Thursday, October 13, 2016

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


This capsule wardrobe is starting to look pretty coherent! (Step 1 is here, Step 2 is here, and Step 3 is here)


How to build a capsule wardrobe from scratch - Step 4

After one has lived with the above wardrobe for a while, it might be time to buy an entire outfit, all at one time! Or it would also make sense to buy 3 pieces that aren't necessarily intended to worn together, but all of which are useful and integrated additions to the existing wardrobe.

Sticking with the idea that our heroine lead a pretty casual life, I thought that a pair of shorts would be handy for her. Another really pretty cabled sweater in one of her accent colors is an obvious choice, and a simple white shirt is never a bad idea... Almost any color scheme that I use for a wardrobe for more than 2 or 3 days will include some variation of white - ivory, bone, cream, that sort of thing. These are the tops that you reach for when everything feels overwhelming, and a little bit of simplicity and clarity is important. They are always appropriate (unless you're finger-painting with your closest friends!), and they go with everything, so it makes getting dressed quite simple.

For me, this is a great outfit; I wear shorts until late October... (the thermostat in my feet and legs doesn't work!)



How to build a capsule wardrobe from scratch - Step 4


Okay, in the last step, one might easily have included a 2nd pair of khaki pants, or a khaki skirt... How about a pair of pants in a navy and tan tweed? or plaid? If you can find garments that combine your 2 neutrals, they're well worth considering, because they give you a lot of options. But don't just automatically grab them because they fulfill that 1 criteria; it's got to be something flattering, that you love, too...

Hot on the heels of a pair of shorts - a coat and boots! 

I looked and looked for a navy and khaki scarf that I really liked, but they were all very... dark, and somewhat mannish, for this wardrobe. (in other wardrobes, a man's scarf is a beautiful thing..) And I don't know why, but I really wanted to see how a khaki coat would look here; it's such a nice, light break from all of the dark clothes that one seeks in the winter!

So I scared up a cozy beige coat long enough to cover even the longest cardigan in this wardrobe, and then found a softly-colored scarf that includes a touch of navy! 

And boots. Make sure you can walk in them, please! Make sure they cover your entire foot - this is not the time for open toes and/or heels... Be certain to ensure that you have a bit of breathing room around your calves - you don't want them skin-tight, and you might want to layer tights AND socks here... (these boots come in wide calf...)

How to build a capsule wardrobe from scratch - Step 4

Ahhhh.... my favorite things! It's about time we beef up this woman's jewelry a little bit! For these choices, I've stuck with two prevailing themes - the rope/twisted/cable idea that we see in her sweaters, and also the motif of floral things. If you don't wear brooches, ever, give it a thought, but you're not compelled to! In fact, you really could mix up these jewelry pieces any way you prefer, so long as you don't neglect the whole idea of jewelry. Just a small pair of earrings can make a great deal of difference in your appearance. Look around at the people you see for a few days, and evaluate how much you notice jewelry, and adjust your purchases and wearing preferences accordingly.

Apropos the handbag: since her winter coat is khaki, I thought that a bag in the same shade would blend nicely and look harmonious. Conventional wisdom would suggest that she match her boots, and that's not at all wrong; her smaller handbag is black. But with 2 neutrals in a wardrobe, you also have 2 choices for those investment leather goods like bags and shoes; I'm just taking advantage of that possibility...

If you're looking for "knot" earrings, Lord & Taylor has a few dozen styles...


How to build a capsule wardrobe from scratch - Step 4

This next stage is one that it's easy to neglect, but let's not take for granted that we can look like slobs when we're at home! Our loved ones deserve our very best...

Here, I chose solid bottoms and printed tops, in florals of course! This opens the possibility of wearing both tops with both bottoms (although the tunic with shorts could be a little bit weird...). 

This is also a pretty handy thing to remember if you prefer to bring the attention toward your face, and away from the area below your waist. Conversely, if you're top-heavy and like to diminish the contours of your torso, get some flowered shorts and a pair of printed or patterned pants, and wear them with solid tee shirts or other tops...



How to build a capsule wardrobe from scratch - Step 4

There's still NO dress in this wardrobe! And you know, if you're simply not a dress person, don't worry about it; there's no regulation requiring every woman in the world to own a dress...

In that case, you'd want to think about substituting in a really nice blouse or shirt to wear with your dressiest navy pants. The level of formality of this top should reflect the most formal occasion you can imagine attending. Don't rule out the possibility of having to meet with a lawyer, accountant, or government official at some point in your life; be prepared for the best/worst, and you'll have 1 fewer thing to cause you to worry.

I was looking for a really simple khaki dress, to no avail. Then I thought that a plain navy sheath would be good, but then I saw THIS... It's dressy but not fussy, and since the pattern is color on color, you could still get away with wearing a striped cardigan. (or the solid navy cardigan, for really serious stuff...)

Ideally, one would have the patience to wait for a navy and khaki cardigan. But sometimes, you have to do the very best you can with what's currently available; this cardigan will still look fine with khaki pants or shorts, and is a true timeless classic...

The sandals? Dressy enough for the dress, but also simple enough to wear with shorts. If you remember to keep these things in mind when you're shopping, you only need 1 pair of sandals, rather than 2, and you can thus buy MUCH nicer ones!


How to build a capsule wardrobe from scratch - Step 4

So here's where we are:


How to build a capsule wardrobe from scratch - Step 4

Tomorrow's the final day with this wardrobe! We're going to do a little bit of analyzing, buy a couple more pieces to finish things off, and then double-check where we are with a nod to the idea of the Whatever's Clean Wardrobe, as well as the Four by Four Wardrobe concept.

love,
Janice

p.s. would it be overkill if I do this again in a few weeks, after vacation? Maybe a different color scheme and level of dressiness? Your comments will help me decide, as always.


How to build a capsule wardrobe from scratch - Step 4
Like this article? Save it to Pinterest!

57 comments:

  1. That's a gorgeous coat. The collar, the off-center opening, the texture, the silhouette. It would be great plain or with a big scarf or even a big brooch.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The original of this series was my favorite of all your series.. I'd love more!! How about purples, greens, navy in girlie ruffles and floral.. The heroine trapped in an office job trying to let out her inner romantic self with more skirts/dresses than trousers.. No blazers or pencil skirts for this girl, yet still dressing corporate....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd love to see this too! Cardigans and pants are the norm in my office, I never see anyone in a skirt or blazer unless they are going to a funeral later.

      Delete
  3. This is a fabulous series! I work in a business office so a dressier version would be very welcome.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love these posts. It would not be overkill at all.

    ReplyDelete
  5. yes, please, I'd love to see another version! And I second Debra's suggestion for a dressier version. Thank you so much for these, Janice - they're beyond helpful.

    ReplyDelete
  6. yes, please, I'd love to see another version! And I second Debra's suggestion for a dressier version. Thank you so much for these, Janice - they're beyond helpful.

    ReplyDelete
  7. How about a smart casual wardrobe for work with a sporty edgy wardrobe for evenings and weekends with a nod to the occasional evening out. Favourite colours are vivid blue-purples, blue-greens and berry tones. Sharon, UK.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'd love to see this series EVERY week, but I'm being greedy....

    ReplyDelete
  9. Janice, Thank you for this series. I found your website earlier this summer and have taken your ideas to heart as I have had to start from scratch this fall. In this series, I have especially appreciated your 1st post about color and have only navy as my neutral. With jeans, one neutral is enough because I have a uniform for my workday. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  10. Yes, another color palette, please...black, white, red, cobalt...casual lifestyle, but prepared for anything...Thank you, Janice!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. I'm all for the black, white, red, cobalt, maybe add some gray for another neutral... Khaki is great for pants and skirts but looks terrible near my face. I'm retired but teaching part time at a local university - so casual but not too casual. I think we all appreciate the great work you're doing.

      Delete
    3. I'm am with you here. Good colors for me. Casual with skirts/for church. Mostly stay at home with a part time job in a very casual office. Love this series. Best yet.

      Delete
    4. Yes! Black, white, gray, red, and cobalt would be great. Ideally with a tailored feel. - nancyo

      Delete
  11. Yes, another color palette, please...black, white, red, cobalt...casual lifestyle, but prepared for anything...Thank you, Janice!

    ReplyDelete
  12. This has been a really useful, informative series - it has really reinforced all that I've been learning from this site.

    I second the idea for a slightly more formal, dressier, but with a romantic twist, version just to see what would be appropriate for such a wardrobe. Something that would have that Pre-Raphaelite feel of that recent painting you used.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Would enjoy another version. I read your site each day. Thank you for sharing all these great ideas.

    ReplyDelete
  14. The Starting from Scratch series is one of my favourites and my closet reflects it. Perhaps the dressier version with rich accent colours would be interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  15. YES, please! Maybe a wardrobe in the warm tones would be nice. I love your series and visit daily.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, warm tones, olive, rich medium tones of vicuña, rusty reds! It's fall, let's enjoy this wonderful time of year. Janice, you are the best!
      A faithful fan,
      Pat

      Delete
    2. Yes! Fall colors! Do as many of these series with different colors as you wish! SO interesting and helpful! Such a Blessing!

      Delete
    3. I heartily agree, Julie ! It is obvious that we are all living this series !

      Delete
    4. Ah this autocorrect -- loving, not living, although I am living with these item selections !

      Delete
    5. A (relaxed) business casual (cardigans - no blazers) in warm tan/black/olive with fall accents?

      Delete
    6. Warm tones, yes! I love this series and would welcome more.

      Thank you for all your hard work!

      Delete
  16. More, please. Is this specific -- and self-centered(!) -- enough for you? Neutrals: navy and grey; Accents: in cold weather, burgundy and dark teal; in warm weather, magenta and white. Lifestyle: mostly casual, but wears a dress or skirt to church every week and often at other times, gardens, cleans her own house, attends the odd formal event. Classic-avoiding-dowdy-while-remaining-modest-in-all-senses-of-the-word. Embraces her grey hair and wrinkles -- and tries to embrace her hot flashes. Can't wear earrings. Loves scarves in cold weather. Her husband says she is his sunshine and flowers. Loves her life and knows she is blessed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lori,
      I am enjoying your candid sense of humor ! Thanks for the smiles !

      Delete
    2. Lori . . . As far as hot flashes are concerned, I developed a really simple formula that worked for me: First layer on top, a short-sleeve tee, either crew neck or v neck, or maybe a short-sleeve shirt or blouse. (Love the L.L. Bean supima tees. Good quality and come in a variety of colors.) No long sleeves and no turtlenecks, not even in the dead of winter. (Too hot.) No sleeveless tops. (My upper arms are not my best feature.) And for the second layer, a cardigan. Easy to put on or take off. No pullover sweaters, ever. Maybe a blazer instead of a cardigan for days when you want to look a little more dressed up. And maybe a scarf for times when you might otherwise wear a turtleneck. The scarf, of course, also can be easily removed, just like a cardigan sweater. On the bottom, either pants or a skirt or shorts. And maybe a dress, also with short sleeves, that can be paired with a nice cardigan in cooler weather. The idea is that you can easily "strip down" to short-sleeves, even in the dead of winter. Also, this approach works well for trips that include variable climates or variable weather within a single climate. ("Dress in layers" seems to be the answer to dealing with many situations!) And back to coping with hot flashes: I also would carry an insulated bottle with filled with ice water. (Insulated so that it wouldn't "sweat.") This necessitated an attractive tote bag to hold both the water bottle and the cardigan when I wasn't wearing it.

      Delete
    3. Hi Lori! Can I borrow all your clothes??? Your color scheme sounds a lot like mine, and I can totally relate to the classic-avoiding-dowdy-while-remaining-modest etc...
      Janice, if you could tackle this one, that would be awesome! Between these posts and the "common wardrobe," I realize more and more I need to upgrade my basics and stop the fun purchases :)

      Delete
    4. Kris, I have banned pull-over sweaters for the interim, but I don't think I've thought through Hot-flash Fashion nearly as well as you. Bravo! And thanks for the ideas.

      Chabe, it's always so good to know there are kindred spirits out there -- thanks for chiming in with your support.

      Delete
  17. Yes, in many ways the Starting from Scratch series changed my wardrobe. I have the charts to prove it!

    ReplyDelete
  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Janice, thank you so much for this series. This one includes all my own colors so it's been especially helpful.. I second a dressier version in whatever colors others want . Also, I agree about getting a great pair of sandals that can be versatile. I bought a nice pair in light metallic gold which are extremely comfortable and except for an evening at the theatre, they were almost the only shoes I wore all summer! Just ordered the great J Crew stripped sweater and LOVE. That beautiful coat but already have a nice cashmere one in light taupe. But ooh is that one tempting! Love these start from scratch series snd I also used them when I purchased an all new wardrobe. You are wonderful, Janice ! -Janice Collins, Washington DC

    ReplyDelete
  20. I would love to see another wardrobe, this has been really helpful! Maybe something a little younger? Most of the quality style advice I can find is targeted toward late 40s and beyond, but I'm trying to create my first real wardrobe at 30ish.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I really appreciate that you have made this series into a booklet for Pinterest. I hope this earns you some financial reward for all your efforts. I would like a series just like this for a 6 week cruise that includes weather from very cold ( Antarctica) to hot (Cabo San Lucas), casual during the day but dressier for evening......goal 1 suitcase. Neutrals of indigo/navy/ black, sand and cinnamon/rust. Big order.

    Deb from Vancouver

    ReplyDelete
  22. On September 19, you stated, "I've flagged the combinations that I most like on most pages. I was somewhat surprised to note that my favorite "new" color is probably kale; I found that my eye was drawn, repeatedly, to the combination that included it as the accent."

    How about this in the Camel/Black/Kale combo that caught your attention?

    ReplyDelete
  23. Janice,

    Autumn colors for me please -- any combo of mustard, rust, olive green, teal, soft reds, copper, cognac, bronze, browns, etc . Could throw in some rich purple too. Just not all of these colors at once, of course ! I am sooo looking forward to it ! Love, love, love that chic coat !

    ReplyDelete
  24. Please repeat this -- I had weight loss surgery so in the next few months I will be starting my wardrobe literally from scratch. Probably a couple of times!

    I'd love something in warm colors. Black and navy are terrible colors near my face.

    ReplyDelete
  25. i'm working on my wardrobe, which i had to partly reassemble from scratch due to surgery, and also some neglect on my part. i spend most of my time in studio clothes *old paint stained/ripped and very very comfortable* i've got to start going to business meetings with gallery owners and i have a solo show coming up that i need something for the opening and the artist reception.... and i don't do artsy type clothes....... i'm pretty simple... i also don't wear black, so for me, it's shades of navy/blue..... greys, khaki/tan/brown with burgundy/wine and some purples and an occasional caramel or teal ........ that solo opening and then the artist reception have me in a total panic

    ReplyDelete
  26. Yes! Love these posts. They have been SO helpful to me. The thing that gets me about ALL you various systems is the number of tops you specify. For some reason when I try to do this without a plan, I don't put in nearly enough tops and I put in too many bottoms. But yours are prefect. You can always add more, but it's no good to start out with fewer. You have a systematic brain, which I don't, and have thought things out so well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you count up her stuff... You might notice that however many bottoms (including dresses) she has, you can about double that number for the number of tops. And halve the number of bottoms for the number of covers (cardigans/blazers, etc). Personally, I'm always cold, so I include more cardigans for myself :-)

      That formula works really well...

      Delete
  27. Yes, I love this! You could do a whole series where you not only show different color schemes but also address specific challenges. Like what do you do when your accent colors aren't obviously harmonious (like, for instance, marine teal and wine). Or if you never wear skirts but want to have lots of variety. Or if you want to blend near colors without looking off (like shades of green would be interesting). Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Oh yes, please! Would love to see this in another color palette. I have a problem with neutrals and can only think of a very limited, boring number of them. Would love to see any other options as often as possible. :)

    ReplyDelete
  29. I'm "playing along at home" with navy and burgundy as my neutrals....

    Just realized that, while I was good for summer, I'm going to freeze this winter if I don't find some warmer pieces. This is my first winter away from black. I've been rebuilding. This is a great exercise to see what I'm missing or might find most useful to purchase!

    ReplyDelete
  30. I would really love to see your take on colour 'seasons' - the original 4 seasons have been expanded into 12 or 16 seasons - (colour me pretty, Ferial) - just a thought for some more ideas for this great post !

    ReplyDelete
  31. Overkill??? Never!!! I would like to see black,gray. red, and cobalt too. I also love the black, camel, cream combo. Fall colors would be beautiful too! Business casual with the need to attend dressier events a few times a year. Conventions, receptions, corporate dinners, etc... Thank you Janice!!! You make it all look so easy!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Please do a series with grey! BTW, I bought that Eileen Fisher scarf you showed the other day, in grey. Not fond of the color, so I'm sending it back and possibly exchanging it for the blue, but it looks like a really lovely material (I'm not taking it out of its plastic to touch it and possibly destroy it). The shade is definitely platinum, which has a yellow undertone to it, and is therefore not my best grey. But it's gorgeous, just not for me. Thanks for the recommendations, though! You're helping me make my wardrobe great.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I have loved this series and hardly ever comment. I loved your comment about shopping in your wardrobe, I know I have a lot of unworn items in there, I will start rebuilding although we are going in to summer in Australia.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Please do this series again. Your example wardrobes are very helpful (and the stories are wonderful). Would love to see a smart casual wardrobe including items like wool crepe ankle pants, a leather moto jacket and accent color outerwear for those days when all anyone sees is your coat. I look forward to reading your blog every day and and reread older posts often.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I would love to see a business work wardrobe! Perhaps one erring on the side of business casual, but definitely need to be able to pull together not-quite-suits for the office! I prefer warm tones, but I'd love to see a few dressier wardrobes that weren't just travel wardrobes.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I would love to see a bold business casual wardrobe in cool colors - primarily black with accents of white, ruby red and cobalt blue.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Yes, please. You simply cannot overdo this concept. With all the variation that's possible you could do this every month forever. I really love this set by the way.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Yes, more! I'd love to see black and gray core with strong color accents...

    ReplyDelete