June 20, 2018
Do you NEED color to be happy? A wide variety of colors? Lots of choices?
If this is you, then you can still travel with a capsule travel wardrobe – you just need to include a range of accents that all work with a neutral core. The neutrals give you all sorts of easy outfit possibilities into which you can insert a punch of color when you’re in the mood. And when you want to be more subdued, you’ll have that option too!
Let’s start with an artist of whom I knew nothing until just a few days ago (I get the BEST mail from you all…):
While this painting clearly displays a strong affinity to great summer neutrals like khaki and ivory, it also includes some amazing accent colors. For this color palette, I skipped both the pink and the darker gold… And I didn’t include grey! There are plenty of colors to pull from here to keep you from getting bored…
First, let’s start with 9-pieces in neutrals. I’ve included brown shorts just because I found them and they’re really scarce! And the gold tank top was a last-minute indulgence…
Clearly, if this was all that you wore and packed for a week, you’d be in pretty good shape. The colors here are sufficiently neutral that you could include virtually any accent color…
So let’s look at a handful – literally – of garments in your accent colors. If you’re a big fan of an expensive brand or designer, this is a good way to bring some pieces from them into your wardrobe, without breaking the bank. Wear her pieces in accent colors against a backdrop of neutral clothes that aren’t as expensive; nobody’s going to notice your shorts when you’re wearing a stunning pear-green top!
These pieces make up less than a third of the overall wardrobe (depending on how you count the scarf…) but they make a tremendous difference in the mood of things!
And NOW… You’ve got options! Lots and lots of interesting options…
I’m going to show accessories for this wardrobe too, just because I think I might find some really fun things… and to show how much you do NOT have to be bored by a small wardrobe.
Janice, this is SO genius!! Just what I needed to further understand the system – because I really do love and need lots of different colors! And so for a long time, I had that “typical” unorganized closet with the unwearable wardrobe… as soon as a couple of pieces were in the laundry, it was over… Now I’ve been reading your blog for almost 8 months – and SO MUCH has changed!!! I finally took the time and did myself this favor to shop for the boring neutrals – I sorted my many many accessoires by color – I even checked my nail polishes – and I bought one of those clothing racks on wheels. Now for the last three weeks, I picked the nail polish I wanted to wear – then I put together a Whatever’s Clean 13 on my clothing rack matching that color, piled all the matching shoes and belts and scarfs and handbags and necklaces and bracelets and earrings underneath on the floor – and just got dressed every day with no hassle and appropriate to all occasions. It’s really a dream come true, because a lot of different colors always meant a lot of thinking and searching for the right items, and on days where I didn’t have the time and especially with packing for a trip it was a dreadful affair. Now I’m noticing how little it really takes to look and feel different every day by combining the same items in so many different ways, and this has changed my shopping habits dramatically! So many have said it before, it cannot be said often enough: THANK YOU JANICE!!!
Love, Mona from Germany
Chris from Indy says
Wow, Mona!! Your comment is so inspiring – I love that you pick out your nail polish each week the run with the outfits that coordinate!! What a terrific idea!
thank you so much for your feedback – although the credit is really deserved by Janice ;o))) But I’m also asking myself why I didn’t get it earlier – so many times in my life I was wearing the wrong nail polish with an outfit when I actually DID HAVE the right one, because I love and collect nail polish and also in my job I’m supposed to wear it. But for lack of planning ahead it hardly ever worked out right… Now I’m having so much fun and I’m happy I could inspire you! Love, Mona
I love the concept you have of using art for inspiration, in the lifelong quest for the “perfect” capsule wardrobe, I’ve never seen this approach but I love it! You do such a great job of picking colors from the paintings. I found a little free app that’s helped me do the same called Color Snap from Sherwin Williams. It lets you upload a picture and then will pick little dots of color from various parts of the picture that you can slide around to change. It keeps a color palette across the bottom of the screen. It matches the colors up with SW paint of course and you can get those chips as a kind of color fan for shopping if you’d like.
Now off to search for the perfect painting or even photograph from nature to use for inspiration… thanks for sharing your brilliant ideas! I even love seeing the brand names you use for the basic pieces as good neutral basics can be hard to find.
Gorgeous. Can’t wait for accessories!
My colors and lots of a variety of them is what floats my boat ! However, I always pack with at least one or maybe two neutrals including a top, bottom, and topper , and 2 to 3 twin sets in my accent colors . That is still only 10 to 12 garments with lots of outfit combination options ! As I am shorter than I once was , I prefer to be able to make columns of color. At times I’ll add another single accent item or two or prints with my accent colors in them. This post feels so summery , light, and fun ! Having read your posts for a bunch of years has gotten me over my former need to overpack for “ just in case “ ! Big hugs !
Many years reading and this is my favorite color combo yet! Can’t wait for accessories to be added! Thanks for your continued hard work to help me and others. Deb in KY
Janice – Can you do this again, using grey as the neutral? I’m having trouble picturing grey with those accents, but I am not a beigy/khaki person.
Yes I can see a soft grey also looking stunning as a base with this combo of colours
Nancy Brewer says
Oh I really like this post Janice, and this is pretty much what I have done with navy as a neutral. Some days like pink, other days aqua or blue green. I even have a few red pieces. What was always hard was I also needed a work wardrobe, for when I teach, but have spent time this summer to buy lighter colors as a second light neutral, because now I am home more often now and need a more casual or travel related wardrobe. And it is hot in Texas! Love my new LLBean pants, they are very light and COMFY. I can see them travelling to Greece with me next summer!
Thank you for always giving us inspiration!
Oh you have my exact colours in your wardrobe ? my basic is navy, year round. I have trouble with the second neutral. In the summer it is white and in the winter it is grey, but i found out that I am not really a fan of gray. I have summer colours as a Swede with ashblonde hair and bluegrey eyes. My accents are all shades of pink, red and some teal and turquise
As soon as I saw the art I knew I was in for a treat! I love this wardrobe and I’m excited to see the accessories.
This is wonderful! So light and fresh! Thanks for the inspiration!
Love this, want to base my wardrobe around this beautiful painting and the brown shorts really spice up the colors and make very chic outfits for a warm toned lover <3
Gail Finke says
Great post, and I wanted to point out that if you are traveling with such a wardrobe and you decide that is not enough color for you, it would be easy to buy souvenir garments (t-shirts, scarves, wraps, jewelry, etc. – whatever type of thing you like) and wear them with the neutrals. Some of us would not do that, but other people LOVE having t-shirts or sweatshirts from their different travels (otherwise, they would not be popular at gift shops). Having the base of neutrals makes that possible to do.
Seeing the neutrals separated into the 9 core pieces and then in action in the outfit pictures makes a big difference at recreating the concept a home…thank you!
mary garvey says
what i do at home is have several garment racks in a spare room. one holds three neutrals, navy, stone and white. the other has my rainbows. really works.
Sue G says
I particularly like the inclusion of many lightweight, short, and sleeveless pieces in this capsule. The weather tends to run in cycles, so we can have days and days in a row of sweltering heat. Many capsules focus on options across the weather spectrum, which is great for traveling or spring and fall when weather varies, but also means the exact same clothes over and over when a stable weather front stagnates. Delighted with this selection!
Janice Collins Coyle says
I’ll second the statement about the loveliness of this wardrobe and the airy summery feel. Have learned so much from your blog about packing and just reviewed some of your posts on tote bag packing. I’m leaving later today for a long weekend and I’m actually taking a tote bag as I’m driving. A few casual comfortable clothes that mix and match. 2 pants, 4 tees and a sweater. And this includes my travel outfit. You really do not need much with careful planning. Thank you!
Janice Collins Coyle, Washington DC
I love this wardrobe and its inspiration, even though it doesn’t have one color that I can actually wear myself! Well, I’d probably wear that red, even if it isn’t the “right” red for me. – nancyo
sania from zagreb says
Wow this is article for me! So similar to my colors- this is stunning! The only difference is my orange is lighter and my green is darker. What a liberation to be able to pick more accent colors, I worked very hard for 3 years to limit to only 2 and it was very restricting but very useful learning experience. I given up. So the timing of this article is incredible! Now I can see as long as those accent colors form coherent grouping, everything is fine!