Best Capsule Wardrobe Accessories for Each Season, IMHO
From the polish on your nails to the buckle of your belt, even the smallest additions can alter the look and feel of an outfit. That’s why capsule wardrobe accessories are a vital part of a well-rounded wardrobe.
Below, I’ve rounded up the best accessories for a capsule wardrobe depending on the season. You’ll also find a step-by-step guide to curating a personalized accessory collection that aligns with your personal style.
Read on. Your closet will thank you.
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What is the Point of Accessories?
Accessories are aesthetically pleasing outfit additions that elevate your ensembles. Some serve a functional purpose on top of their style-enhancing benefits (think a scarf or pair of sunglasses). Others are purely there to accentuate your look. In short, accessories can help you look expensive and polished with minimal effort.
In a capsule wardrobe, accessories are even more essential. They provide loads of benefits including:
Increased outfit versatility. A tank top and wide-leg jeans look completely different with sandals and a baseball cap than it does with a silk scarf and heeled mules.
Personal style touch. Your capsule wardrobe contains lots of basics but your accessories offer the perfect way to showcase your flair. Pick pieces that speak to you.
Easy outfit elevation. Adding a statement jewelry piece or a structured bag can take your look from casual to chic at a moment’s notice.
Best Capsule Wardrobe Accessories
So what are the must-have accessories for a well-rounded wardrobe? Scroll on to browse timeless essentials for every season.
Year Round Accessories
Every capsule wardrobe wearer knows that some well-placed pieces of jewelry elevate any outfit.
From delicate pendant necklaces that lend a subtle sparkle to statement rings that command attention, these timeless accessories will be in your year-round rotation.
Necklaces are a must-have all year round. You can layer multiple or wear them solo. I make sure to include a few varieties from pedant necklaces to layering ones in my rotation.
That way, I can change them out depending on the neckline of my shirts and dresses.
From bangles to braided options, slip on a bracelet for a pretty outfit addition. You can stack them on one wrist while going bare on the other or slide a few next to a wristwatch.
Either way, a pretty bracelet is an essential capsule accessory you’ll reach for often.
Think of rings as hand candy. You can have just one piece. But where’s the fun in that? The way you curate and combine your ring collection is up to you.
Cheers to yet another way to infuse your personal style into your capsule wardrobe outfits.
As discussed in our French capsule wardrobe guide, accessories are a must. And earrings might just be my favorite capsule accessory. They frame the face beautifully and can add such a refined touch.
Because this accessory sits so close to the face, it’s important to choose a flattering metal that suits your skin tone.
A trusted belt (or two) has earned its rightful place among your essential accessories. After all, this functional tool defines your waistline to create a flattering silhouette.
With their ability to accentuate your curves and impart a touch of personality, belts are a must-have for creating versatile and polished looks within your capsule wardrobe.
Who is that chic woman behind those shades? Apart from being a practical accessory that protects your darling eyes from the sun’s rays, sunnies exudes effortless coolness.
Whether you go full Anna Wintour with oversized frames or you prefer a smaller pair, be sure to have sunglasses at the ready.
Sure, you could pull out your phone to tell the time. But a stylish watch is one capsule wardrobe accessory that exudes sophistication.
Delicate and functional, a simple wristwatch is more than just a way to keep time. Slip one on to look expensive and like you have your life together.
We can’t talk about capsule wardrobe accessories without discussing our dear bags. While there are so many options out there, a well-constructed bag in a timeless design is the versatile gift that keeps on giving.
When choosing your perfect purse, prioritize quality materials and craftsmanship so you can rely on it season after season.
Fall and Winter Accessories
When temperatures tumble, reach for these functional (and chic) fall and winter accessories. From cozy scarves that envelop you in comfort to stylish hats that shield you from the cold, these capsule wardrobe accessories play double duty- keeping you warm and elevating your outfits.
A scarf is one of those functional and oh-so-stylish pieces that can be worn in too many ways to count. To make the most of your collection, experiment with different scarf knots and styles.
How to Style it:
Belted Shawl: Transform your scarf into a fashionable shawl by draping it over your shoulders and cinching it at the waist with a stylish belt. This creates a flattering and layered look. Didn’t I tell you a scarf is super versatile?
French Knot: Add a touch of elegance to your outfit with the French knot. Fold the scarf in half lengthwise and place it around your neck. Then, take the loose ends and pass them through the folded end, creating a knot. Voila! A chic neck accessory.
Chunky knit Scarf
A hat is one capsule wardrobe accessory that I can’t live without. Whether you’re shielding yourself from the sun or stepping out in the cold, hats can elevate your style while serving a practical purpose.
How to Style it:
Casual Cool: Embrace a laid-back vibe by pairing a beanie hat with a cozy sweater, leggings, and sneakers. This laid-back option is perfect for running winter errands.
Parisian Charm: Embrace the allure of a beret by wearing it with a tailored pea coat, a striped shirt, and high-waisted jeans. This iconic French-inspired look adds a touch of sophistication and whimsy to your winter wardrobe.
Every style star has a trusted bag that’s equal parts functional and chic. From structured totes to chic crossbody bags, finding the right bag for your capsule wardrobe is the key to achieving that polished and put-together look.
How to Style it:
Tote Look: A classic and versatile structured tote bag can hold all your essentials while adding a touch of sophistication to your outfit. Pair it with a tailored blazer, trousers, and closed-toe heels for a polished and professional look.
Structured Satchel: To wear a structured satchel in a casual way, consider pairing it with a relaxed and effortless outfit. Slip on boyfriend jeans, a cozy oversized sweater, and some comfortable ankle boots.
If it gets chilly where you live, gloves are an essential capsule wardrobe accessory that you can slip on and off as needed. Remember that the material you choose influences the look of your outfits.
How to Style it:
Leather Elegance: Slip on a pair of sleek leather gloves and pair them with a puffer coat, a cozy scarf, and knee-high boots. This combination exudes timeless elegance. It also adds a luxurious feel to your winter ensemble.
Cashmere Comfort: Embrace the ultimate comfort and warmth by wearing oh-so-soft cashmere gloves with a chunky knit sweater, high-waisted jeans, and ankle boots. This cozy and stylish look is perfect for a relaxed winter outing.
Socks & Tights
So I can keep my feet warm and add a finishing touch to my outfits in one step? Yes, please. From opaque tights to cozy wool socks, these accessories elevate your winter style. Plus, they are must-haves in a well-rounded winter travel capsule wardrobe.
How to Style It:
Layered Loafers: Style wool socks to peek out of a pair of loafers. Then, add a midi skirt and a cozy sweater. If you opt for deep colors, you’ll give off a slightly dark academia vibe.
For obvious reasons, boots are a go-to shoe choice in colder months. When crafting a capsule wardrobe, you can’t go wrong with a quality, neutral-colored boot.
How to Style it:
Classic Look: Need a quick and chic outfit? Pair a neutral sweater with a midi skirt and Chelsea boots. Layer on your other favorite accessories like a dainty necklace and sunnies to level up the outfit.
Equestrian-Inspired: Wear your knee-high boots with a pair of white skinny jeans and an Oxford top. Add a structured blazer to top it off. Whether you’re heading to the office or attending a daytime event, this ensemble will make a stylish statement.
Knee High Boots
Spring and Summer Accessories
The warm weather offers a chance to shed our layers but not our style. Keep your looks chic with dainty spring and summer capsule wardrobe accessories.
Protect your facial features and add mystery with a helpful hat. Wide-brimmed hats are one of my fave casual capsule wardrobe accessories. But the options abound. So explore to find what’s right for you.
How to Style It:
Bucket Beauty: Wear a bucket hat with classic a-line shorts and a floral top for a playful summer outfit. I love a no-fuss hat that protects while adding some fun to a look.
Athleisure Anywhere: My athleisure capsule wardrobe simply can’t function without a baseball cap. Add a pair of linen pants, a tank top, and a pair of strappy slides for the perfect casual look.
When the temps rise, lugging around a heavy tote can be cumbersome. Instead, reach for casual canvas bags or lightweight purses that are easy to take on the go.
How to Style It:
Bucket Boho: Unlock a bohemian-inspired look with a beautiful bucket bag. Pair it with a flowy sundress, sandals, and oversized sunglasses (yes, again) for a breezy and feminine outfit.
Shake up your summer sunglasses to add flair to your outfits. Fun-in-the-sun outfits call for tinted lenses or fun shapes. Chic and effortless looks may have you reaching for a trusted neutral pair.
I recommend having multiple pairs so you are never without sunnies when the summer rays are beaming. Pop one in the car, a pair in your go-to bag, and leave a pair by the door if you tend to forget them.
How to Style It:
Oversized Shades: Pop on oversized sunglasses and a white linen dress for a simple yet elegant look. Complete it with a pair of strappy sandals and a neutral bag. The large shape adds an instant touch of glamour.
Tinted Lens Sunglasses
A light scarf is the Swiss army knife of summer capsule wardrobe accessories. Loop it around your ponytail, wrap it around the handle of your bag, or tie it loosely around your neck.
How to Style It:
Knotted Neck Tie: Origami time (but much easier, I promise)! Fold the silk scarf into a triangle, then roll it tightly to create a long, thin shape. Wrap it around your neck, with the pointed ends hanging in front. Finish by tying a loose knot. There you have it. A perfect pop of color on a simple sundress or denim jumpsuit.
Lightweight Silk Scarf
From statement earrings to colorful rings to pretty watches, there’s lots to choose from to spice up your warm weather fits.
How to Style It:
Hand Candy: Add interest to your fingers with vibrant and playful rings. Mix and match different styles and colors to create an eye-catching combination. Don’t be afraid to stack multiple rings on one finger. The more, the merrier.
Pendant Princess: Add one simple pendant necklace to a top with a low neckline for an alluring touch. Choose a pendant that reflects your personal style, whether it’s a dainty charm or a meaningful symbol.
When summer rolls around, I’m getting my money’s worth from my gel pedi by wearing chic sandals whenever I can. The ease and effortlessness of these shoes make them perfect for sunny days.
How to Style It:
Denim Delight: Casual and cool outfit, coming right up. Wear a pair of denim shorts with a button-down top. But leave it half tucked, half untucked. Then pop on your sandals and your favorite sunglasses. This laid-back outfit formula is perfect for a weekend excursion or a relaxed summer gathering.
How to Add Accessories to Your Wardrobe
Just like your clothing, your capsule wardrobe accessories should serve your lifestyle and style preferences. Here’s how to curate a selection that feels authentic to you
Go through your closet to unearth the hats, bags, and jewelry that you forgot were there.
Evaluate What You Have
To begin, do an audit of your current accessories. If you used the ultimate guide to building a capsule wardrobe, this step of assessing your closet will sound familiar. Sort through your jewelry, bags, hats, and sunglasses to get a clear picture of what you already own. Here’s a 3-step process:
Get rid of what you no longer like or use.
It’s time to declutter. You can donate accessories or use a resale site like Vestiaire to resell them. Either way, make room for a more intentional selection that suits your style.
Assess the accessories you wear often.
See if some of your well-loved jewelry pieces may need to be cleaned. Look at your bags to see if they need maintenance. In short, show your current pieces some love.
Identify the missing accessories.
Once you have sorted through your accessories, you’ll be in a good place to determine what’s missing. Perhaps a new, well-designed bag is in order. Maybe you only have wildly colorful belts and need a versatile neutral one.
Create Accessory Groups
Good news: finding the best accessories for your capsule wardrobe can be simple. Just remember that each accessory you add should serve a purpose. To avoid adding items you don’t need, create a list with three buckets:
Everyday Accessories. These will be the pieces you wear most often and that complement a wide range of outfits. Prioritize versatility when selecting these pieces.
Everyday Examples: dainty gold necklace, black tote bag, aviators
Statement Accessories. These capsule wardrobe accessories make up a smaller portion of the collection. But they command attention. They offer a beautiful way to showcase your personal style and really make an impression.
Statement Examples: statement earrings, vibrant handbag, printed scarf
Special Occasion Accessories. These are the accessories you’ll reach for when special events come around. Pieces in this category will align with a particular dress code. For instance, a fascinator is a special occasion accessory I wear to horse racing events.
Special Occasion Examples: formal clutch, statement hairpiece, fascinator
Now you know what you have, what you need, and the categories each item falls into. You can now confidently shop for the capsule wardrobe accessories that will work for you.
Need some styling inspiration? Scroll on.
How to Style Your Capsule Wardrobe Accessories
This is your friendly reminder to reimagine your accessories. Wear your scarf in a new way you haven’t tried. Switch out the chain on your bag to turn the handle into a crossbody. Mix textures for more fun.
Here are three ways to style capsule wardrobe accessories:
Keep It Simple
Mix & Match
Add Some Color
Benefits of Capsule Wardrobe Accessories
A big misconception about capsules is that they are boring. This is far from true. While there are many ways to personalize your capsule, adding your favorite accessories is a top option. Need convincing? Benefits include:
More Versatility. Capsule wardrobe clothing serves as the perfect canvas for creating a wide range of outfits. By simply swapping out or adding different accessories, you can keep the same base but make wildly different looks.
Elevated Style. When you want to level up a basic outfit, you know what to reach for. The right accessories can make even the simplest outfit look more polished. Suddenly, sophisticated style is more accessible.
Time Saved. Just like a capsule wardrobe, a well-rounded accessories collection saves you time getting ready. Accessories offer a quick and effortless way to add interest and style to your outfits, allowing you to effortlessly put together a cohesive and fashionable look.
Accessory Questions? Get Answers Here.
How Should I Organize and Store My Accessories?
Here are five ways to keep your accessories organized:
Categorize and Separate: Start by sorting your accessories into different categories like jewelry, belts, scarves, and sunglasses. This will make it easier to find what you need when you’re getting ready.
Use Hooks and Hangers: Hang your scarves and belts on hooks or hangers to save space and keep them visible. It’s a simple way to keep things tidy and easily accessible.
Opt for Clear Storage: Consider using clear storage containers for smaller accessories like earrings and rings. These containers allow you to see what’s inside at a glance, and they help protect your pieces from getting lost or damaged.
Try Drawer Dividers: If your jewelry drawer is a mess of tangled necklaces and jumbled bracelets, drawer dividers can be a game-changer. They create separate compartments for each accessory, so you can say goodbye to the frustration of untangling chains.
Protect Your Collection: Take extra care of your valuable accessories. Store fine jewelry in soft pouches or jewelry boxes to prevent scratches and tangles. If you have silver jewelry, use tarnish-resistant bags to keep them looking their best. And don’t forget to keep your sunglasses in their cases to avoid any accidental scratches.
Do Accessories Count in a Capsule Wardrobe?
This is up to you. You can count accessories as part of your capsule and consider the number you want to have in light of that. Or, you can view accessories as entirely separate from your core wardrobe. As a rule of thumb, I do not count accessories in my capsule wardrobes unless I’m creating a travel capsule.
That’s not to say accessories don’t matter. It’s simply that they are not part of the core wardrobe and tend to provide more flexibility and room for experimentation. Whether you choose to include accessories in your capsule or treat them as a separate category, the choice is ultimately yours