Nancy Nix-Rice’s minimum wardrobe : Accessories

Nancy Nix-Rice has been writing about a basic wardrobe over the last few weeks. (I’m planning posts on possible patterns).

Unusually, Nancy also makes suggestions for accessories.
And using accessory colours to integrate the colours of the clothes.

Colours :

  • dark neutral
  • light neutral
  • accent colour
  • accent colour 2 (optional)
  • mid neutral (optional)
  • Easier but not essential if the neutrals are related colours, such as dark brown/ camel, plum/ dusty rose, black/ grey.
    If you don’t look good in strong contrasts, use darker and lighter rather than dark and light.

    - – -

    Nancy’s accessory suggestions are :

    Belt : dark neutral [reversible to light neutral]

    Shoes : dark neutral
    Shoes 2 (optional) : light neutral

    Bag/ purse : dark neutral with light neutral trim
    Big bag/ tote : dark neutral

    Scarf 1 : dark neutral + light neutral (+ a touch of black if you have it in your wardrobe)
    Scarf 2 : dark neutral + light neutral + accent colour (+ mid neutral optional)
    Scarf 3 (if adding 2nd accent colour) : both neutrals + both accent colours.

    Pashmina shawl (optional) : both neutrals + accent colour

    Necklace 1 : dark neutral + light neutral
    Necklace 2 (optional) : mainly dark neutral
    Necklace 3 (if adding 2nd accent colour) : both accent colours

    P.S. Nancy now has posts on belts and bags to flatter your body shape.

    - – -

    Socks / stockings/ tights/ pantyhose need to co-ordinate in colour as well.

    For a current look, how about adding some leggings or opaque tights (don’t know what they’re called in the US) in one of your 3 key colours. Or in another accent colour if you’ve got the legs for it :D

    This season you can wear ankle length leggings even under a calf length skirt.

    - – -

    For a current casual look : big scarves are a good way of adding character to a simple outfit. In flattering colours they draw attention to your face. There’s several marvellous scarf tying videos at Eileen Fisher.

    And there’s a fun YouTube video on scarf tying.

    (P.S. Nancy now has a lesson on scarf tying. And here is YouLookFab on scarf styles that don’t shorten your neck. And a website on 37 ways to tie a scarf.)

    The colour, pattern and texture of scarves usually make them the focal point of an outfit.
    3.1 Phillip Lim has a different approach this season. He uses scarves made from the same fabric as the garment they’re worn with. Good idea for using fabric scraps ?

    For a current business look : instead of neutral accessories wear strong colours to brighten up classic neutral outfits. Big bags and shoes in red, blue, yellow, green, orange, purple. See my post on classics for work. Though make sure there’s something else about your outfit that draws attention to you, not to your bag and shoes :D

    - – -

    UK Vogue says the accessory styles for winter 2011/12 are :

  • Knee-high boots
  • ‘Hug and hold’ bags (basically this is a way of holding a large bag at the base rather than hung from the handle)
  • Mini bags (any style of ornate bag just big enough for a phone and lipstick – more considered as jewellery)
  • Choker necklaces
  • Hats
  • Add touches of sequins or fur as current trims.

    Changing from big tote to one of these Mini bags could be an easy way of going from work to dressy.

    Hats are usually in a dark neutral or an accent colour. Choose an accent colour that makes your skin look good. I find a light neutral more flattering – reflects more light on your face.

    - – -

    Accessories are a good way of introducing your own style when wearing basics.
    What are your personal favourite accessories ? see brief thoughts in my post on a personal wardrobe plan (about 2/3 of the way through).

    YouLookFab has questions about which shoes you like to wear.
    heels or flats
    heels – stiletto or stacked
    sandals or boots
    round toe or pointy toe

    And what is your personal style for jewellery ? I prefer bracelets and pins/ brooches to necklaces or earrings. But they’re not so effective for bringing attention to your face. I prefer collars for that. And there’s a huge variety of possible styles for each jewellery item – dainty or striking, angular or curved, modern or antique, in different materials. . .

    - – -

    There’s a good discussion strand on accessories at Stitcher’s Guild.

    All this has made me think. I realise I don’t usually consider accessories at all. I used to be a bag person, but not since I stopped working. I also used to wear a collection of brooches in different styles, to add a touch of ‘quirky’ to professional clothes.

    If we follow Nancy’s advice, it’s the scarves and jewellery in the right mix of colours that we need to keep an eye open for !

    - – -

    Other posts in this group on Nancy Nix-Rice’s wardrobe plan :
    Neutral Cores, colours, personalising
    Accent colour and print
    Adding extras
    More thoughts
    And related post :
    Two-piece dresses

    - – -

    Links available August 2011

    = = =

    Next week I’m planning to learn the latest Photoshop Elements. I’ve been using Version 2 and this is Version 9! Then hopefully there will begin to be images again :D

    Explore posts in the same categories: Nancy Nix-Rice, wardrobe planning

    7 Comments on “Nancy Nix-Rice’s minimum wardrobe : Accessories”

    1. RuthieK Says:

      I’ve really been enjoying Nancy’s series and have them printed out so I can re-read. Its has changed a little my emphasis on basic pieces rather than being all out for colour/print all the time. I’ll have to see if its a long lasting effect.
      I love accessories – statement modern necklaces the most, and they are great bringing emphasis to the face.

      • sewingplums Says:

        Good point Ruthie – we all have our own reactions to Nancy’s posts. I’m realising this emphasis on very simple styles so they co-ordinate easily means I need to think about accessories much more – which, unlike you, I haven’t been doing !

    2. ejvc Says:

      A lot of my accessories are metal, mostly silver, so effectively grey in terms of colour. I also tend to like not so heavy jewellery (not a chunky person). I’ve been starting to wander around shops looking for a way that suits my style but allows me to get colours in; very interesting.

    3. Vicki Wingo Grant Says:

      I’m like you and getting better with paying attention to accessories after going through the journey with NNR. My scarf collection has grown, what with wandering through Etsy…I’m using vendors who do custom colors/custom work, so I’m able to obtain “my” colors in styles that I like.

      Today, I was able to put on a fitted white t-shirt, off white wide legged capris and a bright green/blue/turquoise/purple colored scarf as a headband. Turquoise earrings, green and blue Chaco sandals and an apple green Baggilini purse finished it off. I saw a glimpse of myself in the window reflection and thought to myself, “Hey, I’m getting the hang of this!”

      Best of all, it felt comfortable. It was me enjoying the colors that I do in an outfit that was “me”.

      Scarf collecting at least makes for smaller piles than fabric!

      Now I’m on the hunt for the chunky multi-“my” colors necklace. It’s one of those things where I’ll know it when I see it but I sure haven’t found it yet.


    4. I don’t like things around my neck, so scarves and necklaces don’t work for me. I almost always wear a headband or scarf around my head to keep my curly hair off my face, and usually I mix my colors there, and in earrings and a brooch.

    5. sewingplums Says:

      Thanks for all the interesting comments and suggestions. Nancy’s choice of clothes look very conventional (understandably for her wide audience), but the whole process is really making us think in useful ways isn’t it :D

    6. Marie-Christine Says:

      Thanks for that great scarf video. I have lots of scarves, it’s good to find slightly more originals ways to wear them. And most of the advice out there is so.. 80s :-). Then I took a closer look at that entire EF site, and oh you’re so right to find it so inspiring. Thanks again.


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