Friday, May 20, 2016

Building a Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Art: Study for the Muses by Brice Marden

This lives just down the street from me, at the Art Institute of Chicago. I'm quite taken with it:

Study for the Muses (Eaglesmere Version) by Brice Marden

I could have included all three accent colors, but I wanted to think about a small, long-weekend packing wardrobe, so I limited myself to these two glorious shades:

Off Season 

"You can't go to the beach house NOW! You'll never be able to go outside..."

Earrings – Carlos and Cynthia Rendon; scarfBadgley Mischka
 henley – L.L.Bean; pants – L.L.Bean; loafers – Tod’s
cardigan – L.L.Bean; bracelet – Maria Belen Nilson; bag – Urban Originals
suitcase – Bric's

It is possible to dress warmly. And just because the calendar doesn't specify "beach" anywhere, doesn't meant that it's going to snow! The weather is often very lovely this time of year...

bracelet – Withaya Cheunjit; earrings – Simon Sebbag; pink shirt – Uniqlo;
 fleece – Lands’ End; blue shirt – Lands’ End; fleece scarf – Lands’ End
skirt – L.L.Bean; fingerless gloves – Laundry by Design; sandals – OluKai;
boots – UGG; hat – Caslon; henley – Uniqlo; print scarf – Ted Baker;  
capris L.L.Bean

Yes, she seems rather feminine - pastels, round collars on her shirts, the whole "girly" 9 yards. But that doesn't mean that she's stupid!

"You're taking JEWELRY????"

Why yes, I want to look nice when I see the ocean. Should I look like someone else just because I'm going to the beach?

When she surveys what she's packing, she's very happy with her choices. Her suitcase was a great buy, and her Ted Baker scarf is so pretty that she will drape it over a chair when she isn't wearing it... 

"But you're going to be all alone!"

Well, there's nothing wrong with being alone...

And if she wants to find some companionship, I think she won't have too much trouble...


Coldwater Creek


  1. This is so lovely. It is like you read my mind.

  2. Alas, it is already far too warm for this beautiful wardrobe to be worn on a south Florida beach! Great color inspiration. Ted Baker scarf is so very pretty. Thank you, Janice.

  3. How lovely - and it would be perfect up here this weekend. This is our May long weekend in Canada and temps are due to hit the mid 70'sF for the whole time with lots of sunshine (but cooler at night so sweaters are still needed). I have white cropped pants and jeans along with both blue and pink t-shirts, shirts & summer cardigans - need a few accessories though so I'll keep my eyes open for some finishing touches. Thank you.

  4. Once again a beautiful job,Janice!! I'd have light gray bottoms instead of white, but I love the soft pretty feel of this wardrobe. And it would mix wonderfully with the blue, gray, and black wardrobe from two days ago.

  5. The warmer to cooler illustrations are so helpful--absolutely necessary to consider when I am packing, and reminders of ways to use my clothing at home on days that start out cool and quickly warm up.

  6. That looks a lot like the Pantone "colors of the year 2016". The artist was clearly a very early adopter. ;-)

  7. Janice,

    Substitute coral for the pink, and this is pretty much what I'll be taking to the New Jersey shore next week, where the temps vary from the 50's to the high 60's and I'm always cold anyway. I'll add a pair of blue jeans as this will be a partly working event, getting my husband's family's shore house ready for the summer and some rentals. Thanks for the color scheme -- I knew that I wanted a denim blue, but I was undecided on the warm color and the neutrals.

  8. Methinks this woman's family gives her the giggles. :)

  9. I love everything about this post, especially the story. This is exactly the type of trip I'd take. Once upon a time I would have gotten the same response from family and friends, but now they all know I am perfectly happy and safe traveling alone.

    Later this summer I hope to take off on my own little crazy trip. I am working on a project for my client that consists mostly of documentation. I don't see any reason to go to the office to write documentation, nor be at home, or even in the US. I'm planning to go to Aruba for 10 glorious days and alternate sitting on the beach and writing on my patio. I've been several times so don't feel the need to play tourist. I figure it might be the only time in my career that I get the opportunity to work and play at the same time.

  10. I've bookmarked this page and will use it as my packing guide for a long weekend trip with iffy weather. The warmer to cooler illustrations really help to visualize the possibilities.

  11. Substitute the green in the painting for the pink and I would happily wear this wardrobe. And I prefer going to the coast when the weather is cool, so I love the way this woman thinks (as long as I can stay fairly active, I am rarely cold). I've been to Tybee Island in November and I thought the weather was absolutely perfect -- highs in the upper 60s/lower 70s and lows in the upper 40s/lower 50s suit me just fine, even at the beach!

  12. Ah, a cottage by the beach in the off season all by yourself in the perfect clothes. What could be better? Must have some really good books, great music and groceries for yummy slow cooked meals. Perhaps a dog for the walks and quiet companionship?
    Deb from Vancouver

  13. A beach house all to myself sounds great! A wonderful post to show how to pack and dress for changing weather. Thanks Janice!!

  14. I like the way the painting has inspired not only the colour choices but also the free-wheeling atmosphere of the story and our heroine. This is a lovely companion piece to the 3 dress beachy wardrobe of 3 May, adding to the pretty+practical ideas. Although we're heading into winter in the southern hemisphere, the examples shown will still work. Thank you for the warm-to-cool visuals - always helpful illustrations of mixing and matching to get the most out of a small collection. And why indeed should the beach/coast be just for summer - it's beautiful year round.
    Robyn in Tasmania

  15. I love visiting the beach all times of the year.

  16. I want to step directly into the clothes and into the story.