Monday, December 18, 2017


Friday we looked at the first three of the "12 Months, 12 Outfits" final wardrobes, and found some interesting "holes" in the wardrobes... I'm interested to see how the second 3 wardrobes look, when evaluated through a series of arbitrary, but not worthless, criteria.

This was the 4th wardrobe - a pretty challenging one to assemble, because olive green isn't the most common color in the world, and orange is every bit as difficult to find!


capsule wardrobe in olive, blue, and orange

As has been true for all of the wardrobes, this wardrobe has a LOT of bottoms - an issue inherent in building a wardrobe through outfits. The learning here might be that a few more tops, and maybe another 2nd layer, would be useful additions...

evaluating a wardrobe based on the different types of garments

This ratio looks a bit strange to me - some women really prefer solid-color clothes, but I suspect that an average person might want 3 or 4 printed or patterned garments in a wardrobe of this size. However, given the struggle to find these colors, finding appropriate prints might be tough!

evaluating a wardrobe for solid garments vs prints

Dear oh dear. This is really not sufficient, to me. Clearly the owner of this wardrobe might benefit mightily from a couple of simple green shirts or sweaters to wear with her abundant assortment of green pants, skirts and shorts.

evaluating a wardrobe looking for dark or light solid "base outfits"

These don't look terribly bad, but a couple of green tops to wear with these cardigan might give this heroine quite a bit more versatility.

evaluating a wardrobe for the presence of twinsets or equivalent pieces

This is really the same lesson - lots of green "bottoms" but not enough "tops."

evaluating a wardrobe for the presence of a solid inner core of garments

This is an area in which this wardrobe is sufficient; the addition of green tee shirts, shirts, blouses or sweater would give this heroine a number of really easy, one-color outfits.

evaluating a wardrobe for the presence of a suit or suit equivalent

Ah, these are going to help A LOT! From warm weather to very cool, these pieces will add a lot more easy outfits to this wardrobe. And the blouse just brightens things up, and will give the orange cardigan a bit more mileage!

suggested additions for a capsule wardrobe based on olive green

This next wardrobe is just plain and simple pretty...

capsule wardrobe in grey, blue and orchid


Proof that all rules are meant to be broken - back in April, the outfit for this wardrobe used a cardigan as the sweater (so never forget that a buttoned cardigan = a sweater...)
evaluating a wardrobe based on the different types of garments

 No prints! This might be the way she prefers to dress, but it also might be an opportunity for some variety to be introduced...

evaluating a wardrobe for solid garments vs prints
This heroine is missing an easy opportunity to get dressed when she's half asleep, if she just added a darker grey blouse or shirt...

evaluating a wardrobe looking for dark or light solid "base outfits"

Nothing to worry about here...

evaluating a wardrobe for the presence of twinsets or equivalent pieces

These "columns" are all fine, but it might be very handy to have that dark grey tee shirt, shirt or sweater to wear with matching pants  - especially in cooler weather.

evaluating a wardrobe for the presence of a solid inner core of garments

Well-supplied here, but this again suggests to me that just 1 charcoal top could get worn A LOT...

evaluating a wardrobe for the presence of a suit or suit equivalent

So these are my suggestions - finding pieces in charcoal grey isn't easy... A couple of printed tops add some variety (and a tee shirt that will be perfect with the dark grey "suits" is a fun find!). The plaid shirt helps pull the orchid cardigan more into the wardrobe, and since that orchid shade is terribly under-represented in this wardrobe, another sweater seems to help with balance.

suggested additions to a capsule wardrobe in grey, blue and orchid

The final wardrobe... Maybe it's because I have brown eyes, but I've been drawn to this one from the very beginning!

capsule wardrobe in brown, beige and shades of red

 The need for tops is consistent through all of these wardrobes:

evaluating a wardrobe based on the different types of garments

Not a bad number of prints, but something other than a plaid shirt might be a welcome addition?

evaluating a wardrobe for solid garments vs prints

This seems to be a common theme - the absence of a simple, dark neutral top that would be wearable in a variety of ways...

evaluating a wardrobe looking for dark or light solid "base outfits"

This seems a bit skimpy - the only "twinset" here is in an accent color. Maybe this heroine absolutely detests the look of a twinset, but if that's not why this has happened, she might want to find a top to match 1 or 2 of her cardigans.

evaluating a wardrobe for the presence of twinsets or equivalent pieces

That missing brown top has left a pretty big hold in the wardrobe, to my eyes...

evaluating a wardrobe for the presence of a solid inner core of garments

She's in a good way if she needs to wear something suit-like... This might never be a consideration for you, but if it feels that it might be helpful, finding these 2 pieces can open up a world of outfit possibilities...

evaluating a wardrobe for the presence of a suit or suit equivalent

A twinset! That will change the number of potential outfits tremendously!

But I could NOT find a good brown tee shirt, nor blouse. That's something that would have to be a positive obsession for this heroine...

And just to break up the relentless solids garments, I liked the subtle color-blocked sweater.

suggested additions to a capsule wardrobe in beige, brown and shades of red

I have to admit, I've never looked at my own wardrobe in this way! But I might - I'm finding that there are interesting possibilities made evident by this analysis.

I'm hopeful that this might be useful, or at least interesting, for you all!

love,
Janice
Does Your Wardrobe Work for You? Some Ideas for Figuring Out What You Need...
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Friday, December 15, 2017


What makes a wardrobe work? And how can you tell if a wardrobe is going to be functional and versatile? Not the headiest questions in life, but still important, if you like to get dressed and enjoy the process (as well as the results!).

Ultimately, your wardrobe works if you can get dressed every day with ease and pleasure. It doesn't matter what's in there, how tidy or messy it is, or how many different colors and/or styles of things you own. It's the most subjective thing in the world...

That said, if you're struggling, I have a few ideas that you might want to consider!

First up, let's start with the black, white, grey and rust wardrobe that I finished up on December 1st:


a capsule wardrobe based on an Hermes scarf, in black, grey, white and rust

Since I built more or less identical outfits each month for each of the 6 wardrobes, they all have 4 "2nd layers", 11 tops and 9 bottoms. It's probably not an ideal ratio - I would probably want a couple more 2nd layers, and certain more tops. One of the things about building a wardrobe "outfit by outfit" is that you end up with a really close number of tops and bottoms. While this makes a lot of sense, if you really want to be able to wear EVERYTHING on a regular basis, having more tops is logical.  Bottoms are usually more basic, and less memorable, so they can be repeated easily and thus can be outnumbered considerably by the tops! (tops are also more fun to buy...)

Of course, each of these wardrobes also has 2 dresses - since dresses can stand alone, I don't include them in this part of the analysis.

Evaluating a wardrobe based on the number of 2nd layers, tops and bottoms.

Next up, does your wardrobe have "enough" printed garments? Some people might not want ANY AT ALL UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, while other women might really enjoy having a half-dozen (at least!) floral, plaid, striped, starred, and paisley things. This is entirely up to the wearer of the wardrobe, but as a generalization, I think at least 3 to 6 garments in a wardrobe this size add a bit of visual interest and variety.

Evaluating a wardrobe based on the number of solid vs printed garments

Now I start looking at how pieces function together. First up, can you pull together a really plain, simple, solid-colored outfit when you absolutely CAN'T think about clothing? I think that at least a couple of possibilities in 2 different colors are helpful (although I personally can only do this with black - but OH I can do a LOT of black outfits...).

You can really tell that I did this wardrobe - my heroine has plenty of black, but not enough grey...

Evaluating a wardrobe based on the ability to construct a solid neutral outfit

Another thing that I suggest, if you struggle getting it together some days, is to have something kind of like a twinset (if not a legitimate set!) to rely on. This wardrobe does just fine on this criteria...

Evaluating a wardrobe based on the ability to construct a twinset-like combination

Yet another way that I look at things is to try to find a neutral core upon which you can toss ANY 2nd layer, or just jewelry or a scarf. Of course any wardrobe that I build that's based on black is going to excel in this area!

Evaluating a wardrobe based on the ability to construct a neutral inner core

And lastly, sometimes you need a suit. Or something sort of kind of a little bit like a suit! Okay, a 2nd layer and a bottom in the same color? Again, if it's black, I'll have this one covered...

Evaluating a wardrobe based on the ability to construct a suit

So if I were to add a few garments to this wardrobe, what would I suggest? Probably, to do a better job of representing the second neutral - grey - in this wardrobe. These 3 pieces give us a complete grey outfit, a suit, a twinset, and a solid column of color - a lot of work from just a few pieces!

3 garments to add to a capsule wardrobe in black, grey, white and rust

Make sense? Let's look at this beautiful wardrobe...

a capsule wardrobe in beige, grey, pink and blue

Just as it should be, there are 4 2nd layers, 11 tops and 9 bottoms, as well as 2 dresses:

evaluating a capsule wardrobe based on the number of 2nd layers, tops and bottoms

WOW. All solid garments....

Of course, this might be exactly what this particular heroine prefers - there aren't rules here!

evaluating a capsule wardrobe based on the number of solid vs printed garments

I really couldn't put together a beige 3-piece outfit, nor a grey 3-piece outfit! Again, this isn't a deal-breaker if the heroine loves her wardrobe and this isn't a problem for her. But if you find yourself struggling to pull it all together sometimes, this might be something to consider.

evaluating a capsule wardrobe based on the number of solid outfits possible

Again, even though this heroine owns 4 cardigans, only 1 of them has a matching tee shirt, shirt, or blouse. If you don't like monochromatic ensembles near your face, this isn't a problem, but if you'd find this possibility handy, this is something to notice.

evaluating a capsule wardrobe based on the ability to find a twinset like pair of garments

All those beige pants and shorts, and NO beige shirts? This could be deliberate - maybe she doesn't like beige near her face. But if it's just an oversight (buying a beige shirt or tee shirt isn't the most thrilling shopping you can do!) it's an easy omission to correct.

evaluating a capsule wardrobe based on the ability to find a solid inner core

She does have a couple of suits - and the beige is especially handy because almost any top could be put under the beige cardigan and she could be out the door looking just fine....

evaluating a capsule wardrobe based on the ability to find a suit

After thinking about it for a while, I of course had to give this heroine a beige-ish top - she simply has too many other tan/khaki/beige garments to not own at least a tee shirt in that color! (this one's a gentler, more ivory color...)

Maybe she's happy without any prints or patterns, but a tee shirt like this can bridge between almost any 2 other pieces in her wardrobe, and give her lots of possibilities.

And a grey twinset helps her get more wear from her grey pants, as well as giving her a cardigan that will look great with the pink and blue pieces she has.

4 pieces to add to a capsule wardrobe in beige, grey, pink and blue

Let's wrap up today's analysis with this wonderful navy and red wardrobe...

capsule wardrobe in navy, grey, and shades of red

Of course the garment balance is sort of "long on bottoms, short on tops," as are all of these wardrobes...

evaluating a wardrobe on the number of 2nd layers, tops and bottoms

I'm pretty happy with the number of printed pieces here...

evaluating a wardrobe on the number of solid vs printed garments

I also think our heroine has a pretty good balance of her 2 neutrals, although the absence of navy and grey shirts is sort of obvious....

evaluating a wardrobe on the presence of solid base outfits

DEAR OH DEAR... Not 1 twinset that I can spot... The reds don't match, there's no navy top, and there's no grey...

Maybe she likes it this way!

evaluating a wardrobe on the presence of a twinset or equivalent

Well, this doesn't get any better - no solid column of color EITHER! Of course, this could be because this particular heroine likes to have a contrasting top under her 2nd layer - the absence of these kinds of "constructs" could be a deliberate choice...

evaluating a wardrobe on the presence of a solid inner column of 1 color

Of course she has suits...

evaluating a wardrobe on the presence of a suit or suit equivalent

Assuming that this heroine felt the need to add some pieces because she was struggling to really wear her clothes in a variety of ways, these are what I would suggest for her to purchase - a navy top will give her both a navy "twinset" and a navy "solid column" over which to wear 2nd layers. The grey tee shirt does the same thing. And I chose the plaid shirt just to give her another option to pull her red cardigan more into circulation. (a grey cardigan wouldn't hurt here...)

3 pieces to add to a capsule wardrobe in navy, grey and shades of red

I don't think I can emphasize enough how much these suggestions are ONLY for those seeking some different points of view on their wardrobe. The only legitimate measure of a wardrobe's "success" (inanimate objects can't really be successful, can they?) is the happiness of the owner. Don't let anybody tell you otherwise!

I hope like heck that you liked this analysis, because I'm going to tackle the other 3 wardrobes on Monday...

love,
Janice
Evaluating a Wardrobe - How do the "12 Months, 12 Outfits" Wardrobes Do?
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