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Real Life Capsule Wardrobe: The Accent Piece

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The Universal Standard Yarra Shrug sweater: three ways to style the cashmere one-shouldered sweater as seen on Wardrobe Oxygen
Capsule wardrobes are often associated with minimalism, but that doesn't mean the pieces within the capsule need to have minimal style.  In fact, when your capsule wardrobe has unique details and accent pieces, it not only is more fun to wear, but more stylish and versatile.  In the real life capsule wardrobe I featured yesterday, the primary accent piece was the one-shouldered cashmere sweater from Universal Standard.

universal standard yarra shrug sweater on wardrobe oxygen

black sweater | white t-shirt | jeans | ankle boots | bag

I love off the shoulder and one-shoulder looks.  It's a way to look sexy and on trend without showing too much skin or having to work too hard to make an outfit interesting.  I was inspired by how Universal Standard showed this sweater over other pieces and tried it myself.  I wore it to brunch with friends over a fitted white v-neck and white ankle booties and my Hobo circle crossbody bag.

the universal standard yarra shrug sweater on wardrobe oxygen

black sweater | jeans | flats | earrings | bag

For dinner and a concert, I wore the sweater with jeans and flats.  More festive than a traditional knit top, but just as comfortable.  A pair of statement earrings and a crossbody to carry everything while still being able to hold a drink and dance and flat shoes so I am stable and comfy standing all night.

For the real-life capsule wardrobe I styled the sweater in three additional ways to show how versatile it can be.

universal standard capsule look jeans

black sweater | tank | jeans | flats | bag | earrings

This is the same look I'm wearing above and wore to a concert, but I added a tank underneath for a bit more coverage. I bought this bag from ALLSAINTS earlier this year.  I like that it's compact, but still big enough to carry everything I need for as night out. It comes with two straps, the chain one and a wide leather one. I've never used the leather one as it seems way too stiff, long, and wide for such a small bag.  But with the chain strap, I use this bag all the time (you all know, you see it in so many outfit posts!).  I wear it as a crossbody for concerts and events where I want my bag safe and my hands free, on the shoulder for everyday, and I've even wrapped the strap around my waist and have worn it like a belt bag.

universal standard capsule wardrobe look 2

black sweater | pants | pumps | bag | earrings 

You know when you get invited to one of those events where you have no idea what to wear?  Some people may be in dresses, some in jeans.  My go-to is a pair of black trousers in a seasonless fabric like these from WHBM, and an interesting top like this one. If you think people may be dressed up more, add heels, a bold lip, and a smaller purse.  More casual?  Wear flats and a more casual bag. Up the glam factor with statement shoes, sparkly jewelry, a beaded clutch.  This would be great for a gallery opening, bachelorette party, date night, a rehearsal dinner, a friend's birthday at a restaurant, and other events of similar festiveness and formality.

universal standard capsule wardrobe look 1

black sweater | skirt | heels | earrings | bag

The sweater also works well with a skirt. Here, I paired it with the Mosman skirt from Universal Standard.  Leatherette on the front and knit on the back, this skirt is super comfy but looks glam with a touch of rocker chic. With the one-shoulder sweater and strappy heels, this could be worn to a cocktail party. Like the above look, it can easily be glammed up further with sparkly jewelry and a dressier bag.  If unsure of the event, add a blazer over the look which could be taken off when you arrive at your destination.

And for those who are wondering, yes strapless bras exist that support and aren't painful.  I have this bra, I was professionally fitted and I can wear this one for a good six hours before wanting to yank it off. You can read about my favorite underpinnings in this blog post where I delve more into why I like this strapless bra.

When building a capsule wardrobe, or just trying to have a cohesive closet, don't be afraid to add an accent piece. This can be the thing that incorporates a current trend, the color of the season, or a fun element like a unique neckline or embellishment.  However, just with every other piece in your wardrobe, don't buy it unless you can envision it being worn in at least three different ways.

The white t-shirt was a gift from Amazon. The Universal Standard skirt and tank were gifts from the brand. The pants were a gift from White House Black Market. All items however are featured because I truly like them and wear them.

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. I love your outfit choices! I think in general I am more casual, but I enjoy learning about where you find things and LOVE your hits and misses posts (they give me that shopping rush without shopping!). Anyway, I wanted to mention that I’ve never picked an outfit based on what I thought other people at an event would be wearing. At least, not consciously. I’m sure I do it subconsciously. Obviously, I wear work-appropriate clothes to work, formal clothes to weddings, casual on the weekend but I’ve never thought – oh! people will be wearing dresses! I need to wear a dress, too.” . Is this something I missed by being raised by semi-hippies? I’ve heard of people choosing their clothes this way in a couple of places recently. Just wondering if it is something learned.

    1. That’s so interesting, I think it must be how we are raised! I was raised with a book of Emily Post’s Etiquette in the living room bookcase next to the classics (and my dad’s Clive Cusslers and James Mitcheners) and it was referenced before any social event. In the book they will state how black tie a woman should wear a certain length of dress, fabric, etc. Since then, rules have relaxed in regard to dress code, but it may be why I still think in that manner!

  2. Love this top! Do you find it to be warm (too warm) in the summer? I’m thinking the wool/cashmere would make it more wearable in the cooler months, but I’d be more inclined to wear this style in the summer… appreciate your thoughts! Thanks!

    1. I don’t think I’d wear it in August when the air is like boiling pea soup, but I did wear it last week when it was in the 80s and super high humidity.

  3. I’m taken with the shirt with a tank underneath. The black/white is good, and highlights how to do it, but you could have fun with a lot of other combinations. You didn’t even get into the top as a layer under the ubiquitous summer sweater or jean jacket!

  4. I’m sure you meant seasonless fabric not reasonless fabric, but it’s funny. I have several pairs of pants that are make out of reasonless fabric. I can’t appeal to them with logic no matter how reasonable my arguments are. Stupid, stupid jeans!

    1. I swear being on a Mac will be the end of me. The autocorrect is maddening and the cause of so many of my typos and hysterical misuse of words. I type too fast for it! Thank you for pointing it out! And LOLLLLLLL!

  5. I’m so glad you featured this piece! I did have it in my head that the pieces of a capsule wardrobe had to be as bland as possible. You look fabulous. I also think this piece would look great with overalls, can’t wait to see you style it with a pair!

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