Three tips on how to accessorize your capsule wardrobe

Iris Apfel, the queen of accessories, once said: “Style is not about wearing expensive clothes. You can have all kinds of money and have no style at all… It’s not what you wear but how you wear it.” 

She loved her accessories, and I do too. They can bring so much life to a capsule wardrobe. However, as time marches on, I continue to look for ways to simplify my life and my routine. So I’ve taken a hard look at what items I make the most use of to accessorize my wardrobe.

What I have found is that less is more, and sometimes more is just, well…more. So if you are also looking to pare down your accessories, the question is: what should you keep in your repertoire? I’m going to talk about just three:


I recently got rid of my jewelry armoire. When I really started doing a capsule wardrobe, I decided that, for the most part, I would just wear pearl earrings—how very June Cleaver of me. But seriously—pearls are simple, sophisticated, and always in style. So I bought myself a pair of pretty, freshwater pearl earrings, and I wear them every day. 

They truly go with everything and have served me well. It’s one less thing I have to think about. In fact, the other day I put on a pair of dangly earrings, just to mix it up—but I didn’t feel comfortable. It just wasn’t…me—at least not anymore. So I put my pearls back on.

This just illustrates the fact that if you have a “go-to” item, such as pearls, it’s okay to stick with what you know and love. It takes just as much courage to be simple and sophisticated as it does exuberant and original like Iris Apfel.


Professional, casual, dressy. You need several pairs so that you have shoes for all occasions, including exercise. Shoes are the perfect accessory and sometimes they’re the only accessory you really need. They can turn your outfit from drab to fab! But you have to make sure that you have the right shoes for your proportions. 

For example, I am petite, so I always gravitate toward pointy-toed shoes because they make me feel taller. In contrast, a girlfriend of mine, who is almost 6 feet tall, gravitates toward round-toed shoes. She feels like they make her feet and body seem a little shorter. 

Also, if you have thicker legs, stay away from shoes with clunky, chunky heels. Really, to be honest, those kinds of shoes don’t look good on anyone because no matter how thin you are, they visually add weight to your legs. If you need a chunkier heel for stability, try a wedge.


The perfect bag has been elusive at best—I know because I’ve bought so many. There really is no such thing as “the perfect bag” or “the perfect wallet,” so I just try to stay balanced and, at the very least, buy versatile, high-quality bags that will last.

As you can see, I prefer a timeless, simple, classic approach to accessorizing. Why should I complicate my otherwise simple wardrobe with a plethora of accessories? Sticking with what I know works for me—a pair of simple pearls, a pair of shoes that I love and that works with my proportions, and a high quality bag that will last a long time. These items help to keep my life, and my capsule wardrobe, simple, sophisticated, and always in style.

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