Every day, I get a request for capsule wardrobes in camel and grey – I hasten to satisfy!And please note, I’m NOT suggesting that your entire wardrobe should be 12 garments. (unless that’s what is best for you, in which case I support your choice completely!) This is a plan for wardrobe coordinating, and updating. The number of these “pods” you choose to have is entirely up to you…
Also, if you’re not fond of wearing classic styles, or if you’re looking for garments for warmer (or cooler) weather, just substitute similar garments that please you more for the ones which I have chosen. These guidelines are intended to be just that – guidelines – and not a specific prescription for what you should wear!
Button-front top – Giada Forte, tee shirt – Toast,
chinos – Jack Wills, skirt – Missoni
Pants – Stella McCartney, Cardigan – L.K.Bennett,
tee shirt – Debenhams, skirt – Chloe
Flowered tee – Wallis Fashion, sweater – Jack Wills,
print blouse – Equipment, plaid tunic – Pero
Striped scarf – Missoni, floral scarf – Mulberry, loafers – Lanvin, bag – Longchamp
I usually don't like multi-colored bags, but the way the Longchamps works with everything is truly inspired.
The Longchamp is not a stock item – it's something that I designed on their website, in the Custom Bag section. You can customize size, handle length, the color of the bag and the stripe, the finish of the metal, have the bag monogrammed etc. It's so much fun! I bought a black and white bag years ago and have loved it every time I look at it.
thanks for being here,
big happy Thursday hug,
I have a hard time finding camel in the stores. I have been looking for replacement pants for two years and still have not found them. Love these two colors for core capsules.
More and more, I'm beginning to think that we need to hire a seamstress to make for us the garments we really want, and can't find. There are brilliant, gifted people making clothes, whom we should patronize, if at all possible. Made to measure clothes, exactly what we want, supporting our local community – no downside!
Or consider actually sewing or learning to sew! T shirts, simple skirts, and even fabric purses are pretty easy–and for purses, there's a lot of high quality hardware available. I've been sewing for many years (with 20 years of hiatus). Many of the things you had to be skilled to do in the past can now be done with new tools and sewing machines. There's so much fabric available on the web that you can duplicate just about anything (I'm thinking about that sensational Christopher Kane coat from several posts back).
BTW, hiring a seamstress is very French!
Thank you, thank you! I love this. When I was going away to college, my mother allowed me to buy one new complete outfit (we were not people of means). I chose a grey wool wrap jumper, grey and camel turtleneck, a camelhair coat and chunky light brown spectators. To this day, I can see that outfit and would wear it in a heartbeat. I only wish I had continued to buy clothing in complete outfits. You are teaching me so much. I continue to pare down and am enjoying the remaining pieces so much more.
finished reading working wardrobe by janet wallach. i must say the photo's are a bit dated in the book, but your take on camel/grey is lovely. so enjoy waiting to see what you can come up with next. can i request a combination of teal and navy as the core colors with accents of pink or sage green? think those would be interesting together. you are a marvel and can't get enough of the insights you have.
Thank you Janice, you've explained something I wasn't getting! I'm the anonymous who posted under the red outfits wanting more color… really didn't feel the love from the other readers that day. I did ask whether you were saying we should have more than one pod, but I think that question got lost.
I'm going to try again to explain better what I mean, because I really am trying to follow what you say, just in a way that works for me. If my core is black pants, black cardigan, black skirt and black T-shirt, and I add to that gray pants and a gray cardigan, then I don't see why my tops can't be shades of pink, purple, blue and green… mostly solids but a few prints. It's not like I'm going to wear two T-shirts at the same time, so I'm not seeing any way this is impractical because they all go with my neutral core. I prefer neutral jewelry (silver, gold, pearls) over colored stones, so that all goes together also. I don't care for scarves (gasp) but if I want one, I don't think it would be difficult to find a print that had several of my favorite colors listed above.
Do you think this is any less practical than sticking to one color?
I think that is a really great idea to try and get custom-made clothes. I have decided I look awful in cap sleeves and it seems like that's all anyone is offering.
I work in a formal business environment, so suits are the basis of my work outfits, and I don't break up the pieces to get the maximum number of mix and match outfits. My core colors are navy, camel and gray. I have an ivory jacket and slacks that I will swap in with a suit piece for more casual settings. The color in my wardrobe comes from tops and accessories, so I think your approach is very doable. Perhaps not as minimal as possible, but that was never a particular goal for me.
aesthetic intelligence says
This was what I was getting at also with my question (back at the post with the red items)about the 'core of 4' being 4 different colors yet colors that all work well together.
It seems to me, after thinking it over, that if you are a
'column dresser' then your top and bottom should match. However, the principle outlined by Janice is adaptable to 'column dressers' or 'mix and match dressers'. That is the awesomeness of the Vivienne Files! :-)
cheryl :) says
I just can not wrap my head around this color combination but I still appreciate all of your effort and always love the combinations. I just replace in my mind with my color of choice, lol.
One person's camel is another person's caramel or mocha. :) I think of a less brown, paler, between-beige-and-yellow hue when I think "camel"–especially when I pair it with gray (which is my own favorite color combination). Love, as always, these garments, though–and marvel at your eye and artistry–and your public service, Janice! Thank you.
Me too! I always notice that I have a different definition of "camel" than the clothes that The Vivienne Files calls "camel." Which really shouldn't matter at all, but it still throws me for a loop.
I also find camel (beige, tan, whatever) very tricky to shop for, because it comes in so many different shades. I love it, and consider it one of my "core" colors, but also one of the most frustrating to find in exactly the color that I want, which for me is relatively light but has some definite warmth to it. I digress.
I have found a lot of freedom in this concept. Eliminating the colors that are not flattering, and the clothes that do not work in multiple ways will bring more flexibility and better quality into my life. I am hoping that this concept can be applied to the rest of my life. I feel like I am in control of my wardrobe, instead of it controlling me. I have clothes in four closets; which is ridiculous. If I lay a solid foundation, which is what the core concept of eight represents to me, then I have something to build on with infinite possibilities. It has totally changed my focus on everything I buy. Now when I go shopping, I have a set of parameters that works for me,instead of wondering aimlessly in the stores looking for inspiration and something to buy.I know what I need or don't need now. When I ask the question, What is the foundation of a wardrobe, a kitchen or any room in the house? I now have some intelligent answers. It has only taken Janice and 59 years of living to figure out the questions to ask. As always this is still a work in progress.
I discovered your website yesterday, from Pinterest. All last night I was dreaming about a camel and gray capsule. How wonderful that you tapped into my dreams! I love the way you put clothes together.
Dreaming like this after reading Vivienne's posts has happened to me,too.
Janice, here's yet another testimonial: I just packed a suitcase for a two-week business-and-sightseeing trip to England and for the first time ever, thanks to you (and I think my first trip to England was in 1971 :) )I managed to get everything easily into one carry-on. I started with two oblong summer linen scarves that I love(one a floral in lavender, purple, taupe, and gray; one a densely textured stripe in lavender, purple, and orange) and my most comfortable pair of taupe loafers, my tried and true dressy black sandals, and a new pair of gray walking sandals– and then shopped my closet. I compiled a 4 x 4 gray and taupe travel capsule with lavender and purple and a few orangey accents in tops, jewelry. So pleased how few garments it really took to make a travel wardrobe that can be subtle or cheerful, dressy or not. So once again, thank you!
Dear Janice, I have been reading your blog for about 2 weeks and I absolutely love it. Your practicality, eye for color, and computer skills at putting it all together are so inspiring! My sincere thanks to both you and Vivienne.
I would like to ask if you would do a post on alternative shoes. I have about everything wrong with my feet that can be; plantar's fasciitis, Morton's neuroma, and a bunion. I wear orthotics, and my podiatrist recommends lace-up shoes whenever possible. I am most comfortable in workout shoes, but I need to find some shoes that are comfortable and appropriate for work. Would you have any suggestions?
Wow, I second that…and throw in some arthritis, sesamoiditis and history of breaks. Shoes ruin any attempt to be fashionable because I live in gym shoes. I'm deeply skeptical there is a solution, but I'd be interested in any suggestions!
I have had serious foot problems, a complete reconstruction of my right fore-foot, must wear whatever shoes I wear in double-wide widths, and now all my clothes plans start with the shoes. I have Easy Spirit Abide loafers in every color (because they come in double-wide widths, because they are the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn, and because they actually look stylish.) Both Clark and Easy Spirit also make surprisingly stylish-looking sandals in double-wide widths. Footsmart or Shoemall on-line (or on ebay) are usually the best places to start looking.
I have Easy Spirit Abide loafers in every color. Because of a long and complicated history of foot problems including a forefoot reconstruction, I have to wear double-wide widths–and, though they aren't lace-up, these are the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn, come in extra-wide widths, come in a wide array of colors,and actually look stylish. If only there were more shoes like this on the planet!
Sorry to write this twice. For some reason, my first reply wasn't showing up on my computer. (I get very vocal about comfortable shoes, though!)
Okay, I'm new here, so I don't know your whole story, as I haven't been able to get through your voluminous archives entirely (yet); something about working in a bakery, which confuses me…because, if you're not a professional fashion consultant, why not? These clothing ensembles, to me, are genius…and really helpful, very practical; I just love them. Thank you again for amazing inspiration. Between you and Tish (and also Sharon at My French Country Home), I'm falling in love with fashion (and Paris) all over again (I was getting fat and frumpy after fifty!).
You're such a great inspiration.Keep on with what you do,your inspiration seens endless.A big thanks.
Fabulous timing! I'm shopping for a couple of camel and grey pieces tomorrow…and a neutral scarf. Thanks to you I have some great ideas to build on.
Your post is impressive – it takes a lot of work to pull something like this together, and it's done so beautifully. I've been procrastinating the past couple of weeks on doing some capsule work in my closet and start on the summer shopping list, and now I'm positively inspired!
Thanks again! My friend loved it. And me, too. Guess I will copy some ideas for myself… ;-)
Greeting from Germany – and have a nice weekend!
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