Someone sent me this painting a few days ago, and the first thing that I noticed (after just generally admiring the lovely art) was the touches of teal and cool brown accent:
And I have to let you know that this painting set a record last week for the highest auction price EVER for a Canadian painting. Well worth it, in my opinion…
I was intrigued with the idea of a very conservative, mostly navy and grey wardrobe, accented with those two surprising accent colors. So I started with a few pieces, including a navy pantsuit. If you’re looking for suit separates, I highly recommend Talbots – they have a variety of colors and fabrics.
Let’s start with these basics – this is literally a Wardrobe Slot Machine, or a Whatever’s Clean Wardrobe – you can’t combine these 9 pieces badly, unless you start wearing pants on your head and tying the shirt around your hips as a skirt…
I just wanted to picture ALL of the possible iterations of these garments – 27 in all. Sometimes it doesn’t really sink in unless I see it…
I’m not advocating that you only own 9 pieces of clothing, but if you wanted to start a capsule wardrobe, or a travel wardrobe, these 9 wouldn’t be a bad way to begin.
Now, I wanted to experiment strictly with accessories in the accent colors, just to see how it worked. First up, the deeply delectable laboradorite, set in gold. When shopping for this stone, make certain that it’s got the right amount of blue/green visible for your preferences; some of these stones can be very brown.
Honestly, if someone gave me these six pieces of jewelry, I’d be tempted to overthrown the reign of the pearl in my life and start over! And that delectable square ring comes in six different stones… sigh…The other thing that I wanted to visualize was if cool brown leather accessories would look right with navy and grey clothes. Men have been wearing brown leather shoes and belts with their suits for a long time, but their brown is more that warm cognac/caramel brown. This is quite a different animal:
First up, three outfits, with the jewelry. I vote that this is a complete and utter success!
My feeling for the brown leather accessories is mixed – I can see the appeal, but I personally wouldn’t wear it. It’s much more a statement for the woman who loves it…
I was considering building a larger wardrobe based on this painting, after I’m back from Paris. Does the idea appeal?
I love the painting, the colours, the shapes. Not so sure about the wardrobe – I wouldn't wear brown shoes with this. Not because of preconceived ideas, just don't like it. I'd love to see a further exploration of this. Thank you.
Taste of France says
The brown shoes/bag don't work for me either. Maybe if there was something else brown going on with the clothes.
Love the individual parts of this wardrobe, including the shoes and bags, but I agree they don't go with the clothes. That laboradorite jewellery is gorgeous and really lifts the outfits.
cheryl :) says
That painting is gorgeous! I love this wardrobe except for the brown lol. I would love to see more.
Margie from Toronto says
There was a huge exhibit just this past summer at the AGO of Lawren Harris' work and this painting was included – I went back 4 times. The colours are so deep but luminous – it actually sold for almost double the expected price!
While I love the colours of the base wardrobe pieces, and love the jewellery, I do think we need some more accessories and even some additional wardrobe pieces to truly do it justice. I'd add teal and a deep plum (colours used in many of Harris' northern paintings) – and while I'd use some of the brown pieces with the grey – just couldn't do it with the navy.
Wow.For all my love of colour , I love this capsule! I can totally see wearing the brown (cool tones certainly) with the grey and navy, it seems very grown up and and thought out to me. For when I do not want colour, but I also agree with Margie that teal and deep plum would be wonderful accents. This really spoke to me, thank you.
This is very interesting to me, as it's similar to the wardrobe I'm currently building, however, I'm using teal and plum, rather than teal and brown.
Terri Howard says
The same for me. I'm adding gray and purple floral shoes. I'm a bit of a shoe addict.
Just back from 2+ weeks there, packed 3 pr black pants: jeans and techno straight leg and wide-legged for good restaurants. Bunch of featherweight cashmere sweaters, scarves. I suggest an ankle boot (wear on plane) instead of one of the lighter pairs. (I wore Blundstones). When it's wet, the rain soaks even walking-type shoes-and running shoes even faster. If I were going next week I might wear a low rubber boot like Bogs (they look good). I also love Eric Bompard's lightweight cashmere hats (the beret will not squash curls) and gloves, which keep extremities warm. It is unlikely to be very cold but the damp seeps in.
I love this shade of brown, but somehow it's not working for me. Maybe because it's just accessories and just bags and shoes? If there were a scarf or jewelry in that color?
Doré Way says
Mais oui, s'il te plait! (more of this wardrobe please). An iconic Canadian painter – gorgeous.
Doré Way says
Oh, and so far I'm in the minority that actually really likes the brown.
I like the brown accessories but not with this capsule. They particularly jar against the dark navy, although in the painting the blue isn't that dark – well not on my screen anyway and the brown is more of a greyish taupe. I agree with introducing more teal and perhaps some other shades of blue/grey as depicted in the painting. Sharon U.K.
Love the wardrobe, LOVE the jewellery. I think the brown would work better if it were the deepest shade of neutral brown. Yes, please carry on with this palette.
Janice! I absolutely love this wardrobe and that taupe- cool brown is exactly what I have been looking for! That color brown(almost taupe) is lovely with navy tan, taupe and now my addition of a bit of grey. I combine taupe and navy a lot in my wardrobe. I love those handbags so much I ordered both of them- they are exactly what I have been searching for. The color is subtle and so versatile IMO . And the jewelry!!! Yes PLEASE expand this wardrobe especially with teal. Janice Collins,Washington DC
Yes, yes please! I find blue – brown combination lovely, although in lighther blue and darker brown. But why not vice versa? With bridge garments everything will fall in place.
Besides, I always miss one thing – and that is the coloring of women who wears the wardrobe in question. I can sort of guess, but I can't be sure – it would be awesome to see if not the photo, at least some explanation.
Katrina Blanchalle says
That is an amazing stone – either I have never seen labradorite before, or I haven't seen it in this gorgeous color!
This is definitely one of the wardrobes I could wear, and I do love the cool brown. However, I have never been able to overcome my reluctance to wear brown shoes with blue or grey, unless there is another brown item already in the outfit to coordinate.
It would be interesting to see a version with brown and grey as the neutrals. Love the colour brown and love the labradorite even more.
These nine pieces are wonderful!! I'm on the fence with the brown shoes though. Not so much the color as the style maybe. They seem almost too casual for the clothes. My husband wears brown shoes with navy and gray all the time. It is a darker brown than this. Looking forward to seeing this expanded! I've never seen the painting. Very lovely!!
What an interesting post today! I have some very comfortable shoes and a bag in a similar taupey-brown, and have used them with a travel capsule several times. I don't have many actual garments in that color, but do have some slacks, so that helps. Also I have a cardigan in a cool color that is hard to describe, right on the border of dark gray and brown – shale, maybe? It goes with nearly every color imaginable. In today's capsule, personally I'd be comfortable wearing the brown with navy/white or gray/white, but not with the gray and navy together. Looking at expanding a wardrobe from this painting, I think your cool brown would work with denim/medium blue, white, or teal, and with the grey if there were a scarf or patterned garment to pull it together. – nancyo
teresa rodgers says
I also love the gray and muted brown together. More, please!
Jeanette, Mistress of Longears says
Yes1 More please!
Ragged Ivy says
It looks a sophisticated set to me – I didn't know that kind of brown before and think it looks great with the neutrals, including the navy. I'm imagining the wearer as cool herself, organised, crisp, and with a dry wit. Perhaps pewtery hair and glasses. I agree too that one or two more accessories could make these colour combinations really sing. A scarf (of course :) ), and perhaps a chunky longer necklace – the kind you wear over a tunic … Looking forward to seeing where you take this in future weeks. Bon voyage, dear Janice, sois sauve et joieuse avec ton amie a Paris!
Robyn in Tasmania
Elaine @ Following Augustine says
I like the brown accessories, but not with this wardrobe. Personally, although I like the navy, white, and grey colour scheme, it seems rather bland. The blue/green jewelry is a lovely addition, but why not add a couple of other pieces in that colour? Perhaps a scarf with a mix of the colours would be another great addition.
I have a navy and grey wardrobe with teal and dark green accents. I prefer taupe a little more than that version brown for shoes. You don't have to wear black shoes and it doesn't look like you tried to match your pants. I would like to see a bigger wardrobe with this picture.
Terri Howard says
I am in the process of "shopping" my own closet since I am a recovering shopaholic. Your blog has helped me more than I can even begin to tell you. This color combo of blue and gray will be my first "capsule" and I do mean first. I am getting rid of things that really don't work for me anymore since I let my hair go gray but I still own a lot of clothes that I really like so I'm using some of your other color combos for other "capsules." With my gray and blue combo based on this piece of art, I think my pick for shoes will be a pair in the darker shade of gray, a pair in dark blue, and a floral pair that has all these colors on a dark blue background. (I love shoes.) I have a couple of scarves with teal and taupe that I think would work as well. My bags are dark teal blue and medium gray.
Great idea, great post!
I absolutely love the cool brown accessories – I've been futzing around with accent accessory colors for my black/gray/cream wardrobe, and this exactly the effect I want. Please do more with this scheme – I'd love to see a '12 months 12' outfits spread.
The labradorite is incredible – I'm going to shop for ones with more brown rather than less.
I like the brown accessories. I think they would go better if the navy were not so dark. Perhaps with a more petrol blue or a brighter navy.
I love the wardrobe and picture and hope that you do more with it. I wouldnt wear the brown shoes with the grey though.
I love the simplicity of the wardrobe. I’m an artist and usually in paintings if you use a limited pallete of four colours, it works. With clothing as long as you have the same tonal range of colour eg all cool or all warm shades they will work together. I love the paining and the colours. Thank you for sharing.