She’s worn navy forever, and really, legitimately loves it. She also really feels comfortable with bright colors – she doesn’t mind the high contrast. But, for some reason she can’t quite put her finger on, she’s not quite “right” with her wardrobe…
This is what’s she’s got for spring:
She really doesn’t know what to do to feel more comfortable with these pieces, so she just started getting dressed as normal, but changing 2 small things:
- She pulls out and wears what she really “feels” like wearing, rather than trying to carefully rotate everything in her wardrobe. If she focuses on what she most likes, it might help her learn something, and
- She keeps careful track of what she wears.
After three weeks, she sorts things out based on how frequently they were worn:
Right away, she notices that she really feels more comfortable wearing a monochromatic outfit on Monday, when she has QUITE enough to think about, and when it’s somewhat nice to be less conspicuous!
And she loves yellow on Friday – a bright launch to the weekend…
But that pink… She never really felt like reaching for the bright pink clothes. The last Thursday of her experiment felt more like wearing something because she “should,” and not because she wanted to.
So she made a cup of tea, put a shot of whiskey in it, and sat down to think about pink.
Everyone told her that pink and navy were perfect together. She had worn a LOT of pink as a child. It never prompted the kinds of attention that yellow and green did…
BUT SHE REALLY LIKES YELLOW AND GREEN. NOT PINK… (well, now that she’s got THAT sorted out…)
It’s a wrench to donate those pink garments – she’s worn pink with navy for a long time. But as soon as the garments are in a garment bag in the other room, her closet feels more… like her.
Now she’s got a bit of space for a few new things… and she’s going to be intelligent and methodical about what to get, while indulging her strong desires and preferences!
She spends about a week thinking about what she wants to purchase – she has plenty to wear in the meantime!
After some careful shopping, and breaking OUT of her Lands’ End rut, she has added these pieces to her existing spring capsule wardrobe. She found that shopping in unfamiliar stores wasn’t nearly as intimidating or time-consuming when she had a clear focus on what she wanted.
Her new wardrobe isn’t a LOT different from her old one, but it feels much better to her!
Just as she expected, her new pieces integrate perfectly into her existing wardrobe:
Tomorrow I’m going to make sure that this heroine has the accessories she needs for the upcoming season…
The Bride says
Found this really interesting, thanks.
About the pink stuff, though. Assuming the pink things were in good shape and fit etc, I'd have been tempted to put away a little pink capsule to be pulled out later, when I am in the mood for that color. Because I find that I get into color moods in different seasons – right now I'm jonesing for pink which is lacking in my wardrobe. Maybe it's the approach of Valentines Day, but I keep wishing I had a few pink items to wear right now. The same thing happens in the holidays when I suddenly crave red and sparkles. So I've been thinking of having some small color capsules stored away, but available to pull out on an as needed basis. Just a couple of tops or a dress and an accessory or two would be fine.
While this heroine knew what no longer resonated with her, I agree with you that I also get into color “ moods” . While brown is my main neutral over the Winter, I crave a variety of accent colors that I rotate through . Some are divided by season , and some are year round colors . Part of me wishes I could get down to fewer clothes , but this need for variety of color keeps the quantity of items higher than what might satisfy some others.
Maybe I just need a cup of tea with a shot of whiskey to ponder it all ! :)
Shrebee, while you are drinking your tea (ahumm) pondering, what are the year round colors you reach for? Having lived the first half of my life in an area requiring wardrobe rotations, I am now attempting to create a seasonless way of dressing. Seasonal colors still allude my thought process. You and I wear the same colors so any and all suggestions you could give me would so be appreciated.
Your sister in style,
Year round I wear a sliding scale of the brown family from stone in the summer to tans , camels , medium and dark brown as the seasons cool. Accents worn on top in that brown family , especially in Autumn , are copper, bronze and rust. I also have several base colors that I use as neutrals , such as olive, denim blue, and then burgundy in Winter. Year round I use off or warm white and oatmeal in tops or toppers. I split my weekly wears between my neutrals and base colors, and neutrals with one of my several seasonal accent colors. Summer accent colors ( I seem to have more of these than any other season ) are primarily coral and various tones of aqua through teal ( various not exact matches — a place to potentially reduce items ). Also olive, golden yellow , and light blue. Some sage green that is not olive here — another possible place to divest. Autumn includes a bit of orange, mustard, rust , teal, and olive again. Winter brings in dark warm red , like a brick red, warm burgundy or maroon, and darker denim blue ( the color, not the fabric ). Accent colors are only used in tops and toppers, but neutral and base colors are used for both tops and bottoms.
By the way, I never met a lady named Pat that I did not like!
Oh, and I do use olive in Winter too. Spring accents can include any of those mentioned, depending upon the warmth or coldness of the weather. Some years, Winter jumps right into Summer, or Autumn into Winter. I don’t believe in discarding something I haven’t worn in a year for that very reason – I give it a two year chance instead.
Oh, Shrebee, thank you, thank you, thank you! You will never know how much your suggestions have helped me..
Your colors choices could move directly into my closet anyday. You brought out a critical key factor that i’ve been overlooking, tops and bottoms in base and neutral colors, then colorful accent toppers and accessories. Thinking this through with you has helped me define my preferred style of dressing. I would never wear a cream blouse, green pant, coral topper, it’s just not me, too much going on.
Based on your suggestions, I am going back to the wardrobe, with a refreshed point of view, take a long hard look at the core pieces, create ensembles, note what’s missing, shop with a plan (which I love). For the life of me I just couldn’t figure what or why my wardrobe was always lacking. It’s taken an analytical approach with you to realize my preference for column dressing.
I’ll let you know my progress on this wonderful journey of personal style. I love my female friends, so helpful, supportive, understanding, with just enough competitiveness to make friendships fun. You are a great, fun, lady. Thank you once again for your time and support.
Your sister in style,
So glad to have been of help ! As I am vertically challenged, I pretty much always wear a column of color, either an inside column or an outer suit like column, as Janice describes. If a suit like approach, then an accent top. If an inner column of matching top and bottom, then an accent outer topper. If wearing a matching twinset, I like to make sure that my bottom is darker, to balance the accent color on top. When I purchase a neutral or base color, I always try to buy all 3 color matching pieces at the same time,a bottom, a top, and a topper plus a print with that color in it, if available. I then use the other colors in the print to purchase the accent colors. Sometimes, this is a multi year project until these items become available . Over time,I add on to my neutral and core pieces by including different silhouettes , fabrics,and textures. For instance, this past year I added on a textured tan vest instead of just a stable of cardigans ! It’s important to get those neutral and base colors covered first !
I look forward to your comments on how your wardrobe and ensembles are creating happy wears for you ! Now back to my tea !
More great tips, Shrebee. Your wardrobe is travel ready for just about any location, any time. My goal precisely.. with help from you and Janice, a better plan and careful choices I will eventually get there.
Thanks again for sharing your thoughts, style suggestions and organizational skills. Just keep drinking that tea girl…
Your sister in style,
These analytical posts are some of my favorite. The way you present the information is easy to follow and implement at home.
I agree with Mary ! Your analytical posts are always my favorites and always saved by me ! I think I need to see how much I actually wear all of my colors, even though I am happy with them all . Not actually wearing them all is a waste of closet space, as well as a type of clutter, and these same clothes could be treasured by someone else !
OMG, this actually happened to me! My summer wardrobe (base of khaki and white) had teal and yellow as accents (because I read somewhere that they were good complimentary colors). But I had a little bit of pink, because I like pink. I found that I never worn the yellow, because I don't really like it. After a shot of cold brew coffee, I dumped all my yellow, bought pink, and I've been happy ever since. Thanks once again for helping us translate feelings into logic and come up with a great wardrobe!
LOVE this! I track what I wear in a Word calendar every month, but I haven't transferred the number of times worn to my Excel "Cost per Wear and Garment Aging Worksheet". I really need to do that.
Kathy Eimers Chandler says
Wow, librarian, I'm in awe of your organization! Maybe I can be you some day. :-)
Organizing my wardrobe by color, then garment type, was a real eye opener for me.
Just a thought…..
I'd give her a pair of green trousers instead of •more• beige. Or go swap the beige for white; the next to last set with the beige pants looks uninspiring; it is coherent, I'll give it that! Or maybe that set needs some accessories? Sometimes what I wear most is not what pleases me most, it's just that it requires no effort.
I really like this approach and I find it also helps to think about whether I'm really tired, seasonally low, or in a rut before I divest something. (When the seasons change I can barely get dressed, I've forgotten all about those clothes.)
Janice Riggs says
I'm always reluctant to put my heroines in bright pants – maybe that's a phobia for me, eh? But your points are, as always, spot on. Accessories always make so much difference; I'm hopeful that tomorrow, these will "hang together" better!
The Pouting Pensioner says
I loved your lady's methodology and her unrushed approach. The turnaround is spectacular – she gets a massive amount more mileage by introducing her new pieces yet the numbers don't change. Genius! I also like that a lot of your ladies don't add jackets just because they feel they should, but instead they makes suits from cardis which are more suited (pun?!) to their lifestyles … and mine!
Looking forward to her accessorisationing!
I love pink, myself, but for some reason, the pink felt *off* to me, in this particular wardrobe.
I rotate my closet every 3 months, with the meteorological seasons, and it works wonders for my psyche, having an entirely *new* wardrobe to choose from just about the time I am feeling tired of wearing the same things.
Lynn Carroll says
This was very helpful, thanks! I agree with the first poster- she should have kept the pink to wear later as we all know, a color "mood" will hit and, oopsie, you've donated perfectly good items and have to buy new. I tried last summer to keep to a few neutrals and wow, by the time summer ended (in Oct where I live as stayed so hot in the Midwest), I could not wait to ditch blush, gray, stripes….So, I am now working on a core with little mini-capsules of various colors. Love your blog and your fresh ideas!
Kathy Eimers Chandler says
Janice, this post is perfection for me! I always have so much fun pondering all the wardrobes you do, but this one really lit a fire under me! Not because of the colors (which I do like, but aren't *my* colors, if you will), but because this feels like something I could actually do. I LOVE clothes and fashion, and you always create that longing in me for a concise, thoughtful, beautiful wardrobe–but I just can't seem to get myself to do it. But this one! While reading it, I wanted to just run upstairs immediately and lay my entire wardrobe on my bed (or perhaps, many beds, the floor, the hallway…) to see what the heck I have going on! I guess the idea of working from what I have, rather than trying to plan it in my head first, really called to me, seemed actually doable! You know what, I've been an editor off and on for many years, and it occurs to me that the idea of editing rather than creating is why this one is so exciting to me! Thanks for this, Janice. You are le bomb, mon amie! ;-)
It took me a while to realize that a wardrobe with every color just doesn't work – it's often difficult to find 2 pieces that go well together. Then I read a great book (Fashion Sense) that showed how to start from scratch – using the wardrobe you have – and then building on it. That's what you are doing here, and your 4×4 pages are really helpful because I can SEE what you are talking about. I love the little stories you have with some of your posts, and why "she" has to go shopping for a complete new wardrobe. Thanks for all the great ideas you share!
I found myself disagreeing with your choice to abandon the flowered skirt; I thought it was a piece that would be better to keep than not. But *then* I saw how lovely the flowered shirt was with the wardrobe–it's perfect and works so much better than the skirt. That is so clarifying for me, to realize that I keep so many things because they're almost right. But the one right piece can take the place of 5 that don't really work and don't get worn all that often. I went through a phase of buying the same piece in several colors, and I've recently begun pulling out the color I like least to donate. I've also stopped shopping that way–if I feel a shirt or pair of jeans would be helpful in multiples, I just buy another of my favorite color rather than a different one. Since picking neutrals I actually like (with the help of this blog!), it's not a hardship to wear the same colors over and over. I never thought I'd get here, but I have.
Loved yesterdays post. As Mary said, your analytical posts are the best!
This post is timely for me as I just put my entire wardrobe and jewelry in a closet app. I'm tracking my usage before culling. Sadly, my black turtleneck has made 5 appearances whereas my navy jacquard skirt has made zero. I blame the weather.
run 3 says
Your concept is outstanding, so beautiful!
All of this is very helpful to me as I am putting together my year round wardrobe with grey, navy and black. I have noticed the brown has remained pushed to the back of my closet for sometime. It's going to go for good.
Janice, this post is amazing! And for me, it was amazingly timed too.
I have been working with a seasonal wardrobe capsule this winter that I intend to wear from early January through mid-March. I had just reached the 5-week mark when you posted this.
I was so blown away by your approach here that I applied the same method to my capsule — sorting things by how often I have worn them so far, identifying what I hadn't reached for at all, etc.
I was able to identify several items to remove from my capsule as well as a list of concrete goals about what to add.
I have been experimenting with seasonal capsules for a while now, and I feel that I'm pretty decent at assembling a palette and also imagining what an "ideal" capsule would look like. But a strategy for getting from my REAL wardrobe as it is now, to a better and more functional one, has always eluded me. You just provided the missing piece and I can't thank you enough!
I am so sorry to hear about your bout with the flu and your missed trip to Paris. I hope you are on the mend soon.