Monday, November 09, 2015

Building a Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Art: The Golden Stairs by Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones

This painting caught my eye, and held it for a LONG time, on my recent trip to London.

The Golden Stairs by Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones

After studying this for a long time, I realized that the majority of the color tones found here fall into two distinct families, which work beautifully together.

I feel an immoderate affection for taupe, but it is a THANKLESS color to try to find in our world. I don't understand why; it's subtle, rich and elegant without being difficult to wear. 

Happily, I was able to find just enough things for our heroine...

Standing Out, Quietly

There are always LOTS of women at these family events. But they do look to her for a certain quality of elegance or sophistication; she IS the one who lives in the city, with the cool job (in their eyes)...

Parka – Vince Camuto; earrings – Alexis Bittar; sweater – Betty Barclay
velvet jeans – Closed; scarf – Le Jardin de Leila by Hermes; tote – Furla;
 boots – Seychelles

This weekend is in honor of a major birthday for a senior family member; there are going to be TWO parties - one quite dressy, and one elegant but relaxed. Happily, when your wardrobe is well-organized, its easy to pack in a carry-on bag, with a tote bag for toiletries and gifts for young relatives!

Sweater – OAK; triangle earrings – EF Collection; tassel necklace – Avindy
  moonstone earrings – Temple St. Clair; clutch bag – Judith Leiber; skirt – Suno;
 dress – Chi Chi; cardigan – J. Crew; pearl bracelet – Effy; yellow shirt –  
Alexander Wang; ballet flats – Calvin Klein; sandals – Stuart Weitzman

When Mom, the sisters, the aunts, and the cousins invariably all come crashing into YOUR room (at least they bring the wine with them...), they will pore over every one of your possessions, and marvel at how beautifully they all go together.

You would love to remind them that they could replicate a wardrobe just as versatile and distinctive as yours...

But you know it's NOT going to happen! Discipline was not evenly distributed throughout your family...


p.s. - Does anybody want to see this wardrobe enlarged? It might drive me slightly (more) daft, but if you'd like to see it...

Annoushka - 250x250


  1. Wow, the sophiticated parka, the way the scarf and the dress totally capture the tones of the painting, this capsule is totally gorgeous. And the painting is delightful.

  2. Hi Janice, this is really beautiful. I love the combination. It must take hours to find these items! The dress is a fairytale... Chris from Australia ps I hope you are feeling better.

  3. I ooooh:ed and aaaaah:ed over the scarf. Then I scrolled down an saw the dress!
    None of this is my style or color, but very inspiring nevertheless.

  4. You could of been a great personal shopper! Maybe in another life!

  5. What a gorgeous capsule!! I'n not a fan of taupe, and it doesn't like me, either, but I can copy this in my favored gray/grey! Thank you for your daily inspirations, Janice.... and I too hope you are feeling better!

    1. Like you, taupe doesn't like me either, but grey is my best friend.

  6. I may just have to re-think my moratorium on all things brown, and explore that mushroom-y taupe a bit! Lovely, as always.

  7. Ivory & taupe are my go to colors for calling in sick. They make me look like death warmed over.

    1. I am totally with you. There is not and hasn't been for decades a single piece of either in my wardrobe.

  8. Sigh. Lovely, luxe, just exquisite. I'm marveling at your heroine's clothes too.

  9. I love all shades of mushroom and warm them up with warm greens and rusts. Your selection here is perfect for a woman with cool colouring. The dress and the skirt particularly appeal to me. Plus this woman has a great coat.!!

    Deb from Vancouver

  10. I love this one. I could imagine my late grandmother glowing in this, with her soft blue eyes and fair, cool complexion.

    Your posts have not only brought elegance to my wardrobe over the years (discipline I have, a visual sense I do not, and discipline without direction isn't worth much), you give me regular doses of art appreciation, which is useful and ultimately enjoyable because, again, the lack of innate visual sense.

    Your stories, though. I always love your stories. This one especially.

  11. This is certainly a lovely painting! I knew as soon as I saw it that I was in for a treat. The colors are soft and quiet and the mood is feminine but not frilly, just like the wardrobe you designed to complement it. I hope you will continue and enlarge this wardrobe through the week. Mary

  12. Gorgeous! Please enlarge, as sanity allows. Best wishes.

  13. Yes. Yes. Yes. Please expand this wardrobe. Taupe is my absolute favorite.

    One of my favorite paintings, too - I hang a print of it in the foyer every holiday season - and an amazing colour scheme.
    Sue G

  14. Lovely wardrobe. Thank you. I am off on a big tangent... I have just got lost on the farfetch website after looking at the gorgeous Suno skirt and found one of many beautiful handbags. A Givenchy with peacock feathers pattern on it. After changing the dollars from US to Aus I still hoped one would not accidently lose it on train! Lovely bags though. Carol S

  15. Truly beautiful and elegant! The painting is very lovely as well. What a great weekend getaway! Thank you Janice!