Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Four by four Capsule Wardrobe: summer at the shore

When I see the ocean, it is NOT at the beach - it's more Humboldt County, California, or the west coast of Ireland, or the coast of Maine.  Warm, sunny days, cool evenings, and a gray and damp day every now and then, where you spend the day sitting by the fireplace...  This Four by Four Capsule Wardrobe gives you options for any kind of shoreline...


all items: L.L.Bean



all items: L.L.Bean

Yes, our rental house DOES have laundry facilities....


Lots of possibilities...

Throw in a little bit of color....


all items: L.L.Bean

 And essential accessories.


all items: L.L.Bean

I'm not necessarily saying that you need to run out and buy your entire summer wardrobe from L.L.Bean - I use these clothes as an example of what's possible.  But if you're a sturdy New Englander, with a fondness for classic, well-made clothes in pretty colors, you could certainly do worse!  Add in a couple of swimsuits, a pair of jeans, and a hooded sweatshirt, and you'd be in good shape for at least a week...

Tomorrow, I will expand on these items, to build an entire summer's worth of leisure...

25 comments:

  1. In the depths of a cold winter seeing all these summery outfits makes me want to go on holidays.

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  2. For those of us in the deep South, your choices seem more appropriate for colder climates. I still enjoy the retraining my eye is receiving. I have learned so much from you; about choices. How is your year of no shopping working?
    Karen

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  3. Perfect for the coast of Maine ... cool mornings, then the sun burns through & the day heats up. Today promises be a scorcher in New England! I love the simplicity of your 4's! It's nice to see them in various color combos, though you had me weeks ago at dark red & clay.

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  4. Brilliant. Going to Cape Cod in two weeks. I have similar items and will use this as a helpful guide.

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  5. White + beige = great summer palette. Love it.

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  6. Love the beige and white palette, too (especially if there's a washing machine handy!) but I do not at all share your fondnesss for LL Bean. Speaking for myself, I would be frumpy and shapeless, not "in good shape" whatsoever in a summer wardrobe of Bean clothes!

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  7. What can one say? You're a genius!

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  8. Your 4x4 wardrobes are a great way to rethink your wardrobe -- I'm on my 3rd week of a navy + white based one, and unlike when I tried to do the 30 pieces in 30 days project, I'm not freaking out because I don't know what to put in my wardrobe.

    I added more than just 16 pieces, but I'm using the "turn the hangers around" trick to see what I'm actually wearing.

    The effect? It gives me the confidence to think I could do a small "vivienne style" wardrobe with enough thought and patience.

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  9. Love your ideas, but no LL Bean for me. These clothes are too shapeless and cheap looking.

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  10. No relation to today's post, but just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your lessons about carefully distilling a wardrobe are working! I was browsing a local department store yesterday and found a cute classic red cardigan for $10. I picked it up, then as I walked around, I thought, hmmm Janice would want me to have a top to match this sweater to make it more versatile. Well, none to be found in the exact shade of red and the more I thought about it, the more I thought I was not going to be happy with the sweater! You saved me $10 but also a lot of regret for it not *working out*!! Thanks.

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  11. I am going away on a few vacations this summer. Your 4x4 system is a great way to have a lot of options to wear and keep the suitcase light! Most of my wardrobe already fits into a 4x4 - but somehow I would have never picked this out for travel. What great inspiration! Thanks.

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  12. I used to feel like Gail and Anonymous, Bean was too generic and shapeless. But then I bought two of the sailor's shirts, one for $20 (with a $10 discount coupon) and- wow, great. You have to pick and chose, same with Land's End. Wisdom lies in knowing which are crisp, classic workhorses and which are ill-tailored shmattes.

    I have a $130 fine cotton tee and a LE $20 modal one (the same kind you wear) and the difference is so minimal I wonder if I can spend $130 again.

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  13. I agree with Pam that knowing to buy things in sets of the same color, like building an ark of clothes, is an epiphany... and I just know it's going to work for me as soon as I can find even one set of any four garments in the same color.

    At the rate I'm going -- rejecting every item I see because it can't be part of a core of four without three partners of the same hue -- my existing all-black wardrobe will eventually wear out, and having found no groups of new clothes in any color upon which to build a capsule, I'll have to go naked -- my 'integration four' will be fig leafs.

    Please don't take this as a criticism; I love the theory here -- just having trouble making it happen when the rubber hits the mall.

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    Replies
    1. Maybe that's why shopping at LLBean or Lands End or J Crew works. You can find a core of four in one place.

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    2. Yes, that is the good thing about LLB/LE/JCrew. Not sure they carry fig leaves all year around! Laughing at that thought...

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    3. "L.L.Bean, Inc. is a leading multi-channel merchant of quality outdoor gear and apparel."

      Sadly, I work in a windowless office; my core of four plus four more must work at a desk rather than on a deck.

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  14. You are really good at this Janice! I have had an obsession with capsule wardrobes for years and would have to be sastisfied with the very occasional capsule spread in a magazine. So I find your site very interesting. I also like the way you do unusual colours. I have been doing black, white and tan/camel for a couple of years now and its working really well. Every now and then I buy random colour item just to break it up a bit, often in a large cotton scarfe. And I also wear blue denim. Haven't tried a four x four but I will. cheers Nick

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  15. I echo niccoss,,so much fun to play with. PLEASE, how do you make the little pictures?

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  16. Love this! It totally works for my summer lifestyle. I always struggle with summer because I teach and have professional garments for the rest of the year. When it comes to summer, I'm lost! This one helps alot - thanks!

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  17. Janice--I started this idea for a rural/retired/New England life last summer, continued it into the winter, and really am happy with the way my life is simplified. I agree that some items from LL Bean are cut in a shapeless style, but others, like their 3/4 sleeve linen shirts and the marinieres, fit me quite nicely. My summer wardrobe, aside from vintage/special items and accessories, is really just eight pieces. I like High/Low dressing in any case. Thanks again.

    Swissy

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  18. Janice: Your sense of color, shape, and style is fantastic. Your blog is the most helpful source of information and inspiration. I've been working (more or less) from a capsule wardrobe for many, many years, but I've also had my share of bad clothing buys. What I like (as a visual learner) is the way you demonstrate how to WORK the capsule wardrobe concept with endless possibilities, how to get additional mileage with accessories or with an additional shot of color, etc. I also appreciate your "fashion" no-no's (no skulls, etc. -- whose bad idea was that???) You are so fab!

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  19. You forgot the polarfleece :-).. I'd never go to the (Northern California) beach without it!

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  20. I grew up in Humboldt County! What beach do you go to? Also, I recently found your blog, I'm reading it from the beginning, and it's absolutely wonderful! Thank you for your perspective on fashion vs. style as well as being environmentally, economically, and ethically responsible.

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  21. I think L.L. Bean is perfect for casual summer wear. The white/khaki is the summer equivalent of the the black/grey winter clothes. It is all in accessorizing. If the L.L. Bean clothes is not fitted enough it may be that you need to size down. Some of their items are just a tad larger than other clothes, BUT clothes that isn't too tight is a lot cooler in the heat and their clothes is great quality for the purpose and can take a LOT of wash and wear (some of it with ironing). They also aren't all quite as loose fitting as they once may have been. Some of their items are in a variety of fits. And no, I don't work for them, and I don't get paid by them, either. :)

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