Last week, I did a post (see it here) in which I took eight very brightly colored garments and incorporated them into outfits, using black as the neutral to offset the color.So I was thinking (I’m ALWAYS thinking) that the range of garments was a pretty interesting list – it included pretty much all of the major garment “categories”, with one exception. So I took the original list of items (taken from my favorite French fashion book: Ma To-Do List: Dressing, by Laure Gontier and Jeanne-Aurore Colleuille) and made one change:
I stuck pretty faithfully to their colors, except for the pine green, which is more neutral to me. I substituted purple, because…. well…. PURPLE!
I then alphabetized the two lists, and matched them up. I was going to go straight across left to right, but the first THREE items were identical to ones that I played with last week. So I make up a fake random-ish matching system…
Since I exhausted black last week, I’m going to dance with just THREE simple navy garments this time:
Oy, this color is a real struggle for me, but I’m delighted to hear that some of you wear it well, and frequently. I knew you had to be out there somewhere!
I figure, if you’re going to wear this color, go all-out! Athletic shoes, a PVC handbag? You will NOT fade into anybody’s background like this:
I think many of us could get on board with this color – these seem like they would be pretty universally flattering:
This seems like the easiest possible “nice, but not fussy” dinner outfit possible. An untucked shirt can hide a multitude of overeating sins…
Yes, I’m reusing some of the accessories from last week’s post; I don’t do this from laziness, but rather to show how versatile a handful of well-chosen jewelry and scarves can be.
I loved my cobalt coat from back in the 80’s; I could easily be tempted again!
Sometimes it can seem tough to mix shades of blue, but the scarf here makes all things possible!
This is another case of a color that might be flattering to a lot of us. While it might take a bit of confidence to wear something this bright, there’s no question that each of these dresses is constructed to be very flattering. Maybe instead of another black (or dark neutral) dress, this is something to consider?
Exactly the same necklace and clutch as last week’s hot pink, with a pair of simple low-heel sandals. This would be appropriate for SO MANY different events…
Orange can be tricky, but this Boden cardigan is pretty tempting!
When I was searching for orange sweaters (and searching, and
searching… you can’t imagine how many garments I look at every day!), I ran across this v-neck… What a great color…
This is another instance of a color that could brilliantly take the place of black for dressy occasions. Imagine the long pleated skirt with a soft white silk top and silver sandals, or that AMAZING ruffled skirt with a simple black sleeveless top…
Yes, the ruffled skirt costs a fortune. Sometimes, I just have to show you some of the things that I find, even though I don’t for a heartbeat imagine that any of us are going to buy and wear them. It’s good to admire beautiful things, even if we never own them; it’s not always about ownership…
Note that this skirt is cotton (aka all year) and has pockets!
Red trousers or jeans! Red’s practically a neutral, insofar as you can wear it with EVERY other neutral I know (navy, black, grey, taupe, brown, beige…).
So often, accent colors are worn near the face; I think this is a nice change of pace.
Yes, gold doesn’t always mean bright yellow! J. Crew often carries metallic tee shirts, and I can vouch for their versatility.
If yellow is hard to wear close to your face, the cardigan, and the scarf, help dilute the more “jaundice-inducing” effects.
Frankly, I’m loving this project, and I really want to pursue it with gray, beige, brown…
I hope you don’t mind!
Elizabeth Ellen Carter says
Thank you once again for the inspiration, Janice. You've helped me be brave with my wardrobe combinations this year because you've shown me how to make colour combinations work. Before this year I would never have tried pink and navy and today, this lovely yellow shell top with the navy trousers is divine!
Navy is one of my core neutrals and I have a yellow linen shell (although not quite as bright) that I'm now looking forward to trying with with navy trousers.
Thank you Janice. Brilliant post yet again. Through your blog I have learnt the power of neutrals and accessories. Today I went browsing in my local shopping plaza looking for my neutrals (yellow or orange based camels, tans and beiges) and I really couldn't find anything. Big grumpy sigh,,, Carol S
When I was younger I thought navy was the kiss of death, but as I've aged and my hair has gone gray I just look fab in it (what can I say?) Navy and gray have taken over my wardrobe. I really love some of the combos above–I love the acid green which worked very well for my old hair color, but I've dropped it — maybe I'll give it a whirl.
I do think every color goes with navy in a way that they don't all go with black. I've always loved a nice burnt orange, and wearing it with black just always felt too Halloween for me. But it looks great with navy!
Always revelations in your posts, Janice. I love the way the bright yellow socks pull that whole yellow and navy outfit together!
Pam @ over50feeling40 says
So helpful, Janice…pinned a lot here!
Funny, I never picture a bright yellow as "gold". For me, "gold" means something more along the mustard lines.
I love the navy sets.
Speaking of colors, I went ahead and did a high-color wardrobe based on that beautiful floral scarf of Janice's. It doesn't follow a lot of the rules, but I think it's still very versatile. If you want to check it out, it's at https://www.pinterest.com/kac15228/flower-garden-wardrobe/
That's super pretty! You should join Polyvore (its free).
We have a great group of ladies there and we post all kinds of fun sets inspired by the great work Janice does here!
I love this! It shows how you can have a lot of color in your wardrobe, as long as you anchor it with a flattering neutral. I've recently rediscovered navy, so this is wonderful!
Thank you again for your active mind and offering its products to us. This is a great series and reminds me that a good core of neutrals is the best way to keep a wardrobe manageable financially and responsibly but still allows for FUN and experimentation. Warm Brown please
Deb from Vancouver
Deb from Vancouver
Stephanie Herzfeld says
This is a great tutorial for incorporating one's college-aged children's school colors into an outfit to wear to a game or to a Parents' Weekend. Thanks!
This is a great idea! Will you be designing planning sheets? I saw you mentioned grey. I'd like to do this using grey and olive as core neutrals for fall and winter mixing the accent colors and using silver and taupe for spring and summer. This is a nice way to lay out capsules and the accent colors are not so limited.
I have picked my colour 'story' for this fall/winter and maybe forever! I would like to make a colour wheel just like yours but can't figure out how. Would you consider giving us a tutorial on doing this?
The Econometrix says
I wanted to say thank you. Reading your blog (and some others) measurably improved my life.
In January 2014, I started back to work on a new schedule, which involved leaving the house at 6am. I had gained a little weight over Christmas and more than half of my clothes didn't fit. In desperation, I tried everything on and removed everything that didn't fit, but that left me very few things. It was a capsule wardrobe of necessity. Reading your blog helped me figure out how to mix and match the things I had, and figure out what pieces I could add that would give me the most usable outfits.
I have expanded on my capsule (navy and camel, with green, cobalt, and burgundy accent colors), but I think very carefully about everything I add. I get complements all the time. And most importantly I get dressed and out of the house in record time.
So, thank you for having all these resources available when I really needed them. I very much enjoy reading your posts.
Another great post Janice!! Can't wait to see what's next!
hostess of the humble bungalow says
I love the lime options….
Yes to gray, camel, and brown (preferably a very dark brown–not chocolate)…and an olive, too.
I want to purchase the sleeveless navy dress shown recently in blog. where is it from?
Hi Tracy, Janice is away at the moment and asked me to respond to you. As this post is several years old the dress is long since sold out. However, Janice recommends Lands End and Banana Republic for great basic dress options. I hope this helps you find what you’re looking for!
Thanks! Looking forward to seeing the other neutral combinations!