top of page
  • Writer's picturesallyinstpaul

Adding a 21 Piece Accessory Capsule to a 21 For 21 Wardrobe

After using a grid with color-based rows, like so... build out a 21 piece winter wardrobe capsule based on my WFH outfit formula, like this...

...I took a moment to enjoy my victory, then started thinking about accessories, as ya do. So as you have probably gathered, I like having a lot of different clothes, but I especially like having a lot of different accessories! I've always been into shoes ("shoes" was literally my first word), and since moving to Minnesota about 8 years ago, I have become a total scarf lady. And since I started making DIY jewelry as a pandemic hobby in the summer of 2020, my collections of necklaces, earrings, and bracelets have grown (and continue to grow!). So my immediate answer to the question "how many accessories do I need?" is pretty much "All of them! Except for handbags; we don't need many of those at all. But everything else, yes!!"

And yet, I did wonder whether the 7x4 grid of color-based rows could be modified to create an accompanying 21 piece accessory capsule. Defining the accessory categories for the four columns was a bit more difficult than when I created the garment categories. First I listed out the accessory types I wanted to include on my grid, how often I wear them, and how much variety I want in that category:

  • Shoes (or boots) - I wear them every day (yes, even for WFH) but don't need a lot of variety

  • Earrings - I wear them almost every day and like a good amount of variety

  • Bracelets - I wear them every day but often repeat key pieces

  • Scarves - I wear them most days and like a lot of variety

  • Necklaces - I wear them only occasionally in the winter

From there I developed this 7x4 grid, which just like the grid for garments is designed to have one blank box per row, leading to 21 accessories. Each row on this grid corresponds to a row on the wardrobe grid so that the accessory selections are aligned to the same colors and/or motif as the garments in the capsule.

OK, let's see how this could work!

I started filling in the grid just as I did with the garments, by placing the items from my winter Daily Dozen. The accessories included a pair of taupe-brown ankle boots, a solid bright pink scarf, and a burgundy bird print scarf.

For my first set of additions, I knew I'd need another pair of ankle boots. (I am a firm believer in letting shoes air out at least one day between wears to make them last.) I have maroon, black, and olive ankle boots that could slot into the grid, but because my olive boots are my newest ones and have been getting so much wear this winter, I decided to include those. For earrings, of course I wanted to pick a rabbit-themed pair, so these white faux pearl/silver rabbit studs that were a gift from Robot entered the capsule. (With the colors in the capsule, I decided to prioritize silver as my dominant metal; if I'd chosen gold instead, I have a similar pair with gold rabbit ears!) My metallic bracelet sets from Amazon are worn almost daily, so I picked the silver and rose gold sets for this capsule. And though necklaces aren't an every day thing for me in the winter, I do like to sometimes wear a long pendant necklace to add an extra vertical component to my outfit. I like that this gunmetal one combines edgy and feminine vibes and is very versatile.

Additions 1

As for placement in the grid, this can be a little bit arbitrary really! The olive ankle boots clearly belong in row 3 with the olive garments, but the rest of the additions this round could go in lots of places. I actually reworked the placement of accessories in the grid as I went, to adjust for the choices I made along the way. Here I'm placing things in the spots where they ended up, so as to not cause a ton of confusion, but know that there is a good amount of flexibility here.

With at least one item from each of the five categories in the grid, I turned to the bracelet sets because this winter I created different sets of DIY bracelets to wear with specific tops and sweaters that I wear frequently. This is one of the great advantage of DIY jewelry making: you can customize your jewelry to coordinate with your clothes! In the bracelets sets I've been making this winter, I like to have 3 stretch bracelets in the set: a stone or glass bead bracelet, a bicone paper bead bracelet, and a tube paper bead bracelet [tutorial forthcoming]. Looking at the sweaters in my capsule, it was easy to pick 3 sets of bracelets to add:

  1. A lime/silver set for the beige elephant sweater: dark lime-yellow 6mm jade beads with silver; lime-yellow/white/grey striped 1" bicone paper beads with dark lime glass pearls; beige elephant 0.5" tube paper beads with silver. Yes, the "beige elephant" paper beads are made from a Coldwater Creek catalog page featuring the very same beige elephant sweater that is in the capsule...and that level of matching is just not something you see every day. ;)

  2. A taupe/pink/silver set for the blush pink rabbit sweater: dusky pink 8mm oblong quartz beads with silver; taupe/pink 1" bicone paper beads with light pink glass pearls; blush/pink/green embroidered rose 0.5" tube paper beads with silver.

  3. A teal/peacock set for the peacock blue row: three black glass bead bracelets (plain, with white, and with silver + gold), teal striated coral 1" bicone paper beads with aqua glass pearls; peacock feather 0.5" tube paper beads with white glass pearls.

Additions 2

I slotted the bracelets sets into the corresponding rows and decided that 3 sets of colorful bracelets plus 2 sets of metallic bracelets was enough. Time to move on to other accessory categories...and the column of shoes drew my attention next.

While two pairs of boots allow the day of rest between wears, I like having some other options that aren't boots. Once again I turned to my shoes that have been in heavy rotation this winter to select the next additions to the capsule. Both of these pairs are actually very practical and versatile...I can wear them with any of the pants in the capsule...but are a lot more fun/sassy than the typical plain dark neutrals.

Additions 3

The grid placement here was straightforward: the pewter loafers joined the white row with the silver bracelets and the cheetah Oxfords slotted in with the rose gold bracelets in the black row. Two pairs of boots and two pairs of shoes seemed solid (and note: not a pair of black shoes in the bunch), so I could turn my attention to a challenging category: scarves!

Good grief, how do I go about selecting scarves for the capsule? Scarves are my weakness, and I can (probably) never have too many! Time to take a deep breath or two and think about the grid. I started with some easy choices. A deep aqua/pink floral scarf that I like to wear with the blush rabbit sweater (and the peacock blue items) is another "I wear this one a lot so let's put it in there" option. Print scarves are so pretty that it's easy to go overboard with them, so I slowed my roll and thought about what solid colors I wanted to include. I already had the bright pink scarf from the winter Daily Dozen, so how about neutrals or semi-neutrals? For a neutral choice, a silver pashmina would work with almost every color in the capsule (I'm not sure about with the beige). For a semi-neutral, I like olive a lot because it's so versatile and has enough color to look good near my face. Thinking about olive reminded me that I wanted a pair of earrings in that color too...but I changed my mind slightly and picked a pair of aloe vera green and silver drops that would work for the beige elephant sweater row (that already has the lime green bracelet set) because I knew I wouldn't be adding a scarf there. For my third pair of earrings, I wanted something really bright and colorful so I grabbed my DIY bright pink hoop earrings (which yes, have gold hoops instead of silver; I'll live).

Additions 4

Slotting these additions into the grid, we are up to 18 of our 21 pieces! All categories are well-represented, so we have three slots to fill with fun options. As you might expect, for me that means print scarves! So I looked for print scarves to fill in the olive, peacock blue, and black rows with a third item.

Selecting just three print scarves from the dozens of available options wasn't easy, but at least I had a basic color scheme well-established by this point. You may recall that I didn't set up a color palette before creating my 21 piece capsule of garments; I just added in the 7 rows and let the color scheme emerge from that. Having targeted the olive, peacock blue, and black rows also helped guide my selection. I actually started with olive because that one was the easiest. I really like the floral print scarf with various shades of green on a pink background, especially for combining pink and olive, of course...but with so many colors in the print, I thought it could be a versatile piece in the capsule. Next I looked at peacock blue, and though I don't have much in that specific color, I expanded to look at prints with a lot of aqua or teal in them to see what might coordinate. I was delighted to discover that the version of aqua in the aqua/orchid leopard/floral print scarf looks quite nice with peacock blue. Finally, for the black row, I had so many choices...but ultimately thought the scarf with the rich red, pink/magenta, purple, olive, yellow, and black print would be a great combination with the cheetah Oxfords and would bring in some additional colors that would like good with the black, beige, olive, and white garments in the wardrobe.

Additions 5

Whew, OK, the 21 piece accessory capsule is complete!

Here's the breakdown:

  • 8 scarves

  • 1 necklace

  • 3 earrings

  • 5 bracelet sets

  • 4 shoes

In my next 21 For 21 post, we will look at the garments and accessories together and put the capsule through its paces with some outfit creation.

If you were selecting 21 accessories, which accessory category would have the most items? Which would have the least? Are there categories I didn't include that you would?

Blogs I link up with are listed here.

bottom of page