Friday, January 15, 2016

Building a Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Art: Toasting Friends

So many of us have these events coming up this spring or summer - a wedding, graduation, bar mitzvah, baptism, or other celebratory event. What a nice excuse to travel!

But it does require a bit of planning, because in just a few days, you might well span the full gamut of activities from a very dressy event or two, to things like cleaning out a dorm room, or playing frisbee with nieces and nephews. Barbecues, picnics, and more relaxed family activities require a completely different wardrobe from what you'll wear to the actual event itself.

What to do? Just plan to take more! A normal long weekend is a great time for a 6-Pack or an 8-Pack, but for these very special weekends, I think 13 pieces is perfectly reasonable.

And what better art to use, to inspire us, than Toasting Friends?

Tracey J. Marshall's website is here

Often, you will be "assigned" a particular color to wear, because you're part of the wedding party, or standing up with the parents, or because it's the "official" color of the graduating class. Unless the color is completely ghastly, this is a great time to buy a simple, but VERY pretty dress!

(I don't know what to tell you if the color is ghastly. Maybe harken back to the "Wearing Unflattering Colors" posts...)

First, and more importantly, you want to plan for your dressy events. I personally would put together a "suit-ish" twosome in cashmere and silk and then find accent tops that can be worn with the neutral pieces.

(this dress style - called the Carrie - is available in a range of colors, and at least 3 prints...)

And HECK YES, a hat, or fascinator! Some events will require you to cover your head, and others just give you a chance you might not have any time soon - go for it...

These five pieces give you plenty of options for lovely dinners, and for the event itself:

Hoop earrings – Judith Jack; blue dress – Diane von Furstenberg; feather
 fascinator – Borsalino; lapis cuff – Edge of Ember; bag – Vince Camuto; gold
 sandals – Kate Spade; cashmere cardigan – J. Crew; feather earrings – 
 Aurelie Bidermann; blue top – Theory; leaf earrings – Aurelie Bidermann;
 feather cuff – Melinda Maria; green top - Lanvin; black silk pants
 – T by Alexander Wang;ballet flats – Adrianna Papell

Next you want to be sure to have casual gear - in this case I chose both shorts and jeans. A hooded sweatshirt is never a bad idea, too.

Striped tee – Proenza Schouler, green earrings – Argento Vivo; sneakers –  
Nike; jeans – L.L.Bean; sweatshirt – Uniqlo; shorts – L.L.Bean; black stud 
earrings – Alexis Bittar; tee - Uniqlo; sandals – Birkenstock

Then you will want to fill in that middle ground of "not too dressy, but not too casual" with simple trousers and a couple of tops. There was no way I was going to resist including this scarf, which is SO ideal in this color scheme!
Blouse – Lands’ End; trousers – J. Crew; tee shirt – A.P.C.
scarf – Hermes Bonnes Vibrations

Assuming that you wear three of these pieces, the other ten, plus the accessories, shoes, and other necessities should all fit in a carry-on bag and a tote:

Plenty of options, as usual. I would even consider wearing the hoodie over the dress, with sandals...

Although this might look like it was chosen without a scheme, you know better! A reminder here of what "Whatever's Clean 13" might look like:

And how it looks with the clothing filled in - ranging from most dressy at the left, to most casual at the right:

I'm going to revisit Celebration Travel packing for a few days, because many of you have asked about special color schemes. I think these are great all-purpose travel for anyone who goes out in the evening and likes to look special, but who still spends days in a normal, relaxed travel mode.


Halcyon Days



  1. Interesting, I saw a different colour scheme in the picture: Blush pink, rose gold, copper or cognac and mint green. Would love to see a wardrobe built around those colours!

    Molly from London

  2. at last..core wardrobe without a skirt..!!!
    lovely colors-big like :)

  3. i prefer a pair of white pants instead one black ..

  4. Once again, just beautiful!!

  5. Gorgeus! Love that green blouse, but i don't see its source listed. Am I missing it? Carter

    1. Nope - I was the one who missed it! It's fixed now... brace yourself...
      big hug,

    2. Yikes! Good thing I like the blue one just as much;-) Carter

  6. My heart beat a little faster when seeing the beautiful trio of burnished tobacco, golden camel, and peachy champagne colors! Since I adore my blue jeans, of course I saw that color in the background and pictured how the turquoise and green would brighten it all up. Hope you can warm up a color scheme based on this painting. Love it and all you do!

    1. I can happily revisit this one!

    2. I'd love to see that, too!

  7. As a person who does not usually wear dresses, I appreciate a simple cut. The options you show for dressing up and down that blue dress are great.

  8. It's a great comfort to know that you have something to wear to a celebration on short notice. I recommend keeping an eye out for former bridesmaid-type dresses at thrift stores! I found one, in my core neutral (navy), made of beautiful raw silk, for about $10 last year. I wore it to our fanciest holiday party, with a velvet jacket, and felt great!

    I also want to second the practicality of gold fancy shoes - I don't own them, but my mom did, and they went with EVERYTHING!

  9. I love the quirky feeling of the picture, yst it's infused with so much warmth. Another great post. Blue dress so wow.

  10. yes, gold sandals for the summer, now begins the search. We have a family wedding across the country this summer and, as a sewist, I have already started the planning. This is very helpful, thank you.

    Deb from Vancouver

  11. I am not a peplum person, but that green top is a knockout! You could wear that style over and over.

    1. You'd HAVE to wear it over and over - for most of us, it is about a year's clothing budget! But I had to include it just to give us all some ideas, and to show how beautiful a piece of clothing can be.

  12. That green top drapes beautifully - at first I thought it was a swimsuit......but the blue dress is a real buy. You could wear it so many ways. Great post. Thanks

    Mary mcm

  13. Love the post and colours. Great how some clothes are bright (read stunning) single-coloured and the multi-coloured are softer in colour. Being a plant person those Gingko earrings are nearly enough to have my ears pieced... nearly! Carol S

  14. This is brilliant and just what I need for our conference trip in April! We are going to San Diego for a work event where we need dressier nights and resort wear days. This is so helpful! I can't wait to see your other takes on this celebration capsule! Thank you! Thank you!!

  15. Janice - how special that you used the "Friends" note cards as inspiration! Love what you did! These note cards are my go to hostess and "something from Greensboro, NC" gifts! Di