Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Building a BUSINESS CASUAL Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Art: Festival in Montmartre by Gino Severini

Let's come back to this great painting and color scheme, and see what our wonderful care-giver is up to...

A Shift of Focus

As time passed, our care giver discovered that her responsibilities gradually diminished. Her parents were in a facility that gave them the kind of attention they deserved, after their life of work and service. Her children were grown and starting their own lives as adults. And her husband - like all of the best life partners - only wanted for her to be happy and fulfilled.

So she decided to get a job...

First thing was to make sure she had something interview-worthy, so she found a navy skirt that she could wear with her navy blazer. While the fabrics are very different, the jacket has a subtle stripe, so there was no pretending that this was a suit. Texture or pattern are the easiest way to mix navy garments that might not be "dye-lot" matched.

JacketIDLF for Uniqlo; skirt – IDLF for Uniqlo;
Tee shirt – J. Crew; cords – Lands’ End

And as much as she loved her "jeans styled" grey corduroy pants, she really wasn't going to wear jeans styled ANYTHING for her new job, so she found a pair of beautiful grey dress trousers.

Cardigan – Lands’ End; chinos – Lands’ End;
Tee – Majestic Filatures; trousers - Damsel in a Dress

She really didn't feel that whimsical tee shirts, nor flannel, would be the best thing to wear to a new job, so she carefully purchased three new tops. Her grey cardigan had a grey sweater that was in the same fabric - what an easy choice! A beautiful silk blouse would be great for days when she felt dressy, and a classic windowpane plaid shirt in an easy-care fabric offered another option.

Striped tee – J. Crew; silk blouse - Sportmax;
Grey shell – Lands’ End; plaid shirt – Lands’ End

Her best sweater, and her blue shirt, would be great for work, but the sweatshirt and jeans weren't what she had in mind for her office image. But a simple cashmere crew sweater, and a subtle plaid skirt, go perfectly with all of her other things, and look much more professional.

Sweater – Closed; skirt – Hobbs London;
Sweater – Diane von Furstenberg; blue shirt – Lands’ End

A new briefcase! and an Hermes scarf, as a treat with her first paycheck, were additions to her accessory wardrobe. A pair of pumps, and she was all set...

Stud earrings- Rebecca Minkoff; pink scarf – Portolano; navy and grey 
plaid scarf – BP.; geometric necklace – Quispe Family; pink square earrings – 
Bling Jewelry; silk square – Hermes Collections Imperiales; briefcase – Porter
wide cuff bracelet – Nordstrom; narrow cuff bracelet – Nordstrom; pumps – Geox;
 short boots – Calvin Klein; riding boots – Vince Camuto; driving shoes – 
David Tate

She was able to get her job by convincing her employers that she had great skills in organization, time-management, and human relations. If they had seen this chart, they would have been convinced!

Nothing flashy, and nothing inappropriate for work; just a range of outfits that always looked good, always fit in with the rest of the office, and always made her feel attractive and ready to perform.

I see big things in the future for our heroine...


Artisan Jewelry Designs


  1. You 4x4 wardrobe examples have been so helpful in getting my own rather small wardrobe to function beautifully. Talk about getting mileage out of items that I thought were a bit expensive at first.

  2. I love this transition, both in text and wardrobe choices. Thanks to you!

  3. One can hardly wait to find out what comes next for her...

  4. What a great example of how to transition your wardrobe when your life also transitions!!

  5. How about the inspiration of the 1924 painting by Wassily Kandisky of the Blue painting?

  6. Ah yes, she will need to do some serious high level networking at the opening of a new branch of her company, weddings for her children and....... wait you have mu imagination running overtime!!

    Deb from Vancouver

  7. Has anyone tried to write a vignette describing themselves? I love the idea but feel self conscious. Maybe some rainy morning in a coffee house...

    1. It's a neat idea: find the romance in our own lives and shop our wardrobes for the clothes that best reflect it. We're helped by Janice's advice to list our main activities when wardrobe planning, and then we get to add the story we'd really like to be living. Now we just need a charming French cafe somewhere in the world we can all get to on that rainy day, to share ideas and stories ...

  8. My base colors are navy and grey and I am so grateful to see you use black shoes for those times when finding a pair or grey or navy shoes that are appropriate and comfortable (high arch, narrow foot, like some heel) are simply too expensive, unattractive or unavailable. Thank you. Fantastic series!!

  9. I bought that gray Land's End short sleeve sweater and a different style cardigan just the other day. These outfits are perfect for where I'm currently working.