Friday, August 22, 2014

A Four by Four Capsule Wardrobe in Berry, Beige, Navy and Brown

I was going to save this post for during my Paris vacation (September 18 - 28!!!), but I really like it, and I think it shows two great accent colors that many of us could consider incorporating (at least in small doses) in our capsule wardrobes.  The fact that the berry red is going to be pretty flattering for many people is worth remembering...

Color scheme of Berry, Beige, Navy and Brown

The same starting four in brown, with a really brown skirt...

Core of Four garments in brown: corduroy pants, tee shirt, skirt and sweater
Corduroy pants – Viyella, tee shirt – J. Crew, skirt -  Precis Petitesweater – Dear Cashmere

And navy separates that look familiar too!

Core of Four navy garments: tee shirt, skirt, silk shirt and twill trousers
Navy tee – Lands’ End, skirt - Uniqlo, silk shirt – Lands’ End, twill trousers – Lands’ End
And these guys have been around too...

I think the most amazing thing about the clothing from The Row - aside from their prices - is that they're designed by the Olsen twins.  From Full House. I don't see that they have any fashion design, nor textile manufacturing, experience...  but they make some lovely things.
Expansion Four garments in navy and brown - color blocked sweater, plaid blouse, cardigan and turtleneck
sweater – The Row, asymmetric plaid blouse – Isabel Marant Etoile, cardigan – Uniqlo, turtleneck – Aniye By

Tell me that this berry red sweater wouldn't brighten up virtually any dreary day!

Mileage Four garments in berry and beige: sweater, tee shirt, plaid shirt and blouse
Bright berry sweater – L.L.Bean, beige tee – Uniqlo, flannel shirt – Uniqlo, silk blouse – Stella McCartney

The plaid scarf is from the men's department.  I don't for the life of me know why - it's not like women can't wear wool, or plaid, but I couldn't find anything comparable in the women's department.  Always remember, some of the most lovely scarves can be found in the men's department - and they will almost certainly be less expensive than a similar scarf made specifically for women.  Especially if you're looking at colors that are common in menswear, break on through to the other side once in a while.

The Integration Four + accessories: shoes, jewelry, scarves and a bag
Square silk scarf – Brooks Brothers, smoky quartz earrings – Ippolita, brown suede pumps – 
Trotters, gold bracelet – Lauren Ralph Laurentote bag – Marni, plaid wool scarf – Brooks Brothers
gold pyramid stud earrings – Lauren Ralph Lauren, riding boots – Enzo Angiolini
This just looks warm and autumn-like...

Four by Four Wardrobe, with accessories, in Berry, Beige, Navy and Brown
Square silk scarf – Brooks Brothers, smoky quartz earrings – Ippolita, brown suede pumps – Trotters
gold bracelet – Lauren Ralph Lauren,  tote bag – Marni, plaid wool scarf – Brooks Brothers, gold 
pyramid stud earrings – Lauren Ralph Lauren, riding boots – Enzo Angiolinibright berry sweater –
 L.L.Bean, beige tee – Uniqlo, flannel shirt – Uniqlosilk blouse – Stella McCartneysweater – 
The Row, asymmetric plaid blouse – Isabel Marant Etoile, cardigan – Uniqlo, turtleneck – Aniye By
Navy tee – Lands’ End, skirt - Uniqlo, silk shirt – Lands’ End, twill trousers – Lands’ Endcorduroy 
pants – Viyella, tee shirt – J. Crew, skirt -  Precis Petitesweater – Dear Cashmere



  1. Lovely! Thank you for expanding my horizons! I adore both brown & navy but have never worn them together. That is about to change!

  2. Amazing how that (menswear) plaid scarf ties this wardrobe together! Speaking of anticipating the warmth of autumn, I still re-visit at least weekly my all-time favorite (and that's really saying something!) of your posts, Janice--the two posts using amber accessories. No posts have influenced my own wardrobe and accessorizing more or given me more delight. I'd love to see another autumn post sometime inspired by amber accessories!

  3. This is beautiful...I just love brown and you are showing all of us how to wear it!

  4. Hi, I love blues and browns together, they have a richness no matter which hues, I too will be in Paris the same time as you! I will say hello If I see you! Bon journee!

  5. The brown in your color swatch looks like something we would call 'tobacco' in German. It is such a classic combination in men's wear.

  6. I arrive in Paris the morning of the 27th and immediately head for the train to Lyon. I'll be spending a few days in Paris around Oct 5-10 on my way back to the US.

    I'm already trying to come up with my travel wardrobe as I've never been to Europe in the fall. Looks like cool-ish weather.

  7. I like this very much ... a tweak would be to substitute rust for the berry, which could be done with two tops and two scarves. Your system is so brilliant that way -- you can refresh your wardrobe with very little investment, once you have the neutral cores in place. Thank you!

  8. I really love your work. I'm avid for it! Would you ever consider doing a piece using these same colors but with berry/maroon/claret as the main focus and cream as the second focus with the accents being navy and brown. Or would that be just too top heavy and out of balance?

    Out of curiosity, a question. I looked up the Land's End silk shirt. The description says 10% silk, 90% jersey. Jersey is not a fiber in North America – it is a knitted fabric. So that description really doesn't tell us what the shirt is made of. The question is: can you with your influential blog keep these sellers on their toes with correct descriptions of their products? The online purchaser requires integrity from the seller.
    Thank you.

  9. Oh I really love the berry and this could be a great combination for Autumn next year!

  10. Thank you for all your work. I have been using your Starting from Scratch worksheets to create my wardrobe. I find the four by four very useful. My neutrals are chocolate brown and denim (the fabric only). My accents are golden yellow and olive green. I also have cognac accessories (shoes and bags) and amber jewellery. I am recently retired so my wardrobe is becoming more relaxed.

    I just came back from a shopping trip using your worksheets and what a difference it made!!!! I bought what fit into my overall plan and elegantly refused what did not. Thank you!!!!!


  11. Now this one i could actually see myself wearing....