Monday, January 27, 2014

Build a Capsule Wardrobe by Starting With a "Difficult" Scarf: Liberty London Ianthe Scarf

Yes, I was going to take the day off,  but I had this post finished...

 Liberty London makes this scarf is a variety of colors, some assorted sizes, and at least two different fabrics that I know of, but no matter how it's done, the Ianthe scarf is a popular classic.  But this scarf is subtle, understated, and challenging...

I really honed in on the subtlety of the coloring, and determined that very muted, dusty or milky colors would blend best.  The overall curved patterns combine to form a starburst feeling, which I wanted to hold in the back of my mind, and the very fine detailing meant that I was going to be watching for small stones in jewelry, fine but visible textures in fabric, and little finessed details that would only be apparent to the truly observant.

scarf - Liberty London

The jewelry - I'm always drawn to pearls, and the softness of the taupe pearls on the taupe cord were a natural fit.  The bracelet has the texture that I was looking for, and the great ring has both the starburst shape overall, combined with the tiny stones that give texture to the large geometric.  The brooch is sort of the same idea - it radiates out from a central motif, but has a lot of small details that lend richness and texture.  The earrings are both a perfect color, and share the starburst thought, as well as the delicate lines that make up the gold setting.

Scarf – Liberty London, pearl and silk necklace – Nikki Baker, cord and silver 
bead bracelet – Vivien Frank Designs, ring – Thierry Mugler, brooch – 
Adriana Orsini, earrings – Kalan by Suzanne Kalan

Colors have got to be subtle, for me, for this scarf.  I always look first for blue or red, and this very dusty, almost opalescent blue blouse felt right.  The watch is classic, but still has that bit of soft color that is one of my guiding aesthetics today.

For jeans, something with just the slightest bit of dusty color, along with some fun sunglasses, are balanced by the textury and soft sweater.  Woven shoes in a darker color ground the outfit without clashing or calling too much attention to themselves.

Scarf – Liberty London, silk blouse – Saint Laurent, pants – Maxmara
watch – Coach,  saddle shoes – Sebago, sunglasses – Elizabeth and James,
 sweater – Ted Baker, grey cotton pants – Swildens , flats – Sketchers 

And I always look for the red family - this absolutely gorgeous color would look good on pretty much anybody!  The earrings have the elongated diamonds that the scarf introduced, and the clutch share that diamond-y idea.  On the outfit on the right, notice the variety of buttons on the boots - those are the details that are the delight of the discerning...

Scarf – Liberty London, earrings – Alexis Bittar,  dress – JilSander
clutch bag – Suede, leather jacket – Alessandra Marchi, beige sweater – Theo,
tweed pants – Toast, boots – Dansko

While warm weather isn't the best time to wear scarves, you can still be consistent with your aesthetic motivations - here, by wearing the colors of your scarf, as well as a bit of texture in the shorts (yes, I would wear these shorts in  New York minute...), and the bracelet reflects the black and grey tones of your inspiration scarf.  Your comfy sandals have texture too...

And a simple tee shirt in muted blue, along with soft-toned pants and ballet flats still seem to share the overall ideal that we're pursuing.  Note the starburst pattern in the earrings, and the small stone details?

Scarf – Liberty London, tank top – Uniqlo,  Bermuda shorts – Societe 
Anonyme, bracelet – Chan Luu, sandals – Propet, earrings – Peggy Li,  
tee shirt – T by Alexander Wang pants – Etro, ballet flats – Pretty Ballerinas

And finally, for work, you can always get texture from a combination of sweater and skirt, and fun shoes that have a bit of small-detail sparkle...

Evening?  Let's work on the warm end of the spectrum with a blouse and pants in the same tones, and then kick it up a few miles with lacy earrings and similarly detailed pumps.

Scarf – Liberty London, sweater – Samuji, tweed skirt – Oasis, briefcase –  
Mandarina Duck, thinestone flats – Sperry Top-Sider,  lace earrings – Krista R.,
  silk blouse – Mauro Grifoni, pants – MSGM, lace pumps – Lucy Choi London

All together, this is a great wardrobe!

 Which gives you quite a few options:


Artisan Jewelry Designs


  1. It's Monday--but I see you just couldn't stay away! Lovely choices, fascinating commentary. Thank you, Janice!

    1. Fun to look at this, nearly a year later, and be just as inspired and impressed by your eye for detail, line, texture, and color.

  2. I love these features, even when the colours aren't ones I would wear! I look better in brighter colours, plus my best neutrals are navy, grey and black, so I have a special request for you. I recently bought this scarf from a company called Fat Face: I hope the link works: Would you be able to do a post using this scarf or one with similar colours? If not, don't worry as it will only encourage me to spend.......!

    1. Nice scarf. Which neutrals would you wear it with?

  3. Had to take a peek, even though it's Monday. Great post and I am left feeling like I got a special bonus to brighten a dreary -17 January in MN morning! Thank you.

  4. I love these features, and what a treat! I came on to look through some archived posts, and discovered you had, indeed, posted something new for us today. Thank you so much! I can't wear the muted colors, but I have learned so much from your explanation of the thought behind your selections. Now I am going to comb through the archives, as I need to fine-tune my navy/grey/wine winter theme.

  5. You were supposed to take the day off lol. This is simply beautiful!

  6. Let me chime in here about you not taking the day off....
    That said, I have a tone on tone scarf that gets little wear because I have always found it difficult to style right. That stone colored example is a good starting point for me.

  7. I had a wonderful afternoon in Libertys on my recent trip to London. A memory to keep!

  8. Janice, these posts - in which you describe a problem and the thought processes you use to tackle it, are invaluable. I hadn't thought about the variations in colors (dusty, milky), textures, and role of repetition until I read these posts. Thank you!

  9. With the fine detailing in this scarf, would you say it would look best on someone with fine boned details in their face? Someone that teds toward the petite?

  10. I have a black and taupe t-shirt that would look amazing with this scarf. The lack of contrast in the stripes has always made it difficult for me to pair this shirt with patterned scarves, but now I see that I could mix low-contrast patterns together. Thanks Janice!

  11. These combinations are lovely!

  12. This is exquisite! Thank you Janice. Your explanations of the details will help us all be discerning too.

  13. That's it! That's THE scarf I've been searching for (I just didn't know it existed). Thank you!