knit pants, I think.

Option 2: Add More Tops

Option 3: Add Bridge Pieces

One thing I think a lot about is how to make outfits look intentional and cohesive. I sometimes wonder if that is the core criterion for a good outfit: that it consists of items that relate to each other that look like you meant to wear together. No doubt that's a vast oversimplification, but surely this sense of intentionality and cohesion are necessary, if not sufficient, aspects of a successful outfit.

One of the easiest ways to add cohesion from a color perspective is by wearing bridge pieces that contain two or more of the colors in your outfit. We often hear the advice to pick the colors of your outfit from a print piece (the entire 6 Scarves project is an extensive exploration of that idea at the wardrobe level), but picking a print piece to go with your colored items and tie them together also works. Here I selected items that contain two or more colors from the navy, white, beige, olive, and aqua in our capsule.

Option 3: Add More Bridge Pieces

As these items were chosen for their ability to bridge our existing pieces, they make it delightfully simple to generate a lot of outfits, of which these are only a sample. Having an affinity for print mixing isn't a requirement with this approach, but print mix aficionados may be happy with the possibilities these bridge pieces offer. Because I added a second skirt here, the shoes are a pair of tall cognac boots that can be worn with skirts or the knit pants (and if one wanted to, they could switch out skinny jeans for the straight legs and wear them with the boots also).

Option 3: Add More Bridge Pieces

Option 4: Build Up an Existing Accent Color

When I created the 27-piece wardrobe, the aqua accent color was a bit of an accident due to the particular navy/olive/aqua plaid scarf that I added. Nonetheless, I think the aqua looks terrific in the capsule and could definitely be bolstered with new additions like a skirt, cardigan, scarf, earrings, and shoes. (I personally find that adding a colorful skirt or pants has a huge impact on the outfit possibilities in a neutral-heavy capsule and gives a bit of a less expected/conventional vibe to outfits, though I know many people shy away from color on the bottom half.) While the three earlier approaches likely increased the neutrals in the wardrobe, building up an existing accent is a great way to infuse the capsule and resulting outfits with color while keeping the wardrobe's color palette tight. Lovers of color with a bit of a matchy orientation might find this approach very satisfactory.

Option 4: Build Up Existing Accent Color

I really enjoy how the aqua adds punch to these otherwise neutral outfits! The cognac boots make another appearance here with the addition of a second skirt to the wardrobe.

Option 4: Build Up Existing Accent Color

Up to this point, the approaches are of a general "more of the same" type that keep the capsule's color palette very focused. The next four approaches are of the "and now something different" type that expand the color palette.

Do any of these approaches resonate with you?

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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