Thursday, August 20, 2015

Building a Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Art: Joan of Arc by Jules Bastien-Lepage

French Realist painting at it's very finest...

Joan of Arc by Julies Bastien Lepage

And this suggests for us a color scheme using one of my favorite combination of neutrals: camel and grey!

Our heroine is going on a voyage, so this seems like an appropriate template around which to build her wardrobe:

Clarity, and Commitment

She knew she was on the right track. Now she knew that she had to share what she knew. 

It would require travel. It would require speaking to anyone who would listen. It would require unflagging confidence in the merits of her cause.

She can do this!

V-neck top – River Island; trousers – Boden
cardigan – 3.1 Phillip Lim; skirt - Boden

Cardigan – J. Crew; flannel trousers – Giamba;
Blouse – Odeeh; skirt - Joseph

Blush wrap blouse – Topshop; ribbed camel sweater – River Island;
Grey sweater – Ralph Lauren Black Label; green cardigan – J. Crew

She knew that a pair of jeans would be handy when she was between meetings and speaking engagements; as she started to pack, this was her plan:

(always remember that a cardigan that buttons up all the way is both a cardigan AND a sweater that can be worn on its own - these kind of options can be useful when you're gone for a LONG time with a SMALL bag...)

She knew that she would have to be appealing enough to hold the attention of her listeners, so she didn't shirk on the beauty of her wardrobe, nor on bringing accessories that would lend a touch of interest. 

(I did NOT tell you that those stone and bead bracelets are available in NINE colors, nor that the necklace comes in EIGHT...)

Floral scarf – Badgley Mischka; hematite earrings – Magid; charcoal bead 
bracelets – Sequin; square scarf – Hermes Zenobie;  pearl earrings – Alexis Bittar;
 watch – Kate Spade; paisley scarf – Pierre-Louis Mascia; 3 bracelets – Tai; stone
 and chain necklace – Sequin; camel boots – Aquatalia;  grey suede pumps – 
Nine West; camel pumps – Jeffrey Campbell; grey driving mocsTod’s

Once on the road, she would have someone do laundry. She really didn't quite know how that would happen, but she felt confident that it could be handled somehow.

Her only goal was to do her very best, every day, in sharing her insights and knowledge.

She succeeded, the moment she locked her front door, suitcase in hand, to face the unknown.


Bogs Footwear (Weyco)


  1. My favorite neutrals too--and, oh wow, of course people listen to someone in these clothes! Love the micro-fiction, love the garments!

  2. I appreciate how you continue to use the common wardrobe framework. I think it is becoming integrated into my planning, purchasing and sewing. I still struggle with picking my starting point and sticking to a plan. Wonderful fabrics come into my view and I become distracted from the plan.
    Deb from Vancouver

  3. What a very classy color combination and wardrobe this is. Your heroine could sell a book! Camel does not flatter my coloring, but I love how it plays with other colors. Thank you for continuing to inspire and educate me.

  4. I come here for the fashion and stay for the stories! Appeal at all levels!

  5. Interesting. I would never have put gray and camel together. But, hey, you have the scarves to prove it, so that settles things!

  6. That Pierre-Louis Mascia scarf is lovely and really pulls all the colors together beautifully.

  7. I love the clothes and colors you put together, but I really love the vignettes that you write. I can picture these women! This one is a friend of mine who is an academic/social worker just outside of your city who does things like write grants to go off to developing countries and work on social justice issues. When her husband left her for another woman he set her free, and my has she flown.

    1. Hey, I recognize this story! I flew because the strong women around me held me up for QUITE a while.

  8. O wow camel en grey grows on you in this way! Lovely!

  9. I had to show this post to a coworker the minute as I saw it! She not only has the coloring to pull off this ethereal and yet strong combination, you have managed to capture an entire personality archetype of beauty, bravery, and quiet power. Lovely, glowing looks in a colour combination one does not often see.

    She exclaimed, "Oh, that is just how I wish I dressed!" and subscribed to your marvelous blog.

    Oh dear. Now, how will we ever find a way to pay her travel expenses for all of the additional speaking engagements to which she is sure to be asked when seen in this new light? ha ha. No one deserves the spotlight more than she, and no one is less likely to seek it.

  10. I've been faithfully following your blog for several months now....found you when I realized I am hopeless at packing lightly and will soon be taking a 2 week trip to the UK with friends. My "whatever's clean 13" is currently at 22 garments, but my homework for next week is to put the combinations together and cull! Many thanks for your hard work and inspiration! I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

  11. I only WISH I felt that way about my work. This is so lovely....

  12. i like these classic pieces individually but as the whole wardrobe they were a bit too basic maybe a little boring. plus you really needed a pair of dress boots and a blazer in place of one of the pairs of shoes and one of the cardigans. (maybe the booties and that grey cardigan?) but generally, i liked this as a starting point for some ideas for a capsul wardrobe this fall.

  13. its a shame you cant stand a little constructive commentary. if you only post the glowing comments how can you have genuine exchange of ideas? you should be flattered i thought enough of your post to comment at all.

    1. Dear Cece D.,

      Did you think that I had deleted your comment? I NEVER delete comments, unless they're obscene, or completely irrelevant to the conversation at hand. I'm always eager to hear what readers have to say, and to respond to their opinions with my own feedback. And you're right about maybe needing a jacket in place of one of the cardigan; I often err on the side of really basic garments and rely on accessories for the punch, where I should look harder for more statement garments.

      You're always welcome here, and I'm always happy to hear your thoughts - good or bad. Please don't think that I would have it any other way!

      warmest regards,