June 14, 2017
I thought that this would be the easiest color scheme imaginable; that the clothes would virtually jump off of the screen at me… WRONG!
I thought I would start as I have been for a while, with the navy and beige neutrals. I swapped out the watch for silver, thinking that it would be better with the grey pieces to come…
And I found a pair of sandals that weren’t quite as “warm” in hue, so that they might bridge the gap better also.
Then… I tried to find dark grey. And, after an honest 2 hours of looking for a lovely, rich charcoal grey linen, or a lustrous lead-grey raw silk, I threw in the towel. Some colors just don’t exist in large numbers during some seasons, and at a point that only you can choose, you have to quit beating yourself up by looking in vain…
But much better, I moved onto lighter grey! And realized that I had to choose between “warm grey” and “cool grey.” Since beige is one of the purported neutrals in this wardrobe, I thought that the warmer grey might be a better choice than the very bluish cool colors… And I found some nice goodies!
Next up I felt that I needed to get a few more pieces in navy, in order to give the wardrobe some balance; when I started plugging the various pieces into the 13-Piece Template, it just had an overall feeling that was very light… Two pair of pants help with the overall wardrobe balance, provide some cover for those of us who really prefer darker colors below the waist, and also serve to hide the schmutz that inevitably accompanies travel…
The most fun almost certainly came when I looked for pieces mixing the various colors – beige and navy, or warm grey and navy, are pretty easy to find… And some things, like this scarf, are pretty fun, too!
After all of my early hair pulling, this came out rather nicely:
I think that it would have been really easy to have used gold jewelry, rather than silver. Or maybe pieces that mixed both metals? But just in the interest of experimentation, I stuck with my original silver choices…
Some of these combinations are subtle, and might not suit everyone. I think that makes this a much more interesting wardrobe than I initially expected when I realized that I was working with all neutrals!
I’m wondering if I’ve exhausted navy and beige? I’m always happy to press on forever (more or less) in the face of interest in the project… let me know!
I like colors a lot, red, purple, orange. My base summer color is navy. I was following your posts with this base color. Today, I am amazed with the effect this color combination made on me. I like it very much, as this is an excellent base for accessories in my accent colors.
Thanks Janice – these are my favourite colours and I have been hoping you might do a post in them!
I'm still eagerly waiting for the "Subtle" colour combination… ;)
(By the way, all colours you could ever want can be found at https://www.kettlewellcolours.co.uk/season/all-colours. :) )
/Gunilla from Piteå, Northern Sweden
Susanne Chandler says
Yes, me too!
How about subbing out navy for a denim blue scheme instead ? Even navy is too dark for me. Or even a very light slate blue scheme?
Madame Là-bas says
We're going to the Cascade Mountains Friday for a few days. Navy and grey are what's in my bag.
Love the patterned t-shirt and patterned scarf together!
Janice Riggs says
Well HECK YES!
Mary Jackson says
Love, love, love this combination. I pulled out my colors from the 80s (Carole Jackson) and will change to a cool beige and try to find cool grays. This just might be my fall wardrobe. Hugs back to you, Janice!
cheryl :) says
I love color so this is a quite neutral palette for me. I am really surprised how much I like it though.
Very elegant, very chic and comfortably casual. Well done. Brava!
Charcoal gray is such a wonderful color but is indeed hard to find. I've been on the lookout for a work-worthy wrap cardigan and trousers (a smart casual "suit") for over a year now. I've seen exactly what I want on the internet but the items are of course from past seasons and no longer available. The two items will remain on my shopping list until I find just the right color and style. I'm sure it will be worth the wait!
I'm rather curious – and you may have addressed this somewhere, but what are your feelings about all the various color analysis theories out there? In any case, I too have divorce black as I've gotten older and enjoy your gray based wardrobes :)
Janice Riggs says
I have complicated feelings about them… See these posts for a more complete explanation of where I stand…:
Deb from Vancouver says
Well, Vancouver Barbara beat me to it!! so ditto. I love a rich warm deep charcoal and it is very hard to find either in ready made or fabric.
This set of combinations resonates positively with me; I find them so comfortable and comforting. As I age and my hair turns gray, I find these colors look much better on me than in my darker-locks days. Thank you for this presentation.
Jo-Anne Keenan says
I enjoyed this post as I am a Cool Winter and Navy, Charcoal, Bright White are my best neutrals with Icy Colours if/when I can find them and Denim with silver and crystal…I am not surprised you had problems with this colour scheme as it has taken me ages to build a decent wardrobe since I divorced black a while back. This season is mine as I am finding grey and navy/indigo in the shop here in Queensland now so I am grabbing what I can when I can…subject to style and design of course.
Love this and so helpful! I'm adding a bit of grey to my navy & beige/khaki summer wardrobe. Those patterned pants are a must have! The pants also come in a beautiful off-white and are so affordable. Such a pretty small print . They could probably be great for a dressier look with the right top? You have partnered them with the patterned tee? Probably beautiful but I'm not that adventurous yet. – Learning ;) I vote also for a switch to denim blue instead of navy. Janice Collins, Washington DC
natruss r says
I would love to see a butter yellow and lighter mossy green too with these two color combos or even peach with one of the two colors too for summer. I love love love these whatevers clean posts, they are sooo helpful
Pearl in Vancouver says
Re: dark charcoal grey. I couldn't agree with you more! Every fall I glance in shop windows, hoping to see dark charcoal grey. If there's grey, it's pale grey. Sigh…fortunately, I am able to find beautiful dark charcoal grey wool fabrics at Fabricana in Richmond…
Pearl in Vancouver
Madame Là-bas says
Oh! I live in Richmond and I would love a simple grey wool dress. I had one years ago: classic and lined. I should have one made and it would probably last the rest of my life. Merci!
You're welcome, Madame! The wools are located at the back of the store, right against the back wall. Not affiliated, just a very satisfied customer (as all the charcoal grey wool in my fabric cupboard would suggest!)
The Bride says
I love love love this one. It's such a great base from which one could go in many directions.
I had the opposite problem with grey – when I was looking this winter for a lighter grey, all I could find was charcoal. Maybe it's a seasonal thing.
Yes, yes, and more yes. Some years I want to wear a lot of colour in the summer, and some years I want to be subtle and more quietly put together. You completely nailed the art of this look: I think of it as beach/yacht inspired but without a hint of kitsch. I like the understated luxurious look of this wardrobe SO MUCH.
Alison Gunn says
These are lovely, cool colors for Summer, very Danish, actually. I remember the first time I saw a lady in Denmark, my BnB host, actually, wearing dark grey and white together, and I thought, I have to wear those colors from now on. So my choices for this combination above would be to take out the beige and insert white, which I like with both grey and navy. Would love to see these colors together, white and navy/grey for summer. Very Scandinavian!
Oh, that would be lovely. Grey might be just the way to wear sharp white and navy with more subtle élan than one often sees. I second the suggestion.
Over the past year I have been making the commitment to a gray and beige wardrobe of solid colors. When the choices became more narrow I had the opportunity to focus on material and texture which I have enjoyed. I can recollect one particular posting that really gave me the courage to go down this path. I believe it was called dresing like a french hotel room…?
Carole Hustead says
I love this post and was so excited because that is exactly what I am doing: Packing for a vacation in the mountains. This is my color scheme: navy, gray and beige, except I am using a light teal and soft pink for accent colors. I wish there were a way to send you attachment so you could see my visual of my Clean 13.
I love this! Very classic.