Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Build a Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Nature: Male and Female Cardinals, in Warm AND Cool Colors

So I'm going to start alternating "1 Piece at a Time" Wardrobes with other fun things, so that we don't collectively burn out on the concept before I've addressed ALL of your color scheme requests. I am absolutely going to look at accessories for these wardrobes - those might be some of the "interspersed" posts. As much as I have an endless attention span for a single subject, I understand that a bit of variety keeps things fresh for us all.

Someone suggested that the male cardinal wardrobe (here) and the female cardinal wardrobe (here) might be combined. I'm ALL OVER that idea!

Do these two look like they get along?


Northern Cardinal photograph by Robert Williams

I've often thought that it's possible to build a wardrobe with 4 or 5 neutral colors and just 1 accent. In fact, a long time ago, I built a wardrobe around SIX neutrals (here) almost 5 years ago (did you know that The Vivienne Files will be 5 years old on April 17th?)

These colors are all classic, timeless wardrobe staples. 



In order to make the process of combining the 2 wardrobes as honest as possible, I've kept the original garments:


Blazer – Emilio Pucci; pants – Austin Reed;
Blouse – Joseph; skirt Austin Reed


Cardigan - L.L.Bean; pants - L.L.Bean;
Blouse - Faith Collexion; skirt - Diane von Furstenberg





Cardigan – Elder Statesman; trousers – J.Crew;
Tee – Sonia Rykiel; jeans – Austin Reed


cardigan - L.L.Bean; trousers - Uniqlo;
Shirt - Uniqlo; jeans - Citizens of Humanity


V-neck blouse – Velvet; silk-trimmed top – Madewell;
Red sweater - Balenciaga; turtleneck – L.L.Bean

And in order to give us some wiggle room, and more "top" options, I've included a 5th neutral. The great beauty of white or off-white blouses and sweaters (beside bringing light to your face!) is that they can be worn with equal harmony with any of the 4 other neutral colors. Sometimes, all your wardrobe needs is a white tee shirt...


Long-sleeve tee – Alexander Wang; sleeveless top – Dorothy Perkins;
Cabled cowl sweater – Lands’ End; v-neck sweater – J. Crew

This is your wardrobe, as it stands. There are lots of lovely garments, and your eye can easily connect to put together literally dozens of outfits!



But in order to really show ensembles to their best advantage, we need accessories! (you knew I wasn't going to skip over scarves indefinitely, didn't you?)

Realistically, you could easily own shoes in all four neutral colors if this is your wardrobe. But it's important not to get carried away with buying a new pair of shoes for each outfit - that's not a good use of your money, it's hard on the environment, and it keeps you from being able to buy really nice shoes (which are one of the small pleasures of life).

That said, you'd be daft if you missed the chance to own both red shoes AND leopard, if you wear this color scheme! And don't forget that Shoes of Prey, on the Nordstrom website, let's you design your own shoes... maybe camel flats with black cap toes?

Note that jewelry that includes both silver and gold is a wonderful little touch that pulls together warm and cool like nothing else!



Stud earrings – Gurhan; paisley scarf – Urban Originals; rectangle 
earrings – Eileen Baumeister McIntyre; crystal bracelet – BaubleBar
multi-strand necklace – Nakamol Design; hoop earrings – Charter Club;  
plaid scarf – BP; garden scarf – Hermes Dans un Jardin Anglais
 pendant – Lauren Wolf; silver  & gold chain bracelet – Lauren by 
Ralph Lauren; black loafers – Michael Kors; pumps – Bella Vita; leopard 
flats – Shoes of Prey; gold loafers – Aerosoles; red loafers – Topshop

And here is just a sample of the dozens of possible outfits you would have at the ready!









Tomorrow I'm going to wrap up the "1 at a Time" wardrobe with navy and beige, and some brightly-colored accents. I think it's going to be beautiful....

love,
Janice


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26 comments:

  1. I love this! I'm essentially a 'warm' coloured person, but have always had some black and grey in my wardrobe, and with grey appearing in my blonde hair am even more on the fence with colours. Thank you for showing how black, brown, beige and grey can be mixed so successfully. Also just about any rich bright accent would work in the above template so green, teal, etc could all look good (but not together).
    Alice

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  2. Good to see a post with multiple neutrals. Like Alice I am warm in colouring with blonde going to turn to grey in the next couple of years. I have black, white & grey in my wardrobe for convenience but with beiges and camel scattered throughout. I have worn black & white with a beige cardigan to give me warmth and it looks good. They are the cutest birds! I admire the colourings of the Galah... very sophisticated dusky pink, greys and white. Thanks Carol S

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    1. I had to find a picture of the galah, and oh my! What a beautiful palette!

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    2. That GORGEOUS bird is on my list of upcoming topics for The Vivienne Files. Beautiful is right....
      hugs,
      Janice

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    3. I just looked at pictures of Galahs and I think that their crest is an incredibly soft pink not white. They visit our nature strip and are always in pairs. Oh they are cute! Carol S

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    4. You might find it interesting look at a photo of a bourkes parrot- similar colouring but includes blue.

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  3. I really like this wardrobe. You could wear it for a long time without everybody thinking, oh, she's wearing that again. By having all the pieces solid colors, you change it up with the accessories, which can better stand the test of time (I have scarves that are 30 years old--if you do that with pants you wear often, the seat will wear out), and thus get amortized anyway.
    francetaste.wordpress.com

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    1. Great comment! I find I love an all or nearly all solid-colors garments in cool weather when I can wear scarves and jewelry comfortably, but for my warm-weather wardrobe I need some prints in the clothing because I just cannot stand to wear a scarf or even many types of jewelry when it is very hot.

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  4. From Margie in Toronto - I just LOVE this one! I've always been in the cool end (black & grey) with lots of red - but as I get older I've been drawn more and more to a slightly warmer hue, especially browns and camels - that addition of the whites makes that possible as I can't wear browns/beiges next to my face. If I could only choose one of your options to wear for the next 10 years this would be the one!

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  5. So many ideas for using the warm pieces that I haven't culled from my wardrobe! And my brown and gold shoes. Gold and silver together really integrates warm and cool. Merci.

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  6. Love this, Janice (the all neutrals remains one of my favourite posts)! Thanks so much.

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  7. So beautiful, Janice! I love neutrals, always chic, simple clean lines bring the focus up to the portrait area, where it should be. I am learning a lot about myself through your eyes. Thank you, your the best!
    A faithful fan,
    Pat

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  8. I love the silver, white, and gold outfits, but most of the others are too highly contrasted for me to wear them well.

    This post reminds me of something I have been meaning to share with you for awhile: I generally look best when I make an outfit in one tone (warm or cool), and then use almost all my accessories from the other tone. It softens my colouring and evens things out. Cool tones alone make me look wan, and warm tones alone make me look flushed. Mixing warm and cool in the clothes themselves tends to break up the lines that flatter my shape, so I rarely do that.

    My favorite discovery from paying attention to the rules you have shared with us, Janice, is that I look best in a column of a COLOUR, wearing my accessories in neutrals, not the traditional other way around. There is almost no tone in the neutrals that I look both vibrant AND proportionate in when I wear it as a column... I particularly noticed this when I frequently wore simple dresses instead of shorts and tops last summer.

    My only wish is that the designers made more casual clothing that fit this concept. Too often, coloured clothing is available only in loungewear or ultra-dress, while 'regular' clothing is generally available only in neutral colours. (Except the semi-neutrals of denim blue and loden green -- if these colours looks good on you, the clothing world is your oyster!)

    Have others found that they look best in the 'column' of a colour, saving neutrals for their so-called accent colour?

    Many people tend to do this when they choose dresses for special occasions, so I wonder if it mightn't be a method that works for many women as daily wear, too. Not for everyone, probably, but I am glad I noticed that my gym clothes and my dress occasion clothes followed this pattern and that I looked and felt best dressed this way. Thanks, Janice, for guiding us through the steps of wardrobe creation that work for every person, regardless of shape, style, or coloring.

    Now, if I could only find a refined, fluid core of four in one of my favorite so-called accent colours, throw in a Triple Top or two, and I'm golden for anything .....Mmm.
    Sue G

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    1. I've found something similar - I like a column of colour plus a neutral topper. In other words, many people would wear neutral pants and top, with a bright blazer or cardigan, but I prefer the reverse. I also agree that I prefer a bright column with neutral shoes and bag, to the reverse. This is partly because I really don't like my feet so why make them a feature!
      Alice

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    2. I haven't found that but if you're looking for a color and look good in burgundy and its relatives, I've found that it is widely available... so much so that I have more of it than I do of Navy, although Navy looks much better on me. Going through my wardrobe, I find that I have WAY too much of really nice winter pieces in that family and need to stop buying more!!!

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    3. I haven't found that but if you're looking for a color and look good in burgundy and its relatives, I've found that it is widely available... so much so that I have more of it than I do of Navy, although Navy looks much better on me. Going through my wardrobe, I find that I have WAY too much of really nice winter pieces in that family and need to stop buying more!!!

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  9. I'm so glad to see this post. Your Core Four has been my guiding principle since I started simplifying my wardrobe more than two years ago. My neutrals are black, navy, tan and white. My accents are turquoise, coral, lime and red which I rotate seasonally. This gives me so much flexibility that my friends and neighbors think I have a HUGE wardrobe. Joke's on them! I have less than three dozen apparel items (minus accessories). Thanks!! You make a difference.

    The only thing I'd ask is: Please change that post-apocalyptic blog banner to something less depressing. It has me avoiding the blog.

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    1. I had no idea it felt that dark! It's from the restaurant at the Passage Vivienne... Let me look for something more upbeat, eh?
      hugs,
      Janice

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  10. Cardinals are my good luck bird. So love to see them. What a great inspiration piece.

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  11. I love this! My wardrobe has evolved to 3 accent colors and 5 neutrals - black, navy, tan-taupe, brown and soft white. All the accent colors go with all the neutrals. However, not all of the neutrals go with each other - the darker browns look funny with navy (except for jeans), and most of the navies are too dark to wear with black. Also, I only like the column of neutral colors in navy or black for myself - head to toe of the other colors doesn't suit me. So I'm not following the template exactly, but I still find it very helpful.

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  12. I would be very happy indeed in this wardrobe. Like other posters, I favour warm colors, but always have black (and now gray) because they are such easy colors to work with.

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  13. This looks great! Would love to see this for a blue jay. They have a great variation of blues and I've even seen pictures of some with a soft terra cotta pinkish chest. (Hope this doesn't post twice)

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  14. Love this Janice. Neutrals are my favourite with red of course. Isn't nature so tasteful?! Chris Australia x

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  15. In my mid forties, I've found my color palate changing. I used to be a classic autumn, and now it's softened, from olive green to denim blue, warm greys, teal blue and coral. So while I'm trying to simplify my wardrobe colors, my preferences have shifted in a new direction. I like coming here for experimentation.

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  16. I love this one! I have black, gray, khaki and denim neutrals now.Thank you for listening to your followers and giving the people what they want! :) I love mixing warm and cool colors. That Lauren Wolf pendant is gorgeous!

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