Monday, November 14, 2016

The French 5-Piece Wardrobe - Start with Art: Sure Violet by Helen Frankethaler

Of course, we all know that the French don't really just buy 5 pieces of clothes a year - that's sort of silly. But there is some truth to the idea that they buy five major accent pieces twice a year. So let's think about taking a really simple, basic capsule wardrobe and seeing what we can do with adding 5 new pieces (and some accessories, of course!)

First up, let's start with a really lovely work of art:

Sure Violet by Helen Frankenthaler

Today we're just looking at accent colors, and this painting is perfect for that! If we wanted to build a summer wardrobe around this, could you imagine using off-white silk and linen as the neutral, and then these four colors? Mmmm....

Sure Violet by Helen Frankenthaler with style guidelines and color palette

This is the core wardrobe that I'm suggesting - I think that having grey pants instead of khakis works well because of the coolness of the accent colors. Same with the chambray shirt...


9 piece cool coloring wardrobe building blocks

I'm focusing on tops and accessories, although there's no reason that you couldn't buy a dress, or even a pair of pants if you found something that struck your fancy. These colors are so pretty; everything I found feels really appealing...

blue sweater, bracelet and scarf

rose earrings, henley and hooded sweater

teal cardigan and sweater

lilac brooch and sweater

As lovely as each of these colors is, can you imagine the pleasure of opening your closet door and seeing all of these?

French 5-Piece wardrobe in blue, lilac, rose and teal

But let's be serious about what really needs to happen - you have to be able to WEAR these clothes! And all of these pieces work very nicely with the core building blocks:

3 outfits with a blue sweater

3 outfits with a rose henley

3 outfits with a teal cardigan

3 outfits with a rose henley

3 outfits with a lilac sweater

What's the real lesson here? I think it's that once you have a solid core of practical, versatile clothes, you're free to bring a range of accent colors (in both clothes and accessories) with confidence that you'll be able to wear your new things enough to make them worthwhile to purchase!

Not wasting money is smart...

love,
Janice
French 5-Piece wardrobe in blue, lilac, rose and teal inspired by art - Sure Violet by Helen Frankethaler
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27 comments:

  1. This is so helpful!
    Gray jeans are a thing at the moment, and could be a more casual alternative to gray trousers.
    This weekend I noticed a lot of women in very colorful tights--fire-engine red, fuchsia, bright blue. Some solid, some patterned. There were too many for it to be a fluke. I failed to get photos but I did get some other chic sightings that I'll post this week. Getting street style shots isn't easy!

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  2. Planning to purchase 5 accent pieces twice a year is an excellent way to keep your wardrobe current. Trends to consider from the runway shows this season: statement fur, florals, metallics, bomber jackets, plaid overcoats, choker necklaces. Not everything is for everyone, but adding one or two on-trend items to your basics will keep your look fresh without being a slave to fashion.

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    1. You mean my old bomber jacket from the 70's/80's (it's so old I can't remember exactly) is back in style? I can't wait to pull it out and wear it to some holiday soiree soon, because I'm just odd that way! Maybe with a gold metallic blouse I own and a choker necklace? My mind is racing with possibilities -- what fun!

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  4. Beautiful colours, wouldn't it be a real bonus if anyone who was smitten with these colours could also find some shirts, dresses or patterned tops that included several of these colours.

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  5. Your posts on the 5 piece wardrobe is what finally made my "boring" wardrobe work. I couldn't pick between statement accents... until you showed me a little goes a long way, and I can swap in and out these pieces whenever I choose! Keeps me from being bored and helps me buy more versatile pieces as I need to expand my work wardrobe. Thank you!

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  6. Yes, yes, yes! LOVE these colors and the casual feel. Can you please continue this one all week?? Silver accessories would be lovely. Thank you!!

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  7. This was just the post I needed! While the colors are not for me, the idea of adding just five new pieces each season is so reasonable. I am still working on my capsule wardrobe, but this week's series will give me direction and prevent random purchases in the future. I love the logic you bring to wardrobe building!

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  8. You nailed it! This has may name written all over it. Gorgeous bright colors and comfy and casual items that are elevated. :)

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  9. Janice, the link for the hoodie is broken. It looks so warm and squishy on this chilly fall morning!

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    1. Fixed! Thanks for letting me know!
      hugs,
      Janice

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  10. Does anyone have suggestions for finding a similar blue chambray shirt in size 16?

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    1. I saw them at Kohl's (https://api.shopstyle.com/action/apiVisitRetailer?id=539725054&pid=uid5456-30633616-51) when I was shopping for gifts - they looked quite nice, and came in a wide range of sizes...
      hugs,
      Janice

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    2. Janice, Thank you so much. I found the shirt online and placed an order. I had been looking for quite a while.

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  11. Janice,
    What I have taken from this post, at least for cooler seasons, is to keep the bottoms in similar value neutrals and coolness or warmth, and to provide accents in whatever piece becomes the outermost later, even if it's just a single top as the outermost layer. One ensemble I didn't understand, perhaps because I have never thought of wearing it this way, is the long sleeved white tee paired with the 3/4 sleeve horizontal striped pink henley over it. I love that I don't have to have all of the accent colors work with each other, although that creates more outfits if that were possible, but would have a certain " oh she's wearing the same colors day after day ", as I observed one woman do on a trip. It was lime green, day after day, in different pieces. Guess she really liked lime green !

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    1. Lately I've been seeing lots of people layering long sleeves over shorter sleeves, and it doesn't look bad at all. I hadn't really considered it before, but it's certainly an option! I love looking around at everyone...
      hugs,
      Janice

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  12. Hi, the LL bean link is not working for me either.

    Deb from Vancouver

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    1. I just mended some links - again! Let me know the specific garments, and I'll keep beating them until morale improves. How do inanimate objects just quite working like this?
      hugs,
      Janice

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  13. I am in need of a decent long sleeved Tee as a layering piece. Most are too light or too sheer...I am thinking I might need to try to find a bamboo version...Have you had any luck ? any suggestions ?

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    1. I own the L.L.Bean ones shown here in black and white in... multiples? shall we charitably say. They hold up well, they're substantial but soft, and they come in a pile of colors. I highly recommend them, and NOT just because I get a pittance of commission when you buy them! (I wouldn't lie to you...)
      hugs,
      Janice

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  14. Oh Janice, I very much love these colours.
    Those are the very ones I chose from "my" colours to be my favourites.
    The concept you present us with your Start with Art (I`ll keep on calling them that ; )) is eye-opening and a lot less expensive than starting a whoe new wardrobe.
    Thanks!

    Inra

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  15. I loved the gray in place of beige...suddenly all my wardrobe clicked. And you are right, all the accents that add interest and variety go with these basic neutrals.

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  16. Just ordered a lilac cashmere/cotton pullover via link and it was fine :-) Love Helen F!

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  17. I like the look of the basic capsule with the gray. Gray slacks have always been a staple of the dressier side of my wardrobe, and this year I finally have gray jeans. Thanks to you, Janet, I bought two pairs from LL Bean: a slender leg jean in a nice dark gray and a pair of straight leg jeans in a different gray denim. They have been such a great addition to my wardrobe as one or the other pair will coordinate with different styles of tops and shoes/boots! Too bad your commission isn't based on how many times we wear the garments that we purchase through your links!! - nancyo

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  18. Ha ha, the very first thing I would have picked to wear -- the black turlenect with one of the other shirts over it -- you didn't picture at all, Clothes are fun that way, even with a small number of pieces everyone likes something different. It will be fun to see these basics with different colors, I enjoyed this a lot! Every since I discovered your Common Wardrobe set, which I instantly gravitated to, I'v been looking for a petite chambray shirt. I just can't find one. I've bought two (one I gave to my daughter, whom it actually fit) but they are all too big. I'm curvy so I can't wear junior size button-downs (they sure don't button!) but misses sizes swamp me. And for some reason they just don't seem to make petite chambray. Denim, yes, but I want that soft, lifght chambray!!! Oh well....

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    1. Dear Gail,
      Ann Taylor Loft has a petite-sized chambray shirt here:https://api.shopstyle.com/action/apiVisitRetailer?id=534976403&pid=uid5456-30633616-51

      It might do the trick?
      hugs,
      Janice

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  19. Yes these are my colours and I have always included them in my wardrobe, but kept buying more of these colours instead of a base of neutrals. Slowly I have been looking and adding in neutrals in navy, grey, beige, white and a little black. I have dicovered that I love to wear colour in each outfit but am now tempering it with neutrals. I find it hard to do an all navy outfit but I do like navy & grey together alot with a hint of colour. This shows me that I can have all these colours in my wardrobe (which I found I could not remove, it made me sad to do so) and enjoy them with my neutrals. Would love to see these colours used in a Start from Scratch wardrobe :-D only you could make it come together in an organised & non excessive way xx Angela in Australia

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