Friday, January 17, 2014

Wearing a Classic Burberry Scarf All Year: July through December

Let me explain a bit of the "step by step" of how I would envision the use of a scarf as a unifying theme within a wardrobe.  Starting with July - let's say you've decided that you want to get an entire new outfit in July, and you want to exercise the discipline implied by using a single scarf as your inspiration. You're working with four colors, and an overall sensibility and aesthetic of right angles, with woven textures.

July = hot, in the Northern Hemisphere.  But it also means work for many of us, so a dress is the plan.  You spot something solid red, in the world's most forgiving silhouette, so that choice is pretty straightforward.  But you don't want to add on red accessories; because that's a lot of red in one place...  Camel would be an option, but you choose black.  Your earrings have a square component that echoes the squares of the plaid, your ring has square facets which also share that sensibility, and your shiny black shoes pull it all together.

For August - it's impossible to dress for work.  (remember, the US doesn't have any laws requiring vacation time for ANYBODY, so many of us work at least 50 weeks a year)  Another dress, sleeveless for sweltering - khaki cotton because you can pretend like you're in the desert...  You know the air conditioning is going to be Arctic, so you'd better grab a cardigan (which will be useful all winter long).  Some accessories that mix black and tan, with a summery woven texture that reflects the woven nature of your plaid scarf.

You're almost certainly not going to wear your scarf in July and August, but your appreciation for the colors and the geometric and woven aesthetics of the pattern are still informing your purchases.

Scarf – Burberry , earrings – Aurea Sandra, dress Cedric Charlier, patent shoes – Walking Cradlesblack agate ring – Caipora Jewellery, cardigan – Adrianna Papell, sleeveless dress – Agnona, bag Arbol de Viento, slingback shoes – Bella Vita

In September, the call of a sweater is irresistible.  When you find a sweater that combines three of your four colors, AND which uses your woven motif in a beautiful new way, you immediately know it's right for you.  Completely unexpected winter white pants are grounded in camel boots, and the third color shows up in a ... (wait for it...)  WOVEN bracelet!

October - another sweater with your neutral colors, an an angular sensibility that's very synchronous with the angles of your scarf.  This time you opt for a skirt in camel that will go with September's sweater, or August's cardigan...

A briefcase and simple pumps.  You're set for anything.  (and look - four garments, four outfits!)

Scarf – Burberry, white wool pants – Emilio Pucci, sweater Kenzo, boots – By A., leather bracelet – Bottega Veneta,  sweater Giada Fratter, skirt – Dorothy Perkins, briefcase – Lubochka, pumps – Jimmy Choo

November is when you start feeling sincerely cold.  If you already have solid camel sweaters, and solid black sweaters, then this cardigan is a logical next step.  With black jeans and a black turtleneck, and a sturdy pair of boots (these boots are SUPER warm), you've got a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend outfit.

And December....  The holidays...  A simple black dress, since you have chosen black as one of your neutrals.  You already have plenty of accessories to wear with this - those October pumps would be gorgeous - but you decide to spring on something decidedly festive.  The black trim on the pumps holds things together so nicely...  and then some subtle, but decidedly red, jewelry, and you're ready to go! 



Scarf – Burberry, cardigan – Bark, jeans – Dorothy Perkins, cashmere turtleneck – Uniqlo, waterproof boots – Bogs, black dress – The Row, earrings – Chen Fuchs, ruby ring – Chen Fuchs, pumps – Sole Society
Of course, virtually none of us buy an entire new outfit each month!  But if you already own many of these pieces, you can start to see how just a few purchases can pull together your neutrals into a more coherent ensemble.

And, maybe better yet - this gives you a way to evaluate things in your wardrobe about which you're uncertain...   Does your garment fit into this scheme?  Or does it clash? 




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27 comments:

  1. I'm loving the descriptions in this post of the thought process behind the selections - texture, shape, angles. This is very helpful in looking at what I already have in new ways while creating outfits. Thank you!

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  2. I love the thought process behind the collections.
    Karen

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  3. I love the logic and thoughtfulness behind these wardrobe choices. One of the things I struggle with is impact of the seasonal changes in natural daylight that practically compel me to wear broad range of colors that do not conform to the kind of discipline that you embrace, e.g., pastels in spring, deep murky colors in fall, and jewel tones in winter. Do you have a remedy for that? Seriously, I know that I look awful in pastel pink, yellow, and violet but after the gloom of a midwestern winter I simply have to wear them for the sake of my sanity!

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    1. I struggle with the same thing!

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    2. Spring doesn't have to be about pastels. In fact, most of the pastels I see are in advertising and not in nature. How about this year you take a look at the Keukenhof Gardens in Holland (http://www.keukenhof.nl/) for inspiration. There are a few pastels there, but there are many more brilliant spring colors.

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    3. I'd love to hear Janice's thoughts on this seasonal color problem. So far, I have delt with it by wearing deeper shades in fall/winter and lighter versions in spring/summer. i.e. teal/ turquoise; purple/ lilac; cranberry/ pinks. etc. That way I can keep a tight color palette as we are taught here for maximum coordinating by varying the depth of my chosen accent colors.

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    4. I like your approach, Poppy. Balances seasonal desires with wardrobe approach.

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    5. I do the same, eg:
      Pesto or kiwi in spring/summer.
      Olive in fall/winter.

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  4. Brilliant advice!
    Vildy

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  5. I've said it once and I'll say it again: Janice you are a genius.

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  6. I love this set of clothing! And I understand the process of utilizing the scarf as inspiration to pull together a coherent group of garments that all work together. Thank you!

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  7. You have picked some gorgeous garments before, but that November cardigan.... Only 11 1/2 months to go before the end of my shopping fast! Thanks for explaining how things 'go together' to form a cohesive wardrobe. The devil is indeed in those small details.

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    1. I think "the joy is in the details" but it does require clear thinking and perseverance.

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  8. Fantastic. thank you so much for the breakdown and for sharing your thought process. Simply amazing day after day.

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  9. Lurker here, first time commenter.

    I LOVE the Burberry collection! I don't own a Burberry scarf but the colors that it prompted are really nice.

    As for the question you posed: I'm finding the scarf and art posts to be really inspiring. I also think they can work as travel sets but maybe that's just me.

    Late last year I began an obsession with scarves, particularly Vera Neumann scarves. I even bought a huge scarf with a Picasso reprint on it. Your blog is one of two that made me think of adding scarves for color and texture to outfits. After a lifetime of hand-me-downs that were just so so, I'm kinda hooked.

    So my vote is, keep on with the scarf sets. Occasionally, that's how I'll build an outfit now..starting with the scarf.

    As for the art, I love the idea and would like to see more of this. Especially in brighter sets based on paintings from impressionists Van Gogh and Monet. Of course, it would be nice to see an alternative viewpoint of the typical Mondrian or Warhol themes. And then there's always pushing into photography with the moody photos of Man Ray or the textured B&Ws from Ansel Adams. I'd LOVE to see what you come up with based on B&W art photography ;-P That would be groovy.

    Anyhoo, I love these sets.

    For what it's worth, the bigger you are, the more complaints you'll get. I once had someone scold me over one of my recipe titles. Take a note from Prince William...brush it off ;-P http://www.popsugar.co.uk/Prince-William-Brushes-Dirt-Off-His-Shoulder-Pictures-20982024

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  10. Thank you for the explanations; they are EXTREMELY helpful. I'm learning more by the day.

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  11. My capsule wardrobe is based on brown, camel and rust. Perfect, except....now my mother and father are telling me I'm wearing too much brown. Does this mean brown isn't my color? Any thoughts?

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    1. I don't think it necessarily means that brown is not your color. Some people just don't understand a simple wardrobe based on a few colors. Are you accessorizing your brown?

      You should be able to tell if brown is your color or not. If you are unsure, ask some other people for their opinion of how you look in brown compared to other colors.

      I've always liked brown and do think it is one of my colors. At the same time, I have found it difficult to find enough pieces to use brown as a base for most of my wardrobe. I turned to black.

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  12. So that's the thought processes - brilliantly explained. Inspirational as ever!

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  13. It's so helpful to have the explanation of tying together color, texture, pattern!
    Thanks again!

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  14. I'm drooling right now. Just beautiful!!

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  15. Thanks for the commentary - very helpful to see the thoughts behind the choices.

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  16. This is brilliant. Thanks for sharing your thought process - I understood the color inspirations, but really didn't think about shapes and textures as part of that. It doesn't matter if the inspiration comes from a scarf, art, or even a piece of jewelry - just that it provides a jumping off point. I love it all and look forward to each collection.

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  17. Janice, thank you for sharing your reasoning. You are teaching us to be independent. It's like going to fashion school - oh, wouldn't that be fun?! I love it when you start with art or scarves. It's so easy for us to transfer that thinking and birth something we love into our style! The artists who create scarves and art are vey gifted in the use of color. I don't have to be! You inspire me!

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  18. Janice, thanks so much for this post. I really appreciate the descriptions of your thought process behind choosing each item. It helps me get a lot more out of this scarf concept and see how I might apply this way of thinking to my own wardrobe (that is, it helps me take the images a bit less literally -- it's not necessarily about the scarf per se, it's about developing some kind of unified/coherent vision). I was going to say that I guess I'm not a visual person, but of course the description without the images would be nothing! The combination is just perfect. Thanks!

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  19. For another British classic, much under-rated, and less cliche than Burberry, I suggest Aquascutum. Just as gorgeous and classic, and it keeps from getting silly with the "pop" products the way Burberry has. Also, not copied ad nauseum by the Asians. Take a look at http://www.aquascutum.co.uk

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