Thursday, July 14, 2011

A capsule wardrobe of blue & grey, based on abalone shell jewelry

abalone shell photograph

Someone brilliantly requested that I build them a wardrobe based on the colors of the abalone shell.  With the inspiration I got from looking at, I built the following:
eight piece wardrobe based on the colors from an abalone shell
Blazer – Chloe (similar here), CardiganMiu Miu (similar here), Blouse – L. K. Bennett (similar here), Tee Shirt – J. Crew, Pants – Chloe (similar here), Skirt – Anglomania by Vivienne Westwood, (similar color here)
Jeans – Rag and Bone, (similar here) Scarf - Hermès

eight additional pieces for a capsule travel wardrobe based on the colors of abalone shells
blouse – L’Agence (similar here), Trench coat – Z Spoke by Zac Posen, Winter coat – Calvin Klein 
Collection, Dress – Chloe, Pants– Current/Elliott, Skirt – Diane von Furstenberg, Sweater – 
Miu Miu, jacket – Diane von Furstenberg

eight items to add to a capsule travel wardrobe based on the colors of an abalone shell
Dress – Moschino Cheap & Chic, Cardigan – Twenty8Twelve, Lilac tee– Market, 
Blue tee –, Long-sleeved top – Phase Eight, Pants – Michael Kors,
 Sweater – DKNY, Sleeveless blouse – Elie Saab

travel capsule wardrobe in blue, green and grey, based on the colors of an abalone shell

accessories for a wardrobe based on the colors in an abalone shell
Square scarves – Hermès, Handbag – Fendi, Oval amethyst earrings – Melissa Lo, 
Links necklace – Bex Rox, Blue agate ring – Max and Chloe, Mixed stone necklace – Ylang 23, 
Lilac stud earrings – Kate Spade, drop earrings – Ylang 23, Blue topaz hoop earrings – John Hardy,
 Watch – Gucci, Tall boots – Yves Saint Laurent, Gray kitten-heel pumps – Marc Jacobs, 
Gloves - Forzieri, Paisley muffler – Crumpet, Gray suede pumps – Miu Miu, Gray penny loafers –
Fratelli Rossetti, Gray short boot – N.D.C., Silver flat sandals – Prada, 
Denim boots –

Thanks so much for the FASCINATING request; I hope you like the results. 

Anybody interested in a custom wardrobe, just leave a comment (even an Anonymous comment!) with the particulars of what you'd like to see.  It could be based on a particular painting, or scarf, or just your favorite colors.  And for those of you with pending requests - I'm hard at work to find you the PERFECT items!



  1. Oh...this takes my breath away! I'm so glad you took the time to answer my request. Merci mille fois! I make (sew and knit) most of my wardrobe and I cannot tell you what an inspiration this is. I would wear my abalone every day if I could and having a wardrobe like this would make it possible.

  2. That is brilliant! What a wonderful inspiration piece.

  3. Oh wow, this is amazing! I just found your blog yesterday and I'm totally hooked. I went back and read every single one of your posts!

    I wear lots of autumn/earthy colors, and I would love to see you put together a wardrobe using that set of tones. For the neutrals I'm thinking a rich medium brown, tan/caramel/cognac, and army green. For the colors any mix of light olive green, mustard yellow, orange, teal, plum, and terra cotta. I realize that's a lot more colors than you usually work with, so please feel free to cut it down.

    I find it somewhat challenging to find chic and classic clothes in earthy colors, it's like companies think that everyone who wears brown is bohemian. I would be truly honored if you came up with a wardrobe in this palette!

    - Kate

  4. Bonjour Vivienne,

    This is wonderful. You are so creative.

    I'm a gold jewellry wearer and love to wear orange which I think always goes well with black or white depending on the season. I would love your suggestions for a core wardrobe for a femme d'un certain age. Perhaps designing wardrobe ensembles might be a new career for you?



  5. I love this and it seems perfect for the requester! But not for me. I am a short, graying brunette in her early 60s woman who lives in the South (think 4 seasons with an emphasis on hot & humid but occasionally snow/ice). I think Katherine Hepburn with more colors would be my inspiration. Casual, few skirts/dressy items, but chic. I love the colors of the sunset and sky plus silver/pewter jewelry with black, charcoal or dark jeans as the neutral.

  6. Hi there, I really want to take you up on your generous offer. I am going on two week Baltic cruise next summer and need a capsule wardrobe of casual clothes for the days on the ship and touring with some nicer things for dinners on the ship. It is not a fancy cruise. I am an autumn and love the colours in the painting La Trappestine by Alphonse Mucha. I am 63 and a figure 8 according to Imogen.

    A Canadian

  7. This is such a great idea. I love the wardrobe you came up with and I'm looking forward to more

  8. I totally love the abalone palette, because they're "my" colours! Here in New Zealand we call abalone paua (pronounced pah-wa with stress on the first syllable)and the jewellery is very popular! Merci mille fois indeed!

  9. Gorgeous colors! You are brilliant. I printed these all out toute suite. My coloring is cool (soft actually according to the Color me Beautiful books), so these colors would work well for me. Now, to go through my wardrobe.


  10. Down On His Luck by Frederick McCubbin beautifully captures the greens and golds of the Australian bush. Could this inspire a wardrobe?

    Thanks for having this fantastic idea - I'm checking your blog daily with great excitement.

  11. This is beautiful! Most of them are my colors also.

  12. Not only the georgeous colour combination, but also garments that show the softest of fabrics, and suede accessories that interpret the beautiful abalone shell.

    Mme UK

  13. I love these wardrobes you're doing! If you'd like another idea, I'd love to see your suggestions for my fall wardrobe.

    My usual colors are: blues, reds, purples. My favorite neutrals are black, white, charcoal, and taupes/camels. I also wear blue jeans quite often. It's a very casual workplace, but I'm trying not to be so casual EVERY day. :)

  14. I just found your blog and adore it. I could look at these wardrobes for hours. What a great idea to do a book!

    If you want another color set to think about, I would love to see a wardrobe based on the signature colors I've recently come to realize are my best colors-at-50 now that my skin and hair tones are changing from warm to a neutral mix.

    I think of a rose garden and red wines as my inspirations for the colors, and my brows and lashes (the dramatic point on my body) as inspiration for the neutrals:

    -Black and charcoal or heather grey
    -Claret, plum, plummy rose, or winy rose
    -Emerald or forest green (the leaves the set off the color in the roses, or the velvet that complements the wine)
    -And, of course, the colors white and dark denim

    I can't wait to see more of these wardrobes!

  15. Love, love, LOVE! Absolutely gorgeous. You have a great knack for this. xxBliss

  16. What a great idea! Beautiful choices!

  17. Simply sublime!

  18. Makes me want to burn everything in my closet and start over! An Abalone inspired wardrobe is wonderfully colorful yet subtle - thanks to the reader who requested it and to you for creating such a cool mix of clothing and accessories. -mary

  19. Oh-Oh-me next. I have SUCH a difficult time with this very thing and would LOVE to pare my closet down to a capsule wardrobe like you have displayed so very cleverly. This is so very wonderful of you to offer to do this!

    My colors are spring colors - bright and clear. Chocolate brown and bright clear navy for bottoms and creamy ivory and wherever your imagination takes you with bright and clear colors for the tops. I am mid-50s, big-busted with a "middle" weight problem that I'm currently working on (size 14). I recently bought a drape-collar cashmere tunic sweater with 3/4 sleeves that I LOVE in 2010 fall's bright purple. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

  20. Wow.. Very nice ! That would make a great gift for Valentine's Day :)

  21. Like everyone else, I think this is brilliant! You are truly gifted. And of course I can't resist making my own request; I frequently see pieces that I love and can put together a nice outfit, but a whole wardrobe is just beyond me. Nothing in my wardrobe seems cohesive.

    I'm fairly curvy and think structured, fitted pieces work best for me. Any tops that flow too much make me look pregnant (I'm not). Also, anything low-cut looks obscene on me. However, I love delicate fabrics--chiffon, satin, voile, etc. I also love soft, pastel colors (blues and greens especially). I'm a late-20s student and just got an internship in publishing and need work appropriate clothes on a budget. Style-wise, I love the layered, classic, preppy look (thick tights and oxford pumps!).

  22. I'm a year late to this post! But I adore this wardrobe. I love that it is harmonious but incorporates very little black. I don't wear a lot of black (I find it so harsh) but I still want a cohesive wardrobe. This color scheme is perfect. It would also span seasons easily.

  23. OK, here's my request: I am going to the Alps to teach art for three weeks. I intend to hike, there is casual classroom, movement and yoga, and maybe 2 -3 faculty events. I am 70, petite, curvy, shoulder length blonde hair and my best feature - aqua-like blue eyes. I am size 12. I come from the ocean and deserts of Southern Cali - and my students love it when my clothing reflects something of that . The abalone capsule was VERY inspirational, and I will go a-hunting for something like that. I usually bring them sand dollars as tiny gifts. What can we do?

  24. Dear Vivienne,
    3 years later this is as apropos as when the blog was written. What a treat!