Tuesday, September 09, 2014

A 4 by 4 Capsule Wardrobe in Denim, Wine, Grey and... (AWOL)

 One of the unstated goals of The Vivienne Files is for all of us to benefit from the mistakes that I make or the problems that I encounter.  That was brought painfully home to me today when, after HOURS of looking in all of my secret stashes of garments, I could NOT find anything in leaf green.  Well, I'm pretty sure Target has some things, but they didn't have good photographs, so that puts them out of the literal picture for me...

I think it's safe to assume that someone out there right now is thinking about working on a color scheme for which one of the colors is very scarce in the market.  Like completely missing.  So how do you handle that - what do you do?

This was the capsule wardrobe that I cobbled together:

Grey and blue alpaca shawl – Sophie Allport, chain link earrings – Martine Viergever, mesh 
bracelet – YooLa,  garnet button earrings – Mariana Llanes, blue wool and cashmere wrap -  
Nordstromgrey canvas shoes – Converse, tote bag – Coet, grey suede boots – Aerosoles,
 grey jeans – Current/Elliott,grey sweater – Acne Studios, grey corduroy pants – Patagonia 
 grey Henley - Uniqloblue tee shirt – Uniqlocuffed blue jeans – Frameblue sweater –
 Steven Alan, dark wash jeans – A.P.C.flowered sweatshirt – Jaeger, grey smock top –  
Isabel Marant Etoile, plaid shirt – Current/Elliott,  flowered blouse – Dorothy 
Perkins, wine turtleneck – Uniqlowine and blue sweater – JilSander, wine shirt – Timeout
 wine and blue plaid shirt – Dorothy Perkins

And this was the color scheme with which I was working.  The ONLY green that I could really find was in the floral print of the elbow-sleeved blouse. 

This is a very casual wardrobe - all jeans and cords.

Grey jeans – Current/Elliott,grey sweater – Acne Studios,
 grey corduroy pantsPatagonia, grey Henley - Uniqlo

 I included a pair of dark wash jeans because they can "fake" being dressy.  Well, as dressy as jeans are going to get!

Blue tee shirt – Uniqlo, cuffed blue jeans – Frame
 blue sweater – Steven Alan, dark wash jeans – A.P.C. 

Here's where I branched out a little more than usual - I pretty much looked for tops that would look equally at home with the blue and the grey, and which, if possible, included one or two of the accent colors.  The range of items that can work well within a 4 by 4 wardrobe is pretty broad!

Flowered sweatshirt – Jaeger, grey smock top – Isabel Marant Etoile
plaid shirt – Current/Elliott,  flowered blouse – Dorothy Perkins 

If you have your heart set on a plaid shirt in a particular color scheme, check out the site call Yoox. Merchandise flies in and out of this site at a blinding pace, but they get a LOT of major designer merchandise deeply discounted, and the last time I checked they had at least 100 plaid shirts...

Wine turtleneck Uniqlo, wine and blue sweater – Jil Sander
wine shirt – Timeout, wine and blue plaid shirt – Dorothy Perkins

This is REALLY a casual wardrobe - no silk scarves, only simple stud earrings, canvas shoes, and a cool crocheted wire bracelet.

Grey and blue alpaca shawl – Sophie Allport, chain link earrings –  
Martine Viergever, mesh bracelet – YooLa,  garnet button earrings –  
Mariana Llanes, blue wool and cashmere wrap - Nordstrom, grey canvas shoes – Converse, tote bag – Coet
grey suede boots – Aerosoles



  1. Love it just as it is. If I was expanding the color scheme, I would add a little cream, or maybe a soft darker green than the leaf green. Very cozy for fall and winter, thanks.

    Sue in WI

  2. Hi, Janice, Great look here, even without the leaf green. I'm working on my wardrobe, and I'm thinking it's not a bad thing at all to work on neutrals and one accent only at first and then add the second accent later.

    I think the captions are wrong for the group shot of the clothing.

    1. Your captions aren't wrong -- *I'm* wrong! Sorry about that -- hasty reading makes unfortunate mistakes. :)

  3. I agree - perfect as is! (I didn't have a problem with the captions though...)

  4. I think it's helpful, actually, to think of one accent color as fall/winter and one as spring/summer. Leaf green will springing out everywhere come March and April.

    1. I agree, Gail, but I adore color so I have 2 accents for each season: lime-green and coral in spring / summer and olive / army green and dark red in fall / winter. Or at least that's supposed to be the plan ... I find myself having a hard time limiting my color palette, so there's some purple and orange and bright red sneaking back in. And then I know there will get to be a time in the dead of winter when I just can't stand the subdued dark palette anymore and I'll go buy something in a bright clear peach. Sigh.

      I think this is why I love TVF so much: Janice displays all the discipline that I totally lack!

    2. Literally laughing at my desk. This happens to me ALL. THE. TIME.

    3. Surely, Virginia and Squirrels Girl, we all hang out on Janice's blog because we'd like to imagine ourselves with a closet (and life) that disciplined! In truth, that admirable restraint is catching; because of Janice, I actually do much less impulse-color buying these days. Love the one you're with is my new motto. :)

  5. It's so frustrating when you want a color that isn't "au courant!" This is a great color combination, with and without the green. I found a nice leaf green and denim-blue scarf at Boden (http://www.bodenusa.com/en-US/Womens-Accessories/Hats,-Scarves-Gloves/AD157/Womens-Printed-Scarf.html).

  6. Green seems to be hard to find in any age range. My 2-year-old granddaughter has decided that green is her favourite colour and when her mother went looking for green clothing, she found just one olive green shirt. Personally, I'm loving all the greys and blues out there just now.

  7. RIT dye! I spent my weekend dyeing various items in my closet varying shades of navy, blue and purple. My favorite color is periwinkle but it can be hard to find the right color. Mix colors to get the perfect shade, also account for the items original color when dyeing.

  8. Try this scarf to pick up the green and blue in this wardrobe.
    A long time reader, I really appreciate your hard work, Janice!

  9. Oops! Sorry, didn't see this had already been posted by Zo.

  10. I am working on building my wardrobe from my fabric stash. My neutrals were easy I have plenty of gray and navy and enough soft white for several garments.My accents are the problem; I have teal/blue-green fabric so that is covered, but I have only one piece of rose. The same with a couple of other colors I have only one piece of fabric and in some cases the fabric would be more appropriate for Spring/Summer.
    I have decided to stick to my color scheme and just sew with the fabric I have. When I get those fabrics sewn I can then fabric shop!

  11. JC Penney has a range of green items.

  12. Oh my those gray suede boots from Aerosole look like me!! I may need to check those out! Janice, I hope that you and your friends will come over and register to win the $1000 gift card for shopping with Lafayette 148 New York that I am giving away. I will take contest entries all week...someone is going to get a fabulous shopping trip!

  13. How about this Duck Egg green Stretch Shirt from Charles Tyrwhitt - http://www.ctshirts.co.uk/womenswear/women%27s-shirts/Duck-egg-green-stretch-shirt?q=gbpdefault||ws238tel|||||4749,||||||||
    Alessa W. Dip Dye Cardigan from Kaleidoscope - http://www.kaleidoscope.co.uk/products/alessa-w-dip-dye-cardigan/_/A-B99550_10
    LIGHT GREEN TIMELESS CREW CARDIGAN from Woolovers - http://www.woolovers.com/cashmere-merino/womens/pistachio/classic-ladies-crew-cardigan.aspx
    GREEN CLASSIC LADIES CREW NECK SWEATER - http://www.woolovers.com/cashmere-merino/womens/pistachio/cashmere-ladies-crew-neck.aspx

  14. For those who would consider fleece, Eddie Bauer has jackets and vests in avocado. G

  15. If you are choosing this color group, you likely have some of the green in your wardrobe already. Knowing your colors is key because you can snatch them up when they become available. This is a process and the wardrobe builds and is refined over time.

    I am perusing the Woolovers site. It is difficult to find v-neck cardigans in the correct color and length. Now to find a site with blouses.....

  16. I love this! I'm working on my wardrobe using indigo denim and gray as my neutrals, and I wear only casual clothes, so it's very timely. Thanks!