Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Building a Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with a Scarf: Dark Pool by Elizabeth Blackadder

Dark Pond, Alhambra, Granada by Elizabeth Blackadder
Dark Pond, Alhambra, Granada, by Elizabeth Blackadder

A couple of years ago, the National Gallery of Scotland held an exhibit of the works of Elizabeth Blackadder. I've been hard-pressed to find an actual picture of the painting from which this was drawn, but this scarf remains available here at the gallery gift shop. And a great scarf it is, with some interesting possibilities.

Today I've chosen to focus on the accent colors on one end of the scarf - the pastel apricot, rose and light blue, in order to see how they will work with the murky, sophisticated greyish green that dominates the scarf:

Soft color scheme drawn from Dark Pond, Alhambra, Granada by Elizabeth Blackadder

This sort of olive/grey shade is tough to find in clothing, but well worth seeking out if it appeals to you and is flattering - it has a depth that looks sophisticated, and lends itself well to a wide variety of garments.  And you'd never run into yourself coming and going - it's not your garden-variety black or navy!

You can work with the neutral and light blue (or chambray):

olive green trousers and sweater with light blue top; chambray dress
Scarf – Elizabeth Blackadder’s Dark Pond, tank – Faherty, jeans – J Brand, cardigan - Heritage
rose quartz earrings – Ralph Lauren, chambray shirtdress – Rag and Bone

A simple summer dress in this color will look great with the scarf, and pink is always flattering...

olive sleeveless shirtdress; olive jacket, peach top and white jeans
Scarf – Elizabeth Blackadder’s Dark Pond,  shirtdress- Hartford, bracelet- Maiden-Art
sandals – Chaco, jacket – Isabel Marant Etoile, tee shirt – Dorothy Perkins, jeans – JBrand,
flats- Attilio Giusti Leombruni

Don't forget that there's a touch of apricot/coral in the scarf too, which is unusual, but perfect, with our neutral.

apricot sweater and olive skirt; sleeveless chambray shirt and olive trousers
Scarf – Elizabeth Blackadder’s Dark Pond, sweater – Acne Studio, skirt – Eastex
perforated flat – Frye, sleeveless top – Alice and Olivia, capris – Lafayette 148 New York

A couple more tops, and a few accessories:

two sweaters, a necklace, a bag and a scarf to coordinate with Elizabeth Blackadder's Dark Pond
Scarf – Elizabeth Blackadder’s Dark Pond,  sweater – Religion, necklace – Berry
sweater- Hobbs, canvas crossbody bag – Target, scarf – Leith

And this is your resulting suitcase, or capsule wardrobe, or three wardrobe clusters:

travel or capsule wardrobe based on Elizabeth Blackadder's Dark Pond scarf
color blocked sweater – Religionrose quartz earrings – Ralph Laurenjacket – Isabel Marant 
Etoiletee shirt – Dorothy Perkinsbracelet- Maiden-Art apricot sweater – Acne Studiogreen 
tweedy sweater- Hobbs, sleeveless top – Alice and Oliviacanvas crossbody bag – Target
tank – Fahertynecklace – Berrycardigan - Heritagesandals – Chacoscarf – Leithjeans – 
J Brand,  shirtdress- Hartfordskirt  Eastex, perforated flat – Fryejeans – JBrandcapris  
Lafayette 148 New York chambray shirtdress – Rag and Boneflats- Attilio Giusti Leombruni
You are spoiled for attractive choices...

eight outfits based on the colors found in Elizabeth Blackadder's Dark Pond

Tomorrow, I'm going to choose three different accent colors, and stick with the same neutral garments I used today. 

Looking back:

2012 - The Mother of the Betrothed - a guest post at A Femme d'un Certain Age.

2013 - Scarves are my inspiration in Hot Pink & Orange: A Packing Capsule based on Hermes Fleuri de Provence.



  1. I used to wear a lot of those dark olive colors but transitioned out because they were so hard to find. And of course black and navy took its place. Beautiful combinations, Janice.

  2. Janice, I do not know how you find some of these items, but I am beyond in love with this scarf. I am really considering ordering it right now!!

    1. One of my lovely readers sent me this request - isn't it wonderful? I encourage anybody to send me links to paintings, scarves, photographs of rooms, pieces of pottery - whatever...

    2. What address do we use to send images for your inspirations?

  3. When I first saw the khaki-ish color, I thought "no way", but now I am thinking "WAAAAAY!!" That is a really nice, and decidedly different take. With my growing collection of gray and all those accents, it would be easy to add in a piece or two of the khaki. Great idea. thanks.

  4. Love this olive green color too. Have few pieces in it and always get compliments when I wear them. Thank you for showing us neutrals don't have to be boring or predictable.

  5. I'm attracted to this neutral because it's a color that will literally work well in all four seasons, and looks like it would travel well too - a nice alternative to black !

  6. Gorgeous scarf and lovely color combinations. I am also a fan of that olive color.

  7. Good morning! Yesterday, when I was killing time waiting for the car to be repaired, I looked back at some of my favorite posts from The Vivienne Files. The ones I enjoyed the most (other than those featuring colors I use) were the ones where you took the outfits from cooler to warmer. They are a good demo of how to stretch what you have and I was impressed with how polished the warmer outfits were, even without scarves and jackets. Too often, warm clothes are just thrown on and not completed, due I suppose to the heat. Thank you for those posts and all the future ones. Theresa

  8. Olives and khakis look good on me, much better than black, grey and navy. I am slowly converting my neutrals to warm tans and olives and away from black and grey. This change definite suits me, but I often feel that when I see really smart looking women they are wearing black.

  9. I forgot how much I enjoy the start with art thinking!

    And without wanting to hijack the post, I saw Janice today — well, I presume not literally — but there was a woman I passed this morning who completely embodied your rules in a well tailored charcoal/navy suit, simple white shirt, beautiful red scarf, sensible(!) shoes, and interesting earrings. Simple; elegant. Perhaps she is a reader as well!

  10. I do love that soft pink top! I just looked at your later post with black, white and red which are more my colours than the soft ones, but I think I can do the pink.

    Anyway, it's lovely seeing the ideas you come up with, so keep up the good work!