Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Four by Four Capsule Wardrobe in Mint Green, Grey, Denim and Brown

I've decided to change up the order of the colors in the titles, so that when we scan through a large number of them, the accent colors will be better emphasized.  They are, theoretically, where the fun it!

So one of you (you know who you are, you scamp!) fell in love with a deeply INAPPROPRIATE scarf:
Hermes silk scarf Fleurs et Papillons de Tissus
Hermes Fleurs et Papillons de Tissus
I would do hideously inappropriate things for this scarf in grey and pink, so I understand...

So this lovely scamp had pretty much committed to a color scheme with two neutrals of denim blue (not necessarily denim FABRIC, but that blue), and brown.  Her first accent color was planned to be grey, and she had not settled on a 2nd accent.  I proposed this color scheme to her:
Color scheme in Mint Green, Grey, Denim Blue and Brown

Suddenly things start to look MUCH more promising!

We of course started with the brown, and I managed to get an actual BROWN skirt this time...
Core of Four garments in brown: corduroy pants, tee shirt, skirt and sweater
Corduroy pants – Viyella, tee shirt – J. Crew, skirt -  Precis Petite, sweater – Dear Cashmere
And the blue was pretty simple to find:
Core of Four garments in denim blue: turtleneck, jeans, trousers and tee shirt
turtleneck – Jolie by Edward Spiers, jeans – Acne Studios, trousers – Chloe,  
blue tee shirt – Isabel Marant Etoile
The Expansion Four was not terribly hard to find - I looked for a jacket and a cardigan, as well as a couple more tops in blue, which are going to be gorgeous with brown (or grey...)
Expansion Four garments in brown and denim blue: tweed jacket, chambray shirt, sweater and cardigan
Tweed jacket – Charlott, chambray shirt – A.P.C., blue sweater – Jardin des Orangers,  
cardigan – Missoni
I love this Mileage Four - what gentle colors!
Expansion Four garments in mint green and grey: tunic sweater, blouse, sweater and tee shirt
Grey tunic sweater – Uniqlo, mint blouse – Paisie, mint sweater – Closed, grey tee – Bench Keel
And I can't emphasize enough that when you're trying to combine colors that aren't normally seen travelling together, don't forget to keep your eyes open for a Missoni scarf.  A website called The Real Real resells designer garments and accessories, and they often have Missoni.  The turn up on sale at,, and of course  (watch ebay though, they don't police for counterfeits, and their assortment shows their laziness)  And please note, I don't get commissions from any of these guys - I just know that they're good places to find marked down designer stuff!

In honor of the beauty of the Hermes scarf, I kept the jewelry in a "leafy" mood...
Accessories for the Mint Green, Grey, Denim and Brown 4 by 4 wardrobe
Square scarf – Hermes Fleur et Papillons de Tissus, pearl dangle earrings – Buana
bracelet – Ngurah Gedesilver leaf dangle earrings – Ngurah Gedebrown suede pumps – Trotters,  
ziggy scarf – Missoni, tote – Vanessa Bruno, riding boots – Enzo Angiolini
In this wardrobe, the original Hermes scarf looks very comfortable, no?
Four by Four wardrobe in Mint Green, Grey, Denim Blue and Brown, with accessories
Square scarf – Hermes Fleur et Papillons de Tissus, pearl dangle earrings – Buana
bracelet – Ngurah Gedesilver leaf dangle earrings – Ngurah Gedebrown suede 
pumps – Trotters ziggy scarf – Missoni, tote – Vanessa Brunoriding boots – Enzo Angiolini,
grey tunic sweater – Uniqlo, mint blouse – Paisie, mint sweater – Closed, grey tee – Bench Keel
tweed jacket – Charlott, chambray shirt – A.P.C., blue sweater – Jardin des Orangers,  
cardigan – Missoniturtleneck – Jolie by Edward Spiers, jeans – Acne Studios, trousers – Chloe,  
blue tee shirt – Isabel Marant Etoilecorduroy pants – Viyella, tee shirt – J. Crew, skirt -  Precis Petitesweater – Dear Cashmere

For those of you who are concerned about the upcoming Pantone Fall 2014 colors, and how they will work with your neutral choices, I've got a new Color Planner available that places each of the 10 "new" colors (ahem....) against all  91 of the "two neutral" combinations.  It's available on The Vivienne Files Document Store, aka that little tab near the top of the blog that takes you to a new page, and lists all of the documents that I've built for you, so far!




  1. These 4x4 wardrobes always look so practical - especially for a long trip! Any suggesetions for pulling a capsule wardobe like this out of an existing closet of clothes? I've tried with a few color combinations I like but always feel like I don't have or can't match many peices. Thanks!

  2. If you truly struggle to pull a coherent Four by Four from your closet, that might be a sign that it's time to invest in a few important core items. Start by figuring out what the four main colors are in your wardrobe, and then ensure that you have a very simple, high-quality, and versatile "Core of Four" in the two most neutral of those colors. From there, choose your accent garments. It's not uncommon to struggle with finding garments that incorporate the two neutral colors, so don't sweat that overmuch. You can always take six garments in each of your neutrals, and then add the accents.

    The best advice: make a plan for your wardrobe. Think about what you'd like it to look like in 2, 3, or 5 years. And shop with the plan. Don't deviate unless you have a SERIOUS moment during which you choose to completely, and permanently, change the plan.

  3. Suddenly the scarf is Mr. Appropriate, and all is right with the fashion world! Thank you, Janice.

    1. I try to bring peace to the wardrobe world...

  4. PS...
    Adore that Missoni cardigan, and quite enjoy the cheeky back slit on the gray T.

  5. I've been reading through your archives -- hello, put-off vacuuming and gardening -- and I have a request I haven't seen anyone else make. Would you be willing, when you show Hermes scarves, to provide the names of them in the captions? I realize many of them are vintage and you can't give a link for purchasing, but just having the name would be so helpful to me in my wardrobe planning. Thank you for considering this and for all quality work you have done and are doing!

  6. Great set! I especially love the inclusion of denim as a color!

  7. That scarf is truly a work of art. Lovely choices.

  8. I like the concept of Core 4, really I do, but I'm pear shaped and also dark colours are not good round my face.
    I can manage a matching dark top/dark bottom combo if I then add a bright/light/contrasting jacket and a chunky bright/light necklace. My contrasts are usually red or ivory.

  9. Beautiful scarf and GORGEOUS wardrobe. I could happily hang the whole lot in my bedroom and be content forever. I'm sure I've said it before, but you have such a gift Janice. Thank you!

  10. Love this scarf (I have it as well). And live your 4x4 guidelines in creating the capsules...I'm using them for rock n roll vintage concert t shirts as the jumping off point. So far so good☺