Thursday, December 01, 2016

12 Months, 12 Outfits in a Navy-Based Capsule Wardrobe: An Evaluation

Back in November, when we left this wardrobe, it was in pretty good shape. Eleven outfits had been collected into a pretty coherent, and pretty comprehensive, capsule wardrobe that would see most people through a great many of their activities:
capsule wardrobe in navy, teal and white

As I've said before, no wardrobe is ever really finished. Clothes wear out, or get damaged. Our sizes change, and sometimes, we just plain get completely fed up with a garment that we've worn a lot, and feel the need to replace it. So it's useful to have a few different ways to really look at a wardrobe and determine what might be needed, or useful, or helpful, to add. I thought of a couple of different ways to evaluate things...

First off, I thought that it would make sense to see if there were appropriate garments in the wardrobe to pull together a Four by Four wardrobe. There's nothing really magical about the Four by Four, but it does ensure that you have a reasonable balance of tops to bottoms, and enough neutral "second layers" to be able to use your other clothes efficiently.

For this wardrobe, I found that there are a lot of nice, basic navy garments here, but that a second navy jacket, blazer, or cardigan might be worth considering.

Four by Four wardrobe in navy with jade and turquoise

Another thing that I thought would be worth considering was the degree to which our heroine would be "covered" for a range of temperatures, and a range of "dressiness." So I built a simple grid upon which all of the clothes could be placed. (note that the location of each piece is pretty arbitrary!) What I notice here is that a couple of pieces for warmer weather casual might come in handy - she has 2 pair of shorts, but only 2 tops that are really ideal for them. That suggest a couple of tee shirts, to me...

Evaluating a capsule wardrobe in navy for usefulness

And one last evaluative technique that I wanted to consider was just to lay things out according to their "layering" role in a wardrobe. The top row is pieces that are strictly second layers. The middle - the upper layer of "tops" - is for pieces that can be worn on their own, or that can also be layered with something under them.

Then comes the regular tops, including dresses. (Dresses could also be considered bottoms, or they could have their own category.)

And finally, the bottoms - shorts, skirts, pants, capris....

Evaluating a capsule wardrobe in navy for balance

This is, in a way, a little bit harder to interpret because it doesn't really have any sort of indication of what would be a correct or appropriate amount of each type of item. But it might come in handy in the future, so I'm sticking with it.

When it comes to evaluating accessories, I'm going to focus mainly on shoes, because they're the only really important kind of accessory for which there might be a serious omission or "gap."

Evaluating a shoe wardrobe for balance and usefulness

Here, you can see that there's nothing in the bottom left - that cool weather casual footwear category...

So this is what I've chosen as our final additions to this wardrobe:

additions to a navy capsule wardrobe

After all of this, here is the "finished" wardrobe:

capsule wardrobe in navy, teal, and turquoise

And these are the collection of accessories:

Accessory capsule wardrobe in navy, silver and turquoise

Just in the interests of making certain that our new garments are going to be useful, I'm going to put together three complete outfits using each new garment. As you look at these, you can see that the owner of this wardrobe is going to be very well-dressed for a wide variety of activities and events!

Three capsule wardrobe outfits including a navy cardigan blazer

Three capsule wardrobe outfits including a turquoise tee shirt

Three capsule wardrobe outfits including a teal tee shirt

The earlier months of this series can be found here:
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November.

Because there's a lot involved in these detailed evaluations, I'm going to take SIX days to finish up this series. It's interesting to see how differently these wardrobes came together, and what various pieces seem best to "complete" them.


How to Evaluate a capsule wardrobe in a navy, teal, and white color palette
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  1. As always - love your posts. I like your dressier/casual/warmer/cooler grid. I have imagined that the centre cross hairs could move depending on your lifestyle. If you lived in Far North Queensland then you would need more warmer (hot weather) clothes so most of your clothes would be on the right of the vertical line. Dressy lifestyle then you might have more clothes above the horizontal line. Or move the lines themselves. Love the concept. Thanks yet again for thinking! :-) Carol S

  2. Janice, this is marvelous! My favorite wardrobe has been the last one, so I'll be eagerly waiting to see how it turned out. I love all the different ways you're analyzing these wardrobes - I'll have to do something similar in my closet. Thank you!

  3. Janice, this is marvelous! My favorite wardrobe has been the last one, so I'll be eagerly waiting to see how it turned out. I love all the different ways you're analyzing these wardrobes - I'll have to do something similar in my closet. Thank you!

  4. Brilliant evaluation of the Navy capsule (my favourite) and love the way you matched the teal t-shirt with the trim on the kimono. I also love the way you use pictorial charts to identify the gaps - it certainly inspires. I don't know about anyone else, but I would love to do this exercise myself using all my clothes and accessories, photographing them and then sorting them into 'accessory families', neutrals, accent colours, layers, warm and cool, dressy and casual and then properly identifying the gaps of items needed for my lifestyle in readiness for the New Year sales. Sharon U.K.

  5. This has been a wonderful series and I look forward to seeing the analysis on the remaining wardrobes. While my current wardrobe is not as well thought out as your examples, the analyses will help me decide where to go next. Thanks, again, for all your efforts!

    Enjoy Paris!


  6. I'd love to try this too. Maybe start by doing just as Janice did with the one outfit at a time posts and duplicating each ensemble's intent with clothes from my closet. I'd need to supplement with a few carefully selected new purchases - starting with a scarf in my color palette that serves as the inspiration, but I probably already have most of the items. Then, using the methods outlined in today's post, work through the evaluation process to determine the gaps. The entire process should result in a beautiful capsule wardrobe that is functional and fits my lifestyle. And bonus: anything NOT in the new capsule has not earned the right to remain in my closet! I think I may have just found my New Year's resolution :)

  7. Love it, as always you do a fabulous job! The different grids really help point out stupid that need filling. Thanks!

  8. Awesome!
    I have different dark neutral for warm and cold part of the year, and several accent colors that I rotate across the seasons, and this coordinate system makes possible to have all that in the same chart. How ingenious!
    I use burgundy as dark neutral, along with some remaining black items, in colder part of year, and navy for warmer part. Majority of my navy items is linen. But I do have navy puffy jacket just in case. I'm happy to report that b.j. I never owned any neutral base and since then I gradually built my navy base from zero. Monochromatic look is something new to me, so soothing and powerful at the same time. And funny looks had stopped since than! LOL

  9. Janice,
    I just realized that this is similar to how I separate my closet into zones ( and seasons, as my neutrals for warm weather are lighter, and my accents are different than in cold weather). I have a casual leave-the-house zone, a stay at home zone, and a dressier go-to-church zone. I use the 4x4 template for travel, depending upon the destination, and level of dressiness required for evenings. Your grids simplify and clarify ! They seem so mathematical somehow, and the organizational , nerdy part of my brain just thrills when I see these !

  10. Seeing things all laid out in that grid really highlights the gaps and is so useful - and it will certainly save me money in the long run as I will be able to concentrate funds on those items TRULY needed, rather than just buying something that catches my eye and then realizing that I can't wear it because I don't have the appropriate shoes or such! Thank you - this series has been a real education.

  11. These grids are really useful. Thank you. I'm going to set aside some time to try to recreate this with my own wardrobe.

  12. LOVE the evaluation methods. It's interesting to apply them to one's individual life. Where your clothes fall on the grids have a lot to do with your lifestyle. For example, I live in New England and work in an office, so if this were my wardrobe, the layering grid would show me that more second layers would probably come in handy. Excellent tools!! Thank you!!

  13. Amazing! The evaluation grids are brilliant!

  14. I am adding my voice to the chorus....this is genius! I sort of do a type of analysis but you have organized this clearly and logically. I am thinking of using the grid for analyzing my wardrobe plans for the 6 week cruise in the spring. I will need warm and cold weather clothes along with day and dinner looks.
    Deb from Vancouver

  15. I do hope you will continue this series into next year. I've found it incredibly useful.

  16. That grid is very helpful.

    I've been playing along in my real wardrobe in the navy-grey-wine/plum camp. My wardrobe has really come together this year. Both the quality of pieces and my intolerance of anything that doesn't fully work for me have grown significantly.

    Using your grid evaluation, I see my recent thoughts about wardrobe gaps are spot on: two or three versatile short sleeves tops in grey and in wine/plum, plus a navy knit cap for winter, are all I need to close this out!

    As you say about wardrobes and Yoda says about the future, it is always in motion. There is no ultimate done. But there is a done now. Thank you for helping me find it.

  17. Brilliantly thought out; the new grid clarifies foggy thinking and makes decisions easier! Please do another series with new scarves this coming year!!! My wardrobe has come together much better this year thanks to you.

  18. I love this analysis! I do have a question, though. You placed the 3 cardigans as "second layers" on the grid. However, I thought that one of the advantages to choosing a cardigan was the ability to use it as a stand alone to OR as a second layer. Am I overthinking the grid? It is a bad habit of mine, I know. Thanks

    1. You're not overthinking - I actually considered putting them on twice because their dual functionality! But I chose, in the end, to consider them as second layers because those are the kinds of pieces that are really necessary sometimes - you want to look a bit more dressy, it's cold where you are etc. And so I thought I'd put them where they're most important. The "being able to wear them as a simple sweater" factor is just sort of a bonus!

  19. This series is absolutely fabulous, I love these charts. I'm cleaning out all the deadweight from my closet, and I'm actually taking photos of what I'm keeping so I can make charts of my own! I know where I have needs - prints using my accent colors - which are, right now, impossible to find in my (plus) size. I'm looking at it as an added challenge.

  20. Beautifully put together wardrobe! The grids are going to be so useful for evaluating my wardrobe and I love the concept of an all year round wardrobe. I live in New Zealand - the country that inspired the song ' Four seasons in one day' so having clothes that can work in different temperatures is perfect. Thanks for your ongoing inspiration

  21. Thank you for this post! The "range of temp/dressiness" chart has helped immensely. I dumped my fall/winter closet out on the bed, then added my small summer pieces and the clarity was outstanding. I've been tracking my purchases this year, and last year, and was dismayed with how much I've bought. But now I know that I'm on the right track, since I'm starting to pull it all together. I'm certain next year I'll feel better and spend less. Your chart will focus my attention where it is needed.
    Thanks again, Theresa

  22. This is fantastic! I can't even tell you how much I love this wardrobe and the way you broke it down is phenomenal.

  23. Navy is my favourite colour to wear - it's so easy and adaptable. These are great suggestions for varying shades.

    - Charmaine

  24. Thank you Janice these charts for evaluation are very helpful. I am working on redoing my wardrobe, sewing new pieces to replace old/wrong color/style. Living in the far north (Alaska) means more cool weather clothes and more casual. I will adjust my charts to reflect my needs.
    Again thank you

  25. The teal is really speaking to me, and I already discovered earlier in the year that I cannot live without navy. Behold, a dream wardrobe for me. Thanks, Janice!