September 10, 2015
It’s a question that comes up from time to time, and I’m long overdue to respond: “does the color scheme dictate the level of dressiness?” I don’t think so, although I can easily see how it might seem logical. Often, by the time I’ve incorporated the aesthetics of a piece of art into a particular wardrobe, it can seem like there was no other POSSIBLE way that it could have gone. But in fact, I think that there’s a lot of versatility possible in most color schemes.
Let’s start with this simple, but gorgeous, little work, submitted for our consideration by Belovedest!
This gives us the possibilities of every sort of cream, ivory, off-white etc. shading through to any depth of warm grey we want. The accents are a blue that seems pretty close to denim, and a dashing touch of orange – unexpected, but perfect.
For me, casual does NOT preclude skirts or dresses, but if you just can’t conceive of a skirt for leisure wear, substitute a pair of casual pants, jeans, cords etc.
I love winter white, and this quilted skirt holds great appeal…
It’s so easy to find grey and ivory tops, and this is the perfect step in which to introduce both the blue and the orange accents.
This is the step that really emphasizes the casual nature of this capsule!
A lot of accessories aren’t really necessary to make this wardrobe hang together well; plenty more could be included if you’re so inclined!
Here’s the wardrobe as it lays out in the template:
Plenty of ways to wear these pieces – these would get you through a LOT of grocery shopping, errand running, sporting events, casual meals etc.
Tomorrow, I’m going to evolve this color scheme, and a few of these pieces, into a Business Casual capsule…
From Margie in Toronto – just brilliant! I cannot believe how much I'm learning from all your hard work. Wonderful to see how this works for my more casual parts of my wardrobe along with office wear. Love this colour combination.
This is really lovely. I don't usually care for orange, but it really works in this wardrobe to give a little oomph to the serene palate. Pretty!
I. Am. In. Love. Totally beautiful. I would own and wear with joy every one of these items and outfits.
Since you're up for a challenge, how about a post or two with clothes from Walmart, Target, Sears, JC Penny, etc?
Janice Riggs says
I would love to, but I don't like to show clothing on models, and they almost never show images of JUST the garments. It drives me crazy – there are so few retailers who give you even just ONE picture that shows the clothing on its own, without all of the necessary 'adjusting" that happens when something is put onto a human being…
I would love to see that, too. When I click on the occasional item that is attractive to me, like that vest, I usually hit one or both of the following brick walls: item is too expensive for me or item is too small. I didn't even look at the price of that vest when I saw it only went up to XL. And then, I looked at the sizing chart and the XL was the equivalent of a US 10. Puleeez! That will barely cover one of the girls, much less both for this 38G woman.
I'm with you on the A-line knit skirt – I have a few and I wear them ALL. THE. TIME.
Gail Finke says
I've been looking for some but can't find them in my price range… They look great and seem like a good, comfortable type of skirt to wear for a casual look that is just a little dressy. I think my skirt problem is that I buy straight or pencil skirts and never want to wear them,
If you (or anyone else) is interested in learning to sew, an A-line skirt is absolutely an easy garment to sew. A few darts, an invisible zipper, a back seam and two side seams, finish the top with grosgrain ribbon and hem. They are comfortable, and you can make them casual or dressy, depending on the fabric.
Thanks!!!!! I have all of this items in my closet, but would have never thought of all the outfits I could get.
Speaking of levels of formality, I'm always torn between a silk scarf and a necklace for a dinner out in an upscale restaurant. Somehow, I see a necklace as more formal for evening, and have reserved scarves for day wear. Or –is the fabric and level of sheen of the scarf the deciding factor ?
I'm always afraid of soiling scarves with spills at meals! So that dictates my accessory decisions.
Janice Riggs says
I think a silk scarf with some fluidity and shine is more dressy by far than a cotton or linen scarf, but I also think that a "statement" necklace is a lot more fabulous than a little chain or small pendant. There are possibilities both ways – ultimately, whatever makes you feel "dressed-up" is what you should choose!
And something that I saw in Paris more than once was a woman swinging her scarf around so that it hung down her back during the meal. It actually was really pretty…
I tuck scarves into my neckline for an unattractive solution. However–how about choosing a sacrificial scarf–one that has holes/stains already (that don't show too much) and wear for dinners out or use to cover up your "good" scarf?
Janice Riggs says
This would definitely be something smart to do! I'm going to be selling some less than perfect scarves in a few weeks – this is going to be a selling point!
Thanks for your thoughts !
I got a good laugh out of your "unattractive solution " –thanks ! :-)
Come to think of it, I've seen men stuff their tie between the buttons of their shirt into the inside of their shirt to avoid staining it.
Janice, the scarf down the back idea would also work quite well and look tres chic !
Janice, I'd also love to see an Orientalized? dressy wardrobe that captures the delicacy of mood in this lovely Hiroshige woodblock print. (But aren't Hiroshige cartouche signatures always much more red than orange?)
Janice Riggs says
The cartouche might be red – I was just working with the image that I have here. I may have to wander down to the Art Institute to see if I can get a look at some of his work…
:) Every time I am in Chicago, I make a pilgrimage to see what's on exhibit at the Art Institute from the Floating World; their astonishing collection of Japanese woodblock prints never fails to amaze.
I am so intrigued by this selection. Both the print and your wardrobe reverse my usual proportion of denim blue to white or gray (jeans + top = much more blue). The result is so elegant and peaceful, not to mention a lot less obvious than jeans + top. Gives me so many ideas for putting clothes together in a new way. And the print is so beautiful that it *almost* makes me look forward to winter.
I love this! In particular, I am in love with the quilted skirt.
Leslie K says
This is great! Thanks so much!
This is such a beautiful and elegant wardrobe. That quilted skirt…I was in the fabric store yesterday and saw a very similar fabric. Back today after work to get a cut to stitch up.
Pearl K says
I was thinking the same thing, Lorrie – gotta find me some cream quilted fabric for a skirt!
Katie Quattro says
This is simply stunning!
I love this capsule! – the colours are all favourites and part of my wardrobe scheme. I particularly like orange in small areas like a watch strap, or the pattern in a scarf or sock. As others have noted, just a tiny amount really lifts a grey-blue outfit. As well as business capsule, can I request a creative/arty version (art gallery opining?), and maybe one for actual evening out with friends?
that was meant to be 'casual evening out'
Coco Colmani says
Yes these colours are lovely together – the soft greys, creams and blue with the bright zing of the orange/tangerine (that vest is a wonderful colour). I was out bushwalking in the snow today with some friends, all wearing standard Tasmanian khakis, navys, blacks etc., when we came across two obvious out-of-towners in coordinating puffer jackets: hers was a gleaming gold and his that lovely bright orange. They looked so exotic!
Such an elegant collaboration
Beautiful! I've realized 2 things since starting to read this blog. One, I really need to get over my antipathy toward scarves. I've always thought of them as being stuffy & "uptown" [the twinset & a Hermes scarf & pearls look], but you show so many casual ones that echo what I see women wearing around town here & I really like the fun, almost behemian look of a fringed scarf & jeans. Two, I've always loved orange and it looks good on me, but I don't have a hint of it in my closet at the moment. Must fix that.
Love love love it! Excellent choice, Belovedest!
Like so many others, I love this capsule. I'm drawn to lighter neutrals and love greys, winter whites and denim. I usually have something in orange and even have an old backpack in grey with touches of orange.
Ciana Leonardi says
This is my favorite look yet! It perfectly suits my casual lifestyle. I'm not sure about the ivory/ cream items but I think they could be swapped for navy and still work well with the rest of the items.
A great topic- some colours seem to more easily fit with a certain style casual vs. formal or serene vs vs. dynamic. Looking forward to seeing how your use the same colours for a number of different styles. Love the dash of orange.
Love the concept. As a high school art teacher this fits in perfectly into Art I color theory application. Could I use some examples with my class?
I would be very flattered!