Wednesday, August 17, 2016

One Yellow Dress in a Capsule Wardrobe: 14 Ways to Wear It

One of you recently bought a yellow dress... It wasn't this one, but it was an equally simple, beautiful dress...


One Yellow Dress in a Capsule Wardrobe: 14 Ways to Wear It
Dress – Who's Who

What to do with such a nice dress, in such a statement color? Work your way through every color in the rainbow, and test them in your mind (in a PowerPoint presentation, or on Pinterest?) to see how they'll work...

First up, knowing that the purchaser is a woman who wears "cool" colors and accessories, I thought I'd take a look at putting some black with it. Some people might feel that this is too much bumblebee, or University of Iowa, or Pittsburgh Pirates, but I think that it's a striking option.

In the first example, I used a bit of white (or of skin, showing through the sandals) to unify the accessories. And the 2nd set is all about woven and grid textures:

Two ways to wear a yellow dress with accessories
Dress – Who's Who
earrings – Savvy Cie; tote – Kate Spade; sandals – Sam Edelman
bracelet – Kenneth Jay Lane; wallet – Hobo; sling-backs –  Trotters

Generally speaking, if a color can be worn with black, you should definitely consider trying it with grey, too. In both of these cases, the shoes and the cardigans are in the same color family, and then the scarf sort of "ties" everything together, colorwise.

Note that all of the colors don't have to be dye-lot matched; it should just look as if you meant to wear what you're wearing, and not like "I got dressed in the dark and didn't meant to wear grey suede wedgies..."

Two ways to wear a yellow dress with grey
Dress – Who's Who
 cardigan – Jardin des Orangers; scarf – Kekkai; wedges – Clarks
cardigan – Theory; scarf – Infinity; flats – Dr. Scholl’s

Navy is ALWAYS a color to consider when looking for a companion - it plays well with pretty much everything. And it can be very dressy, or very relaxed... No wonder menswear uses so much navy! 

In the first example, navy tights would be best, I think...


Two ways to wear a yellow dress with navy blue
Dress – Who's Who;
 field jacket – L.L.Bean; boots – Aquatalia; scarf – Missoni
cardigan – Steffen Schraut; silk scarf – Vince Camuto; pumps – Sőfft

Virtually anything can be worn with white, and in the hot hot hot weather, it's a nice way to make anything look cooler and fresher.

Two ways to wear a yellow dress with white
DressWho's Who
earrings – Alison Lou; cardigan – J. Crew; sandals – Jack Rogers
denim jacket – Levi’s; bracelet – Brahmin; canvas shoes - Keds

 Any print or pattern that includes your dress color is a candidate for being included in an outfit. You have to be careful not to let things get too busy - I'm still not sure how much I love the pink ballet flats, except that they're just so perfectly pink... But in the first outfit, a pink bag, or earrings, would have been a bit too much.

Two ways to wear a yellow dress with florals
Dress – Who's Who;
 earrings – Lydell NYC; bag – Dolce & Gabbana; blazer – Seventy by Sergio Tegon
pink flats – Kate Spade; cardigan – Lands’ End; black earrings – Lele Sadoughi
black bag – Henri Bendel; black flats – Shoes of Prey

I love black... But I particularly like the way this dress can be worn for quite dressy events, or to things that are much more relaxed. A good dress gives you options...

Two ways to wear a yellow dress with black
Dress – Who's Who
earrings – Alexis Bittar; jacket – Diane von Furstenberg; bag – Glint
sandals – Naturalizer; cardigan – Iris von Arnim; earrings –  

Since the dress is such a pure, intense shade of yellow, it can easily stand up to a bit of "bright mixing." When you're not sure about what shoes to wear with something like this, look for a pair of shoes that is as close in color as possible to the color of your lower legs and to the tops of your feet. This makes the shoe nearly imperceptible as a part of your outfit.

And while conventional wisdom tells us to match the color of our hemline, for hosiery, I can't in good conscience tell you to EVER own a pair of yellow tights. Bare legs, nude hosiery, or the neutral from your outfit will all be MUCH better options!

Two ways to wear a yellow dress with bright colors
Dress – Who's Who
 earrings – Oscar de la Renta; cardigans – Lands’ End; floral scarf –  
Matthew Williamson; nude sandals – Corso Comoearrings – Kate Spade
paisley scarf – Etro; red flats – Shoes of Prey

This kind of experimenting will work with any color of dress, blouse, shirt, sweater etc. The key to keep in mind is to try for similar color intensity - brights with brights, muted with muted, pastel with pastel etc. Try ALL of the neutral colors, including the more off-beat ones like brown, olive or taupe, too.

Any other colors you'd like to see?

love,
Janice

One Yellow Dress in a Capsule Wardrobe: 14 Ways to Wear It
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36 comments:

  1. I love wearing dresses in the summer--they are so much more cool and comfortable, especially designs like this one, with nothing sticking around the waist. This morning, as I was deciding which dress to wear, I realized my choices were: black, black, black, black/gray, black/white. BORING.
    The other thing about dresses is that you can go a little crazy with color because you don't have to justify having another piece to wear with it (I mean a top or bottom, not a cardigan or jacket). I love the combinations you show here.
    Sadly the summer soldes have passed without me buying anything but a pair of pants (and good ones they are!). But I'm going to be on the lookout for sizzling colored dresses for next year. Maybe even in winter. Color is always welcome in winter.

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  2. What a great lesson in how to stretch our wardrobes and hoe just 1 or 2 changes can give us an entirely different look.
    Since I am hoping to actually buy a couple of dresses for the Fall/Winter season I'd love to see some options for both a soft grey dress and a bright red one (two options I'm considering - black or navy just seem too easy). Both options would be very simple in style and of materials appropriate for the office. I have a good collection of cardigans in many colours so have those options but I'd love to push myself a bit. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.

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  3. Janice, is there a way to deal with one warm interloper in a cool wardrobe? Last year I very foolishly bought a beautiful vintage sweater in warm shades of peach, cream and taupe. The problem is that I am strictly a cool-color person. I never wear brown, rust etc. So far I have only managed to wear it with faded blue jeans. Must I give up on it?

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    1. I think that could go well with olive, or almost any green - forest green, maybe even lime if you're okay with something really distinctive. Peaches grow on green trees! (This is my argument for why green can almost always be a neutral - every color in nature can be found growing in green background vegetation)
      - Kaci

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    2. Would it work with grey - either pants or a skirt? Grey bottoms, a white blouse, shirt or t-shirt and then the sweater over it? Perhaps taupey/grey shoes or a purse or accessories in the peach to tie it together?

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  4. I so love this! One of my favorite dresses is a sharp yellow dress, and I am always eager for ideas of new ways to wear it.

    I DO wear it with yellow tights occasionally in the fall -- with cognac boots and an officer's-uniform style crop jacket in a sort of a deep blood red, and a long silk scarf knotted and worn as a very long necklace. It sounds awful on paper, but it looks wonderful. I think it works because my hair is floofy, and has deep leathery undertones that echo the cognac/red. I must say, though, that I have never seen anyone else wear yellow tights, so maybe I am kidding myself about looking sharp in it. Don't care. I like it!

    I wear it most often as part of my summer navy capsule inspired by your Start With Art post: The Boating Party by Mary Cassatt. Very fresh and cheerful.
    http://www.theviviennefiles.com/2015/08/start-with-art-boating-party-by-mary.html

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  5. Ooh thanks Jamice for this lovely post. It's giving me ideas on how to wear a very beautiful yellow v-neck sweater which was a gift a couple years ago. I remember your v-nevk sweater series and was so inspired. You didn't feature a yellow sweater but i began wearing my yellow one more using your suggestions. This color is great with navy and any blue. I'm not so sure it goes well with tan but I love how it looks with grey. I'm gradually turning to grey as my 2nd neutral and replacing tan as my hair turns more grey/blond than blond/grey.. I get compliments when I wear light grey ., so Grey and navy is easy and so classic and both so beautiful with this yellow and so many other colors! Thank you again for Sooo much inspiration . Janice Collins, Washington, DC

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  6. Lovely lesson in versatility! I have mustard tights that I wear with charcoal or denim. I don't think I could go as far as bright yellow, but never say never! Also, I have been using grey rather than black with orange (avoid Halloween echoes) and red (UGa associations) and it works well. - nancyo

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  7. As far as the first look goes, it might be a great option for someone who is attending an event where "team colors" are almost mandatory, but she doesn't really own (or want to own) official team clothing.

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    1. Sometimes you just want to blend in and get along with your neighbors, without buying a sports jersey - this is one way to do it!
      hugs,
      Janice

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  8. Thank you! I bought a yellow dress this spring for a bridal shower. Not too dressy, not too casual. This has given me inspiration to try it with some other options in my closet and wear it much further into the fall than I originally thought!

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    1. With a sweater, the right shade of yellow can go well into fall, and maybe even winter, with no problems! I'm sure you'll figure something out...
      hugs,
      Janice

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  9. Love all this and the versatility would love to see with an orange dress or coral red one, that I'm pondering, but wasnt' sure how much use I would get out of it. Or any warm colored bright would be fun to see

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  10. Makes we want to get a yellow dress..but I don't wear dresses too often, but tailored yellow pants and very nice matching top might work just a well!

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  11. Makes we want to get a yellow dress..but I don't wear dresses too often, but tailored yellow pants and very nice matching top might work just a well!

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  12. Great exercise! I liked most of the outfits except the second grey one. The sweater just looked too heavy for the dress to me. I'm looking forward to more colors in this theme. I'd particularly like to see a charcoal wool shift dress because I happen to have one. Styled with warm colors and with a v-neck would be perfect. :)

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  13. I never would have considered all these options for one dress!
    You make it look so simple too!!
    You have what we have come to know as "french chic" a talent for accessorizing and maximizing the power of accessories.

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  14. This is very helpful and inspiring. I would like to see a warm red dress styled in a variety of ways for the fall winter. Also, a dirty purplish brown. It strikes me that a sleeveless dress is more versatile and there are many ways to cover the arms if desired.
    Deb from Vancouver

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  15. Pure delicious awesomness!! I find it challenging to narrow my color palete so I deal with color cravings by postponing. E.g. each season I follow another color palete carrying on half of colors over to new palette and adding some new. I have striped black-white-blue bodycon dress (horizontal stripes) so I am interested how to wear it. And a burgundy dress (skater, short-sleeved).
    This example made me thinking, maybe I don't need to pack away my 2 summer dresses when time comes to roll seasons...

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  16. Edit (just in case anyone it doesn't matter): it is not short sleeved but sleeveless - here is similar http://www2.hm.com/en_eur/productpage.0399403001.html

    And very similar striped dress - just substitute dark red with royal blue, and short sleeves with long ones http://www2.hm.com/en_eur/productpage.0418704002.html

    Thank you Janice and you all for good vibes - precious commodity these days!! :-)

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    1. those are both cute dresses, and I'd imagine you could wear them well into the autumn. (I am from the USA and to see the dresses I had to tell H&M that I am from the United Kingdom) - nancyo

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  17. Janice! You've hit on a question I've always had, and if there's a definite answer or a "rule" I can follow, please oh please tell me what it is. You said, in the notes about the floral jacket outfit, that a pink bag would've been too much. How do I know what's too much? I've heard some "rule of fours" but I couldn't figure it out practically. What's your rule? I would love to feel that I was getting this right -- I suspect I overdo, or err the other way and don't try at all =P

    Thanks!
    Sandy

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    1. I think it depends on the person. I would have been all about the yellow dress, jacket, pink shoes, pink bag, pink earrings!
      - Kaci

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    2. For me, if I have a multicolored pattern, I try not to have more than one item of any given solid accent color. Multiple neutrals (like, two black items) tend to go down well together, but if I have a striped shirt with blue, green, and yellow, I try to stick with only one yellow item and/or one blue item and/or one green item, etc.

      For patterns that are mostly neutrals, like a black/white shirt, or a black/white/red shirt... I'm a little more forgiving! Definitely all depends on your tastes :-) If you love it, work it!

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    3. For me it's more a matter of letting an accessory "POP" - those pink shoes are gorgeous but if I also used pink earrings and a pink purse it wouldn't allow the shoes to shine. It's also a matter of being too matchy/matchy - which I don't personally like - I prefer a bit of tension/something a little interesting. But it is a matter of personal preference - I have a very well dressed friend who prefers all her accessories to match - and she looks great!

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  18. Janice, I bought a cobalt blue knitted shift dress with short sleeves two year's ago for Autumn/Winter and I've worn it once with a long navy cardigan, black opaque tights and black court shoes. It's not really my colour as it is too bright, but I would like to get some other styling ideas and perhaps wear it again this year. Thanks Sharon.

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  19. Thanks, Janice, for expanding our ideas to include a dress in a colour other than black. Some of us look terrible in black and this yellow beauty is a great option.

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  20. Janice, I dub you the accessory Queen! Lots of options here! Good examples of how to stretch the wear of what might be considered a one season dress! Thanks!

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  21. Love the yellow dress and all that you put with it.

    I purchased the Sam Edelman strappy sandals in MAGENTA and I love them. They are beautifully made and instantly comfortable which is a rare experience for me and shoes.

    Magenta is my new favourite neutral – it seems to go with everything. I'd love to see what you could do using magenta either as a base colour or as lots of accessories. And please some more magenta shoes – I'll need some for fall and winter.

    Thank you always for your amazing work.
    Vancouver Barbara

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  22. You really kept this from bumble bee territory. Very pretty.

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  23. I like the way you've styled the dress for smart and casual - makes it versatile. And while I know the topic is colour, you've also helped me to see how a sleeveless dress - which I would usually avoid because I don't have Michelle Obama's arms - could be nicely incorporated into my wardrobe.
    Robyn in Tasmania

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  24. I not a big fan of yellow but this is fantastic and I am especially fond of the pairings with white or black. I am crazy over those black white oxfords!

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  25. As always, I love it!!! I just about never wear yellow (except for an adorable vintage sundress I bought some years back...) but this is fantastic.

    I do have a really striking skirt that I have yet to wear... I'd love to see what you'd suggest! (The only pictures I could find of it include legs... eek!)
    https://www.pinterest.com/pin/563512972100745568/

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  26. You have inspired me to look at scarves to find pleasing color combinations to explore in an outfit... Plus the scarf may be the key to tying the two colors together!

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  27. Thank you so much for helping me understand how to integrate this dress color into my wardrobe! The one time that I wore the dress, I paired it with silver flats and a cobalt blue purse...I thought it looked great, although my husband said that he would have liked it better if it didn't remind him of Michigan colors, lol! I love pink and yellow together and had planned to wear it with a pink cardigan. But the most exciting thing to me is that I have a pair of awesome black and white oxfords that I've never worn because I can't figure out what to wear them with...it never occurred to me to wear them with a dress! I am so excited! Thank you so much!!!!

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  28. This is so beautiful! Yellow is not a color I ever really considered for myself, but I'm re-thinking it... My suggestion for the floral blazer outfit (on the left), would be to switch out the pink ballerinas for nude patent leather shoes... and wear a pink lipstick and/or nail color to pull out the pink in the jacket.

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