January 16, 2014
These scarves are wildly popular, and I’ve been asked a couple of times if someone who loved them could use these colors as the basis of an entire wardrobe. Camel, black, white, with accents of red? What a wonderful idea…
Are we tired of seeing scarves, or art? I get lots of specific requests, but I’ve had one rather strongly-worded objection to these posts. Since I write for you all, let me know what you think.
I thought that by the time warm weather rolls around, you’re not going to wear the scarf all that often, but there’s no reason to forego a touch of the traditional plaid on your tee shirt…
What fun! These are not my colours, but I love to see how you build wardrobes from the inspiration of a scarf or work of art. I think it's brilliant, instructive, inspired and fun. Please do continue, Janice. Your posts are a highlight of my day, I'm always intrigued to see the different approaches you apply, and I hugely appreciate the time and care you put into compiling each and every one. Thank you so much. Elizabeth.
I also agree. I have found these posts very useful. I am revamping my wardrobe to flatter my new graying coloring and have had trouble coordinating colors (now that I can't wear black any more). I have found many inspiring ideas for using my scarves as a guide. Thank you Janice for your lovely blog. I look forward to it every day.
I found your comment interesting. The color consultant I visited years ago said that unless I artificially changed my hair color that my colors would continue to suit me for life. Admittedly, I haven't had to test that…yet, but it is approaching fast. I am now wondering whether she is right. In all else, she has been unerringly accurate. Hmmmmm.
Nan of the North says
For myself, it was largely a matter of contrast in depth of color. So, whereas I looked fine in rose-beige and light gray with my pale blue-undertoned complexion, light hazel eyes and medium ash-brown hair, now that my hair has faded to silver/steel gray there is a decided lack of contrast in my features. I now must steer clear of any beige, and other pale colors only work if I really play up eye and lip color. Chocolate brown, which used to look great, now does little for me, but navy and dark gray still look wonderful. I even had to abandon my rose-beige eyeglass frames for something darker to bring more contrast to my face – silver didn't work. I chose purple which looks amazing. My most flattering colors continue to be cool colors such as blues, reds, pinks, lavenders – but now all with medium depth of color. Surprisingly, with enough makeup, I can now wear black, perhaps because I don't have too many wrinkles yet :). Black can look fantastic with gray hair. Dark shoes were always fine – now it looks better to "bookend" my hair with gray or light taupe footwear.
It can be tricky when one first lets hair go gray – which may be another reason why many women continue to color their hair indefinitely. My advice, if one is planning to go gray, is to stop buying clothes until the process is complete and one can see for sure what is going to work. I found the change to be an exciting new challenge in wardrobe planning and Janice's posts, as always, are a tremendous help.
Greying one here again. I think it is because I had red hair and as I have started to gray my red hair has gone all mousy. I have changed from a regular autumn to a soft autumn. Black was never my best color but I could pull it off. Now I can't manage too much contrast.
I agree with Nan: it's best to wait awhile before buying clothes because things change quickly in the first few years of graying.
While some posts don't inspire me as much as others, I still find value in them. The scarf-based ideas seem to be another way to "cluster" the wardrobe. The Cluster pages fairly overwhelmed me…what should I use as the center? A neutral piece of clothing? A Not Neutral piece? A scarf? Jewelry? A color? An idea? I had to take a breather! So many options for such a small closet!
Can't please everyone all the time. If they don't like it, let them find something else to read. :D
Exactly! I think the most important thing in blogging* is to follow your muse. There are a million blogs out there and millions of readers but there's only one you and that's what we read for. Be you, do what inspires you and there will be an audience for you.
*Not that I'm an expert!!!
I would think that someone who has some constructive critique to disperse with or share with you might want to do it in a diplomatic manner, or even in a private email. One rude reader should not make you doubt yourself. Some of your posts are directly applicable to me, some are applicable if I "customize" them, and some are sheer eye candy. They are all enjoyable. Just keep on blogging…
What would the commenter prefer? Maybe she's got a good idea, even though it may have been phrased harshly.
I read the files, because it's like a refreshing illustration of the principles of capsule building, using neutrals, using accent colours without breaking the bank to have a complete new wardrobe every season… That's just off the top of my head. I often feel as if I can't get enough… I like what you're doing a lot.
Great job creating a wardrobe around a piece that screams BRAND. I feel the same way about the LV Speedy. I never thought I'd drink the Burberry coolaid, but I bought a white ski jacket and then, the wool gloves with the plaid trim and the scarf were a must. I bought the 'children's scarf (Nordstrom) and it is smaller (width) and shorter, so it's not so obvious. I keep the rest of the outfit black, as I am not a 'red' person. I think it looks put together, but not too 'brand bragging'. LV makes some beautiful handbags, but the Epi leather is a must…I just can't abide the brown LV's. Perhaps, it's just being a lady of a certian age, but understatement is the way for me.
I think you should follow your bliss with your posts. I love watching what you do. The lessons are there–even for non-scarf wearers.
I'm a fan of you janice, but not so much these art and scarf posts. The posts I enjoy most: packing, building/editing wardrobe, capsules, project 333.
Love all your posts, my preferences are also the packing/wardrobes/capsules/project 333 but I certainly look at the scarf and art posts with interest and get ideas from them – I look at it as another way to build a cohesive wardrobe. This Vivienne junkie just doesn't get quite as big of a hit off of them :)
Follow your bliss, Janice. Your site is the first one I open in the morning. I love seeing how much one can do with a few key pieces, whether it be an art/scarf post, or a packing/wardrobes/capsules/project 333 post. This reader truly appreciates all that you do for us.
I totally enjoy the art and scarf posts. They are my very favorite posts. I also enjoy the packing posts. As another commenter said, you will never please everyone. I like seeing all the different color combinations even if they are not my colors. It's the idea of how a wardrobe works that is so fascinating. So PLEASE continue with the scarf and art posts as well as the others.
I'm in total LOVE with that white tee. The plaid trim is so subtle, but it lifts the plain white to the next level. My two cents on the scarf/art posts: It's all beautiful and thoughtful; I enjoy every post, even if it doesn't make it's way into my own closet. It would be fascinating if the scarves could be shown in various styles (different ties around the neck, as a headband, bracelet, on a bag, etc.). I don't know if that would be possible graphically, but thinking about different ways to wear accessories is always fun!
Please continue with the scarf/art posts, Janice. My favourite bit comes at the end of the Jul-Dec outfits when you show all the pieces together and they make a perfectly coordinated capsule wardrobe – genius!
Thanks for asking. I say "please yourself" and you'll please us, at least most of us.
I also love the coordination around scarves and art, and the Jul-Dec illustrations with all the pieces in one picture. That final picture gives a feel for the concepts that I think is invaluable. I first followed your ideas for wardrobe coordination for my trips to Europe. The coordination around anything is very beneficial for a person who packs for a week and travels for a month with only a 22" carry-on and a messenger bag. Although the pieces are not the same, the blue group you did recently contains the colors I'll be using for our 2014 trip. I've been coordinating around a bracelet. I copied and pasted that blue group's final picture with a picture of my bracelet and it was perfect.
I'm a new follower, and after having browsed through several of your posts, I have to say that I find your approaches to building wardrobes inspiring. Whether it's the capsule approach, Project 333, the Common Wardrobe, or using art or a colorful scarf as a jumping off point, I'm consistently impressed at how you build elegant, cohesive, compact-yet-flexible wardrobes. It's prompted me to rethink my own wardrobe and begin cleaning out my closet and drawers. Keep doing what you're doing!
Love the scarf and art series, and as someone who has owned that Burberry scarf for over 25 years, I was delighted to see your post. I will never understand why someone feels moved to comment negatively on a particular subject, there is a little button to click on, right? I never say anything if there is something pink featured in your posts. :)) As an aside, bloggers must have pretty thick skin to brush off hurtful comments.
The Cat says
I never get tired of seeing scarves. Please try not to care about the strongly-worded objection against these posts. As you can see from numerous replies here, your skills and efforts are highly appreciated by many people. Your blog is very pleasant to read and look at – and very inspiring.
Follow your bliss…. I totally enjoy…. Love all your posts…. Please continue….
I totally agree! I will understand if YOUR interest in these posts is waning and you'd like to move on to something else, but selfishly hope that you continue this scarf theme until after my requested scarf/art post is displayed here. (Yes, I am sooo selfish.) I've thought from the beginning that these scarf/art posts make perfect capsule/packing/Project 333 wardrobes and they help so much to build and edit my wardrobe. Please continue to teach in whatever manner YOU choose for we are Legion and we have much to learn.
Deb in Kentucky
This is your space, your words. I find the scarf motif is a variation on a theme. It's a jumping off point for the gestalt of this site, not the point. Also, I, personally, would find such a comment insulting because it's obvious from your posts that scarves play a huge role in your own fashion statement and to grouse about these posts seems rude. IMO. And there is something called a mouse and if one uses the mouse it can refresh one's webpage to something one is more interested. For the rest of us, we can use the scroll function on said mouse and soak in all your wonderful sense of style. Being here is a choice, not necessarily a right.
This is your blog and please continue as you feel inspired. We are obviously appreciative. Those of us who want to choose other blogs to read are free to do so. A couple of blogs I used to enjoy have gone down the commercial route very obviously, so I don't read them anymore. However, I didn't rant at them, just voted with my fingers.
Deb from Vancouver
It's so clear that your wardrobes inspired by art–and by the art of the scarf–are about the whole style and tone and feeling of that art, not just the colors. Anybody can match a color or two–but what you do and do again and do six days a week is its own art form. I marvel and I learn. Thank you, Janice.
I think the scarf and art posts are pretty to look at and do have value, but I'm not sure that they address the aspects of wardrobe building that really stymie me. At the end of the "year" you wind up with a whole series of garments that go with the scarf, but…how does this relate to an overall wardrobe? I wonder if there is an opportunity to combine your scarf posts with those "basics" posts that you did a while back (can't remember exactly what you called them, but the idea was that there is a set of garments — chambray shirt, jeans, khaki pants, black turtleneck — that lots of people own and that can be the canvas for very different personal styles). First you could show how a given scarf combines with garments that many people already have in their closets. Then you could show how to add a select few items inspired by the scarf color palette, and how these combine with the basics and with the scarf to give many more options. To me that seems closer to how people might go about this in practice.
Maybe your previous set of basics wouldn't work so well since those as I recall are quite casual and you seem to be showing mostly dressier clothes in these scarf posts. But perhaps there could be more garments that repeat between different scarf posts?
In general I find that a lot of style bloggers who are exploring minimal or quality-over-quantity wardrobes make a lot of use of these "capsule" concepts. But at any given moment, the vast majority of women are not starting from scratch in building our wardrobes. So for me this bottom-up approach is a bit backwards. What I struggle with is looking at an existing, somewhat haphazard closet (as most of our closets probably are), and identifying potential capsules or groups of clothes that work together. Then, how do I take those proto-capsules and either subtract from or add to them in order to make them more effective? I would really love to see an approach that *starts* with something more like a real-closet collection of clothes and brings order to it.
I hope you won't take this as a strident criticism of you. I think your blog is very beautifully done, thought provoking, and helpful in many ways. But, the question you posed in your post caused me to muse on what I think is missing from the larger conversation.
Maybe I'm missing something here, but I see the scarves and art as "inspiration" pieces. And I think an entire wardrobe CAN be built around inspiration piece colors using what you have that would work and adding what you don't. I DO like the bottom up approach because every inspiration piece has some kind of color that could be considered to be a basic or neutral that many people already have in their closet. That basic doesn't have to be the typical neutral color either. I worked with someone who loved red so much and wore it so well that she called it her neutral. She always looked great.
I think the hardest part is getting rid of what doesn't work anymore (wrong size, bad color, never wear it, too faded, too pilled, you get the idea) to get down to the "bottom." I finally got rid of a beautiful raw silk dressy jacket that I hadn't worn in 8 (count 'em) years! I should've had the thing framed, but I believe it will have a better home in a closet where the owner will wear it.
It's all an iterative process that is ongoing and never finished. Following the principle of "when in doubt, throw it out," I purge my closet at least 4 times a year. Many years ago, it all went to Goodwill. Fortunately, my daughters and granddaughters are now about the same size as I am and I can pass things on to them to use or give to others.
For me, it always, always, always starts with colors that make me look good. If the skin on my face or arms doesn't look good next to the color, I don't buy it. That's why I don't have any beige tops of any type. It helps that I don't like beige, but I love red and it is very hard to avoid buying it even though it isn't the greatest color on me. I have done this "color next-to-the-face or arms" thing since I was a teenager. It is always a mistake when I buy something because the color works well with the colors I already have or it is stylish, but doesn't flatter me. I see many women who just don't look good in the colors they have on. To me black and pastels are the worst offenders, but sometimes the color that makes them look awful is the latest, greatest trendy one.
As to the pieces themselves, I ignore the specifics except for cut or style. I am a much more casual person than the clothes typically shown here and always have been. I wear a larger size than most of the clothes shown here are available in. And I would never pay some of the prices for the clothes shown here. I own 0 dresses, 2 skirts and 0 shorts that I wear outside the house (except to walk the dog out in the desert). Excluding one coat, I own 0 items that have to be dry cleaned and 0 heels of any kind. I live in a climate where it is warm to hot to blast furnace and dry, so many of the items shown here have absolutely no place in my closet.
Yet I always find something to learn with every new option presented and check in everyday.
Even though Janice does take requests, it's fairly impossible for her to advice every single reader. I personally try to understand the principle BEHIND her whole effort, then build my own wardrobe based on that.
As Lo points out, a good place to start is with the colours that look great on you. Then assess which neutrals work particularly well with those and build from there.
A week ago, there was an excel sheet to help with this, and also a post about how Janice goes through her closet. It can be daunting, but hang in there!
I'm no Janice, but I did do a post recently where I took my disjointed wardrobe, analyzed it, got rid of some bits and added some new bits (and I've still got a few bits to add). See here if you're interested: http://birdybegins.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/a-sneak-peek-at-my-stupid-wardrobe.html
I love these entries and this one in particular (thank you for taking my scarf request!) I had never really thought about it before, but artists and textile designers do an amazing job of mixing colors, and I can figure out how to tie things together if I look at these scarves as an inspiration. Since I realized that I almost always wear the colors in a Burberry scarf, I am using it as a way to organize my wardrobe. (Which is not to say that I will actually wear the scarf every day!) Thanks!
Every subject you approach in your blog speaks to me and is educational in some way. We are never too old to learn or improve, and I truly appreciate your efforts. As I try to plan a capsule for a trip later in the year, your blog has been so helpful. You are a valuable resource. Thanks for all you do.
Karen Shanley says
Oh I totally agree! As a 'woman of a certain age' whose creativity with style and clothing took a long hike last year and is now lost in the wilderness …. I am SO grateful for the kickstart your posts have given me into even thinking about clothes again!! Thank you! mostly these aren't my colours either as I belong to a Spring/Light Spring pallette or a Type 1 energy (whichever schematic you use) …. I'm in the process of 'clustering' my wardrobe, the bin bags are mounting and there's a lot on Ebay! Confessions!
I love your art and scarf posts, they are always inspiring and, at the very least, lovely to look at. I hope you don't let the rudeness of some commentators lead you away from your vision. It might be nice to mix it up a bit more – common wardrobe on Monday, scarf/art on Tuesday, packing post on Wednesday, etc. – but in the end this is YOUR forum and you get to do whatever you want whenever you want it. When you start charging people to view the blog, you can start caring what they think. Until then, those who are happy to criticize a generous artist and teacher such as yourself should perhaps go jump in a lake.
As others have said before, your site is the first one I look at each day. The fact that you put wardrobe ideas together at no charge is a blessing. Perhaps those who feel they need existing closet/wardrobe help could pursue a wardrobe consultant in their area. Department stores might be a start for that type of help.
Scarves and art are great sources of inspiration for building a capsule wardrobe. Showing samples in your blog certainly is resourceful, educational and helpful. It gives us ideas on choosing clothing pieces and putting them together in multiple outfits. Please do take advantage of specific requests from the readers.
Carry on- By the number of posts everyday you obviously have an audience. Unless the strongly-worded writer is a paying customer I suggest they shop elsewhere if they are that dissatisfied. I challenge them to find a better bargain.
I don't normally comment, but I'm coming out of 'lurkdom' to let you know how much I have enjoyed this series. It has given me some great ideas about building a wardrobe that works together (as opposed to the totally not-thought-out chaos that currently inhabits my closet). Please continue!
I love these entries on art and scarves. They show how one can build a whole wardrobe based on something one LOVES, that they probably didn't even know how to wear with one outfit, much less through the whole year. Your entries inspire me, always.
Perfect! I love Burberry and I love these colors. I was just thinking the other day about what I could wear with my camel scarf, and here you are with ideas!
Squirrels Girl says
I love the scarf and art inspiration posts. They're rarely in my colors, but they're beautifully put together and educational and I've enjoyed nearly every one.
That said, I also liked Sarah's idea, above, about starting from a "typical" closet, cutting out what doesn't work and building in what's missing. Bottom line, though, it's your blog and I will continue to read, learn from it, and appreciate your hard work every day, even if you're not posting what I "want" you to post.
Yes, please carry on.
I love these art and scarf posts. They are so educational and help me to see how items can work together. The final post of the July-Dec segment is truly amazing when one sees how all of the selections go together and not one seems out of place. This has helped me immensely and has given me the determination to clean out my closet and give away a bunch of clothes that don't work with my core colors. My husband has told me at least three or four times so far how inspiring my organized closet is. :)
I love the start with art and the travel posts most, but I learn something from all your posts. For example this post today is both not my colours and not my style, but is still useful and interesting to me because it IS in my mothers colours and style and she frequently seeks my opinion. There is also always proportions, balance etc to observe and take in. I appreciate your hard work on this blog and look forward to your posts, but think you have absolutely no obligations to me or any other reader. I hope that you continue doing this in whatever way that is most satisfying for you, both because I wish you well, and because a lot of the beauty and appeal of this is the personal evolution it expresses. It is so clearly not the barely veiled advertorial / marketing committee produced / hysterical fashion fanatic hyperbole that I see everywhere else I look.
Hi Jancie, I am looking for ideas for a semi formal wedding in Hawaii in late March. I don't wear dresses or skirts. My main neutral is black with grey and wine colours. I am travelling from Australia and I would like the new outfit to slot into my exisitng wardrobe. I love your approach to dressing and value your opinion. Thanks Maryann
No post will interest all of your followers. You put out a tremendous amount of content. (I don't know how you do it!) To do this, you have to have fun. Do what inspires you. That is what attracted your followers in the first place.
Susan in WA
The person who sent you the critical email needs to get a life and move on to websites she likes or create her own. I've learned so much from your posts: I've now worn summer silk tops as part of winter ensembles (never occurred to me before but the colours go together) , value my chambray shirt and black shirt as part of creatively put-together outfits instead of thinking I should only wear them walking the dog etc. Basically I find your blog a very great help with mastering "elegant casual" and combining pieces, whereas the way I grew up was to have separate outfits for every activity…
Also it has been a massive help with packing. Instead of packing things I like and hoping I'll manage to cobble something together at my destination I do MUCH more planning and, what is wonderful, I do manage to take less!
Still room for improvement on my part, which is why I LOVE blog.
Incidentally, I saw a woman at an airport reading Vogue and then I saw that she did look elegant, so I now think that even trying to look better will cause your appearance to improve. (I personally find magazines now useless for guidance on what to wear and blogs are much more relevant.)
So keep up the fantastic work!
Kate in Hong Kong (but in Bali today).
Agree 100% I haven't bought a fashion magazine in months! And I don't miss it at all!
Kay dancingbrushpainting.blogspot.com says
Love all your posts! No complaints here.:)
Do whatever you want, and we will be there to look, read, comment,and learn. As many have said, yours is the first blog I read each day. I really appreciate what you do.
Coco Colmani says
I too enjoy and learn from your blog Janice. It's always inspiring to look at and what I take away is the principles or ideas. Since you began, you've come up with all kinds of ideas for organising or building a wardrobe, be it capsules or clusters or colour-schemes or whatever. Many of us have benefited from this encouragement to think strategically about shopping. The art and the scarves are one of several approaches you've given us, and what I love about your blog, which I read faithfully every day, is that you open my eyes to possibilities. So a particular blog may not feature 'my' colours or 'my' degree of formality/informality but you seem always to give me food for thought as well as opening my ideas to colour-schemes or combinations I could never have thought of myself. You consistently give me ideas for a wardrobe that is practical, comfortable and will make me feel good even if I can't afford the lovely designer clothes or don't like lace-up shoes. Those details are irrelevant, it is the ideas that count. Not to mention that thanks to you, a few months ago I travelled from Australia to Europe and back, 2.5 weeks away, carry-on luggage only, speedy arrivals and departures, no hassles lugging heavy bags up and down narrow stairs or on and off trains, no sore back or shoulder, absolutely fabulous holiday. Thank you!
Zoe John says
Little Miss Know-it-all says
Personally, I think you have hit upon an important concept for many women with your art posts. A lot of women simply can't say which colours are their favourites because of the overwhelming choice available. I think that if a women can identify a painting (or a scarf!) that really speaks to them and that they love, it is going to be a good springboard to getting themselves a coordinated wardrobe and learning to blinker themselves to things that are out of the question, colourwise. This whole concept is one I haven't seen anywhere else.
Yes, there may be incompatible "loves" but I imagine that most people, if they trust their instincts, will know what really appeals to them. After that comes fine detailing and adjustment of colour and style and there is sure to be something for everyone. I think you give a very good overview of what is possible and although a lot of your art/scarf and some other posts show quite dressy and expensive items, you have plenty to offer the casual dresser, too.
It just requires a bit of brainwork on the part of the individual!
I would be very glad if you kept on with your informative posts in the same vein :)
I also love the scarf and art posts. Perhaps the naysayers are taking the inspiration too literally–inspiration can be found in many places, so if readers don't do scarves or don't like art, they can use your principles with a color inspiration of their own choosing.
It is funny you should pick a Burberry scarf. I have such a hate/love relationship with them. They are so over-used and copied in the worst ways imaginable by people who have no knowledge of dressing other than putting on a designer scarf and hope it impresses. . Such a shame since they are beautiful. I myself got around it by getting a cream plaid cashmere winter scarf which I love, love, love and only certain people realize it is a Burberry. I like that. Your montage does give the traditional color scheme Burberry scarf perfect justice. It really does. Beautiful. My question may be, is wool appropriate year-round?