Minimalism does not have to be black and white

Did I mention that I am a fan of the Vivienne Files and Into Mind? Good. I just had to make sure.
See, the reason why I love their blogs is that those girls come up with the most fabulous capsule wardrobes in all kinds of color combinations. Yes, color. They show very elegantly that having a capsule wardrobe of a few, smartly planned pieces does not mean you have to stick to black and white only. If you happen to like black and white, you sure can. But you do not have to.
In fact, the reason why I got started on building a capsule wardrobe was that I got bored of my all-black wardrobe. I knew that I wanted to incorporate more color, but at the same time had to make sure that the pieces I would buy could work together and give me a lot of options.

The key to success here is to plan ahead before buying. Here are some tips that worked well for me and many others:

1) Think about your lifestyle first and foremost. 
What do you do in a day? How does that have to be reflected in your wardrobe? Do you need more business attire or more casual clothes? What items do you feel the most comfortable in?

2) Look at your complexion, skin and eye color. 
Try to define your type. Are you a spring, summer, fall or winter? If you are a spring like me, are you a warm spring or a clear spring? Now this may sound difficult, but analyzing your type is quite easy. I got all my help from Pinterest, in fact. If you are unsure, you can also ask a family member or a friend.

3) Look at the color palettes that suit your type best and pick your favorites.
This was the fun part. While I have to admit that I was instantly drawn to some colors like marigold, I managed to keep an open mind and considered other options as well. Pick a few colors you like and line them up.

4) Design a color scheme.
Almost there, I promise. This second to last step will help you make a plan for going shopping. Look at your color picks and make a scheme. If you want to keep it simple for your first try, stick with four colors. Two neutrals and two accent colors. The neutrals will be your canvas on which you display the accent colors. Neutrals will also work well with each other so you can mix and match them endlessly basically. The accent colors will help you spice things up. For example, if you choose grey as a neutral, a splash of red will make the grey look so much more alive. Think grey sweater and a red skirt. Or grey pants and a red blouse. Here are a few of my ideas to give you a better idea of what I am talking about:

5) Go shopping for the clothes you defined. AND ONLY FOR THEM! 
This last point may be difficult in the beginning. I was so used to picking black from the racks that focusing on brown and grey was a challenge at first. I also had decided on a color scheme that included colors which were not available a lot this year. Hello, "rust" ;) To make things easier, you may want to go online shopping. See what colors are available right now and which garments are available in which colors. This will help you get a feeling for what is "out there". I like online shopping. No waiting for badly lit changing rooms, no stress. I can try items at home with actual daylight to see how they fit me and simply return them if I do not like them. But hey, if you like to hit the city, go ahead and do so.

A word of advice: Keep to your plan. If you are looking for specific items but cannot find them (right now), do not compromise on them. You have put so much effort in the planning, do not ruin your scheme by buying that one yellow blouse because they did not have it in red. Or because the sales clerk told you it looks good on you. You will end up with something that does not fit the scheme and thus does not get worn. Do not worry. Your capsule wardrobe will evolve and so will your clothing items. What you buy now will be great for winter, but in a few months, you will have to look for additions that fit spring and summer weather. Chances are that then you will find that mint green or salmon colored top you were searching for. Colors also follow seasons.

Your color type not only tells you WHAT colors you look best in, but also hints at when you can get them most likely. So for me, a warm spring type, next spring will probably be the easiest time to stock up on items. Have fun designing your minimalist capsule wardrobe with color!