This is just a “flipped over” version of the white blazer and navy trouser, but quite a bit more casual and relaxed. And I chose all button-front shirts, just to show the range of possibilities available!
Our very simple starting point:
You can wear any possible shade of red, pink, coral, blush, or whatever else the fashion people name these colors:
All kinds of orange are equally lovely:
If you like yellow, this is a good, classic base with which to wear it!
I really like the looks of both the mint and the dark olive here – very different colors, but equally at home in this ensemble.
Turquoise, because… well, most of us really love it!
Chambray works really well here, as does a softer blue. An oxford cotton button-down would be excellent here, too.
The purples are so pretty… And I think we should all start wearing our rings more often! They make much more of a statement to the people who see us than we often realize. Don’t limit them to just dressy occasions!
Simple navy and white looks really good paired with gold accessories – they really change the look of the outfits.
Men wear navy and grey with white shirts often – we’re just rearranging which part is which color here! But these colors are always happy together.
And I like to look at beige and brown possibilities to bring something unexpected into the mix. Dark brown was impossible to find, but there was a nice range of beige and tan available.
As always, we have options! If you want to be really casual, shorts are always possible. And the skirt could easily be replaced by a pair of white jeans. Imagine how far you could go with a couple of different cardigans, and all 3 bottoms, plus a few of the colors from above…
I have at least 2 more ideas of neutrals that can be worn with the full spectrum of accents – do you have any ideas?
Taste of France says
As someone who wants to reduce my wardrobe but not increase its boring-ness, it seems that some of your groups would work well with accessories from other groups. So say a person sticks to black and white or navy and white basics, then goes nuts with color for tops (which don't take up huge space and don't need to cost a fortune. The right colorful bag could go with any number of these–kind of the way you do with scarves.
Also, I love white jeans. They aren't see-through and don't look like something Mrs. Howell would wear on Gilligan's Island.
Janice Riggs says
I chose the white denim skirt precisely for the "see-through" factor. While I don't necessarily mind a bit of translucency in my clothes, I know that it's not for everyone!
In these outfits it feels like the shoes really dictate how casual or dressy the outfit is. You could almost wear the same cloths with tennis and wedges.
Janice Riggs says
A lot of these pieces could interchange really easily, and completely alter the level of formality; you're exactly right!
cheryl :) says
Amazing how versatile some pieces can be. You amaze me daily. :)
I struggle with using neutrals, so these kinds of posts are really helpful.
I love navy and white and have both a white skirt and white jeans as well as a navy cardigan and a structured blue denim blazer. So this post gives me tons of new ideas! Thank you!!
While I have copied the grey/white/blue combo of men's wear many times, it never occurred to me to flip the colors from top to bottom. Too rainy for white bottoms today, but tomorrow the sun is expected to shine! :))
Scrolling through all of your examples here, I am reminded of that incredibly instructive post you did on color and proportion, last year, I think. As I am 5'2 , I need to maintain a column of color either as an inner column, or as a suit like approach. Actually it's more of a column of value contrast ( lightness and darkness ), and some of these outfits with the lighter tops would work well, if I wore skirts at all, and some would cut me in two, with half of me dark, and the other half white. Thanks to your illustrations, I can clearly see what does and doesn't work for me as an individual. While this is a limiting factor, it does help me look my best and isn't that what getting dressed is all about anyway ?
Interesting post. I am 5'10" and am uncomfortable in a column of color. I need high contrast and always have a horizontal line crossing my body. I'll have to try to find the post that you are referencing.
Janice did a series of posts starting April 2 of last year showing how color and proportion affect the appearance of the torso, either shortening or lengthening it visually, depending upon where the emphasis was placed and the levels of contrast between light and dark items of clothing. I am a visual learner, and it was incredibly helpful seeing the illustrations instead of just trying to picture outfits in my mind.
If you're looking for neutral color combos to feature, I vote for mine: charcoal and ivory with a dash of khaki.
Mary (mcm) says
I've been away for a few days and now I get to spend the morning catching up with a cup of tea, a warm scone and Janice!
As always you have offered thoughtful advice and I'm enjoying all of it.
Love the navy and white and all of the different color combinations – and no scarves. The outfits appear so simple and belie the thought that went into it. Great shoe selections too.
A few days ago (May 9) you included a carry-on garment bag and I was curious since you are the Queen of Packing if you have any thoughts on a carry-on garment bag vs. a suitcase for traveling. Are they better for dresses or suits? I'm heading to Ireland in September and I am adamant that I will follow your lead and limit myself to a carry-on and suitcase and cross body purse. My suitcases are older so I'm in the market for a newer, lightweight model. This is a pleasure trip so no dresses are needed.
Janice Riggs says
I included the garment bag because that post was about packing dresses, and I thought that carrying dresses on hangers might minimize the amount of pressing and/or steaming needed at the destination. Normally, unless you have to travel with garments on hangers, I would carry a different style of bag, like a soft-sided, rolling suitcase. I find that I can get a lot of clothes into one of those bags, if I plan carefully.
I love this post (and the reverse navy-and-white one from last week), partly because the clothes are all so beautiful (and so many choices!) and partly because I tend to use three different colors (or two colors and a pattern) in any outfit I put together. I have to be very intentional to dress in a "column" or a "suit" (or completely monochrome) approach. I am working to expand my horizons though! – nancyo
Susan Bybee says
I have been trifling with the idea of buying a white piece for this season. Your great examples are spurring me into action!
I also vote for charcoal and ivory as a starting point….could be very unusual for a summer capsule. I would like a burnt orange accent too taking us back to the post with the moon. That still echoes in my imagination.
Deb from Vancouver
I loved that post too! Another vote for charcoal and Ivory
Sue Walker says
Another inspiring post, which will help me make the most of my wardrobe. May I put in a request for a future post? I bought a cobalt blue jacket on impulse (I know! Bad idea!), which looked good with the soft white top and navy jeans that I was wearing at the time. Would you do one of your great posts showing other possible outfits based on the jacket but with different colour schemes? Another point that I'd like you to consider is that I'm just over 5' tall, so as someone else mentioned, columns of colour work well. My jacket is a Precis Petite cobalt linen jacket. Many thanks!
Love your posts…and this on with a skirt and shirts is interesting. I have a big problem with finding a top.I've lost my girlish shape and have a tummy problem. Should tops be in or out..should they hang below a cardigan…Some of my efforts make me look too matronly.Thanks for any advice!
I'm right there with you! I find I typically look better with my shirts out. I don't mind the hem of my blouse hanging out below a shorter cardigan. With a long blouse and long cardi together I feel I look sloppy. Sometimes tucked in shirts with a tummy tend to look matronly.
Navy and white always seem like summer to me. I think I like the dark top and light bottom combo better than the reverse post last week. It is hard to find white bottoms that are not see through. Jeans are the best option but even some of them are too sheer. I don't own very many button up shirts. I have a large bust and I have trouble finding a good fit in them. I do like their versatility. Shoes do make such a difference! Another great post Janice!
What about a summery neutral combo that doesn't include white? With three little ones under age 4 – white is too dangerous for me right now! Maybe light grey? (I'm a very strong winter, so I don't wear beige, khaki, etc.) Thanks!
This combination works great for my body type–wide shoulders, narrow hips, and heavier in the middle. I love seeing the options for a dark top and a light bottom. I feel so much more comfortable and balanced with lighter colors and patterns on my bottom half, and most clothing combinations I see feature a dark bottom garment. I was at a store once where the salesman told me I had an hourglass figure (I don't!), so I knew I had done something right by wearing a white skirt. I love the orchid shirt and the colored sandals–perfect combination. I did my own version of your job last night looking for three hours for the right shoes online–and have more appreciation than ever of the work you do for this blog. Thanks!
Coco Colmani says
This is amazing Janice – the vertical flip changes the looks completely, yet the four neutral basics could all be part of the same wardrobe. And several – if not all – of the accent pieces would work either way. Thank you for showing this!
My bid for the two contrasting neutrals would be a dark warm brown and soft cream (or pale blue or light gold). Not as versatile as the navy and white combo I know, but there seems to be a bit of a warm team in the VF community.
Robyn in Tasmania