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Supplementing a Capsule Wardrobe #1: Add Pieces in Your Palette from Your Existing Wardrobe

We have seen 10 of my OOTD so far based on the 7 color fall/winter capsule wardrobe, and truly, there are so many more outfits I could make using those pieces, I am not even going to try to count them!

Fall/Winter Wardrobe Capsule Color Palette
Fall/Winter Wardrobe Capsule Color Palette

But today I would like to start discussing some options for when we realize something isn't quite right with our capsule for whatever reason. Maybe it's beginning to feel stale/boring, maybe the weather isn't turning out as we'd expected, maybe new events/activities have entered our calendar, maybe individual items aren't coming together into outfits very easily...there are a lot of reasons you might enter your closet and realize that your capsule is feeling problematic to you. And that's perfectly OK! Nobody has required you to commit to your original capsule on "till death do you part" terms. Rather than abandoning your capsule wardrobe, there are many things you can do to tweak it so that it serves you better.

Your first option is very simple: Add more pieces in your color palette from your existing wardrobe.

For those of us drawing from good-sized wardrobes, our capsule probably didn't include every single available garment in the colors we selected for the palette. When I put my capsule together, I certainly had left out a lot of clothes that easily could have slotted into the 7 color palette. I identified some pieces that covered a range of temperatures and levels of refinement, building color-based rows for each of the 7 colors, but I was just making educated guesses about which items to include while keeping the size of the capsule manageable. Sure, I used a system, but there is no scientific formula to tell you "include black shirt A and not black shirt B" with 100% accuracy.

So while minimalist capsules with the smallest number of items possible receive a lot of attention (probably from a blend of curiosity and fantasy aspirational thinking), there is absolutely no reason to artificially limit yourself to a small number of garments when you have perfectly good clothes that can readily slot into your capsule and your outfits right there in your closet already. And you have the choice to swap out an item or to simply add items to what's already there. This isn't basketball where you can only play with a certain number of players on the court at once. Do what makes sense for you!

You've already seen this in action in my capsule a couple times. First I added a long short-sleeved cardigan (cooler than the long-sleeved one in the capsule) to layer over my olive/black floral dress for the end of summer weather.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
Capsule OOTD 8/30/23

Then I added a black polka dot blazer as a structured piece that fit over my denim shirt better, and that looked more interesting with my outfit, than the black tuxedo jacket in the capsule.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
Capsule OOTD 10/9/23

Today's outfit is a third example of this idea in which I added my black open weave cardigan vest as a layering piece. I had included my black velvet vest and black quilted vest for the winter months, but had neglected to include a vest that could be worn in warmer weather. I simply hadn't thought about the differential impact of a sleeveless topper vs. a sleeved topper when putting outfits together, especially when using the outer column of color ("suit") color formula. Black pants + long-sleeved black cardigan/jacket = a lot of visible black in an outfit for me. Sometimes that's fine but often, I am overwhelmed by that much black and would rather let the sleeves of my top show by wearing a vest.

So for capsule OOTD #11, I added my lightweight black vest to two not-yet-worn pieces from the mid temps part of the capsule, circled in dark purple below: black jeans and a red long-sleeved T.

Wardrobe capsule
Capsule OOTD #11 items added in dark purple

I could have worn the red T and black jeans on their own in order to keep the red color more prominent, but I was really in the mood for some fall layering for this outfit. The lightweight vest is a great option for this kind of situation. If I'd worn my black cardigan (which would probably be warmer than ideal anyway) along with this long scarf, the only bits of red would be glimpses seen behind the scarf.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
Capsule OOTD #11: 10/22/23

With the 3-row necklace, the scarf wasn't strictly speaking needed to finish this outfit, but I absolutely wanted to incorporate a print piece in this otherwise solid colored outfit. To make the necklace + scarf combo work better, I twisted the scarf to temper its volume around the neck, then tied it a bit below the bottom of the necklace using the very easy "single overhand knot with other end pulled through" technique (method #1 in this post). I really enjoyed the other colors introduced to the outfit by the scarf (in addition to repeating the black and red): bright blue (in the capsule palette) and light green, pink, yellow, and aqua (not in the palette).

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

Another day, another "matching top + shoes" outfit formula example! I like how this approach repeats the color from the top in the bottom half of the outfit for a bit of TnT (top-n-tail) coordination.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

I'm repeating the striped paper bead bracelet set that I wore (and showed page to bead images with) in capsule OOTD #8. I tweaked the supplemental bracelets in this (all-DIY) daily bracelet stack a bit, swapping the cobalt/gold in for the cerulean/clear and removing the rainbow bead bracelet. I like how the black bead bracelet worn with this set creates an "Alice in Wonderland and her cat Dinah" kind of feeling.

DIY paper bead bracelet stack

I made a pair of bead soup earrings in the "beads on a stick" style to go with the paper bead bracelet set. Because this set was based on a rainbow striped top, I went with a ROY G BV color scheme. (Even leaving the "I" out of the name, we all know who we're talking about, right?). I particularly enjoyed the inclusion of a couple of unusual shapes: the red glass crescent beads (which looked cool placed on the top the orange glass pearls) and the cobalt blue glass bell flowers that I dangled separately underneath to put more "jangle in my dangle" (as Beki Foster calls it). As you can see, I didn't stick to the rainbow color order when stacking my beads; I just chose an order that looked good to me.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
Design bead soup earrings

Here is our accessory capsule after 11 outfits. We are up to 9 bracelet sets, 11 earring pairs, 13 necklaces, 5 scarves, and 7 pairs of shoes. I am actually surprised that there aren't more shoes, haha!

Accessory capsule to date
Accessory capsule to date

Do you tend to have multiple items in a category, like several black shirts, or just one? How do you feel about wearing an outer column of color aka "suit" in a dark color like black? Do you own any vests for non-winter weather?

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