Monday, August 19, 2013

Packing a Four by Four Capsule Wardrobe: Navy, Tan and Coral

I've had a ton of questions from readers about packing for trips that include multiple cities, and a variety of activities.  And I've also had a few requests for packing navy, tan (or khaki) and coral.  So I endeavor to answer questions and fulfil requests with this post.

As usual, I like to start with the travel outfit that includes a couple of capsule wardrobe essentials - I'm always a fan of a cardigan, long pants, loafers, and a big scarf.  Simple stud earrings don't get caught on things when you're sleeping on the plane.  Dark colors are good because they don't show wrinkles or spills, and a cardigan gives you the layering option for when the plane is cold.

navy and beige travel outfit
Gold shard earrings- De Anna Kiernan,  Tee shirt – Max Mara, navy cardigan – Miu Miu,
 checked pants – Steven Alan, scarf – milleneufcentquatrevinftquatre, watch – Fossil,
 tote bag - Brahmin

Then I start with a four-some in your dark neutral.  These four garments will give you four outfits, and they offer you a range of looks from extremely simple and casual to dressy.

navy four by four - two tops, a skirt and a pair of pants
Tee shirt – Majestic , Pleated top – Carven ,  capris- - Marni Edition, skirt – Miu Miu

4 outfits that you get from a navy four by four

 Next I  build a four by four of the second, lighter, neutral.  At this point, I usually introduce another cardigan, or a jacket.  Unless you're traveling  to someplace guaranteed to be extremely warm ALL the time, a second cardigan is useful.  Remember - a cardigan can be worn with nothing underneath them, just like a sweater.  And at this point in time, you're going to have a LOT of outfit options.


camel four by four of a tee shirt, cardigan, pants and skirt
Tee shirt – J. Crew, Tan pants- J. Crew, skirt – J. Crew, cardigan – J. Crew

six outfits that come from two four by fours - navy and camel

six outfits that come from two four by fours - navy and camel
 And finally, I pull together three accent-color tops, and a pair of jeans...  I don't know how many different outfits this would give you, but as long as you have access to laundry, you should be all set!

four garments to add to a travel wardrobe - jeans and three peach tops
Blush tunic – Mango, tee shirt – J.Crew, cotton shirt – J. Crew,  jeans  - Textile Elizabeth & James

six outfits that come from a navy tan and peach twelve pack

six outfits that come from a navy tan and peach twelve pack

Editorialist

16 comments:

  1. My favorite so far! If you wanted to add in a dress where would put it in this plan?

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    1. I'd probably slip in a simple navy or camel sheath dress...

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    2. Good thought...I'd have to swap that to an A-line, given my body shape, but I see where you're going with this. Merci!

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  2. I want those checked pants!!! Have a great week, Janice!!

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  3. Thanks, Janice: I suspect that I may have been one of the people who requested navy and coral, so I am happy to see this! I am about to go on a one-week holiday to Ávila and Madrid, so my suitcase may very well contain similar clothes, though some of my coral items are a deeper shade. I will have one jacket, as I have been told it might be cool in Ávila at night because of the altitude, but my jeans will be left behind. I'm saving them for when I visit the UK in October!

    As ever, very inspiring!

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  4. Largely due to the great examples here on the VF, I have worked out a similar formula for our annual month-long trips to Europe. When asked how much I take, I tell people "enough for a week plus a day." I plan on 8 tops, 4 bottoms and 2-3 pairs of shoes. I wear one combo on the plane. If I'm not going to wear each piece at least 3 times on the trip, it doesn't get packed. With scarves and jewelry (I rarely ever wore either until Janice came into my life), and planning on washing clothes weekly (or more often if there are machines in the apartments we usually rent), I always have way more combinations than the 30 or so I need. And it almost all fits in a 22" spinner that I can carry on with my tote. If I'm going to need a real coat of some kind, I wear it. It's very weird when we get on the plane in Tucson, but much appreciated when we arrive at the destination for which it's intended. One lesson I should have learned from my first trip to Europe in the late 1970s, is that I will not wear a skirt or dress enough to take one. I still have to fight the urge.

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  5. Love this process. I am on team large wardrobe but love the concept of a small well curated capsule.

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  6. Hi Janice! These capsules are incredibly helpful! Can't wait to see the accessories you add - especially the shoes - which always trip me up a bit (pardon the pun!) when packing only carry on. With a warm and cool neutral, I cannot wait to see the shoes you choose!!!

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  7. After reading your blog with fascination for some time, I have finally decided to streamline and coordinate my wardrobe. I'm going capsular! My neutral is grey, more towards the charcoal end than pale greys and my colour is blue, more petrols than navies. What would be a good accent colour to add later for variety? X

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    1. Plum! Every shade, from deepest purple to the lightest shades...

      Bottle green... with a hint of blue in it, and some depth.

      I'm still thinking!

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    2. The green I love, it will tie in well with the petrol blues I like as well!
      I'm not sure about the plum. I do love the colour, but I haven't really worn it since I dyed my hair red. (I also stopped wearing pastels, I feel best in strong colours now!)
      I'm also enjoying all the different textures of material there are out there. (Maybe you could do a texture based post? :-) ) This is such fun, and I never enjoyed shopping before!
      Rowan

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  8. Great ideas in today's post! When traveling I usually include a vest - down-filled or quilted in winter, wool or cotton for other seasons. This provides warmth without the bulk of sleeves and depending upon the style there might be lots of useful pockets. When not traveling I always have a vest or two in my wardrobe. As a sewist I often make vests reversible so that there's more colours for accents.

    I also use dark grey as my neutral and choose corals and blues as accents.



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  9. This is great. I have been trying to decide on capsule for our road trip to California next month. And this color combo really apeals to me. I figure we will hit a laundrymat just before we head back.


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  10. Wonderful system you have developed. I'm bookmarking it for my next trip. Goodbye to packing a full suitcase and ending up with nothing to wear! Many thanks!

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  11. Thanks! This looks beautiful! I have a question for you though... I am trying the ultra light packing route, and I was wondering what you would suggest if you were to have just a four by four and a travel outfit of a top, bottom, and cardigan? Should the four by four have more color? (I know you probably wouldn't, but for a girl whose DH doesn't like her to wear black all the time and notices). How would you accessorize such a small wardrobe? Especially if you only wanted to bring 2 pairs of shoes and keep the weight light? I hurt my back, and a lot of our travel is NOT conducive to wheeled luggage, not to mention having to maneuver one on an airplane anyway.

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    1. You're right - I'd just pack four black things and be done with it! But you could easily pack four items and be fine, and they wouldn't have to all be the same color. So long as the pieces all work together, you'd be fine. And then you could just pack one pair of shoes - something flat and lightweight... I have a feeling that this might make some good blog posts!

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