Thursday, December 29, 2016

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe: Starting From Scratch: Adding Variety, based on Lightning over Colorado by Joe Randall

We're up to a 15-piece capsule wardrobe, all based on this truly amazing photograph:
15-piece travel capsule wardrobe in grey with shades of purple and pink

I'm still not tired of the photograph...

You can see how we got this far by looking back to Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Here's another... color scheme hurdle? I'm not sure what to call it... but I'm still struggling with the inclusion of the warm tan/camel/brown color family in this wardrobe, and I'm not quite sure why...

But one of the easiest ways to incorporate these colors into a wardrobe is through camel - specifically, a camel sweater. And just in case you were wondering, these sweaters from Uniqlo (like the turtleneck shown here) are very nice quality, and very affordable. They're not life-investments, but if you've always wanted to own cashmere and been reluctant to spend three buckets of money on one, consider looking at Uniqlo's offerings...

grey sweater, camel cardigan, and grey corduroy pants to add to a grey-based capsule wardrobe

For a winter coat, I wanted to get a color from somewhere in that purple/pink melange, and BOY did I find the perfect thing! A scarf that pulls the grey together with the amazing coat, and some toasty boots, and you're ready to go. (okay, gloves would be handy!)

a bright orchid wool coat, with coordinating scarf and warm wool boots, to add to a capsule wardrobe

We're overdue for some more accessories! I've tried here to focus on 2 ideas - the grey with gold concept, and the feeling of cloudiness. Having these sorts of focal ideas in mind when you're shopping can keep you from making some expensive, or just plain wasteful, mistakes.

jewelry, a scarf, and a bag to add to a grey-based capsule wardrobe

I'm a firm believer that you shown own some lounging clothes - that soft, comfy stuff - that coordinates with the rest of your wardrobe. Sometimes, the tee shirts could come in handy in the rest of your wardrobe. And if you're wearing some combination of these pieces, and you suddenly have to dash out to get... the mail? firewood? eggnog? you just put on the coat, scarf, and boots from above, and you look WONDERFUL. Not bad, for looking beautiful when you're with the ones you love the most, eh?

grey and orchid lounge wear to add to a capsule wardrobe

One last step to fill in today - a dress and cardigan. This is a step that could include dressy pants and a top, or a skirt and top, if that's more the way you "get dressy." But we're looking for something relatively simple and uncomplicated, so that you'll have more options for how to accessorize. And an accent color cardigan in a glorious orchid? Why not?

a classic grey dress and accent orchid cardigan to add to a capsule wardrobe

This is now a very complete, and pretty sizeable, capsule wardrobe! I don't know of too many activities through the colder months of the year that would leave you stumped for what to wear:

25-piece capsule wardrobe in grey, shades of pink and purple, with accents of ivory and camel

Just for the fun of visualizing all of the possibilities, I pulled together 9 outfits - a wide variety of combinations, and levels of dressiness - to give us a sense of the possibilities.

three winter oufits taken from a capsule wardrobe based in grey

three winter oufits taken from a capsule wardrobe based in grey

three winter oufits taken from a capsule wardrobe based in grey

Tomorrow, I evaluate where we are, make 3 additions, and try to sum up how successful this experiment has been.

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe: Starting From Scratch: Adding Variety, based on Lightning over Colorado by Joe Randall
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  1. Love it! Someone ought to market this idea and for a sum, source the wardrobe so I don't have to think about it. This is lovely! I am in black, white, grey, pink and maroon berry this year but the vast majority is black white and grey. I am a qualified professional for intellectually disabled which is a close cousin to social work. I have to dress somewhat professionally for home visits and office visits but I work from home about 50 percent of the time. Trying to figure out how I will transition this wardrobe into spring and summer because last year's picks were not quality. I am plus sized so that adds to the problem. I enjoy classic effortless pieces that require little or no ironing. I am fifty years old and a grandma. I am just learning how to dress myself for work. Before now it was whatever was on sale or clearance whether it worked with my wardrobe or not. In high school and college I did this well but with years at home I forgot how to do this and when I went back to work full-time in 1998 I didn't have a clue. I so appreciate your lessons Janice. They really are insightful.

  2. I love how the camel warms this all up!

  3. I have to say - even though I am mostly a black, white & red gal, this grey, mauves, white and cream is really appealing to me! How lovely to look forward to wearing such gorgeous shades of mauve/purple on gloomy winter days! It is so appealing.

  4. I like the overall plan, but a note to anyone interested in the Uniqlo Fleece Pants. I own two pairs of these. The exterior fabric is akin to snowpants. Not maybe what you want for lounging, but great for waiting for the schoolbus or late season football games--which is what attracted me to them. They've got great pockets and are wonderfully warm and water-resistant (helpful for sitting on cold and damp bleacher seats).

  5. I just love all the new additions shown here today... blimey Janice you make it look so easy....if I ever manage to settle on a colour scheme that will be a first, if I ever find anything that I remotely love, will it fit and can I afford it? I live in hope that one day my wardrobe will come together as you have shown here. Apologies for sharing my frustration today. Sharon, U.K.

  6. This is all looking so lovely together. I can see adding a pair of wheat/camel/cream jeans to this mix. - nancyo

  7. I'm really enjoying this experiment. Although I love gray, this is way too much gray for a wardrobe that I would want to wear-- but it shows (again) how well your system works. The combinations are lovely and this would make a fantastic real wardrobe, whether it is exactly what I would want or not. And the camel sweater reminds me of an actual garment in my wardrobe right now -- a pair of brownish pants I got for $5 from a thrift store that are $150 pants from Lisette -- everything their website says they are, BTW ("the world's most comfortable pants"). Not in my current color scheme at all, but they go with enough pieces in in that I can wear them once a week. I didn't have to buy even ONE more piece to go with them. They add a little warm touch to my oherwsise cool black and gray eutrals and go with white, teal, and burgundy (my other colors) very well while also warming up every outfi I wear them in.

  8. I just love how this wardrobe is evolving and would love to see more of the warmth in it. Perhaps a camel dress like the grey one?
    Deb from Vancouver

  9. Janice - this is my gratitude letter to you for the year's end. I've been reading the Vivienne Files for 2 or maybe 3 years. In that time I have found my transition from middle age to older - less dressy, new basic colors (less black, more gray, and blue, obviously my best color). I developed a sort of system. I shop less. I shop with a need in mind. My travel wardrobes are much easier to plan and pack. I have been able to "shop my closet" for the very first time in a meaningful way to add accent colors from things I already own. I learned what an accent color really was! :) I eliminated things that were "iffy" and only regret one or two. I think I look more pulled together with less stuff. MY accessories make more sense. I have loved the various templates you use, and have actually used them. For a total "stranger" you have had a tremendous positive influence on my daily life, and I heartily thank you. Your blog is like a seminar from a savvy girlfriend. I want to wish you the very best New Year you could possible have. Your fan from the Left Coast...Judith

  10. I'd like to second Arts Doc's thank you. Everything she says is true for me too but far better expressed than I could manage.
    All good wishes to you for 2017 Janice.
    Robyn in Tasmania

  11. I love the range of purples and pinks. I love the photograph! thank you for putting in the effort to show the possibilities in a small, carefully thought out wardrobe. and yes, I love the stories, which are like a 5 minute escapist trip!
    thank you thank you

  12. I'm curious about two things -- that seems to be a lot of gray pants. Would you be comfortable wearing them one day after another?
    Two -- I like what I see of Uniglo but their sizing! An XL is a size 14 or something and no larger sizes. Am I missing something?

    I enjoy these posts so much. Thank you for brightening my day -- and my closet. (Jjill thanks you too. Wish I could link someway to give you commission there.)

  13. I think gray goes wonderful with camel!