Saturday, August 08, 2015

A Summer Common Capsule Wardrobe

It was a great question, and one that I'm sorry I didn't think of sooner - what about A Common Capsule Wardrobe for warmer weather? It's not like the concept doesn't work when the weather's above 20 degrees...

For me, of course the neutral is black. You can't imagine how I DON'T want to wear bright clothes are a day of wrestling with the nuances of color for The Vivienne Files! Also, I go in and out of stores, offices and restaurants that have absolutely frigid air-conditioning, so I include both a cardigan and a jacket. If you spend your time in less wasteful environments, you might not need these...

So I start with my cardigan - sheer, and very light. A jacket in silk... Three sleeveless tops, which can be in silk, cotton, or linen (or you could have all three - they all serve different functions and could all be useful!). If you hate sleeveless, a cap sleeve, short sleeve, or ever 3/4 sleeve can all be used here.

Next, a white shirt with a bit of structure, but still a short sleeve. And my "can't live without it" striped tee shirt has to be here!

Now, black silk pants, and black silk skirt. I wear a lot of silk in warm weather; the key for me is to be sure that the garment is really roomy, to allow air to circulate. A tank dress, white jeans, and a tee shirt dress, and I'm done.

Although, realistically, I have about 5 more dresses. Since I found those neat "long shorts" to wear under skirts, my relationship with skirts and dresses will never be the same! Also, if the weather isn't terribly warm, I will wear leggings under my dress. I often look like a ballet school escapee...


Hemp cardigan – Eileen Fisher; silk mandarin jacket – Eileen Fisher
 (long out of production); sleeveless tops – ATM; white short-sleeved
 shirt – Kai-Aakmann; striped tee – Paige; black silk pants – Eileen Fisher; 
 black silk skirt – Eileen Fisher; black sleeveless dress – Eileen Fisher
white jeans – Eileen Fisher; black tee shirt dress – Eileen Fisher

The template, as always, just for reference...


Here's where there are some major changes - no necklaces, and no scarves! (yes, it's really still me...) Instead, I rely heavily on bracelets, and a change of small handbags, for adding a bit of detail and ornament to my summer clothes. In my mind, and here in my examples, these accessories are grouped into little families: pearls, red, silver, grey pearl etc. I do mix things up sometimes, but I'm often just not interested in laboring over accessories when I get dress. I'd rather think about accessories for The Vivienne Files!

pearl stud earrings - Majorica, silver knot earrings - Nancy B., grey pearl
 bracelet - Majorica, black and pearl bracelet - Majorica; red cord bracelet
 – Miansai; 3-strand pearl bracelet – Kenneth Jay Lane; grey pearl studs - 
Majorica; gold knot earrings - The Black Bow; pyramid earrings - Judith Jack
silver star earrings - Adriana de Gadea; bracelet - Kenneth Jay Lane; silver 
hoop earrings - Vintage; silver clutch – Halogen; black and red clutch – Milly
black and white wristlet - Tumi; black flat sandals – Thierry Rabotin; black
 bag - Agnes B.; black dress sandalsStuart Weitzman; silver sequined sandals
 – Vionic; red patent sandals – Vionic; ballet flats - Thierry Rabotin

People who see me around Chicago almost certainly recognize some of these outfits:






As with A Common Wardrobe for cool weather, there are as many variations possible here as there are women in the world. I just feel that it's really liberating for your brain to know that you have a core of things always lurking in your wardrobe that make it possible for you to get dressed in a hurry, and come out looking pulled-together and beautiful!

love,
Janice

Annoushka

24 comments:

  1. I LIVE in gym clothes; I have shorts on at least 4 or 5 hours a day, most days. By the time I'm through running and/or lifting weights, I want something different! But as I get my weight back to where I want it, and I gain more and more confidence in my appearance, shorts will probably move back into the mix...
    Saturday morning hugs,
    Janice

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    Replies
    1. I won't be so nosy as to ask what size(s) you wear, but I am curious to know how tall you are. Below 5'8"? 5'8" and above? I'm 5'8" so that's why I used that number.

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    2. I'm five foot three inches tall, and I'm halfway into the process of dropping my weight from 165 to 135. My usual size is a Petite Medium or a 10 Petite, but I'm finding that some of my clothes are beginning to almost literally fall off of my body! If I can take off a pair of pants without unfastening them, they are too big! Weight lifting makes me weigh a bit more than one might guess, since muscle in heavier than fat, and I've got some really serious muscles under construction!
      Embarrassed by very little,
      and happy to share,
      Janice

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  2. I had been wondering how someone who endures (or in your case enjoys?) Chicago winters can wear so much black. I have developed a hunger for color after moving to Buffalo, where so many months are black, white, and grey. Last winter, I bought 3 sky blue sweaters in the endless wait for spring! This year, I will try spending more time in the art museum. if the VFiles works for you, I am sure the Albright-Knox would work for me!

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  3. Thanks so much for your help. I live for summer morning walks on the beach with a swim in the ocean - then a picnic on the beach for dinner. In between I've been using your common wardrobe with the addition of beige linen pants and crops. I've reached the point in the summer where I don't even blow dry my hair - just a bit of lipstick and the organized clothes. I keeps me from scaring the children when I go out. Thanks!

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  4. That works for a good portion of the year here in Atlanta.

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  5. I have very few black clothes and just one pair of shoes. I decided to take black out quite a few years ago. The only thing is that it is so much easier to find black clothes and shoes than almost any other neutral. Plus, inexpensive black still looks pretty good. I am resisting my urge to buy or sew black anyway. Perhaps I am just being obstinate.

    Deb from Vancouver

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  6. Janice,
    Would you please show your illustration of the Common Wardrobe in warm neutral basics for those of us with warm coloring ? Thanks, and have a great weekend --it's lovely here in southeastern PA !

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  7. I have the gray Vionics. Love your summer style!

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  8. I have the gray Vionics. Love your summer style!

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  9. I just want to thank you for all of your inspiration. Before I found your blog I was literally all over the place with colors and styles. Your starting from scratch series came after I recently lost a lot of weight and really helped me choose better clothes, though I love grey I struggled with making it look professional, so your all black series and your new common wardrobe series showed me its ok to let go of the grey. I have finally settled on a core wardrobe of black with white and royal blue accents. Dressing and shopping are now much easier. Thank you!

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  10. I could not be happier with the return of the common wardrobe! Whether it's hot or cold that is what I wear most of the time. With your help I manage to jazz up my accessories so I keep from looking the same all the time.

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  11. You are spot on with the shorts under dresses! I'm on the smaller side but my thighs stil touch and there's nothing worse in hot weather. Counter intuitive but it works :)

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    Replies
    1. I agree! I have a range of bike pants (not the padded cycling kind) in a range of different lengths to wear under dresses and also gives a modicum of modesty if the dresses are short. Some pants are quite short. Carol S

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  12. Your basic wardrobe looks so much like mine! I've been reminding myself lately not to over-complicate things....

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  13. I love this...it's almost identical to mine but substitute cobalt for the red! :-)

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  14. Timely post for your Australian followers as we inch our way towards spring. How liberating to have a go to, no think selection of clothing, and accessories ready for the new season. Thank you! MUST buy red sandals!

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  15. thank u for thinking of us at the hot climate...but in hot weather and high humidity we try to avoid black color..:)

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  16. I love this series.I wear no black clothes in summer because I get tired from them during long cool season but black seems suprisingly light and subtle in this summer wardrobe.Wonderfull!

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  17. I'm in the midst of packing for a trip that involves family time as well as a business conference. Black, red and white are my go-to colors even in the summer so I appreciated this post very much. I'm adding some teal and a pair of blue jeans as well.

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  18. Like Shrebee above, I would love to see this in warm neutrals. Many thanks for the time you take to create all this for us.

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