May 25, 2018
I wanted to share one final experiment into uniforms for warm weather. You don’t necessarily have to dress like this every day (although you’re sort of losing the whole “ease of a uniform” idea if you don’t wear it… uniformly…). Still, if you have these pieces in your closet, you’re never going to really be stuck finding something to wear… Unless you’re going to something really outside of your normal activities, your “uniform” capsule should be perfectly chosen to help you get dressed in a flash for the activities that take up most of your time.
So let’s visit some navy! What’s nicer than a bit of navy for warm weather?
(a note about matching navy garments… when I was in Ireland last month, I saw LOTS of men wearing navy coats over navy suits, and they didn’t match… navy sweaters were worn with navy dress pants, and they didn’t match… and it sort of grew on me. That said, if you’re eager to match your colors, get them all from the same company – like Eileen Fisher’s “midnight” or Lands’ End’s “radiant navy.”)
Yes, I tried to find something unusual to use as an accent for this capsule wardrobe, but I really didn’t find anything… amazing… that wasn’t madly expensive! Sometimes that’s fun, but I’m trying to help people looking for a bit of guidance for a small but useful summer “dress casual” wardrobe, so…
Let’s look at coral! Well, L.L.Bean calls this “beach rose” – like that’s a color in your brain rainbow, right? (can we call that a “brain-bow?”)
And something a little bit softer…
This is a wardrobe that truly has lots of possibilities; adding just a white shirt of some sort, and maybe a top in that “beach rose” color would give you a perfect vacation wardrobe…
This wardrobe doesn’t offer the color variety that the last 2 wardrobes do, but there’s a harmony to all of this that’s uncomplicated; it would be so easy to get dressed every day with these pieces in front of you!
Do you have a summer uniform? Mine seems to be black… I know you’re shocked!
Margie from Toronto says
I’m still not down to a uniform of one colour – but I have narrowed things down to a few capsules.
I have 3 core groups of black, navy and a few pieces in beige (both tops & bottoms). I then have a number of shirts & T-shirts in white that go with everything. To add some colour I rely on summer cardigans – I have many but this summer I’ve narrowed it down to a soft blue, pink, red and 1 lone yellow one. I also have scarves and summer jewelry that will add some colour. I like seeing everything look so nice and organized when I open my wardrobe.
I have been assembling a common wardrobe based on your post “A common wardrobe in navy and pink”. The Echo scarf is just perfect – I ordered it and another in stripes with yhe same color scheme. Thank you so much for the wonderful ideas!
Yes! This is great for my wardrobe which is All Navy All The Time now – thanks to you. This will help me put some style into the pieces I already have. Thanks!
Sara K. says
For added variety, one could easily add white or off-white to this wardrobe without complicating things at all. A white tee, or perhaps a marinière, a pair of crisp white cropped jeans, and maaaybe
a summery white cardigan with crochet detail would easily fit in here. Since this wardrobe is on a casual side, I’d suggest looking into mother of pearl jewelry or perhaps some funky baroque pearls instead of classic pearl jewelry.
In my neck of the woods black in summer identifies you as a snowbird. I flirt with heatstroke and wear it anyway. I like the idea of of navy for a summer uniform, and like it with red, but something in me wants a really really bright accent color to lift it—a pair of twill shorts in screaming orange or flamingo pink, maybe a white sweater… Sorry, I’ve blown the whole uniform idea, haven’t I?
Janice Collins says
Yes! I love the idea of a uniform! Mine is Navy Navy with a bit of light blue, light teal, light grey and cream/stone. I agree, navy is so perfect for summer – I wear it year-round. My husband wants me to add some pink and coral, so this post is so helpful. The combo of coral with navy is growing on me :) thanks for this series on uniforms – really helpful. Janice Collins, Washington, DC
This hits my summer sweet spot: navy plus LL Bean and Eileen Fisher. Sometime in April, rebelling against massive doses of black and forest/dark olive, I switch to navy (except for some black cropped pants and a tee or two). Don’t do white bottoms owing to activities like cycling and ‘L’ riding. Subdued coral is also a mainstay. Bean changes the name year to year but there’s always a version available. I have a pair of dark coral cropped jeans that I wear with navy, linen white, chambray and a coral-patterned off-white tee.
The scarves and coral accessories are great. I’ve found my “champagne” khaki (very subtle pink-toned rather than yellow-toned) lightweight spring/summer raincoat goes well with this color scheme.
I would like to know where I can get items in a warm shade of navy. I had my colours done by House of Colour and I am ‘soft and vibrant Autumn’ and the navy in my palette has a slightly greenish tinge to it. Not sure what radiant navy is – does that mean warm navy?
Perfect! I love my navy with coral!
Scottie Kersta-Wilson says
I’m sure my most used color-combo-uniform is black . . . I mean I do have FOUR different black summer dresses . . . five if you include the “funeral dress”, which I hope not to have to wear this summer. My other combos seem to involved black, khaki green, denim shorts and jeans – all my tops go with all these items, so that’s good :-)
I love this. Navy and coral is a great combination, and one that I wear (and would wear more if I had more coral, although technically, pink is probably a better color for me). If I were to add a second accent to this wardrobe, it would likely be aqua/light teal. But honestly, with a little white and a little denim, this wardrobe would go a long long way. – nancyo
Navy is my core, and tan is a instance go to for me – love this! Thanks
I just can’t bring myself to wear one colour top and bottom. I’ve tried outfits on, but didn’t feel myself. The closest would be dark denim and a navy top, but even then there is a tonal difference.
But I have taken a lot from Janice and have tried to be a smarter shopper, sticking to some basic colour combinations; denim, olive and black bottoms with a limited palette of tops that go with all the bottoms.
Carol S says
Michelle, I also steer away from one colour top and bottom. I remember years and years ago the casual tracksuits that had top and bottoms matching. An influence from long ago…
I love the uniform concept. Thanks Janice.
The striped cardi with the geometric scarf is a very striking combo.
sania from zagreb says
After 3 years working hard to corral my colors (by rotating which ones enter my current capsule) I agree it is simpler to get dressed that way – once I complete the capsule, but for me it is lots of work to get to that point. It is like I am on constant color diet. So for this summer I decided my colors will be linen! In whatever color I have it. I guess linen items can mix and match no matter which color they are. I have navy, olive, beige and navy red linen items so far (from previous summers capsules).
Recently I am turning towards seasonal color pallete since it is coherent whole – everything goes together. I am dark autumn.
sania from zagreb says
p.s. I forgot to mention that these linen items I count all as neutral. For accent colors I will try to stay within dark autumn palette in the future and overdye what I already have that is too bright to make it more earthy. So far I had 2 accent colors per season.
Yes I have my summer uniform. It consists of 3 light pcs (top, bottom and linen or viscose completer piece for non leasure activities that require my arms covered) since it is too hot here, no long sleeves, no cardigans. My uniform is all 3 pcs of different colors, one print or striped item, one neutral and one accent color that is present in the print. Since it is too hot for a scarf, I use top or bottom as accesory. Also I can wear print and stripes together if 2 colors of stripes are both present in the print, and covered with monochrome completer piece. Prints are mostly tops, but there are several printed bottoms, too. I can sometimes wear all navy, all beige, with accent on shoes and maybe a bracelet only, and it feels very different from usual, very special. I am learning new ways here and I enjoy it very much.
For example I never wore navy before, and after TVF I purchased the whole navy “suit”, mostly linen. So I love this capsule, it is encouraging to see prints that have no black in them, since it is very hard to find. Easier in summer, impossible in winter. So I settle for less, and accept the presence of black and white in the print.
Unlike olive that I don’t mind having different tones, navy is annoying when unmatched, so it is refresing idea that it is possible to extend my expectations and simply get used to it. Otherwise, it is possible to throw all in the washer and refresh the color with a packet of navy dye. Just don’t wash whites or white towels right afterwards!
Holly T Hiatt says
This is my color mojo! I’d love it if you expanded this wardrobe with more patterns and did all the seasons.
So I’m not losing the plot with navy as a base colour for next years holiday to India, followed by a cruise back to UK! However it is proving a challenge to come up with a variety of outfits that will satisfy the India & sightseeing part & also translate to a semi formal cruise.
Cruise daywear = navy and white, navy and beige, add turquoise whenever. Goes with the bright light you get when you’re on the ocean. Evenings I go with dresses in black with Jewellry…
Useful info thank you
I have a silk scarf and I think the colours are sort of Tibetan – navy, coral, turquoise and gold. All these colours go together and go with cognac/ light brown. Just see how gold accessories go with navy and coral and you’ll be sold.
Linda in Arkansas says
I would love to transition to navy instead of black. I have so much black though! LOL! Maybe one day. This would be great for a vacation with just a couple of other tops and a dress or two. I’m going to Cape Cod in July. I have never been and have no idea how to dress for this trip. Any ideas are appreciated!
ROXANNE W ROBERTS says
Hi Linda….Casual is how we live on the Cape! No need for anything fancy. My advice is to bring a couple of sweaters and jeans. We have been known to have some chilly evenings even in July! Hope you have a great time!
Linda in Arkansas says
Thank you for the advice Roxanne! It is so hot here in July. We would never think of sweaters! I am so excited to visit the Cape.