September 11, 2013
So yesterday, I spent the afternoon with Slim, at an auction house here in Chicago. They were having an extensive sale of Vintage Couture and Accessories – Vintage, using the term loosely… Specifically, we wanted to see if it was within budget to bid on either of these two:
Turned out that things went a bit too rich for our budgets, but the contrast between the things we saw at the auction, and the contents of my email inbox when I got back to my desk, was striking:
There’s nothing particularly wrong with thinking about next year’s colors – if you’re in the fashion industry. But the difference between clothes that were impossible to date, and the implied “temporary-ness” of the lists of garments and colors, made me stop and think…
Pam @ over50feeling40 says
I am so excited about the "hope" of autumn and winter to come, there is no way I am ready to think spring…though I know in fashion that is what you do. Keep bringing us the fall color options, Janice!!
I have been thinking about that too. I decided to build my wardrobe around taupe as a neutral, with accents like bordeaux red and petrol for autumn. Yet curiously, these seem to be the hot trend colors this fall…. So I guess by the time spring rolls around my taupe will be looking old hat.
Still, I'll stick to my taupe, because I am getting an awful lot of compliments since I started taking your advice. :-D
Une femme says
I've just realized that the "datedness" of colors is a big part of makes me averse to including them as major wardrobe pieces. I'll keep my neutrals, thanks, and accent with color through scarves and accessories.
I'm learning that it is much more important to develop my own sense of style than to follow everything the fashion industry is showing us. I need to consider my own lifestyle (where am I going to wear a pair of over the knee boots?) as I plan my fall wardrobe. As for colors, I know which ones are my favorites and if they're not available that season I have my neutrals to fall back on. My goal is not to follow all the whims of the fashion world but dress as my best possible self.
This blog is such an education for me. As I've said before I LOVE color, but constantly updating my wardrobe with the season's "it" colors leaves me with a hodge-podge of clothing, not to mention very little cash. Now (like Une femme)I'm focusing on creating a base of neutrals (aka the common wardrobe) and getting my color fix through accessories.
I, too, have grown weary of trying to follow the color trends, for so many of the latest colors simply do nothing to flatter my complexion. I do love color and part of my struggle with developing a smaller, more curated wardrobe has been my aversion to giving up color for a sea of neutrals. But, I am learning that all of the colors that suit me the best have a similar quality: soft and muted. Using that as my new color criteria, I have been able to section off a large portion of my current closet. The items that don't fit in are currently awaiting further assessment to determine if they add value and are deserving of a spot in my closet. My main neutrals seem to be taking shape as taupe, navy, cream, and gray. There is still plenty of "color" there as well: soft teal, dusty blue, peach, mulberry, silver pink, muted olive, and faded lilac. When I look at the soft and muted side of the closet, I notice how cohesive everything looks hanging there together and I feel pleased with the result. I am not worried about whether my chosen colors will be available from season to season, nor am I particularly worried about looking dated. I sew and knit and can always whip something up in a flattering current shape to add interest. I think finding items that truly suit us that we love and want to wear all the time is the solution the frenetic, changeable fashion industry.
I agree with you. I knit too. What's great about knitting is that I have more control and more choices, especially shape and colour.
These are my colors, too, save the olive. But it's the muted quality of the color that makes my clothes harmonize. There's no sharp contrast, like bright white stripes or piping, that look great on other women. I emphasize fit and form over trends in color, well, trends in general. I have enough accessories and jewelry to keep me from looking dull…I hope. I agree that when one looks in the closet, the effect should be pleasing allover.
Little Miss Know-it-all says
There is, of course, the problem that fabric and wool companies also produce according to trend… so even doing your own sewing/knitting is sometimes frustrating!
Kelly Roy says
I agree with Virginia.You have striken a balance between classics and the colored accessories.That's why we like you.Presenting all different colors is inspirational and I pick and choose as I like based on my personal taste.I don't get fulled anymore.
I love colour but I don't really follow the fashion industry's colours for each season. I have my own seasonal colours that are timeless, look good on me and work with my basic wardrobe.
Those season's must-adds, especially the boots, are also impractical. I don't need the fashion industry telling me what I must have in my wardrobe. I'll end up not dressing as "me".
Wow on the auction. The woman died last winter and her very wealthy heirs put her clothing up for auction. The rich get richer….
Actually, my take on it is that well made, classic clothing (1) never goes out of style and (2) holds its value. Like all things, you get what you pay for. Oh, and on top of that, I'm totally coveting the Ralph Rucci black cocktail dress.
I too have learned soooo much from your blog. I am building a wardrobe of very classic items that will never go out of style, dark straight jeans, white shirts, pencil skirt, classicly cut jackets, cardigans, simple sheath dress, etc…all in neutrals. Taupe/tan, navy and grey. I accent with blues, greens, yellow and peach. That's it!
This makes it so easy to shop for accessories and new items that will fit in. Also it has become so much more easy to dress in the morning. Thank you sooo much. The trendy stuff – well I just don't want it anymore! I'm following your example – a few quality items – not a lot of poorly made junk that goes out of style in one year! Thank you thank you!
Fly Away Home says
Neutrals form the basis of my wardrobe – slacks, skirts, dresses, and jackets. Colors, that look good on me, become the punch in the wardrobe – blouses, sweaters, and accessories.
Pantone's color report tells me if I should or should not be prepared to shop. When a color is made popular that looks good on me, I know that there will be a plethora of beautiful items in timeless cuts (basic blouses and sweaters, for example)in tried and true fabrics (cashmere, cotton, silk, and wool).
I watched a repeat of a Susan Sarandon interview last night. What struck me is how stunning she looks. She was wearing a chestnut colored jacket with a near olive blouse and dark wash jeans. These may not be en trend colors but she looked stylish and timeless.
Your blog is teaching me how to look at clothes, colors, trends, et. al. Thank you!
Wow! I can wear only 2, maybe 3 of those colors, one of which is the grey, a neutral. Interesting also that none of the colors are in the pink/red range but there are two in the orange/red range as well as two blues and two violet/purples. When you think about it, that's a very limited range of colors.
I too think that timeless far exceeds the color of the moment or season. I do enjoy playing with the new colors each announcement, but only to see what shades will be available for purchase as inexpensive accessories in the season to come. I can pick up a few color pops each season in a tee-shirt or necklace which are ubiquitous because of the fashion industry embracing the colors, but my tried and true basics never change. For that matter, I have yet to see emeralds, rubies or sapphires clash with the true basic, must-have garments. ;)
I have learned and you have confirmed it's best to stick with my main neutrals for my major investment pieces of my work wardrobe of slacks, skirts and jackets. I use mostly black and grey with some pieces in navy. I will accent with blouses and accessories (shoes too if I can find them) in the current colors that suit me. I hope to find a blouse/sweater and accessories in the wine/burgundy shade for this winter, and for spring I like the orchid and violet you show above. Living in the tropical south I just can't wear scarves, though I love the look.
I'm packing for Europe this week and your advice is helping so much!
Back in the Dark Ages (about 30 years ago), I had My "colors done." I have basically followed the same color palette since then, and use the "outer edge" of my color wheel (turquoise, etc.) as colors to update my accessories wardrobe in a trendy way (scarves, jewelry, gloves, etc.). I've tried to stick with "classic" clothing, and except for a brief fling with wide-leg pants in the 1970s, I've been faithful to a classic look. It's who I am — a feminine but slightly edgy classic gal. When navy is in fashion, I buy replacement clothes for my older navy stuff. When I find icy pink or "my" shade of blue, I buy. Recently, someone complimented my chunky red wood bangle and asked where I got it. I told her, adding that I got it 20 years ago, but that I've kept it because to me it seemed "classic" — something that would endure. I try to avoid looking dowdy or preppie or yacht-clubby or retired!!!!
I knew I hit Chicago the wrong week! I would have loved to attend an auction like that. Buy? No. Lust? Yes. Good point about color and its potential to date an outfit.
Oh, dear! I am still too new to this blog and this concept! I think I have absorbed most of what you are telling us, and I do get it – indeed, it has definitely already affected my spending habits (I reject things as not consistent or unnecessary where once I might have just bought) and the way I look at things (I see far more possibilities for combinations and accessorising) – but…… I haven't got very far with the wardrobe weeding, and I still hanker after things that are different and interesting – I still fear I would become very bored on a restricted diet of clothes. I know it would be easier to get dressed – so was wearing school uniform; but it was so, so dull……. So my first reaction to your shot of the "10 for fall" was to lust after the very gorgeous Etro dress (which I could not find on their web pages in the fall collection, by the way), and the second was to wonder where the page came from and what the other 8 items were……. (not intrested in the boots, though…). I guess I still have a long way to go…..
Agreed! That is why it is so much better to get your colors done or figure out for yourself what colors look best on you than to try to follow each season's color trends, which may not work for you. The same goes for cut and style!
re vintage at auction, the piece has to be 'unreproducable'. Both the suit and black dress have inspired many copies, some very good. A Chanel suit of especially beautiful tweed, with its weighted hems and handstitching, might be worth it but Chanel is so hyped that the price will be wild. Fortuny pleating, the breathtaking cut of a Norell gown- those things are lost arts. But just to own a certain label is not my idea of good value.
If buying to actually wear rather than collect, the best buys are secondary labels or things made by anonymous designers, but of remarkable quality.
Little Miss Know-it-all says
I'm not sure how trendy colours really are, despite the Pantone thing. Perusing the autumn catalogues, it seems to me that most things have been around before, whether in style or colour. Occasionally a colour is a bit rarer (like the greyed jade of last season) and isn't produced much outside of the trend years, but on the whole, who cares what they call it – dark grey is dark grey, dark red is burgundy or bordeaux and so on and if you like those colours you'll always have them and probably be able to get them. Purples and pinks vary so much in shade anyway, yellow and orange don't come up too often because they seem to suit fewer people or be too bold for many, and greens/turquoises… well it's a matter of what you prefer. Pretty much all shades of blue are usually to be found somewhere! Each brand has its own version anyway, so I'd say just get what you like and suits you, regardless…
Little Miss Know-it-all says
…and that Hemlock looks suspiciously like the Greyed Jade to me! Have you tried googling "greyed jade" – all kinds of pale greens come up!! So much for "the" fashion shade.
(The same could be said of the "Cayenne" – a deeper shade of this year's coral, etc. etc.)