Monday, July 31, 2017

Although most of us in the Northern Hemisphere still have at least 8 weeks of hot weather in front of us, you can't tell it by what's in the stores. Cashmere, leather goods, lots of winter coats... Sigh...

But the August outfit last year, and again this year, is oriented to the season ahead:

a skirt outfit in camel, black and white with an Hermes scarf

Scarf– Hèrmes Carré en Boucles; brooch – CLB NYC; shirt – Lands’ End; ring – Madewell; cardigan – Jucca; skirt – Lands’ End; boots – UGG

As always, I like to see how the newest additions look when arrayed with the earlier pieces in each wardrobe:

a capsule wardrobe based on Hermes Carre en Boucles scarf, in black, white and caramel brown

It's always wise to make certain that you can wear any new garment in at least 3 different ways, so I like to check on this too!

three ways to style a white shirt in a capsule wardrobe

three ways to style a whiskey brown cardigan in a capsule wardrobe

three ways to style a black skirt in a capsule wardrobe

I went a bit mad dressy here... sigh...

a skirt outfit in ivory and beige, including the Hermes Flanerie a Versailles scarf

Scarf – Hermes Flanerie à Versailles; brooch – Alexis Bittar; tee – Twin-Set; ring - Alexis Bittar; cardigan – Ulla Johnson; skirt – Uniqlo; boots – Lucky Brand

Such lovely colors...

a capsule wardrobe in beige, blue, pink and green, based on Hermes Flanerie a Versailles scarf

three ways to style a beige cardigan in a capsule wardrobe

three ways to style a beige skirt in a capsule wardrobe

three ways to style an ivory top in a capsule wardrobe

I went a bit overboard here too, I suspect...

wine cardigan, foulard-print blouse and grey skirt with the Hermes scarf Au Bout du Monde

Scarf– Hèrmes Au Bout du Monde; brooch – Banana Republic; blouse – Frame; rings – Freida Rothman; cardigan - Odeeh; skirt - Societe Anonyme; boots - Vince

a capsule wardrobe in shades of blue, red, and grey based on the Hermes scarf Au Bout du Monde

3 ways to style a wine cardigan from a capsule wardrobe

3 ways to style a navy print blouse from a capsule wardrobe

3 ways to style a grey skirt from a capsule wardrobe

The brooch costs more than everything else in the outfit combined... VERY illogical!

an olive skirt outfit with orange accessories

Scarf– Hèrmes Collections Impériales; flower brooch – Gucci; cardigan – Patagonia; top – Oasis; ring - Lucifer vir Honestus; skirt – H&M; boots – Me Too

a capsule wardrobe in olive with blue and orange accents, based on the Hermes scarf Collections Imperiales

3 ways to style an olive cardigan in a capsule wardrobe

3 ways to style an olive top in a capsule wardrobe

3 ways to style an olive skirt in a capsule wardrobe

a skirt outfit in grey, white and blue with the Hermes scarf Etude pour un Irish Arc-en-ciel

Scarf– Hèrmes Etude pour un Iris Arc-en-ciel; brooch – Nina; cardigan – L.L.Bean; white top – L.L.Bean; ring - Judith Ripka; denim skirt - Bassike; boots – Ted Baker

a capsule wardrobe in grey with accents of blue and orchid based on the Hermes scarf Etude pour un Irish Arc-en-ciel

3 ways to style a blue cardigan in a capsule wardrobe

3 ways to style a white shell in a capsule wardrobe

3 ways to style a grey skirt in a capsule wardrobe

If you're not going to own a lot of skirts, maybe a really unusual one is worth considering?

a sequined skirt outfit with the Hermes scarf Chemins de Corail

Scarf– Hèrmes Chemins de Corail; brooch – Banana Republic; tee – Majestic; ring – Banana Republic; cardigan – L.L.Bean; skirt – J.Crew; boots – Blondo

a capsule wardobe in shades of beige and brown, with orange and red accents, based on the Hermes scarf Chemins de Corail

three ways to style a persimmon cashmere cardigan in a capsule wardrobe

three ways to style an oatmeal tee shirt in a capsule wardrobe

three ways to style a brown sequined skirt in a capsule wardrobe

When I start looking at 3 ways to wear each garment, the power of this approach becomes really evident...


p.s. please note that a few of these scarves have become available again - in some cases there is only ONE scarf available. If you've been looking, strike while the silk iron is hot!

For more in the 2017 "Build a Capsule Wardrobe - 12 months, 12 outfits" series, check out the following articles:

Looking for more ideas? Follow along as we build a new capsule wardrobe in 2018.

Build a Capsule Wardrobe in 12 Months, 12 Outfits - August 2017
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Friday, July 28, 2017

This sounds like a silly question - we've all known our favorite colors since we were children, haven't we?

Well, in a nutshell, no. I get emails every day from people who still struggle to choose their neutrals, or to find a signature accent color, or some other variation on these themes that boils down to the issue of knowing what we most like.

Recently, one of you commented that you found peridot green as an accent when you kept seeing that color when you meditated! I personally found this to be utterly brilliant, and about as fail-safe a way to choose a signature as humanly possible. But what if you don't meditate?

I'm suggesting that you start looking for opportunities to make choices - all KINDS of choices - important ones maybe, but trivial ones DEFINITELY. Listen to your gut. Trust your instincts. Learn what a good, happy, comfortable decision feels like, and learn about the opposite too.

Also, try to hear all of the voices that you've heard throughout your life, telling you about colors, and styles, and things you should and shouldn't wear, and do, and like, and eat, and listen to, and and and... Accept that those people were doing the very best that they could for you, but that they still might have had opinions that don't resonated with you. That's fine; you can choose your own colors now.

My family all looks very much alike - similar coloring, eye-color, hair-color, hair-texture, etc. Except me... My poor parents had no clue what to do with brown eyes and curly hair, and so I often felt like a over-cooked imitation of my beautiful mother and sister. It wasn't deliberate - they just dressed me in all of their very best colors, and - frankly, I didn't much care. I was a nerd, and a tomboy, and I was fine. When I left home for college, I started to sort things out on my own; it took a few iterations to get it right!

It's never too late to listen to your inner voices...

First up - you can wear anybody's birthstone. Find a famous person born in that month and wear it in her honor...

Choosing your favorite birthstone

rings - Lafonn

This is an imaginary exercise; realistically I don't know anybody who would willingly wear the same pair of white pants seven days in a row!

Which color will you choose for your pants?

pants – L.L.Bean

This exercise was so key for me - I discovered the beautiful blue/purple periwinkle... When I tell you about my recent break with my shopping fast, you will better appreciate how BIG a deal this was for me!

Which colors will you choose for your tee shirts?

tee shirt – L.L. Bean

Because your toes are so far from your face, you can choose a color that gives you pleasure, rather than one that flatters your coloring:

Which color will you choose for a pedicure?

Nail Lacquer – Butter London

In the real world, if someone gives you a very expensive gift, do make sure that you can exchange it! But in our mental experiment, pretend that you have to keep the one that THEY choose for you...

Which color will you choose in an Hermes scarf?

scarf – Hermès Flouets et Badines

Are you one of those people who always shares their ice cream and NEVER gets their favorite flavor? Goodness, get OVER THAT! It's very kind of you, but it's your turn now...

What ice cream will you choose?
No IDEA who's list this is - please let me know and I'll happily give credit!

I firmly believe that everybody that wears a scarf should have a solid-color accent scarf; which is best for you?

What color scarf will you choose?

scarf – Nordstrom

If you finally choose to treat yourself to a Longchamp bag, which color will it be? (and don't some of these colors look an AWFUL lot alike, or have I lose my eye for color?)

What color backpack will you choose?

backpack – Longchamp

This is far from an exhaustive list of flowers, but what was I to do, eh? My favorites have always been lilacs and violets... hmm...

What flowers will you choose?

flower pictures from

Even in cold weather, you might need flip flops for the shower in the gym, right?

What color flip flops will you choose?
sandals - OlaKai

We use these to carry laundry! Absurdly handy...

What color tote bag will you choose?

Canvas Totes – Lands’ End

Would you opt for a neutral, or dare to choose a bright accent?

choose your favorite color of loafers

flats – UGG

Once you start looking for ways to make color choices, you can find them everywhere! Learn to listen to that authentic person inside who knows what she likes...


PS - If you are looking for other color inspiration, check out the latest Pantone Color Planner and other documents in the Planning Documents section of the website.

How Do I Choose My Favorite Colors?
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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

You have asked me this question a lot - how can you handle traveling to a hot destination, where you need to be appropriately dressed when occasions or locations require modest attire?

Modesty almost always means 1 or more of 3 "things" need to be covered:
1. your shoulders
2. your knees, or
3. your head

So we've got to make certain that we have available to us at all times (in the backpack!) a shirt with sleeves, a skirt (or the zippy-on pieces of zip-off pants...) and a scarf... If you're one of those clever people who can wrap and tie a scarf in such a way that it works as a skirt, you're in luck...

Let's start with a lovely abstraction of a wonderful beach destination:

Baie de Cannes by Pablo Picasso

These are lovely colors...

Baie de Cannes by Pablo Picasso with style guidelines and color palette

For the trip, even though this wardrobe is going to de-emphasize dark colors, I'm going to have our heroine travel in dark trousers - they're just safer and less likely to show the inevitable dirt.

This is the only cardigan I'm having her bring - this tweedy kind of look means that it will work with all of the beige tones, and the fabric is lightweight and relatively cool...

travel outfit in black and beige

earrings – Gemma Collection; cardigan – L.L.Bean; tee – L.L.Bean; shoes – FitFlop; bracelet – Gorjana; watch – Olivia Burton; linen pants – L.L.Bean; scarf – Nordstrom; backpack - Fjällräven

This is a very "nuts and bolts" wardrobe - I haven't paid a lot of attention to jewelry here, because I want to focus on the various pieces of clothing and how they layer together. But I DO think that a hot-weather destination absolutely requires both a sunhat and a pair of sunglasses - these aren't really accessories as much as they are essentials.

And yes, as much as I'm not usually a big fan of zip-off pants that become shorts, I think that this is the time during which they might make sense...

What I've done here is focus completely on sand-colored "bottoms" in a range of silhouettes; for someone who doesn't wear skirts, a pair of capris would be a logical substitute. The other goal here was to include a couple of long-sleeved shirts that could be worn over a tee shirt or tank top, or can also be worn alone with the sleeves rolled. A lightweight fabric is key here - I've chosen madras and seersucker.

Similar to what I did with the 3 bottoms is to make certain that our heroine has 3 different kinds of shoes, in similar colors, and all chosen for comfort as well as style. In some cases, carrying a change of shoes can make a vacation day feel much more comfortable! Also, sometimes all you need to do to be appropriately dressed is to cover your toes - I admit that I've only seen that once, and I was pretty amazed that it was part of a dress code...

(from a style point of view, note that I've somewhat focused on square shapes, in honor of the cubist Picasso...)

travel capsule wardrobe for hot weather in beige, blue and green

hat - Eric Javits; sunglasses - Kate Spade New York; blue top – Lands’ End; polo – Lands’ End; tank top – L.L.Bean; blue tee – J.Crew; beige tee – J.Crew; madras plaid shirt – L.L.Bean; seersucker shirt – L.L.Bean; skirt – L.L.Bean; zip-off pants – L.L.Bean; bag - Adrienne Vittadini; shorts – L.L.Bean; sandals– Bernie Mev.; espadrilles – The Flexx

This would be what our heroine would have with her:

travel capsule wardrobe for hot weather in beige, blue and green

Next I wanted to look at each of the bottoms to make sure that it would be wearable in a full range of outfits, from something strictly focused on comfort in hot weather, and then moving along a spectrum to something that would be more appropriate in areas with a dress code. That's tough to do with shorts, but this at least gives us a range of ways to assemble outfits with the garments available.

3 ways to style khaki shorts from a travel capsule wardrobe

3 ways to style khaki zip-off pants from a travel capsule wardrobe

3 ways to style a khaki skirt from a travel capsule wardrobe

3 ways to style black pants from a travel capsule wardrobe

But let's say that you are going on a really LONG trip, and you just don't feel comfortable with the smallness of the initial wardrobe. I thought that in this case, worthy additions might be pieces in chambray - a faded denim blue that's much lighter-weight and softer than denim. And a beige dress? This dress could theoretically be worn unbuttoned, over a tank top and shorts, as a duster, and then buttoned if necessary? Could you picture that?

chambray shirt – J. Crew; scarf – Caslon; Bermuda shorts – L.L.Bean; beige linen dress – Uniqlo; striped tee – Lands’End; blue tee – L.L.Bean

This is a pretty robust wardrobe - one could literally picture taking this to a beach house or to summer school, and living with this for 2 or 3 months...

a larger travel capsule wardrobe in blue, green, beige and black

As before, I want to make certain that all of these pieces are able to be used for activities along a spectrum of dressiness:

3 ways to style a blue top from a travel capsule wardrobe

3 ways to style a striped top from a travel capsule wardrobe

3 ways to style a beige linen dress from a travel capsule wardrobe

3 ways to style chambray shorts from a travel capsule wardrobe

3 ways to style a chambray shirt from a travel capsule wardrobe

Layering is the key to dressing appropriately when visiting sensitive locations, or attending certain activities while on vacation. I hope that this is helpful to those of you who specifically requested some suggestions for this kind of trip...


A Travel Capsule Wardrobe for Both Coolness and Modesty: Baie de Cannes by Picasso
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