Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Build a Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with a scarf: Orange Hermes Art des Steppes

It's never too late to pull out a scarf that you've owned for years and recommit yourself to building around it, and wearing it more! One of you has been living with, and loving, this scarf (a cashmere and silk blend wrap) for quite a while, but feel like there's more to be done with this lovely thing.
Hermes Art des Steppes - no longer available

My first move with any scarf is to take a good look at it, from a distance, with my eyes squinting, and see what neutral colors seem prominent to me. I then look for colors that "jump out" - those are accents. This is the color scheme that I saw in this scarf. Bear in mind that I could easily find more colors - there's no one "correct" color scheme here!

Hermes Art des Steppes - no longer available

I'm thinking of this scarf for travel in the spring - an annoyingly unpredictable mix of warm and cool, so I'm picking a mix of skirt, trousers, shorts, tank tops, a cashmere cardigan - a wide variety, to give us abundant layering choices so that we're prepared for all kinds of weather.

Cardigan, skirt, tunic and pants - Uniqlo

Tank, chinos, cardigan and shorts - Uniqlo

The accent colors are always where the real fun starts! I picked just one piece in each of the three bright colors, and added another beige top because I wanted something with a bit more coverage than the tank top. You'll be surprised how much you can do with just one orange cardigan, or purple tee shirt!

If I were going to buy just one garment that would make it easier to wear my beautiful scarf more often, I'd grab an orange cardigan...

Orange cardigan – Dash, pink silk tank – Uniqlo,
purple tee –
Tulchan, beige tee - Uniqlo 

Since I'm looking upon this as a travel wardrobe, I kept the shoe selection small - beige sandals that will be perfect with your shorts or trousers, and a pair of navy flats that are equally at home with pants or your skirt. Some bright jewelry pick up your accent colors, while a couple of pair of gold earrings give you finish and shine when you're wearing neutrals. A lightweight nylon navy tote, and you're ready to go!

Beige sandals – Sam Edelman, orange and hot pink necklace – Dabby Reid
gold stud earrings – La Kaiser, pink pendant – Dabby Reid, navy wedges – French Sole
bead bracelet – She-Beads, tote – MZ Wallace, gold birdcage earrings - Kasturjewels

This is everything you'll have with you - a really solid base of neutrals, with a few punches of color to keep things lively.

gold birdcage earrings - Kasturjewelsbeige tee - Uniqlogold stud earrings
 – La Kaiser, navy tunic - Uniqlo, purple tee – Tulchanbeige cardigan - 
Uniqlo, orange cardigan – Dash, bead bracelet – She-Beads,  beige tank - Uniqlo,
 orange and hot pink necklace – Dabby Reid, pink pendant – Dabby Reid
 navy cardigan - Uniqlo, navy skirt - Uniqlo,  chinos - Uniqlo, pink 
silk tank – Uniqlonavy pants - Uniqlo, shorts - Uniqlo, navy wedges –  
French Sole, beige sandals – Sam Edelman,  tote – MZ Wallace

Lots of possibilities - this is a far-from-exhaustive sampling of outfits:

And remember, any of these outfits could include the gorgeous scarf if it's cool, or if the air conditioning is out of control.


Looking Back:

2014: Start with Art: The Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer (a great painting, and some beautiful clothes!)

2013: Packing for a warm-weather vacation, in red and navy - how to pack light, when there's a strict weight limit for luggage



  1. Dear Janice, maybe you can help me. I have u purple leather jacket for years and I am not wearing it a lot, because it seems hard to me to choose colors and style that is appropriate. It is similar to this jacket from my pinterest meaning the color and the length. It is button down, not sportish as this one. I need color scheme for it and tips like shirt or blouse, accessories etc. Please help me. Below is the link for my pinterest picture. Thanks in advance, Maja from Serbia

  2. That scarf is a real beauty!! Once again, brilliant wardrobe building!

  3. I love the orange cardigan and have one in a similar style myself. I love your site and thank you for all that you do for us and the beautiful things your create. You have me itching to create similar outfits as warm beige and navy are 2 of my neutrals. I personally don't like cool colors on me, but the scarf has helped me see how they might mesh. Your blog is a must read for me and has helped me understand so much about myself and what I do and dont' like in items and to just go with what I like. Fashion is now more fun for me and that is saying a lot at 40+. the flowy, loose everything trend seems to be popular for 40+ ladies and while I think it looks great on lots of ladies, its not for me, I like the structured look, with maybe a little flowy cardigan, or belted tunic. Your blog has also helped me finally realize the importance of good solid neutral basics and not just one of them. The core 4 has been eye opening for me, especially since I now realize, I love one column of color on myself and feel best in 2 colors with a possible third accent thrown in. Thanks again for this fantastic blog. Natalie

  4. YES YES YES. More perfection, I love that scarf!!

  5. Starting with the scarf certainly results in a dynamic set of clothes for your wardrobe. The neutrals are what keep it all together and working well but the eye certainly goes to the colour each time - a great principle for us lovers of colour to apply. Fabulous!! :)

  6. Such fun! 'My first move with any scarf is to take a good look at it' and then see if I can guess what Janice has chosen as the colors for the article. My choices are never the same as Janice's choices. I had the Raspberry Red and Golden Yellow with the muddy yellow (bottom left corner)as a neutral, in my 'mix'. Lovely blog. Thanks again.

  7. Hi-I like your color combo's on this post! I'm not adept at building wardrobes but this makes it look achievable.

  8. A great travel wardrobe or just a spring and summer wardrobe!