Sunday, January 15, 2012

Wardrobe: Camel, Navy, Pastel and a LOT of pictures...

This post is going to cover a lot of bases:  I've received emails asking for a navy and camel wardrobe using pastels (specifically light blue and pink), I've had lots of questions about how many outfits can you REALLY get out of 24 items of clothing (over 100, easily), and I've had requests for showing how accessories can be worn with a variety of different ensembles.

Something to note here - once I got past the core of the two "eights" in the neutrals, I added some things that... well... not everybody would like!  Partly, I really love the plaid pants, but moreover, I wanted to show what kind of options are possible when building on a solid core.  And yes, I would wear those saddle shoes in a heartbeat!

Secondly, the "add-on" pieces don't have to all go together.  For example, I can't imagine that most people would wear the pink silk blouse underneath the navy & camel cardigan (add on the plaid pants for a dangerously WRONG outfit...)  But these aren't Garanimals - you can have some things that don't work together, just as long as they DO work with the core neutral "eights" upon which you're building.

So here, for your leisurely consumption, is the biggest blog post in the history of the internet!  (I'm prone to exaggeration, but this is a biggie...)

blazer – Rag & Bone, cardigan – Au Jour le Jour , blouse – L’Agence, sweater – Miu Miu, tee shirt – Ralph Lauren,  pants – Sandro, skirt – L.K. Bennett, dress – Zac Posen

Blazer – Joseph, cardigan – L.K. Bennett, blouse – The Row, v-neck sweater – Closed, tee shirt – Michael Stars, pants, skirt and dress – Joseph 

Camel & navy cardigan and tee – Dorothy Perkins, cotton shirt – Forzieri, sweater – Paul Smith, checked pants – DAKS, blue blouse – A.L.C.,  pink blouse – Diane von Furstenberg, tee shirt – J. Crew

1.Loafers – Debenhams, Scarf – Epice, earrings – Jamie Joseph
2.Brogues – Esquivel, Scarf – Mercy Delta, ring – Larkspur & Hawk
3.Pumps – L.K. Bennett, Scarf – Emilio Pucci, watch – AK Anne Klein

4. Loafers – Debenhams, Stud earrings – Kate Spade, tote - Gucci
5. Pumps – L.K. Bennett, Sodalite bracelet – Sydney Evan, gold stud earrings – Lord & Taylor
6. Pumps – Giuseppe Zanotti, necklace – Yves Saint Laurent, bag – Marc Jacobs

7. Loafers – Debenhams, Scarf – Liberty of London, pearl earrings – Gabrielle Sanchez
8. Pumps – Giuseppe Zanotti, Sunglasses – Tiffany, clutch bag – Maison Margin Margiela
9. Navy loafers – Rupert Sanderson, scarf – Hermès, tote - Gucci

10. Saddle shoes – Bass, scarf – Burberry, earrings – Lord & Taylor
11. Saddle shoes – Bass, bracelet – Sydney Evan
12. Saddle shoes – Bass, necklace – Dorothy Perkins, scarf – Barbour

13. Pumps – L.K. Bennett, Scarf – Hermès, brooch - 1928
14. Pumps – L.K. Bennett, scarf – Mercy Delta, Earrings – Jamie Joseph
15. Pumps – L.K. Bennett, necklace – Yves Saint Laurent, earrings – Lord & Taylor

16. Pumps – Giuseppe Zanotti, Scarf – Liberty of London, earrings – Renee Lewis
17. Pumps – Giuseppe Zanotti, Scarf – Epice, earrings – Jamie Joseph
18. Pumps – Giuseppe Zanotti, Scarf – Liberty of London, bag – Marc Jacobs

19. Loafers – Rupert Sanderson, scarf – Liberty of London, Tote – Gucci
20. Brogues – Esquivel, scarf – Mercy Delta, Earrings – Jamie Joseph
21. Loafers – Rupert Sanderson, earrings – Lord & Taylor, pearls – Kate Spade
22. Loafers – Debenhams, earrings – Renee Lewis, bag – Marc Jacobs
23. Loafers – Debenhams, scarf – Epice, earrings – Jamie Joseph
24. Loafers – Debenhams, earrings – Renee Lewis, sunglasses - Tiffany

25. Loafers – Rupert Sanderson, earrings – Kate SpadeTote – Gucci
26. Pumps – Giuseppe Zanotti, necklace – Rosantica, bag – Marc Jacobs
27. Pumps – Giuseppe Zanotti, scarf – Burberry, bracelet – Sydney Evan

28. Pumps – Giuseppe Zanotti, scarf – Emilio Pucci, bag – Marc Jacobs
29. Pumps – Giuseppe Zanotti, earrings – Lord & Taylor, necklace – Yves Saint Laurent
30. Pumps – Giuseppe Zanotti, Necklace – Rosantica, clutch – Maison Martin Margiela

31. Pumps – Giuseppe Zanotti, scarf – Rochas, clutch – Maison Martin Margiela
32. Loafers – Rupert Sanderson, pearls – Kate Spade, earrings – Lord & Taylor
33. Pumps – L.K. Bennett, earrings – Gabriella Sanchez, brooch - 1928

34. Loafers – Debenhams, cashmere scarf - Cashca
35. Pumps – Giuseppe Zanotti, necklace – Dorothy Perkins, clutch – Maison Martin Margiela
36. Loafers – Rupert Sanderson, necklace – Yves Saint Laurent, earrings – Kate Spade


  1. Omg, I love it!!! And other than a couple scarves, I have 75% of the initial 24 me many ideas, thank you


  2. What's the trick to getting all the navy items to match? Even if I take an item with me to the store, once I get things home, and in better light, they don't match.

  3. This is a tour de force! Bravissima!

  4. Wow! Really creative combo and a perfect demo of how expansive a smart capsule wardrobe can be with a little creativity. While I'm not 100% sold on pink + camel (probably because neither color suits me at all), this post is chock full of ideas for mixing and matching. Love love LOVE!

  5. beautifuldreamer1066January 16, 2012 at 12:32 AM

    I've been following your blog for a few weeks now and I am very impressed by the sage advice provided by your French mentor as well as your ability to pull together smart looking wardrobes from a limited number of clothing choices. My organized self adores the simplicity and economical use of wardrobe and yet my artsy self bucks the notion of narrowing my color palette. Dressing with restraint is much more difficult than it sounds!

    I like the concept of three sets of "crazy eights" to build the core wardrobe and because I live in Northern California, I could manage wearing the bulk of my clothes year-round if made with all-season wools, linens, and silks. My problem is that I tend to change my color palettes and fiber choices between chilly weather (black, gray, red, taupe, and white in silks and wools) and hot weather (navy, beige, shades of aqua or blue, and white in cottons and linens). If I followed the crazy eight formula for both "seasons", I would have 48 items of clothing in my closet, which seems counter productive for a chic, well edited wardrobe. My problem is that I can't see layering a light weight linen shell top under a sweater in the dead of winter or wearing a cropped cashmere cardi on a 102 degree day in July. To me, the fabrics do not feel right to use for both seasons. Where am I missing the boat here?

    1. I'm with beautiful...I know it's a bit early to think summer, but I've looked over your past posts and haven't seen a "it gets really hot here for months at a time" collection. Whether dry heat (Sacramento, Phoenix) or moist (Houston, Miami), how can we stay chic and cool-looking with a crazy 8 or 16?

  6. Again you amaze with your ability to take a color I don't like and make me want to wear it, lol. I absolutely love those plaid pants :)

  7. Dear Mary H.,
    The trick to getting navy to match? Best option is to buy things all at the same time, from the same company. That way, "suit-y" pieces like the blazer, skirt and pants will probably have been cut from the same fabric lot. While this doesn't guarantee matching, it increases the probability.
    Beyond that, for knitwear etc? Do the best you can and accept the fact that they're not going to match precisely. As long as they're quite close (like close enough to fool you in a store!), nobody is going to come squinting up to your outfit and criticize your failure to match your colors.
    And if they do, suggest that they get a life!
    thanks for the very good question,
    and thanks for being here,

    1. Thanks for the answer Vivienne! I'm really enjoying your blog (and LOVE your scarves!)

  8. So chic! Makes me wish I could wear camel.

  9. I have really been enjoying the remix of items. The visuals are really helpful! I've been paring down my wardrobe since finding your blog. I noticed right away that I have too many colors and too many items that do not mix well together. I'd love to see a post where you pluck out the items that don't work well to pare down a wardrobe. Thanks for all your hard work on these capsules.

  10. Dear Beautiful Dreamer,
    I'm definitely going to have to address the question of changing climates, since I live in Chicago, and face everything from sub-zero to nearly 100 degrees...
    That said, I'm trying to move toward Vivienne's admonition to me last year (see about not switching out my entire wardrobe twice a year. My husband doesn't do it; most men don't do it! Executive men wear wool 365 days a year...
    It's a conundrum, and I welcome any ideas you have about how women can move toward the same cost efficiency and independence from the whims of style that men seem to have mastered.
    This conversation will carry on for quite a while, I hope!
    and thanks for being here,

    1. Well, if you look at what executive men wear to work, it's cotton shirts (work in hot and cold weather) and very fine, very light wool suits. They work in air-conditioning and drive in air-conditioned cars. In the days before AC, men DID change to cotton seersucker suits or cotton poplin suits in the summer.
      This is just my opinion, but I think those of us in North America have to take Europeans' advice regarding seasonal changes with a small grain of salt. The Northern European climate is not nearly as hot as our continental climate, at least most of the time. I remember my mother's cousin visiting Illinois from Glasgow and nearly dying of the heat. Her clothes were way too hot!
      As a SAHM in the summer, I prefer cotton dresses, skirts, and tees. I leave my working wardrobe alone during the summer. Works for me!

  11. Love the stunning and stylish camel and navy combos(even the saddle shoes and plaid pants)--but paired with light blue and, especially pink, not so much. I'm thinking that mustard or cranberry would be much better mix and match-ups. But everything you post is instructive, helpful--and more fun than paper dolls!

  12. If I had been doing this wardrobe for myself... well, I'd have never included camel, because I look horrid in it! But I would probably have steered toward bolder accent colors like cranberry, or emerald? But I was specifically asked to incorporate pastels into a wardrobe (I'm thinking my reader was maybe fair and blonde?) so that's how these colors were chosen.
    The beauty of having the core garments in place is that it frees one to choose whatever accent colors (or more neutrals!) that they want, and the versatility and flexibility is still there.
    Thanks for reading - I appreciate your comments a lot!

  13. What amazing versatility with only 24 items of clothes. I love camel, but being fair and brunete, it looks dreadful on me. I tend to stick to black, navy, and gray. My conundrum is how to take these and make them both winter & summer appropriate. I have a terrible tendency to wear dresses all summer because they are cool and comfortable. Result? Lots of lots of clothes that don't span seasons well. And yet, it's hard to give up those summer dresses!

  14. Love it! The colours don't quite work for me though. What could I do with black, clear red, white and lots of stripes?

  15. Sorry to post again, but if this helps some commenters, I went through all the pictures imagining the camel garments and accessories to be a medium or light grey. Guess what? The wardrobe still works beautifully!

  16. This is fantastic. Exactly what I am looking for. The camel Au Jour du Jour cardigan is a dream. Of course, I just came upon this, and now cannot find that sweater anywhere. Do you have any suggestions for a substitute? I especially like the real just-above-hip length and square shoulders.