Monday, January 09, 2017

How to Build a Business Wardrobe One Piece at a Time: Navy, with Emerald and Amethyst

I got this email just before Christmas - one of my readers got a new job, and needs to build a new wardrobe to wear. This is a pretty special workplace - very elegant, with occasional clothing allowance cash awards given, and all laundry and dry-cleaning reimbursed! Pretty dreamy, at least from a wardrobe point of view...

A navy suit and white shirt, with a color scheme for a larger business capsule wardrobe

I think the target color scheme is based on my reader's very russet hair, fair skin and freckles, which look GREAT with these accents...

Of course, I answered her email right away, and she's already purchased a bunch of things for her new position, but I thought that this was so pretty, so luxurious, and such a dream shopping adventure, that I wanted to share it with you all!

First thing - if you have a skirted suit that also has pants that match, you really should get them, unless they fit appallingly and can't be altered, or unless you absolutely don't want to every wear pants with your blazer. Even if you never wore these pants with this jacket, just having pants in EXACTLY the same navy would mean that everything else your purchased would coordinate beautifully with both the suit and the pants. These purchases aren't exciting, but they're intelligent, practical, and very efficient.

(I know these colors don't appear to match, for the 3 suit pieces. I tried to monkey around with the colors a bit, and couldn't make them any better - they were different from the source... the clothes ARE, however, all from the same manufacturer, in the same fabric, so they SHOULD match perfectly. If they don't, raise the roof!)

How to add navy trousers to a business capsule wardrobe

This is another easy, and fairly obvious, step - a replacement for your workhorse white shirt! A simple top in silk will prove to be madly versatile, and a great background for any scarf or necklace that wanders your way...

How to add a white silk top to a business capsule wardrobe

Finally, an accent color! This could be a green jacket or blazer, if you can find one, but a cashmere cardigan covers the "elegant" base, while also providing you with a sweater that can be worn on its own, when buttoned all the way up.

How to add an emerald green cardigan to a business capsule wardrobe

Even though we're sticking with navy as our neutral, there are a lot of textural things that we can look for to bring variety and visual interest to our outfits. In this case, the skirt is made of broderie anglaise (or eyelet, as many of us know it) fabric. It's still a navy skirt, but it's a nice change of pace.

How to add a navy broderie anglaise skirt to a business capsule wardrobe

This wardrobe color scheme is perfect for all kinds of beautiful jewel-toned blouses...

How to add a purple foulard print silk blouse to a business capsule wardrobe

That navy blazer is going to get really boring, really quickly, unless we introduce an alternative to it! Ideally, you would be able to find another navy jacket in a different style - maybe Chanel-ish? - but in the absence of that, a high-quality cardigan will do just fine. 

How to add a navy cardigan to a business capsule wardrobe

Here's another way to add a navy skirt to your wardrobe - in a lovely, swishy silk. When you mix fabrics like this, you don't have to be as hysterical about matching the navy colors. So long as they blend nicely (in this case, so long as the navy is very very dark) you'll be fine.

How to add a navy silk skirt to a business capsule wardrobe

Another jewel-toned blouse - what a beauty!

How to add an emerald silk blouse to a business capsule wardrobe

And a second accent cardigan. As before, this could certainly be a jacket, if you can find one...

How to add a purple cashmere cardigan to a business capsule wardrobe

Tweed is a wonderful fabric to watch for when you want to work with one neutral. Ideally, this would be the skirt from a suit, in which case you would also buy the jacket. Designers should listen to me more, don't you think?

How to add a navy tweed skirt to a business capsule wardrobe

Yes, it's about time for another white blouse - this time with a bow! A variety of styles can keep you from dying of boredom wearing white blouses or shirts frequently.

How to add a white bowed blouse to a business capsule wardrobe

Don't forget the possibility of a knit jacket - sort of a hybrid blazer/cardigan. These can be really lovely, and keep some of the structural authority of a jacket while still giving you the softness of a sweater.

How to add a navy knit jacket to a business capsule wardrobe

No resisting this blouse, and no reason to! Although the brand names makes it sound as if this is a pajama top, I'm rejecting that thesis. If I'm wrong, just don't tell anybody; to me, it looks like a blouse!

How to add a jewel colored paisley silk blouse to a business capsule wardrobe

This is how the first 16 pieces come together. I would also be on the lookout for a great navy and white sweater and blazer, a navy dress, a printed silk matching blouse and skirt...
A 4 by 4 Wardrobe based on a navy suit, with accents of white, emerald and amethyst

Wishing all the success in the world to this woman in her new position! (tempered by just the tiniest bit of envy. tiny... really, really tiny...)


PS - Click through to read about how to add some accessories with this navy suit.

How to Build a Work Capsule Wardrobe in a Navy, with Emerald and Amethyst color palette
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  1. Beautifully put together wardrobe! Very crisp in colours but there are some subtle combinations in there as well. Love the swishy skirt with the irresistible blouse. I'm not a blazer person myself - pleased to ditch mine when I left school - so I am attracted to the knitted blazer which has some structure but not as much as the blazer. Thanks again and looking forward to the amazing accessories that are hopefully still to come. Hugs Carol S

  2. A beautiful colour combination! If I was still working in a formal office it would be there perfect alternative to black, grey and red.

  3. Congrats to your reader on the new job. Love this color scheme.

  4. Best wishes for the new job, dear reader. Beautiful wardrobe, Janice. And yes, some envy here, also. ๐Ÿ˜€

  5. Janice,
    I add my good wishes to your newly employed reader, and congratulations to you, Janice, on this wardrobe that offers variety in color, style and texture ---well done !

  6. Just pinned it! The blouses you found, Janice are them both!

  7. Stunning! And all the best to this woman on her new adventure!

  8. Lovely! My curiousity was piqued by the For Restless Sleepers label, so I had to check out their site. Indeed it is pajamas but meant to leave the bedroom, apparently. Here is part of their statement: "With F.R.S., the pajama finally leaves the realm of the strictly private and its specifically nocturnal purpose, transforming itself into an attitude comprising lightweight fabrics that look good anywhere. In so doing, it reveals itself as a display of independence, reflecting a new and surprising self-declaration." I'd certainly wear that shirt everywhere if it were in my closet. Actually, some of my favorite t-shirts are Target knit sleepwear tops. - nancyo

  9. More good wishes to our fellow reader! You will be stunning!

    Janice, I was intending to join the shopping-free year, but I succumbed to the navy jacket-cardi by Boden. It perfectly fits a need for navy cardigan. Thank you!

    1. I bought the same cardi! - nancyo

  10. You have inspired me in two ways: 1. No spend in '17 and 2. "Shop" by color palette. My closet is overflowing. I use your art based capsule, pull all pieces that conform to that color capsule and begin editing based on fit and flatter. If it doesn't make the cut, out it goes. Thank you.

  11. I recently went to a store to buy the foundation of my new capsule wardrobe - a navy skirt, blazer, pants, and dress. I took a friend, and both the friend and the sales associate helping me got caught up in "shopping fun" and kept handing me all sorts of things to try on. They were telling me that navy was too boring to always wear, and that I needed some color and some shirts and some other skirts, etc. I don't know why they were thinking that I was planning to only wear those four items all the time and nothing else. I've even had my friend read your blog!! It was hard, but I managed to fend off them and all their random pieces of clothing to only get what I needed, and I'm loving my capsule wardrobe.

    1. Congratulations for standing strong!

    2. And I add my congratulations and admiration. A long time ago, my oldest daughter was starting her job after her degree and I took her shopping for a four piece black suit. She though I was nuts but we stuck to the plan and that good quality suit lasted her a long time. Now with my retired casual life my 4 piece suit is a different combination but still the same concept.
      Deb from Vancouver

  12. These are beautiful colors and beautiful clothes! It would be so easy at a later date to expand into sapphire and ruby accents, or to go in a different direction with gray base pieces.

  13. This is really gorgeous. I really like the way the tweed skirt adds another dimension to the capsule also.

  14. Janice, I find the wardrobes you make very appealing, and study everyone of them. Thank you for all af them.
    In this one I - also - applaud the addition of the tweed skirt.

    After having read your blog for years, I finally discovered my own clothing preference; An inner column of colour - for visual elongation.
    And then I realised that you most often build around an outer column of color.
    As I find the task of building a wardrobe capsule (around an inner column) with enough variation quite difficult, I hope you might find it interesting enough at take on the challenge. .?

  15. I'd love to find an employer who would reimburse my dry-cleaning bills!!! What a perk!

  16. Beautiful combos. But I question the white blouses with the client's coloring. I would think a warmer off-white would be a softer choice. But I am no expert. Navy is my neutral of choice due to my dark, reddish hair and light skin tone. I have been told to avoid white.

    1. I think your logic is good; my assumption is that the white was a "corporate" sort of thing. In the future, I could easily see her defaulting to a softer pearl color.
      thanks for sharing!

  17. I got very excited when I saw this navy suit. I have been looking for a new navy 3 piece suit (blazer with double or triple button stance, skirt, and pants. However, I cannot wear wool. Any suggestions for similar suits and the Boden jacket that are not wool?