How to Find Your Best Dark Neutral

Black, black, and more black.

It is easy to believe that black is the only dark neutral there is out there in the world. It's pervasive in stores and in many of our wardrobes. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with wearing black - I still do often - many of us don't realize that another deep neutral would complement our coloring much better.

it's time to share the love.

Charcoal and Brown probably deserve a more prominent position in your closet, depending on your coloring, of course. When my color mentor Arden Reece did my colors during a training session, it was so clear that I looked much more alive in deep Charcoal than I did in Black. My coloring is just not deep enough to wear a heavy black all of the time, particularly near my face. may not be black! Learn how to determine the best dark neutral for you!.png

ready to hear the secret to finding your best neutral?

The brows have it.

The rims of the eyes, too. 

Bam. You're staring at your best "black."

First, look at your eyebrows. What's that you say? You're seeing black? Oh, in that case, fantastic! If you've got black eyebrows and black eye rims, then black is your best dark neutral. (It gets a bit more complicated when you look at whether it's a warm or cool black, but for now we'll just stick with black.)

No black there? What do you see? Deep brown? Auburn? Deep taupe? Charcoal? Give black a break for a while and give the color you're seeing in your eyebrows a try. 

You'll definitely want to look at the rims around your iris for a clue to your best dark neutral. You might see warm brown or slate grey. You may even see a deep marine or a forest green. Yes, these colors can serve as your dark neutral because they work with so many other colors.

But my eyebrows are super light. What do I do?

If you have darker brows and lighter eyes, try your brow color and the eye rim color. They both have a place in your wardrobe and you should use them liberally. 

I'm not saying you don't look good or even great in black!

You don't have to give it up. Consider wearing black on your bottom half.

Wear a black dress with a layer in your best dark neutral over it. 

Add black as accents in accessories.

Black will always be a wardrobe staple. Choose to wear it as you wish. 

Many of us, though, buy black as a fallback because we don't know which colors look great on us.

Give your newly discovered dark neutral a try. You may find you love how you look.



    Some Homework

    Look deep into your eyes in a magnifying mirror. Make note of what colors you see in your eyebrows and the rims of your eyes. While you're at it, write down all the colors in your eyes as they are the keys to some of your other best colors!

    Can't see your eyes so well without glasses? Have someone take a close-up photo of your brows and eyes or snap a selfie. 

    What did you discover? 

    Let us know in the comments!

    Minimal Wardrobe Basics

    Minimal Wardrobe Basics in black, white, and grey




    Jumping into a capsule wardrobe head first can be pretty daunting.

    In fact, for some people there’s so much self-imposed pressure to get it “right” that it keeps them from even trying.

    Let’s set aside the idea of a full seasonal capsule and focus instead of testing the waters with a mini-capsule: 12 pieces, 3 colors, so many possibilities!



    The 12 Item Minimal Capsule Wardrobe

    This sample wardrobe is as minimal as it gets. The palette is neutral and the pieces are the kind of basics you see in so many capsule wardrobe examples, so why are we showing them again here? Starting simple is often the best way to internalize an idea before adding individual style to the mix. The intent is not to encourage everyone to dress the same! That said, if you have these items in your closet they will serve you for years and will easily mix and match with the other items in your closet. 

    The Minimal Capsule Wardrobe breakdown:

    1. Three Colors

    2. Six Tops

    3. Three Bottoms

    4. One Dress

    5. Two Jackets

    Minimal Wardrobe Basics - The Pieces. Try a 12-Item Wardrobe!

    Dip your toe into the capsule wardrobe water!

    Putting together a 12-item mini capsule wardrobe is a great way to test out using a capsule wardrobe. Create your own by choosing three colors in your closet and adding in the number of pieces mentioned above. Don't worry if you only have ten pieces in those three colors or you need to throw in a printed item. Make it yours! The goal is to get a great sense of how many outfits can be made with just 12 coordinating items.

    The Outfits

    As you can see from the thumbnails below, these 12 pieces combine for a lot of outfits! Click on each thumbnail to see a larger image and to read more guidance. 

    We're brewing up something new based on the 12 Item capsule wardrobe.

    Look at this beautiful example in Navy, Cream & Camel.

    12 Item Minimal Capsule Wardrobe in Navy, Cream & Camel

    Do you have a minimal capsule of basics?

    Let us know in the comments!

    Professional Capsule Wardrobe

    Business Professional Outfit from Capsule Wardrobe.jpg

    Work. Like it or not, it’s something many of us have to do outside of the home. This means we have to get dressed in an appropriate fashion for our work environment.

    Your work capsule wardrobe might vary depending on your office dress code or your age, but dressing professionally with style is a must in any office.

    Would you want to meet the CEO of your company in ripped skinny jeans?

    I didn’t think so.

    A business capsule wardrobe should make you stand out just enough to show your personality without being completely out of touch with the requirements of your responsibilities.

    Looking pulled-together and confident strengthens your profile at work, no matter what your job title.




    How do you want to look? To feel?

    One of the capsule wardrobe struggles readers write to us about most frequently is how to incorporate their work attire and their off-duty clothing into the same capsule wardrobe. This capsule framework offers a solution.

    While it won’t work for everyone to combine work and play clothing into the same capsule, it will work for many. (We highly advocate separate capsules for people in formal business environments like litigators or investment professionals.) Most offices have days when you can dress down a bit, like casual Fridays or days with no client meetings. 

    However, most people still have trouble figuring out how to choose pieces that do double-duty. The first step is to consider how you want to look and feel at work and on the weekends.

    Professional Woman - Business Capsule Wardrobe Advice

    exercise time! 

    1. Write down three words describing how you want to look at work. 

    2. Write down three words describing how you want to look outside of work. 

    3. Write down how you want to feel at work in your clothing. 

    4. Write down how you want to feel outside of work in your clothing. 

    5. Make note of any overlapping words. 

    6. Make note of words that are different between work v. play. 

    Your capsule wardrobe style isn't guided by specific pieces but by the goals you want to achieve with your clothing and outfits. We'll work through what to do with these words below.

    A capsule wardrobe for the office and beyond

    Now it’s time for the fun stuff! You know your overall goals for the capsule, but how do you select all of your pieces?  If you haven’t read our post Capsule Wardrobes Made Easy, please have a look now. It will really help you understand the approach to take for your business capsule wardrobe!

    OK, have you read it? Great. Wait, no?! Seriously, go read it and come back here. We’re going to dive into the template more deeply with an eye towards the professional capsule wardrobe.

    Here are the five categories of the business capsule wardrobe:

    1. Five Statement Makers

    2. Five Favorites

    3. Five - Ten Levelled-Up Layers

    4. Ten Foundational Pieces

    5. Ten Additive Accessories



    Business Capsule Wardrobe for All Ages - The Capsule Project

    Let's break it down.

    OK, let’s take a closer look at this sample work capsule wardrobe.


    Five Statement Makers:

    • All work-focused pieces. Sure, you should also be able to wear them outside of work but as you select these pieces think of your work environment.

    • You should feel amazing in these pieces and they should have that extra “wow” factor you need to make a great impression.

    • These are the pieces you wear when you need to exude confidence, even if you’re worried about that presentation to a new potential client or have a performance review with your boss.

    Five Favorites:

    • These should also be work-focused pieces. The five pieces you rely on week after week to get out the door looking great and feeling confident.

    • These may be a bit more subtle than the first five pieces, but the color and cut of each should really flatter you.

    • You can think of these as elevated basics that go with pretty much everything and are high quality.

    Five - Ten Levelled-Up Layers:

    • Layers are key, as they can make or break an outfit!

    • Think about how often you wear layers while at work for aesthetic versus for warmth. If you need to wear suit jackets multiple times per week, your layers may skew more towards work than weekend. However, if you can wear sweaters at the office make sure to have a good mix of work and weekend possibilities.

    • Too often we have a fantastic outfit created but don’t have a great outerwear option to keep us warm which also layers well over sweaters or blazers. Be smart about your layering options - don’t throw them in haphazardly.

    • When the weather is super hot or terribly cold outside, the temperatures inside often swings in the opposite direction. Make sure your base outfit works for you for the temperature inside your office. Add or remove layers as you head outdoors.

    Ten Foundational Pieces:

    • OK, these are the pieces that really help you mix your work and weekend wardrobe. You should be comfortable wearing them to work and to play, making them function-appropriate depending on what you match them with.

    • More casual pieces like tanks and tees work well layered under other tops, sweaters, and blazers while at work but can stand alone over the weekend.

    • Colors here should be your favorite neutrals, solids, and subtle prints.

    Ten Additive Accessories:

    • At least 5 pairs of shoes, 3 bags, and a couple key accessories.

    • In this sample, the shoes are all office appropriate with a few that can be worn over the weekend. Feel free to swap or add in more casual shoes.

    • You need at least one great work bag, one cool weekend bag, and a handy clutch that looks polished at work but chic on the weekends.

    • We chose two belts for this capsule wardrobe to add an extra professional element, but you could also choose a special scarf or a signature watch.

    The Color Palette

    Although we did not intentionally choose a color palette when creating the capsule, you’ll notice that all of the colors work together. Many of the pieces are neutrals: shades of grey, white, black, and navy. Variations of green, blush, and burgundy/wine round out the beautiful fall color palette.

    It’s ok if all of your clothes don’t coordinate in the same manner. You have to start somewhere! Make sure each item works with at least three others to make several different outfits. Defining your color palette for your wardrobe as a whole and for each season is an evolving process that takes a lot of investigation and patience.

    What do you think?

    Do you see this approach working for your wardrobe? 

    How do you mix and match your work and weekend cloths?

    be inspired. take action.

    Capsule Wardrobes Made Easy

    Gorgeous cashmere dress + boots from fall capsule wardrobe

    Capsule Wardrobes. You’ve tried one but you just couldn’t get it to work. It was supposed to make getting dressed easier in the mornings but it didn’t. Your clothes didn’t really suit your lifestyle and they didn’t work all that great together. Plus, you got bored. Where was all the fun in your capsule? 

    We at The Capsule Project are tired of capsule wardrobes with the exact same pieces in them all over Pinterest. We admit, we’ve done it, too! While there are fantastic classic pieces that do add a lot to many a wardrobe, each of us is different. Our bodies, our coloring, our lifestyles, our budgets, our work...all different. Why should we all have the same wardrobe? 

    We also realize that not following a pre-set capsule wardrobe creates issues. You wonder, if I don’t have the exact same pieces as that capsule wardrobe on Pinterest, how will mine work? What will I choose? 

    Panic sets it. This is supposed to make life easier, not be a dreadful and confusing chore. In fact, creating a capsule wardrobe should be FUN. It should be EXPRESSIVE. It should say, "Hey world, this is my style and I love it!




    How you want to look and feel will guide your choices.

    Despite all of the resources about capsule wardrobes on the internet these days, we receive multiple emails each week from readers struggling to put together a cohesive wardrobe. They can’t figure out a color palette. They’re not sure how to dress for work or for play. They don’t know their “personal style”. They have no idea how to choose which pieces to include in their capsule. 

    Honestly, it doesn’t have to be so difficult! 

    Trust yourself. 

    The only way to learn to love your wardrobe year after year is to listen to yourself and to trust what you’re hearing. 

    You don’t have to know what your style type is, you just need to know what you like and how you want to feel. How it’s labelled doesn’t matter. 

    You don’t have to have a set color palette. Yup, we said it. You do, however, need to know what colors you love and which colors are radiant on you. (We are going to delve into colors so much more over the next year. For now, we are including a few color tips to get you started.)

    So, if you don’t truly need to figure out all of these things, how in the world do you put together a capsule wardrobe? Don’t fret.

    This capsule wardrobe framework offers a solution.


    Capsule Wardrobe Guiding Questions

    exercise time! 

    1. Head to Pinterest and select three looks you love for each of the following categories:
        Weekends - Day
        Nights Out (Non-formal)

    2. Choose three words to describe each of these looks.  

    3. Figure out the overlapping words. 

    4. Determine the words that don’t overlap between the different types of outfit. 

    5. Use three words to describe how you want to feel every time you get dressed.

    6. Make note of words that are different between work v. play.

    A Super-Simple & Successful Capsule Wardrobe Template

    OK, now it’s time for the fun stuff! You know your overarching goals for the look and feel capsule, but how do you select all of your pieces? 

    It’s likely most people select their capsule wardrobe items by type of clothing: shirts, bottoms, dresses, etc.

    This is a mistake! 

    Choosing your capsule pieces based on item type causes you to think about them in a vacuum at first and makes it more difficult to create a cohesive wardrobe. So, we are going to take a completely different approach. Read on below the example image for how to approach each capsule wardrobe.

    Capsule Wardrobe Template for All Ages & Styles - The Capsule Project

    Statement Makers

    statement maker key qualities:

    1. luxurious fabrics

    2. rich colors

    3. fun prints

    4. unique details

    5. impeccable fit

    You know the ones. The shirt with styling that makes people say, “WOW!” Or the pants in that amazing color blue. These are not wardrobe “basics” but they are the pieces that capture the essence of your style. 

    Each capsule wardrobe should have five statement pieces: 1 dress, 2 tops, and 2 bottoms. (If you don’t wear dresses then swap in another item of your choosing.) Ideally, all of these pieces play extremely well together but each should also each have a special quality, color, or design that makes them stand out. On most days you will wear them with other pieces in your capsule. 

    Five Favorites

    sample pieces for five favorites:

    1. top in your eye color

    2. top in your eye color complement

    3. basic dark neutral dress

    4. your favorite jeans

    5. a skirt you feel great in

    Choose five items that you simply can’t live without: 1 dress, 2 tops, and 2 bottoms (again). These pieces should work together and with your Statement Makers. These are go-to pieces that each have a bit of character or a standout role in your wardrobe but are a bit set apart by color or style from your Foundational Pieces (below). 



    Levelled-Up Layers

    Layer suggestions:

    1. 2 blazers

    2. 2 pullover sweater

    3. 2 cardigans

    4. 2 jackets

    5. 2 coats

    Don’t overlook the impact layers have on your outfits! Blazers, sweaters jackets, coats, etc. are the pieces that can turn a combination of clothing into a perfectly styled outfit. You should have at least 5 layers, with 10 giving the most versatility.



    Foundational Pieces

    Recommended foundation pieces:

    1. 2 tank tops

    2. 2 t-shirts

    3. 3 blouses/tops

    4. leggings, jeans, pants

    These pieces are the supportive spine of your capsule wardrobe. Mostly neutral colors, they ground your Statement Makers and Five Favorites and look great mixed with each other. Your top ten foundational pieces should still be items you love and that fit great, but they may not have the “wow” factor of some of your other pieces. These are essential to a workable wardrobe. 


    Additive Accessories

    Don’t weigh yourself down with humdrum shoes, bags, or belts. These are the pieces that can bring an outfit to life. Let them add to your put-together capsule wardrobe, not subtract or detract. Even a simple black pump can have a special flourish that shows your personality. Shine on with 10 pieces that make your outfits the life of the party.

    About that exercise your did earlier...

    As you work on putting together your capsule wardrobe, keep in mind your responses to the exercise. While you don't need to create the same outfits you selected, you do want to make sure that the pieces you select support your desired outcomes. 

    Your overlapping words should apply to each item you chose, as well as all of the outfits you can create. Whether you wrote "confident" or "comfortable" you need to feel this way in every single item. 

    Make sure you have a few pieces that fit the words you wrote that only apply to certain wardrobe functions like work or weekend. For example, if you wrote "powerful" for work, you should choose a couple items in each category that you can wear to work and that make you feel powerful. The trousers that make you feel like a boss when you wear them are perfect for work with a blouse yet they can still give you that same feeling dressed down with a t-shirt. 

    If you want to look "flirty" for a night out on the town, you can still wear that lower cut top with a tank underneath and a blazer or cardigan for work. 

    You've got this!

    The fun kind of homework!

    Instead of jumping right in to your own personal capsule, why not head to Polyvore and create one with the capsule wardrobe you'd like to achieve. This is a lot of fun! You can use this template and pop in the pieces you love in a new set.  

    be inspired.

    give it a try.

    A New Minimalism

    Approach Minimalism from a place of abundance, not scarcity.

    Lack. Boring. Empty. Insufficient.

    There's something wrong with how many of us think about "minimalism". We believe that having less means being less or not being true to ourselves. It scares us. So, we dismiss it. 

    It doesn't have to be that way.

    Leading a life of minimalism can mean something different for each of us. One person's perfect might be too much for another. Just enough for you might be way too little for your best friend. 

    There is no one right way to be a Minimalist.

    We are all familiar with the story of Goldilocks and the three bears. What’s right for Papa Bear is way too much for the baby bear and Goldilocks. We are all different people, so why should we be expected to all use the same approach? 

    We shouldn’t.

    Minimalism doesn’t have to come from a place of scarcity; rather, it should come from a place of abundance. 

    We call it

    Vibrant Minimalism

    I know what you’re thinking: HUH?! Those two words don’t belong together. Well, let’s take a look at their definitions.

    min·i·mal·ism /ˈminəməˌlizəm/ noun: “a style or technique (as in music, literature, or design) that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity”

    vi·brant /ˈvībrənt/ adjective: “full of energy and enthusiasm; quivering; pulsating; (of color) bright and striking”

    A minimalist has applied the design aesthetic to his or her lifestyle by freeing up space in a home or a life. She has gotten rid of clutter and unwanted items or experiences. As a result, her home is cleaner, perhaps a bit sparse, and she spends her time doing what she needs and wants to do. 

    What is she really doing? Is it really all about reduction and removal? 

    She is making a choice. Then another. And another.

    She is choosing what she loves enough to keep in her life. She can then let go of all the rest.

    When you approach minimalism with this attitude, you are choosing how you want to live. Instead of picking only what you want to delete from your life, you are selecting what you want to have in it. The reality is, if you are reading this blog, you likely have enough, probably more than you need. 

    I know you may not feel like it. There never seems to be enough money, enough time, enough energy for most of us. If you are working two jobs, raising children alone, and struggling to makes ends meet without other support, holding what you love and cherish even closer may prove quite powerful. 

    Say goodbye to the busy-ness of today and hello to vibrant minimalism. 

    The 5 Rules of Vibrant Minimalism

    The 5 Rules of Vibrant Minimalism

    We usually don't believe in hard and fast rules here at The Capsule Project. In this instance, however, we think these rules should not be broken. 

    1. Cultivate an abundance mindset.
    2. Figure out what you love, what you desire.
    3. Prioritize your needs.
    4. Focus on what lights up your soul.
    5. Determine what just-right minimalism means to you. 

    I'd be lying if I said that following the rules will be easy. Well, at least not at first. We have become habituated to believing that the grass is always greener, that if we just had that next big thing our lives would be better. Cultivating the mindset that we have all (or almost all) we need and that we are capable and worthy of receiving what we don’t have but truly need is a very difficult task, but it is incredibly important.

    An abundance mindset rests at the core of every happy minimalist. 

    Over the next several months we will explore: 

    • What each rule means in the abstract
    • What each rule means to you
    • How each rule plays out in various aspects of your life
    • Actions you can take to incorporate these rules into your life
    • How your actions move you towards Vibrant Minimalism
      Be fearless. Live vibrantly, you Minimalist.
      Think Fast: which two colors make you feel the most alive?

      Think Fast:

      Which two colors make you feel the most alive? 

      Are you using these colors in your life? In your home, in your wardrobe? Is it a color you eat? Come up with 3 new ways to add these colors into your daily life.

      Some Homework

      Examine your feelings about minimalism. What are your preconceptions? Use this worksheet to write them down then flip the story. It will take five minutes, tops. All you have to do for now is sit with what you’ve written, nothing more

      Be inspired. take action.