Monday, July 13, 2015

Building a Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Art: Portrait of a Girl by Marie Laurencin

Why yes, she is my favorite artist! Does it show?

Portrait of a Girl by Marie Laurencin

Portrait of a Girl by Marie Laurencin, with a color scheme drawn from the art

In the Rare Books Department, you have to wear a lab coat...

and after years of showing undergrads how to work the copy machines, and shelving books, and fixing microfilm readers, you've been promoted to work there...

Rare Books is a department that's always warm, always spotlessly clean, and which has a surprisingly casual dress code. 

A Core of Four garments in white cotton and silk, for warm weather
Tank top – See by Chloe, silk shortsValentino,
half-sleeve top – Chloecropped trousers – Douuod

So you've decided that you're going to indulge your love of pastel colors and focus your work wardrobe on your favorite blush and aqua shades...

Four blush pink garments - two tops, and two bottoms - for warm weather
Tank – Topshop, skirt – Arts & Science,
Tee – Majestic, trousers – Topshop

Because of the fanatically dust-free environment, most of the staff wears light colors under their lab coats. Some people in the main part of the library think that this is an affectation. No matter, it's now YOUR affectation too!

two soft aqua tops, and two muted apricot blush tops
Sleeveless top – Fluxus, apricot metallic tee – J. Crew,
Blue tee – J. Crew, crochet trimmed top – Vince Camuto

four garments in a soft, warm palette for warm weather
Blouse – Cedric Charlier, skirt – Ted Baker,
Tweed top – Chlotilde, gold foil trousers – J. Crew

There's no jewelry worn in Rare Books - nothing that might fall off and damage a manuscript or a 500 year old piece of vellum! So you'll keep one pair of earrings tucked into your bag for after work occasions...

And in place of jewelry, you're going to treat yourself to a beautiful handbag; you just got a raise, and a promotion to the department you've ALWAYS wanted to work in, so you've earned it!

earrings, a bag, and two pair of shoes in soft blush and gold metal
Pearl earrings – Belle & Clive, bag – Alexander Wang,
gold and white sandals – Nine West, blush flats – Matisse

What a dream of a work wardrobe:

a Four by Four wardrobe in soft warm colors, for warm weather

four outfits from a soft, warm summer Four by Four Wardrobe

four outfits from a soft, warm summer Four by Four Wardrobe

But even though you're dreaming of authors of centuries gone by, your shopping has remained firmly grounded in intelligent planning.

The 4 by 4 Wardrobe Template, with white, blush, and aqua summer clothes

I could spend all day wearing sterile cotton gloves, working with old books....



  1. O my goodness! These are MY warm-weather colors. Thank you for the beautiful ideas (and for vindicating my wardrobe).


  2. Love the fact that there is gold on the shoes. If you can't wear jewelry, amp up the footwear!!

  3. This blog continues to show your creativity in more than one facet. Time for a novella with a fashionista heroine including templates of what she's wearing in each chapter ? She works with rare volumes, but has also just attended a class reunion and blown away a former love who was never worthy of her ? What is her next travel adventure with her glorious wardrobe ?

  4. Oh, I definitely love your heroine! Would love to work with rare books, and this wardrobe is beautiful.

    I worked in a library years ago, sorting through old documents one summer, but it was jeans and a tee shirt. Look what I missed!

  5. How deliciously yummy. Not my colours at all but I am in full appreciation and delight. I, too, love the continuing saga. As Shrebee says: "Time for a novella."
    Vancouver Barbara

  6. This is so lovely and so wearable too!! I would love to see what our heroine in this story wears in the winter using the same colours. I assuming the temperature in this very special place is kept quite cool so she can wear some sumptuous cashmere.

    Deb from Vancouver

  7. I'm starting to read these just for the story-line… you have definitely created a new genre!

  8. So lovely...I do spend much of my time with rare books and manuscripts but never dressed so beautifully.

  9. The material is 55% cotton and 45% polyester. Normally I wear a small. I got the size M to be on the safe side. It's roomy but not too big. The black scrub pants feel nice and are comfortable.