Thursday, December 03, 2015

Choosing an Accent Color for Taupe

Taupe is SO elusive, and can be interpreted in so many ways! But to me, taupe means a greyish beige, that's sophisticated and subtle.

I found all four garments today at L.L.Bean. It's great to be able to find multiple pieces in a difficult color in 1 place - it improves the chances that the garments will match or at least blend nicely.

Some of you have made it very clear that you think Bean is terribly unsophisticated and boring, but I find some of the nicest, best-made, most classically styled clothes there, at prices that don't require missing a mortgage payment! We can't all wear runway designer clothes... You are free to replicate these looks at much higher prices if that's what you prefer.
 


trail pants – L.L.Bean; cowlneck top – L.L.Bean
trousers – L.L.Bean; crew sweater – L.L.Bean

Neutral colors really take on a whole new look when paired with taupe - the scarves really make these flow, but you could easily juxtapose the colors on their own... 

(if you're still scrambling for gift ideas - the navy gloves come in ELEVEN colors, are cashmere, are under $40, and have "tech touch" fingertips...)


navy vest – J. Crew; navy hoop earrings – Chico’s; plaid scarf – Johnston
 & Murphy; navy gloves – Halogen; navy boots – Lucky Brand; red earrings –
 Louise et Cie; dark berry vest – Eddie Bauer; scarf – Tasha; maroon gloves -  
Orciani; maroon laceless oxfords – Munro

Bright colors are challenging with taupe, because they can appear harsh unless handled with care. I've been trying to find a nice yellow accent to use, but I can't find a yellow vest that isn't (1) terrible quality, (2) photographed in a way that I can't use (i.e. on a model doing some bizarre pose), or (3) a garish and ghastly shade of yellow that is unwearable by most people, and uncoordinatable by me. (spellcheck just threw in the towel...)

Green vest – L.L.Bean; green onyx earrings – Alok Jain; houndstooth scarf -  
Dibi; green mittensCoal; green loafers – Paul Smith; orange earrings –  
Marlyn Schiff; rust vest – L.L.Bean; paisley scarf – Gretchen Scott; rust mittens
 – Merrell; loafers – Robert Zur

Muted colors and taupe are made for each other - any color with a touch of grey blended into it will work well here.

And when you're looking for scarves, don't forget to check museum shops - the floral scarf below is from the National Art Gallery! Gallery scarves tend to be well-made and very reasonably priced, plus you know that your purchase helps support the museum - win/win! 


Ivory vest – Lands’ End; earrings Heather Benjamin; geometric scarf –
 Becksondergaard; cream gloves – Halogen; ivory loafers – Tod’s; blue earrings
 N+A; dusk blue vest – L.L.Bean; scarf – National Gallery of Art; blue mittens
 – Acne Studios; boots – Ugg Australia

Pastels work nicely here - I was a little bit surprised! And I wanted to include a solid-colored scarf here, just to show that it looks great, and is always an option to consider. 

If you haven't bought my holiday gift yet, definitely consider those metallic loafers!

But seriously, if you're looking for jewelry for holiday gifts, check out Novica, but do it soon! Much of their merchandise ships from the country of origin, and you want to allow for ample delivery time before your gift-giving event...


Blush quilted vest – Viyella; pearl earrings – Matta; marled scarf – Charming 
Charlie; blush gloves – New York & Co.; patent loafers – Tod’s; lilac jade 
earrings – Zandra Lorena Sajbin; lilac vest – Uniqlo; infinity scarf – Echo
gloves – Echo; metallic loafers – Cole Haan

I am still looking at a few more color options - I will do as many as I can, within the limits of being able to find appropriate "core" garments with which to work. I never want to let you down, but you already know that!

love,
Janice



AHAlife.com

39 comments:

  1. I just wanted to comment on LL Bean clothes. Their "perfect fit pants" are the best for travel. They are stretchy, soft & comfortable. they do not wrinkle or lose their shape and if you have to wash them in a hotel sink, they dry hanging overnight, but are not stiff. I have them in black & navy and they can look dressy with the right top & shoes if you need them to. They are my favorite travel pants.

    I am enjoying these posts Janice, and am looking forward to seeing more!

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  2. Dear Janice
    I believe that the price tag is not always reflexive of quality and I really love support of less expensive stores. One should be able to look very well on a budget. Keep up the good work! X Chris from Australia ( where the dollar is very sad!)

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    1. Dear Chris,
      I'll be in Melbourne for Christmas with a brief hop over to Sydney. Would you please share some of your favourite stores or brands. I'm really looking forward to visiting, it's my first trip here. Thanks, Karen

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  3. I'm lucky to have a LL Bean store near by and it's become one of my favorite places to shop for casual clothes which I freely admit is 90% of my wardrobe since retiring. It's in one of those 'lifestyle centers' along with Orvis, Apple, Talbots, Ann Taylor etc. and just down the road from Trader Joe's, Wegman's and Whole Foods. A virtual shopping mecca for most of my needs.


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  4. No brand is fits-all-bodies, no matter its cost. I know from long, sad experience that nothing I wear from LL Bean, absolutely nothing, is ever flattering in the slightest, and so, as much as I long for the ease and convenience of the LL Bean catalogue, I finally crossed it off my list. Others will have this experience with Talbot's, or another brand. The point, as you always preach and teach, is to translate the beautiful colors and classic styles of this post into clothing that will, in fact, fit and flatter. And that's going to be different for each admiring reader.

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    1. Great point! For the life of me, I can't wear most clothing styles from Talbots or Patagonia.

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  5. Ditto to Chris from Australia...........we can't all afford designer, and far too much of what I read on other blogs use items that cost more than I would pay. Keep with what you are doing......I love your posts. They are realistic and helpful.
    One question if anyone can assist.............I am trying to help a friend address her wardrobe....she wants to revamp and struggles with patterns. She can cope with stripes. She is also a 'tomboy' type and finds scarves too 'faffy'. What other ways can I suggest she integrates pattern and colour to her black/grey core?

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    1. From Margie in Toronto - I too have been slow to add prints and patterns - although I have become a convert to scarves. I actually started with cardigan sweaters - a small print, a stripe, an animal print - over the core of my black or grey - not too much to think about, nothing else to coordinate, and very simple yet classic.
      Also jewellery - not necessarily patterned but a pop of colour - one necklace, or one bracelet to start with. Or if she needs a very small start - then socks and or shoes might be a good start. Hope that helps.

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    2. Socks, bracelets, handbags (which for her might be a backpack). Places like http://she-beads.com/ have great bracelets in prints and patterns that add a nice pop of interest without being a "big deal".
      And as Margie said, cardigans! Lands' End always has a handful of patterned cardigans that aren't always girly flowers.
      hugs,
      Janice

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    3. Thank you ladies........my friend may be a tomboy type but she has the body of Jessica Rabbit........not easy. But we will get there I am sure.

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    4. I can't do most patterns, so, for me, an interesting necklace is the easiest way to add some life to an outfit. I have a collection of them now, but I used to wear the same necklace every day.

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    5. My favorite way to add patterns is with a skirt on the bottom and plain top and tights. I am large-busted and short-waisted, so keeping the pattern below helps balance everything out. My favorite outfit right now is a black shirt or leather jacket, patterned skirt in black and grey, black tights, and tall boots.

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    6. Take a look at http://tomboystyle.blogspot.se/

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  6. One more comment on LL Bean. Yes, they are not the most sophisticated clothing under the planet, and on their own will not ever look and drape as nicely as say an Eileen Fisher piece ever will. But they do dress up nicely with well chosen accessories.
    I wish I could make myself wear metallic loafers.... my shoe collection is a sad collection of neutrals! :))

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    1. You should check out Dansko. They have some great metallic loafers that are not too bright. They are a softer or darker metallic. I am not sure I am describing it correctly, but check out some of their loafers in metallics. I just bought the Olena loafer in pewter.

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  7. There are also some surprisingly chic options at LLB. Maybe I'll do a post on these when I come out from under the end of my semester.

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  8. I have no problem with LLBean, per se. Their quality is very good. However, if you are tall like I am (5'10"), much of their clothing just doesn't work. I just wish you could vary the selection a little more.

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  9. I haven't shopped recently but as I plan to acquire more grey basics, I have been looking at LL Bean's website. They seem to have many choices of casual wear at affordable prices.

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  10. I really like that you include LL Bean and other affordable retailers. You can find quality clothing anywhere if you look (and since I don't have a designer budget, I find I have to spend more time looking). I've even found a couple very nice sweaters from Walmart, hidden in a sea of acrylic. That's a nice thing about thrifting--you can avoid the label name and just look at the quality.

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  11. @Kayos - take a look at Vera Wang (sold at Kohls) many of her prints are abstract (i.e. not froofy) and some of her tops are simple enough for tomboy tastes.

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    1. Thank you for that....will do

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  12. I have been loving these posts! First, I am moving from dark neutrals to light ones with a change in hair color. The examples of colors to add to them are fabulous. Thank you especially for today's post on taupe and the one on warm gray. How about one using stone?

    As a landscape architect, I need "casual" looking but sophisticated clothes to walk around a job site in the mud and rain in the morning, then meet with a client at her home in the afternoon. The color pieces plus scarves - and metallic loafers - help say "this person is a designer" as clients expect. I can't say "thank you" enough - the khaki with grey, the cool blue, and today's lilac - just awesome combination ideas.

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  13. Oh! I'm glad my NGA tip was immediately useful. I absolutely LOVE the NGA store - definitely plan to spend some time there if you're ever in DC. And don't miss the books and kids' section down on the lower level.

    And I don't think you should ever have to apologize for the choices you make here. It's your creative work and we're the grateful recipients!

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  14. I am adding my voice to the others. I have a few pieces from LL Bean that I bought before going to Cambodia. Their sun resistant hot weather clothing is well made and served me well. It is basic but their colours are subtle, at least the ones I bought. I went to LL Bean because of Janice. Thank you Janice.
    Deb from Vancouver

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  15. I always consider your posts as "idea boards". Jumping off spots for what I already own, and insightful ways of mixing up my wardrobe. Whether LL Bean or Dolce and Gabana, I am not running out to buy your featured items, but use them for inspiration. Having said that, and in support of our tall friend, can you use Gap items? They have a very robust selection of tall and very tall items usually. My 6' tall daughter gets a lot of pants there! Thanks Janice for all of the inspiration!

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  16. I, for one, love LLBean.. There clothes are simple and practical which is what I am. So please don't quit using them.

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  17. i love LL Bean for their looks and comfort. we cannot all wear high-end clothing every day! let the snobs wear their designer-label clothes made in who-knows-where. I'm with you on this one, and the combinations look beautiful.

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  18. It is funny about LLBean. I get more compliments on the items I've purchased there than on anything else. Especially my basic camel raincoat. But it is beautifully made! I know that you might make more income varying the stores you use, but I am usually inspired by your ideas and look to combine things I already own, most of them basics from Land's End and LLBean inspired by those early crazy 8's posts.

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  19. Janice,
    When I want good quality casual clothes at reasonable prices, it's LL Bean for me ! Land's End, not so much -- I think their fabric quality has gone downhill ! Taupe is my version of gray, as long as it's warm toned, although it can be muddy looking on me, depending what I wear with it. The accent colors you have suggested above are super ! I love how you show the various illustrations, as I am a visual learner, and it makes all of the difference for me ! What amazes me is how you adapt to all color selections to suit various individuals personal coloring, when they are not what would look the best on you or be your personal choices ! Thank you for that
    well rounded approach !

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  20. Adding my two bobs' worth, I enjoy the way you mix designers and brands to give us inspiration for rethinking how we put together what we already have, and for planning new purchases. The LL Bean basics have served us well in this series, I think, being plain, so allowing us to concentrate on the accent items. You are always encouraging us to think for ourselves, choose clothes that work for us and make us happy, wherever they may come from. Thank you for this!
    Robyn in Tasmania

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  21. Great posts! Funny coincidence - I read your posts first thing in the morning and I was actually on planning to wear the taupe trail pants today and changed from the bland outfit I planned to a much nicer one similar to your suggestion! Thanks!BJM

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  22. Thanks, Janice, for giving some "athleisure" ideas in this post. I struggle with how to look "put together" on the days I don't work, which usually means time at the gym, running errands and in the woods with my dog. I'm also thrilled to have been reminded of LLBean. I haven't shopped with them in years but am happily rediscovering them under your guidance. And I love taupe!

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  23. I haven't seen any of the brands that you use, here in New Zealand, and with the figure that I've got, I prefer to try before I buy. But the principles that you have demonstrated have been incredibly useful. Thanks for that. BTW, I bought a burgundy vest earlier this year- it rates as one of my best buys in terms of usefulness.

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  24. Hi Kaya, you could also mention to your tomvoy friend that a scarf can be a very handy emergency bandage, tourniquet, slingshot, impromptu bag for carrying cool rocks, distraction for an enraged bull, etc. Essential equipment for the girl on the go.

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  25. Hi Kaya, you could also mention to your tomvoy friend that a scarf can be a very handy emergency bandage, tourniquet, slingshot, impromptu bag for carrying cool rocks, distraction for an enraged bull, etc. Essential equipment for the girl on the go.

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  26. Have you done a charcoal gray neutral post? Also, I bought a great thin quilted vest at LLBean last year (on clearance) in a warm plum color, and found it is great accent for almost any neutral. I loved it as part of my travel wardrobe last fall for a 3 week trip to Italy.

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  27. Great ideas! A really large one can also be a picnic blanket, beach cover up or tied into a vest.

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  28. I saw a lovely blush vest (reversible even) at Nordstrom tonight. It was around $130 I think. I would never have paid it any attention had you not been featuring it in these recent posts.

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