Monday, February 22, 2016

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe One Piece at a Time in Navy, Beige and Poppy

A requested color scheme - this looks so "Coast of Maine in the summer" to me! Maybe because L.L.Bean is well-represented here. I don't necessarily think that everybody is going to buy things from them, but their photographs of simple, classic clothing are among the very best I can find for our illustrative purposes.

Starting outfit:


Blouse - Uniqlo; cardigan – L.L.Bean; pants Jil Sander Navy

Although this outfit doesn't include beige, it's been determined by the requester that beige will be the other neutral color, so our color scheme is thus:

Blouse - Uniqlo; cardigan – L.L.Bean; pants Jil Sander Navy

This time, I decided to get that neutral tee shirt top out of the way immediately. While these aren't fascinatingly stimulating and madly fun purchases, they can be the most cost-effective items in your wardrobe, once you get them there!

Tee shirt – IDLF Uniqlo

Moving into warmer weather, a lighter colored cardigan makes everything feel lighter!

Cardigan – L.L.Bean

So let's get the pants too!

Pants – Michael Kors

Navy and beige just scream for this kind of top. If this is not for you, there are plenty of prints and patterns that incorporate beige and navy in some way.

Tee - Uniqlo

Finding something actually NAMED "poppy" is pretty tough, but finding warm reds is a big easier. This cardigan is lightweight - designed for warmer weather that requires a bit of a covering, but nothing bulky.

Cardigan – J. Crew Factory

Why yes, this is the navy skirt you saw the other day. It's not easy to find a navy cotton or linen skirt, well-photographed, that costs less than $100 US.

Skirt – J. Crew

I love this tee shirt... and it includes our three colors!

Shirt – Uniqlo

Classic, no?

sweater – IDLF Uniqlo

The easiest skirt in the world to wear, super marked-down:

skirt – Neiman Marcus

Tee shirt – L.L.Bean

CardiganL.L.Bean

If sleeveless isn't your thing, the same general idea in an elbow sleeve would be equally versatile.

Rayon shirt - Uniqlo

Shorts – L.L.Bean

Another tidy wardrobe:

More to come - thanks SO MUCH for the color scheme suggestions!

love,
Janice


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22 comments:

  1. Thank you Janice,
    I love beige and white but am aware too many colours causes confusion. So I will take this on board with black red white/ cream....can I do this....all the neutrals are beautiful to me. I live in a country of brightness, and love less obvious colours. But I do make an exception of red to pink..you inspire me to try more, but a wardrobe has only so many hangers. It's my misfortune that I like the rainbow so have to be constrained!

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    1. You can have color in a lot of other ways in your life - think about towels, sheets, throw cushions, dishes, etc. I get my "color fix" working on The Vivienne Files every day, but in order to keep your wardrobe well-focused, you will have to think of other ways to indulge your desires.

      Maybe a big box of mixed macarons, in all kinds of colors?

      hugs,
      Janice

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    2. Correct. Have to keep it sorted! I was travelling today and was much taken by an outfit on a fellow passenger. Pearls red top black trousers with white spots same size and colour as pearls. I thought of your attention to detail and was tempted to as her if she followed your articles!

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  2. Thank you for doing this! Great mix of patterns so as not to be boring. Thank you again.

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  3. I like the poppy color so much better than pale pink. I see poppy in lots of places right now...this is so helpful and I will begin to look for a piece in this color! Have a wonderful day, Janice!

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  4. Thank you! I didn't request this, but my wardrobe is built around navy, ivory and red-oranges from peach to, well, poppy. This latest series has brought a lot of clarity to my spring shopping. My "perfect outfit" is an A-line skirt, a tee or button-front shirt, and a classic, buttoned cardigan. I just bought another iteration of that over the weekend, and all three pieces are going to go with pretty much everything. So, thanks again.

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    1. My wardrobe is becoming more and more focused - my most recent purchase was a button-front shirt in black and white gingham (which just SCREAMS Janice), and a black and white floral cardigan... Isn't it great to buy things that you KNOW will be worn constantly?
      hugs,
      Janice

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  5. Lovely palette. The poppy keeps it from looking too Fourth of July. I could imagine the same with black instead of navy.
    francetaste.wordpress.com

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  6. Janice,
    Sometimes I'm amazed at how long it takes me to get a concept, and as I am a visual learner, your illustrations of the "what you have " just rang a bell ! I am bottom heavy, and hard to fit, so when I repeat your piece- at -a -time approach in my own closet, I can do the following : select the the initial 3 piece outfit, then add the next top and topper , expanding the number of outfits to wear, then find that other lighter neutral pant in my closet ( it's there, trust me !☺️ ). Another top and topper set or two, and I have lots of outfits with just those two bottoms until those pesky hard to fit other bottoms show up in my life, one at a time ! As you know, I am a "warmie", so my primary Winter color is brown. I have more than one pair of dark brown pants, as I don't wear skirts due to my pear shape, and some have belt loops and some do not, so does that count as a different second brown bottom ? The only visual difference is that the tops are untucked with one pair and tucked with the second. Or is that just splitting hairs ?

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    1. They absolutely count! I have two neutrals in my wardrobe: black, and MORE black! So I have 3 pair of black pants, in cotton twill, corduroy, and ponte knit. The idea is to find things that give you options; if multiple brown pants work for you, that's what you want.
      hugs,
      Janice

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    2. Janice,
      Vary the fabrics ! Of course ! Thank you, such a simple solution to my struggle !

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  8. Thank you, Janice - you're so wonderful about fulfilling requests. Will you do accessories for these new colour choices?

    As always, appreciate the time, thought and detail you put into the wardrobes and pleasing your "customers".

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    1. Oh yes, I wouldn't miss a chance to look at accessories at length! I'm still thinking of the best approach, but they're definitely going to show up soon.

      And you all are, in a way, my "customers." The things that you purchase through links here on the blog generate tiny (really tiny!) commissions for me, and that's the entirety of my income; The Vivenne Files is my full-time gig now! An average post takes me from 5 to 15 hours, depending on how hard it is to find the clothes, and how involved the explanations are.

      I love my customers!
      hugs,
      Janice

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    2. And we love you and all of the diligent efforts and time that you put in on our behalf ! However, I hope you have a great eye doctor ! LOL !

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    3. Janice, I wish you would explore the idea of accessories capsules. I feel most challenged in this area -- not because I have too much, but instead not enough, I think. The thing is that I don't want to have very much, so I'd like advice about how to make every item really work hard. I keep thinking if I had some sort of formula like the different kinds of wardrobe formulas you've devised of different quantities... You've got Whatever's Clean 13 for those who are more minimalist, you're Wardrobe from Scratch series for people who want a larger wardrobe -- could you do something like that with accessories, perhaps to go with this add-one-thing-at-a-time idea? I want someone to tell me: "Ok, Lori, you need a long metal necklace and a short choker and a print scarf and a solid scarf and..." I don't even know if it's possible with all the variations there are. I can hear it now: "But I don't wear earrings (and I don't, actually)" or "I hate scarves"...

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  9. I'm just starting the business casual wardrobe rebuild process after two years at home and your posts have been exactly what I needed to see! These are perfect, so thank you! I think I'm going to do purple and maybe cobalt blue with mostly black and charcoal gray. Is that a weird palette? I feel so lost!

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    1. Not a bit weird - I'm quite sure I've done a wardrobe in those colors, but I can't lay my hands on it this morning! There are no weird color combinations if you love them...
      hugs,
      Janice

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  10. What a marvelous summer collection - we used to call this soft red color Nantucket Red. It always looks so cool and sharp with navy without being at all loud.

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  11. Love it! Makes me consider trading my black for navy! Looks so summery!

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  12. I absolutely love this collection and it is inspiring me in my current capsule wardrobe sewing, only I have too many bottoms and not enough tops in mine. I'll try to resolve that.

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  13. Love this concept. Would love to see a 4x4 professional all-pants wardrobe with 3 neutrals (black, grey, ivory) and an accent color (coral? peach? aqua? teal? purple?) :-)

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