At this point in our starting from scratch capsule wardrobe series, you’re in a pretty good position for travel; it wouldn’t be impossible to be away for a week with this collection. Toss in a white shirt and white tee shirt, and you would only need to do minimal laundry!
Our next step is to start filling in shirts and sweaters, so it’s time to take a quick look at what we currently have. This would be an obvious place to pull in a beige shirt, sweater, or blouse if that holds any appeal. But I’m thinking that my imaginary protagonist is more interested in pretty accent colors, so I’ve chosen these:
Yes, the necklace is in a very similar vein to her bracelet – they’re called curb chains, and I don’t know why. Her sweater has those favorite cable patterns, and her new cotton shirt is floral! It’s all her, but it all works with everything she already owns…
She takes a deep breath, and waits a few days, or a few weeks, to move on to the next step. If you’re shopping in your closet for this wardrobe, you can move straight on, but if you’re actually shopping with money for these things, take your time. Be deliberate. Be cautious. Be CERTAIN…
Next up is an outfit for dressy things; your definition of dressy can alter the nature of these additions! Our heroine doesn’t do a lot of really dressy things, but a simple skirt, with tights and flats, could get a lot of use in life. And of course the minute you put on tights, you’ve ramped up the dressiness factor of things a ton!
I could easily have chosen a solid navy sweater here, and it would have worked perfectly. But I thought that a little bit of “marling” in the sweater would bring some lightness to this outfit without sacrificing any of the strong vertical line of 2 matching garments. And if you put a white shirt under this sweater, it’s going to be perfect…
And note that these flats could be worn with pants, too… A thin pair of socks would make that work just fine!
For most of us, it’s pretty safe to assume that if we need outerwear, we already own it! But for our protagonist, it’s getting to be the time to ensure that she has a jacket that really looks like it’s a part of this wardrobe. Nothing can thrown your look out of whack faster than having to wear a jacket that just plain clashes with the rest of what you’re wearing; thinking about color for your winter coats, and various jackets, is pretty important…
Again, this might be the point in time at which you match the khaki pants to a top of some ilk. I’m not exactly matching – but this sweater is a classic in this particular “natural” color, and it blends beautifully with khaki. That missing khaki shirt could be worn under this sweater when the temperatures really drop and another layer is necessary…
Yes, the Keds are navy. Our mythical shopper has a pretty casual life, and navy canvas shoes will be worn a LOT!
This is the entire wardrobe, at this stage. This would be the easiest thing in the world to toss into a suitcase; you’d have whatever you needed for moderate autumn or spring temperatures, and you’d be appropriate at all but the most formal or casual activities.
Tomorrow: shorts, a winter coat, and more accessories!
For more in this Starting from Scratch series, check out the following articles:
- How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe: Starting From Scratch – First Steps
- How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe: Starting From Scratch – Stage Two
- How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe: Starting From Scratch – Stage Three
- How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe: Starting From Scratch – Stage Four
- How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe: Starting From Scratch – Finishing Up
PS – for more inspiration, check out the Starting from Scratch or Common Capsule Wardrobe pages.
Taste of France says
The thing about buying clothes online is that it's hard to be sure that the jacket is longer than the cardigan. It's one thing to intentionally put something short over something long; it's another thing to have a hem sagging down.
BTW, I just posted my first-ever French fashion observations. Curious what you think.
Living the casual feel of this! I don't do khaki or gold jewelry, so I'd switch those items for stone gray and silver jewelry. Thanks for the casual vibe, and as always, your hard work!
Loving not living, but I could live in this….
I am loving this casual collection — my lifestyle exactly ! While the navy here would be brown for me, the khaki would remain my second neutral, and I think my two accent colors, considering the season will be rust and olive green, plus a light blue shirt thrown in for good measure. I can always substitute my preferred colors in any of your formats, but it's your selection of the silhouettes of the individual pieces that fascinates me ! This post will cover my trip next week very nicely, as I travel from PA down into the mountains of VA, but then on down into the warmer piedmont area. I may substitute in another short sleeve tee for one of the long sleeved ones for those warmer locations. This has always been the puzzling time of year for me to know how to pack with warmer and cooler clothes because of the varied temps that I shall encounter, and yet keeping down the total numbers of pieces in the suitcase. You have just answered that for me !
Speaking of packing, I think I have viewed every packing video on Youtube that exists, and after trying several varied techniques as rolling, bundle wrapping, flat packing, etc, I have decided that the least wrinkled and most organized for me is to stack all of my pants carefully on top of one another , keeping the waists together at the suitcase edge, with the legs hanging out of the suitcase, then stack my sweaters vertically on top of that, with the collars at the same location as each other at the inside top edge of the suitcase, sleeves out to the sides. I then bring all of the sleeves together back toward the center, crossing them toward the middle. I then place a sac of scarves and accessories on top of the sleeves, then I fold up all of the bottom halves of the sweaters up over the sac so that the bottom hems of the sweaters now are on top of the collar areas. I then wrap the pant legs up over the sweater stack and put the entire bundle into a large packing cube to keep it in place and so that I know which stack I have. I repeat this process with my tops , using underwear as my innermost stack so that neither wrinkles nor creases occur, and then put this bundle into another color packing cube. The typical bundle method requires an interweaving of clothing items, and takes a bit more time to accomplish as well as it makes accessing anything in the middle of the stack more tricky. My flat packing method ( I can't claim inventing it ) only requires one unfolding of each of the stack of pants and sweaters and one for the tops.I know the rolling method is supposed to save room, but I think it requires non wrinkly fabrics, at least in my experience.
Madame Là-bas says
Janice, after a few years of following your blog, I smile to see a lot of familiar pieces in this wardrobe. LL Bean seems to produce the perfect casual retirement wardrobe. I bought the jacket this fall and I have worn it so much at home and while travelling. I carried a version of this wardrobe on my 4-week trip to Ireland and the UK and I was always suitably dressed (we had apartments with washing/drying machine). With the addition of my navy dress, I need little more in my closet. Merci.
This make so much sense and is very easy to follow no matter what your color scheme. I'm learning that once the colors have been selected it is the silhouettes, proportions and fabric choices that make the wardrobe feel like it's working well and has enough variety. So now, thanks to you, I am paying attention and making wiser choices.
After seeing this jacket on your posts, I bought an almost exact copy this Fall and it works very well for me. I wear it to the gym over my exercise gear and then it also works nicely with a skirt and top to run errands etc. With our dollar difference and import duties I find it better to shop in Vancouver rather than online. Otherwise, I would be doing my best to shop through your links.
Deb from Vancouver
Janice Riggs says
I appreciate the thought – I know that international shopping isn't always very cost-effective!
Cee Pluse says
I can explain the curb chain! A curb chain is part of a type of horse bit called a curb bit. The chain goes under the horse's chin and helps keep the bit from rotating too much in the horse's mouth when the reins are used. Your bracelet has links that look just like curb chain links.
This wardrobe is really shaping up nicely. I love the style of the clothes, and in my preferred colors they would be perfect for my lifestyle. I wish those Naturalizer boots came in dark brown!
Janice Riggs says
I KNEW someone would be able to explain it to us! Thanks so much…
I know that I will find these posts very instructive when I gave a chance to really study them. It's funny, I am doing some volunteer work now and am about to attend a function, and what am I wearing? Navy skirt, navy cardigan, navy tights and flats and a white shirt. And that's my problem with the outfit for me – although I own all of the pieces, and I like them all, it still feels very uniformish to me. A scarf and/or a different color top goes a long way to shaking that impression though. -nancyo
Ragged Ivy says
Hi Nancy, I know what you mean about feeling uniformed. But texture and pattern can also step us up to chic instead – something like a marle or tweedy effect in knits, or in a top, a pattern with the base neutral as one of the colours. Or, if I'm feeling radical, a completely different coloured top or jacket. For me, black and navy are the colours most likely to need enlivening in this way and as they're pretty much my only colours for pants, I think about it a lot.
Robyn in Tasmania
I am trying to get my unwieldly closet under control – too many choices! Too many pieces! Not enough time to wear everything I own. Your suggestion to use the "Starting from Scratch" to shop my closet could not have come at a better time. I printed out a template, and I'm going through my pieces, one by one, and selecting only the ones I really love. The ones that simply do not work will go in the donation bin, what remains will require tougher decisions. Thank you so much – your hard work not only makes our lives easier, but also more beautiful.
Love this series!!