Monday, April 18, 2016

Building a Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Art: Marguerite au Chat Noir by Henri Matisse

Yes, I saw this in Paris last week!

Aside from the charm and beauty of Marguerite, I was immediately attracted to the colors:

Quietly Rebellious 

Cardigan – J. Crew; pants – Boden
tee – J. Crew; skirt - A.P.C.

She seems like the most conventional of women. Very pretty, always very nicely dressed.

Cardigan – Stella McCartney; jeans – L.L.Bean
tee – L.L.Bean; denim skirt – A.P.C.

She's rather quiet, a bit shy, and well-suited to her work in the library...

Blue top – Part Two; ivory shimmer tee – Mint Velvet
soft teal tee – L. L. Bean; salmon sweater – Odeeh

And yes, she owns a cat!

Tie dye tee – Proenza Schouler; salmon shirt – L.L.Bean
ivory top – Dorothy Perkins; teal top – White Stuff

BUT, every day, without exception, she breaks a rule that she was told countless times, as a child!

Mixed print scarf – Hinge; teadrop earrings – Chico’s; round earrings
 – Ippolita; bracelet – Carolee; salmon scarf – Nordstrom; black loafers
 Patricia Green; blue sandals – Söfft; tweed ballet flats – Sam Edelman

"You know, with a round face, you should NEVER wear a round neckline!" 

But what if she LIKES her round face?

And what if she REALLY likes the way it looks in a round neckline? What if that became sort of a personal signature for her?

So, she rebels. Very quietly.

And everybody STILL thinks that she's very pretty...

Little do they realize that she's breaking the rules...


NORDSTROM - Shop Women's Work Clothing


  1. I wondered whether you would include a white turtleneck with a black/navy sundress to give us the same outfit as in the painting. ;)

    1. What a good idea...for seasonal changes! Chris Australia ✈️

  2. From Margie in Toronto - Love this colour combination - so soft and subtle but never boring!

    Had a big shopping weekend and, I did try to stick to two colour combinations, Black/White & Navy/Cobalt, I added small pops of colour, most of which will mix & match will all the basics (red, pink & a small pop of turquoise, yellow). I'm mostly a black & grey with a bit of red & pink throughout most of the year but come Spring (short as it is) I find I really do need some extra colour. With your help I've learned that I only need a few additions to stretch my core outfits.

  3. Very nice today, those soft colors are beautiful! Sue

  4. This is great - a very wearable wardrobe (black and denim blue are two of my core colors). And now I'm dying to see her signature necklaces!! - nancyo

    1. Black and denim are my core colors also. So practical and readily available. I am tall and a bit heavy so I have trouble finding clothing in my size. But black and denim are always available

  5. This is pretty close to the colours in my wardrobe. I would be interested in your choice for purses.

    Sharon Canada

  6. I love this woman who likes her face just. the. way. it. is.
    The wardrobe you've created for her is delightful, particularly the tweed ballet flats. What I wouldn't have given for a pair of those when I was a librarian! This set has just the right balance of quiet and sprightly for the lifestyle I had then.

  7. Michael Moore on how librarians are subversive, one face at a time: "You think they're like just sitting there at the desk, all quiet and everything. They're like plotting the revolution, man."

    1. Oh, they are - they're plotting it over at ;)

  8. What a lovely, gentle painting this is, with a wonderful wardrobe to match. I could see myself wearing any of these outfits. Once again, you have given me some new ideas for ways to use what I already own. Thank you! Mary

  9. Great business casual wardrobe! We can't wear sleeveless tops but other than that this is great for work! Love the bracelet and the tweed flats!

  10. Very well thought out post, humorous as well as a helpful. This is my favourite.
    Thanks Janice!

  11. Some of our Librarians in Vancouver are outright bold and "subversive" with tattoos, piercings and wild hair. I love it and so do the kids.
    Deb from Vancouver

  12. The "closet rebel", as suits a librarian. I'm married to a librarian and have a librarian cousin and volunteer at Friends of the Library sales. Appreciate the back story.

  13. The story and the wardrobe encapsulate quiet charm with just a gleam of mischief. Lovely atmosphere, pretty and practical wardrobe. Thank you Janice!
    Robyn in Tasmania

  14. I never would have thought to put black with blue. I need to open my mind!

  15. She probably wears white in the winter time, too!

  16. Most of us who are reference librarians are not quiet and shy. We like books, information resources, AND people! ;) I won't speak for catalogers....

  17. I'd happily pack this whole wardrobe up and take it on my vacation in a couple of weeks.