It’s tempting to say we’ve reached the home stretch of building this capsule wardrobe, but in reality, you’re never finished building your wardrobe. Things wear out, or suddenly shrink, or you just plain can’t stand the sight of that tee shirt EVER AGAIN… (after travel, you might need to find something new just to retain your sanity!)But for people who don’t put all that much worry and fuss into clothing, this wardrobe is at a pretty good stage for a long time:
Here’s where I like to stop and lay things out in an orderly fashion, to see where I’ve gone awry, and what needs to be supplemented, and what needs to be avoided, for the last little bit of shopping:
It’s important to me to share with you that we all have to accept that this is NOT a perfect capsule wardrobe! Building a wardrobe is always going to be affected by all kinds of constraints – what fits, what’s currently available, what you can afford, what can be shipped to where you live (if you mail-order) etc. For me, those constraints are mostly that I look for a particular kind of photograph, without a model or mannequin, and that I try to avoid merchandise that’s selling out, or about to become unavailable. (I’m not against scrubbing a background from an image, but if it’s all twisted on a person, and their hands are in the way, I just CAN’T Photoshop that into a nice clear image of the garment!)
So what does this mean? That wardrobes aren’t perfect. That we shouldn’t expect them to be, and that we should be kind to ourselves for our shortcomings. And that we MUST be patient in the search for the perfect garment. Mad excursions into extravagance might occasionally be allowed, but overall we have to stick to the real world, and our real bodies, and our real budgets.
All that said, this cardigan looks so perfect in this wardrobe, I chose to include it. If you buy it, I might fly to your house to thank you for the commission! (I do get some small commissions when you buy something – it pay the light bill…)
Just a reminder that if you’re looking for teal, House of Fraser has a TON of it. Their shipping is prompt, and their clothes are nice quality…. (don’t forget to search on the color “petrol” as well as teal…)
After these last three insane additions, this is the final wardrobe; I think that it feels balanced, as well as very versatile:
Is it possible to do some “Whatever’s Clean” packing from this? (Whatever’s Clean is the way you pack when you expect a stressful trip, or one during which you won’t have much time to fuss over your clothes – it sets you up to always look good, even if you get dressed in the dark!)
And does this wardrobe make it possible for you to assemble a 4 by 4 wardrobe, if you need it? Sure does…
Next month, I’m going to do another “Starting From Scratch” capsule wardrobe, in more conservative office/dressy looks. I’m already mulling it over!
Love it! Love you! /Nilla
Taste of France says
This collection is so neutral, yet not boring. As you say, it's hard to find just the right thing–between style, fabric, cut, fit, color, price point. It's why black/black/black tends to be my default. You're helping change that. I just need to find a few pieces in color to make a big difference.
Lovely colours on this one!
I would love to see a wardrobe with lots of dresses.
Janice Riggs says
I'll think about that – it could be a lot of fun!
Lori @ inmykitcheninmylife.com says
Me, too! I have realized that despite my wishes, my body simply looks the most attractive in dresses. I need to move more in that direction, but it makes capsule wardrobing more challenging, I think.
I really loved this series and like this lady a lot! I wear pants except very special occasions due to my tree trunk legs and knee brace. I just did a thorough review of my winter wardrobe and found that I really only needed two tees that would make a kind of twinsets with two cardigans. I spent many hours at the mall with the cardis in my bag and finally found them! I got tired of ordering things on line when trying to match stuff then sending them back. I would like to find two print tops that would work with my neutrals. I'll keep looking for them through your site. Also, I've found how amazing olive is as a neutral – the right shade (dRker) simply goes with everything!!!
Looking forward to your new starting from scratch series!!! Janice Collins Washington, DC
Margie from Toronto says
As a tip to your Canadian readers (not sure if this brand is available in the States) the OLSEN boutique within The BAY stores has a good selection of beige and soft olive green at the moment – there is even a very similar styled cardigan to the Chloe one featured today – but at a fraction of the cost. If you like these colours, it is well worth a visit.
Oh oh, from Calgary. I'm off to the Olsen store! ��
Lori @ inmykitcheninmylife.com says
Janice, my online friend, you and I are simpatico on nearly everything wardrobe, but I have to disagree about the Chloe cardigan. The photo of just the garment is lovely, but notice how they tucked the sleeves partly behind the torso? I watched the video of the model wearing it, and it looks like a ratty bathrobe with stretched out sleeves. The COLOR is absolutely sumptuous — I grant you that willingly!
Janice, I have really enjoyed this series and have been going through my wardrobe to select clothes within this colour scheme. I prefer greys, blues, off white and rusty orange and not the olives. About the Chloe cardigan, the colour is fantastic, however it does look like a bathrobe. It just so happens that my woolly stash has some great kid mohair and it would be fun to knit up a cardigan — mine would be a regular length with pockets and a fabulous button.
Gail Finke says
I bought one of those LL bean cardigans, using the link on your site, so that means you get a commission, right? I hope so! When I saw it on your wardrobe I remembered that I had wanted it last year, and so I checked that they still had it in the color I wanted (LL Bean's colors are almost all too yellow for my coloring, but this was a dark violet) and they did!!! So thanks!!
Cee Pluse says
I am really sorry to see this series come to a close, but you ended it on just the right note by reminding us to stop and evaluate what we already have before continuing to add pieces (a step I tend to forget!). I also got a reminder to keep checking my own closet for just the right apparel. I was in a hurry to meet some friends for lunch yesterday, and just happened to pull out an old white shirt with a distinct print to wear. I got so many compliments! The funny thing is that this is a man's shirt I bought decades ago because I could not resist the print. So for those who have the right build and can wear men's clothing (I have really broad shoulders and men's short-sleeved shirts often fit me better than those for women), don't overlook this source!
I look forward to seeing what you create next month using this concept, but I really hope you pick this month's series up again in the spring to build up a warm weather wardrobe as well.
BTW, I think you said that if we follow your links to sources but end up buying different items you still get a commission. Is this right? I have my eye on some LL Bean t-shirts and could easily link to their site from here. Thanks for being such an inspiration, Janice!
Janice Riggs says
Yes, generally speaking, if you buy anything after clicking through from The Vivienne Files, a small commission will come to me. You're so kind to think about this, and about me! I appreciate it…
I also shop the mens department – my favorite neutral color v-neck sweaters always seem to be "in style" no matter what the current women's fashion colors are for the season. I've been purchasing from Joseph A. Bank for years because of their large selection of cashmere, merino wool, and cotton sweaters in many styles and colors (they have all the neutrals as well as many pretty accent colors). And watching the sales can yield significant savings – often over 50%!
Ragged Ivy says
And I've found that some men's jeans fit better. Surprising, as I have a smaller waist and rounder hips/thighs, but a sales assistant put me onto it. Something about the cut in the high rise category.
This wardrobe finished nicely! I don't care much for that expensive cardigan either. I do like the color and the "chunky" weave. Thanks for the reminders about checking to see what might be missing. Of course, no wardrobe will ever be perfect but you come close Janice! : ) These posts are so helpful!! Thank you again!!
For future consideration, we will be going to the Mayan Riviera/Cancun in January for a week. Can't wait! Any suggestions for a travel capsule from a cold climate to a beach resort would be greatly appreciated!
There are three main things that I have learned from you Janice- ensuring that I have a good lot of quality neutrals, choosing a small number of accent colours to build a coordinated wardrobe and then finishing well by accessories that had the final polish to the look. Last night I showed some friends the dress I had chosen for my son's wedding, the snazzy dress and matching orange shoes, and the black jacket and deep orange pendant, and from them gained a matching orange clutch, and insistence that I wear bright orange lipstick- something I would never dreamed of doing but seemed to totally finish the look.
I love these posts. I'll look forward to next month.
Thanks for this series. Since I have retired last year and moved back to New Orleans, LA from Middletown, CT, I have been working diligently on created 2 Start with Art Wardrobes from July 2015 (Camposanto and Self Portrait in a Green Bugatti). This wardrobe will work better for the winter months (if we have any) than the Starting From Scratch 333 with taupe/olive/burgundy/turquoise/cream or white. I'll just substitute the burgundy for the rust in this wardrobe.
I'm one of those lucky / talented women who sew. I have already collected most of the fabric for the warm weather wardrobes but now it's time to change colors, at least and pretend that cooler / cold weather will be here eventually.
Although I rarely comment, I do read your blog daily and miss it terribly when I don't have computer access.
Thanks for all your great work.
Ragged Ivy says
Excellent way to round off this wardrobe, and I love your concluding observations. It has been sooooo educational! Also fun, imagining the life of the wearer. Always underpinning your posts is thinking, thinking, thinking. Hard but not impossible for this impulsive reader!
I had a look at the Chloe cardie, which gave me a smile. The styling on the model is lovely – I'd give up a lot for that exquisite Paisley shirt, and for the figure that gets away with the blue drapey pants. The juxtaposition of the wooly mammoth cardie is perfect … Can't you just see her sashaying into a Paris cafe at 11am for an exhausted sip of espresso breakfast! Oh to be young and slim and tall!
Would you consider doing this with no pants (maybe a pair of comfy ones), casual, in a cool color scheme? Black, grey, navy, white, red or wine accents, maybe a bit of emerald green or teal.
One more vote for skirts and dresses, wine and teal.
Actually I planned no pants capsule since pants are challenging for me – but following starting from scratch ended purchasing two pairs for my two neutral bases LOL
I love love this series!
Emily Handler says
I found your blog a few weeks ago and recently finished reading every post back to the beginning… whew! It was a big task, but it was incredibly inspirational.
I'm a sewer and have been working my way towards a 100% made-by-me wardrobe for the past few years, but until now there hasn't been much rhyme or reason to how I chose my next project. Your blog has been one of the major factors in making me plan better why I sew what I sew. Thank you!
The past few days I went back through all the "Starting From Scratch" steps and built a wardrobe for myself for the next few months. It's based somewhat on garments I already have, and on what I plan to sew in the near future. I played a bit fast and loose with some of your steps, but I'm so pleased with the results! I haven't been so excited about getting dressed in the morning since I was a kid :)
I'd be thrilled if you have a look and tell me what you think. Thank you again for all your work!
love your wardrobe plan and the parts you already have in place – maroon and mustard both look so great with black and especially yummy with grey. – nancyo
I agree, You've done a great job of taking the principles and applying them to your own situation.
Kendal Hauck says
Wow, you have done a wonderful job with this! Truly Janice-inspired with your own beautiful touches!
That is amazing!!! I’m wondering if you have completed this plan?
I don't have the body or the pocketbook for the Chloe sweater, but the cream version is mighty pretty.
I love this wardrobe plan! I’m finding they when a color is in season I must buy all I want because the next season it will not be there. Do you find this as well? I only buy my Spring colors now which has really helped me.
Absolutely! There are years where some colors just do NOT exist in retail – it’s maddening!