August 16, 2014
One last visit to these four grey garments – this time, a entirely different color scheme! Making grey work with otherwise warm colors isn’t difficult if you keep a few simple things in mind. In order to make everything hang together here, I made sure that the accessories mixed cool and warm. For example, the brown linen bracelet has silver beads, the smoky quartz earrings are set in sterling, rather than the most obvious gold, the brown leather band is on a stainless steel watch – even the grey boots have brown heels! These little touches make a lot of difference to the way things look to me…Today, let’s start with the colors:
Starting with the brown garments:
Corduroy pants – Viyella, tee shirt – J. Crew, skirt – Jil Sander, sweater – Dear Cashmere
and our familiar grey:
Finding garments that blended the two neutral shades was NOT the fastest thing I’ve ever done; if this is your color palette, always be on the lookout for the perfect garment. Don’t cave in for the first thing that works, but don’t lose sight of your color scheme when you’re out and about. (these tops are really great for this ensemble – I only wish they’d photograph them better!!!)
Sweater – Mariella Rosati, sweatshirt – Jason Wu, floral shirt – Sans Fixe Dimore, floral turtleneck – Kristina Ti
Similarly, there are tons of different shades of green and of gold – don’t compromise. Refusing to buy “compromise” garments is the only way we will ever persuade manufacturers to make thing that we truly want…
Remember: Elegance is Refusal. Sometimes, I look at as many as a thousand other items before I find what I want to put here on The Vivienne Files. My eyes cross, I lose my temper, and I despair of ever finding the right thing. But then I sit back down, get back to it, and eventually, somewhere, the right thing appears. You have time to wait. You work too hard for your money to spend it on anything except exactly what you want.
Yellow sweater – Rossopuro, green silk blouse – Equipment, green sweater – Rossopuro, yellow blouse – Equipment
But sometimes, there are truly perfect scarves!
Silver stud earrings – Caterina Butera, watch – Michele, smoky quartz earrings – Allurez, sterling and brown linen bracelet – Vivien Frank Designs, square scarf – Hermes, short boots – H by Hudson, infinity scarf – Chelsey by Joseph, riding boots – Enzo Angiolini
And this is your beautiful finished product!
Unless I get a rousing scream that you’re getting tired of seeing this Four by Four in a variety of color schemes, I’m going to continue these for another week. There were a variety of color schemes specifically requested after people looked through The Vivienne Files Color Planner, and I’d like a chance to see how these different colors give a different sensibility to similarly assembled wardrobes.
I'm kicking taupe out of my common wardrobe (my husband rebelled against it!) so I'd love to see a wardrobe with beige/natural as the light neutral and burgundy/cranberry as a dark neutral. With accents like this lovely golden yellow… What would be a good second accent? Teal?
I'm definitely not tired of the 4×4 so please keep going!
I love your explanation of the details that you are looking for to make an item work – like choosing the brown and silver combinations in today's accessories. Thank you for the insight, it's very helpful!!
cheryl :) says
I have never been a fan of brown and grey together but you make it look lovely. I also never tire of your 4×4 wardrobes. I learn and appreciate from every post.
Doré Way says
Tired of 4×4? Never. Even if it's a colour scheme I wouldn't wear (don't like or ever wear green for example), there's something to learn from each of them.
Thanks so much and happy weekend – sigh, summer is flying by!
I, too would have never paired grey with brown. Didn't think it could be done, but especially with that scarf it is quite stunning. So carry on with 4x4s, there is a lot to be learned.
Please do more of these combos! My capsule is gray, black, chocolate brown, and ivory. I completely agree about waiting to find just the right shade and item before buying. When I discovered that Brighton made loafers in a black and brown combination, I was over the moon. ;)
Squirrels Girl says
Janice, I love everything you do, and these 4x4s are no exception.
I wonder if I missed something, though: you mentioned there was a "common color" green that you were going to highlight, but I can't recall seeing it. I love green and think it's a good color for me (plus I have green eyes and like how they're highlighted by wearing green) — but it's also a difficult color, because there are so many shades and variants (some of which I do NOT care for), and even when you come across a good shade it can be hard to find anything that goes with it. I am not a natural shopper or a fashionista AT ALL, so mostly I stick with corals and peaches and pinks because it's so easy to mix and match within those color families.
Think you can help me find a family of greens that I could work with, or give some advice on mixing & matching shades? Just for context, my neutrals are black and gray (with some white) — I would probably prefer brown and olive but I've given up on those as too difficult and too likely to look frumpy or just blah. I'm an attorney, in court most days, so it's way easier to just have a stable of black and gray suits and separates that all work together! I also have a bit of dark red as an accent. For now the main way I incorporate green is through peridot jewelry, and that's really the shade I'm fondest of. Though I keep wondering if moss would work …
I use black and gray, and I try to find emerald green. I also use Chartreuse with gray for summer.
Janice Riggs says
Oh man – I got so sucked into the world of the 4×4 that I never got to the Common Color green. The green I was envisioning was a plain, true green, perfectly balanced between yellow and blue. My thinking was that this color would be neither warm nor cool, since it's half yellow and half blue… I'm not sure how it's going to work, but I WILL get back to it! Thanks for the reminder.
This one is another winner. Love the cool with the warm.
4X4 are lovely! But truly, there is another post — or series of posts, perhaps — that I would love to see: how do you proceed to find such perfect garments? You cannot possibly do *all* of our searches for us, and I have such trouble finding even acceptable pieces, sometimes…
Janice Riggs says
It takes time – I estimate that I look at between 500 and 1,000 items for each item that I actually include on the blog! Search Google with a description of what you're looking for – and ask for "image" results. Look on Polyvore, which shows tons of images. And always ask here when you're looking for something specific; I might know where it is, or one of my brilliant readers might have some leads.
Monica Reid says
I LOVE 4×4; you could do them for a month and I'd be happy as a clam.
"Elegance is Refusal." I'm making this my new shopping mantra.
Mary Dent says
I love the 4×4's. They are helping me refine my own wardrobe. Thanks a bunch.
I have this 4×4 for the most part but instead of the mustard yellow, I use coral.Thanks for the suggestions!
I adore 4 x 4 series! I started to build wardrobe for my 6 years old girl for autumn – all the clothes are grown up so it is possibility to check the formula step by step.And even if I built wardrobe for a child,colour planner allowed me to choose the colours and 4×4 rule worked perfectly! I am so happy!!!Thank you!
Hi Janice- here's a question for you. I'm building a "Starting from Scratch" wardrobe on Pinterest – and I can't find a scarf I like that combines my two accent colors?
Janice Riggs says
So difficult to do! Just keep searching – Liberty London, Ferragamo, Bottica, Hermes, vintage scarves on ebay and other resale sites… What colors are you looking for? I might know of something, or run into it – I'd love a chance to help you find it!
Thank you for your suggestions (and offers of help). Colours I'm looking for are a true red/cobalt – but (heresy alert) I don't really like Hermes scarves for me (admire them on others and not for me) or anything that looks a bit nautical. My preferred scarf style is much closer to something like this
Ideas? And many thanks.
Mary Dent says
Both Joanne's fabric and Hobby Lobby sale scarf material. They are super easy to make. Just my thought. Hope it helps
I love this grouping! I'm always afraid of pairing green and brown. I think they'll make me look like a Girl Scout and/or a Brownie! But there is no possibility of being mistaken for a door to door cookie seller in these chic styles. ❤️