As always, this would be a good point in wardrobe-building to pause, especially if you’re purchasing all of these items. Wear all your new goodies in every possible combination (which will take quite a while!) and make ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that you’re comfortable with the styles, the colors, and the overall mood. It’s not a dreadful thing to stop at this point, if you feel that it’s the right thing for you. It WOULD be dreadful if you kept on shopping and consuming and spending money without being certain!As I look at these 9 pieces, I clearly see that we’d better get some teal into this picture soon! And the balance is swinging to “more beige than olive,” so that’s a consideration. Third, we have tee shirts, and one blouse, but if we’re really building a wardrobe to move into cooler weather, a warmer top or two might be in order.
So I chose these pieces – either can be worn on their own, and they lend themselves very well to layering. The necklace is just a sparkly touch of warm color to hang near your face, to bring a bit of warmth and color:
turtleneck – Lands’ End
Here’s where we hit a BIG question – what do you wear for “dressy” occasions if you’re truly committed to not wearing dresses and skirts?
Let’s pause for a moment to think about what makes something dressy. It can be ornamentation – embroidery, beading, attached jewels or lace. Any of those qualities can be found in blouses and sweaters which can be worn with pants.
Another variable that stays within your chosen limitations is fabric; pants in silk, velvet, brocade or some other fabric with either fluid drape or lustrous texture will dress up anything worn with them.
So no dress? Easy peasy! For our mythical heroine in this example, beige silk pants and simple metallic flats are going to dress up a really all-purpose teal sweater… You can really splurge on pants like this, because they’re very versatile, without being particularly memorable.
Now time for a jacket, casual top, and another pair of shoes…
I think I may have looked at every olive green jacket currently for sale in North America! But I kept coming back to this one, for it’s classic style and relaxed feel. And the collar appeals to me, for no good reason I can pinpoint. When your mind returns to a garment a day or two after you’ve seen it, serious examine what the appeal is, and act accordingly.
Since it’s time for another sweater, I thought that I’d continue to choose things in keeping with our heroine’s affection for textured sweaters, as well as “natural” colors. It is possible now to find sweaters like this that are of undyed fiber – that’s always a plus for the environment!
And canvas shoes… Relaxed, but in just the right color to work with a LOT of this wardrobe:
This is now a wardrobe that would be suitable for a trip of almost any length, so long as you were going to be in cooler climes:
Just to show the versatility you would have if this were your wardrobe, I imagined a range of dinner situations, from dressy to casual:
Tomorrow, we’ll add a complete outfit, a longer winter coat (with scarf and boots), as well as some accessories, some leisure wear, and another “not-dress!”
Is this working out to your satisfaction?
Sure is ! I totally agree on how to dress up an outfit without skirts and dresses.. My first choice is fabric — smoothness, drapiness, a subtle bit of sheen, fine weaving. Then adding a dressy accessory with a silk scarf, shoes with some level of sheen or styling, a jeweled necklace or earrings, — anything tastefully and subtley shiny . Size and fabric of a handbag also can enhance the dressiness of an ensemble — a clutch vs a larger bag in a fine fabric, rather than leather, so many subtle nuances that lend a dressy feel.
Gail Finke says
I am enjoying gthis so much because I have TWO wardrobes, one for work and one casual, and while my casual one does have dresses and skirts to be honest I rarely wear them. So I kind of think of them as "church clothes" and should really just use my work ones for the few occasions I wear dresses or skirts outside of work, and have none at all… except that I like having less corporate options, so I'm keeping them! I love how this wardrobe has so many cable knit sweaters. I don't really look good in cable knit sweaters, especially off white ones, but I wish I did. They are a CLASSIC and if you look great in them why not have a variety of what you look great in????
Janice Riggs says
I'm passionate about cables and argyles – I don't know why, but they always appeal to me! And don't get me started on Aran sweaters….
I knit, and I love cables! But, these sweaters likely wouldn't end up in my wardrobe because of the fiber, especially if I'm looking at packability–all three are cotton, which I think is bulky in a suitcase and on the body, unless it's proportioned exactly (which I can do, making it for myself). Cotton is also not particularly warm, but that may be a good thing. I'd look for at least one in wool or wool-blend, especially the longer one, so it would drape nicely and offer more warmth–although I really like the marl in that particular khaki cardigan. Another comment about cardigans, which you often use buttoned up in place of a pullover style for versatility. I wish I could do that, but fit is critical in order to avoid what my mother used to call 'button gap'. I can rarely get it to work right for me, more's the pity. That's a gorgeous teal pullover!
Janice Riggs says
Yes, I've looked at their site, and I agree that their things are lovely! Thanks for sharing with us all.
Ragged Ivy says
The British firm Woolovers has a wide range of knitted garments in different kinds of wool (and lighter cotton-silk blends for summer), many different styles, and a big range of colours. I've found their website and mail order service to be excellent.
Robyn in Tasmania
I'm a different Anonymous than the one above and also a knitter. I share her aversion to heavy cotton sweaters. From a knitter's standpoint, cotton yarn has no stretch when you are working with it, but the garment "grows" when you wear it. Apart from its weight and bulk in your suitcase, a heavy cotton sweater could get pretty sloppy by the end of your trip. And it would be difficult to wash it back into shape because cotton takes forever to dry. Merino is much more travel-friendly. And fortunately, it seems to be everywhere these days.
Doré Way says
The wardrobe – yes. The election – not at all.
Cee Pluse says
I so agree — thank goodness Janice is here to pleasantly distract us and cheer us up with this wardrobe series! I am trying to phase black out of my wardrobe, but I am glad I still own a few pieces as I have a feeling they are going to get worn a lot in the near future!
I really like how this group is developing. The silk pants are a great find. I knit a cable aran cardigan in Irish wool in 1972 and I still wear it. I never though of it but it would look very interesting with a pair of heavy silk or velvet pants and glittery earrings and shiny shoes. Thank you for another great idea.
Deb from Vancouver
The wardrobe is coming together nicely!! As always!. I love all of the step by step posts. I learn from them every time regardless of the color or the style! Fabric can certainly change the feel of an outfit. Thank you Janice!!
I have the cream LL Bean sweater and love it. I have always wanted an aran knit, but every version that I tried on looked immense and unflattering. This one is great, managing the Irish sweater vibe while being trim and flattering. I highly recommend it!
Janet Goeke-Cronin says
I love this color combo!
So nice to see a wardrobe that isn't all black and grey for us warmer toned women. I am enjoying this immensely. I especially love olive colors. Not a huge fan of teal, but I would substitute a wine color instead.
Ragged Ivy says
I'm also a fan of this series. In today's post, the last slide, in particular, had me thinking. Seeing the three outfits for different kinds of dinner outing shows how just one or two items can make a wardrobe easily versatile enough for me.
You have posted before about the importance of knowing clearly what you do to fill your days, so that your clothes are useful for your actual activities, rather than for a fantasy life or one that you used to live but don't now. It's another good principle for our planning.
Robyn in Tasmania