Monday, May 02, 2016

12 Months, 12 Outfits in 6 Capsule Wardrobes: May

Ivy Bromius - send me an email at, because you won the Stowaway cosmetics! Congratulations! And thanks to all 185 of your for your intelligent, charming, and helpful comments...

Everyone should still check out the Stowaway cosmetics site, because they are lovely little pieces that get used up instead of expiring before you can finish them - and you can send back the empty containers for recycling - and THEY pay to get them back! I would love them for that if nothing else...

Now, to this month's update: 

Warm weather's coming! (I type, as I'm sitting in fleece running tights and a sweatshirt...)

When I was pondering what we needed to add to these capsule wardrobes for May, I kept coming back to the idea that we need to be prepared ahead of time for the first warm days. Even if it's no more of an event than going to watch your neighbor's kids play soccer, you don't want to be caught off guard and unprepared. That's how badly conceived impulse purchases make their way into your closet!

First up, a reminder of the 6 scarves that we're using as our unifying themes for the capsule wardrobes, through the 12 months:

If you'd like to refresh your memory about the first 4 outfits, and how we got to this point, you can find January here, February here, March here, and April here.

As always, please keep 2 things in mind:

1. You can do this kind of exercise without EVER owning an Hermes scarf - any beautiful thing can be your inspiration and unifying theme. Look around your world and your life for things that inspire you - things that "speak" to you, and that aren't LYING!!!

2. If you don't wear shorts, think of a skirt, or cropped pants, or pedal pushers. Yes, they still exist, and they're cute as heck... If you don't want something sleeveless, look for short sleeved, or 3/4 sleeved. Your wardrobe is about you, not about some arbitrary rules...

I looked at matching jewelry for this outfit, but just liked the idea of things that were slightly different...

Tank top – Lands’ End; earrings – Nordstrom Rack
shorts – Uniqlo; cardigan – Lands’ End
flip flops – Vionic; bracelet – Kendra Scott

This NOT your ordinary tank top!

tank top – Emporio Armani; earrings – Kevia;
 shorts – Uniqlo; cardigan – L.L.Bean
 bracelet – Lead; flip flops – Vionic

Another sleeveless top that is a bit out of the ordinary - it's good to mix a bit of texture into a simple outfit from time to time...

sleeveless top – Dorothy Perkins; earrings – Catherine Malandrino
shorts – L.L.Bean; cardigan – Lands’ End
bracelets – ABS by Allen Schwartz; flip flops – Vionic

I like the bright punch of the top and sandals with the otherwise very simple monochromatic outfit... If you were looking for a 2nd top to wear here, either matching olive, or a soft cream, would both be perfect.

Tank top – Lands’ End; earrings – Niin
shorts – Uniqlo; cardigan – L.L.Bean
bracelet – Kendra Scott; flip flops – Aetrex

Yes, I'm a big fan of these sandals...

Tank top – Lands’ End; earrings – Simon Sebbag
 shorts – L.L.Bean; cardigan – L.L.Bean;   
bracelets – Dee Berkley; flip flops – OluKai

No red shoes, this month! But they're still bold...

Tank top – Lands’ End; earrings – Robert Lee Morris;
shorts – L.L.Bean; cardigan – Lands’ End;
bracelets – Robert Lee Morris; flip flops – Sam Edelman

None of these May outfits is particularly amazing or complicated, but the options that they bring to the overall wardrobes is significant. Building with a plan has cumulative effects that grow as the months pass; you'd be pretty well outfitted for almost any travel with 11 pieces (and accompanying accessories).

Do you still have the same favorite that you had back in January? I do, but I'm pretty predictable!


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  1. I like the punch of colour that several of these tank tops add to their wardrobe. I'm enjoying this :)

  2. It's odd - I started off with the first set (Navy - Voyage) as my favourite - and if I had to choose a set to actually wear I would stick with this one as its closest to what I do wear - however, more and more I find myself drawn to the beige version of "voyage" but its the shade of blue rather than the beige I love (beige or cream aren't really my colours but if I could substitute some white closer to my face I could get away with it. It is interesting to see how my opinion has changed as more pieces have been added.

    1. I was just thinking the same thing. As the wardrobes progress, my favourites are changing. At first, Ettofle or Au Pays des Oiseaux Fleurs were my favourites and close to the colours I wear. However, the softer colours of Cheval Surprise are growing more and more appealing, even though I would have to substitute the bright green.

    2. I'm with you, Beatriz. I am drawn to the navy, grey, and black wardrobes because they are colors I could wear, but I do admire the loveliness of the beige wardrobe. The olive and camel are bigger stretches for me color-wise, but I can just imagine them on the right women. How fun! - nancyo

  3. It is so helpful that you are showing the same items in different colors and textures in each set. I'm starting to recognize that I am drawn to the blue pieces. If I were to put a Pinterest inspiration board together based on these beautiful blues, I'm pretty sure that most of the images would be gorgeous ocean/beach scenes from around the world. Add those ocean blue colors to my summer neutrals of white, beige and navy and can feel myself swooning already. Thanks for helping me discover my inspiration and color scheme! It all seems so obvious now.

  4. I lean toward the beige/baby blue grouping, but I would look better in the turquoise/navy group or the blue/red group.
    Right now I'm in the whatever's loose group after stuffing myself at farms across the south of France yesterday. It was "De Ferme en Ferme," a bunch of farm open houses, with plenty to sample.

  5. It never fails that you unlock the pure beauty and versatility of these wonderful scarves whenever you feature them. And the navy one used in May really speaks to me. :))

  6. each of these are really taking shape very nicely and i find myself drawn to several of them. That Georgio Armani tank top is spectacular in its simplicity.

    Deb from Vancouver

    1. Yes! That top immediately struck me as well. Gorgeous colours but I am not very fond of 100% polyester, even if it does keeps the plissage.

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  8. Hi Janice, how helpful these posts have been and so beautiful. The navy group fits best with my chosen wardrobe and I've used your ideas to build a wardrobe, but the light blue- beige group - sigh - so delicate and lovely! I LOVE the Kendra Scott bracelet. A new Kendra Scott store opened nearby and I visited this weekend. The bracelet is even more beautiful in person. It comes in both silver and gold metal and the colors! Gorgeous ! And it adjusts to your wrist size nicely. And prices are so reasonable for the quality. I could have bought everything in the store! Now I'm just trying to decide on the color. Thank you so much - Janice Collins. Washington DC

  9. I would be almost embarrassed for you to know how much I anticipate the first of each month for the next installment of this series.

    I'm following along with the navy set, with wine and soft grey as my accents because these are my wardrobe colors.

    I thought I would be mostly shopping my closet for this game, but pulling each piece and making up the outfit for the month is showing me what's really in my closet versus what I really want and need to be there.

    In the first months I upgraded (needed) quality of some basics and filled in some gaps. Now this month I only need to buy one item, a pair of casual linen pants to sub for the shorts. In anticipation of what you would call for in the summer months I had already found some great espadrilles to sub for causal sandals and flip flops, and everything else I happily found in my closet.

    I will be giddy again for June 1. What a brilliant and useful series.

  10. The bracelets this month are beautiful!

    I think what I miss seeing in these wardrobes are pinks and purples. It looks like they could have been added to the black wardrobe, but would now maybe (?) clash with the existing red.

    1. You're right - those are the colors that are missing from the array! I tried to pick a variety of scarves when I was starting, but I didn't really cover the spectrum as well as I might have....

      Next year, we'll try again!

    2. Courtney,

      My heart goes toward the black wardrobe, even though I don't wear red. I wear royal blue and fuchsia. So in my mind when I look at the black wardrobe, I substitute in fuchsia for the red and see something that speaks to me.

  11. It is fascinating watching these wardrobes evolve! And yes, my favourites have also changed since January, as has my perception of which one(s) might best suit me.
    Great good for thought, thank you for another marvellous series.
    Robyn in Tasmania

  12. This is a shaggy scarf story. I'd been eyeing Le Voyage de Pytheas for two years and couldn't quite rationalize buying it. When you used it in this series, I knew it was time. (January is my birthday -- seemed like the right reason.) Alas -- it's not on the Hermes website any more. Last week, while in London, I made a pilgrimage to Harrods to see if they had the scarf. A very nice, very British, very Harrod's salesperson could barely surpress her surprise at the request. "Why -- that was two seasons ago!" Lesson learned: Don't delay gratification when it comes to Hermes scarves!