Monday, July 14, 2014

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe from Scratch Step 16: Evaluating and Balancing our Neutrals

BIG BIG BIG EDIT:  THIS IS ONLY STEP SIXTEEN...

If you are going to make a typo, make a really big one! 

I had medical tests this a.m., and have been asleep all afternoon; I am so sorry for the delay in fixing this inexcusable error!

We're very close to wrapping up our capsule wardrobes, but there are a couple more things we need to do to make sure that our choices will work as well for us as possible.  So far, we've added pieces within our color scheme, but we've not been particularly rigorous in making sure that we have a balance between our neutrals.

To address this, I've looked at each wardrobe and tried to find the "Core of Four" (two tops and two bottoms, that will make 4 outfits) in each neutral.  For example, here in the brown and camel/beige wardrobe, we're well established with brown garments, but we haven't yet filled in a major gap of beige "tops".  

This is a pretty common oversight; sometimes we don't feel comfortable wearing one of our neutrals near our face.  If you're feeling this way, consider purchasing one top instead of two; don't skimp, but don't invest a mortgage payment in something that you're testing.  If you find that you just can't wear the neutral near your face, you can re-adjust your choices to have more accent colors near your face.  There's no hard and fast rule here, except that you should be happy with your wardrobe!

How to build a capsule wardrobe - step 16 - evaluate and balance neutral colors
 Links to all items can be found in earlier posts on the Starting From Scratch theme. 
How to build a capsule wardrobe - step 16 - evaluate and balance neutral colors
Camel sweater – Warehouse, tee shirt - Uniqlo

After adding these tops, and sorting our wardrobe by color, you can see that we have a lovely assortment of brown garments, a respectable and useful range of beige, some good "bridge" garments, and plenty of accents!

How to build a capsule wardrobe - step 16 - evaluate and balance neutral colors
Links to all items can be found in earlier posts on the Starting From Scratch theme.

They grey and black wardrobe is suffering from a shortage of greys!  It's easy to go overboard with one neutral at the expense of the other - just make sure to keep them balanced if you don't want to have items stranded in your wardrobe because they don't have enough "family members" for full utility.

Links to all items can be found in earlier posts on the Starting From Scratch theme.

We were missing a grey top and bottom?  How about a simple but madly versatile skirt and sweater - it's an outfit all on its own, and two separates that will be very at home in this closet.

How to build a capsule wardrobe - step 16 - evaluate and balance neutral colors
Grey skirt – Diane von Furstenberg, sweaterWal-G

This wardrobe now still shows a strong bias toward black, but the grey garments offer a lot more versatility.  The bridge garments are strongly represented; but we could add to the light neutral, and the bright blue...

How to build a capsule wardrobe - step 16 - evaluate and balance neutral colors
Links to all items can be found in earlier posts on the Starting From Scratch theme.

Similarly, we're rather neglected the olive garments in this wardrobe in my enthusiasm for the beautiful accent colors, and the rich elegance of beige...

How to build a capsule wardrobe - step 16 - evaluate and balance neutral colors
Links to all items can be found in earlier posts on the Starting From Scratch theme.

These two piece should make quite a bit of difference - they're simple, but will be beautiful worn together, and very useful when worn with everything else in this closet!

How to build a capsule wardrobe - step 16 - evaluate and balance neutral colors
Army green cashmere sweater – Jason Wu, skirtDerek Lam

This wardrobe now still shows a decided preference for beige neutrals, but has lovely accent garments.  Maybe a few more bridge garments would be useful?

How to build a capsule wardrobe - step 16 - evaluate and balance neutral colors
Links to all items can be found in earlier posts on the Starting From Scratch theme.

Another clear example of "neutral bias" - I haven't enough navy tops here! 

How to build a capsule wardrobe - step 16 - evaluate and balance neutral colors
Links to all items can be found in earlier posts on the Starting From Scratch theme.

I always opt for simple sweaters and tee shirts, but any simple navy shirt or blouse would also be perfect here...

How to build a capsule wardrobe - step 16 - evaluate and balance neutral colors
Navy cotton sweater – Closed, navy silk blouse – Theory

A couple of bridge garments, maybe another print, and this wardrobe will be nicely balanced.

How to build a capsule wardrobe - step 16 - evaluate and balance neutral colors
Links to all items can be found in earlier posts on the Starting From Scratch theme.

 The neutrals here are well balanced - there are clear "Core of Fours" in both neutrals, but there's a noticeable absence of light neutrals blouses or sweaters.  Unless you're completely opposed to wearing white, off-white or cream near your face, these are garments that are always useful to have on hand.

How to build a capsule wardrobe - step 16 - evaluate and balance neutral colors
Links to all items can be found in earlier posts on the Starting From Scratch theme.
How to build a capsule wardrobe - step 16 - evaluate and balance neutral colors
Off-white tee shirt – Joseph, off-white cotton sweater – MIH Jeans

Almost perfectly balanced neutrals (please note that you're almost NEVER going to have exactly the same number of pieces in each of your neutrals - that's really not an objective!), but a definitely lack of "bridge" garments... 

How to build a capsule wardrobe - step 16 - evaluate and balance neutral colors
Links to all items can be found in earlier posts on the Starting From Scratch theme.

 Here again we find an absence of beige blouses, sweaters or tee shirts.  While that might be a conscious choice because of a color aversion, it's worth trying these colors out - maybe with scarves or jewelry.  If you are firm in your color preferences, then stock up on accent colors or "bridge" garments that are easier to wear.


How to build a capsule wardrobe - step 16 - evaluate and balance neutral colors
Links to all items can be found in earlier posts on the Starting From Scratch theme.
How to build a capsule wardrobe - step 16 - evaluate and balance neutral colors
Cashmere sweater – Masters, tank top - Uniqlo

A bit more beige wouldn't go amiss here, and more accents could be handy. But it's an amazingly versatile and efficient wardrobe already.

How to build a capsule wardrobe - step 16 - evaluate and balance neutral colors
Links to all items can be found in earlier posts on the Starting From Scratch theme.
Artisan Made Jewelry Designs

How to build a capsule wardrobe - step 16 - evaluate and balance neutral colors
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33 comments:

  1. You have put so much work into thesee! There is so much to study. Beautiful. One collection I love is the beige snd olive. I think I would use the burgandy as my core neutral and get rid of the olive. Do you have a suggestion for another accent color that would work with these changes?

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    1. Burgundy is a big color in my wardrobe, probably more of a neutral than an accent. In addition to brown and olive (theoretically my neutrals but in quantity more like my accents), I also have a lot of eggplant purple, and burnt orange has gone from being a slightly scary "maybe I'll try this" to one of my new favorites.

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  2. Again, wow! This is like a PhD course in wardrobing:-)

    Kate

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  3. Brilliant! I thought the wardrobes were great before, but today's gives that information I needed to look at my own perfectly fine wardrobe to show me what I might be missing. I'm going to go in and group my clothes by color instead of item right now and see how things stand. I suspect it is bridge items I am missing. Thank you!

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  4. This post is absolutely great! I love the cohesive ensembles you are offering.
    I had not thought about the concept of "bridge garments" at all, but I know see that they are indispensable (and my wardrobe utterly lacks them). Could you please elaborate that idea in further posts? Thanks!

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  5. In the black and grey neutrals can I make bright pink work instead of red. Alternatively can I set up the navy/grey neutrals with bright pink instead of soft pink?

    Sorry to be so precise, my neutrals that work for me are black, navy and grey plus I like bright blue and pink!

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  6. Lo, and behold, when I took everything out of my closet and put it together by color, I discovered the only real problem I had was needing to remove those items from my closet that don't fit the scheme. You just saved me some real money - I do not need to buy anything else and already have a fabulous versatile wardrobe, thanks to you!

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  7. Anonymous, You were interested in navy/grey with bright pink. Look at post Friday, January 20, 2012:
    Wardrobe: Navy, Gray, BRIGHTS!!! and lots of outfits. This may give you more ideas. g.

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    1. Thanks ever so much! Off to view it now.

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    2. Swoon!!!!!! Thanks! x

      I'm new to this blog and sucking up every ounce of this scratch series, hadn't got as far as older posts.

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  8. Try typing "Navy, Gray, BRIGHTS!!!" into the search box. g.

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  9. You are simply amazing and this series has been incredible. Thank you. :)

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  10. PhD course in wardrobing indeed! Astonishing in every way. I am agog.

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  11. I've been following your blog for awhile now and have been learning a lot from this series. It's genius!

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  12. This is a most helpful series. I have a mostly worn out wardrobe, small budget, and several significant lifestyle changes in the last year. Currently, an unusually long stretch of warm weather is forcing additions to my summer wardrobe. I especially love your showing several palettes with neutrals and accents concurrently. This is very helpful. Thank you so much.

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  13. Janice, I have learned so much from this incredibly helpful series. It has moved me from understanding the concepts to making the clothing in my closet "click"! The editor in me, however, can't help but wonder where #16 is. I don't want to miss a bit! Thanks for all you do.

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  14. I just hope this gives you as much joy as it gives us to look at and marvel. Thanks : )

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  15. I have the same bias of grey over navy as my neutrals. I just bought my first mauve piece and it is really pretty. I will be looking to fill in more navy tops in the fall. I love this series so much!

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  16. This is so interesting to me; almost like a new mystery series unfolding. I'm seeing why my wardrobe doesn't quite work. I've got the one neutral thing down in spades. The problem is, that is all I have, so I just keep buying black, black, black everything. I need to work in the second neutral and the accent colors now. The problem is, after seeing all the lovely combinations here, I don't know what to select! I love the light blue you have, but the browns and blues together are also wonderful. Could you publish this in an e-book or something? I need to keep it handy so I can keep digging it out and trying to figure out the pieces. You are my heroine, truly.

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  17. I visit daily, but don't comment. Thank you for all the work you put into your posts. You are an amazing person for sharing this wonderful knowledge and helping others (and me!) make good choices.

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  18. I have been reading your blog daily and this series is the first one that convinced me that I really could do this. I just now got my color pie chart done and am working on the next stage in the series. I'd love to know how other people are progressing or even stumbling on following the series. What do you think of a reader sharing day?

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    1. How did you create a color pie chart? I would love to do this but have been unsuccessful in my attempts. Is there a site?

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    2. It's a pie chart, that you can make in Excel or PowerPoint. My days working in advertising come in handy now and then when I blog! I have never found another site on which you can make these graphs - if anybody knows of one, please let us know!

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    3. Thank you! I'm going to give it a whirl and have lots of fun in the process :)

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  19. That's just so clever! Can't wait to start re-grouping my own clothes when I'm back from my holidays
    Alice

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  20. I have been rather naughty in not commenting along this wonderful journey, but just love how you have grouped this last lot, it makes so much sense (it all did from the start) but seeing it set out like this is inspiring. PS did you get my email about the travel kit?

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    1. Your parcel is on the way! If you don't see it soon, let me know and we can try between us to track it down. big hug, Janice

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    2. Thank you Janice, I will let you know when it arrives. hugs, Sharon

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  21. I do love your blog and this week I realized why it's so resonant. I'm 60 so when I was growing up I played Ppaerdools all the time. cutting out or making flat paper outfits..and here on your blog is that same delight and fun and imagination. Thank you!

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  22. Hi Janice! Thanks for the wardrobe ideas... They're great! I was wondering where you got all your wonderful clothing pictures from? Also, wondering what software you used to bring your clothing peices together for complete outfits or complete wardrobes found on one page??? I would like to create pages for myself with all my own clothing on one page or different outfits I can put together with my own clothes. Then, I would also like to make a dream wardrobe page with clothing I will later purchase so I would like to know where I could get clothing pictures for inspiration for this dream wardrobe... Thanks for your answers, Julie :)

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    1. I grab images from all over the Internet, and work with them in PowerPoint. It allows you to rearrange things and resize them really easily!

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