Monday, December 26, 2016

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe: Starting From Scratch: The Core Pieces, based on Lightning over Colorado by Joe Randall

Join me on this adventure! Someone wrote to me last week, after I showed this amazing storm photograph, asking if these colors could work as accents for a capsule wardrobe that is mostly grey.

Well... maybe. I'm going to give it a try, to see how it works. But I have a real concern: all of the shades of pink and purple will be glorious accents to the grey wardrobe, and would be madly flattered by black leather goods and silver jewelry with pink, lavender or purple beads, stones or pearls. HOWEVER... introducing the warm browns and tans into the mix immediately makes me think that I need to use gold, rather than silver, jewelry. And I'm not at all sure where the leather pieces will fit in....

Nonetheless, we shall endeavor to make progress!
A capsule wardrobe color palette drawn from art: Lightning over Colorado by Joe Randall

Any way you look at it, that's one amazing photograph!

So starting with the neutral grey that our friend requested; a simple, classic pair of pants, and a pair of comfortable but still attractive loafers is pretty much where EVERY wardrobe starts, on The Vivienne Files!

Grey pants and shoes for a capsule wardrobe

I'm sticking with VERY simple silhouettes, to start. We're going to have enough wrangling later, with colors....

A grey cardigan and white tee shirt for a capsule wardrobe

A classic pair of jeans, and an equally classic tuxedo-style shirt finish off our first day's choices. While none of these pieces, on their own, will blow your hair back with excitement, having them all in your wardrobe gives you a good basis upon which to show off your favorite accessories! And your more colorful and "statement" wardrobe additions will have some "anchors" if you're careful to start simply...

Grey jeans and a white shirt for a capsule wardrobe

Yes, admittedly, this is pretty basic, and tremendously neutral. That's the strength of these pieces!

A core wardrobe in grey and white

And don't lose sight of the fact that you've already got 8 outfits, just from these 5 pieces. Imagine what the addition of just a scarf and an accent cardigan will do for this fledgling wardrobe.

How to build a capsule wardrobe in grey and white

Tomorrow, things get more... colorful, certainly, but also more challenging! Join in to see if this is going to work...

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe From Scratch starting with the Core Pieces, based on Lightning over Colorado by Joe Randall


  1. I'm excited by this one. Neutral, grey - and drama to come. I love the art piece.

  2. Amazing photograph! Grey is achromatic and should by definition work with both your warms and cools. In my humble opinion I think this warm/cool thing can be overrated at times. With so much subtlety - layers of shades. So looking forward to your wardrobe. Thanks Carol S

  3. Great photo! Storms always feel like a change is coming....we had thunder last night, and it is 40 degrees this morning! That's a Christmas to remember here in upper WI, where it was -8 just 10 days ago! Love these colors, except I'd swap the golden tan for the greens of the trees and definitely use silver jewelry. Love the Starting from Scratch series!

  4. Love the grey and white beginning. Like anonymous above I would stick with silver jewelry and leave out the browns and tans but I always enjoy seeing what you come up with! :)

  5. Janice,
    What a dramatic, powerful photograph ! Dark gray and camel can be quite attractive together, so I'm looking forward to seeing how you carry out this pairing ! And -- I love the " Starting from Scratch " series -- starting with the Fab Five!

  6. I'm looking forward to this one. These are my colors.

  7. You are off to a good start on this, in my opinion. I would be happy to find the pieces shown in my closet! Looking forward to watching this evolve. Hope your holiday was merry! Mary

  8. What an incredible photo! So many layers of color...
    This is a perfect opportunity for mixed metal jewelry. I think you had some pieces a while back. Once you break the "rule" of only wearing silver or gold, it opens up a whole new world of accessories.

  9. Fab photo, fab starting point, can't wait for the accent colours. Like others here, I'll be happy with a mix that includes silver and gold, warm and cool . . . And swirls, drapey swirls, swoon.
    Robyn in Tasmania

  10. This series is meant for me! Grey and Beige/Camel are my neutrals, and I can never figure out if I am "warm" or "cool", color-wise. The only thing I'm certain of is that I look best in muted tones, and dusty purple is my favorite accent color. am so looking forward to seeing where you go with this, Janice.

  11. Great - another start from scratch wardrobe! I love the way these unfold over the days. Perhaps rose gold and/ or pearl jewelry would work - or beads of a few different colours. Sarah