This capsule was inspired by a recent vist to J.Crew where there is always a good amount of colour remixed with neutrals. Bless J.Crew for providing us with colour options when the rest of retail is stuck offering black and grey. 

The wonderful colours of their new Fall stock instantly sparked off fresh mix-and-match capsule palettes in my head. I was quite taken with how the same animal print was offered across various wardrobe items, and how they could be worn together in one outfit — clever. All sorts of patterns and colours could be mixed marvelously well in an over-the-top yet harmonious way. 

I took five items into the dressing room with me to assess whether the animal print skirt could be worn with the animal print twinset. YES, the pieces worked well together because it’s the same pattern across two fabrications, creating the effect of a two-piece dress. I also wanted to see if the pink paisley blouse worked tucked into the animal print skirt. It did in a trendy maximal way. And last, I wanted to test whether the half elasticated crepe pants worked with a semi-tucked blouse. It did, and so the makings of a versatile mix-and-match capsule were born.

Pieces

As I stared at these garments in the dressing room, I thought how light blue, black, white and a touch of tomato red would make fun additions to the pink, earthy olive and leopard print. So I came back home and carefully fleshed out a versatile and fully functional mix-and-match Fall capsule with both dressy and casual separates. All the items are from J.Crew apart from the bag, scarf and two pairs of shoes. The exact items are represented in this collection.

J.Crew
Matte crepe trouser
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Top Pick
14
J.Crew
Tie-front silk top
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5
Talbots
Painted-Dot Scarf
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Top Pick
5
 

A few things upfront: 

  • Colour Palette: There are neutrals, a bright, and two mid-tones to ensure variety. That way, you can create head-to-toe neutral outfits, remix neutrals with a colour, remix the brights with mid-tones, and create tonal outfits. You can wear head-to-toe black or blue if you like, OR create high contrasts with the separates. 
  • Metals: I kept the hardware and metallics gold, but feel free to mix metals.
  • Dress Codes: The capsule covers business casual, smart casual and casual. 
  • Solids & Patterns: I’ve used two patterns while the rest are solids. 
  • Pattern & Colour Mixing: The capsule assumes that you have a high affinity for colour and pattern mixing. You can mix the paisley and the animal print together in an outfit. I tried on the combination in the dressing room and liked it. (A nod to the Maximalism trend). You can also wear the pink with the red and light blue. It might not be your cup of tea, but it worked to my eye. 
  • Trends: Maximalism, cropped pants and jeans, ‘70s blouses, a bandana, and current footwear are the stand-out trends here. 
  • Layering: There are eight tops, but some of the tops can be layered with each other to create more top options. For example, the animal print shell and cardigan create a twinset. The animal print shell can be layered as a vest over the white button-down shirt and red bow blouse. The animal print cardigan can be buttoned through and worn as a pullover. The cardigan can be layered over the shirt and blouse if you don’t mind a snug fit on the sleeves. All four toppers can be layered over the tops. And if you like, the vest can be layered under the other toppers. 
  • Outfit Combinations: Each of the tops can be worn with one of the five bottoms, and layered with any of the toppers. You will absolutely prefer some outfit combinations over others, and those are the ones you would wear more frequently. The point is that you have multiple interesting outfit combinations if you want them. 

As I mentioned up top, all three animal print items can be worn together for a dress effect. If you don’t mind denim on denim, the denim top can be worn with the blue jeans and topped with the light blue coat for a tonal effect. 

I’ve incorporated colour, pattern, texture and shine into the capsule for outfit interest.

A Mix and Match Capsule for Fall

Bottoms

I chose FIVE bottoms across a range of dress codes, colours and silhouettes. 

  • Two skirts: A simple black pencil and A-line patterned midi.  
  • Two pairs of jeans: Both trendy, tailored, and cropped. The white jeans provide a dressier option and YES, you can wear white jeans year round. 
  • Pair of trousers: A comfortable crepe pull-on pair in a deep olive is a more interesting neutral than black and grey.

Tops

There are EIGHT tops, but thirteen top options if you layer some of the tops together. I chose a variety of colours, fabrics and silhouettes. Wovens and knitwear are covered. I did not include knitted tops, but feel free to do so. To reiterate: each of the tops can be worn with one of the five bottoms, and layered with any of the toppers.

  • Shell top: Patterned and part of a twinset.
  • Cardigan: Patterned and part of a twinset.
  • Shirt: In white and good for layering, or when you need a classic look. 
  • Three blouses: A bow blouse in red, a ruffled blouse in pink paisley, and a denim blouse.   
  • Two pullovers: A solid black and pink. 

Toppers

I chose FOUR toppers that differ in colour, fabric, weight and silhouette:

  • Coat: A long length for cold days. Dress it up or down. 
  • Blazer: A modern classic that pops in a bright. Dress it up or down. 
  • Moto: A black moto for when your outfit needs a bit of Hard Edge. Dress it up or down. 
  • Vest: A lightweight equestrian addition that can look spunky in an unexpected way. 

Footwear

There are FIVE pairs of shoes in the capsule as a starting point. Again, there is variety in style and coverage to change up the mood of your outfit. Pick and choose the footwear that you think looks best with the outfit:

  • Pumps: A pair in patent with a trendy block heel for dressier and ladylike occasions. 
  • Booties: A high shaft pair in a light neutral to cover all the bases. 
  • Loafers: A comfortable modern classic that pops in a bright.
  • Oxfords: A tomboy addition for spunk and Hard Edge. 
  • Sneakers: These days, you can pair sneakers with almost any outfit to create an off-kilter juxtaposition. I chose white and gold to keep it pretty. 

Accessories

  • Bag: I kept it simple by choosing one bag for the season. A light structured satchel is versatile and more interesting than black for this capsule. 
  • Belt: A gold belt adds polish and shine to a semi-tucked top with jeans. 
  • Two scarves: A classic and neutral micro polka dot that can be worn with anything, and a bandana for charm. 

Add jewellery, headgear, eyewear and watch as desired.

This is merely one mix-and-match capsule for Fall, and depending on your needs and desires, you can stick to one or have several across a range of colour palettes. You can also add more tops, bottoms, shoes and bags to the mix. For example, you might choose three pairs of booties instead of pumps and loafers. Or add at least two more bags if you’re a bag lady like me. 

There are few people who can purchase this capsule from scratch right away, and the colours and silhouettes might not be to your taste either. The point is more that you can use the capsule as a template when refreshing your own Fall wardrobes. Capsules force you to think about how your wardrobe items relate to each other, combining to create complete outfits that are fabulous. To quote one of my clients: “outfits are outstanding, pieces are problematic”. She is dead right.

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