Tuesday, December 06, 2016


Back on the first of November (which seems like it was YEARS ago...) we left this capsule wardrobe looking this way:


How to evaluate a capsule wardrobe with a grey based color palette

If you need to track back and catch up on how we got to this point, the earlier posts can be found here:  January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November.

I had a hunch that this wardrobe was in pretty good shape, and this is borne out by the way that the Four by Four Capsule Wardrobe fell into place so easily:
 
How to evaluate a capsule wardrobe with a grey based color palette

I noticed something sort of interesting when I graphed the garments on the basis of season and dressiness - the cooler weather clothes were more casual, and the warmer weather items skewed a bit more dressy. 

This makes sense, when you think that a lot of us wear dresses frequently in the warm weather, but tend to layer on 37 sweaters when the temperatures drop. But it doesn't really reflect wardrobe needs - for many people, their dressiest events are in the cooler weather. So that's a possible wardrobe "gap" that could be addressed now.

How to evaluate a capsule wardrobe with a grey based color palette

When I sorted all of the pieces into categories, everything feels pretty well-balanced; no big absence of second layers, or shortage of tee shirts jumps out at me:

How to evaluate a capsule wardrobe with a grey based color palette

Shoes also feel pretty well balanced - as long as you have a pair of classic pumps, you're covered for a million dressy events! Maybe a pair of more "sturdy" boots, if the heroine of this particular story is an outdoor-ish sort?

How to evaluate a capsule wardrobe with a grey based color palette

When it was all said and done, and I'd looked at lots of nice things, I thought that a pair of more dressy winter pants might be a good starting point. I'm not talking tuxedo trousers here - those are too limited in usage for most of us! But a nice pair of wool trousers will dress us any simple sweater, especially in a room full of blue jeans.

And then I saw these sweaters, and just plain liked them; they will both look really great with the new pants, and will also be wearable with a ton of existing pieces of this wardrobe. A pair of sturdy, but not clunky, boots finishes out this last addition to the wardrobe:

How to evaluate a capsule wardrobe with a grey based color palette
Boots - Naturalizer; sweater – Miu Miu


Here's the updated wardrobe - I sincerely believe that someone could live for a long time with these clothes. Yes, you'd have to do some laundry pretty often, and you might really want a pink tee shirt at some stage! But still, you'd be fine...

How to evaluate a capsule wardrobe with a grey based color palette

You know full well that I'm an accessory fan, and I particularly like the way that these all "hang" together. The little punches of turquoise brighten things up, and the central theme of "fluid" silver is well-represented.

How to evaluate a capsule wardrobe with a grey based color palette

Of course, we wouldn't consider buying ANYTHING without clearly and SPECIFICALLY thinking of a variety of ways in which our new stuff can be worn. Our 3 new pieces here do quite nicely:

How to evaluate a capsule wardrobe with a grey based color palette

How to evaluate a capsule wardrobe with a grey based color palette

How to evaluate a capsule wardrobe with a grey based color palette

Realistically, this wardrobe could have stopped at the end of November; there was really no compelling need to add to it. It's important for us all to keep in our mind's back pocket the suggestion that we don't HAVE to buy anything. Unless you're literally partly naked, you should be able to cobble together something.

Addressing your desire for something new is an entirely different question - but in the interests of our budgets, and of the environment, it behooves us all to think about our purchases, seriously, before we purchase. I'm not telling you to never buy clothes again, but I would like to lovingly suggest that you think of your real reasons for buying before you do so. Just to be sure...

love,
Janice
How to evaluate a capsule wardrobe with a grey based color palette
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Monday, December 05, 2016

This seemed like it was going to be a really impractical, too pastel, too feminine exercise... but upon analysis, it's turned out quite well!

This was where we left it on the first of November:

capsule wardrobe in beige, ivory and soft blue
 
If you want to go back and catch up on earlier posts, check here:
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November.
 
Here was the first signal to me that this was a pretty well-constructed 11-month shopping adventure; I was easily able to pull out pieces to assemble a really functional Four by Four wardrobe:
Four by Four wardrobe in beige, ivory and soft blue
This layout, on spectrums of weather and of dressiness, might suggest that this heroine could use something dressy for cool weather...
evaluating the usefulness of capsule wardrobe pieces
And when I arranged all of the garments according to function, the only thing that really caught my eye was that there wasn't an ivory sweater that could be worn on its own...
evaluating the balance of a capsule wardrobe
The shoes also seemed to cover most of the areas pretty well. Since I knew that I was going to pay some attention to dressy cooler weather, I thought that a pair of shoes for that upper left quadrant might make sense - a dressy pair of boots? Something with a detail that's got texture, or a metallic? Hmmm...
evaluating the balance of a capsule wardrobe of shoes

These were my choices. While the ivory tee shirt isn't strictly a cool-weather garment, if it's worn underneath something, it would bring a nice touch of shine to an outfit. The ivory cardigan can be worn alone, or layered, and the striped shirt is just a really cool piece!

additions to a capsule wardrobe in beige, ivory and soft blue

As much as this is NOT a typical wardrobe, it's certainly versatile, and quite lovely...

a capsule wardrobe in beige, ivory and soft blue

I think these accessories are swoon-worthy... I'm NOT a pastel person, but I think that these have tremendous appeal:
an accessory capsule wardrobe in beige and soft blue
All of our new pieces are very versatile - I love the way this striped shirt dresses up or down so simply:
3 outfits using a striped shirt, from a capsule wardrobe

3 outfits using an ivory satin tee, from a capsule wardrobe

3 outfits using an ivory cardigan, from a capsule wardrobe

I think we've proven that, with careful planning, even the most unconventional color scheme can work for a coherent wardrobe.

love,
Janice

How to Evaluate a capsule wardrobe in a beige, ivory, and soft blue color palette
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Friday, December 02, 2016

If you want to go back and catch up on how we've arrived at this point, the earlier posts are here:
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November.

The second of our six wardrobes looked like this when we left it in November:

capsule wardrobe in brown, beige and orange

As I did yesterday, my first project is to try to fit these pieces into the Four by Four template. It seems to me that this wardrobe still could use a casual skirt. She already has 2 skirts, they they're both pretty dressy - maybe khaki is an option.

Four by Four wardrobe in brown, beige and orange

When I look at the existing wardrobe in terms of weather and dressiness, I find the same thing that I did yesterday - a shortage of simple tee shirts. That bottom right quadrant is pretty sparse:
 
evaluating a capsule wardrobe for functionality

And finally, when I lay all of the pieces out on the basis of their position on the body and in an outfit, I sort of feel like I want another cardigan. It seems to be a signature of this wardrobe, and when I saw another one in a gorgeous color, I knew what I wanted to add!
 
evaluating a capsule wardrobe for balance

I graphed out the shoes, and frankly I think they seem okay, but I felt that maybe another pair of summery casual shoes might be a nice addition...

evaluating the balance of a shoe capsule wardrobe

So these were my choices to add!

additions to a capsule wardrobe in brown, beige and orange

Here's where we leave the capsule wardrobe - options for any occasion:

capsule wardobe in brown, beige and orange

And these are the accessories:

accessory wardrobe in brown, beige and orange

As with any well-chosen garment that you choose to add to a capsule wardrobe, there are lots of possibilities for how to wear your acquisitions:
 
three capsule wardrobe outfits with an orange tee shirt

three capsule wardrobe outfits with a cinnamon cardigan

three capsule wardrobe outfits with a khaki skirt

This wardrobe has been fascinating to work with; the different feelings of the deep oranges and the softer beiges give a lot of variety!

love,
Janice

How to Evaluate a capsule wardrobe in a brown, beige, and orange color palette
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Thursday, December 01, 2016

Back in November, when we left this wardrobe, it was in pretty good shape. Eleven outfits had been collected into a pretty coherent, and pretty comprehensive, capsule wardrobe that would see most people through a great many of their activities:
capsule wardrobe in navy, teal and white

As I've said before, no wardrobe is ever really finished. Clothes wear out, or get damaged. Our sizes change, and sometimes, we just plain get completely fed up with a garment that we've worn a lot, and feel the need to replace it. So it's useful to have a few different ways to really look at a wardrobe and determine what might be needed, or useful, or helpful, to add. I thought of a couple of different ways to evaluate things...

First off, I thought that it would make sense to see if there were appropriate garments in the wardrobe to pull together a Four by Four wardrobe. There's nothing really magical about the Four by Four, but it does ensure that you have a reasonable balance of tops to bottoms, and enough neutral "second layers" to be able to use your other clothes efficiently.

For this wardrobe, I found that there are a lot of nice, basic navy garments here, but that a second navy jacket, blazer, or cardigan might be worth considering.

Four by Four wardrobe in navy with jade and turquoise

Another thing that I thought would be worth considering was the degree to which our heroine would be "covered" for a range of temperatures, and a range of "dressiness." So I built a simple grid upon which all of the clothes could be placed. (note that the location of each piece is pretty arbitrary!) What I notice here is that a couple of pieces for warmer weather casual might come in handy - she has 2 pair of shorts, but only 2 tops that are really ideal for them. That suggest a couple of tee shirts, to me...

Evaluating a capsule wardrobe in navy for usefulness

And one last evaluative technique that I wanted to consider was just to lay things out according to their "layering" role in a wardrobe. The top row is pieces that are strictly second layers. The middle - the upper layer of "tops" - is for pieces that can be worn on their own, or that can also be layered with something under them.

Then comes the regular tops, including dresses. (Dresses could also be considered bottoms, or they could have their own category.)

And finally, the bottoms - shorts, skirts, pants, capris....

Evaluating a capsule wardrobe in navy for balance

This is, in a way, a little bit harder to interpret because it doesn't really have any sort of indication of what would be a correct or appropriate amount of each type of item. But it might come in handy in the future, so I'm sticking with it.

When it comes to evaluating accessories, I'm going to focus mainly on shoes, because they're the only really important kind of accessory for which there might be a serious omission or "gap."

Evaluating a shoe wardrobe for balance and usefulness

Here, you can see that there's nothing in the bottom left - that cool weather casual footwear category...

So this is what I've chosen as our final additions to this wardrobe:

additions to a navy capsule wardrobe

After all of this, here is the "finished" wardrobe:

capsule wardrobe in navy, teal, and turquoise

And these are the collection of accessories:

Accessory capsule wardrobe in navy, silver and turquoise

Just in the interests of making certain that our new garments are going to be useful, I'm going to put together three complete outfits using each new garment. As you look at these, you can see that the owner of this wardrobe is going to be very well-dressed for a wide variety of activities and events!

Three capsule wardrobe outfits including a navy cardigan blazer

Three capsule wardrobe outfits including a turquoise tee shirt

Three capsule wardrobe outfits including a teal tee shirt

The earlier months of this series can be found here:
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November.


Because there's a lot involved in these detailed evaluations, I'm going to take SIX days to finish up this series. It's interesting to see how differently these wardrobes came together, and what various pieces seem best to "complete" them.

love,
Janice

How to Evaluate a capsule wardrobe in a navy, teal, and white color palette
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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Someone sent me this painting a few days ago, and the first thing that I noticed (after just generally admiring the lovely art) was the touches of teal and cool brown accent:
How Much Can Accessories Affect Your Capsule Wardrobe?

And I have to let you know that this painting set a record last week for the highest auction price EVER for a Canadian painting. Well worth it, in my opinion...

I was intrigued with the idea of a very conservative, mostly navy and grey wardrobe, accented with those two surprising accent colors. So I started with a few pieces, including a navy pantsuit. If you're looking for suit separates, I highly recommend Talbots - they have a variety of colors and fabrics.

Let's start with these basics - this is literally a Wardrobe Slot Machine, or a Whatever's Clean Wardrobe - you can't combine these 9 pieces badly, unless you start wearing pants on your head and tying the shirt around your hips as a skirt...


How Much Can Accessories Affect Your Capsule Wardrobe?

I just wanted to picture ALL of the possible iterations of these garments - 27 in all. Sometimes it doesn't really sink in unless I see it...
How Much Can Accessories Affect Your Capsule Wardrobe?

How Much Can Accessories Affect Your Capsule Wardrobe?

How Much Can Accessories Affect Your Capsule Wardrobe?

I'm not advocating that you only own 9 pieces of clothing, but if you wanted to start a capsule wardrobe, or a travel wardrobe, these 9 wouldn't be a bad way to begin.

Now, I wanted to experiment strictly with accessories in the accent colors, just to see how it worked. First up, the deeply delectable laboradorite, set in gold. When shopping for this stone, make certain that it's got the right amount of blue/green visible for your preferences; some of these stones can be very brown.

laboradorite jewelry set in gold to accent a capsule wardrobe

Honestly, if someone gave me these six pieces of jewelry, I'd be tempted to overthrown the reign of the pearl in my life and start over! And that delectable square ring comes in six different stones... sigh...

The other thing that I wanted to visualize was if cool brown leather accessories would look right with navy and grey clothes. Men have been wearing brown leather shoes and belts with their suits for a long time, but their brown is more that warm cognac/caramel brown. This is quite a different animal:

Brown leather accessories for a capsule wardrobe

First up, three outfits, with the jewelry. I vote that this is a complete and utter success!

How Much Can Accessories Affect Your Capsule Wardrobe?

My feeling for the brown leather accessories is mixed - I can see the appeal, but I personally wouldn't wear it. It's much more a statement for the woman who loves it...

How Much Can Accessories Affect Your Capsule Wardrobe?

I was considering building a larger wardrobe based on this painting, after I'm back from Paris. Does the idea appeal?

love,
Janice
How Much Can Accessories Affect Your Capsule Wardrobe?
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