Tuesday, October 11, 2016

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe: Starting From Scratch - Stage Two

Yesterday we left this capsule wardrobe with five (very carefully chosen) garments, and eight possible ways to wear them. It's about time for some accessories!

This is the stage at which your personality and preference can really begin to show. For this imaginary wardrobe builder, I've decided that she has two really strong "themes" that she likes: Cables (like those on sweaters, or in twisted and rope-like jewelry textures), and Flowers. These preferences will be more and more apparent as we move forward, but it's good to starting establishing these personal style signatures as soon as possible.



How to build an Accessory Wardrobe - 5 simple starters

Everything is very simple, with a gorgeous scarf to accent all of the navy and pink that she's going to own!

At this point, this budding wardrobe has only two tops (and the cardigan, which can be worn as a top); it's about time we choose a couple more. This is an easy way to make the choice - find something that you love, like a well-made tee shirt, and try to get it in two of your accent colors! This simplifies the whole question of making sure that necklines are flattering, and that the collars of various garments work together. (fewer variations means fewer combinations, which means fewer headaches!)

And I'm becoming, more and more, a fan of a solid, accent-colored scarf. When I saw how well this one matched for color, I was sold. (this scarf comes in TWENTY-EIGHT colors, just in case you're looking...)

3 Starting From Scratch capsule wardrobe pieces in pink and light blue

At this step, it's easy to look at our wardrobe and realize that we don't have anything, at ALL, in our 2nd neutral! Buying these 3 pieces together accomplishes a few of handy things:
  • you can be careful about choosing the two "soft goods" pieces so that they are a close match or nice blend, and
  • if you're carrying those 2 pieces with you, it will simplify finding shoes that look right with them, and
  • these 3 pieces can drop right into your existing wardrobe and go to work - all of the tops that you current have in this wardrobe can be added to the 3 pieces below and you're fully-dressed!


3 Starting From Scratch capsule wardrobe pieces in khaki

Let's stop and access where we are. Nine pieces of clothes, and over two dozen possible ways to wear them. Some of the outfits aren't optimal, in terms of proportion, but you wouldn't have rocks thrown at you for wearing any of these ensembles:


A Starting From Scratch Capsule Wardrobe after the first 2 stages

eight ways to wear navy pants, from a Starting From Scratch Wardrobe

how to wear khaki pants, from a Starting From Scratch Wardrobe

8 ways to wear blue jeans, from a Starting From Scratch Wardrobe

But let's assess where we are, in a larger sense. If you're doing this at home, this is the time to stop, really STOP, and look at what you have. Do you love it? Does it make you happy to see it in your closet? Can you look at YOUR 24+ possible outfits and envision wearing them without hesitation?

It IS possible to get this far into a wardrobe plan and realize that you've gone off the rails. Sometimes, enthusiasm for a color scheme will mislead you. It might be taking the advice of someone (color counselor, career advisor, etc.) and realizing that the advice doesn't apply to you!

I can speak personally to this - when I finished graduate school, I made a BIG investment in navy, grey and burgundy work clothes; it was what I was told I should wear, and I was young and inexperienced. My wee heart cried out for black and red... After a few months I realized that the wardrobe was wrong, and moreover, my entire line of work wasn't going to suit me!

Listen to your heart. Give yourself a break and make sure that you're on the right path...

love,
Janice
How to build a capsule wardrobe from scratch - Step 2
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23 comments:

  1. Your story of thwarted black and red really resonates. Women's work clothes were so dictated by John Molloy and his ilk in the '80s. The thing is, books/trends like that influence what you find in stores. Navy and gray were easier to find, I think. Black used to be something only widows and New Yorkers would wear. Now we have the colors of the rainbow, but it still can be hard to find the exact item in the size/cut/price and color we want.

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  2. This could have been conceived just for me - thank you Janice! The colours, the textures, the flowers, the styles. I always enjoy shopping my wardrobe to see how far I can create my version of your suggestions, and where I might add a treat or two to round things out, inspired by what you show.
    Big review coming up when we get back from holiday next month! I'll look forward to seeing how you develop this further.
    Robyn in Tasmania

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  3. I am really enjoying this week's "starting from scratch" posts. It has taken me a long time to figure out the colors in which I am most comfortable. Back in my younger days, when the craze for wearing your seasonal colors first started, we dark-haired women were pretty much told that, with rare exceptions, we were probably Winters. I dutifully sought out clothes in the Winter palette, even though I was not drawn to most of them, with black as my main neutral. I can wear black, but I never felt especially comfortable in it, as I find it too severe and "formal" for some reason.

    My sister, who worked part time in a clothing store for a while, gave me an outfit for Christmas one year consisting of a dark brown corduroy skirt, orange cotton blouse, and cotton wrap sweater in a variety of orange stripes. While this color combination might sound appalling to some people, I loved it! This was the outfit I always wanted to wear for any occasion, but it still never occurred to me that the reason was the warmer colors.

    Over the years I have come to realize that I prefer an Autumn palette, and that my coloring is actually more of a warmer-toned Deep Autumn than the cool tones of a Winter. Now that I am finally adding colors that I love to my wardrobe I feel much more comfortable. I still have black for special occasions when I want to look more dressed-up, but my everyday outfits are mostly in warmer hues, and I love it!

    Recently I bought a slew of inexpensive t-shirts in a rainbow of colors, and rather to my surprise I find myself often reaching for those in shades of purple, a color I used to dislike. I actually like to wear purple with brown, which I would never have considered in the past. My color preferences seem to be changing as I get older, so it will be interesting to see how my wardrobe evolves!

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    1. Cee Pluse, you might even have a highish value contrast but in warm colours. (I have found the seasons to be wanting but that is just me.) Just putting it out there... Hugs Carol S

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    2. It's a learning experience, isn't it. Like you, I've had to learn from my feelings to move away from 'winter' colours and black. Going grey while reading TVF (unconnected events!) also helped me to discover my best colours and that I prefer low contrast. I'm glad that you're enjoying your experiments and discoveries too.

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    3. Agree with carol that I'm not keen on the seasons system. It took me a while to realise that it confuses bright with contrasting, ie if you suit bright colours you must also like clear and contrasting ones. Actually all sorts of mixes are possible. For example low chroma muted colours but with a big range of light-dark. Best thing is just to keep trying different mixes and noting down what works best and why. Alice.

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    4. Hugs Alice. Carol S

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  4. I am now comfortable with my colour schemes that suit my complexation but I never rule out clothes that are in colours that I love. My colours are warm, light and muted but deep down there is an inner surfy chick who loves the light turquoises and light blue aquas of sea. I can't even surf! Carol S

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    1. Carol S,
      I share your warm, light, soft personal coloring, and like you, sometimes feel the need to cool it down. All warm all the time gets to be tedious. The turquoise ( I prefer mine on the greener side ) and light blue you mentioned are actually a part of the colors suggested for our our coloring. I have searched the various vendors of color palettes, and I have come to the conclusion that I am am either a toned Spring, or a tinted Autumn, and both of those include the cooler light blue and warmer turquoise. As a much younger woman with darker hair, I could wear navy, but now, with beige blond hair, even the navy is overpowering. Even dark brown is falling out of favor with me, although it seems to be THE brown offered over Winter. My new brown preference is lighter, more of a chocolate to a rust brown, which is MUCH harder to find ! Drat !

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    2. Shrebee, I was really frustrated with the various vendors of colour palettes. There are some out there that deal with light, soft and warm. Most just seem to reel off the seasons or variations thereof. There is one site that I like because it is not dealing with clothes but colour in general. It looks at value (light vs dark) and brightness vs greyness but not warm vs cool. http://english.iro-color.com/colorchart/tone/index.html I sometimes think we should be handed colour swatches in each ring of colours that suit us rather than ready made swatches. Gets down off her soapbox. Carol S

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  5. Janice,
    Just curious -- why would you not have introduced a beige/ khaki top at this same time to be worn with the the beige pants as an inner column, or worn with the navy pants ? Love that Gucci scarf, although it's beyond my price point ! So many outfits from just these few pieces ! What I personally have to be careful of is the value contrast when wearing darks and lights together -- I need to include a medium value color when I wear the darkest and lightest neutrals together, even when dressing monochromatically. The tiiming of this series of posts is just perfect for me, thank you for reading my mind !

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    1. Oh, and I am enjoying the concept of a solid color matching scarf, which adds a subtle , textural layer to the top pieces. Great idea !

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    2. Gosh, Cee, i feel terrible. Years ago i threw away (hopefully to Goodwill) a gorgeous chocolate brown suit that you would have loved. My mother adored it and encouraged me to get it because it "matched my eyes". Cannot tell you how many mornings i put it on and then took it off. It just didn't work for me. When i discovered black (like Janice) i realized why. Blue White Winter here... definitely not Autumn! Sometimes we just know in our hearts what's right and what's wrong. Sorry i can't send you the suit!

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    3. No reason at all - it would be a really easy piece to add. I actually had a perfectly matching khaki button-front shirt from Lands' End queued up to include, but then I felt like swerving more into the pretty accent colors... The ways that a simple color scheme can play out are almost countless!
      hugs,
      Janice

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  6. I am really enjoying this series!

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  7. Janice, this is just excellent! Thanks so much for your well thought through process.

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  8. That is an interesting point about themes. I would say one of mine is negative space--I like jewelry that has open space as part of the design. And as for colors, I usually just buy clothes in colors I like and then a bunch of them go together. Teal, green, magenta and purples are all favorites plus I am in a serious grey phase.

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  9. My wardrobe had to be built almost from scratch a few years ago after I lost 30 pounds...it was a challenge but then I had your wonderful blog to help me! My basic black and greys are still working for me...accessories are where I add pops of colour and I like to think of them as the icing on the cake.
    Thank you again,
    Leslie

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  10. Your posts always make me think! Love this series!!

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  11. I used to have a dress very like that navy scarf with the pink flowers. I absolutely loved it--such a pretty combination and it was very flattering on me at that time. More recently I've been experimenting with layered greys. It's pretty much what I wear when I don't have any other ideas. I had no idea grey could be so interesting or easy to wear. Thanks for restarting the series!

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  12. Flowers and cables - that's me!
    - Kaci

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  13. I have to agree with the futility of trying to match your eyes... for some people. I have tried for years to wear olive because I have hazel eyes, but I look much better in jewel colors and black because of my hair. Giving up on the olive; black with lots of bright solid colored tops, plus white and black patterned tops is my sweet spot for clothing. I seem to need variety, which is easy to do with black and a variety of accents...accents which may be grouped according to the season and not worn all year.

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  14. Funnily enough these are the colours I chose for my recent 10 day holiday in South Korea/Singapore. I used a 4x4 plan and it worked out beautifully. I actually found that I had a few things I didn't use. I also discovered that just because a pair of shoes are great to shop in all day doesn't mean that they will be great to walk 15 km in !! Will give more thought to that in the future. Thank you for your advice and help in putting together a working wardrobe, just love it.

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