Friday, September 14, 2012

A Common Capsule Wardrobe, with purple

If you have brown eyes with a purple ring around the iris, you're a witch.  Or at least that's what they believed in the village in which she was raised.  So, she decided to run with it...

Purple accessories - shoes, belts, bags, scarves and jewelry - to wear with A Common Wardrobe.
Earrings & ring – Monica Vinader, stud earrings – Scully & Scully, watch – Triwa Dandy, necklaces – Lisa Stewart, 
bracelet – Amanda Rudey, belt – Romwe, cashmere scarf – Faliero Sarti, square scarf – Hermès, ballet flats – J. Crew, bag – 
Furla, paisley scarf – Liberty London, purple penny loafers – Yves Saint Laurent

The original version of A Common Wardrobe.
all clothes - J. Crew

The original version of A Common Wardrobe, with purple accessories.



  1. Very fun!

  2. I recently started packing for a trip and got all my various bags out to see what I would need (weekender, laptop bag, gym bag, everyday purse). With them all sitting out in close proximity to each other I realized that each bag is either solid purple or has purple as its base. I think I accidentally realized that purple is becoming my signature color...

    I'm not sure about the colorful shoes thing. Don't get me wrong, it looks AMAZING in these vignettes. But in real life, I feel colorful shoes would be too memorable and too hard to coordinate with other colors. I only own a dozen pair of shoes, so if half were purple I would be wearing purple shoes all.the.time., and I would need a separate pair of shoes for when I want to wear my hot pink overcoat, etc. (Somehow I am OK with having one memorable coat or handbag, as I feel people don't really think twice about you wearing the same coat or bag every day.)

    Just wondering how people with a closet of neutrals work in the colorful accessories in real life. Do you just pick one color and stick with it? (Meaning, the woman in this post wouldn't own a hot pink overcoat, it would be either neutral or purple?) Or do you have accessories in multiple colorways, and end up with more than a dozen shoes, a half dozen scarves, etc.?

    1. I personally have stuff in multiple colorways. While I'm trying to pare down on new purchases, I'm not going to throw out everything I have and love. So I have turquoise, bright blue, fuschia, purple and both cabernet and tomato red (probably a mistake). My neutrals are grey, black and a little bit of forest green. I keep my stuff just about forever, so some of the scarves may be 30 years old.

      As for colored shoes, I'm loving Target lately--you can get those colored ballet pumps for about $15. Are they superior quality and last forever? No, but I'm hard on shoes anyway. Since I work at a home office, I don't have as much use for colored handbags, and outside of black and luggage tan, the bags I have are fabric ones I've made--I sew a lot.

      Janice shows amazing quality, but I think you can knock-off some of these looks or parts of them for far less--which is exactly what the French do!

    2. Thanks for your response! Sometimes I wish I could go on a closet tour and just look in other people's closets to see how much stuff they have, and of what types. That sounds incredibly creepy! But the topic fascinates me.

      I'm hard on shoes, too, and yet I once had a pair of faux-leather kitten heel pumps from Target that lasted ages--I had to get the heel tips replaced twice because I wore them so much. I should check them out again.

  3. Zowie-wowie! Love purple.

  4. I don't know which I am enjoying more -- the lovely accessories or the marvelous vignettes! Thank you. Susan (Mpls)

  5. I'm not loving this feature because I realize I don't really like the clothes. There's not an item I would be interested in buying.

    But, I love all the accessories! So what I'm getting out of it all is that accessories are just as important as clothes and actually do more to express your individuality. Interesting.

    1. I'm not picking on you by asking this, I'm just curious--is it the colors you don't care for? Or the particular pieces?

      I can't imagine many people wouldn't want at least one of these twelve items, in whatever form makes sense for them--a pair of black pants or blue jeans, or a white blouse or gray t-shirt or black cardigan--at least one of these things. I suppose some people find black too harsh and white too impractical. But I'm truly curious what doesn't work for you here.

      I recently went through my wardrobe and realized I had waaaay too many impractical items and huge gaps when it came to the basics, so I am coming to these posts from the perspective of someone newly converted to these types of basic items.

    2. Okay, I do have khaki pants and black pants and a black cardigan. I guess the closest outfit I would wear is the black pants, grey T, black cardigan. So it's not true that I wouldn't wear any of it.

      But overall what I'm not going for in the clothes is that they look so bland, even a little grunge. That's not the right word, I just can't think of another. They contrast too much with the dressy accessories.

      But I know the point is how important accessories are...that clothes can be basic and accessories can shine. So I'm learning something even if I have liked other looks more.

    3. That makes total sense, thank you for explaining it. When Janice introduced the series, the scenario was that most people wear one or two of the 12 items and presumably mix them with other clothing items (like the cardigan with a fantastic skirt, or the chambray shirt under a colorful v-neck)... but in the vignettes, the only clothing items are the 12 items. I can see how the contrast between the very basic clothing and the very luxe accessories is pretty jarring.

    4. Dressed down...that's the description I was hunting for. The contrast is too much for me. For accessories like these I would want more dressed up clothes. Casual would still be okay, just one step up. To be this dressed down I would have more casual accessories.

      But, thank goodness we don't all like the same things. I believe that is the whole point!

  6. Hi Janice,

    I think this series has struck a lot of chords with your audience. I know it has for me. I had a very big aha moment about a core wardrobe. I don't know why it took so long because I read your blog everyday!!
    I keep getting distracted and waylaid by interesting pieces ( with mega wappage)which then need other pieces to make them work. I am now firmly determined to collect a wardrobe core of exactly these items plus one skirt. However, they will be in my colours of indigo, warm brown, vanilla with touches of warm red/eggplant.
    It seems that many of us would like to do this but may not want torn jeans. So, I thought, Janice can help us. Is it of interest to you to take these exact items but interpret them for different types? Like, Bohemian, Celine like minimalist, romantic and sporty, etc? Just a pressure.

    Deb from Vancouver

  7. Purple is my FAVORITE color!!! I just LOVE this post!!! I have so much mixes will with jeans, beiges and sometimes even black (depends on the intensity of the purple) or pinks. So I have purchased affordable as well as more expensive accessories in purple and they go with so much, it is worth the investment :-)

  8. Hello from a long time reader in Australia! Loving the purple, my favourite colour. Thanks so much for this series Janice, and I can't begin to tell you how much I love your blog. Your advice has been such a help in paring back my wardrobe and getting what I already have to work with new purchases. As a somewhat impulsive shopper, you have helped me to step back and think 'how will this work with my core wardrobe?'. Still a little room for things with the whappage factor though ;-). Thanks again, Lisa in Australia

  9. Hi Janice - I love this series and especially the purple one. My other favourite was amber. Recently a friend told me I was always wearing purple, which isn't quite true as I also like wearing red, plus neutrals of course. I have done my own homage to Janice on my blog, called "The Uncommon Wardrobe", using red accessories: I would be grateful for other people's comments. Please note that it's not as professional as Janice's blog and my accessories aren't expensive. If Janice does a post with red accessories, I may be tempted......! Sue in Spain