March 16, 2017
After yesterday’s subtle colors, this feels almost like a breath of spring!
I don’t know that I’ve ever seen accents so resolutely feminine juxtaposed against black and ivory! This would be such a nice palette to adopt for warmer weather…
Just as we did yesterday, I’m starting with the exact same nine Neutral Building Blocks:
And as before, this gets you started with a solid dozen neutral outfits. This heroine would want a couple of really pretty floral scarves that include her pastels, I suspect… And some pastel socks…
And just to keep us in some sort of order, in our additions, I like to start the Four by Four Wardrobe template. This way, it’s pretty clear what kinds of pieces need to be added…
As you might have expected, THIS is where things get fun – you can see one obvious outfit, and a lot of prettiness! How fun is that sweatshirt?
Even though the neutral pieces outnumber the accents, this wardrobe has a very decided personality:
With this many garments in accent colors and prints, I wasn’t sure just how many ensembles would be possible. It surprised me to see that there was no trouble at all finding 2 dozen ways to wear these!
You have to admit that this is a very different capsule wardrobe from yesterday’s! Tomorrow’s accent colors are sort of aqua to teal, and a warm camel-ish… Plus it’s another fun painting: Carnival Evening by Henri Rousseau…
For more on Personalizing a Neutral Capsule Wardrobe, please read:
- How to Personalize Neutrals in a Capsule Wardrobe – Start With Art: L’Encens by Ferrand Khnopff
- How to Use Both Warm & Cool Accents in a Capsule Wardrobe – Start with Art: Carnival Evening by Henri Rousseau
- How to Accent a Neutral Capsule Wardrobe with Brights – Start with Art: Le Pot a Tisane by Leger
- Four Paintings, Four Different Ways to Wear Black and Ivory Neutral Building Blocks
Taste of France says
That painting itself would make a fabulous print–it's so balanced that it could even work as a neutral solid (I could imagine it with stripes, especially big, fat ones), and could work for usually-solid pieces like pants, a skirt or a jacket.
I was thinking about buying a tee shirt I saw on Etsy that is a print of this painting a few weeks ago, but it seemed too limited in use — the colours are amazing. What a beautiful jacket or pair of pants it would make! Those I would get much more wear out of than a tee shirt in big pattern.
BTW, I have seen it as a pair of patterned tights (on Geekware or Cafepress or similar site) but tights are not my thing.
I'm still having problems getting my head round having black shorts in the collection, especially with long sleeved tops. For me, shorts are for hot weather holidays with short sleeve/sleeveless casual tops and preferably not black – but maybe that just shows me to be unadventurous?
Instead I'm trying to picture mentally a black knee length pencil skirt but not sure that it works with the personality.
I do love the series though – keep them coming!
Janice Riggs says
Yesterday, after I went to the gym, I dashed to the supermarket (a block away!) in my gym shorts, with a sweatshirt and down vest over my workout shirt. If I'm going long distances hiking, I will usually still wear shorts, because my legs never get cold, and I like having the freedom of movement afforded by shorts. But you should by all means mentally replace a skirt if it makes more sense for you! Flexibility is what we're all about at The Vivienne Files.
Oh yes, I get wearing shorts for exercise but would you wear them on one of your trips to Paris, for example, for other activities, e.g. shopping, sightseeing? Perhaps wearing shorts is a country thing ('country' as in US) and it'll make the journey over here in time.
I'm in UK and just had a look at M&S online, thinking maybe it's here that shorts are not popular but hey they have black shorts! They're mainly for summer wear and for girls' school uniform but they're definitely there.
My favorite pair of shorts is from the UK – Ted Baker. I find that I feel immodest if I bare arms and legs, so I almost always wear long pants or skirt with sleeveless tops and I put on long sleeves with shorts or shorter skirts. Many people wear cardigans with dresses and hoodies with sundresses, for example. I don;t think I'm alone in this. It seems to make me look a lot more balanced to have half of my limbs covered up. I have always noticed that here in the US, Eastern seaboard vacationers and boaters usually dress this way, as do Sorority and Fraternity types.
Well, I think shorts look great on some people and I've seen a pic of our Janice here and she has lovely legs and would look great in shorts anywhere. For myself, I just turned 70, have chubby celulited legs and would be very self-conscious in shorts or short skirts. Some of us want to cover our arms that may be flappy. Luckily I am trim in that score. I'm sure we each try to dress in a way that is most flattering to our unique shapes and conditions. My own belief is that every woman can be beautiful. And feeling beautiful is always effective! Janice Collins, Washington, DC
I do a mental substitution every time, Irene, and it's always a pencil skirt too. I'm happy in a skirt and wouldn't be in shorts. The substitution works for me and still keeps faith with Janice's intentions.
Robyn in Tasmania
J. B. Kholodenko says
I'm chiming in to say that I've got a pair of ultra thin fabric but very sturdy construction black all cotton Bermuda shorts from White House Black Market that are going to be seeing their fourth summer and are worn at least two days a week for three months every year. They really don't show any stains and are just now getting a little bit older so that they show wrinkles more. Lighter colors are too sheer if they are made from paper thin cotton. So I find them far more practical and less hot than thicker light ones. But where I live women walking alone in an isolated area rarely wear skirts shorter than a midi length. Shorts are sporty whereas a pencil skirt would be seen as flirtatious. Country norms are funny that way.
cheryl :) says
i love the seafoam outfit! :)
Cheryl K says
I'm wondering if you could help me out. Tried to find another way to send this, but my searching skills are lacking this morning, so I apologize if I should send this another way…
I have a good capsule in navy(denim), olive, wine, and blush (really all pinks). I've worn these colors for over a year and I still love them. I probably have too many pieces, but I know they will work together so I'm ok with it. And it ranges from deep summer to cold, cold winter.
But this spring I've been very drawn to yellow. I've looked at actual pieces and yellow will look good with navy, olive and wine. But I'm stuck at yellow and pink. I feel like if I could just find a scarf with both colors, I'd be set. I need to *see* it. I can (and do) wear jeans to work. Spring, summer and fall find me in jeans and a button down shirt at work.
Janice Riggs says
Yellow doesn't have to go with absolutely everything you own – if it's good with the neutrals, then don't worry about pink! It's useful if accent colors can work together, but it's not absolutely mandatory. You almost certainly WILL find the right scarf, once you quit looking; there are going to be lots of floral scarves this year, and I suspect that might be the perfect place to see pink and yellow together. Or as Kathom below suggests, look at Missoni, who are experts at putting together all sorts of colors. (remember, tons of Missoni is available 2nd hand…) If you're drawn to a color, experiment with it in small doses and enjoy!
Hi Cheryl, I'm looking for scarves also. One idea: You can go to Esty.com and in the search box, type "Yellow and Pink Scarf" and you will get dozens of options – many of them beautifully hand painted. Anyway good luck in your search. Janice Collins, Washington DC
Hi Cheryl, Joules has a sweet scarf with pinks and yellows as well as some greens and denim blue on a cream base: https://www.joulesusa.com/Gifting/For-Her/Myriam/Woven-Scarf/Cream-Clematis?id=W_MYRIAM|CRMCLEM – nancyo
The peach floral sweater is so pretty. My mind immediately jumps to wishing it were a cardigan instead. The colors in it would work so well wearing it with the ivory t-shirt, any of the black tops, and of course the peach tank top. And if it were a button front cardigan, it could still be worn as a stand alone sweater. More mileage from one garment.
Janice Riggs says
That's a brilliant idea – I just tried to find such a cardigan, but came up empty-handed. But it's certainly worth continuing to search. (you're starting to think like me!)
Cheryl K, have you tried looking for a Missoni scarf?
Janice Riggs says
Janice, I always learn from your brilliant posts and my wardrobe and closet thank you from the bottom of their hems. In this case what I learned is that I am really prejudiced against peach, seafoam, and lavender and that these are precisely the colors that must be winnowed from my wardrobe. But one woman's unchic is another woman's treasure. I get it.
Gail Finke says
Me too! My first reaction is just, "ugh!" But I can see how it all works together and I'm certain that someone looked at that and said "AT LAST! Exactly what I love!"
Ladies, in my case , au le contraire — I like these accent colors, but would wear them with the lighter color bottoms only, or up to a medium tan, as I don't wear black. One of the dilemmas I face when packing for a trip is which colors of accents to include if I don't have an inspiration piece, although I really should look to my scarves for that answer, except on Summer's hot days.
Something about the painting is unsettling to me. Not sure what it is……..I do see how the colors work as great accents though. : ) This would be a great travel wardrobe! Excellent series Janice!
One of the aspects of this post that I really appreciate is that not everything is intended to be worn together ! The peach floral sweater combined with either the floral green pants or the black and white skirt could look pretty horrid together, and yet there are plenty of outfits that don't require that combination, thanks to the basis of the two neutrals. I say " well done " , as usual.
Come to think of it, your imaginary heroine who enjoyed florals the other day would have loved this 4×4 , IMHO !
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