Friday, December 30, 2016


One last time:
Lightning over Colorado by Joe Randall

Mr. Randall has a great eye, doesn't he?

When we left our wardrobe at the end of the day yesterday, this is where we were - 25 pieces, lots and lots of ways to wear them, a good balance of colors EXCEPT those 2 beige/brown pieces. I'm still not feeling comfortable with them...

A capsule wardrobe in shades of grey and purple

If you need to catch up to where we are, check Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and yesterday's posts.

In order to evaluate this wardrobe, there are lots of options (see the various ways that I reviewed the "12 Months, 12 Outfits" wardrobes for some ideas), but I like to just sort by color and see what seems obvious.

How to build a capsule wardrobe from scratch - evaluating neutral colors

They grey items look great - a little heavy on outerwear and sweaters, which suggests a blouse, shirt or tee shirt might be a good idea... The purple/pink accents are great, and I'm perfectly happy with them as they are.

But the beige/camel/brown? Sigh.... I'm not saying that they won't be worn, or that they aren't lovely. My final thought is that maybe this heroine wants a change of pace, every now and then, into something warmer in color. It could be an occasion during which she anticipates some spiky personalities and conversations, and she wants to be a soothing influence. Maybe it's for those autumn days when everything in the world seems to be warm russets and browns, and she wants to be a part of that. Maybe she's a true "Winter" but has warm brown eyes (as I do...) and every now and then she wants to highlight her eyes.

The bottom line: you can wear whatever colors you want. As many or as few of them as you want. In color combinations that are classically harmonious, or as challenging and unusual as you can imagine. You answer to no one, except your heart...

So my last additions to this wardrobe address the usefulness of a grey blouse, the color option of a warm beige sweater, and the amazing oversight of NOTHING that combines colors from this palette. (in all fairness, finding these colors combined in a garment is pretty challenging!)

How to build a capsule wardrobe from scratch - adding final pieces

Gorgeous beige sweater is 50% off... just sayin'...

This is the final 28-piece wardrobe:

A 28-piece capsule wardrobe in shades of grey, beige, and purple

Just looking over the pieces here and thinking about my life, and the lives of my friends, I don't see any gaping holes or obvious omissions. But just in case, I like to make sure that I can easily assemble both a "Whatever's Clean 13" wardrobe (the things that you pack when you know you will be frantic, and you don't want to worry about assembling your outfit everyday - this is as close to foolproof as getting dressed can be):

A 28-piece capsule wardrobe in shades of grey, beige, and purple

And I like to also build a "4 by 4 Wardrobe" - which is designed to give you at least a week's worth of outfits, in a range of possibilities:

A 28-piece capsule wardrobe in shades of grey, beige, and purple

I've reconciled myself to the interesting color options here, and I'm pretty pleased with the final wardrobe. But what do YOU think?

love,
Janice
How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe From Scratch: Evaluating and Balancing, based on Lightning over Colorado by Joe Randall
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Thursday, December 29, 2016


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.

love,
Janice
How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe: Starting From Scratch: Adding Variety, based on Lightning over Colorado by Joe Randall
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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Photograph of Lightning over Colorado by Joe Randall, with color palette and style guidelines

When we left this wardrobe yesterday, we had nine pieces of clothing - a small assortment, but sufficient for two dozen outfits. And the wardrobe has a nice coherent look that's beginning to take shape:

9-piece capsule wardrobe in grey, white, pink and purple
top – Dondup; cardigan – Pure Cashmere; shirt– J.Crew; 
tee – L.L.Bean; cardigan - Malene Birger; blouse – Michael Kors
Pants – L.L.Bean; pants – L.L.Bean; jeans – L.L.Bean;
 loafers - Donald J. Pliner; oxfords - Louise et Cie

Time to bring some more color into this wardrobe! The photograph from which we're working gives us options for a wide range of shades of purple, from the lightest pastel to the deepest violet blue. The differences between these 2 colors means that you will have outfits that "feel" two very different ways.

And a bit more gold metal jewelry, as suggested by the clouds in the upper left corner of the photograph. The grey stones still anchor this necklace well within a grey-based wardrobe. (I hope!) Botkier has a handful of pieces available with grey stone in gold - it's pretty striking!


lavender tee and deep purple sweater, with necklace, to add to a capsule wardrobe

This wardrobe is going to be pretty balanced between casual and dressy - well okay, it's going to lean MORE casual, but a skirt, and some dress shoes, will definitely be included. It's a rare person who can get through life without anything of this sort... (but I know you're out there, and I salute your personal style resolve!)

grey blouse and skirt, with black pumps, to add to a capsule wardrobe

Here's where I"m going to start venturing out on to a limb; The jacket and shoes are right in the sweet spot of the grey wardrobe, but I'm going to introduce a very classic sweater, in an (in this wardrobe) unexpected color to start easing us into a few warm hues. I'm not at all sure how this will all play out, but I'm very confident that one could comfortably wear this sweater with grey jeans or pants without any need to feel self-conscious or "unmatched." Not that you should EVER feel unmatched - if you're happy, the rest of the world should just live with what you wear!

And I'm just pointing out that the neckline on this jacket is perfect for showing off your favorite scarf...

grey coat, natural fisherman's sweater, and grey athletic shoes, to add to a capsule wardrobe

We now have 15 garments, which puts the owner in a great position for a lengthier trip, or for most of one's day to day activities:

15-piece capsule wardrobe in grey with shades of purple

Quite a few different way to pull together outfits, for a very wide range of activities:

three outfits for dinner, in grey and shades of purple

Tomorrow, a winter coat, another "warm" sweater, more accessories, and some leisure-wear... Don't miss it!

love,
Janice
How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe From Scratch: Personalizing the Basics, based on Lightning over Colorado by Joe Randall

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A capsule wardrobe color palette based on Lightning over Colorado by Joe Randall

When we left this wardrobe, it was very neutral, and very simple - but this is the way to start a really functional wardrobe! If you get these building blocks in place early, your later additions will be effortless to wear, and you'll have lots of options...

A core capsule wardrobe in grey and white
Cardigan – Pure Cashmere; tee shirt – L.L.Bean;  
shirt– J.Crew; pants – L.L.Bean;

One of the joys of working with this photograph is the wide range of accent colors available. All sorts of pink, lavender, lilac and deep purple colors can be taken from this image. It's so beautiful...

And in observance of the strong warm coloring in the top left color of the photo, I'm going to see if we can make gold jewelry work here. The Botkier bracelet has grey stones, which feels very much like it will help tie the gold and the greys together. We shall see!


Accessories for a core capsule wardrobe in grey and white

And FINALLY we get some pretty tops... I really tried here to pick up on the fluidity and sense of movement in the clouds.


Accent color tops and a scarf in pink and purple for a capsule wardrobe

Here's where the wrestling with the photograph begins, for me. I seriously considered bringing in a brown or beige ensemble here, but then I was looking at brown shoes, and then I realized that I was hardly started on this wardrobe and I'd gone two different directions for essential leather accessories... 

And I just STOPPED. And thought. And realized that the brown, gold, tan elements in this photograph were going to be better-suited to be accents, rather than core elements. Maybe much later, brown trousers, or a pair of tan loafers, wouldn't go amiss. (gold loafers???) Right now, however, we need to stay focused in order to make this wardrobe truly functional.

So more grey, but a very different cardigan, and a pair of trousers that are cut differently, and of a new fabric:

Note the wee touch of gold on the oxfords?

A core wardrobe in grey for a capsule wardrobe

After the first 7 steps, this is a nice, tidy ensemble. For a long weekend, or a four-day work week, this would be a great travel capsule wardrobe:

A travel capsule wardrobe in grey, white, pink, and purple

In case you're struggling to visualize how these pieces could play out, here are 2 dozen possible outfits. For one of those trips where you fly out on Sunday evening, and return Friday afternoon (are you an auditor?) this might be everything you would need!

A travel capsule wardrobe in grey, white, pink, and purple

A travel capsule wardrobe in grey, white, pink, and purple

A travel capsule wardrobe in grey, white, pink, and purple

Tomorrow, more color, and more accessories; the wardrobe begins to take on a real personality!

love,
Janice
A travel capsule wardrobe inspired by art in a grey, white, pink, and purple color palette
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Monday, December 26, 2016

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...

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

Saturday, December 24, 2016

I couldn't ask for better readers,
or nicer friends,
love,
Janice

Friday, December 23, 2016

A Lengthy Get-Away...


She traveled for the winter holidays, and she traveled to a much warmer destination. But now, she wants to travel from one cold city to ANOTHER cold city, and then take the train to a nice warm break in the countryside... Dressy and casual. Warm and cold. What's she going to do?

Stick with the plan!
Build a Travel Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Art: Femme au Col Blanc
 Her favorite colors - dare she say her signature colors?

This travel outfit worked so very well for her at the holidays - no need to fix what isn't broken. And when she gets to the next city, she'll be ideally dressed for a leisurely lunch while waiting for her hotel room to become available. It's always wise to think about how your first hours will be spent when you've arrived somewhere; you can't always just waltz directly into a hotel room and change clothes, so wearing pajamas on the plane might not be the best of choices...


A travel capsule wardrobe in black, blue, and green, inspired by art: Femme au Col Blanc

She's packing quite a bit, but nothing that's excessive, and nothing that won't be worn frequently:

A travel capsule wardrobe in black, blue, and green, inspired by art: Femme au Col Blanc

When she has all of this hanging on her portable clothes rack, as she's packing, she's just delighted with the coherent look of it:

A travel capsule wardrobe in black, blue, and green, inspired by art: Femme au Col Blanc

She's going to be gone for six weeks... There are lots of ensembles possible, but she's almost certainly going to repeat her favorites!

A travel capsule wardrobe in black, blue, and green, inspired by art: Femme au Col Blanc

A travel capsule wardrobe in black, blue, and green, inspired by art: Femme au Col Blanc

A travel capsule wardrobe in black, blue, and green, inspired by art: Femme au Col Blanc

A travel capsule wardrobe in black, blue, and green, inspired by art: Femme au Col Blanc

A travel capsule wardrobe in black, blue, and green, inspired by art: Femme au Col Blanc

The temptation to not come home is going to be REALLY strong...

love,
Janice
A travel capsule wardrobe in black, blue, and green, inspired by art: Femme au Col Blanc
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