Adding Jewel Tones to My Capsule Wardrobe

When I started a capsule wardrobe 8 years ago I had every color ever in my closet. As I cleaned it out and assessed what I actually liked to wear I discovered the magic of only buying stuff that is versatile and goes together. As a result, I ended up with a closet of highly mixable neutrals. Lately, however, I have really felt the need for a color boost. So here is the one colorful thing I’ve added to my closet lately, a teal silk tank top, and a bunch of ideas for mixing and matching strong colors with a neutral capsule wardrobe.

I have been reflecting a lot recently on how ethical and sustainable fashion get tied to minimalism and neutral colors. I loooove this ~~aesthetic~~ and am always pinning the most neutral street style outfits available. But when I try to actually make those outfits I feel like they fall flat on me. And when they do, my mind turns to “I just need (insert whatever cool item of the month) and then I will look as cool as these people on Pinterest.” But as that cycle repeats itself I am realizing that I actually do like colors and I like minimalist/simple looking outfits. Honestly finding inspiration at that sweet spot has been a challenge so I’ve been trying to follow my own preferences more and remember that Pinterest may be aspirational but that doesn’t mean it works for me.

Anyway, I’m still looking for inspiration and people on Instagram who are wearing colorful, simple outfits (that are not like, Jenna Lyons in 2010–though I did love that phase). If you have any accounts you love to follow please let me know. Until then, I will be trying to slowly add colors back into my closet, with lots of time spent mixing and matching and reflecting on which outfits I like. Here’s my first attempt.

Warm and Toasty

My first thought here was to balance the jewel tones out with even more jewel tones! So I added a crimson purse and some deep brown/caramel colors. I thought this outfit might be too much but it turned out to be my favorite thing I put on.

Tank is thrifted Eileen Fisher (similar)


Flats, Belt, and Clutch (similar)

Similarly, here I chose a darker brown to tone things down. BABY STEPS back to color.

Blazer (thrifted, similar)


Flats, Purse

Street Style

I knew right away that I wanted to try this tank out with a leather jacket for maximum fall vibes. Again, picking another jewel tone (ruby scarf) made me feel more balanced. I also styled this outfit below for a cute travel look.

Jacket (similar)


Shoes, Scarf (similar), Backpack (below)


I did browse Pinterest a bit for outfit ideas, and saw some suggestions to pair olive green with teal. I felt highly skeptical but also willing to try it out. I think the necklace was the key to life here because it contains both colors.


Purse, Flats, Necklace (similar)

Light Neutrals

Another Pinterest win, I basically covered myself in lighter neutral tones and hoped it would all work out. I liked the tan blazer better than the cooler toned jacket here. Truly the point of outfit photos is that I ~~learn things~~ that make it faster to get dressed the next time I want to wear the top.

Wrap coat (thrifted, similar)

Blazer (thrifted, similar)



So there you have it. It was fun to play dress up for a day!

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