Wednesday, September 06, 2017

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Nature: Central Cygnus Skyscape by Robert Gendler

If you don't know about the Astronomy Picture of the Day site, you're in for a treat. Some of these are amazing, and many are also amazingly beautiful...

Our heroine today was very inspired by this particular image...

Central Cygnus Skyscape by Robert Gendler with style guidelines and color palette

Finally Released...

After 6 weeks in the hospital, and then in rehab, she's finally free! But her clothes are positively hanging off of her - never let it be said that hospital food isn't good for something. And with her surgery and weight loss came a new phenomenon - she often feels cold. She missed a large chunk of the summer, and now fall is staring her in the face, and the only pants that she can wear have drawstrings, and look more like pleated skirts than anything else!

Shopping is essential... And she has a plan!

A starter wardrobe outfit in burgundy and denim, for cool weather
cardigan – L.L.Bean; shirt – L.L.Bean; jeans – L.L.Bean

She walked right into the store and bought the first seven pieces - she was so happy, she paid for everything, and then went directly into a fitting room to change into her starter outfit! The saggy sweater and drawstring pants can be donated - and good riddance...

adding a burgundy long-sleeved tee shirt to a capsule wardrobe in red and navy, for cool weather
Tee – L.L.Bean

Her plan for the first pieces was clear - neutral pants and jeans, a neutral cardigan and an accent cardigan, and 3 tops that would be wearable with any combination of the pants and cardigans. Her initial accent color was a lovely burgundy that brought color to her cheeks, and looks richly classic with both navy and denim.

adding a navy Henley shirt to a capsule wardrobe in red and navy, for cool weather
Henley – L.L.Bean

adding navy corduroy pants to a capsule wardrobe in red and navy, for cool weather
Corduroy pants – L.L.Bean

adding a navy cardigan to a capsule wardrobe in red and navy, for cool weather
cardigan – L.L.Bean

With 2 cozy, interchangable outfits in hand (in her size!) she was much more deliberate about the next ensemble that she purchased. She knew that she wanted that bright pink that so inspired her in the photograph that is her style guideline, and she knew that she wanted a skirt. A long-ish skirt, that can be worn with tall boots or with tights - she's not quite ready to bring the scar out into public yet...

adding a hot pink shirt to a capsule wardrobe in red and navy, for cool weather
shirt – Lands’ End

adding a navy skirt to a capsule wardrobe in red and navy, for cool weather
skirt – Lands’ End

adding a hot pink sweater to a capsule wardrobe in red and navy, for cool weather
sweater – Lands’ End

Now she has three complete outfits, with an extra tee shirt - really a lot of options! And so now, her eye wanders, and she decides to really bring some more whimsical elements into play:

adding a pink star printed shirt to a capsule wardrobe in red and navy, for cool weather
star shirt – P.A.R.O.S.H.

The skirt was impossible to resist - all of the right colors, and the right feeling of brightness bursting against the darkness of the night sky. Maybe someday she'll find one with a star print!

adding a floral skirt to a capsule wardrobe in red and navy, for cool weather
skirt – Paul Smith

That skirt deserves a simple but pretty sweater, I'd say!

adding a navy sweater to a capsule wardrobe in red and navy, for cool weather
sweater – Banana Republic

From here, she only buys when something truly speaks to her; this tee shirt didn't speak as much as it sort of shreaked over the computer monitor!

adding a navy star motif tee shirt to a capsule wardrobe in red and navy, for cool weather
tee РMaison Kitsuné

After a few days she finds that tights and flat shoes feel really comfortable - and so a sweatshirt dress seems like an easy way to pretend to be dressed up while really feeling like she's wearing pajamas...

adding a navy sweatshirt dress to a capsule wardrobe in red and navy, for cool weather
sweatshirt dress - Uniqlo

At this stage, she's very content with her wardrobe, but will still fall for something that makes her heart sing - an innovative but not outrageous sweater is a perfect finishing touch for a 4 by 4 wardrobe!

adding a navy and burgundy sweater to a capsule wardrobe in red and navy, for cool weather
sweater – Michael Klein

She had a clear plan in mind - with just enough room for some "whappage" for particular items. Now that she looks at her new cold-weather wardrobe, she's got a real sense of accomplishment - along with a lot of pleasure! That's how getting dressed should be...

a 4 by 4 wardrobe in navy, burgundy and hot pink for cool weather

Sometimes when I'm packing, I start with my travel outfit and build my suitcase 1 piece at a time, just as I built our heroine's wardrobe today. I think it's an interesting system, and so far it's worked well for me! When I pack with this system, I keep reminding myself that every additional garment has to be wearable in at least 3 different ways; it's a good disciplinary reminder on those days when I'd like to just chuck everything into the bag...


How to build a capsule wardrobe in navy, blue, pink, and cranberry
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  1. Just lovely Janice. A teensy bit jealous that we are coming into spring and I need lighter, not heavier clothes. Must shop my wardrobe this weekend for inspiration. Hard to resist the Paul Smith skirt, though resist I shall, as funds are required for the Europe trip!

  2. Those pinks to wine colors are fabulous. Will she wear the sweater with the floral skirt? I have a similar one that I've been struggling with what top to pair it with.

    1. I think she might wear them together - it would be a fun contrast of structured/geometric with soft and floral...
      good thinking!

  3. Lovely colour scheme. Hope you're safe! Chris. Australia

  4. Yes, we are coming into spring here Down Under. At a later date, I certainly would be interested in transitioning that wardrobe and colour scheme into winter, spring and summer. For me in southern Australia that wardrobe is nearly warm and cosy enough for our winter. Love the cosmic theme. Carol S

  5. Love this wardrobe! And your note about how you pack - I'm taking a short trip to Europe later this year and I am trying to figure how much to take, how to pack a nice capsule, etc. This note is just what I need.

  6. Dear Janice

    Reading the Viviennefiles has become one of my favourite things to do every day, but I have never commented before - I don't really know why not, since I adore your wardrobes. Today's story is a little similar to a situation that I've been in some time ago - although on a MUCH smaller scale, a back operation followed by a 6 weeks recovery period and some weight loss. But mainly it has "forced" me to start travelling with only a carry on bag, which I have done many times now, including a 5 week trip to Italy on my own (without hubby to help carry my luggage). Your travel wardrobes have assisted be tremendously with being able to do that, and I want to really thank you!! Hugs from South Africa!

    1. Come in and comment more - I'm sure you have something fun and helpful to contribute to our conversations. And I have a big fondness for South Africa, although I've never been; we just welcomed 2 of your rugby teams into the Guinness Pro 14. I have a long-term crush on Francois Steyn...

  7. Janice,
    Oh my gosh, I am sitting here, mentally clapping my hands at this post , as I am about to pack for 9 days in New England, hurricanes permitting ! This style of item selection just warms my heart as you go through the thought process of your selections, one garment at a time, and then ending up with a 4x4, which is where I forgot that you might be going ! Love the autumnal feeling colors -- saving this post for sure !

  8. I love the contexts you create at least as much as the wardrobes! The fictions surrounding your choices are so very entertaining, and informative. Definitely helps me imagine how each wardrobe could relate to my own closet!

  9. Your wardrobe presentations are always of interest. I am totally captivated by the NASA daily photos. Thanks. This will give me a daily dose of beauty, science knowledge and inspiration for follow up research. I also think it will give me countless chances to be a smart grandma in the eyes of my granddaughters. Thanks.

  10. I read a recipe / food blog where at the bottom of each post, the author will link to something from a year ago, two years ago, etc... but also link to something six months ago, and 18 months ago. This means that while she's posting hearty winter soups, someone who very much wants a light summer salad can just link to it.

  11. While watching the US Open Tennis tournament, it occurred to me that maybe Nike was also inspired by this, since this color scheme has shown up on so many of the tennis players (such as Juan Martin del Potro). Hey, you never know!

  12. Janice, are there any posts wherein you have discussed the elements of style? I'm trying to help my 16 year old youngest son who has decided he wants to move beyond the jeans and polos he has always worn to school, but says,"I don't know how to clothes!" He is a bit of an artist so he understands what I mean if I talk about Fit, Cut/Shape, Color, Texture, and Drape. What am I forgetting that might help him think about clothes and figure out what he likes and does not like? Thank you!

    1. Not really - I think you've already covered the essentials with fit, shape, color, texture and drape. Balance is really the key to look for - that, and a sense of understatement rather than going all the way over the top! (I see some really gaudy things...) Balance. Balance in all things...

  13. When I was packing for the 3 week trip that I am on right now, I based my wardrobe on navy blue and dark pink. I was curious - a bit hopeful, even - if I could avoid black entirely (although I love it, part of the trip involves a navy and white uniform, so most of the sweaters and outerwear I packed are navy. In the end my bad feet dictated that I bring two pairs of black shoes, so black crept in to join the navy.

    Also it's interesting that you sometimes plan you travel wardrobe beginning with your travel outfit. One of my main packing strategies has always been to pick a travel outfit that I wear on my outward and homeward travel days, but not really in between. Funny that there are so many strategies! - nancyo

  14. Hi Janice. I wrote recently that you are an artist with colour. Once again, it is so very true. Can you tell me how to find the Paul Smith skirt. Nothing came up on the internet. Thanks.

  15. I think she could use some necklaces. That sweatshirt dress definitely needs something.

  16. Always love these kinds of posts! I like these colors, and it gave me some new ideas to punch up the navy and burgundy in my closet. I also took the 4x4 and just for fun, punched in the black and cinnamon colors of the first of the month post, then added olive as an accent, to come up with packing capsule for fall trip. It worked beautifully. Just added the olive version of the sweater you used in navy, and I'm set. Thanks for the inspiration!

  17. I also love your links to the clothing. I got a long burgundy sweater on sale last fall from Eillen Fisher and thought the suede ankle boots and burgundy tote would finish off the outfit. So I followed the links and I so appreciate your sense of style. It is like having a very stylish friend to go shopping with...

  18. This capsule is adorable and this system is so practical and universal. I copied each step by step, with olive instead of denim and slate blue instead of cyclame and it works perfectly! Isn't that awesome!!!!
    Sania from Zagreb