Friday, February 03, 2017

How to Assemble a Warm-Weather Capsule Wardrobe - Bavarian Cream Tossed Floral Cardigan

I have no idea why it's called "Bavarian Cream." I had no idea that the cream there was in some way special...

Today is the last version of the "start with a patterned cardigan" idea, with more complete explanations of what I'm doing with these cardigans. (brace yourself - I get pretty carried away explaining my methodology here!) This cardigan was chosen because one of you who is contemplating the purchase on this one felt that the colors might prove to be too autumn-like...

How to Assemble a Warm-Weather Capsule Wardrobe - Bavarian Cream Tossed Floral Cardigan

For what it's worth, upon close study, I think that these colors are pretty safely seasonless; one might be reluctant to wear a pair of cream wool crepe trousers in February (nasty salt splashes = ruined garment!), but for the most part, none of these colors are particularly more or less popular in any given time of year.

How to Assemble a Warm-Weather Capsule Wardrobe - Bavarian Cream Tossed Floral Cardigan

I've not mentioned it, but you do understand that you don't have to actually have a cardigan in order for this to work? You could start with any colors, or any garment, that you like - a plaid shirt, floral skirt, etc. etc.

I chose to create a spectrum for the accent color file of the color wheel, because of the way that the flowers in the cardigan actually include a pretty wide range of shades. There's quite a bit of pink in this sweater, and even a few leafy patches of olive green, so the possibilities might even be wider.

But I think it's wise to avoid trying to match a bit of color in a garment if that bit is simply too small/obscure. To the casual eye, scanning the ensemble, it won't really "hang together" because your eye won't pick up the smaller bits of color. If you don't care, that's certainly up to you, and fine, but if you're trying to create an impression of harmony or homogeneity, it won't really work.

If you already have a solid core of black garments in your wardrobe, this cardigan will be simple to incorporate into your warm-weather capsule. For the first outfit, I chose to balance out all of the black by including some pearls (nothing snowy white - you want that warm creamy color) and a handbag with some outrageous pearl detail. These 2 touches sort of refer back to the cardigan for their color origin, and keep the overall effect from being too somber or cold-weather ish.

For the second outfit, I got a little bit more bold with the strong block of black clothes - this would be a "cold day in spring" kind of outfit, with long trousers, a long-sleeved shirt with a cardigan over it, and closed-toe shoes. But in order to make the cardigan look like an intentional choice and not just "grabbing the only clean sweater," I found great red poppy earrings that mimic both the accent color and the floral theme of the sweater.

How to Assemble a Warm-Weather Capsule Wardrobe - Bavarian Cream Tossed Floral Cardigan

You could, with no apologies, wear your cardigan only with black. But if you want to give cream a try, the cardigan becomes the real stand-out part of the outfit. On the top, you'll recognize many of the pieces from yesterday (good classic garments are very versatile, of course). I considered a red espadrille, or red bracelets, but I kept coming back to this very simple creamy look with just the touch of color and pattern in the cardigan.

The second outfit here is a bit riskier - combining dots and flowers isn't something you see every day! And instead of grabbing one of the colors from the cardigan, I thought it would be fun to add some gold shoes, and gold sunglasses too! When you take off your cardigan (as you undoubtedly will, if you're somewhere in shorts), your outfit still shows a really coherent cream and gold theme. The cardigan is almost a wild card second accent! (now if the cardigan had gold buttons, THAT would be amazing...)

How to Assemble a Warm-Weather Capsule Wardrobe - Bavarian Cream Tossed Floral Cardigan

This is unquestionably the hardest way to wear this sweater - red pants are not for the faint of heart! But a simple blouse calms things down considerably. Red shoes would be overdoing it here, but I thought that small red earrings, and a small red clutch were sufficient to keep the red pants from looking visually lonely, or out of place...

The final ensemble is a much easier way to wear more red with this sweater - black jeans are nice and casual, red loafers are too much fun, and another piece of poppy jewelry for a dash of color, and a gesture to the floral theme of the sweater. (why yes, Talbots also has a poppy necklace...) A cream scarf helps tone down the red even more, and would be handy with most of these other outfits.

How to Assemble a Warm-Weather Capsule Wardrobe - Bavarian Cream Tossed Floral Cardigan

Because this sweater is pretty exuberant, the rest of this wardrobe (except 3 pieces) is very classic, neutral basics. It's amazing how much 4 print or accent pieces of clothing can be used to jazz up 9 really simple pieces!

How to Assemble a Warm-Weather Capsule Wardrobe - Bavarian Cream Tossed Floral Cardigan

And as always, the accessories make the big difference:

How to Assemble a Warm-Weather Capsule Wardrobe - Bavarian Cream Tossed Floral Cardigan

Six more outfits from the 13 pieces, just to reinforce the versatility and practicality of this approach. The top outfit is pretty bold, with BOTH the dotted top and the red pants, so I chose black leather pieces and the simplest of earrings to calm things down.

The second outfit is pretty casual, and well-balanced - jewelry would be completely optional here. But the red earrings are such fun...

How to Assemble a Warm-Weather Capsule Wardrobe - Bavarian Cream Tossed Floral Cardigan

For the first outfit here, I really had to include black shoes to balance the black top - again, it's a question of making your entire look appear to be intentional, rather than thrown-together!

The second outfit doesn't need the dark shoes nearly as much, because the dark jeans are a classic type of clothing, on an expected body area, to see darkness. That sentence sounds weird, but when you think about what you normally see women wearing, dark trousers or jeans are in the majority, so there's really no visual "compensation" needed to bring balance - you immediately compensate for the fact that the jeans are the only black thing, because it's what you expect, and you recognize the normalness of it.

Whew....

How to Assemble a Warm-Weather Capsule Wardrobe - Bavarian Cream Tossed Floral Cardigan

This top outfit screams business to me, but a slightly fun, or whimsical business! The little touch of floral earrings makes quite a bit of difference; imagine this outfit with the pearl hoops, instead.

And the 2nd outfit could omit the earrings completely, because it's so casual. But I think they give a nice "finished" feeling...

How to Assemble a Warm-Weather Capsule Wardrobe - Bavarian Cream Tossed Floral Cardigan

Wow! Next week, I'm going to start thinking about our birthstones...

love,
Janice

How to Assemble a Warm-Weather Capsule Wardrobe - Bavarian Cream Tossed Floral Cardigan
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28 comments:

  1. Guess what? The cardigan DOES have gold (and cream) buttons! I do love a good patterned cardigan. Lovely wardrobe. - nancyo

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    1. Oh, and Bavarian Cream is a kind of dessert, I believe. Years ago, one of my children was assigned to make it for a project in elementary school, and it wasn't particularly easy for a child to make, as I recall. - nancyo

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    2. Crème Bavaroise, or just bavaroise, is a dessert made of milk, cream, egg yolks and vanilla pod.

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  2. I would love to find some red trousers. How fun to wear! But they have to be just so--otherwise one risks looking like Mrs. Thurston Howell on Gilligan's Island. Not that she wore red, but it's just that bingo/cruise look.

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  3. Love this one! So bright, cheerful and fun!

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  4. I'll just point out that swapping out the buttons on a cardigan, jacket, or coat is a really easy way to customize your clothing and work with your color scheme. I have zero brown in my wardrobe, but for some reason most of the jackets/coats I buy have fake tortoise shell buttons. So I swap them out! Less than an hour, and it's *so me.* You can buy buttons at most big-box craft or sewing stores, but if you're in NYC, check out http://www.mjtrim.com/buttons/.

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  5. 'But I think it's wise to avoid trying to match a bit of color in a garment if that bit is simply too small/obscure. To the casual eye, scanning the ensemble, it won't really "hang together" because your eye won't pick up the smaller bits of color.'

    Another perspective on this is that, in my experience, something with a variety of colors close together can allow for "illusion colors" - shades that aren't actually in the garment but feel like they are because of the way the colors work next to each other. For me, wearing a piece in the "illusion color" with the varied color garment feels like it hangs together.

    I don't want red pants for myself, but I'm on the lookout for a nice deep red skirt. For some reason, I'm willing to be more adventurous with skirts than pants.

    -Kaci

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    1. Hi Kaci - I wore this cardigan yesterday with a wine dress, and it worked due to all of the shading in the flowers.

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  6. I'm normally pretty conservative but I actually love those red pants - and they would team up so well with many pieces that I now own for my summer wardrobe - I'm no sure about them as a winter pant.
    While I love all the bright coloured shoes shown - and would wear more of them if I wore skirts - I have difficulty wearing them with contrasting pants - i.e. above, I would have worn red shoes with the red pants and used a black purse - I just love the long line generated by that flow of one colour.

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    1. I was thinking the same, as I'm sort of short and find that contrasting shoes too much gives me that chopped off look. I would be swapping the red and black Shoes!

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  7. Such fun! Since this is a warm weather capsule, you could substitute red shorts or skort for the red pants if the long leg was just too much red.

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  8. Janice,
    I hope your birthstones posts begin with January -- I just had a birthday last month, and would love to see a garnet focused cluster ! This post reminds me of the one you did on the balance of color and proportion, which I have printed out and saved for reference. Good job !

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  9. Beautiful work on this post and I'm intrigued with the birthstone idea!

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  10. I really like your "save it to pinterest" summary at the end of your posts.

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  11. Birthstone based wardrobes - sounds great! Can't wait to see the first installment.

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  12. Thank you so much for the explanations! Even though this cardiagn/color scheme is not one I would wear, the explanations help so much to clafiy the process of choosing. I look forward to your new posts and this one is so helpful.

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  13. Well done - thank you!

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  14. Cream in Bavaria is very good, I live there, but they mean the vanilla-flavoured creamy dessert which is often served with berries, so the colour description is spot on!

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  15. I always enjoy reading your thought process behind how you make your selections. I'm trying to look more "intentional", not "thrown together". Thanks for your insight!

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  16. I don't find this sweater to be autumn-like at all! It's a beautiful, cheery sweater!

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  17. This has been an intriguing series, with your very helpful explanations of your thought processes. I'm learning such useful tips all the time. Thank you Janice.
    Robyn in Tasmania

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  18. Janice - I have to say that you are amazing! I constantly struggle with what clothing item to put with what and you make it seem effortless. Thank you.
    Love your blog. Erica

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  19. I have a floral cardigan which includes red, yellow, orange, turquoise, cream, purple and more on a black background and it has been a work horse in my wardrobe. Since I have started reading this blog I have focused on building up my wardrobe of neutrals and become more wary of too many multi-coloured items. Then those that I have get to really shine.

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  20. Though this is deeply not my style, I love what you have done and would admire it on another woman, and that is one of the great gifts of your blog, to stretch our sense of possibility. And, please consider including genuine pearls. The brands you have chosen look fake, which they are. Best to buy a few clothing pieces less, or extend the purchases over time, and get a pair of genuine pearl earrings (there is a Valentine's Sale on now at a well-knonwn vendor) for the price of one of those pairs of shoes. Infinitely more satisfying than a paint-coated glass ball.

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  21. I own a few really vivid, colorful cardigans, but don't wear them nearly enough. Thank you for the inspiration with the cardigans recently!

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  22. Great wardrobe! I would wear these colors happily. I'm not such a big fan of patterned cardigans, but it does add some pizzazz to all of the basics. I guess I am just boring! LOL! I would probably go with solid cream or black.

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  23. I recently came across the Vivienne Files and have become addicted to it. Thank you for all the interesting, lovely groups of clothing, and your comments. This is the first e-mail I look for each day! Please keep it up and know how much it is appreciated!

    Regards,
    Jean

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